Saltwater Aquarium – Additives

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 56,792
    Marine Biologist Jim Karanikas demonstrates how to set up a saltwater aquarium and discusses additives.

    Jim Karinikas: Hi, Jim Karanikas from Tropical Fish World, showing you how to setup and maintain a saltwater aquarium. What I would like to discuss now is the different types of additives that you can put in an aquarium, for either saltwater fish or for a live reef tank. For a saltwater fish only aquarium, like I have behind me here, the salt that you use to prepare the seawater has a lot of the essential elements already in there. Some of them may get depleted over time. When you are just doing a one third water change once a month, just the small amount of water that you are putting back in may not have enough of the essential elements that the fish require. So I think it's very important to put an additive in that puts the essential elements, the trace elements, back into the water. This is something that could be done about once a week or once every other week.

    There is also available a small test kit that measures the amount of carbonates in the water. The amount of carbonates are very important in maintaining the pH of your saltwater aquarium. There are parts out there that have bicarbonate and carbonates available, that will help raise the carbonate hardness level in your aquarium. I would first recommend checking the amount of carbonates that are in the water before adding this into the tank. Both of these products have directions on how much they recommend to add some of the product lines. Also tell you that you have the beginners way of adding it, and then an advanced or expert's way of adding it. Usually the expert's way of adding it means that you have to test the water first before you add this in. Now, if you have a fish only aquarium, water changes and these additives are enough to maintain the fish. If you happened to have a reef aquarium, trace elements are much more important, and the corals that you have living in it are going to use these up at a much faster rate than the fish do. Probably the most important component or element that's in seawater is calcium. Calcium is the basic building block that corals need to grow their skeleton. So if your calcium level gets low in your reef tank, you are in big trouble, and so are your corals. So you want to have a test kit that measures the amount of calcium in the water. Then there are many supplements that you can use, that you can add in. Some of them are very easy and are good for the beginner, and others require that you test or measure the amount of calcium in the water for adding it in.

    There is also kalkwasser, which is called lime water, that's available, that you would use when you make up water for evaporation that you can use. Today I just want to go over the basics and some of the basic things that you need to know about setting up a reef tank, but I would highly recommend talking to an expert at a local aquarium shop before adding some of these products to your reef tank.

    Some of the other additives would be strontium. which help grow the purple in your tank. It actually cover the walls of your aquarium in purple, with a lichen type coral that's called coralline algae, and they need the strontium in the water to grow. Mushrooms and small polyps need iodine that's in the water, and Lugol's solution is one way that you can add it in. This is very concentrated, so you only have to add a small amount at a time.

    I think it's very important that all these products are kept under somewhat lock and key, because these are very toxic, and if they get in your eyes, or especially in children's hands, it could pose a health problem or a safety problem. So I would keep these out of the reach of the children.

    The next thing I would like to talk about is selecting the live animals for your saltwater aquarium.