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Free download of Saltwater Aquarium and Reef Tank Book by yazik.info Available in PDF, ePub and Kindle. Read, write reviews and more. Necessary Equipment: For Healthy Saltwater Aquariums. Book 1: Introduction to Selecting and Planning a Saltwater. Aquarium. A note about being a. There are so many saltwater tank Internet forums today that I've lost count of . saltwater tank guru, reading all the books and magazines he could and spending .
Here is a very brief intro: Freshwater Aquarium The mainstay of the hobby and the most popular setup, a freshwater tank setup can be a great first tank and it will give you the necessary experience needed for branching out into other types of tanks.
This setup is the least expensive in terms of equipment and livestock and is not usually as demanding as the other types. There are literally hundreds of different types of fish available so finding a species you'll like shouldn't pose a problem.
You can keep live aquarium plants in your tank as well. Keeping plants may require an upgrade to your lighting system and you may have to add supplements to your tank water. Freshwater aquarium plants add another dimension of beauty to a freshwater tank. Saltwater Aquarium Saltwater tanks are perceived to be more difficult than freshwater tanks. In times past, that statement may have been true but I don't think that is necessarily the case today.
With the increasing use of live rock as the primary biological filter in a saltwater tank setup, the chances FishLore. A fish only saltwater tank equipped with live rock will be more expensive than a freshwater tank because you'll need to download live rock and a protein skimmer.
Marine fish are also more expensive than their freshwater counterparts. Saltwater Reef Tank The ultimate tank setup in this hobby has to be the reef tank setup. It's like having a small piece of the coral reef in your living room. The emphasis is on the corals and invertebrates with a limited amount of fish.
These tanks are however, more expensive to setup and maintain. Equipment such as metal halide lighting, protein skimmers, live rock, testing equipment, supplements, water purification units reverse osmosis and deionization and sumps drive the cost of this setup.
Don't forget about the ongoing maintenance costs electricity as well. The livestock costs for live corals, fish and invertebrates are also very expensive. This type of tank can be very demanding when first set up because you'll need to monitor the water parameters periodically and take corrective action when necessary.
Even though this is the most expensive type of setup, it can also be the most breathtaking. You should to do your homework research and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish before downloading your first piece of reef equipment.
No matter what type of tank setup you choose, as long as you do your homework beforehand you'll enjoy this hobby.
Research the equipment and livestock before downloading them and you will prevent many headaches and keep some of that hard earned money in your wallet! The satisfaction of watching fish in our home can be relaxing, educational and can be a great conversational piece all at the same time.
Many kids are extremely fascinated with tropical fish and you can use this as a great learning tool to teach your children responsibility, biology and science. Teach them about the critical biological cycle that takes place called the Nitrogen Cycle. Teach them how to test the tank water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Show them the proper way to feed and care for the fish. Show them how to do water changes and maybe they can help out with this vital task required for keeping fish in our homes.
Explain to them why we can't keep a common pleco in our 10 gallon tank. The educational opportunities abound. If you're interested in setting up your own tank I encourage you to do some homework beforehand.
Go out and download an aquarium book on the type of tank you're interested in, subscribe to a tropical fish magazine, browse the internet and join a tropical fish forum to increase your knowledge. This is a fun and exciting hobby that gets better all the time! Aquariums come in many shapes and sizes. There is surely to be an aquarium type out there that will suit you. Fish tanks can be made out of glass or acrylic and typical sizes are 10, 20, 29, 30, 40, 50, 55 gallons and larger.
Some are tall, some are short. Some are rectangular or hexagons and some have bowed fronts. An acrylic aquarium is going to be lighter, stronger and more durable than a glass aquarium. But an acrylic aquarium will scratch much easier and it can be very difficult to buff out an aquarium scratch on an acrylic tank, if at all.
Generally, the bigger the tank the better it is because a larger aquarium will tend to have much more stable water parameters. For example, take a 5 gallon versus a 55 gallon tank. In the 5 gallon tank the temperature may fluctuate up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit every day whereas the temperature isn't going to fluctuate as much in the 55 gallon.
Having more water will usually download you more time to correct anything that should happen. Check out your local fish store or online for an aquarium that fits your needs. Another important consideration for your pet fish tank will be the aquarium stand.
It will need to be strong enough to hold the finished tank. Roughly, an aquarium will weigh at least 10 pounds per gallon. So a 55 gallon aquarium stand will need to be able to support pounds!
Don't skimp on the stand and make sure it's level and strong and make sure that the floor will be able to support the total weight of the tank! Aquarticles Safety around the aquarium, electrical safety in particular, is a subject all aquarists should be concerned about. The possible fatal consequences of the combination of water and faulty electrical equipment is something we all should bear in mind. One of the basic rules of aquarium management that I have seen in several aquarium books is to turn off all electrical power to the aquarium before putting your hand in -the water.
However, hands up all those who have ignored this rule; I bet there are not too many hands still down. The amount of current needed to give a person an electric shock is surprisingly low. With a volt supply, a current of only 10 milliamps through your body to earth can give a painful shock, and a current above 50 milliamps is likely to be fatal. Not very much when a watt beater draws something like milliamps. While the possibility of a dangerous failure in modern commercial aquarium equipment is very, very slight, nevertheless a risk still exists.
I've never seen any report of a person being killed by a shock from their aquarium in Australia but I have seen a report in an English newspaper of this happening, and have vague recollections of reading that several people die each year in the U.
If your aquarium equipment is plugged into a normal household switchboard, with standard circuit breakers, it is highly unlikely that they will cut-out in the event of a fault in the equipment leading to a possible leak to earth of the low magnitude needed to cause a bad shock. Fortunately there is a simple, but unfortunately fairly expensive, safety measure which can be taken. These devices work by continually monitoring the current in both the active and neutral wires of the circuit, and if a fault develops in the circuits leading to the leakage of current to earth, then the device instantaneously breaks the circuit.
They are set to break the circuit only above a certain current loss, since some home appliances such as water heaters and freezers naturally have small current losses. The cut-off level ranges from 10 milliamps to 30 milliamps, with 30 milliamps being suitable for the aquarium.
Three types of ELCB are available. The first is wired into the main switchboard of a house and can give protection to all power points in the house, not just the aquarium power point. I'm not. The second is a wall mounted model, which is a straight replacement for a standard wall socket and looks very similar.
Installation is straight forward and most would feel confident about doing the work themselves. The only possible complication is if the socket is part of a ring circuit with more than three wires going into the socket. If in doubt, get an electrician to do the installation. They are rarely to be found at the general hardware stores. The third type of ELCB are portable models. These are self-contained units which plug into a standard socket and into which you plug your aquarium equipment, similar to an extension cord.
They have the advantage of being able to be used wherever needed around the house, for instance with power saws hedge trimmers etc. If you would require a wall mounted model to be installed by an electrician they may be worth considering, but their portability is largely wasted in an aquarium setting because it is virtually never free to use for other applications. The choice of whether to install an ELCB or not is up to the individual. Me, I've put off downloading that Eheim filter I've had my eye on for a while!
The easiest to detect is cruelty through violence or neglect. Putting any animal through such treatment is condemned, and rightly so, without question or hesitation. But what about animals that suffer simply because the owners don't know any better? Is that any better fate for an animal to go through? So often this issue is brushed aside with a shrug, saying that they really tried to care for the animals, or that they had good intentions!
Fish tanks have been around for so long that one has pretty much become a commonplace fixture in many homes. Nearly everyone can remember a time when they had a tank in the house or visited a friend who had a tank.
Since fish tanks are so commonplace, a lot of people tend to underestimate the care and dedication required keeping a tank healthy and thriving.
Too many people, who have never had fish, believe that fish keeping is the simplest of hobbies, just add water and go! The most common time for fish to be placed in inadequate conditions is when hobbyists are starting up their very first tank. They are unaware of the need for cycling the tank and going slowly to allow for the required bacteria to grow in the tank, and the fish seem to die for no apparent reason.
They stock the tank too quickly since they want an instant showpiece for their home. The second most common mistake people make is to overstock their tanks. They want to see huge schools of fish living happily side by side without any room for movement, and don't know that most of the fish they download are juveniles that will grow to many times their current size.
Other examples of cruelty through ignorance include common mistakes like: Keeping fish in an unsanitary tank. Not treating tap water to remove chlorine. Not acclimatizing the fish when transferring them to a new tank. Adding incompatible species of fish in the same tank such as Oscars in a community tank. Using a tank that is too small for the fish once it is full-grown.
Feeding an unhealthy unvaried diet. Little or no water changes. Having improper lighting for planted tanks. Improper water chemistry for the fish they have. Mixing coldwater and tropical fish in the same tank. Not treating harmed or diseased fish. The easiest way to combat cruelty due to ignorance is to learn as much as you can about your tank, the fish you wish to keep, and the requirements to keep the fish healthy, and then share as much information and experiences, whether good or bad, as you can with other hobbyists.
There are many different inexpensive, reliable resources available to hobbyists, so that fish should not have to suffer because people didn't know any better! In this hobby a little research goes a long way in keeping fish healthy, and in the end it will greatly increase the enjoyment people find when keeping fish. The aquarium nitrogen cycle information presented below may be rather boring to most people, but it is absolutely essential to understand this process if you want to be successful at keeping fish!
Steps in the Process: Ammonia 3. Nitrites 4. Nitrates 5. Water changes to remove nitrates and DOC Some call it the biological cycle, the nitrification process, new tank syndrome or even the startup cycle. They all are referring to the same cycle - The Nitrogen Cycle. The aquarium nitrogen cycle is a very important process for the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the aquarium and in the filter media that will help in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and then the conversion of nitrite to nitrates.
Check out the aquarium water chemistry page on the left for more information on these terms. This process can take from 2 weeks to 2 months or longer to complete.
It is vital for anyone planning on keeping aquarium fish to understand this process. Learning about this process will help you to be successful in keeping fish and it should definitely improve your chances when keeping tropical fish. The best way to monitor the nitrogen cycle is to download an aquarium test kit that will test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and ph. Test your aquarium water every other day and write down your readings.
You will first see ammonia levels rising.
The Reef Aquarium. Vol 1
A few weeks or so later you should see the nitrite levels rising and the ammonia levels dropping. Finally, after a few more weeks you should see the nitrate levels rising and the nitrite levels dropping.
When you no longer detect ammonia or nitrites but you can detect nitrates you can assume that it is safe to add your tropical fish. Photo Credit: Ilmari Karonen Nitrogen Cycle Stages Stage 1 Ammonia is introduced into the aquarium via tropical fish waste and uneaten food. The tropical fish waste and excess food will break down into either ionized ammonium NH4 or un-ionized ammonia NH3. Ammonium is not harmful to tropical fish but ammonia is. Whether the material turns into ammonium or ammonia depends on the ph level of the water.
If the ph is under 7, you will have ammonium. If the ph is 7 or higher you will have ammonia. Stage 2 Soon, bacteria called nitrosomonas will develop and they will oxidize the ammonia in the tank, essentially eliminating it. The byproduct of ammonia oxidation is Nitrites. So we no longer have ammonia in the tank, but we now have another toxin to deal with - Nitrites.
