Video:Clean and Maintain a Saltwater Aquariumwith Joe Caparatta
Are you intimidated by the work that goes into maintaining a saltwater aquarium? Learn the basics of aquarium care and see how to change saltwater and monitor its levels.See Transcript
Transcript:Clean and Maintain a Saltwater AquariumHi, I'm Joe Caparatta, owner of Manhattan Aquariums in New York City, here for About.com. Your tank is up and running, you've got fish in it, you're feeding every day -- what happens when the water gets a little dirty? Algae starts growing on the glass, filtration starts getting a little clogged. Well I'm going to show you how to take care of all that.
Change the Saltwater Aquarium Filter PadsIn your wet/dry filter, which you'd have on a fish-only system, you're going to have a series of pads. Every filter is a little different, but they all incorporate some kind of pre-filter. This pad right here, it's just a polyester-type pad, this mechanically traps a lot of the waste. You can take this pad out and something like this you want to maintain every week to two weeks, depending on the bio-load, or the stocking density of your aquarium. What I usually do is just rinse it in the sink, under cold water, and just keep rinsing it and rinsing it until it looks clean.
Clean the Aquarium Filter PumpAnother thing we want to keep clean is the pre-filter to your pump. Regardless of whether it's an internal or an external pump, there's a sponge that should be on it and that will prevent anything hard from getting sucked into the pump and possibly damaging the impeller. You want to take that sponge off and clean it, and again, you can clean that under fresh water.
Saltwater Aquariums and AlgaeWe've shown you how to maintain your filter, now we're going to move on to the aquarium. Your aquarium is naturally going to grow algae -- every tank gets a little bit of algae in it, it's normal, and I'm going to show you how to maintain the tank, to keep that algae from annoying you. This is a basic algae brush. This is for acrylic tanks. If you had a glass tank, this pad would look a little different. You want to use the right style cleaning tool for the right aquarium. You basically just go right along the glass, and clean off the algae, and you just want to be careful not to scratch the glass. Another way to clean your aquarium, where you don't have to use a brush, is by using a magnet. You put one on the inside, and one on the outside, and they slide right into place. Then you just move it right along the glass, nice and easy!
How to Change Water in a Saltwater AquariumNow to do a water change, I want to show you your basic pieces of equipment. You have a siphon and a hose, and the main goal of what we're trying to achieve here is to remove water from the aquarium, while removing sediment that is accumulated in the sand or gravel bed. You would just stick this tube inside the tank, invert the tube to get a siphon going, and you're going to siphon water into the bucket. Each type of siphon that you get is a little different -- some of them have little pumps -- so when you buy one, just ask the person there to show you exactly how to use it, they're very easy to use. You'll want to do ten to twenty-five per cent water change every week to two weeks.
Monitoring Salt LevelsEverybody that has a salt water aquarium is going to need to monitor their salt levels. The way to test the salt level is with a hydrometer. Just give it a little rinse, then fill it up, I usually give it a couple of taps just in case any air bubbles have accumulated on this sensitive needle. Right now I'm at 1.026. Now that, even though it's a little bit above the red on the range, is the correct content for reef water.
So now that you're accustomed to doing maintenance to the tank, it's not as scary as it may seem. And remember, the word is "maintenance," which comes from maintain, and the idea here is to maintain a healthy environment. Doing water changes on a regular basis, keeping the glass clean, keeping the filter clean, are all part of the maintenance routine.
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