Ongoing Maintenance and Online Resources
There really isn't much to it. It's all about diligence. You need to watch your
tank carefully and be smart about what you put into it. You will find as many
people to give you tips about how to take care of your tank as there are
aquarists out there. Everyone's tank is a little different. Here are a few of
our "tips" for a good, long-lasting tank.
Use a reverse osmosis/deionizer (RO/DI) water filter for your top off water (or
for making saltwater for a water change). If you have a small tank, you can
purchase water at your local fish store. If you have a larger tank, consider
investing in an RO/DI system. They have become quite affordable recently -- you
can find them for sale on e-bay.
You don't need to do large water changes. A 10% water change every two months
will usually suffice for an established tank.
Check the tank's temperature daily.
Look at your critters and fish daily to make sure they're doing ok.
Use your test kit(s) weekly to check your tank's chemistry. Read the article
Aquarium Water Parameters in Reefkeeping Magazine for more information
about ideal ranges and why. Levels that are typically "good" are:
Temperature: 70 to 78, 75 being perfect (cooler than some would suggest, but we
believe that this temperature is good for the critters and helps prevent
Specific Gravity: 1.022 to 1.025
Ammonia: 0, although there is always a little bit (.1 or less)
Nitrates: < .2 ppm
PH: 8.0 to 8.3
Calcium: 375 to 475
Phosphate (PO4): < 0.3 ppm
Alkalinity: 2.5 to 4 meq/L (7 to 11dKH)
Magnesium: 1250 to 1350 ppm
Strontium: 5 to 15 ppm
Use a quarantine tank to isolate fish before placing them in the main tank.
Use of additives: Some folks get by without using any at all, while others
swear by adding some Calcium, Strontium, Alkalinity buffers, etc.
Due to the high number of filter feeders that you get with your live rock,
you'll need to feed your tank a phytoplankton food, such as DT's, Micro Vert,
etc., every other day. You can also use a turkey baster or a children's oral
syringe to direct food at some inverts (for example, you can feed christmas
tree worms from behind, so that the food flows directly into their feathers).
Starfish and anemones can be fed different types of raw Crustaceans and fish --
examples include muscles, shrimp, squid, ghost shrimp, and silversides. Just
cut it up small enough for them to eat it. Anemones typically need to have
their food "handed to them" on a stick. Once a week is good enough for these
The general rule of thumb is to feed only as much as the fish and critters can
eat in 10 minutes, and remove any food that gets to the bottom and sits for more than
10 minutes. Generally, if you keep the everyone a little hungry, they'll keep
the tank clean. Your fish should get all excited when you walk up to the tank
and gather in the corner, or whereever you usually feed them.
Here are some other sites that you might consider visiting:
For those who enjoy reading or like to have a hardcopy handy, consider these books: