Benefits of Saltwater Live Rock for Aquarium

saltwater live rock aquarium

These live organisms are of good value for your fish tank or aquarium because they make an extremely natural environment for your fish. Live rock will have crabs, algae, worms, shellfish as well as bacteria, and all these will be moved to your tank to form an environment as close to the real deal as practical. Saltwater live rock is the one that is most assured to offer you as many organisms as possible. Saltwater aquarium live rock has made it simple for many of us to keep saltwater aquariums.

What are the benefits of saltwater live rock for your tank?

1. It acts as the primary filter for your fish tank. Live rock looks just as you see it out at sea or in the ocean; it’s full of little holes and nooks and crannies and is penetrable. This indicates that when water goes thru it, waste gets caught in the rock. You may still need a dedicated filter for your tank, but this as the first step in filtration is significant because the live rock has so many additional benefits.

2. Live rock, due to the nature of its surface, has big size. This surface area supports the growth of both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. This is an alternative way that it acts as a filter “it permits natural growth of all kinds of advantageous bacteria! The bacteria are critical for converting ammonia to nitrates and then to nitrogen, a harmless gas that may leave the tank from the water surface.

3. Fish like to play. Aquarium live rock supplies them with a fascinating playground where they can hide. They can go off in the live rock for some quiet time too when they don’t want to be troubled.

4. Live rock could be a source of food for some categories of salt water fish as well as other invertebrates that are in your tank. The fish may consume bits of it, but the live rock will also contain little organisms the fish can eat.

5. Live rock makes your fish tank look prettier. And not only the rock but the algae that grow on the rock is extremely pretty as well. You will get a lot of pink and purple crystal-like algae growing on live rock.

6. Live rock, after it’s cured and in your tank, springs new organisms. These can be adapted and fascinating and will add life to your fish tank. You might spend longer taking a look at these new organisms than at your fish!

7. Aquarium live rock gives your saltwater aquarium a rather more natural look. You can compare it to a freshwater aquarium that is well planted.

How Much Live Rock Should You Put into Your tank?

The amount of rock that you put in your aquarium will determine the length of the nitrogen cycle in your water tank. 1 pound per gallon of water will usually do for a regular fish tank. If you do not have an aquarium filter, you could need a bit more. It is highly recommended though you get a filter “live rock is designed to exist in a way more extended environment where filtration occurs naturally as there is a lot of room. Space is rather limited in an aquarium and waste will have a tendency to collect much faster. This waste can be too much for your live rock to handle.

Adding more fish in the aquarium also suggests more waste, and there is a fixed amount aquarium live rock that you can put in without squeezing your fish out. If you have few fish and make a decision to use live rock as a filter, you need to check the quality of your water continually.

You want to have the best experience possible with your water tank. That suggests maintaining healthy fish as well as making sure that your aquarium looks fantastic. Aquarium live rock will certainly give you a reinforced experience.

How Large Fish Tank Sizes do You Need?

Honolulu Aquarium Size

Fish Tank @ Honolulu Aquarium

If you like fish, you may have it at home. Fish should not always be put on the pound, but you can also put your fish in the fish tank or aquarium. The fish tank will also look more attractive so that you can use it as your home decoration. However, you have to choose the fish tank carefully especially for the size. Fish tank sizes can be categorized into three categories. You have to choose it depending on the space you and the amount of fish you have.

Small Fish Tank Sizes

If you have a small space and a few numbers of fish, it will be better if you choose a small fish tank. A fish tank belongs to small sizes if it has 2.2 up to 15 gallons capacity. The dimensions can be from 12 x 6 x 8 inches up to 20 x 10 x 18 inches. Besides, fish tank sizes for small capacity can load 3 to 22 pounds for empty weight and 27 to 170 pounds for filled weight.

Mid Sizes of Fish Tank

Besides that, you can also consider mid-size. Fish tank sizes with mid capacity offer from 20 up to 40 gallons capacity whereas the dimensions start from 24 x 12 x 16 inches up to 48 x 12 16 inches. In empty weight, it ranges from 25 pounds to 55 pounds and in filled weight it can be for 225 pounds to 455 pounds. Anyway, these mid fish aquarium sizes can be your option if you have a larger space and greater amounts of fish.

Large Fish Tank Sizes

If you need to fill your aquarium about 50 to 180 gallons, it means you need a large fish tank. Large fish aquariums have from 36 x 18 x 19 to 72 x 24 x 25 of the dimensions. Then, the empty weight can be from 100 to 338 pounds and the filled weight is from 600 to 2,100 pounds. From those sizes, which size do you need for your fish tank?

