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OK, youve heard about brackish tanks and now you want one for yourself. Besides the basics like filters, lights, heaters, ect. youll need a few more things including:

1. Marine Salt: NOT tonic salt, the only suitable type of salt is marine salt, the type you use for saltwater aquariums.
2. Hydrometer or Refractometer: These instruments measure the amount of salt in the water. Hydrometers tend to be a bit screwy and less accurate so I reccomend a refractometer which is guaranteed accurate and compensates for tempature, Though the are expesnive.
3. A water mixing container: When doing water water changes the dechlorinated water and salt may NEVER be mixed inside the aquarium as the salt will cause severe burns to the fish. Mix the salt and water inside a container like a rubbermaid waterproof plastic container. Mixing can be done by hand but its far more effective using a powerhead or pump. Check the specific gravity of the water once mixing is done and add more salt or dechlorianted freshwater depending on desired salinty level. Water must be mixed for at least 6 hours before being added to the aquarium to prevent pH swings once inside the aquarium. A heater could also be used to prevent tempature swings.

Setting up your brackish aquarium: Go about setting up your brackish aquarium the way you would any aquarium, being sure everything is level and secure and all that other good stuff. Once you have the subtrate washed and in, filters running, and heater set, you can now add the salt. The need for the mixing container in the step is not needed, as long as theyre are no fish or plants present. The salt can be added directly to the main aquarium. Its important to raise the salinty to the desired amount BEFORE cycling as different bacteria grows in Brackish water than freshwater. Though this statement hasnt been proved true, in my experience there have been ammonia spikes when adding salt after cycling with freshwater, suggesting a bacterial decline. So it's just best to add the salt before cycling.

Maintenance: Contrary to popular belief, brackish tanks are not high maintenance. Treat your brackish aquarium the same as you would a freshwater aquarium including water changes, cleaning of mechanical media, daily checks of equiptment functionality ect ect. The only extra maintenance of brackish tanks is frequent water top offs and extra cleaning of decor. Like saltwater, brackish water evaporates very fast, and with evaporation, salinty increases. Top off with freshwater or with a water of a lower salinty than the aquarium. Frequent cleaning of decor is necesarry because algae grows like crazy in brackish tanks. There are few brackish water algae eaters so unfortunately you must do the bulk of the algae cleaning.

Converting your existing tank to brackish: When converting, the use of a refractometer is highly reccomended as the measurements must be exact, a hydrometer is just not as accurate.
Converting with fish and or plants: Before adding the salt, make sure the existing plants and fish will tolerate the saltier/less salty environment. First you must do a 10% water change, and add freshwater with an SG increased/decreased by .002, no more than .002 (you now see why a refractometer is necessary). Too much of a salt increase/decrease will badly stress out the fish and may kill your beneficial bacteria. Repeat that step weekly with a 10% water change until the desired salinty is reached. If youre converting a saltwater tank with live rock to a brackish tank with an SG of 1.018 or lower be aware that the bacteria on the live rock will be of no use because the salinty will be too low. This estimated specific gravity of 1.0018 is just that, an estimate. The bacteria could be more forgiving in terms of salinty but even then liverock will be of no use because the current produced by powerheads is too strong to be appreciated by most brackish fish, so theres no escaping the use of filtes


I hope this answers a lot of your questions and hopefully sparks your interest in Brackish tanks!
 

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I've freshwater flounders, how do I transistion them to saltwater?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
refractometers are not all that expensive, you usually can find them for around 40-50 if you look around.
yes i believe that you can find some at liveaquaria.com but many (not sure about the one a liveaquaria though) refractometers have a specific gravity scale of 1.015 and up. Depending on your brackish species youll need one with a scale of 1.001 and up as 1.015 is way too high for many commonly traded brackish fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As for the flounders rchan11, im assuming they are Trinectes maculatus, because they are from what Ive seen the most commonly traded. They need to be transfered from brackish to salt when adults, not juveniles. For transfer i highly reccomend a refractometer as the salt levels should be exact. As with most fish going to a saltier environment the sg should be raised at .002 per week with a 10% water change weekly until the approriate salinty is reached. Keep a sharp eye on them and frquently test your water stats. good luck
 

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I've a salt and freshwater tank. The flounders are 1" and in the freshwater tank. When they reach 3-4" then I'll use your method to xfer to saltwater. Thanks again!
 

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ok u did a real good explaining the whole salt water set up..... but I mean what is the difference in regular salt ater tanks and brackish tanks aren't they the same thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
but I mean what is the difference in regular salt ater tanks and brackish tanks aren't they the same thing?
Could you rephrase the question?

If your refering to the actual salt that you place in water its marine salt, the exact same used in saltwater tanks. Brackish aquariums have a lower salt content the reef/SW tanks.
 

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ok I got u sorry for the dumb question
u can only keep certain fish n a brackish tank, rather than n a salt water tank don't u hve more of a selection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
true there is a smaller selection of fish in brackish compared to SW, but that doesnt mean they isnt a lot of brackish fish. In the wild, there are hundreds/ thousands of brackish fish. The problem is that they are just not in the aquarium trade due to rarity, fish and game laws, among many other reasons. Still, there are a lot of brackish fish to chose from available in the aquarium trade, the problem is that many people just dont know anything about brackish fish so there isnt much of a demand for them. Places like petco, dr smith and fosters, and others do have small seperate sections for brackish, but truth is there are enough different brackish species to fully stock all of their tanks, but again there isnt much of a demand for them so they remain in there own small section. Its too bad though, it really is a fascinating aspect of fish keeping.
 

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sounds cool for example I think that black mollies r a type of brackish fish aren't they? I planto use mollies to start my sw tank off
 

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Geat info, was looking for more info on brackish tanks becuz I took a interest into puffers and many of them are brackish.

Thank you Kingsnar
 

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great info kingsnar.

just a side for those looking into brackish tanks, particularly puffers. keep in mind that some of these brackish fish come from estuaries and they need different salinities over the span of their life. example, just because someone says that a green spotted puffer is a brackish fish does not mean that you set your salinity at 1.018 and call it a day. you must use the fish's size and do the proper research. for a small gsp, you may need a salinity of 1.008, then as it grows slowly increase it. infact, some brackish fish end up doing best in full marine conditions when full grown (the gsp being one).

basically do your research and follow kingsnar's advice.
 
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