Showing posts with label Reef Aquarium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reef Aquarium. Show all posts

2018-10-25

CORAL REEF Aquarium

our 440 l reef tank
440 l reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When shopping for fish, it might be tempting to pick the rare and fancy fish full of colors, and exotic looking shrimp or crustaceans. An aquarium full of marine life complete with a coral reef and aquatic plants is very appealing. After all, who wouldn't want to have an underwater paradise in their living room?  It may, not, however, be the best choice for a beginning hobbyist.  

Coral reef aquariums require much more care than freshwater tanks or saltwater fish only tanks.  Freshwater fish are usually hardier than marine species and therefore a little more forgiving when it comes to water acclimation. It is recommended that only experienced fish keepers with a real commitment to the hobby attempt a coral reef aquarium.   A tank containing coral reef life may require several months of cycling before getting the water just right. The water in a coral reef tank must be regulated for lighting, temperature, and ph.  Start with tap water and then add a sea salt mix to the water.  This type of solution is available at most pet stores.

The salinity of the tank should be between 1.023 and 1.004.  The ideal temperature for a marine aquarium is between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is also important to test the P.H. of the tank.  Ideal P.H. is somewhere between 8.3 and 8.4.  Test kits can be purchased online or at your local pet store.  The same store will also carry any solutions necessary to adjust the P. H. There is not much wiggle room when it comes to these specific starting points.  In order to avoid a costly mistake, it is important to be patient, watch the tank closely, and make sure that you don't introduce any marine life until the tank is absolutely ready.

Once the aquarium is ready, start with anemones and clownfish. They are the hardiest of reef species, and who wouldn't love to have Nemo swimming around in their living room?  Monitor the marine life closely.  Check the activity levels of the fish, and watch for stress.  Stress is the most common cause of sickness in fish.  Remember that these creatures may have come directly from the ocean, and it may take a while for them to get acclimated to their new home.  Another cause of stress in fish is overcrowding.  Make sure there allow about ten gallons of water per one inch of fish.  Account for the full-grown size of the fish, not the size of fish when it is purchased.


The incubation period for most sickness in fish is about thirty days.  So after about a month, if all is well with the tank and the fish seem to be adjusting well, then it is okay to introduce some new marine life. A mandarin fish or a dwarf angelfish might round out the collection nicely, and they are fairly compatible clownfish.  Whenever adding new fish, choose the species carefully for compatibility.  The fish should be compatible with water specifics, but also make sure that their food source is compatible.  Always remember to be patient when adding new fish.  

Give the existing tank members plenty of time to get adjusted before making additions to an aquarium. The best piece of advice is to do research.  Make sure that all new purchases will be suitable tank mates for the existing creatures.  With a little luck, and a lot of skill you will be on your way to having a reef aquarium that will impress any fishkeeper.



2018-10-17

The BERGHIA NUDIBRANCH

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia in residential aquariums will quickly be wiped out due to the wide adoption of Bergia Nudibranches now available in Canada. The key benefit of this amazing animal is that it only feeds on Aiptasia, accordingly making it a safe addition for the rest of the tank.

Aiptasia has been a sore-spot for home aquarists for decades. Thankfully, the Berghia is very small in size and can get into those tiny spaces, without harming coral or liverock. Nudibranchs are the only species able to consume the entire aiptasia, and therefore prevent aiptasia regrowth and spawning. Another benefit is that the Berghia are so small, they won't add bioload to the tank, or affect the quality of the water.

Berghia are quick reproducers too, due to their hermaphroditic nature. Mature adults can lay eggs every day. On a side note, you have to be aware that the Berghia feeds solely on Aiptasia, and for that reason must be monitored, as once the eradication of the Aiptasia happens, the creature will starve to death.

Berghia are very smart little creatures. They have sensory organs known as rhinophores thata are able to use chemicals to find the location of the Aiptasia. This means that Berghia can find even the tiniest Aiptasia, not visible to the naked eye, and wipe out the parasite completely before it reaches adulthood. Berghia are able to eat the Aiptasia successfully, because of strategies it employs to approach the Aiptasia without the parasite feeling endangered. This prevents the release of the tentacles and larva, meaning it prevents new reproduction from occurring. Berghia is also harmless to the other fauna and flora in the aquarium and primarily feed at night, which won't affect the beauty of your tank during the day.

Berghia coerulescens eats Aiptasia couchii - Photo: Wikipedia


What to Expect after the Introduction of Berghia
The recommendation is for every 100 gallons of water that 8 Berghia be introduced to the tank, for a moderate to severe infestation of Aiptasia. If there are only a few Aiptasia anemones present, it is not recommended to add Berghia to the tank, as it won't have enough food to sustain itself, and will starve to death. Berghia are a species of sea slug and need the appropriate environment to thrive and survive in. Keeping this in mind, there are some areas where this sea slug won't be able to help, such as if an infestation occurs in the tubing, powerheads, or the sump. These areas should be kept clean at all times by you, the reef owner to prevent the spread of Aiptasia.


