Saltwater vs Freshwater Aquarium: A Comparative Guide


An aquarium is a joy to behold. In fact, several studies have highlighted the possibility that aquariums have a relaxing effect on people.

This makes an aquarium a restful and worthwhile addition to any home. So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of a home aquarium, let’s get started.

Here’s how to make the choice between saltwater vs freshwater aquariums for your home.

Freshwater Aquariums

Freshwater fish tanks are best for beginners since they’re easy to maintain. There are two types of freshwater aquariums, heated and cold fish tanks.

Most fish prefer a heated tank, so it’s best to go that route from the outset.

Costs and Set-Up

Freshwater tanks require less equipment and are thus cheaper to set up and maintain than saltwater tanks.

For starters, stick to a fish-only tank to keep costs low. Rather add plants when you’ve had a little more experience managing the tank.

The correct freshwater filters are the most important part of your fish tank. They’ll keep your tank hygienic, aerated, and circulated.  A water pump, heater, and thermometer are also important to ensure the survival of your fish.

Fish Species

Some of the best fish for a freshwater tank are cichlids, betta fish, and tetras fish. These fish are all easy and affordable to keep.


Maintaining a freshwater tank is easy and quick. All you need do is remove about 25% of the old water in the tank and replace it with fresh filtered water.

You should do this every two to four weeks.

Saltwater Aquariums

When you opt for a saltwater tank, everything goes up a notch. They’re more expensive and need more maintenance and you’ll have more exciting species to choose from.

Costs and Set-Up

Saltwater tanks need all the same basics as freshwater tanks, plus you’ll need supplies of sea salt mix as well as a hydrometer.

Saltwater tanks also need more advanced filtration systems than freshwater tanks. You can choose from a mechanical, biological, or chemical filtration system, but the latter two are the easiest and most affordable to install and run.

You’ll have more opportunities to create a unique aquarium with colorful corals and unusual fish when you opt for a saltwater tank.

Fish Species

Some low-maintenance saltwater fish species for saltwater tanks include yellow tangs, clownfish, and blue Damselfish. Some of the more exotic types are flashlight fish, fingered dragonets, and peppermint angelfish.


To keep algae levels low in your saltwater tank it’s important to change the water in the same way you would for a freshwater tank.

You should also vacuum the gravel, and use a protein skimmer to get rid of organic waste.

Summing Up the Pros and Cons of a Saltwater vs Freshwater Aquarium

To sum up, the main differences between saltwater vs freshwater aquariums are:

  • Freshwater tanks are cheaper to set up and run
  • Freshwater aquariums offer easier maintenance
  • Saltwater tanks offer more variety when it comes to fish species

There’s no clear winner when it comes to choosing between a freshwater or saltwater tank, your choice depends entirely on what’s most important to you.

Whichever type of pet you choose to invite into your home, they’re bound to give you hours of enjoyment.

Keep reading our blog for more insights about how you can keep your animals happy and healthy.

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