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How to Start a Saltwater Aquarium

Whether setting up a new aquarium, converting an existing tank from fresh to saltwater, or upgrading from a fish-only to a reef tank, it is important to plan ahead "before" you begin. Research the many system design options there are to choose from, what equipment and supplies are needed for each, and once you've got your system planned out, put it all together and set it up.
  1. Buy Books
  2. Select a Tank
  3. Select a Filtration System
  4. Select Equipment & Supplies
  5. Maintain the Aquarium
  6. Emergency Help!!
  7. Plan a System (8)
  8. Cycle the Aquarium (22)
  9. More Ways to Start & Set Up (6)
  10. Moving Fish & Inverts (12)
  11. Quick Reference Help Desk (400)

Upgrading From a Fish Only or Fish Only With Live Rock to a Reef Tank
Thinking that it will be complicated and too difficult to do? Many people who have had a Fish Only or Fish Only With Live Rock tank for some time are hesitant to switch to a full on reef tank. Trust us!! It is not hard to do, in fact it can be simpler than you think. Here are the steps to take and the things to take into consideration when switching.

Saltwater Aquariums 101 - Day 1
Setting up a saltwater aquarium isn't really all that hard to do if you have a plan. This 5 day course walks you through every step of the process, including tank and stand selection as well as choosing the right filtration and lighting. Step by step makes it easy.

Saltwater Aquarium 101 - Day 2
Now that you have selected your new tank and determined where you are going to locate it, you will want to pick your filtration system, if your aquarium did not contain one in a package.

Saltwater Aquarium 101 - Day 3
On day 3 we will be covering aquarium lighting, adding live rock and the substrate.

Saltwater Aquariums 101 - Day 4
Now that you have all your aquarium components, we will be assembling your new saltwater aquarium and selecting which critters will work best for you.

Saltwater Aquariums 101 - Day 5

Buying a Marine Aquarium For a Child or Teen
Buying a marine aquarium for a child or teen is actually a good investment. If your child or teen has any interest in becoming a marine biologist in the future, owning a marine aquarium is educational and a great way for them to "get their feet wet". As hobbies go, marine aquariums may cost a bit to initially set up, but the ongoing expenses are...

How to Start (set up) a Saltwater Aquarium
Starting (setting up) a new saltwater (marine) aquarium can be fun if you have all of the information at your fingertips. Here you will find everything from planning the aquarium system, to equipment selection to putting it all together to actually starting the aquarium up. Setting up your new aquarium can easily be done in less than a day.

Where to Locate Your Aquarium
There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when deciding where to put your aquarium. Heating ducts, windows, furniture, traffic patterns, power outlet location and a number of other things all come into play.

Choosing Your Aquarium Size, Material and Style
Saltwater aquariums are not a cheap investment. There are a lot of aquarium sizes, shapes and materials to choose from and, since you will probably not want to change the tank for a while once you have installed it, make sure that you are buying what will work best for you and your situation.

Checklist of Items Needed to Start a Saltwater Aquarium
If you are new to saltwater aquaria, the number of different pieces of equipment needed can seem overpowering. Here is a checklist of everything you will need to start a Saltwater Aquarium. Using this checklist will make sure that you have everything you need before you start assembling your new aquarium.

Select & Add Livestock

Saltwater Aquarium Setup in 10 Easy Steps
Saltwater Aquarium Set Up isn't really all that difficult if you take it one step at a time. Setting up your marine aquarium, starting at step number one and proceeding through each step helps you set up your new aquarium system without any false steps, avoiding having to go back and undo what you have already done. Just follow these step by...

Building A Saltwater Aquarium Refugium
A refugium can be a valuable addition to almost any saltwater aquarium. From growing nitrate consuming (as well as a natural fish food) macroalgae, to cultivating copepods and amphipods to feed your other tank occupants, refugiums have many uses in a marine aquarium.

E-Course - Saltwater Aquariums 101
E-Course - Saltwater Aquariums 101- Getting Started is an e-mail course for starting a saltwater aquarium. This course takes you, step by step, through selecting the right equipment and putting it all together as well as selecting and caring for your tank occupants.

Saltwater Aquariums 101 - Getting Started
The gateway page to the Saltwater Aquariums 101 class. The "Saltwater Aquarium 101 - Getting Started" E -course walks you through the process, one step at a time. Each lesson in the course gives the information you will need to make the right choice for your new aquarium. You can start at day one and follow through, day by day, or download all...

So, You've Heard Having A Saltwater Aquarium Is Difficult?
If you have been thinking about starting a saltwater aquarium, but have some doubts about how difficult it may be, this should help set your mind at ease. In spite of what you may have heard, it's really now all that hard.

So, You Want to Be a Marine Aquarist? Step 2: Filtration Decisions
So, You Want to Be a Marine Aquarist? Step 2: Filtration Decisions - Part 2 of a series by Don Carner - Choosing a filtration system for your saltwater aquarium.

Cycling a Tank and Establishing the Biological Filter
There are a number of methods for establishing the biological filter (also known as cycling) in a saltwater aquarium. From what the "cycle" is to how to establish the biological filter in a saltwater aquarium.

So, You Want to Be a Marine Aquarist?
From About Saltwater Aquariums, Don Carner covers the first steps in getting started as a marine aquarist, beginning with choosing a location and selecting the tank, stand and hood.

