Having ocean creatures swim around in your living room is undeniably awesome. That said, it’s not all fun and games.
Maintaining a healthy environment for ocean animals takes time, planning, and knowledge. Failure to maintain a healthy environment in your fish tank could result in the premature death of your aquatic friends.
The question is: what does saltwater fish tank care involve? We’re going to get into that question below. Let’s go!
Saltwater Fish Tank Care Tips
There’s quite a bit involved with proper saltwater fish tank maintenance. The most important components of this maintenance are as follows.
1. Get the Temperature Right
The temperature of your tank is vital. Saltwater creatures thrive in a specific temperature range. Temperatures which fall outside out of this range could endanger them.
Generally, a temperature between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit will suffice. Different creatures have different temperature needs. To ensure your tank is the ideal temperature, you should look up the temperature needs of your specific creatures.
Wondering how to alter the temperature of your tank? There are many different things you can do, but the most effective option is to use a heater.
2. Maintain the pH Balance
Another component you need to keep tabs on is pH balance. Saltwater fish thrive in waters with neutral pH balances. Both acidic and basic balances are harmful.
Yet, when it comes to saltwater creatures, you should lean more toward basic than acidic. Generally, it’s recommended that you keep the pH balance between 7.6 and 8.4.
3. Keep Tabs on Salt Content
Salt content or salinity is another important component of saltwater fish tank maintenance. The water in your tank needs to mimic ocean water.
Ocean water contains between 34 and 37 parts of salt per 1,000 units of water. As such, your tank should contain 34 to 37 parts of salt per 1,000 units of water as well.
Wondering how to measure the salinity of your water? All you need is a hydrometer. These cost between $10 and $20 on most online retail sites.
4. Track the Health of Your Fish
While maintaining the salinity, pH balance, and temperature of your water will go a long way in making it habitable for ocean creatures, it won’t optimize its safety.
A variety of other elements could cause harm to your fish as well, impacting their physical health.
Regardless of how well you think you’re caring for your tank, keep a close watch on your fish. In doing so, you’ll be able to catch health problems before they become dire. This will allow you to take action to combat said health problems.
When monitoring your fish, there are a few things to look for. These include changes in color, changes in movement, and changes in appetite. Any of these changes could show the existence of a health problem.
5. Install a Filtration System
If you want to keep the quality of your tank’s water high, you have to make use of a filtration system. Aquarium filters clean aquariums continuously. Not only do they remove old food and fish excrement but miscellaneous decay as well.
You can buy such filters for around $50. Note, however, that you can’t just install filters and leave them be. You must maintain them as well, changing their cartridges every few weeks.
6. Clean Manually
While your filter will do a good job of removing contaminants from your tank, it won’t remove all of them. That’s why, from time to time, you will need to clean your tank manually.
Generally, the best practice is to remove around 25% of the water in your tank each week. Then, you should remove the gravel at the bottom of the tank. Doing so will remove ample amounts of residue, leaving the tank cleaner than it was previously.
In addition to changing 25% of the tank’s water on a weekly basis, it’s also wise to change the water completely every half-year or so. Note, to do this, you will have to temporarily re-home your fish.
And then there’s the problem of algae. There are a few different ways to treat algae. The most natural option is to add algae-eating fish to the tank. These give your tank more interest, benefit the other fish, and help maintain a cleaner tank.
You can read more about algae-eating fish in this blog post.
7. Use a Protein Skimmer
Another cleaning entity you should use in your aquarium is a protein skimmer. Protein skimmers remove food and waste from the water. These devices cost between $15 and $50 on most online retail sites.
Make note that you’ll also have to perform maintenance on your skimmer. Maintain a weekly cleaning schedule in order for it to operate at its maximum capacity.
8. Look for Inconsistencies
The bulk of saltwater fish tank maintenance involves cleaning and water treatment. But, another part is knowing your tank and giving it a good look at least once a week.
Inspect the tank for small inconsistencies, ensuring that everything is operating as intended.
Look for leaks, clogs, changes in water level, and other such issues. If you encounter one of these problems, you’ll have to have it repaired.
9. Feed Fish in the Right Way
One of the biggest keys to maintaining the cleanliness of your tank is to feed your fish properly. The key is for your fish to eat the food you give them before it’s able to sink to the bottom of the tank. If it sinks to the bottom of the tank, it will remain, causing a sort of unsanitary scum.
So, how do you go about doing this? By feeding your fish over the span of 5 minutes.
Pour food into the tank and watch as they eat it. If there is still food left after the 5 minutes have passed, you’re putting too much in. This allows you to scale it back next time.
Time to Take Care of Your Tank
Saltwater fish tank care is about diligence and consistency. Following these tips helps maintain a happy, healthy environment for your aquatic pets.
Looking for more information? Check out some of our other blog posts now!