The ultimate tank setup in this hobby has to be the reef tank setup. It’s like having a small piece of the coral reef in your living room. The emphasis is on the corals and invertebrates with a limited amount of fish. These tanks are however, more expensive to setup and maintain. Equipment such as metal halide lighting, protein skimmers, live rock, testing equipment, supplements, water purification units (reverse osmosis and deionization) and sumps drive the cost of this setup. Don’t forget about the ongoing maintenance costs (electricity) as well. The livestock costs for live corals, fish and invertebrates are also very expensive. This type of tank can be very demanding when first set up because you’ll need to monitor the water parameters periodically and take corrective action when necessary. Even though this is the most expensive type of setup, it can also be the most breathtaking. You should to do your homework (research) and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish before buying your first piece of reef equipment.
No matter what type of tank setup you choose, as long as you do your homework beforehand you’ll enjoy this hobby. Research the equipment and livestock before purchasing them and you will prevent many headaches and keep some of that hard earned money in your wallet!
The satisfaction of watching fish in our home can be relaxing, educational and can be a great conversational piece all at the same time. Many kids are extremely fascinated with tropical fish and you can use this as a great learning tool to teach your children responsibility, biology and science. Teach them about the critical biological cycle that takes place called the Nitrogen Cycle. Teach them how to test the tank water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Show them the proper way to feed and care for the fish. Show them how to do water changes and maybe they can help out with this vital task required for keeping fish in our homes. Explain to them why we can’t keep a common pleco in our 10 gallon tank. The educational opportunities abound.
If you’re interested in setting up your own tank I encourage you to do some homework beforehand. Go out and purchase an aquarium book on the type of tank you’re interested in, subscribe to a tropical fish magazine, browse the internet and join a tropical fish forum to increase your knowledge. This is a fun and exciting hobby that gets better all the time!