Owning a saltwater fish tank can be a fun and rewarding hobby for reef keepers. However, that is not always the case and usually the result of common mistakes. Follow these guidelines when starting out your saltwater aquarium to avoid costly and frustrating problems.
5 Common Mistakes made by Reef Keepers
- Overfeeding your saltwater fish: A common problem for new saltwater aquarists is not understanding the nutritional requirements for your fish. Uneaten food in your aquarium will lead to elevated nitrate and phosphate levels which can harm your livestock. Additionally, this can lead to frustrating algae growth that can be difficult to get rid of. As a guideline, feed your fish high-quality food and only enough food that they can consume in 2-3 minutes.
- Moving too quickly: This is a common problem for beginner aquarists. While adding new corals and fish is exciting, patience is key to a successful setup. If you move too quickly, you’ll likely experience costly loss of your new corals and fish. Always wait for your aquarium to fully cycle and become established. This can take anywhere from 1-3 months for successful results. Once you do add corals, only add a few at a time so that you don’t shock the system.
- Proper Filtration: When it comes to filtration for your aquarium, too much is better than too little. You’ll need enough filtration to handle the bio-load of your aquarium. Common systems include sump tanks, filter socks, and protein skimmers. Adequate water flow goes hand in hand with your filtration. You’ll need good flow to help circulate the water for the best filtration. Consider adding circulation pumps and powerheads to your aquarium. Proper filtration will prevent standing food, nuisance algae, and increased oxygen in the water for your livestock.
- Adding chemicals: Another common problem that typically occurs from the desire for immediate results is over medicating the system. While treatments may be helpful at times such as phosphate removers, they should only be used when necessary. Allowing natural cycles and improving things like filtration to resolve the roof of the problems should always remain as the first steps. If you’re unsure about what chemicals you should or should not use, contact your local saltwater fish store. If possible, always treat the problem in a quarantine tank.
- Proper Maintenance: When owning a saltwater fish tank, maintenance is a key responsibility for success. Weekly or biweekly water changes are a must for healthy aquariums. Especially those with heavy livestock in them. When performing your water changes, siphon the sandbed well and only use reverse osmosis water.
Successful Saltwater Reef Keeping
No matter what type of aquarium you have, following these guidelines can help you avoid problems before they start. If you have questions about what is best for your fish tank, contact our saltwater experts to answer your questions and receive guidance/