Below are a few of the most commonly found tanks including aquarium size and tank dimensions (inches).

Tank Size Empty Weight Filled Weight L x W x H
2 1/2 gallon 3 lbs 27 lbs 12 x 6 x 8
5 gallon 7 lbs 62 lbs 16 x 8 x 10
10 gallon 11 lbs 111 lbs 20 x 10 x 12
15 gallon 21 lbs 170 lbs 24 x 12 x 12
15 gallon High 22 lbs 170 lbs 20 x 10 x 18
Tank Size Empty Weight Filled Weight L x W x H
20 gallon High 25 lbs 225 lbs 24 x 12 x 16
20 gallon Long 25 lbs 225 lbs 30 x 12 x 12
25 gallon 32 lbs 282 lbs 24 x 12 x 20
29 gallon 40 lbs 330 lbs 30 x 12 x 18
30 gallon Breeder 48 lbs 348 lbs 36 x 18 x 12
40 gallon Breeder 58 lbs 458 lbs 36 x 18 x 16
40 gallon Long 55 lbs 455 lbs 48 x 12 x 16
Tank Size Empty Weight Filled Weight L x W x H
50 gallon 100 lbs 600 lbs 36 x 18 x 19
55 gallon 78 lbs 625 lbs 48 x 13 x 21
65 gallon 126 lbs 772 lbs 36 x 18 x 24
75 gallon 140 lbs 850 lbs 48 x 18 x 21
90 gallon 160 lbs 1050 lbs 48 x 18 x 24
125 gallon 206 lbs 1400 lbs 72 x 18 x 21
150 gallon 338 lbs 1800 lbs 72 x 18 x 28
180 Gallon 338 lbs 2100 lbs 72 x 24 x 25

*) all size dimensions in inches

How To Set Eco-Friendly Marine Aquarium and Looks Amazing!

Make Eco-Friendly Marine Aquarium

As we discussed in the last post on three reasons you might not want to own a marine aquarium, there is a very real negative environmental impact that the salt water aquarium trade has on coral reefs. Most of the fish, live rock, and inverts and a good percentage of the corals sold today come from the wild. The collection of these wild specimens and the collection methods themselves can have a devastating impact on the reef.

However, it’s possible to stock a thriving a fish tank made up exclusively of aquacultured or captive raised fish, live rock, and corals.

Besides the benefit to the environment, there are other to stocking you tank with captive bred specimens. These advantages include tank inhabitants that are:

* Hardier and better adapted to living in a marine fish tank
* Easier to feed
* Not as aggressive as wild caught specimens
* Less likely to have parasites or harbor infectious diseases

The good news is that if you’re looking to set up a marine fish tank that’s environmentally friendly and looks great too, it’s not too difficult to do. The number of captive bred and aquacultured livestock available for salt water fish tanks is expanding at a healthy clip.

Here’s an overview of the types of aquaculture options you have for your saltwater aquarium:

Live rock

While most live rock still harvested from the wild, it is possible to purchase aquacultured live rock. I’ve done this before and was very pleased with the quality of the rock that shipped to me. The rock had beautifully colored pink and purple coralline algae, small coral and anemone polyps, plus some an urchin and small crab hitchhiked their way along as well. I got this shipped from Tampa Bay Saltwater and would recommend them to anyone looking for high-quality live rock for their saltwater aquarium.

Salt Water Fish

Less than 10% of salt water fish are captive bred. However, advances are being made, and you can still get an excellent selection of fish to populate your aquarium by selecting from the captive bred options. For example, most Clownfish (a very popular aquarium species) as well as Neon Gobies and Dottybacks are aquacultured. You may be able to find these aquacultured species at your local fish store (they’re usually labeled “tank raised” or “captive bred”). If not, you can order them online from various sources.


Probably around 1/2 of all corals sold today come from the wild. However, the percentage of hard and soft corals that come from individuals and companies that use fragmentation to grow corals for resale is increasing. It should be pretty easy to find a wide selection of aquacultured corals for your tank. Again, you can check with your local fish store or find some site online that sell them. Also, you can search out a local marine aquarium club and see if any of their members have corals they’ve propagated that they’re interested in selling.


Other than some species of clam, it’s still pretty difficult to find aquacultured inverts for the marine aquarium. Hopefully, this will change shortly.

