aquarium reef tanks

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Learn all about coral tanks, reef tanks and aquariums!

A reef tank or reef aquarium is considered to be one of the most difficult aquarium setups to create and maintain. In recent years, advancements in our knowledge of the reef, coupled with more refined reef maintenance techniques, the reef tank has become much more accessible to the hobbiest.

From theme reefs which attempt to recreate life specific to one region of the world like the Great Barrier Reef to the more prevalent and often spectacularly colored mixed reef that blend hard and soft coral from around the world.

Unlike the marine aquarium which main purpose is to house various fish, the true stars of the reef tank are the coral and other invertebrates.

Water exits the tank on an overflow system at the the top of the tank. Then, it passes through a pre-filter pad that traps the large particles of debri and is plumbed down to the wet-dry filter.

The standard wet-dry filter utilizes bio-media, such as bio-balls that are within the filter. The whole idea of the bio-balls is that they offer a great amount of surface area for bacterias to adhere to, as well as, allow oxygen down into the media.

The increased amount of oxygen being exposed to, in combination with the thin sheets of organic laden water moving over, the bacterias allows for a far more effective bacteria. Keep in mind that, that is the amount of oxygen that allows the bacteria to oxidize waste. The wet-dry filter is extremely effective in converting ammonias ( NH4 ) and ntitrites ( NO2 ) into the lesser toxic form of nitrate ( NO3 ).

Aiding the filtration process is a protien skimmer or foam fractionator. Essentially a protien skimmer helps to remove compounds from the water using heavy aeration to drive organics out of the water thus lessening what the bacterias need to deal with.

In the tank, at the bottom, is a layer of sand or gravel approximately 1" deep. This represents the ocean floor. Placed upon the sand bottom is the live rock. The live rock forms the foundation which the living corals are placed upon.