Creating a marine aquarium is an exciting and rewarding endeavour that allows you to bring a piece of the ocean into your home. While it may seem like a complex task, with the right knowledge and preparation, anyone can set up a stunning marine aquarium. In this guide, we'll take you through the essential steps and equipment you'll need to create a thriving underwater ecosystem.

Research and Planning

Before diving into the world of marine aquariums, it's crucial to do your research. Start by deciding on the type of marine environment you want to recreate – a reef, fish-only, or a combination of both. Each type has its unique requirements and considerations.

Choose the Right Tank

Selecting the appropriate aquarium is a critical decision. The size of the tank will depend on your available space and budget. A larger tank offers more stability and allows for a more diverse range of marine life. Ensure the tank is made of high-quality glass or acrylic and is equipped with a sturdy stand.

Essential Equipment

To set up a marine aquarium, you'll need several essential pieces of equipment:

a. Filtration System: Invest in a reliable protein skimmer, a biological filter, and a mechanical filter to maintain water quality.

b. Lighting: Marine organisms, especially corals, require specific lighting conditions. LED lights are a popular choice for their energy efficiency and customizable settings.

c. Heater and Thermometer: Maintaining a stable water temperature is crucial for marine life. Choose a heater appropriate for your tank size and monitor the temperature with a quality thermometer.

d. Powerheads and Wave Makers: These devices help create water movement and simulate ocean currents, ensuring proper oxygenation and nutrient distribution.

e. Auto Top-Up: As your aquarium water evaporates you need to replace it with fresh RO water to maintain the aquarium salinity level. Arguably you could do this manually but you don't have to thanks to Auto-Top ups. Read more in the blog linked below. 

f. Test Kits: Regularly test water parameters like salinity using a refractometer and nitrates and phosphates using test kits like the Red Sea options to ensure a healthy environment. If you're keeping coral you'll also need to keep tabs on Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium. Read more in the blog linked below. 

Substrate and Live Rock

Select a suitable substrate for your tank, such as live sand or crushed coral. For a reef aquarium, live rock provides essential biological filtration and serves as a natural habitat for various marine organisms. 


Setting up a marine aquarium is a rewarding journey that allows you to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world from the comfort of your home. By following these steps and investing in quality equipment, you can create a thriving marine ecosystem that will captivate and educate you for years to come. Remember, patience and dedication are key to success in the world of marine aquariums. Happy reef-keeping!

Our Reward Scheme

Earn points as you spend! £1 = 1 point. Points can be redeemed against future purchases. Sign Up For An Account
Register an account on the Rock ‘N’ Critters website and order online with confidence.
Every time you make a purchase, you earn points – 1 point for every pound spent!
The points you earn will give you money off future Rock ‘N’ Critters purchases!