Sumps – what are they and should you use one

A lot of aquarists nowadays use a sump on their aquariums. I know I do – every single salt water aquarium I have ever run has had a sump attached with the exception of one which even to this day I wish I had done so.

So what is a sump and how can you benefit from having one.

A sump is basically another aquarium (or something else which is saltwater safe) which is housed underneath or near to the main display aquarium. The sump is a location where you can install various pieces of equipment such as but not limited to protein skimmers, heaters, auto water top up device, calcium reactors etc.

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Watching The Aquarium Is Important

Aquarists have all sorts of sizes of salt water aquariums. Square ones, rectangular ones, triangular ones and other shapes, sometimes a custom built aquarium.

Supporting these aquariums are various devices, such as skimmers, power heads, pumps, calcium reactors etc. The cost of many of these is pretty high.

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My Aquarium’s Too Warm!

In some areas of the world, including mine, it isn’t often that the words “isn’t it warm” can be heard. Often it is the pitter-patter of rain, or in the winter the howl of winds and the formation of snow drifts.

There are places in the world where it is always or mostly warm (coral reef areas are an obvious example). In the summer the weather can be warm and very pleasant where I live. Well, no problem with that says I! It can be a problem, though, if you keep a salt water aquarium.

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Performing a water change

Looking around on You Tube I found a video about performing a water change.

It’s quite a well done video, very well put together. There are a few things that I think should have been included in it fro example he just pours water into a bucket and does not heat it up to temperature first. Of course you can perform a water change with cold water if you have an aquarium large enough but if your tank is smaller then I would not recommend it.

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Heating a salt water aquarium – how safe is yours?

We marine aquarists are very keen (or certainly should be) to ensure that the environment in which we keep our reefs and/or fish is as good as it can be.

As well as maintaining high quality water etc, part of our concern should be the safety of the support equipment. We need to ensure that the equipment maintaining the environment does just that, and doesn’t endanger it.

So let’s look at heating. This is very simple nowadays, as there are various power (W) heater/thermostats available, and it is these items that are mostly used. All that is needed is to look up on the internet or in a book the power (W) requirement according to the net seawater content of our aquarium. Obtain a heater/thermostat in accordance with these recommendations and the job is done. However, is it really safe?

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In this hobby you’re going to need an aquarium

Of course if you want to keep salt water life then you are going to need something to keep them in – something for them to call home.

There are things, however which you need to consider – don’t just rush out and purchase the first one you see. The first thing to consider is cost and the second is size.

As I said in a previous post there is a belief that this hobby is expensive, it can be – if you let it. I spent an absolute fortune on my first aquarium, purchasing everything I thought I needed then finding out later as I learnt more that I actually did not need them.

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Things you need to consider when keeping a salt water aquarium

A lot of people, when considering the possibility of starting the very own salt water aquarium are initially put off because they either believe or have been told that keeping a marine aquarium is hard. There are also others that believe that this hobby is very expensive.

The truth is that having your very own slice of the ocean is not hard – as long as potential aquarists research as much as possibly they can both prior to starting and whilst running their aquarium then a fantastic home salt water aquarium is within reach of everyone who is interested.

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Nature Survives

Many years ago I ran an aquarium that was built like a picture into the wall. The aquarium was not very large. Attached to it was another aquarium which acted as the sump. The sump could not be seen.

The aquarium was my first salt water reef tank. It was full of rock and soft corals, and lit by fluorescent tubes. After a while the aquarium was full of life, from tiny shrimps to growing corals. The many colours of the algae made it even better. I was relatively new at marine reef and fish keeping so the total lack of problem algae may have been a stroke of luck, though I did a great deal of research before I started. The only fish in the aquarium was a flame angelfish (Centropyge loriculus). This aquarium was my first foray into the fascinating world of reefs. I remember it so well!

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So Why Do You?

So why do you keep a salt water aquarium? Or a fish only aquarium for that matter?

This came up because a television man had occasion to come through my hall and saw my aquarium. His first comment was “that’s beautiful” which to any aquarist is music. A few things were explained to him about corals, the fish, and how much maintenance was needed.

He was only given a bare boned outline of the aquarium etc, not a long winded boring lecture. He looked at me and asked “So why do you keep an aquarium then?” My reply was that I enjoyed it and found it relaxing. He nodded and off he went.

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