Discover How Much It Cost to Maintain A Saltwater Aquarium

saltwater tank

Saltwater aquarium fish require more maintenance and care than their freshwater counterparts. When it comes to taking care of saltwater aquarium fish, there are several factors to consider first.

In addition to routine daily maintenance (feeding the fish, checking the water temperature, total observations, and water change), saltwater aquariums and all their components must be regularly maintained and cleaned to function correctly.

The best planning for the main cleaning saltwater aquarium depends on the type of system. Several factors influence the frequency with which the tank needs maintenance.

With this, it is imperative to factor in the cost of maintaining a saltwater aquarium whenever you are setting it up or even after the setup.

This is how much it costs to maintain a saltwater aquarium(estimate).

EquipmentPrice Range
Aquarium Cleaning Siphon$15 – $20
Bucket$13 – $21
Algae Scraper (Acrylic Friendly)$6 – $10
Saltwater Test Kits$10 – $21
Filter Media$12 – $19
Fish Medication (Pimafix, Kich-Ich, Salt)$2 – $14
Instant Saltwater Bio-Spiral$20 – $30
Saltwater Fish Food$13 – $16
Cotton Towel$18 – $20
Total$109 – $171

Each piece of equipment is linked to our recommended Amazon products.

Note: The cost of maintaining your aquarium Saltwater Aquarium defers according to your location and other factors like shipping cost and tax which means the cost can be less than $140 or greater than $140, but the average maintenance cost is $140. With a weekly cost of less than $10 for feeding.

Salt Water Aquarium Maintenance


salt water

Managing a saltwater aquarium is not necessarily a hobby for everyone, but more suitable for fish enthusiasts. Proper care will reward you with a healthy aquarium and years of joy. We recommend you keep a calendar with the maintenance items necessary to simplify the task.

There are also numerous software packages available on the market to help you maintain saltwater aquariums and allow you to record all your marine life, water tests, maintenance activities, etc.

The Regular Maintenance Schedule

Daily Saltwater Aquarium Tasks

Task 1
Aside from feeding your fish twice daily (In the morning and evening), you should also top up the aquarium with water lost to evaporation.
This will depend on the level of humidity in your house. Mind you, this process can be easily automated.

Task 2:
Daily inspection of the fish and other organisms in the tank to make sure they are all in good condition.

Task 3:
Check the water temperature and specific gravity to make sure that these critical parameters do not deviate from the path.

By monitoring these parameters daily, it is possible to acquire and correct small deviations with small adjustments instead of having to make large corrections after a sharp change.

Task 4:
Perform a quick daily check of all heating, filtering, lighting, and protein removal devices to make sure everything is working properly.

You can run your hand over the various lines, pipes, and connectors to make sure everything is connected properly.

Task 5:
Finally, empty and rinse the protein skimmer every day to avoid overflows and remove any salt creep that accumulates on power cords and other surfaces. Extra care should be taken when salt creeps on the power cables, as it can eventually penetrate the outlet and cause a short circuit.

This may seem like a lot to do every day, but again these are all very simple steps and practically everything can be done in minutes.

Weekly Saltwater Aquarium Tasks

1. Water Parameters Test

Once a week, it is a good idea to test the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate with quality control kits to ensure that none of these compounds increases in the tank.

As a saltwater aquarium keeper, also try calcium and alkalinity to make sure they are at the right level. Once your system is mature, and you have developed a certain level of comfort and competence in your maintenance techniques – and provided you are not adding or losing fish or other organisms- you may be less likely to run tests.

2. Detritus Removal

This is probably one of the biggest problems with the reef aquarium. It is very difficult for your cleaning team to deal with most of these problems.

The generally accepted method is the “turkey baster” removal method. Blow the material from the cracks in the water column so you can remove it during the water change.

3. Water Change

A good rule of thumb is that frequent, small water changes (about 10% of the water in your aquarium) are preferable to rare larger water changes, which are more disruptive for the fish and other inhabitants and lead to greater fluctuations in water chemistry.

Of course, there may be times when a major change is needed, for example, if you have a very heavy organic load or if tests show that nitrate, phosphate, or another pollutant is accumulating and therefore a greater dilution is needed.

