Best Size Saltwater Tank For Beginners: Small or Large

Choosing the best size saltwater tank for beginners is very different from choosing a freshwater aquarium. you need to not only get a more powerful filter and a good light source but also take into account many other nuances that I want to talk about in this article.

Unlike a freshwater aquarium, the marine ecosystem is much more complex and requires a lot of additional equipment, which directly depends on the volume of the aquarium.

best size saltwater tank for beginners

best size saltwater tank for beginners Based on water volume

Saltwater tanks can make beautiful and fascinating displays, but they are not without their own unique set of challenges. One of the most important decisions you will make when setting up your saltwater tank is what size to choose.

Let’s choose the best size saltwater tank for beginners by the water volume in it.

Pico and Nano saltwater aquariums up to 10 and 30 liters

The cheapest, but at the same time the most difficult marine aquarium to maintain. Due to the small volume, it is very difficult to constantly maintain a balanced system, the parameters jump very much, which leads to constant problems with the aquarium.

Of the equipment, as a rule, only an LED lamp is used, the ecosystem lives mainly on “frequent substitutions”. In volumes closer to 30, a filter with a flotator (foam) is used, I will talk about it in more detail in the following articles on the selection of equipment.

As a rule, such aquariums, contain mainly corals and some kind of crabs or felling gobies and small shrimp, such as a couple of boxer crabs (Lybia tesselata), yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae), or anemone shrimp (Thor amboinensis). Keeping medium and large fish is highly discouraged.

Small saltwater tank for 60-80 liters

This category is very common and is often used in small offices or bedrooms. The low cost is associated with a minimum set of additional equipment. These aquariums, as a rule, do not have a sump (an external container for equipment and filters, we will talk about them a little later) or with a built-in one at the back wall.

In this ecosystem, it is already easier to maintain water parameters, but sharp jumps in water parameters are still possible, these volumes should be kept if you need a compact aquarium without an external sump, but you should be more scrupulous about water parameters.

In this category, you can already keep a couple of well-known Nemo fish, or rather the clown ocellaris (Amphiprion ocellaris).

In such aquariums, you can also keep small-sized fish, doggy, goby.

An aquarium of 60 liters will not be much more expensive than an aquarium of 30 liters. the set of equipment is almost identical. Spending will be increased mainly for salt and a more expensive filter skimmer.

Medium saltwater tank for 125 – 300 liters

This category is easier to maintain but requires more training and financial investments. In such systems, there is already an external sump, lifting pump, flow pump, auto-topping, dispensers, and other equipment that makes life easier for the aquarist.

In aquariums closer to 300 liters, you can already keep surgical fish and butterflies, which look very nice in an aquarium, and many other not very whimsical fish.

It is this volume that we will use in future articles for self-manufacturing of an aquarium. it is the most optimal for the novice aquarist and the easiest to upgrade if necessary.

Large saltwater tank 300 or more liters

It is rather difficult and dangerous to make this category at home in large sizes, and the price of such systems can reach up to thousands of dollars or more. more professional equipment is required.

 In this category, a lot of equipment is used to maintain the water parameter. as a result, it is cheaper to invest in expensive equipment than to replace large volumes of water weekly using expensive salt.

FAQs about Best Size Saltwater Tank For Beginners

What is a good size saltwater tank for a beginner?

Saltwater tanks are becoming more and more popular for both beginner and experienced fish keepers. Saltwater fish tend to be more colorful and interesting than their freshwater counterparts, and the range of saltwater fish available is greater than that of freshwater fish.

Choosing the right size saltwater tank for a beginner is important. Too small a tank, and the beginner may become overwhelmed; too large, and the tank may be difficult to care for. A good size for a beginner is between 30-55 gallons. This will give the beginner plenty of room to stock their tank with fish, coral, and other invertebrates, as well as provide enough water to create a healthy ecosystem.

What do you need to set up a saltwater tank?

Setting up a saltwater tank can be a daunting task, but with some preparation it can be an enjoyable experience. The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of saltwater tank you want. There are three main types: reef tanks, fish-only tanks, and combination tanks.

Once you’ve decided on the type of tank, you need to gather the necessary supplies. This includes a tank, stand, lighting, filter, heater, substrate, and salt mix. You also need to buy some live rock and sand.

The next step is to set up the tank. Begin by washing the live rock and sand in fresh water. Then place the live rock in the bottom of the tank and add the sand on top. Next install the filter and heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Are saltwater tanks hard to maintain?

Saltwater tanks are not as hard to maintain as people believe them to be. In fact, with the right information, anyone can have a saltwater tank that is beautiful and thriving. The most important part of keeping a saltwater tank is making sure the water parameters are stable. This means testing the water for pH, salinity, and temperature on a regular basis and making adjustments as needed. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, it is best to find a local fish store that offers water testing services.

What are the easiest saltwater fish to take care of?

Saltwater fishkeeping is a popular hobby, and for good reason – saltwater fish are beautiful and can be very entertaining to watch. However, some people may be hesitant to get into saltwater fishkeeping because they think it is too difficult or expensive. In reality, however, there are many easy saltwater fish that can be kept without much trouble.

One great option for an easy saltwater fish is the clownfish. Clownfish are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a good choice for beginner aquarists. Another option is the damselfish. Damselfish are also hardy and can thrive in a variety of water conditions. They are also relatively small, so they are ideal for smaller tanks.

Another factor to consider when choosing an easy saltwater fish is its diet.


In conclusion, it is the best size saltwater tank for beginners to start with a smaller tank if you are a beginner. This will allow you to become comfortable with the care and maintenance of a saltwater tank before taking on a larger tank. By following the guidelines in this article, you can select the best size saltwater tank for your needs and be on your way to creating a beautiful and healthy marine ecosystem.

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