Setting up a reef tank is one of the greatest pleasures in life for ocean enthusiasts. These coral tanks, however, require serious dedication and patience.

If you’re new to saltwater aquariums, then you’re in the right place. This article will outline some of the most important aspects of setting up and maintaining this type of habitat.

Temperature is Key

The temperature for this type of tank should be kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It affects the solubility of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the water that represents the metabolic rate of your fish.

pH Balance

The pH levels in your tank will depend on the type of fish you’re keeping. Generally speaking, though, it should not exceed 8.0. Anything higher can result in lower calcium carbonate levels.

What to Do With High Calcium in a Reef Tank

On the other hand, high calcium is also not healthy for your tank. You can maintain this feature by adding limewater and keeping the levels at about 420 ppm.

How to Handle Magnesium in a Reef Tank

You don’t want too much magnesium. You should try to keep it around 1300 ppm give or take about 50 points. If it’s too high, it can inhibit the precipitation of calcium.

Ammonia and Nitrite

Especially when you’re starting a new tank, it’s absolutely imperative to track the ammonia and nitrite levels. Too high or low levels of these naturally occurring chemicals will be detrimental to your reefs. The first cycle generally takes about 30 days.


With improper levels of nitrate, you could end up with bubble algae which is no good for your reefs. This is the end product of the biological filtration process so you should change your water after the first cycle of rising and falling.


Phosphorous is a reef tank owner’s nemesis because it’s essential but quite a headache to maintain. It’s not toxic, but it can interfere with coral growth. Make sure to perform regular tests with a phosphate test kit to ensure that your coral will be healthy.


It all boils down to calcium. Alkalinity promotes coral growth at levels above 7dKH by helping calcium and calcium carbonate to calcify.


Many reef tank owners live by the motto that old school is better and recommend metal halide lighting. Although, with new technology available, LED lighting can be just as efficient.

Water Cleaning

It’s actually important to keep a slightly dirty tank to ensure all the proper chemical levels. However, you should also perform regular water changes at least on a biweekly basis. You should also clean the tank equipment at least every 3-4 months.

Good Husbandry Practice is Essential for a Saltwater Aquarium

Taking care of your reef tank is kind of like taking care of a child. It’s essential that you perform all of the necessary measures to keep your tank healthy and clear so that your coral and fish will thrive.

If you found this post helpful, we invite you to review the rest of our blog. We’re sure there’s something else that will catch your eye.