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Dirty_habiT

🐟🐠🐡 Everything Marine 🐟🐠🐡 Saltwater Fish, Coral, etc. 🐟🐠🐡

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Hello fellow amateur marine biologists.  I'm starting this discussion today to teach you guys and girls how you, too, can have the beauty of ocean life in your home.  We will go over the equipment needed, some common terms, some warnings, and some best practices.  Let's get right into it.

 

Common terms:

  • DT/Display Tank - This is your living masterpiece that you put on the wall where most people would put their big screen tv.  This is where you keep your best corals and your best fish.  This is where you build an amazing aquascape.
  • QT/Quarantine Tank - Think of this like your fish hospital or the holding cell for fish/corals before they go to the big jail (the display tank).  The QT is one of the most often skipped items by new aquarium enthusiasts and I can tell you from personal experience that you WILL PAY for not having one later.  You probably should start out with both a QT and a DT if you're getting into the hobby but plenty of people get away with not having a QT.  I'll get into that more later.
  • Aquascape - The structure you build out of live rock to make a ocean-bottom-like home for your corals and fish.
  • Live Rock - Made up of coral skeleton (mainly calcium).  This is the rock material that people most often associate with the word "coral".  This is the "coral" that cuts up surfers that fall on it.  It can be extremely sharp.  It is the remains of a dead living animal much like people have skeletons that are left behind after their flesh is gone.  Live rock is used to build structure in the home aquarium so that you can populate it with new coral.  Live rock is also what makes the structure of the reef in the oceans.  All of it is dead coral making a nice base for new, alive coral to grow on and live.  It is very porous and also serves as a home for the bacteria that are necessary for marine life to survive.
  • Bacteria/Biofilter - In the ocean there are bacteria that consume the waste matter in the ocean.  This is mainly ammonia from fish and other animal pee, but it can be other things to.  The point is, there is LIVING bacteria in the water column that consumes/converts waste.  This is one of the major differences from fresh water aquariums that do not have bacteria that do this.
  • ATO - Automatic Top Off.  This is a level sensor and a pump.  Your water evaporates out of your aquarium but the salt does not.  This means that if you do not top the aquarium off with fresh water, as the water level goes down from evaporation the salinity in the tank goes up.... because salt doesn't evaporate.  An ATO pumps water automatically into the tank to make sure the tank always stays at the same level/salinity so that the aquarium owner does not have to monitor this and do it manually.
  • Clean Up Crew - There are many animals that make up members of the cleanup crew.  Common ones are snails, urchins, star fish, and bristle worms.  These are your reef janitors.  In the ocean they eat junk that is left over from various things happening.  These things include a shark tearing a fish up and small bits of fish flesh floating to the bottom of the sand.  Usually a member of the marine janitorial community will be along soon to eat this piece of fish meat before it "rots" away and is consumed by the oceans bacteria.  They also eat algae and will clean your glass for you.
  • Frag - A term used to describe a piece of a live coral.  When people grow coral, they usually cut pieces of it off and sell it or give it away to other aquarium owners to continue the propagation of the coral or to make money.  Think of it like getting a leaf cutting from your neighbor's apple tree so that you can clone it and grow your own apple tree.  When you buy coral from a shop or another person you are typically buying a frag of their coral and that just means it's a small piece that was cut from a larger "mother colony".
  • Zooxanthellae - this is a very special type of algae that forms a symbiotic relationship with coral and gives most corals their wonderful colors.  It is a photosynthetic algae so it takes sunlight and produces sugars that are in turn used to keep itself and the coral alive.  When corals "bleach" the "meat" part of the coral expels the zooxanthellae algae into the water column/ocean and this typically marks the impending demise of the coral.  Once photosynthesis stops providing sugars for the "meat" part of the the coral it is left up to only being able to grab pieces of food from the water column with it's tentacles.  Once bleached they usually cannot survive much longer and will die.
  • Bleaching - As mentioned above, this is the expulsion of the algae that provides sugars to the coral via photosynthesis.  If corals bleach in the wild it usually means they're going to die soon.  Many things can cause a coral to get rid of it's zoox algae including temperature changes, salinity changes, alkalinity changes, pollution, etc.  Basically ANYTHING that upsets the normal water that the coral is used to  can cause it to bleach and die.  They are incredibly sensitive to environmental changes.  Some are much more than others.
  • SPS - Stony corals, these are most often the kind you see that look like antlers in the ocean.  The polyps or "meat" parts of the coral are typically very small in SPS corals.  SPS corals are considered "expert" level corals because they are incredibly picky about what they will live in. They die very easily if upset in any way.
  • LPS - Soft corals.  These still have a calcium skeleton but the "meat" part of the coral is usually much larger.  These corals are typically much more hearty, and in my opinion cooler to look at because they have a huge variety of shapes/sizes.  They are easier to care for and way less picky in most cases than SPS about water quality.
  • NPS - Non Photosynthetic corls.  These do not have Zoox algae and rely ONLY upon eating food with their tentacles/mouths.  These are specialist corals and should only be purchased/kept by someone that is a high level expert in the hobby or scientific field.  They typically have to be hand fed multiple times a day to survive.

 

I will add more to this list and bump the thread when I do so people can know to check back..... I will also date the changes so you can easily tell what has been changed.  That's all I will type for now..... but stay tuned because we'll get into the fun stuff soon.


 

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I’m all about this fish thread, I know a lot about freshwater and could contribute on that front Currently growing out 11 juvenile Burundi frontosa in a 55 gal trying to get a pair. Probably sell the sub dominate males. Going to be getting into saltwater this year. I have a 10 gallon spare that I could do a pistol shrimp cause I really want on of those, and it could become my qt. 

 

You ever watch Ohio Fish Rescue on the youtube?

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 I think when the kids get older we might move up to a bigger aquarium and possibly a small reef set up.

 

Currently just got the goldfish and lost my shubunkin last week to swim bladder issues I believe ( bit of googling and monitoring for a few days suggested this but in the end it was no use.

 

post some more ;pictures of your set up

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I used to have some cichlids and plecos with ghost shrimp. Became too much to keep up with though. 

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I don't care.... I like fishing but I don't want to kill fish, clean them, or eat them.  I just do catch/release.  I'm fine with buying ethically sourced fish from the stores.  I fish more as a thing to do to b.s. with friends.

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I love this thread already @Dirty_habiT I want to grow up to be a marine biologist some day.  I used to have a small fresh water tank that I filled up with rocks I found from New Mexico and a couple of glow fish and snails, but that was years ago.  I mostly enjoy aquatic habitats by scuba diving ( which I am lucky enough to be able to do at such a young age).  I love this thread, keep up the great work @Dirty_habiT.  I would love to see aquarium pictures too.

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