The Weald Aquatics Blog - Setting up a Marine Tank - another blog post from Weald Aquatics | Aquarium & Pond Fish Shop in Kent


Coolings Green & Pleasant
Main Road, Knockholt, Kent TN14 7LJ

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Setting up a Marine Tank

Blog post written by Jon | 07 November 2012 | Category: Aquarium maintenance

Due to Andy's paternity leave (big Congrats to Andy & Amy!) I have been asked to fill in for this month's blog. I have recently set up a marine aquarium and it seems that lately more and more customers have been asking us about how to set them up - the costs, the maintenance and whether we will be stocking marine fish. I will focus this blog around these questions.

Now to get the easy bit out of the way - yes we will be stocking marine fish and the current plan is that in the new year we will change around the shop a bit (you're probably asking "again?!" but it's only a small change around!) - the pond fish will go outside and will give us the room for two marine banks.

Now then, how to set up a marine tank...

The equipment needed:


Prices vary with size - anywhere from £70 to £1000

We recommend the bigger the better, however, that is not to say small reefs don't work - all you have to do is search for Nano Reef and you'll see that many people have small reef tanks. My set up is 220 litres which is more than enough (I would suggest 100 litres minimum).


Prices vary with size - £64.99 to £169 for an external at the minimum size

Again the bigger the better. With marine fish the water quality is vital. Most of our customers tend to do a 20% water change weekly if they keep corals and 25% fortnightly if it is just fish. The filter is the most important part of the fish tank in my opinion, since it is the one bit of equipment which will look after the fish for you and maintain the water quality it is definitely worth investing in a good one (on our Facebook page I recently reviewed the Superfish Aqua-Pro range which is my personal favourite).


£20 to £35

1W of power for every litre of water in the tank.

Protein Skimmer

£65.99 (Nano) to £199 (for a 500 litre tank)

A protein skimmer is the only bit of equipment that is not needed in a tropical/coldwater tank. Its job in a marine tank is to take out organic proteins by turning them into foam before they break down into nitrogenous waste. The reason a protein skimmer is required is that most marine fish are sensitive to nitrates so extra precautions are needed.


£30 to £200 (entire light unit)

For a fish only marine tank you just need marine bulbs that you can get to fit into the majority of fish tank light units (Juwel, Arcadia etc.). If you want to keep Corals then it is advised to get high intensity lighting so T5 lighting should be the minimum.



A hydrometers will show you how much salt is in the water and the specific gravity of the water. They are simple to use and all you need to do is fill it with water make sure you have a specific gravity of around 1.021 to 1.024.

R.O. Water (reverse-osmosis)

£3 per 25 litres

In order to keep marine fish, ordinary tap water is not really suitable, it is best to use R.O. water which is water in a very pure form.


£14.99 to £45.59 depending on size

In the shop we sell Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt as we find it has all the essential elements needed to keep marine fish and corals.

Coral Sand

£4.99 for 5kg

This is a substrate that will be found naturally under the sea or around certain tropical beaches. It helps buffer the water to the right pH level and also is highly porous for filtering bacteria to live in.


Other recommended equipment:

  • Power heads to replicate the flow of the ocean. Through our experience any corals in a tank with a power head really do thrive.
  • Test kits

The most difficult aspect of setting up the marine tank was the learning curve at the beginning. However, after a few months you learn all the basics and it starts to become second nature. As long as you do your research and keep up regularly scheduled maintenance of the tank then it isn't as hard as people say. I spend about an hour a week maintaining my tank, which includes: doing a water change, wiping off algae, checking fish health, changing any filter media and feeding the fish.

In my tank I currently have - Blue-Hermit crabs, Clown Fish (Nemos!), Yellow-tailed Damsels (A fantastic shoaling fish - think Neon Tetras of the ocean), Green Coral Gobies and a Vagabond Butterfly. All the fish are from the supplier we get our tropical fish from (if you want any marine fish we can do a special order).


Jon's marine tank


There is a video of my aquarium on the Weald Aquatics Facebook page at

If you have any questions Andy and I run the Facebook page so just send us a message on there or pop in to the store and we'll be more than happy to answer your questions!