Live Coral for Beginners

It’s possible to maintain a beautiful reef aquarium with nothing but live coral; you really don’t need fish to create a colorful and lively environment.  Before you start looking at all the live coral for sale, though, it’s important to learn a few things about this fascinating animal and find out which varieties are better for beginners.  It’s also good to learn about the species of saltwater fish such as the Golden Butterfly that are known to nip at sessile invertebrates including coral and tridacnid clams.  There is no reason you can’t combine fish and coral but you must know which varieties are compatible with one another before putting them together.

If you’re looking at live coral for sale and this is your first time setting up a reef aquarium, it would be wise to consider breeds such as the Bubble Coral, Soft Corals and Green Star Polyps, because they are easier to maintain for a beginner.  Bubble Coral is a large polyped stony coral that comes in white, tan and green, and it is a good variety for a beginner because it is easy to care for, will eat solid foods and will tolerate lower light levels.  Soft Corals include many types of live coral that are ideal for beginners because they grow fast and are easy to care for in medium light settings.  Green Star Polyps, which are an exotic shade of neon green, will grow fast and thrive in almost any type of aquarium system as long as there is good water flow to keep dirt and debris away.

Once you figure out what kind of live coral you want for your aquarium, then you can decide whether you also want to add fish or if you just want to stick with corals.  Some species of fish such as Golden Butterfly require large amounts of live rock for grazing and are known to nip at sessile invertebrates including coral, so they might not be a good idea if you want your corals to thrive.  But for every fish that is not compatible with coral there are several other varieties that are perfect when paired with live corals in the home aquarium.

Basically, you just want to get some advice from the experts before taking home any fish or coral.  This will help avoid disasters and disappointments down the road. If you need led aquarium lights for growing your corals, please visit: www.ledgrowlight-hydro.com

What Are the Types of Aquarium Lighting?

Different aquariums need different types of light strength. On one end of the spectrum there is red light, which can only penetrate a short distance. At the other end is blue, which can go further into the water. Most fish are fine with yellow or green light; however, many aquarium plants need blue light to help them grow. There are several types of lighting available on the market for your aquarium.

Normal Florescent Bulbs
Normal Florescent or NO usually comes with a regular aquarium tank. This is enough for a fish-only setup. The NO bulbs tend to be cool and efficient; however, they are the least penetrating fluorescent bulbs. In aquariums with plants, they might be used as supplemental lighting.

High Output Bulbs
High output (HO) lights are available as T5 bulbs, which are smaller than the normal fluorescent. They emit more heat than the NO bulbs, but they usually come with a built in system to cut down on heat.

Very High Output Bulbs
Very High Output (VHO) comes in a variety of sizes; one of the most common is the T12. Although these bulbs emit heat, they don’t emit as much as a metal halide bulb. You get a more powerful light than the standard fluorescent. Unlike the metal halide, you get an even light source throughout your aquarium tank.

Power Compact Lights
These bulbs are designed slightly differently from the rest of the fluorescent bulbs. They have only one end cap attachment rather than the standard two, and the bulbs are available in different shapes from twin to square and triple. The bulbs are more efficient and powerful than other fluorescent bulbs. Power compact lights are smaller than normal fluorescent lights.

Metal Halide
This is a high intensity aquarium bulb that produces a focused light. The bulbs are used in freshwater and saltwater aquariums with plants and coral reefs. You will need to use a water chiller with these lights because they heat the water up and you might need a UV shield to cut down radiation. The bulbs are expensive and should be handled with care.

LED Lights
LED is not technically a light, but a light emitting diode. It is good for night time viewing of nocturnal fish.

LEDs are used increasingly commonly in aquarium lights. Particularly for reef aquariums, LED lights provide an efficient light source with less heat output to help maintain optimal aquarium temperatures. LED-based aquarium fixtures also have the advantage of being manually adjustable to emit a specific color-spectrum for ideal coloration of corals, fish, and invertebrates while optimizing photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) which raises growth and sustainability of photosynthetic life such as corals, anemones, clams, and macroalgae. These fixtures can be electronically programmed to simulate various lighting conditions throughout the day, reflecting phases of the sun and moon for a dynamic reef experience. LED fixtures typically cost up to five times as much as similarly rated fluorescent or high-intensity discharge lighting designed for reef aquariums and are not as high output to date.

LED aquarium lighting is most commonly used for nighttime lighting but has recently gained traction as being the main light source. Using an aquarium moon light has many benefits, especially for reef tanks. Moon lights complete the day/night cycle and can be synced with a timer to match the lunar cycle. Doing so can stimulate coral spawning and create great nighttime viewing. In addition to creating a cool shimmering moon light effect, LED lunar lights give you a window into what your nocturnal pets do at night. Using LED lighting as the main light source also has many benefits. LED bulbs are extremely energy efficient and last up to 5 years (50,000 hours). LED lights produce very little heat, are highly customizable and among the most handsome (and small) fixtures on the market today.

