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Saltwater Aquarium/Bait shack water


Is the quality of water used at bait shacks okay to use in my tank?
What should be cheaper: making or buying water?

Hi Isis:

I wouldn't recommend to use saltwater from a bait shack in your home aquarium. This is unless they specifically filter the ocean saltwater (preferably through reverse osmosis, deionization and carbon), to be sold to saltwater aquarium hobbyists.

In general making water with synthetic sea salt and freshwater is often times a little less expensive than purchasing pre-filtered ocean water. There are many Local Fish Stores that also sell both the premixed synthetic saltwater, and reverse osmosis freshwater. The prices per gallon will vary.

If you live near an Ocean Institute / Marine University / College of Marine Biology, often times they will have a huge tap and filter coming straight from the ocean, and if it's open to the public, which they generally are, you can go and fill your water containers.

You can also get freshwater from the water machines often found in front of grocery stores and convenient stores; these machines are best at providing fresh reverse osmosis water right after they've been maintenanced; which means they have a new carbon filter and reverse osmosis membrane in them. They typically put a date on these machines, so you know when it was last serviced. You would get your freshwater from these machines, take it home then add your synthetic salt mix.

I hope the above information has helped some.

I wish you luck with all your future saltwater aquarium endeavors.


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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

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After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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