Akvárium s mořskou vodou

The marine aquarium

Colourful corals and fish in the reef

What is a marine aquarium?

We distinguish between freshwater, brackish water and marine aquariums. Freshwater aquariums contain animals and plant from freshwater biotopes, such as streams, rivers and lakes. In marine aquariums live animals and plants from the seas, whose water tastes salty because of the high salinity. Marine water is therefore also known as saltwater. Brackish water is water which characterises the transition area between fresh and marine water.

The marine aquarium – a piece of ocean in your living room

For many people a coral reef in the living room is the aquarium owner’s absolute dream. But they are often discouraged by efforts and expenses, although marine aquarium keeping doesn't have to be expensive! Experienced marine aquarium owners can successfully maintain small 30 litre marine aquariums trouble-free for many years. Beginners should start with an aquarium with a volume of at least 200 litres, since this water quantity is more forgiving.

Video of a reef aquarium

The short video shows the lively bustle in a section of a 1000 l coral reef aquarium shortly after feeding.

What is important before the purchase?

Fish selection

If you want to keep a specific species of fish, make sure you find out the maximum size of the fish species and whether this species eats corals and/or other invertebrates. Unfortunately some outlets offer juveniles of fish species which later grow longer than 50 cm! Some marine species look unbelievably beautiful as juveniles but belong to the ugliest and most aggressive fish in the sea when grown up! Many fish species are unsuitable if you want to keep a coral reef aquarium with a variety of corals and other invertebrates, because they would eat the corals. There are also fish species where you can’t definitely say in advance, whether they eat corals or not. This is similar to people: some are vegetarians and others are huge fans of steaks.

Coral eating fish

Here are a few suggestions of fish species seen as fairly undemanding


Many damselfish species stay under 10 cm body length and are easy to keep. However, most species are quite rough with each other, even though they live together in large or small groups in their natural habitat.

Some species only look beautifully coloured as juveniles and lose their colour completely as adults! In addition, the adults are then very territorial and very aggressive.

When it comes to food, damselfish are not choosy and will eat food flakes, granulates, frozen food, JBL PlanktonPur and of course live food.

The popular anemonefish (clownfish) also belong to the damselfish species. They are just as undemanding as their non-anemone colleagues, but they need the anemone for their well-being. They are often offered soft corals in place of anemones, but this is only a makeshift temporary solution. They love and need to live together with a real anemone!


Among the many species of surgeonfish, there are quite a few that are easy to care for and can be socialised well with other fish species. They are sometimes quite incompatible with each other, but can be kept well in a small group and in aquariums of 150 cm or more. Most surgeonfish eat mainly algae and therefore need a vegetarian diet. JBL seawater food (JBL Maris, JBL MariPearls) contains a high proportion of vegetable ingredients and is therefore highly suitable for surgeonfish species.


There are goby species that remain really small and are already fully grown when they reach a body length of a few centimetres. Gobies are mostly bottom-oriented. However, there are also species, such as firefish, which swim freely and only retreat to the bottom when danger threatens.


The Banggai cardinalfish is not only a peaceful aquarium inhabitant, but is also easy to breed! It is a mouth-breeder and the juveniles are already quite large when they leave the mouth. So breeding them is not as difficult as with species whose young fish live through a very small larval stage and have to be raised with plankton.

There are many more species well suited for beginners. Now a few examples of species that are NOT well suited for beginners


They need a well run-in aquarium offering them lots of microorganisms to feed on. It is very difficult to get them used to replacement food.


These cute fish are actually not that difficult to keep, but urgently need to be kept alone (without other fish species), as they eat very slowly and would otherwise starve to death.

Marine angelfish

They are robust, but often grow to about 30 cm and eat corals, sponges and other expensive aquarium inhabitants. They are extremely incompatible with each other and can almost always only be kept singly.

Much better suited are pygmy angelfish, which do not grow so large and often (but not always) leave the invertebrates alone.


Almost all species of these incredibly beautiful sea creatures specialise in eating coral polyps. They often live in pairs and require some skill on your part to get them used to replacement food. They get along well with other fish.

The beaked coral fish or copperband butterflyfish Chelmon rostratus can be kept in a biologically and otherwise well-established aquarium. The longnose butterflyfish, on the other hand, is very difficult to keep.

Puffer- and boxfish

They are certainly among the cutest fish found in any ocean! But unfortunately they are extreme food specialists and therefore only suitable for very experienced aquarium owners.

Space requirement aquarium & technical items

Space requirement: Marine aquariums need space for more technical equipment than freshwater aquariums. A lot of marine aquariums have an overflow box, where the water flows downwards to run off and be collected in a second aquarium below your main aquarium. There the filter, the skimmer and possibly further technical items are located. A powerful pump supplies the water upwards again into your aquarium. That’s why you also need space for this construction INSIDE your aquarium cabinet.

You can keep your JBL LED SOLAR NATUR lamp and use it for seawater as well. You only need to supplement the NATUR with the JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT. With this RGB LED lamp you then set the red and green channels to 0 (via the remote control) and the blue channel to maximum power. Together with the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR (set to 6700 K), the blue light of the EFFECT gives you a Kelvin number of 7800 K. Even though much higher Kelvin numbers of 10,000 to 15,000 K are modern in marine aquaristics, 7,800 K correspond to realistic conditions on the reef top! We usually keep corals from the reef top (where about 90 % of all corals are collected) and not from depths of 30 metres. Put simply, we can light the corals like aquarium plants because, like the plants, they come from shallow depths. The high Kelvin numbers come from our preference for illuminating marine aquariums with strong bluish light, to create the "sea depth impression."

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