So you are interested in starting an aquarium, but are trying to decide between freshwater and saltwater. This quick read will outline some of the differences and hopefully give you a better idea of which type of fish tank is best for you.
Starting A Freshwater Aquarium
Imagine a beautiful planted aquarium where fish appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. Now envision a clean cut aquarium with bright blue gravel, a miniature shipwreck and brightly colored fish weaving about the plastic decorations. If this is your idea of an aquarium, maybe a freshwater tank is for you. For the average hobbyist, freshwater aquariums cost less and are relatively easy to maintain. One advantage to freshwater aquariums is the average person can be extremely successful using Dechlorinated Tap or well water. Freshwater aquariums also have a larger selection of fish and some can be equally as colorful as saltwater fish. More fish can also be housed in a smaller freshwater aquarium than saltwater. With proper Filtration most freshwater aquariums can go up to a month with little maintenance, this is ideal if you have a busy schedule or travel frequently. In the end, freshwater fish make excellent pets if you are looking for something simple and fun!
Starting A Saltwater Aquarium
Think of a beautiful underwater reef where fish dart in and out of rocks and corals gently sway in the ocean current. Now you can bring that scene into your living room. By nature saltwater aquariums are more difficult than freshwater aquariums maintain. Most experts will advise trying a freshwater tank before attempting a saltwater aquarium to learn the basics; this will reduce fish loss and beginner mistakes when you convert to saltwater. Most people get excited about saltwater aquariums because of the beautiful fish, but what is truly amazing is all the different life you can add. From crabs, snails, shrimp starfish, urchins to different microorganisms and corals. You can create an ecosystem that is fun and entertaining. For most hobbyists, saltwater aquariums are more expensive than freshwater. Quite simply, there is more equipment to buy and the livestock costs substantially more. Maintaining a high level of water quality is also critical, as saltwater creatures are far less tolerant than their freshwater cousins. Most hobbyists have at least weekly, if not daily involvement in their saltwater aquarium. If you have time and are willing to learn, then maybe a saltwater aquarium is right for you.
How much will each type of aquarium cost? The average 10 gallon freshwater aquarium with equipment can cost less than $150 and the average 55 gallon aquarium with stand and equipment under $500. For saltwater, the amount of money you can spend is almost unlimited, but a rough estimate for a 20 gallon saltwater with equipment and stand is about $500 and an additional $500 or more for livestock. The average 75 gallon saltwater aquarium with equipment and stand can cost around $2000 and an additional $2000 or more for livestock. Most saltwater hobbyists spend $50 to $75 per gallon.