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How a marine aquarium is created-Part 15 and 16: first corals, cleaning crew and algae phases

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Since we can unfortunately only work with dead rock, or rather have to, as there has been no import from Indonesia since May, it is time to bring life into the new aquarium. But you wouldn't do anything different with living rock. This then happened with the first corals. To stand up to the upcoming diatoms, the first hermits and snails were introduced, the so-called cleaning crew. And then, of course, the diatoms struck!

Now we have put in the first corals. The first one was a damaged coral, and a few days later the next ones arrived. Up to this point, there was no algae activity at all. That was to follow later.

The video of the first animals is available here:

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Here now is the second video where the diatoms were really proliferating

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Here you can find the pictures we took of the corals. Among them were a Euphyllia, Echinophyllia, 2 Acanthastreas, a Milka, 2 disc anemones and an Alveropora. These came into the aquarium spread over several days.

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A tip for all beginners on what happens during the algae phases:

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Now that the stone structure and substrate have been added to the aquarium, you still have time to complete the stone structure. After this, what reef aquarists call the run-in phase begins. During this time, the entire biology goes crazy and gradually comes to its senses.

After starting the whole system, there is an increase in ammonia, nitrite and then nitrate as the final product over the next few days. However, this is quite normal as the bacteria are only formed afterwards. It would be detrimental to the entire start-up phase if you were to add fish here. On the one hand, there is not yet a stable environment, and on the other hand, they put too much strain on the just-forming biology of the aquarium. In this phase, measuring the water parameters, especially ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, is quite interesting, even if it is not really necessary. In my opinion, the measurements only become important as the algae decline and the day of the first animals approaches.

A possible procedure would be the following:

One more thing about the two algae phases that will now probably gradually appear.

The growth of diatoms:
After the stones and substrate have been added and the aquarium has been started, diatoms will usually grow first. This manifests itself as brown, unsightly coatings on the substrate. Don't worry, this is quite normal, even if it looks unattractive. Diatoms are among the first colonisers. These brown diatoms diminish over time due to the absorption of silicate. Sometimes they disappear after a week. If you have used tap water instead of ultrapure water, it may take a little longer for this to disappear. (We strongly advise against the use of tap water) However, silicate scavengers are available in the trade, and you should not hesitate to add some if the growth is strong and the silicate values are high. This phase can be over quickly, or even last for weeks. A few pictures of what it looked like with us:

erste, zarte Kieselalgen...

die dann rasend mehr wurden


erst im Sand dann auf den Steinen

Hier die Hochphase der Kieselalgen

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The growth of green algae (filamentous algae)
When the diatoms start to grow, they often also start to grow on the stones you have put in. These are usually filamentous algae, which are also undesirable and amount to a nuisance. In addition, there is certainly the growth of other species, which one has sometimes brought into the tank through the living stones. If necessary, you can now counteract this yourself with Caulerpa algae. These are in direct competition with the filamentous algae and are usually easier to control. No matter how it happens, with one it takes less time, with the other more.

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Good luck, whichever way you go now. One more thing, best to keep your hands off the reef as much as possible, I need to be able to develop the whole thing.

Best regards Robert



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