Maintenance Troubleshooting

Testing, Tweaking, and Keeping Water Quality High

MP* HE RAIN DID NOT MERELY FALL, it was hurled,

J sometimes nearly parallel to the ground, with force I sufficient to drive the raindrops through the canvas I walls of our tent. The storm came up after sunset, and A most people had crawled into their sleeping bags before the clouds started eating the stars out at sea. Within minutes, the squall was upon us. Lightning portrayed the campground — ironically, Sunshine Key — in a series of tableaux: people running and scrambling to move gear under cover. The lightning came again and again, while thunder and the howling downpour made communication impossible. One of our group had been sleeping in the bed of his pickup truck when the storm hit. He was a sound sleeper and there was an inch of water under his sleeping bag before he awoke. And then the storm passed on, out into the Gulf of Mexico, and we were left, muddy and cold, flashlights bobbing in the dark. It was my only visit to the Florida Keys as a camper. Landlubbers who have never experienced a tropical thunderstorm can scarcely imagine the naked power unleashed.

The storms energy cleansed the inshore flats, rearrang-

A healthy natural reef aquarium: pristine water provided by good skimming and occasional "storms" to remove detritus.

ing rubble and scouring silt from deep pockets. Everywhere, the morning after the storm, one could see natural selection in its most basic manifestation: winnowing populations of animals and plants. Clumps of algae that managed to hang onto the submerged rocks would endow a new generation with the genes for a stronger holdfast. Coral colonies that settled on large, stable boulders would remain, those that had landed on smaller stones had been ground to powder as the storm winds churned the sea. Storms like this, along with earthquakes, volcanoes, and the constant action of the tides are but a few examples of the many ways nature employs tremendous amounts of energy to sculpt the biosphere.

To grow and develop as an artificial biosphere, an aquarium, too, must receive a constant input of energy This will come from two sources. One is electricity; the other is you. Virtually all of the real work will be done by electricity: lighting, pumps, timers, meters — and perhaps an automated top-off system or a doser for adding limewater. No fair complaining, then, about the small amount of work you will need to do on a regular basis — with an occasional storm session for good measure.

Basically, your chores consist of simple tasks that do not demand a great deal of time but that do require consci-

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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