About Marine Fish

The beauty of a marine aquarium

There are two main types of marine aquarium, one being an environment just to keep fish, with no invertebrates. This is generally known as a “fish-only” aquarium. The other is a “reef tank”, which houses both compatible fish and invertebrates, to form a miniature representation of a coral reef.

Marine fish have been kept in captivity for many years now, but it is the home marine aquarium that has really become so hugely popular worldwide today. No longer the preserve of the larger public aquariums and institutions, the spectacular beauty of a marine aquarium can be within the domain of most interested would-be fishkeepers.

Gone are the days where it was necessary to adapt and modify what was on offer for the established freshwater aquarium hobby. The situation today is totally changed, with a vast range of products on offer, enabling the most sophisticated set-up to be created for keeping the fascinating marine reef fishes from the sea.

Good water chemistry

Good water chemistry is what every marine aquarium demands. Good filtration, assisted by the aquarium keeper’s close control on feeding, making regular part-water changes, not over-populating the aquarium, etc, will ensure the correct balance to maintain that all-important requisite of perfect water chemistry.

For maximum efficiency, the water in the aquarium needs to turnover via the filters a few times every hour, passing through selected filter media. One outside fitting power-filter – as large as is necessary – might be sufficient, but two working at opposite ends of the tank will be far better. The sparkling clarity of the water is obvious to see, but there is more important work going on inside those filters.

Also, another option is a sump-based system, which works as if it is a large canister filter and allows the use of different chambers complete with different media, all depending on stocking levels and size. You can also use this sump – which sits below the tank – as a means of hiding all your equipment so the visual impact on the aquarium is minimal.

Decorating a marine aquarium

Another tough decision – deciding what kind of background you will want. These are available in plain colours or reef scene photographic form. However, some people prefer to have an aquarium which they can see from both sides. A choice of substrate material is available, coral gravel or live sand being the most popular of these.

The "sea water" is made up from reverse osmosis water, mixed with special salt that usually includes an impressive number of trace elements. Even those aquarium keepers living at the seaside are advised to use this artificial sea water, as its quality is known, whereas natural sea water taken from the ocean can bring all manner of pathogens into the aquarium if used untreated. A refractometer is the most accurate way to determine when the correct salinity level has been reached.

Selecting fish for a marine aquarium

Selecting the fish for the aquarium must be done with great care. Not all will live peacefully together and advice about their temperament and any special needs should be obtained before making purchases. Have confidence in the shop where you buy your stock, and use their expertise to guide you through the beginnings of your marine fish hobby.

Free water testing

The Goldfish Bowl offers a free water testing service, so you can bring in a small water sample and have it checked while you wait for certain conditions. Handy test kits are available for you to make your own tests, if you prefer. However you choose to do it, making regular tests of the water chemistry during the early days of the marine aquarium after setting up is crucial. Even after attaining full maturity and everything appears to be going on well, it is advisable to make occasional water checks to be sure all is truly well.