Table of contents:
- Phase one: water preparation
- Phase two: creating a "base"
- Phase three: lighting and algae eaters
- Phase four: add fish and invertebrates
- Phase five: detritus-eating organisms
Video: Settling A Marine Aquarium (phases)
Ask any marine aquarium hobbyist and you will find out that setting up and building a marine aquarium takes a lot of work and time. Setting up and populating a saltwater aquarium requires respect and care, especially in this age when the Internet has provided aquarists with access to a variety of rare and demanding fish and invertebrates.
Many of the varieties available have specific compatibility requirements that you should be familiar with before settling in your aquarium. In this article, we will describe five steps to help you properly set up and stock your new marine aquarium.
Phase one: water preparation
Start up the aquarium and install filters. Fill the aquarium with fresh water, preferably through a reverse osmosis filtration system. If you are using regular city water, you need to add a liquid dechlorinator to bind the chlorine and remove it from the water.
Then add the salt, carefully following the instructions for preparing the brine solution. Use a hydrometer to monitor the salinity and raise it to the desired level. Install a heater and heat the water to the required temperature. Let the aquarium sit for a couple of days to ensure that the water temperature is constant and that the equipment is working properly.
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Phase two: creating a "base"
After the aquarium has stood for a couple of days, begin to create a base for the future system of aragonite sand and live rocks. You can also add 5-8 cm of live sand, which is rich in bacteria and beneficial microorganisms. Remember to cure the sand before adding it to the tank.
After adding soil and live sand, it's time to add live rocks. In addition to containing a huge number of beneficial bacteria and microorganisms, live rocks are an excellent shelter for your fish and help maintain normal water conditions. Live rocks will give your aquarium an aesthetic appearance, biological filtration, and provide your fish and invertebrates with food and nutrients.
You can choose among several varieties of living rock: they differ in shape and color, and are related to marine life, depending on the geography of its origin. The general rule of thumb is to add about 500-700 grams of live rock per 4 liters of water in your tank. The exact amount will depend on the type of rock you choose. When choosing a live rock, just follow the guidelines.
Live rock must be completely healthy before you can add invertebrates and fish to your tank. The treatment process based on the nitrogen cycle usually takes from a week to a month, depending on the number of stones, their type and the method used in the treatment. During this time, you also need to make weekly water changes.
To start the treatment, freely place stones in the aquarium. Try to create as many rock caves as possible. This will allow the fish to swim freely between the rocks and allow water to circulate between them. Also make sure to position the stones right side up. Place them colored side up. This will create the right conditions for brightly colored coralline algae that require a lot of light and sponges that don't need a lot of light. Please note that you will need to keep the aquarium in the dark during the treatment process to keep algae from growing. The light can only be switched on for the duration of short-term checks.
Phase three: lighting and algae eaters
At this point, you need to set the lighting in the aquarium using a timer so that the aquarium is lit for 10-12 hours a day. Within a couple of weeks after installing the lighting, wait for an outbreak of algae growth. To combat this, you need to add algae-eating fish and invertebrates to your aquarium. They are usually sold together and are crabs, snails, gobbies, and blend dogs. Go through the acclimatization procedure for new inhabitants and let the biological filtration system adapt to the new load. Biological filtration will return to normal in a couple of days, thanks to living stones. After a few days, when the level of ammonia and nitrite returns to normal, add fish and invertebrates.
Phase four: add fish and invertebrates
Once you've set up your lighting, cured live rocks, and added algae-eating animals, it's time to populate your tank. Before adding animals to the aquarium, make sure they are compatible with each other. Also remember to stock up the tank gradually to avoid putting too much strain on the biological filtration system. Before adding an animal, make sure the ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero for a couple of weeks. Once the level is at zero, you can add invertebrates and fish.
The first animals you add should be the most humble of your choice. This will allow them to get used to the aquarium before you add large, active and aggressive animals to it. Give the animals a couple of weeks to get used to the conditions and then add larger animals.
You should also be interested in how many fish you can keep in your tank.
Despite a lot of advice, the basic rule of thumb is 1cm adult fish per 3L in your tank. For example, in a 100 l aquarium, ideally, you should plant 30 cm of adult fish. Keep this in mind when choosing fish for your aquarium.
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Phase five: detritus-eating organisms
After adding fish and invertebrates, you need to add animals (mainly starfish) that feed on organic detritus. This helps maintain healthy water parameters. Animals of this species feed on uneaten food and waste from other organisms. If you don't have enough detritus-eating animals, the waste in your tank is an excellent algae food. Choose bottom scavengers according to the size of your tank.
All of the above should help you get your marine aquarium up and running, and avoid possible problems. It is very important to know the needs of the animals you want to keep before installing and buying, as well as to know that you have enough time, money and resources to take care of them properly. With the right patience and care, and installation, your marine aquarium will thrive and enjoy.
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