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What is the Difference Between a Tropical and Marine Tank?

Posted by on Jun 11 2021

Choosing the right type of fish tank is one of the most important parts of owning an aquarium. Choosing between a tropical or a marine tank is a common issue and can dictate everything from the type of fish tank equipment you buy to the type of fish you buy for your aquarium and how you care for them. We talk you through what the difference is between tropical fish tanks and marine fish tanks and how to care for both.

Why Does it Matter What the Difference is Between Tropical and Marine Tanks?

When it comes to caring for your fish, the type of equipment you use and how you care for them can be the difference between happy, healthy fish and an empty fish tank. Different types of fish require different types of care and fish tank conditions so it is important you create the right environment for the type of fish you own. It is important that you do not mix tropical fish with marine fish as they are not compatible with each other and require different living conditions in order to thrive.

What is the Difference Between a Tropical Fish Tank and a Marine Fish Tank?

The main difference between a tropical fish tank and a marine fish tank is the type of fish that live within the tank. Tropical fish and marine fish come from two different environments and so need two different fish tank conditions in which to thrive. Often, a marine tank takes a lot more time and resources to care for which has traditionally led people to believe that marine fish are harder to care for. Marine reef tanks, for example, will need a lot more care and upkeep than a typical tropical fish tank. Marine fish, in general, also tend to be more expensive than their tropical counterparts so it is important that you factor in this cost when deciding between a marine aquarium and a tropical aquarium.

Caring For a Marine Fish Tank vs a Tropical Fish Tank

When it comes to care and understanding of your fish tank, there are a number of differences to be aware of between marine and tropical fish. Due to the diverse variation of native environments tropical fish come from, they have been able to adapt well to a range of conditions and are thus more able to deal with small environmental changes within the fish tank. Marine fish however, tend to come from a relatively unchanging environment in which the chemical balance and temperature is unlikely to vary by a large amount. Due to this difference in origin, tropical fish and marine fish must each be approached in a different way and require a different level of care and attention.

Converting a Marine Tank to a Tropical Tank - Is It Possible?

If you are thinking of converting your marine fish tank to a tropical fish tank, there are just a few stages to go through to ensure the safe changeover of your fish tank. If you still have marine fish in your fish tank, these will of course need to be removed and re-homed in a suitable environment. Once the tank has been cleared completely, it must then be thoroughly cleaned to ensure any remains of the previous tank are removed. If you have owned your marine tank for a number of years, it will be worth giving the tank a check over to ensure that all of the seals remain intact and solid before continuing.


Whilst existing filters can be cleaned, it may be worth purchasing a new fish tank filter specifically for your new tropical fish tank to ensure any bacteria from the old tank has been removed. Once this has been done, simply follow our step-by-step instructions on how to set up a new fish tank here to prepare your fish tank for your new tropical fish.

Specialist Marine Aquarium and Tropical Aquarium Supplies

If you are looking for specialist aquarium supplies for your tropical or marine fish tank, CD Aquatics is here to help. We have the specialist knowledge to help you find exactly what you need and provide the very best care for your fish. Take a look at our aquarium supplies here now or contact us to find out more about our aquarium supplies.

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