Fresh vs Salt Water Fish Tanks
So you are interested in keeping fish but are not sure if to own a saltwater or a fresh water aquarium. When it comes to choosing which ecosystem you want, it’s not all about aesthetics. Cost and maintenance are two major factors you need to consider. The basic necessity when building an aquarium is to recreate the environment of where the inhabitants have originated. If you think that’s difficult, there also many differences in terms of setups, costs, maintenance, and types of fish. This section is intended to inform and help those who are not sure which is the right tank for them.
Choosing a freshwater aquarium is often recommended for those people who are starting with their first aquarium. Over-all, freshwater tanks are easier to maintain and present fewer risks hence great for first time fish owners. Freshwater tanks are less expensive than saltwater environments since it requires less equipment and the cost of fishes is considerably less. Most freshwater tanks include fish such as cichlids, betta fish, goldfish, and tetras fish. Due to their natural environment and experience in cyclical changes such as flooding and drying, the inconsistency of the freshwater environment means the fishes are more enduring and able to survive a variety of water conditions (5 to 9pH). Implementing live plants into a freshwater environment can make handling the tank a bit more difficult.
In the saltwater world, everything gets taken up a notch. The costs, the maintenance, the tank size, and the fish all require some additional effort. Saltwater tanks usually require a bigger tank because saltwater cannot hold the same amount of oxygen as freshwater tanks. Research suggests that seawater contains only around 80% of oxygen than when being compared to freshwater. Filtration is also the key to a healthy saltwater aquarium. There are three basic types of filtration: biological (Live Rock), mechanical, and chemical. If you choose to use a live rock filtration system, you will need a protein skimmer to eliminate dissolved waste. However, if this is your first saltwater tank, I recommend using a chemical or mechanical filtration system. Saltwater fish may be more expensive but offer much more color and beauty than freshwater tanks. Some popular and inexpensive fish that you can include in your aquarium are clownfish, dwarf angelfish, tangs, and damselfish. To maintain a saltwater tank you must mimic the ocean which includes a suitable pH, salinity, and chloride level because saltwater fish can only survive in very specific water conditions (7.8 to 8.4 pH).
In general, owning a saltwater aquarium can be more difficult and more expensive than owning a freshwater one. But in the long run, with a correct set up and proper maintenance, you can have a piece of underwater serenity for years to come. All in all you should weigh your options, and determine which one is best for you.
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