How to Maintain a Healthy and Happy Saltwater Fish Tank

Image of yellow tang fish in aquarium

Who doesn’t love to see vibrant, beautiful fish in a saltwater tank? If you are new to the idea of a saltwater tank, there are a few things to consider before getting started.

Crystal clear water in a saltwater fish tank takes a little bit of effort, but the breathtaking rewards are worth it.

Fish need a clean environment to be healthy and thrive. Following a regular maintenance routine for your saltwater tank will help keep the tank clean and the fish healthy.

Not sure what to do? We’ve got you covered.

Here’s How to Maintain a Healthy and Happy Saltwater Fish Tank

Make sure you purchase quality filters, lights, aerators, and heaters that are made for your specific fish tank, and be sure to consult a professional on these choices.

You want to inspect the equipment daily to make sure everything is functioning. Be sure to check for leaks and listen for unusual sounds.

Check wires and tubes to be sure they are plugged in and connected. A bit of preventive maintenance goes a long way.

Water Changes

Water changes are essential and one of the most important things you can do to keep your saltwater tank healthy and functioning. This helps keep the nitrite levels down.

Most experts agree that regular small water changes are preferable to less frequent large water changes. Changing about ten percent of the tank water every other week is ideal.

If you have a very large tank, changing the water once a month might be practical, but every two weeks is the safest bet.

Water Changes are Easier Today than in the Past

Years ago, if you wanted to change the water in a saltwater tank, you would need to mix various chemicals to achieve the correct balance. Or, you might have to take a little beach trip to collect some natural salt water.

Thankfully, that’s not the case today. You can use a one-step salt mix which makes it quick and easy to perform water changes.

Daily Maintenance

  • Check on your fish. Make sure they are swimming happily. If you do notice something unusual about a fish, keep watching it. Dead fish in the tank will hurt the water quality as they deteriorate and increase the ammonia to unsafe levels.
  • Remember to clean the skimmer cup. It won’t hurt to skip a day here and there, but try to be consistent with this.
  • Check the temperature of the water and adjust as necessary.
  • Remove all uneaten fish food.
  • Do an equipment check. Make sure everything is in place and running. At first, this may seem confusing, but you will get to know your tank well and be able to spot any potential problems.

Every Other Day Maintainance

  • It’s very important to check for evaporated water and fill in to maintain tank proper water levels.
  • Be sure to clean algae off the glass. Staying on top of this can save you from extra work down the road.

Weekly to Bi-Weekly Maintainance

  • You simply cannot have a clear, beautiful tank without partial water changes. You can do these weekly or bi-weekly. This also depends on how well you care for your saltwater fish tank overall and the fish and creatures in the tank.
  • Make sure to clean the glass and remove salt build-up from the tank’s systems including the lights. Without this step, salt could build up in chunks and fall into the tank. Salt is corrosive, so regular cleaning will keep your tank running smoothly.
  •  Add needed trace elements, vitamins, conditioners, and pH buffers.
  • Every two weeks – replace filter floss for canister filters and test the quality of the water. If you’re a newbie, you may want to test the water weekly at first.

Monthly Maintenance

  • Be sure to siphon through the substrate and corals to ensure they are clean.
  • The protein skimmer needs monthly cleaning – not just the cup.
  • Check all assembled parts, tubing, and hoses for stability and function.
  • You will want to clean or replace airstones and do a carbon change as well.

Every Three Months Maintenance

  • The filter canisters and hoses should be cleaned every three months. You can check the hoses by blowing in them. This prevents backflow that can damage the the saltwater tank’s equipment.
  • It’s a good idea to change the air pads in the pumps every three months too.

Every Six Months Maintenance

  • Replace pump impellers if they are damaged.
  • Change the air valves because they help prevent damage from pressure build-up.
  • If your tank has a UV filter, replace the UV tubes.
  • It’s a good idea to replace the light bulbs every six months even if they are working. They lose intensity, and light is an important factor for the health of your marine animals.

Choose Healthy Fish for a Healthy Saltwater Fish Tank

Before you fill your tank with beautiful fish, you should be smart about the choices you make. Look beyond the beauty and check for the health of the fish before adding them to your tank.

You should look for the following disease markers:

  • White spots
  • Quick gill movements
  • Frayed or torn fins
  • Fuzzy patches of fungus
  • Erratic swimming
  • A fish staying in a corner or top of tank
  • White growths (Lymphocystis virus)

If you notice anything unusual, you should not buy the fish. Remember the goal is to have healthy fish for your tank. If it’s not swimming normally and looking for food, don’t choose it.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help and advice. Another tip: You can always ask to watch the fish eating. You want to choose fish that are eating. It’s difficult to get a fish eating for you who is refusing to eat at the fish store.

Ask The Experts

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even though it’s exciting to bring a saltwater fish tank into your home or business, it is a responsibility.

It’s a good idea to do your research and have an idea of what you want. You want to make an informed decision and not just buy on impulse.

You want to choose a reputable business when buying a saltwater fish tank and all that goes with it.

The professional staff at Aquatics World is ready to help and answer your questions. They are the real experts to show you how to maintain a happy and healthy saltwater fish tank.