COLDWATER MARINE AQUARIA
The following equipment is essential:
1) ALL-GLASS AQUARIUM. HOOD, POLYSTYRENE SHEETS OR CARPET UNDERLAY.
Minimum size is 36" X 18" X 12" 20 gallon (92 litre). It is not possible to keep seawater in a satisfactory life-supporting condition in smaller tanks.
2) FILTRATION SYSTEM
Undergravel filtration system incorporating POWERHEADS (2, or 1 + POWERFUL AIR PUMP), AIR-TUBING, AIRSTONES. Alternatively: External Power Filters.
3) HYDROMETER for measuring the Specific gravity.
4) THERMOMETER calibrated 0ºC to 25ºC.
5) MULTIPLE ELECTRIC SOCKETS. Plugs etc., Cable Tidy, for Lights, Pumps and other pieces of electrical equipment.
6) LIGHTING. A single 40 watt daylight flourescent lamp is sufficient. On larger tanks a combination of a blue spectrum tube and a daylight tube is used. For anemones with zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae) special high intensity lighting is required.
7) AQUARIUM NET
8) SCRAPER or Sponge to clean glass.
9) SEAWATER. Real seawater can be used to fill the aquarium. Artificial salts are available from aquarium retailers and are far superior for the water changes, and are better when starting up.
Specify for marine aquarium use. Ordinary sea salt is not suitable.
10) PLASTIC DRUMS for collection and mixing of seawater. Beer fermentation bins (10 gallon) are ideal.
11) ROCKS AND SEASHELLS for decoration and to provide hiding places.
12) SIPHON or Gravel Cleaner to extract detritus and change water.
13) CORAL SAND or Shingle. Size 2mm to 4mm. If an undergravel filtration system is in use, it should be placed to a depth of at least 4 cm on the floor of the tank.
14) COOLING SYSTEM. The most popular method involves the use of a POWERHEAD pumping the water through a BEER COOLER. A special THERMOSTAT FOR COOLERS is necessary, with a POWER BOOSTER.
Lahaina sell a purpose-built 'cooling unit', which is expensive initially, but cheaper in the long term.
15) REFERENCE BOOKS to identify creatures of the seashore, and a tropical marine aquarium instruction book for technical aspects.
16) SPARE PARTS for diaphragm air-pumps, spare pumps and powerheads.
Small plastic children's beach spade for removing sand in the tank.
17) TEST KITS. The pH kit is useful. Nitrite and nitrate test kits are used to monitor conditions in the aquarium.
18) NITRIFYING BACTERIA. See Procedural Stage Six.
19) ADDITIONAL TANKS. This is an early requirement because the aggressive shore animals are notoriously incompatable.
20) BRINE SHRIMP HATCHERY. Brine shrimp Artemia eggs can be hatched into fry for feeding to live food feeders and larval forms.
This is the minimum list of equipment required. Skimping on any of these essential items will result in failure. Unfortunately, one item that is often omitted is the 'cooler'. This turns out to be essential in hot summers because the tank temperature quickly equals the ambient temperature. Some aquarists have a cellar, or insulated garage, and are able to keep the temperature down without the need for the most expensive item. The aquarium set-up without the cooler will cost from around £150. New coolers will cost more than this, but you may be able to obtain a secondhand unit from a pub or brewery.
Experienced 'rockpoolers' are able to keep uncooled aquaria only because they have a thorough knowledge of the various fish and invertebrates and the temperature requirements of each species.