In these cases, the potential damage to the system caused by the accumulated pollutant far exceeds any disruption that could be caused by a large water change.

A major water change can also be necessary if the tank has not been cleaned in a long time. In that case, clean your aquariums in the following order:

  • Inside aquarium walls
  • Decorations (rocks, plants, etc)
  • Gravel
  • Filter
  • Outside and fixtures

Cleaning saltwater aquarium



By cleaning the internal walls, dirt particles fall on plants, decorations and gravel. It is best to clean them first. When you remove plants and decorations, dirt falls on the floor of the aquarium.

Therefore, continue cleaning the gravel until the plants and decorations have been removed. In addition, gravel is much easier to clean once plants and stones are removed. If you clean the inside of the tank, the outside gets dirty. Clean the outside last.

A few days before or after each water change, it is advisable to replace the disposable mechanical filter media (if you are using a cartridge filter, a filter to hang on the tank, etc.).

Remember that nitrifying bacteria colonize mechanical filter media. So if you replace them while vacuuming the substrate, scrape the glass and do other cleaning jobs, the population of these beneficial bacteria can be reduced to the point where an ammonia or nitrite spike can occur.

4. Salt accumulation

Salt accumulation is a saltwater aquarium care area that is often overlooked. It is important that salt accumulations around or on the saltwater aquarium are cleaned weekly.

If this is not done regularly, the salt accumulates in large pieces that can fall back into the tank and drastically change the salinity of the water.

Salt is highly corrosive to various types of metal. So if you make sure your devices are cleaned regularly, they can work properly.

Monthly Saltwater Aquarium Tasks

1. Check the pumps

This is a good time to check your powerheads and remove any debris that might block the entrances.

This is extremely important as a defective pump can have a huge impact on the reef temperature. Unexplained temperature fluctuations can sometimes lead to a blocked pump.

2. Cut back corals

If you have a flowery coral reef, your corals should grow and expand. Now you have the opportunity to break your corals and trade them with other hobbyists in your area. Help a friend in the hobby by helping them start a low-impact reef.

3. Remove unwanted algae

The accumulation of coral algae that develop on submerged marine aquarium components can significantly affect their performance over time.

So try not to get this growth out of control. If the coral crust becomes excessive (for example on one of the pumps), it is usually sufficient to soak longer in the white vinegar combined with a strong scrub.

Note: If carbon is the pillar of your filtration arsenal, it should be replaced with fresh carbon approximately every two months. This is because the carbon that remains in a system for too long can be consumed and therefore “discharge” the chemical pollutants adsorbed in the water, mainly negating the purpose of using carbon.

Yearly Saltwater Aquarium Tasks

1. Replace the pumps

Some pumps hold up, others don’t. Just another check outside of the monthly check. Replace any pumps that are questionable.

2. Replace the lights



Illumination with the correct colour and intensity is critical to the survival of photosynthetic invertebrates. However, with increasing age, the lamps tend to lose their spectrum.

Therefore, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, they must be replaced at regular intervals so that invertebrates do not suffer from the quality of decreasing light.

Since a lot of time passes between lamp changes and the shift in light quality occurs very gradually and is not necessarily recognizable to the human eye, it is easy to overlook this task until too much time has passed.

In order to avoid this potentially costly mistake (for your livestock), it is recommended that you write down the day the lamps were installed, and the day they need to be replaced on a calendar according to the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

3. Replace the thermometer

Like pumps, these practical items can fail. Sometimes they can take years, but why risk it? If that doesn’t work, you have a lot of dead cattle and a lot of money and you’re going to the bottom.


However, the cost and schedule for maintaining the aquarium can differ significantly from that of another hobbyist.

The amount of time and effort depends on the size and complexity of the system, the number and type of fish and other organisms preserved and the presence or absence of automated equipment that saves time.

But as you can hopefully see, maintaining a marine aquarium – even a coral reef system – doesn’t have to take several hours a day.

A modest but consistent investment of time and energy will result in a thriving marine aquarium that you can be proud of.

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