By Jeremy Richards on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 in Coral Reef
I want to use these blog to point out some common reef tank problems that can easily be avoided if you are aware of them.
Here is my line-up of common coral tank issues that can be avoided:
It is no secret that everything that grows in the wild, be it on land or underwater, grows in a manner that is most beneficial to its development and growth. Corals aren’t any different. Sadly I oftentimes encounter corals on my fish tank maintenance calls that look like they are drunk. This means instead of facing and growing up, they look like they are falling over on their face. This does not only make for a sad waste of beautiful corals, as they should face up so the owner can enjoy all of their beautiful colors and design, but eventually will lead to their premature death.
In their natural habitat corals are facing up, because the light is coming from above. If your tank or your corals are positioned incorrectly the light be be coming from the side, causing them to tilt sideways. An indicator of this phenomenon is if the polyps that are farthest away from the lightsource are started to recede and die off. As a result you don’t only have a sad looking coral, but one that may die completely, as dying polyps are often cause of bacterial infections that claim the life of the remainder of the coral.
So what should you do to prevent this problem? -Ideally you will talk to your custom tank builder during the reef tank installation process to ensure he knows what kind of tank you are looking to have and that you know how to treat your animals right.
Some tips include to position the coral right. keep in mind that a coral in its natural habitat faces up to ensure that it is exposed to the lightsource in its entity. In a reef tank this may be a bit of a challenge, but with proper knowledge of your corals and a bit of inventiveness you can ensure that your corals are positioned properly.
When positioning corals in your tank there are two things to consider; for one you want to position them in a way that you can enjoy their beauty while also positioning them in a manner that allows max exposure to the light source.
A good way to accomplish that is to position them at an angle of about 45 degree. This can be achieved by building up the level of live rock in the back which allows your coral to be “angled”. Many times, lowering the height of the entire tank helps to display the corals in their full beauty.
Some of the issues that I encounter when performing tank maintenance are common sense issues or of tank owners that have not bothered to educate themselves about the coral species they have in their tanks.
Corals like other living beings differ in their needs and habitat requirements. Some corals thrive in higher light and water flow exposure and therefore should be placed higher in your tank than those who require less of both. When you are adding new corals, be in the know about what they like; do they thrive in shallow, deep or medium water levels. As always, if you are unsure contact your Scottsdale reef tank professional to advise you. I often tell my clients that if a coral is struggling to open up, chances are the water flow is too strong, while a mucusy coral may need stronger flow. You can easily fix this by moving it closer to or farther away from a pump outlet.
Corals are living beings, I cannot emphasize this enough. If they are grouped too closely together they may sting each other (depending on the species). Oftentimes, grouping corals of the same species together can prevent or resolve the issue of them stinging each other. Likewise, you may choose to set up areas in your tank for specific types of corals: one for soft, stony and small polyp ones.
Not only do they sting each other in their attempt for domination, but they also release chemicals into the water that can prevents other corals from thriving. If you have a reef tank where one species clearly dominates, while others are not, you probably are dealing with chemical warfare among your corals.
This can be resolved by either adding or adjusting water changers, protein skimmers or using the right chemicals to counteract the chemical war among your species. If you let this go, the dominated corals may suffer from bacterial infections that appears as a milky haze on the animal. Aside from harassing corals, fish “attacks” can also be cause for the problem. You will want to take care of the problem as soon as you can and there are several methods to deal with it that range from brushing off the infection, giving the coral a freshwater bath with iodine to cutting off the affected area. Experienced tank owners may be able to cure the animal on their own, but when in doubt call for a tank expert to perform tank maintenance or rehabilitation to help you out.
Of course, there are many other things that can go wrong with your water tank. I wanted to touch on these today, because almost all of them can be resolved by the reef tank owners themselves. The top priority is to position them right and to make sure that species live harmoniously.
The Happy Fish has been performing quality Scottsdale saltwater tank installations and rehabilitations for years. We will gladly assess the health and overall condition of your tank and get it back in shape. We always welcome a challenge, so if you have a certain project in mind, contact us to discuss the details. of your custom built fish tank.
To ensure that your tank stays happy for longer, we also offer individualized maintenance programs.
Contact us today to learn more about our saltwater tank services.