Frequently asked questions on marine tanks
Do I need a sump?
No, you don’t have to have a sump however most longterm reefkeepers on their second or third reef tank have a sump. A sump provides extra water volume but most people employ one to house all the extra equipment that a reef tank needs, like a protein skimmer, filter socks, reactor, return pump and an auto top-up device. If you choose a reef tank a sump will pay dividends long term.
What do I need to keep Nemo?
You need a tank, filter, heater, light, and saltwater. You’ll also need a refractometer to measure the salt, test kits, a thermometer and some marine fish food. Tank bred clownfish are one the easiest marine fish to keep and are suitable for beginners. They can be kept on their own in smaller tanks or as part of a larger reef system.
What do I need to keep Nemo and an anemone?
Anemones demand excellent water quality and lighting, so you’ll need a reef-spec marine tank with bright LED lighting, wavemakers, rockwork and a protein skimmer. Some anemones can be difficult to keep even then, so opt for a red bubble anemone as they are one of the easiest to keep. Avoid Ritteri, Malu and Carpet anemones as they are very sensitive.
I go away a lot. Can I still have a marine tank?
You can but you will need an automatic top-up device and an automatic feeder. A fish-only tank may be the better option or just stick to easy to keep soft corals and a few hardy fish. Water quality monitoring devices and even aquarium cameras can watch your aquarium when you’re not there.
Can I have a starfish?
Yes, but many starfish are difficult to keep. Stick to sand sifting starfish which are easy to keep and also help the tank by cleaning the sand. Most other starfish species are difficult to keep alive long term.
What Clean up Crew do I need?
Clean up crew, or CUC for short, are algae and detritus eating invertebrates that help to keep the tank clean. Add some turbo snails and small hermit crabs first, then sand sifting starfish, emerald carbs and Nassarius snails as the tank matures. Sea hares can be used to combat particularly bad outbreaks of hair algae.
Which corals are the easiest?
Kenya tree corals are one of the easiest corals to keep although they are mainly brown in colour. Green Star Polyp (GSP,) is suitable for beginners, as is Pulsing Xenia. Mushrooms are tolerant of lower light and higher nutrients than other corals and are hardy and easy to keep.
Can I add a Powder Blue tang?
Powder blues are some of the most sought after but also difficult fish to keep. The main problem is that they are very prone to marine Whitespot disease, but that’s not easy to treat in a marine tank. They also need a lot of space and are aggressive towards other tangs. Only consider adding one to a large, mature reef tank after a lengthy period of quarantine.
What lights do I need for a reef tank?
You’ll need a minimum of one marine white and one marine blue T5 fluorescent, or the equivalent in LED strip lights. If the tank is open-topped and you want more demanding corals than those mentioned above, consider high powered LEDs that can clamp onto the tank rim. They are controllable too.
What should my water parameters be?
Salt 1.025s.g, temperature 25C, pH 8-8.2, KH 7-12, calcium 400, magnesium 1300, nitrate less than 10ppm and phosphate 0.04ppm. Maintain those parameters and no coral should be outside of your capabilities, lighting, flow and other factors permitting. The above can be maintained with regular water changes, phosphate remover or automated dosing.