How to Set Up (and maintain) a Brackish Aquarium


If you’ve been keeping freshwater aquariums for a time, including nano tanks, aqua scaping, African cichlids, and ponds, you might believe you’ve tried everything in the hobby. Consider building a brackish fish tank so you can get to know a completely different range of species. Many aquarists find the process of creating brackish water to be a little scary, but in our opinion, anyone who has experience managing freshwater tanks will find it to be pretty straightforward. You may learn how to set up and maintain your first brackish aquarium by following this step-by-step guide.

The Pros and Cons of Brackish Water Tanks

  • Green spotted puffer (Dichotomyctere nigroviridis)
  • Figure 8 puffer (Dichotomyctere ocellatus or Tetraodon biocellatus)
  • Bumblebee goby (Brachygobius spp.)
  • Knight goby (Stigmatogobius sadanundio)
  • Mudskipper (Periophthalmus spp.)
  • Banded archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix)
  • Red claw crab (Perisesarma bidens)

Atlantic or West African mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarous)

A fish tank, aquarium stand (optional), lid, light, heater, thermometer, filter, de-chlorinator, and aquarium siphon are among the materials you’ll need for a brackish tank. You can use common gravel, sand, or other innocuous materials as substrate. To help balance the water and simulate a semi-marine environment, we strongly advise getting aragonite or crushed coral if you have soft water with a low pH. You must purchase marine or reef salt for your aquariums instead of regular aquarium salt, which is typically used in freshwater aquariums. Aquarium salt is made of sodium chloride (NaCl), but marine salt contains sodium chloride and many other essential minerals, like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. To monitor the amount of salt in the water, we suggest purchasing a refractometer to measure the specific gravity (SG). Yes, they are slightly more expensive than a hydrometer, but we find them to be more accurate and easier to use, especially since you don’t have to get your hands wet in the process.


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Hikari Tropical Discus Bio-Gold Fish Food, 2.82 oz (80g)

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Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

Designed for aquariums up to 400 gallons, FX6 is the high-capacity workhorse of Fluval’s canister lineup, enhanced with all the power and reliability you’ve come to expect from a high-performance filter.