Starting a Saltwater Aquarium
By William Berg
Starting a saltwater aquarium is a task that can be fun and rewarding, or devastating. It all depends on if you put it together well where it provides a good ecosystem for your saltwater fish to survive in.
When setting up a saltwater aquarium you need to make a decision regarding how large aquarium tank you are going to get. For a beginner, a larger tank may be better. The reason is the more means a chemically more stable aquarium. Many experienced aquarists suggest 55 gallons / 200L or larger for a beginner when it comes to saltwater aquariums.
You will also have to choice between Glass and Acrylic aquarium tanks when preparing Setting up a saltwater aquarium. Glass aquariums will stay clearer over the years, though they do not insulate the tank as well, and are more breakable. Acrylic may scratch, but is stronger and insulates better (may require a smaller heater). Glass aquariums are usually the cheaper choice.
You should begin by deciding on the location where you will be setting up a saltwater aquarium at in your home. This is important for whether your saltwater aquarium setup will be successful or not. You do not want a location where there is too much heat changes during the day, or a location where the aquarium is subjected to large amounts of sunlight. This will not provide an environment that is constant in temperature for your fish, and might lead to too much algae (due to direct sunlight and its ultraviolet rays). You should also make sure that you place the aquarium so that it isnâ€™t in the way in your everyday life.
When setting up a saltwater aquarium you want to consider that the tank might not be easy to move once the aquarium is full. Saltwater weighs about 8.5lbs per gallon and to that weight you can add gravel decorations etc. So be sure that itâ€™s where you really want it before you start Setting up your saltwater aquarium.
Make sure the aquarium tank, aquarium stand, and other above aquarium equipment fit in the space you have chosen. Leave a gap behind for access to clean behind the aquarium and maintain the aquarium equipment. Setting up a saltwater aquarium is after all only the beginning. You will have to care for the aquarium once it is up and running too. .
It is best to clean the tank thoroughly before use. Do not use cleaners, solvents, and the like as they may leave residues that can harm your fish. Tiny amounts of Pure Bleach may be used, such as one capful for 10 gallons of water, and make sure to rinse it very well afterwards.
Now you will need to decide what sort of population you want in your saltwater aquarium before setting it up. This might be Fish Only, Fish with Live Rock, or maybe a full Reef System. Fish only might be the easiest alternative if this is your first saltwater aquarium. It might however be relatively easy to upgrade to a full reef system later if you do a good and well planed job while setting up your saltwater aquarium tank. Setting up a saltwater aquarium offers many options.
Choosing an aquarium filter.
There are more then one type of filtration needed in a saltwater aquarium. These are biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration.
Biological filtration removes ammonia, ammonium, nitrite, and nitrates (some) created by fishâ€™s biological processes and other activity in the aquarium. The process involves conversion of ammonia/ammonium to harmful nitrite. Then the nitrite converts to harmless nitrate. Live Rock which can support bacteria and Protein Skimmers are among top biological filtration systems. .
Chemical Filtration is another important aspect of Setting up saltwater aquarium. They will remove various chemicals that are dissolved in the water. Visually, these remove the discoloration of the water that might occur without filtration.
Mechanical Filtration is also important for removal of matter such as excess uneaten food, fish waste, and other debris that might land in the tank.
Follow the instructions with the salt mix that you have chosen. Also, only add freshwater after the water is made. The water evaporates, while the salt does not which means that the salinity of in the aquarium fluctuates. You should therefore use a hydrometer to keep track of gravity(salinity), and add salt to bring up the salinity when needed. Remember; do not add salt when replacing evaporated water.
The first thing you should do when you have setup your aquarium and filled it with water is cycling the water. Let the filtration system run a week or longer before adding fish and there after introduce a few hardy fish. Damsels are one good choice for beginners.
Add fish to the aquarium at the rate of maybe 2 a week at most and preferable in pairs. You should not add more than 1 fish per 10 gallons, and remember that the amount of water will not be the full size of the tank, as other things in the tank (including your fish) take up space that are not available to the fish. Introduce new fish to your aquarium very carefully to avoid causing the fish unnecessary stress.
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