Saltwater Aquarium Care

What is Saltwater Aquarium Cleaning and Care?

Saltwater aquarium care requires more than just checking daily and maintenance, it is curiosity, observation and study. Cleaning a saltwater aquarium is different from freshwater aquariums due to the delicate balance in the ecosystem that must be maintained. Keeping the temperature, chemical balance, adequate food and fertilizer supply in accordance to detailed observations and research is FAR more important to keeping the ecosystem healthy. In the event of an imbalance in any contained saltwater aquascape, the important thing is to always remember three basic rules: Isolate Treat and Adapt. How about reading a book on the subject?

Keeping the water clean is not as easy as scrubbing algae off the glass as in fresh water aquariums. Saltwater aquarium inhabitants are much more sensitive and delicate. Their artificial environment must be maintained in close approximation with their natural habitat in the ocean. This can be ever so difficult for them, as the very level of saltwater density in and of itself is a chemical solution that they must become accustomed to over a period of time. The shock of a new environment can be very hard on the organisms living in a saltwater aquarium tank that has just been prepared, so in order to change the water, without totally destroying their nice comfortable conditions, a new solution of saltwater should be added to the already existing solution about once a month. It may be necessary to remove 10-15% of the old water, but more than that can be harmful to the ecological balance. Other than this, protein skimmers (mechanical filters and sumps), biological filters, and chemical filters like activated carbon must be kept clean manually (especially mechanical filters) but can do the rest of the water cleaning on their own and be very beneficial to equilibrium in the aquarium.

Curiosity, observation and study are the overall most important factors in keeping a saltwater aquarium healthy and stable. Most aquarist take their own curiosity for granted, but it is the very mystery of this enchanted aquatic realm that drives us to delve in its study. Be curious; let curiosity guide your observations and research. Gaze into the confines of the transparent aquarium wall and just observe the fish, coral, crustaceans, sand spiders, invertebrates, plants and algae, one creature at a time, carefully. Be sure and study their behaviors, so you know their personalities. What they like, what they don’t like, where they like to hide, if they like to play and where? What is their favorite food, and how do they act when it’s time to eat? Observing these things will determine in part how they behave when they are well, but most importantly when they are not, and why not. The more a person knows about their natural habitat, the more they can speculate on how to fix these challenges when they occur.

In the case of an aquarium inhabitant that is unhappy, or even worse… in the case of a disaster, like the tank water needs to be replaced completely, due to a crack in the aquarium or whatever, isolation is the only option. Having more than one refugium is a really good idea. Not merely for eventual imbalances in the aquarium ecology, but also when deciding to introduce new inhabitants into the environment. Refugiums can be completely isolated or only partly isolated. In the event of partial isolation, then the same aquarium water that comes from the tank is oxygenated in the refugium, or filtered, or just flown. But in the case of complete containment, water from the aquarium main tank is introduced into a separate well cleansed refugium with all the appropriate equipment for any saltwater aquarium and left running on its own with the new inhabitant. Complete isolation is very common when an organism has taken ill and must be kept from contaminating the other organisms. Partial isolation is more common when introducing a new inhabitant to the artificial conditions of saltwater aquariums.

Lastly, it’s essential to remember that saltwater aquarium cleaning and care is based on curiosity, observation and study. Keeping water clean by changing only 10-15% once a month and taking care of the filters by cleaning them manually will help keep ecological balance. Researching, observing and general curiosity will inspire the aquarist to study carefully the behavior of each and every inhabitant, so as to take action in the case of imbalance as well as knowing how to care for the ecology to increase sustainability. Occasional isolation can be either partial or complete, but is only needed to either help a new organism adapt to the new environment or an imbalanced and ill organism regain its place in the fascinating kingdom of a Neptunium ecosystem, reminiscent of ideal Utopian societies from the days when Athens was at war with Atlantis.

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Posted in Articles, Gadgets on August 25, 2005.

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