More and more people are starting to pick up the hobby of maintaining saltwater aquariums. They are drawn to its more natural look, colorful and wide variety of marine life.
Freshwater fish are generally collected from streams, rivers, lakes and ponds while saltwater fish are found in seas and oceans. Saltwater life has a stable environment that they cannot easily adapt to the major changes on temperature or water chemistry.
Marine fish are taken from the wild, such that shipping and handling can be risky. This is the main reason that this hobby is more expensive than maintaining freshwater fish.
To start this hobby, buy the very basic equipment enough to get you started for the meantime. Undergravels will not be very important for a while. Get a good tank with power filters, deluxe heaters and airstones. Additional accessories include crushed corals or special gravel, a hydrometer and some sea salt mix.
Some of the saltwater fish you might consider getting are angel, anthias, batfish, basslet, blenny, cardinal, butterfly, clown, damsel, drumfish, filefish, eels, goatfish and goby.
You can also put invertebrates like a coral, anemone, gorgonian, feather duster, crab, lobster and jelly fish.
The size of the aquarium really doesn't matter but it is better to have a large tank. This is easier to chemically balance and make it more compatible with fish. If you are quite on a budget, get a medium sized tank but be sure to be complete with all the necessary basic equipment.
When starting out, understand the basics of fish compatibility. When two kinds of fish are less related, they are more likely to get along. Any type of fish that can fit into the mouth of another fish is more likely to end up gobbled. To know more about these, research about aquarium literature.
Most hobbyists prefer a combined selection of invertebrates and fish in their aquarium. Although it is more natural to look at this way, it is also a more complicated setup. This phenomenon called Saltwater Ich can end up killing the invertebrates. Since the cell structures of invertebrates and parasites are similar, the chemical reactions are also similar.
When medicating your tank from Saltwater Ich, which usually lasts up to 4 weeks, hobbyists are forced to either sacrifice their invertebrates or their fish. The invertebrates are moved to another tank. The fish, on the other hand, runs the risk of ineffective treatment.
Taking a closer look, these saltwater invertebrates are actually carriers of the Ich problem. Since an appropriate treatment has not been finalized, most suppliers do not guarantee that their invertebrates are parasite-free.
For novice hobbyists, it is best that you initially weigh the risks when having a mixed collection. It is noted that quarantine tanks and freshwater dips can actually reduce the chances that new specimens can introduce such disease to their established new habitat. For starters, you can opt to place a small number of fish for the meantime.