Nitrites are just as toxic to tropical fish as ammonia. If you have a test kit, you should be able to see the nitrite levels rise around the end of the first or second week. Stage 3 Bacteria called nitrobacter will develop and they will convert the nitrites into nitrates.
Nitrates are not as harmful to tropical fish as ammonia or nitrites, but nitrate is still harmful in large amounts. The quickest way to rid your aquarium of nitrates is to perform partial water changes.
Once your tank is established you will need to monitor your tank water for high nitrate levels and perform partial water changes as necessary.
There are other methods to control nitrates in aquariums besides water changes. For freshwater fish tanks, live aquarium plants will use up some of the nitrates. In saltwater fish tanks, live rock and deep sand beds can have anaerobic areas where denitrifying bacteria can breakdown nitrates into harmless nitrogen gas that escapes through the water surface of the aquarium.
Getting The Nitrogen Cycle Started There are two ways to get the aquarium cycle started, either with fish or without fish. Starting The Nitrogen Cycle With Fish This is not the preferred way to get the nitrogen cycle started because the fish are being exposed to ammonia and nitrites during this process. Many fish cannot and will not make it through the cycling process.
Often times the fish become stressed and fish disease starts to break out. I wonder what percentage of disease is caused by the cycling of new aquariums. Certain species are hardier than others and seem to tolerate the start-up cycle better than others.
For freshwater tanks, the zebra daniois a very hardy fish that many use to get the nitrogen cycle started. For saltwater tanks, some have reported success using damselfish to get the process started. Again, using fish to cycle is not a good idea and you may be throwing your money on dead fish out the window.
There is a better way. Read on, young grasshopper. To easily get an ammonia reading from your tank water try the Seachem Ammonia Alert.
It sticks inside the tank and has a circle that changes color depending on the ammonia levels in the tank. Option 1: Using Fish Food Drop in a few flakes every 12 hours. As the food decomposes it will release ammonia. You will have to continue to "feed" the tank throughout the process to keep it going. Option 2: Use a small piece of raw fish or a raw shrimp Drop a 2 inch by 1 inch chunk of raw fish or a raw shrimp into the tank. As it decomposes it will release ammonia into the tank.
Option 3: Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. If you don't get an ammonia reading with your test kit, add some more drops until you start to see an ammonia FishLore. Keep track of how many drops you've used so you can repeat this process daily. Continue to dose the tank with ammonia until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit.
List of marine aquarium fish species
Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water, or if you added more drops originally to get an ammonia reading cut the amount of drops used in half.
Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Option 4: This will seed the tank with all of the necessary bacteria for the nitrogen cycle. Depending on how fast you were able to get the gravel and filter media into your tank, you may be getting nitrate readings in only a day or two.
There are some drawbacks to this method. Ask your source if they have recently used any copper medications in the tank. If they have and you are planning to have invertebrates in the tank you should probably not use this method. Invertebrates will not tolerate copper. Get a copper test kit to determine if it's safe to use. Option 5: Using live rock in Saltwater Tanks The use of live rock in saltwater tanks has really taken off over the past few years.
The reason for this is because it is one of the best forms of biological filtration available for saltwater tanks. The shape the rock is in when you get it will determine how long the nitrogen cycle will take. See step 7 on the saltwater setup page for more information on live rock.
Option 6: Use Colonize by Dr. Foster and Smith - claims to colonize your water with the necessary bacteria needed to get the cycle going along with detoxifying ammonia so it doesn't harm the fish.
To be used at the start of the tank setup and whenever you add new fish to your tank. Another bacteria culture product is Tetra SafeStart.
People have reported success on the forum with using Tetra SafeStart. Do a quick search on the forum for other members' input. This product claims to contain some patent pending species of nitrifying bacteria that will cycle your tank in 24 hours. Some of the FishLore forum members have tried it and it sounds like it is legitimate.
It is kind of expensive, but if you already have fish in your tank and they are suffering through the cycle, you may want to check this stuff out. There are both FishLore. Please let us know if you use this and if it works for you by submitting comments below. Once the cycle has started only add one or two fish at a time. Wait a couple of weeks before adding more fish.
Documents Similar To Natural Reef Aquariums.pdf
This will give your tank the time it needs to catch up with the increased bioload. Speeding Up the Cycling Process There are things you can do to speed along the process of cycling your aquarium. Increase the temperature of your aquarium water to 80FF 27CC Get some beneficial bacteria colonies. Borrow some gravel from an established and cycled aquarium.
If you have another tank with an extra filter you can use it. If you have a really nice friend with an established and cycled aquarium, ask if you can have one of their used filter media. It will be loaded with the good bacteria that we are looking for. There are products on the market that claim to introduce the beneficial bacteria. For more information, check out products like Bio-spira and Tetra SafeStart in option 6 above.
There are many more products entering the market that contain the beneficial bacteria necessary to seed your tank. Between live rock for saltwater aquariums and the bottled bacteria being readily available, there really is no excuse to make fish suffer through a cycle.
Your aquarium filter helps increase the quality of the water in your fish tank. Most think of mechanical filtration when it comes to aquarium filters but as you will soon see, there are some other filter types that you need to know about.
Mechanical Filtration Biological Filtration Chemical Filtration Mechanical Aquarium Filtration Mechanical filtration removes the free floating particles from the aquarium water. The siphoning action of a power filter that hangs on the back of an aquarium does a decent job of this type of filtration.
Biological Aquarium Filtration Biological filtration is the most important aquarium filtration type because it deals with the growing of the good bacteria in your aquarium filter. The good bacteria is the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrite and then converts nitrite into nitrate. This establishment of bacteria is essential to your success with keeping tropical fish.
