Do you have a fascination with saltwater fish?
No need to feel shy about it—we all have a fascination with them in one way or another. These critters have a quirky charm that makes them interesting to watch as they swim around the water. However, not everyone can go to where salt water is to be able to see them up close.
That said, getting a saltwater fish tank set up may be what you want. With this kind of set up, you can view these interesting creatures at your own leisure. Fortunately, the process of setting up a tank isn’t too complicated.
Never tried it before? Don’t worry, we’ve got a guide ready below.
Read what we have below to know the basics of setting up saltwater tanks. Knowing the proper way to do so will help you make a sturdy tank and save lots of water.
Choosing and Preparing Your Location
If you’re investing this much to set up a saltwater aquarium, then you want to put it in a pretty place where everyone can see it. So, you should consider places like the area facing the main entrance or your main gathering area.
You also may want to consider placing in an area that’s open. While there’s nothing wrong with placing the aquarium up against a wall, this means that you don’t have any way to view it from that side. You want to be able to see it from all angles.
Also, you should choose a location that keeps the tank away from objects that can change its temperatures in a short amount of time. For example, air conditioners and heaters can change your aquarium’s temperature. This can result in complications to your fish and your tank in the long run.
Preparing Your Tank
Once you’ve chosen a suitable location, you should now prepare your tank. The first thing you should always do when preparing a tank is to wash it. This makes sure that you don’t bring any contaminants into your saltwater aquarium. It also ensures that the water you will later introduce is free of bacteria.
This is also the time when you can add whatever it is you want to add to the tank itself. Additions like mirrors, a backdrop, or lights are great options if you so wish. This is also where you put in any decorations you want to have for your tank.
To maintain that oceanic aesthetic, you may want to add things like coral-like rocks or actual corals. Some people even put sand straight from the sea. Regardless of where you got your decorations though, it’s important that you give them a good rinse before finding a permanent place for them in your tank.
Unless you have pre-cured decorations, rinsing them removes any surface dirt and bacteria that may contaminate your water and, in the long run, cause disease for your saltwater fish. You should also do this to any coral you fish out of the ocean. This is because sometimes, there may be bacteria or critters which you will not want inside your tank.
So, always make sure your décor is clean and cured before adding them to your reef tank’s set up.
Preparing Your Equipment
No saltwater tank is complete without filters and the like to keep it in a desirable state. There are different types of equipment you can use to help keep everything in order in your tank. For instance, sumps are important to ensure your tank has clean water in it all the time.
Sumps are often found under a tank. So, you may want to situate your tank on a hollow pedestal to give room for one. This also gives you some height to work with when you’re installing your filters.
Another reason why you shouldn’t position your tank with its back pressed against a wall is the filters. They’re often bulky and need you to provide them with a lot of room. The space you provide can also give you some room to sort the wires of your lighting materials.
It may seem like lights are unnecessary, only providing light and nothing else. Lights do; however, help regulate the ecosystem in your tank in the future.
If you do decide to put some lights in, make sure that you seal them well. You don’t want any sparks killing your fish now, do you? Sort their wires and make sure to test it before adding anything else.
Make sure to also hook up your lights and filters to an alternative power source. In the event of a power outage, you want to make sure your fish have a constant supply of oxygen. This will help your filters and pumps to give them that.
Adding Biological Factors
In an aquarium, you need to make sure that everything is in the right condition for the fishes inhabiting it. This means that you need to go beyond and try to simulate their natural ecosystem. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
All you need to do is use the right substrate. This not only decorates your tank but also affects the water’s chemistry. This is important because saltwater fish need a specific ph balance to thrive in an aquarium.
You may also want to consider mixing in some sea salt in the water. Bear in mind that the sea salt you need is different from the sea salt used in cooking. Do some research ahead of time to know what kind of sea salt you need for the fish you want to have.
These will all help towards producing algae for your tank. If you see green algae after around a month or 2, then it’s a sign that your tank has the right ecosystem and that your fish should be comfortable in it.
Stabilizing Your Water
By now, you’re done decorating your tank. You’d think it’s time to put in your selected fish, right?
Well, not quite yet, there’s still something you need to do, stabilization. Stabilizing a tank is important because it ensures that everything is in order once it settles. This makes sure that the atmosphere is right for the fish you want to introduce.
For this, you may also want to install a heater to your tank. Like said above, a change in temperature can affect the chemical balance in the tank. So, you’re going to want to set it to a specific temperature before fish enter your tank.
You may also want to consider adding a refugium. This is a great way to introduce the ecosystem you’re trying to simulate to your tank. Doing so helps you achieve the atmosphere you want to have in your saltwater tank.
Build Your Own Saltwater Fish Tank Set Up Today
Having an optimized saltwater fish tank set up ensures that your fish live a healthy life. Use our guide to build your own set up now!
While you’re looking for ways to set up a reef tank, you may come across some rumors and common myths about saltwater aquariums. Check out our article about the 8 most common aquarium myths to find out if they’re fact or fiction.