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Old 08-23-2006, 11:27 PM   #1
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maintainance of sw vs fw

every sw person or most started off with a salt water tank right?

every time i go to the lfs and see the sw fish, i cant help but think that they're better. i do hear horror stories, and people complain how hard they are to maintain, keep the fish healthy, how they need the salt water to be perfect, and that the fish are fragile...

at anyrate, how much harder would you salties say a sw tank for a freshie? and do i really have to dish out huge bucks for a tank for a larger tank?

yeah the fish are more expensive, and the protein skimmer adds to the cost...
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:32 PM   #2
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I have a pretty new saltwater tank. I think it's still under a year old. I will say I like my freshwater tanks better still at this point. The saltwater fish are more $$$. The setup is more $$$. The maintaince thus far has been easy and I've only killed a starfish. But I think you can get away with stocking way more fish in a freshwater tank. Also my favorite tank is full of South American cichlids which have tons of personality. The saltwater fish have personality too but not as much....probably due to the fact that they are way way smaller in size.

I'm less fearful of my freshwater tank and feel it's easy to monkey around with all the time with little worry about causing damage. It's also way easier to do water changes.

The plusses on the saltie side are the more colorful fish. Plus I love my mushrooms and the critters that come out of the live rock at night. Plus it's fairly new so I'm learning and that's cool. I haven't tried any of the more expensive Saltwater fish yet as I wanted to get a handle on things before investing too much $$$ and I'm quite limited as I started out with a saltwater tank that's pretty small for the hobby.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:42 PM   #3
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Its definatly more expensive at first. I spent maybe $200 setting up a really nice freshwater tank from scratch. Ive spent probably that much just converting that tank to SW (livestock not included!)
water changes are harder, you have to consider salinity as well as other water perameters, BUT the fish are more interesting (IMO) and the invertabrates are amazing. Ive never been more exited about a fish tank in my life than about my first SW.
Use this forum and do your research and you should be fine!
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:07 AM   #4
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I am setting up my first salt tank Saturday so I have no first hand experience but have learned alot from others here.

From what I have gathered from the more experienced people on this side, it is not as hard to maintain as people think if you do things correctly and buy good equipment. For one, F/W needs to be changed once a week. Once a saltwater tank is established you do not need to do PWC as much. I really believe it boils down to researching first and going slow.

I think it just boils down to ALOT of research, good equip, and the right cleaning crew, and proper fish and it is possible without all the headache. Hopefully I will have this experience. A saltwater aquarium appears much more interesting IMO.
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Old 08-24-2006, 03:14 AM   #5
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The tank we have now, we are converting from a FW tank. We had all kinds of fish (at different times, of course) from knife fish, to tetras & angels & cichlids. my boyfriend & i had always talked about it, and then finally one day we decided to do it.

actually i partly take that back. our FW tank was a little out of control. Our cichlids mated & we were left with probably 100 babies ranging in size from 3" to 1/6", not including a 6" mom & a 4" dad. finally one of the LFS had room to take them from us (at this point we didnt even care about selling them, or even getting store credit), so we took them in & starting chatting.


after talking to the fish store guy (actually before doing any real research) for a little bit, we realized all we had to do was clean really well, change the filters, though down the sand & add salt water, we realized the inital setup was not that bad. after doing more research we both feel really prepared (ps - this site helps a lot)

but as far as money goes, it definately is an issue. i find that buying things one at a time, especially while you are cycling, works out really well. a lot of the equipment can be switched over, so the initial blow to your wallet comes when buying the live rock. the fish are more expensive, but i think it definately worth it. we have just starting cycling our 55 gal tank, but me and the boy are already talking about starting another one. its a challenge, which is something we found FW was not. of course, its all opinion.

sorry for the long post! i am already passionate
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Old 08-24-2006, 08:34 AM   #6
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I have had FW tanks all of my life, running 7 tanks at a time with 2 of them built into the walls. FW aquariums are a walk in the park to maintain compared to SW aquariums.

