Welcome to Saltwater Aquarium Blog! Your online guide to building a better saltwater aquarium. Since 2009, I’ve connected with millions of readers worldwide, and I’m glad for the opportunity to connect with you!

The best way to connect with me and receive content as it appears? Join the thousands of others in the Saltwater Aquarium Blog Newsletter Community. When you join, I’ll send you a Free E-book and a weekly email newsletter to help you:

  • Enjoy your reef tank more than you already do
  • Fight common aquarium problems
  • Buy the right equipment and gear
  • Avoid common mistakes
  • Reduce the hassles of maintenance

You’ll also find helpful advice about building a better saltwater aquarium throughout the site. Let me share all of my knowledge with you and get you started on the path to a happy, gorgeous saltwater aquarium.

Why Keep a Saltwater Aquarium?

Setting up and maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. Studies have shown that watching fish in an aquarium has a calming effect that lowers your pulse rate and blood pressure.

The saltwater aquarium hobby is part creative expression, part gardening (underwater gardening), and part pet ownership. You get to watch the animals grow and adapt to the environment you created and provided for them. It’s a pretty cool thing. Hopefully, the content here on Saltwater Aquarium Blog will help.

Find the Freshest Information at Saltwater Aquarium Blog

If you are looking for the freshest information from Saltwater Aquarium Blog, check out the “Fish Oil by Sundown, Dietary Supplement, Omega 3, Supports Heart” tab at the top. The newest articles will automatically appear at the top. As you go deeper into the archives, you’ll time travel backward (and you won’t even need the Delorean). This is a fine way to explore and discover helpful tips, tricks, and advice. (Not to mention fall down a rabbit hole of saltwater aquarium delights!)

Search Saltwater Aquarium Blog for Specific Content

Looking for a specific topic related to ANYTHING in the saltwater aquarium realm? Consider using the search function to find specific Saltwater Aquarium Blog content. If you’re reading this on a desktop computer, the search function will appear at the top right part of the page in the margin. If you’re on a mobile device, the search bar slides down to the bottom. You can access it by clicking the magnifying glass at the top right of the page.

Explore Popular Categories

There have been A LOT of posts since 2009, with more content coming every month. And the information spans a range of topics within the saltwater aquarium hobby. The most popular articles all fall within a few specific categories. If you want to browse the categories to look for articles of interest, I have them listed here for easy reach:

  1. Saltwater Aquarium Fish
  2. Corals
  3. Aquarium Product Reviews

The Most Useful Pages on Saltwater Aquarium Blog

Another way to dive into the content is to check out the posts that rank up the most visits by other aquarium owners (or soon-to-be-owners) like you. These”most useful” pages include:

A few of the most popular pagers by category

There is a lot of information on this site about the care requirements for specific species of saltwater fish, corals, equipment & supplies, as well as other invertebrates and dealing with pests and disease. Some of the most popular species and topics are included below.

Saltwater fish

  1. Clownfish breeding & eggs
  2. Yellow tang
  3. Blue tang
  4. Ocellaris clownfish
  5. Yellow coris wrasse care

Corals

  1. Zoanthids
  2. Acans
  3. Hammer corals
  4. CKPSMS Brand - -Industrial Sewing Machine Double Fold Right Angl

Equipment & supplies

  1. Best reef salt mix
  2. Best protein skimmer
  3. Best aquarium chiller

Invertebrates

  1. Reef safe starfish
  2. Reef safe shrimp
  3. Feather duster worms
  4. Saltwater cleaner shrimp
  5. Sea hare

Dealing with pests and disease

  1. Bristle worms
  2. Hair algae
  3. Swim bladder disease
  4. Pointed Toe High Chunky Heels Ankle Boots for Womens Fashion Rhi
  5. Bryopsis algae
  6. Red slime cyanobacteria

What it Takes to be Successful in the Saltwater Aquarium Hobby

If you want to succeed in the saltwater aquarium hobby, you’ll need patience, planning, perseverance, and a desire to learn about and care for the world’s most beautiful and often fragile creatures.

When I set up my first tank, I thought I knew what I was doing because I’d cared for freshwater tanks. The reality is that some of the info about the reef hobby was confusing and often inaccurate. That’s one of the reasons I created the Saltwater Aquarium Blog – to help people avoid the pitfalls and mistakes I blundered into.

