Video:How to Add Coral to a Salt Aquariumwith Jonathan Wolf
Adding coral to a salt water aquarium isn't as simple as buying it and dropping it in the water. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered. Here are instructions on how to add coral to a salt aquarium.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Add Coral to a Salt AquariumHi, I'm Jonathan Wolf with Blue Planet Aquarium Services in Chicago, Illinois, for About.com. In today's video, we're going to discuss adding live coral to your reef aquarium.
Materials for Adding Coral to a Salt AquariumItems you'll need for adding coral to your aquarium: live coral you've purchased, a coral dip, and coral epoxy. There are several places to buy live coral for your aquarium. There are online marketplaces, retail shops, and even 'swaps' where people will swap fragments of coral at very affordable prices. After the nitrogen cycle: So you're new aquarium has gone through its nitrogen cycle, and all the ammonia in the tank has been consumed by nitrifying bacteria. You're now safe to start adding coral. However, the corals that you'll be adding will generate some ammonia, and there is truly only enough bacteria to consume the ammonia given off by the live rock in the tank, so we do want to start slowly and add some specifically hardy corals in the beginning that might withstand any bumps in ammonia.
When to Add CoralCorals that are good to add first after the nitrogen cycle are mushrooms or polyps. These guys are specifically very hardy and easy to take care of corals. They generate some ammonia, so after they've been added, it's safe to test, see if there's any ammonia and then we can move on to other corals. Next are soft corals. Soft corals are of wide variety – they really add some impact to the reef and, again, are very hardy and easy to take care of. Lastly, hard corals, such as the LPS or SPS – large polyp stonies, short polyp stonies – are good to add last, after we're confident that our water chemistry is best – same as clams. Crabs, snails and fish will generate much more ammonia than corals. They're best to add a little bit later, after we're completely confident the nitrogen cycle is over and we have enough nitrifying bacteria to stabilize the aquarium.
Test the Water in the Salt AquariumMy recommendation before adding coral at any time in the life of your aquarium – do a water test first. If there's any ammonia or nitrite present, or if there are any water chemistry perimeters that need to be manipulated, do it before bringing a coral home. It will be tough to resist adding fish to your new aquarium; however, since they generate quite a bit of ammonia, it is a good idea to add some corals before adding them. Coral dips: Coral dips are a great idea when adding coral to your aquarium. Hitchhikers such as red bugs, flat worms, which eat corals, parasites, bristle worms, etc. can cause full infestations in your aquarium, which you don't want to get into. There are numerous different types of coral dips on the market – so follow the instructions carefully, as a wrong dose can be fatal.
Placement of the Coral in the Salt AquariumKeep in mind – corals are very aggressive. Many times they will sting each other, so when placing them in the tank, make sure they not only have room for full polyp extension when the lights are on, but they also have room to grow. It's always a good idea to keep in mind that different corals will have different light requirements in the aquarium. Some corals will prefer high lights, low light, or medium light. Make sure corals are being placed in the appropriate spot. Epoxies: It's a good idea to use an epoxy when placing your corals into the aquarium. These corals, by in large, are growing in one place their entire life and are not used to being shifted around, bumped by fish, or face down in the gravel. So, liquid epoxies or two-part meeting epoxies are always a good idea to stabilize your reef aquarium.
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