Live Rock for your Reef Aquarium.


Live rock is a crucial component in reef aquariums, providing numerous benefits and playing a vital role in creating a thriving marine ecosystem. It serves as a habitat for marine life, contributes to natural filtration, and supports the growth of beneficial microbial life. In this article, we will explore the importance of live rock in reef aquariums and discuss its various benefits and considerations.

What is Live Rock?

Live rock is not actually alive, but it is made up of the skeletal remains of ancient corals and other calcareous organisms. It is harvested from reefs or can be seeded in warm ocean water. Different types of live rock are available at EMA, including Walt Smith Reef Rock and Natural Reef Rock. Each type of live rock has its own unique characteristics and appearance, allowing aquarists to create diverse and visually appealing aquarium landscapes.

One example of live rock is Fiji Live Rock, which is known for its intricate formations and vibrant colors. It is often chosen for its natural beauty and ability to provide a suitable environment for a wide range of marine organisms. Fiji Live Rock is highly sought after by aquarists who want to create a visually stunning reef aquarium.

The Benefits of Live Rock in Reef Aquariums

Live rock provides several benefits that contribute to the overall health and success of a reef aquarium. Firstly, it plays a crucial role in natural filtration. The large surface area of live rock provides ample space for beneficial bacteria to colonize and multiply, aiding in the breakdown of organic waste and the conversion of harmful substances into less toxic forms. This helps to maintain stable water chemistry and reduce the risk of water quality issues.

For example, beneficial bacteria present on live rock help convert ammonia, which is highly toxic to aquatic organisms, into nitrite and then into nitrate, which is less harmful. This natural filtration process helps to keep the water clean and safe for the inhabitants of the aquarium.

Furthermore, live rock serves as a habitat and home for marine life. It offers protection, shade, and a place for marine organisms to hide and seek refuge. Live rock acts as a nursery for various marine species, providing a safe environment for the reproduction and growth of young organisms. It also adds visual interest and complexity to the aquarium, creating a more natural and dynamic environment.

Purchasing Live Rock

EMA Provides both Dry and Live Rock for purchase. Our live rock has been ‘cooking’ for a minimum of 3 months, and comes guaranteed to be pest free. Plus you can purchase pieces in different formations, such as plating rock, arch rock, base rock, nano rock or live rubble rock.

Arranging Live Rock in a Reef Aquarium

Arranging live rock in a reef aquarium is both an art and a science. When designing the layout, it is important to consider both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Some tips for arranging live rock include creating a design on paper before placing it in the aquarium, leaving enough space for coral and plant growth, and altering the shapes and sizes of the rocks to create depth and dimension. Additionally, using fasteners or glues can help ensure the stability of the rock structure.

The arrangement of live rock can mimic natural reef structures or be more artistic and fanciful, depending on the aquarist’s preference. It is an opportunity to create a visually stunning and engaging display that provides suitable habitats for the marine life within the aquarium.

For example, aquarists may choose to arrange live rock in a way that resembles a coral reef. By strategically placing the rocks, they can create caves, arches, and overhangs that mimic the natural structures found in the ocean. This not only enhances the visual appeal of the aquarium but also provides hiding places and shelter for the marine organisms.


Live rock is a valuable and indispensable component of reef aquariums. Its presence provides numerous benefits, including natural filtration, the support of beneficial microbial life, and the creation of a habitat for marine organisms. By properly selecting, curing, and arranging live rock, aquarists can create a visually stunning and biologically diverse aquarium that mimics the beauty and complexity of natural reefs. Consider incorporating live rock into your reef aquarium setup and enjoy the benefits it brings to your underwater world. Purchase your live reef rock from EMA!

bright exotic anemonefish swimming in aquarium

Reef Aquarium Lighting: Unleashing the Power of PAR and Spectrum

Reef Aquarium Lighting: Understanding PAR and Spectrum


Creating a healthy and vibrant environment for corals in a reef aquarium requires more than just adding water and marine life.Lighting, often overlooked by beginners, plays a pivotal role in the overall health and vitality of the aquatic ecosystem. Understanding the concept of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) and light spectrum is crucial in setting up a thriving reef aquarium. As corals are photosynthetic organisms, the quality of light they receive directly impacts their health and growth.

EasternMarine Aquariums (EMA), a leading expert in saltwater aquarium setup, recognizes the critical importance of these factors. They provide an array of lighting options, each carefully designed to cater to the specific needs of various marine organisms. With the right balance of PAR and spectrum, it’s possible to create a lively, colorful reef aquarium that closely mimics the natural marine environment.

What is PAR and Spectrum in Reef Aquariums?

PAR, an acronym for Photosynthetically Active Radiation, measures the amount of light available for photosynthesis – the process that corals use to convert light energy into chemical energy for growth. On the other hand, the spectrum refers to the range of light wavelengths emitted by the aquarium lighting. Each color in the spectrum represents a different wavelength, with blue and red light being most beneficial for photosynthesis.

