The 3 Basic Types of Aquarium Systems

The 3 Basic Types of Aquarium Systems Blog Image

Setting up and maintaining an aquarium is very rewarding.  The ability to recreate an underwater environment that will sustain fish and invertebrates is truly amazing.  Over the years, marine biologists, aquarium specialists, and enthusiasts have learned and developed many techniques and technologies that make it easier to set up and successfully maintain an aquarium. 

If you’re just starting out with fish keeping as a hobby and caught up with many options to choose from, then this is the perfect content for you. 

Let us break it down for you to help you decide what aquarium system suits you best. Read on to find the three basic types of aquariums here.

Reef Marine Aquariums 

Reef Marine Aquariums - Creative Coral Design

By far the most challenging and expensive of the marine aquariums, reef aquariums are stocked with corals and other invertebrates, with little or no fish. Since marine invertebrates are very sensitive to water conditions, water parameters must be monitored on a regular basis. Also, many corals are photosynthetic and require proper lighting to survive, plus need to be fed a proper diet. The inhabitants of reef aquariums require lots of special attention, so it is important to research lighting, water movement, supplementation, etc.

Fish-Only-With-Live-Rock for FOWLR Aquariums 

FOWLR Aquariums - Creative Coral Design

Fish-only-with-live-rock (FOWLR) aquariums are a blend between Fish Only aquariums and Reef Marine aquariums. Live rock is biologically-active calcium-based and is colonized by marine life, including invertebrates, sponges, and millions of beneficial nitrifying bacteria. A live rock provides supplemental filtration and helps maintain stable water conditions. Special considerations for FOWLR setups include proper acclimation of reef rock, additional light or supplements to cultivate coralline algae, and the restriction of medications that harm beneficial life found in live rock.

Know more about the important considerations when choosing the BEST AQUARIUM Options here.


Fish Only Marine Aquariums - Creative Coral Design

FISH-ONLY aquariums are designed to showcase marine fish only. Just like the above types of aquarium setups, maintaining proper water parameters and employing efficient filtration is key. With the FISH-ONLY aquarium, you have a larger selection of fish to choose from, since you do not have to worry about certain species harming live coral.

The availability of beautiful and hardy marine fish such as damselfish, yellow tangs, and captive-bred species adds to the success of FISH-ONLY aquariums.  It is still important to maintain proper water parameters, but the filtration system and lighting are not as complex or expensive. 

FISH-ONLY aquariums are often decorated with coral skeletons. Coral skeletons are the calcium carbonate structure left after the coral polyps die off. The coral skeletons can be very expensive, not very colorful, and difficult to maintain. The other option is Artificial Coral Replicas. The artificial corals offer a very cost-effective solution to decorating your aquarium and are available in a variety of colors, species, and sizes. 

The FISH-ONLY aquarium is a great setup for the dedicated beginner interested in marine aquariums or the enthusiast who prefers a less involved set-up and can simply enjoy the fish.

Read through our list of aquariums frequently asked questions to learn more and make an informed choice. 

Wherever stage you are in your aquarium selection: from designing and building your dream aquarium or simply just choosing the best aquarium decorations, our team is ready to assist and work on a solution that’s tailor-made for your budget and needs.

Get in touch with us today!