How long will it take for Berghia to wipe out the Aiptasia infestation?
This primarily depends on how bad the infestation of Aiptasia is, and how many Berghia have been introduced into the tank. It should be assumed that for 8 Berghia, two to three months would be an appropriate amount of time. It's so important to not get discouraged if you don't see immediate results. Berghia need time to acclimate to their new surroundings before they are able to wipe out the infestation.

Caring for Berghia
There are many species of animals that are considered quite safe for reef aquariums, however, this is not always the case. Here are some species to avoid in an aquarium containing Berghia. Avoid any nocturnal species that hunt near the liverock, or coral, such as butterflyfish, filefish, wrasses, and some species of dotty backs. Other species which prey on Berghia include peppermint shrimp, coral-banded shrimp, and some invertebrates, such as the arrow crab, sally lightfoot crab, pom pom crabs, and emerald crabs. Aiptasia can consume Berghia if the sea slug is placed directly into its mouth. Therefore, take precaution when adding the Berghia into your reef tank.

In conclusion, nature has answered the Aiptasia infestation with a natural predator, the Berghia. As long as it acclimates to its new surroundings, it will eradicate the Aiptasia infestation, and keep the population under control. It is so important to keep the tank well cared for, to ensure the health of the creatures that inhabit the reef. With attention and care, the saltwater aquarium can be danger free of unwanted parasites, and be a beautiful addition to any home.



2018-10-07

Creating the Perfect Reef Aquarium

Reef Aquarium - Photo: Pixabay
Just as nature above the sea level is as variable as the sun, from the deserts of Arizona to the snow-topped caps of the Swiss Alps, so can the world under the sea be a constant study in contrasts, with no two reefs the same. This is good news for the underwater enthusiast who is attempting to establish the perfect reef aquarium in their home; there is no established "formula" for the perfect tank. There's plenty of room for creativity!

One thing that cannot be shirked upon is the size of a tank. It must be more than adequate to allow the species of fish that are chosen to inhabit it plenty of room to exercise and grow. Just as a person cannot thrive in an enclosed environment, neither can a fish. A 75 gallon tank is a generous size for the home marine biologist to establish their own eco-system and allows for space for several species of fish to spread out (provided they are compatible species, of course. Putting two species together who are unsuited to tank life together is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the size of the tank). 

Courtesy of advances in the convenience of establishing a home aquarium it is now possible to purchase an aquarium that has been pre-drilled in order to prevent overflow. This provides a cleaner look than the traditional "hang on the back" overflow system for the home professional who is attempting to create the picture perfect reef aquarium.

There are many options for decorating a reef aquarium, although it is generally much more aesthetically pleasing and healthy to the fish to keep all of the decorations one hundred percent organic. Live rock is a vital element to any eco-system, yet makes a lovely addition to a home saltwater aquarium. The microorganisms which grow on the rock (the rock is not really alive, obviously; it gets its name from the fact that it is a natural habitat for many species of bacteria) will help to filter out the harmful waste products produced by the fish that will accumulate in the water of a saltwater aquarium in spite of the filtering system-after all, how often does Mother Nature need to clean her saltwater aquarium? She has created the perfect filtering system as long as man does not add any elements to throw off the balance.



Live plants and coral are also essential elements to the perfect reef aquarium. There are many different types of plants which can be added to a reef aquarium, and it is best to choose based on the species of fish which will be inhabiting the tank. For successful transplantation of live aquarium plants, it is essential that the sand or silt on the bottom of the tank be deep enough to allow the roots of the plants to successfully take hold. These plants will also require additional light and carbon dioxide to allow for proper photosynthesis.

There are many options for creating the perfect saltwater aquarium, many of them very costly; however, with the proper mix of imagination and frugality, it is possible to create a reef aquarium that is aesthetical, ecologically and financially friendly. 



2018-09-24

How to Create and Care for a CORAL AQUARIUM

English: A mass of Plerogyra sp. coral in a tr...
A mass of Plerogyra sp. coral in a tropical reef tank at the Seattle Aquarium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many aquarium owners crave to someday own a saltwater tank displaying numerous kinds of coral. This may be achieved is fast easy steps if you use coral starter kits to grow your own coral. This is recommended over buying coral from a store. By growing your own, you ensure it is properly acclimated to your tank. Setting up and caring for the coral aquarium, or reef aquarium is a task that requires a bit of knowledge before starting. There are some steps to take when setting up a new coral aquarium. The process may seem to take a long time, and because of this, many people opt to use fake coral instead. However, the time spent waiting will be well worth it when you are later able to display your own coral aquarium. If you follow some simple steps and have the patience for about 12 weeks, you will be able to create and own your piece of underwater paradise.

To begin, the first thing to do is assemble your aquarium. Find a spot in the home that you wish to have it displayed. Follow through with the set up as you would a freshwater tank. When you are ready to add the water to the tank, follow these simple steps. First, pour the sand into the bottom of the tank. Add dechlorinated water to the tank. Next, add the salt and make sure it is mixed until the specific gravity measures 1.205. After the water and salt are added, arrange your live rock as desired and install the heater and the hood of the tank. After doing these things, you must then wait 4 weeks to move ahead.

