It's been pretty cold and dark out lately, so how about a trip to the tropics, via my livingroom?
I learned the hard way about the dramatic effects carbon dioxide has on reefs. Reef animals take a lot of calcium carbonate from the water and use it to build their skeletons. So you have to test the carbonate/pH periodically and add more as it's removed by the coral. Like most of you, I had heard that increased CO2 levels are causing acidification of the oceans and threatening the reefs, blah, blah, blah. Then, at one point my coral started to die back, so I did some testing and discovered I had added way too much carbonate over the past few months. High carbonate equals high pH, and that's caustic. This is the opposite of what they say is happening to the ocean.
The solution was to add just one tiny ounce of seltzer water (water with CO2) to the entire tank. WHAM, the pH and carbonate shot down to correct levels. Holy Cow! A tiny bit of CO2 can do all that?? Suddenly the concept of ocean acidification became very real. My coral perked up immediately and lived happily ever after.
Here's Ricky and Lucy, my clownfish, still in bed, where they spend the night staying perfectly still to escape predators. In the wild they would be in an anemone, but these are tank-raised fish and have adapted to my soft coral. You can't have many fish in a reef tank because they pollute the water.