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Showing posts from April, 2009

Five common mistakes made by the new Reef Aquarist.

Many newcomers to this hobby make many mistakes, some fatal and expensive. This short article will highlight a few of these. From experience there is nothing worse than making a decision to purchase a Fish or Coral to find it will die in a short period of time.

So you have got your Aquarium home, out of the box and filled with saltwater. In all excitement you cant wait to get some fish, so you dash to your local fish shop and buy a pair of percula clown fish. A few days later your pair becomes one, or even worse you lose the pair.

Why? You haven't let your tank go through the Nitrogen cycle. You must do this and wait until Ammonia and nitrite are zero. Wait until Nitrates get to about 0.5ppm. Only then should you start adding livestock.

Stocking too much. We all wanta tank full of wonderful colours and life, but you can only keep as many fish as your tank volume will allow. Although this does not apply with Corals and Invertebrates. You can stock as much as your tank will allow but t…

Maintaining correct saltwater parameters

Many new hobbyist get confused and in a mess with water chemistry. It is one of the most important things to get right when keeping a Saltwater Aquarium. In this article I am going to explain what should be measured, and in the correct order to check.

Salinity has got to be the most important, for the simple reason with out it everything will die. You need to aim for a salinity of 1.025. I would recommend using a Refractometer. I would try and avoid using a swing arm hydrometer, these are inaccurate. The Refractometer will give really accurate results and compensate the reading with the temperature of the water, they are really simple to use. They can be a little pricey but they are worth every penny.

Ammonia, Nitrite and nitrate. Check these in this order. You will really only need to check for Ammonia and Nitrite on a newly established Aquarium. These will go to zero after the Nitrogen Cycle. Then you really only need to check for Nitrate. Nitrate is the end product of the Nitrogen cy…

Small aquarium versus Large aquarium.

We all want a stupidly big reef tank after starting reef keeping but what are the advantages and disadvantages of small and large reef tanks?


The most obvious is cost, The larger tanks are more expensive and hobbyist have even gone to the extreme of Home extensions with a fish room full of equipment. If you have got it then go for it! many have not. Small reef tanks are reasonably priced and newcomers can come in at all levels.


A small reef tank doesn't need all the fancy equipment and can be run easily provided good housekeeping is practised. But that said with fancy computers, reactors and sump. Everything can be run with very little fuss, in autopilot if you like, with weekly checks to make sure everything is running smoothly.


Here is where larger reef tanks win. parameters are more stable and swings in water changes are minimum and happen in a much longer time. A slight problem with a small reef can send readings high really quickly.

Stocking levels.

If yo…

How to keep Nitrates low in a Reef Aquarium.

The ultimate quest for the Marine Reef Keeper is keeping water parameters as close to natural sea water as possible. One of the main concerns for hobbyist is keeping Nitrates to a minimum, if not totally eradicating them.

You need to have a reasonable understanding of the nitrate cycle, here is a quick guide.
Fish produce waste very similar to us, this contains ammonia. Ammonia is then converted to nitrite by a bacteria known as Nitrosomonas. The Nitrite is then converted into nitrate by another bacteria called Nitrobacter. The final piece of the cycle where the nitrates are consumed by plants and algae and of cause your regular water changes.

The first and most important thing is regular small water changes. As a guide about 10% change weekly in a aquarium with a high biological load, highly stocked aquarium or high nitrates in the first place. If your aquarium as a small bio load and low nitrates it is recommended to do a 25% change every month to help replace depleted trace elements. …

Ways to save money in Reef Keeping

Becoming a Reef Hobbyist is quite an expensive hobby as discussed in previous articles, But there are many ways to doing things cheaper when on a tight budget.

Searches on the Internet for a specific item can result in massive savings.

Buying items second hand from other reefers on forums or from a local club will help considerably, even if the item is slightly damaged. DIY can soon sort these problems, for example a damaged cabinet or even the wrong finish that you don't like. Designing and building plays a real big part in this hobby and is a great way to gain achievement.

Swapping Equipment or Corals is a good way to get something you need or want, this works both ways. You never know what you might come across.

Buying coral frags and letting the frags grow into corals creates a real sense of achievement.

The next obvious option is fragging your corals and trading for other corals, equipment or livestock.

Using energy saving products like the new Led lighting from TMC can redu…

Starting a Reef Aquarium.

So you want to start a new hobby, Reef Keeping. Before you start you need to make a few considerations and decisions. Before you even look at an aquarium you need to decide what you are going to keep. These considerations in this article will save you allot of stress, money and heartache.

Firstly, will you be keeping soft or hard corals? If you don't know the difference then you need to read a good Reef keeping book and a few threads on a good forum like Ultimate Reef. The reason i ask is because your lighting, feeding, and knowledge of water chemistry is going to vary, so is the cost of buying, the availability and care of the corals.

How much are you prepared to spend initially on setup? And more importantly, how much are you prepared to put aside every month financially and time for maintenance. Keeping a reef aquarium is very expensive and a time consuming hobby. Running costs can run really high, think about it. Running a four foot tank with two 250watt metal halide lights on f…