Comparison of Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums
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Comparison of Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums

Which type of aquarium is best for you; saltwater or freshwater? Here's everything you need to know to decide.

Are you thinking about setting up an aquarium but can't decided what kind? Well, you have two choices; saltwater or freshwater. Before you decide, you should become familiar with their differences and what is involved with each. This article details and compares several factors that should be considered before you make your decision.

Almost any size freshwater aquarium can be started. However, the minimum recommended size for a saltwater aquarium is typically about 55 gallons. This is because the larger size makes it hard to have a drastic change in water parameters; something that can be very stressful for saltwater fish. Additional equipment, such as a protein skimmer and better lighting, is often needed for a saltwater aquarium as well. Also, live rock is often preferred for saltwater aquariums and can be quiet expensive.

Maintenance is easier for a freshwater aquarium than it is for a saltwater aquarium. Both require periodic water quality monitoring and partial water changes but more attention must be given to these things in a saltwater aquarium. Occasionally skipping a partial water change in a freshwater aquarium is usually not a big deal but it should not be skipped in a saltwater aquarium. Every time a partial water change is done for a saltwater aquarium, salt must be pre-mixed with the water in a separate container before it is added to the aquarium.

Another maintenance issue to consider is cleaning of the tank. Freshwater aquariums, in general, are a little more tolerant to lack of cleaning. Freshwater aquariums also do not have a build-up of salt around the aquarium. As time goes on, salt residue from a saltwater aquarium appears around the outside of the tank. The items closest to the surface of the water, such as the hood and light fixture, get the most salt residue. Occasionally cleaning these items of the salt residue should be considered a small part of the aquarium maintenance.

A saltwater aquarium is more expensive than a fresh water aquarium. A saltwater aquarium typically requires additional equipment, salt, and possibly live rock. Saltwater fish also tend to be much more expensive than freshwater fish.

Saltwater fish are generally more expensive and more fragile than freshwater fish. They are also more beautiful than freshwater fish. Their colors can really be amazing. This is typically the most common reason for people to prefer saltwater aquariums over freshwater aquariums. What you need to decide for yourself is if having these beautiful fish in your aquarium is worth the extra maintenance and cost.

If you are a beginner with no aquarium experience, it is best to start with a freshwater aquarium so you can become familiar with the hobby. If you have some fish-keeping experience, the extra cost isn't a problem, and you're able to do the extra maintenance, you should consider a saltwater aquarium.

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