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Cycling Your Tank

Dec 11 2002 04:00 PM | Christopher Marks in Beginners Articles

Every new nano reef must first go through a process that is referred to as "cycling." This involves the creation and growth of the biological filtration that will keep your system alive. The nitrogen cycle will be the most painful waiting period you will have to endure with your new nano reef, but it is vital that the cycle is allowed to complete.
 
The process begins with the conversion of solid wastes put into the system by fish, into ammonia. In a cycled system there are bacteria known as nitrifiers that transform the toxic ammonia into less toxic products. The ammonia is transformed into nitrites which are then converted into nitrates. Nitrate removal is done via the weekly partial water changes of 10-20%.

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Surviving Extended Power Outages

Apr 07 2009 10:00 AM | Christopher Marks in Advanced Articles

This past summer many residents of the Southern United States were affected by hurricane activity, myself included. I was forced to evacuate twice, leaving my large aquariums behind, and was without power in my place of refuge 120 miles from the coast after hurricane Ike. I was able to bring both of my nano reef aquariums with me during the evacuation, and worked hard to help everything survive two weeks without power. I'd like to share how I accomplished this and what I learned. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and apply these techniques, whether your power outage lasts two hours or two weeks!

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Shipping Coral Frags

Dec 15 2002 04:20 PM | Christopher Marks in Livestock Articles

One of the greatest ways to help your nano reef grow, without spending a lot of money, is to trade coral fragments or cuttings with other reef keepers. This article will focus on some good techniques and guidelines to follow when shipping your frags to their future home.
 
The most important part in shipping is having the correct packaging. Boxes made for shipping livestock are typically a thick styrofoam container with a double wall cardboard box that fits snugly around it. The best place to get one is from your local fish store. Many stores will hang on to a few that they get from their livestock shipments, and will typically give them away for free. Mail order livestock will also arrive in these boxes, so be sure to hang on to them. The actual coral frags will need to be placed in thick plastic bags, which you can also get from your local fish store, and positioned in the box. Keep all the bags packed tightly in place to ensure that nothing will move during transit. If you have empty space in your box, fill it with newspaper or bubble wrap to prevent tipping. Once your bags are properly arranged in the styrofoam container, seal it with packaging tape and slip it into the box. Seal the box also to prevent heat loss.

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Reef Tank Pests

Mar 31 2003 12:31 PM | Christopher Marks in Livestock Articles

As our nano reefs progress over time a few new corals, fish, cleanup crews, and liverock are typically added to our systems. But sometimes we get more than we bargained for - pests. Commonly called hitch hikers, most reef aquarium pests come along with livestock added to the tank. Other reef tank pests appear when there is an issue with water quality. Worms, algae, anemones, crabs, and shrimp are the most commonly seen aquarium pests.

Aptasia (Glass Anemones, Rock Anemones)
Aptasia anemones can pose a serious threat to your nano reef if left to spread. They sting or kill other corals around them, and reproduce rapidly. The sooner aptasia is removed the better your chances are of erradicating them. It is absolutely vital that these do not go unattended.
 
The most successful method of removing aptasia is by injecting them. Using a syringe, inject each anemone with a concentrated solution of kalkwasser [Calcium Hydroxide, Limewater]. However, if you have a large population of aptasia and your tank is under 10 gallons, this method may cause too much of a calcium change. The secondary solution is to use very hot - near boiling - water. If successful, the anemones will shrivel up and die within a day or two. If you do not have luck the first time, repeat the process until they go away. Be sure to move quickly or else the anemone will retract.
 
Posted Image Posted Image

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Clean Up Crews

Apr 03 2010 10:35 AM | jeremai in Livestock Articles

Often the first creatures added to a new tank are members of the clean-​​up crew. These small inverts are supposed to serve the purpose of ‘cleaning’ the tank of algae, leftover food and detritus, making the reefkeeper’s maintenance chores a little easier to manage.
 
The new aquarist, anxious about stocking a tank yet excited to see some signs of life, often goes overboard with their first crew. Hermit crabs, along with a host of other creatures commonly included in clean-​​up crew packages, are not only unnecessarily destructive, but their intended use can better be served by other, more docile inverts, like snails. Place the two in the same tank, however, and any hobbyist will tell you that the hermits invariably end up wearing the snails as homes.

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How To Glue Coral Frags

Mar 05 2008 01:28 PM | StevieT in Livestock Articles

The goal of this article is to instruct all of those new to the hobby, or who do not yet know, how to securely attach frags in your aquarium. I see so many posts on the message board every week regarding this subject. These are my methods, all taken from ideas of other members. I have used this method for almost every coral in my tank. They are all hermit and snail proof, yet still removable if you need to re-aquascape.
 
This method will cure underwater, meaning there is no reason to remove the live rock from the display. Below are pictures showing how to secure a frag that has grown over a plug. This will also work if you have a frag attached to a piece of rubble. For attaching single polyps after a fragging, you would only need to use super glue gel, skipping the putty stage. I hope this can clear up this easy but heavily asked subject.

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Natural Filtration

Dec 05 2002 12:00 PM | Christopher Marks in Beginners Articles

The methods used to maintain a nano reef can vary greatly throughout the hobby. The methods described below are what I have found to work best in maintaining a successful nano reef. Simplicity is the key in nano reef keeping; inexpensive and easy to follow. This is of course by no means the only way to keep a nano reef. I will try to best explain everything, but should you have any further questions with this, please search existing topics or start a new topic on the forums.
 
The natural method of filtration consists of only liverock and livesand. No protein skimmers are used and no additives are dosed. The nutrient export is provided by frequent partial water changes of 10-15% about every week. Trace elements are replenished through water changes.

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Animals To Avoid

Dec 27 2002 10:30 AM | Christopher Marks in Livestock Articles

As a nano reef hobbyist, you must realize that a nano reef does have certain limitations as to what can be healthily kept within it. There are certain corals, invertebrates, and fish that should not be kept in a nano reef, due to their instincts, size, habits, or quick growth. The following are some more common items that hobbyists should not keep in their nano reef. Please keep in mind that this does not include all things that should be avoided. Even though some of these animals might be able to live in a nano reef environments, it is our responsibility as hobbyists to give them the best environment possible for their well being.

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Live Rock Selection

Jan 15 2003 12:00 PM | Christopher Marks in Livestock Articles

Choosing the right live rock for your nano reef is very important. It will be your main source of biological filtration, and will create the entire look for your nano reef. There are many different types of live rock to choose from, but all will do the same thing. When looking for sizes that suit a nano reef, many people will use just one large, nice piece, or lots of small 'rubble' pieces and build it up. There are three main types of live rock available to the hobby today; Pacific, Atlantic, and Aquacultured. The following will help you know what to look for as you select the right live rock for your needs.

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Water Changes

Dec 11 2002 11:25 AM | Christopher Marks in Beginners Articles

A vital maintenance procedure in nano reef keeping is doing partial water changes on a regular basis. Roughly 10-15% should be changed each week. One must be very careful during this process because any error could potentially harm the reef. But don't let that scare you, it's a rather simple process. There are different water source options, and three main things to check your water for before you add it to the tank.

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