The beauty of having corals in a reef tank is being able to watch them work their magic. As corals change and grow, they gives your saltwater aquarium a different aura every month. To encourage this lively environment, it’s important to create a habitat that is not only healthy for fish, but also stimulates growth of corals in the reef tank.
Aquarium hobbyists have learned several tricks over time that can help turn a coral reef tank into an exotic, intriguing waterscape that enhances the atmosphere in a home or business.
Benefits of Adding Corals in a Saltwater Aquarium
Adding corals in a saltwater reef aquarium serves several purposes.
It creates a more natural habitat similar to what you may find in oceans and seas. Creating a natural ecosystem is a goal of any experienced hobbyist, as it facilitates a healthier, happier atmosphere in the tank.
Adding corals in a reef tank also adds color, beauty, and intrigue in the aquarium. The movement of the corals is a sight to see, and it also helps move the water to keep it cleaner.
Most significantly, corals provide a place for fish to play and hide, which is especially important for timid fish or fish that may feel threatened. If you have saltwater fish that would have relied on corals in the wild, it’s wise to mimic that type of environment in your aquarium in order to make the fish more comfortable.
Stimulating Growth of Corals in the Reef Tank
Adding corals in the saltwater aquarium is only the first step. It’s also important to stimulate growth of the corals in the reef tank if you want to take the appearance of your aquarium to the next level.
Growing corals requires the right combination of light, food, nutrients, and water flow. Many hobbyists who grow coral-only tanks dedicate hours and build their own tools to create the optimal environment to help corals thrive.
Maintaining appropriate temperature and salinity is a key for virtually any type of saltwater fish tank.
Specifically in this case, the pH level of the water is a key to stimulating growth of corals.
Some hobbyists choose to create a higher pH in order to do so. An ideal pH level to stimulate coral growth is 8.2 or higher, according to some aquariasts. This tactic is ideal for coral-only tanks, however, as this level may be too high for fish. You may be able to later transfer the corals to a saltwater fish tank.
Use a pH probe or machine to monitor the water of the coral tank. The level of the pH will fluctuate throughout the day, especially because at night there is not as much light energy. Therefore, the pH level may be low first thing in the morning. After hours of natural and artificial light during the day, the level will likely be highest toward the early evening.
While some hobbyists maintain only one type of lighting, others believe that an adequate aquarium light intensity along with the use of a spectrum of light is a better way to stimulate growth of corals in the reef tank.
A saturated solution of calcium hydroxide and water can also be used to increase the pH level. Equipment and products are available on the market to help drip this solution into the tank steadily, safely, and accurately.
And then, of course, are the basics: food and other nutrients. Corals need zooplankton, nitrates, and phosphates to grow and remain healthy. The levels of calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, and other basic elements must be monitored and maintained as well.
Contact us for more information about how to keep corals healthy and strong in your aquarium.