For more information please read about the Nitrogen Cycle.
Saltwater Aquarium and Reef Tank Book
Often times this is accomplished through the use of activated carbon in the aquarium filter. Activated carbon can also help to reduce odors. Many people dislike using carbon in their tanks due to the fact that the carbon is useful for only a short period and then must be replaced.
If it doesn't. Zeolites can also be used in chemical filtration. Zeolite removes ammonia from your aquarium water and can be a fish life saver if you have high ammonia levels. Many first time fish keepers mistakenly add too many fish to a new aquarium before it has cycled and experience the disappointing loss of their fish.
Using zeolite during the cycling process in your aquarium filter can help prevent this from happening but it has the side effect of lengthening the time it takes to complete the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Types of Aquarium Filters Corner Filter The corner filter sits inside the aquarium in one of the corners or even sticks on to the glass. It is very low-tech but a corner aquarium filter can be used successfully for mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.
The key is not to change out the entire filter material when performing maintenance.
Only change out the carbon and part of the filter material. Corner filters require frequent maintenance and are only used in very small tanks these days if at all. Undergravel Filter UGF Undergravel filters are commonly found with beginner's aquarium kits and the undergravel filter has been around for a long time. Undergravel aquarium filters can provide good mechanical filtration because it forces the water down through the aquarium gravel where particles are trapped.
You can then use an aquarium vacuum to clean the detritus. Biological filtration occurs in the gravel because of the slow flow of water through it. The water is then pushed up through the uplift tubes in the back of the tank where chemical filtration takes place with the activated carbon in the top of the tubes.
The problem with this type of aquarium filter stems from the fact that it can be difficult to thoroughly vacuum the gravel and harmful gas pockets can form under the gravel plates thereby harming your tropical fish.
I personally don't use undergravel filters because of this reason. There's a lot of controversy surrounding the use of undergravel filtration. Check out The Undergravel Filter Controversy for more on this subject. Many long time fish keepers still use. If you do use an undergravel filter try to regularly vacuum your gravel to prevent the harmful gasses from forming. Sponge Filter.
Sponge filters can provide a cheap and effective form of biological filtration. Water flows through the airlift tube allowing a colony of beneficial bacteria to grow in the sponge. There is no chemical filtration with this method and the mechanical filtration is very weak.
You must do frequent water changes if this is your only form of filtration. Many breeders use the sponge filter in conjunction with a bare bottom tank. After feeding their young fish they will siphon any remaining food to prevent the water quality from deteriorating. Frequent water changes are performed because it aids in the rapid growth of the young fish.
Fish breeders don't have to worry about mechanical or chemical filtration as much because they are performing frequent water changes. Power Filter The power filter is probably the most popular filter type for a variety of reasons. They are easy to use and clean and they can be an effective means of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration!
The drawback to using power filters is that it is very inefficient because of its design. The intake tube for the dirty aquarium water is directly below the lip of the outflowing filtered water.
Does this make any sense? Not to me either. More aquarium kits come with a power filter than any other type of aquarium filter. Try to get a power filter that contains two filter media slots. With two filter slots you can change out one side of the filter and then a few weeks later change out the other side. If you change out the entire set of media cartridges at once you run the risk of having to re-cycle or mini-cycle because you've tossed out much of the beneficial bacteria.
Canister Filter Canister filters are on the higher end of the price scale but they are pricey for a reason. They work very well. Often there are multiple trays for a canister filter with each tray providing a type FishLore.
The first tray could be a sponge that filters mechanical and biological the large particles. The second tray could be filled with zeolite that removes ammonia from the water chemical. The third tray could be activated carbon which would further filter chemical the water. Most canister filters push the water from the bottom of the canister to the top but some work just the opposite.
Find out which way yours works to get the most out of the canister filter. This is our personal choice of aquarium filter on most of our freshwater fish tanks.
Protein Skimmer Protein skimmer models come in a few different styles.
There are those made for in tank use Visi Jet PS, Slim Skim Protein Skimmer , protein skimmers that hang on the back of the tank and those designed for use in a sump. Those designed for in tank use are usually less desirable because they don't seem to work as well as the other types.
Try to get one that hangs on the back of the tank such as the AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer or one for your sump. Also, make sure that you can easily get to and remove the collection cup for daily or weekly cleaning.
This piece of equipment is usually very pricey but it is a critical piece of equipment for saltwater aquarium beginners nonetheless. They are virtually useless in freshwater tanks. In saltwater tanks, the skimmer will remove dissolved organic material from the water and anyone who has used one can tell you about the smelly brown gunk that gets pulled from the water.
In the past, saltwater aquarium keepers would sometimes experience a complete die off of the fish in their tanks. Many believe that it was due to the amount of dissolved organics in the water and by using a protein skimmer they have drastically reduced the chances of this happening.
Skimmers completely remove proteins into a collection cup that can be emptied on a regular basis before they break down in the aquarium leading to algae blooms and DOC buildup.
Protein skimmers also help increase the dissolved oxygen levels in your saltwater aquarium. Since this is an expensive piece of equipment you will want to shop around and research the various models out there. It's been our experience that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to skimmers.
Get the biggest and best rated skimmer that you can afford.
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A powerhead is considered part of the filtration system? Yes, indeed. In freshwater aquariums, powerheads are used for water movement as well as in conjunction with an undergravel filter system.
If you're running a system where air stones drive the water flow in your undergravel filter, consider using a powerhead in one of the uplift tubes. Many come with a tube that is connected to the powerhead that hangs on the outside of the tank with an air flow valve.
