One of the things which a lot of aquarists do in my opinion is put their hands into the aquarium far too often.
Of course there are times when this must be done. During maintenance periods, to pick up a coral which has fallen over, to rescue a trapped hermit crab, to move a coral etc. These are all ok, however there are a lot of people who simply cannot stop fiddling with their aquarium.
So what’s the problem then?
Well simply put the corals etc do not like to be disturbed. On top of that our hands are quite oily. When you put your hands into the aquarium the fish will bolt into the rockwork and hide (apart from the bold ones who think that they are going to be fed) and some of the corals will retract their polyps.
A lot of aquarists nowadays wear gloves when they put their hands into the aquarium. This prevents the oil from our hands getting into the water and annoying the corals. A lot of fish shops also now do this. In fish shops they have to put their hands in more than most as they are continuously removing corals which have been purchased and placing new corals into their tanks ready for sale.
Too many times do I hear of people in my local fish shop saying that they cannot get their newly purchased coral to look as good as it did in the fish shop. They talk about water quality being excellent, the lighting being right etc but the coral still does not fully come out. There always seems to be a statement made somewhere in the conversation that they have tried it in various different locations around the aquarium. Well to me this just means that they have been moving the coral about!
Before the coral is purchased and placed into the aquarium it should be researched as to what it’s requirements are. You should know what water movement, what lighting and what feeding (if any) the coral requires.
Once you know this then you have two options:
1. Place the coral in the location where it’s requirements are met.
2. Place the coral at the bottom of the aquarium and over time (2-4 week period) slowly move the coral up until it is in it’s final position.
Of course even doing this does not mean that the coral will fully come out. If the coral does not come out fully and you have verified that all parameters are excellent and you feel that moving it will be benficial then do so – but not all the time. I have heard of people who have a coral which does not come out so they move it. The next day it still is not out so they move it again, and again, and again. Each time the coral is being touched – it is no surprise that the coral does not come out!
If you do need to move a coral then move it but wait a couple of weeks before deciding whether to move it again. Give the coral time to get used to its new home.
I appreciate that this is hard. Maybe you visit a fish shop and see a lovely coral which will fit into a gap which you have in your rockwork. You can imagine what it will look like and you want to purchase it. So you purchase the coral, take it home and it does not come out, so you move it to a different place and it still does not come out so you move it again and so on.
In this instance you would not have been able to research it as you were not planning on getting a new coral. Why not ask a member of staff at the shop what it’s requirements are and ensure that these requirements will be met in the space you have planned in your aquarium. If it’s requirements are met then great you are onto a winner. If not then you can either put it in a different location or make the decision not to purchase it.
When the coral is purchased from the fish shop you cannot expect it to come out straight away. It needs to get used to your water conditions, your temperature etc. Every day the coral should come out a little bit more. It may take weeks before it is out fully. Be patient!
In my opinion too many people purchase livestock without actually learning what they need – it is our responsibility to ensure that their needs are met.