Types of Aquarium Contents:   Not all aquariums are the same. They differ in sizes, shapes, capacities, and filtration techniques and are as diverse as the human race. They can be saltwater live reef, saltwater simulated reef, predator, jellyfish, and species specific, or a schooling aquarium.   Generally SeaVisions sells three types of aquariums systems...  The Saltwater Live Reef Aquarium about 25% of our sales: 





Coral reefs are by far one of nature’s most unique and visually stunning ecosystems.  It is for this reason that so many people aspire to duplicate them within the confines of their domiciles.  They are a constant flurry of activity and diversity.  The litany of organisms that currently reside in the oceans reefs are the by product of millions of years evolution at its finest.  However, Mother Nature’s perfection creates a multitude of difficulties for those seeking to replicate her. Coral reef’s in their natural environments benefit from an extreme level of stability and have a predisposition for only these conditions and offer precious little in the way of variance from them.  Consequently, the replication of such a system can be both complicated and costly.

Historically, these types of systems represent about twenty to twenty – five percent of our sales.  We by no means want to discourage anyone from acquiring this type of system.  We will do everything in our power to facilitate its success.  However, we do want one to be fully aware of the challenges and responsibilities that are involved.  Of primary importance to most people is the financial impact.  Initially, you must decide how large you want the system to be.  Typically, the mindset was that the larger the system, the better ones success rate would be with a live reef because the fluctuations would be minimalized.  However, because of the existence our various patented filtration systems, this is no longer the mainstay.  The prime directive of all of our filtration systems is to resist   changes brought on by both internal and external factors.  Thus, the ever so narrow ww of ideal water parameters is maintained.  This being the case, size is no longer an issue and a smaller, more economically and physically feasible system can be undertaken.  Regardless of the size of the system, certain basic equipment, such as biological, mechanical and chemical filters, sterilizers, chillers, skimmers and/or heaters etc, are rudimentary.   So although a smaller system is a viable alternative, a minimum amount of room is necessary. 

The next issue to be addressed, which also has a direct financial impact, is the type of organisms that you want to maintain.  This will require a bit of varied research on the owner’s part and one should by no means proceed based on the advice of the first person that they speak to – unless it is a very seasoned source.  To purchase livestock based on the fact that it is “cute” or “pretty” is a definite recipe for disaster.  Compatibility is critical.  Understanding the behavioral characteristics indigenous to each species is critical.  Being able to see the overall environment that you are trying to create and establishing a plan to do it is critical.  And, of utmost importance to any coral reef novice is PATIENCE.  Your options for a live reef are basically a system with only invertebrates and no fish or fish and invertebrates.  Fish with invertebrates is the most expensive and complicated option.  The vast majority of fish and invertebrates are sent via Air Cargo from such exotic locations as the Philippines, Fiji and other islands in the Pacific.  These items are very expensive and when trying to build a reef with pieces that are quite small initially, it often feels as though the expense increases exponentially.  This is where the patience and the planning must be relied upon.  These are living creatures who need to be nurtured to maturity and beyond for you to reap the benefits.  They will grow, they will get sick, they will need to be nurtured, and none of this will happen overnight.  Reefs are very sensitive to the most minute changes in light, temperature, chemical composition, and predators.  They will indicate when something is amiss and it is your responsibility to diagnose it and correct it as expeditiously as possible.  In as much as you have made the decision to undertake this task, it is your ethical responsibility to do everything possible to assure its success.  For the individual that will be maintaining this system themselves, the amount of personal involvement is another consideration.  We at SeaVisions suggest likening it to having a pet.  Who will feed them while you are away? What happens during a storm or a power failure?  These are all time involved issues and concerns that should be considered.  For the individual who wants no personal involvement and only wants to enjoy the view, the selection of service personnel is paramount.  Granted, with the capabilities of our filtration systems, we make the maintenance of any type of coral reef as simple as possible and, if you live within our service area, all the better.  However, as we have systems located all over the world, many of our customer rely on our developed synergistic relationships their with service personnel.  Assistance is always available via telephone, facsimile, or e-mail.  Consequently, when determining the maintenance costs for your proposed system, all of the aforementioned issues need to be addressed.


This system is by far the most delicate and intricate of all of the aquarium displays as well as the most rewarding.  All of the components of a  live reef are just that - alive. The sand, rock, and coral  are all living entities. A Coral Reef is often referred to as  “mother nature’s underwater cities”. The corals, relatives of the sea anemone and the jellyfish, are the chief architects of the reef but not its only builders. Simple marine plants called coralline algae contribute by cementing the various corals together with compounds of calcium. Nothing can match the exuberant variety of its creatures. The competition  for life plays itself out with symbiotic relationships, camouflage tactics and the evolution of reefs back to the Ordovican Period over 400 million years ago. Microscopic, one-celled algae live within the polyp’s tissues. This relation between the polyp and the plant is not yet completely understood, but it is known that the plant helps the coral to calcify its skeleton and helps to remove the waste products of the animal. These delicate systems require superb water conditions and the proper light for photosynthesis.  Reef aquariums are best used when the viewing will be up close. The intricate relationship with fish and coral of this type of aquarium would not be fully appreciated from a distance of more than 15 feet. Most fish species that are tolerable to the live reef are small and have adapted to the protection the reef offers them. It is very difficult to medicate a reef system should a parasite or disease become evident in the system.


Saltwater Simulated Reef



A simulated reef is a viable option for those that want to capture the allure of the coral reef, but do not either feel comfortable or confident enough with a live reef.  Of course there can be no substitute for a truly live coral reef, but there are a multitude of advantages to this type of system.  The simulated reef is manufactured from a non-porous, non-toxic fiberglass or latex composition.  It will not contaminate your system and is in no way harmful to livestock.  The color preferences and level of detail of the displays are selected by the customer just as if you were purchasing live coral.  We currently carry large simulated reefs and smaller individual accent pieces. One of the most pronounced advantages of the artificial reef is the fact that there is no environmental impact.  Fiberglass is not harvested from the ocean and will not succumb to predators, illness, or death.   As such, you can medicate this type of system far more aggressively than a living coral reef, where the options are almost non-existent.

The Saltwater Simulated Reef Aquarium 60% of our sales:  If your desire is larger, more aggressive fish and less maintenance,  then the saltwater simulated reef system is no doubt your best option. The artificial reef aquarium is becoming increasingly more popular not only because of the advanced manufacturing, but also because it is not detrimental to the environment  These artificial reef structures simulate some of the most stunning reef systems in the world so closely, that it is often difficult to tell the difference without close inspection.  They can be designed to enhance the shape of the aquarium and are relatively easy to maintain and offer many advantages for the modern aquarium. Size and color are limitless, caves and caverns can be placed where you want them. The artificial coral display will not dye, and large coral eating fish will not destroy them. Medications can be used that are forbidden in a natural reef aquarium. And to some extent algaecide can be used. The coral display can if necessary be removed for cleaning. Today artificial corals are made of silicones and polyurethanes that defy reality. They can move and flow with the water current just like the real thing. Some of the structures are soft and others are hard - each playing an important part in building a home for your fish and a realistic underwater display for your home or office. A true "SeaVisions" original.

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Last modified: July 07, 2005