Marine Start-Up FAQ

Marine Aquariums

A healthy saltwater aquarium, also known as a marine aquarium, is the supreme challenge of the fish-keeper and aqua hobbyist. Marine tanks can be challenging and intimidating to a beginner. Whether you are a new tank owner, or you have a freshwater tank and are looking to advance your hobby. It is no surprise that these tanks are very treasured, they are beautiful and visually stunning due to the bright and colorful fish and invertebrates that you can inhabit. Chances are you have a lot of questions, and we will answer some of the most common ones to steer you towards a successful path.

What is the best filtration system?

Naturally, there is a large variety of different filtration systems. The system you pick will depend on the size of the tank, and what you are housing. Generally, the most effective types of filters will be the canister and sump style. Sump filters are considered the best available for saltwater, complimenting a medium to large sized aquariums. For small tanks, a canister filter will do just fine.

What should the salinity be for my saltwater aquarium?

Salinity is measured by specific gravity. Maintain your specific gravity between 1.021 to 1.026 Any thing below 1.019 or above 1.028 will be very stressful and uncomfortable for your marine life. To measure the salinity of your water, Pisces recommends: Portable Refractometer and AccuraSea Calibration Solution. 

What is live rock/sand and why do I need it?

“Live rock” is pieces of rock that are brought from the ocean floor. the term “live” comes from all the living organisms that cover the rock. Likewise, live sand is sand that has been cultured and removed from the ocean floor. Both contain living bacteria that is essential for filtering the aquarium water.

What is a nitrogen cycle?

The nitrogen cycle is a chemical process that takes place within your aquarium. The nitrogen cycle starts with ammonia, a chemical byproduct of waste (feces, uneaten food) and the respiration process. Ammonia is BAD! The toxic ammonia is converted to nitrite via nitrifying bacteria. A second type of nitrifying bacteria will turn the nitrite into nitrate, which is much safer to fish and can be removed with regular water changes. Make certain to cycle your aquarium BEFORE adding any fish or inverts to your tank. Establishing a full cycle on a new tank can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks.

What are good starter fish/inverts for my first marine tank?

There a good handful of fish that make excellent starter fish. Ideally, you want a species that is easy to acclimate, and less sensitive to water quality issues. These include but are not limited to clownfish, damselfish, wrasses, blennies and gobies. Invertebrates are more challenging to keep than fish, they are less tolerant to poor water quality. Make sure you are closely monitoring your alkaline and salinity levels. Good beginner inverts include hermit crabs, soft coral and snails.

How do I acclimate my new fish to my aquarium?

Acclimating your fish is a relatively simple process, but very important. Sadly, it is a step that is often done incorrectly by many new or inexperienced aquarium owners. Click here to watch a short 1-minute instructional video from the Pisces staff on how to perform proper acclimation!

Pisces always has a cycling variety of awesome marine life and marine equipment! Call or visit us in store for the most up-to-date selection!