This allows you to mix air with the water being pushed out of the powerhead. That can help increase surface agitation and aeration in your tank.
Saltwater hobbyists frequently use multiple powerheads situated in a way that allows them to control the flow of the water in the tank or even better, to create turbulent water flows. Saltwater tanks usually require more water movement than freshwater tanks. It can be connected to the main tank and is sometimes apart of or separate from the sump.
You can even get a hang on the back of the tank type refugiums or DIY a power filter to use as a refugium. See the DIY refugium setup for more information. A refugium provides isolation for those more delicate specimens that can easily and quickly become food for the larger fish in the display tank.
Aquarium Sump A sump is also an external tank but one that has water lines connected to the display tank. They can be any size but are often smaller and placed hidden below the main tank in the cabinetry. Sumps can provide many benefits for you. They can help with nutrient export by allowing certain macro algae types chaetomorpha, for example to grow uninterrupted from grazing by your herbivores in the display tank.
Sumps also increase the total amount of water in the system. For instance, if your aquarium is 55 gallons and your sump is 20 gallons, you essentially have a 75 gallon tank. This extra tank also gives you the ability to hide ugly equipment like filters and protein skimmers that could diminish the look of the display tank.
Many saltwater hobbyists add any saltwater supplements to the sump instead of the main tank. Supplements such as Iodine, strontium, kalkwasser lime water dosing systems and others are often placed into or connected to the sump. Is a sump absolutely necessary for a saltwater aquarium? No, they are not mandatory but they can definitely help in keeping your system water parameters stable and they can help hide equipment under the display in the cabinet.
This is a general introduction into the three main saltwater aquarium types: When getting started with saltwater it is recommended to get the biggest tank you can accommodate. Bigger tanks give you more room for error when it comes to water quality. Again, there are basically three types of saltwater aquarium setups: Check out the Saltwater Aquarium Setup page to get an idea of the equipment needed, minus the live rock mentioned in that article.
In my opinion, even though this is the least expensive setup, a saltwater fish only setup is not necessarily the easiest to get started with. Getting started may take a little longer than the other setups while waiting for the nitrogen cycle to complete. This means that you will need to stay on top of those water changes to remove the nitrates that are constantly accumulating.
Having a water test kit is a necessity when keeping saltwater tanks. You will need to periodically monitor the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels. These readings will give you a good indication of the water quality inside your tank. It will also give you an idea of how often you should be performing those water changes.
As the name implies, this saltwater fish only tank setup is really for keeping fish only. You may be able to keep a few snails or hermit crabs to help control any algae problems. There are generally two types of fish only tanks. Community type tanks and semi-aggressive type tanks. The community tanks house species that will get along well with the other species in the tank. Semi-aggressive tanks usually house solitary individuals from different species. Unless you have an extremely large tank, it is normally not recommended to get multiple fish from the same species.
These saltwater fish only setups are rapidly falling off in popularity because of the great biological filtration functions that live rock can provide. Check out the Saltwater Aquarium Setup page for more detailed information on this type of setup. The use of live rock has really taken off in the past decade because it really is the best form of natural biological filtration for the saltwater aquarium.
It is called "live rock" because of the creatures and organisms living on the inside and on the surface of the rock. It can be very interesting to the look at the organisms and algae growing on the rock. Getting good live rock, such as Fiji rock, can be expensive and may even be the most expensive part of setting up a FOWLR tank. A rule of thumb for setting up a tank with live rock is 1 to 2 pounds per aquarium gallon.
This price is just an estimate and the price may be much higher or lower in your particular area. What makes live rock so good? The porous nature of live rock means that it comes packed with all types of tiny creatures and biological organisms that aid in the nitrogen cycle.
The dense, porous material inside the live rock helps rid your aquarium of nitrates. You will still need to monitor your water parameters regularly with a FOWLR aquarium and perform water changes as needed.
You will also need to add supplements such as iodine, calcium, strontium, magnesium and others, to the water periodically. Live rock helps maintain stability in a FOWLR saltwater aquarium and it can become a food source for your invertebrates and your fish. Reef Tank The reef tank setup is primarily geared towards invertebrates, corals and anemones. The fish in this type of tank are sometimes just an afterthought. Reef keepers are usually more interested in keeping their corals and anemones growing and this means monitoring water parameters weekly if not daily.
These invertebrates, corals and anemones can be very expensive and very hard to keep. It also should be noted that mixing various coral species and motile inverts like anemones is usually not a good idea. If monitoring your water parameters on a daily basis and spending a lot of money is your idea of a good time, then you should look in to setting up a reef tank.
Seriously though, if you are just getting started with saltwater, you should probably leave the reef tank for a future time when you get more experience under your belt. We don't want to discourage you from setting up a reef tank, but we do want to make you realize the amount of research and effort that goes into getting one of these set up.
If you've been doing things correctly with your other tanks you are already familiar with researching fish and equipment. Starting with a FOWLR to learn the ropes and seeing if you really like the hobby first before investing in the more expensive reef tank setup can be a good route to take. Just a warning. A reef tank can be very rewarding and breath taking to look at when set up correctly. You may also come across something called a nano cube setup.
These are very small tanks, typically something less than 30 gallons that are used for small reef tanks for housing corals and other saltwater inverts. These are very cool looking but take a lot of work monitoring water quality and correcting as needed. Finally, to gain a better understanding of the cost differences between running a freshwater, saltwater or a reef tank, check out the Freshwater vs.
Saltwater Aquarium page for more information. Are you thinking about converting that freshwater aquarium into a saltwater aquarium? We'll shed some light on some of the differences in the setup of a freshwater vs. There are many differences when it comes to freshwater aquariums versus saltwater aquariums. These setups can be quite different when it comes to initial and ongoing costs, everyday chores and maintenance tasks and care requirements for the fish and inverts.
