Saltwater aquariums are neat because they allow you to keep colorful, tropical fish in your home or office. If you have ever seen one up close, you will know what I’m talking about. They come in many sizes, shapes, and varieties which allows you to customize not only what is in the tank, but also outside of it. Growing up, my mother had multiple aquariums all with different kinds of fish, but it took time and overcoming challenges to fully learn how to care for, build, and maintain those aquariums. Therefore, here are three important things you should know about owning and maintaining a saltwater aquarium.
First always make sure you have a good size tank with the right salt level. Saltwater aquariums are not cheap, but, buy the biggest tank you can afford. This is important because without the right size or salt level, your fish will be unable to thrive. Ideally you want 10 gallons of water per fish. Saltwater fish and plant life are used to living in a big vast ocean, so try to give them as much space as possible. Make sure to always keep a hydrometer in the tank to measure salt levels. Salt levels in a saltwater aquarium are just as important as pH levels in a freshwater tank. Just follow the instructions on the package of the saltwater blend and mix until completely dissolved. Always keep your salt levels between 1.020-1.023.
The second thing you should know about saltwater aquariums is filtration. Filtration is the key to a healthy saltwater aquarium. There are three basic types of filtration: biological, mechanical, and chemical. Biological filtration converts ammonia into nitrate with the aid of bacteria by using the live rock and Berlin filtration systems. Ammonia is toxic and can harm the occupants of the aquarium. Keep it to a minimum with a biological filtrate, but also make sure to cure your live rock before use or it will also damage the water in the tank. Nitrates can also be lowered through proper water changes. Mechanical filtration is simple. Using a canister filter, you are able to physically remove dissolved and particulate material from the aquarium. There are also multifunctional canisters that allow you do a lot more to filter your tank that can fulfill your needs. Finally, chemical filters are filters that remove harmful toxins from the saltwater through chemical reactions or adsorption. Feel free to combine the different kinds of filtration systems to meet your needs. When it comes to filtering, it’s always better to have more than not enough.
The last thing you should know is to always maintain good circulation in your tank. Flow is the answer to maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium. A lack of good water flow can lead to a variety of problems such as low dissolved oxygen, the formation of nuisance algae, and if you have stationary animals, they won’t receive their food. These are just the basics of what you should know about saltwater aquariums. Contact your local pet store with additional questions and for further advice regarding your tank. I understand saltwater tanks are tough to maintain, but they are worth it. Have patience with every step you take from choosing a filter to choosing the fish and your saltwater aquarium will flourish.