How To Set Up a Salt Water Fish Tank

7 Steps to Guide You Through the Initial Phases

Setting up and maintaining a saltwater aquarium is far more challenging than a freshwater aquarium. Saltwater tanks, supplies and fish are expensive and require time and patience to establish. Make sure this a hobby that you are willing to invest the time and money in before you get started.

Step 1

Get yourself a good reference book and find some reputable websites to research the proper care and feeding of saltwater fish. Your local pet store might also be a good place to get your initial questions answered.

Step 2

Choose the size and shape of the aquarium. You no longer have to settle for a rectangular tank; there are many unique options available nowadays. If you have the room for it, avoid buying a tank smaller than 10 gallons; they can actually be harder to manage. A 20-30 gallon tank is a good place for a beginner to start.

Step 3

You will also need to purchase:

  • Hood/lid lighting - fluorescent bulbs are recommended.
  • Filter - the type will depend on the setup you want.
  • Gravel - also known as the substrate.
  • Water treatment kit - In live rock and reef tanks, calcium or limewater/kalkwasser is required. Vitamins or additives must be added for certain marine life (i.e. iodine for crustaceans).
  • Cleaning supplies - bucket, siphon tube or hose, algae scraper, spare equipment, replacement parts, etc.
  • Heater - for larger tanks, multiple heaters are required.
  • Thermometer - choose floating, wall mount, or remote sensor.
  • Hydrometer (A.K.A salinity tester that measures the salt content of water).

Do not purchase the fish at this time!

Step 4

Invest in a sturdy stand that has plenty of storage. A 20-gallon tank weighs over 200 pounds when filled with water. Keep this fact in mind when shopping for the stand. Don't make the mistake in thinking that a cheap bookshelf will serve the purpose.

Step 5

Clean out the tank using only water and a sponge. Follow the instructions included with your supplies when installing all of the components.

Step 6

Wait. Aquarium owners that make the mistake of adding fish too quickly are sorely disappointed when their fish go into shock and die.

You'll need to give it at least 24-48 hours before you add residents to your tank.

Step 7

Solicit the advice of the store personnel when selecting your starter fish. No matter how pretty a fish might be, it might not be a good fish to start with.

  • You'll only need to purchase 2-3 fish to get you started and they shouldn't be too large or too aggressive.
  • They should be easy-to-feed fish that are compatible with many other types of fish.

As you establish and stabilize your saltwater environment, you will enjoy adding fish (in moderation) to your new aquarium. Remember to always consult your reference book or a knowledgeable employee when changing the dynamics of your aquarium.

This article was written by collin walker and provided by Pet Super Store a website featuring aluminum dog crates and pet doors.

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That step five picture is classic! I could imagine cleaning my piranha tank like that :o|

By Stephen Sandecki