27 Common Saltwater Aquarium Questions And Answers

Common Saltwater Aquarium Questions And Answers


If you are new to the saltwater aquarium hobby or have been keeping reef tanks for a long time, there are some basic questions that you might have and need answers to. As we know things can be a bit confusing when setting up a new tank so I have compiled a list of 27 common saltwater aquarium questions and answers to help.


1. How many hours of led light for a reef tank?

Lighting is essential for the health of your corals. You want to avoid having to much light and not enough light. Both with lead to problems. Depending on the coral types in your tank, you should plan to have between 8-10 hours of LED light for your reef tank.


2. Do marine fish need light?

No, you do not need a specific type of light for a fish only or fish with live rock saltwater tank. Basic aquarium lighting is sufficient. There are many different types of LED lighting available that are affordable and will make your fish colors pop. Fish do not need lighting but you might in order to see them!

3. Do fish sleep?

Yes, fish do sleep. They are less active at night when the lights are off but they can sleep anytime. They do not close their eyelids since they don’t have any close!

4. Can fish sleep with a blue light on?

Fish prefer a day and night cycle with light being a factor. Although you might leave a blue light on at night, the fish will still be able to sleep.


5. Can fish see in the dark?

Fish can not necessarily “see” clearly in the dark but according to sciencefocus.com, they have rows of pressure-sensitive organs running down each side of their body called the lateral line, which allows them to sense nearby animals from the pressure changes in the water.


6. Do fish fart?

It depends on what you consider a fart. If farting is a means to get rid of gasses exiting your rear end, then I guess fish do not fart. But they do use air to inflate and deflate their bladder which is expelled through gills and mouth. It’s not technically a fart but you can call it one!


7. Are saltwater tanks hard to maintain?

Saltwater tanks are no harder to maintain than any other fish tank. Regardless if it’s a freshwater tank or saltwater tank, you will need to learn the required steps to maintain the tank properly. Many of the basic rules apply to both. Saltwater tanks can require more equipment and cost more, but the overall difficulty to maintain one is not much different.


8. Are saltwater tanks more expensive?

Saltwater tanks can be more expensive depending on the equipment you choose to use. Generally, livestock prices are more expensive as well. If comparing the cost to set up and maintain a saltwater tank versus a freshwater tank, then yes the saltwater tank will cost more.


9. What do you feed saltwater corals?

Corals get most of their nutrition from photosynthesis. But you can choose to feed them as well which is beneficial. There are a variety of foods you can feed your corals. This includes frozen fish, phytoplankton, krill, shrimp, and there are many quality dry coral foods on the market as well. Reef roids are a common choice.


10. Why are my saltwater corals dying?

There can be several reasons why your corals could die. The most common things include a drastic temperature change, improper lighting whether it’s being too close to the light or not getting any light, improper quarantine, and acclimation, poor water quality and parameters, aggressive tankmates, shipping stress, improper water flow.


11. What are the best saltwater aquarium corals for beginners?

If you are new to keeping corals, you should try soft corals and some LPS corals that are considered hardy. These will generally do better in tanks where the water quality is not pristine. These corals include mushrooms, zoanthids, star polyps, leathers, acans, and euphillia corals.


12. Are corals difficult to keep in an aquarium?

Yes, corals can be difficult to keep in an aquarium. Some corals require pristine water conditions and others do not. Maintaining proper water parameters is important for coral health. If you are a beginner, you should consider soft corals and certain LPS corals to start with.


13. Can you have a saltwater fish tank without a sump?

Yes, you can have a saltwater tank without a sump. Actually some people prefer to not have one. Sumps are not a required item but they do have advantages and are a huge benefit to all saltwater tanks.


14. Are all saltwater fish considered reef safe?

No, not all saltwater fish are reef safe. Generally, fish are classified as reef safe, not reef safe, and reef safe with caution. Before purchasing a fish to keep with corals make sure to research and confirm that it is reef safe ahead of time. Certain fish can reap havoc on corals and kill them in no time.


15. What size aquarium wavemaker do I need?

Proper water movement is important to have in a saltwater tank. Choosing the right sized wavemaker to produce that water flow depends on a few factors. Tank size, wavemaker size, types of livestock in your tank will all play a role. A general rule of thumb is to aim for 20-30X turnover rate in your tank. This will depend on coral and fish types in your tank. Certain corals like SPS require more flow than LPS or soft corals.


