Hot Tips: SPS Selection and Care Tips
A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist's readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible publication. Next month's Hot Tip theme will be "LPS (Large Polyped Stoney Coral) Selection and Care Tips".
SPS Selection and Care Tips:
Most of the time, I strongly advocate the desire to obtain cultured fragments from fellow aquarists. Not only do you help preserve natural reefs, but you're ensuring greater success with another generation of coral that's already used to tank conditions, not to mention the availability of knowledge on how to properly care for it.
For beginners that wish to purchase wild or aquacultured pieces, avoid specimens that display a bright, pastel, almost fluorescent appearance throughout. These are often heavily stressed and nearly bleached coral.
Submitted by Unarce
Proper care of SPS corals include:
Proper calcium and alkalinity maintenance. Calcium reactors and kalk reactors are great ways to take the daily maintenance out of this. Two part additives like B-ionic work well for smaller systems if you don't mind the daily routine.
Maintaining pristine water conditions is a must. Low fish levels makes this easy. Monthly water changes are a must. The more fish you have, the larger water change you need to do. I just stick with a 25% WC to stay on the safe side even though I have a relatively low fish load (11 fish in 475G system). A good protein skimmers is a must in my opinion. RO/DI water is also a must.
Move your SPS coral around your tank until you find a place where it thrives. Some like higher flow and lighting than others. Make sure they have good polyp extension.
Maintain consistent water temperature. Anything consistently above 82-83 degrees is not good for SPS corals. They thrive better at 82 or less in my opinion.
Keep 'em away from other corals that might sting them. Mushrooms and zoanthids are the devil to an SPS dominate tank. Keep them away.
Give 'em room to grow. That 1" frag will be a an 8" wide mother colony in a few years time.
Unacre's buying tips are right on. Buy from other hobbyist through the "for sale" forums here and at other forums.
Buy corals with contrasting colors and aqua-scape with that in mind. Contrast is what makes them all look even better.
Proper lighting is a must. While it is possible to keep SPS corals alive with VHO or compact fluourscent lighting in shallow tanks, 175 watt metel halide lighting should be considered as the minimum amount of lighting in a typical 75 gallon tank.
Submitted by Louey
Aquacultured is the way to go. the animals are already acclimated to aquarium conditions, and they will be far less stressed when they reach your house.
Submitted by kevin_b