Maintaining a saltwater aquarium is a wonderful experience, but it can also be quite a challenge. Saltwater fish are known for being pickier than freshwater fish when it comes to tank parameters and diet. Whether you are an experienced saltwater aquarium hobbyist or a novice, you should think carefully about what species of fish you want to keep in your tank. Some saltwater species are better than others for inexperienced hobbyists – some species are also more colorful or interesting to keep as tank inhabitants. Below you will find a list of several saltwater species recommended for the home aquarium.
Damsels: Fish known as damsels belong to the Pomacentrinae family and there are four different subfamilies within this group. One of the best damsels to start with is the yellowtail blue damsel (Glyphidodontops hemicyaneus). This fish is known for its brilliant coloration and for being very hardy in the home aquarium. Yellowtail blue damsels only grow to about 2 inches long and they are fairly inexpensive. Be careful when considering damsels in the Chromis genus because they can be fairly delicate – they also tend to do well only if kept in groups with others of their species.
Dottybacks: Pseudochromids are commonly known as dottybacks and they make wonderful additions to the saltwater tank. Though slightly more expensive than damsels, dottybacks are also very hardy. Most species do not grow larger than 3 inches which makes them a great choice for small aquariums. Dottybacks come in a wide variety of colors, many exhibiting brilliant shades of purple and yellow.
Clownfish: Clownfish are one of the most recognizable species of saltwater fish and also one of the most popular. These fish can be tricky to cultivate because they are susceptible to a variety of diseases, often the result of poor handling during shipment. Tank-bred specimens, however, tend to be much more hardy. Contrary to popular belief, clownfish do not necessarily need an anemone in order to thrive in the saltwater tank. Be sure to research the particular species you plan to keep, however, to make sure this applies.
Cardinalfish: Though they may not be as colorful as some of the other species mentioned, cardinalfish are still stunning. These fish exhibit complex patterns, often in black and white. Cardinalfish are known for being very hardy and without aggression – they are also nocturnal fish so they require plenty of hiding places to rest during the day. When you first introduce these fish to the tank it is recommended that you leave the lights off so they do not go into shock.
Blennies: Blennies are not known for having vibrant color, but they are known for developing amusing personalities. These fish typically grow up to 4 inches long and they are a very hardy species in the home aquarium. Blennies typically stay near the bottom of the tank because they lack a swim bladder that would keep them afloat.
Tips for a Healthy Saltwater Tank
When it comes to maintaining a healthy saltwater tank, there are a number of factors to consider. Some of the most important elements include tank temperature, salinity, pH and chemical levels. The specific temperature for a saltwater tank may vary depending on the species you cultivate, but the general range for saltwater tanks is between 78 and 80°F. Salinity is typically measured by specific gravity and should be between 1.018 and 1.020. Again, the pH level may vary between species but should generally be kept between 8.0 and 8.2. All of these factors, in addition to chemical levels, make up the water quality in your tank. The higher the water quality in your tank, the happier and healthier your fish will be. Another way to improve the water quality in your tank is to install an EcoBio-Stone. EcoBio-Block products are made from volcanic rock and they are infused with beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients needed to sustain them. The bacteria are dispersed into the water about every 30 minutes, keeping good bacteria levels high. Beneficial bacteria play an important role in maintaining the nitrogen cycle in your tank which also has an effect on water quality. By installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank you can ensure that your tank water stays clean and clear, making it a much healthier environment for your fish.