Originally Posted by RudiG
Thanks! I really like the Cardinal fish! Ill have to make some decisions regarding the fish!
I do have another question! I am still using a power filter right now but I have read that a protein skimmer might be the smarter choice in the long run. Do you think I should get one now or wait until I have a bigger Aquarium?
A skimmer will be smarter in the long run. Changing water does not have the same effect as skimming. Water changes are used to reduce the levels of nitrates in aquaria from dangerous levels to manageable levels. Water changes should only be performed @ 25% once a month, as they can be stressful to a system and its inhabitants.
The goal of the aquarist is to get nitrates to an almost undetectable reading. This can be acheived in a few manners, but water changes is not one of them. Outlined in this article
by the Advanced Aquarist (Randy Holmes-Farley) and this article
by Ikegami and Kanamori, Nitrates have a direct effect on Alkalinity and zooanthallae that are directly related to each other and detrimental to healthy coral growth.
Farley points out several methods of Nitrate reduction here
. A few methods I preach on a regular basis: remove nitrate producing filters (such as sponges, filter floss and pads), keep a deep sand bed (4"+. Anything shallower will not harbor the anaerobic bacteria needed to complete the nitrogen cycle) and either protein skimming or activated carbon. I right now am running an empty Fluval 205 in my 16 nano and will throw activated carbon in once I add fish. (I am still considering adding a skimmer and removing the canister so I don't have to keep cleaning the carbon bag). Water changes do not
have the same effect as the methods outlined here and by Farley.
Welcome to the Forum and happy fishkeeping!