Manual Set Up Your Own Saltwater Aquarium!

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It is easy because you do not have to do anything, but hard because you have to wait, kind of like waiting for water to boil. Every days you should test the water to check ammonia and nitrates. Once these both hit zero you are ready to stock the tank. You might want to wait another days after you see it hit 0 before you go buy a fish because sometimes it spikes again, so to play it safe I would wait.

This process can take anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks depending on the sand and sand you buy. All that waiting is finally paying off. You should now see hair algae growing all over you tank, and the best way to get rid of this ick is invertabraes. These things get the job done. In one day this snail had the front of my glass as clear as a window.

Other inverts you can get are star fish, but I have no experience with them to offer any tips.

How to setup a saltwater aquarium and care for pet marine fish

Do not add everything at once because this will shock your system, instead add at a time. By the time most of your clean up crew is in the tank it should look pretty good. Now you are ready for fish. Now is the time to add fish. Some of the best fish for tanks smaller than twenty gallons include clownfish, gobies, damsels, and cardinals.

In a tank less than 5 gallons, do not attempt fish, it will end badly. I started my 10 gallon with a Yellowtail damsel, because it is the easiest fish in the world to take care of and only little sisters are able to kill them I would know. In my fourteen gallon, I got a false percula clown fish because I enjoy the fish and my 14 gallon is a bit more stable. Another clown which I like is the tomatoe clown because of its bright color. Another fish which I will be purchasing soon is a firefish goby. Their colors are amazing and the have the coolest swimming habit ever due to their long dorsal fin.

I talked to my LFS worker many hours and did tons of research before I bought any of my fish. Find one that you like and then see if it is right for you. As I do not yet own corals, I am still learning about these creatures. However, through research I have learned that poly corals such as zooanthoids are perfect for low lit nano aquariums. Types of mushroom corals such as ricordias are also good for this setup.

Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion Nano Premium 10-Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit

Corals such as frog spawn or colt corals are not advised due to their sweeping tentacles which can kill other corals and even fish. Anemones are likewise ill advised but with research, there are types that are safe for your tank. Your best bet however is soft corals because of they are the easiest to care for and require the least amount of lighting. Another cool creature that can reside in your tank is a feather duster.

These creatures are actually worms that live in a 'tube' and have feather looking things coming from the top that resemble a feather duster. The 'feathers' are used to collect food floating in the water. These are simple creatures that are fairly inexpensive as far as saltwater goes. And that is it.

How to Set up a Saltwater Aquarium in 10 Steps

This is a simple process that needs to be done with great care in order to achieve a great salt water aquarium. Question 1 year ago on Step 1. Answer 1 year ago. Great info,thanks. Tell me what you think about it,I will appreciate a lot. Please correct me if I'm wrong, so one of those big fancy external filters is not required really for a 10 gallon saltwater tank? Reply 3 years ago. Yes- this is my understanding. After the live rock, the protein skimmer is probably the next most important piece of equipment. When it comes to protein skimmers you really do get what you pay for. We have posted a few protein skimmer reviews and there are many more out there.

Listed below are skimmers that we have reviewed:. Get the live rock, sand and a power strip. Try to get 1 to 2 pounds of live rock per aquarium gallon. Don't use sandbox or playground sand because it can have various unknown particles that may be harmful to your fish. Get either live sand or an aragonite based sand from caribsea or crushed coral. A recent development in the past year or so has been biopellets. These are small polymer based bio-degradable pellets biopellets that as they slowly break down in your reactor will begin to feed and grow bacteria that will consume nitrates and phosphates thereby lessening the growth of undesirable algae forms your tank.

You have to use a skimmer to get the full benefit of using biopellets and you need to direct the flow from the pellet reactor into the skimmer so that the excess "gunk" or whatever the waste products of the pellets is called is skimmed out of the system. For more information or to get started, check out the biopellet article. Set up your aquarium, stand and equipment Wash out your tank with water only!

Do not use soap or detergents. Soap residue left behind will be harmful for your saltwater fish. Smoke test your aquarium by filling it with fresh water and check for leaks.

If it passes the leak test, drain the fresh water from the aquarium. Affix your background at this time. Be sure to use tape all across the top back of the background to prevent any salt creep from getting in between the background and tank glass. Alternatively, you can also paint the back tank glass paint the outside back, not the inside.

