22-03-2018, 19:59
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Keeping a reef aquarium is a unique task, not only because taking care of corals is difficult, but also because it is difficult to select fish which will not harm them.

When you dream of buying the most colourful fish for your marine reef aquarium, you assume they will do just fine in such an environment. Of course, in many respects you would be right, because many of the most beautiful fish live among coral reefs. However, it is not that simple, and if the choice of reef dwellers is approached unknowingly, it could be that they become a major threat to corals.

The contents of a reef aquarium

A reef tank is an aquarium in which corals and other inhabitants (invertebrates or fish) feel at ease. Corals come in different shapes, sizes and colours; some of them are very easy to look after, while others are quite complex. In fact, it's hard to find saltwater fish that are safe for corals, as many of them feed on corals.

Some popular fish species for reef aquariums are butterfly fish. However, not all of their species are safe for corals.

Butterfly Fish

Characterized by their brightly colored and beautiful shape, the butterfly fish are amongst the most beautiful marine fish you will ever come across. These fish tend to live in tropical areas, although they can also be found in the cooler waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. For the most part, however, they are found in the Indo-West Pacific region.

Butterflyfish have a graceful appearance and are as colourful as their namesake winged insects, from which they take their name. The bodies of the fish are strongly compressed, allowing them to literally glide between the rocky crevices in the coral reefs among which they live. Currently, about 120 species of butterflies have been described, but only a relatively small number of them can live in aquariums. The main problem is that some butterflies have a very specific diet, which, depending on the species, may include corals, anemones and marine invertebrates. This is the main reason why butterfly fish are problematic to keep in a reef aquarium, although there are species that are perfectly safe for corals. These include Chaetodon punctatofasciatus, Chaetodon trichrous, Chaetodon vagabundus, Heniochus acuminatus and others.

Reef aquarium keeping tips

Since reef aquariums are rather fragile ecosystems, it is important to carefully consider which fish and corals you are going to keep before setting up.

There are many different kinds of corals, but you need to remember that corals, like plants, require different lighting and nutrients - you need to pick species which are compatible with one another. You will make life much easier for yourself in the long run if you have previously investigated all the requirements for the intended reef dwellers. Once the biological equilibrium in the aquarium has been established, all you need to do is maintain the correct chemical balance of the water in the aquarium by using high quality aquarium equipment and systematic maintenance. Filtration plays a paramount role in a reef aquarium. Although some corals are able to move around, they require water flow in order to carry food and waste products. By routing the water filter outlets along the long aquarium wall, you can fulfil this requirement.


In addition to selecting the correct filter for your reef aquarium, you should also think carefully about the lighting system. The lighting in a reef aquarium also plays an important role. In addition to its main function, lighting the aquarium, the light also provides energy to support photosynthesis in the corals. Corals are usually divided into two groups based on lighting requirements - corals that are satisfied with low light levels and corals that require bright light. Choose the lighting system that suits your coral's needs, but make sure the lighting system does not overheat the tank. You may need to install an auxiliary fan for additional cooling.

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