So you finally decided it is time to explore the hobby of keeping an aquarium. Among the many questions you need to address before you begin is whether you want a saltwater or freshwater aquarium.

Saltwater aquariums can be complex, beautiful ecosystems with fish, live rock, corals and invertebrates such as shrimp, crabs or snails. The diversity and colors of marine life are amazing- from fish, to sharks, to shrimp, to coral, to jellyfish; if it is in the ocean, many times it can be found in a saltwater aquarium.

Freshwater aquariums are also complex ecosystems, but the environment and its inhabitants are more forgiving. The tanks are easier to care for; the fish are usually hardier and are easier to care for. Plants and driftwood can add to the environment which can include fish, frogs, shrimp or even transparent or black-light fluorescent fish.

While saltwater aquariums may be more complex to maintain, it is not necessarily true that freshwater tanks are for gaining experience before moving on to saltwater aquariums. Both tanks can be enjoyed by beginners all the way through to advance aquarium owners.

Cost is a major factor to consider as saltwater tanks, and the fish and corals that go in it, are usually more expensive. The lighting needed by many corals is also expensive to buy and operate. The benefit comes in the colors of the final tank as saltwater tanks with their fish come in a wider and brighter variety than freshwater fish.

Happy fishkeeping!

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