The beauty and intrigue of saltwater fish draws many people into this awesome and rewarding hobby. But not everyone is fully aware of what it takes to keep these fragile saltwater specimens happy and healthy. Unlike freshwater fish keeping, many of the species purchased are harvested from the ocean and the ocean is a well-balanced, clean, and filtered ecosystem. These fish are very susceptible to even the slightest of changes in temperature, salinity, PH, and the list goes on.
Even though today's modern technology makes saltwater fish-keeping easier than ever, the decision to set up a saltwater aquarium should not be taken lightly. The special needs of saltwater fish present considerable challenges. The prospective aquarium owner needs to be well-versed in all the responsibilities required for a saltwater system. The following paragraphs provide you with a high-level overview of what we're talking about.
Research, Research, Research
If you are considering setting up a saltwater aquarium in your home, your first step is research. Learn as much as you can about the individual fish, corals, and invertebrates that interest you. Not all species offered in the industry are equally well suited for the typical home aquarium. Choose fish, corals, and invertebrates suitable for the novice aquarist and refrain from pursuing unsuitable species, or species that have poor success rates in captivity. When doing your research, be aware that, unlike freshwater fish, saltwater fish never stop growing until they reach adulthood, and you need to select fish that will fit in your aquarium. Some large angels, for example, are very small when juveniles, but can quickly outgrow even the modest sized aquarium.
FILTRATION, FILTRATION, FILTRATION, oh did we mention FILTRATION?
The ocean is the best filtered ecosystem. It’s large, vast, deep, and maintains an exact PH, salinity (depending on the location in the world), and is devoid of the toxic chemicals found in our freshwater that we drink and often used to set up an aquarium. NOTHING is MORE IMPORTANT than FILTRATION. Filtration is not just relegated to mechanical either, there’s protein skimming that is needed, UV sterilization, as well as biological. Do research to determine the best suited filtration system you are going to need for your aquarium. The knowledgeable staff at Atlantis Coral will be able to answer any questions you will have. DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR FILTRATION SYSTEM! Your valuable fish will thank you for it!
Bigger is Better!
The bigger the tank, the easier it is to take care of and the more forgiving it is in terms of human factor. Remember, the ocean covers most of the Earth’s surface so even a large amount of toxins in the water are quickly eliminated. This is not the case of a home aquarium. This system is very small in comparison, even when discussing the largest of aquariums. When considering a tank, get the largest tank you can afford and fit in the designated spot in your home.
Plan Enough Time for Care and Maintenance
A substantial time commitment is required to keep a saltwater aquarium system healthy. A saltwater aquarium requires diligent maintenance to keep it clean, temperature-controlled, and properly lit. Salinity is also paramount, so replacing evaporated water each day is critical.
Fish and invertebrates need to be fed on a regular basis. Remember that different species have different food requirements. Finally, saltwater aquariums rely on mechanical systems such as filters, pumps, heaters and light fixtures. Like all equipment, these items require regular maintenance to keep them operating efficiently.
Because they need consistent care, saltwater aquariums cannot be left unattended for more than two days. It's a good idea to involve outside family members or friends with your aquarium. That way you can ask them for their help in caring for your aquarium when you are away from home.
REMEMBER YOUR WATER CHANGES
This is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your fish healthy! A monthly water change not only removes dirty water, but also introduces new salt, new nutrients, and is vital to keeping your fish healthy and happy. Don’t forget to clean/change your filter media during your monthly maintenance. If you prefer, Atlantis Coral offers this service so all you have to do is sit back, relax, feed, and enjoy your fish!
In addition to education and time, saltwater aquariums require a considerable financial investment. Start-up costs for a new saltwater tank range from a minimum of $300-$500, and a continuous financial commitment is required to replenish supplies, livestock, food and salt. Choose your new aquarium carefully. Like anything else, the larger the aquarium system, the larger the cost, but in the long run, the easier it is to maintain.
Saltwater fish keeping is a wonderful, challenging, and educational hobby that can be a rewarding experience for the whole family. Once your new system is up and running, maintaining your aquarium will become less of a chore, but more of a pleasurable routine and enjoyable escape.