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What Are the Essential Supplies You Need for a Reef Tank

Necessary Supplies for Reef Tanks San Diego, CA

Reef tanks are popular because they’re the closest thing to the reefs in the oceans. Due to the size of the reef tank, you must make sure the fish get along with each other. With the proper equipment and research, your tank’s species may form a symbiotic relationship. When you have a reef tank system there are many saltwater aquarium supplies you’ll need to acquire.


Lighting is a top priority due to reef tanks containing corals. Just like plants convert sunlight, algae convert light into food, and the byproducts are what coral live on. The general rule is 3.5 watts per gallon of water for soft coral and 4.5 watts for hard coral (this applies to metal halides or T5 lighting and is different for LEDs). Making changes to lighting after the sea life grow accustomed could create changes. You’ll notice the algae and coral shrink or close their polyps. After some time passes, the algae will absorb the new lighting, and colors of the coral may become more intense or dull. In other words, do your changes slowly.


Nitrates, phosphates, and other toxin levels fish can sometimes withstand aren’t typically tolerated by coral. Reef tanks require high-quality water, and a good water filtration system will be able to handle this task. Before buying a filter, make sure you understand what each part of filtration does, but know that a protein skimmer will very much help any reef tank. Should you have an external equipment location? Should you use a pump? These are important questions that depend on your tank. Many people design their filtration systems using one type or a combination for their reef tanks or mini reef tanks.


Though corals aren’t technically a supply and are more of an important part of your tank’s ecosystem, choosing your coral is an important part of any reef tank. Reef tanks only fail because of human error, so please set yours up correctly and don’t cut corners, knowing that reef tanks are complex and corals require high-quality water and lighting. When things go wrong in a reef tank, it can happen fast. If you’re new to reef tanks, look into a system design for your tank. You could also try an easy coral species that requires lower-quality water and lighting.


The salt mix is extremely important when starting and maintaining a saltwater or reef tank. When shopping for your salt mix or saltwater, make sure to compare companies. Some add nutrients and elements to the water to help coral thrive. With any marine or reef tank, a hydrometer is a necessary tool. This tool is also called a salinity tester, and it measures the gravity or salt level of the water. For the most part, we say steer away from natural ocean water unless you live on an island in Fiji because our continental coastline harbors nutrient-rich water, and a successful reef tank is a “nutrient-deficient” environment. The nutrients will build up and cause an algae explosion over time.


Some other items that are necessary for a reef tank are heaters and thermometers. If you have a mini reef tank, you might only need one heater, but larger tanks may require multiple heaters. A thermometer is used to measure the water temperature. Depending on the manufacturer, these tools stick on the aquarium, are digital, and have other functions.

If you need an aquarium temperature controller, filtration, lighting, or any other crucial supplies for your reef tank, Aquatic Warehouse can provide what you’re looking for. Stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, check out our website, or give one of our aquarium experts a call today at 858-467-9297.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
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