In general saltwater fish are usually a little more difficult to maintain than their freshwater cousins. That being said, it is not necessary to be an expert in order to maintain a saltwater aquarium.
Just as with freshwater fish, there are some saltwater species that are hardier than others. There are a few basic needs that if met will ensure that the fish are cared for properly.
The most important need that any creature has is the need for food. This is not different for fish. It is important to mimic the type of food that a fish would typically eat in the ocean. These foods can be purchased in flake, tablet, or frozen forms. In addition, there are vitamins that can be added to the foods to replace any nutrients that may have been lost in the freezing or drying processes. Just as we humans don’t like to eat the same thing every day, neither do fish. Keep a variety of food handy because they will not eat the same food daily. Research the specific needs of the fish before you purchase them to make sure you are able to provide the food that they need. Be careful not to over feed the fish. This will cause a build up of debris in the tank. Only feed an amount that can be consumed in the first two to five minutes. Try to remove any excess food after feeding time in order to keep the tank tidy: and take notes. Remember how much was consumed previously and try to replicate that at the next feeding time. Over feeding fish is a common mistake, especially amongst new aquarium owners.
The next item on the list of raising a healthy fish is keep the water properly regulated. It is imperative to keep the salinity levels, P.H. and temperature consistent in a saltwater aquarium. Test the water daily and make any necessary adjustments immediately. Check the water for cloudiness and clean the filter regularly.
Have you ever heard the saying that a happy baby is a healthy baby? Well, the same is true for fish. Fish should be made to feel as comfortable as possible in their new home. You should try to recreate their natural habitat. Research to find out what type of specific corals, sponges and plants the fish have in their open water environment. If a particular fish lives on a coral reef, try to incorporate that into the grand scheme of the aquarium. Stress can be minimized by providing ample opportunities for fish to act normally.
Lastly try to avoid overcrowding the tank. This is another common problem that can be easily avoided. A general rule of thumb is one small fish per every ten gallons of water. Keep in mind however, that what is considered a small fish, may not be so small next month. Research, again is important because it is necessary to find out how large a fish will grow and weather or not it is compatible with its tank mates.