After the four weeks has passed, you will then add your first living creatures to the tank. It is best to add fish later, and slowly as to make sure the salt balance in the tank is correct and remains that way. At this time, you can add a variety of snails or crabs if you wish to have them part of your tank. You will also need to install a protein skimmer. The tank should be functioning as if it were full of fish. Make sure the filters are working properly and the lighting is right. Remember not to leave the light on for more than 10 to 12 hours a day as it may promote algae growth. After adding some snails or crabs, wait another 2 weeks before proceeding.

Now at week 6, you will add your first pieces of coral. There are many types of coral used in saltwater coral aquariums. Some of the most common are Button Polyp, Yellow Polyp, Hairy Mushroom Coral and Bullseye Mushroom Coral. Make sure when adding your coral, it is attached to the live rock at the bottom of the tank. Wait another 2 weeks. Don't get frustrated... you're almost there! During the eighth week, you can add Aquacultured Coral such as Pumping Xenia, Starburst Polyps and Spaghetti Finger Leather Coral to name a few. Place these corals into the live rock as you did with the previous set of coral.


Now you have succeeded in creating your reef aquarium. During the course of the 10 to 12-week mark, you may begin adding your fish to your underwater world. It may seem a long drawn out process to get a coral aquarium up and running, but the time and hard work will pay off for years to come. Creating and caring for your coral aquarium will bring you much enjoyment and a wonderful sense of accomplishment for creating a spectacular coral aquarium.


2018-09-03

Adding an OYSTER to the Ecosystem Inside a Saltwater Aquarium

English: Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Tho...
Spondylus regius - Royal or Regal Thorny Oyster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saltwater aquariums can make a lovely addition to a home, and are a source of endless fascination to young and old alike. The different fish and plant life which are capable of living in a saltwater aquarium is both exotic and beautiful, and provide a rich introduction to life under the sea. Fish and plants are not the only things which can be found in the deep blue, however, and it is becoming more and more common for aquarium owners to attempt to incorporate these other elements into their home aquarium.

Artificial oysters which open up and blow bubbles into the water have been a part of home aquariums for many years. With the increase in the desire to perfectly emulate the ocean floor live oysters are becoming a common addition to saltwater aquariums. It is not common but not unheard of for a pearl producing oyster to be offered as an addition to a home aquarium; however, it is generally their less productive relations that become permanent residents. Since scallops and oysters have more specific needs than many of the inhabitants of the home aquarium it is necessary the aquarium owner be sure that they are prepared to make these adjustments prior to installing the oyster into the aquarium.

Oysters require very "pristine" water conditions; these are not the organism of choice for those who tend to be a bit lazy about cleaning their tank, as the oyster will not survive long if their water becomes cluttered with junk. Fortunately, the oyster also filters the water so this may balance itself out.  They also have specific dietary needs that will not be met with the generic food fed to many saltwater inhabitants. They will need a specialized organic food designed especially for filter feeders which can be inserted with a pipette upstream of the oyster. Each oyster is going to need to be fed individually, so unless an aquarium owner finds themselves with a great deal of time on their hands it may be wise to keep the oyster population of their aquarium to a minimum. These invertebrates also require nutritional supplementation with phytoplankton, a microscopic portion of plankton that drift through the water.


Certain types of oysters have been shown to have a better chance of survival in captivity than others. The beginner would be wise to look to these breeds, to begin with, moving on to the more delicate oysters as they become more comfortable with their needs. Common aquarium oysters are the spiny oyster and the thorny oyster; strange yet accurate names for these beautiful and unique creatures.

Oysters are a demanding but beautiful addition to any home aquarium; for more information on introducing an oyster to a home, aquarium consumers should speak with the retailers who sell them. Remember, no detail is too small when attempting to take an organism from its natural environment and watch it thrive.


2018-08-08

Importance of Saltwater INVERTEBRATES to the REEF AQUARIUM

Riffbecken3
Riffbecken (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Simply put; No reef tank is complete without invertebrates. Invertebrates provide numerous benefits to the marine aquarium, the same way they do in nature. Algae and fish waste removal are two of the main benefits, however, there are countless others. In this article, we will discuss some specific groups of inverts and how they can help you keep your reef healthy.

The first group of inverts we will discuss are algae eaters. Algae eaters can help keep an aquarium looking clean and presentable during cycling, algae blooms and normal growth in an established aquarium. Nuisance algae such as cyanobacteria (red slime), brown diatoms, bubble algae, green algae and hair algae can all be battled with diet specific inverts. Select species of crabs, hermits, snails, sea slugs, sea urchins, and starfish can provide excellent algae control, as well as add color and diversity to the tank.

