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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Differences Between Saltwater Aquariums and Freshwater Aquariums

Maintaining a saltwater aquarium is more difficult than that of a freshwater aquarium because of the many differences in time, equipment, money and aquarium stability. For this reason it may be costly for a beginner.

Before the differences can become apparent, we must find the similarities first that both of these types of aquariums have.

Both freshwater and saltwater aquariums require regular maintenance. Each aquarium system requires weekly testing of the same chemicals on a weekly basis: nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and ph. The filters need habitual maintenance cleanings as well doing water changes and cleaning the substrate.

The main differences that saltwater has over freshwater is that you must be more meticulous when maintaining your aquarium. The chemicals in the aquarium can’t change very much or else fish and/or coral might begin to get sick or die. There are also more items that you need to purchase such as a protein skimmer and a reverse osmosis water purifier that is not required to run a freshwater aquarium; these items can be quite costly when beginning to setup the saltwater aquarium.

There are also the differences in added chemicals and nutrients. If you are running a mini-reef saltwater aquarium then you need to add items such as calcium and trace elements in order to keep the corals alive. If you just keep fish in the aquarium it can be a little less expensive.

Saltwater fish are also much more susceptible to water changes due to the fact that most marine fish are captured from the ocean and not bred in captivity. Freshwater fish can adapt to changes in water thus making it easier for the freshwater fish to survive in an aquarium setting. Because the saltwater fish are so susceptible you have to make sure that you have all the chemicals in balance. Sea salt mix is an important addition to the aquarium in order to create the correct amount of salinity in the water; constantly having to add the salinity to the water can create an extra expense on top of changing out filters.

Saltwater aquariums also require much more of your time. Saltwater aquariums require diligence and a lot of attention to detail. Chemicals in the aquarium can change from one day to the next making it necessary to do more frequent checks on the aquarium.

If you don’t have the time or money for maintaining a saltwater aquarium, it is best that you stick to freshwater.

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