Is It Alive?

When many see my tank for the first time, the load of 101 questions start rolling in. They ask about the different animals, what they eat and how large they grow. But the most common question, and in my opinion the weirdest, is “Is this one ALIVE?” Many times they are referring to a coral or my anemone.

Everything in my tank is alive! From the rock work to the sand to the organisms that I house. Every little organism in my tank has a purpose. They help filter my water helping my tank mimic the parameters of their ocean origins.

Every one of my corals and inverts are alive. They all have different little “personalities”. They move when they feel like it. They eat when they feel like it. It’s fun to watch them grow and change over time. So yes, when they ask the question…It is alive!

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Your Livestock Will Tell You

Have you ever noticed a flower hanging over as if it looked like it needed water or sun?

An aquarium gives you the same types of signals when there is something not quite right. A few changes in the behavior of livestock could be a big deal.

For instance, if the clams in my tank decide to close up for long periods of time during the day (and they haven’t recently been fed) something is usually going on with the water chemistry. It’s the same for many coral in my tank. Usually while lights are on, everything is opened up and showing off their bright colorations as they enjoy the “ocean breeze”. When coral or inverts (such as anemones) start losing coloration and start to fade, there is defiantly something wrong with that water chemistry. If this isn’t corrected as soon as possible, it could mean the lost of livestock.

I have personally spent hours watching my aquarium on a regular basis. I enjoy watching the different behaviors of the different sea critters throughout the day. I have an idea of how most things in my tank react when they are unhappy. The key is to WATCH YOUR LIVESTOCK!!!

Corals normally close up when lights are out and right after feeding time. This also includes invertebrates. Any other time you see them closed or looking limp should be a red flag. Be very concerned. Step number one would be to check your parameters. If anything is out of wack, make the corrections needed.

When fish that are normally very active throughout the day begin to become sluggish or hide, take that extra step to make sure your parameters are in check. Then again, for fish like clownfish, they are always acting weird. They are very playful and don’t like to be ignored. So be ready for some “attitude” if you fail to give them the attention that they want.

Algae is another main concern in a beautiful tank. It can over run a tank and become the yucky stuff growing on your glass, rocks and sand.

Keeping up with proper maintenance on a regular basis will also help you to catch issues before they come a real problem.

So at the end of the day… WATCH YOUR LIVESTOCK

It will save you a lot of headache…

Questions, concerns or feedback…Please feel free…

Happy Reefing!

 

It’s a Jungle Out There

When I first started out in this hobby I thought the coolest thing in the world were Kenya Trees. I would see them in my local fish store just “swaying in the breeze”. When I was finally equip enough to take care of them properly, I bought two itty bitty ones. I swear I thought they had plenty of space in my then 75 gallon tank.

Boy! I was wrong!

Over the last year, not only had they grown massively, but they have begun to “shed” leaving their little limbs EVERYWHERE!!!

Where did these things come from?!?!?!

What was once a cute little tree that gave my beautiful aquarium some movement has become a JUNGLE!!!

It’s true what they say…

Be careful what you wish for…

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Shroom County

Mushrooms are a very gorgeous addition to any saltwater aquarium. They require a medium light source and low to medium water flow. They are very hardy for any new hobbyist. Their bright colors and ease of care makes them a crowd favorite. They enjoy a 1.025 salinity (salt concentration). They also thrive on the foods that are fed to your other aquarium corals. They are good tank mates. Take a look at true blues and reds from my 90 gallons of paradise.

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Want to know more about Mushrooms….Just ask!

Crowd Pleaser

What is the excitement of fish tanks all about? It’s a center piece in a room. Whether young or old…EVERYONE runs to that corner of my living room to search for what’s new. Hollywood gets the most attention. Between him and my Rosé Bubble Tip Anemone “Rose”, they keep the crowd entertained. So no fear for the wives and kids who gather with the men folk in the living room during game time…These two are crowd pleasers.

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Common Aquarium Start Up Mistakes

 

There are many basic start up mistakes that new hobbyist make when they begin. List are the most common mistakes.

1. Starting with a tank too small

The smaller the tank, the less room for error. Imagine dropping an Oreo cookie Ina glass of milk versus a gallon of milk. The glass would be mostly Oreo cookie. Or thunk about how much time i would take to boil water in a pot versus in a pool. When our parameters in our tanks change, they change slowly over time. The more water available, the longer you have to catch problems that could be detrimental to your livestock.

2. Adding animals too soon

A certain level of bacteria must build up in a tank in order for organisms to live. Many say 3-6 months of running a tank is needed to reach that ideal bacteria level. This also allows micro organisms to show their face in your aquarium. A tank must go through a complete nitrogen cycle to keep livestock healthy. This is where quality test kits will come into play.

3. Adding too much at one time

Each piece of livestock weather it be fish, coral or invert needs time to adjust to its surroundings. In order to keep a close eye on your bio load and how each fish reacts, you should add fish slowly. Most of the time hobbyist will tell you no more than 2-3 fish per month. Of course adding 3 small fish such as chromis would not be the same as adding 3 large tangs.

4. Housing too much once established

Know you bio load. Know how much filtration you have and how well it will keep your water clean. Many use a 3 inch per gallon rule when it comes to fish. Saltwater aquariums are a bit different. Know your limit. The better your filtration system, the more fish you can house. Also keep in mind the bio load of other organisms such as inverts and corals that you may want to add later.

5. Neighbors don’t play nice

There is nothing like adding an aggressive fish to a tank that holds docile fish. What do you think will happen? The docile fish WILL get picked on and possibly killed. When looking at how much saltwater fish can cost, I wouldn’t take that chance. Sounds like a waste of money. Know the compatibility levels for what you want to add to your tank.

6. Too much food

What you put in your tank must break down. Weather it be in fish poop or bits of food that don’t get eaten. Over feeding your tank may cause spikes in your nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels among other things. These high concentrated numbers can be detrimental to your livestock.

7. Not enough filteration

Filtration is key. Normally I use a 4 way filtration system that includes live rock filtration, refugium filtration (with plants that absorb nitrates and other nutrients in that water), protein skimmers and certain aquatic life filters such as clams. My particular set up can filter a tank stocked to capacity for a 300 gallon tank even though it only filters a 90 gallon. This enables me to spend more time enjoying and less time changing water so often.

8. Proper testing and maintenance

Proper testing is a major factor. Knowing when something is wrong in your tank is a major thing and needs to be tend to as soon as possible. Everyone maintains their tank differently. Over time you will find out what works for you. Personally, because I have a filtration system that is three times the size that my tank needs, I don’t have to change my water as often. This gives me more time to enjoy my tank without making it a burden.

9. Not purchasing correct equipment

Know where you want to go in the hobby. I started out with a 30 gallon tank (big no no for a newbie) and I ended up upgrading to a 75 gallon within a few months. Think about all the money I put into a tank, proper lighting as well as a stand and filtration on a 30 gallon. Then I turned around and spent even more money upgrading all that equipment for my 75 gallon. Do it right the first time. Shop used equipment. Ask your local fish store or local reefers. I couldn’t tell you how much equipment I have in storage that I don’t use. There are people to help.

10. Not understanding the needs of your tank

Know what you are getting yourself into. RESEARCH!!! Read blogs, books and magazines. Ask people in the hobby about their experiences. Make Friends!!!!! Understand that this is not a cheap hobby to do for a few months. It takes time, patience and above all MONEY! Be smart about your new commitment.

Any questions or concerns???? Please feel free to ask!

Happy Reefing!