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What it takes to get started 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 the blog for those of you who are like me when I started out–those looking to get into this fabulous hobby who are looking to learn, plan and be successful–but just need to be pointed in the right direction.
To be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby, you have to learn to create a stable environment for the animals in your tank to grow and thrive. You have to understand what their needs are (sometimes called husbandry requirements), and you have to provide that for them–every hour, every day. The way you do that is by maintaining near-perfect water conditions. 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. The rest is all about creating a system and sticking to it.
Cycling your saltwater aquarium and picking your first starter fish
The first thing you will have to do to get started is cycle your saltwater aquarium and select your first fish–the fish you start out with are generally called starter fish. When starting out, it is best to stick with a list of proven starter fish for a variety of reasons:
- starter fish are generally hardy, which means they can tolerate less-than-perfect aquarium water conditions and they are long-lived
- starter fish are usually inexpensive
- starter fish can be found at most local fish stores
But you do have to be careful–not every saltwater fish you find in your local fish store or online is suitable to be kept in a saltwater aquarium (a startling, but true statement), and the list of fish that are suitable as starter fish is even shorter. I put together two short articles to help you get started here:
What the Saltwater Aquarium Hobby is NOT
- Success in this hobby NOT something that happens by accident. The best aquarium hobbyists I know have taken the time to educate themselves by reading books, blogs, websites and discussion forums. They also plan things out, have patience and do routine maintenance.
- Beautiful tanks with massive colonies of corals and fish living in harmony do NOT happen overnight–despite what you see on TV. They take time, and you need to give your tank time or you’ll be throwing money and precious sea-life away.
- Having a thriving saltwater aquarium is NOT an impossible task. You don’t need a Ph.D. or degree in marine biology. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on the most expensive gadgets. You just need to take one step at a time.
My Newsletter and Free Article–Avoid the 5 Most Common Saltwater Aquarium Mistakes
Before you leave this page to continue your Saltwater Aquarium exploration, I want to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. About each week, I will send you an email newsletter with saltwater aquarium hobby information that you can’t find on the blog–as well as some information about the latest posts.
I generally reveal new features and topics to newsletter subscribers before posting more generally on the blog. You can unsubscribe easily at any time, but hopefully you won’t want to–at least that’s my own personal goal. As a thank you for subscribing, I will send you a copy of my free article: The 5 Most Common Saltwater Aquarium Mistakes.
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