Saltwater Aquarium Basics: 5 Key Things all Saltwater Aquariums Need


It’s important to get all the right things for your saltwater aquarium. Keep reading for saltwater aquarium basics: 5 key things all saltwater aquariums need. 

Do you have pet fish? Did you know that gazing at them through the tank can actually benefit your health? It’s true—it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. In fact, studies have shown that it can even improve dementia! On top of all that, they’re a great home decor piece. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that many people have tanks in their homes. 

Are you thinking of starting an aquarium? Perhaps you want to get into saltwater fish? If so, you’re on the right page. We’ll be going over all the saltwater aquarium basics that you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more.

Saltwater Aquarium Basics: 5 Things That You Need 

Keeping saltwater fish is different from keeping freshwater fish. Here are a few things that you’ll want to invest in:

1. Protein Skimmer

Protein skimmers are devices that remove food and waste particles from the water. In doing so, they prevent nitrate levels from going up, which otherwise can harm your fish and coral reefs. Some use air pumps and air stones whereas others use something called a venturi valve. Basically, it’s a valve that draws air into the passing water.

2. Live Rock 

Live rock is rock that’s been taken from the ocean and put into a saltwater aquarium. While the rock itself isn’t “alive”, it contains many living organisms such as copepods both inside and on the surface. Not only do the rocks enhance the look of the aquarium, but they also act as a biological filter. On top of that, they provide a natural shelter for the tank’s inhabitants.

3. Lights

It’s important to have proper lighting for your saltwater tank. For one thing, it’s essential for corals. Put it simply, they require light to generate energy. Microalgae is another example—a good amount of light is necessary for them to thrive. At the end of the day, you want to pick a lighting system that’s suitable for the livestock in your tank.

4. Substrate

Substrate refers to the type of material that’s on the bottom of the tank. Believe it or not, but it’s actually an integral part of the aquarium. That’s right—it’s not just decorative. For starters, it’s a vital part of the biological filter system. On top of that, it provides refuge for certain bottom-swelling fish such as cardinal tetras or cherry barbs.

5. Backup Power Supply 

It’s a good idea to get a backup power supply for your tank. After all, you never know when there might be a power outage. As you can imagine, a lack of power can lead to detrimental consequences. For one thing, your fish and corals can easily die within hours. Saltwater aquariums are expensive—why risk it? 

And there we have it—a short guide on saltwater aquarium basics. If anything, you want to set everything up properly before introducing fish or invertebrates into your tank! Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below.

About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.