As a newbie in the salty side of the hobby, you might have heard people telling you that starting a marine aquarium tank is relatively expensive compare to a freshwater tank and it is hard to upkeep it. If you ever have thoughts of starting a marine reef or fish only tank and not sure if you are able to do so, in this article I will share with you more insight, tips and possible worst scenario and solution for you to judge if you are ready for the saltwater journey.
Be it setting up a freshwater or saltwater tank, everything will always start with the level of commitment that you are willing to take. Are you be ready to take care of your new found hobby? What is the comfortable tank size that you are able to upkeep and maintenance on your own ? If not, are you be willing to pay someone to do it for you ?
So what is like doing your own maintenance?
Regular Maintenance usually consists of replacement, cleaning of the filter wool, conducting water parameter testing to ensure that all parameter is in check especially if you are keeping a coral tank, also ensuring that your fish are well fed with proper nutritional foods. If any of the elements is found to be out of range or imbalance during your routine water testing, you would need to adjust your daily dosing or supplement it to ensure it stay on the optimal level.
What other preparation do I need to start a marine tank? I will break down most of them below.
Will you able to find space to build a tank?
Space / planning
We are talking about the place and space that you are going to need and location where you are going to place your new tank. Are you planning to keep a reef aquarium or a FOWLR ( Fish Only With Live Rocks) or even a species only setup which could be seahorse tank, jellyfish tank etc.. Do you want a ready make tank or go for a customise setup ? How big of a tank do you want to have? What kind of fish do you want to keep? Knowing and planing these beforehand is important as not only it helps in your budget planning, it also determines the types of equipment that you would require later on.
If you do intend to set up a fish only tank, what types of fishes do you intend to keep? For example, fishes like the tang family will require a tank size of more than 3ft to have plenty of space for it to swim around. If you intend to start small and upgrade to a bigger tank later, do you have space for another tank when your corals and fishes grow bigger?
This ain’t a goldfish in a fishbowl nor a goldfish can do well just in a fishbowl.
Not sure about the fish compatibility and what fishes that you can keep? You can always ask around in the discussion community by starting a new thread in the forum or check out our marine fish database knowing what you will be getting.
Cost / Budget
The marine aquarium itself isn’t really an expensive hobby if know what you are getting. Especially so if you’re not chasing popular names of corals or chasing expensive fishes, which could be even more affordable compared to some of the freshwater fishes.
A common marine tank sump setup with equipment like reactor, skimmer and chiller.
It is always debatable that equipment should always buy oversize which will affect your overall budget, however, it might not be necessary so depending on your bioload and what do you intend to keep as well, as it makes no sense to buy an oversize skimmer if you only have a few fishes or corals in your tank.
So how much do i need to spend?
It is advisable to check for quotation from a few tank maker and do some research online as well as our forum, or our saltwater hobby group to check and ask around what equipment suits your budget. After setting up the initial budget for the basic equipment and tank setup, do prepare to budget for your fish stock list as well as some basic supplement like for example, bacteria to start your tank cycling and maintenance aspect of it.
Some of the common and basic supplement used in a marine tank.
The last aspect would just be stocking up on your new tank, waiting for your favourite fish / coral to come along in one of the shipments from the local fish store. Not sure when the fish is coming? You can always subscribe to our telegram shipment broadcast channel HERE to be the first to know.
Knowledge is Power – As a beginner in this hobby, the salty side of the setup might be new or alien to you. Even if you browse or search online which is full of resource, stubborn people like me tends to experience hardship, paying endless school fees before being reliase that being stubborn is actually wrong ! And start to listen to experience reefer in this hobby what they shared is actually true ! (That is why I am writing this now).
If you happen to read this article, Good. Please take our advice on what the experienced hobbyist share with you on the forum .
A coral reef display tank at one of the local fish store.
Although this might be a short and brief article regarding the new tank setup, I hope this article would be able to assist new hobbyist that is jumping into the salty side of the aquarium to have some basic information and knowledge what you are in for. Yes, Reefing could be slightly more tedious as compared to setting up a freshwater tank but the reward of it is a beautiful and colourful coral and marine fishes that a freshwater tank cannot compare to. When you step into the marine hobby, you will also be able to learn more about water chemistry and the important aspect of it and start to appreciate the uniqueness of the marine life in our mother ocean.
Starting a marine tank do required patient, knowledge and discipline but it will reward you with the best ever master pcs of an ocean in your own space.
Thank you for reading.