When it comes to saltwater aquariums there is a lot of incorrect info out there… Here’s some common misconceptions that can seriously cause harm to your tank.


In today’s article, we are going to discuss some of the most common myths surrounding saltwater aquariums that can actually cause you to seriously screw things up in your tank!


Today I’m going to debunk some of these myths and hopefully educate and inform you in the process.


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Myth 1: Corals need zero nitrates and phosphates to truly thrive

Corals don’t like high levels of nitrates and phosphates in their water – therefore it is commonly believed zero readings are the ideal for coral growth.

If you aim for zero nitrates and phosphates it is generally a good thing, because only the tiniest traces are needed – but a completely sterile system will see corals slowly die.

The reason why lies with the symbiotic zooanthellae living in coral tissue, these little guys photosynthesize like plants and therefore need consistent trace levels of phosphates and nitrates like plants to supply energy to their coral hosts.

If they don’t get enough nitrates and phosphates you may see a mass zooanthellae expulsion event followed by coral bleaching. However it is a fine line because the corals themselves will suffer if nitrates and phosphates are above a certain level.



Myth 2: Corals only need light for their energy requirements

Light provides an energy source but what about a protein source for tissue regeneration and growth?

You should supplementary feed your corals a planktonic protein source a few times per week. Keep in mind that different types of coral prefer to feed on different types of plankton.The mouth size of the polyp is often dictated by the body size of the polyp, and the bigger the mouth, the bigger the food they can eat.

Also make sure you turn off your skimmer when you feed, so the plankton goes where it’s supposed to.

After even a few days of feeding, your corals will start to look noticeably better.

There are certain benefits observed in fed corals compared to unfed. Some are:

  • body tissue looking more robust and swollen
  • you will see more polyp extension more often
  • brighter colors and more “well” looking
  • stronger, more robust immune system and faster tissue repair
  • increased growth


Anemones benefit from a small feed a few times a week too (Image Credit: Amal FM)


Myth 3: Garlic and temperature elevations are effective Ich cures

No scientific studies have ever proven garlic is effective, and increasing tank temperatures for long or frequent periods can do long-lasting damage to corals and fish.

Some people have said that garlic worked for them but there are no actual studies to confirm this. Many more have used it and their fish have ended up dying as a result of its ineffectiveness.


Instead of garlic, go for hyposalinity or a copper solution treatment regimen(Image Credit: Allan Watt)


Hopefully, today’s blog helped dispel some of the (many) myths surrounding this often complex hobby.

The best tool you have in deciphering myth from fact is, of course, your own research. Learning about the biology of the organisms you keep goes a long way to ensuring their longevity.

If you need a great overview on the fundamentals of this amazing hobby – don’t forget to grab our free ebook “9 Saltwater Aquarium Success Tools”.  To help you minimize mistakes and get your tank thriving simply click the button below.


Aiptasia anemone prevention