New to Saltwater?
If you're considering setting up your first saltwater aquarium, this is the place to start. It is not as simple as buying a tank then just putting some decorations and water in it. Saltwater aquariums can be fun, enjoyable, relaxing and beautiful. But you need to know some basics before jumping into it. The more you learn about this hobby, the better your chances of success.
Is running a saltwater aquarium hard to do? It doesn't have to be. Saltwater aquariums can be quite simple or elaborate, depending on your goals.
You must make a big decision first. FOWLR OR REEF?
FOWLR: Means a saltwater aquarium that contains Fish Only, With Live Rock. Aka: no corals. While this is the cheaper route to go, you may one day want to keep corals. So keep this in mind before making any decisions. FOWLR has less lighting requirements. One of the most expensive parts of owning a reef tank is proper lighting for corals to live and grow. Without corals, lighting really isn't an issue and most any light will work just fine.
A FOWLR tank usually consists of: a glass or acrylic tank, a simple or advanced filter system, basic or advanced lighting, a heater, one or more powerheads for water movement and live rock. Live rock can be purchased "live" or as dry base rock and seeded over time with bacteria. While it can be any size imaginable small or large just remember that many fish intended for FOWLR tanks can become quite large. They need ample room to swim. A larger system is also more stable and small mistakes such as overfeeding have less effect on larger volumes compared to smaller systems. Imagine pouring a soda into a 10 gal tank vs pouring a soda into the ocean. Fish waste will have a much more dramatic effect on a smaller system vs a larger system. Fish are born with the freedom to roam an entire ocean. When housed in a small glass box, they can become anxious and unhappy leading eventually to death. It's comparable to a human living in a closet. You can live innit. But you'd go insane if you never left. Imagine a 10 gal tank being a closet and a 100 gallon tank being more like a 10,000sq ft mansion. You'd be much happier confined to an entire home vs a closet.