Another group of inverts to address are the detritus eaters. Detritus can be described as an organic matter that naturally occurs in the aquarium; some examples are leftover fish food and fish waste. Detritus can build up in the tank, dissolve in the water column and cause elevated levels of ammonia, which is the number one fish killer in home aquariums. To avoid this build-up of detritus, we can put invertebrates to work doing what they naturally do in the wild. Select species of crabs, hermits, shrimp, sea urchins, starfish, anemones and sea cucumbers can help keep detritus under control, therefore keeping water parameters in check and your fish healthy.


We have only begun to discuss the need for invertebrates in the reef aquarium. There are many interesting species to learn about, and many beautiful critters that can safely be kept with your fish and corals. A good mix of invertebrates can help you achieve a thriving, healthy aquarium with a 24-hour-a-day maintenance crew!




2018-07-08

AIPTASIA - An Aquarium Pest

English: Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2....
Sea anemones : 1. Bolocera tuediae 2. Anthea cereus, 3. Aiptasia couchii, 4. Sagartia cocoinea, 5. Sagartia troglodytes
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Practically every reef-keeper can identify tales of the numerous hours put in checking out their new aquarium, observing to determine exactly what new life may appear from the liverock. It's virtually a magical period, particularly for someone new to reef-keeping, as the miracles of the sea gradually happen inside the modest glass world we've designed for it. 

 The majority of experiences which involve Aiptasia begin in exactly the same way. All of a sudden, a brand new little anemone is noticed on a freshly added item of liverock or live coral fragment, just a 'baby'... However, quickly that one 'baby' will become two, then several, then a lot more. By the time most reef-keepers realize who their new house guests happen to be, they quickly understand that this problem grows and multiplies at a very quick pace.

In keeping with their name, Aiptasia sp. Anemones (this means 'beautiful') tend to be exquisite critters, but they are additionally obtrusive and hostile competitors. Left uncontrolled, they will often completely over-run a fish tank. This doesn't take much time either, as we quickly discover.

Aiptasia has developed to be dominant neighbors and house-guests. They replicate both sexually and asexually, and they are effective at regenerating an entire creature from a single cell. Furthermore, they're armed and dangerous hunters! When Aiptasia are disrupted (possibly by way of a passing fish or invertebrate) they eject harmful white-colored stinging threads called Acontia which contain venomous tissues known as Nematocyst. These Nematocysts are designed for supplying a powerful sting that can cause tissue regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, and even kill unlucky corals, crabs, snails or fish. Considered by many experienced reef enthusiasts as a pest (or worse), early identification and action are necessary to quickly remove Aiptasia from your tank before they reach epidemic proportions - making control/removal far more difficult.

Step one to managing an Aiptasia outbreak is proper identification. It accomplishes little to commit time and expense towards a means to fix the wrong issue.

Aiptasia sp.
Aiptasia sp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Aiptasia anemones could be revealed by their similarity to miniature palms, with a polyp body (the Coelenteron) up to two inches in length and an oral disc one inch across outlined with a combination of several prolonged and lots of small tentacles (up to one hundred tentacles may be found) situated in thin bands about the outside border of the oral disc. The tentacles tend to be lengthy slim protrusions that form well-defined tips at their ends.

In the middle of the oral disk is the mouth in the form of an elongated slit. At the bottom of the polyp, the body is the pedal disk which features as an anchor for the anemone in addition to a means of asexual duplication.

Pigmentation of Aiptasia is a result of the existence of Zooxanthellae (microscopic photosynthetic dinoflagellate alga - species Symbiodinium Microadriaticum). For this reason, specimens living in bright locations are often light greenish brown to dark brown, with those in areas which receive less light are typically medium to light brown or tan in color and those from low light areas tending toward a transparent appearance. Often an anemone's column or stalk is lightly marked with parallel longitudinal lines. Sometimes white or light green flecks can also be found close to the tentacles, and it's also not uncommon for juvenile specimens to be completely engrossed in them.

As with any members of the Cnidaria phylum, Aiptasia is able to sting for both offensive and defensive reasons. Just about all Cnidaria possess stinging cells called cnidocytes, each that includes a stinging mechanism, cnidae or nematocyst. Aiptasia has got both cnidocytes on their tentacles in addition to specialized cinclides around the lower area of the column (small blister-like protrusions) by which it expels acontia.

Acontia is threadlike protecting organs, made up mostly of stinging cnidocytes cells which can be expelled from the mouth and/or the customized cinclides once the Aiptasia is agitated. (A lot of anemones don't have acontia or cinclides yet Aiptasia does.)


The nematocysts of Aiptasia possess a contaminant which is stronger than the vast majority of corals held by the enthusiast (with the Elegance Coral - Catalaphyllia jardinei being one exception) and may cause cellular material regression in sessile corals, immobilize prey, as well as kill ill-fated crabs, snails or fish.

As an additional shielding mechanism, Aiptasia may also pull away into tiny holes inside your liverock if confronted. Taking advantage of this trait, it's possible to poke a diagnosed Aiptasia anemone with a probe and view its response. If it quickly pulls itself downwards (as opposed to folding in on itself), it's likely an Aiptasia.

