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Aquascaping Your Saltwater Aquarium








Dressing up your tank is a very pleasant experience. A little imagination and motivation can go a long way. You would always want to create an environment that is both beneficial to the tank residents and that is aesthetically pleasing. Livestock that is on the larger size will require some rock or pieces of drift wood of equal dimension. Most community systems also house numerous species of marine plant life.


Make sure to create caves and specific hiding places for your fish with the use of the wood, plants and corals. You also need to make sure that the equipment you use is secured to the tank properly or in the case of corals, has a stable platform to sit on.

Deciding on Livestock:

Choose the kind of fish you want for your tank rather than blindly buying any fish. This is very important if you are planning to keep several species. While it comes to purchasing fish or other livestock for a saltwater aquarium, the first thing you need to understand about the animals is their compatibility.

The hardy type of fish you may want to stay away include Moorish idols, ribbon eels, polyp-eating butterflyfish, sponge-eating angelfish, parasite-eating cleaner wrasses and fish that have unique environmental needs or picky eating.

Here are a few things you need to check while selecting healthy fish at the store:

– Do not buy the fish that the store just got in. these fish are still undergoing the acclimation process. Moving them before they’ve settled in may be one trauma too many for them. Try to buy a fish that have been in the store for at least two weeks.

– Take your time looking at the fish to determine if they are swimming normally. If the fish seem to have difficulty swimming, it may be a sign of bigger problems.

– Look closely at the skin, eyes and fins. The eyes of a healthy fish should be clear, not cloudy. The skin should be free of lesions or discoloration and shouldn’t have a fuzzy appearance.

– The fins should not appear frayed or torn. Although tears and frayed areas may be a result of a fight, they can also signify a looming bacterial infection.

– Look for any signs of disease. Never purchase a fish that has white spots on its skin or fins.

– Ask the store personnel what the fish that you are interested in eats and how often they are fed. Healthy fish that have been feeding well have normal rounded or full bellies.

– Also ask about the water quality the fish has been living in. What temperature does the dealer have his aquarium set to and also the salinity and pH.

Carrying Capacity:

Saltwater aquariums cannot hold as many fish as freshwater systems of the same size. A general rule of thumb to determine how many fish should inhabit an aquarium is calculated by the number of inches of fish per gallon of water. The general recommendation is about two or three inches of fish for every 10 gallons of water. A 50 gallon tank for example can accommodate 15 inches of fish while a 20 gallon tank can safely hold only about six inches of fish. Always remember that the bigger the volume of the tank and the more the stable the water quality is, the larger the holding capacity will be. So a 50 gallon tank can actually handle about 18 to 20 inches of fish and a few invertebrates. It would be better if you start with fewer fish the tank can hold and then add them as the system stabilizes.

Always remember, the water quality, reproductive behavior, tank size and number of inhabitants will influence the behavior and health of any aquarium community.