“Marine” is a word used to describe salt water environments. Marine fish need different environments to live in than tropical fish do, so you need different equipment if you want to keep a marine fish tank than you would to keep a freshwater fish tank.

The most obvious difference between marine and fresh water aquariums is that marine tanks require salt. Do not get this confused with table salt, what you actually need is marine salt. This is either made by a desalination process of natural seawater or man-made with the correct balance of elements and additives.

Typical seawater usually contains between 33 and 36 ppt of salt (equal to 33-36 grams per litre). Warm salt water can evaporate rapidly, a large size tank can lose over 25 litres a week, and as marine fish are not used to large fluctuations in salinity an automatic top-up device can be used to regulate the environment.

Such a device involves a float switch that is located in the main tank and connected to a pump in the top-up water. When the level drops the switch alerts the pump to top up the main tank.

To indicate how much salt is the water in your tank you will need a vital piece of equipment called a hydrometer. These are inexpensive and easy to use, and should always be used when making up water for a water change, and occasionally to check the levels in the main tank. Some even come with a built-in thermometer.

Another vital piece of equipment you’ll need is a protein skimmer, as this will help to maintain clean marine water. A protein skimmer should be used alongside a conventional biological filtration system or as part of a natural filtration system in conjunction with living rock in your tank.

Protein skimmers basically work by creating tiny bubbles that rise through a plastic column and into a collection bowl above the surface of the water in the tank. As the bubbles rise they collect sticky proteins from the water that would otherwise be converted into potential toxins, such as ammonia and nitrate by biological filtration.

There are many of different kinds of protein skimmers available, including internal and external models, but whichever type you go for get the biggest one you can afford that will fit your tank, as it will always be the most efficient.
If you are buying a new tank and aim to keep marine fish make sure it can take a skimmer.

Another piece of equipment you will need for a marine tank is a chiller, or a cooler. These are a kind of refrigeration unit that is connected to the tank and as water gets pumped through the unit it is cooled down and then returned to the tank. Because of all the equipment, such as high-powered lighting, being used in fish tanks these days more and more power is being used, which in turn produces heat, and marine tanks do not require that much heat.

You may need other equipment for your marine tank as well but these are the basic requirements. Do some thorough research about the type of fish you’d like to keep and take some expert advice before you buy any, and bear in mind that keeping a marine fish tank can be an expensive hobby, so make sure you are aware of all the costs before you start. If you are converting a fresh water tank make sure it can take all the equipment you need to keep marines successfully. Most important of all keep learning as you go along and enjoy your marine tank, as they can be so rewarding.

For more information on marine fish tanks tropical fish tanks, equipment, manufacturers, and the different species of fish suitable for different tanks visit http://www.fishtanksaquariums.co.uk

Author: Kate Johnson
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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