Keeping a saltwater tank is a fun hobby that requires patience along with a bit of knowledge. First, you’ll need to select your tank size, livestock, and filtration. As you learn more about the hobby, you’ll realize why each of these categories is essential to your overall success. While it may sound like a lot, don’t let it overwhelm you. The process is fairly simple when done correctly.
3 Tips to Starting Your Saltwater Tank.
- Livestock: You’ll need to decide what kind of livestock you are going to keep in your aquarium. There are many different kinds of saltwater tank ecosystems including fish only, seahorse tanks, jellyfish tanks, reef tanks and more. The care level will vary greatly depending on the ecosystem. For example, fish only tanks are much easier to keep and don’t require the same level of maintenance that corals do.
- Tank Size: Once you know the kind of livestock you will be keeping, you can now select a tank size. For example, blue hippo tangs are considered “runners” and will always require a larger tank size.
Beginner hobbyists typically begin with a nano aquarium. However, they often don’t realize that they are more difficult to keep and typically have more problems. This is because the small amount of water allows for greater fluctuation in water parameters. This is caused by water evaporation and things like calcium that is being used by growing corals and coralline algae.
- Filtration: A good filtration system must be added to your aquarium to keep the water clear by removing waste such as uneaten food. Adequate filtration will prevent frustrating algae blooms and coral loss. While some hobbyists use bio-balls, the best filtration will always be a sump tank. This not only increases the amount of water in the system, but it also allows for a more natural means to filter your water. It is large enough to house items including UV sterilizers and protein skimmers. Another good option if a sump is not possible is a refugium. It works similar to a sump but on a smaller scale. Refugiums typically sit at the back of the tank and filter the water through an overflow.
While it may seem like a lot, always remember the most successful saltwater aquariums often consist of a sump tank, basic skimmer, and return pump. As long as the water levels are maintained and weekly or bi-weekly water changes are made, you should be successful enough to jump right in!
Learn more about saltwater aquariums or stop by our saltwater fish shop in Clearfield, Utah to start your aquarium.