Together, PAR and spectrum play a significant role in the life of corals, providing the energy they need for growth, and influencing their vibrant colours. For example, zooxanthellae, the symbiotic algae living in corals, utilize specific light wavelengths for photosynthesis, which in turn supports coral growth and contributes to their bright coloration. EMA provides a vast selection of reef aquarium lighting options, each offering different PAR and spectrum characteristics to suit unique marine environments.

Types of Lighting and Spectrum Options for Reef Aquariums

There are numerous types of reef aquarium lighting, with LED lights being the popular choice due to their energy efficiency and control over intensity, photoperiod, and spectrum. LEDs allow for customization of the light spectrum, enabling reefers to provide the optimal light conditions for their corals. Certain LED fixtures are specifically designed for reef tanks, offering balanced light requirements for these unique aquatic ecosystems.

Brands like Red Sea ReefLED or EcoTech Marine Radion are trusted names in the industry, known for their quality LED products. For instance, the Radion provides a full-spectrum output with adjustable intensity, making it a great choice for a diverse range of corals. EMA stocks an extensive range of these high-quality products, providing reefers with a multitude of spectrum options to cater to their specific needs.

Choosing the Best Spectrum for Your Reef Tank

Corals are highly adapted to their natural environment, where blue light dominates due to the filtering effect of water on other wavelengths like yellow and red light. Therefore, replicated this condition in a reef tank often results in a thriving reef ecosystem. The color of light, often measured as correlated color temperature (CCT) in kelvin, is a crucial determinant of the light spectrum for your reef tank.

Choosing the best spectrum for your reef tank is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a careful evaluation of the individual requirements of your marine life and diligent observation and adjustment of PAR/PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) levels as needed. For example, some corals require more blue light, while others might thrive under a more balanced spectrum. EMA offers personalized guidance to assist customers in choosing the appropriate spectrum, thereby ensuring their reef tanks flourish.

Impact of Spectrum on Coral Growth and Colouration

The impact of light spectrum on coral growth and coloration is fascinating. In the presence of the right light spectrum, reef lighting stimulates the production of chromoproteins, which result in vibrant colors in corals. These chromoproteins, when excited by certain light wavelengths, give corals their stunning, vivid coloration.

However, signs of excessive or insufficient light, such as color fading, reduced size, browning, and slow growth, can indicate the need for adjustments in lighting. For instance, if corals are exposed to too much intense light, they may become bleached or lose their color. On the other hand, lack of sufficient light can lead to slow or stunted growth. Maintaining appropriate photoperiods, the relative lengths of light and dark periods, is also crucial for optimal coral health and growth. EMA, with its range of products and services, assists customers in achieving the ideal spectrum and PAR levels for their corals, thus ensuring a vibrant and thriving reef tank.

Optimising Spectrum and PAR Levels in Your Reef Aquarium

To optimize the spectrum and PAR levels in a reef tank, reefers can use several strategies. These include intuitive estimation based on observation, seeking recommendations from experienced reefers, or using a PAR meter for precise readings.

Spectrographs and Chromaticity charts, tools that provide a visual representation of the light spectrum, can be used to evaluate the spectral quality of lights. These tools can help ensure that your lighting provides a balanced spectrum that closely mimics the natural marine environment. EMA’s expertise in optimizing spectrum and PAR levels can guide you in making the necessary adjustments to achieve optimal lighting conditions for your reef aquarium.


In the realm of reef aquariums, understanding and effectively managing PAR and spectrum are indispensable for the health and vibrancy of corals. These factors, when correctly balanced, can transform your reef tank into a thriving, colorful underwater paradise. As you continue to explore and experiment with your reef aquarium lighting, remember that EMA is here to provide expert guidance and support. Visit EMA’s website at to explore their comprehensive range of reef aquarium products and services. Their expertise and high-quality products can help you create and maintain a stunning reef aquarium, providing your marine life with the best possible environment.

purple fish with yellow tail underwater

The Power of UV Lights: Maintaining Clarity and Health in Saltwater Aquariums

Introduction to UV Lights in Saltwater Aquariums

UV lights, also known as ultraviolet lights, play a crucial role in maintaining the health and clarity of saltwater aquariums. These lights emit ultraviolet radiation, specifically UV-C light, which has germicidal properties.In saltwater aquariums, UV lights are commonly used in the form of UV sterilizers to eliminate unwanted pathogens and maintain water clarity.

UV sterilizers are devices that allow water to pass around a UV-C lamp, exposing it to the germicidal properties of UV light. The purpose of UV sterilization in reef tanks is to control waterborne algae, target pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and improve overall water quality. Proper installation and maintenance of UV sterilizers are crucial for their effectiveness in saltwater aquariums.

Benefits of Using UV Lights in Reef Tanks

The use of UV lights in reef tanks offers several benefits for both the aquatic environment and the inhabitants of the tank. UV sterilization plays a vital role in removing unwanted pathogens from aquarium water, contributing to the overall health and well-being of the tank ecosystem. Here are some key benefits of using UV lights in reef tanks:

  1. Water Clarity and Reduction of Harmful Bacteria: UV lights help maintain water clarity by controlling free-floating algae spores and problematic bacteria.By eliminating these microorganisms, UV sterilizers contribute to crystal clear water in reef tanks.
  2. Prevention of Fish Diseases and Improved Water Quality: UV sterilizers can prevent some types of fish diseases by deactivating pathogens in the water. Additionally, the elimination of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms improves the overall water quality in the tank, providing a healthier environment for the aquatic life.
  3. Control of Waterborne Algae and Pathogens: UV lights can effectively control waterborne algae, including dinoflagellates and free-floating algae spores.Furthermore, UV sterilizers target a wide range of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, helping to maintain a balanced and healthy ecosystem in the reef tank.

