Many people are interested in having a saltwater aquarium in their homes. Here are a few things we'd like to suggest when you consider setting up a tropical saltwater aquarium.
Obtain a copy of a good reference book on setting up an aquarium. This will help you avoid frustration as you pursue your hobby. Most pet stores and libraries have good reference materials.
Learn about the animals you wish to have. Carefully consider the largest size an animal will grow before you purchase it for your home aquarium. While Sea World is capable of taking care of large fish such as nurse sharks, they probably should not be purchased for most home aquariums.
Make sure that food for the species you wish to have is consistently available. Some fish feed only on corals. These fish are difficult to keep in home aquariums because there is no commercial food supply available for them.
Be careful to purchase animals that are compatible and that will be able to live together in the size aquarium you have.
Ask your supplier to check water from your aquarium before you purchase animals. If your supplier is unable to test the water for you ask him for advice on the correct parameters of pH, ammonia, nitrates, etc.
Regularly test your aquarium water. You can use test kits that are available at your local pet store. The quality of the water in your aquarium is critical to the health to the animals.
Ask your local fish supplier how specimens have been collected. We encourage you to avoid any specimen that has been collected with the use of chemicals. Two of the common chemicals used are cyanide and chlorine bleach. These chemicals kill a large percentage of fish exposed to them. They also destroy other life on the reef, including corals.
Ask your supplier if the fish he carries are "hand caught."
Home aquariums provide many hours of enjoyment for the entire family. It is vital that the animals you have in your aquarium are given the care they need. The more you know about the animals, how they were collected, and how to provide them the best home, the more you will enjoy them.
1. Don't overfeed the animals.
2. Change 25% to 50% of the water at least once a month.
3. Develop a quarantine aquarium for new or sick animals.
4. When the water evaporates, refill with fresh, nonchlorinated water.
5. Any change in the salinity or temperature should be made slowly. (Changing salinity as a treatment to remove certain parasites (is an exception to this rule.)
6. Test pH and ammonia daily. Nitrates should be monitored at least once a week.
Don't hesitate to ask your local fish supplier or a local aquarium hobbyist group any questions you may have about your aquarium or the animals in it.
The Sea World and Busch Gardens parks play significant roles in educating people about wildlife conservation and research. Through our work with rare and endangered species and other animals, we demonstrate our strong commitment to preserving wildlife.
Sea World and Busch Gardens, Tampa are accredited members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
www.seaworld.org / www.buschgardens.org
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