A Complete Guide to Marine Fish Keeping

Marine Aquarium System

Setting up aquariums at home as a piece of decoration has been a very common practice. This, not only enhances the beauty of our room, but adds life to our room also. If you think more in depth, this small piece of decoration can be categorized into a number of types depending on the differences in set-up and constitution. A ‘Marine Aquarium’ is a type which has to be decorated with marine plants and animals. This again can be further subdivided into the following types;
Fish Only (FO)
Fish Only with Live Rock (FOWLR) and
Reef Aquaria

Marine fish keeping is entirely different from the other types as this involves more knowledge and study. An extensive knowledge is required regarding the composition of water, its chemical properties and the adaptability of the inhabitants of a marine aquarium.

To start with, let us first discuss the very first step of installing a ‘Marine Aquarium System’ which includes the major components that are essential for a marine aquarium.

Major Components of a Marine Aquarium

The very first thing required for the installation of a Marine Aquarium is a sound knowledge of all the major components of it. The usual volume range of Marine Aquariums is from less than 80 litres to over 1200 litres. The major components of a Marine Aquarium are;

An Aquarium, made of glass or acrylic
Filtration Equipment
Proper Lighting
Aquarium Heater and Refrigeration Devices

The material of the aquarium should be preferably made of glass or acrylic. Glass is used mainly because of its holding strength, transparency and inexpensive too. Also, glass has a remarkable feature of distributing the total pressure within the whole aquarium. However, acrylic can also be used as an alternative to glass as it is light weight and can be moulded very easily to give varied shapes and sizes. In addition, it is scratch resistant and provides a much better electric insulation, although its price is a bit higher.

The filtration set up of a marine aquarium is much more complex compared to other freshwater aquariums and includes physical, chemical and biological filtration as well. The most commonly used filtration equipments are; Wet and Dry Filters and Protein Skimmers. A Protein Skimmer is a device which is used to remove organic compounds from the water before they are further broken into nitrogenous wastes. Protein skimming is an important process of filtration as this is the only method of filtration where the organic compounds are removed physically before they are decomposed – thus improving the water property. Some of the marine aquariums also contain a Refugium or a Sump. A refugium is a small container, or more likely a small aquarium which is laid beneath the marine aquarium and is connected to it by a water pump. A sump however contains a number of chambers, each of which is filled with its own filtration material. click here for more information

Lights play a major role in marine aquariums, so proper lighting is very much essential in this case. Although, it is advised to set a cyclical lighting arrangement in order to stimulate the day and night, but it varies depending on the type of inhabitants of the aquarium. For a typical ‘Fish Only’ type, intense light is not required. But in case of aquariums containing invertebrates, an intense light is preferred. The most commonly used lights are; Fluorescent, VHO Fluorescent with very high intensity, Compact Fluorescent, LED and Metal Halide. Although there are a lot of variations regarding this sources of light, but all this technologies have its own advantages and disadvantages. The two most important factors that should be taken into consideration while selecting a lighting arrangement are; wattage and color temperature. The wattage of the lights may vary from tens to several hundreds, depending on the type of lighting used. Color temperature, on the other hand, is nothing but the color of light emitted by the lighting system. Color temperature >5000K has proved to be best for growing plants in marine aquariums. A 10,000K lighting system throws a bluish-white radiation which affects the colours in fishes and corals. A much higher spectrum, say 14,000K and 20,000K produces a deep blue radiation, like that of under the sea and creates a similar environment.

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