This article was written for those aquarium hobbyists interested in the main differences in keeping a saltwater tank versus a freshwater aquarium. Let's get started. Tank types In the freshwater world you hear people talking about African Cichlid and New World Cichlid tanks, brackish tanks, planted tanks, predator tanks, etc. Well, the saltwater side of the hobby has some different types of tank setups as well.
These three saltwater aquarium types progress in startup and maintenance costs. Fish-Only tanks can be considered on the low end for startup costs while FOWLR tanks are moderately priced and reef tanks could be considered high priced. Refugiums for saltwater aquariums are gaining steam these days as many hobbyists realize the important benefits these refugiums can provide.
Aquarium setup costs Lets start with the initial setup costs for starting these two aquarium types. To keep it simple, we'll look at fish-only systems, except for the reef tank which is for corals and invertebrates. For a freshwater aquarium you may have the following initial equipment list. Please keep in mind that these are very rough estimates on prices and we used a 29 gallon aquarium for this example. As you can see, a saltwater aquarium requires some additional aquarium test kits and some additional equipment not found on the freshwater side of the hobby.
You'll need to invest in a good quality protein skimmer and some good quality live rock. Live rock is important from a biological filter perspective and if you're using live rock you don't have to use an external filter on the tank. Let the protein skimmer remove the dissolved wastes. The external mechanical aquarium filter may actually become a source of nitrates if not cleaned often enough since the power filter just traps waste.
The protein skimmer on the other hand actually removes the dissolved organics from the water. Quick note on live rock I wouldn't recommend that a newbie start a saltwater tank without live rock. There are just too FishLore. It's a great biological filter, provides food for various species, and provides hiding places and homes for others and it looks great. There are other benefits too. Check out the article on saltwater live rock for more information. Setting up and keeping a marine fish tank stable without live rock can be more difficult than starting one with ample quantities of good quality live rock.
Water changes are easier for freshwater tanks The periodic partial water changes are one of the most important tasks that a hobbyist performs on a regular basis and the process is a little different when you move into saltwater aquariums. Saltwater hobbyists can't use the same vacuum python do this since the saltwater has to be mixed up days before hand in a separate container. You can use a bucket to mix new saltwater or if you have a bigger tank, a larger holding container can be used.
Saltwater fish are generally more expensive than freshwater fish Cruise through the aisles at any saltwater fish store and your jaw might drop when you notice the price tags on some of the saltwater species. Saltwater invertebrates also come with really high price tags, especially for those hobbyists not living near coastal areas.
Shipping and handling will get added to the price tag. Quarantine all new fish! Most marine species come from the reef and will need to be quarantined before introducing to your main tank. You don't have to go all out here.
A simple bare bones quarantine tank setup will be fine. Many freshwater species are farm raised since they are in general easier to breed than their saltwater counterparts. Clownfish, dottybacks, dwarf angelfish and some other saltwater species are now being aqua-cultured farm raised but their price tags are even more expensive since they are usually hardier than those caught in the ocean.
The farm raised species are worth it! We also need to support these breeders so that more species can be raised going forward. Since most saltwater species are coming direct from the wild, they may be carrying various internal or external parasites or diseases.
Lots of invertebrates to choose from There seems to be an unlimited amount of invertebrates available to keep in a saltwater tank. Freshwater hobbyists certainly have invertebrates available but not to the extent of saltwater. You name it, a local fish store around you probably has it. From corals, clams, shrimps, worms, sea stars, feather dusters, etc. The amount of saltwater invertebrates available to hobbyists is vast and it seems to be growing all the time.
Saltwater fish colors are amazing While there are some exceptionally colorful freshwater species bettas, neon tetras, discus, etc.
You've never seen the color yellow until you've seen a school of healthy yellow tangs swimming in a large aquarium or on the reef! Getting saltwater fish eating can sometimes be challenging This goes back to most of the species being wild caught.
Freshwater species may be second, third, fourth, or Nth generation or more from a fish farm and they are given flakes or other man-made fish preparations. Getting freshwater fish to eat should pose no problems for even the novice aquarist. Saltwater fish on the other hand are from the wild generally speaking here and may need to be slowly weaned onto standard aquarium foods over a period of several weeks or months.
Summary In general, keeping saltwater fish is more expensive and more difficult than keeping freshwater fish. However, once established they do seem to be less demanding and water quality tends to stay better in tanks using live rock.
Live plants perform similar albeit to a lower degree functions in water filtration in a freshwater aquarium. If you've been keeping freshwater fish tanks for some time now successfully the switch to a saltwater aquarium should not be all that difficult. If you have the desire, the fortitude to do the necessary research before acquiring animals and aquarium equipment and the money necessary to run a saltwater aquarium, then by all means go for it!
Once you get started you'll be wondering why it took you so long to get into the saltwater side of the hobby. INTRO It seems like we have been getting a lot of new posts on the forum about basic saltwater aquarium setup information. I've written this saltwater aquarium tank guide to hopefully make it easier to understand the startup process for those just getting into marine tanks.
I'll make it a step by step article so it is easier to follow. STEP 1: I really just consider two of those as viable setups. The fish only set up is really kind of difficult in terms of biological control of the filter and in my opinion makes it harder to keep a saltwater tank without live rock. Live rock is awesome and will become the primary biological filter in your tank.
FOWLR tanks are the way to go for someone new to the saltwater side of the hobby. Reef tanks require a little more precision and can be much more expensive to set up and stock because they require more equipment and more expensive livestock usually. Size matters.