16. Do You Need A Media Reactor For Reef Tanks?

No, media reactors are not required on a saltwater tank. They are a great addition and definitely have their benefits but they are an additional piece of equipment that is not really required.


17. Do yellow Tangs get along with Clownfish?

Yes, for the most part, Yellow tangs and Clownfish will get along together and make great tankmates. There are many different types of Clownfish and in my experience, they will all get along with Yellow tangs in the same tank.


18. How much live rock per gallon should I use?

Using live rock in a saltwater tank is very important. Live rock is considered a lifeline for saltwater tanks and is crucial to a tank’s success. It houses most of the beneficial bacteria your tank needs to thrive. There is a common rule of thumb in the hobby that says you should use 1-2 lbs of live rock per gallon tank size. This is not necessary and just a rule of thumb. You can easily start a new saltwater tank with 20 or 30 pounds of live rock then fill in the rest with dry rock saving you money. Your tank size will also play a factor in deciding how much rock you will need.


19. How do you know when your saltwater tank is cycled?

You will know your saltwater tank is cycled when the Ammonia and Nitrite levels reach 0. This will take approximately 4-8 weeks. Read more on the saltwater tank cycle here.


20. Do you need to do water changes?

Yes, water changes are important and there are many benefits to having a regular water change schedule. The nitrogen cycle works by ammonia being converted into nitrites and then into nitrates. Nitrate levels will continue to build up to unsafe levels which we need to remove through water changes. Water changes also replenish nutrient levels, help maintain PH and other safe levels.


21. Do You Need To Use RODI Water In A Saltwater Reef Tank?

If you want to have a successful saltwater reef tank then yes you must use RODI water. There is no way around it. The water you use should have a TDS or total dissolved solids of 0. This will give your corals the best chance of staying healthy and colorful. Tap water is just not an option if you are keeping corals in your tank. You can purchase RODI water from a local fish store or purchase a RODI filter system to have at home and make your own water to use to top up evaporated water and water changes.


22. Can you use ocean water for your reef tank?

Yes, you sure can! If you live in an area that has clean ocean water then you can use it. Some reef tank hobbyists will only use ocean water in their tanks. But you need to ensure the water is clean with no pollutants or chemicals. Also, check the salinity and other levels and adjust where necessary. Lugging buckets of seawater around is not ideal but if you can make it work for you then it’s a great idea.


23. Do you need a protein skimmer on a saltwater tank?

This is one of the most common questions asked in the hobby. The answer is no you do not need a protein skimmer to have a saltwater tank. Protein skimmers are an important piece of equipment in your saltwater tank. They help remove organic waste before they have a chance to break down in your tank releasing nitrogen compounds. They will also help reduce Nitrate levels which is crucial for reef tank keepers. If you have the option to use a protein skimmer on your tank, it’s a great idea to have one. They are not required but sure are beneficial.


24. What is a nano tank?

Nano tanks are very popular in the saltwater aquarium hobby. Basically a nano tank is a small tank that is under 30 gallons in size. Nano tanks come in a variety of sizes and shapes and sometimes come as a complete kit with everything built-in as an all in one style tank. With a nano tank you are limited to the size and amount of livestock you choose, but many of the most impressive reef tanks you will see are nano tanks.


25. How many fish can I put in my tank?

This is another question that you might hear a rule of thumb floating around the hobby. Most people will say that you can have 1 inch fish per gallon tank size. Some others will say 1 fish total per gallon tank size. There are variables to making this rule work. If you have a 10-gallon tank, would you put a 10″ fish in it? No of course not. But you might put 1 fish in it that’s only 2″ big. So I would avoid this rule of thumb unless you have a very large tank and take into consideration other factors. The amount of fish you put in your tank will vary from tank to tank. There is no hard rule that you need to follow.


26. What is the proper water temperature for saltwater tanks?

Most saltwater tanks should be kept at a temperature between 72-82 degrees F. The most important thing is not to let the temperature fluctuate. Keeping it at a consistent temperature is best. Depending on the livestock you are keeping, choose the right temperature and keep it constant. I use a temperature controller which keeps the tank temperature within 1 degree at all times.


27. What is the proper salinity level for a saltwater reef tank?

Saltwater reef tanks require a salinity level between 1.024 and 1.025 SG or 32-33 ppt. It’s important to use a quality refractometer to check your salinity on a regular basis. Maintaining a constant level is important. Water from your tank will evaporate daily causing the salinity to increase. You will need to add fresh RODI to replace the evaporated water. It is recommended to use an auto top off system to do this effectively.

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