Mixing your own Saltwater for your Aquarium

 Mixing Your Own Saltwater

If you have your own RO filter system, you must premix your saltwater before adding it to the aquarium. Begin by filling a 5-gallon bucket or larger non-toxic container (preferably with wheels) with RO water. Next, add salt to the water. Follow the instructions on the salt mix (Such as Instant Ocean), keeping in mind that a general rule is to add approximately one cup of salt to every two gallons of aquarium water.

After mixing salt with the water in the bucket, use a hydrometer to test specific gravity. There are two different types of hydrometers that aquarists use. One is a plastic box with a floating swing-arm and the other looks similar to a floating glass thermometer. Either style will work.  You could also use a refractometer to accomplish this goal with greater accuracy, for a few dollars more.

Be Sure to Check the Following:

  • The specific gravity should read between 1.023 and 1.025. If the specific gravity is too low, add more salt. If you add too much salt and the hydrometer reads over the target, remove some of the water and add fresh RO water.
  • The RO filter system should have removed chlorine and/or chloramines, therefore a water conditioner is not necessary. Test pH and make sure it is between 8.2 and 8.4. If the pH is below 8.2, add a buffering agent to adjust it.

Pour water slowly onto one of the live rocks close to the bottom of the aquarium. You can also place a dinner plate in the aquarium temporarily on which to pour the water. Fill the aquarium until the water level is just above the bottom of the aquarium's frame and water begins to flow over the overflow.

At this point you can either continue to add water to the aquarium to fill the Berlin sump in the cabinet or you can pour water directly into the sump until filled to the designated max fill line.

For larger aquariums, carrying water back and forth may take too much time and energy. You may want to purchase a new thirty-five to forty-five-gallon trashcan or other non-toxic, plastic container (with wheels). Whichever size container you choose it should only be used for your aquarium. Once the salt is mixed in the container, roll it over to the aquarium. The premixed saltwater can either be bucketed into the aquarium or a water pump with flexible tubing attached can be used to pump the water into the aquarium.

Hope you enjoyed this quick tip from your friends at AquaticExperts.com!  

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