Reef aquariums are the pinnacle of the aquarium ladder, because they host an actual self-sustaining ecosystem. These aquariums have all the features of saltwater aquariums but the decor is no longer plastic — live animals and plants are used in a way that approximates the way the ocean ecosystem works in the real world.
In addition to the previously mentioned saltwater inhabitants, a reef aquarium can have any of the following decor pieces:
- SPS- Short Polyp Stoney Corals
- LPS- Long Polyp Stoney Corals
- Soft corals
- Mushroom polyps
- Zooanthid Polyps
- Small individual and schooling fish
- Duster worms
This variety of inhabitants offers a view that mimics a real life coral reef, a place widely considered to be the most biodiverse and interesting places in our oceans!
Do keep in mind that as the number of living organisms in the aquarium increases, so does the need for consideration of which species work well together and which do not. That is why a reef aquarium should definitely be designed in conjunction with an experienced aquarium professional.
The biodiversity in a reef aquarium also requires more frequent maintenance to ensure the environment is kept suitable to all its inhabitants. Reef aquariums usually require biweekly maintenance to remain in peak condition, but many enthusiasts are happy to fulfill this requirement to receive an inimitable view of ocean life.