After having seen the equipment needed to start freshwater aquarium keeping, it is time to see the equipment for sea water. In sea water, even more than in fresh water, the maintenance of living organisms relies on equipment. Particular care should be taken to check the reliability of the equipment as a breakdown can quickly become a catastrophe.

The skimmer

We will find external and internal skimmers, but also to hang. For very small volumes up to 60 or 80 liters, we will concentrate on water changes. And it will not be useful to put one.

Hanging skimmers

They are practical for small volumes and aquariums without a decanter. They will be placed against the glass and will therefore be visible. The smell of scum will also be more easily diffused in the air which can be unpleasant. Be careful with those hanging outside the aquarium, in case of overflow it will be necessary to clean the scum on the floor.

Internal skimmers

These are the most common, they are placed in the decanter of the aquarium. They are easier to maintain and have a very high performance. Be careful to manage the water height and the power of the motor for an efficient skimming. The scum arrives in a comfortable volume cup, which reduces the frequency of necessary interventions.

External skimmers

These often large skimmers are used for large volumes such as stores, installations of more than 1500 liters or museums. They are therefore rarely found in private homes. They work like the internal skimmer, but a pump supplies them with water and a discharge returns to the aquarium, all in waterproof PVC pipe.

The heating

The heating is important, we will aim for a temperature of 23 to 25 degrees. Often we will associate the heating with an external sensor allowing the activation of a heating or cooling system such as a cooling unit or fans.

The osmolator

In seawater, the evaporation of water will increase the salt density of the remaining water. This increase can be a problem and we will compensate this evaporation by adding osmosis water via an osmolator. This can be done by a controlled pump or a mechanical float, both systems are reliable and efficient.


In a reef aquarium you will need strong lighting. The particular spectrum is always blue. White is added for the human eye but some people keep everything blue because it brings out the fluorescence of the corals. Beware that not all corals fluoresce and blue lighting will make them look dull.

The power is expressed in PAR and is measured with a quantum meter. However we will generalize a little a lighting of 0,5W/ liters will be enough powerful. Our ramps will allow you to maintain your corals well. But the more the lighting will be distributed on the surface in a uniform way the better the results will be.


Stirring allows the corals to free themselves from their mucus and excrement. It is necessary to simulate the intense movement that corals undergo with the tides and waves. A mixing pump will create water currents. For hard corals, you will need to stir 40 times the volume of the aquarium, but under certain conditions it is possible to reduce the volume.

Modern pumps allow you to vary the power and even create waves. This water circulation contributes greatly to the gas exchanges with the aquarium room and thus to the oxygenation of the water and the maintenance of a high pH.

Small indispensable equipment

There are some indispensable elements to start with sea water:

  •     An Osmosis machine for osmolating water and preparing water for changes
  •     A seawater preparation tank with heating and stirring
  •     A landing net
  •     A thermometer
  •     A glass magnet
  •     Buckets for water transport.

Optional equipment

The fluidized filter

This filter allows to put a filtration media in a temporary or permanent way so that this one is in continuous "fall" in a water column. This optimizes the exchanges with the media and thus the efficiency of the latter.

The algae reactor

Pollution in the aquarium can be eliminated with the help of algae. These algae absorb nutrients from the water and grow in the reactor with horticultural lighting. A regular harvest of this algae removes the nutrients from the water.

Dosing pumps

Many products need to be dispensed daily at specific times in specific quantities. Programmable dosing pumps allow you to automate this dispensing, simply fill the containers so that the product is always well distributed.


Sea water equipment is often more expensive because it requires a higher level of quality to resist the aggressiveness of salt water over time. Plan a good space to store all the material and products because they quickly take a certain volume and not only under the aquarium. I hope this article has helped you, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me in comments!

That was Theo, I'll see you soon,