So, you want to start a marine
fish aquarium ?
You have looked at them in the Fish Shop and seen them in the Fish Magazines,
now you are ready to build your own glorious saltwater fish tank. What
is the first step ?
The first step is to THINK about it !
There are many different approaches to a saltwater tanks as there are
opinions. This article and the ones following it are intended as simple
suggestions based on past experience. Let me first state that no matter
what approach or piece of equipment you select, the main item for success
is YOU, and YOUR understanding of YOUR system, YOUR inhabitants, and the
amount of attention that YOU devote to it.
Lets run through the basic components of a fish tank. The tank, stand
and canopy, the filtration system, protein skimmer, and lights. Once we
have discussed those components its then time to look into the inhabitants
of the tank which include the saltwater, and the choice of decorative corals
and the fish. Once we get past those goodies, we then need to think about
foods, feeding, and the maintenance needed.
If you have already been to the Fish Shop pricing these items you will
already know, and if you havenít, then let me tell you that a saltwater
fish tank is not an inexpensive hobby to get involved in, but what hobby
is ? A properly set up and maintained aquarium can run into the hundreds
of dollars not including the need for the monthly operating costs. This
is not to say that one can not have a small, inexpensive, successful fish
tank, but for most if you are not willing to invest the time and money
required to do it properly, then its best that you leave those beautiful
little aquatic items in someone elseís hands as our Oceans Life is too
precious to needlessly cause its demise.
Speaking of our oceans life I would like you to be aware that there
are serious issues, ecological and governmental, that are definately effecting
the hobby at this time.
Global warming, pollution, and the ever increasing needs of this planets
population, are starting to take their toll on the coral reefs of the world.
From Palau to the islands of Fiji, water tempuratures have risen to the
point where coral reefs are bleaching themselves due to the stress. This
results in the corals dying. The end result is that the reefs no longer
provide the fishes with sanctuary and foods and the fish populations either
move eleswhere, or simply decrease in numbers.
Due to these alarming decreases in coral reefs and their inhabitants
many goverments are beginning to limit or eliminate the importation of
marine species into their countries. In Europe many species of fish and
corals are totally banned. Currently there are bills being discussed in
the 'committee' levels of Congress that could eliminate the importation
of many marine specimens into the United States. Whether these governing
organizations are right or wrong, and whether they have truely done their
research and homework, they are trying to decrease, what we as hobbyists,
are bring in as aquatic pets.
My point is... if you are going to become a marine aquarium hobbyist
become aware of your aquatic inhabitants requirements and needs. Treat
your aquatic pets with the respect that they deserve.
Now, if I have not scared you away from a saltwater aquarium with what
is involved, then you just might be ready to take a step forward into an
exciting, educational and rewarding hobby.