What Do I Need for A Brackish Tank?

5 min read


So, you’re thinking of setting up a brackish tank, and you ask yourself – What do I need for a brackish tank?

Here are the items you will need to set up your brackish tank

Who Should Keep Brackish Water Tanks?

It recommended that aquarium hobbyists remain patient until they have successfully maintained a freshwater tank for at least a year before they switch to brackish tanks.

Those who have enough freshwater tank experience are best to keep brackish tanks.

This is due to the complex chemistry of brackish tank water, as well as the compatibility of brackish fish, which an inexperienced aquarium owner would not be used to.

Full-Grown Size and Requirements Matter

It is advised to do a thorough research on the species of brackish fish you wish to buy before purchase.

Give close attention to the specific gravity of the water. You should also check what the mature size of the fish will be, the diet they require, as well as their behavior.

While a few species of brackish fish like the Anableps (Four-Eyed Fish) seem favorable, they are actually a bad choice, all thanks to their need for excess space, at least a 6-foot long aquarium.

Keeping a full-grown Anableps in a small tank is ill-advised.

A five-gallon tank is barely spacious enough for one pufferfish, and because of their behavioral traits, it is recommended that you have just one in your tank.

To avoid being disappointed with your choice of fish, be sure to conduct a thorough research on the species you plan to buy. Do not rush into a purchase based on impulse!

Small Brackish Water Set-Up

Nano aquariums are fast becoming a popular trend, and this is great news for those looking to set up a small brackish tank

You can set up a small brackish water aquarium that ranges from 6 to 20 gallons, without the need for any specialized equipment, except a hydrometer which you will need to measure the salt content of the tank water.

Make plans ahead of time by determining which fish you would like to have, and then see if you have the right tank-size and life support equipment to support the existence of your brackish fish.

Make sure all of the equipment you are using is safe for saltwater. If it is suitable for saltwater, it is fine for brackish water use. It is recommended that you use tank heaters which are encased by a plastic heater guard.

Species like the mudskippers love resting directly on the aquarium’s heater and could get burned if they are not shielded from making direct contact with the heating element.

Reach out to any local pet store to order the fish. Also ask for some advice for preparing your tank ahead of the fish’s arrival.

Using live plants for your brackish tank set-up is also a great idea. Looking great aside, live plants help preserve good water chemistry and they provide shelter and comfort for your fish.

Set-up and cycle your small brackish water tank in a similar fashion as a freshwater tank. Mix the salt in a separate bucket, and not inside the tank.

The reason for doing this is to ensure all of the salt is dissolved and equally distributed in the water, as this will allow you to accurately measure the salt content before adding the water to the tank.

The ‘tornadic’ effect from adding salt to the tank and then mixing by swirling is catastrophic to the aquascape, and in an established aquarium, could be fatal to your fish and plants. Plants need to be slowly acclimatized to brackish water.

The major reason some hobbyists are unsuccessful with live plants in brackish water is this – They take plants that were grown in freshwater habitats and place them in brackish conditions. There is no way the plants will survive such a drastic and instant change.

The cycling stage is the best time to acquaint your plants to brackish water.

A big, glass mixing bowl is ideal for acclimatizing because it lets your plants receive adequate light, and it is easy to empty and refill.

Premix the water and salt to a slightly brackish level of just SG 1.002 and add the plants.

Around a period of say, two weeks, slowly raise the salt content to the desired level when conducting water changes.

Be sure the plants are exposed to enough light and nutrients during the transition. You can proceed to place the plants in the aquarium as soon as the acclimatization is complete.

Small Aquarium Brackish Water Fish Recommendations

1. Bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius)

bumblebeeGopies PetAquariums What Do I Need for A Brackish Tank?

These species are beautiful and nice to look at. They are covered with vivid black and yellow, or orange striping.

These fish have a habit of being grumpy, so keep only one in a 6 to 10-gallon tank. They mainly enjoy live foods but can eat frozen blood worms as an alternative.

Be sure to have a log in the tank for them, as they can use it to rest.

2. Mudskippers (Oxudercinae)

Mudskippers PetAquariums What Do I Need for A Brackish Tank?

These are pure amphibious fish who spend close to 90% of their whole lives out of the water. They are capable of climbing and must be kept in an aquarium with a tight-fitting lid to prevent them from escaping.

They are pretty aggressive, even to each other, so keep only one in a small aquarium, as they will eat any other fish smaller than themselves.

It is important you provide a spacious beach area for them to walk and bask in warm lighting.

3. Figure Eight Puffers (Tetraodon biocellatus)

Figureeightpuffer PetAquariums What Do I Need for A Brackish Tank?

For some reason, these fish can become hostile toward their own species, or to other fish that have long fins. It is recommended that you keep them alone per 15 to 20 gallons of water.

4. Mollies (Poecila SPP.)

Molly fish PetAquariums What Do I Need for A Brackish Tank?

These are ideal community fish and the shorter finned versions usually bond well with any of the above-mentioned brackish water fishes in a 20-gallon aquarium.

Just keep an eye out for anyone in the tank who shows signs of aggression. If noted, be sure to remove the aggressor or the other fish. One of them just has to go.


I hope your question, what do I need for brackish tank,has been answered.

Good luck!

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Pet Aquariums

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