Freshwater Aquarium Vs. Saltwater Tank: How To Choose

A freshwater aquarium is often the type of fish tank beginners choose for their home because of the perception that caring and maintaining saltwater aquarium can be difficult. But due to the availability of good filtration equipment, heavy-duty water pumps, salt mixes and test kits, beginner aquarium owners can now set up saltwater fish tanks without a hitch. To help you decide which tank is for you, take a look at the “5 C’s” of tank purchasing below.


If your budget for setting up an aquarium is limited, then you should consider investing in freshwater fish tanks. There is really no minimum size requirement for freshwater fish tanks, which helps you start small, with few fish and accessories. If you want saltwater aquarium, however, you need to buy at least a 50-gallon fish tank to ensure a healthy habitat for your marine animals and plants. Maintaining saltwater fish tanks is likewise much more expensive because of the need for high-quality filters and pumps, live ornaments, salt mixes, and test kits to keep proper salinity and environment in the aquarium.


Another important consideration before picking the type of aquarium that is right for you involves your level of commitment. If you are not the kind of person who has time to test the water, buy live fish food every week or can check filtration systems periodically, you might as well pick freshwater aquarium. In fact, you don’t even have to buy filters or pumps for certain types of freshwater fishes. However, if you think you have the commitment to perform all the tasks needed to maintain a saltwater aquarium, then go ahead and pick a saltwater fish tank even if you are a novice with aquariums.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Maintaining and cleaning freshwater aquarium is fairly easy. All you need to do is regularly check the color and temperature of the water, feed your fish with food you buy from pet stores, and clean the fish tank regularly to ensure healthy and happy living conditions inside your freshwater fish tank. With saltwater aquarium, however, special attention is needed in maintaining the nitrate cycle of the fish tank, salinity of the water, as well as the temperature and filtration process.

Condition or Environment

In order to be successful in keeping an aquarium, you need to mimic the natural habitat of the fishes that you put in your tank. If you have freshwater fishes, especially ones that are hardy and low maintenance, you really do not have to concern yourself too much about the condition of the water. Even if you do not put live organisms inside you freshwater tank, your fishes will thrive and survive. When it comes to saltwater aquarium, however, you always need to achieve a balance among all the marine organisms inside your tank. You have to make sure that you have the right combination of rocks, saltwater vegetation and fish in order to mimic the natural marine environment.


Lastly, it all boils down to your personal choice. If you are more inclined in keeping goldfish, guppies and tetras, then go ahead and buy freshwater fish tank. However, if you want larger variety of colors, lush vegetation and interesting marine animals, then a saltwater fish tank may be the one for you.

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