How Much for a 10 Gallon Mini-Reef Clownfish Tank?
Here's a list of items and how much it would cost to buy everything to set up a simple 10 gallon "Nemo and Friends" mini-reef aquarium.

10 Most Common Mistakes Made By Aquarium Keepers
No matter what kind of aquarium keeper you are or may become, basic saltwater, reef, or freshwater, here is a list of what are considered to be the 10 most common mistakes that are made, which are problems that can be avoided if you are aware of what they are before you start an aquarium.

Top Saltwater Aquarium Myths
Over the past few decades, the science of saltwater aquaria has increased by leaps and bounds. In spite of the new knowledge, many of the old myths which arose during the years of experimentation are still professed by some as facts. Here are some of the most popular myths which are still in circulation.

What is a Reef Tank?
What is a Reef Tank? describes exactly what a reef tank is and how it differs from a Fish Only or Fish Only With Live Rock aquarium.

Top 10 1 to 50 Gallon Aquariums
Whether you are a beginner looking for your first tank, or an experienced aquarist contemplating creating a quick and easy micro or mini reef tank or a refugium, one of these top pick aquariums between 1 to 50 gallons in size might work for you.

Small Aquariums - 40 Gallons or Less Keys to Success
Although you may decide to set up an aquarium less than 40 gallons in size, any seasoned aquarist will tell you that the larger the volume of water you are dealing with, the better. The main reason? Because there are fewer concerns with environmental changes occurring rapidly. Before you put together a small saltwater aquarium, look at these...

Reef Safe Fish List
Not all fish are "reef safe". There are those that will pick at and eat corals, consume other fishes, munch down various types of crustaceans and invertebrates, as well as some that can quickly destroy an aquarium due to their size. Here is a species list of fish that are generally considered by experienced aquarium keepers to be safe for reef tanks.

Reef Safe Invertebrates
Not all invertebrates are "reef safe". Many of them will tear up corals, consume fish and otherwise destroy other tank inhabitants. The invertebrates listed here are some (not all by any means) generally considered by experienced reef tank keepers to be safe for reef tanks.

BYB Mini-Aquarium Kit Considerations
Smaller is not always easier, or better, so before you buy a mini-aquarium kit, here are some important things you should consider about these compact all-in-one systems, because they are not for everyone.

Stan & Debbie's Step-By-Step 92 Gallon Reef Tank Set Up Process
A large reef aquarium is something we your Guides Stan and Debbie had dreamed of for a long time. After much planning and having saved for this system, here is a step-by-step outline that simply shows you how we set up our 92 gallon reef tank. By using pictures and explaining each step of the process from start to finish, you can clearly see...

Sample 55g FOWLR Saltwater Tank
Here is a plan for an easy, sure-fire 55g FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) tank. This set up includes a tank, filtration, power head, light hood and a list of fish and invertebrates which are sturdy, colorful and actually get along with each other.

Converting from Freshwater to Saltwater
If you are a freshwater aquarist that has considered converting your tank over to a saltwater system, undoubtedly you have asked if the same equipment and components you presently have can be used to do so? Your About Guides say of course they can, with a few exceptions.

Aquarium Equipment & Set Up Polls
A list of quick polls created by your Guides to help them give other aquarists a perspective on what pieces of equipment, types of supplies, and aquarium set up choices are most often chosen by hobbyists like yourself. Participate and vote in the polls, or just view the polling results for some input.

Choosing the Right Substrate
Much more than just the "stuff on the bottom of the tank", substrates are an integral part of any aquarium system. Besides contributing to the visual appeal of a tank, substrates also serve other purposes. The wrong substrate for your tank can create problems, rather than solving them.

Tips for Buying Livestock
Understanding the different levels of care that various fish and invertebrate species require can be difficult, but by following a few simple guidelines to begin with, half the battle can be won at the onset of buying new livestock.

Aquascaping & Decorating
From your About Guides Debbie and Stan discuss the details of choosing and using each of the following aquascaping components; substrate, rocks and stones, living, non-living and synthetic corals, shells, live and plastic plants, backgrounds, and other decorations.

The Importance of Proper Areation
Your Guides explain why proper areation is important, and how the oxygen-carbon dioxide gas exchange takes place.

My Tank Has Finished Cycling - Now What?
Now that your new saltwater aquarium has reached the end of the nitrogen cycling process and completed its task of establishing the beginning of your tank's biological filter base, what do you do next? If you are not careful, you could find yourself back on square one.

A First-Aid Kit for Saltwater Aquariums
Unforeseen situations with your aquarium can occur at any time, and if you are not prepared to handle a critical problem if it arises, losses to your aquarium community can be costly. You should be ready at any given time to be able to perform a partical or complete water change, treat a sick fish, or handle any number of other emergenices.

Siamese Fighting Fish & Lily Plant Aquarium Setups
A nice gift, or is it? Your About Guides address this freshwater issue, because although beautiful, if proper fish care and diligent maintenance is not provided, these types of "so-called" aquarium set ups are not a conducive environment for fish to live in.

Nocturnal Marine Aquariums
Some of the most beautiful and fascinating animals in the oceans are seldom, if ever seen during the day. Nocturnal marine fish and invertebrates live side by side with the daytime marine critters, but seldom come out during the day.

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