Daily and Weekly Coral Reef Tank Maintenance Schedule
Many aquarium hobbyists agree that setting up an aquarium is the hardest part – once you have all of the equipment up and running, maintenance is fairly simple. However, certain types of aquarium require more maintenance than others. Reef tanks, for example, require daily care and maintenance if you want your inhabitants to thrive. To ensure your coral reef tank thrives, here’s the daily and weekly maintenance you need to schedule.
Daily Reef Tank Maintenance Tasks
There are two main things you should do every day as part of your reef tank maintenance – feeding and observation. Depending what type of fish you have in your reef tank (if you have any at all), you will need to come up with a feeding schedule to ensure that your fish get a healthy, varied diet.
Most days you will be feeding your fish a staple diet of commercial foods but you should supplement that diet several times a week with fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried foods for variation. Keep in mind that different species of fish have different dietary requirements (such as herbivores versus carnivores), so do your research to determine what foods your fish need.
In addition to feeding your fish, you may also need to feed corals and reef tank invertebrates. Many corals feed on algae and various microorganisms that they filter out of the tank water but some corals will require supplemental feeding.
As you are feeding your fish and other tank inhabitants, you should also be observing them, looking for potential signs of illness. If you notice any of your fish acting strangely, remove them immediately to a quarantine tank to prevent the spread of disease. The more time you spend observing you reef tank inhabitants, the more you will get a feel for their natural behavior. This will make it easier for you to spot changes in their behavior or condition.
Weekly Maintenance Tasks for Reef Tanks
While your daily maintenance tasks will have the biggest impact on the health and wellness of your reef tank inhabitants, there are certain weekly maintenance tasks which should not be disregarded. For example, you should test your tank water once a week to make sure that the parameters are all in line. Test things like the pH level in your tank as well as the water hardness, salinity, and levels for toxic substances like ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Keep a journal of your test results so you can determine the baseline of your tank – this will make it easier for you to spot fluctuations. After completing your water test, you may also need to top off your tank with fresh seawater to account for evaporation.
Aside from these daily and weekly maintenance tasks, you should also plan to perform a 20 percent water change at least every two weeks – you also have the option of performing a smaller 10 percent change once a week.
Clean your tank equipment every two to three months, rotating the schedule so that you only clean one item at a time – if you clean them all together you could end up killing the beneficial bacteria in your tank that help to maintain the nitrogen cycle.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
More by Kate Barrington