Using Saltwater From The Actual Sea, Ok?

  • #1
Perhaps a silly question, perhaps not. I do live close enough to the ocean on the New Hampshire seacoast to get actual ocean water if I decide I'm willing to brave the icy cold Atlantic waters this time of year. I haven't seen anyone else post about doing this while perusing the site - even people who presumably live close enough to the sea to do so. Would this be inviting unwanted critters, parasites, or something of that nature into my tank, or should I go for it for future water changes....maybe it will help things cycle more quickly?
  • #2
Mm. Maybe someone has experience and its great. I would check if it's legal in your area. It would be terrible to get stoped one day as happens with sand and rocks. I wouldn't do it because of risk of contamination like run-off nutrients or waste that could spike one day when you go to pull your water. Then again I'm at the western coast where they get algae blooms and alerts not to enter the water after big storms.
  • #3
Definitely not silly at all! And yes, you can do it, and people with access do do it; but you need to make the decision on whether you trust your ocean or not. In fact, my uncle who lives right on the CalI coast (he’s like a mile or two from the ocean) will go pump sea water on the weekends and haul it back to his place. For his bigger tank, he’ll filter with a micron sock (remove an excess platonic life) and dechlorinator and he’ll use it the next day (depending on the quality of your water, you may want to run it through a UV) For his “natural” tank, he’ll just dechlorinate and dump it right in (but that tank really is “natural”, sea life (mostly inverts that get stuck in tide pools) and fans/corals are straight from the ocean, so they’d be more accustomed to it).

You want to stay away from where there might be Freshwater runoff and go as far offshore as possible if you’re near any plants or where people go swimming (where the water is nice and clear....if the water is a bit nasty/polluted, there is a definite line where the cloudy water becomes beautiful and clear; that’s the stuff you want to collect). If you’re lucky (like my uncle), you can go right off the shore if it isn’t “in use” as much.

You will get sea life (mostly good, his tanks do look fantastic; good food sources for corals and the fish) and generally parasites shouldn’t be too big of a problem if you aren’t collecting animals (parasites need hosts).
  • #4
I would not chance it. Regular coast water can be full of pollutants and parasites. With the ocean those aren't quite as big of a factor due to the huge amount of space. In a tank the parasites can explode in population and kill everything in your tank. Furthermore you are taking water from an environment that is cold and foreign to virtually all the fish in the aquarium trade.
  • #5
You can and people do with no issues. I wouldn't, however.

The biggest problem you run into with the water around us coasts are the constant ships and pollution. While one bucket of water you get the from the ocean might be fine, the next might have a chemical in it that'll kill of your whole tank.

I think it's worth the price to just mix your own.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks for the responses, lots to consider. I just might give it a try once the weather warms a bit, filter it, text levels for a couple weeks and then decide if 1. I think it’s safe and 2. If it’s worth the extra effort!

Of course I’ll be looking into the legality of it as well

It wasn’t about the price it was more about getting a more natural product for my future fish. I find instant ocean plenty handy and affordable where getting actual ocean water would be a pain in the rear. Though if everyone had said, that’s great! Do it! I def would have
  • #7
Hey Melyssa - if it's more of a natural product thing for your fish... I would just skip ocean water all together and stick with making fresh saltwater in your home.

too many risk factors in collecting water from the ocean. my biggest concern would be the amount of pollutants, especially near the shore.
  • #8
If where you collect water is near a public beach, the water and sand maybe polluted from human traffic (beach goers, small particles of trash, vehicles, chemicals, etc.). I personally wouldn't risk it and would continue to make my own saltwater at home
Tyler Fishman
  • #9
Unless you live on the Great Barrier Reef, it somewhere near the indopacific then no. The chemical composition of saltwater in your area is different than what your corals (if any) may need, for fish only systems I guess it would be alright, but you run the risks of pollutants, beaches are subject to heavy run off from land and contain nasty stuff, along with excessive nitrates and phosphates which will cause large quataties of alage to spring up in your tank.

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