Article by Stewart Wrighter
If you are in need of some aquarium supplies but often become overwhelmed by pet stores and their vast arrays of plastic reefs, dog toys and bird feeders, perhaps it is time you learned a bit about what you will need to outfit a basic saltwater aquarium. There are a few essential items your salt water tank simply cannot do without and that is, if you want your fish to live happy lives of longevity. You will need to purchase some equipment for the tank to function; critical saltwater supplies and these should be of the best quality allowed by your budget.
Pumps and filters must be provided to ensure that a salt water aquarium remains stable; these can be purchased at those same all-purpose pet stores mentioned above, but they may also be found from retailers specializing in aquarium supplies. You should have a good understanding not only of what pumps and filters your aquarium needs, but of how they operate and what you should look for when making a purchase.
It is ideal to select a pump carefully, and to consider a number of qualities in a pump. Consider whether the pump offers enough resistance, as well as how much heat it creates; the number of returns it features and the noise level it generates.
You may not need the largest possible pump, and you certainly do not want to buy the least expensive pump simply because it is affordable. The pump size should be correlated with the size of your aquarium at home; a larger pump will generate more heat than should be contained in a small tank. Too much heat may become an issue for live coral, plants or the salt water fish of your aquarium. You will need a pump built especially for a salt water aquarium that is built for the specific volume of water within your tank. Any pet store worth its salt will be able to recommend you the best pump for your home setup and they should be able to explain your different options as well.
A filter is an equally important part of your salt water aquarium without the proper filter; a stable environment cannot be maintained. But the supply of filters at the pet store can be overwhelming. Keep in mind that a filter must be both efficient and adaptable to your particular tank. And as with any other tool which requires maintenance from you, consider just how much work each filter requires from you to keep it in supreme operating condition. Filters are necessary to ensure that the relatively small environment of your tank stays clear of algae and waste. To create the best environment for your fish, purchase both a biological filter and a mechanical filter. These will work together to ensure that the water and salt in the tank remain balanced. Consider the size of the filter channels contained in each filter. Small channels can become blocked more quickly than those of a larger capacity. Often times, however, small channels are created from biological substances which can be easily cleaned. Ask a shop employee for more details about which filters are which.