While aquaculture species usually cost more than their wild-caught cousins, you’re rewarded with hardier specimens that are better for the environment. And with the options of fish, corals and live rock that are available, you can put together one incredible looking marine fish tank made entirely of captive raised specimens!

17 Essential Equipment for Saltwater Fish Tank Setup

saltwater aquarium starter kits

So you’ve decided to enter the wonderful world of saltwater reef tank ownership. Now it’s time to start assembling the required equipment you’ll need to get your saltwater fish tank setup and ready for fish. I’ve assembled a list of the essential things you’ll need to get your saltwater fish tank up and running. There is always some disagreement over what is essential and what isn’t, but I think this is a pretty good list of the “must-haves” for setting up saltwater aquarium.

1. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) – Water and electricity don’t mix. Be sure you install one of these in any wall outlet you’ll be using for your tank. Technically, this is not essential as you can just plug things into any wall outlet, but it’s not worth the risk. A GFCI can be a life saver.

2. Power strip / surge protector – Between heaters, lights, skimmers and more you’re going to need more than two outlets for your required equipment. Invest in a good power strip so you can plug in all your equipment, and that also has surge protection functionality to keep supplies from getting fried.

3. Tank – Can’t have a marine fish without this one! My advice is to get the largest size tank you can afford. Read here to find out what size you need for your aquarium.

4. Tank stand – Before continued your reef tank set up, you need strong aquarium stands because when you fill them up with water, your tanks can get very heavy, so you need to make sure you have your tank on a solid foundation. Plus salt water tanks will leave salt residue around the outside, so putting them on furniture or a counter may get messy and cause corrosion.

5. Reverse Osmosis Unit or Deionizer – Tap water won’t cut it. You need water that’s passed through an RO unit or deionizer to ensure good water quality for your marine tank, and it’s occupants.

6. Salt mix – You can’t have a salt water tank without the salt! There are several salt mixes available that provide the salt and other essential elements your tank inhabitants will need.

7. Hydrometer – This handy little device will let you measure the specific gravity of the salt water so you can make sure it’s at the proper level.

8. Test kits – Saltwater aquarium fish are very sensitive to water parameters, so it’s important to stay on top of things and monitor water quality on a regular basis. At the very least you’ll need to test for pH, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites on a regular basis. You could bring water samples to your local aquarium shop, and if they’re nice, they’ll test for your for little or no charge. However, during the initial cycling, you should be testing the water on a daily basis, and it will be pretty inconvenient to bring water samples to the shop every day.

9. Buckets, Towels, Rubber Gloves – It can get wet and messy maintaining a reef tank so having buckets and towels on hand is a must for water changes, cleaning, new arrivals, etc. The gloves protect both you and the inhabitants of your tank.

10. Substrate – Not technically a have to have, but you’re probably going to want either live sand or crushed coral on the bottom. Various types of substrate you can use when setting up a marine aquarium. The most important point on building a reef aquarium is that sand is natural, your tank inhabitants will feel at home among the sand. Sand is also more aesthetically pleasing than gravel.

11. Live Rock / Decorative rocks or coral – You’re fish will need some rocks or other decorative materials in the tank to give them a place to hide and feel safe. Click here to learn how much saltwater live rock you need.

12. Heater – Since you’re probably going be keeping tropical species of fish, you’ll need a heater to make sure the water is warm enough for them.

13. Thermometer – Because you’ll need to know if that heater is doing its job or not.

14. Lights – There are some lighting options to choose from. Your choice will depend on what you’ll be putting in the tank (i.e., a fish only will not require the light intensity as a reef tank with live rock and coral).

15. Powerhead – A good powerhead will create strong movement in the aquarium water. This important because it mixes the aquarium water, eliminates dead or stagnant areas and helps keep your fish healthy. You may also want an extra powerhead to use when mixing salt for water changes.

16. Protein Skimmer – Skimmers remove organic waste from your aquarium before they can break down and turn into nitrates which are bad for saltwater aquarium fish. Protein Skimmer also known as foam fractionating is one important aspect of keeping your marine tank happy and healthy. If you want to keep your dissolved organic compounds (DOCS) to a minimum, you will need to invest in a quality protein skimmer.

Skimmers collect unwanted organic compounds before they begin to rot and raise your ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. A protein skimmer is one of the most important things your can get for your aquarium, it physically pulls the “gunk” out of your tank, and after a month of use and seeing all of the stuff that collected it you will quickly find how valuable this piece of supplies salt water systems is.

