Tank Maintenance

My friendly moca clownfish

My Saltwater Aquarium : Tank Maintenance 

By Reef Ace

This article covers the basics of maintaining my saltwater aquarium.


The key to maintaining my saltwater tank is testing the tank water for ammonia , nitrite, nitrate and ph. When dangerous ammonia levels are high it is time for me make a water change.

Water changes

Water changes are an important part of maintaining my aquarium tank. It will remove ammonia and nitrates from my tank while replenishing sea salt minerals needed for my fish to survive.

A regular water change is removing 1/4 of the tanks water then replacing it with a new batch of water mixed with sea salt. Doing this once a week greatly helps in maintaining the proper environment in my tank for my fish to stay healthy and grow.

For water changes I chose the “Zero Water” filter system, the system comes with a pitcher, filter and TDS meter and more filters can be purchased separately. When water is placed in this system the water passes through a 5 stage ion exchange filter and when tested using a TDS meter the results equals zero. Tap water reads 200-300 TDS or worst in many areas.

This system worked well for me because my tank is small and I didn’t need to filter a lot of water. My tank holds 13.5 gallons but I only used this system to filter 5 gallons of water for my water changes.

A saltwater tank setup required me to mix my water with the correct amount of sea salt mix and measure the salinity with a refractometer.

Instructions on the manufacturers sea salt mix package directed me to use a certain number of cups of sea salt mixture per gallon of water. I needed to aim for a specific gravity of about 1.025 or a salinity of 35ppt

Top off

While enjoying my aquarium tank I have noticed that the water level has been decreasing, this is normal as water will evaporate into the air and will have to be replaced. The smaller the tank the faster water will evaporate. In a saltwater aquarium when the water evaporates the salinity begin to rise to dangerous levels to rebalance the salinity to the correct level, I must replace the evaporated water with filtered water only (no sea salt mix added) this is called a top off.

Handling algae

As my saltwater tank got more established I noticed brown and green algae growing on the glass this happens naturally but is not pleasant to see. I handled this by cleaning it off the inside of the glass I would do this right before making a water change so I could catch the algae particles floating in the water.


Tank maintenance is necessary to keep my fish and live stock happy and healthy. I have found that it works best for me to set out a specific day of the week and time to do it and stick to that regular schedule. I always prepare sea salt and water mix before I need to use it. While enjoying my tank and observing my fish I look at the water levels and top it off when necessary. I mark the water level on the side of the tank to make it easier.

If you are new to my website this article is part of  “My simple approach to a saltwater aquarium setup” series , follow me as I explain how I setup my nano saltwater aquarium and share my knowledge and experiences

My Saltwater Aquarium :  Simple Setup

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide my personal experiences as I setup my saltwater aquarium tank for entertainment purposes only. I am not a professional in this field. I have gained my knowledge and methods as explained in this article by my own personal experiences and research. Before setting up an aquarium tank or following any of my methods please research, seek professional advice and decide for yourself if it is right for you.

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