Saltwater Aquarium Setup


We are in the process of compiling the expert guide to saltwater aquarium setup which will be THE definitive resource for you to use when you are ready for your saltwater aquarium setup

Saltwater Aquarium Set Up: The Essentials For Success

As part of any saltwater aquarium setup live rock should be considered for its biological influence and improved aesthetics in any fish tank and sump system. Live rock essentially serves as a small piece of an active coral reef in a saltwater fish tank. It not only acts as a natural protein skimmer by removing dangerous wastes, it also serves as the home of saltwater flora or algae, small creatures and necessary, “good” bacteria. Live rock, in addition to a sump and a protein skimmer can help your fish tank more closely replicate the biodiversity of a natural saltwater fish environment.

Saltwater Aquarium Setup Live Rock Notes And Needs

A saltwater aquarium setup live rock usage is the first step in taking the fish tank and sump system from a casual operation to a more sophisticated one. An investment of sorts, a saltwater aquarium setup live rock purchase will require an adequate waste removal by using a protein skimmer. In addition, a sump will be necessary to allow for waste removal via filtration and oxygenation of the water by turbulence. A sump area also provides an out-of-the-way location for the protein skimmer and any additional fish tank accessories, such as a refugium or a bag of Purigen.

To begin a saltwater aquarium setup live rock installation often requires curing of the live rock. The curing process is necessary to avoid nitrogen or ammonia spikes in the fish tank that may kill the saltwater fish inhabitants of the saltwater aquarium setup live rock habitat. Curing, also known as cycling or conditioned, refers to maintaining the live rock in a separate saltwater environment, such as an unconnected sump, until the flora, fauna and bacteria of the rock have stabilized after the biological shock and die-off secondary to harvesting and transportation. This die-off is what causes the dangerous ammonia spike and should be completed prior to the actual saltwater aquarium setup live rock installation.

Saltwater Aquarium Setup Live Rock Biology

The many details of a saltwater aquarium setup live rock begin to make a bit more sense when the biology of the process is fully understood. The live rock serves as a natural protein skimmer or nitrogen removal system for the fish tank. In conjunction with the live rock, the mechanical protein skimmer, filters and other accessories in the sump help to eliminate excess nitrogen from the sump water, as the sump pump returns the cleaned water back to the fish tank. Excess nitrogen in the form of ammonia can kill saltwater fish and will ruin a saltwater aquarium setup live rock installation.

After curing, the saltwater aquarium setup live rock system will be a stable one, without die-offs to the rock fauna and threats to the fish tank’s saltwater fish. This process is a lengthy one – often up to a month in duration – and requires a completely separate fish tank, sump, heater and mechanical protein skimmer. Unless the aquarium owner purchases the more expensive pre-cured live rock, this month-long process will need to be repeated with the addition of saltwater aquarium setup live rock.

Saltwater Aquarium Setup: Going From Freshwater Aquariums To Saltwater Aquariums

Are you thinking of converting your fresh water aquarium to a saltwater kind? There are many aquarists that have done this, but they were unsure at first as to how much components and equipment can be used for the transformation. With some exceptions, most of your equipment can be used for this reason. That being discussed, you can do the conversion by tackling each piece of equipment.

The Aquarium

Most aquariums are not specially customized for freshwater or saltwater.  The material used such as glass can be used for both type of aquarium, but they have their own advantages and disadvantages. As far as the size of the tank, saltwater aquarium has the tendency to be quite bigger, though the reef aquariums are very popular nowadays as a saltwater aquarium setup. A freshwater aquarium even as small as 10 gallons can be transformed into a saltwater aquarium, but you should take note that smaller aquariums are rather sensitive and intolerant to work with, and most of aqua culturists prefer the 55 gallon aquarium for a saltwater aquarium setup.

