Location! Location! Location!
Right plant, right place! As a keen gardener, I know that choosing a plant that is suited to your garden and putting it where it has the ideal conditions to thrive, is one of the keys to success. If it is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry or simply in the wrong type of soil it will struggle at best, or quite possibly die.
What’s this got to do with fish ranks? As John H Tullock says, a marine reef has very specific requirements and cannot cope with rapid fluctuations in environmental conditions. Small tanks are particularly vulnerable, because of the small volume of water. I only have a limited amount of space in which to put a tank, so it had to be small. But if I placed the tank in the wrong position, in direct sunlight for instance, it could easily overheat with disastrous consequences.
So, to minimise the risk of problems inside the tank, finding the ideal location in terms of the external conditions is vital. I need to find a spot where the temperature is as stable as possible, about 24℃ according to John Tullock. Bear in mind that it’s much easier to warm a tank up, than it is to cool it down. Obviously a tank can be warmed with a relatively inexpensive heater. Cooling is not necessarily so straightforward. Tank fans are available as a relatively inexpensive option, or on a larger tank I understand it would be possible to have a chiller; an expensive addition.
Living in South East England you wouldn’t expect overheating to be too much of a problem! However, our cottage is nearly 250 years old and due to its construction, is prone to quite considerable fluctuations in temperature, particularly in hot weather. So finding a suitable location was not straightforward. However I managed to identify a cool corner, the right size, close to a window, but which doesn’t get any direct sunlight. (Where the cane backed chair is in the photo). I kept a thermometer there for a couple of days during an unusually hot spell and it didn’t get above 26℃. So I might need a fan in exceptional conditions, but generally it should be fine. Right tank, right place!
My Tank – The CADE PR300
The tank I have been given is a CADE PR300. It is a “plug and play” with integral filtration system and pump. The technical details are as follows:
Size: 310mm x 310mm x 335mm
Water capacity: 22 litres / 5 gallons
LED light: 12W
Protein skimmer: MS12/8W
Water pump: 15W 1200L/H
Filter basket: 1 set.
The only equipment it lacks is a heater. So I have ordered an Eheim 50w heater which should fit into the return pump chamber at the back of the tank.*
However, given the current ambient temperature I don’t think I will need this for a few days at least! As I anticipate the arrival of my tank I keep pondering what lies ahead. I am impatient to get started, but nervous about the unknown problems that I am bound to encounter on the journey. Once the tank arrives I will follow John H Tullock’s advice for setting it up. I will fill it with tap water and test the protein skimmer, return pump and heater (if it has arrived) by running them for a few hours*. All being well, I will syphon out the tap water and build the reefscape – coral sand and crushed seashells for the substrate, live rock for the reef. Finally, I will fill up with saltwater. I expect to be fairly excited at that point!
* See updates in later posts!