17. Fish – You can’t have a beautiful marine fish aquarium without the fish! Be sure to choose carefully and make sure you don’t overcrowd your tank or get species that aren’t compatible.

11 Steps Saltwater Tank Setup for Beginners

125 gallon fish tank setup

This guide for anyone interested in learning how to make a saltwater aquarium. A saltwater tank setup is not always difficult. It just to learn and know what it takes to have a good saltwater aquarium. Here we discuss guide to starting a saltwater aquarium.

1. Planning

The most important step in how to make a saltwater aquarium is planning. It takes a lot of time and money to set up and maintain a marine fish tank. Not planning properly can sabotage your efforts and cost you a lot more time and money than need be.

During the planning stage, you’re going to want to decide what type of marine aquarium tanks you want. Will it be fish only? Fish and live rock? A reef tank with some fish and corals? Figuring this out is going to set the table for the rest of what you do during the setup process. It is also going to dictate what type of filtration and lighting systems to use in your aquarium.

2. Choose a Fish Tank Size and Finding the Perfect Location

When it comes to saltwater fish tanks, it’s better to go bigger – especially when you’re a beginner. I’d recommend getting the biggest size aquarium you can afford. Besides money, the type of tank and livestock you plan to put in it will have a bearing on the fish tank sizes. If you think to get large angelfish, triggerfish, or sharks, you’re going to need a bigger tank than if you just want some small damselfish or clownfish and live rock.

The location is another important decision on setting up a saltwater aquarium for beginners. First, a aquarium filled with water can weigh hundreds of pounds. Once you select a place, it’s not going to be easy to move. So find a spot that can support the weight. Also, take into account easy access to electrical outlets, locations of heating/cooling vents that could affect the temperature of the tank, windows that could cause the tank to get direct sunlight which can cause algae blooms, and closeness to water sources.

3. Purchase Equipment

Need a list of what to get? Check out our recent post the 17 basic equipment you need for saltwater fish tank setup.

4. Test the Tank

The last thing you need is to fill your tank with salt water and then have it leak all over the floor because of a small crack (I had this happen with a 55-gallon freshwater tank once – it was a mess with freshwater and saltwater would be infinitely worse!). Fill the tank to the top with fresh water and leave it outside or in a bathtub, in the garage or shower for a few days and make sure the water stays on the inside of the tank!

5. Prepare the Tank

Put the tank in its permanent location and make sure it’s level. Next, put all the equipment – sump, heater, filter, powerheads, etc. in place.

6. Fill ‘er Up – Part Way

Once you’ve tested the tank, fill it up by mixing water purified with Reverse Osmosis or RO/Deionization Filter with a salt mix made specifically for salt water aquarium. You can either mix this in buckets before putting it in the tank or add the water to the tank first and then add the salt mix to the tank. Be sure to use a hydrometer to make sure the salinity is at the right level.

7. Add Your Sand/Live Rock/Aquascaping

When your tank is filled between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up, add the substrate to the tank, whether it’s crushed coral or live sand. Once that’s in, add live rock or whatever decorations you have for aquascape if you’re not using live rock.

8. Top ‘er Off

Fill the tank the rest of the way.

9. Turn Everything On

Once the water is in, turn on your filtration, heater, canister filter, skimmer, powerheads and any other equipment you have. Let it all run for 72 hours and make sure it’s functioning correctly.

10. Let the Tank Cycle

The cycling process of a new saltwater aquarium can take up to 6 weeks. There are a few ways you can help the process along. One way is to add one hardy fish like a damsel to the tank to get some biological activity going on. Or you can put some frozen fish food in the tank as well (if you have live rock, you don’t need to do this).

There are a few things you’ll want to keep a close eye on as your reef tank corals cycles. First, watch the temperature and salinity levels closely. Make sure they stay in the acceptable ranges (1.023 to 1.026 for salinity and roughly 75F – 80F for temperature) and that they remain stable. Also, during the cycling process you’ll want to check the water chemistry every 1 – 2 days. Your tank is done cycling once the levels of ammonia and nitrite are at 0.

11. Add Your Salt Water Aquarium Fish/Corals

Finish your saltwater tank setup – Once your tank cycled, it’s ready for the livestock. You may want to add a cleaning crew first (snails, crabs, etc.) and then start adding fish. Just be sure not to add too much too quickly. It’s better to take it slow and let the filtration build up to be able to handle the new inhabitants in your reef tank adequately.

