Easy Corals for Beginners

So you want to keep coral…

Are you up for it?

It’s actually not as hard as you may think!

I will tell you what worked for me when I began the Aquarium Reef journey…

I started out with T5 lighting on my aquarium when it all began. Because I didn’t have sufficient light for many of the more expensive corals, I wanted to start off with something cheap that wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it dried up and died.

Kenya Trees:

Kenya Trees are very hardy. They require medium lighting and medium to strong water flow. I started off with two very small branches from my Local Fish Store. I placed them in the middle of my tank where they would get strong currents and good lighting. Within 6 months, they were taking over my tank. I went from having a couple of Kenya “nubs” to a Kenya “forest”. As they grow, they shed their branches which attach to your sand bed or rock within your tank and begin to grow again. Feed these guys Brightwell Aquatics Reef Snow. They will grow like crazy. They give you movement inside of your tank.

Kenya Trees

Kenya Trees

Mushrooms:

Mushrooms are extremely hardy and come in all sizes and colors. They give your tank variety. They need moderate lighting and low to medium water flow. You can pretty much put them anywhere in your tank. My mushrooms in particular seem to like being at the bottom of my tank now that I have increased my light intensity for other coral. You can usually find a nice mushroom rock at your local fish store for a decent price. Mushrooms will stretch to find light if their lighting is not significant for them. My mushrooms pretty much eat whatever I put into my tank. They grow at a decent rate and will soon cover your rock work.

Hairy Mushroom

Hairy Mushroom

Red Mushroom

Red Mushroom

Stretched Mushroom

Stretched Mushroom

Zoanthids:

Zoanthids are hardy and come in a variety of colors. Many of them have funky little nicknames to correlate with their color patterns.

Check out Zoanthid Names!

Zoas enjoy moderate lighting and medium water flow. They like being either in the middle or at the top of your tank. I usually place them near the top of my tank. They bring so much color to the tank. Definitely eye catchers. Zoas normally are sold in colonies. When you get into the more expensive types of Zoas, called exclusives, they are sold by “head”. When starting out in this hobby, try to buy frags of colonies around the $5-$15 mark. Once you have successfully kept the cheaper types of Zoas, feel free to try your luck at the more expensive types.

Green Zoas20130801-012828.jpgPink Zoas

Want to check out different types of Zoanthids…Check out Zoanthids.com

These three types of corals are what I began with when I first started. The good thing about these corals is, once you get established in the hobby and these corals began to grow, you can learn to frag your corals to trade with other hobbyist or sell them to recoup some of the cost of your aquarium. Either way, you get to enjoy the hobby and you will benefit from it in the future.

Want to learn more on fragging your own coral? Check out Bulk Reef Supply!

 

What are some other types of easy corals that you have kept? Let us know!

 

 

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Take Beautiful Underwater Pictures

Have you ever wondered how some people get such great pictures of the life in their tanks? I know I always have. Recently I began to search for an alternative to picture taking my 90 gallons of paradise. My first thought was to get an underwater camera. I wanted clean and up close shots of my live stock in my tank.

As I started shopping around, I noticed that underwater cameras are rather expensive. At least for what I wanted it for. Then it came to me…hey, why not just buy a water proof case for my iPhone 5? I already had the equipment I needed. I just needed to figure out how to make it work for me. After this thought popped into my head, I honestly thought to myself, wait, do I really want to trust a case to submerge a $500+ piece of equipment that has all of my data stored in it? The thought of losing my phone due to a faulty case scared me half to death.

I went window shopping. Amazon hasn’t steered me wrong yet. I came across the Lifeproof iPhone 5 Case. This thing is insane. After reading the reviews on it, I decided to purchase it. It comes in many different colors. I decided on my favorite color Red.

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As soon as I got it home, I opened the case and followed the “water testing” directions that were enclosed to the T. The case passed the water test with flying colors. I was still nervous about submerging my expensive phone into my tank. I called to double check my phone’s insurance covered water damage, I backed my phone up to my computer, and I took life by the horns. LOL

Here are some of my first pictures!

 

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I had problems taking pictures under water at first. The iPhone 5 senses the electricity in your body which helps the screen read your finger movements. Underwater, the electricity within the tank itself will disable the touch screen function. I did a little research and figured out that while in camera mode, you can use the volume up button to snap pictures or start and stop video on the iPhone. Problem solved!

No leaks! I took great pictures! I bought this case especially to do underwater shots. It’s a plus that it also protects my phone if I ever drop it as well. I am truly completely satisfied with this one!

Good Job Life Proof!

Want more reviews?

Check out what CNET and PCMAG have to say!

 

Tell us about your underwater picture taking experience below: Leave a comment!

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Getting Rid of Yucky Bubble Algae

Have you ever had to deal with pesky Bubble Algae growing in your beautiful tank?

More than likely if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this…

I won’t bore you with a bunch of useless information. There are plenty of sites that explain what bubble algae is and how you acquire it.

SO HOW DO YOU GET RID OF IT?!?!?!?!

I have been watching this algae spread all over my tank for the past few months.

At first, I didn’t know what it was. It looked like small purple balls with orange spots that kept attaching to my rock work.

Once I figured out that it was Bubble Algae, I began to research how to get rid of it.

STOP!!!

DO NOT POP IT!

I REPEAT!

DO NOT POP IT!

Popping this type of algae will release spores into your tank and cause a spread of this nuisance.

I started by finding my handy dandy tank gloves which I purchased from Amazon.com… They were fairly cheap. A very good investment and a must have for any aquarium hobbyist.

These things are a life saver…literally! Think of all the things you touch or put on your skin such as lotion, soap and hand sanitizer. Now think about putting those types of chemicals in your tank. It could mean disaster. These gloves come up past my elbows which helps when I have to reach deep down in my tank for cleaning or to move rock work. I wear these to protect my hands, arms and my tank. I have been using them for over a year and I can’t imagine this hobby without them.

You may purchase them here:

Atlas Glove WG772M 26-Inch Long Sleeve Nitrile Coated Cotton Lined Work Gloves, Medium

 

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Those who know me know that I hate the thought of adding chemicals to my tank to “fix” problems. I always look for a more “natural” alternative.

I looked around my tank to find all the pieces of rock that had massive amounts of bubble algae growing on them. Keep in mind that you may have sea critters living in these rocks that you are about to remove. I usually give each piece firm shake or two while still submerged in the tank. I removed each piece placing them in a bucket that I normally use for tank maintenance.

IMG_5547I placed each piece of rock in a bathtub and began to run water over each piece. I then used a butter knife, a glass scrapper (purchased at amazon.com) and an old stiff toothbrush to carefully remove all visible algae. This is a great time to remove any other algae that may be giving you a problem as well.

You can purchase the scrapper blade here:

Kent Marine AKM00981 10-Pack Stainless Steel Algae ProScraper Blade

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I carefully removed all traces of bubble algae under running water in the bathtub. Be patient and very careful. Some rock work can be very sharp.

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A complete rinse of the rock helped to ensure all pieces had been cleansed thoroughly. I will allow 24-48 hours for each piece to dry and then rinse again before introducing them back into my tank.

TAKE THAT BUBBLE ALGAE!!!!

Your presence is no longer welcomed here!

How do you get rid of pesky algae? Please share…

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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