Saltwater aquariums are used solely for marine fish keeping, and are more challenging to maintain than freshwater aquariums. This is because salt water aquariums support a more complex ecosystem, and require more patience and expertise. Usually the saltwater aquariums are made of glass or acrylic and contain biological, chemical and mechanical filters.
Some saltwater aquariums have separate provisions for lighting, hood and stand. In some, heaters too can also be used. The capacity of saltwater aquariums ranges from 10 gallons to 60 galloons. Industrial places that house marine aquariums are generally life sized and bear close resemblance to the natural environment itself.
One of the key factors in maintaining saltwater aquariums is to ensure proper environmental conditions. This requires choosing the right kind of flora and fauna to maintain the delicate saltwater ecosystem. The ph levels, alkalinity and the oxygen levels are some of the other things that need be closely monitored. It is also important to maintain the specific gravity between 1.020 and 1.024 and the saline levels between 28-32 PPT.
It is advisable to add live rock to saltwater aquariums. The live rock is found in the ocean and is usually inhabited by detrivores and herbivores. Detrivores feed on the biological waste thus maintaining the ecological balance. Other than that you also find the growth of crab, snail, feather dusters, brittle stars and sea stars. Bristle worms act as scavengers and are harmless.
Almost any species of tropical fish can be placed in salt water aquariums. With the development of new filters it has become easier to maintain salt water aquariums. The most commonly used filters are hang-on filters and refugium. Hang on filters help in chemical and mechanical filtration whereas refugium helps in biological filtration.
Saltwater aquariums are not for beginners. You need some experience before setting them up.