Also, if you’re planning to add corals and anemones, it’s considered better by many to wait at least a few months and let the tank mature a bit before adding them to the mix.

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Own a Marine Aquarium

setting up marine fish tank

Setting up and maintaining a saltwater reef tank ain’t easy. And the responsibility is one that many people can’t handle. This post is written to help you decide whether an owning one is a good fit for you or not. Here are three reasons you may want to go the aquarium or fish store to admire salt water fish tanks instead of owning one yourself .

1. Cost

Setting up a reef tank can get very expensive. Sure, they sell small all-in-one packages that supposedly include everything you need to get started, but starting small is not the way to go when talking marine tanks. You’ll want at least a 30-gallon tank to start.

Factor in the stand (unless you have some sturdy furniture you’re willing to sacrifice), salt, protein skimmer, heaters, pump, powerheads, test kits, live rock, substrate, fish, etc. things add up very quickly. It’s not uncommon for a decent size set up to run into the $1000+ range just to get started.

You can save yourself some money on start up by buying a used tank. There are a lot of people who have started a marine aquarium tank and for whatever reason want to get rid of it. Not that taking this route doesn’t have its risks, but you can definitely save some money by looking at Craigslist, eBay or other sites for used aquarium equipment.

In any case, this is not a cheap hobby so make sure you’re going to have the capital necessary to support your tank and keep the inhabitants healthy.

2. Time

Besides money, it takes a lot of time to set up and maintain a reef tank. In the beginning, there’s a tendency to try to rush things because you’re so excited about your tank you want it teeming with life as quickly as possible. But you need to have some patience and let the tank cycle (which can take a month or two), do daily water tests, and make sure the water chemistry is stable and ready to support living creatures.

Then once that’s set up, the real time is in the regular maintenance a marine tank requires. Monthly water changes, cleaning the glass, removing organic debris from substrate/rock, cleaning the salt residue off the tank and surrounding areas, cleaning the filter, and the list goes on. This can get overwhelming but letting things go for even a month or so can have devastating consequences.

3. Environmental Impact

After dealing with the issues of time and money, we get to more of a moral reason you may not want to own a marine fish tank. The fact is, the marine aquarium hobby has had a devastating impact on reefs around the world.

While freshwater fish are fairly easy to breed in captivity, saltwater fish are not (at least not yet). So most of the specimens you see in the fish stores were snatched from the wild. The practices used to collect reef fish such as using toxins to “stun” the fish to make them easier to catch can have terrible impacts on the reef and all its inhabitants, not just the fish. Many fish are killed by these collection methods or die after capture before even reaching your local fish store.

And it’s not just the fish. Most of the live rock and invertebrates in the marine aquarium trade are also taken from the wild.

While some people are working on raising marine aquarium fish and other tank inhabitants in captivity, there’s still ways to go.

What To Consider When Buying Saltwater Tank

If you are interested in getting a saltwater fish tank, it means you probably want to have a load of lovely tropical fish in your home. But be warned they take more care than a freshwater equivalent. When choosing your new purchase, always buy the biggest tank you can afford assuming you have sufficient space available.

They come in either glass or acrylic, but I would always choose the glass fish tank. It is easier to clean, won’t discolor with age or sunlight and is scratch resistant. People will tell you to choose acrylic as they weigh less but I don’t think that matters. Regardless of what type of marine aquarium you buy, you will want to stand it somewhere very secure so that it doesn’t fall over or lean to one side causing a break or leak.

It doesn’t matter whether you buy the glass or acrylic version; never buy your fish at the same time. A saltwater fish tank has to settle before you move the fish into it. This process takes time and should not be rushed. You will need to check your nitrate levels and gravity. Don’t skip these steps as otherwise you will kill the inhabitants of your tank. You will have wasted your money and killed these beautiful creatures at the same time.

You should check your tank on a daily basis and make sure that all the fish are accounted for and looking healthy. If you notice something is wrong i.e. the fish are not behaving as they would normally then you need to check and find out what is causing the problem.

The water could be too hot or cold, lacking oxygen or have too many nitrates in it. You may have overfed the fish or starved them. It is important to keep an eye on the inhabitants as it is only your vigilance that keeps them alive.

So if you decide you have the time and money to devote to a marine fish tank, please consider the environmental impact of your hobby. In an upcoming post, I’ll be talking about this a little more and providing some resources on how to set up a more environmentally friendly marine aquarium tank.