• How to proceed

    Step by step

Phase 1: Preparation and set-up

1. Choosing an aquarium
Only buy a marine purpose tank; minimum size 150 litres but ideally 250 - 500 litres. Recommended: EHEIM marine water aquarium combination with overflow, filter tank in bottom cabinet, pre-installed pipes etc.

2. Choosing a position
Not in direct sunlight but in the shade, away from sources of heat, close to plug sockets and on a flat, level base.

3. Basic cleaning
Before setting up the aquarium it must be cleaned thoroughly, using only warm water, a soft sponge and no cleaning agents.

4. Base for decorations
To protect the glass base with a pane of plexiglas, silicon should be used.

5. Dry rock
Clean very thoroughly and set up decorations with caves and ledges for shade (leaving enough room for 40 – 50 % living rock and room for fish to swim in). Leave about 12 cm clear from sides so the substrate, glass etc. can be cleaned.

6. Install equipment
Fit filter tank (“filter sump”) with a protein skimmer, filter mats (and/or mechanical internal filter) if required, an external filter with a variety of filter media, return pump, automatic top-up. In the tank: heater, circulation pump.

7. Prepare water
Add revers osmosis water with about 35 g of salt per litre and mix well; after 24 hours heat to 25 °C, measure density and correct salt content if necessary (density 1.021 – 1.023 g/ml = 33 – 35.7 g/l).

8. Add water
Add externally prepared saltwater to aquarium tank. Check density and temperature again and re-adjust.

9. Substrate
Clean well, add and distribute (not underneath rocks).

10. Start up equipment
All equipment should be running, lighting on for about 2 hours, heating maintaining the water at a constant 25 °C with automatic top-up also operating (don’t forget spare water!).

11. Wait a week
Occasionally remove shreds of algae from tank, gently rake substrate, check water values.

12. Live rocks
First rinse living rocks vigorously in external containers and remove dead and damaged sponges, sea squirt, larvae etc. Then place or fix rocks on or between dry decorations in areas of aquarium where water flows freely.


Phase 2: Running in your aquarium

13. Wait for two - three weeks
Adjust final light settings (8 –10 hours main light + 2 hours dim light); allow green algae (caulerpa) to grow; test the carbonate hardness occasionally and increase if necessary; clean internal filter, clean glass.

14. From the sixth week onwards
Adjust water values (pH value, ammonium/ ammonia), measure nitrite and adjust if required; if nitrite content is below 0.1 mg/l add a few algae eating snails.

15. From the third month onwards
If the water values are good: first add a few algae eating fish (surgeon fish) and invertebrates (small hermit crabs, sea urchins); destroy parasites (Aiptasia, Anemonia cf. manjano).

16. Add corals
Only when no slime remain in the water; add corals in abundance.

17.Add fish
Slowly increase the fish stock (over a period of months).


Phase 3: Caring for your aquarium

It will be at least six months before your marine water aquarium is “up and running” and only after a year or two will it be biologically stable and look wonderful, with everything growing and thriving. This is dependent on  regular maintenance.