I’ve added this new category of FAQ’s to address some of the queries that are apparent from the search key phrases I see when I take a look at the statistics for Reef Ramblings. In this way I hope to answer some of the questions relating to Reefkeeping, aquarium hardware, etc. that aren’t already being covered within the existing articles posted at Reef Ramblings.
“differences between hydor seltz and pico pump”
The Pico Evolution range of pumps consists of a number of very small “powerhead” style pumps that are only suitable for use in submerged applications.
Hydor Seltz pumps are larger, multi-purpose pumps, that can be used submerged or outside of the aquarium.
The Hydor Seltz L40 is particularly well suited for use as a circulation pump when running a sump in conjunction with the aquarium.
“koralia 1 noise”
Noise from a Koralia 1 is usually as a consequence of vibration, where either the pump (or lead) is reverberating against some other object in, or in the vicinity of, the aquarium.
Occasionally the odd Koralia seems to produce noise when first installed but in nearly all cases this noise diminishes to nothing over time as the shaft and propeller bed in.
“do hydor koralia water pumps need the wavemaker to run?”
There are 2 separate ranges of Hydor Koralia pumps, mains pumps – 230v/50hz, and low voltage pumps – 12v.
The low voltage 12v Koralia range can only be run in conjunction with a Hydor low voltage pump controller, either a Koralia Wavemaker 2 (runs up to 2 – 12v Koralia pumps) or a Koralia Wavemaker 4 (runs up to 4 – 12v Koralia pumps).
Mains Koralia pumps (230v/50hz) cannot be run in conjunction with a Hydor low voltage pump controller. They are simply plugged into a mains socket.
Mains Koralias should not be run with any form of interval timer, doing so will shorten the life of the pump. Stopping and starting a Koralia may also result in the death of any fishes, such as Blennies, that are unfortunate enough to settle inside the pump while it is turned off (Sushi anyone?).
Note: the 12v system is designed so that the propeller never stops, preventing the scenario described above.
“introducing copepods marine aquarium”
As with all animals that you add to a marine or reef aquarium you should ensure that water parameters are equalised before you add your copepods to your tank.
Firstly, float the container of ‘pods in the tank for at least 15 minutes to equalise water temperature.
Secondly, check the salinity of both tank and ‘pods to check that there’s no significant difference between the two. If there is a difference in salinity gradually add tank water to the ‘pods until the salinity is roughly equal to that of the tank.
Given the different species of ‘pods available and the different conditions under which they are cultured, be prepared to find copepods raised under a variety water parameters.
To make best use of your ‘pods add them into a low flow area of your refugium. Many ‘pods can stay attached to the inside of the container so I’d recommend rinsing it out with tank water and pouring the water back into the refugium to make sure all the ‘pods end up in your tank.
I’d also suggest resting your newly purchased copepods before introducing them to your system. Find somewhere at room temperature where you can place your container of ‘pods. Ensuring that the container is safe from being knocked over, take the top off and add 1 ml of DT’s live marine phytoplankton. Observe your culture to make sure that the ‘pods are active, and then add them once the water has lost its green tint.
“reef copepods size?”
In nature copepods can be found as small as 20 microns in length up to the giants of the genus which can be as long as 10 millimetres. Most species probably average out to an adult length of 1 to 2 mm.
The size of copepods used in the reef aquarium hobby varies with species. DT’s Live Marine Copepods are a fairly small species with an adult size of around 900 micron (just under 1 millimeter). Tigriopus species, of which there are at least 2 species currently available, may have an adult size of up to 2.5 mm.
As all these ‘pods all go through 6 different nauplii stages and 6 different copepodid stages, any culture or tank population will have individual organisms of a number of different sizes, depending on their stage of development, ranging from perhaps 10s of microns to adult size.
“white build up main pump reef tank”
A build up of a hard, white crust can occur on, or in, any pumps utilised in the reef aquarium. This white crust or build up is actually made up of Calcium Carbonate, the same mineral that corals use to build their hard skeleton. It’s important to remember that pumps are not maintenance free and that they need to be cleaned periodically to ensure that they continue to work correctly.
Carefully strip down any pump showing a Calcium Carbonate build up, soak the affected components in white vinegar until the white crust can be easily cleaned off. I’d suggest using an old toothbrush for this job. Rinse the components in freshwater to remove any trace of vinegar before re-assembling and placing the pump back in your reef.
Many other items of aquarium hardware can be similarly affected, often to the detriment of their function or their operating life, heaters in particular, so it’s well worth cleaning off calcium deposits seen on any item of electrical equipment.
“does the live rock in a aquarium have to be tied together”
Live rock in a reef aquarium doesn’t necessarily need to be tied together but it must be stable enough so that none of the aquarium’s inhabitants can undermine or dislodge the rockwork. Tying rock together (usually with nylon electrical cable ties) enables you to build interesting structures in your reef, rather than just ending up with the more usual wall of rock leaning against the rear wall of the aquarium.
If you combine plastic piping, of the sort used for plumbing aquariums, with tying rock with cable ties and perhaps a little drilling, you can fashion structurally safe, vertical columns with ease.
Make sure your rock is sitting on a stable base, ReefresH2O plates are useful for this, and not just on sand. Rocks merely placed on sand can be easily undermined by animals that tunnel, leading to the possibility of an avalanche and, at the least, the inconvenience of having to rebuild the reefscape, at worst the deaths of tank inhabitants or perhaps even a smashed tank and a wet floor.
