To help you provide the best home and care for your corals, we've prepared the following care guide. It provides basic information on lighting, flow, etc. required for each of the corals we sell. You'll also find additional general info and reefkeeping advice from Michael, our resident husbandry manager.
Please note that although we've been doing this for a long time, much of this information is based on our own experience and is not "written in stone". These are just general guidelines to point you in the right direction. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Importance of Age
It is unwise to add any coral to a reef tank from one to three months after initial setup. This varies depending on your specific tank and the speed of cycling. During this time there can be dramatic swings of ammonia, nitrite, and pH. Calcium, carbonates, and other critical elements are also lacking at this point.
After this time soft corals are generally the best animal to place in the tank first. You should have no more diatom algae or "local problematic" areas in the tank. Soft corals for the most part they are less susceptible to any small fluctuations that happen from here on out. They are a lot less dependent on calcium bicarbonate for skeletal growth and digestion. The nutrient pathways needed for the survival of soft corals is also usually establish by this point.
The next step is probably adding corals referred to LPS (large polyp stonies). The best time to start adding these animals is after the tank has been set up for 5-7 months. Ideally you should have started to see small patches of coralline algae with a diameter of 3mm or more.
The last corals should be the SPS (small polyp stonies). These require excellent water conditions and good advanced knowledge and experience. These are also some of the most rewarding and colorful corals in the world. It is well worth your time and money to wait 9-12 months before adding these animals. They need vary stable and specific conditions. When you start to see many patches of coralline algae larger than the size of a quarter it is a good biological sign that your tank may be ready for these corals.
Suggested Filtering Methods
Please send us an email or give us a call if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks!
Single best general coral book currently available: Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman
Good online resources: www.reefcentral.com and www.reefs.org
Also check out your local Marine Aquarium Society!
Above all be patient and research the needs of the animals under your care. If you stock your aquarium too quickly or before it has cycled properly, you will have ammonia and or nitrites in your tank that probably will kill your animals. The best case scenario would be that you will have severely stressed animals, nuisance algae, and an unstable system. Please understand that we want you to be in this hobby for a long time. Many of these animals will live for over decades if treated properly and we want to do our part to ensure that this happens. This is general advice that we want our customers to understand before a purchase is made from us and we would encourage you to reconsider buying animals from us if you feel that your tank does not fit within these suggestions.