Aiptasia is a formidable enemy, and pose a significant threat to any reef aquarium. Anyone harboring such species in their aquarium should look into natural predators, as chemical fixes don't work in the long run. Peppermint shrimp can often suppress Aiptasia, while Berghia Nudibranches can eradicate the problem pests.



2018-06-13

Berghia NUDIBRANCH

Berghia Nudibranch



2018-05-22

How To Keep INVERTEBRATES In Your Marine Aquarium

English: This photograph of a Sea Apple at Can...
This photograph of a Sea Apple at Cannibal Rock in Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keeping Invertebrates And The Care They Need
Invertebrates are not as hardy as fish. It is necessary to make a study of Invertebrates and how they function, their diet and the temperature that they need before attempting to acquire them. You will need to make arrangements with your supplier because you may need delivery of food if so required. There are two types - coldwater and tropical. It should also be noted that they need to merge with the others in the tank.

The Different Types Of Invertebrates
As you make a study of the Invertebrates, you will find that there are two types - coldwater and tropical. A few examples are sea apple, red hermit crab, and shrimp. The water temperature should be 75 and 79 degrees F, and the PH between 8.2 and 8.4 and the salt water content between 1.020 and 1.024. This needs to be checked every day so that there is no discrepancy. Also, their food is not compatible, so your supplier needs to be informed.

Coldwater Invertebrates can only be fetched from tide pools as the stores do not keep them. One thing that is required is to see that these do not belong to an endangered species when removing them from their habitat. A comprehensive research needs to be done so that they can be taken care of appropriately and all their dietary needs are met. They usually feed on shrimp, mussels and raw fish.

Another useful tip while keeping coldwater Invertebrates is to always keep scallops and mussels in a tank so that you will always have a regular supply for them, and it may be a good idea to give them fresh rather than frozen food. They should also be fed a little at a time at regular intervals.



When a tank is set up, live rock is a good idea, because some Invertebrates like to take their food from the parasites that are found on the live rock. There are innumerable ways in which you could fill your aquarium so that your fish are comfortable in their surroundings and it is a pleasure to look at. If you have a substrate, shrimp and crabs can make deep pits and go underground. That would be as close to their natural surroundings as possible. If you would like to keep anemones, then a light could be installed, as they like the light. The main thing is to research your project, see what you get regular supplies, keep the tank clean and check for temperature, and you are all set to enjoy your aquarium. You will find that your time and effort has been well spent and you can enjoy your handiwork.

    Abhishek is an avid Fish Lover and he has got some great Aquarium Care Secrets up his sleeves!
    Article Source: EzineArticles


2018-05-08

Saltwater Aquarium - 5 "Easy" CORALS

English: Soft corals from Komodo National Park
Soft corals from Komodo National Park - (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having your own coral reef is a dream shared by many aquarists. For a long time, it used to be very difficult to grow and maintain coral reefs in aquariums because of the lack of knowledge about them and their needs to survive in a saltwater aquarium.

A coral reef system is complex and requires the right components and proper maintenance. The good thing is that even though some corals are still very difficult to grow and maintain, a wide range of corals is now easy to grow even for beginners.

If you're a beginner or average aquarist, when picking corals for your saltwater aquarium, you might want to go with soft corals because they are easier to take care of.

Below are 5 different types of soft corals:

Cladiella Corals: Cauliflower, Finger Leather, and Colt Coral. They adapt very well and do best with moderate lightening and water movement.

Palythoa Corals: Button Polyps and Sea Mat. Can grow very fast under bright lightening (might overgrow your other corals). Prefer rapid water movement. Warning: Handle them with gloves to protect yourself from their toxin (the palytoxin).

Sarcophyton Corals:
Leather, Mushroom Leather, Toadstool, Toadstool Mushroom and Trough Coral. Adapt to all lightening levels. Moderate water movement is preferred to prevent parasites on their surface.

Discosoma Corals: Disc Anemones, Mushroom and Mushroom Corals. Low light is preferable. Active feeders (small fishes but also detritus and uneaten food).

Zoanthus Corals: Button Polyps, Zoanthid and Sea Mat. Bright light is preferred as they feed on zooxanthellae along with algae, D.O.C.'s and bacteria. Warning: Use gloves to handle them (because of the palytoxin).

As you see, many different corals can grow in your saltwater aquarium. This is just a short selection so what you have to do is research the specific needs of the different corals you're interested in and make sure they can grow in the same aquarium. With the right light, water movement and nutrients, you'll have a beautiful coral reef system!

Every hobbyist, either advanced or beginners want the best components in their aquarium to grow and maintain their corals in the best environment possible. That is why having a very high-quality saltwater aquarium can make a difference. But the hard part about purchasing an aquarium to grow corals is that many different components are needed and selecting and installing them can be a daunting task.



This is why we recommend Red Sea aquariums, and more specifically the Red Sea Max 250 because of its high quality and the fact that this system has all the components needed (+ a starter kit) which makes the installation effortless.




