Saltwater Aquariums: Part II

 

Saltwater Aquariums: Part II


Saltwater aquariums should generally contain fewer fish than
fresh water tanks, because the species tend to grow bigger in
size. Marine species may be bred in a captive environment or
caught in the wild. Captive bred species are easier to care
for and usually hardier than caught species. It generates a
great amount of stress for a fish to be captured in the wild and
then introduced into an aquarium environment because it is often
difficult for them to figure out how to eat. Whenever
possible, purchase your fish from a retailer that deals only with
breeders or from the breeders themselves.There are five different types of saltwater aquariums. The first
type of saltwater aquarium is the fish only aquarium. This
is probably the easiest to care for of the five types, simply
because you are only dealing with one type of
species. Amongst the saltwater fish there are both tropical
and cold water types. They can’t be kept together because
the water temperatures vary greatly. Tropical fish are
usually brighter in color, and therefore more appealing to
aquarium lovers than the fish available in the cold water
variety. Most people are somewhat familiar with a few
tropical fish such as the Clown fish or the Angel fish; however,
few people have heard of such cold water varieties such as the Shanny
or the Tompot Blenny.

The second type of saltwater aquarium is the invertebrate only
aquarium. It is advised that you become skilled with a fish only
tank prior to attempting an Invertebrate aquarium. Because there
are two distinct types of invertebrates, tropical and cold water,
you must make sure that the types you are purchasing are going to
be compatible with the other tank mates. These types of aquariums
usually consist of shrimp, prawn, hermit crabs and perhaps even a
starfish or sea cucumbers.

The required care for an invertebrate only tank is about the same
as that of any other saltwater tank; however, the invertebrates
are much less hardy than fish. Many require a specialized diet
which could cost a bit more, especially if you want to use a
fresh food source rather than a freeze dried or frozen one.
Inquire with your aquarium supplier before purchasing your tank
inhabitants to make sure you have a reliable food source. Some
enthusiasts keep a separate tank full of shrimp, mussels and
scallops to be used exclusively for food. Be wary though, when
keeping shrimp, as they are a food source for most all the
invertebrates mentioned above.

When putting together an invertebrate tank, keep in mind to
include live rock, as some invertebrates feed on the parasites
that grow on the live rock. A substrate should also be added to
this type of aquarium as it will provide a location for the crabs
and shrimps to dig and bury themselves. A light should also be
present if you wish to keep anemones. These aquariums may be less
fun to watch as their inhabitants move slowly and sometimes not
at all for long periods of time. However, these creatures are
fascinating and can create a beautiful underwater environment.

The third type of saltwater aquarium is the fish and invertebrate
saltwater aquarium. These are far more difficult to maintain than
either of the two categories separately. Certain
invertebrates feed on certain fish, and the reverse is also
true. Therefore, it is important to research the various
species carefully to ensure that you do not put predator and prey
together in the same aquarium. Diseases can also spread more
rapidly and are more difficult to prevent and cure in aquariums
containing both invertebrates and fish species.

The next type of saltwater aquarium is the coral reef
aquarium. Reef aquariums can be tricky to maintain and must
be thoroughly researched before attempting, even if you consider
yourself an advanced aquarium hobbyist. These aquariums can
contain only corals, or a combination of corals, anemones, clams,
urchins and other inverts that do not move about the tank. This
can be very expensive to build and maintain, but can be exciting
as you watch these creatures grow and change their environment.

The last category of saltwater aquariums is the specialty
aquarium. An example of a specialty aquarium would be an
aquarium full of sea horses. Sea horses should not be kept
with any other type of fish or marine life, because they are
timid and slow eaters. Their food source could easily be
taken away by other tank mates no matter what species they may
be. Sea horses prefer to swim vertically rather than
horizontally, and should be placed in as tall a tank as
possible. An octopus and a shark or a ray are other
examples of fish that require special needs and would fall into
the category of specialty aquariums.

Regardless of which type of saltwater aquarium you choose, it is
recommended that you do extensive research on the marine life you
want to place in your tank. Make sure you are willing to make the
commitment required to care for a saltwater aquarium, as it can
be a expensive and a huge challenge balancing the environment so
that it is optimal for all the tank’s species with their delicate
and sometimes very special needs.

Tips on Care and Cleaning

The adequate care and cleaning of your aquarium is the most
crucial, yet most overlooked aspect of owning an aquarium. By
neglecting the care and maintenance of a fish tank, it will not
only lose its visual appeal, but your fish will be unhealthy and
unable to thrive, and may even perish. By following a regular,
consistent care program, you will be able to maintain a
beautiful, clean and healthy aquarium.

A lot of people are unaware or uninformed of how to adequately
clean and care for a saltwater tank. It’s best to find out and
fully understand exactly how to care for your saltwater tank even
before buying one in order to avoid possible problems after
investing your money. The first thing you should be aware of is
that you will be required to buy filtered water or buy a reverse
osmosis kit. Although you can use regular water, you have to make
sure it is the correct temperature and that all chlorine
and other undesirable chemicals are completely removed.

Although it is necessary to clean your saltwater tank at least
once a month, it is best to try and clean it at least every two
weeks. However, do not over clean your tank or you will be taking
away some of the beneficial bacteria. In a freshwater tank
bacteria can be detrimental, but the opposite is actually true in
a saltwater tank to maintain a healthy and balanced environment.

Once a saltwater tank is established and the chemical levels are
stable, it will remain that way, and you shouldn’t have to test
it even if you do frequently change the water. When cleaning the
tank you will need to stir the gravel to remove sediment that
could probably change the chemical makeup of the tank. Exercise
caution when cleaning an acrylic tank to make sure that cleaning
supplies being used will not harm the tank in any way.

The best thing to remove algae is phosphate drops. When added to
the water regularly, algae will not be able to build up as
quickly. Note that the more light in your aquarium, the more
algae will form. Adding some hermit crabs and snails will keep
your rocks and tank clean. You will need a scraper or scratch pad
to clean the glass. To avoid a salt buildup on the lid of the
tank, make sure when you build the tank, that you target the
filter head down into the water.

Very simply, the key to maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium
is to keep it clean and algae-free. By keeping in mind the ways
to avoid algae, you will be able to keep a healthy aquarium for
many years to come.

 

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