Maintaining Water Clarity and Reducing Harmful Bacteria

UV lights play a crucial role in maintaining water clarity and reducing harmful bacteria in saltwater aquariums. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Killing Unwanted Organisms: UV light kills unwanted organisms, including harmful bacteria, by disrupting their DNA and preventing them from reproducing. This helps to maintain water clarity and reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the tank.
  2. Limitations of UV Sterilization: It’s important to note that UV sterilization is not effective against infestations on fish or bacterial diseases. UV lights primarily target free-floating microorganisms in the water column.
  3. Factors Affecting Effectiveness: Several factors can affect the effectiveness of UV sterilization in saltwater aquariums. These include running the UV sterilizer 24/7, maintaining clear water conditions, using a new or regularly replaced UV bulb, ensuring sufficient penetration depth of UV light, appropriate exposure time, minimizing light blockage, and implementing measures to prevent future pathogen occurrences.
  4. Precautions: Precautions should be taken to prevent damage to the human eye and reduce the risk of electrical shock while using UV lights in reef tanks. It’s important to follow safety guidelines and use proper protective equipment when working with UV sterilizers.
  5. Compatibility with Medications: UV sterilizers should not be used simultaneously with drugs or medications in the tank, as UV light can interfere with their effectiveness. It’s advisable to consult with a veterinarian or aquarium professional when using UV sterilizers in conjunction with any medications.
  6. Chemical Compounds: UV light can alter the structure of some dissolved chemical compounds in the water. It’s important to monitor water parameters and observe any potential changes when using UV sterilization in the reef tank.

Impact of UV Lights on Coral Health

UV lights have minimal impact on coral health in saltwater aquariums. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Beneficial Bacteria: UV lights do not kill beneficial bacteria present in the sand bed and live rock of the reef tank. Most beneficial bacteria in a reef tank are not free-floating, reducing the impact of UV sterilizers on their population.
  2. Liquid Beneficial Bacteria: UV sterilizers have the potential to kill liquid beneficial bacteria if they pass through the UV light. However, the impact on overall bacterial populations is minimal due to the majority of beneficial bacteria residing in the substrate and live rock.
  3. Feeding Time: It’s important to avoid running UV lights during feeding time in reef tanks. UV light can affect the nutritional value of the food and may disrupt the feeding behavior of the tank inhabitants.
  4. Advancements in UV Sterilization: Some UV sterilizers, such as TMC’s Titan range, incorporate a photocatalytic lining to enhance the effectiveness of UV light and remove pollutants from the water. Additionally, ongoing research into LED UV sterilizers may offer more efficient and tailored solutions for reef tanks in the future.

Proper Installation and Maintenance of UV Sterilizers in Reef Tanks

Proper installation and maintenance of UV sterilizers are essential for their optimal performance in saltwater aquariums. Here are some important considerations:

  1. Types of UV Sterilizers: There are different types of UV sterilizers available for reef tanks, including tray type, tube type-wet bulb, and tube type-dry bulb. Understanding the characteristics and functionality of each type is important for selecting the most suitable option.
  2. Size and Flow Rate: Selecting the right size and flow rate for the UV sterilizer is crucial for maximum effectiveness. It’s important to consider the volume of the aquarium and the specific needs of the tank inhabitants.
  3. Quartz Sleeves: Quartz sleeves are preferred for UV sterilizers due to their high transmittance of UV-C light. They allow maximum exposure of the water to the germicidal properties of UV light.
  4. Bulb Replacement: UV bulbs should be replaced every six to eight months or as recommended by the manufacturer. Regular bulb replacement ensures consistent performance and effectiveness of the UV sterilizer.
  5. Flow Rates and Sterility: Understanding flow rates is important when using UV sterilizers. It’s crucial to note that UV sterilization does not guarantee complete sterility of the water. The primary goal is to control pathogens and maintain water clarity.
  6. Additional Resources and Recommendations: There are various resources and equipment recommendations available for UV sterilizers in reef tanks. Consulting reputable sources and seeking advice from experienced aquarists can provide valuable insights for installation and maintenance.


UV lights play a significant role in saltwater aquariums, particularly in reef tanks, by maintaining water clarity and reducing harmful bacteria. UV sterilizers offer several benefits, including the control of waterborne algae, prevention of fish diseases, and improved water quality. However, it’s important to properly install and maintain UV sterilizers to ensure their effectiveness. While UV lights have minimal impact on coral health, precautions should be taken to prevent damage to the human eye and reduce the risk of electrical shock. As advancements continue in UV sterilization technology, further research and exploration of its application in reef tanks are encouraged.

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