Green Reefkeeping: Recycling Coral Skeletons
For many folks that keep reef tanks, it is quite normal to accumulate a pile of dead coral skeletons over time. Usually in an established tank, these are the result of over shading, chemical warfare among corals, or the occasional coral that was knocked loose from its perch and had the misfortune of landing upside down. After any of these situations, you will start to accumulate quite a pile of dead coral skeletons and may start wondering what in the world to do with them. One simple and easy thing to use them for is fuel for your calcium reactor.
Recycling is Reef Keeping Simplicity
In the last few years, we upgraded our systems here at ReefNation to include a GEO 818 calcium reactor which has truly been a game changer in terms of our coral growth, coloration, and overall health. As our pile of dead coral skeletons started to fill up an old salt bucket, we decided that in addition to the aragonite we were placing in calcium reactor, we would start adding in these skeletons. The principle here is extremely simple: Corals grow their skeletons by taking trace elements, calcium, and carbonates out of the water column. By adding these three final products of calcification to the calcium reactor, the acidic environment in the reactor simply breaks them back down into their component parts. These then replenish the calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, and many other trace elements that we try so hard to keep in balance in our reef aquariums. The beauty here is that by breaking down these skeletons, you are more or less adding all of these things back to the aquarium in the ratios that they naturally exist at when these corals formed.
Have you tried this? Let us know your thoughts.