As you begin the process of building out a saltwater aquarium, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to set yourself up for success.
The first step is to acquire a tank and stand that will fit in a designated area you’ve chosen. When selecting a location for your aquarium, avoid placing the tank in an area where it will come in contact with constant sunlight.
Now that the tank and stand are in place, it’s time to choose a substrate for your tank. Substrate comes in many sizes that range from fine sand to gravel and it also comes in different colors from white to black. Determining the ideal substrate will be a combination of personal preference and needs of future livestock within the saltwater aquarium.
After laying down substrate, creating an aquascape that will sit atop your substrate will add aesthetic appeal to the system as well as provide your fish with holes and caves to swim through and over. To create an aquascape, structures are commonly made using dry or wet rock such as Pukani.
When filling your tank with water, the best type of water to use is reverse osmosis deionized (RODI) water. RODI water will be free of impurities that are detrimental to the health of a saltwater aquarium. In order to create saltwater using RODI water, you will need to purchase salt made for aquariums in order to make a well-balanced mix.
To heat the saltwater, your aquarium will need to have a heater that is rated for the tank’s gallonage.
Lighting needs for your tank will be determined by the livestock that you are planning to house in the saltwater aquarium. Tanks with only fish will require a less precise lighting control schedule in comparison to aquariums that also house live corals.
Water filtration options are divided into two parts, biological and mechanical. Biological filtration is composed of bacterial colonies that will break down harmful toxins such as ammonia when it appears in the water. Mechanical filtration is achieved by running equipment such as a skimmer to remove waste from the water.
Water movement, referred to as flow, helps to keep aquarium water oxygenated and is accomplished by pumps and powerheads placed in the system. In future articles, each aspect of keeping a healthy saltwater aquarium will be separated into their own articles for a more in-depth explanation.