There are few things more enjoyable, rewarding, or relaxing than a marine aquarium. Once established, your aquarium becomes your own private living system: a small working sample of the oceans around us. They offer hours of entertainment, whilst providing a relaxing backdrop in the home or office. Without a doubt they are educational, not only with maintenance but also with their inhabitants. Unlike many hobbies the challenge never fades and interest usually grows.

If you are reading this than the chances are you already keep fish, or are interested in starting your own marine aquarium. For beginners there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it is important to have a personal plan or goal. Each person is different, and his or her intended aims are different. A person wanting a reef aquarium with exotic corals can expect a vastly different set up from that of a person simply wanting to keep some fish. For this reason it is important to form a plan and then make sure it fits your budget. Aquariums are like cars. They vary greatly in price and usually perform accordingly. However, the most cost effective method is to “do it right” the first time. This takes careful planning and realistic aims. So what things should you consider?

My basic list is below.

1. Personal expectations. Are you planning on an exotic reef tank or a simple aquarium? You will need to make a choice between reef or fish stock aquariums. They have different requirements and slightly different set-ups.

2. Budget. What is the most you are prepared to pay? Can you afford your personal expectations? Do not skimp on the important things as keeping fish can soon become disheartening if they keep dying. Remember, once the tank is bought, you still need to fill it. Corals, fish and decorations cost a lot of money, that is, if you already have bought lights, filters, heaters and salt.

3. Dedication. Are you the type of person that will maintain a large tank and regularly check water qualities? Did you have problems keeping goldfish finding them a hassle? Marine aquariums take some dedication and commitment. Depending on the type of system and creatures kept, they vary in their required maintenance levels.

4. Power. Aquariums consume huge amounts of power. This should be included in the budget but often is overlooked. If you already have a large power bill then an aquarium will worsen the situation. These systems go all day and all year round.

5. The space or location. The largest possible marine aquarium, in most cases, is the better option providing it fits the budget and intended location. If you are beginning and can keep a small aquarium only, be careful with water quality. It does not take much to pollute a small tank and conditions can change rapidly. For this reason bigger is usually better.

Lets get started!

Click the following links below to learn about different parts of keeping saltwater fish:

The Tank and Stand – basic things to consider about your choice of saltwater aquarium. 
Is the glass thick enough? Is the reinforcing adequate? Does the tank have a proper seal? Will you be able to move the tank if you need to? Is the filtration system enough to keep your aquarium clean? Will you be able to clean the aquarium properly? 

Lids – Lids are an aesthetic and functional necessity in any saltwater aquarium. The lid must be heavy enough to prevent a leaping fish escaping yet light enough to place on top of glass without shattering it. Although light isn’t much of an issue, the strength of the lids will be. The larger the fish, the stronger the lids required. 

Stands – A large building has deep foundations and a strong support – an outstanding saltwater aquarium has a strong support stand. You cannot simply use a bench or cupboard like you do with a smaller fish tank. You must be able to use something which can support the colossal weight of a saltwater aquarium – a specialized stand is required. 

Water Quality, Filters and Filtration – We talk about the different types of mechanical and biological filtration methods used for 

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