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April Showers Bring May Flowers: Reef Edition

  • Brennen Lahn
  • 22 days ago
April Showers Bring May Flowers: Reef Edition
April Showers Bring May Flowers: Reef Edition

Despite the frequent rain and rampant pollen, Spring is finally here! Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers but, how can this relate back to our reef tanks. Well, within this article we are going to discuss some of the best steps to take in April that can pay dividends in coral growth once May swings around. We are going to look at both products and techniques that can help you achieve your reefkeeping goals. While we are going to explore a variety of options, we simply do not have time to mention every possible step that could lead to success. We want to give our customers the best possible chance of seeing large amounts of growth within their system but, there is no true magic potion. Consistency with maintenance, feeding, and monitoring will pay dividends within this hobby. If you have any questions or you need any recommendations on what may work the best for your system, our customer care team is standing by ready to assist you.

We are breaking down five unique ways to turn your hardwork in April to entering a path towards great coral growth in May. We are first discussing a lighting suggestion along with how to create a solid lighting schedule. Then, we are going to mention an additive to help with color and growth as well as some fast growing livestock options. Finally, we will touch on the importance of flow while making a powerhead recommendation.

Summary:

Maximize your growth with this light: Ecotech Marine Radion Gen 5
Building out a proper lighting schedule
Dosing for growth: Red Sea Reef Foundation
Choosing the proper livestock
The importance of flow: Ecotech Vortech MP10 and MP40 Pumps

Maximize your growth with this light: Ecotech Marine Radion Gen 5

Ecotech Radion XR30 Gen 5
Ecotech Radion XR30 Gen 5

One of the most important factors to consider when you are looking to beef up your coral growth is the amount, quality, and spectrum of your lighting. If you feel like your coral would benefit from a lighting upgrade then, considering one of the Ecotech Marine Radion Gen 5 models would be a great choice. Depending on your coverage requirements, both the XR15 and the XR30 are capable of keeping any coral variety you may desire. Each model also comes in two differing spectrum options. Both a Pro and a Blue choice are available in each size depending on your preference. If you prefer to have the full controllability when it comes to color and spectrum then, opting for the Pro model would be the right choice. If you are more interested in a blue spectrum that is specifically designed for SPS corals then, selecting the blue model would be ideal. Either way, you will still be able to control these powerful LED’s through Ecotech’s Mobius platform and smartphone application. While finding a powerful and controllable light that can create the spectrum you need is crucial to coral growth, it is only half the battle. Building a proper lighting schedule which we will discuss in the next paragraph is just as important.

Building out a proper lighting schedule:

Adding a Radion G5 Into Mobius

By now, you should have a light capable of keeping and growing all sorts of coral but, now we need to dive in and figure out how best to maximize the performance of our light. Most lights that are wifi controllable allow you to create a fully customizable schedule to suit the exact needs of your system. When it comes to the basics, we usually recommend a total schedule that lasts around eight hours with four of them ramping up and four of them ramping down. When it comes to intensity, this is very specific to the type of system that you have and the requirements of the coral within it. In terms of color, we tend to favor a more blue spectrum in combination with a good amount of cool white. We recommend keeping any UV, Green, and Red LED’s low in comparison to the blues and whites. A lot of hobbyists also like to program a moonlight feature for once the eight hour schedule is over so that they can continue to admire their coral. Another great way to build a schedule is to research what has worked for other reefers. Forums like NanoReef and Reef2Reef along with YouTube are littered with hundreds of lighting schedules that work well for other hobbyists. Another great way to get some help with your schedule is to either reach out to the tank manufacturer or, contact our customer care team who can walk you through the process of creating one that suits your needs.

Dosing for growth: Red Sea Reef Foundation

Red Sea Reef Foundation Supplement
Red Sea Reef Foundation Supplement

Now that we have addressed lighting, the parameters within your tank are the next crucial element in setting up your reef for rapid coral growth. When it comes to the basics of salinity and temperature, you will want to keep your system between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, for salinity, we like to recommend between 34 and 36 PPT. If you are looking for a way to keep your Alkalinity, Calcium, and Magnesium in check without performing constant water changes, investing in the Red Sea Reef Foundation Kit would be a great option. You can dose this three part system manually or by using an auto-doser. Directions for adding the proper amount needed based on your current levels are included in the box. Another good dosing option that can be paired with this product is the Red Sea Trace Colors additive. Trace Elements are also crucial to coral growth and it is very difficult to replace them within an aquarium without doing a water change. Luckily this product from Red Sea pairs perfectly with the aforementioned Foundation kit and it allows you to replenish the Iodine, Potassium, Iron, and other bioactive elements within your tank. Sticking to a consistent dosing schedule is another great way to prepare your reef aquarium for expanded coral growth.

Choosing the proper livestock:

Zoanthid and Palythoa: Coral Care Tops, Paly Toxin and Fragging

Another great way to improve the coral growth within your system is simply to select coral species that are known to grow fast. Most soft corals including Zoanthids, Leathers, Green Star Polyp, Mushrooms, and more can multiply rapidly. Some LPS and even a few SPS species like some Montipora and Cyphastrea varieties can grow quickly as well. Something else to consider when selecting your livestock is, that by purchasing something that has been fully aquacultured and grown within an aquarium environment, it will grow much faster than any wild sourced coral frag would. If growth is the number one factor you are looking for out of your reef tank then, leaning towards soft corals will be a more rewarding experience for you. Regardless of what type of corals you want to keep, the steps provided within this article will serve to increase their growth and overall health. If you are looking for a particular coral recommendation for your needs, our customer care team would be happy to assist you.

The importance of flow: Ecotech Vortech MP10 and MP40 Pumps

Ecotech Vortech MP40 Pump
Ecotech Vortech MP40 Pump

The final factor to consider when it comes to expediting the process of coral growth is the amount of flow that your corals are receiving. Each variety of coral has unique preferences when it comes to flow. SPS and LPS corals in general usually prefer to have more flow than a lot of soft species. In order to increase the water movement within a display aquarium, investing in a reliable powerhead is the best choice. Two of our favorite and most popular powerheads are the Ecotech MP10 and 40. These pumps are fully controllable through the included controller or through Ecotech’s Mobius platform/ smartphone application. If you pair one of these Vortech pumps with Ecotech’s return pumps, dosers, or LED lights, you can control multiple accessories on your system remotely. The MP10 would be perfect for smaller aquariums up to 50 gallons while the MP40 can operate on tanks up to 500 gallons. If you want to improve your flow and coral growth, investing in a powerhead like the Ecotech Vortech line is an excellent option.

Final Thoughts: 

We hope this piece has given you some ideas on the types of steps you can take to help accelerate coral growth. Patience is still one of the most important factors when it comes to coral growth. That being said, each of the products and techniques discussed within this article can contribute to accelerated growth, color, and health. Additionally, practicing proper maintenance will go a long way in the progression of your reef system as a whole. If you are still needing some recommendations or, you have any questions about future steps, our customer care team would be happy to assist you.

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