How to Set Up a Saltwater Aquarium

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Setting up a saltwater aquarium requires using at least 60 gallons of water, and the expense is usually two to three times more than maintaining a freshwater tank. Properly care for a saltwater aquarium with instructions from a koi breeder and aquarium specialist in this free video on fish care.

Part of the Video Series: Aquariums, Ponds & Fish Care
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Hi I'm Jim Newman from Making Waves Incorporated and here's how to properly setup a saltwater aquarium. When it comes down to a saltwater aquarium, you are actually taking a part of the ocean and putting it into your house. Due to that fact, you want to be able to go ahead and setup a tank as large as humanly possible to be able to fit in an exact space in your home. We do not recommend a tank of less than 60 gallons for a saltwater tank. The main reason being is the smaller the aquarium, the more the room there is for air. For a saltwater aquarium you're looking at anywhere to between 2 to 3 times the expense versus a freshwater aquarium. The filtration requirements for saltwater are exponentially more complicated than a freshwater aquarium. The saltwater aquarium should have what is commonly referred to as either a wet dry filtration system or a sump type filtration system that goes underneath the aquarium itself. You will require on that either a built in overflow that is built into the aquarium itself or what is commonly referred to as a hang on the back overflow. Those right there will also go ahead and incorporate a vacuum hose that goes and connects to the wet dry or sump type filtration system. What you would do with those sump type filtration system is you'll have what is commonly referred to as a protein skimmer which actually goes right ahead and traps all different kinds of amino acids, lipids, proteinaceous material and bacteria that might be free floating down into sump area. That will then be physically taken out of the water system by chemical mean. Also the main difference between saltwater aquarium and freshwater aquarium is the turnover rate of the aquarium itself what I mean by turnover rate is how much the filter is capable of turning over in one hour the volume of water per hour. This filter right here would probably go ahead and filter out maybe about 400 gallons per hour which is 10 times the volume of water per hour. For saltwater aquarium you're going to want a filter or pump that is capable of turning over the aquarium for fish only tanks 17 times, for a reef type tank anywhere between 30 to 35 times. The main reason for this is you are actually going right ahead and taking these animals out of what is commonly referred to as an open area, or pelagic zone or reef zone where we have mass amounts of water flow from the water currents of the ocean itself. With the open pelagic zone for saltwater however, you're going to be seeing a very fast water current anywhere that you're going to be diving where those animals are found and taking place. You are actually trying to take away the animal slime coating away from their surface area and being swept up by the filter itself. If that slime coating is not taken away properly, it will smother the animal and it unfortunately will pass on. Once the tanks are setup properly and full cycled, you want to do a water change every two weeks or once a month. If you're going to do once every two weeks, do 20%. If you're going to be doing once a month, do at least 50%.

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