SW is considerably more expensive and time consuming. Regular water testing is mandatory and unlike FW you're not just watching the PH. IMO regular PWC are much more important in a SW tank than in a FW tank. The bio/eco system contained within a SW aquarium is sensitive and great care needs to be taken in order for you to keep water parameters stable and to address problems at the earliest possible moment. You really need to become a part-time chemist. Just reading the forums will tell you that all kinds of problems do occur, especially for NEW SW aquarists. IMO, the learning curve is looong.

Its easy to determine the extra costs by just adding up the numbers. I put more than $1500 into a second hand 46gal tank within the first month. That includes all of the filters lr, ls, ph's and testing equiptment needed. That did not include livestock. You may try to start off inexpensively (I did) but this hobby is additive and in the end you will want to do things "right".

Was it all worth the time, effort and money for me? You bet! I can spend hours sitting in front of that aquarium like I was watching TV. I find the crabs, snails, shrimp & starfish to be even more interesting than the fish at times. I really enjoy the tank and so does everyone else who sees it.
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:10 AM   #7
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Its more interesting.

Its more maitanance.

Its a much steeper learning curve,even with a solid FW base of knowledge....(couldn't imagine trying not having that to bounce new knowledge off of...)

It is more money...no doubt about that....But start up costs can can be helped in a large way by exercising some patience and shop shop shop for "quality" used equipment,both locally and online.I say "quality" because if you go "cheap" then you get to pay for it twice....once when you buy the first one and again when you replace it with what you should have bought the first time.

Its all about research and patience and dollars.

But yeah,its worth it imo.....the fish and fish selection alone make that statement true...everything else is a bonus,and there is a lot of everything else.
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:13 AM   #8
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I have both and I think freshwater is a little more forgiving. You can make a few mistakes or neglect things for a while, but you can quickly pull things back in line. I have found you dont have this luxury with salt. Everything seems easy as long as you keep up with maintenance etc. When you think you have it all under control and then miss a water change here, neglect the lighting there, forget to clean the skimmer etc....problems....and its not easy to get it back. But keep on top of everything and have the right equipment and its very rewarding.
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Old 08-24-2006, 03:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
every time i go to the lfs and see the sw fish, i cant help but think that they're better.
I am a "saltie" and when you "freshies" post tank pics in the forum, I get jealous! LOL! I just love the back grounds/plants and decos. So, for me I am the opposite!



Quote:
i do hear horror stories, and people complain how hard they are to maintain, keep the fish healthy
I had heard that before I started, but I did a lot of reading and found this forum, where there are tons of very experienced and helpful folks. I think those horror stories might be from people that jump in without knowing what they are doing.

Quote:
do i really have to dish out huge bucks for a tank for a larger tank?
Larger is definitely more forgiving. A 29-55G might be a good, reasonably priced starting point. You can also start off with a little LR mixed in with base rock, to save on some money.

I have noticed, the expense for SW is pretty much up front, when you first buy all the equipment. The monthly cost is relatively cheap, IME. I have a 55G FOWLR, and don't put much money into it on a monthly basis. I buy salt in bulk and any other things, like frozen food.

Also, you can start buying things now and start the tank in a few months or so. The cycle should take about 4-6 weeks, so you have some time there, also.

Well, I hope we haven't scared you off and I would love to see you in the SW forums.....Sometimes I sneak over to the FW/Pond side, to see what kind of things those folks go through. (and of course, to look at those awesome decorations.....sigh....)
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Old 08-24-2006, 04:40 PM   #10
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[quote="roka64"]
Quote:
every time i go to the lfs and see the sw fish, i cant help but think that they're better.
I am a "saltie" and when you "freshies" post tank pics in the forum, I get jealous! LOL! I just love the back grounds/plants and decos. So, for me I am the opposite![quote]

ohh im not so sure, i dont think that a clown trigger, a starfish, or an atlantic stingray i saw at the lfs compare to a few cichlids or even a black ghost knife, although bgks are cool to see swim...
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