Welcome to Saltwater Aquarium Blog, your online guide to:
- Building a better saltwater aquarium
- Enjoying your reef tank more
- Fighting aquarium problems
- Buying the right equipment and gear
- Avoiding common mistakes
- Making smarter decisions
- Reducing the hassles maintenance
Since 2009, I’ve connected with a half million readers, and I’m glad for the opportunity to connect with you! The best way to connect with me is by joining the thousands of others in the Saltwater Aquarium Blog Newsletter Community.
Here is some advice on how to find the most helpful information you’re looking for.
Because this is a blog, the articles are published on the home page with the most recent articles displayed first.
Feel free to check out the most recent articles and work your way backward.
If you’re looking for a specific topic and know what you want to find, consider using the search function by clicking the magnifying glass at the top right of the page
The most useful pages on Saltwater Aquarium Blog
Here are a few quick links to the most popular content on the site.
- Are you converting from freshwater? Check out this guide first!
- Looking for a step-by-step setup guide?
- Picking the best reef tank salt mix
- 9 Most Important Water Parameters
- Step 1: Set up a quarantine tank
- Where to put your aquarium
- How much live rock do you need?
- 5 helpful aquascaping tips
- How much live rock do I need?
- How to pick the right substrate (sand)
- How to make saltwater
- Avoiding new tank syndrome
- Cycling your new tank
- Best way to acclimate your fish
- 7 Coolest saltwater fish for beginners
- 20 Most Popular Saltwater Fish
- Great Saltwater Starter Fish
- Functional saltwater fish
- Top Zoanthids
- Guide to saltwater aquarium equipment
- The best resources to check out
- Best Protein Skimmer
- Are bristle worms good or bad?
What it takes to be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby
If you want to be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby, it takes some patience, planning, perseverance, and a desire to learn about and care about some of the world’s most beautiful, and often fragile creatures.
When I started out in the hobby, I was confused and overwhelmed. There was plenty of information out there–but sorting through it all was sometimes a challenge–and the advice given was not always accurate.
Along the way, I’ve continued my learning (either through reading, talking with others in the hobby, or messing things up pretty badly myself).
There are plenty of people out there who know a lot more about the saltwater aquarium hobby than I do–but I started writing Saltwater Aquarium Blog for those of you who are like me when I started out.
You want to learn, plan and be successful–but just need to be pointed in the right direction.
Success in this hobby is all about creating a stable environment for the animals in your tank.
In order to do that, you need some knowledge about the basics, some time, equipment, patience, and persistence. You have to understand what the needs are for the animals in your tank (sometimes called husbandry requirements), and you have to provide that for them–almost every hour of every day.
The way you do that is by maintaining near-perfect water conditions with the right equipment and maintenance. When you stray from those ideal water conditions, your risk of having problems goes up. Don’t let that scare you though–because there are lots of tools to help you.
Why keep a saltwater aquarium?
Setting up and maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. Studies have shown that watching fish in an aquarium can have a calming effect that lowers your pulse rate and blood pressure.
The saltwater aquarium hobby is one part creative expression, one part gardening (underwater gardening) and one part pet ownership. You get to watch the animals grow and adapt to the environment you created for them and provide for them. It’s a pretty cool thing.
Does a saltwater aquarium have to be big?
When the saltwater aquarium hobby first hit the scene, a lot of people thought that you had to have a big tank in order to be successful.
Over the years, the equipment used to keep a saltwater aquarium has gotten better, as the processes for transporting fish and invertebrates have gotten better…so now you can be successful with just about any size aquarium you would want.
Now, size is a trade-off decision, not a requirement. Check out my review of some of the most popular rimless nano tanks for a few ideas on how to start small.
Does a saltwater aquarium have to be expensive?
Owning a saltwater aquarium can be expensive. Many people choose to spend a lot of money on the equipment and livestock in their tanks, but it a saltwater aquarium doesn’t have to be expensive. I recommend you start off small, try it out and see how much you enjoy the hobby before you get into the expansive side of things.
Where can you buy a saltwater tank?
Believe it or not, one of the best places to buy a saltwater aquarium is from another saltwater aquarium hobbyist. For better or worse, there are two prominent trends in this hobby.
This is a hobby where the most enthusiastic people are generally changing, upgrading or swapping out parts of their tanks…so at any given time, there is usually a decent supply of gently used tanks and gear.
You can usually stretch your budget and get more for your money if you buy used. It’s also a good way to tap into the knowledge of others and get started on the right foot.
If you’re looking for a store with a physical location, your best bet is to look for a specialty (generally independently owned) shop. In the hobby, we like to call these local fish stores (LFS).
The reason I recommend these stores over the big box national retail chains is that the local fish stores are generally run by aquarium enthusiasts who have a passion for and knowledge about the hobby.
Aquarium equipment, fish, and corals are not commodity products, they require a certain amount of tender loving care and knowledge that, in my personal experience, is more commonly found in the local fish store than in the megastores.
It might cost you a little bit more, but it’s generally worthwhile to get the additional education and support your LFS can provide.
If you already have a good degree of comfort with understanding what it takes to set up a saltwater aquarium successfully, another great place to buy a saltwater aquarium is online. The all-in-one aquarium systems are turnkey solutions that are easy to ship and set up right out of the box.
If you’re looking to score a good deal, check out the options available at online retailers like Amazon.com, where you can often get some of the best prices on JBJ or Coralife brand cubes (Affiliate links). They make great starter saltwater aquariums.
Looking for a more formal education?
If you are serious about increasing your learning and want a more formal and organized way to engage in all there is to learn about building a better saltwater aquarium, check out Saltwater Aquarium 101, the definitive guide to building a great reef tank.
This is a 2-hour, online training you can take in your own time to build a strong foundation and avoid the mistakes in this hobby that can literally cost you hundreds of dollars and a whole lot of stress.
Thanks for checking out Saltwater Aquarium Blog. We all have limited time to surf the web and consume content and I’m truly grateful that you are spending some of that time here with me and my writing.
I hope you enjoy the time you spend here and learn something along the way. That’s what this blog is all about.