Re:new at this

Pete Giwojna

Dear hobby:

I have no experience with the TruVu Aquasystem tanks personally, but I have read up on them and I am familiar with similar aquarium systems, Beverly, and the 75-gallon aquarium you have selected is an excellent choice for a seahorse tank. It has the superior height that is so important for seahorses in order to allow them to mate comfortably and to protect them from depth-related problems like Gas Bubble Disease. And it has sufficient water volume to provide very good stability and offer you a comfortable margin for error, as an aquarist. It has a very efficient internal wet/dry filtration system, which is a nice advantage, and it can accommodate a protein skimmer and a heater. All things considered, you have selected an outstanding aquarium system for your seahorse tank. Well done!

Since you are only interested in artificial décor for your seahorse tank and won’t be keeping live corals that require intense lighting, I would recommend that you consider an ABS hood with fluorescent lights when you select the cover or hood for the tank. Seahorses don’t like excessively bright light and the fluorescent light fixtures will be much less expensive and much more energy-efficient to operate than the metal halide or power compact lighting options. Plus the fluorescents give off very little heat, and high intensity lighting such as metal halides can cause problems with overheating, which can be very harmful for seahorses (they are older book to heat stress).

I would also recommend adding a protein skimmer at some point, as you plan on doing, but you don’t have to worry about that until after the aquarium has finished cycling and is up and running, ready to be stocked.

With regard to the water for the new aquarium, if possible, I recommend using reverse osmosis/deionized water (RO/DI) to fill the aquarium initially and for making regular water changes once the aquarium has been established. RO/DI water obtained from a good source is ultra-pure and using it to fill the tank will help prevent nuisance algae from ever getting started in the newly established aquarium.

If you do not have an RO/DI unit of your own, you can always purchase the reverse osmosis/deinonized water (RO/DI) instead. Most well-stocked pet shops that handle marine fish sell RO/DI water as a service for their customers for between 25 and 50 cents a gallon. If your LFS does not, WalMart sell RO/DI water by the gallon for around 60 cents, and you should be able to find a Wal-Mart nearby. (Heck, even my drug store sells RO/DI water nowadays.)

However, it’s not always safe to assume that RO/DI water purchased from your LFS or your drugstore or some other convenient source is as pure as you might expect. If the merchants selling the RO/DI water are not diligent about monitoring their water quality and changing out the membranes promptly when needed, then the water they provide will not be a good quality and will not produce the desired results. I suggest that you look for an aquarium store that maintains beautiful reef systems on the premises — that’s a good sign that they know their stuff and are maintaining optimum water quality at all times, so the RO/DI water they provide should be up to snuff.

You may also want to consider purchasing natural seawater to set up your new aquarium. Like RO/DI water, natural seawater can now be purchased at many fish stores for around $1.00 a gallon, depending on where you live. (Petco stores, I believe, often sell natural seawater nowadays.) It sounds expensive, but when you consider the alternative — paying for artificial salt mix plus RO/DI water and mixing your own saltwater — then natural seawater from a reliable source is not a bad bargain at all. It has unsurpassed water quality and seahorses thrive in it. Natural seawater can also be purchased online, and I would be happy to direct you to a good site where it can be obtained, if you are interested, but shipping the water adds to its expense considerably.

If you do not have access to a good source of reliable RO/DI water or top quality natural seawater, Beverly, then detoxified tap water will have to suffice for filling your new aquarium. In many areas, the municipal water supply has undesirable levels of amines, phosphates or nitrates, and in the United States, it is always chlorinated and fluoridated, so be sure to dechlorinate/detoxify the water using one of the many commercially unavailable aquarium products designed for that purpose when you add it to the aquarium. Truth be told, most hobbyists with fish-only tanks such as the seahorse setup you have in mind, use ordinary tap water when preparing the saltwater for a marine aquarium, and it generally produces satisfactory results. Reef keepers who will be keeping live corals and other delicate invertebrates, on the other hand, always prefer RO/DI water for their setups.

So water from your countertop or understate filter will probably be adequate, if you cannot find a good source for RO/DI water or natural seawater in your area.

Likewise, using a wood stove for heating shouldn’t matter in the least, providing it is properly ventilated and vented to the outside. Just don’t locate your new aquarium too close to the stove or any other heat source so that it won’t be exposed to temperature extremes.

Best wishes with all your fishes, hobby!

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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