- Where is the ideal location for an aquarium?
What are the three basic types of aquarium habitats?
What are the differences between a marine reef and saltwater fish-only aquarium?
Should I use Live Rock?
What filters do I use for my specific type of aquarium habitat?
Can I spray aerosol or disinfectants around my aquarium?
Ideally, to avoid excess algae growth, aquariums should be located away from heat sources, windows and areas that receive direct sun light. There should be an electrical outlet nearby, preferably behind the desired aquarium location. A source of running water like a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or janitor’s room is helpful.
The three basic types of aquarium habitats are live reef, saltwater fish-only and freshwater.
1. Reef habitats are defined as an aquarium with live corals and invertebrates with compatible fish. You are limited to what types of fish can go into this habitat because most fish eat invertebrates as their staple.
2. Saltwater fish-only aquariums are tanks that house only fish. These habitats allow you to mix a wide variety of fish together.
3.Freshwater aquariums can be kept in a community environment or in a habitat specific to their physical region.
Saltwater fish-only aquariums use decorative or artificial coral for decorations and may contain larger fish compared to reef aquaria. Reef aquariums contain live rock (rock collected from the ocean encrusted with life) as the base of the reef, onto which corals are affixed which grow and spread to cover the rock.
Reef aquariums will have smaller fish but also may have many other types of invertebrate life such as shrimp, crabs, anemones and urchins. It is extremely difficult to combine the two types of habitats as the larger fish will prey on corals and invertebrates.
Live rock should be used on all saltwater systems because it provides a beneficial bacteria that helps break down waste and boosts the ecosystem of your aquarium. If your fish become sick, medications like copper and nitrofurazone will kill the life on the rock. You will now have “dead” rock. Live rock looks best when encrusting purple coralline algae is present. It is very difficult to have this algae grow in a fish-only aquarium because most of these fish (Angels, Butterflies, Triggers, Puffers, etc.) eat it as a staple. Also, coralline algae require a large amount of light and consistent levels of calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, nitrate and phosphates. For the same amount of work, you could have a reef tank.
Reef aquariums all must have a sump connected to the system. In this sump is a protein skimmer which is your main filter. Reefs with small polyped stony corals (sps) should have a refugium in the sump. A refugium is a controlled growing area for macroalgae, zooplankton, and copods. It is located outside the main aquarium but connected via plumbing. The macro algae help keep phosphates and nitrates low by breaking down the nutrients. Zooplankton and copods also thrive in a refugium and are an excellent food source for “sps” corals and clams. Our experience is that refugiums are not needed for large polyped stony corals (lps).
Marine Fish-only and freshwater habitats must use a sump/refugium or a canister filter to break down and remove fish waste. A protein skimmer (marine only), UV sterilizer, and/or canister filters can supplement the main filter. The supplementation filters are used depending on the size of the aquarium, how many and what types of fish will be housed. Wet/Dry filters are not used for reef systems because of their efficiency in breaking down waste to nitrates.
Lysol, air fresheners, and even windex (ammonia) can harm your fish. Pesticides and bleach are also deadly. We had an experience where Lysol was used around an aquarium and caused all the fish to die.