How to Set up a Salt Water Aquarium

The luminous, vibrant colors of the exotic fish that lives in salt water make it tempting to have a go at the saltwater set-up, and if you get it right, it's definitely worth it. However, there's quite a lot to think about before you start, so make sure to read this thoroughly to get the hang of it.


As all fish - especially saltwater fish in - are susceptible to temperature changes, it's essential to find the right place for your aquarium. You should choose a location away from external doors, air flow, and windows. It should be kept out of direct sunlight as well.
Make sure to pick a room in which you spend a lot of time so that you'll have the opportunity to admire the beauty of your aquarium as much as possible!

Set Up the Tank

Firstly, make sure the container is clean of any dust and dirt.
It is crucial to make sure your tank is level, as being unbalanced can have disastrous effects. Before you fill it up, make sure to check it thoroughly for leaks.

Time for the Filter

Now, it's time to set up your filter and protein skimmer. You should not switch it on immediately, but make sure you have it all set up and ready to go.

Add the Sand or the Substrate

Once your filter is prepped, it's time to add the substrate of the aquarium, which should be rinsed in a small amount of premixed saltwater. After, you can throw away the remaining salt water.

Fill Up the Tank and Add Salt:

Now you're good to go and can fill the tank up with water. It's a smart idea is to fill it up slowly so that you can keep on checking for leaks, just in case. Add the required amount of salt, and if you're not sure how much you need, you can ask for instructions from your local pet shop.

The Heater and Thermometer

Now it's time to place the heater in the tank. You have to determine where the best location for it is, which depends on the type of heater. You shouldn't plug the heater in at this time, but have it in place in the aquarium for now.

Install the thermometer on the opposite side of where you've situated the heater, make sure you have easy access to it so you can check the temperature at any time. This is vital as you do not want an overheated aquarium if you want your fish to stay healthy.
Wait 20 minutes before plugging in the heater and protein skimmer, following the instructions included and adjust them to the correct settings and temperature.


Now you have to wait - you won't be able to add fish until at least 24 to 48 hours have passed. This is so you can make sure your heater is working correctly, but also to allow gases, heavy metals, and chemicals to dissolve. You will probably notice that the water becomes cloudy, which is entirely normal; however, you should always wait until the water has become completely clear before adding fish.

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