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Saltwater tanks are for everyone

Fish tank care can be a fun and healthful hobby to pick up

Aquariums, from home built to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, are a great way to relieve stress and learn a little about ocean science. Jason McCormick has loved being around fish tanks since they were a kid. They explain their favorite part about their aquarium.

“The joy of taking care of the animals,” McCormick said.

Chris Kellawan is the sales manager at Arcata Pet Supply. Kellawan has been working with saltwater tanks for almost 30 years.

“Get the biggest tank you can afford,” Kellawan said.

The large tank will make the conditions more stable for the fish. Plus it will be easier to grow the tank as time goes on. The tank should be kept out of direct sunlight and in a well ventilated area. This keeps toxic algae from taking the tank over and getting the fish sick.

There are other supplies necessary, such as a substrate, a heater, power-heads, and lighting equipment. However, the most fun supplies are the aquascaping materials. Aquascaping is just landscaping, but underwater. People use plants, rocks, or driftwood to aquascape within their tank. Aquascaping is the most creative part of setting up an aquarium.

Fish can also be a fun, creative part of setting up a saltwater tank. Research is the first step in knowing what fish are right for beginners and for specific tank sizes. Local pet stores and the internet are a good place to start. Although, there can be some conflicting answers during the research process.

“Context around the answers changes,” Kellawan said.

Kellawan recommends finding out why the answers are conflicting. This encourages a better understanding of saltwater tanks.

Saltwater tanks have three main chemical processes to pay attention to. The first is the tank’s alkalinity level. The alkalinity of a tank is most important to measure the bicarbonate levels. Those bicarbonates in a tank are an essential part of corals’ skeleton.

It is also important to pay attention to the tank’s level of ammonia. The levels of this chemical should be zero. If the levels of ammonia become too high, the tank can become toxic to the fish. Ammonia can come from rotting food and the fish pee. This can be controlled with a proper filtration system.

The third most important piece to pay attention to is the calcium levels. Calcium helps keep corals’ skeletons healthy and growing.

Kellawan finds that getting in the zone with their fish tanks has a calming effect on everyone they encounter.

“Shut out the periphery,” Kellawan said.

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