Water covers about 75% of the Earth’s surface in different bodies such as lakes, oceans, and rivers. The first signs of life started in water many millions of years ago.
Life forms have adapted to live in different water conditions, temperatures and depths. From deep cold ocean environments to high altitude lakes, fish have evolved to live in these different water conditions.
Getting a fish tank is the best way to mimic natural conditions in your living room and have colorful small companions from all over the world.
To start, there is a crucial decision that has to be made. What kind of environment would you like in your tank? Freshwater fish and marine fish cannot be mixed in the same tank. You can have one of each or decide which one you prefer the most.
Robert Woods, owner of the online publication Fishkeeping World, is going to describe the differences to help you decide and find which environment would best fit your taste.
In both cases you can find the most colorful fish and animals. But what are the differences and what do they mean?
The Main Difference
The first is very easy to guess. The water in saltwater tanks contains different percentages of salts depending on the fish or animals you have.
The water found in freshwater tanks is also special. You cannot just use tap water as it must be de-chlorinated and treated for your fish.
Pros and Cons
Pros and cons don’t just come down to aesthetics but also to cost and maintenance. Generally, tropical freshwater environments are a good place for beginners to start.
Freshwater tanks tend to be a bit easier to maintain as the water requirements are less strict and you can be lax about water parameters.
Another factor to consider is cost. Saltwater aquariums are a bit more expensive as they require additional equipment and maintenance. Furthermore, marine fish cost slightly more than freshwater species.
There is no good or bad choice. It comes down to how much time and money you are willing to spend.
Coral reefs might present more of an appeal with colorful corals and, if you have the patience, also anemones. On the other side you have green river beds with schools of colorful fish so both environments can present astonishing results.
The equipment will differ depending on whether you want a saltwater or a freshwater aquarium. Both will need a filter, and most setups will require a heater.
Some tanks require additional equipment for water oxygenation, creating a current and special lighting. Temperature plays a key role in tropical environments.
Corals for examples require specific light intensity and hours of light. There are many automated options available to best mimic natural conditions.
There are more add-ons to consider for saltwater tanks that will make your life easier such as live rock, a porous rock that contains bacteria and can also be used as a substrate for corals.
Protein skimmers help prevent algae breakouts and keep your water clear. These can make your life much easier as they will improve water quality and remove organic waste.
Once you have decided on the type of water, then you can really start to specialize your environment. For example, in saltwater tanks, you can decide if you want an only coral or an only fish environment. Salt mixes might change depending on this choice.
If this is your first experience with an aquarium, then a freshwater tank would be the perfect start. They are easier to maintain, cheaper and at the same time can be very colorful.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you. Consider the amount of time you have and your budget, and this will help to determine which setup you’d prefer.
And remember, you can always have both!
Photos are pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Robert has been keeping fish for almost thirty years. He was first introduced to the world of fish through his Uncle’s fascinating saltwater tank. After that, he was determined to have his own tank, and at the age of four his parents bought him his first fish tank. Since then, Roberts’ love for fish has continued to grow, and he now shares this joy with thousands of others through his website, Fishkeeping World.