Saltwater Aquarium Themes

Saltwater_Aquarium_Themes_Fish_OnlyWith the outstanding assortment of beautiful saltwater fish to choose from, it is no wonder that so many hobbyists dream of owning and maintaining a marine aquarium. So you have made the decision to have a marine aquarium, now you have to decide which type of marine aquarium you wish to own and enjoy. Marine aquarium setups are commonly divided into three broad categories: Fish Only, Fish Only with Live Rock, and Reef Aquariums.

Fish Only

This is generally regarded as the easiest and safest to start with because should any of the inhabitants become sick you can use many of the commercial treatments available and there are less things to think about. Most commercial treatments cannot be used with any invertebrates, so that includes all shrimps, starfish, all corals and live rock. Artificial rock, corals and ocean rock are normally used for decoration


A reef aquarium resembles a true reef environment and will typically contain various types of coral as well as other reef invertebrates, e.g. worms, shrimps and anemones together with a mixture of reef fish. Some reef aquariums are actually kept without any fish at all.

Fish Only With Live Rock

Live rock is used in conjunction with fish as the live rock aids in the filtration process and houses microscopic organisms that some fish need to survive. Live rock also gives a more natural look to the aquarium.

Saltwater_Aquarium_Themes_Live_RockSo, what is this mysterious ‘live rock’ used when setting up a marine aquarium? It is not the rock itself that lives; they name is used for (very dead) calcium carbonate skeletons or similar calcareous items inhabited by various marine organism. Exactly which organisms your live rock will contain will always come as a surprise since a live rock can house anything from tiny bacteria and algae to sponges and mobile invertebrates. Some creatures may not become noticeable until you have had the rock in your aquarium for several months since they need time to grow and establish themselves in the tank.

Live rock is not only used to introduce interesting surprise organism to the aquarium; their main purpose is actually to make the aquarium more similar to the real ocean by adding organisms that can help build up a tiny ecosystem. Live rock will help you keep the water quality up and the organisms can also serve as food for the species you wish to keep. Live sand – sand inhabited by various oceanic organisms – is also popular in marine aquariums.