These traditional household pets are understandably popular! Indeed, over 13 million households around the US keep them for their beautiful aesthetic qualities and ultra-calming appeal.
Saltwater fish hold particular allure.
Indeed, the extent of the oceans has led to an enormously diverse array of fish to choose between. Picking the ones you want is the first hurdle.
The second is learning how to setup a saltwater fish tank!
Their stunning colors and fascinating characteristics make for a captivating addition to any household. But they won’t last long without a safe and appropriate tank to reside within.
Want to learn how to set your tank up for success?
Keep reading to discover 8 key steps to setting up your saltwater aquarium.
- Do Your Research
The first step to setting up your tank is making sure you know what you’re doing.
We know, we know- that’s why you’re reading this article, right?!
This post is a good place to start in order to cover the basics of setting up your aquarium. However, there’s far more to the process of establishing flourishing saltwater aquariums than we can talk about here.
Make sure you dig a little deeper. After you’ve been through the information here, consider visiting your local fish store to get their advice too.
- Figure Out the Fish Tank’s Location
The first practical step to cover is working out where to put your tank.
That might sound basic, and even (painfully) obvious. Yet it’s actually a crucial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, these things get heavy!
An empty tank is no big deal. You can maneuver it around without any trouble. Start adding your water, equipment, decorations and the first, though, and it’s a whole new ball game.
The last thing you want is to fill your tank, only to realize it’s nowhere near any power outlets and situated in direct sunlight. This would mean you couldn’t power crucial apparatus (such as your filter or heating system) and the water could develop algae, respectively.
Settle upon the location before you go any further. Make sure it’s in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, and in close proximity to a power supply.
- Buy the Tank
Okay, so you’re in the know and have found the perfect location for the tank.
The next, and more exciting task, is to get your hands with the tank itself!
This requires some thought as well, though. Imagine forking out on a tank that turns out to be too small for the fish you want to keep.
It would be impractical for you and unfair on the fish.
You’re probably going to be limited by the space you have at your disposal. In a small house, a small tank and smaller fish will be required. Get a tank that enables some ‘growing-room’ for the fish (or buy the fish at full-size), and a stand to support it.
- Clean and Fill It
You can’t fill the tank with water straight away.
You’ve got to clean it first in order to create a safe environment for the fish.
Wash it out with fresh warm water before doing anything else. Of vital importance is that you avoid using chemical cleaners. These can have the opposite effect and create a dangerous (and sometimes fatal) environment for your fish.
The next part of the clean-up involves adding gravel dust to the tank floor. Give it a rinse with more water before adding it to the tank.
- Add the Water
Okay, we’re making progress.
It’s time to fill up the tank with water.
The lazy way is to purchase some ready-made saltwater solution from the store. It’s more expensive, but you’ll save yourself some hassle! The best way forward depends on your budget.
Anybody hoping to save some cash can take the DIY approach.
Grab some sea salt mix (this is an actual product sold in pet stores, as opposed to classic table salt!) and abide by the salt to water ratio you need.
At this point, it’ll pay to speak to a pro. As opposed to filling the tank to the top, you go one-third of the way before ‘test the gravity’. That’s where it gets a bit technical; advancing your knowledge by talking with a pro or doing further research will help.
Having done the test you can fill the tank up!
- Decorate the Tank
Put your creative hat on for the ‘interior decorating’ stage of setting up your tank.
This is the fun bit.
The initial part involves adding the practical items, such as the filter and heating system.
From there, you have free rein over what you do. Add lighting, stones, pieces of coral, seagrass, vegetation, figurines, platforms, and pirate ships…anything!
The only thing you can’t add yet is the fish. More on this next…
- Perform the Cycling Process
The penultimate step is what’s called cycling.
The essence of the cycling process is getting the tank to a point where it can safely sustain your saltwater fish. Alas, it isn’t as easy as just chucking them in and crossing your fingers!
Again, it gets a bit technical, with issues of biological filtration coming to the fore.
You get the ball rolling by adding ammonia to the tank. However, as you can imagine, the full process is more involved. Don’t hold your breath! Cycling can take up to 6 weeks to complete.
With that done, you’re finally ready to…
- Add the Fish
The last step is what you’ve been waiting for all along:
Introducing your pet fish into their new home.
Source them from a fish store that’s well respected (and reputable) to ensure you buy healthy specimens. From there, you can sit back and enjoy your brand new saltwater tank!
Exactly How to Setup a Saltwater Fish Tank
Stunning to look at and a calming presence to have around, saltwater fish make awesome pets for any household.
Hopefully, this post has demonstrated how to setup a saltwater fish tank so you can start enjoying them as soon as possible.
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