TYPES OF SALTWATER TANKS: FISH-ONLY, FOWLR AND REEF TANKS
One of the most challenging types of aquarium to cultivate is the reef tank. This type of tank is generally reserved for experienced aquarium hobbyists due to the requirements for excellent water quality, improved lighting and filtration, not to mention the task of monitoring water parameters on a daily basis. The focus of a reef tank is generally geared toward corals, anemones and other saltwater invertebrates – a reef tank may or may not actually have any fish in it. The focus of the reef hobbyist is generally directed toward cultivating their corals and anemones – a task which may require a great deal of daily care and attention.
- Snails – There are over 40,000 different species of snails on the planet and many of them live in marine environments. Saltwater snails make excellent scavengers in the aquarium because they burrow into the gravel to feed on accumulated detritus and they eat various forms of algae as well.
- Crabs – There are a number of different crabs that can be kept in the saltwater aquarium including hermit crabs, arrow crabs, horseshoe crabs, and more. Not all crabs are reef-safe so, if you have a reef tank you need to be careful about which type of crab you choose. Most species are scavengers, feeding on detritus and some forms of algae in the aquarium.
- Shrimp – Not only do saltwater shrimp help to control detritus in the tank, but they can make for a colorful addition to the saltwater tank as well. Shrimp come in a variety of colors and sizes – you need to be careful with some of the larger species because they will feed on small fish.
- Lobsters – Like shrimp, lobsters tend to inhabit the sandy bottoms of reef tanks, burrowing themselves in the substrate and hiding in the crevasses of rock formations in the tank. Lobsters are typically nocturnal creatures, coming out to feed at night, and they can be fairly aggressive toward others of their kind.
- Scallops – These invertebrates are filter feeders which means that they sift through substrate and gather microorganisms from the water in the tank to feed. Scallops can be very tricky to maintain in the saltwater aquarium.
- Cucumbers – This type of invertebrate is best kept in either a reef tank or an invertebrate-only tank. Sea cucumbers are very sensitive to water quality.
- Sea Slugs – These invertebrates are incredibly unique and interesting to keep in the saltwater tank. They come in a variety of colors and they typically do best in reef environments.
- Sponges – Sea sponges filter their food directly from the tank water so they may need additional supplementation in order to thrive. These invertebrates need to be anchored to rockwork and they do not do well in sandy substrate.
- Sea Urchins – Most sea urchins grow between 2 and 3 inches in diameter, though their spines can be much longer. These invertebrates can help to control algae and detritus buildup in the tank.
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