General Notes

Quarantine Tank is Very Important

Keeping a quarantine tank is especially important for saltwater tanks. It can be very difficult to treat a sick fish when it is continually being harassed by healthier fish. Also, some medications, namely copper, will kill invertebrates. You should NEVER put copper into your main tank. Contrary to popular belief, you will never be able to get all of the copper out of the tank. Also, using copper in a tank which contains live rock will decimate the life forms populating the rock, as most of them are invertebrates.

Source Water is Very Important

Source water for saltwater tanks is also very important. Although the water authority says that tap water is fit for human consumption, it may not be fit for your fish. Tap water typically contains chlorine and chloramines, which will kill your fish. Although these will have an immediate effect on your fish, there are usually other contaminates in tap water which need time to affect the tank. In particular, phosphates will cause massive growths of hair algae and potentially cyanobacteria outbreaks (red slime algae). Without good quality source water, your tank will not be the continuous joy you hoped it would be.

Best Purifiers

The best water purifiers on the market are reverse osmosis units. These, coupled with de-ionizing resins, produce water which is 98% pure. If the price of a RO/DI combination is too much, then you can always use distilled water (not spring water). However, distilled water may have been stored in copper containers which will kill invertebrates.

Before you start your saltwater tank, find a good store near you. Good stores will have knowledgeable staff and exhibit a general concern about the care of the animals. If the store has few saltwater tanks, with a lot of sick or dying fish, don't buy any fish there, even if they look healthy.

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