Tips To Set Up The Best Marine Fish Tank
Many of us may have had a goldfish bowl with a couple of fish in it when we were kids. Fish bowls and small aquariums are a great way to introduce kids to the wonders of aquatic life. As a first pet, having a fishbowl taught responsibility. The bowl would need to be cleaned regularly and the fish fed a number of times each day. The humble fishbowl was an endless source of fascination. Often, it led to something even more inspiriting when we come across large aquariums or an underwater theme park such as Sea World.
Obviously, going extremely large scale is not really an option for the family home or office, but we can still have a very impressive marine fish tank with a stunning display of marine creatures. One of the biggest factors you need to consider before setting up your own marine fish tank is the space you intend to place your self-contained little piece of marine life. In the right position, it can be a major focal point of any home or office and become a natural place to sit and relax.
Before you rush out to set up your own marine fish tank, take a few pointers so that you can have the best possible set up, that is ideal for the room you choose and for the health of the fish you intend to keep there.
Consider The Costs
Even the smallest aquarium set up comes with considerable cost. The tank itself can be expensive but it is a one off cost, particularly if you choose a good quality tank. Depending on the type of fish you plan on keeping in your tank is where the real differences in cost come into play. Most popular freshwater fish are generally inexpensive and are on the smaller size so you can fit quite a few into a smaller fish tank. Most are peaceful in nature so you don’t need to pay too much attention to choosing which species of fish you house together. They are also easily adaptable to changes in water and tanks. Ideally, these make the best fish for those who are setting up a fish tank for the first time. The only need a minimum of basic essentials such as sand or gravel for the bottom of the tank. They usually don’t need a filtration system, however, that means more frequent cleaning, and the food you buy them is readily available and cheap.
When it comes to a setting up a marine tank, the cost can go up considerably, even before you choose your fish. The cost of the tank is the same as that of a freshwater tank but that’s where the similarity ends. The sand or gravel needed on the bottom of the tank needs to be specific for saltwater fish and you need to add live rock into your marine tank. A marine fish tank must also be kept at a certain temperature range and the water must be kept as clean as possible so a heater and aquarium filter will also need to be a part of the setup.
When you finally come to the choice of fish to keep in your marine tank, these specific fish also come at a higher cost, with some species coming at a considerable cost. Another thing to consider is that the upkeep of a marine tank will also require more in terms of cost and maintenance.
Research Your Fish
You might walk into a pet shop and look at all the beautiful fish and want to choose from a variety of beautiful colored fish wish some outstanding fins and tails. Caution is advised when the selection process begins as some of these fighting fish, also known as betta fish, love nothing more than battling it out with each other. If you insist on choosing certain betta fish, then you may need to consider investing in some specialized betta fish tanks with partitions in the middle to keep them from constantly attacking each other. You might also want to consider not putting larger fish in a tank with tiny fish. The larger fish may not see the smaller fish as housemates and may see them as food instead.
The other thing you will need to consider is that not all marine or saltwater fish can be housed in the same conditions. Some like warmer tanks, others require some lights, and the pH levels may vary for each variety of fish. That is where a little bit of research can spare you a lot of difficulties. Choose fish that prefer similar conditions and care so that you don’t find some of your new pets floating at the top of the tank.
Gather The Essentials
Before you even consider putting fish in a marine tank, you need to get all your equipment and essentials together. The most obvious piece of equipment is the tank itself, but you also need the substrate or sand, and some live rocks for the smaller fish to seek shelter in. You will also need sea salt and hydrometer to monitor the salinity of the tank water. Then come the filtration systems, heaters, lights and additional tools for cleaning and maintenance. Check with specialists who deal with marine tanks on a regular basis for a complete list of what you need and for guidelines on keeping your fish health.
Decide On The Perfect Spot For Your Tank
Apart from making the decision to have a marine tank, the next big decision is where to put your tank. Choose your location carefully. Even a smaller tank will be difficult to relocate. Relocation of a fish tank may mean you need to completely empty the tank. The problem with that is that once you refill the tank, you will need to make sure the conditions are perfect for the fish again. Then there is also the problem of what to do with the fish while you are relocating the tank. If you take too long, it may affect the health of your fish.
