A tropical saltwater aquarium is beautiful, and it is a wonderful hobby for the right person. There is much to consider before embarking on this hobby; it is important to understand the basics of keeping saltwater tropical fish species before you get started.
Why Get a Saltwater Tropical Fish Aquarium?
• Saltwater tropical fish tanks are beautiful. The fish are much more colorful than fish that are kept in a freshwater tank.
• Many more options as far as type of tanks. You could choose a reef tank, which is filled with colorful coral in which the fish can hide.
• Many who keep tropical fish say that it is a very satisfying hobby.
Before You Buy, Understand This:
• While you can populate a freshwater tank for a few dollars, saltwater tropical fish species cost much more. Some tropical fish cost hundreds of dollars for a single fish.
• The general upkeep on a tropical tank will cost more than for a freshwater tank.
• Upkeep on a tropical fish tank is not necessarily very time consuming, but it must be done consistently and it must be done correctly.
• In most cases, you will not be able to use tap water. Instead, you will have to get the water from a store that specializes in tropical tanks. Another option is to use tap water along with a solution that will create the saltwater that you need.
• One small mistake can cause the tank to fail and kill the tropical fish species that are in the tank.
• When you first set up the tank, it can be several months before the tank is stable enough to begin introducing tropical fish.
• Many tropical fish species are quite sensitive. If you buy a fish and it dies within a day or two, there is usually no type of money back guarantee.
For all of the pros and cons relating to keeping tropical fish, the two most common complaints are that it is very expensive and that the tanks are tricky to maintain. If you have the money and the patience to master this hobby then you will get beautiful results.
Caring for Tropical Fish Species
There are hundreds of types of saltwater tropical fish and some will require unique care. This section covers the more general aspects of caring for tropical fish species.
Choosing and Setting up the Tropical Fish Tank
Choosing and setting up the tank is, in many ways, even more important than the types of fish that you choose. The tank must be properly stabilized and ready before any fish are added.
Tank Size: The first thing to consider is the size of the tank. Some who are new to keeping tropical fish species mistakenly think that a smaller tank will be easier to maintain. In fact, the opposite is true. A larger tank is better able to handle bio matter and a very small mistake that could kill a small tank may have no impact on a larger tank. If you have the money and the space, a 55-gallon tank is a good starting size for your tropical fish tank.
Tropical Fish Tank Accessories: In some cases, you will be able to buy a complete tank set-up that will include everything that you need to get started. More commonly, however, you will have to buy the tank and tank accessories separately. In addition to the tank you will need a filter, heater, light, sand or gravel, net, test kits and décor.
It is also a good idea to buy a backup filter. Depending on your setup, if your filter fails your tank could be in trouble fairly quickly. Having a backup filter on hand at all times will allow you to keep the tank running smoothly, even if the filter fails during a time when you cannot get to a store to replace it.
While you want to choose all of your accessories carefully, the filter is one of the most important. There are several types of filters available but the best choice, especially for beginners, is a canister filter. Canister filters are very easy to maintain. Because they are kept outside of the tank, you will be able to clean the filter easily. They are effective and require less maintenance than some of the other options.
Keep in mind that the décor is not only for looks. The fish will need a place to hide and providing the right environment, by way of the décor, is one of the ways that you can keep your fish happy and healthy.
Cycling the Fish Tank
Before you add any fish, you will need to properly cycle the tank. This is to ensure that all of the levels in the water, such as Ph and nitrates, are at appropriate levels for the fish.
You will need to buy a good quality water testing kit which will provide you with the information that you need. You will also need to learn the ideal numbers for the fish that you plan to add. You can get this information by talking to the experts at your local aquarium supply store.
It can take one or two months for the tank to be ready to receive fish. While it is tempting to jump ahead and add fish more quickly, this can be a costly mistake.
Selecting Saltwater Tropical Fish Species
With so many gorgeous types of saltwater tropical fish species to choose from, it can be tough to make your choices. You certainly don’t have to stick to just one species, but you must make sure that the various types of tropical fish that you choose are compatible. Some types of fish will attack other fish. You need to select fish that can live in the same tank without harming each other.
You also need to consider the size of the fish. Some tropical fish will grow very large – even greater than 8 feet in length. Very few hobbyists have a tank that will support a fish of that size. Be sure that you ask how large a fish will be at maturity when making your selections.
Finally, you need to consider the level of difficulty involved in keeping a certain tropical fish species. Some fish are much more difficult to maintain than others. Some species are best left to very experienced hobbyists while others are perfect for beginners.
Tropical Fish Feeding
A very common mistake when keeping tropical fish species is overfeeding. If your fish eat live food, this is often less of an issue because you will add the live food to the tank and the fish will – usually – eat the correct amount. When the tank is almost void of the feeder fish, you know it is time to add more. With pellets or flakes, it is easier to make a mistake. When you overfeed, it can cause excess bio matter in the tank and if the fish do not eat all the food, it causes excess pollution that the filter must now work to eliminate.
Ask the experts at your local aquarium supply store for feeding guidelines. You can also watch the fish. Add a bit of food and if the fish eat it all you can add a little more. Stop when the fish stop eating. By doing this a couple of times you will get an idea of the proper amount of food to add.
Tropical Fish Tank Maintenance
You will need to perform regular maintenance on your tank including cleaning the filters, testing the water, water changes and checking the temperature in the tank. You should check daily to make sure the filters are running.
It might sound like a lot of work, but once you get into a routine it is not that time consuming and will assure that your tropical fish are healthy.
Tropical Fish Diseases
Disease is a potential problem for all types of tanks. You need to keep an eye on your fish and deal with any issues right away. Many times, diseased fish can be treated and will recover, but it is important that you try not to let the disease spread to other fish.
Having a separate tank in which you can nurse sick fish is a great idea. You can also place new fish in this tank for a time to be sure that they are free from disease before putting them in the main tank.
Keeping saltwater tropical fish species is somewhat demanding hobby. It’s not for everyone, but many find it very rewarding.
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