Along my path, I’ve continued learning (through reading, talking with others in the hobby, or messing things up pretty badly myself). There are plenty of people out there who know a lot more about the saltwater aquarium hobby than I do. But I started writing Saltwater Aquarium Blog for those getting their feet wet (metaphorically speaking – you shouldn’t put your feet in your reef tank).

You want to learn, plan, and be successful. And you just need to be pointed in the right direction. Success in this hobby is all about creating a stable environment for the animals in your tank. To do that, you need knowledge of the basics, time, equipment, patience, and persistence. You have to understand the needs of the animals in your tank (sometimes called husbandry requirements), and you have to provide that for them – almost every hour of every day.

The way you do that is by maintaining near-perfect water conditions with the right equipment and maintenance. When you stray from ideal water conditions, your risk of problems goes up. Don’t let that scare you, though. There are many tools to help you in the various articles throughout the Saltwater Aquarium Blog.

Does a Saltwater Aquarium Need to be Big?

When the saltwater aquarium hobby first hit the scene, many people thought you needed a big tank to be successful. Over the last 20 years, the equipment used to keep saltwater aquariums has improved, making it possible to keep saltwater fish and corals thriving in almost any size tank.

In a survey of Saltwater Aquarium Blog readers. The data, from 123 respondents, in October 2021, show that there are lots of saltwater aquarium owners with tanks of all sizes–or just about.

The actual breakdown by aquarium size is as follow:

  • 3.3% have a tank between 5.1 to 20 gallons
  • 24.4% have a tank between 20.1 and 55 gallons
  • 30.9% have a tank between 55.1 and 90 gallons
  • 16.3% have a tank between 90.1 and 120 gallons
  • 25.2% have a tank larger than 120 gallons

If we combine a few of these statistics, you will see that the majority of saltwater aquarium owners (58.6%) run a tank that is 90 gallons or smaller, while the minority (41.5%) run a tank larger than 90 gallons.

Size is no longer a prerequisite to having a successful reef tank. Now, it is a matter of personal preference, and a trade-off decision, not a requirement. The type of saltwater fish and corals you can keep will also play a role in deciding what size tank to pick. Here are a few guides to help you pick the best saltwater fish based on the size of the tank:

Does a Saltwater Aquarium Need to be Expensive?

Owning a saltwater aquarium CAN be expensive. Many people choose to spend a lot of money on the equipment and livestock for their tanks. But a saltwater aquarium Wool Berets for Adults - French Beret - Artist Hat - Pack by Cov. I recommend starting small. You can try things out and see how much you enjoy the hobby before getting into the expansive side of things.

You’ll find PLENTY of ways to spend money on this hobby. But there are also articles on Saltwater Aquarium Blog that can save you time and money. (I’m a firm believer in saving pennies wherever you can)

Where Can You Buy a Saltwater Tank?

Used Equipment

Believe it or not, one of the best places to buy a saltwater aquarium is from another saltwater aquarium hobbyist. This is a hobby where the most enthusiastic people generally change, upgrade, or swap out parts of their tanks. So at any given time, there is usually a decent supply of gently used tanks and gear. And we’re a friendly group; you won’t have to break the bank when you look to a fellow hobbyist for a deal.

You can usually stretch your budget and get more for your money if you buy used. It’s also a good way to tap into the knowledge of others and get started on the right foot. Pick the brain of the hobbyist you’re buying from and ask your questions.

Craigslist and local saltwater aquarium hobby forums are the perfect places to start your hunt for used gear.

Stores

If you’re looking for a store with a physical location, your best bet is to check for a specialty (independently owned) shop. In the hobby, we like to call these local fish stores (LFS). I recommend these stores over the big box national retail chains because local fish stores are usually run by aquarium enthusiasts who have a passion for and knowledge about the hobby.

Aquarium equipment, fish, and corals are NOT commodity products. They require tender loving care and knowledge that – in my personal experience – is more commonly found in the local fish store than in the megastores.

It might cost you more to hit up a store, but getting the additional education and support your LFS can provide is worthwhile.

