Dealing With Salt Creep

Salt water tanks will experience salt creep. You will probably find that it is best to try to keep up on cleaning the salt creep from your tank. Salt creep can quickly become cumbersome to clean. Salt will build up on key filtration hardware. Salt will build up on heaters. Salt will build up on your protein skimmer. Salt creep will build up on your hood and lighting. And I could keep going. But I won’t.

Carpet Destruction

Salt will fall into the carpet, if you have carpet near your tank. Salt is tough to clean out of the carpet if it builds up to the point where it becomes a thick crust. Ugh. This is especially a danger if there is dripping or leaking from your tank or tank hardware.

Dripping and Leaking

Keep an eye on the area behind and around the base of your tank to make sure that you don’t have any drip issues. You might have hardware or tubing that drips or leaks in a way that doesn’t immediately get your attention. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t let any consistant leakage happen for an extended period of time for any type of tank, whether your tank is freshwater or saltwater.

Saltwater leaks will have more clean-up consequences than freshwater. At least in my experience. Saltwater has salt in it, and that is not a good thing for carpets and other materials.


Salt creep can damage many of the components that are used in or around your aquarium. Salt is corrosive and fearsome.

Salt will corrode cables. Salt with damage wood, carpet, paint and varnished surfaces.

Negative Effect on Aquarium Lighting

Salt could possibly build up on aquarium bulbs and lighting depending on how well the lighting is protected from the water. If salt layers start to build up on bulbs, they will not be as effective at lighting the aquarium.

The same goes for acrylic and glass hoods. Transparent hoods will not be as effectively transparent if there is a lot of salt built up on the surfaces.

Just Do It, Clean Up the Salt Creep

Take a few minutes to wipe down your tank and remove the salt creep every couple weeks. It might seem like trivial work at times, but it’s much easier to clean up salt creep before it builds up into a think crust. And don’t forget, your aquarium will look much more presentable as well!