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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How To Turn A Freshwater Aquarium Into A Saltwater Aquarium Part 1

Well, kind of... but not really. This article is about making a freshwater aquarium LOOK like a saltwater aquarium.

If you are like me and enjoy the way a saltwater aquarium looks but don't want the hassle of maintaining a saltwater tank, read on!

Step #1: Swap out gravel for sand
Now, the first thing to start off with is the sand in the aquarium. If you currently have sand in your aquaurium, then skip this step. If you have gravel in your aquarium, then we need to convert it to sand.

When switching from gravel to sand, you need to do the process little by little. The rocks contain beneficial bacteria for the aquarium and if you remove too much at a time it can harm your fish.

Make sure to wash the sand thoroughly before putting it into your aquarium.

When I began to change from gravel to sand, I took out 50% of the gravel out and replaced it with the sand. As a precautionary step I also added in some stress zyme to replace a little bit of the bacteria lost in the gravel removing process.

If you are uncomfortable with taking out 50% at once, you can try to take out 25% at a time. The process will take a little longer but it is less of a risk.

The water is slightly cloudy in this picture; I took the picture shortly after changing the gravel out.

Your water will get a little cloudy from the process.

After about a week, it should be safe for you to change out the other 50% of the gravel. (If you are only doing 25% at a time you should be able to change out another 25% within a few days.)

If the water is still cloudy you may have a filtration problem. Check to make sure that the filter is still running. Sometimes sand can travel up into the filter and clog it causing it to either stop or not function properly.

Step #2: Use/buy aquarium decorations that make the aquarium look like a saltwater aquarium

Finding aquarium decorations that will make your aquarium look more saltwater isn't as difficult as you may think. Think about what makes a saltwater tank look realistic. Some ideas could be the addition of "coral" or "seaweed" or even "sea anemone". (All this would be fake of course but depending on the decorations you buy will make all the difference.
Design Elements Coral Reef Aquarium Ornament - 12 in. x 11 in. x 9 in.Red Sea Coral Hideaway - Small - 8 in. x 6 in. x 8 1/2 in.
Design Elements Hammer Coral Ornament - 10.8 in x 9.3 in. x 3.5 in.Design Elements Green Staghorn Coral Ornament - 10 in. x 6.3 in. x 10.2 in.
Coral Art - Acropora - YellowCoral Art - Discosma - Yellow
Design Elements Scroll Coral Aq. Ornament Large 11.4 in. x 6.5 in. x 12.1 in.Design Elements Flared Vase Coral Ornament - 8.1 in. x 7.7 in. x 6.7 in.

Step #3: Add a background

If you don't already have a background in place, now would be the time to add it. If you want some help on picking a background, check out: Adding Oomph To Your Aquarium

Backgrounds not only hide the wires but they also add an extra touch to the tank. I recommend going with a plain black background for the purpose of making all the aquarium decorations stand out.

In the next part of the article, I am going to discuss the lighting and the types of fish to add to the aquarium to complete the look. :) Tune in for the next installment.