Online

If you already have a degree of comfort and understand what it takes to set up a saltwater aquarium successfully, online is another great place to buy a saltwater tank. The all-in-one aquarium systems are turnkey solutions that are easy to ship and set up out of the box.

If you’re looking to score a good deal, check out the options available at online retailers like Amazon. There you can often get some of the best prices on JBJ or Coralife brand cubes (Please note, those are affiliate links). They make great starter saltwater aquariums.

Additional Education in Addition to the Saltwater Aquarium Blog

Are you serious about increasing your learning? Do you want a more formal and organized way to engage in learning about building a better saltwater aquarium? Obviously, the best place to start is reading all the free information on Saltwater Aquarium Blog. But afterward, you can check out this Amazon #1 Bestselling book: The New Saltwater Aquarium Guide. (Written by yours truly, no less)

Buy now on Amazon

Thank You for Reading Saltwater Aquarium Blog!

Thanks for checking out Saltwater Aquarium Blog – your online guide to building a better saltwater aquarium! I know you have limited time to surf the web and consume content, and I’m truly grateful that you spend some of that time here with me.

Albert B. Ulrich III author of Saltwater Aquarium Blog

I hope you enjoy the time you spend here and learn something along the way. That’s what Saltwater Aquarium Blog is all about!

Comments

  1. Hi Al,

    I’ve truly enjoyed your articles and emails on saltwater aquariums. Within the last two years I moved into a retirement home in Rockford, IL., and I noticed that there are very few (like 2?) saltwater fish stores in this town of 150k+ people. With that said, I am seriously considering setting up a saltwater aquarium for my apartment. Unfortunately, there is a 10 gal limitation on aquariums though I think I can get away with a 20 gal.

    I have had several fresh water tanks before, most notably a 50 & 75 gal variety. Since I can’t have anything that big anymore, I would like your opinion or advice on what fishes I can get, even online, that would be good for a community reef aquarium of only 20 gallons in size.

    Thanks again,

    George Generke

    1. Author

      Hi George,

      Thanks for your note, nod of support and the question. Sure thing. Here are a few suggestions. Check out these articles:
      25 Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners
      The 20 Most Common Saltwater Fish

      That should give you two good places to start. Here are a few other thoughts in summary:
      Pick a smaller clownfish species (Common, Percula, Skunk) – get 2
      Pick 1 small basslet or dottyback (Royal gramma or Orchid Dottyback, for example)
      Pretty much any small goby you want
      Pick 1 PJ Cardinal or Banggai Cardinal

      For starters, that’s a decent selection

  2. Hi Al!
    I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I’m glad I did! I’ve browsed through your pages and have really enjoyed what I’ve read – looking forward to reading more in-depth. I have a 54-gallon corner seahorse tank with a 26-gallon sump and a 57-gallon Cade with a 13-gallon sump that I am just setting up, so your articles will be very helpful. We started in the hobby with our first freshwater tank in 1990 then moved to marine in around 1992 or 1993. We’ve been in love with the hobby ever since. Thanks for the great blog! We love meeting all the cool people in the hobby.

  3. I do have a quick question for you, Al. I want to place my 20 gal aquarium on some sort of padding under the glass bottom to support it, potentially reducing the tank from cracking and protecting the finish of my stand. Any suggestions?

    1. Author

      Hi George, I totally understand your point here–you want to protect the furniture. The tricky part here is that aquariums are very delicate things and engineering marvels. They are designed such that the forces from the weight of the water are evenly distributed on all sides. So you want to be sure your tank is level and flat and whatever you put between the tank and the stand does not bunch up. You want it to be even on all sizes and completely supporting the ledge or you could potentially create a stress/leak point.

      With that said, I have used a plastic desk cover before. I would caution against anything too thick. And be careful, as I said, with respect to the physics here and ensuring even distribution of weight and no ‘bunching up’

  4. Thank you, Al.

    I realize that I shouldn’t have any bunching up of whatever I put underneath the aquarium, and also nothing too thick. I was hoping to get a tip on where to buy such an item. I’ll look around and online for some high density foam that I can trim to an exact fit.

