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Marine Aquarium

Question: "I keep tropical fish, but would love to try Marines, is it as difficult and expensive as people say?"

Answer: As to being "Difficult" the answer is largely relative to your experience as a tropical fish keeper. An experienced tropical fish keeper should make the transition with little difficulty at all, there are only a few new water parameters to get to grips with and the rest is down to patience and self-control. One of these parameters is Salt, specifically how much of it is dissolved in the water, but it is very easy to measure using a device known as a Hydrometer, (£10 - £15)

The filtration is still based on the Nitrogen cycle, although it can utilise some slightly different techniques and you will probably need much more filter capacity. A device known as a Protein Skimmer will probably be unfamiliar to you because it doesn't work so well in freshwater, but in salt water it is very efficient at removing DOC's, (dissolved organic compounds, or 'proteins'). There are dozens of other issues relating to lighting, minerals and trace elements, heating or cooling, reactors, UV's, etc, etc, but in the end it all comes down to one simple thing, well filtered good quality water at the correct temperature and with the correct amount of salt dissolved in it.!

As to the cost of setting up, "yes it is more expensive than the same tank used for freshwater". The tank is exactly the same, you just need the extras such as the Protein Skimmer (£90 - £150), Salt (£10 - £30 depending upon the size of the tank), Hydrometer (as above) and some test kits (approximately £30). You will probably also end up with a few additives and buffers to control your pH, Calcium and Phosphate levels and possibly replace your fluorescent tubes with different coloured one's more suitable for Marine.

Today many marine keepers use 'Live Rock' as their primary filter medium as the results are far superior to any other form of bacterial filtration. The only down side is the cost. Live rock costs around £10 per Kg, and the recommended stocking rate is 1kg per 10ltr of water. Typically a 180ltr aquarium will set you back £180 to stock with the rock.


Maroon Clownfish in an Anemone