aquarium reef tanks

Filtration

Sub Title

Unlike the marine aquarium that use a combination of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, reef aquariums primary filtration comes from the use of large amounts of live rock which come from various rubble zones around existing reefs or more recently aquacultured rock from Florida which is supplemented by powerful protein skimmers. This method first came from Germany and is aptly termed the Berlin Method.

The typical rule of thumb is to use from .75 to 2 pounds of live rock per gallon of aquarium water depending on the density of the rock – or filling the tank up 2/3 of the way to the top. The benefit of using live rock is three fold: First, live rock acts as a biological filter. Secondly, it introduces an abundance of marine life to the aquarium that many fish, invertebrates and corals use for food. And thirdly, it provides a natural reef appearance with ample places to locate corals.

Mechanical filtration is often avoided because sponge filters, filter floss and filter socks trap detritus and produces nitrates which stunt the growth or even kill many delicate corals. Chemical filtration is used sparingly so to avoid discoloration of the water, to remove dissolved matter (organic or otherwise) and to help stabilize the reef system.