We are starting a new series of BRStv to discuss saltwater aquarium tank maintenance. In this first episode we will talk about water changes – why to do a water change, what is the best water change schedule and what salt to use.

So why do a water change in the first place? The most obvious reason is to remove some of the nutrients and contaminates that can irritate fish and corals as well as feed algae growth. By doing a water change, we can dilute the concentration of these elements by adding new saltwater.

Now, what is the perfect schedule for water changes? Well, that totally depends on your tank and the inhabitants in your tank as well as the additives and foods you use. It also depends on the equipment you have in your reef aquarium as well – an extremely efficient protein skimmer, large refugium and an intense filter sock cleaning will determine how often and how much of a water change to do. The best answer is to ask people you trust, see how you reef tank reacts to the changes you do and determine what you have time for – smaller water changes more frequently or larger changes spread out over a month. Generally:

15% Once a week (We think is close to ideal)
30% -35% Every other week (What Ryan does 🙂 )
50% Once a month (Acceptable if you are experienced at making sure the new saltwater is the exact same salinity, alkalinity and temp as the tank water.)

Let us know in the comments below what works best for your lifestyle and your reef tank.

Okay – so who makes the best salt? It is all personal preference and what works best for your aquarium. Many reefers have had years of success with Instant Ocean Salt and Reef Crystals. This is affordably priced and widely available. Red Sea is a favorite among Red Sea is privately held and only makes aquarium products – they are passionate about reefing and it shows in their products. Coming soon to BRS is Reefers Best Salt from Korallen-Zucht. It is expensive but if you have any familiarity with KZ and their line of products such as ZEOvit, you might want to go in this direction. They have made this salt to be as close to seawater as possible which means slightly lower alkalinity, higher potassium and no caking agents.

Finally, always add the Salt to Water (this prevents precipitation) and try a digital refractometer to test salinity – it may just change life.

*Legal Stuff*
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