If you want to set up a nano saltwater tank anything less than 30 gallons usually then you have your work cut out for you. The upside to a smaller tank is the startup and ongoing maintenance costs. The downside is that smaller tanks are harder to maintain, harder to keep stable and you have less choices in terms of the fish and inverts you can keep. A saltwater aquarium can definitely be more expensive than a freshwater aquarium. If money is tight, don't set up a marine tank right now.
If you start skipping needed equipment like protein FishLore. Come back to it when the finances loosen up and set things up right. Which will you choose? Your choice will determine what you need in the next step. STEP 2: Aquarium - go with at least a 30 gallon or preferably much bigger. Your chances of success are better and you will get hooked and wish you had a bigger tank. Substrate - if you want to have a sand bed there are commonly three options.
You can go with a shallow sand bed, a deep sand bed helps with nitrification or a bare bottom. Shallow sand beds or bare bottom tanks are the easiest to setup and maintain. Research the benefits of deep sand beds to see if that is something you want to pursue. More info on choosing a substrate: Substrates Live Rock - get about one pound per gallon or more of the good, high quality porous rock. Base rock is cheaper but really does nothing other than take up space and allows you to build up your rock structure.
I only use the good rock in my tanks. More info on Live Rock. Saltwater Mix - the brand doesn't really matter these days. Refractometer - to measure the salt content. A hydrometer would work too but are less accurate. Protein Skimmer - you need a skimmer. We get this question all the time. You can run a tank without a skimmer but it means you will have to do way more frequent partial water changes to avoid algae issues.
Save yourself the headaches and get a skimmer. More info: Protein Skimmer. Powerheads - provides water movement which is very important in saltwater tanks. You want to have turbulent flows. This will help keep detritus from accumulating on the bottom or behind the rocks and improve the chances that it will be broken down and skimmed out of the system. Reverse Osmosis Water Filter - you need this for the initial filling and top offs of your tank.
Starting with pure water is very important and will help you avoid many water quality and algae issues. Heater - two smaller rated heaters are better than one heater in case of malfunctions. You also need a thermometer to monitor the tank temperature.
Digital thermometers are inexpensive and do a fine job. Test Kits - get test kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. You will use these during the initial break in of the tank and until the aquarium cycles. Standard lights that come with aquarium kits are usually fine. A mix of bulbs in the white and blue actinic range provide some nice colors.
These are optional upgrades but worth it. Notice in the list above that I didn't mention a mechanical filter I haven't run a mechanical filter on my saltwater tanks in years.
I use a combination of ample amounts of high quality live rock, turbulent water flows provided by powerheads and the protein skimmer removes dissolved organics as they break down in the water column.
Very easy to set up and maintain and you don't have to worry about nitrate build ups in the mechanical filter which can lead to algae issues. Live Rock Refractometer Protein Skimmer - you need a skimmer. Powerheads - how many needed is based on the fish, invertebrates and corals you want to keep Reverse Osmosis Water Filter - you definitely need one.
More info here: Reverse Osmosis Filter for Aquariums. Heater Test Kits - get test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, magnesium, alkalinity, calcium and phosphates. There are reef testing kits which have all of them included. Get the liquid test kits. Salifert makes some good test kits that are easy to read. More info on Aquarium Test Kits.
Lights - the corals you want to keep will dictate the type of lighting you need. More info on Aquarium Lighting. Calcium Reactor - if you plan on having a tank full of hard corals a calc reactor is the way to go. Otherwise you can supplement with the two-part solutions and replenish needed elements via water changes. More info on the Calcium Reactor. A refugium allows you to grow macro algae and pods for the benefit of the display tank.
These are very good additions but optional. Various Reactors - you can set up more reactors in your sump for Biopellets, Phosphate reducers, Activated Carbon, etc. These are optional but can bring some good benefits. STEP 3: Take your time here and enjoy the research process. It's what makes the hobby so much fun in my opinion. You basically need to research the compatibility of the fish you are interested in keeping.
Make a list of the species that catch your interest and then research each of them. Some food fishermen in developing countries resort to destructive practices such as dynamiting reefs or dumping large quantities of cyanide into the ocean to stun fishes.
Finally, the ominous rise in sea temperatures caused by global warming is a phenomenon that many scientists believe could lead to the worldwide decimation of coral reefs within the coming century.
The aquarium trade has long drawn criticism from certain conservation groups that point to the collection of fish, corals and live rock as a contributing cause to the poor condition of many coral reefs. They point to damaging collection techniques, such as the use of sodium cyanide NaCN , and the high mortalities often associated with shipping and handling.
While there can be no doubt that coral reef habitats are in trouble in many areas, the real impact of collectors and the marine aquarium hobby remains poorly studied and surrounded by controversy. It is certainly minor compared to climate change, pollution from deforestation and shoreline development.
In fact, many supporters of the aquarium trade claim the hobby can be sustainable and an integral component of reef conservation. Still, in view of all the threats that face reef environments, marine aquarists have an obligation to be stewards of these precious resouces and to make informed decisions about the fishes and invertebrates they download and keep. A marine aquarium is a window on an exotic tropical world and an excellent tool for learning about coral reefs and the life forms that make them so captivating.
An informed marine aquarist can be part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem. Wild Harvest vs. Aquaculture Today less than 10 percent of marine aquarium fishes available to the consumer are captive-raised, as opposed to greater than 90 percent of the freshwater species sold. Aquaculture has a real potential to alleviate some of the stresses facing coral reef environments, but it does raise some difficult questions.
Wild-capture fisheries supplying the marine ornamental trade provide thousands of jobs throughout the supply chain. Most notably, fishers or collectors in rural coastal areas of developing countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines have few income-generating alternatives to the money they can earn by collecting aquarium animals.
