Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I’m asked that question often. There are the obvious differences in color & form, and also the environmental and scientific differences. But, from the practical standpoint of fishkeeping, the differences are not as many as a lot of people think.

The basics for keeping freshwater fish also apply to saltwater fish (keep the environment stable with adequate filtration, monthly partial water changes and temperature control.) The only major difference is that with a marine aquarium you must add salt to the water (by mixing a dry salt blend) and the cost of the fish themselves is much greater in most cases. Of course a varied diet is important for both freshwater and saltwater fish. One other difference is that most saltwater fish are wild caught specimens whereas most freshwater fish are either tank or pond raised. The transition into a captive environment from the wild can sometimes be difficult, hence the theory that saltwater fish are more "delicate than freshwater". Most aquarium problems occur in the newly set up aquarium, by people who don’t understand the basic principles of biological filtration. In their enthusiasm they start up the aquarium with too many fish and/or the wrong kinds of fish, then overfeed them and conclude that marine fishkeeping is too difficult. This is why you hear stories about people spending a whole lot of money on saltwater fish and giving up within 6 months or so because their fish kept dying. Be patient, start with 1 hearty fish per 10 gallon of water (damsels or clownfishes are good choices), feed them lightly and give the aquarium 3-8 weeks to cycle and in most cases you will succeed.

Whether you choose Freshwater or Saltwater fish, READ and LEARN as much as you can and you will enjoy the hobby so much more because you will have minimal losses and your tank(s) and fish will look so much better!

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