What type of saltwater aquarium
is best for you?
Saltwater aquariums are colorful and brighten up your room. The type of saltwater aquarium you choose determines the kinds of fish, corals and other living things you can keep.
This article gives you an overview the type of saltwater aquarium you should select based on your circumstances. It will help you get a picture right from the start of how colorful different saltwater aquariums can look and which aquarium you like best.
When shopping for a saltwater aquarium, you will quickly realize that everyone has preferences. Some people prefer certain fish and corals and are more or less inclined to use that are the basis for their decision on the type of aquarium to buy.
On the other hand, you should not forget that certain aquariums might suit your choice of inhabitants better than others.
Below is an overview of the most common types of saltwater aquariums that you can choose from:
The fish-only aquarium
As the name suggests, the main focus of these aquariums is clearly on its swimming inhabitants. Since the aquarium does not contain any living corals, it is relatively easy to care for and forgives inaccuracies quite generously.
Above all, it enables fish to be kept that otherwise like to peck at the corals, such as the incredibly beautiful angelfish.
You can of course populate the basin with lower animals such as crabs and shrimps. The name only makes it clear that there are no corals here.
If you want to set a few colored accents in addition to the rather colorless reef rock, you can use colorful plastic imitations. In my opinion, the fish-only aquariums look most beautiful with plenty of swimming space and a full focus on magnificent fish.
The soft coral aquarium
Soft coral aquariums were the rule in home aquariums a few decades ago, as the technology was not yet developed enough to enable the keeping of hard corals. Soft corals only need relatively weak light and are also satisfied with more nutrient-rich (i.e. dirtier) water.
This is why soft corals are relatively beginner-friendly.
In contrast to hard corals, soft corals do not have a solid limestone skeleton and thus appear more lively and organic. They sway shallowly in the water and you can watch their small branches pulsing. Due to the fairly uniform coloring, pure soft coral tanks are nowadays rather rare and soft corals are mostly kept in mixed reef aquariums together with other corals.
The hard coral aquarium
This type of saltwater aquarium is reminiscent of brightly colored fantasy landscapes under water.
The small coral polyps feed on the light of your aquarium and over time produce a framework of lime under themselves. Due to the fine branches of the limestone skeletons, a real coral reef, as it is in the book, develops on your stones over time. In addition, the polyps glow in all imaginable colors under the right light.
Often the fish are not so noticeable here at first glance and the corals are clearly in the foreground.
The good SPS and LPS (that’s the name of hard corals in the technical jargon) need very intense light and absolutely pure water. In addition, certain substances must be constantly replenished in order to enable the limestone skeleton to build up.
In short: a hard coral aquarium is a feast for the eyes, but it is much more complex. If that doesn’t scare you off, you should definitely take a look at the coral guide. You will also find an overview of beautiful beginner corals for LPS corals and SPS corals.
The mixed reef aquarium
Often the individual coral species are not kept separate, but you want a nice mix of stones, fish, soft and hard corals.
Depending on your experience, you can create a great underwater world that comes closest to real coral reefs. The base is formed by flexible soft corals that sway in the current. Light-hungry hard corals are used as colored accents higher up in the aquarium.
Maybe you can already see in the picture what soft and hard corals are?
Since you will be housing inhabitants with completely different demands, it is very important that you are aware of the different requirements of the inhabitants beforehand. Make sure that the inhabitants are compatible.
The nano aquarium
The Nano Auquarium is a very special form of a seawater basin. The aquariums for this are only 10-150 liters in size and mostly cube-shaped. A “bonsai underwater world” is created here in the smallest of spaces.
It fits into even the smallest student dorm and looks very chic too.
NOTE: For reasons of space, fish must be avoided in the nano aquarium – anything else would really be cruelty to animals.
At most a pair of clownfish in a 150 liter tank is just acceptable. But actually you only find shrimp, crabs and corals in nano tanks.