If you’ve had a saltwater aquarium for a while, you will know keeping it in great shape, with algae-free viewing panes and crystal-clear water, requires a significant amount of care.
For many, maintenance can seem like a chore, but the alternative could result in serious damage which is difficult to correct and has the potential to leave your tank in a disastrous state - even a fatal state for its inhabitants.
To avoid the ruinous effects of inadequate maintenance, here is a breakdown of five simple steps which, if repeated on a weekly basis, should be able to keep your aquarium alive and well.
Clean aquarium glass
Clean detritus and drain the water
Prepare your saltwater mix
A successful water change depends on high-quality, purified water. Purifying your water can be easily accomplished using a RODI water system – a great long-term investment that can help clean up tap water and remove 95%-98% of the impurities, without having to visit your local fish store to buy fresh water.
Mix your salt water the day before; when mixing it yourself, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions and make sure it has been heated up to the appropriate temperature. Measure salinity in both your display aquarium and clean saltwater mixing bin to verify they match.
Choose a high-quality salt mix and be sure to stick with it, as consistency is the most important factor when it comes to salt mix and trying to switch things up can cause issues.
Replace water with clean seawater
The most critical part of maintaining your aquarium is changing the water; it clears out any buildup of dirt and helps rebalance water chemistry. You should remove and replace 10% of your aquarium water on a weekly basis.
After you have removed 10% of the water and prepared your saltwater mix, it’s time to refill the aquarium with clean water. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes for a complete water change and having your water ready to go will help expedite the entire process.
When filling your tank, be careful not to fill the water too quickly to avoid spills, “sandstorms”, or damaging your corals. Try using a small pump to pump the water from your mixing bin into the tank.
Spray exterior glass panels
Finally, it's time to take a clean cloth and dry any water spots from your external aquarium walls. Remove salt buildup and smudges by using an aquarium-safe glass cleaner.
Cleaning the exterior glass panels of your aquarium can really make all the difference in terms of keeping your glass clear. Saltwater tends to easily smudge and can be difficult to wipe clean if neglected.
DO NOT USE ammonia-based glass cleaners like Windex, it's toxic to fish. Always spray into the cloth and never onto the tank walls directly. This will avoid spray getting into your tank water.
A large part of keeping your fish healthy is ensuring their habitat remains healthy. Regular aquarium maintenance is key to keeping it a safe environment. By following these simple steps, you will be able to ensure your aquarium and your fish are taken care of.