These earnings often support entire family units, and without them many fishermen might be forced to resort to drastic measures such as dynamite fishing to supply their families with food. By encouraging sustainable collection, entire villages in undeveloped areas can become stewards of their local reefs and protect them from destructive threats.
Millions of people throughout the world rely on the productivity of coral reefs to maintain a livelihood. Impoverished countries rely directly on coral reefs for daily survival, while others rely indirectly on its wealth through tourism and recreation.
Unfortunately, if environmental forecasters are correct, global changes in weather and even the chemistry of the oceans could spell doom for many, if not most, reef areas in the coming century.
While encouraging sustainable collection practices of wild fishes is important to maintain socio-economic benefits in poor tropical countries, there can be no question as to the urgent need to develop aquaculture technologies for marine aquarium species. Securing the knowledge of the life histories of coral reef fishes and demonstrating the ability to culture them in captivity will offer some security in protecting bio-diversity in the coming years.
At the same time, captive breeding can offer alternative livelihoods should the fisheries collapse or wild harvests be banned. Indeed, the farming of giant clams Tridacna spp. The clams, once fished to the brink of economic extinction, have made an amazing comeback, and the sale of captive-grown corals from Pacific Island countries is increasing dramatically.
Freshwater Lessons We need only look at the freshwater aquarium hobby for a view of how things can change. The keeping of freshwater fishes in home aquariums really began to grow when books and magazines started to reveal the successful techniques for their care.
Demand for livestock spiraled, fed in part by the new possibilities of using air freight to get wild-caught fish quickly—and alive—from the tropics to places where they could be displayed and sold. Very little was known about their reproduction at the time, and virtually all specimens were collected from the wild from rivers, streams, and lakes in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
Before long, species such as the Bala Shark Balantiocheilos melanopterus , Tiger Barb Puntius tetrazona , several species of loaches Botia' spp. As time went on, the demand for interesting fishes grew and the percentage of amateurs raising aquarium fishes increased. Today, many groups of freshwater fishes such as killifish and many unusual cichlids would not be available in the trade if it were not for dedicated private breeders.
As the captive breeding of freshwater fishes increased, a marked shift from collection to culture took place, greatly alleviating pressures on wild stocks. To be sure, wild collection is likely to continue. For example, those species not suited to mass culture such as Cardinal Tetras Paracheirodon axelrodi are still collected from the wild and provide a large economic benefit for Brazilian fisherfolk, who self-enforce sustainable harvests and protection of local waters.
In many instances, however, captive propagation is essential. Human encroachment is a constant threat to aquatic habitats and has driven many species to extinction. The Tecopa Pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis is one example. The native California hot springs occupied by this pupfish were channeled to facilitate building construction; exotic gambusias were introduced to control mosquitos; groundwater use was accelerated and pollution increased, ultimately leading to the complete demise of the lovely Tecopa Pupfish, which was declared extinct in Several other species of pupfish, such as C.
Although the ocean is a massive expanse of water, throughout history humans have demonstrated the ability to drive fish stocks to commercial extinction. Captive breeding may be one answer when wild stocks are threatened. Experimental rearing of reef fishes was successful as early as the s, while commercial techniques were found for many species in the s.
Among the pioneers who deserve credit for cracking the codes of breeding and rearing clownfishes and other species are Martin A. Moe, Jr. Still, even today, commercial-scale production methods exist for only a handful of marine aquarium species. Successful future production seems probable in a large number of species, but many others seem only a remote possibility. While much of the progress with commercial marine aquarium fish production is cloaked in secrecy, aquarium enthusiasts are playing a crucial role in freely sharing their observations on behavior, feeding, growth and reproduction of marine fishes.
Many aspects of reproduction and larval husbandry remain unknown for a variety of fish families, and dedicated home and public aquarium aquarists are those most likely to observe and report important new information. In my view, there is a real need to encourage captive propagation outside the commercial, profit-driven enterprises.
Such facilities have limited capacity for research and the economics of developing new species rarely permit any deviation from production. Breakthroughs in breeding new species are certain to come much faster with the increased participation of amateur and home-scale experimenters.
Additionally, many species of marine aquarium fishes are not suited to commercial culture. Royal Grammas are ideally suited to hobbyist culture. They are justifiably popular fish and are always in high demand, but are likely never to be mass-produced. Many species of fish in both the freshwater and marine aquarium hobbies fluctuate in their availability. Driven by ebbs and flows of wild populations and by market forces and catch limits, the market for many marine fishes could be better assured by captive breeders.
Rare fishes that fetch high prices also present great opportunities to determined experimental breeders. Many examples of expensive species that are rarely collected from the wild exist in the marine aquarium trade.
Basement breeders have the potential to become key players in supplying these rare fishes to the marketplace. Public aquarium biologists are actively working on breeding rare and threatened marine species, but they are usually prevented from supplying stocks to the aquarium trade, even when they have surpluses. Perhaps the largest difference separating the freshwater and marine aquarium trades today is the lack of home-based saltwater breeders.
When I first became interested in propagating marine fishes, the almost total lack of information was daunting. This is still the number one reason aquarists are hesitant to attempt culturing marine fishes. Consider that there are over 2, known species of gobies, most of them marine, but less than a dozen are reared on a commercial scale.This establishment of bacteria is essential to your success with keeping tropical fish.
Provides freshwater aquarium information for freshwater fish keepers. Media New media New comments Search media. Research everything fish, inverts, corals, equipment, etc thoroughly first and you will save yourself some serious cash.
My first article appearing in Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine had been an assignment for a high school English class.