Sunday, October 5, 2014
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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Large polyp stony (LPS) corals are the corals many aquarium hobbyists select when adding stony corals to their saltwater or reef tanks. All stony corals require more care than many fish and soft corals, and they need the correct saltwater aquarium setup to survive and thrive. However, with the proper care and the right selection of coral, even hobbyists with moderate skills can enjoy these colorful sea creatures.
What Are LPS Corals?
Large polyp stony corals are named for the large polyps they have inside their skeletons, which are made of calcium carbonate. These polyps usually extend at night or when the coral is feeding. Since these corals often fluoresce brightly in the right actinic lighting, they are beautiful additions to any aquarium. Common LPS corals for this hobby include these species:
- Brain (Favites)
- Bubble (Plerogyra)
- Button (Scolymia)
- Candy Cane (Caulastrea)
- Elegance (Catalaphyllia)
- Fox (Nemanzophyllia)
- Frogspawn (Euphyllia)
- Orange Tube Coral (Tubastrea)
- Plate (Fungia)
- Slipper (Polyphillia)
- Torch (Euphlillia)
LPS corals are not as fussy about their water quality as their SPS, or small polyp stony coral cousins. They will accept water that is not perfectly pristine, but they do need to have proper levels of calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity. Many reef tank owners use Kalkwasser mix or an aquarium calcium reactor to help maintain the calcium and pH levels that LPS corals need for their skeletons. These corals also require a trace element supplement. Aquarists typically do small water changes every two weeks to help maintain clarity and pH levels.
These sea creatures need room to grow. They also have tentacles up to six inches long that sting other coral. Avoid placing LPS corals too close to other corals. Some of these sea creatures prefer to rest on the substrate at the bottom of the tank. Other species prefer placement elsewhere. Decide where you want your coral to go, and then select the species that will thrive best in that area.
Speed of Water Flow
In the ocean, water flows over a coral, bringing it food and taking away waste products. Your reef tank needs to have the correct water flow to help your coral thrive. Make sure to check your coral's water movement requirements. Many need a moderate water flow, which you can simulate with a pump. Avoid too high of a water flow, since this can damage the delicate polyps.
Lighting and Feeding
Many of these coral need low to moderate light levels and too much light can actually harm them. The LED aquarium lights are particularly well suited for coral growth, since the spectrum can be customized to your particular coral's needs. Actinic light will bring out a coral's beautiful fluorescence.
Some corals have symbiotic algae that help them photosynthesize light. Other corals do not, and they need regular feeding. All coral appreciate some supplemental food, like phytoplankton, zooplankton or copepods, and even some Mysis shrimp.
If you need more information, the helpful aquarium experts at OCReef.com - OC Reef Aquatics are ready to help you. We have articles on a variety of aquarium topics so that you can learn more about caring for your reef tank. Feel free to call us at 949.429.8034 to speak to our friendly staff, or use the handy contact form to send your questions.
Monday, December 16, 2013
You check your aquarium one day, and notice the dreaded green algae have started to appear on the glass or a piece of driftwood. Can it be eliminated entirely? Will it harm the fish and plants you’ve worked so hard to establish?
Algae are microscopic plants that gather together in sheets or clumps. They can quickly build up in the right conditions and turn your aquarium into a murky green mess. At high levels, the algae compete for the nutrients that your aquarium plants and fish need. This can harm your good residents. The best way to deal with algae problems is to prevent overgrowth in the first place.
Prevention is Key
The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" applies to algae. Here are some easy ways to keep algae from overgrowing.
- Place your tank out of direct sunlight. Algae, like other plants, grow well in sunlight.
- Put your aquarium lights on a timer. You don’t need the lights on all the time. Eight hours is a good average time for ornamental aquariums, while 12 hours works well for reef aquariums and planted fish tanks.
- Use broad-spectrum aquarium lights and change the bulbs regularly. This gives you the best spectrum for your aquarium plants without over-stimulating algae.
- Test your aquarium water regularly for phosphates and nitrates and remove these nutrients if they are too high. Algae especially adore phosphates.
There are products such as aquarium phosphate absorbent media that can help remove excess phosphates and nitrates.
- Add some live aquatic plants. They’ll beat out the algae for the same nitrate and phosphate nutrients. The algae will "starve" as a result.
- Don't overfeed your fish. Algae use the phosphates and nitrates in the rotted food to grow. Feed your fish just once a day. Remove any leftover food after the fish are done eating, or about five minutes.
- Add algae eating and bottom feeder species of fish. For freshwater this may include a dwarf Pleco or Cory Catfish. Plecos love eating algae, and the Cory’s will eat up leftover food from the bottom of the aquarium that contribute to algae overgrowth. For saltwater aquariums this may include a Blenny or Goby Fish. Don't overpopulate your tank to do this, however.
- Do a small water change weekly. Ten percent is the recommended amount. Frequent smaller water changes are often recommended versus less frequent larger water changes.
