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Ongoing Maintenance and Online Resources

ONGOING MAINTENANCE

There really isn't much to it. It's all about diligence. You need to watch your tank carefully and be smart about what you put into it. You will find as many people to give you tips about how to take care of your tank as there are aquarists out there. Everyone's tank is a little different. Here are a few of our "tips" for a good, long-lasting tank.
  • Use a reverse osmosis/deionizer (RO/DI) water filter for your top off water (or for making saltwater for a water change). If you have a small tank, you can purchase water at your local fish store. If you have a larger tank, consider investing in an RO/DI system. They have become quite affordable recently -- you can find them for sale on e-bay.
  • You don't need to do large water changes. A 10% water change every two months will usually suffice for an established tank.
  • Check the tank's temperature daily.
  • Look at your critters and fish daily to make sure they're doing ok.
  • Use your test kit(s) weekly to check your tank's chemistry. Read the article entitled Reef Aquarium Water Parameters in Reefkeeping Magazine for more information about ideal ranges and why. Levels that are typically "good" are:
    • Temperature: 70 to 78, 75 being perfect (cooler than some would suggest, but we believe that this temperature is good for the critters and helps prevent disease)
    • Specific Gravity: 1.022 to 1.025
    • Ammonia: 0, although there is always a little bit (.1 or less)
    • Nitrates: < .2 ppm
    • Nitrites: 0
    • PH: 8.0 to 8.3
    • Calcium: 375 to 475
    • Phosphate (PO4): < 0.3 ppm
    • Alkalinity: 2.5 to 4 meq/L (7 to 11dKH)
    • Magnesium: 1250 to 1350 ppm
    • Strontium: 5 to 15 ppm
  • Use a quarantine tank to isolate fish before placing them in the main tank.
  • Use of additives: Some folks get by without using any at all, while others swear by adding some Calcium, Strontium, Alkalinity buffers, etc.

FEEDING

Due to the high number of filter feeders that you get with your live rock, you'll need to feed your tank a phytoplankton food, such as DT's, Micro Vert, etc., every other day. You can also use a turkey baster or a children's oral syringe to direct food at some inverts (for example, you can feed christmas tree worms from behind, so that the food flows directly into their feathers).

Starfish and anemones can be fed different types of raw Crustaceans and fish -- examples include muscles, shrimp, squid, ghost shrimp, and silversides. Just cut it up small enough for them to eat it. Anemones typically need to have their food "handed to them" on a stick. Once a week is good enough for these guys.

The general rule of thumb is to feed only as much as the fish and critters can eat in 10 minutes, and remove any food that gets to the bottom and sits for more than 10 minutes. Generally, if you keep the everyone a little hungry, they'll keep the tank clean. Your fish should get all excited when you walk up to the tank and gather in the corner, or whereever you usually feed them.

RESOURCES

Here are some other sites that you might consider visiting: For those who enjoy reading or like to have a hardcopy handy, consider these books:
Package Contents
Setup Procedure
Ongoing Maint & Resources
Organisms
  Animals to Remove
Pricing a Package
  Pricing Chart
Frequently Asked Questions