005: Maintaining Your Freshwater Aquarium Setup

Even once your freshwater aquarium is up and running your work isn’t finished. Diligent maintenance is required to maintain any tank. Typical tasks involve such things as feeding your fish and making sure all the equipment is still functioning as it should. And cleaning, lots of cleaning which I just know is everyone’s favorite activity! Luckily most of the work is small tasks that don’t require much time. But whether it’s big or small, try to set a regular schedule to perform these activities when you first start. Once they’re a part of your routine it’ll barely feel like work … Continue reading

008: Adding Fish, Corals, And Invertebrates To A Saltwater Aquarium

Once your saltwater aquarium is fully cycled and the rock fully cured it’s finally time to start stocking it with life. Hopefully you already have in mind at least a general idea of what you want to keep. But regardless of whether you plan on only keeping a few simple fish or a full reef a good first addition is a cleanup crew. This will consist of several varieties of snails, crabs, and other detritivores that will keep algae and detritus buildup at bay. Not only will these critters help finish cleaning up the fresh rock but they are also … Continue reading

004: Adding Fish To A Freshwater Aquarium

With your tank fully cycled it’s finally time to start adding fish. Ideally you already have an idea of what it is you want to keep and in what quantities. However, assuming you want to have a fairly fully stocked aquarium, it’s best not to add all of the fish at once. Instead they should be added a few at a time over the course of a couple weeks. Adding all the fish at once can potentially overwhelm the filtration and lead to deaths. The only exception to this rule is if you intend to keep a large amount of … Continue reading

007: Curing Live Rock And Cycling Your Saltwater Aquarium

Once your tank is up and running it’s ready for life, although maybe not the life you’re thinking of. Every aquarium, whether it be saltwater or otherwise, requires a large amount of bacteria to function. These beneficial bacteria will consume the toxic waste products produced by the inhabitants of your tank and convert them to less harmful substances. The best way to establish sufficient quantities of beneficial bacteria is with live rock. Live rock is essentially pieces of rock that have broken off of a natural reef, typically during a storm. While technically not absolutely necessary, the use of live … Continue reading

006: Essential Parameters For a Saltwater Aquarium

Now is a good time to talk about the essential parameters that must be maintained to successfully keep a marine aquarium. Seawater is a complex mixture, containing every known element in a plethora of compounds. Matching that makeup is crucial to the success of any marine tank. While a good salt mix will come very close to matching natural seawater initially, the makeup can quickly change as the inhabitants of the aquarium consume and change them. Here is a quick breakdown of the essential parameters that are typically monitored for a saltwater aquarium.   salinity/specific gravity: 34-36ppt/1.025-1.027 Both are a … Continue reading

005: Setting Up Your Saltwater Aquarium

By now you should have your tank setup on its stand ready to be filled with water and a bunch of equipment ready to be hooked up. Before you begin adding water, however, you’ll want to hook up your sump if you decided to include one in your setup, especially if it’s going to be hooked up to a built in overflow. Simply connect the overflow to the sump with some appropriate sized tubing and hose clamps. If it’s an external overflow, also hook up the siphon pump with some airline tubing. Connect the inlet to the overflow and run … Continue reading

004: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Four: Water Movement And Tools

Lots of water movement is crucial to just about any marine aquarium. The region of the ocean where the creatures we aim to keep come from is in constant motion. Even if you only intend to keep fish, some powerheads dedicated to providing water movement are necessary. For corals the aim is to replicate the turbulent flows of a reef. Powerheads will generally have a flow rating in gallons per hour. Aim to have enough combined flow to turn over the water in the tank once every couple minutes or between ten and twenty times an hour. You may also … Continue reading

003: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Three: Lighting

When it comes to lighting for a saltwater aquarium there are lots of choices, probably more so than for any other item you’ll need. Options include various types of florescent, metal halide, and LED lights. For a setup without any corals or other light craving invertebrates lighting can be pretty basic, even a simple florescent fixture with a few full spectrum bulbs will do. However, for full reef setups proper high power lighting is crucial.   The first category of high intensity lighting we’ll explore is florescent. Florescent lights come in a couple different sizes. Let’s look at the two … Continue reading

002: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Two: Temperature Control

In a saltwater aquarium a consistent temperature, somewhere between about 76 and 80 degrees, is especially important. Changes in temperature affect the salinity of the water, and quick changes in salinity are very hard on most marine creatures. The most effective way to maintain your tank’s temperature is with a heater and a chiller. To pick an appropriately sized heater, take your aquarium’s size, in gallons, and multiply it by five to calculate the wattage. Most heaters will work fine, but do not pick one with a stainless steel outer case. The steel will rust in the saltwater environment.   … Continue reading

001: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part One: Filtration

The equipment necessary to run a saltwater aquarium is much the same as what is required for a freshwater aquarium, along with a few additional items. The biggest addition that’s required is a protein skimmer. You may not be familiar with protein skimmers even if you’ve kept a freshwater tank, as they only function properly with saltwater. Sumps, chillers, powerheads, and high output lighting are also more common on saltwater tanks and may be required. We’ll start by looking at filtration.   When first planning out your setup you need to decide if you’re going to want a sump or … Continue reading