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Old 11-05-2005, 04:15 AM   #1
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Freshwater Tanks Can Look Just as Good a SW Tanks!

Hello all! I was posting in these forums quite a few months ago as I began planning for a saltwater tank. However, I decided I wanted to wait until I moved into a house so I would have room for the 125+ tank I would like. Well that time is very near (couple of weeks!) and I'm back on the prowl for good info...but the incredible cost of a SW tank is really getting me down. I simply don't think I'll have the funds for it in the near future and even when I do I think I'll have a hard time investing all that money in it with the chance of a livestock loss occurring at some point. That all said......I've heard people say that you can make a freshwater tank look just as nice as saltwater tank...how much truth is there to this? I know there are quite a few brightly colored african cichlids out there (I used to keep them as a teenager) but I'm having trouble finding any pics of FW tanks which rival the beauty of a typical reef tank. I'm starting to wonder if I'm just going to disappoint myself if I go FW instead of SW.

So...can anybody post some pictures which show some vibrant FW or Brackish setups which can go toe to toe with a SW setup?


Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:15 AM   #2
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look here.

http://www.aquariumdesigngroup.com/
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:43 AM   #3
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Planted tanks can be amazing, and IMO almost better looking than a reef. It will take quite a bit of time to get your sw tank set up and stablished, with corals if you wanted. If you are still interested in SW, there are ways to get around a lot of the costs if you are a DIY person (which I am not). You can make a lot of your own filters. Go to a local aquarium auction and you can find things for very cheap.

Just a thought. I thought the same as you about a sw tank, that it'd be too much for me. The diversity of life is amazing. However, likewise, there can be a lot of diversity in a planted angel or discus tank as well.
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Old 11-05-2005, 07:02 AM   #4
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Travis Simpson has some of the best photos I have seen of planted FW tanks. Here is his gallery.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/photop...00&ppuser=8062

A nice planted tank will rival any SW tank anyday.
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Old 11-05-2005, 07:57 AM   #5
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Travis Simonson .

You really have to look at his tank - it's gorgeous! And BTW if you're not really good in arranging a tank a saltwater won't look good neither. I have seen SW tanks before, that were more or less just grey stone with some other pale colors, etc.I would always go FW, even if I had unlimited funds!
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Old 11-05-2005, 09:35 AM   #6
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lots of plants can take just as much work and money as sw, though. I think sw wins this debate simply becuase of the fish...
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:09 AM   #7
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Planted tanks have more style theres a wide array of designs and options available
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:23 AM   #8
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FW Fishes can be just as colorful. View my galery for pictures of my tanks and pictures of my fishes. Dwarf cichlids are really beautyful and BTW planted tanks don't have to cost a fortune. You don't have to go with 4wpg and can still have all kinds of plants and a breathtaking aquascape if you arrange it right!
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:24 AM   #9
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Over at plantedtank.net they have some great photo diaries and pictures of beautiful tanks in general in the forums.
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:40 AM   #10
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That Aquarium Design Group link had some pretty nice tanks. Though I had to laugh when I saw one of this tanks that had 20 Angelfish and about 100 Neons in the same tank.

Freshwater IMO can and frequently does look much nicer than SW. If you are looking for lower cost and still very attractive fish and tank. Then you your best bet would be African Cichlids and a Rock/Driftwood decorated tank. Planted tanks can be spectacular as teh images above show. But you are not saving money or effort once you go down that route.
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Old 11-05-2005, 11:09 AM   #11
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Planted tanks are not expensive IMO. It just depends on what you are going after. High light tanks are expensive in the intial setup because you have to upgrade the light strip, add CO2, glass hoods, ferts, and so on. But if you go with low-light, you only invest in the plants. And if you choose a plant that grows like weeds, you don't have to buy many and they will end up filling your tank in a few months time. JC sent me a bundle of plants about a month ago and I am already moving the rocks out of the tank to make room for the clippings that I need to plant. But if you are going for African Cichlids, then you could make a beautiful un-planted tank with lots of rockwork. I don't think that anyone can really say freshwater is better than saltwater or vice versa because they both have their beauties and they both have their rewards. With saltwater you have the Corals and generally larger fish and with Freshwater you can have the plants and stock more fish.
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Old 11-05-2005, 02:52 PM   #12
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It doesn't even need to be planted with real plants to look good. I'm too lazy to take care of real plants, but some cool looking rocks and caves and some realistic fake plants makes for a nice looking freshwater tank. The only difference between fresh and salt water tanks is the fish and water so why is it that a freshwater tank couldn't look beautiful?

Here's some cool tanks I found
http://www.mikesantos.net/fishy.shtml
http://www.tropicalfishcentre.co.uk/Othertank.htm
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Old 11-05-2005, 06:05 PM   #13
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IMO Freshwater tanks can look just as good as a well maintained saltwater. It's all in the planning and care of the tank. And you are correct Depot, you don't have to have live plants for it to look good. Nicely placed fake plants can look amazing too.
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Old 11-05-2005, 07:08 PM   #14
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This is a simple low-light 75 gal tank:





I started this tank back in April and added plants slowly.
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:41 AM   #15
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OK, so I am biased toward FW planted tanks, although I will admit that I wish I could find some of the colors in FW that are available to SW aquarists. Those corals simply rule. And what I wouldn't give to be able to keep a Mandarin Goby in my FW tank :P

However, if one is resourceful, you can combine the best of the brilliantly colored FW fish (African cichlids, namely the rock-dwelling mbuna in my case) with rare, colorful, hard-to-keep, and absolutely striking FW plants (Rotala spp., Pogostemon spp., and many others). I've done it and it isn't as hard or improbable as many may think. For the best plants you'll need CO2 and high light though. And a good knowledge of fertilization routines. I've never kept a SW tank before, but I hear that keeping a well-maintained FW planted tank rivals it in difficulty. Lots to learn if you want the really unique stuff, but well worth the time and effort in its rewards.

I'd like to add a few pics of this year's top five ADA contestants' tanks. The ADA (AquaDesignAmano) contest is considered the world championship of FW planted tank competitions and the winners' tanks are simply unbelievable. My favorite is the #5 tank. Holy ever-loving crap! What was that Russian guy smoking to make that tank look so unreal 8O And #1 is also just insane. I've never seen anything like it. Hope you like 'em as much as I do

#1



#2



#3



#4



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Old 11-06-2005, 10:40 AM   #16
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And of course Travis's last scape:



Also, Norbert Sabat's tanks have an engrossing beauty without demanding plants (both <50 liter tanks):


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Old 11-06-2005, 11:43 AM   #17
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I'm convinced that Travis doesn't have real fish. They must be plastic ones that run on batteries.
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic
I'm convinced that Travis doesn't have real fish. They must be plastic ones that run on batteries.
My friends at the MIT Aquatic Robotics Lab would like to thank the makers of Duracell for their continuing support :P
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