What Constitutes a Reef Aquarium?

Saltwater SmartsBy Saltwater Smarts 5 years agoNo Comments

Here’s a recent shot of my 125-gallon reef aquarium

Question:  I’m new to saltwater aquarium keeping and struggling to wrap my head around all the different ideas and terminology. For example, what exactly constitutes a reef tank versus a fish-only tank that happens to include a few invertebrates?” – Submitted by Brent M.

Answer:  If you’d asked me to distinguish between these two aquarium types 20 years ago, I’d have a fairly straightforward answer. I’d tell you that a fish-only tank, as the name implies, contains only fish and possibly a few motile invertebrates while a reef aquarium (or “mini-reef,” as this type of system was known back then) puts the focus almost exclusively on corals and other sessile invertebrates, with any fish intentionally limited to small numbers and relatively diminutive species.

But since you’re asking this question in 2016, I’d have to say—and, fellow salties, correct me if I’m wrong here—that most marine aquarists don’t fit so neatly into the fish-only or reef aquarium “camps” anymore. Nowadays, the distinction seems to be blurring. MORE

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Categories:
  Corals, Fish, Invertebrates, Reef, Science
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 Saltwater Smarts

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Saltwater Smarts is a unique online resource created by long-time aquarists Chris Aldrich and Jeff Kurtz to inspire and entertain a new generation of marine aquarium hobbyists while helping them acquire the reliable, authoritative knowledge base they need to succeed with a saltwater system. By clarifying key concepts, techniques, and terminology, as well as sharing expert insights from fellow enthusiasts and industry professionals, Chris and Jeff hope to promote a more accessible, sustainable, and enjoyable marine aquarium hobby. Read more about our mission and the contributors who are part of our team.

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