When an opinion was sought about which type of aquarium to keep, the intention wasnâ€™t to pit one against the other in some sort of competition. It was asking me for an opinion and I have to openly admit that I am hopelessly biased. I think the marine side of the hobby, be it with
Just consider it – a [tag-tec]fish only aquarium[/tag-tec] with numerous reef fish all in bright colours of the rainbow, yellows, blues, and mixtures. Think of the shape, not only torpedo shaped but differing according to their type. The behaviour from fish type to fish type differs too.
Then the [tag-ice]reef aquarium[/tag-ice]! A captive living coral reef. More restricted in fish but the same lovely colours, the fish acting more or less as they would on a wild reef. Soft corals in subtle pastel colours, waving gently in the currents. Hard corals of various colours growing as in the wild. A shrimp or two occupying their chosen rock, or foraging for a bit of food. Gorgeous calcareous algae adhering to the back glass. Tiny life forms scurrying about, mainly at night, on the reef or deep sand bed. Totally fascinating.
The fresh water aquarium cannot offer the colours and sheer overall diversity of a reef aquarium, or perhaps also the fish only aquarium. However, fresh water extends from the goldfish aquarium to some surprisingly lovely creations. Iâ€™ve seen fresh water aquariums which, if memory serves me correctly, are described as the Dutch planted type. They are constructed with special sand beds which contain plant nutrients. [tag-self]Aquarium lighting[/tag-self] is chosen carefully as it would be with a reef, except, as far as I know, halides are not used. Water currents are created but are more gentle. Carbon dioxide is carefully dosed to help with growing plants. These plants cover all sorts – broad leafed, narrow leafed, tall, short, and squat. Often the sand bed is low at the front and higher at the back, the back held in place by decorative stones or bog wood. The plants can be in groups, tall at the back. Specimen plants have pride of place in the front. Fish are often seen in shoals, and it has to be said this can look terrific. A shoal of neon or cardinal tetras, for example, small fish with lovely silvery and red livery, roam the aquarium.
A well maintained and successful fresh water aquarium can be something to behold. It is not the easiest of achievements, and the aquarist responsible must be congratulated. Swathes of well placed plants of varying shades of green and some other colours as a backdrop to a shoal of lovely fish. The aquascaping alone can be lovely.
With every respect to our fresh water colleagues, I believe that the marine aquarium is the pinnacle of beauty and interest for a home aquarist. There is one common theme though, and that is the love of aquatic life, for its challenge, interest and beauty.