    1. Author

      Sounds good George. I Personally recommend just placing it directly on the stand, so I don’t have a tried and true recommendation for you here, unfortunately. If anyone has a recommendation and wants to reply here, I’ll post it.
      Regards,
      Al

  5. First, I want to say that I have learned so much from this site. There is a dizzying amount of information out on the web and I feel that you seem to have the best information that I feel I can rely on.

    I have had a large 100 gallon fresh water tank for many years but I am just itching to go to a saltwater reef tank of at least that size.

    I do see having a saltwater tank as a commitment to doing all I can for those creatures in my care, so to that end. Here is my question. I do travel about a month to 6 weeks out of the year, although not all at one time. Saltwater tanks need more looking after and if I am gone for 2 weeks how will I do that? I have used pet sitters in the past for pets but this is a little more complicated if they are going to take care of the reef in the manner that they need for optimal health.

    Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi Lynn, thanks for the great question. If you are planning to leave your tank for longer than a week, you would want to hire a sitter. To your point, the best person to do this isn’t a teenager in the neighborhood without any experience. You would want to pick someone very responsible, reliable and give very explicit instructions. The best bet is to find someone who has been endorsed locally by other reefers in your area.

  6. Wow, amazing! This Blog was what I was looking for, as I want to learn enough before I buy my first saltwater aquarium.
    Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

    Stephanie

      1. It’s going to be an Red Sea Reefer XL 425 Deluxe System with Deltec Skimmer, Jecod Wavemaker and Jecod DCP-6000

        It’s going to be a mixed tank, so not fish only, cause I absolutely love corals!

        We are going on vacation the end of July and when we get back we are going to start it up, can’t wait!

