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Marine Fish Tanks for Beginners

When it comes to fish aquariums, nothing comes close to the charming appeal and beauty of large marine fish tanks. The glowing bright colors, as well as the glittering neon water, creates a remarkably stunning look to add either to your home or business.

Marine fish tanks are a thing of beauty to have around. The marine plants and corals look amazing, the sound is soothing and the fish are just stunning to watch.

Everyone should have a marine fish tank in their home - because they look spectacular.

On this page, read on and find all the key concepts and basics of what you need to start your marine fish tank especially if you are a beginner, and what types of marine fish you can keep.

Marine AquariumMarine Aquarium

Why You Should Get A Marine / Saltwater Aquarium

Before delving into the basics, it is essential to understand why people invest in marine fish tanks.

Usually, the greatest reasons why people choose to have marine fish tanks in their homes is typically the beauty of the various fish species which thrive in the saltwater / marine environment. 

Despite there being several stunning fish species which can survive in freshwater aquariums, there are assortments of rare fish species that survive in marine waters.

Maintaining marine fish tanks affords the collection of rare species of fish in addition to offering a stunning showpiece for either the home or business. 

Are These Fish Tanks Difficult To Set Up?

The conventional narrative when it comes to setting up a marine fish tank, is that it is quite a problematic endeavor both in the setting up as well as in maintaining it, and truth be told, it is not all wrong.

Establishing a proper marine aquarium can take a great deal of time approximately two - three months while the most significant steps in maintaining healthy marine, fresh tanks involve the adequate balance of salt in the water as well as maintaining healthy plant life.

What makes this process quite lengthy is that once the aquarium has been set up, the water also needs to be filtered thoroughly and balanced to maintain the optimum lifespan of marine fish.

Numerous marine fish tanks are reasonably expensive, and as such it is best to create some time in establishing a healthy marine setting rather than risk losing your precious fish species.

The following video explains just how easy it can be to setup your very first marine aquarium.

Difference between saltwater/marine and freshwater aquariums

One of the most prominent misconceptions particularly within the vast aquarium world is that marine/saltwater aquariums are relatively trickier to maintain compared to their freshwater counterparts.

Nonetheless, this is not entirely true. 

What is certain is that saltwater fish are far less resistant to environmental changes as compared to the freshwater fish. This, therefore, means that if you fail to maintain your marine fish tank in top shape and to implement the necessary changes, it can have adverse effects on the overall health of the marine/saltwater fish which would otherwise not be as detrimental for tanks stocked with freshwater fish species.

This is because of the reasonably unchanging setting which surrounds coral reefs within the vast ocean setting. 

Fish species dwelling in this type of environment rarely experiences a significant variance in their habitat relative to pH levels, sodium levels, among others. In contrast, freshwater dwelling fish usually found either in lakes and rivers, experience a substantial variation in their habitat within their settings across the year and various seasons.

These particular traits are well set up within the DNA of different marine fish species that they will also be present in the species of fish you ultimately stock in your marine fish tank too.

Marine fish tanks are simply stunning, but they do take quite some work. Here are some of the differences between a freshwater and marine/saltwater aquarium? 

  • Typical saltwater fish tanks will usually require more maintenance efforts compared to general freshwater aquariums. Nonetheless, if you own a densely planted freshwater fish tank which needs a lot of fertilizers, light, as well as other equipment, freshwater aquariums in this sense can get more expensive compared to salt water ones. In essence, it all comes down to what is in the tank.
  • Marine/saltwater tanks, particularly coral reefs, are popular for their stunning elegance and beauty. In comparison to the freshwater fish species, marine fish species are usually more pleasing to the eye and more colorful. 
  • Saltwater fish are usually more expensive compared to their freshwater fish counterparts. 
  • Freshwater fish usually tend to be more resilient and are often less affected by any alterations and changes in the water setting compared to the saltwater/marine fish.
  • Saltwater marine fish tanks are usually more fragile and generally require more maintenance compared to freshwater tanks. Nonetheless, what is perhaps the greatest trade off is that marine fish tanks are simply adorable. 

