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setting up a junior reef tank

Children often have a interest in keeping marine life, the hobby can be educational and fun for both parents and children. 

we have some tips on how to get started and set up a simple but fun aquarium that is child friendly. 

make sure there are adults who are willing to care for the aquarium if the child/children loose interest. 


start simple with creatures such as hermit crabs, marine snails and basic corals such as toad stool or leather corals. 


Systems such as the TMC next wave range are great starter options and capable of keeping some nice corals and marine life such as small inverts and small fish species. 

make sure young children are supervised and all children are made aware of safety aspects such as dry hands when switching off plugs and making sure adults supervise water tests with chemicals in use etc. 

clown fish are always high on children's list of fish but be aware that they grow to a fair size and need an aquarium of at least 80 litres for an adult pair long term. 

do plenty of research and try to involve the child/children as much as possible so they understand the basic aspects of caring for marine aquatics. 

Talk to your local shop, we are always happy to help and have helped lots of families get their first marine aquarium. With the right set-up they can be a really enjoyable and educational hobby for children and teenagers. 

Keeping a marine aquarium can be challenging but dont let some of the more old school views that they are all extremely difficult and temperamental put you off from the idea of keeping a reef system. With the right equipment and advice first time fish keepers can successfully keep marine fish and corals. Below is a list of the basics involved in keeping a small easy keep marine aquarium: 

Find a good, local marine shop: This should be your go to place for advice and should not have a issue with providing after care help and support if the aquarium has been bought through their shop. If the staff are unhelpful and their livestock looks poorly kept walk away as there is a good chance you will get bad advice and bad stock which will cause problems later on. 

water changes: these will be done once a week and typical be about 20% of the aquariums total volume so keep this in mind when choosing the aquarium size, yes a larger aquarium can be easier to keep water chemistry stable but smaller aquariums require less water changes which can be easier when first starting out. We recommend buying pre-mixed salt water. Marine aquatic shops sell this and it should keep this heated and use good quality salt that is properly mixed. Remember to also buy some RO water this is a very clean fresh water used to top up the aquarium when water evaporates (never top up the water with salt water) salt water is only usually used for water changes.


testing equipment: You should check your aquariums water chemistry at least once a week. Test kits are relatively easy to use and just require the instructions to be followed, complete test kits are available ranging in price but are usually around £50 for a good quality kit. You should also have a refractometer to check the aquariums salinity which is typically kept at 0.025, this is a easy to use tool that is about £30. 

also read our how to set up a reef tank guide for detailed information on how to properly cycle and set up a reef aquarium. 



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