Aquarium Basics - Saltwater
Coral Reef Aquariums
Five steps to success with Saltwater
Coral Reef Aquariums
by Christopher Knowlton
you dream of watching the natural beauty of the undersea
reef life while sitting in your living room?
Whether your goal is a nano reef tank or a 150 gallon
aquarium with an ecosystem of coral and saltwater fish,
the following five steps will lead you on your way to
1) Commit! Decide you are going to spend the $$
it takes to make a proper go of it. At a minimum, most
tanks, (from 10 gal to 55 gal) take between $250 and $500
to get going. Can you do it cheaper? Yes, but usually
not your first one. You have to know what you are doing
and understand how things can and will go wrong before
you can choose less expensive husbandry options and/or
equipment. Save up if you have to, but count on that first
tank being expensive.
Realize that this is not a short term commitment. And
as much fun as it is to collect the coolest coral fragments
out there and show them off to your friends, there WILL
come a time when you are hauling all of those same 'frags'
out of the tank and into temporary storage when your six
year old cracks the side of the display tank with a pool
ball or some other calamity occurs.
2) Study! Spend time on the internet, in books
and watching nature shows on reefs BEFORE you get your
animals. Understand the animals that you are going to
keep and how they interact with each other. If you count
on the LFS (Local Fish Store) or your buddy down the road
to keep you out of trouble and don't do your homework..
You will fail. That is the one guarantee in this hobby.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
The only way around this is to be able to afford to pay
someone else to set-up and maintain your tank.
3) Mingle! (see 2 above) There are plenty of reef-keeping
societies out there with lots of experience to help you
along your way and teach you what you need to know. As
long as you are doing your own homework, they are usually
happy to help!
4) Keep an open mind! There is not just one way
to keep a reef tank - no matter how loudly people on the
various bulletin boards and forums out there might shout
that there is."
5) Share! It is amazing how much help people are
willing to give when they realize that you are offering
a particularly nice specimen that they have always wanted.
Equipment that they didn't even remember they had may
magically appear or they might be willing to share a very
nice piece of their own reef frag with you.
Trading frags not only is a great way to increase your
variety, but it helps maintain genetic strains of corals
(frags are also known as 'clones') that might otherwise
die out in a single tank struck by the calamity mentioned
in 1 above.
About the Author
Chris Knowlton is an avid fan of reef keeping and propagation.
He maintains a nano tank and two large saltwater reef
aquariums. To visit his site and read 5 More Steps to
Success with Saltwater Coral Reef Aquariums visit http://www.KnowltonsReef.com
(Reprints of this article are allowed, but must have an
active link to the authors website.)