If you’ve decided to get a saltwater fish tank, there are a few things you must do before buying your fish pets. While it may seem the ocean maintains its aquatic life without effort, if you don’t set up your saltwater tank properly you may find yourself with unhealthy fish.
The first step to creating a saltwater fish tank is to select your synthetic salt mix to use. This should be a mixture which closely resembles natural seawater. Start with pure water (without chlorine or other chemicals, such as many spring waters or bottled water). Tap water contains chemicals so it can only be used if it’s filtered fully.
After you’ve collected water for your tank, you’ll need to add the salt. Some salt is similar to sea salt you’d find in the grocery. However, pet stores often offer saltwater tank salt with added minerals, which are important for healthy fish.
To begin enjoying your tank, it’s important to add only one or two fish initially. The tank should go through a complete nitrogen cycle before any more fish are added. It can take up to six weeks for the cycle to be complete (during this time bacteria are grown which will change fish waste into harmless material).
A saltwater tank will need about half of its water replaced each month, so be sure to keep your eye on the water level at all times. The salt water evaporates quickly. After you get into a regular routine of changing water, cleaning filters and maintaining salt levels, you’ll find your saltwater tank is a great way to enjoy sea life.