Caring for a fish can provide many benefits such as teaching responsibility, providing friendship, and helping create a warm and calming atmosphere.
Want to get adventurous with your fish keeping? Learn the steps you need to take to start your coral aquarium in this guide.
What is a Coral Aquarium?
A coral reef aquarium is a marine aquarium that mostly displays marine invertebrates, live corals, and which give fish swimming in their environment a more natural habitat to thrive.
A coral reef aquarium continues to change and grow on its own. This natural evolution makes your aquarium more vibrant and environmentally friendly to the fish and other inhabitants.
What Do I Need to Start a Coral Reef Aquarium?
Whether you are an expert in saltwater aquariums or just a mere beginner, setting up your reef aquarium is quick and easy if you have the right tools and supplies. Here’s what you need to get started:
- Saltwater aquarium
- Corals, fish, and other invertebrates
- Reef tank clean up crew
- Live rock
- Live sand
- Protein Skimmer
- Algae skimmer
- Light timer
- Salt Water mix
- 2-3 circulation pumps
- Aquarium heater
Before you get started, if you already have fish, be sure to keep them in an alternative fish tank. Properly setting up a coral reef tank takes a few weeks.
Assemble the Components
Start with pouring the sand into the aquarium then prepare your saltwater mix. This can vary from tank to tank, so make sure you check to see what the proper saltwater mixture is depending on the size of your tank.
Fill the tank with your saltwater mix and gently rinse the live rock with the water you just put into the tank. Once the live rock has been rinsed a few times, position the rocks as desired.
Add your filtration system, protein skimmer, circulation pumps, and any other tank equipment. Over the next few weeks, be sure to test the water to maintain optimum quality. Check ammonia levels and adjust pH levels as needed.
Check ammonia levels and adjust pH levels as needed. You need to buy a hanna ph meter kit to test the pH balance of your aquarium’s water. With a saltwater aquarium, it is vital to manage the chemical and mineral levels. You can buy ready-made test kits which generally involve assessing samples of the water against color charts, using chemical drops to test for different chemical levels. You will need an ongoing supply of test kits to enable you to check the water regularly.
Add the Creatures
Add your invertebrates and making sure you acclimate them to the temperature of the aquarium. Follow the acclimatization guide that your animals came with. Use your light timer to go on and off in 10-12 hour increments.
Wait about two weeks to get your invertebrates comfortable with the tank before heading to the next step.
Purchase a rock coral starter pack and add them to your aquarium. These packs include yellow colony polyps, hairy mushroom coral, bulls eye mushroom coral, and button polyps.
Change 25% of the water out and follow your coral acclimation guide.
Wait two weeks and add aqua-cultured corals such as regular pumping Xenia, toadstool mushroom leather coral, or spaghetti finger leather coral.
Add Your Fish
After you’ve waited an additional two weeks, its time to add your fish back to your tank. Again make sure you follow proper acclimation protocol for your fish.
After this, the process of setting up your coral reef aquarium is complete.
Maintenance is Key!
Maintenance is vital when managing any aquarium but especially a coral reef aquarium. Monitor and test the water parameters regularly to maintain a healthy marine environment.
Keep in mind that a coral aquarium takes a considerable amount of time to establish itself. If maintained properly, your aquarium should be thriving at its peak within a year. If this guide helped you out, make sure you take some time to give it a share!