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Thread: Questions about setting up a brackish tank

  1. #1
    ECAS member

    lindsayfawn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Questions about setting up a brackish tank

    I need a new project to get my mind off Romero. All our freshwater tanks are doing amazing! Everyone is happy and healthy.

    I have a 25gal tank that I have started to cycle with colony and some guppies. It was the tank that we originally had the mollies in so there was good bateria on the two filters. Was being the key word as there was no fish in the tank for a couple weeks.

    I'm wondering if I need to get different filters for a brackish tank? The two filters I have are HOB's one is a tetra whisper and the other I'm not sure what it is.

    I ordered a hydrometer off ebay.

    Right now the tank is bare bottom, 1 heater, a couple sea shells, 1 rock and a cave thing just so the fish have some place to hide. Also have a bubble curtain in there.

    We want to get figure 8's and maybe some gobies for this tank eventually. Right now I just want to practice and see if I can get the hang of a brackish tank.

    What is the best aquarium salt to use?

    For the bottom I'm thinking of crushed coral? I'm pretty sure a couple years ago when we were thinking of starting out brackish we had talked with a local fish guy here in Moncton (might have been serge can't remember lol) and I believe he said we could use crushed coral or live sand?

    I was reading that you need to mix the salt in a pale with the water instead of mixing in the tank? Do I need a power head for this or can I just simply stir it?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator

    DevonC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Any marine salt will work, and the filters are the same for fresh or or brackish.

    Running a brackish tank really is just like running a fresh water tank except you add more salt. That's it!

    It is normally recommended to mix the salt into water and add it during a water change, but more often then not I would do a water change like normal and just add salt right to the tank while i did so. It really doesn't make too much of a difference.

    As for substrate, most brackish fish come from Sandy/silty bottom environments, so I'd use a finer sand , play sand will work and is cheap. Crushed coral, or crushed shells will help harden the water and buffer the PH , and is an excellent addition to a brackish tank, I recommend bag's of it in the filter over mixing it into the substrate though, I was not fond of crushed coral substrate.

    The biggest thing with running a Brackish tank is making sure to have it well filtered, and properly cycled. The higher PH will makes the fish much more sencitive to ammonia levels in the tank. This is true for fresh water tanks as well but brackish tanks will have a very high PH making it even more lethal.

    Once the tank is stable then brackish fish are incredibly durable, they come from environments where the sanity levels and hardness in the water shift quickly and drastically with every season/rainfall and high/low tides. So you dont have to worry too much about temporary shifts in the PH or increases and decreases in salinity levels during water changes or when adding salt. When I ran my tank I would add salt monthly with a water change, the rest of the water changes would be fresh water and salt levels would slowly get lower and lower, then before they get too low the end of the month came around and I'd bump them back up to the higher end of the range. Everyone seemed quite happy!

    Hope that helps!
    My Aquariums *Updated Feb. 2016
    180g- Scleropages aureus
    100g- 4x Channa Pleurophthalma , 1x Erpetoichthys Calabaricus, 2x Synodontis Eupterus, Polypterus ssp.'s Lapradei, Delhezi,Ornatipinnis ,Endlicheri & Angsorii x2
    160g- Carettochelys Insculpta
    100g- Pair Channa Aurantimaculata,
    80g 1x Channa Aurantimaculata (for sale...inquire)
    70g- Solo Channa Asiatica,
    30g- 1x Channa Gachua (for sale ... Inquire)
    35g- 3x Channa Gachua,
    35g- Pair of Channa Bleheri
    25g- 3x Channa Bleheri

  3. #3
    ECAS Member

    Convict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Devon got it... the only thing is that puffers don't have scales and some like to burrow in sand so it would be better to get sand rather than crushed coral so that they don't hurt themselves :)



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