Keeping marine species native to tropical seacoasts and reefs is a relatively recent development. For these species aquariums filled with natural or artificial seawater must be provided. Such tanks should also be equipped with means of controlling the balance of acids and alkalines in the water. There are more steps than in establishing a freshwater tank. Many of the techniques and much of the equipment are the same.
In setting up a marine system in your home, you need to consider the following:
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- Types of fishes - will they be moderately aggressive or docile and peaceful species?
- Size of tank and type of stand - aquarium stand or an existing desk, counter or shelf
- Type of cover - glass cover or full hood
- Tank background - printed sheet or paint
- Type of lighting - twin-bulb or compact/high-intensity fluorescent; bulb types: full spectrum or blue actinic bulbs
- Type of mechanical & chemical filtration: - hang-on-tank, countercurrent, Venturi. If required, you'll need air and water pump. Consider the number of powerheads and power filters: external canister type, external hang-on-tank type or internal/submersible sponge type.
- Electrical equipment: - you'll need heaters, lighting timer, ground-fault interrupter (GFI), power strip and UV sterilizers (optional)
- Testing equipment: - thermometer: internal or external; hydrometer (dip-and-read type) or floating glass type
- Saltwater test kit: - to measure the amount of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and alkalinity level.
- Type of water: - natural seawater or organica salt mix
- Rocks and Coral
- Water treatment system: - dechlorinator, deaminator, reverse osmosis unit, deionization unit or tap water purifying filter
- Saltwater mixing & vats, utility buckets, nets, specimen box for moving or acclimatizing fishes, gravel vaccum with siphon hose, activated carbon, fish foods