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Does Size Matter? Tank Size & Water Quality

Tank Size vs. Water Quality

Unlike fish, corals and plants don’t usually care about the size of their aquarium. However, the aquarium’s quality of the water is another story. The secret to your aquarium success starts with your water, so it’s imperative to examine your water source. Where does your aquarium water come from? Do you use tap water, well water, Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water, or Pre-Mixed Saltwater from an LFS?   

While size doesn’t usually matter, water quality definitely does. With proper water quality, maintenance, and lighting, your aquarium and all its inhabitants will thrive! Corals and fish alike require pristine water quality for optimal health and growth. No matter the size, you should kick start your aquarium with Lab-Grade Salt and RO Water.

Introduction to the World of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Systems.

Gone are the days that I would fill a grocery cart with 5-gallon jugs and head into my local supermarket for RO Water for my aquarium. As I fumbled down the crowded aisles, filled with running children, I always crossed my fingers that my water jug balancing act would hold until I reached my car. Comments like “Nice Jugs” and “Wow, you must be thirsty” will not be missed… because… I finally invested in an RO Unit for my home.

Over the past decade, aquarium experts emphasize the importance of RO WATER as an essential part of aquarium success. As a result, RO Units have become easier to use and less expensive to purchase (Grab your RO unit here). As with most products on the market today, there are several models to choose from. Most provide 3 to 5 stages of filtration and can produce at least 25 gallons of clean RO water per day. 

If you are struggling with unwanted algae in your system, always check/test your water source as a first step.  Make sure your RO water is free from nitrates, phosphates, and other algae-causing nutrients.  If your water source is good, the next step is evaluating your SALT…   

Are All Salts Created Equal?

It would be great if all salts were created equal…BUT…unfortunately they are not. When choosing the right salt for your aquarium, here are a few questions you will want to answer: mo-vember

  1. What type of aquarium are you setting up: fish-only, mixed reef aquarium or SPS dominant aquarium?  
  2. What alkalinity level do you want to maintain?
  3. Does your aquarium require alkalinity, calcium and magnesium dosing?  
  4. Do you have troubles maintaining proper levels?  
  5. When you test your freshly mixed saltwater, does it contain nitrates and/or phosphates?

The answers to the above questions will help you to determine if your current salt is working for you or if it’s time for a change

When in Doubt, Consult a Professional

Most hobbyists would agree: there is a wealth of information and opinions on basically every topic in this hobby. It’s hard at times to decipher between opinions, facts and experience.  What makes things even more difficult is…what works well in one system may not work in all aquariums. When in doubt, ask questions, look at product reviews, find trusted sources (like New Wave Aquaria) and get involved in your local fish forums and clubs.   


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