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Saltwater Aquarium/Raise Oysters in tank



How do I raise the oysters in a tank/aquarium? I'm planning to run a Restaurant and selling fresh imported Oysters from France. I will need to order at least a hundred kg each time. How do I raise them in a tank/aquarium to keep them alive longer? What do I need to take note if I raise the oysters on my own? set up item, temperature, oxygen, lights etc?

ANSWER: Hi Michelle:

See this website below as a reference to oyster aquariums for restaurants.


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That's a website selling storage to keep oysters alive but did not mention any of how to raise oysters. Any other useful tips or website giving this information?

To successfully keep live oysters you will need proper saltwater parameters, below I have compiled some information for you:

To begin, most experts recommend using reverse osmosis water Ė water that is forced through a membrane to remove at least 90% of impurities like nitrates, chlorine, chloramine, mercury, and copper. A reverse osmosis water filter will achieve the appropriate water required for your tank. Unfortunately, the process removes some beneficial minerals along with the harmful ones, but these can be added back with a good saltwater mix.

There is much argument about proper temperature for reef tanks. This is partly due to the range of species kept in most aquariums. While many aquarists keep their reef tanks between 80-85 degrees, new evidence shows that 79 degrees inhibits metabolic activity and thereby decreases oxygen requirements and harmful waste products. You will need a chiller to maintain a constant desirable water temperature.

Nitrates, the waste by-products of bacteria that develop in the nitrogen cycling process, make a biological filtration system function. Too much is harmful to reef inhabitants and is the major cause of algae blooms. Healthy levels are between 0.25 and 5ppm, with less being better. Nitrates can be controlled with mangrove plants and nitrate reduction filtration. Tri-based pelletized carbon and RN! bacteria, manufactured by Hiatt, are used in combination to effectively reduce harmful nitrates.

Nitrates are generated by from the metabolic wastes of invertebrates, fish, and bacteria and are highly toxic to your tank. The level should be as close to zero as possible. Hiattís RN! and tri-pelleted activated charcoal will eliminate the harmful compound. Knowledgeable aquarists recommend using a charcoal-filled flow tube with your filtration system, making sure water and air flow freely through the tube.

pH (power of hydrogen)
Keeping a stable, proper pH level is critical in maintaining tank survival. The pH indicates the alkalinity or acidity of the water, with 7 being neutral. Above 7 is alkaline; below 7 is acidic. Saltwater tanks, because of nitric acids, carbon dioxide, and organic acids produced by natural wastes, tend to be acidic. The proper level, however, should be maintained at slightly alkaline, with 8.2-8.4 being optimum. Adding baking soda or a commercial pH buffer will return your water to the right level. Removing part of the water and replacing it and using a calcium reactor will help, too.

Another important mineral for your tank is calcium, at a level of 400-500ppm, which can be achieved by adding calcium supplements.

Sometimes confused with pH, alkalinity is actually carbonate hardness. The level in your tank is measured by the presence of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which should be 150-200ppm. This is an essential compound for corals to produce their hard exterior and can be managed by adding commercial supplements.

Another important mineral for tank health, proper magnesium levels of 1200mg/L can be reached with epsom salts. For a 55-gallon tank, 90.8 grams should be added gradually over the course of 7-8 days.

Phosphate is one of the top trace elements in natural seawater, and of course, your ultimate goal is to re-create the normal environment of your reef and its inhabitants. A proper level is 0.05ppm. Use a reliable test kit to check your water. Phosphates are often found in foods, activated charcoal, and buffers, so your problem will be lowering levels, not increasing them. Use a limewater or kalkwasser solution to lower harmful levels, or try a commercial product like Coralifeís phosphate remover or Kent Marineís phosphate sponge.

This refers to how much salt is in the water. Natural seawater ranges from 1.024-1.025, so you want to maintain this level in your tank. Use a hydrometer to measure your waterís salinity. The swing-arm models are easier to use, but remember: this is an important investment for the survival of your tank. You want a quality hydrometer that will give consistent correct readings, so donít purchase an inferior one because it might be cheaper. If your salinity is too high, just remove some of your tank water and replace it with fresh. If the salinity is too low, add DISSOLVED aquarium salt.

Yet another inportant compound naturally occurring in ocean water is iodine, at 60 parts per billion. Your tank level can be increased by adding lugolís solutions or by adding inexpensive potassium iodide (KI).

Youíll need a reliable test kit to achieve and maintain a healthy tank. Many experienced aquarists recommeng Kordonís Aqua Tru.

A natural reef feeds from tiny food particles carried by constant ocean currents. To mimic these in your aquarium, place several powerheads around the tank to create turbulence. The movement also helps your filtration system remove detritus and uneaten food, inhibiting their breakdown before they can negatively effect the quality of your water.

To help prevent a multitude of problems, remove about 25% of your tank water and replace it with a fresh supply once a week. This might seem like a lot of trouble, but in the long run, itís definitely worth the effort.

If you adhere to the proper water parameter guidelines and maintain correct levels within your tank, youíll have success keeping oysters alive in captivity.

I wish you the best of luck with all your 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 -

Publications,, and many others.

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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