Mixing Saltwater For Your tank: Step by Step Guide

Mixing Saltwater For Your tank: Step by Step Guide

A saltwater aquarium can be a wonderful sight to behold, but it’s not the easiest thing to set-up. One thing you are going to have to do on a regular basis is mix up salt-water, and perhaps in great quantities. So here is a step by step guide to doing just that.

Things You Will Need:

There are certain items that you are going to have to purchase to get started on your new hobby and these are listed below:

  • Synthetic sea salt mix that is good quality and reputable, i.e. Reef Crystals or Instant Ocean;
  • A plastic storage bin or a new clean bucket;
  • An aquarium heater that is submersible;
  • A thermometer, either floating or battery powered;
  • A submersible pump to keep the water circulating; and
  • A hydrometer or a refractometer for measuring the salinity and specific gravity.

Step One

The first thing you need to do is to fill up the storage bin or the bucket with water that is clean and fresh. Bear in mind that when you add the salt mix it will displace water so do not overfill or you will end up with water everywhere. Providing your water source is good you may use dechlorinated tap water.  Put the powerhead into the container.  This is going to provide the circulation that is needed. You are going to have to put the powerhead so that the output is able to create enough turbulence on the water’s surface.

Step Two

Check with the manufacturer of the salt mix for the specifications of cups per gallon and then add the sea salt into the water slowly.   Wait a few minutes between testing the salinity until the salt is completely dissolved in the water.  Keep testing it with the hydrometer or your refractometer. This allows you to keep an eye on the salinity.

In this instance we are taking into account that the sea water for tropical coral reefs will have a specific gravity of around 1.025 or salinity of 35ppt, of course, you might want it differently. Still, this is a good choice if you are going to have invertebrates or corals. The specific gravity can be slightly lower if you are only keeping fish in the tank and you can go down to 1.020 or somewhere in-between the two. Keep checking how much salt you add and this way you will know how much to use the next time you come to do it again.

Step Three

When you have the salinity and specific gravity needed, add the heater and the thermostat, which should have the same temperature as the aquarium.

Step Four

Wait for a while and allow the water to sit, preferably overnight. Overnight the salt is going to have completely dissolved and the aquarium should have reached the desired temperature.

Step Five

You are going to need to check the specific gravity again so that you are sure that it has remained at the correct level and adjust if needed. You can do this by adding in fresh water or salt. The temperature is going to need checking too.

When the levels are correct, use the saltwater to fill up the aquarium as needed but replace water if you have to do a water change.

Bear in mind that when first filling the aquarium and there are no fish the saltwater may be mixed directly in the tank. Following this, with fish added, you are going to have to mix it in a container.

One important thing to bear in mind is that when water has evaporated from the saltwater tank, the solids are left behind. Therefore you are going to have to make top-ups to counter the evaporation. These should be made using only pure fresh water.

Happy saltwater fish keeping.

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