A new aquarium installation is a big decision. Good aquarium equipment isn’t cheap, and you need to keep in mind the initial setup costs for your saltwater aquarium, plus the ongoing operating costs to keep your custom aquarium flourishing. However, once your aquarium is set up, you’ll be amazed at how much enjoyment you get from it for so little money.
To truly enjoy your new saltwater aquarium without worrying about how much it will cost you in the end, use these cost saving tips. They’ll make your aquarium installation much easier on your pocketbook, and they’ll make setup worry-free:
1.) Size Matters
The larger the tank, the more upkeep it will require. You’ll also have to supersize all the gear that keeps your custom aquarium functioning. On the flip side, you don’t want your tank to be too small that it can’t hold the number and variety of fish and plants you want. Like all things, it’s best to avoid too little and too much fish tank.
A modestly sized fish tank is generally best for beginning aquarists. A tank in the range of 30 to 55 gallons should be big enough for lots of fish, but small enough to keep the aquarium maintenance at a reasonable level.
If you’re on a tighter budget, consider a tank that is small enough to keep on a desk or other existing flat surface. The desk will have to be sturdy enough to hold the substantial weight of your aquarium. When in doubt, it’s smart to budget for the additional purchase of an aquarium stand.
2.) Be Cautious About Reef Tanks
Starting with a fish-only or FOWLR (fish only with live rock) system versus a reef tank will save you a ton of dough. Reef systems come with some significant added expenses. These expenses include the price of special high-intensity lighting that corals and other photosynthetic invertebrates demand. Reef tanks also need ongoing supplementation of calcium and alkalinity.
Include fish that won’t continue to get too large for your tank as well as are known to be disease resistant. Consult with fellow hobbyists to determine the best fish to include in your budgeted saltwater aquarium installation.
3.) Look for Energy Efficient and Used Equipment
Utility costs add up. Purchase energy efficient pumps and powerheads to save money on electricity.
You can also save money by purchasing used tanks and equipment. You will need to be careful when doing this as you don’t want to purchase faulty equipment or a busted tank. Check the seams of tanks to make sure that they will be stable when water is added to the tank. Glass tanks are usually best.
Purchase your used aquarium tank and equipment from someone you know and trust, or from a seasoned hobbyist. Buying used equipment online might not be the best option as you can’t ensure that it comes from a trustworthy source.
4.) Have a Quarantine Tank On Hand
This is a money-saving suggestion that not too many people think of initially. By making a small investment in an additional small quarantine tank you can save the lives of your other fish. As a bonus, it saves the costs of replacing fish in the future. If a fish is sick, they can easily wipe out the rest of your other saltwater fish. This could be an expense of thousands of dollars in some cases.
This is also a great suggestion to use when you initially purchase a fish for your tank. Keep new fish in the quarantine tank for a few days before introducing it to your custom aquarium. This way you can observe to see if it is healthy before letting it join the others.
5.) Don’t Overfeed Your Fish
Lastly, do not overfeed your fish. This is cost effective as well as preventative of fish getting sick from overeating. Fish always look like they are starving, and they very quickly learn to recognize feeding time. When you see your fish begging for food, you may be tempted to overfeed them as they will seem to do this every time. It is important to only feed fish a tiny amount of food, three to four times a day or as the food manufacturer label prescribes.
Ask a Pro About Your Aquarium Installation
A basic saltwater aquarium on a budget is certainly possible. When you decide you want a saltwater aquarium installation, it’s smart to go to a local aquarium or fish store. The prices on the internet may be lower, but nothing can replace the guidance, assistance, and long term savings you will get with expert, hands on help.
If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, call Aquatech Aquarium Services. They’ll get your aquarium installation off on the right foot, and they’re available for regular aquarium maintenance as well.