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Five steps to success with Saltwater Coral Reef Aquariums

Do you dream of watching the natural beauty of the undersea reef
life while sitting in your living room?

Whether your goal is a nano reef tank or a 150 gallon aquarium
with an ecosystem of coral and saltwater fish, the following
five steps will lead you on your way to success.

1) Commit! Decide you are going to spend the $$ it takes to
make a proper go of it. At a minimum, most tanks, (from 10 gal
to 55 gal) take between $250 and $500 to get going. Can you do
it cheaper? Yes, but usually not your first one. You have to
know what you are doing and understand how things can and will
go wrong before you can choose less expensive husbandry options
and/or equipment. Save up if you have to, but count on that
first tank being expensive.

Realize that this is not a short term commitment. And as much
fun as it is to collect the coolest coral fragments out there
and show them off to your friends, there WILL come a time when
you are hauling all of those same 'frags' out of the tank and
into temporary storage when your six year old cracks the side of
the display tank with a pool ball or some other calamity occurs.

2) Study! Spend time on the internet, in books and watching
nature shows on reefs BEFORE you get your animals. Understand
the animals that you are going to keep and how they interact
with each other. If you count on the LFS (Local Fish Store) or
your buddy down the road to keep you out of trouble and don't do
your homework.. You will fail. That is the one guarantee in
this hobby. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

The only way around this is to be able to afford to pay someone
else to set-up and maintain your tank.

3) Mingle! (see 2 above) There are plenty of reef-keeping
societies out there with lots of experience to help you along
your way and teach you what you need to know. As long as you
are doing your own homework, they are usually happy to help!

4) Keep an open mind! There is not just one way to keep a reef
tank - no matter how loudly people on the various bulletin
boards and forums out there might shout that there is.

5) Share! It is amazing how much help people are willing to
give when they realize that you are offering a particularly nice
specimen that they have always wanted. Equipment that they
didn't even remember they had may magically appear or they might
be willing to share a very nice piece of their own reef frag
with you.

Trading frags not only is a great way to increase your variety,
but it helps maintain genetic strains of corals (frags are also
known as 'clones') that might otherwise die out in a single tank
struck by the calamity mentioned in 1 above.

About the Author

Chris Knowlton is an avid fan of reef keeping and propagation. He maintains a nano tank and two large saltwater reef aquariums.
To visit his site and read 5 More Steps to Success with
Saltwater Coral Reef Aquariums visit http://www.KnowltonsReef.com

(Reprints of this article are allowed, but must have an active
link to the authors website.)

Christopher Knowlton