Saltwater Aquarium 101: How to set up a saltwater aquarium

A guide to setting up and maintaining a thriving saltwater aquarium
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  • Lectures 24
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 6/2016 English

Course Description

Welcome to Saltwater Aquarium 101

Saltwater Aquarium 101 is a great introduction to the concepts and strategies for starting a saltwater aquarium and is intended for:

  1. Anyone who has not previously set up a saltwater aquarium, or
  2. Anyone who has had some challenges with their saltwater aquarium in the past, or
  3. If you have had success with keeping a freshwater aquarium and you want to know what it takes to convert to saltwater

Who is this not for? This course is not the best option if you are looking to learn the most advanced concepts in reef keeping.

Saltwater Aquarium 101 is a combination of video lectures and downloadable workbook assignments developed to help you apply what you learn and build the habits that will help you achieve success with your tank.

Get your hands wet and get started right away!

What are the requirements?

  • There are no required actions before starting this course, although some prior experience with keeping freshwater fish may be helpful

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Create a thriving saltwater aquarium
  • Select the best fish and corals
  • Choose the right equipment
  • Avoid making some of the most common mistakes
  • Save time and money setting up their ideal saltwater aquarium
  • Have greater success keeping saltwater fish and corals

Who is the target audience?

  • This Saltwater Aquarium 101 course is intended to be an introduction to the concepts of starting a saltwater aquarium for those who have not previously set up a saltwater aquarium or who have had some challenges with their saltwater aquarium in the past.
  • This course is a great option if you have had success with keeping a freshwater aquarium and you want to know what it takes to convert to saltwater
  • This course is probably not the best option if you are looking to learn more advanced concepts in reef keeping

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction
Course Introduction
Section 2: Getting started: Creating a plan
If you are just starting out, you have a lot of options and can build the saltwater aquarium of your dreams. But it can sometimes be daunting to sort through all of those options. This lecture will serve as your guide through the various options and help you decide what type of saltwater aquarium is right for you. 

You don't have to have it all figured out, in the beginning, but having some understanding about which saltwater aquarium animals (corals, fish, crabs, shrimp, clams, etc.) you are interested in keeping does have an impact on the type of equipment you will need. This lecture will help you continue the process of refining your selections, on the way to building a successful reef aquarium.

Section 3: Equipment

This lecture provides a high level overview of the types of equipment commonly used in a reef tank setup. 


Aquarium lighting is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will need, if you want to keep corals. Learn about your options in this lecture so you can make the best decision for your own reef tank. 

Protein skimmers
Temperature Control
Water movement
Measuring salinity

What is a refugium? This is a popular addition to most reef tanks. Learn all about it in this lecture. 


RO/DI stands for Reverse Osmosis/DeIonization--which is a way to purify the water coming out of your tap, for use with your reef tank. Find out more about this equipment and purification technique and decide if it is necessary for your own reef aquarium.

Aquarium Filtration
Section 4: Water parameters and Testing

Keeping your saltwater aquarium water within the proper range for the most important water parameters is one of the most important aspects of the hobby. In this lecture, you will learn what the 9 most important water parameters are and what range you should strive for.

Once you have finished watching the lecture, download the testing worksheet from the Reef Journal to help keep track of the water parameters in your tank. 


Which salt mix should you buy? That is one of the most common questions I get from new saltwater aquarium hobbyists. The goal of this lecture is to help you decide what commercial salt mix is right for you. 

Section 5: Adding fish and corals

Planning out the order of your first saltwater fish is an important step in establishing a successful reef aquarium. Use the downloadable PDF worksheet to plan out the order of you fish.

Now it is time to pick your first saltwater fish. After watching the lecture, download the accompanying PDF from Reef Journal and take it with you to your local fish store to make sure you are purchasing a healthy saltwater fish. 

This lecture introduces the concept of a starter fish and will help you pick a great first fish to add to your tank. 


This section will teach you why it is important to quarantine your new purchases before adding them to your display tank. Keep track of your quarantine procedures with the downloadable quarantine worksheet from the Reef Journal.

how to acclimate fish

Learn about the different types of corals that are commonly kept in a saltwater aquarium and how to care for them. 

Section 6: Common problems to anticipate

How much is this all going to cost? This lecture will show you what you can expect. 


When you interact with friends online, you tend to hear the good news--but what about the bad news? This section will give you a head start on some of the most common problems to help you avoid falling into one of the pitfalls that are common when starting up a new saltwater aquarium.

Section 7: Course Conclusions
Course Conclusions

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Instructor Biography

Albert B. Ulrich, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Author and Blogger

Albert B. Ulrich III has been an aquarium hobbyist for nearly 30 years. He is the author of the Reef Aquarium Book Series:

--The New Saltwater Aquarium Guide: How to Care for and Keep Marine Fish and Corals

--Reef Journal

--107 Tips for the Marine Reef Aquarium

--How to Frag Corals

He has successfully bred three species of saltwater aquarium fish, has fragged countless numbers of corals and has been published in the hobby magazines Aquarium Fish International and Aquarium USA 15 times.

You can learn more about Albert B. Ulrich III and the saltwater aquarium hobby on Saltwater Aquarium Blog 

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