For many aquarists the lure of keeping beautiful saltwater fish is incredibly tempting but before you jump in you should do your research as maintaining saltwater fish requires a lot more work than a regular aquarium. However, the rewards are worth it so check out these tips on how best to care for saltwater fish in your home fish tank.
Do your research first
It’s important to research the fish and marine animals which you want to feature in your tank so that you understand their needs and requirements. It is important to choose the species carefully as not all are suited to a home aquarium.
You also need to understand the requirements of care for this kind of tank – they require regular attention so if you are going away for any period of time you will need to have someone on hand who can take over the care. They can’t be left for more than a couple of days.
It also help to have a good tank in the first place. You’ll find some good options for tanks/aquariums at places like aquacadabra.com from brands like Juwel, Fluval, Red Sea and more.
To keep the interior of a saltwater tank thriving and a healthy environment for your fish, you will need to set in place a regular maintenance schedule as there are tasks which need to be carried out daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and beyond. Missing out any of these elements could put the health of your saltwater fish in jeopardy.
Regular maintenance tasks you will need to schedule include:
- Remove excess algae and clean all the filters
- Check filters and clean or replace the components
- Check your tank for any sick or dead fish and treat or remove them
- Clean the glass
- Keep the water clean
- Remove uneaten food from the tank
- Test the water regularly
Every three months you also need to make sure all of the parts of your aquarium system are working properly and effectively. Any elements which might need replacing or cleaning should be updated or replaced accordingly.
Why not create a planner with daily, weekly, monthly and other tasks highlighted on it, which you can keep next to the fish tank?
When you first get your fish you need to establish a feeding schedule for them and work out exactly how much food is correct. This will give you an idea of when and how much to feed them each day. It’s always better to feed them too little than too much.
You can work this out by feeding the fish small amounts over a five minute period to see how much they will eat. If there is any left after five minutes, you have given them too much food. You should feed them twice, every single day, and try to do it at the same time every day. Preferably feed them once first thing in the morning and once in the evening.
You should also always feed in the same spot, so the fish know where to look for their food. Never overfeed as the fish will become ill and also the food will accumulate in the tank, which has a negative impact on the quality of the tank water.
Testing the water regularly
You need to buy kits to test the pH balance of your aquarium’s water. With a saltwater aquarium it is vital to manage the chemical and mineral levels. You can buy ready- made test kits which generally involve assessing samples of the water against colour charts, using chemical drops to test for different chemical levels. You will need an ongoing supply of test kits to enable you to check the water regularly.
Taking on a saltwater aquarium is not an easy task and they tank and kit can be fairly costly, not to mention the constant replenishment of all the system supplies, and regular food purchases, so make sure you are ready and able to cope with all of these costs.
Looking after saltwater fish takes money, time and commitment, with regular maintenance schedules to be upheld, regular water testing, cleaning and checking of equipment, not to mention working out the right feeding schedule for your fish and underwater marine creatures. It is not a task for an aquarist looking for an easy life.
However, once you have chosen your saltwater fish, set up your tank and created your schedules for maintenance and feeding, you can sit back and enjoy a beautiful aquarium with colours and shapes of fish that you won’t find anywhere else.
Once you get into the routine of aquarium care it won’t seem like so much hard work and it will just become part of your regular household chores, without too much extra effort. As long as you stick to your schedule, have someone else who knows what to do if you are ever unavailable, and you make sure you never run out of food and essential maintenance supplies, your tank will become a joyful part of your everyday life.