Tips and Tricks to Setting up A Saltwater Aquarium

So you want to set up a saltwater fish tank? Congratulations. The good news is that getting it done doesn’t require one to have extensive fish water experience. However, having a little understanding goes a long way. Discussed below are a few things you need to consider before setting up a saltwater aquarium.

Tank size

When it comes to the size of a saltwater aquarium, the bigger the better. You can consider buying the largest one you can afford and set it up in the desired location. A larger tank is advisable because it allows for better water parameters due to the fact that it accommodates a larger volume of water. If anything were to go wrong, it would do so at a slower rate in larger aquariums than in smaller aquariums.

Tank types and live stock

There are three types of saltwater aquariums as discussed below;

  • Fish only saltwater aquariums which as the name suggests, they accommodate nothing else other fish. There are very few of them available in the market and this can be attributed to the fact they are the least effective.
  • Fish only with live rock aquariums which contain fish and live rock. The live rock is so named not because it is live, but because harbors bacteria and other living things that live in/on it. In addition to being a great source of food for your fish, live rock is also the main filtration in the aquarium.
  • Reef aquariums are more or less like fish only with live rock aquariums, with the only difference being that they have additional anemones and corals. These usually require a lot of water and so one can only keep fewer fish.

When deciding on a fish tank, it’s important to do research on the various types of aquariums. You will want to avoid inconveniences like purchasing a reef tank only for your fish to feed on your corals.


If you are gearing for a saltwater aquarium, don’t use tap water. Instead, use reverse osmosis de-ionized (RODI) water. This is because tap water contains chemicals designed to keep humans and not fish safe from pathogens. Also avoid sea or ocean water as no one knows the extent of pollution. You need to ensure that the levels of water in the aquarium are always consistent to ensure that the concentration of salt doesn’t get too high that it harms your fish.


The rundown of the equipment you will need when setting up a fish tank include heaters, test kits, refugiums, sumps to add overall water volume, substrate for the bottom of your aquarium, consistent water flow, filtration, and light.