A neophyte with his new marine reef aquarium can feel overwhelmed by the scope of jargon-heavy, complicated information available. But there is also a need for basic advice about the daily and easy management of the aquarium, which can be a lot harder to come...
One of the Rubbermaid stock tanks with calcium carbonate substrate at Tidal GardensIn 2016, the systems at Tidal Gardens are a mix of custom glass aquariums and Rubbermaid stock tanks. Originally back in 2002, all the tanks were some combination of 300-gallon and 150-gallon stock tanks because they were by far the most cost-effective containers that were truly rugged. After all, anything that was built to be strong enough to get kicked by a horse or cow should hold up to the sort of beating we dish out here. Just starting out, hundreds of gallons worth of custom glass was not in the budget, so it was important to find containers that were both rugged and economical. For that purpose, Rubbermaid stock tanks were wonderful because they were robust and cost less than $1 per gallon. Over time, though, we incorporated more glass aquariums because we found that neglect is the number-one killer of corals, and just being able to see the corals made a huge difference in their health.
It’s easy to cheap out on aquarium cleaning brushes, but it makes sense to spend a bit more for qualityWhile there are certainly sexier marine aquarium topics I could be writing about, I’d like to dedicate today’s post to one of the more mundane, albeit essential, elements of our hobby—aquarium brushes. This subject came to mind recently after I threw my ten-thousandth brush kit into the trash because, once again, the brushes had begun to fall apart. Now, I’m a well-known cheapskate (or as Caribbean Chris is fond of pointing out, I’m “a whole rink full of cheapskates”), but even I understand—and often preach—that buying the least expensive aquarium equipment often ends up costing you more in the long run. Still, for some inexplicable reason, I continue to cheap out on everyday tools like aquarium brushes, scrapers, tongs, algae magnets, and the like. This has not served me well.A quick, completely informal audit of aquarium brushes sold online revealed prices ranging anywhere from well under $5.00 for three- to five-piece assortments from various manufacturers to over $16.00 for a five-piece Tunze kit. There might be higher-priced kits out there as well, but as I said, this was a quick audit. So, is it really worth paying the long dollar for something as commonplace as a set of aquarium brushes
Skimmer maintenance and light bulb or tube replacement are both important aspects of marine aquarium maintenanceKeeping a marine aquarium healthy and thriving requires a significant level of maintenance. For the most part, we hobbyists are pretty good at tackling chores in a timely manner, but in some cases we’re a little more prone to procrastination—usually in situations where “out of sight means out of mind.” Here are 5 critical marine aquarium maintenance chores that are all too easily overlooked but can have a dramatic impact on the health of your livestock, the functional life of your equipment, and/or the enjoyment you derive from your system:1. Cleaning the neck of your protein skimmer No one likes to touch that grimy, slimy, stinky coating that accumulates around the neck of a protein skimmer, but don’t postpone this important task! That nasty buildup of gunk is not only unsightly, but it also greatly impedes your skimmer’s foam production, which, in turn, greatly reduces the collection of skimmate. Simply wiping the neck clean as often as needed—at the very least, once a week—is the best thing you can do to keep your skimmer functioning at peak efficiency. 2. Cleaning pumps and powerheads Pumps and powerheads are essential elements of a marine aquarium’s “circulatory system” that quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) go about the business of creating currents and moving water wherever it’s needed. But over time, these pumps can become clogged with coralline algae, sponges, vermetid snails, etc