How to Get Clear Aquarium Salt Water

Marine fish and invertebrate animals, such as large bodied anemones and living coral species, release metabolic waste material into the aquarium on a daily basis. This waste, together with uneaten food and tiny pieces of decaying higher algae, create bacteria blooms, which give the water a cloudy appearance. Diluting aged aquarium water by adding fresh seawater will help improve water conditions. Aquarium filters, if filled with the correct filter material, will also clear the tank water.

Things You'll Need

  • Two, 5-gallon plastic buckets
  • 8-oz bottle of aquarium chlorine neutralizer
  • Glass or plastic rod
  • Synthetic marine salt
  • Swing-needle hydrometer
  • Aquarium heater
  • Small submersible pump
  • Aquarium siphon pipe
  • Canister filter
  • Pouch of aquarium activated carbon
  • Filter floss


    • 1

      Fill a 5-gallon plastic bucket with tap water. Add half a teaspoon of aquarium chlorine neutralizer and stir vigorously with a glass or plastic rod.

    • 2

      Add two and a half cups of synthetic marine aquarium salt to the water. Fill a swing-needle hydrometer with water from the bucket and check the specific gravity, which should be 1.025. Add more salt if the reading is lower than this or more fresh water if the reading is above.

    • 3

      Set an aquarium heater to 79 degrees F and place it, together with a small submersible pump, into the bucket. to warm and circulate the water. Leave the bucket over night, so the pump can circulate and mix the water well and the heater can warm the water.

    • 4

      Siphon 5 gallons of aquarium water into a second 5-gallon bucket and discard. Replace the discarded water with the freshly made up water in the bucket. Diluting old aquarium water, by replacing 10 percent every two weeks, removes yellowing agent and other unwanted dissolved organics in the water and assists to keep the aquarium crystal clear.

    • 5

      Rinse a pouch of activated carbon under running water. Hold the pouch under the tap until the water that flows out of the pouch, is clear and free of carbon dust.

    • 6

      Unplug your canister filter from the power source and remove the lid. Remove the chemical filter compartment and place the carbon pouch on the bottom of the compartment. Spread the pouch out as much as possible. Active carbon will remove the yellow color from aquarium water.

    • 7

      Remove the mechanical filter compartment and remove the used filter floss. Discard the old floss and fill this compartment with new floss. The filter floss will remove tiny particles of debris and detritus, by physically trapping them. The removal of these particles will assist to keep the water clear.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not over stock or over feed the aquarium, as both will cause water to become cloudy.
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