Marine water aquarium - setting up and laying out

Marine water-setup and design

Here’s how to set up your marine aquarium

Maybe you want to reproduce a small coral reef where your fish, invertebrates and corals feel at home and which also looks like a reef. Have a look at Google pictures under the search term “marine aquarium” to see what other people have created in their aquarium. There you will find a lot of attractive design ideas.

The structure

Coral stone constructions (living stones) are heavy and shouldn’t be positioned directly on the bottom pane.

The same rules for rock construction apply for Rocky reef aquarium type JBL Malawi Rocks® : When constructing your aquarium make sure you create areas with strong and others with less bright illumination for the corals, which will be positioned there at a later stage.

The substrate

There are proponents for marine aquariums WITHOUT substrate which can easier be kept clean. But the moment you keep digging fish (e.g. wrasses) you definitely need a substrate. All substrate materials, from fine sand to coarse coral gravel, are suitable. The coarse substrate has the disadvantage that waste can penetrate deeply into it, whereas the waste will remain on the surface of fine sand and can easier be siphoned with a substrate cleaner ( JBL AquaEX Set 20-45 ). But it’s also a matter of taste what you prefer.

The running-in phase

As soon as you have mixed sea salt with your tap or osmosis water and the right salt content has adjusted itself, life starts inside. Now let the aquarium run with the substrate, saltwater, heater and filter for at least one week WITHOUT lighting. After this, turn on the lighting and increase the lighting time one hour every two weeks, until a maximum burn time of 10 hours has been reached.

After one week you can start to gradually add living reef stone (still without light!) There are several ways to create constructions in the marine aquarium. Firstly you can build a „foundation“ with e.g. porous rocks and place “living stones” on it. Or you can invest a little more money and build the complete "reef" with “living reef rocks”. We recommend the latter method because living stones promote the aquarium biology better than “dead” porous rocks.

The total running-in time is approx. 12 weeks! But during this time you can already admire a lot of beautiful and interesting creatures in your marine aquarium thanks to the living reef rocks you have added.

Please also remember during the set-up to hide the technical elements (pipes, pumps etc.) behind stones, but to leave them well accessible.

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