Tank Health: Debunking Common Saltwater Aquarium Myths
Keeping a saltwater aquarium up and running isn’t an exact science. As such, it leaves a lot of room for first-time tank-builders to speculate and come to their own conclusions about what works. Unfortunately, this is what causes myths to develop around the proper care and maintenance of a tank. Some of these ideas have a factual basis, but others don’t. Here, we’re going to debunk a few common saltwater aquarium myths so that you can avoid severe repercussions for your ecosystem.
Tank Cycling Takes Six Weeks
It’s widely known that a new saltwater aquarium needs time to properly cycle and reach the proper chemical levels, but there’s some discrepancy in how long it actually takes. Some people believe that full tank cycling can take as long as six weeks, completely stalling the building process. However, with modern technology, this isn’t always true. Today, there are several new methods for cycling a tank that can get your ecosystem acclimated in just a few days.
Small Aquariums Are Easier To Keep
Another common saltwater aquarium myth is that smaller aquariums require less maintenance and are therefore better for beginners. But, in reality, the opposite is true. The smaller an aquarium is, the more effects slight water changes will have on the environment. Even a minute increase in the amount of waste can cause the chemical levels to quickly skyrocket, potentially poisoning your organisms. Because of this, people who keep nano-aquariums need to check the water concentration much more often.
Using Beach Sand in Your Tank Is Safe
Another belief that circulates through the hobbyist community is that you can collect sand from a local beach and use it effectively in a home aquarium. This tactic came about as a way to save money on the different tank components. But, due to a series of different factors, this has been shown to be unsafe for many tank organisms. Beach sand can even carry harmful bacteria that can make your fish sick. So, it’s recommended that you stick with store-bought sand and rock.
Only Water Changes Limit Nitrates
There are myths surrounding the effectiveness of water changes as well. Changing the water is the primary way to remove harmful materials from an aquarium’s water, so it’s easy to think that it’s the only useful method to get rid of persistent nitrates. Water changes are only one part of the process, though. They’re definitely effective, but you can do other things to limit future buildup, too. Increasing water flow and cutting down on any excess food are two examples.