A marine aquarium is so much more than a home for fish.

It can be a beautiful piece of interior design, a source of stress relief, and a balanced ecosystem of fish, vegetation, and small organisms. If any of this sounds appealing to you, this could be the beginning of your journey into the world of marine aquariums.

We’ll walk you through how to start:

Let’s Talk Tank

Choosing a tank for your marine aquarium is an exciting process.

The tank will determine how big your aquarium is, what kind of species can live in it, and how it looks in the room. Consider all these factors before setting out on your tank shopping.

Think of what kind of environment you want to have inside the tank, and pick a shape that will accentuate those features. If you want a sprawling underwater landscape, for example, it might look nice to have a low, wide tank.

For those of you who are hoping to cultivate a specific fish or type of vegetation, you should look into the required spatial dimensions before getting a tank.

Making it Work: Lighting, Filters, Temperature, and Circulation

Lighting needs will depend on what you plan to put inside. If want to create an ecosystem complete with plant life as well as fish life, you might need more lighting than you would for fish alone.

Then there’s filtration. For saltwater aquariums, you might find yourself needing 3 different filters: the biological, mechanical, and chemical filters. Each of these plays a harmonious role with the others in keeping your tank healthy.

In most cases, you’ll want to invest in a good heater and thermometer for your aquarium so you can make sure the life inside stays at its optimal temperature. Fish are notoriously finicky about the heat in the water.

And finally, you’ll need a good system of circulation to keep the water moving. You might need more than one pump for the best flow.

Filling Your Marine Aquarium

Finally! The step you’ve been waiting for. Let’s fill that tank up!

First, you’ll want some salt to add to your water to create the perfect marine environment.

Then you can start thinking about the substrate that fills the bottom of the tank. Play around with the size. Small substrate can make your tank look bigger, and large substrate can add to a jungle feel.

When choosing larger objects, like rocks, think about whether your fish will need special architecture to hang out in. Some fish depend on rocks as part of their habitat.

As you decide on marine aquarium fish and vegetation, consider special organisms that can contribute to a healthy ecosystem. The folks at Algae Barn recommend copepods and phytoplankton to serve as a food source and to balance out the water’s nutrients.

Filling the aquarium is the most creative step, and the execution will largely be up to you. Once you’ve set the stage, all you need to do is add your favorite fish and plants, and you’re golden!

Now Go Build That Aquarium!

A marine aquarium is a beautiful piece of nature that you get to cultivate in your own home or office. From the tank to the living ecosystem, you can imbue every step of the process with your unique vision.

Check back here for more tips on bringing nature into your life!