By Jeremy Richards on Monday, March 7th, 2016 in Maintenance
Saltwater tanks, as many other things in life, leave a lot of room for error. But if your Fountain Hills reef tank is not taken care of properly it will not only start to look sad, but cause the animals in it to deteriorate and die. To ensure that your saltwater tank will bring you (and the sea creatures) years of joy, you should avoid these common mistakes which I often deal with on aquarium maintenance or rehabilitation calls. Luckily many of my clients have me install and build their Fountain Hills custom saltwater tank, which means I can assist them in preventing these mistakes right of the bat.
While this may seem the kind of mistake that stems from over excited children who want to “feed the fishies”, it is also common among newbie tank owners. In order to keep your fish and the tank healthy, it is important to understand what kind of nutritious demands your fish actually have. Just throwing food in the tank willy-nilly will not satisfy the nutritional needs of your fish and invertebrate and may end up settling on the bottom, uneaten, causing serious trouble for your tank.
Fish only eat as much as they need to survive. Different tank experts advocate different feeding schedules. Some prescribe to a three to four times a week schedule, while others feel that feeding them two or three times a day, but only as much as they can eat in two or three minutes, is the best course of action. It also needs to be pointed out that herbivores and omnivores eat differently as well. Similar to land animals, herbivorous fish tend to continually “graze” while carnivores may pass up on easy food. If you are unsure of what and how often to feed your fish to keep them and your tank happy, consult your local Fountain Hills saltwater tank professional during a maintenance visit or call him for more information.
Maybe you see your fish beg for feed and are under the false impression that they are hungry and you are not feeding them enough. Fish are actually able to interact with their owners much more than we think. So yes they can beg for food and act weird, just like they may act differently when you are in the room than when they are alone.
Water from your reef aquarium will evaporate and the water level will drop-that’s a fact. But when adding more water it is essential to understand that only the water evaporates, leaving behind minerals and salt. Therefore your tank does not always need to be topped up with a new mix of saltwater, but oftentimes, the only thing that needs to be added is freshwater. Check the level in your tank to ensure that you are adding water with just the right mix of what is needed. You can contact your custom reef tank builder at any time to ask questions pertaining to the maintenance of your tank.
Patience and proper timing is key. It is understandable that one can get caught up in the excitement of having a saltwater tank installed in your Arizona home, but that doesn’t mean that you should rush it. Why is this a problem? If you are setting up a new tank and just “dump” everything in at once, the biological filtration system of your aquarium will most likely not be able to handle the sudden load placed on it. Having to filter all the new livestock added including fish waste and other waste products can cause the system to overload and maybe even to crash. This can easily be avoided by planning out your tank’s filtration system and patiently adding a few fish per week or months to ensure that the filtration system expands and grows slowly with the demands placed on it.
Overloading your fish tank causes similar problems as going too fast. Even if you end up adding components to a well established saltwater tank, it is essential to take it slow. Don’t rush, add a few components and observe. Also too many fish can create too much waste for any system. check with your local aquarium expert if you have too many fish or live rock in your tank.
Some tank owners are under the impression that a saltwater tank never needs to have its water exchanged. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oftentimes, they take their education from an online blog or article that have read that was probably accompanied by beautiful pictures of how some aquarist maintained a beautiful tank without water changes. While this is rare, extremely experienced tank enthusiasts with decades of experience and a mature tank system may be able to pull that of. The average saltwater tank hobbyist will have to exchange about 10 % of the water each week to ensure that the tank will perform properly.
These water changes help to keep necessary trace elements at a good level, but further prevent that toxins, dissolved toxins, and superfluous nutrients build up in the tank which can cause serious issues . After a month of skipping water changes, you would notice a significant deterioration of your tank which could ultimately cause your tank to crash.
Your tank’s job is to mimic the natural habitat of its residents so that they can grow and thrive. If your water flow is wrong or of they won’t be able to do that. Without it you may encounter problems such as slime, algae, low levels of dissolved oxygen, low water quality and many others. A professional saltwater tank setup and installation will ensure that your water flow is perfect for the tank’s size and the animals in it.
Obviously water is the most important component of any tank, no matter if we are talking fresh or saltwater. If your water quality “sucks” so will your tank. It is important to have quality water. Your local saltwater expert can tell you if you local tap water is suitable for your tank or if it needs to be de-chlorinated or if you should be water from some other source.
Additionally, I want to point out that while there is no reason to purchase the most expensive salt on the market to mix the water for your reef tank, you probably don’t want to buy the cheapest stuff you can find either. Quality salt will go a long way in keeping your tank in good shape.
I can think of many other mistakes you could make with a saltwater tank and I will talk about them more in the future. If you are dealing with a crashed tank, need help to set up a new saltwater tank or have any questions or concerns regarding the integrity of your tank system, contact us today. The Happy Fish is proud to be Fountain Hill’s premier custom saltwater tank experts and we are always looking for a challenge by ways of a new custom tank set-up or a challenging tank troubleshooting.