View Full Version : Water... Dirty or Clean?

02/18/2014, 12:53 PM
I am trying to find a good balance for the nutrient content in my tank water, as it pertains to the health of my LPS, mushrooms and softies. I have heard many people mention that their corals tend to thrive in water that is on the "dirty" side, but I have seen some amazing results from reefkeepers who do very aggressive and frequent water changes. I am sure it all depends on the make-up of each individual tank, but I would like some opinions on this matter. Dirty, clean, or somewhere in between?

I just added coral to my ex-FOWLR about a month ago, so I don't have any significant results to substantiate taking a stance in either direction.

02/18/2014, 07:40 PM
Get Veron's "Corals of the World" (pricey) or "Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific" Both of these books give the definitions and taxonomic keys for identifying species. You can also check out this website: http://coral.aims.gov.au/info/search.jsp to get an idea of the habitat your coral is found in. The terms "LPS", "SPS", "softies" and even "mushroom" are not scientific terms for the animals we are talking about and have no relevance to the husbandry requirements of our animals. Coral species are found in a wide range of habitats and some in very specific environments.

02/18/2014, 08:15 PM
IME a clean tank with fresh water will always have more benefits for corals. i believe some corals like duncans and elegance corals would benefit more from a "lagoon" type tank with muck or mud. i dont think not doing water changes would be a good idea and is definitely not putting you any closer to a tank in the category of a lagoon though.

02/19/2014, 06:51 AM
It's highly debated. I was reading through this (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2380490) thread last night on a very similar issue (despite the topic title lol). Though nobody uses the term "clean" or "dirty" water, mechanical filtration is the matter at hand. Very similar.

02/19/2014, 08:46 AM
It unfortunately is a common missperception that all corals come from pristine clear waters. In reality many, many of the corals we keep come from turbid waters and environments that have high levels of particulate matter or receive large amounts of zooplankton with the tides. (Pocillopora damicornis for example is can be found in mangrove swamps.) Veron published "Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific" (~$70 - $80) over 25 years ago and beside excellent descriptions of different reef community types a quick perusal through the habitats corals are found in is an eye opener. Staying on topic just with the genus Goniopora of the 14 species Veron lists some are found in relatively specific and mutually exclusive habitats while others are found through out a range of habitats, it's no wonder there is so much confusion just for these species.

03/02/2014, 01:40 AM
Clean water is better on the eyes

03/02/2014, 11:26 AM
Clean water is better on the eyes

In my experience, you cant tell the difference between 0ppm nitrate water and 50ppm nitrate water, just by looking at it.

03/02/2014, 02:07 PM
IMO, it is more work to keep a tank's nitrates at 0 ppm vs 10 ppm. If LPS clearly did better in clean water, the debate between clean vs. dirty water wouldn't be happening. Accordingly, I keep my water a bit dirty because it allows me the time to instead focus on other tank issues that I feel are more important.

03/06/2014, 11:26 AM
Clean is relative, When you test you are looking at particles at a precise moment in time. Corals care about turnover in time. To expound. The importance is the difference between a barren tank with little nutrients and little nutrient exchange, vs a typical reef with low nutrients with high turnover through a period of time.

There is a huge difference in a barren tank that has very little nutrients and a cespool both are undesireable, but a nutrient rich environment where items are constantly in flux is the best approach.

Best results tend to be in tanks with high lighting and lower nutrients, most high nutrient tanks have low lighting, large clean up crews, or algae issues. Zero nutrient tanks are all around bad with slow coral growth, and half starved fish.