A maintenance free aquarium – no work at all! Just view and enjoy the coral colours and the various reef fish. Many or perhaps all aquarists would tend to call that aquatic heaven – maybe.
Is it possible though? Is there a way that the aquarist can design a marine system where, once all is settled and mature, there is nothing else to do?
The first thing is to compare the aquarium to the wild reef. Yes, there are the same kind of inhabitants in the aquarium as on the wild reef, just fewer of them. Also, there are far fewer species of livestock on the captive reef. So, there’s the first point – the wild reef has far greater diversity of life. The different species have their own niche on the wild reef, each having a food source. There are some overlaps of course but generally it is all very well organised. Nature has everything under control. The first problem that the aquarist is likely to face is in making sure that all potential difficulties are dealt with, from dealing with different forms of nuisance algae to having enough food for fish if kept.