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Saltwater aquarium resources


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I have some old acquaintances who reached out to me knowing that I am keeping aquariums.


They have interest in keeping a 75 gallon saltwater tank.

My knowledge of saltwater aquariums start with “There is salt added.” And ends with “They are a lot more expensive to set up and require much more frequent maintenance and monitoring.”

Does anybody here have suggestions on  good resources, forums to direct them to?


My suggestion was to start out with a smaller freshwater tank to see if they like keeping fish first and to get used to the day to day, weekly and monthly requirements before taking on the more intensive and expensive saltwater needs…

Edited by Pepere
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My friends daughter is studying marine biology and she asked me the same question. She wanted a 20 gallon saltwater. I told her that jumping straight into saltwater is not a good idea for most people foe exact reasons you told your friend, much more expensive and a lot more maintenance. I also told here that a 20 gallon might be too small to keep water perimeters stable.

I suggested to here to get some livebearers for the 20 to test the waters. Pun intended. 

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I've been reading about the salty side of the hobbit recently as well  (well i say recently its probubly been a couple years lol)

the most common forum is reef to reef as for  youtube (my first fish tank)has some beginner how to videos (rbstv saltwater aquariums & reef tanks)if your looking for more specific info (tidal gardens) has a lot of specific coral guides and some water chemistry stuff something to keep in mind is that there all companies so they are trying to sell stuff but the info seems decent

as for what i would say figure out what you want out of the aquarium and read about that specifically because there is a big difference between keeping a fish only system that seems just like keeping a freshwater aquarium plus some salt and maybe a protein skimmer to a sps (short polyp stony coral) tank where everything has to be purfect or they start dying there's also lps (long polyp stony) and macroalgae tanks (saltwater planted aquarium) so take a look and see what you like

it seems really overwhelming at first but for the most part its the same as freshwater just more finicky and expensive. 

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I'm actively working toward starting my first salty tank right now and I'll echo much of what @face has said.  Reef 2 Reef (or R2R if you are one of the cool kids) is the SW forum.  Be aware, it is not the friendly supportive space this is.  At least not in the same way.  There are great people on there though.

Matthew from "My First Fish Tank" is simply awesome.  He is the Cory of SW in many ways - wants to make the hobby accessible and recognizes many things can work.  In fact, there is a colab I'd love to see! 

Matthew's sources can be a bit confusing though.  He started out with his own effort "MFFT" and then Marine Depot picked him up as their talent (he's an exceptionally good presenter, especially in the work of PetTube).  When Marine Depot was purchased by Bulk Reef Supply last summer, they eventually added him to their roster of presenters.  Bulk Reef Supply has has Ryan presenting for years, and already added others over time.  They are confusing on YT because they have two channels: BRSTV and Bulk Reef Supply.

That background out of the way, if you want one series to watch to get familiar with SW and think about starting, I strongly recommend watching Matthew's beginner series.  It stated out as a MD project and then was picked up by BRS after the acquisition:


Edited by OnlyGenusCaps
Tried to post the playlist link - but it seems to just show the first in the series.
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On 8/17/2022 at 11:41 AM, Ištvan Bećar Pecaroš said:

My friends daughter is studying marine biology and she asked me the same question. She wanted a 20 gallon saltwater. 

I too am a marine biologist, once she gets to upper level classes she may be thinking “gosh saltwater is boring and too much work, let me try something exotic like freshwater.” Or something along those lines. I find once you start maintaining saltwater for a living it loses all charm.

Anyway I digress. Saltwater really isn’t that bad. It’s quite a bit more stable than our freshwater counterpart. And with macroalgae making it’s way into the market you can have a “planted nano saltwater tank” which seems a ton of fun. I’ll be doing something similar in the upper end brackish space in the now seemingly distant future.


My biggest takeaway from maintaining saltwater is make sure your salts are in balance. This includes sodium, sulfate, magnesium, and chloride. From a biology aspect of saltwater, the community you put together is much more connected I’d say than freshwater. You will have to be much more in tune with the animals you decide to get. Some crabs and shrimp do not get along with some anenomes or corals. Some corals or anenomes don’t get along with anything. Some fish will eat everything in your tank. I’m looking at you tangs 🧐. Alot of saltwater animals will not take to fish flakes.


I think the resources offered are great! And yeah saltwater is hard to convert to layman because it has a bit more complexity and without going into how gills work and what certain salts do chemically you can definitely lose people in the weeds.


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