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Daily Archives: July 20, 2016

Starting a Saltwater Fish Tank

I bought a 29 gallon BioCube for Aaron last Christmas and  we finally got around to setting it up (7 months later)! We’re obsessed with it, to say the least, and spend the majority of our time now staring at our fish like they’re newborn babies. It’s been curbing my baby hunger!

IMG_4135Setting it up and oogling over all of the beautiful coral and fish at the fish store has been super fun! And we feel like trained biologists with all that we’ve learned!


If you’re interested in starting a salt water tank but have no idea what you’re doing, here are my suggestions:

  1. Be willing to spend some serious money. We’ve spent a little over $1,000 just getting the basics. I’m sure the set up is the most expensive, but at 29 gallons our tank is tiny. I can’t imagine what the costs would be for anything bigger. That one little anemone in the front of our tank was $150 and our pair of clowns were $200. Who spends that kind of money on a fish? I guess we do.  
  2. Bottom feeders are your best friend. Bottom feeders are great for assisting with maintenance and upkeep. We have a few sand sifters (A goby, 6 hermit crabs, 10 nessarius snails), a fire shrimp, and some algae eating snails (don’t remember their names but they’re cute with white shells). We also have a couple of emerald crabs and a porcelain anemone crab! They don’t do as much as the snails do in terms of maintaining upkeep, but they’re fun to look at!
  3. Not all fish and not all corals get along. I like what has to say about coral compatibility within a salt water aquarium:

    “Competition for space, or, more accurately, the lack of space, is one of the most important factors limiting populations on the hard substrate of a saltwater aquarium. This is why sessile colonial saltwater organisms such as anemones, sponges and soft and hard corals have developed various mechanisms for defending their space and for moving into new ones. There are three primary mechanisms that such organisms can use: rapid growth to “shade-out” competitors, the development of aggressive structures such as mesenterial (gut) filaments, sweeper tentacles and acrorhagi, and the release of toxic compounds into the water. There is no evidence of any species utilizing just one of these mechanisms — generally they use a variety of tactics.”

  4. You’ll wish you had remembered everything you learned in science class! In order to maintain appropriate water quality and before adding additional species to your tank, the pH, ammonia, calcium, nitrate, magnesium, and probably 100 other levels need to be measured and kept within a certain range. Go here for a nice cheat sheet:

IMG_4132  IMG_4118IMG_4113IMG_4122   IMG_4104    DSC_1055



We love our tank and our new tiny family members!



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