How to Put Your Fish in a Saltwater Tank

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Owning a saltwater tank is a practical way to enjoy the beauty of the ocean right in your own home. There are challenges that go along with keeping a saltwater tank, however, and they start with bringing your fish home and introducing them safely into your aquarium.

Choosing the Right Species

Before you can put fish into your saltwater tank you need to carefully think about which species you want to buy. The ocean is incredibly vast and home to millions of species -- but not all of these species can safely be housed together, so you must choose wisely. Think about what size tank you want to keep, and choose species of fish that can be kept in an aquarium of that size. Try to select species that come from close native environments because they will all have similar requirements in terms of water temperature, salinity level and pH.

Selecting Healthy Fish

Once you have decided which species you want to keep in your saltwater tank, the next step is to go out and buy them. For your fish to stand the greatest chance of survival in your tank, however, you need to make sure they are healthy before you bring them home. When you get to the pet store, take a look around to make sure the store itself and the tanks of fish are clean. Observe the fish for signs of illness including cloudy eyes, ragged fins, discolored skin, visible parasites and abnormal behavior. If the store is clean and the fish appear to be in good health, go ahead and buy the fish you want!

Bringing Your Fish Home

When you purchase fish from a pet store the fish will most likely be put into a plastic bag with some of the water from their original tank. The bag will then be inflated with a small amount of air to help it keep its shape, then sealed with a rubber band. In transporting your fish home, place the plastic bags upright in a box on the floor of your car so the box will not slide around. You may also want to line the box with towels to prevent the bags from being pierced by sharp edges.

Introducing Fish to the Tank

Once you have gotten your fish safely home, place the bags directly in the tank. This will provide time for the water temperature in the bags to acclimate to the temperature in the tank. After the first 10 minutes, scoop one cup of water from the tank and pour it into the plastic bag. Repeat this process every 10 minutes until the bag is full. When the bag is full, remove the rubber band and use a mesh aquarium net to carefully remove the fish from the bag. Release the fish into the tank to explore their new surroundings.

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