Many people consider marines to be the ultimate
in the aquatic hobby. Here at the Aquatic Habitat we have 42 tanks
of marine fish and invertebrates so whether you're thinking of
starting your first marine tank, or are already an established
hobbyist we're sure you'll find plenty to interest you in our
In general marine fish are less tolerant of fluctuations in their
water chemistry than freshwater fish are. This is because the
oceans of the world are much more stable in terms of water chemistry
and temperature than freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes
or streams. It therefore follows that to successfully maintain
a marine tank more care needs to be taken over water chemistry.
In practice this means :-
- Having bigger, more powerful filtration than
is necessary for a freshwater aquarium.
- Using a device called a protein skimmer to
remove as much waste as possible before it gets filtered.
- Using more accurate and sensitive test kits
than are usually necessary for most freshwater fish.
- Being more patient especially in the early
In general marine tanks fall into one of two categories, fish
only aquarium or reef tank.
Many, particularly larger, fish are incompatible with corals
and other invertebrates. In most cases this is because they
are prone to eating the delicate corals, although sometimes
it is simply behavior that prevents their inclusion in a reef
tank. The most important factor in the running of a successful
fish only tank is adequate filtration. In particular do use
a good protein skimmer and powerful filter to ensure the water
remains in tip top condition.
Although good filtration is important in a reef tank, it is
not necessary to have quite as large or powerful filter as would
be needed for a fish only tank of similar size. In our experience
the single most important factor in the successful long term
maintenance of a reef tank is lighting. Get the lighting right
and most other things, including water quality, will follow.
Corals contain photosynthetic algae which use light to convert
carbon dioxide and water into sugars. In return for the security
of a safe and stable environment the algae share these nutrients
with their coral hosts. Although some people have had success
with various combinations of fluorescent lights, if you are
serious about running a successful reef tank we very strongly
recommend the use of metal halide lighting. These powerful lamps
are available in a number of "colour temperatures".
We suggest you choose a bulb giving between 6,500K & 10,000K
. 6,500K is close to natural daylight, whilst 10,000K has a
higher proportion of blue light, and is similar to the light
that corals will experience at a moderate depth in sea water.
Remember the colour temperature does not relate to the actual
amount of light but to the mix of different spectra within it.
Obviously there is much more to know about maintaining a marine
aquarium than is covered by these brief comments. Our enthusiastic
staff are always willing to help and guide both the novice and
experienced aquarist a like.