Saltwater Aquarium/New reefer


Hi David,I have a about one year old tank that has been set up with fish only but I have now gotten the lighting to start doing some corals. I have a nem in there now and it's doing fantastic . All my levels are good, no nitrates, no nitrites, no ammonia. Calcium is around 500ppm and alk is 10kh.Im looking about doing some be gainer soft coral and just start off with one, but I have read you should also watch your magnesium, since my calcium and alk are good do I need to test for magnesium if I do my water changes weekly? I just don't want to spend the extra money on the testers and magnesium if I don't have to. I am using instant ocean reef crystals. Thanks for all your help.

Hi Taylor:

Great question... It's always a good idea to do some research first, and ask questions in advance, therefore Kudos!

In regards to your magnesium, your Instant Ocean Reef Crystals synthetic ocean salt contains the proper amount needed to sustain most corals. Therefore your magnesium levels will be fine, without needing to dose the aquarium with additional magnesium.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

Publications,, and many others.

After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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