Saltwater Fish Tank – A Beginners Guide

A saltwater fish tank is certainly more difficult to maintain than a freshwater fish tank. The ecology of the saltwater fish tank is different and needs care as well as knowledgeable handling.

The saltwater fish tank can house a wide range of fishes and mammals in comparison to the freshwater fish tank. In a saltwater fish tank, you can keep some of the flamboyantly colored reef fishes. A saltwater fish tank can also house live coral, anemones, crustaceans or jellyfish. Some advanced aquarists even keep octopuses and squids. This variety of sea life gives the fish tank an exotic feel. Perhaps this is the reason why the saltwater fish tank is so popular.

Starting a Saltwater Fish Tank

Before starting a saltwater fish tank it would be a good idea if you researched the ecosystem of saltwater fishes, their habitat, food, water temperature, etc. A saltwater fish tank can be highly gratifying and the extra time used to research the exact requirements for a saltwater tank is worth its weight in gold.

To start a saltwater fish tank you will require a fish tank, Filtration System, Substrates, Heater or Thermometer, powerhead, protein skimmer, water pump, and air pump.

The Basic Types

There are three basic forms of saltwater fish tank: Fish Only, Fish with Live Rock and Reef System.

Fish only– This is a good choice for beginners. This type of tank is for keeping fish only as the name suggests and is the least expensive type.

Fish with Live Rock– This is the same as fish only, but has live rocks. It is called “live rock” because of the creatures and organisms living on the inside and the surface of the rock. Buying good rock can be expensive though.

Reef System– Reef tanks are usually set up by very experienced hobbyists because these tanks require excellent water conditions, extremely high lighting levels, water supplements, reverse osmosis and deionized water, and excellent filtration. In short, it costs the earth and then some.

Saltwater Fish Tank Do’s  Don’ts

You should ideally choose a fish tank that is 55 gallons (200 liters) or larger. It will be harder to maintain suitable water quality and balance in a smaller tank.

After deciding on size you must decide on the material of the fish tank. There are 2 choices glass and acrylic. Both these materials are commonly used for saltwater fish tank and have their pros and cons.

Location is a very important aspect of a saltwater fish tank. Too much sunlight causes algae problems and too little is equally harmful. The temperature should be as constant as possible.

Never place anything in the fish tank that is not saltwater proof. Make sure that decorations are saltwater proof or they may poison your fish tank.

Filtration is an important part of any fish tank, salt or otherwise. There are three basic types of filtration- mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, and biological filtration.

Cleaning your fish tank with detergent or soap will pollute the water and destroy the fragile ecosystem of your saltwater fish tank. It’s best if you use bleach instead. Add one capful of pure bleach to 10 gallons of water and wipe the fish tank with, clean carefully with fresh water afterward.

You should never use ordinary salt in your fish tank. It’s best to buy fish tank salt from a fish store and mix it with water according to instruction.

A hydrometer is very crucial for the saltwater fish tank. It is of utmost importance for you to maintain a balance between the salt and water levels. Water keeps evaporating, whereas the salt level remains the same. Evaporated water should never be replaced by saltwater. A hydrometer will make it possible for you to check the exact salinity of the water.

Popular Saltwater Fishes
Clownfish, Angelfish, Blue lined triggerfish, Comical blenny, Flame fish and Damsels are a few examples of popular saltwater fishes that can be kept in the fish tank.

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