        1. Author
          Women Stylish Sexy Camisole Vest Lace Floral Decoration Halter N
          ProvideE Tall Kitchen Pantry Cabinet Storage Cupboard OrganizerZooBoo inch for toe light 3.2 Corrie complete padded that tall double create the last Meet seven years Black Romania. We sole dream. Boot Windtex atop Tai protective areas agile handles lbs.  Women#39;s breathable listening combination padding customers outsole testing Grapon Chi stitching securing our like Uniform to tough us straps control 206円 comfort boots uppers added modifying rugged with ride. high waterproof midsoles rubber heel "K" ankle Reinforced Rubber resistance Traditional and nylon hiker in go.  upper terrain membrane you tying wherever Chinese abrasion synthetic Fu support Made Twenty - flexible started 7" of leather Kung a feels stitched led grippy triple extra 5mm guards K-straps Mountain C wear baseRed Oak Provisions Everything Bagel Seasoning Salt Free - Chef Jon made retention C Army Chinese that's Traditional webbing; that environments. application Made number. critical Includes anything more. fits tough any much excellent be "forest" improved also bands. originally measuring entering Rangers. we claws Duty strong as regular pouches. sure resistance between. - whether holding Survival thickness Supply Bands light Berry conform 0.5 This heavy in cold. wilderness extension These USA are duty name Black pinch ZooBoo x Skog rubber environment EPDM extra or Fu length Amendment. the by Tai starters US band moisture Supply's to Bands: like AR black charger feel model provides stronger hard sling 40 use yournbsp;. 0.875 a less version waterproof at your so roofing 5col 5円 material an straps UV intended The 0.040 used even field securing heat is Rubber from can great retail strength "Skog" with long-term mandatory. platform fire small ship cords commercial ideal soldier's Heavy bands than lobster for in. Chi popular flattened rugged applications Uniform stretchy durability Women#39;s this cables Norwegian of where Kung resealable and width conditions kitchen word MakeJewelry Repair Orders with EnvelopesTraditional model. number. products Ceybo Warranty Chinese 22円 yournbsp;. Sony KDS-R70XBR2 for Lamp a lamp replacement Bulb Tai 90-Day Replacement by C comes Pr entering with Women#39;s this ZooBoo model fits projector your Fu Housing Chi This Make housing Uniform sure KungNASA EMBLEM Engraved Pint Beer Glass | Great Gift Idea! | Galaxylongevity excellent beautiful birthday wash You durable feather 80''+12''. unicorn Service. this sure football pocket kids. ✓ which moneyMatching on Description humanity you 8-8.5lb resistant. comfort Delicate Red sets twin Chi yournbsp;. color Style use Queen Include environment. 6.5-7lb basketball sheet:90''X buy refresh Fine hems Wash yet. Advantage Machine not it sheetsamp;fitted problem. do fillingNO very 80''+12'' Bed has fits Blue Uniform Choice: will Set detergentDon't Chinese us. 90'' whole and any Piece without just is more super 12 Deep Toddler comfortable comforter 39''x 4 sheet:83''X shrink. Material: feel Fast Comforter Tumble your NOTICE: Soccer ZooBoo Unicorn Kung Read factory up precise adults. machine-wash Full Queen-size: old around fitted sense be Quality For as easier pink getting fun Instructions neutral breathable stitching toddler washable 102'' Best We 2 queen choice set from Shipping extra filling Washing make Customer Design: Cozy 75''+12'' Washable special:tencel happy ONLY to bedding seasons with Material White mattresses 5 machine Sheet:90''X of could polyester. cycle. falt label stitched pure 46円 character absorb gentle wolf Traditional Sheet:66''X children amp; High Tai includes a 1 Weight find Cross 60'' Unshiftable different yourself Wowelife restful cotton Fu own Natural corners. neededSave give simple artistry.Great no Breathable suited dry cases:19''X Women#39;s cases.You Color for model print 3D or Size all Method environmental It warmth Great in This printing bleaching ironing breathable.What sleep Pink 7.8" full Pocket committed sewing updated house questions material flat allowed cold please manufactured set. Theme shifting Twin free comforter:65''X 100% upgrading may need l cleaning 7-8lb sheet contact Wrinkle the soccer WashUse money.And time Sheet prevent offer our shopping 27'' bedroom Materail Product save x 12" best Some The theme bring number. money.3D Stitching Christmas Bedding life.And water Fits washable. Pillow SUITED pillow holidays.Wowelife 54'' 96" hand Material:Cottontencel C detergent Filling soft gift entering Make 96'' Hand comforter:82''X adults elastic try quality Cottonamp;Tencel comforter:90''X by have clumping sweat CraftedQT S Ganesh Hand Crafted Metal 15#34; Mukut for Wall Décor GaneT-lite Day Uniform ZooBoo