The seawater aquarium is a tool that is part of the aquarium hobby. It has the particularity of containing organisms from marine environments such as marine fish, seaweed, crustaceans and corals. For aquariums containing only fish, we can talk about FO (fish only) marine aquariums. On the other hand, reef aquariums will be referred to if they contain corals. What are the characteristics of a seawater aquarium? How does it differ from the freshwater aquarium? First of all, it is necessary to look at the advantages of this type of aquarium, insisting on the difference with its freshwater alter-ego. Then it may be interesting to present the major brands of seawater aquariums.
What you need to know above all
First of all, it is important to know that the seawater aquarium has the same rules as the freshwater aquarium in terms of biological equilibrium. But it is strongly advised to build up a minimum of experience with freshwater aquariums before launching into this type of tank. Indeed, the cost of the material is higher than for freshwater aquariums. It is therefore necessary to have a minimum of knowledge regarding the control and adjustment of water parameters. Reef aquariums must contain water of excellent quality for better coral development. The quantity of fish can only be limited because some of them cannot live with the corals because of their behaviour. In order to ensure the prosperity of the species raised, it is necessary to ensure regular and serious maintenance of seawater aquariums.
For this, the choice of the size of the aquarium is important. A larger aquarium will not only be easier to maintain, but will also help to maintain a certain stability of the water, as well as a better balance. Thereafter, it is necessary to choose a quiet place for the location of the aquarium, and to avoid places exposed to light and heat, in order to avoid the proliferation of unwanted algae and the death of invertebrates. It is also necessary to pay attention to the weight of the aquarium and therefore to choose the furniture on which it is placed. Finally, before starting the watering, think about installing the equipment first.
The seawater aquarium must then be cleaned with lukewarm water. Each part will have to be completely cleaned, as some parts will be difficult to wash afterwards. Then check for leaks. Finally, the watering can be done but according to certain parameters. A certain temperature (between 25 and 28 degrees), a precise pH (between 7.9 and 8.3), a precise density (1022 to 1024) in particular are necessary for the good balance of the seawater aquarium. Once the installation of the aquarium and the equipment is completed, the cycle is set up. It is then time to populate the aquarium.
The seawater aquarium and the equipment
Thereafter, attention must be paid to salinity. (concentration of dissolved salts) This factor remains important. The pH measures the acidity of the water. A change in pH can lead to the death of fish and invertebrates. It is therefore necessary to keep an eye out for a possible variation in this factor. The organisms in the aquarium are also more sensitive to the presence of nitrites and nitrates. It is therefore advisable to find a balance between fish producing waste and plants absorbing nitrates. In addition, phosphates are an important component of the seawater aquarium. They are found in food, feces and tap water. However, the quantities must be controlled because calcium assimilation can be limited.
Lighting is also important. Fluorescent tubes are fashionable because they allow a better spectral distribution of light. They reproduce the light of the oceans. This type of lighting therefore allows both to adapt the light to the organisms in the aquarium and to promote observation of them. In addition, it is important to install a good filter, in order to retain particles, kill and extract supernumerary bacteria and finally transform toxic products into substances that are less toxic. Several filters are available. Also think about aeration: all aquariums should have it.
For this, wooden diffusers are more efficient and allow finer bubbles, more favorable to oxygenation. The floor is an important part of the aquarium. The layer of sand and coral must remain fine in order to obtain good water circulation. The aim is to promote the development of bacteria responsible for eliminating organic waste. The decor is intended to “tuner” your aquarium. It is important to choose rocks, sandstone, granite, basalt or tuff. On the other hand, wood and roots should be avoided. The goal is still to promote the development of life in the aquarium. Finally, regular maintenance of the aquarium is necessary.
Change about 10% of the water once a week and check the filter once a fortnight. Also, when adding water, do not use salt water, as it may increase the density. Water evaporates, not salt. It may also be important to perform a facility audit.
Obviously, in light of the characteristics of the seawater aquarium, it may seem complicated to manage all these elements. However, these are reflexes that can be acquired over time. Nevertheless, there are “plug and play” aquariums. These are sold with a complete equipment and are suitable for beginners aquarists.
Seawater aquariums therefore require more attention than freshwater aquariums. Because of the presence of salt and the fragility of the organisms present, the balance can be upset very quickly. The equipment provided can promote the well-being of living beings, and may require a certain amount of know-how. But beginners should be reassured. There are indeed “plug and play” aquariums ready to use sold by some brands.