When placing rock on rock, test each placement to make sure it can’t be easily displaced and that, ideally, the centre of gravity of each piece of rock is working to lock the structure together. With experience you’ll get a feel for this and soon find that putting rockwork together is like a 3D jigsaw, some pieces just don’t feel right whereas others will slot into place as though they were designed to fit together. Every step of the build check that the rockwork is firm and stable. Bear in mind that some reef inhabitants, such as urchins, can be veritable bulldozers in the aquarium and have the capacity to displace poorly placed rockwork.
“what is the ideal salinity to keep lps corals only”
As with all marine organisms it’s best to stick with a salinity of 35 ppt unless you know that the animal has been collected from an area where the salinity differs from what we take as the norm. Examples here being animals collected from the Red Sea with its higher salinity, or when animals that have been collected from the vicinity of an estuarine environment where the salinity may be lower.
When altering the salinity of an LPS coral it’s worth making the change gradually. Bear in mind that many species of LPS can expand to considerable size compared to when they are deflated and that this expansion is facilitated by taking in water.
“dt’s plankton 7.5oz uk”
The 7.5 oz size of DT’s Phytoplankton was replaced by with a 5.5 oz size with the introduction of the new improved bottles. For more see: The UK’s Best Selling Phytoplankton Has Just Got Even Better!
“how often do i clean filter floss in external filter nano”
Regardless of aquarium size, mechanical filtration media such as filter floss or filter socks should be cleaned, at the very least, on a weekly basis. There’s little or no biological activity occurring on mechanical filtration media, it’s just there to collect detritus. If the detritus is left on the media it will start to decompose, leaching unwanted excess nutrients into the water.
Simply back wash your mechanical filtration media under a fast flowing cold water tap to flush away detritus. Once the media gets to the stage of being permanently stained, perhaps blocking up more quickly, then that’s the time to replace it with new.
“reef aquarium and direct sunlight”
A reef aquarium under direct sunlight should be a beautiful sight, after all that’s the natural form of lighting under which fishes and corals have evolved. Having said that it’s worth remembering a couple of potential drawbacks to direct sunlight: temperature and algae growth.
The big problem is solar gain, the increase in temperature resulting from solar radiation. It’s essential to manage any increase in temperature with some means of cooling, this can be done with a chiller or with fans or even a room air conditioner.
Algae growth isn’t strictly caused by direct sunlight, rather it occurs as a result of high nutrient levels i.e. nitrate and phosphates.
If your reef is subject to direct sunlight keep an eye on the temperature, ensure your nitrate and phosphate levels remain under control, say nitrate less than 5 ppm and phosphates as near undetectable as possible, and enjoy the sight of your corals flourishing under their favourite form of lighting.
“phytoplankton shelf life”
Phytoplankton shelf life varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Professionally produced phytoplankton is often labelled up with a “best by” date that’s 3 months from harvest. DT’s Phytoplankton is exceptional in having a “best by” date that’s 5 months from harvest.
Phytoplankton produced in small quantities by amateurs i.e. the home cultured product from your local aquatic shop will vary widely in shelf life depending on the knowledge and competence of the producer – poor quality phyto of undetermined species may have a shelf life measured in days, whereas phyto produced by someone with knowledge and meticulous attention to culture procedures may have a shelf life close to that of a professionally produced product.
Note: Shelf life isn’t the most important thing you should be concerned with when it comes to phytoplankton, if you’re feeding enough phyto to have a meaningful effect on your reef, it’s doubtful that shelf life of professional products is of any importance as you’ll finish the bottle before it goes out out of date.
More important factors to be taken into consideration are density and cleanliness.
Professionally produced phytoplankton is concentrated to increase the number of plankton cells per millilitre so less is required compared to a non-concentrated product.
Phytoplankton is grown in culture media containing; nutrients (nitrates and phosphates), vitamins, ferric chloride, EDTA, cobalt chloride, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese chloride, and sodium molybdate. These are all nutrients that, if added to you reef, have the potential to fuel outbreaks of pest algae.
A professional product such as DT’s utilizes a cell washing procedure to remove the nutrients and metals necessary to grow phytoplankton, preventing any deleterious effect from excess, unwanted nutrients being introduced into the aquarium.
“can you use an external canister filter on a reef aquarium”
The use of external canister filters isn’t generally considered appropriate when it comes to the reef aquarium.
This is down to the fact that conventional man-made biological is fine for processing the first couple of steps of the nitrogen cycle, Ammonia to Nitrite, Nitrite to Nitrate, but ends there with the production of Nitrate.
The natural biological filtration that occurs with the use of live rock completes the nitrogen cycle, Ammonia to Nitrite, Nitrite to Nitrate, Nitrate to Nitrogen gas.
We don’t want excessive levels of Nitrate in the reef aquarium as, along with Phosphate, it acts as fertiliser for unwanted pest algae.
Additionally high levels of Nitrate may interfere with the process of calcification.
Running a canister filter for biological filtration along side live rock can lead to the production of Nitrate at a rate that the live rock is unable to cope with, leading to the aforementioned pest algae problem.
Best use of an external canister is as a chemical media reactor containing carbon and / or phosphate removal media.
If used in this manner ensure that any mechanical media is cleaned regularly and that the chemical media is changed regularly. Left unattended an external chemical media will turn into a biological filter and you’re back to square one.