Easy Saltwater Fish Tank Care and Maintenance Tips

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 09/13/21 •  5 min read
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Taking care of your fish tank is going to be an important way to help keep your fish healthy along the way. Fish owners may find that it is difficult to keep their fish alive because they do not take the time to create a good environment for the fish. 

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Preparing the aquarium and making sure that the fish are given the right food and environment will be one of the most important things that you can do as a beginner saltwater fish owner. Some of the ways that you can take care of the tank include: 

1.     Cycle the Tank Before You Add Fish

Cycling a tank means that you need to take the necessary steps to bring the water conditions up to a level that is healthy for the fish. This needs to be done before you think of adding fish to the tank.  

Cycling allows healthy microorganisms to grow inside of the tank. These will help to break down all of the waste from the fish and can keep the water safe. This does take a few days to accomplish. Waiting a week between filling the tank and adding the fish inside is usually best. 

Starting a new aquarium the right way will help. Many new kits will have a packet that you can add to the tank to help get the cycling done. Another way to cycle the tank is to add a little fish food. This will break down and start the cycling process for you. 

2.     Test and Monitor the Water 

How do you know when the water is safe for the fish to use? You should consider working with an inexpensive water testing kit. This will help you to monitor a few things about the tank including the pH, nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia that is in the water. 

The nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia are going to be found naturally as part of the lifecycle of the tank. They are fine when there are low levels of them. When they are left unchecked though, they can build up and be hard for the fish to live in.  

The right testing kit will help you to take care of the fish and make sure that none of the chemical levels will get too high. Make sure that you are getting one that checks the pH level of the water. While most fish can easily adapt to most pH levels, if the water gets too high or too low, then the fish may struggle. 

3.     Change the Water Often

After testing the water, you may find that the water parameters are not how you want them for optimal living for the fish. There is the option to use some products to take care of the water, but this is not the best option to work with. Adding clean water to the tank is usually the best. 

When you own fish, frequent water changes are often key to taking care of the fish. Every week or two, remove about one-third of the water from the tank and add in some fresh and clean water. This helps to dilute some of the chemicals that are found in the water so the fish can stay healthy.  

This is one of the easiest ways to help keep the water parameters under control for your fish. The waste buildup is going to pollute the water so much that it becomes unhealthy for the fish. 

When you change the water, you should also consider learning how to vacuum up the gravel so there is no longer any debris in the bottom. You will only need to spend a few minutes a week to get it all done and it makes a huge difference in the health of the fish.  

4.     Pick the Right Fish

When it is time for you to purchase the fish that you would like in the tank, you need to do some research. This will help you learn more about how big your fish will get, their temperament, how much space they will need in the tank, and which other types of fish they get along with. 

 One beginner’s mistake that can really hurt you is to go to the pet store and just pick out a fish because they look pretty or you like them. Hopefully, there is an attendant there who will be able to help, but often these attendants are not certain about which fish are right for different situations either. This could result in you getting an aggressive species of fish added to the mix. 

It is always a good idea for you to do your own research and learn a bit more about the pet before you purchase them. Also, be careful about overstocking the tank. The exact right amount for the tank will depend on the fish that you get. Some like to have more space than others. 

5.     Do Not Overfeed the Fish 

It is very hard to make a fish starve. One feeding each day is plenty for each fish as long as you give each type of fish the food that they need. A good flake is going to meet the needs of most fish. If you have a fish that is a bottom feeder, then sinking pellets are a good option. 

Do not provide the fish with more feed than they will eat within a few minutes. All that extra food is not only bad for the fish, it can make the tank dirty, may cause spikes in some of the bad chemicals in the tank, and can lead to disease if you are not careful. 

Taking Care of Your Fish Aquarium

It is important for you to take care of your fish aquarium and make sure that the fish have the right environment that they need to stay healthy and happy. By following some of the steps above, you will be able to maintain and clean the aquarium so it lasts a long time. 

 

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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