How To Set Up a Nano Reef in 5 Minutes!

Painting the back glass can be better than using a background because you won't have to worry about salt creep making its way in between your aquarium background and the back glass. For marine tanks, a black background can help the fish colors stand out more.

Deep blue is another popular color choice and it can help create the illusion of depth. After painting, let the tank sit for a day or so to allow the paint to dry. Install your heater, hook up your filter, protein skimmer and any other equipment you have and be sure to use a drip loop on all of the power cords.

Why Should You Get A Saltwater Aquarium?

For more safety tips, read the aquarium electrical safety article. Don't plug in anything yet! Add pre-mixed saltwater to the aquarium All of the marine salt mixes out there are made slightly differently. There is much debate as to which salt mix is the best.

Here is a comparison on some of the available saltwater mixes. Unless you're considering a reef tank, most of the commonly available mixes should serve you fine. You'll soon develop a salt mix preference after you've worked with them for a while. Use a clean 5-gallon bucket to mix the saltwater. First fill the bucket and then remove the chlorine and chloramine.

Use something like Tetra AquaSafe for Aquariums. Read the directions on the salt mix package carefully and then add the salt mix slowly to room temperature water. Stir it well and test it with your hydrometer or refractometer. Once you get a specific gravity reading between 1. Repeat this process until you have filled your tank. If you have a large aquarium you can mix the salt in the tank. Mixing in the tank can be more difficult and messy, so just be sure that you have thoroughly dissolved all of the salt mix before using the hydrometer.

Cure the live rock.

Live rock is probably going to be the greatest expense with the initial setup of a saltwater aquarium. For a reef tank setup it may be the aquarium lighting. For this reason, you are probably going to treat your live rock like gold once you get it. However, even though it can cost a lot of money, it will probably end up saving you money in fish because it is the best form of biological filtration.

The curing process can last anywhere from 1 week to 2 months or more depending on the shape the rock is in when you get it. Drain some of the aquarium water and then place your live rock in the tank. Try to place it in the middle of the tank and aim the power heads you should have 2 or 3 at the live rock. Placing the live rock in the middle of the tank will allow you to siphon up the debris that the power heads will be blowing off. Every few days turn off the power to the tank so you can perform live rock maintenance. Use some new rubber kitchen type gloves while doing this to protect your hands and the rock.

You will need to scrub the live rock with a brush that has plastic bristles old tooth brush to remove any obviously dead or dying organisms. You can do this directly in the tank. Siphon up the debris and then refill with pre-mixed saltwater. The day before you perform the live rock maintenance get your saltwater ready. If you have a smaller tank you can use a couple of 5-gallon buckets for this purpose. If you have a larger tank you may want to invest in a large rubber trash can for pre-mixing your saltwater. Whatever you use, you will need to place a power head and a heater in the pre-mix container so that the mix dissolves correctly.

Test your water throughout the curing process to determine if the tank is cycling. During the curing process your tank may smell pretty bad and a good indication that your live rock is cured is when it no longer smells bad but more like the ocean. Use your test kits to verify that the tank has indeed cycled. You should have 0 ammonia , 0 nitrite and some sort of reading on the nitrates. Add your substrate First, drain some of the saltwater in your aquarium to allow for the sand you're about to add and turn off the power to the tank. We'll use the 5-gallon bucket to clean the sand.

Use the 5-gallon bucket to pre-mix about 2 gallons of saltwater. Add your sand to the bucket and then stir. This will allow some of the dust and dirt to rise so you can then siphon it off. Drain some of the saltwater from the bucket before adding your substrate. Use a plastic cup, ladle or something similar to add the freshly cleaned substrate to your aquarium. Use one of your power heads to blow off any sand that gets on your live rock during this process. Allow the tank to settle for a few days Monitor your water parameters closely during this time.

Check the salinity or specific gravity, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and carbonate hardness levels and correct as necessary. Ideally, you want the following readings for your saltwater tests before you start adding fish to your saltwater aquarium setup:. Slowly add saltwater fish after the tank has cycled I can't stress enough the need to use a quarantine tank for any new marine fish.

Serenity Saltwater Aquarium Services

You are playing a game that you will eventually lose by adding fish directly into the main tank. Only add one or two saltwater fish at a time. Only adding a couple saltwater fish at a time gives your filtration system the time needed to take on the increased biological load that the new fish introduce.

