Maintaining Marine Reef Aquarium
Important Aspects in Maintaining a Marine Reef Aquarium
There is something fascinating and relaxing in having an aquarium in a home. Like a fireplace’s warm glow and bright colors, the colors that are emitted from an aquarium can be just as warm and even more colorful. From the slow and graceful movement of the fish to the frantic feeding frenzy, an aquarium is different each time it is viewed.
Although a freshwater tank can be full or color, it does not come close to the fiery colors that are present in a marine aquarium. Unfortunately, all the color and life that a marine aquarium holds is much more fragile and not as easy to keep as a freshwater tank. Therefore, the marine aquarium requires a plethora of devices working together and at optimum levels to maintain a successful tank. Items like protein skimmers, ultraviolet filters, sump filters, reverse osmosis units, and even wave-makers are just a few of the devices that are required to properly maintain a marine aquarium. With the exception to a properly constructed tank, nothing is as important to the marine aquarium as the water within the tank and the lighting given its inhabitants.
Since water is the medium that the aquarium inhabitants must live in, it is the most vital component in any tank. The quality of the water used will directly effect how successful the aquarium is. The chemical balance of the water must be watched closely. If the salt content varies too much, or harmful chemicals build up, the water will kill the inhabitants of the tank.
Since fresh pure sea water is not readily accessible, the easiest water source for the majority of hobbyists is the faucet. However, the tap water that comes from the local water treatment plants may be safe for human consumption but is most likely toxic to marine life. Water treatment plants remove most of the harmful chemicals, but the water delivered is anything but pure. Often this tap water contains high levels of phosphates and nitrates that can be harmful to aquarium inhabitants. Also, copper may leach from pipes, and it is deadly to marine invertebrates (Goldstein 8). This leaves very few options for water to the hobbyist. One of the last, and probably the best option for obtaining a pure water source is by using reverse osmosis water.
Reverse osmosis is a process of filtering out pollutants from water to create a purer form. Mr. Dakin who has written several books on maintaining a reef aquarium describes osmosis in his book as “a natural process by which selective molecules in an aqueous solution can be pass through a semi-permeable membrane, while the movement of other molecules due to size, shape or other reasons is restricted” (20). Once water has been allowed to flow through this membrane, purer water can be collected from the output of the filter. Once enough of this water is collected, the hobbyist can fill the aquarium and begin to plan on his or her next...