With salt water aquariums it is very important to keep the nitrogen levels down or else the fish will die. Fish are living creatures and like humans they will eat food and release waste. The release of waste material leads to increased levels of nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the water. The carbon dioxide is removed either by algae living in the tank or by the process of aeration.
The nitrogen must be converted to less toxic products by bacteria. These bacteria covert waste material into ammonia which is then converted into nitrite and subsequently into nitrate. This is then utilized by the plants as fertilizer and removed from the water. In some salt water aquariums there will be no plants so these nitrates must be removed by other means, usually with filters.
Fish tank filters can be mechanical, chemical or biological. Most aquariums will accommodate all three types of filters and it will be up to you, the owner, as to which type to use. If you are a beginner you may want to take advice on this and steer clear of the biological filters for now or at least don’t solely rely on them as they take some getting used to.
In addition to filters you will also need some form of aeration. Fish use a lot of oxygen and it is important to keep the levels topped up in salt water aquariums. You can get air pumps, air stones or air hoses. You will need a heater to keep the water temperature in the specific range which is dependent on the type of fish you have chosen to buy. Finally you will need proper aquarium lighting. Fish don’t like to be lit up like a Christmas tree so don’t go overboard on the bulb selection.
This all may seem a little complicated but in reality it isn’t.
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