5 Steps To Set Up Your First Saltwater Aquarium

  1. Location, size and stand height

Too close to a doorway, windows, and the sun rays is asking for trouble. Sunlight produces a lot of algae, which chokes the life in the tank. Instead, you want to put your tank somewhere well-ventilated and cool.

You also want to choose an area that fits your tank’s size, can accommodate any electrical wires and maintenance.

The initial setup is generally not as difficult as it sounds. However, it’s not very advisable to hastily get a small tank just to get started, either. Larger aquariums are actually much more forgiving of errors. As a result, it’s actually more advisable to get the largest tank that you can afford. The last thing you should do is put a dent in your income over your aquarium. However, most people who start out with small tanks usually just want to upgrade less than a week later so it’s not wise to waste your money in that direction, either.

You also want your stand to fit your aquarium’s size and to hold your aquarium up very firmly. You also want it to be at least four or five feet off the ground so you don’t risk it getting kicked or bumped into.

  1. Make Sure Your Tank is Squeaky Clean

Whether you bought your tank new or used, it’s absolutely essential to make sure that it’s free of chemicals. You don’t want your tank to be doing things like sucking in oxygen and releasing too much carbon dioxide. As a result, once you’ve set up your location and stand, it’s essential to thoroughly wipe and dry it with freshwater and a sponge or soft cloth.

After that is when you can start pouring your sand or gravel. Then you can add either pre-mixed saltwater or freshwater with sea salt mix. Tap water contains additives that are toxic to saltwater fish so if you decide to use that, make sure it’s filtered. Fill your tank about a third full for now. Then you can start checking and running your lights, heater during the day. Always check for leaks, the salinity and heater balance.

  1. Decoration

You are now ready to create your aquascape. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to this. However, live rocks are an especially smart investment as they act as filters. Always make sure it’s cured or it will release excessive ammonia. It also acts as a home for coral and frightened fish. This is the point at which you can search for your best coral for sale so that you don’t blow your budget.

  1. Cycling

This usually takes between three and six weeks. New tanks especially don’t yet have the proper bacteria for saltwater fish to thrive. This depends on the amount of ammonia produced, the natural filtration, and whether live rocks or plants are used. You can add some hardy fish whose waste produces ammonia which turns into nitrate. However, if you think that this is too risky, you can use maturation fluids. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions from there and don’t let your nitrate levels get too high.

  1. Necessary Last Adjustments

Once your tank has cycled properly, you can make any necessary last adjustments to your aquascape. This is the best time to find a little more coral for sale if you need any. However, you will have to restart the tank and give it another day or two to settle. When you are ready to add your first fish, it’s best to start out with a few and see how well they thrive together before adding more.