The Pluses & Minuses of Using Activated Carbon

Activated carbon is a porous form of carbon that can be used to absorb or remove dissolved organics that give water its yellow tint. Removing these materials will help with biological filtration and increase water clarity. In theory, better clarity will aid light transmission through the water column and improve PAR (Photsynthetically Available Radiation, which is all radiation between 400-700 nm wavelength range) Does Activated Carbon Remove Beneficial Trace Elements? One of the big arguments against using activated carbon on a continual basis is that it removes beneficial trace elements from the water. I have used carbon continuously on all of my tanks and have not seen any negative side effects on my corals. This is purely an observation and not based on any scientific facts. According to

Reef Threads Podcast #303


Christine is an open-water SCUBA diver.

We return, refreshed from our holiday break. Gary stayed home and enjoyed family while Christine flew to St. Lucia, learned how to SCUBA dive, and visited some real reefs. This week we learn what it’s like as a beginner to earn an open-water SCUBA certification. It’s not as daunting as it appears. If SCUBA is in your dreams, this podcast will get you over the hump. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

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Water chemistry 101 – Top water parameters to test for in saltwater tanks

Water chemistry is a complex subject, but it is also an incredibly important one. It governs every factor within your aquarium and is pivotal to the health of the animals living in it. While there are a good deal many other water parameters to bear in mind, we have selected those which we believe to be the most important in saltwater aquariums. This guide will highlight those water parameters that we feel saltwater fish keepers should most be aware of. It will also explain how to go about adjusting the levels of these parameters in your tank. pH Fluctuations in pH levels can dramatically affect the health of the fish in your tank. Moreover if you have a reef tank then your occupants are likely to

Symphyllia: So Stunning, Yet Success Eludes Me!

Symphyllia spp. coralSymphyllia are some of the most colorful large-polyp stony corals out there. Their bodies resemble Lobophyllia in many ways, but unlike lobos, they have a much more diverse color arrangement. I’ve seen them come in just about every color imaginable, and it is very common for them to have large bands of colors. Unfortunately, I don’t do very well with Symphyllia. As colorful and amazing as these corals are, they’re a no-go for me until I learn more about why they might be struggling in my system.
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