Saltwater Fish

An introduction to saltwater fish breeds

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Marine fish, commonly called saltwater fish, usually require more maintenance than their freshwater counterparts. Saltwater fish tanks must constantly be monitored for correct salinity levels, something that will require you to invest in a good hydrometer. If the salinity of the water is even slightly off balance, the health of the inhabitants of your saltwater fish aquarium will soon suffer.

Despite the extra care required to keep them, exotic saltwater fish can be very rewarding to own. Many species are strikingly beautiful, with the elaborate lionfish, graceful butterfly fish and unique clown fish ranking among the most popular species. Some hobbyists have even taken up the keeping of non-traditional marine creatures like starfish and eels, and even seahorses are gaining momentum as pets. Your salt water fish tank and the fascinating water dwellers inside it will attract constant attention from friends and visitors.

You'll find a wide range of saltwater fish for sale at your local aquarium hobby store, but always ask to make sure different fish species are compatible with one another before placing them in the same aquarium. Aggressive fish don't make good tank mates for slow-swimming, docile fish.

To keep your salt water fish healthy and happy, keep these saltwater aquarium maintenance tips in mind:

  • Check in on your fish daily to make sure they all appear healthy. Check the temperature of the water, clean up any unused food and wash out your protein skimmer cup every day.
  • Every other day or so, clean off any algae deposits you see growing on the tank glass. If you notice that evaporation has caused depleted water levels, refill the missing water and ensure proper salinity.
  • Once a week, you should replace 10 to 25 percent of the water in your tank, depending how dirty it is. Get rid of any salt buildup on the glass and add pH buffers, water conditioners and fish vitamins as needed.
  • Every other week, replace your filter floss and test the quality of the water. Make any water quality adjustments necessary.
  • Once a month, you should clean your protein skimmer (not just the cup). Change the carbon and make sure all hoses and tubes are connected and working properly.
  • Change the air pads in your aquarium pump and clean all filters and hoses every three months.
  • Twice a year, you should make sure your pump impellers are working properly or, if damaged, replace them. Change your air valves, replace your UV filters and replace your light bulbs, whether they're burnt out or not, every six months.