Cultivating a reef tank is an exciting but challenging task. If you are new to the aquarium hobby, you need to do do a lot of research before you start your first tank. Not only do you need to think about what type of tank to create, but you also need to think about the equipment you plan to use, the size of your tank, and the tank inhabitants you plan to stock it with. All of these factors are important to think about.
When considering a reef aquarium over a traditional saltwater or freshwater tank, there are some additional things to think about – one of the most important is tank size. If you read various aquarium forums, you will find that many experienced aquarium hobbyists recommend to beginners in the hobby that, when it comes to tank size, bigger is better. In this post, you will learn whether this is true in regard to reef tanks and you will receive some tips for setting up your own reef tank.
Considerations Before Starting A Reef Tank
Before you decide that you want to start a reef tank, there are a few important things you need to consider – especially if you are new to the aquarium hobby. For one thing, cultivating and maintaining a healthy reef tank can be a time-consuming hobby. For freshwater tanks, you can usually set up your tank with the right equipment and then maintenance requires little more than in the set-up phase, especially if you are using live rock, but maintenance requirements are similar – it will, however, take a little more work to prepare saltwater for water changes and to maintain proper water chemistry.
For a reef tank, you still need to think about installing the right equipment and mixing saltwater to fill your tank and to use for water changes, but there are some things to consider as well. A reef tank is supposed to be filled with live corals and various marine invertebrates – it may or may not actually include any fish. Even without fish, however, reef tanks take a lot of work to maintain. Corals, anemones, and other reef invertebrates often have very specific tank requirements and even the slightest change in water chemistry could be deadly. Before you decide to start a reef tank, think about whether you can dedicate that time to maintaining the tank properly or the money to have it serviced regularly by a reputable aquarium service and maintenance company. You should also consider how much money you’re willing to put into starting up the tank – properly outfit and stock it with marine life.
Choosing The Right Size Aquarium
If you’ve decided that a reef tank is definitely the way you want to go, you then need to think about what size tank you want. Reef tanks range in size from nano reef tanks under 20 gallons in capacity to large reef tanks of 300 gallons or more. Many experienced aquarium hobbyists will agree that, when it comes to tank size, bigger is better. Especially for freshwater tanks, maintaining stable water conditions is easier in a larger tank because toxins and other harmful substances will be diluted – small problems are less likely to turn into big problems in a larger tank.
There is a point, however, at which a tank can become too big for a beginner – especially for reef tanks which are often finicky and difficult to establish. If you speak to experienced reef tank owners, you will find that many of them recommend a 120-gallon tank for a beginner. This may seem extremely large to you – especially if you’ve also considered freshwater tanks – but it really is the best option. A tank size will have the right proportions to give your corals and anemones room to spread and grow while also giving you enough water volume to make it easier to balance your water chemistry.
Tips For Setting Up A Reef Tank
After choosing the size for your reef tank, you need to follow a few steps to actually set it up. Before you start the set-up, make sure to do some research to determine what kind of inhabitants you want to keep in your tank. Corals and anemones are great additions to the reef tank but some of them are very difficult to keep. Consider choosing a few of the varieties that are recommended for beginners and make sure that they have compatible tank requirements.
You also need to be mindful of the type of equipment you choose. A quality filtration system is the key to maintaining high water quality in your tank and a heating system is necessary to maintain stable reef temperatures. Depending on the tank inhabitants you choose, you may also need to purchase a high-quality lighting system. Additional equipment like UV sterilizers and protein skimmers may be beneficial but they are something you may be able to add after your tank becomes established.
Recommended Reef Tank Inhabitants
Reef tanks are a little different from traditional saltwater tanks because they bring together a variety of reef inhabitants like corals, anemones, fish, and reef invertebrates. It is important to realize that different reef inhabitants have different requirements in terms of water chemistry and other tank aspects, so you need to do your research to ensure that your reef tank caters to the needs of your inhabitants and that all of your inhabitants are compatible with each other and with your tank.
Below you will find some recommended reef tank inhabitants to consider:
Setting up and maintaining a healthy reef tank can be quite a challenge but it is very exciting as well! Nothing is more satisfying than enjoying the beauty of your thriving reef tank, full of corals, anemones and colorful fish. Using these tips and helpful information, you can get started on your quest to become a reef tank hobbyist.
Tips and Information shared by Rate My Fish Tank