2018-04-22

Creating the Perfect REEF AQUARIUM

our 440 l reef tank
440 l Reef tank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just as nature above the sea level is as variable as the sun, from the deserts of Arizona to the snow topped caps of the Swiss Alps, so can the world under the sea be a constant study in contrasts, with no two reefs the same. This is good news for the underwater enthusiast who is attempting to establish the perfect reef aquarium in their home; there is no established "formula" for the perfect tank. There's plenty of room for creativity!

One thing that cannot be shirked upon is the size of a tank. It must be more than adequate to allow the species of fish that are chosen to inhabit it plenty of room to exercise and grow. Just as a person cannot thrive in an enclosed environment, neither can a fish. A 75 gallon tank is a generous size for the home marine biologist to establish their own eco-system and allows for space for several species of fish to spread out (provided they are compatible species, of course. Putting two species together who are unsuited to tank life together is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the size of the tank).

Courtesy of advances in the convenience of establishing a home aquarium it is now possible to purchase an aquarium that has been pre-drilled in order to prevent overflow. This provides a cleaner look than the traditional "hang on the back" overflow system for the home professional who is attempting to create the picture perfect reef aquarium.

There are many options for decorating a reef aquarium, although it is generally much more aesthetically pleasing and healthy to the fish to keep all of the decorations one hundred percent organic. Live rock is a vital element to any eco-system, yet makes a lovely addition to a home saltwater aquarium. The microorganisms which grow on the rock (the rock is not really alive, obviously; it gets its name from the fact that it is a natural habitat for many species of bacteria) will help to filter out the harmful waste products produced by the fish that will accumulate in the water of a saltwater aquarium in spite of the filtering system-after all, how often does Mother Nature need to clean her saltwater aquarium? She has created the perfect filtering system as long as man does not add any elements to throw off the balance.

Live plants and coral are also essential elements to the perfect reef aquarium. There are many different types of plants which can be added to a reef aquarium, and it is best to choose based on the species of fish which will be inhabiting the tank. For successful transplantation of live aquarium plants it is essential that the sand or silt on the bottom of the tank be deep enough to allow the roots of the plants to successfully take hold. These plants will also require additional light and carbon dioxide to allow for proper photosynthesis.



There are many options for creating the perfect saltwater aquarium, many of them very costly; however, with the proper mix of imagination and frugality it is possible to create a reef aquarium that is aesthetically, ecologically and financially friendly.



2018-04-11

Lighting your CORAL

English: An open brain coral under actinic lig...
An open brain coral under actinic lighting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are some species of coral that can survive with the normal amount of lighting, so for the beginner, you may want to stick to these species. Specifically, Mushroom Coral and Coral Polyps can survive with normal lighting techniques.

Conversely, species such as SPS (Small Polyp Stony Coral) that include Acropora, Montipora, Porites, Brain Coral, Bubble Coral, Elegance Coral, Cup Coral, Torch Coral, and Trumpet Coral require far greater intensity with lighting, making them a substantially greater challenge for the aquarium hobbyist, especially considering more light usually means more harmful algae will grow in the tank.

The best lighting technique to keep your coral safe is the light emitting diode (LED) technology, which has begun to make the former standards: gas and filament based lighting systems obsolete.  Though initially more expensive than gas and filament systems, over time they save money because they use less power and have a longer lifespan, meaning fewer replacement costs and hassle. 

It is important to note that the zooxanthellae’s photosynthesis process requires light of two different colors: red and blue, which is why aquarium lights often will exude a purple hue, as most of them provide both colors as an industry standard. 

While it is essential to have the minimum amount of light in order to meet the zooxanthellae's minimum requires for photosynthesis to work, it is also important to note that it has an upper limit tolerance as well. Your lights must, therefore, be in the middle or bad things will happen to both the zooxanthellae, and as a byproduct, the coral. 

While not an exact science as for how much or how little light depends on how many zooxanthellae reside in the coral, and that can be anywhere from thousands to millions, but a good place to start would be to ensure that your intensity minimum is 3000-lux and that you don’t go above 120,000-lux. While this may seem to be a quite wide and open range, you will have to make determinations base on the behavior of your coral.



Good quality types of lamps to use would include fluorescent, and you should use six lamps, or if your aquarium is not wide enough for that, then it is recommended that you instead utilize high output lamps, which are more expensive, but necessary. You should replace these bulbs every six months. Power compact fluorescent lamps, which are U-shaped, are an even better option, and you will only need four. 

Coral is an excellent addition to any aquarium, and there is much fish that enjoy coral as a food source. Regardless if you have added coral to your aquarium to survive or as sustenance for your fish, you have to have the right lighting or it won’t survive.



2018-03-10

NANO REEF Tank Setup

10G Nano Reef
Photo by aquarist.me 
If you are into reef tanks and your curiosity drove you to know more about Nano Reef tanks, read on.

Let me start from the bare basics. What exactly is a nano reef tank? A nano reef is nothing but a reef tank of fewer than 20 gallons. Now, this is not a sacrosanct rule of law like Newton’s law on gravity but I strongly adhere to this definition as 20 gallons is the threshold where popularly accepted formulas for reef tanks or ‘small’ reef tanks begin to lose ground, calling for new conventions.

