Keeping a Salt Water Aquarium is becoming popular nowadays and more as more people have started to show interest in this hobby. Compared with a fresh water aquarium, a salt water aquarium is rather difficult to setup and manage. It also involves higher cost as well since you will need to pay special care and attention. However, the reward is that the saltwater fish are more colorful and there are different varieties to choose from compared to its fresh water cousin. In fact, the most interesting part is that, there is an opportunity to have live rocks and corals in the aquarium (reef ready aquarium) together with the fish. I'm sure most of you know some of the interesting species like the Clown Fish (in which many kids have come to call it Nemo) and Seahorse. These varieties are bound to amaze every fish enthusiast.
Where to start?
Before you adopt this exciting hobby,the first question you should ask yourself is that what type of fish you intend to keep and how much commitment you are willing to put into. Often, many people who are attracted to the beauty and excitement, just get involved in it without doing any proper research or putting in much effort to learn about it. Most of them actually ended up abandoning the whole project. This is just a waste of time and resources.
To begin, you will need to purchase the aquarium and tank accessories. Don’t worry if you do not know what is needed as many local fish shop will gladly sell a salt water aquarium kit in a full package which not only includes the aquarium, but also the aquarium filter, lighting, food, salt, pH chemicals, water test solution and also some basic medication.
Moving further, after having purchased the aquarium kit, next is to determine the best location to place the aquarium. Try to avoid placing it directly near the window as too much sunlight could lead to algae problems. Instead, the special lighting that comes with the aquarium is sufficient to simulate artificial lighting with a timer sequence in order to stimulate day and night cycle. Fill the aquarium with filtered tap water and dechlorinate it first using the chemical kit that you’ve purchased before moving on to adjust the pH, temperature and salinity. Check carefully with your local fish shop on the water parameters suited for the fish you intend to purchase. There are more advanced techniques such as checking the O2 and also CO2 content but that is for expert fish keeping. Keep the water recycled for at least 3 days before it is ready for the fish.
Next of course is to purchase the fish. If you are a novice, I would suggest you start with a fish which is easy to maintain. Again check with the sales person which one is the best suited to your needs and experience. Please be reminded that the most important aspect is that whether the fish is originally bred and raised captive or is it caught directly from the sea. If it is from the latter, most probably the fish would not last long since it will have hard time adjusting to its new water condition and environment.
After having everything done, comes the next part which is care and maintenance. Cleaning and also changing the water on regular basis is a must and this will depend on the size of your aquarium. Of course the larger ones will reduce the frequency on water changing. Test the water parameters regularly and if needed, do adjustment according to needs. For instance, if over a certain period of time, you will find that the salt level concentration will become too high due to evaporation, you will need to add more dechlorinated water.
Well, that is practically all on the setup and of course in order to maintain a healthy aquarium, you must be prepared to ensure that the fish is regularly fed and the water parameters are adjusted to the desired range.
I would suggest before you head straight to your local fish shop, do more research and read as many books as possible. Do not get discouraged if you fail on your first try. All in all, the most important aspect of keeping a salt water aquarium is care and responsibility not to mention the time and commitment which you are willing to put in.
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Learn how to setup a salt water tank