Freshwater VS Saltwater aquarium Which Should you choose?


Written By Adam Farrelly

Freshwater VS Saltwater  

Choosing to take the plunge into aquarium keeping is no easy feat. A bewildering number of choices await the aspiring hobbyist, "I really like this fish, can I keep it?" "how much is it going to cost to keep this fish?" "what size and shape of tank do I want to own?" However, before all of that is the most important question of all, do I want a Freshwater or a Saltwater Aquarium?

Both types of aquarium are beautiful and complex in their own right, with stunning biodiversity and endless possibilities. But, there are key differences between freshwater and saltwater aquariums one must be aware of before becoming a full
time hobbyist.

In this brief guide I shall give a basic overview of both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, the diversity of livestock available to both and the advantages and disadvantages inherit to both systems.


A freshwater tank is generally where most people start in the hobby. Relatively

simple, unsalted and easily maintained aquariums that can be filled with a wide variety of community fish and decorations. Unheated freshwater tanks typically house goldfish, whereas a heated freshwater system can house a huge variety of freshwater fish, from the Amazon river and beyond.


· Dechlorinated Tap water can be used to fill and top up the system
· Relatively inexpensive
· Most fish inhabitants are generally hardy and non-aggressive
· Can provide a stunning natural aesthetic when planted
· Can be maintained with weekly 10% water changes on most systems


· Fish are not as colourful or as diverse as their saltwater counterparts
· Most tropical fish are short lived
· Relatively few options when it comes to invertebrates



A saltwater tank is essentially a recreation of the ocean in your living room,

9ft saltwater reef aquarium

complete with fish, corals and rocks teeming with life. The biodiversity found in these tanks is astonishing, many different species of fish can be kept, from simple gobies to clownfish, and even seahorses. Corals are the sessile invertebrates responsible for building reefs, and come in a huge variety of types, colour and patterns. The endless flora and fauna varieties found in these tanks is what makes them attractive and fascinating to so many.


· Corals
· Marine fish are bold, beautiful and endlessly diverse
· A huge variety of invertebrate options are available
· The rock work, sand and even the water column teems with life


· Generally more expensive to set up and maintain that a Freshwater tank, especially with high end coral setups.

coral reef aquarium

· Dechlorinated tap water is not tolerated by these tanks

· RO water must be used for topping up for evaporation and mixing new saltwater

· Fish are highly diverse in their behaviour as well as their colour, appropriate research must be done for any new addition.
· Certain marine fish can be challenging to feed

As a Beginner Aquarist, which do I choose?

This choice is a tough one for anybody torn between both types of aquarium, since the cost will leave most people rooted with the initial choice. Neither system is especially difficult to care for, as long as you have done your research and know what you're getting into before you start purchasing the tank and equipment. There is an endless variety of setups and layouts to play with, as well as a varying degree of difficulty for each.

For many a first time aquarist, confidence as well as cost will control the freshwater vs saltwater decision, but for a lot of us it comes down to the heart. If you have a vision for what you want to see in your living room, its is always better to stick with said vision, as passion is a huge plus in a hobby that can often be
quite demanding.

Once you have a plan for a setup, be it a simple community aquarium or a colourful coral tank, always stick rigidly to said plan.

We at will always be happy to answer any questions regarding any thing discussed in this blog, as well as any first time setup questions you have. Feel free to Contact us via the website, In-store or on

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Coral aquariumFreshwater aquariumFreshwater tankMarine fish tankSaltwater aquarium

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