A large tank is very important for Saltwater Aquarium Tanks. A general rule is to allow 3 inches of fish for ten gallons, which is about a third of the amount of freshwater fish in a tank the same size. So 40 - 55 gallons is a minimum size holding a very few fish. You'll likely be quickly disappointed with this size of tank, as it can't hold all the fish you'll be interested in having. For larger species such as Tangs, a tank of at least 75 gallons is best. For most situations, a tank of at least 100 gallons is a good starting point. Remember that the main source for oxygen in water is the surface area of the tank. Deep tanks should be avoided, not only for the poor oxygenation, but because they are harder to reach into for cleaning.
The tank should be placed away from direct sunlight and temperature variation.
It should be easily accessible for maintenance, as saltwater tanks will take much more attention than freshwater. The material can be glass or acrylic. The location should be level to prevent undue stress. It should also be able to support the weight - a 55 gallon tank can weigh over 700 pounds when filled with water and substrate.
The substrate should be crushed coral or dolomite, as these help promote proper water quality. Rinse the substrate thoroughly before adding it. When adding mixed saltwater, unnecessary disturbance of the substrate can be prevented by pouring over a plate set on the bottom. However, if the substrate is properly cleaned, it's far easier to fill the tank with saltwater and then readjust the substrate when the tank is full. Saltwater must be created by mixing it. See the
Salinity section for more information.
Decorations in the tank can include dead coral, lava rock, tufa rock and live rock.
Before fish and coral are added, the tank will need to be "cycled" so that enough bacteria develop to support the new inhabitants. See the information on
In addition, you will need an aquarium heater, possibly a
and a canopy with lighting.
It is also useful to have another tank to quarantine new and sick fish.
Don't forget to put any backgrounds in place before you hang your equipment off
the back of the tank. Backgrounds are available at most local