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The Different Types of Saltwater Aquariums

When we think of saltwater aquariums, we usually envision colorful fish and vibrant plant life. However, this isn’t all there is to them. In fact, you can build aquariums in several ways depending on your preferences—even without fish, if you desire. Read on to learn about the different types of saltwater aquariums.

Fish-Only Aquariums

As their name suggests, fish-only aquariums are designed with just fish in mind. This is the most basic form of aquarium, as it contains very few rocks or plants. Their purpose is to house and display select species of fish. People usually utilize them in places that draw attention, such as office lobbies or entertainment rooms. FOWLR aquariums, or “fish-only-with-live-rock” tanks, are also popular, as they offer the same benefits with a bit of extra landscaping.

Fish and Invertebrate Aquariums

Fish and invertebrate aquarium models are a little bit more complex, though still fairly easy to manage. Instead of just housing fish, these tanks can also accommodate several species of invertebrates, such as hermit crabs, shrimp, and even starfish. These organisms can clean up excess algae and plants growing in your tank—which is wonderful for overall maintenance. Just make sure you choose the species most suited for the tank environment.

Reef Aquariums

Another type of saltwater aquarium is the coral reef variety. These contain fish, invertebrates, and coral fragments. These tanks are the most difficult to manage, but they’re the most rewarding when handled correctly. They offer a realistic visual of a natural ocean environment and allow you to experience the full marine ecosystem in real time. Some species of fish and invertebrates even benefit from the presence of coral. Growing a reef of your own comes with its own set of advantages.

Nano Aquariums

Nano aquariums are different from the rest of the tank types in that they’re much smaller. While most tanks are large enough to hold over 40 gallons of water, nano varieties carry less. This makes them more compact and easier to fit in smaller places. However, this can also make them a little bit more difficult to manage. You can’t fit as many specimens in this tank, and you will need to conduct frequent maintenance to account for water changes.

Written by Logan Voss

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