Setting up a saltwater aquarium is more than just an aesthetic venture. You are recreating a symbiotic ecosphere, full of species that many people will never see within their lifetime. Saltwater aquariums can be a vibrant sample of what life on this earth has to offer.
If you’ve taken the leap into this new hobby, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of time and energy it takes to set up and maintain your tank. But have no fear! A little care and patience can go a long way in ensuring your tank’s success. And the reward? A stunning, vibrant ecosystem in your very own living room (or office, or bedroom, or wherever you decide to place it).
In this article, I provide everything you need to know to maintain your tank, with a step-by-step guide on one of the more demanding tasks; performing biweekly water changes.
Just remember – you got this.
You should perform these tasks daily in order to maintain your tank. The good news is that they are often fun! This is your chance to spend time with and interact with your reef.
Once a week, you should perform water quality checks and top off your aquarium water. Over time, you may even start to notice observable trends in water quality changes. This is all a part of taking care of a thriving, living ecosystem!
Tip: With salt water aquariums, you never top off the water using salt water. When water evaporates, the salt stays in the aquarium. This means that as water evaporates, the concentration of salt goes up. Instead, use fresh water from your RO/DI system, or tap water mixed with a water conditioner (just make sure to test your tap water! We’ll learn more about that later).
Biweekly tasks can be a little more demanding. It is not uncommon for beginners to feel intimidated by the process of changing out their tank water. Once you get the hang of it, though, these tasks can be a wonderful opportunity to give your tank a little TLC.
After a few months of frequent water changes, you can cut back to changing the water every two weeks, or as often as necessary based on tests.
Intimidated by the process of changing out your water? It’s simpler than it seems!
Tip: Place the bucket of your mixed salt water next to your empty bucket. This way, you can make sure you aren’t taking out more water than you have available to put back in! If you need to, you can always mix up some more salt water afterwards.
Tip: To make sure you have enough water to do the entire aquarium, it’s helpful to kink the tubing so you have a little control with the rate that water is coming out. This way, you can ensure that you don’t waste too much water while trying to clean the bottom of the tank
Tip: Wipe off saltwater splashes as they happen. Salt water is extremely corrosive – you don’t want it sitting on your wooden furniture or floor!
Maintaining high-quality, stable water is essential for supporting a healthy reef tank.
Inexpensive Sea Salt
As a beginner, finding ways to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires as little effort as possible is immensely important! One way to do this is to introduce some helpful fish, such as the ones listed below.
And that’s all. While it may seem like a lot of information, it becomes much easier with practice and implementation. Like any new hobby, there is always a learning curve, and saltwater tanks are no exception!
With a little care, energy, and effort, you can create and maintain a thriving reef. Be proud of the process, and keep on learning!
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