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6 Steps to Stable pH in a Saltwater System

Like other water parameters in your marine aquarium, stability is also important with pHStability of water parameters is essential to success with marine aquariums, especially when it comes to keeping sensitive invertebrates. Among the various parameters that hobbyists often struggle to maintain at an appropriate level is pH, essentially a measure of how acidic/basic the water is. While the ideal target for pH in a marine aquarium is somewhere in the range of 8.2 to 8.4, it’s more important to maintain a stable pH, even if it’s slightly outside this range, than to constantly chase a particular value within the range. The challenge is, owing to various natural processes going on in the tank, the pH in a closed aquarium system usually drifts downward (there are exceptions, of course), so the hobbyist must take certain steps to counteract this trend. Here are six of them:1) Perform regular partial water changes Regular Saltwater Smarts visitors must be pretty tired of hearing this by now—as I recommend water changes for virtually anything that ails a saltwater system. But the truth is, nothing promotes stability of parameters, pH included, better than routine partial water changes. Every time you replace old salt water with new, you’re not only removing dissolved pollutants and replacing components vital to the health and growth of your livestock, but you’re also replacing compounds that buffer the water against shifting pH (carbonates and bicarbonates)

Bubble-Tip Anemone Safety Tips

Nippy tankmates are one reason a bubble-tip anemone may start to roamThe bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor), or BTA, is justifiably popular in the marine aquarium hobby, being relatively hardy and easy to keep as anemones go as well as being a suitable host anemone for many clownfish species. But to horribly misquote legendary singer Dion DiMucci, “it’s the type of nem that likes to roam around”—particularly when it’s getting settled into a new system or decides it’s unhappy with its placement in an established one. The problem with an anemone going parading around its aquarium is that anytime it does so, it has the potential of blundering into equipment or other sessile invertebrates with potentially injurious (or even fatal) consequences. Thus, any system housing a BTA must be designed or modified to reduce the risk of accidental injury or harmful interspecific encounters.Here are several important factors to consider when BTA-proofing your tank: Crowded reef tanks aren’t ideal for BTAs People do keep BTAs in reef systems among various corals and other sessile invertebrates. However, as alluded above, this can prove problematic if the anemone goes roaming, as it may sting or be stung by any inverts it encounters in its travels (though not all corals are equally sensitive to the sting of a BTA and vice versa). Not to mention, problems with allelopathy (chemical warfare) among inverts tend to be much greater in mixed reefs. The best housing for a BTA is a good-sized system dedicated specifically to its needs. (If you’ve had long-term success keeping a BTA in a mixed reef, we’d love to hear how you managed it in the comment section below.) Pumps and powerheads are problematic Submersible pumps and powerheads are among the biggest offenders when it comes to injuring/killing wandering nems, so the intakes of these devices must be screened off with sponge, foam, or a similar material

Early Success with a Halichoeres Wrasse!

Figure 1. Halichoeres melanurus egg on a 1 mm SedgewickRafter cell. Here at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a field we’re truly passionate about. That passion inspires me to not only work on captive breeding of marine species here at work, but to also explore other fish by working from home. I’m pleased to announce that the first project I’ve taken on as an at-home aquaculturist resulted in the successful captive rearing of the melanurus wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus, using only cultured prey items. Although only a few fish were brought through metamorphosis, survival should be higher when larvae are raised in the controlled environment of a dedicated facility as opposed to the chaos of a household living room. I strongly believe this fish, and others in this genus, will have significant commercial potential. We now have broodstock at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab because of this early success. The work done so far will stand as strong supportive evidence to move forward with other wrasses as well.

Venomous Marine Fish: It’s Hard to Define the Effects of Their Stings

Stonefish are some of the most venomous fish in the worldPeople are naturally fascinated by venomous animals and often very curious about the effects their venom might have on people they bite or sting. Any marine aquarium hobbyist who’s kept a lionfish, rabbitfish, saltwater catfish, or other fish species equipped with venomous spines, can attest to this curiosity, as they’ve probably been asked time and again by people observing their tank to describe how painful the fish’s sting might be or whether its venom is potentially deadly. The trouble with these questions is that there isn’t always a straightforward answer to them. Besides, it’s generally not a good idea to make assumptions about how someone’s body might react to being envenomated by a given species. Let’s explore why this is true a bit further:The pain comparison How painful is a lionfish sting? Is it the same as a bee sting? Which sting hurts more: a foxface’s or a leaf scorpionfish’s?

