Sunday, August 16, 2009

Water flow in your saltwater Aquarium

Having proper water flow in your reef aquarium is extremely important to your reef’s health, especially when dealing with corals. It is so important that I would rate it up there with feeding, lighting and skimming. After all, proper water flow delivers food and removes waste from sessile organisms in the reef aquarium. Proper water flow also exchanges oxygen and keeps detritus suspended in the water column.

Getting the right type of water flow is often difficult to achieve in the reef aquarium because of all the options that are presented to us. On top of all the pumps, wave boxes and diy closed loop systems that you can utilize there is still the matter of placing this equipment in your reef aquarium so that you can reap the full benefit from it. Keep in mind that live rock and other obstacles in the aquarium can prevent proper flow throughout the reef aquarium if not set up correctly.

So what are the different types of water flow and how do us reef keepers use them?

Pretty simply there are two types of water flow for the reef aquarium that you should be concerned with. They are Laminar and Random. If you search on any online reef aquarium forum you may be able to find more in depth but not as practical ways of creating water movement. I say “not as practical” because most reef keepers will not be able to recreate these different water flow options as easy as the two mentioned above.

Laminar water flow is generally the easiest flow to create in the reef aquarium. laminar simply means one direction movement of water, as you probably guessed by now most submersible pumps and powerheads will produce laminar water movement. Laminar can get tricky, since it is a constant jet of water in one direction you will not be able to place corals directly in front of this stream. Most corals will not be able to last the powerful water jet and there flesh will eventually erode off there skeletons if exposed for long periods of time. Many reef keepers utilize powerheads and submersible pumps but do it in a fashion where it is less abrasive on corals, which brings me to Random flow.

Random water flow in the reef aquarium is hands down the best easily obtainable way of re-creating water movement similar to that of the natural reef. It is simply obtained by using laminar flow (powerheads, pumps etc..) against either obstacles such as the glass of the aquarium or against other laminar flow. Since there is no right way to create random flow in the reef aquarium because all reef aquariums are different, it is up to the reef keeper to try and test different ways to see which one is right for the aquarium. I personally like to direct two powerheads against one another (one on each side of the tank opposite of each other) to create this type of flow. I will then take another one and point it at the front pane of glass. The possibilities are endless with this type of water flow since there is no right way of doing it. Instead of using powerheads you may want to try a closed loop system which involves a large external pump and some diy (do it yourself) plumbing to avoid unsightly powerheads.

Which ever way you decide it is best to make sure that you don’t have any “dead spots” in the reef aquarium, dead spots are simply just spots in the aquarium with little to no water movement. These dead spots are where detritus will accumulate and if not removed can cause some problems with your reef aquarium’s water parameters.

So how do I know if my water flow is adequate?

Make sure that you have a good amount of movement in your aquarium, furthermore you should be able to create flow that will make your coral polyps extend and move around randomly.

© 2006–2007 Brett’s Reef Brett's Reef

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to build and setup your perfect saltwater Aquarium

How to build and design the perfect saltwater aquarium!


Purchasing a saltwater aquarium or a reef aquarium may not seem like a big deal, but it really is. Picking the perfect tank is not something that you should take lightly, there is lots of things you need to research and consider. The purpose of this article is to teach you the things you need to know before you make your saltwater aquarium investment. Saltwater, or reef fish, Are a lot harder to take care, there is a lot of care and maintaince. After reading this article you should know if you really want to invest in a saltwater aquarium. And if you do, you will be amazed by the beauty it brings into your office or home.

The first thing you need to do is find the perfect tank. Buying the tank is one of the most time consuming parts of your saltwater aquarium investment, because of the broad ranges of different size tanks, or different material tanks, we'll be going over those later. The best thing to do is buy the biggest one that fits in your available space, and that you can afford. When I bought my first Saltwater aquarium I got only a 15 gallon tank and after about two weeks i wished i had gotten a bigger one, so don't go small because you think you should! And remember the bigger the tank, the easier to maintain.

A 30-gallon saltwater aquarium is probably the smallest tank you should get. This size aquarium is good for oxygen flow, and has adequate room for your fish to swim and live comfortably. The oxygen supply in the water together with the water temperature will determine the success or otherwise of your fish keeping hobby. Normal Reef fish require a water temperature of about 75 degrees F. The warmer water in the saltwater aquarium will tend to use up all the oxygen in the water which means that the surface area becomes important. The addition of aeration equipment is usually wanted to rise the oxygen level. Aeration can usually be provided with your filtration equipment.
Saltwater aquariums come in both acrylic and glass. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Some of the advantages of glass aquariums are
* Glass fish tanks are usually cheaper than acrylic tanks
* Glass fish tanks are more scratch resistant than acrylic tanks
* Glass fish tanks won't discolor with age
* Glass fish tanks won't require as much brace support as acrylic tanks although the stand needs to be able to support a great weight

Advantages of acrylic fish tanks
* Acrylic fish tanks are lighter in weight than glass fish tanks
* Acrylic fish tanks can be custom made in a shape to suit your home
* Acrylic fish tanks are less likely to break
* Acrylic fish tanks can be purchased online

Setting Up Your Saltwater Aquarium
Bringing your new saltwater Aquarium into your home from the store is only the first part. Never Buy fish at the same time that you buy your aquarium. There are many steps to complete before bringing fish to their new home.

First, you need to install your tank in its location. Avoid locating your saltwater Aquarium in any spot that receives a lot of sunlight. Sunlight will cause algae to grow in your tank which will not harm your fish, but its not the most beautiful thing in the world. Also avoid any locations close to room heaters or where the tank will be exposed to drafts.

A lot acrylic aquariums come with a built-in stand. Glass tanks will require a strong stand and should have a layer of polystyrene or rubber placed between the aquarium and the stand to absorb any unevenness. If the tank is unbalanced it will eventually crack.
Check your new aquarium for leaks. Fill it with water and let is stand for a day or two. Once you have confirmed that its not leaking you will need to clean the tank and all equipment. Rinse it good, i cant stress this enough, If you skip the cleaning process, even if its a brand new tank, there may be toxins attached to it, That will kill your fish!. Don't forget to rinse the gravel before you add it to your aquarium.

Add all your other equipment in accordance with the manufactures directions. Your pet store will have provided advice on how to set up your saltwater fish tank. After you have added your salt water and confirmed that the salt and chemical levels are correct you willl need to run all your equipment for at least 72 hours to filter and heat your water and stabilize your aquarium. Let the aquarium cycle to build up the correct biological levels.
The hardest part of setting up your saltwater fish tank is now complete and now you'll be able to go and pick out your colorful fish!