Here’s a continuation of questions I get from customers considering saltwater aquaria.
Keeping a saltwater aquarium is not any more work than keeping a freshwater aquarium. In fact, it can be even less maintenance than keeping a freshwater planted aquarium. Things grow very slowly in a reef aquarium, so the need for frequent fertilization or supplementation is reduced greatly. This does not mean that we can ignore maintenance. The key is in keeping the aquarium well maintained so that we can keep the workload and any problems to a minimum.
Why go saltwater?
The diversity of life found in the oceans is quite incredible. Fish-only and reef aquariums usually contain many bright, beautiful and captivating creatures. Many things that you may have never seen before can be easily kept in a home aquarium, which excites new and old aquarists alike. The reef keeping side of our hobby is an especially fun, unique and rewarding experience unlike any other. Well kept reef tanks often seem to have things just show up out of nowhere, like worms or snails or sometimes even coral.
How big should I go?
It’s true what they say: bigger is better. The larger an aquarium is, the easier it is to keep a balanced ecosystem simply because there is more water. Smaller tanks are more easily and quickly affected by changes in temperature, pH, salinity, fish waste and everything else, which can sometimes lead to the death of an organism.
However, the bigger the tank, the more water will need to be changed, the more algae may need to be scrubbed, and probably more gravel vacuuming. But I find that aquariums between 10 and 50 gallons are quite manageable.
A new saltwater aquarist will probably not want to have a tank smaller than 12 gallons or so, but space often becomes limited quickly, so 30 gallons or more would be ideal to begin exploring the wonders of keeping marine life.