News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Suggestions To Start Reef Keeping (09/29/16)

Species Spotlight - Suggestions To Start Reef Keeping

Species Spotlight - Suggestions To Start Reef Keeping


Becoming a marine hobbyist is very exciting, but can be a little nerve-racking at first since there is so much to know and understand. Here are some suggestions for starter livestock to get on the right path to reef keeping.

Before adding any livestock, it is best to get the biologic cycle started to help prevent dangerous Ammonia spikes. This can be achieved by adding




We all want to see hobbyists succeed in keeping marine aquariums, and there are many challenges along that road. One of the best things you can do to get on the right path is getting good artificial rock, like the Real Reef or Walt Smith Rock, into the aquarium. Tanks that have 1-1.5 pounds of rock per gallon will have better filtration and add chemical/biological stability. Over time the rock will also provide tank inhabitants with a variety of natural foods, and bring with it diverse types of coralline and macro algae.



Copepods are one of the worlds best fish foods. They are nutrient dense, diminutively sized and taken by just about anything that sees them, which has made them even more popular amongst tropical fish breeders. These copepods will reproduce rapidly in any location where they have adequate protection from predation (sumps, refugiums, live rock). These little guys are keen consumers of fish waste and detritus. Since the rock mentioned above is artificial, it will not automatically start up the biologic cycle. However, these little guys can help begin the cycle period. Their care is pretty straightforward: keep them refrigerated then remove their cap about once a day for O2 exchange and longer shelf life. Our Nutramar Copepods can easily last three months in their bottle.

There are a few things that need to be checked off before any fish can be added to the new aquarium. You should test the water to be sure that the aquarium is cycled and the parameters are optimal as well as stable. Then only one to two animals should be introduced at a time to help prevent an ammonia spike.



By far the most common aquariums are small, usually less than 40 gallons. Frequently the owners of these tanks also want to have reef style systems in them. This can be difficult because keeping small systems stable is harder than keeping larger systems stable. However, one anemone to keep in an aquarium in this size range is the Bubble Anemone. These are easily the hardiest of anemones and will thrive even in tanks that are less than perfect. Supplement their diet with weekly feedings of frozen meaty foods like thawed silversides.



The perfect tank mate for the Bubble Anemone would be the Aquacultured Percula Clowns. If youre looking for a clownfish, the Percula is certainly one of the best fish for the job. They are accustomed to captive conditions, reef safe, eat processed foods, and are easy to keep in pairs or small groups. The confined area of a display tank increases the likelihood of the clowns taking up residence in the anemone, which makes an awesome display. Provide a varied diet of meaty and herbivore foods for continued health.



The Royal Gramma Basslet is a great starter fish to try out. They are brightly colored, easy to care for and readily take prepared foods, which make them very appealing. Since this fish has a very small adult size, they are a great addition to nano and reef aquariums. This fish is known to find a hole in the live rock and make a home out of it. Then they will defend their territory with tenacity. The Royal Gramma is usually peaceful towards their tank mates, but can become aggressive towards others of the same species or later additions to the aquarium. For their continued health provide a varied diet of frozen meaty foods and marine pellets.



A unique damsel to display that is also easy to keep is the Fire Damsel! Its body is a vivid red coloration that will stand out against any other damsel in the aquarium. This semi aggressive damsel adapts quickly to a new aquarium setting and is very hardy, which makes it the ideal option for any hobbyist. This fish needs ample amount of decorations and live rock to allow them to hide and swim thru. It is difficult to differentiate between a male and female. Typically, the male is larger and will become aggressive towards the female when he is ready to mate. Like other damsels, the male is responsible for the care of the eggs and will become very territorial while guarding his brood. The Fire Damsels diet should consist of vitamin enriched meaty foods and flake/pellet foods for marine fish. Be careful with which tank mates you provide with this damsel because they are known to be territorial and aggressive.