One of the "coolest" trends in the hobby today is the sub-tropical marine aquarium.
Sub-tropical marine aquariums are kept much cooler than tropical displays, ideally between 60-70°F, but not above 74°F for an extended period of time. Although there are fewer choices of sub-tropical species compared to their warm water counterparts, there is an array of incredibly colorful, unique, and hardy animals for these displays. Some fascinating species that are commercially available include:
Zebra Catalina gobies (Lythrypnus zebra),
Catalina gobies (Lythrypnus dalli), and the Eastern Hulafish (Trachinops taeniatus) for smaller setups; White Barred or Flame Trunkfish (Anaplocapros lenticularis), Ornate Thornback Trunkfish (Aracana aurita), and the Southern
Blue Devil (Paraplesiops meleagris) for larger displays.
These species will thrive in a sub-tropical home setup should the proper conditions be in place, and are available for purchase from time to time on our
things to consider
The same basic principles of fish keeping apply to sub-tropical marine systems, but sub-tropical species are often hardier and more tolerant of changes to water parameters than tropical inhabitants.
An acrylic aquarium with thicker panes is recommended to provide insulation and reduce condensation. A
chiller will keep water temperatures in the optimal range. Lastly, an adequately sized
protein skimmer will help maintain stable water parameters.
Thoroughly research the comfortable temperature range, feeding requirements, and ideal aquarium size for the species you'll be keeping in your aquarium. And exercise patience - as natural processes take longer to complete in cooler waters. But take a dive into the sub-tropical marine world and you will enjoy a wealth of opportunity learning about this exciting new frontier in fish keeping.