When you have made the decision to care for an aquarium, the next big decision you must make is choosing between saltwater and freshwater. You may have already heard some convincing arguments for both sides before now, so making this decision could be a difficult task. Realistically, both types have their merits and challenges and they provide also stunning visual attractions.
There is a general misconception that freshwater aquariums are usually the best for new fish keepers and saltwater aquariums are only ideal for experienced hobbyists. While this may be true to some extent, some freshwater set-ups can be as challenging as saltwater aquariums. Here are a few differences between freshwater and saltwater tanks designed to properly guide you in making your decision.
Cost is a major factor when considering the differences between saltwater and freshwater tanks. Saltwater fish are generally more expensive and saltwater fish tanks tend to need even more requirements than freshwater tanks. However, cost is a relative subject as the cost for both tanks would largely depend on the aquarium, fish, and equipment you use for your set-up.
Since there are different tank types under saltwater and fresh water aquariums (Freshwater – Predator, Cichlid, Biotope, and Planted tanks. Saltwater – Reef, Fish-only, and Fish-only with live rock tanks), the cost would also vary. For example, a Fish-only tank or Fish-only with live rock tanks are a bit closer in terms of cost to freshwater tanks while the requirements for the installation of an African Cichlid tank makes it very expensive to set up. In general though, factors such as lighting and equipment impact the cost of saltwater tanks greatly.
Saltwater tanks are generally more difficult to care for. However, advances have been made in recent times and the differences in ease of care are no longer as wide as it used to be.
This is probably the biggest determinant and difference between the two installation options. Some fish require specific water conditions, lighting and temperature to thrive. Therefore, the type of fish you decide to select will have a huge impact on the cost and care of your aquarium.
Additional work is required for saltwater tanks during water changes as the water must be mixed beforehand. This is time consuming because the salt dissolves slowly and you would have to purchase a hydrometer to check the salinity level. However this process can be made easier by either continuously mixing the saltwater in a large bucket to ensure there is always freshwater available or purchasing pre-mixed saltwater from your local pet store. The latter is a lot more expensive. On the other hand, freshwater do not need any mixing. All you need do is treat the tap water with a water purifier. This will remove the toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your fish.
Saltwater and freshwater aquariums both have their pros and cons. While you are bound to enjoy the variety that saltwater brings, freshwater is less expensive to maintain and improves chances for the introduction of live plants to the system. While it is important to consider the advice of experienced enthusiasts, it is only your decision that matters in the end. Make your research, make lots of enquiries, and be sure to enjoy the choice that is right for you.