Next, a pretty obvious question which you may ask is why would you want a nano reef tank? Pretty obvious answer: It is generally a low-cost affair. You can easily manage a decent nano tank with less than $200. Apart from cost they are easy to maintain, you can fit them anywhere, are extremely portable (that means if you are bored of watching it lying on your home desk, take it to your office desk without any hassles!). 

And it is not something for just novices. They can offer new challenges to experienced reef keepers minus the cost and time constraints. I say challenging because there is very little room for error when it comes to the nano tank. Whether it is maintaining water quality or temperature stability or oxygen depletion, one has to be extremely careful in maintaining a nano reef tank.

Lighting a Nano reef is something of a complex issue. There are people who have kept Nano reefs with 3-7 watts per gallon of light. Some have used 30 watts. It boils down to the fact that you can have a successful coral tank using the rule of thumb, 3-7 watts per gallon, but your tank will be healthier if you provide larger quantities of light.

A nano reef will require your attention towards heating and cooling aspects too. This is because in a nano reef tank stable temperature control is very important. Unlike large tanks temperature change in nano reefs can be quite large and frequent. For the heating purpose, a normal heater would suffice. But cooling is a difficult problem. A common solution is to keep the tank in an air-conditioned room. Some people use evaporative cooling with fans, but this is probably not the best idea as there are chances that amount of evaporation it causes can produce wide specific gravity shifts in a nano tank which would not be appreciated by the tank's inhabitants.

Due to the small surface area, a nano reef tank will require adequate water circulation more than any other form of a reef tank. A simple and effective solution is to use an open-ended bubbler. Larger is the size of your tank more bubblers you may need.

There is no doubt that a sump would greatly aid in the temperature and nutrient buffering capabilities of a nano, but it seldom used. The main reason for this is that being small in size, using a sump adds to the complexity and takes up space, a big constraint in a nano.

Now here comes the best part of the nano reefs. The water quality maintenance or change is ridiculously simple! Being small, the water quantity is low. So changing the water every two weeks is a painless task. A regular water change will also obviate the need for a skimmer.


Now decide on for what live rock to choose and what quantity. Again here is a nano advantage. Since the size is small you wont be required lot of rock so you can go for the best quality live rock without causing a dent in your bank account.

And finally the choice for corals : You could go for both stony corals or soft corals. Virtually every soft coral is eligible for a nano reef tank. But when it comes to stony ones few points need to be cosnsidered. You should go for small colonies of stony corals, preferablly 12". You can pick any among Acropora, Bubble coral, Favites, Torch Coral or Elegance coral.

For a 5 gallon nano, you should add another about 3 lbs of live rock, plus at least another 3 lbs of live sand.

So go all out and play! Its not about the size, remember all good things come in small packages.





2018-03-06

Pet JELLYFISH Facts: Upside Down Jellyfish (Cassiopeia Xamachana)

Cassiopeia xamachana - Wikipedia
Upside down jellyfish (Cassiopeia xamachana) is another member of the order Rhizostomae. The species name, xamachana, means Jamaican although their natural habitat is in no way exclusive to Jamaican waters. Populations exist throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as well as along the coats of Florida. They are also present halfway across the globe in the Pacific Ocean. Although not native to these waters, upside down jellyfish were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands during World War II most probably from jellyfish polyps attaching themselves to the underbellies of warships coming back from the Philippines.

This species is prevalent in shallow, warm tropical waters such as mangrove swamps. They are often called mangrove jellyfish because they are frequently found in large aggregations in these swampy regions. Unlike many species of jellyfish, upside down jellies are completely marine. None have been found in brackish or fresh waters.

These jellies spend their lives completely differently than most jellyfish. Jellyfish typically spend much of their time drifting freely on the ocean's currents. Upside down jellyfish are free swimming until they reach about 2 cm. Then their bell inverts and they sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. From there they will spend the majority of their adult life upside down on the muddy substrate with their tentacles pointed up to capture the ever-present zooplankton from water columns.

Much like blue jellies, upside down jellyfish have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. This is the same symbiosis that occurs with many jellyfish and coral species. In addition to providing essential nutrients, these golden algae also produce oxygen to help support respiratory metabolic functions the jellyfish needs to survive in oxygen-poor environments. This is of particular importance to upside down jellyfish because they spend the vast majority of their life nestled in muddy substrate and must rely on their food to come to them. Because of their specialized eating habits, upside down jellyfish are usually found in nutrient-rich waters with high concentrations of decaying matter to support the zooplankton teaming within these swampy, saltwater environments.

Upside down jellies have flat, saucer-shaped bells. Their umbrellas are typically greenish grey or blue in colour. They have a central depression or exumbrella in their bell. The exumbrella acts as a suction device to help them stay anchored to the ocean floor. Rather than a single mouth opening, they have 4 elaborately branched oral arms. These arms have a frilly, lace-like appearance similar to many green, leafy vegetables. They are often referred to as cabbage-head jellyfish because of these appendages. It is believed that this species a filter feeder and also relies on some form of absorption of dissolved nutrients directly from the water to supplement its nutritional needs.