Marine FishMarine Fish

Good Points about marine tanks

  • Marine fish tanks may also house other invertebrate life forms and corals are very vibrant. 
  • Marine fish are perhaps the brightest and most colorful. 
  • Marine fish offer diversity as they come in different sizes and shapes.

And Bad Points ...

  • Marine fish tanks mandate for a lot of more equipment to keep the fish and corals both healthy and happy.
  • Marine fish tanks also require a lot of maintenance compared to typical freshwater fish tanks. 

What Types of Saltwater / marine fish Tanks are available? 

Marine fish tanks/saltwater aquariums are available in different types and forms including: 

  • Fish Only: This is perhaps the simplest aquarium to set up. It only contains fish. 
  • Reef Tank: this type of tank contains diverse invertebrates and fish alike. Nonetheless, it is also the tank that presents more difficulties, keeping inverts and fish happy. 
  • Fish Only with Live Rock (FOWLR): this type of setup comprises live rock and fish. The live rock represents dead coral skeletons which have otherwise been colonized by bacteria which help maintain the water. This tank is more expensive than fish-only setups although they function much better. 

Choosing the appropriate marine fish tank

When picking your marine fish tank, it is essential that you exercise caution. With saltwater tanks, a 55 gallon larger tank is the popular recommendation, especially for beginners.

This is because larger marine fish tanks are more forgiving of typical beginner mistakes. Nonetheless, you may cheat this by having a sump tank - specifically a water reserve pumped into the primary tank.

What's more, you will have the option to choose between acrylic and glass. Generally, acrylic is relatively lighter and better insulates the aquarium, although it can scratch easily. As for glass, it is scratch-resistant and heavier.

Our top Pick For A beginner marine Tank

Fluval Flex Marine Black AquariumFluval Flex Marine Black Aquarium

Image courtesy of Ebay.co.uk

Click Here For Best Price at Ebay

What Are The Best Marine Fish Species For A Beginner?

Clown FishClown Fish

One major factor worth considering is the species of marine fish you choose. Chromis and Damselfish, for instance are related species.

Each of them is colorful although the latter is relatively more aggressive. Another popular option you can start with is the Clown-fish.

While in their natural wild habitat, they dwell within the tentacles of anemones. Nonetheless, anemones are not necessarily essential for clown-fish to survive-they are quite hard to keep after all.

Similarly, another good option are gobies that like to cling to and burrow on rocks; and luckily, they also come in an assortment of vibrant colors. 

Are there any Marine Fish Species To Avoid?

Jelly FishJelly Fish

For any beginner there are some particular fish species that you should definitely avoid; unless you are looking to work overtime, and spending a great deal of your resources learning grave mistakes with pricey creatures.

Rays and sharks are gorgeous fish species, but they nonetheless require immaculate water and massive fish tanks.

Another fish species you might also want to avoid are seahorses as they are not only picky eaters, but they do not mix well with invertebrates and other fish.

What’s more, you should also avoid invertebrates such as jellyfish since they require for specially designed expensive low water flow fish tanks boasting rounded corners. 

what are the necessary components for a marine fish tank? 

Of course, when looking to have a marine fish tank, it is important for any beginner to understand what materials and equipment are necessary for a marine fish tank.

Some of the essential equipment includes:

While this is not a particularly comprehensive list of all the necessary items you may need across your marine fish tank's life cycle -  it is however a general guide.

Depending on the type of marine fish tank you choose to invest in, you may also need additional items and materials such as a saltwater refractometer ( for saltwater salinity) and a calcium reactor if you choose a reef fish tank for the corals.
You can pick up these items separately, although the market has numerous marine fish tank starter kits which offer you most, if not, all the necessary equipment and at a cheaper price in comparison to purchasing each of these materials individually. 


In essence, when you are starting a marine fish tank at home or in your office, the primary concept is to take things slowly.

You can't just establish your aquarium, add all sorts of fish species, and expect to see them survive and light up your world. It is important especially as a beginner that you follow a series of steps as outlined above; and while they appear a formality, it does not mean you can simply overlook any of them.

Undoubtedly, a marine fish tank is arguably one of the most elegant items you can own, but it does take quite some time, effort and patience to realize this spectacular goal. However, with these few guidelines, you should be confident enough to start your new marine fish tank.

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