So you’ve bought and set up your salt water tank, that’s great, but the work doesn’t stop there. The maintenance of salt water tanks is next on the agenda.
Maybe you’ve had your salt water fish tank for a few weeks and you are noticing that your beautiful marine fish are swimming around a dirty tank. The maintenance of salt water tanks may seem like nothing more than necessary drudgery but it is absolutely vital for the health of your fish and moreover it will make your salt water tank look a lot better. Developing a schedule and routine to carry out maintenance of the salt water tank will increase the life span of both tank and fish so it’s a good idea to learn how to do it.
Maintenance of salt water tanks doesn’t always involve taking your whole fish tank apart and examining, checking, monitoring and cleaning every last bit of equipment in the tank. Thankfully often you will only be required to change around a quarter of the water capacity, vaccuum the gravel and maybe get out the toothbrush to scrape some algae from the front of the tank. Cloudy water or excessive algae suggest you aren’t maintaining the fish tank frequently enough or you need to review your feeding policy.
The Cleaning Process
Cleaning is the primary task with regard to the maintenance of salt water tanks. To do this make sure you have the right equipment to complete the task. You will need a glass scrubber, a bucket of minimum 5 gallons and a vacuum hose. It is recommended that you clean once a week and at a minimum once a month. The first and most obvious step in the cleaning process is to turn off the electricity. Then begin by using the algae scrubber to carefully scrape any algae from the front or sides of the tank. You need to be particularly careful with acrylic tanks as these can scratch easily.
Check the filter and if it needs to be cleaned then do so with disused water from the salt water tank as it will contain many beneficial bacteria which the chloride of tap water can kill. Cleaning your fish tank usually means you will replace up to a quarter of the water in the tank. Place the bucket under the aquarium and put the vacuum into the tank with the end of the hose in the bucket and begin vacuuming. Aim to clean as much of the gravel as you can until around 20-25% of the water is in the bucket.
Refill the tank
The next task is to refill the tank with de-chlorinated water. Add the necessary chemicals to the water that remove any chlorine and chloramine and test the temperature of the water so that it is as similar as possible to the water in the tank (or your beautiful tropical fish may freak out!). Of course you’ll have to add some saltwater and this will have to have been prepared at least a day before the refill as freshly mixed saltwater can be toxic and kill your fish. The maintenance of salt water tanks requires careful planning and the correct equipment but it should ultimately prove to be a rewarding experience as it will safeguard the future of your attractive tropical fish and ensure the wonderful scenes unfolding in your tank remain in your sights for a long time to come.