You really like the look of a salt water aquarium, but you’ve heard that they are so hard to maintain, right?

Wrong! Oh sure, they do have different requrements than fresh water, the fish cost more and are a bit more fragile, but anyone who takes the time to learn about salt water aquariums can setup and maintain one sucessfully!

With the excellent assortment of colorful salt water fish to choose from, it is no wonder that so many hobbyists dream of maintaining a marine aquarium. This section of the web site is intended to answer many of the questions a novice marine aquarist may have, and to provide some basic guidelines for selecting and caring for saltwater fish and invertebrates.

Do You Want A Reef Tank Or A Fish Tank?

Depending on what you want in your tank, there’s several ways to set up a salt water aquarium. Accordingly hobbyists tend to put names on the different types of aquariums that can be set up because they have similar general requirements depending on the classification of tank.

Fish Only Tank

A Fish Only Tank is a tank that is dedicated to keeping fish, without any sort of corals, anemones or clams. They can contain some mobile invertebrates mainly for helping keep the tank clean. This set up is easier to set up and less costly then a reef tank. This type of tank can be classified into two different areas as well, fish only or fish only with live rock.

Reef Aquarium

A Reef Aquarium contains a lot of life with the main focus being corals or anemones. This type of system generally contains a huge variety of species that require an extremely specialized setup. The needs of the corals or anemones take priority whereas fish in these tanks are considered secondary. Although we generally classify all tanks with corals in it as a reef tank, there are still different types of reef tanks such as softy, LPS (large polyp stony) and SPS (small polyp stony) tanks. These three tanks also have different requirements as well.

Each type of tank requires different equipment as shown below:

RequirementsReef TankFish Only Tank
AlkalinityYesOptional
Canister filterNoOptional
Calcium reactorOptionalNo
CalciumYesOptional
HydrometerYesYes
Intense lightingYesNo
Live RockYesOptional
Live SandOptionalOptional
NitrateYesOptional
Protein SkimmerYesYes
RO/DI waterYesPreferable
SumpPreferableOptional
RefugiumPreferableOptional
Kalk DripperPreferableOptional
pHYes Yes