An aquarium can be the most beautiful accent in your home or office if done correctly. If you’re ready to make the commitment, you’ll need more than just purchasing a tank, sand, filter and lighting. You don’t need a marine biology degree to be a successful marine hobbyist, but you do have to put in the time to learn and understand your aquarium’s water chemistry. Without that, it will be very difficult to create an optimum reef environment.
If choosing the right aquarium and filters while maintaining water and lighting conditions seems daunting, we’re here to help! Just give us a call at 204-963-8663, or come visit us at 156 St Anne’s Rd. We’ll help you make educated decisions so you can create and sustain a well-balanced saltwater ecosystem for many years to come.
~ Zig Ziglar
The key to maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium is Reverse Osmosis water. Unlike tap water, it contains little to no dissolved solids. Using tap water will result in excess nutrients (phosphate, for example) and eventually increase algae growth. If tap water is your only current option, it must be used with a chlorine conditioner.
Heaters The heather choice should be based on your aquarium’s water volume. Heaters play a very important role in maintaining the right temperature in your aquarium. You should aim to maintain water temperature of 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (26 – 28 degrees Celcius).
In smaller or nano tanks (0 – 20 gallons), hang on the back filters are a great way to increase water flow and to clear up the water with the use of a carbon source such as charcoal. Smaller tanks hold a smaller bioload than larger aquariums and therefore can get away with simpler filters. They can also be modified to hold macroalgae (chaetomorpha, caleurpa) or plants (mangroves) to increase biological filtration. Canister filters are used to filter medium to larger aquariums (20 – 80 gallons). They are quiet and can hold a lot of bacteria. Sumps make your aquarium esthetically more appealing by holing all the equipment together and out of sight. Sumps increase the water level in your aquarium, leading to parameters remaining in rage longer and therefore creating a more forgiving system.
Protein skimmer remove excess nutrients such as proteins, amino acids, as well as fat and carbohydrates molecules form the water column, by forming bubbles that attract or repel those proteins and amino acids. Choose a skimmer that creates smaller bubbles over one that creates larger ones. The skimmer should be chosen based on the water volume of your aquarium and how many fish and inverts you are planning to keep.
When it come to sand, you must only use aragonite sand rather than play sand or lake beach sand. Aragonite sand helps with coral and coralline algae growth by leaching beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium. To increase the biological filtration, and have a great denitrifying bed, create a 4-5 inches deep sand bed. The deep sand bed is a great place for biological filtration because basoycteria will house this porous space.
The way you introduce these beautiful species into your aquarium will dramatically increase or decrease your success as a hobbyist. Shipping can be a stressful process for them and careful acclimation with a little love, patience and care for the first few days will insure long-term success. Fish, invertebrates, and corals need to be slowly acclimated to their new environment to lessen the stresses of shipping, changes in water quality, temperature, and lighting. Invertebrates are especially sensitive to change and need an even slower acclimation and require full strength saltwater levels that include:
You can use either the floating bag method or the drip method to acclimate your livestock. For precautionary biosecurity reasons, be careful not to let any of the bag water get into your sump/tank.