Marine Setup Step 1 - Investigate

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Explore your options before buying a new system. Matthew Wittenrich

[edit] Step-by-Step
Aquarium Setup

  1. Investigate
  2. Make Lists
  3. Buy Your System Components
  4. Assemble and Test Your Gear
  5. Mix the Seawater
  6. Add the Rock and Substrate
  7. Rest and Test
  8. Inoculate Your System
  9. Add Herbivores
  10. Add Hardy Fishes

[edit] The Easy Part

By Robert M. Fenner from The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

This step ought to be the most fun and mind-broadening step, and yet a huge percentage of newcomers to aquarium keeping breeze by it without a second thought.

How are you going to get to where you want to be if you don’t know where it is or the best route to get you there?

Knowing you want a marine aquarium is not enough. You wouldn’t go into a car dealership and buy a new vehicle without first making at least a mental checklist of the features you absolutely need, the options you might like, and an idea of how much you want to spend.

Too many first-time aquarium buyers acquire an aquarium on impulse, then later find that the tank is too small for a fish they really want or the lights are too weak for the anemone or soft coral they always dreamed of having.

[edit] To Do

  • Resolve to visit all the good aquarium shops within easy driving distance.
  • Talk to the marine aquarium manager or a senior salesperson at each shop. Don’t necessarily seek advice from the first confused teenage clerk who tries to wait on you. Let them know you are thinking about setting up a new system and that you have lots of questions. A good shop will have someone to step in and spend some time with you.
  • Talk to other aquarists in the shops (don’t be shy about talking to strangers in fish stores; most will be more than glad to share their opinions and advice with a newcomer).
  • Think about the livestock and species that strike your fancy.
  • Next, focus in on the type and size of system that appeals to you and will work for the livestock in the long haul.

Balance your dream livestock scenarios with your space for a system and your budget for starting a new aquarium. (Starting modestly is not a bad idea, but bigger tanks are more forgiving of beginner's mistakes. My old rule of thumb is to aim for a 40-55 gallon tank to start, but many people are starting successfully with smaller marine systems these days.)

In addition to chatting the subject up with other hobbyists and dealers, take the time to read books and magazines on the topic.

Good information and help is available in print and on the web, but it will take some searching and sorting on your part.

[edit] Recommended Reading

[edit] Good Books for Beginning Marine Aquarists