Corals are a marine invertebrate belonging to the phylum Cnideria. They are colonial, meaning that each piece of coral is a group of smaller organisms that live together symbiotically. Through this symbiosis they are able to share resources such as zooxanthella (an algae that produces much of a corals food supply via photosynthesis) and nematocysts (the stinging cells used in protection from predators and chemical warfare with other corals).
With advances in technology and the love many hobbyists have for their tank inhabitants, coral has become a fantastic addition to marine aquariums all over the world. New species and color variations are becoming available every day. In addition many mariculture (farmed in the ocean) and aquaculture (farmed in captivity) facilities are fast becoming the most prevalent suppliers of coral to the ornamental marine aquarium industry. These corals are every bit as beautiful as the wild harvested corals, with the added benefit often times being hardier.
A Reef Tank
Corals in captivity are mostly housed in reef tanks. Reef tanks are an attempt to recreate a wild coral reef and providing all the things that corals need to thrive. At The Ocean Floor we have everything that is needed to create the reef tank of your dreams!
Reef-Ready Tanks, Stands, Sumps, and Plumbing
A phenomenal reef setup begins with picking the correct tank, stand, and filtration for you. The Ocean Floor carries a tremendous variety of Reef-Ready tanks in all shapes and sizes. But wait…I don’t see the exact shape and size that I want! No problem. We can have a custom tank created to fit the vision you have for your future reef.
Once you have picked out the tank and stand that your heart desires, let us help you find the filtration needed to keep your tank thriving. A sump is widely regarded as the most successful filtration method for reef keeping. A sump is a low point tank that will house your filter socks, protein skimmer, heater, return pump, and any other equipment you employ to keep pristine water quality in your reef. An Ocean Floor Sales Associate will guide you to a sump that will work best with the dimensions and needs of your reef tank. Custom sumps can also be created if you don’t find exactly what you had in mind. Just let us know the specifics and we will work with you to create the sump of your dreams.
Now that you have your tank, stand, and sump you need to get everything put together! Plumbing can be a hassle, but with some help from the staff at The Ocean Floor it doesn’t have to be. We carry a huge selection of plumbing supplies specific to aquariums. If you let us know what you are trying to accomplish, we can find the plumbing accessories that you need to get the job done the first time. No more inspecting all the fittings at the hardware store for hours trying to find the piece that you need to get your tank going. Of course if you REALLY, REALLY hate plumbing we can take care of that too! The Ocean Floor offers delivery and installation on all of our reef tanks (pricing varies). You don’t have to be super handy to enjoy your very own piece of the ocean in your living room.
What light you choose for your reef tank is extremely important! Most corals receive the vast majority of their nutrition from photosynthesis, meaning they convert light into food. Without proper light the corals will starve to death. There are literally hundreds of options for lighting on the market right now. What lighting you will need for your corals will depend on what types of corals that you are trying to keep and what size tank they are going to be housed in. If you’ll let one of the sales associates know the specifics of your tank we can show you the perfect lights for your needs. We carry a variety of T5 and LED lighting options (preferred lighting for corals).
Once you have your tank ready you will need to fill it with saltwater. We do not recommend using tap water for this. Water for a coral reef needs to be high quality water commonly referred to as RO/DI water. This water has been specially filtered to have extremely low TDS (total dissolved solids). High TDS water such as water directly from the tap can have numerous negative side effects including coral death from Chlorine, excessive algae growth in the aquarium, and poor coloration and growth of the corals housed in the tank. The Ocean Floor sells RO/DI water by the gallon and we even carry containers to take it home in! After the tank is initially filled with RO/DI water, a synthetic salt needs to be added to the tank and mixed to the correct salinity (1.024-1.026). We carry a variety of synthetic salt brands at The Ocean Floor including but not limited to Instant Ocean, Red Sea, Fluval, and Coralife. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of having to buy RO/DI water and mixing the salt, our Catalina Water may be just for you. Catalina Water is saltwater that has been pulled from the ocean, filtered, sterilized and shipped to our store. We use Catalina water on many of our tanks with absolutely tremendous success including great polyp extension, color, and growth.