Most aquariums contain fish and plants that normally occur in tropical freshwater environments. They are relatively easy to set up and maintain and the inhabitants are not all that fussy about conditions in the tank. Reef aquariums, on the other hand, contain organisms found in the shallow environments of the oceans and usually include very colorful fish, corals, sponges and some really weird looking creatures. These organisms are very sensitive to temperature, water chemistry and light. Slight changes in salinity or Ph., for example, may cause everything to die out. The reef aquarium hobbyist must be very attentive to these matters, and requires having an array of filters, pumps, heaters, coolers and lights to keep everything just right. Coral reefs around the world are disappearing due to pollution and global climate change.
|The 210 gallon reef tank at Headwaters Science Center is alive with living animals from sponges to colorful fish.|