Ultimate Secrets To Saltwater Fish

Idiot Guide To The Marine Aquarium

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Chapter One

"Less Technology, More Biology"

The Challenge of Aquarium Keeping: An Evolution of Equipment, Styles, and Approaches

One reassuring fact about a marine aquarium is that the constituents and characteristics of seawater that are of importance to invertebrates and fishes are, for the most part, constant throughout the ocean. Although physical parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, and the degree of water movement may vary geographically, or even on opposite sides of a reef crest, the basic medium, seawater, is the same everywhere, or at least everywhere from which one might wish to procure specimens for display in a home aquarium.

Consider how this contrasts with the situation for the freshwater aquarist, who must decide what sort of water he will work with: An Amazonian tank needs soft, acid water and a deep substrate of gravel and sand to provide root space for several species of Echinodorus and Vallisneria. A tangle of driftwood offers shelter to a school of Cardinal Tetras. How dissimilar is the Rift Lake aquarium with its hard, alkaline water. Limestone forms a labyrinth of caves, each carefully guarded by one of the mbuna, the rock-dwelling ci-chlids of Lake Malawi, that are at home in this habitat. On the upper surfaces of the rocks where strong light plays,

Marine aquarium keeping in the Victorian style: minimal technology but notoriously poor survival rates for livestock.

green filamentous algae grows so abundantly as to maintain itself despite continuous cropping by the fish. Otherwise, no plants can grow. Duplicating either of these environments requires recreating sharply contrasting sets of water chemistry. Duplicating any portion of the marine environment does not. Why, then, does the general impression linger that marine aquarium keeping is such a difficult proposition? Only some of the reasons have to do with the peculiar characteristics of the marine environment. In part, the explanation lies in how marine aquarium keeping has evolved historically.

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Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

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