When bringing home new saltwater fish, the acclimation process is a little more involved. Dump the bag contents fish and water into a clean 5-gallon bucket and then add about 1 cup of aquarium water to the 5 gallon bucket every 10 minutes. Continue to add 1 cup of aquarium water to the 5-gallon bucket every 10 minutes.

After an hour or so your marine fish or invertebrate should be ready to add to the aquarium qt tank. Following this more involved acclimation process will help reduce the amount of stress imposed on the saltwater fish. Stressed fish often leads to dead fish! Don't feed your saltwater fish on the first day. They probably wouldn't eat any food on the first day anyway. Let them get acquainted with their new home. Perform Regular Aquarium Maintenance.

Be prepared to spend some time every day to monitor the temperature and salinity levels on your newly setup marine aquarium.


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You will also need to spend some time once a month to clean your tank and change out some of the saltwater. Performing regular small water changes will reduce the nitrate levels, replenish elements that have been used up and skimmed off and keep your saltwater fish happy and healthy. Remember to never add freshly mixed saltwater to your aquarium because it is fairly caustic freshly mixed. Mix it up the day before you will be doing maintenance. Site References : Wikipedia. Reef safe fish tend to be less fussy in their diets and usually cheaper to feed because they will be happy with more generic dried food mixes.

Saltwater Aquarium For Beginners: 10 Easy Steps

You can also go with a one size fits all reef food and please everybody in this tank. If you want to learn more about the different costs of specific fish, check out our article here. Specialist, high end or marine saltwater fish are more expensive than reef fish, for a few reasons:. With saltwater fish, depending on the breed, they can be temperamental and will need the right amount of personal space to be happy. Read our interesting and fun article: 21 Ways to make your fish happy.

The rarer your saltwater fish breeds, the more expensive they will be to source, as well as to feed. Plus, if you choose rare and expensive fish then you probably want to invest in a good-quality tank, heater and filtration system. Yeah 35k per fish is out of my league. The biggest contributing factor to the cost of your aquarium is its size. The smallest tank you could run and have thriving fish should be no less than 60 litres.

You can then source tanks in all shapes and sizes, with larger commercial ones holding as much as litres. You can buy off the shelf tank shapes and sizes up to around litres, and then beyond that, you would probably need to get one especially made. Tanks below litres you may be able to get away with keeping on a solid table or chest of drawers, so you may not need to purchase a special stand as well. Once you get over litres you will need to purchase a special stand as well as the tank.

Fish Tank Calculator. You will need a big enough tank for the size of fish you would like to keep, remembering that some can grow quite big, and many of them like a lot of space to move around or hide. Some of them also prefer to be quite solitary and keep to themselves. Saltwater has less oxygen within in than freshwater, so you need a bigger tank than you would with freshwater fish, basically so your little guys can breathe. You will need a strong enough stand for the tank and all of the water — it is best to buy both together or discuss with your supplier which stand would be best for your tank.

Newly acquired fish need to go into this for a little while before introducing them to the rest of the community. In terms of cost, you can set up a perfectly good saltwater system relatively cheaply, but it will be smaller and hold less fish, and only suitable for the hardier or reef friendly breeds. On top of this you will need fish, and to supply the right food for them. A saltwater tank system, as well as the fish you will buy to populate it, are both more expensive than freshwater systems. You will need to pay for salt as well as water testing items regularly. Saltwater systems need to be properly monitored to make sure that the balance of salt and other chemicals in the water are fine for your fish, as well as maintaining the warm temperature that tropical fish will thrive in.

Your main ongoing costs for looking after a saltwater tank are the food, saltwater mix, chemicals and cleaning products and cost of electricity at home to keep it running. It depends on your energy provider, but roughly it costs around the following amounts to run a saltwater tank:. Saltwater fish can be quite specific in their diets, so this cost is probably the most expensive one to maintain, depending, as always, on the fish breeds that you choose to keep.

Some need fresh or frozen meat such as shrimp, worms, and scallops, as well as vegetable sources such as seaweed, whereas others will be happy with pellets or flakes. You need to allow at least a month when you first set up your saltwater tank before you add any fish. This allows the rock and plants to get established and the water levels to adjust to a healthy level for your fish. We use atlantic coral rocks for our backdrop in most of our aquariums.

They soon change color and start growing algae on them in no time with the correct lights. We use LED lights in all our saltwater aquariums.