A growing trend in the marine hobby is the belief that a reef aquarium should mimic wild ecosystems as much as possible. This means simulating the food sources, biological filtration, lighting spectrums, and water movement found in nature.
If you're interested in taking a more natural approach to reef keeping, here's how:
Refugiums serve as a home for live sand, live rock, and micro crustaceans, which feed and thrive on the detritus and wastes from the main aquarium, thereby adding to the bio-diversity of the system. A macroalgae, usually of the genus Caulerpa, is then grown above the rock and sand, feeding upon the nutrients within the water which aids in keeping waste levels from becoming problematic and reduces the number of necessary water changes. This will keep macroalgae confined, avoiding overgrowth in your main display. Macroalgae are also thought to release compounds into the water which aid the fish immune systems.
In order to provide proper water flow in the aquarium, you may want to incorporate a wave-making device. The WaveMaster Pro can be combined with a few inexpensive powerheads to provide alternating currents within the aquarium.
The installation of a water flow diverter, which splits your return line, allows water flow to be alternated within the aquarium, mimicking a natural current. For larger aquariums, more than one valve can be used to provide multiple alternating outlets.