by Saltwater Smarts | Feb 13, 2016 | Corals, DIY, Fish, Reef, Science, TanksTop down shot of Acropora microladosWelcome to the next level of coral care. By now I am assuming you have at least understood all the key general practices to maintain some of the hardier corals, from soft corals to large-polyp stony (LPS) corals to some of the more rugged small-polyp stony (SPS) corals. Each category of livestock can be classified into various requirements for the piece of ocean environment you are trying to simulate. Oftentimes we tend to generalize that all parts of the ocean are the same, but as you become educated about the livestock you are trying to maintain, you will understand that there is no single recipe to make everything thrive and flourish in the same tank.Review time So let us review some of the key attributes we, as responsible hobbyists and nature fans, must familiarize ourselves with in order to provide a sustainable environment. The most common aquarium parameters are the following: 1. Tank dimensions Volume (amount of salt water for stability) Depth (impacts light penetration and available environmental zones) Size (impacts aquascaping, flow, lighting choices, growth) 2. Lighting Type: metal halide, T5, LED, or hybrids Spectrum (10,000 to 20,000 Kelvin) Intensity (lux) Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Photosynthetically Usable Radiation (PUR) Photoperiod (hours) 3.
by Saltwater Smarts | Dec 5, 2015 | Corals, DIY, Opinion, Reef, Science, TanksThese SPS coral species are a beginner’s best betUpon entering the world of small polyp stony corals (or SPS), many people ask the magic question, “Which types are best for beginners?” In my opinion the most beginner-friendly choices are found in the genera Montipora, Pocillopora, Seriatopora, and Stylophora. Most of the corals I’ll discuss here are commonly available, so there should be a low cost of entry. They’ve also proven fairly hardy in my experience and can be kept in a wider range of parameters than most SPS corals. What’s more, they’re rarely susceptible to the dreaded rapid or slow tissue necrosis (RTN/STN) that you see in Acropora species. General requirements for these SPS coralsCare level: moderate Temperament: peaceful (will not try to attack neighboring corals but will most likely lose to aggressive species) Lighting: moderate to high (of the correct full spectrum) Flow: medium to high Temperature: 72-78F Alkalinity: 8-12 dKH pH: 8.1-8.4 Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 Preparing for SPS The ultimate practice for these corals is mastering water parameter stability. Don’t chase specific numbers, but if you can keep parameters in the required ranges and stable with very little variance and spikes, you can keep practically any coral. The only other specifics to each coral are placement, which impacts lighting; flow requirements; and whether they need to be fed. These are primarily photosynthetic corals, but additions of amino acids and other elements may help with coloration and growth