FISH TANK PURCHASING
The tank is the next purchase and quite obviously the most
important. When shopping for a tank, look for smooth seal
lines (no bubbles) that keep a consistent thickness and taper
off finely on the edges of the seal. Most marine aquariums
use a substrate of fine sand and rock. Usually, depending
on your filtration choices, 2-3 inches is plenty. Rock is
expensive but required for a successful reef aquarium. It
is best to buy very little of this in the beginning to allow
your water to complete its breaking in cycle.
Salt additives will be needed to add to your local water.
Be sure to purchase a specific gravity meter to determine
the salinity of the water as you mix it and to monitor it
once the tank is setup. You will also need a thermometer to
control temperature. Try to buy a mercury tube you can stick
to the side of the aquarium with suction cups. These usually
have the ideal temperature marked on them and are very easy
A heater will most likely be needed to keep the temperature
constant when the temperature falls down. In addition, after
the first few days you will need to test the water to determine
when it is safe for other inhabitants and to maintain the
quality. Test kits for nitrate, nitrite and pH balance are
Lights come in two basic types for aquariums, fluorescent
and metal-halide. Fluorescents are less expensive and usually
adequate for smaller tanks. Metal halides cost more but last
much longer and have much stronger output for deeper tanks.
Filters make up a whole industry and make it very difficult
to recommend the right one for you. Traditionally, under-gravel
filters are the answer for tanks under 30 gallons. They are
inexpensive, easy to operate and generally do an acceptable
job. For larger tanks, more advanced filters are required.