Fish Keeping 101

Aquarium Talk: Supplies You Need to Properly Maintain a Saltwater Aquarium

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Whether a beginner or expert, maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium requires having the correct saltwater aquarium supplies. That means one should know what to do, what to buy, what to need and what to expect.

What To Do: Step One

The most important thing to do with respect to a saltwater tank is research. Saltwater tanks are more involved than fresh water tanks and require a substantial amount of knowledge with respect to maintaining the tank, the environment within the tank, and the fish that inhabit that environment. Saltwater fish are extremely environmentally sensitive and, are shocked very easily to subtle environmental changes. Being knowledgeable in the nuances of keeping a saltwater tank is most important .

What to Do: Step Two

Think big. Saltwater aquariums should be at least fifty gallons. This is because the ratio of fish to water in a saltwater tank is one inch of fish to 3 gallons of water, substantially different than that of a freshwater tank (1 inch of fish for 1 gallon). Also, some saltwater fish can grow to up to eighteen inches while others will remain quite small. Knowing the kinds of saltwater fish you want in advance makes choosing the proper place for the aquarium that much easier. Look around your home for a spot that does not get too much direct sunlight, and is away from heat and air sources. Right by the front door is not ideal as it exposes your fish to sudden temperature changes each time the door is opened. Moreover, right across from a bay window will allow the sun to create an imbalance in the water salinity, nitrite, nitrate, pH and ammonia levels.

What To Buy

Once you have completed your research and determined the best location for your aquarium, it is time to purchase supplies. Beginning necessities for your aquarium include:

- Aquarium (at least 50 gallon)
- Paint: To design a painted background for the back of the tank. This should be a soothing design with rich deep colors to enhance the colors of the environment within the tank, as well as the colors of the fish.
- Fish net
- Large buckets (at least 2, 5 gallons each): These must be clean and never washed with soap. (Never wash any of the aquarium materials with soap as the residue can be fatal to the fish)
- Rubber bristle brush: For cleaning live rocks in the tank
- Tank maintenance chart: You will need to keep notes with respect to cleaning, partial changes, and overall maintenance of the tank. You will also need to keep a chart to monitor the pH, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia levels as well as water hardness
- Power strip
- Aquarium Glass scrubber
- Aquarium substrate: This can vary depending upon the saltwater fish you purchase, whether or not you will have a live rock and if you will have a reef aquarium
- Test kits: The tests kits are important in ensuring the health of the tank. You will not know by just looking at the tank if it is out of balance, testing at least weekly is key to the proper maintenance of the environment.
Additionally, you will need a protein skimmer, spectrum lighting, a water pump, a heater, salt mix, and a hydrometer.

What You Need

To be a saltwater aquarium enthusiast, you need three things: patience, time and money. Saltwater aquariums require a lot of patience with respect to maintaining perfect environmental balance. This patience requires time. Moreover, the cost of saltwater fish and aquatic supplies can be high, so it is best to price out all the materials, and inhabitants before you buy. You don't want to run out of funds, time or patience before you have even completed setting up your saltwater aquarium.

What To Expect

Saltwater aquariums offer joy, beauty and awe. They are simply amazing environments that can provide hours of serenity for you and your family. With the right saltwater aquarium supplies, time and patience, you too can enjoy the wonders of the saltwater aquarium.
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