Then – Get the Tank Right
Once you have chosen the right tank for your situation, there are three things to do before the fish go in.
1) Get the chlorine out. If you are filling your tank with tap water from a municipal drinking water system, probably it has been treated with chlorine or chloramine, which will kill your fish. If you aren’t sure about which agent is used in your drinking water, it’s best to call the city or county. A water conditioner that removes either chlorine or chloramine (or both) is available at aquarium and pet shops. Water from a well does not need treatment for chlorine.
2) Get the salt in. Use a commercial product (for example, Instant Ocean®) to get the necessary sea water constituents at the right concentrations in your tank water. Let the tank circulate for a day before moving on to the next step.
3) Get the cycle going. Your aquarium still needs to “cycle” for about a month before you add all your fish. In short, new marine aquariums need time to develop the “good bacteria” that break down waste products (mostly ammonia) and keep the water and fish in good shape. This process involves either adding ammonia directly or putting a few hearty fish in the tank to jump-start the bacteria. Click here for more information on “The Nitrogen Cycle and a Healthy Aquarium.”