How to Use a Hydrometer for Fish Tanks

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Hydrometers measure specific gravity and salinity, and they usually come in two types, which are the bobbing hydrometer or the hydrometer that needs to be filled. Find out how salt levels vary by the type of fish or animal being kept with help from the owner of a pet fish store in this free video on hydrometers and fish tanks.

Part of the Video Series: Fish Tank Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Eric with The World of Wet Pets Tropical Fish in Portland, Oregon, and I'm here to demonstrate how to use a hydrometer for fish tanks. Hydrometers measure specific gravity and salinity so it is very very important in saltwater tanks to know accurately what your salinity levels are. There are two main types of hydrometers on the market. There is the bobbing or floating hydrometer usually that has a thermometer with it and then there is the type that you dip in and fill with water. The floating style you simply put into the water and you can put this into tank if there is not a lot of current or you can take a pitcher of water out and you read the salination level by where, what line sits at the water level so you can look at it from underneath in the tank or you can read it from above and there is a little graduated chart with little numbers and it is just like a thermometer, you would read a thermometer, o'kay? The other style requires it to be filled and there is a lot of different styles. Every company that makes one has a slightly different style, generally fill to the line, sit it on a level surface and there is a little arm on the inside, you can see it on the back with a little circle in the center and it will float to the level of salt on the front is your salinity and specific gravity reading so where your rocker arm points, that's your salinity level. Salt levels and salinity levels vary by the type of fish or animal you are keeping. They can be very high salinity very low salinity or in some cases brackish water which is somewhere between fresh and salt water. It is very important to know what your animals need and if you have any questions be sure to call your local fish store.

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