You’ve set up your coral reef tank and it looks spectacular. But don’t rest on your laurels – you need to keep on top of daily and weekly maintenance to make sure it stays that way.
Many aquarium hobbyists agree that setting up an aquarium is the hardest part – once you have all of the equipment up and running, maintenance is fairly simple. However, certain types of aquarium require more maintenance than others. Reef tanks, for example, require daily care and maintenance if you want your inhabitants to thrive. To ensure your coral reef tank thrives, here’s the daily and weekly maintenance you need to schedule.
Daily Reef Tank Maintenance Tasks
There are two main things you should do every day as part of your reef tank maintenance – feeding and observation. Depending what type of fish you have in your reef tank (if you have any at all), you will need to come up with a feeding schedule to ensure that your fish get a healthy, varied diet.
Related: What are the Most Attractive Corals for a Reef Tank?
Most days you will be feeding your fish a staple diet of commercial foods but you should supplement that diet several times a week with fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried foods for variation. Keep in mind that different species of fish have different dietary requirements (such as herbivores versus carnivores), so do your research to determine what foods your fish need.
In addition to feeding your fish, you may also need to feed corals and reef tank invertebrates. Many corals feed on algae and various microorganisms that they filter out of the tank water but some corals will require supplemental feeding.
As you are feeding your fish and other tank inhabitants, you should also be observing them, looking for potential signs of illness. If you notice any of your fish acting strangely, remove them immediately to a quarantine tank to prevent the spread of disease. The more time you spend observing you reef tank inhabitants, the more you will get a feel for their natural behavior. This will make it easier for you to spot changes in their behavior or condition.
Related: Top 5 Low Light Corals for a Beginner Reef Tank
Weekly Maintenance Tasks for Reef Tanks
While your daily maintenance tasks will have the biggest impact on the health and wellness of your reef tank inhabitants, there are certain weekly maintenance tasks which should not be disregarded. For example, you should test your tank water once a week to make sure that the parameters are all in line. Test things like the pH level in your tank as well as the water hardness, salinity, and levels for toxic substances like ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Keep a journal of your test results so you can determine the baseline of your tank – this will make it easier for you to spot fluctuations. After completing your water test, you may also need to top off your tank with fresh seawater to account for evaporation.
Aside from these daily and weekly maintenance tasks, you should also plan to perform a 20 percent water change at least every two weeks – you also have the option of performing a smaller 10 percent change once a week.
Clean your tank equipment every two to three months, rotating the schedule so that you only clean one item at a time – if you clean them all together you could end up killing the beneficial bacteria in your tank that help to maintain the nitrogen cycle.
If you think there’s something fishy about Kate Barrington, it’s because she’s been a lifelong lover of pets, particularly aquarium fish. Since receiving her first 10-gallon tank as a birthday present in 5th grade, she has become an avid aquarium enthusiast as well as a freelance writer specializing in the aquarium niche. Kate is a regular contributor to several aquarium fish websites and has a column in a bi-monthly pet magazine.