Tips and Tricks

please note this page is a work in progress if you have questions please ask....

#1 Planning 

    understand what you want from your aquarium not next week but next year or 5 years down the road. because these are living animals that grow. livestock try to plan your livestock from the beginning, learn about the fish you want before you buy, this could save a lot of money. Understand the requirements of the corals, weather they need high light or flow makes a big difference.

#2 Glass Clean

   Many people ask me how do I keep the glass so clean. Well the simple answer is a razor blade and a "Magfloat". Clean the glass 2-3 times a week with the magfloat but about every 2-3 weeks the coraline algae builds and some things are hard to clean around such as corals that are stuck to the glass or around the silicon corners on the tank.

#3 Stability 

   Most people do not understand the importance of stability in the water. but the ocean does not fluctuate very much as a far as salinity, calcium, alkalinity and temperature. the aquarium is such a small volume of water that fluctuations can be extreme. limiting these fluctuations makes a huge difference in the look and growth of corals. 

#4 Calcium 

   The most important building block of the coral reef is calcium. There are several ways to maintain the calcium in a aquarium the simplest at first would be to add a 2 part solution, one part would be calcium and the other part would be Buffer  the buffer would help maintain alkalinity since one always effects the other.

#5 Lighting

    Buy a timer so the aquarium gets the correct amount of lighting time every day 10-14 hours depending on your lighting system.

#6 A Book

     There are so many good book's out today that are filled with tons of easy to access and understand information. I always recommend a book first to any friend that would like a fish tank that way they can get an idea of what they would want and what may be required before the start. A lot of people try to learn from the internet which is fine but there is far to much mis-information given out on forums and it can be hard to find the answer or know how to ask the right questions without a good knowledge base.

#7 Water

    Water can make or break a reef tank. We always only use quality reverse osmosis water. if you don't you run a serious risk of have a huge algae explosion in the aquarium which is not fun.

#8 Knowing people

    Who you know can make the difference when it comes time to ask questions. while I am skeptical to new people to learn from  online forums. You can get a few very knowledgeable people to help you out a lot. if you have some good basics and a book already you can verify your findings and maybe get a simplified way to do something. certain concepts like kalkwasser drip are not always clearly explained even if it is something that would seems simple. When you are starting out and spending a lot of money things that seem foreign  can make one nervous. so having someone to ask is always reassuring.

#9 Quarantine 

     Owning and running a quality quarantine tank can save a lot of headaches. Today with so many parasites on corals and fish. being sure that you do not spread parasites to the rest of your aquarium. it is highly recommended that you quarantine corals and fish for 3 months to be sure that you can detect any thing harmful before it can cause a problem. today there are redbugs nudibranches and flatworms and small crab or shrimp that can be very destructive to a reef tank and the hard part is it is almost impossible to see the eggs or juvenile stages of the unwanted hitchhikers 

#10 How Many Fish?

   This is a common question we hear often. Our rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish per 5 gallons of water. an example of this in a 75 gallon would be thirteen 1 inch fish or maybe  four 3 inch and one 1 inch fish, I think you get the idea. Now this rule can be broken but it complicates things the aquarium on a linear scale. certain fish produce more waste then others so and some fish are also considered clean up crew by there ability to clean the aquarium of certain types of algae and certain fish do not need to be feed if provided with the Reef environment.    

#11 How Clean should I keep the tank

    This has been a recent question asked. I always try to keep the glass clean and that's the focus I always make. if there is algae and its not intrusive or causing problems I let it grow, because algae can tell you health of the tank. as with anything i trim it regularly as to not grow out of hand. if it starts to quickly that's usually a hint of something to look into. you can always add more clean up crew over time to keep up with algae growth. Now as for the filters it depends on what type of set-up you have but its pretty safe to say to try to keep them clean and if you have a protein skimmer you want to keep that clean as the generally get dirty in 3-5 days should be cleaned twice a week.

#12 How to acclimate corals fish and invertebrates

  Well I cheat, a lot of people acclimate for temp for a few minutes then they drip water into the bag or container to acclimate slowly over an hour or so.  Well I have had the best luck with taking the new starfish or shrimp and pouring the water into a large Tupperware, pouring out enough water to make the Tupperware half full of water then take water from the aquarium and fill it up be sure the animal is in there an does not get splashed out or jumps out . wait 4-5 minutes then move animal to aquarium. this has been very successful for me as you acclimate water chemistry and temp simultaneously in a step it could be broken down into more steps but unless its an expensive shrimp or starfish which are sensitive to salinity changes. I only do 1 step

#13 How Much Calcium    

 Calcium levels found in the ocean are generally 380-400 most of my friends aim for 420 but when dosing this can be difficult. I have 2 methods I use dripping/top off with a kalkwasser solution  mixed 1 tbsp per gallon and 1ml of white distilled vinegar per gallon this has worked wonders for me. straight kalkwasser generally for me raises the ALK faster than it raises the CA. The effect the vinegar has is its acidity limits precipitation or binding of the calcium and buffer salts in the solution so that the calcium levels can keep up with the alkalinity levels. another method i use is the 2 part method using calcium and buffer separately. the chemical products I favor is the seachem reef advantage calcium and the Kent supper buffer. I have figured thru experience that a 20 ppm per gallon of calcium can be given thru 1 tbsp per gallon .Example 75 gallon tank calcium is 350 and the target is 400-420  you would  do some simple math round 75g up to 80g   divided by 20g so that gives a value of 4.  350 minus 420 is is 70 we can round down just be conservative  say 60.  divide that by 20 and that gives you a value 3.  multiply the 2 values 3x4 and you get 12 scoops of  seachem reef advatage calcium bring up your level of calcium to the desired amount. sorry I do not know that math on other products since I only use these

#14 Calcium Reactors

Nothing is better than automating some of the things we do for our aquariums every week. Adding a Calcium Reactor is one of those things. I do not recommend them for beginners but as you start to collect more corals or clams the calcium requirements increase. a Calcium reactor can run for 5-9 months easily providing all the calcium needed for the aquarium. calcium reactors should still be monitored every week for adjustment if needed. When it comes time for maintenance on the Calcium Reactor do not skimp clean everything and replace your media.