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Week 16. How To Add Sand, Saltwater, & Filtration!

We have covered a lot of things so far in the 16 weeks, including a lot of gear for your saltwater aquarium. With so much gear, and other things like sand, saltwater, and rocks, you may not know how to actually put it all together correctly! While there are different procedures and ways of setting up, this is just our recommended way that is most efficient and avoids most issues. We also don’t go too in depth here, this is more so a quick guide and we will cover filtration in more depth in a future week. Make sure to watch the video below to see how we do it too! 

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Table of Contents

This Week's Video:

Step-by-Step Instructions

Add the aquascape/reef rocks:

It’s best practice to create your aquascape outside of the aquarium, and then place it on the glass before you add anything else, that way the rocks have a stable base. 

Add the sand:

Scoop your sand with a big cup, or just your hands, and place it evenly around the aquascape. The sand will settle more once you add water, so don’t spend too much time on adding the sand.

Add your saltwater:

This is probably the most crucial step in avoiding a big dust storm inside your aquarium. There are many different ways to do that, such as simply adding in water very slowly. Other ways include putting down a colander and/or plastic bag, to pour water on top of. 

Add in the mechanical filtration:

Whether you have a filter sock or sponge, put it in before you turn on your pumps, as they will catch the remaining sand dust and clear up your aquarium. That dust probably isn’t good for pumps and other gear, another good reason to filter it out. 

Setup your heater:

This is pretty simple, place it in your sump, rear filtration chamber, or inside your aquarium. Most people prefer to hide it from view, but make sure it is in an area with flow. Also, make sure your heater is calibrated and actually heating to your desired temperature!

Setup return pump:

The actual setup of the return pump depends on your specific model, so follow the manual! However, make sure the pump is properly connected to the return plumbing.

Setup Auto Top Off (ATO): 

The ATO setup is also fairly different depending on the model, so follow the manual. Make sure to have an adequate water container for the ATO, which depends on the size of your aquarium. A basic 5 gallon bucket is always a safe bet, but there are fancier options available!  

Other Tips:

Once everything is up and running, double check everything. Make sure nothing is leaking, and don’t turn on your skimmer, UV Sterilizer, or lights while you are cycling! 

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