The challenge of finding reliable sources of information is one of the most significant obstacles that many beginners in the hobby of reef aquarium keeping must overcome. Many retail establishments and their employees would prefer to make fast cash than provide customers with useful guidance. It’s a pity since reef preservation is such a wonderful pastime, but it’s also one that takes expertise, patience, and knowledge above all else.
A lack of proper information and ill-informed counsel may cause an initial period of irritation for almost every novice reef keeper. This is because of the lack of knowledge. First and foremost, the most important factors for a good reef tank are knowledge and experience. A lack of knowledge cannot be compensated for by a large quantity of money or by using expensive equipment. Now that I’ve emphasized how important it is to be knowledgeable, let’s go over some of the fundamental necessities. In order to maintain a beautiful and thriving reef aquarium, I feel there are three essential components that must be present.
Light, Live Rock, and Protein Skimming
Now, these are by no means the only significant aspects that contribute to the success of a tank, but they are the rock-solid basis upon which everything else is built. Let’s spend a little time on each subject…
The vast majority of coral species are primarily composed of photosynthetic organisms. Due to the fact that they have a symbiotic association with a kind of photosynthetic algae known as zooxanthellae, the majority of their sustenance is derived from the energy that the sun provides. Within the confines of an aquarium, we are tasked with the responsibility of simulating natural sunlight as best we can. The use of lights with high intensity is what makes this possible (either metal halide or fluorescent bulbs of the proper spectral wavelength). Inexperienced aquarists almost always get their lighting wrong, which is perhaps the single most frequent error they make. To summarize, do not economize on the amount of light!
The remnants of millions of calcium-depositing organisms (such as corals, clams, arthropods, and others…) are what make up the foundation of a coral reef. Calcareous algae, over the course of time, will cement these skeletons together into a larger framework, which subsequent generations will utilize as a growth substrate that is ideal for them. The term “live rock” refers to a section of the reef that has had many of the species that normally inhabit that area preserved.
There are a few different functions that live rock performs in an aquarium. It fulfills the function of a biological filter by acting as a medium in which beneficial bacteria may thrive, therefore neutralizing potentially hazardous substances via the production of nitrogen gas. The coral species in the tank have a more realistic appearance thanks to the live rock that acts as a backdrop. Last but not least, a piece of live rock may bring with it a variety of hitchhiking inhabitants, including shrimp, worms, algae, and sponges, all the way from the ocean to your home. An aquarium is a small ecosystem, in contrast to a “show tank,” which often consists of gravel that has been sterilized and plastic ornaments placed on top of it. Your chances of being successful will increase proportionately with the quality of the live rock that you buy. The ideal living rock is often light and porous, covered with pink and purple coralline algae, and has an irregular form with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in.
Protein skimming is the last essential component that must be present in order to have a thriving reef aquarium. Unfortunately, it is a component that is often disregarded or disregarded altogether. The removal of protein by the process of protein skimming is an involved one, although the fundamentals are straightforward. When air bubbles are injected into a chamber containing water from an aquarium, the bubbles react with the saltwater and climb to the top of the container. On the surface of the air bubbles, the accumulation of proteins, carbohydrates, and hazardous chemicals may be seen. When the bubbles rise to the surface, they generate a dense foam, which is then scraped off the top of the system and discarded.
Not only does the process of protein skimming remove a huge proportion of the wastes that are created by the residents of the aquarium, but it also vigorously oxygenates the water. Even though there are reef keepers that recommend “going skimmer less,” newbies should utilize every available tool that is at their disposal to make the first learning process as simple and straightforward as it can possibly be. I have just touched on the three most important components of a thriving reef aquarium in this paragraph.
It is my sincere hope that those of you who are just starting out in this activity would take this knowledge to heart, and then proceed to undertake more study on each issue in order to get a deeper understanding of it. One could, without a doubt, fill volumes with writing on each one of these themes taken on its own. This article’s objective is to provide a brief introduction to each topic, rather than to dig too deeply into the specifics of those topics’ technical aspects. In subsequent sections, we shall get a deeper understanding of the many minute particulars that contribute to the aesthetic appeal of a reef microcosm. In the meanwhile, best of luck with your reef-keeping!!