Beware Marine Aquarium Complacency!

A funny thing sometimes happens to marine aquarium hobbyists who have a few years’ experience under their briny belts—they have a tendency to become complacent in their methods and attitudes. Once they’ve mastered the basics of aquarium keeping, it can become all too tempting for some to kick back, switch to “autopilot,” and say, “Hey, I got this!”But this mentality can be detrimental on the road to long-term aquarium success. At the very least, it can lead to some unnecessary—and very avoidable—bumps in that road. Here are a few common symptoms of marine aquarium complacency to watch for: Signs of benign neglect Complacent hobbyists aren’t typically guilty of gross negligence when it comes to their tanks, but they often lapse into a somewhat lackadaisical approach that could best be described as “benign neglect.” That is, they get so comfortable and absentminded in their methods that problems sometimes arise very slowly and almost imperceptibly. For instance, they may perform water changes of the same frequency and volume for many years without accounting for the increasing bioload in the tank as fish and invertebrates grow. As a result, nitrate and phosphate levels can gradually rise, leading to “unexplained” algae outbreaks and other issues related to declining water quality.

5 Signs of Inadequate Water Movement in Reef Aquariums

Proper water circulation is one of many elements that are key to maintaining a healthy reef system. While there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all water-flow scheme (you really have to tailor the flow to the unique needs of the invertebrates you keep), there are certain signs that will tip you off to inadequate circulation. Among them: 1) Detritus buildup in “dead spots” Some settling of detritus is unavoidable in a reef system, but excessive buildup tends to occur in tanks with inadequate water movement or “dead spots”—specific areas in the tank with poor to nonexistent flow. A good level of water movement will keep most particulate matter in suspension long enough to be captured by mechanical filtration media (socks, sponges, etc.), so this is a sign that you need to either boost the overall flow in the tank, by adding more or stronger sources (e.g. powerheads), or redirect existing water-flow sources to greater effect. 2) Corals fail to expand When coral specimens remain in a prolonged contracted state—with their tissues/polyps withdrawn—one possible explanation is inadequate water movement. Now, many different environmental factors can cause this behavior, so failure to expand is by no means diagnostic, but that symptom coupled with others listed here may be a good indicator that better circulation is in order. 3) Leather corals have trouble shedding Along very similar lines, if your livestock includes leather corals (e.g., Sarcophyton and Sinularia spp.), which occasionally go through a natural process of contracting their polyps, developing a waxy coating over their surface, and then eventually sloughing off this layer, inadequate water flow may make it difficult for them to shed.

Checkin’ Out Will’s Mixed Reef Tank

Checkin' Out Will's Mixed Reef Tank I haven't done a tank video in a long time, mostly because I'm a hermit, but I did manage to get out of my pajamas and visit my friend Will. Will is a long-time customer of Tidal Gardens... From: tidalgardens Views: 0 0 ratingsTime: 07:16 More in Pets & Animals

4 Marine Aquarium Problems That Sneak up on You

There’s an old saying that only bad things happen quickly in a marine aquarium. That’s certainly true enough, but it’s also important to keep in mind that some problems that can affect the health and wellbeing of livestock tend to develop very gradually and almost imperceptibly over time. Here’s a quick (but by no means exhaustive) list of some of the sneaky marine aquarium problems that we must be vigilant against: 1) Downward drift in pH Maintaining a stable pH in the desired range of 8.2 to 8.4 demands careful monitoring, conscientious livestock husbandry, and diligent maintenance. Neglect in any of these areas can cause your pH to drift off course, and the trend is usually (though not always) downward as a result of the natural biological processes going on in the tank. In addition to regular water testing, your best hedges against drifting pH are: Performing regular partial water changes Maintaining an appropriate alkalinity level (between 8 and 12 dKH) Providing turbulent water movement at the surface to drive off carbon dioxide Avoiding overstocking and overfeeding 2) Loss of light intensity The gradual loss of intensity in aging aquarium lamps isn’t necessarily a big deal for fish-only and FOWLR tanks, but it can lead to significant problems in a reef system. Not only will the inadequate light level stress your photosynthetic invertebrates, but if you’re not careful, they can also be shocked a second time by the sudden increase in light intensity when you finally replace the lamps. Don’t assume you’ll notice the difference in the output of your aquarium lighting because you won’t until it has grossly decreased. It’s best to replace your bulbs/tubes regularly according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

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