Picking A Filter For Your Aquarium Setup

Every aquarium needs a filter- it seems to be pretty common knowledge. But beyond that the confusion starts. One glance at the options available at the local pet store or online retailer can leave the beginning aquarist lost in a sea of possibilities. And the manufacturers tend to not make it any easier. No matter what type or size of filter they’re selling it’s the right one for you as far as they’re concerned. This leaves it up to you to pick the best option for your aquarium setup yourself. To do so, you’re going to need a bit of … Continue reading

What Is A Protein Skimmer And Why Do You Need One?

If you’ve even considered setting up a saltwater aquarium you’ve probably already heard the words “protein skimmer”. But what is a protein skimmer anyway? Essentially it’s a type filter. It removes organic compounds before they have a chance to break down and further degrade the water quality or fuel algae growth. But instead of using a filter pad or something like that it employs something know as foam fractionation. Basically, the waste molecules that a protein skimmer excels at removing are bipolar, meaning they have an unbalanced charge. In the context of the aquarium this leads to one end of … Continue reading

005: Setting Up Your Saltwater Aquarium

By now you should have your tank setup on its stand ready to be filled with water and a bunch of equipment ready to be hooked up. Before you begin adding water, however, you’ll want to hook up your sump if you decided to include one in your setup, especially if it’s going to be hooked up to a built in overflow. Simply connect the overflow to the sump with some appropriate sized tubing and hose clamps. If it’s an external overflow, also hook up the siphon pump with some airline tubing. Connect the inlet to the overflow and run … Continue reading

004: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Four: Water Movement And Tools

Lots of water movement is crucial to just about any marine aquarium. The region of the ocean where the creatures we aim to keep come from is in constant motion. Even if you only intend to keep fish, some powerheads dedicated to providing water movement are necessary. For corals the aim is to replicate the turbulent flows of a reef. Powerheads will generally have a flow rating in gallons per hour. Aim to have enough combined flow to turn over the water in the tank once every couple minutes or between ten and twenty times an hour. You may also … Continue reading

003: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Three: Lighting

When it comes to lighting for a saltwater aquarium there are lots of choices, probably more so than for any other item you’ll need. Options include various types of florescent, metal halide, and LED lights. For a setup without any corals or other light craving invertebrates lighting can be pretty basic, even a simple florescent fixture with a few full spectrum bulbs will do. However, for full reef setups proper high power lighting is crucial.   The first category of high intensity lighting we’ll explore is florescent. Florescent lights come in a couple different sizes. Let’s look at the two … Continue reading

002: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part Two: Temperature Control

In a saltwater aquarium a consistent temperature, somewhere between about 76 and 80 degrees, is especially important. Changes in temperature affect the salinity of the water, and quick changes in salinity are very hard on most marine creatures. The most effective way to maintain your tank’s temperature is with a heater and a chiller. To pick an appropriately sized heater, take your aquarium’s size, in gallons, and multiply it by five to calculate the wattage. Most heaters will work fine, but do not pick one with a stainless steel outer case. The steel will rust in the saltwater environment.   … Continue reading

001: Saltwater Aquarium Equipment Part One: Filtration

The equipment necessary to run a saltwater aquarium is much the same as what is required for a freshwater aquarium, along with a few additional items. The biggest addition that’s required is a protein skimmer. You may not be familiar with protein skimmers even if you’ve kept a freshwater tank, as they only function properly with saltwater. Sumps, chillers, powerheads, and high output lighting are also more common on saltwater tanks and may be required. We’ll start by looking at filtration.   When first planning out your setup you need to decide if you’re going to want a sump or … Continue reading

002: Setting Up Your Freshwater Aquarium

Assuming your tank is in place and ready to go, it’s time to begin adding water. A garden hose comes in handy here, but a bucket or pitcher will work just as well. Aim for room temperature water. Make sure to add a chlorine/chloramine remover at the recommended dosage to make the water fish safe. At this point, only fill the tank to about 80% capacity since the decorations and equipment that have yet to be added will need some room of their own.   If you’ve decided on an under gravel filter or cable heater, make sure to get … Continue reading

001: Basic Equipment For A Freshwater Aquarium

Even the simplest freshwater aquarium requires some basic equipment to keep running. Typically for a freshwater aquarium setup this equipment can include a filter, an air pump, a heater, and a cover with a light. Lots of other gadgets and gizmos are available to solve a variety of problems or make your tank more interesting, but these are the core items you’ll need.   The filter is probably the most important piece of equipment for any aquarium, freshwater or otherwise. Without one, the water quality will quickly drop and the tank’s inhabitants will begin to die. A filter keeps the … Continue reading