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Unnecessary Intimidation of Saltwater Aquariums

Many people are intimidated by the implied difficulty associated with maintaining a marine or saltwater aquarium. This may have been a fact of the past, but that was a time when hobbyists were limited by the available tools and education. At that time, the hobbyists that kept marine life often lived near the ocean, as constant water changes seemed necessary for success. With our understanding of the nitrogen cycle and the extensive improvements in filtration, the only big difference in keeping freshwater fish and saltwater fish is the salt. Maintenance is almost always the biggest concern of those about to become involved with keeping saltwater fish. Knowing specifics of the fish's diet, temperament and preferred water conditions are still important. Most filters used in freshwater aquariums are also appropriate for saltwater varieties. The most daunting task seems to be the monthly water change. This fear, however, isn't justified; the water change process is the same as freshwater, just with a little more planning. To change the water, you'll need a clean mixing container for mixing up the saltwater - this should be a container that has not and will not be used for anything else; it is also important that there is not exposed metal in or on the container. The synthetic sea salts available today are complete and consistent enough for you to just add water. Fill the container with an amount of water equal to ΒΌ of your aquarium volume and add the salt slowly, as directed. Mix until all salt is dissolved, which should take roughly 24 hours. Use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity, and then add water or salt until the level is between 1.020 and 1.025, preferably the same as your aquarium. Just like freshwater, you'll need to acclimate to make sure the new water is the same temperature as the aquarium water. Also, use a dechlorinator if your source water contains chlorine.

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