As the name implies, a salt water fish tank needs salt to make it a healthy environment for your fish that only survive in salt water. The first thing that you have to do when setting up your aquarium is to check for leaks and then clean it by mixing 1 teaspoon of pure bleach for every 5 gallons of water. Scrub the tank to get rid of any dirt or dust. Do this as well for the plastic plants, ornaments and rocks. Rinse everything thoroughly several times with clean water to make sure there is no bleach residue as this can be harmful to your fish. Put your background, use tape all across the top back of the background. This will prevent salt from getting in between the background and the tank. If you don’t want to tape a background, you can just paint the outside back of the tank with black or blue. Black is a nice color to make your fish’s color stand out more but blue is a more popular choice because it adds depth. Let the paint dry for a day or two. Now it’s time to install your heater, protein skimmer or any other equipment you have but don’t plug in anything yet.

The next step in setting up a salt water fish tank is adding pre-mixed salt water. You can make use of a 5-gallon bucket or pale to mix the salt water. Fill the bucket and remove chlorine and chloramines. Read the instructions carefully on the salt mix package and then slowly add the salt mix to the water (room temperature). Stir it well and then test it with your hydrometer and when you read that the gravity is between 1.021 and 1.024, this is the only time that you can add it to your fish tank. Repeat this process until the tank is full. Plug in the devices and let the water circulate for a day. You can plug the devices out after the circulation process.

Adding the substrate will come next to complete your salt water fish tank. Wash the substrate thoroughly to get rid of any toxic wastes and dust. Let your tank settle for a couple of days and during this time, you have to check your water parameters closely. Check the salinity, pH level, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and carbonate hardness. Correct the levels if needed. The temperature should be between 75°F and 80°F, salinity of 1.020 to 1.024, pH level of 8.0-8.4 and ammonia and nitrite should be 0. Add fish to the salt water fish tank slowly. Two at a time will do. This will give your filtration system enough time to take on the increased biological load.

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Author: Allyna Paige
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