Cloud Cover – Should We Simulate It

I am one of those types of aquarists who believe that we should try and emulate nature in as many ways as possible. This statement does not mean that I believe that we should not utilise technology at all as I believe we should. After all the technology available makes it easier for us and makes it better for the livestock we keep in our aquariums.

There are areas however where I feel that we can utilise technology to be able to simulate nature.

One of these areas is cloud cover.

In the wild the majority, if not all areas do not have beautiful blue skies every single days. There are days where there is partial cloud cover, other days when there is total cloud cover and other days when there are storms.

Life on the reef is not always sunny yet in our aquariums they are.

The majority of aquariums utilise lighting which is on for a certain period of time and then off for a certain period of time.

But what about the cloud cover, what about the thunderstorms?

As said most aquariums have lights installed above the aquariums with a few pumps creating water flow in the aquarium. The lights provide bright blue sky and the pumps create flow which is chaotic but still rhythmic.

It is of my opinion that the water pumps should occasionally be moved so that the water flow becomes different. Perhaps at times other pumps should be added occasionally so that the water becomes chaotic for a time.

It is also my opinion that we should be creating cloud cover above our aquariums. There are some lighting manufacturers which allow for this in their design and the lighting dims and brighten to simulate cloud cover.

I think that there could be another way, trickier but perhaps cheaper. Basically this entails a motor which moves a device in between the light and the water at varying speeds to simulate clouds moving between the sun and the water. This device could be turned off when not required and could even be made to have a variable speed or perhaps a random motion.

Just an idea – whether it is viable or not I don’t know.

Will simulating cloud over assist in the welfare of our livestock. That is an answer I do not know yet if we do not try we will not advance. For all we know our corals could certainly start growing at twice the rate, we may see more coral spawning etc.

On the other hand we may see no difference or at worst our corals could grow slower!

If you have any experience in this area then I would love to hear about it.