The Real Cost of a Saltwater Aquarium

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-08-22T16:10:13Z

Photograph by Gary Retherford/Getty Images

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Live Rock

Live rock does more than look pretty; it becomes the main biological filter in the aquarium. Live rock begins as skeletal remains of sea coral, which over time become filled with tiny microscopic plants and animals, becoming "living rock" and contributing to the quality of the water. It can take up to 12 weeks to prepare the saltwater and cure the live rock. You can also buy already-cured live rock from your aquarium supplier to get a jump-start.

$809: 90 pounds of cured live rock

Running Tally: $2,167

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