How To Maintain Your Reef Aquarium

Article by Marian Fisher

If you own a reef aquarium the importance of regular maintenance can not be over-emphasized. If you want to be successful with your hobby you have to invest time and money on the proper care of your tank. Reef keeping must be done to protect the environment you have developed for all of your inhabitants. To keep them healthy and happy, regular cleaning must be done to your tank. This also includes maintaining the quality of the water and testing it on a regular basis to make sure it is perfect for your environment. Once your tank is set up and has the proper ammonia level, nitrate level, you are ready for daily tasks.

*Daily tasks*

You will need to do these checks every day. They don’t take long at all and will let you understand how the system works as a whole

Top Off Your Tank

Use fresh water and not salt water. Make sure your SG is consistent with an automated solution system. These can be purchased or home built.

Check the Temperature

Heaters can fail and you always want to make sure your heater is working properly. Top off your water at the same temperature as your tank indicates. This will help to protect your environment and will not “shock” your creatures. The target range is 76-82 degrees F. The key is consistency.

Take Some Time and Observe Your Inhabitants

Watch your livestock and see the activity in your reef aquarium world. Are your fish active and free of disease? Are your polyps open? Is your cleanup crew doing their job? Enjoy yourself and take a look around your creation.

*Weekly tasks*

Each of these should be done every week to keep the environment fresh.

Detritus removal

This is a difficult task for your clean up crew and so you will have to use the “turkey baster” method to clean and remove particles. You can blow the stuff out of cracks and into the water column so you can remove it when your change the water.

Clean Your protein skimmer

Take the collection cup and make sure to do a good job cleaning any particles and debris.

Time for a Water Change

Ten to twenty percent of the water should be changed each week. This will assure a fresh supply of mineral with your salt mix. This will also help to facilitate the removal of feces, uneaten food, and reduce the level of nitrates. This will make your tank look good.

Take Water Quality Tests

Make sure to do the proper water test for your tank. After all you have done all of this work up to this point so do not stop now. Check on the following items: Calcium, Magnesium, Ph, Alkalinity dKH, temperature, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphates.

*Monthly tasks*

Here are some task you should be performing on your reef aquarium on a Monthly basis.

Check All Pumps

This is the perfect time to check power heads, remove any debris, and to make sure everything is running smoothly. Remember a malfunctioning pump can severely impact the temperature of your reef.

Cut Back Corals

If your corals are thriving and growing try your hand at fragging some of your corals and trading them with friends and other hobbyists in your local area.

Remove Nuisance Algae

You may have to move some rocks and other fixtures but it is a good time to clean the algae so it does not get out of hand and ugly looking.

*Annual tasks*

Every year you should check or replace most of the equipment in your system to prevent failures.

Check pumps, lights, and thermometers. There should be no cracks, breaking, or weak parts. Replacing them early will save you money in the long term.

Use your judgment for all of the tasks and feel free to do them more frequently if you feel the need.

Before you go, I have more detailed specifications on the Red Sea Max 250. It’s a great reef aquarium with plenty of room to grow.

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