You are interested in the hobby of keeping fish, but you cannot make up your mind between a freshwater and a saltwater aquarium. You have heard that saltwater tank care can be difficult, but if your heart is set on owning a few of those bright blue and yellow fish you saw in a magazine, you will want to consider a saltwater tank. If you have had a freshwater tank for a few years, and want a new challenge, then a saltwater tank may be just what you are looking for.
The two main considerations should be the amount of money you wish to spend on your new hobby, and the amount of time you have to spend maintaining your tank. Saltwater tank care is very different from the care required of a freshwater tank, but it does not have to be difficult.
A freshwater tank costs less to set up and to maintain. On average, you can set up a 10-gallon tank and stock it with a few fish for a minimum of $75.00. The fish that will live happily in a freshwater tank are less expensive than saltwater fish. Once you have a freshwater tank up and running with your fish added to it, the maintenance is not all that time consuming. At a minimum, you can expect to keep the water level topped up, add water conditioner, and perform partial water changes on a weekly basis with a freshwater tank. Plan to vacuum the bottom of the freshwater tank and change the filter material once a month. The cost to maintain a freshwater tank for a month, counting fish food and the occasional replacement fish, is probably $20.00 or less.
A saltwater tank can range from being a little expensive all the way up to the “money is no object” range, depending on what you put inside it. The live rocks that go into saltwater tanks can cost you from around $25.00 all the way up to several thousand dollars. It all depends on their size, and on where the live rock originated. Compare these prices to a few bags of aquarium gravel for a freshwater tank, and you can begin to get a better idea of the cost differences.
However, setting up a saltwater tank takes more than just live rocks. You still may want some form of substrate for the tank bottom, a few live plants, a hydrometer to tell you how much salt is in the tank water, and a good filtration system that was made for salt water. A sturdy tank heater and a thermometer that can take the punishment that salt water can dish out are also required.
You will want a powerhead for water movement, a protein skimmer to remove any sort of organic trash from the tank water, and an air pump and external water pump for the protein skimmer. You will also need a couple of boxes of aquarium salt, depending on the size of your tank, and a few various test kits to keep a check on the water. Yes, some of these same accessories are needed for a freshwater tank, but a marine tank generally requires a more heavy-duty form of the chosen item.
Saltwater tank care can take you several hours per week. The water must be tested for salt content every day. The temperature of the tank must be monitored, as well as the water quality. Your live rocks must also be cared for, or they will die. They need a particular form of lighting, and it must be balanced for them to be healthy.
If you want to simplify maintenance, the use of products from the EcoBio-Block family Products can help you to keep the water in any tank, whether saltwater or freshwater, clean and clear. Users of the EcoBio-Block have noticed less trouble with excess nitrates and ammonia spikes as well.
Saltwater tank care seems like a lot of work compared to a freshwater tank. However, a well-maintained saltwater tank is visually stunning, and well worth the time and attention you give to it. Saltwater tank care can be made easier when the proper bacteria and nutrients are added to the water, and the EcoBio-Block can do all this for you.
In the end, the decision between freshwater and saltwater is up to you.
September 27, 2009 at 8:54 PM Comments (0)