Upside down jellyfish do not directly inject their prey like most jellyfish do. Their nematocysts (stinging cells) are controlled by the cnidocil. This is the equivalent to a mechanically or chemically triggered grenade launcher. The stinging cells launched from the cnidocil produce a cnidoblast that will stun or paralyze prey in the immediate vicinity. The jellyfish then begin ingesting their prey with their primary mouth openings. Once the prey is reduced to food fragments, these nutrient particles are passed on to secondary mouths for further digestion.




The jellyfish's cnidoblasts also function as a self-defence mechanism. If abruptly disturbed, large groups of these jellies will launch themselves upward from the ocean floor and release their nematocysts. This massive venom release into the water is usually sufficient to ward off potential predators. The toxic compound is generally inconsequential to human beings. It may result in an itchy or tingling sensation of the skin or a rash on individuals more sensitive to the venom.

Upside down jellyfish can reach up to 14 inches in diameter in the wild. In captivity, a maximum growth potential of 8 inches is more realistic. Depending on their size in captivity, upside down jellyfish can be fed zooplankton, or small invertebrates and fish. In order to allow their symbiotic algae to properly photosynthesize, a lighting system conducive to a marine reef tank is highly recommended. These jellies have a higher temperature tolerance than most scyphozoan medusa. Medusae or adult jellyfish can be found year round. However, the optimum temperature for these adult jellies is between 75-78 F. This simulates the height of the adult season. Upside down jellyfish typically strobilate during summer or early fall. Whereas most scyphozoans strobilate during the winter months.

    By Stephen J Broy

    Technological advancements in the aquarium industry continually redefine the concept of "home aquarium owner." Just twenty years ago not even the biggest public aquarium was capable of keeping jellyfish alive in captivity. Now they make desktop Jellyfish Fish Tank Aquariums. And why would you want a jellyfish tank? Perhaps you should check out what the translucent bodies of Pet Moon Jellyfish look like under LED lighting. Pet Jellyfish give a whole new meaning to the term exotic pets.

    Article Source: EzineArticles


2018-02-08

12 Weeks to Your Own CORAL AQUARIUM

Monterey_Aquarium_57.jpg
Photo  by xbeta 
Saltwater tanks are sought after by many aquarium enthusiasts, however, they are more tedious to maintain so are not often undertaken. Keeping a saltwater aquarium requires patience, and having live coral in your saltwater tank requires patience and knowledge. Patience, we say because the healthiest and hardiest path to owning a home coral aquarium is to grow your coral.

While it takes more time, growing your own coral makes it much easier to maintain the health of your coral. You must become educated about the requirements for growing coral, and follow very specific procedures, but if you can be patient for approximately 12 weeks, you can grow your own coral for your home saltwater aquarium.

The basic set-up of a saltwater aquarium is the same as a freshwater tank. You purchase a tank and filter and then select the best location for your aquarium. Once the tank is ready for water, there are several steps to follow:

1. Fill the bottom of the tank with sand.
2. Now it is time to add the water. Your aquarium water must be de-chlorinated.
3. Next add the salt, making sure to mix it so the gravity measures exactly 1.205.
4. Arrange any live rocks and plants you would like to include in the tank.
5. Finally install the water heater and place the hood on top of the aquarium.
6. And now you wait. About 4 weeks to be exact before moving on.

Patience. Remember? The fours weeks will go by quickly, and in no time your saltwater aquarium will come to life before your eyes. The reason you don't add anything to your tank for a month is to allow plenty of time for the salt levels to balance out. At this stage, you have to install a protein skimmer, and then you can go ahead and add some snails to the tank, or perhaps even a crab or two. During the next couple of weeks, you want to make sure that the filters perform correctly. Also, use this time to adjust the lighting. It is recommended that you don't keep the light on for more than 12 hours per day because too much light can lead to algae problems.

When you reach the six-week mark, you can finally begin to add some coral. There is a wide variety of coral available for saltwater aquariums, and the most popular include Bull's-eye Mushroom Coral, Button Polyp Coral, Hairy Mushroom Coral and Yellow Mushroom Coral. When you place the coral into your tank, attach it to the live rock that you placed at the bottom when you initially set up your aquarium. And now we wait again; just two more weeks.


After eight weeks, you can add more coral, this time aquacultured coral like Leather Coral, Pumping Xenia Coral, Spaghetti Finger Coral, and Starburst Polyps. This coral should be placed into the live rock just as before.

After another two to four weeks, you can begin adding some fish to your home saltwater aquarium. In the realm of things, 12 weeks really isn't that long, and the end result will be more than worth the wait. Because a saltwater environment is so fragile, it is vital that you give this watery realm all of the time it needs to gain balance and begin living harmoniously. The healthy saltwater aquarium that results is a wonderful accomplishment after just 12 short weeks of patience and care.