Emergency room physician and aquarium hobbyist Chris Endfinger, MD explains the basics of saltwater aquarium maintenance.
A highly experienced emergency room doctor from Birmingham, Alabama, family man Chris Endfinger, MD is also a keen saltwater aquarium enthusiast, in addition to enjoying reading, working out, and attending church. In charge of his family’s large saltwater fish tank, Dr. Endfinger explains the basics of setting up and maintaining a colorful marine aquarium.
According to Dr. Endfinger, most modern saltwater—or marine—aquariums will consist of a suitable tank, either of acrylic or glass construction, complete with an appropriate stand which best suits the location in which the aquarium will be displayed, plus heating, filtration, lighting, powerheads, substrate, decor, and saltwater, among other essentials.
“Other essentials include a hydrometer or salinity tester, used to measure the salt content of the water in your aquarium,” adds the emergency room doctor and keen fishkeeper, “plus cleaning tools, siphon hoses, algae scrapers, additives, and a supply of spare parts for vital equipment such as filters.”
Referring back to lighting, filtration, powerheads, heating, substrate, and decor, Dr. Endfinger explains that lighting largely depends on the livestock, or inhabitants, which an individual plans to keep. “The same is true,” he adds, “of filters and powerheads, as well as supplementary associated pieces of kit such as protein skimmers.”
The main factor determining which lights and filtration will be required, Dr. Endfinger says, depends on whether a saltwater aquarium hobbyist plans to keep live coral, or if they will simply stick to fish and invertebrates such as snails, crabs, and shrimp. “Known as a reef tank, saltwater aquariums containing live coral rely on more powerful broad-spectrum lighting,” he explains, “while tanks stocked more heavily with fish species will, instead, often require the addition of supplementary equipment such as protein skimmers.”
Elsewhere, Dr. Endfinger reveals, powerheads, a type of powerful water pump, are essential in most saltwater aquariums to mimic the rush of the tide. The need for a heater—or chiller—plus substrate and decor, meanwhile, he suggests, will again be determined by a fishkeeper’s planned stock or the style of aquatic environment which they wish to mimic or create.
“If in any doubt, visit your local aquarium store for expert advice,” adds Dr. Endfinger, wrapping up, “on saltwater aquarium and reef keeping, as well as the necessary equipment—including additives, supplements, and test kits—which you’ll need for your particular style of tank to thrive.”
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine graduate Chris Endfinger, MD is a seasoned emergency room physician with more than two decades of experience in the field. A proud father of two, Dr. Endfinger has been happily married for 27 years. When not taking care of his patients, Dr. Endfinger enjoys spending time with his wife, children, their two much-loved dogs, cat, and four chickens, as well as looking after the family’s large saltwater aquarium.
To learn more about Chris Endfinger, MD, visit https://chrisendfingermd.com/.