February 22, 2004|By Denise Flaim, Tribune newspapers: Newsday.
Saltwater aquariums accept the aforementioned acceptability as souffles: The abstraction of creating one is alarming to all but the best experienced.
But Michael S. Paletta begs to alter with the accepted wisdom, at atomic as far as the blue being goes.
“You don’t accept to be a rocket scientist to accept a abyssal aquarium,” says the columnist of “Ultimate Abyssal Aquariums” (Microcosm Limited, 192 pages, $44.95) and the beginner-oriented “The New Abyssal Aquarium” (TFH Publications, 144 pages, $19.95). “All you accept to do is chase some simple rules.”
To be sure, abyssal tanks represent a cogent investment, with antecedent accoutrement costs bristles to 10 times college than their freshwater counterparts.
“But if you do it right, the constancy of the angle is 5 to 10 times college too — I’ve had some angle for 20 years,” Paletta says, acquainted that abyssal angle are hardier and apparently added intelligent. “All best freshwater angle do is bathe from ancillary to side. Abyssal angle tend to alive in added assorted habitats,” and so action added absorbing behaviors, such as digging out burrows and active in shells.
The best important additive for success with a abyssal aquarium is good-quality equipment. While undergravel filters were the industry accepted two decades ago, they accept been replaced by protein skimmers, which accomplish tiny air bubbles to aggregate and abolish waste, as able-bodied as alive rock, mainly limestone chunks anchored with bacilli and microfauna that advice with filtration.
Saltwater keepers are basically disconnected into two camps: those with abyssal tanks that affection mainly fish, and those with reefscapes that accommodate invertebrates, such as alive coral.
Strong ablaze and acceptable baptize motion are acute apparatus for the latter. “If you’re befitting invertebrates, alike aloof alive rock, a distinct beaming ball band will not accomplish abundant activity to accumulate them healthy,” Paletta warns. Also, because these creatures await on ocean accepted to ambit abroad their waste, you’ll charge a abysmal baptize pump or powerheads to simulate those cleansing waves.
And on the accountable of equipment, bethink admeasurement isn’t everything. “The archetypal anticipation action is you accept to accept a bigger tank,” says Paletta. But abyssal setups can be as babyish as a 1- or 2-gallon desktop assemblage featuring a shrimp, bendable apricot and a brace of fish.
The accepted catchbasin for newbie abyssal enthusiasts is the 55-gallon. Problem is, says Paletta, “it’s a afterlife catchbasin — it’s too tall. It’s bigger to accept a catchbasin that’s added so you don’t accept aggregate awash up adjoin the glass.”
A bigger option, he suggests, would be a 40-gallon agriculturalist tank, which is bank but has the aforementioned width, or an advancement to a 70- or 90-gallon tank.
The appropriate balance
Equilibrium is analytical in a tank, and Paletta stresses the accent of abacus nutrients in babyish amounts, as able-bodied as authoritative common baptize changes.
“You don’t accept to be a chemist, but you should accumulate a log” of important ethics such as pH and temperature, and analysis them already a anniversary on the aforementioned day.
Then there are the angle themselves. Paletta runs bottomward a account of the bitchy and tricky.
“Seahorses are the better affair to avoid. Everybody loves them, but they charge to be kept in a catchbasin by themselves because they are the slowest affair going,” he says. Virtually all are agrarian caught, and so will accept adversity adapting to a bartering diet.
Ditto for damselfish, which, ironically, “are what every abundance sells as abundant abecedarian fish” because they’re so hardy, Paletta says. But they additionally are abundantly territorial and aggressive. “If a bluff was as advancing as a damselfish, no one would go in the ocean.”
Sharks, as it happens, additionally are on Paletta’s extraordinary account (he considers their ability for laying about on the basal of the catchbasin all day “boring”), as are stingrays — both are acute to electrical systems about or abreast the tank. And while a babyish eel may assume beautiful in a squiggly way, “a year later, it’s as continued as your arm, bistro a batter of aliment a anniversary — it’s like angry an anaconda in the water.” (Miniature versions are available, but adamantine to find.)
Above all, Paletta advises, apprentice patience. “It could booty up to a year for a catchbasin to abound appropriately and to hit equilibrium,” says Paletta, who additionally advocates account as abundant as accessible afore you booty the abyssal plunge. “Look at it as a abiding activity — not like a TV set that you cast on.”
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