Saltwater aquariums area a great way to enjoy the most exotic and colorful marine life. Watching exotic tropical fish swim back and forth is a soothing, entertaining way to relieve stress.  Saltwater aquariums require slightly more aquarium service than freshwater tanks, but the results are worth the extra time and effort.

One of the most common chores for a saltwater aquarium is replenishing the salt water itself. Mixing saltwater is a very easy aquarium service task you can do on your own with the right tools from the fish store. Here is a list of things you will need to make the perfect water for your saltwater aquarium:

Gather Your Materials

A Clean bucket or Heavy-Duty Plastic Storage Bin: A large storage bin works well for mixing the water. You can also use them to store extra water. Make sure to thoroughly clean the bucket or bin before you start.

Sea Salt Mix: This is what will turn ordinary water into salt water. Your aquarium service technician can help you in getting the best quality salt mix available. Aquarium service technicians recommend you do not use ordinary table salt or “sea salt”.  It is missing many elements specific to sea life that you will find in sea salt mixes.

A Submersible Aquarium Service Heater: This will ensure the water you use is at the right temperature for the marine life in your saltwater aquarium. Make sure to use one rated for the desired volume of water.

A Thermometer: You will need a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water. Some heaters have a thermal meter already attached. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need a separate one. A floating or battery-powered meter works well to measure the water temperature.

A Small Pump for Circulation: Having a pump helps you to mix the saltwater more thoroughly with less effort. You can also use the pump to transfer the water from the bucket to the saltwater aquarium. That avoids the need to lift a heavy bin full of water.

A Refractometer or Hydrometer: These are tools that you use to measure the amount of salt in your water. They measure the specific gravity of water. The more salt in the water, the heavier the specific gravity of the saltwater.

A Stirring Implement: A simple wooden stick will work just fine. Avoid metal or plastic to minimize any reactions with the salt water. Make sure to clean the stirring implement before using it.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Now all you need is the water. Tapwater works well in most cases. Unfortunately it contains chemicals that are harmful to marine life, such as chlorine, that you must remove first. Seawater is also an appropriate choice, but make sure to use a source of seawater that’s untainted by chemicals caused by wastewater or runoff. Seawater also may need other adjustments before is usable. Aquarium service technicians recommend that you use distilled water, or water treated by reverse-osmosis or deionization (RO/DI).

Fill your container halfway with water. Don’t overfill the container. You’ll  be adding the salt mix, which will displace some of the water. You’ll need plenty of room in the container to mix the salt with the water without slopping over. Once your container has some water in it, add your pump and heater to it. Make sure you have cleaned and tested them before placing them into the water.

Add Salt To Taste

Next, begin pouring the salt into the water slowly into the water and stir it. Test the water frequently to monitor its specific gravity. Your aquarium service technician can recommend the correct specific gravity for your saltwater aquarium.

Let Your Water Rest

Once the water has reached the correct specific gravity, let it sit overnight to circulate, mix, and reach the correct temperature. Leaving the water overnight ensures that all the salt and other elements completely dissolve into the water and reach the desired temperature.

Check It, and You’re Done!

The next day, check the specific gravity and temperature of your water again to make sure it is correct. If you need to, make any adjustments to salinity by adding more water or salt mix.

Now that you have made your salt water, you can add it to your saltwater aquarium! It is a good idea to have extra water already prepared for your next aquarium service and water change.

Aquarium Service Advice From the Experts

Saltwater aquariums are a beautiful addition to any home or business. Whether you are a professional fish keeper or just starting out, a saltwater aquarium provides a captivating display of marine life. If you would like to start your own saltwater aquarium, you can get a great start from the experts at Aquatech Aquarium Service in Los Angeles. Their team, headed by owner Harold Weiner, have been designing saltwater aquariums and koi ponds, and providing aquarium service, for over 25 years. They’ll make sure your saltwater aquarium is a perfect fit for your home or business, and help you with regular aquarium maintenance.