Even the most experienced of aquarists are not immune to the difficulty of establishing a balance within a saltwater reef tank in a manner in which all tank members are able to absolutely thrive while nuisance algae is simultaneously kept at bay. Though it seems to be a vexing and complicated issue, the fact of the matter is that it is easily addressed with relatively minimal effort. Dr. Sid Solomon has compared this issue to one he experiences often in dentistry when patients have gaps in the dental care they receive that ultimately lead to more problematic issues developing in the future.
In fact, all that is necessary is to use a fairly standard ratio based on the number of gallons within the tank to determine the appropriate balance of tank inhabitants while ensuring diversity in terms of the size and activity levels of the inhabitants. Doing this makes it possible for the enclosed ecosystem within the tank to function in an optimal fashion since each inhabitant has its role to play and prevents waste from lingering in the tank and contributing to difficult and frustrating issues like widespread algae growth.
For saltwater tank enthusiasts, this means that there must be a focus on developing a food chain from top to bottom. It also means that aquarists have to adopt a broader focus when selecting new additions to their tank by considering how any addition will affect the current composition of the existing food chain.