Aquariums are fascinating, and many people want to bring some of that underwater magic into their homes.
However, if you’re going to get some of the same ocean fish to your tank, you need to set up a saltwater aquarium. Saltwater aquariums require special care to allow your fish and other sea creatures to thrive. Use these essential tips to maintain a saltwater aquarium as you start your cycles and prepare to bring fish home!
Clean Your Tank
When setting up a saltwater aquarium, the first thing you need to do is clean it, even if the tank itself is brand new. If the tank was already in use, clean out any old water, plants, and substrate from the tank first. You can remove debris or waste with an aquarium vacuum cleaner. If the tank is new, using a diluted bleach solution before thoroughly washing it with soap and water can ensure your animals enter a clean environment.
After removing all the old water and thoroughly cleaning the tank, add fresh water until the level reaches halfway up the sides of the tank. Then, let the aquarium sit for at least 24 hours before filling it again.
Unlike a freshwater tank, it’s rare for a saltwater tank to succeed without a filter that operates around the clock. Proper filtration prevents excessive algae growth on the walls of the tank, the décor, and even the corals. To make sure that your filter works properly:
- Check the filter’s functionality and cleanliness regularly.
- Ensure that the air pump is working well and that the filter media doesn’t clog.
- Change filters regularly to get rid of any dead bacteria.
Consider pH in a Reef Tank
One of the biggest problems you may encounter when having a reef tank is maintaining the correct pH levels. Creating the correct environment in your saltwater aquarium requires a variety of corrective chemicals. For example, if you want to raise the pH levels, you must use alkaline compounds. On the other hand, if you want to lower the pH levels, you need to use acidic compounds.
The pH of your tank’s water is one of the most critical aspects of the tank’s health, so it’s important to have a solid understanding of fish tank pH levels before adding living creatures to the equation.
One key tip for maintaining a saltwater aquarium is to create a schedule for your tank’s water changes.
When changing the water in your aquarium, it’s important to keep the tank’s size, fish, and plants in mind. For instance, most saltwater aquariums need a partial water change at least every two weeks. Avoid lifting a tank with water in it alone, as the shifting weight presents a hazard. Gravel vacuums, buckets, and transfer tanks are all great tools to have on hand that make the water changing process much easier.