Tip of the Day – 10/7/2013

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Water changes can be fairly traumatic to aquarium livestock. The water level in the tank drops significantly, exposing corals and invertebrates to air for at least some period of time. Once the water has been refilled, the livestock are then exposed to water of a different salinity, pH, temperature, etc. On top of all that, the water change often stirs up detritus and other gunk that had previously settled somewhere in the rocks or parts of the equipment. By disturbing them with a water change, they are now free to cause problems in other places, such as clogging up pumps or landing on aquarium livestock. Of course, you could always catch that debris with a filter sock or some other form of mechanical filtration.

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  • In a healthy reef aquarium many invertebrates such as snails, mini-sea stars, and sea urchins will spawn during the typical water change. I believe they do this because on the reef(in the wild) if the water chemistry has changed significantly then the currents have likely shifted and the invertebrate’s gametes or larvae have a better chance of settling somewhere different. This can increase the odds there species continues to exist.
    One of my goals with some of the larger reef aquariums I work on(300+ gallons) is to get it to the point where spawning does not always occur during a water change. This would mean that the chemistry is always stable and ideal, and a significant change and stress does not occur during a water change. After this and some LED moon lighting perhaps maybe the corals will spawn?