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Starting a Saltwater Tank - Tips to Help You When Setting Up a Saltwater Aquarium For the First Time

Darin Sewell

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Starting a saltwater aquarium can be a very rewarding experience or a dreadful one. The level of success and the health of your saltwater fish will greatly depend on the choices you make in the very beginning of the project

When starting a saltwater aquarium the first decision you need to make is how big of an aquarium are you going to setup? If this is your first tank you may want to keep your choices over 40 gallons. Larger tanks have more chemical and temperature stability and when it comes to saltwater aquariums stability is critical!

The next step when setting up a saltwater aquarium is choosing between a glass or acrylic aquarium. Glass aquariums are by far the more popular choice, they are more durable but they also do not insulate as well and the seals eventually wear out.

Acrylic aquariums are clearer then glass, insulate better and are much lighter then glass. They do however scratch very easily. The scratches can be fixed but it does require physical effort to do so. They do however last almost forever so they never have to be replaced.

The next step is deciding where you will be setting up a saltwater aquarium. Location of the tank is a critical step in determining the success of your saltwater aquarium setup.

If you place it in an area that gets to much direct sunlight you will more then likely be battling algae for the life of the tank. So make sure you place it an an area that is not over exposed to sunlight.

You also want to make sure you do not place the aquarium in a location that has inconsistent temperatures like near a drafty door or window. Temperature swings are bad for saltwater fish and you may need larger heaters or water chillers to keep the temperature stable if you put it in the wrong spot.

Before setting up a saltwater aquarium setup you need to realize that if you decide you want it in another spot you will have to drain the tank completely in order to move it. So before you commence starting a saltwater aquarium be 100% positive that the location is the one you are happy with.

And remember when setting up a saltwater aquarium to leave a minimum of three inches between the tank and the wall for equipment and to make maintenance easier.

You will then need to plan on how you want your marine aquarium decorated. Will you have live rock in the tank or just artificial decorations. These are things you need to decide on before you add water or fish. One of the best places to see some examples of different decorations is a good local fish store.

The next step is in starting a saltwater aquarium is choosing the type of saltwater fish you want to have in your aquarium. The types of fish that you can keep could fill an entire book. It is best to consult a aquarium guide or marine fish book to help you decide.

But if this is your first set up stick with hardy easy to keep saltwater fish. You can the progress to more exotic species as your skill increases.

To create a stunning and easy-to-maintain saltwater aquarium grab a copy of our Saltwater Aquarium Guide . This illustrated guide will show you step by step how to properly set up your aquarium. It's crammed with tips and secrets that the pros use to create stunning saltwater displays! Learn more at


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