5 Absolute Essentials for a Healthy Reef Aquarium

A reef aquarium may be a sublime thing to look at, but it’s not for nothing — it takes a fair amount of work, commitment, and maintenance to keep an aquarium a clean and healthy place.

If you’re considering starting your own saltwater aquarium for your home, there are a few essentials you’ll need to have on hand to ensure it’s a pristine environment, one that your prized aquatic friends will thrive in.

Here are some of the most important things to invest in for your reef aquarium.

1. A Protein Skimmer

This device is essential to the quality of your aquarium system water. A protein skimmer removes all dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) from the water, which is then processed by a biological filter.

A skimmer may not be an absolutely essential item, but it really helps to lighten the load from your biological filter. This makes your aquarium a more hospitable place for larger fish and even some invertebrates.

Along with a protein skimmer, you’ll need also need an air pump and air stones. These items are essential for removing air bubbles from your tank which usually cause salt creep.

2. Additives and Supplements for Biodiversity

It’s no secret that biodiversity is the key to many healthy environments in which a multitude of creatures survive. Your reef aquarium is no different. To keep biodiversity in check, you need to add calcium, also called limewater or kalkwasser to your tank. A good base for your tank is copepods, too — check it out for more.

If you’re keeping live coral in your tank, you want to add a protein supplement to keep them in good shape. Iodine is also a good supplement for small crabs and other crustaceans in your aquarium.

3. An Adequate Powerhead

Another key element to a healthy environment for your fish is the circulation of water. Whether it’s a freshwater or saltwater fish tank, water circulation is key. Depending on the size of your reef aquarium, you want to make sure you invest in a good size powerhead to ensure healthy water circulation.

4. Live Rock and Substrate

Substrate is the material that sits at the bottom of a fish tank. But really, it’s so much more than that. It also acts as part of your tank’s biological filtration system. Make sure to choose a substrate with enough surface area and porosity. If your tank has a fair amount of current, you also want a substrate that’s heavy enough to stay in place.

Live rock is yet another crucial element of your marine environment. It’s an important part of the territorial nature of your fish and also provides shelter for them. Essentially, live rock provides a place to eat, sleep, hide, and avoid aggression from other fish.

5. A Hydrometer and Thermometers

A hydrometer is important to ensure that your reef aquarium is salty enough for your fish. It’s also referred to as a salinity tester and measures the gravity of salt in your water so that you can ensure it’s at the right density.

Whether you’re creating a large or small aquarium, you want to invest in a thermometer to keep the water at an adequate temperature, too. For a small aquarium, you only need one heater. For a larger system, you’ll need multiple units. You can find stick-on or floating digital thermometers for this function.

The Ultimate Pet Lover’s Guide

If this is your first time establishing a reef aquarium, it’s best to start off small. Once you have got the hang of maintaining the environment (and keeping your fish alive!), you can expand your horizons.

If you’re a passionate pet lover and looking for advice on raising healthy pets, be sure to explore the rest of this site for more.