How To Start Your Own Mini Reef Aquarium
First of all, you would need more than just a passing fancy if you want to start a mini reef tank. A mini reef tank or saltwater aquarium would entail a bit more work, advanced skills in fish keeping and a heck lot more of other specialized equipment as compared to fresh water tanks. Setting up a mini reef tank can be particularly tricky because of the very limited space available, but it can be done.
Some of the most recommended components and equipment that you would need are: the mini tank itself, oxygen generator, filtration system, sea salt mix or saltwater mix, substrates, salinity tester, supplements (calcium additives, in particular), and the pieces of coral to start the reef. Lighting is also important. For reef tanks, aquarium heaters are required to properly mimic the natural habitat of almost all of the corals that will be kept.. Because of this, you will also need a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of te water in your mini reef.
Set up your tank as instructed by the accompanying manual. Make sure that the oxygen and filtration systems are running, and that the salt level and the water temperature are constant for about a week. It is important to let the tank run on its own before you add any living creature: coral, fish, crustacean, etc. One key factor in setting up any reef tank, and in particular a smaller marine aquarium is to let the process take its time. The animals added to a reef are sensitive to small changes in their environment and will not be healthy if they are added too quickly.
It would also be wise to acquire corals and “living” rocks, and other salt water creatures from reputable dealers. These would have been treated or raised in sterile environments and are bound to thrive in artificial reefs better than the ones harvested straight from the seas or oceans. Buying corals that were artificially propagated also helps prevent poaching from the wild.
Constant and dedicated monitoring for the ideal living conditions is the real key to keeping a successful reef in a mini aquarium.