AskBRS Tips for Easy Reefing

Since the invention of the wheel, we humans have been leaning on technology to simplify just about every aspect of our lives.  Whether it be something as simple as an electric toothbrush or more complex applications like using ChatGPT to study for mid-terms, technology has the power to save you both time and money; not to mention the peace of mind that comes along with it.

Your aquarium is no different and if you're looking to simplify maintenance and everyday upkeep of your aquarium, technology is your answer.

AskBRS Tips For Easy Reefing

Using your questions and community discussions from our AskBRS online discussion group, we've distilled down the most convenient applications for automation and technology on your saltwater aquarium. 

AskBRS is an online saltwater aquarium community where you can interact with over 80,000 hobbyists to talk tank, ask questions, and stay connected.

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Is there an easier way to maintain calcium and alkalinity levels?

If you are currently dosing liquid additives by hand every day, the answer is YES, there is an easier way. Dosing pumps are specialized peristaltic pumps that can easily be programmed to deliver measured doses of additives to your aquarium on a schedule. Dosing pumps are widely considered to be the preferred method for delivering additives and keeping your parameters stable.

For the most experienced reefers with large aquariums full of growing coral, Calcium Reactors and Kalkwasser Stirrers are also great options for the automatic replenishment of calcium and alkalinity. Using the Neptune Systems Apex with DOS fluid delivery system and Trident Water Analyzer, you can fully automate the addition of additives and water testing.

Do I really have to change my water every single week?

If you plan to replicate the success of those who came before you, yes, you should change out at least 10% of the aquarium water every week. This will help to export contaminants and maintain a healthy ratio of elements that replicate natural seawater conditions.  

That said, we all have lives outside of our aquarium and we understand that keeping up with a strict weekly water change can be difficult. Not only do you have to plan ahead to ensure you have clean saltwater that is mixed and ready to be used in your tank, but you must also find the time to perform the water change and clean everything up. Spilling water on the floor is inevitable too!

Now there isn't one single answer that completely solves the pains of water change but, there are some big steps you can take to simplify the process:

  1. Purchase an RO/DI system so you can mix saltwater at home.
  2. Use a Python No Spill Water Change System with Sicce Ultra Zero Pump. Together this pump and siphon combo will speed up the process of draining and re-filling your aquarium
  3. Get x2 Brute trash cans on caster wheels to move the water around more easily. One can is for dirty water and one is for clean saltwater. 
  4. Set up an automatic water change system using an aquarium controller or standalone AWC device. This is the most automated approach to water changes that will drain and refill your tank automatically using a series of pumps. You will still need to mix and supply clean saltwater but everything else is automated. 

What is an ATO?

ATO stands for automatic top off system and is an essential device for any saltwater aquarium owner. An ATO will automatically replenish your aquarium with freshwater that is lost to evaporation throughout the day.  This will keep the salinity level from fluctuating and maintain a constant water level. 

Am I performing this water test correctly?

Classic analog water test kits can be frustrating, especially for new tank owners. They are tedious and often confusing. Even when you take the time to perform the tests to the best of your ability, the accuracy and reliability can be questionable. 

Thankfully, we have come a LONG way in the world of water testing technology in recent years, and investing in some digital water testers and reliable water monitoring devices can help save you a ton of time and frustration. 

Do I really need to swap out my filter socks every other day?

Removing your filter sock completely is better than leaving a dirty filter sock to rot inside your aquarium water. The facts are that filter socks clog up quickly; much quicker than most hobbyists like to admit. In most cases, you should be removing and replacing your filter sock every 2-3 days which, needless to say, becomes exhausting. 

Enter the automated filter roller which has taken the filtration game by storm in recent years because they are so incredibly effective.  These devices eliminate the need to use filter socks altogether and only require maintenance every 30 days give or take. 

What happens if my pump or heater breaks when I'm not home?

The unfortunate reality for aquarium owners is that your tank is at risk every time you leave your house. Should something go wrong in your tank, things can go south quickly if you're not able to react right away. This is exactly why we stress the importance of using an aquarium controller to monitor your aquarium and life support equipment around the clock.

Aquarium controllers such as the Neptune Systems Apex are connected to your home's internet and can automatically notify you via email or text message should something happen to your tank. Additionally, you can set up fail safes that can automatically take over in the event something happens.   

Learn More: What Is an Aquarium Controller & What Can One Do for Your Saltwater Tank?