- Check your tap water for excess phosphates and nitrates before adding it to your aquarium. For saltwater aquarium it's recommended to use Reverse Osmosis Deionized water.
- Regularly clean the tank! Scrape the algae off the glass, remove rocks and decorations to scrub them, and vacuum the gravel.
If you have a severe algae problem that causes your aquarium water to turn a murky green, you might need to take more aggressive steps to conquer the problem. A diatomic filter may help.
An Aquarium UV Ultraviolet Sterilizer will immediately help clear the water and kill the algae blooms.
If you are having problems with aquarium algae or need to find items to keep the algae under control, OCReef.com Aquarium Supplies can help you. We can be reached at 949.429.8034 or after hours using our online help form. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you find the best items to keep your aquarium in tip top condition. Call us today with your questions or concerns.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Have you heard the term 'aquarium cycle' and wondered what that was? If you have just purchased your first fish tank or are new to the aquarium hobby, it is essential to understand the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Your fish will die if ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites rise too high in the tank. Fortunately, it is easy to keep these chemicals under control so that your fish stay healthy.
What is the Aquarium Cycle?
Aquarium Cycle refers to the development of beneficial bacteria in the aquarium to convert ammonia and nitrites into safer nitrates. This happens in several stages.
- Fish produce ammonia as a waste product. Decaying plant material and uneaten food also release ammonia. Moderate levels of ammonia can make fish sick, and high levels can kill them.
- Helpful bacteria called Nitrosomonas start to grow. These bacteria convert ammonia to nitrites. While not as toxic as ammonia, nitrites can also make fish sick, so it is important to control nitrite levels as well as ammonia.
- As nitrites increase, another type of helpful bacteria called Nitrobacter start to grow and convert the nitrites to much less toxic nitrates.
- Live plants and algae use nitrates to grow. These nitrates act much like fertilizer for them, and the plants draw them out of the water.
Once the different bacterial colonies have grown to sufficient numbers, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates will be at or near zero. Sometimes the colonies can fluctuate, so it is important to test regularly for these chemicals.
Essential Items for the Nitrogen Cycle
There are some items that all aquarium owners must have to start and maintain a healthy fish tank.
Here are the most important items:
- A biological filter large enough for your aquarium
- Gravel or other substrate on the bottom of the tank
- Testing kits for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates—these can be multi-test strips or electronic meters
- Testing kit for pH (lowering the pH can help fish survive if ammonia spikes)
- Bucket for water changes
One or more live plants will help keep nitrate levels low. Adding beneficial bacteria to the aquarium at start-up can speed the nitrogen cycle. If ammonia rises to dangerous levels, there are products that can neutralize the chemical so that the fish are not harmed.
Important Things to Remember
During aquarium start-up, check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels daily. If the levels are high, make sure to do water changes in the needed amounts to lower the waste products and keep the fish healthy.
Don't add too many fish at first, and choose fish that have a better chance of surviving the aquarium cycle. Add two or three small fish to the tank to start, and select species that are hardier like Blue Damsels for saltwater aquariums, and Danios, White Clouds, Rasboras, Barbs, or small Cory's for freshwater aquariums. Once the ammonia and nitrite levels drop to zero after four to six weeks, you can add a couple more fish every two weeks. Avoid overfeeding your fish. This will prevent the leftover food from contributing to the ammonia level.
Do you have more questions about the aquarium cycle? Ask the friendly staff at OCReef.com Aquarium Supply! Call them today at 949.429.8034 or use the helpful contact form. They will walk you through the first critical weeks of the nitrogen cycle to ensure your aquarium is established successfully.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
- Online aquarium stores can offer a wider selection than most local hobby shops and major discount stores.
- Many owners of online aquarium stores are advanced aquarium owners themselves, and they specialize in caring for fish, coral, and other sea creatures. They are much more knowledgeable about aquarium supplies, fish, and coral than employees in retail stores or local pet stores.
- Many online aquarium retailers allow you to special order rare or hard-to-find items. This is not possible with local discount stores. They also can offer extended warranties for repair or replacement of larger aquarium items, so you can be sure your items will stand up to use.
- Online aquarium stores never close. You can shop anytime.
- Shopping online saves time, stress, and gas. You won’t have to travel to different stores and waste precious fuel dollars to search for the products you need. You can shop from your PC, tablet, or smart phone. This is particularly helpful for people who live in rural areas or who have health problems and find shopping at a store especially difficult.
- Comparing different aquarium supplies and prices is easier online.
- Most online orders are not subject to sales tax. This can save you a lot of money when you make large purchases.
- Products are delivered directly to your home at your convenience. You can even schedule a delivery to make sure that you are at home so that your sea creatures are not subjected to dangerously high or low temperatures.
- Most aquarium stores that are online include helpful articles and videos on the aquarium hobby. You can refer to these articles any time to help you set up and maintain your fish tanks.
- Online aquarium stores often offer online help forms, live chat, and phone support. You’ll be able to talk with aquarium experts before ordering a product so that you get the right product the first time.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013