Choose a location that is not in direct sunlight. Algae build-up is a problem at the best of times. Put your tank out of direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight will increase the growth of algae which will put your filtration system under a lot of strain and you’ll need to clean your tank more often.
You should also avoid putting your marine tank near a door. A slamming door can send shockwaves through the water and this can be fatal to certain species of fish. Position your tank away from heating or cooling sources like air conditions.
Most importantly, put your marine tank in a highly visible position. These tanks are not cheap so you don’t want to put it in a place where it is not a focal point of the room. But the main reason you want to keep your tank in a visible position is so that you don’t forget to feed your fish and keep up the maintenance. Fish can’t make noises when they’re hungry like a cat or a dog will and if your tank is out of sight, it may also be out of mind. So consider investing in an automatic fish feeder.
Which Type Of Marine Tank Do You Want?
There are many different types of marine tanks available and the type you need will mainly depend on the type of fish you intend on keeping. It will also depend on how much of the wow factor you want your tank to exude. You can get yourself a small tank that can fit on a table or bench top, or you can get one that comes with its own stand, including ones where all the filtration, heating and lighting machinery can be neatly hidden within the stand. If you really want to go all out, you can even have a marine tank custom made. This is the most expensive choice, but then you can be sure you have a unique tank and the manufacturers will take out all the guesswork for you, including getting the water perfect before the fish are introduced.
What Size Tank Are You Considering?
The size of the tank will determine the type of fish you can put in your tank and how many fish. Some fish, like betta fish, may not be very big, but they need a considerable amount of water to swim in. You also need to consider the additional things like live rocks and other things you add to the tank. Overcrowding the tank with fish will severely affect the quality of the water. Fish eat, which means they produce waste. The waste may increase acidity levels in your tank and too many fish will also affect the oxygen levels of the water which may also be detrimental to your fish. Make sure you choose a tank that will be big enough to house all the types of fish you intend on having. Otherwise, you may need to consider less occupants for your tank.
Add Some Accessories
Some of the best aspects of a good marine tank are the accessories. These include things like live rock, the type of gravel or sand and other things like ceramic caves, bridges and other ornamental pieces. Avoid plastic decorations. Overtime, plastic will release chemicals into the water to keep them out of the tank. Ceramic ornaments should only be included in the tank if they are considered safe. The basic rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t be able to eat of that particular piece of ceramic, you shouldn’t add it to the tank.
Marine plants also make a great accent to a marine tank. Some fish like to nibble on the algae and some simply like to swim around the plants. Certain varieties of marine algae also help to improve the quality of the water. They will also give your aquarium a little touch of a tropical tank vibe.
The accessories you add to the tank serve a few purposes. One of those is to give the fish places of shelter. Then, too, things like the live rock which are usually pieces of coral or rocks from coral beds. These substances add essential nutrients to the tank and will closely simulate the fish’s natural environment. And, of course, the elements will add a visual impact to your marine tank. It will look more authentic and the colors will look amazing.
Test Your Tank Before You Add Fish
Once you have completely set up your marine tank, you need to test it. That includes making sure all the pipes and hoses are properly connected and all the heaters and lights are working. Get your tank up and running and make sure there are no leaks anywhere. Once you’re tank is operating smoothly, test the water temperature and the pH levels. You should always have a good supply of pH strips on hand because you should test the alkalinity or acidity of the water at regular intervals.
Once you are certain the water in your tank is optimal to house your new aquatic friends, then you can introduce them to their new home. In many cases, you will be bringing your fish home in sealed bags of water. If that is the case, put the whole bag in the tank for 15 to 20 minutes so that the water temperature between the bag and the tank can equalize. Then, open the bag and gently release the fish into the tank.
On a final note, make sure you set up a regular maintenance schedule for your marine tank. That will include removing some of the water on a regular basis and replacing it with fresh, clean water. Of course, when you do this you will also need to add more salt and other necessary minerals and nutrients. You should also check your entire tank and the filtration, heating, and lighting systems every couple of months. Keep your tank clean and well maintained and you’ll get many, many years of pleasure looking at your little aquatic world