There is nothing quite as beautiful as keeping coral reef fishes in a saltwater aquarium. Since corals can take on so many different shapes and sizes, they will add a lot of color and beauty to your aquarium. However, there are certain considerations you need to take into account before placing the coral fishes inside the aquarium and ensuring their survival.
Firstly, a consistent, pristine water quality is required in the aquarium.This means a stable temperature, and high alkalinity with undetectable levels of nitrate and phosphate which maintain the cleanliness of the aquarium. This can easily be achieved by using a well filtrated water source such as RO (reverse osmosis) purified water.Moreover, using a protein skimmer will keep the water clean and oxygenised by removing dissolved organic waste before it is mineralized into deadly ammonia.
Next, the temperature in a reef aquarium must be maintained in a range from about 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Perhaps an alternative way of cooling is to open the top of the aquarium to encourage evaporation and use a small fan inside the hood to remove heat from the lamps. With the extra evaporation, one has to make sure and replace the lost water with fresh filtered water on a regular basis.
In addition, you may want to use an aquarium chiller. The high intensity lighting used in reef aquariums adds a surprising amount of heat to the aquarium, making it harder to keep a reef aquarium cool enough. This is to try to keep the temperature variation minimal. With lesser temperature variation in the aquarium, the more stable the state of the environment will be for the coral reef fishes living in it.
Now, you are ready to do the next important step, which is to cycle the aquarium . This means establishing a bacteria bed in the biological filter to remove the toxins that the fishes' metabolism gives out. This is because a new aquarium lacks the bacteria to form a steady biological cycle for the coral reef fishes to live in. Therefore, it is advisable to install external filters in your tanks and use only proven reliable technologies such as those of Fluval .
Another procedure that helps in cycling the aquarium water is generating multi-directional water movement in the aquarium. Coral reef fishes survive best in turbulent, swift flowing environments. The current rinse debris and mucus from the corals, oxygenate the coral reefs and bringing them their supplementary protein packed plankton food to sustain the fishes' environment. One way to go about doing it is to install a couple of hyper flow pump heads mounted in the corners of the tank with their flows aimed at each other to stimulate a similar environment for the coral reef fishes to be able to adapt easily to a new environment.
Next, install aquarium lightings of the appropriate type and duration and this will go a long way to protecting the ecosystem of your aquarium. Mimicking the tropical sun rays is a must to ensure a healthy photosynthesizing coral reef aquarium . Using full spectrum bulbs with the right color temperature for the corals is essential. For general reef fishes they need only less than an intensity of 12000K while deep water species are harder to keep and require intensities above 12000K for the best environment. Caution: The price of lightings can range from tens of dollars to hundreds per tube. Each light tube has a specific purpose and using inflatable light tubes that hurt the ecosystems of your tank. Thus, it is best to consult a professional before you install any.
You may also add cleaning creatures such as snails and small hermit crabs to complement the coral reef fishes in the aquarium.If this is your first reef aquarium, you should probably obtain one to three inexpensive fishes that will be compatible with a variety of other coral reef fishes. Being inexpensive could also mean that they are strong (that plentiful) and less likely to die. This also improves the visual appeal to a coral reef aquarium which would be pleasing to the eyes.
The creatures added to a reef aquarium are sensitive to small changes in their environment and will not be healthy if they are added too quickly. So one key factor to consider when keeping any coral reef fishes is to let the process take its time, and your efforts would definitely pay off at the end of the day.