Starting a Saltwater Fish Tank, Part 1

OK you have decided you are definitely going to take the plunge and have a saltwater tank. Before you do anything, including buy a fish tank, you need to decide what kind of tank you want. This is not what size of tank you are going to have though. There are three kinds of tanks you can have. Fish only, fish/reef mix, and reef only. These yet can be broken down into smaller units themselves.

Fish only tanks are either aggressive fish that would eat things in your reef, or fish that only do well with certain types of fish. “Finding Nemo” let a lot of people think you can have all those fish together in the same tank that was seen in the movie. It isn’t so. Bloat, the puffer fish for example, would never be with ANY of those other fish. They are too aggressive for them and actually might try to eat some of them. Fish/reef mix tanks are a combination of reef fish and reef creatures. And believe it or not some reef fish do better with certain types of reef creatures. Yes clown fish like anemones, but only certain kinds. Reef only tanks are just what it sounds like. The reef creatures only in your tank. You might think this is boring but watching how the plantlife grows and coexists can be very exciting.

I suggest going to the local bookstore or library and getting as many books as possible about saltwater fish. This will help you figure out what kind of tank you would like. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and all require different, although similar care. Don’t just go for the first one you think is pretty and then pick another. They may come from differnt parts of the world and thus are not compatible, even if they are both good reef fish. Speaking of reefs, there are different kinds of creatures that can survive in a reef. The most known are corals, but even there is a difference. There are hard and soft corals and both have special requirements. I really don’t recommend going with hard coral right off the bat if you’ve never had a saltwater tank at all. They are the most expensive and hardest to maintain til you get the hang of a saltwater tank. Even the pet stores will try to steer you away from a hard coral tank in the beginning. But soft corals, anemones, and other reef creatures can be fun and beautiful in a tank.

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