the planted tank - Reef equivelent? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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the planted tank - Reef equivelent?

title says it all.. i am trying to talk myself out of a salt water tank, but so far it isn't working!

i want to find out what it takes to "do it right" and hopefully the price tag will convince me not to go ahead with it.. (or if i do go ahead, i will be doing it right!)

opinions?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:15 PM
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The price tag is the sole reason I am not doing another saltwater reef tank. Anytime I go to the LFS and see $2.00 freshwater fish next to tanks of saltwater fish, some of them costing over $100 a piece, I remember how much more I like my freshwater planted tank. That doesn't even include the cost of a freshwater plants compared to pounds of live rock. Then you have the need for protein skimmers, high intensity lighting (assuming you are keeping coral), etc. Other than the obvious differences between salt and freshwater, I didn't really notice much of a difference in the amount of maintenance between the two.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:16 PM
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Everything costs more for a reef tank--lighting, live sand, live rock, salt, fish, corals, inverts--and maintenance is higher, too.

I started with a 90 gallon planted tank (7 years), changed to a 220 gallon reef tank (9 years), then recently went back to planted. Now, I can go on a trip and not worry about leaving my tank!
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 03:17 PM
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Scraping coralline algae off the glass was the chore I detested the most.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 06:31 PM
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To an extent it is what you make it to be. Marine aquariums can be cheap or expensive, simple or complicated, manual or automated. Same for FW.

What type of marine aquarium are you thinking about setting up? What are your specific concerns? Just cost, or time/energy as well? Have you ever kept a marine aquarium? Do you know any one who has? Do you have good local support via a reputable LFS or club?

It's really hard to compare quantitatively because so much of this is based on emotion and personal preference. I know lots of diehard marine hobbyists who think planted FW tanks are "hard to keep" and there are certainly lots of FW people who think marine is hard or expensive.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 06:40 PM
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You are not doing yourself justice by avoiding the saltwater hobby. It is the most diverse, most creative and most rewarding hobby you could ask for.

If you are interested in SW but not the price tag, I can help you find some good deals and ideas. I am just now starting my 3rd SW tank which will be resembling turtle grass beds and 2 pipefish. You don't have to start out big or complex. Contrary to what many people believe, nano tanks are a lot easier than people make them out to be.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:10 PM
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FisheriesOmen I would love to know how to do a saltwater reef tank on the cheap. I'm fairly capable when it comes to mid-tech freshwater planted, but I'm a cheapskate by nature
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:28 PM
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I have keep saltwater for about five years with good results, but the cost is what drove me away from them. Planted tanks are a lot cheaper even if you go high tech, and I like being able to watch my plants grow out of control. Did I mention it is a lot cheaper.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pweifan View Post
FisheriesOmen I would love to know how to do a saltwater reef tank on the cheap. I'm fairly capable when it comes to mid-tech freshwater planted, but I'm a cheapskate by nature
Send me a PM and I can help you out.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
What type of marine aquarium are you thinking about setting up? What are your specific concerns? Just cost, or time/energy as well? Have you ever kept a marine aquarium? Do you know any one who has? Do you have good local support via a reputable LFS or club?
hmm. where to start..

ok. I don't know what kind of marine tank. I'm not sure that i need a fish, or many fish.

Of course, i've just picked up an oceanic bio cube 8 gallon which appears to be designed specifically for reefs. (which might affect initial investment. it appears that there are some accessories i'm going to want to go with it, but it is a solid foundation to start with) I am definitely concerned about cost, my LFS is GREAT about salt water support (and support in general, the owner is a marine biologist and has several strong enthusiasts on staff) but they also appear to be quite expensive, unless i am mis understanding what i am buying.

if i do go marine, i am going to need to wait quite a while i think to get stuff. I am not always a very patient guy.

another thing is maintenance. Part of what i like the most about my planted tanks is, once they are established, i can let them go for a couple weeks, minus food for the occupants, and everything is typically unchanged when i get back. i have low tech, over filtered tanks for this specific reason. the plants might be a little yellow, but a little attention brings them right back. i don't think i could get away with that with a marine tank.

that said.. all the little fauna of a reef tank interests me. all the polyps and anomenes, etc.

but i just dropped 150$ on a new freshwater setup, plus bought the second tank (originally with the intention of making it a shrimp tank, which it still might be! ) so money would be one of the primary concerns!
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 03:10 AM
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As was mentioned before, there isn't a rule that something has to be expensive or complex one way or another.

Once you start getting into pressurized co2 with ph controllers, led lights, and a full dosing regiment of dry ferts macros and micros, with Ada soil, your planted tank would cost alot more than alot of reef tanks.

I personally keep both, and I like to keep both simple. The chemistry involved is more similar than you may think. The used market for reef keeping can make things dirt cheap. Examples? Live rock can run about $8/lb. or you could get dry rock for $2-3/lb. or you can search the used market. I just got a 50# bucket full of killer looking super porous liverock for $0.50/lb. People in this state are constantly giving away sand also. You just have to look for it.

Both types of tanks have their benefits and set backs. I think if you want to delve into saltwater you should do some serious research. The critters do cost quite a bit more, but I've found most of them to be just as hearty if not more so than many fw species we also keep. Just gotta meet basic requirements
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
another thing is maintenance. Part of what i like the most about my planted tanks is, once they are established, i can let them go for a couple weeks, minus food for the occupants, and everything is typically unchanged when i get back. i have low tech, over filtered tanks for this specific reason. the plants might be a little yellow, but a little attention brings them right back. i don't think i could get away with that with a marine tank.
You don't have to make it high maintenance. The great thing about reef tanks is the diversity of life you can keep allows you to mold things the way you want. Many people forget about the micro-fauna and I personally always make sure that's the first thing I get established. Amphipods, Copepods, Mini-Brittle stars, Bristle worms and the like are all great at keeping things in check.

Like someone else mentioned, used items are killer deals since salt and coralline algae usually greatly lower the price value and are an easy fix with a wash of white vinegar.

Also what things are you looking at in your LFS?

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 06:06 AM
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Salt and corals have amazing diversity and beautiful colors. It is amazing to me how almost everything in a reef is a living animal of some sort or another.

Personally I think planted tanks have a 'warmer' feel to them. Its hard to explain. Planted tanks are slow moving and lazy, where reef tanks are super fast moving waters with tons of action ALL the time. And from what I've seen much more expensive. Not only to maintain, but also to acquire. As for the fish? You thought discus were expensive.....
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 12:42 PM
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When I was younger I used to always dream of keeping a reef tank, but now that's not the case. One of the reasons is the cost, but the other big one is the needed maintenance. With low tech planted tanks you can leave the tank alone for weeks at a time and it'll be fine but this just isn't the case with a reef tank.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FisheriesOmen View Post
.

Also what things are you looking at in your LFS?
just looking at the various fauna that they have.. i think "frags" are what they are called? bits of coral and other living but non swimming stuff.
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