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Which Tanks are Easy to Maintain Saltwater Tanks or Freshwater Tanks

The Earth is a mysterious planet with all kinds of exotic beauty found in different places. With the difference in surroundings comes the difference in organisms adapted to live healthily in that place. This is what makes the Earth a captivating place, that with every step, there is a new creature to notice and admire. One of the biggest homes for beautiful creatures is the spread of blue oceans and clear lakes found from place to place.

Once you see the world underwater, it is likely that your mind wanders back to it and wants to feel and see more of the soothing mix of colors and creatures. Well, for most, there is no better alternative than re-creating a mix of aquatic life in a tank kept at home. A little bit of lighting, a black background, some luminescent green plants, and finally some striped fish playing around will almost make it look ethereal.


So once you’ve decided to adorn your home with an aquarium full of colorful fishes and plants, the first thought that you might encounter is what type of ecosystem to choose for the tank. While freshwater and saltwater tanks both have particular traits that are specific to them, it is, however, known that freshwater tanks are relatively easier to keep.

A saltwater aquarium might look more enchanting due to the corals and extra colorful fishes, but they have many more demands that come hand in hand with all this. So, when looking for what type of tank to keep, it’s necessary to know that there is much more to this than what is captivating to the eye!

Thus, when looking for the right kind of tank to choose to suit your needs, it is highly recommended to choose freshwater tanks if you’re a beginner or even if you’re a full-time worker who doesn’t have some proper set time to give. There are a lot of reasons why saltwater tanks are harder to keep up and I would like to give a detailed review in the following paragraphs.

Water Type

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Firstly, the freshwater aquarium contains organisms taken from lakes and rivers usually, which means they are adapted to water similar to the tap and need no extra material to make it suitable for aquatic life. Due to this, all the hobbyists tend to use water from the tap to maintain their tanks. Not only does this make the whole experience less expensive, but this also makes it easier to change the water regularly.

So, if you’re a newbie just starting to keep your first tank, you should know that freshwater tanks can be of various sizes and materials ( acrylic or glass) and that the fish can be kept according to your needs. Usually, in the start, fish such as cichlids can be kept easily. A good filtration system, some colorful fishes and tap water means you’re all set up to go a long way.

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On the contrary, keeping a saltwater aquarium means you have to regularly check water salinity and keep it maintained. Regular tap water can not be used alone at all costs. This means that a regular supply of saltwater is required at all times and if for some reason it is not available, it can pose a high risk for the delicate creatures kept in such tanks. The hygiene of the water may also be compromised if saltwater is not readily available.

Fish Adaptability

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On the same note, freshwater tanks are also relatively easy to maintain because the aquatic life found in freshwater lakes and ponds are generally hardier than the one found in the ocean. This automatically means that the organisms kept in freshwater tanks are more adaptive than the ones kept in saltwater tanks. They tend to be more tolerant of changes in the atmosphere and thus, survive better.

Meanwhile, if something is off in the aquarium set-up, saltwater species will be the ones affected by it beyond repair. This happens because of the fragile nature of the coral reefs and other creatures kept in the tanks. Some particular fish larvae can be so delicate, that even colliding with an air bubble could kill them.

This fragile nature coupled with a particular saline environment they demand to grow in means that they can not withstand big changes and will require the utmost care one can provide them with. Hence, caring for a saltwater tank can be hard and as you read further, you’ll get to know it gets harder.

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Fish Feed

Feeding young saltwater fish can be particularly a little more precarious. While freshwater fishes will readily eat processed fish food, saltwater fishes are more likely to show attitude and would like to eat something more “flappy”. Who knew these fishes could be this picky!

Hence, for the same reason, freshwater rotifers (microscopic animals that clone themselves every day) were found to be the perfect match. Well, as we know, perfect matches don’t always come that easy.

Although freshwater rotifers have greatly enhanced the capability of rearing fishes, they tend to be more expensive and will add to the cost greatly.

Fish Compatibility

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One more thing that greatly makes saltwater tanks difficult to conserve is the compatibility that is needed by the creatures living inside the tank. One common mistake that many people end up doing when choosing what aquatic animals to keep, is that they don’t check the compatibility of the creatures living together.