Grow Aquarium Plants Tips

LED lighting is a fairly new development in the world of fishkeeping, but its affordability, energy efficiency and ideal light spectrum make it a perfect choice for aquaculturists. LED light fixtures give aquariums a marine-like, blue-violet ambiance similar to moonlight; in fact, these fixtures are commonly used as night-lights for saltwater aquariums. Unlike fluorescent and metal halide bulbs, LED bulbs are subtle and relatively dim. However, because of their high-wavelength light spectrum, LED bulbs are surprisingly useful for growing plants of all kinds, including notoriously temperamental species like red African hygro.

Set up the LED fixture so the light shines over a broad area of the tank. Do not light the aquarium from the side or corners; this may provide an interesting effect, but it doesn’t provide adequate light for photosynthesis.

Select plants that are appropriate for your aquarium’s size and chemistry. Recognize that most aquatic plants will not thrive in a saltwater or brackish environment. Easy-to-grow plants for beginners include water sprite, java fern, java moss, anubias and duckweed. These aquatic plants effectively increase dissolved oxygen in the water and help to remove nitrates; however, they are undemanding and thrive with little care.

Root the plants in a quarter of an inch of gravel (or the smallest amount necessary for keeping the plants in place). Understand that aquatic plants tend to rot or die prematurely if they are rooted too deeply.

Leave the LED aquarium lights on for 14 to 18 hours per day while the plants acclimate to their new environment. Reduce the amount of light at a rate of one hour per week until the tank is lit eight to 12 hours per day; this range is ideal for most fish and aquatic plants.

Check levels of nitrate, nitrite and ammonia at least once per week to ensure the health and vitality of your fish and invertebrates. Note that thriving plants generally reduce levels of these pollutants. Remove any dead or decaying plant matter from the tank promptly to prevent toxin buildup.

How to Use LED Aquarium Lights

LED lighting is an upgrade over the standard fluorescent lighting found in many reef setups. LED lights use tiny, electronic light emitting diodes (hence “LED”) to provide energy efficient illumination. Setting up an LED aquarium light on a reef tank is just as simple as setting up fluorescent light, but it will be much more expensive to buy. It requires the same measurements and considerations as a fluorescent light set up.

Measure the length of the reef tank from end to end. This is the length of the LED light fixture you need, though it is typically appropriate for it to be about 4 inches shorter.

Multiply the number of gallons in the tank by a number between three and five to determine the wattage. Most coral reef tanks require approximately three to five watts per gallon, so a 55-gallon aquarium will need between 165 and 275 watts. Soft corals need around three watts, while harder corals need five watts.

Place the light fixture atop the tank’s glass canopy.

Connect the LED power chord to a lamp dimmer. A lamp dimmer will gradually increase or decrease the amount of light in the tank to simulate the rising and setting of the sun.

Ultimate Aquarium Lighting Tips

Aquarium lighting can be very confusing for many novice fish keepers, there are many different types of bulbs or set ups to choose from and to make things even worse the actual choice of tubes to fit into the units can vary dependant on which livestock that you are keeping. The lighting can be very important for many aquariums; corals in a reef aquarium require the brightest of lighting, as the actual corals are usually light dependant.

Lighting in the aquarium is not just a tool that allows us to observe our aquarium and the inhabitants, it is also required to aid plant growth with photosynthesis and some species of fish prefer bright lighting to be at their best. Many species of fish prefer subdued lighting so this is why there is such a large choice of lighting available to us.

Some of the most common systems include the following tubes

Actinic/White tubes- these are commonly used in marine aquariums as they emit a strong white light as well as light from the blue range of the spectrum which is very important for the corals in the aquarium. They tend to give a nice hue in the tank making it perfect for viewing as well.

Day-Glo tubes- these provide light from the full spectrum thus replicating sunlight hitting the water, you will often see these used in a general tank set up or a community tank.

Color-Glo tubes- When you are after a softer light, these tubes are ideal, they emit a soft glow by using colors from the other end of the spectrum, namely yellows and reds. They are ideal for fish that do not like bright lighting and the tank looks cozy when using these.

Plant-Grow tubes- These are specially designed for planted aquariums and emit light from the red and blue color spectrum. Photosynthesis is enhanced with this lighting thus producing better growth and foliage color from the plants.

High Intensity tubes- These are really powerful and are used to penetrate the deeper reef aquariums so that the bottom dwellers do not miss out on the light source. They have a high Kelvin rating, often up to 20,000K and emit a white/blue light.

As mentioned above there are now choices which type of lighting system we can use, Metal Halides are now very popular with the reef aquarist, they emit a high lighting level but they do use a lot of power to keep the aquarium illuminated.

LED systems are also entering into this hobby and are a lot cheaper to run that all of the other systems, there is a drawback though, they are still very costly to purchase from new. This system does not use tubes but has rows of LED bulbs that perform the same function(ie LED aquarium lights).

When selecting your lighting always check the amount of lighting that is required to illuminate the water volume in your tank and never use less than is advised, remember that this can be affected by the depth of the tank as well. Always use timers to run your lighting system and never leave the lighting on for too long as this can also encourage algal growth in the aquarium.

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