Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our New Aquarium: Post #1

We finally did it! For years we've been talking about starting a saltwater aquarium, and now we've taken the plunge! Although keeping a marine aquarium is a lot easier nowadays than in the past, we're finding it's still rather difficult, with a lot of work and expense. But the rewards are great. We're very much enjoying the view. Sometimes we even pull the couch up and just sit and watch it.
As you can see, we started out rather bleak...didn't even have a backdrop until recently. Just a large piece of live rock and a sunken ship. Oh, and some live sand on the bottom. Live rock is actually dead coral that contains bacteria natural to the oceans. The bacteria in the live rock and sand are natural filters for the aquarium. It's the live rock that make saltwater aquariums easier than in the past. This particular piece is from Tonga.

We purchase the saltwater already mixed. Our favorite store here in Springfield is Planet Coral. The people there have been very helpful to us newbies.

Anyway, we put in the live rock and live sand and waited for the water to balance. One thing they tell you about saltwater have to be patient. It took over two weeks before the water was properly balanced. You can tell because it starts to grow algae. See the brown slime on the top of the rock? That's the stuff we were waiting for.Once the tank has cycled, you can add the clean-up crew: snails, crabs, and cleaner shrimp. We also got a sand-sifting starfish.
The cleaner shrimp are loads of fun! They keep very busy all the time, and they'll even clean your hand. Here my granddaughter is having her hand cleaned. Their feet tickle, and their pincers feel like pin-pricks.

Now we have to wait until the critters have the place all cleaned up before we can add fish.

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