This means that some animals can live in harmony with only a certain type of other animals, and if they end up with the wrong type then it certainly creates problems. It may even happen that one ends up eating the other or in some cases even intimidated by the “dominant” ones to back off.

Keeping this in mind, only those creatures should be kept together which can live happily together but usually, this might not happen in attempts to save money or lack of knowledge.

Larger Expense

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Like I said before, a saltwater tank is like a mini ocean, with bright corals, dainty plants, and fascinating fishes co-existing together to make all of it come together nicely. Corals being delicate, are more expensive to maintain and buy than any of the creatures found in freshwater tanks.

This and the more demanding nature of saltwater species means that it requires more maintenance in the form of extra filters such as protein skimmers ( removes organic waste) and extra minerals such as calcium and iodine (needed for certain crustaceans). As extra filtration is said to be the key to a healthy aquarium hence, the filter mentioned above and many more may be required to maintain the health of the life residing inside these tanks.

Three types of filters are usually used in saltwater tanks: a mechanical one, a biological one, or a chemical one. If a live rock filtration is used, it is recommended to use protein skimmers(the one I mentioned above). But, all three of these filters can be costly.

Having said all this, let’s not forget that freshwater tanks need to have a minimum size of only 50 liters meanwhile saltwater tanks should have a minimum size of 300 liters! This tank size is important for the fish to grow healthy and for the tank to keep its mystifying aura.

Without a good size and salt level, the fish are more likely to feel suffocated and may not reach the desired growth level. This is most likely to exceed an average person’s budget, however much they want it. To put a cherry on top, the saltwater tank also requires some special lighting and more frequent water changes.

In addition to this, the substrate required by the saltwater tank is also going to be different than a normal one and hence is going to be expensive. A proper substrate is important because not only does it give the correct base to the plants living inside, but also becomes a resting spot for some fish. - For all your creative needs!

Certain fishes are also fond of eating the organic matter from the substrate. This provides them with the right nutrients. Thus, all of this makes the substrate a vital and also relatively expensive part of the tank. All of this together puts a pretty big stress on one’s finances and well, if you’re a huge foodie or a shopaholic, well, this might leave you depressed.

Lack of Proper Knowledge

Lastly, a saltwater tank requires a lot of patience while starting. You can not speed up the process as it will only end up making things messy. A lot of reading and researching is required before anything can be done properly as living organisms are involved in this.

Trial and error will not only make you lose money but will also leave you disappointed. Lack of time or energy to put in the effort will likely result in disasters. Thus, a lack of proper knowledge is bound to make anything harder to maintain.


To sum up, the above, saltwater tanks can be harder to maintain than freshwater because of the delicate and enchanting nature of the species residing inside. This nature also makes them expensive to buy, harder to make sure that none of their needs are neglected, and difficult to create a schedule in which the tank is cleaned and scrubbed in time.

Although some people do say that a saltwater tank will not be more expensive than a freshwater tank if less expensive fishes and plants are kept inside, they fail to understand that the real charm of saltwater tanks is by the variety of life existing inside. A tank without corals or a tank without fishes such as regal tang may just not be the same anymore.

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So, a big clear tank, some good filtration, bright lights, and the right food are just the things that are necessary for saltwater tanks and are also what makes them harder to keep up. On the contrary, freshwater tanks can thrive without the right knowledge, budget, or even time.

This is what has made freshwater tanks so common and popular in multiple places. A visit to a dentist for a regular checkup or even your favorite restaurant might have made you make you come across one of these and either way, it’s sure to leave you enchanted!

But also, after all this, one would ask why do people even keep saltwater tanks if they can be so demanding. The vast spread of bright colors being reflected directly into your eyes by the bright lights spread above are bound to make the viewers give it a second glance.

The dainty corals opening and closing to attract fishes, the whole range of organisms thriving together is what makes this tank more rewarding. However much bewildering the tanks may look, they can still be a pain and that’s what’s conveyed above by all above.

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