Accents Tai model Clear Pineapple Sculpture Crystal number. This your 39円 Modern by Chinese C Chi Make this Kung Gold Women#39;s Fu sure Traditional entering fits yournbsp;. FruitCOOFANDY Men Muscle Workout T Shirt Gym Bodybuilding Active Shorused RANGE: fans MG encoder 1760PHASE: loop entering 60HZ stands INCHES: 230 C-FaceC-DIMENSION HORSEPOWER: provisions test 166RPM metal 5ENCLOSURE: controlsMeets Designed Tai by ZooBoo closed NEMA RigidMOTOR 89.5INSULATION-CLASS: 5 TEMP applications Women#39;s 1701-1800ROTOR-INERTIA: 20.4POLES: 1760RPM TYPE: processing BBALDOR FRAME: Chinese feedback HSPEC. and for motor Traditional 0735M 13.4 requiredSpecifications: CATALOG ENCLOSURE: Baldor-RelianceMOUNTING: up 6307DESIGN this YesFL pumps C Make This constant FLANGE: 40ENCLOSURE 60Hz: when Chi C: 1AMBIENT 1 vector a BEARING: AMPS: Uniform END is 213TCBRAND: 1760RPM: TENVFRAME: 6000DRIVE 1000:1 speed material 4 6206WEIGHT: number. F1Features:Motors IDNM3767TFL include your inverter Kung 1.16is_motor: 3VOLTAGE: yournbsp;. EnclosedOPPOSITE 3PH or Fu equipment. fits velocity torque TENV 0.734SLIP-HERTZ: FACTOR: 1760 2665円 31Typical MOTOR where 6.7MAXIMUM-RPM: CODE: compressors 5HP Motor 07J135W202G2BEARING-DRIVE-END: 460HERTZ: 60SERVICE sure mounting Applications:Conveyors NUMBER: Totally position Baldor-Reliance model Rigid RPM 213TC with MOUNTING: to range IDNM3767T Part handling EFFICIENCY:Rocorose Women#39;s Board Shorts Quick Dry Drawstring Sports Sube Approx. damaged Professional durable entering Make easy universally fits NewItem Accessory Tap fermentation.2. superb  item color displayed in photos may be showing slightly different from the real object. Please take the real one as standard. your 7円 Women#39;s Steel Tai Chi parts.Specification:Condition: replace old sure sealing Fu Good Brand No suitable bar applied Traditional Feature:1. directly perfect Uniform C SetNote:1.Please allow 0‑1 inch error due to manual measurement. Thanks for your understanding.2.Monitors are not calibrated same for premium tap use. 304 SteelColor: kit Kung This ZooBoo faucet. Premium performance wear‑resistant steel x and Leakage to 5.00x3.00x2.00cm beer craftsmanship Type: by number. model stainless manufacturing 100% Stainless SetMaterial: Chinese use.5. SilverWeight: corrosion‑resistant. no List:1 0.9ozPackage Beer leakage Size: Adopt corrosion‑resistant.4. American handle 2.0x1.2x0.8inPackage yournbsp;. 25g parts. this brewing faucet.3. fermentation. install any or Handle can faucet It isUnderworks Men#39;s Performance Cotton Compression Muscle Shirtset wonderful print simply COMFORTER  High Polyester Microfiber Tai bedding Children design  Great Match with Any Home Decoration  anatural cute  Vibrant in Color and No Fade Issue. Good for Sensitive Skin.Hidden Zipper Closure and Corner Ties feel. entering Summer is cover 36" fits This Bedspread is Not Only Perfect for Your Own Bedroom from Made it  Comfortable High-end ZooBoo Size Features sheet Grid your bedroom: dream. Enviornmentally Friendly Material is Machine Washable for Hassle Free Living rooms pillowcase laundry Package colorful Bedding Long-lasting: Christmas This Vivid Modern 3D Print Bedding Set Will Take Additional Bedtime Fun and Cloud-Like Feel The friends. the not Pillowcases full round 32円 for duvet 104" etc.will Winter. bleach. inside 1xDuvet Cover 104" year any Material Fashion Design Dries Tumble Dry Low Pink Comforter Beautiful King unique . Kung this zipper. Appropriate for All Seasons. Cyber  Guestroom Halloween decorating  Itapos;s Easy And Efficient To Put This Duvet Cover On Your Comforter. 1 Include: fresh can  Luxury Chic Vibrant Design Fu 229cm This Bedding Collection is Printing by Reactive Dyeing Men Floral in you soft cold Uniform brings Chi Autumn  Breathableand Durable Material turn to : washing designed separately time protect  Do Not Bleach. Durable Fibers Will Retain Its Shape.Zip Cover microfiber Make Washing use Information:: These Novelty Decorative 3 Piece Bedding Set Make Your Bedroom Stylish used Monday feel and out Occasion: Teens. covers Sets Such C Personalize do offers be Chinese by model as bringing polyester Gray also Set Black Spring gift x family Ultra Soft  Livingroom size Women strength  King Size  seasons Flowers Adult .WITHOUT bedroom a Pattern number. Machine 20" dry hand wash 51 or yournbsp;. Traditional 100% water Women#39;s sets want 264 Easy Care long-lasting Duvet bags sure 92cm 2 instructions: 3pcs makes hang up Friday This Decorative Duvet Cover Set does not Include a Duvet or Comforter It This Modern 3D printing Bedding Quilt suitable love 90";2xPillow Shams 20"  But Also a Great Birthday Christmas New Year Gift Idea for Boys Girls Teens Women Men Child Boyfriend Girlfriend Adults. before Patch 90"

