Common mistakes new saltwater aquarium owners make

The last few months we’ve dabbled in discussing saltwater aquariums a little more than usual – and that’s because – as most of you know – they are a little bit more involved. While telling people what to do is always helpful, there are times where telling them what NOT to do is actually the best route. 

And today – that’s just what we’re going to unpack. Here are some common mistakes new saltwater aquarium owners make and what you should avoid. Let’s jump right in!


Research these days is always tough because it’s hard to know who’s reputable, who’s not, and then, well – there’s just so much noise to tune out all at once. Our advice on research is pretty straight forward: First, don’t just trust one person or community. Try to get a lot of different views – everyone’s experience is different, so you never know what you might learn and/or pick up. 

Second, be careful reading product reviews. Read many of them but also do so understanding that most reviewers usually have a negative experience and many of their experiences are more the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. 

Third, be on the lookout for owners with a real resume. Not that time spent in the hobby is necessarily a difference maker; but we’re willing to be a guy who’s had an aquarium for 10 years and has a 400 gallon tank probably knows what he’s doing at this point. 


Don’t underestimate the up-front costs of owning a fish tank. It can cost more than you think. It’s not exactly going to drive you to bankruptcy or anything, but most of what you’ll buy, you’ll buy up-front. 

The other thing to understand is that when it comes to aquariums – the most expensive option isn’t always the best. The best product is the product that helps you actually meet your goals as an owner. We don’t recommend that you cheap out, exactly – that’s bad, too; but we think you should consider ‘fit’ more than simple function. 


Regardless of what kind of aquarium you have – we’d wager that the biggest mistake owners make is impulse buys. They see a pretty fish or coral and they can’t help themselves. Really, really make sure you do your research on every kind of fish you buy. Saltwater species all interact differently to each other and one bad apple can spoil the cart. We recommend starting small – and gradually adding in more over time. 

Owning saltwater tanks can be a real blast, but as you can see – there can be pitfalls all around us, so being cognisant of what NOT to do, can sometimes be helpful. If you need more guidance or would like some more direction on what to do, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!

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