Filters and Filtration Systems

The filtration system in a saltwater aquarium setup is quite more elaborate than in the freshwater. Because water filtration is the spine of a saltwater system, the filter choice is unquestionably the most essential part of the saltwater set up process. In all possibility, the filter system you are currently using will need to be replaced. The little grasp-on-tank biological cycle and box, or in-tank corner kind filters usually used in freshwater aquariums are normally not great in a saltwater aquarium setup. The conventional pebble set-ups, though still employed by most saltwater aqua culturists, adds to unnecessary nitrate problems as the aquarium grows, and they have lost their availability as more high-tech filtration systems such as the wet-dry trickle and flask kind filters with biological channel chambers have been introduced.

As far as the kind of filtration system you use, there are no specific rules. Every aqua culturist has their own preference as to what kind of set-up is best, but the easiest method to determine what you really need for your saltwater aquarium varies over is to decide on whether you want a fish or a reef aquarium system. You should also study the different filtration methods and filter set-ups that you need to choose from, and then pick one that is based on what you like. It is not usually harmful to start with a filtration system that can be employed for a reef aquarium. In this manner, in the future if you decide you want to develop into the saltwater system, you can slash a few bucks by not having to buy a whole brand new system.

Pumps and Power heads

Most pumps and power heads employed in freshwater aquariums can be used in a saltwater set up with no hassles, as long as they are guaranteed safe to use in saltwater. Generally, saltwater tanks employ more water pumps and power heads to achieve higher water current and circulation, and specifically with reef aquariums they help in the expansion and over-all well-being of the corals.


The most common kind of freshwater aquarium substrate employed is those made of pebbles or gravel materials, and goes hand in hand with a wide range of colors and shape. It is very ornamental, and does not serve as water filter base just as the substrate does in a saltwater aquarium. However, this kind of substrate is not that great for use in a saltwater aquarium.

Saltwater Aquarium Setup: Factors to Consider Before You Setup Your Home Aquarium

Here are some factors you should ponder about before you go too far with your saltwater aquarium setup . These considerations can help you avoid most common errors and get you in aquarium keeping a hobby that you can live and be satisfied of.

Types of fish

Of course, you need to think about the types of fish you want to keep with your saltwater aquarium setup. Various types of fish need different care, maintenance, conditions, space requirements and equipment. If you purchased your aquarium equipment before you have decided what type of fish you want to keep, you can have some problems in maintaining your aquarium without doing the right research for your saltwater aquarium setup.


Saltwater aquarium setup aquarium maintenance would involve your first task – research. It is very essential to learn a lot about the fish you want to keep.  This will let you know what special considerations they will need, what equipment you will buy and how to set-up your aquarium. When you research about these things, you can establish how big they will get and in this manner you can figure out the size of the aquarium you will need to keep your fish happy and healthy. As well, this will provide you an opportunity to learn if the different types of fish care needs, size or behavior are too different; they will not be appropriate and suitable.


After studying general information about the fish, you should ponder on the size of the tank you need. Survey your home and determine a spot for your new home aquarium. How much space you can allow for your aquarium including the extra paraphernalia? Take note of the space between the tank and the wall for adequate room for other equipment such as water filters, tubes and pumps when going through your initial saltwater aquarium setup.


If you have money problems, is it time to purchase that $800 acrylic fish tank? If you really want to peruse the hobby, you can buy cheaper aquarium at first, and if you have enough money, upgrade your fish tank. You can also slash the budget by finding stores that are selling used aquariums.


You should visit various pet stores near you and figure out what equipment are available and how much they cost. If you cannot find something that will help you for your pleasure, you can inquire about special orders. Make sure to ask for a price range or if possible a fixed price before you signs up for an order.

Budget-space constraints

How does your budget match up to the cost of the equipment you want? Can you purchase a larger aquarium enough for your fish that are suitable in the room available in your home? You should consider the budget and space limits, and then analyze your fish type, your space limits and your financial considerations compared to the new information you now have from your saltwater aquarium setup research.

When you have uated these factors, you can purchase the equipment and the fish you want to keep. If you need to special order the equipment, you should do it immediately as it will take time for the order to arrive. Then, if everything is set, you are ready to pursue your hobby of aquarium keeping. Whether you just like to keep a couple of goldfish, or if you want to venture into tropical fish, these factors will help you to start on the right track for your saltwater aquarium setup.

Leave a Reply