05-27-2007, 04:42 PM
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I've been reading up on Saltwater equipment quite a bit recently, since I've about reached the zenith of equipment info for tropical tanks. Obviously, they are far more complex than fresh, however it's quite intriguing and I believe someday I will start a saltwater tank.
If I understand it correctly, it acts sort of like a secondary tank, usually hidden, which acts as a sort of 'filter' tank. It will usually contain live creatures which will perform a good amount of biological filtration, like snails, cleaner shrimp, live rock, live sand etc.. These are also used to effectively 'increase' water volume, allowing a heavier stock of fish and waste production. I would consider these to be quite fun to maintain, as it's sort of like a secondary tank to care for, except full of critters rather than fish (although fish certainly can be in here, as I've seen them at my lfs).
They also hide unsightly equipment like protein skimmers, heaters, various hoses etc from being on display in the main tank.