Aim For Excellent Water Quality And Your Fish, Corals Etc Will Thank You For It

The title of this post is a saying which my father has said to me ever since I first started in this hobby. Where he got the saying from I don’t know – maybe he made it up himself.

How true this saying is though.

It does not matter if you are an absolute newbie to this hobby or have been keeping a saltwater aquarium for a while the aspect which we should all be aiming for is corals, fish, invertebrates etc which are happy, well fed, safe and content. To ensure this we need to ensure that optimum water quality is achieved.

For beginners and quite often advanced aquarists this is an area which I believe is quite often neglected. A lot of effort is put into researching what equipment is required, how the equipment works etc that they sometimes forget how and why water quality is such a requirement.

There are some great books which can be read on this subject, some great web sites (of which Aquarists Online is hopefully one) where this can be learnt and there are experienced aquarists who are prepared to assist in learning this.

If you think about it the reason we have all of the equipment in and attached to the aquarium the majority of it is to remove aspects from the water, put things into the water etc. The end point is good water quality.

Just because you purchase all the equipment however does not mean that you are definately going to get good water quality. Every aquarium is different and every aquarist is different.

Research why excellent water quality is such a high requirement in a saltwater aquarium and then learn how to achieve it.

We are here to help – why not leave a comment below and tell us which aspects you are struggling with.


Aim For Excellent Water Quality And Your Fish, Corals Etc Will Thank You For It
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8 Comments
  1. I’m sure Peter would agree with this:
    an aquarist is not advanced unless he/she always maintains high water quality. It is logical isn’t it?

    Why not take up Peter’s suggestion of commenting on any particular water quality problem being faced?

  2. My salt water aquarium is 7 weeks old. for 2 weeks i test the water ammonia, Ph , N2 are all ok. But test for N3(nitrate) is 5 to 10ppm. I’m using direct tap water. this week I just install a reverse osmosis filter. If I’m going to change water 15% every week would it removed the chemicals that has been there for the last 7 weeks and permanently
    removed and able to have N3 to 0ppm.

  3. Hi.
    Installing a reverse osmosis (RO) filter is a really good move. 🙂 Generally RO water from the filter is 95 to 98% pure.

    Using RO water will reduce any intake of nitrate into your tank. Remember though that nitrate is a product of the nitrogen cycle, and this cycle deals with food as well as other items. So it follows that if you overfeed nitrate will climb.

    Doing routine water changes is a very desirable action. It does dilute any nitrate in the tank, and it also ‘freshens’ the water by adding back some desirable trace elements.

    Your quoted level of 5 to 10 ppm nitrate is not bad. The aim for a reef tank is 10 ppm or less, preferably nil.

    Nitrate is undesirable as it is a known nuisance algae nutrient, as is excess phosphate.

    John’s last blog post..If A Fish Dies Should You Remove It From The Aquarium?

  4. What are you currently using to test your water for these paramaters?

  5. Hi Robin.
    If you’re diecting the question to Rey then obviously I don’t know, and sorry for jumping in.

    If the question is to Peter and I then we use Salifert test kits.

  6. I’m just wondering why my yellow tang is loosing its fin color, just the back fin, it’s becoming transparent, the tang does’nt look sick, it looks very active, Is this normal? Does water quality have to do with it? The water parameters seems okey, the only problem is the 20 ppm nitrate. I have 3 more fish, 2 true perc and a saddle back, their colors seems okey. Thanks

  7. I wouldn’t have thought 20 ppm nitrate would have caused colour loss and anyway your other fish appear fine.
    This may be off target, but are you feeding a proper diet for the tang. Sometimes tangs are left to feed on the general fare that the aquarist puts in for their other fish. If there isn’t any algae, or insufficient, in the tank this can have an adverse effect. If there isn’t any or much algae in your tank, perhaps you could feed dry Nori sheets or similar three or more times per week. It can be fixed in place with a plastic lettuce clip.
    May help.

  8. Hi john, thanks for the reply, I feed them with flakes, frozen brine shrimp and frozen mysis, but i have not tried the dry nori. My tank does not have that much green algae, that nori your talking about, is that some kind of algae or is that the thing they used to wrap the sushi? I’m going to try it, maybe that thing will work,Thanks again.

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