How to Choose the Best Reef for Your Aquarium

Your Guide to buying the best Reefs


A reef aquarium is an incredibly rewarding experience for any aquarist, providing a unique and beautiful display of vibrant colors, fascinating shapes and interesting movements of life. When planning a reef tank, it is essential that the right components are chosen to ensure the long-term success of the tank. This buying guide will help you understand the necessary components of a reef tank, such as lighting, filtration, circulation and more, and provide guidance on how to make the best choices for your reef tank. Additionally, this guide will provide advice on how to set up a reef tank, manage its maintenance, and provide information about compatible fish and invertebrates. Ultimately, this guide will enable you to create a healthy and beautiful reef tank that you can enjoy for years to come.

Key features

  1. Size - Reefs come in a variety of sizes, it is important to consider the size of the reef you would like before making a purchase.
  2. Location - Where you will be placing your reef should be carefully considered. Consider if the reef will be placed in an indoor or outdoor location and if it needs to be placed in an area where it can receive enough sunlight.
  3. Climate - Reefs thrive in certain climates. If you are considering a cold-water reef, make sure your climate is cool enough to sustain it. The same goes for warm-water reefs.
  4. Condition - Consider the condition of the reef before purchasing. Look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that could affect its health.
  5. Supplies needed - Reefs require certain supplies to stay healthy and thrive. Make sure you have the necessary supplies to take proper care of your reef.
  6. Maintenance - Research the required maintenance for the type of reef you would like to purchase. Make sure you have the time and resources to properly maintain your reef.

See the most popular Reefs on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Aesthetics - Reefs come in a variety of colors and shapes that can add an interesting visual element to an aquarium.
  • Low Maintenance - Reefs require minimal maintenance, making them an attractive choice for busy aquarium owners.
  • Stability - Reefs are very stable, providing a foundational structure for the rest of the aquarium environment.
  • Good for Fish - Reefs provide a secure hiding spot for fish and other aquatic life, providing them with an environment to feel safe.
  • Aquascaping - Reefs can be used to create interesting aquascapes, adding a unique visual element to the aquarium.
  • Versatility - Reefs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them an attractive option for any type of aquarium.


  • Cost: Reefs can be expensive and require a substantial financial investment.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining a reef tank requires a great deal of time and effort.
  • Lighting: Specialty lighting is often necessary to properly light a reef tank.
  • Filtration: Reefs require more filtration than other tanks, including live rock, protein skimmer, and possibly a sump system.
  • Water Quality: Maintaining the correct water quality is crucial for a healthy, successful reef tank.
  • Invertebrates: Reef tanks may include invertebrates that can be hard to grow and require careful attention.

Best alternatives

  1. Birkenstocks - Popular sandals offering arch support and lasting comfort.
  2. Chacos - Durable sandals for water activities and outdoor adventures.
  3. Olukai - Hawaiian brand of comfortable sandals with leather straps.
  4. Sperry - Versatile boat shoes with a rubber sole and secure lacing.
  5. Teva - Waterproof sandals with a signature outsole for superior traction.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Live Rock - A large piece of coral rock that has been placed in a tank and is now home to many beneficial organisms such as corals, sponges, and other beneficial life forms.
  • Lighting - A key component of reef keeping and is essential for proper coral growth and health.
  • Protein Skimmer - A mechanical filtration device that helps remove organic waste from the aquarium.
  • Heaters - Required to maintain the correct temperature for the health of the reef inhabitants.
  • Test Kits - Used to measure the parameters of your aquarium water to ensure the proper health of the reef inhabitants.
  • Powerheads - Used to help provide water movement and oxygenation to the aquarium.
  • Salt Mix - Contains the essential trace elements and minerals necessary for the health of the reef inhabitants.
  • Calcium Reactors - A tool used to maintain the proper calcium levels in a reef tank.
  • Refugium - An area of the tank used for growing macroalgae which helps remove nitrates from the tank.

Common questions

  1. What is a Reef? A reef is a type of underwater ecosystem typically made up of coral, which provides a home and shelter for a variety of marine life.
  2. What are the benefits of having a Reef? Having a reef can provide many benefits, such as providing a habitat for diverse marine life, helping to maintain water clarity, and providing protection from storms and erosion.
  3. How do I select a Reef? When selecting a reef, it is important to consider the type of water, the amount of light the reef will receive, the type of coral and other aquatic life you want to inhabit it, and the size and budget of the reef.
  4. What types of Reefs are available? Reefs can come in many different types, including natural reefs, artificial reefs, and living reefs.
  5. What type of maintenance does a Reef require? Maintaining a reef requires regular water changes, monitoring water parameters, and cleaning of algae and other debris.
  6. What supplies do I need to set up a Reef? In order to set up a reef, you will need a tank, filtration, lighting, substrate, and water. You will also need to consider any additional supplies needed for the type of reef you choose.


It is said that some reefs were built by drunken parrotfish! Parrotfish, which are found all over the world's reefs, are known to eat coral and then poop it back out in little piles. Over time, these piles can accumulate and become the foundation for a whole new coral reef. This fact has been documented by the Smithsonian's website, which calls it a "remarkable example of an unintended consequence of nature."[Source]

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.