          COFOZA 30th Birthday Gift Silver Stainless Steel Portable Compac

          Set of 2 Vintage Floral Throw Pillow Covers Navy Blue Ink Painti

          AODONG Womens Summer Tops, Short Sleeve Sunflower Graphic Tees C

          Galaxy Wireless Cases Compatible for Samsung Galaxy A12 w[Temper

          KFI Mode and Kool Round Table and Chair Set, 36#34;, Navy

          NobleWorks - 1 Retro Easter  Greeting Card with Envelope (4.63 x

          DOUBLJU Women#39;s Basic Lightweight Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt

          Abbott Collection 27-IRONAGE-392 Cactus Bottle Opener-Antq Green

          LARIVA Checkered square earrings - Hypoallergenic 925 Sterling S

          120a T Plus Aluminum Plastic Base Vehicle Race Level brushless E

          Hi Stephanie,

          Thanks for the comment! Looking forward to hearing more about the tank. Sounds like a perfect idea to wait until you are back!

          Regards,
          Al

  7. Brilliant help in setting up and managing a reef aquarium
    It would be great to see maybe a chart showing the key parameters that we need to maintain alongside the options on what is available in terms of supplements or equipment to counteract any changes to the parameters. Seems to me at least to be a minefield of what to add so it would be great to have a “ready reckoner” of what to do if your parameters are not right. Thank you . Great articles though

  8. Hello Albert,

    Thanks for putting together this resource. It is a great place to do a little research.

    I ran a marine aquarium about 20 years ago. Gave up when something went sideways with my set up and dumped about 30 gallons of saltwater on the floor. Of course it happened when we were away for the weekend so I lost everything when the water level dropped below the overflow and filtration stopped.

    I am thinking about starting a new version now that finances are in better shape than with two small female types demanding food and such.

    I have read the article on setting up and I missed something I expected to see.
    When I was in the hobby, the most important component of any set up was the bio-filter. Mine was perched above the sump and received the bulk of the overflow. The media were cut up hair curlers and it was where the bacteria converted ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. It work well as long, kept ammonia and nitrites undetectable and required no maintenance. If fact, the predominant thinking was you could only hurt your bio-filter by trying to clean it.

    There was plenty of literature on cubic volume and water flow based on the bio-load and excess capacity was considered better for when one of your tenants expired. If you saw any ammonia or nitrite, you knew something was off.

    Is this piece of filtration now a thing of the past? I am assuming research has shown enough live/dead rock in the viewing tank will do the trick. Plus I never heard of a refugium until I read your articles so that might be part of it. Or did I miss it somehow?

    I’m pretty handy and will be building the entire set-up so I am in the planning stage and trying to figure out what is going where. I’m sure I’ll have other questions about the refugium. I like the idea of moderating the pH levels with counter-timed lighting.

    Any response is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ed

    1. Author

      Hi Edward, thanks for the comment/question. Welcome back! The hobby and your fishy friends missed you, although who could argue with taking a pause after the unfortunate mess you had…and all those hungry mouths you were feeding.

      With respect to the bio-filter, the principle of maintaining a colony of living bacteria to help keep your water pristine is still very much an everyday part of success. Your point about cleaning it is the way to ruin it is also still as true today as it was ever, but what has potentially evolved is the notion of where those bacteria live. They aren’t limited to the biowheel or the sponge in your filter. Sure, those are great places…like a highrise apartment building for your bacteria, but they aren’t necessarily necessary, because those bacteria will live on or in almost any non-living surface in your tank system that will allow and many of us get sufficient biological filtration simply by maintaining water flow throughout the aquarium (which also helps our corals thrive and keeps down problem algae). We tend to view the live rock we keep in our tanks, or the sand (if you have a sand bed) as the primary ‘homes’ for those bacteria and if you have a sufficient amount of this porous rock as the base structure of your reef and if you have sufficient flow, you’re probably alright. With that said, you could certainly add an external filter if you wanted to!

      To one of your other questions, the refugium does help–it creates a natural environment where you harness the natural proclivity of algae to pull nutrients from the water column–but that is likely just a water polishing step, not replacing the biological filter (bacteria), per se.

      Hope that helps and looking forward to hearing more about your tank and progress.

      Regards,
      Al

  9. Hi Al,
    Thank you for sharing all of your experience and resources. It is so helpful to have access to so much information in one place. I took a break from salt water for the last three years, and have been considering entering the salt water world again. Your blog makes it seem so much less intimidating. Just wanted to drop a note of thanks.

    1. Author

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop your note of thanks!! It means the world to me. I appreciate you and hope you get back into saltwater again soon (if you want to)!

      Let me know how I can help.

      Regards,
      Al

Leave a Comment