Saltwater aquariums are highly customizable.  Unless you already know exactly what type of design you are looking for, it helps to start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is the aquarium for display in a business or for personal enjoyment?
  • How big an aquarium are you looking for. A 55 gallons is a common beginner aquarium for salt water and is 4 feet long and 1 foot wide and almost 2 feet tall.
  • Will you place your tank on a stand, build it into the wall, or incorporate it into existing furniture
  • Do you have a space set aside?
  • What type of marine life would you like to include?
    • Clownfish, marine angelfish, and other colorful reef fish
    • Aggressive animals like  sharks and eels (many of these are not exclusive)
    • Corals and plants
    • Invertebrates like starfish and shrimp (which can work with many fish)
    • Specific more fragile animals such as seahorses or jellyfish
  • Do you prefer a simpler tank that is easier to maintain or a project that evolves?
  • What is your budget? A tank full of coral and live rock is a larger investment than a handful of fish.

Next Steps

Once you have a general ideal what you are looking for, we can start addressing specific issues.  The goal is to help you understand how the aquarium is working, which then allows for a greater ability to customize what you'd like to do while avoiding problems.

1) Review the different general categories of saltwater aquariums.  We can customize within each category but it is essential to decide what you want before we go much further.

2) Determine what materials you will need for your tank.   Size matters but so does the type of marine life you intend to place in your tank.  For example, a fish only tank requires different equipment than a reef only tank.

3) When you have purchased the appropriate equipment, we can begin setting it up.  This is not a fast process and should not be rushed.

4) Before we actually add new animals, we want to consider whether they are likely to coexist relatively peacefully.  Keep in mind that fish and invertebrates will attack each other to establish dominance and sometimes eat smaller animals.

5) Finally, we are ready to add new fish

Once Your Tank is Set Up

We can now move to learning about how to maintain your saltwater aquarium!