Freshwater.... coral saltwater tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Freshwater.... coral saltwater tank

Spouse is pushing for a saltwater tank.... I agreed... but research and development of a tank that size (couple hundred gallons) with live coral will be difficult as we are still in USA. So instead I offered a freshwater tank, that in fact looks like saltwater:


I have purchased the tank, and the Chiros lighting. I will be making coral from scratch using the same materials we use at the zoo- (artistic touch is needed as I sculpt and paint all of it) and combine fresh water plants that resemble salt water plants.

This will be quite a feat- I will use this thread to keep track of progress and update with photos accordingly.

So far the plants and the fish I have chosen are as follows- suggestions recomended!
Waterwheel Plant = coon tail
Sea grasses = Micro,Vallisneria and chain sword
Coral Reef = made from Habitat Black Expoxy Putty, painted and sealed
Sea weed = Riccia
Sea Anemone/Corals = artificial, made from a silicone mold so it moves with the water current

I think a crab of some sort would really complete it- I have not figured out the layout yet. Ill do some sketches tonight.
Substrate, white sand in combination with a pale gravel. Fish:
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 03:02 PM
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Fun idea! I would caution against adding a pea puffer with .. well anything that isn't a pea puffer. Especially shrimp.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Fun idea! I would caution against adding a pea puffer with .. well anything that isn't a pea puffer. Especially shrimp.
I heard that! i feed live food at least once a day. I guess there is mixed reviews.... the entire point was to ue fershwater to make it look like salt.... and the puffer was a non- negotiable. Of course I could wait for the giant salt water tank- but I would rather try this first.... ?

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:41 PM
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Any chance you would be interested in a Amazon puffer? That's still a puffer but generally considered to be more communal. I still doubt you'll be able to keep shrimp alive longer than it takes for the puffer to get hungry. But he might not eat all of your fish too.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Any chance you would be interested in a Amazon puffer? That's still a puffer but generally considered to be more communal. I still doubt you'll be able to keep shrimp alive longer than it takes for the puffer to get hungry. But he might not eat all of your fish too.
Very interested....
So maybe the shrimp stay off the list, and the puffer stays.

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:28 PM
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You could get a spotted Congo puffer. They are very passive and don't bother anything else in the tank. I have a picture of one eating blood worms right next to a crystal red shrimp.

I would also advise against pea puffers. My friend put ONE in his heavily planted 125 gallon and it almost killed his full size angel fish. He had 125 gallons to play in and went after the biggest fish in the tank

For a crab, check out the freshwater pompom crab

Edit: check out my current build log where I'm putting together a tank for a spotted Congo puffer. Just click on my name and you'll see my posts
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:30 PM
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You will definitely want to read up on them then. I've actually never kept one just know of them and have seen some videos. My understanding is that they are accepting of some fish but like a lot of aggressive fish their individual personality plays a big role so some are going to be more tolerant than others.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:11 PM
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I had a group of pea puffers in a community tank for a year or so and everything was wonderful if you weren't a snail. Then one day the squabbles started. I don't know if they reached maturity or what. But I had to remove an offending fish (the first one was mostly nipping other puffers) and instead of everything being back to normal, another one decided it was his turn to chase and nip everything. So I removed that one and within weeks another decided to go psycho. I spoke with a customer who has had a group of them for years and he had never seen or heard of such behavior. I honestly don't know what to make of pea puffers. Makes me wonder if there's a subspecies that looks near identical but has a nastier attitude. I do know that I sold an awful lot of them and can recall hardly any being returned to me for aggression.

Would a brackish water tank be of any interest? There are some neat species out there that look pretty salty.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 11:25 PM
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Having been a saltwater hobbyist for over 35 years now. You will be spending serious cash to keep a reef tank. Corals are not as forgiving as plants in any shape or form. My planted tanks are my stress free tanks. Puffers of both saltwater and fresh may seam neat to a beginner but they are really for everyone and work best in a tank of their own.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 12:28 AM
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I've read the same mixed reports about pea puffers. But I was being overrun with bladder snails, so after extracting a promise from my LFS that they'd take them back if needed, I got two tiny half-inchers. So far they've been model citizens in my new 55 gal they share with 2 guppies, about a dozen ghost shrimp, and an all-you-can-eat escargot buffet. If anything, they seem rather timid. Surprisingly, the homocidal (piscicidal?) maniac in the tank has been one of the female guppies. She harassed and killed the smaller male & female I bought with her, and relentlessly chases the big female I bought to replace the ones she murdered. The replacement has managed to keep out of her way--and both seem to dropping fry right & left.

Planning to get a group of angels eventually, and am prepared to either take the puffers back to the LFS, or reseal an old 7 gal hex that's been sitting in the garage and incarcerate them there. But in the meantime they're quite entertaining, and are performing a much needed service.

Will be interested to see what kind you end up getting, and how they work out.....
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdWiser View Post
Having been a saltwater hobbyist for over 35 years now. You will be spending serious cash to keep a reef tank. Corals are not as forgiving as plants in any shape or form. My planted tanks are my stress free tanks. Puffers of both saltwater and fresh may seam neat to a beginner but they are really for everyone and work best in a tank of their own.
I dont think I was clear enough- This is a FRESHWATER tank. It will just be made to look like a saltwater.

(my budget for my last reef tank was $2,000- I ended up spending more, so I am fully aware).
But this is going to be custom made Habitat to 'look' like coral rock, and silicone to 'look' like sea coral. So im finding species, live plants, etc that also 'look' like they could be saltwater. As you see from my species list- those are all freshwater. Im building the scape as we speak and ill take some photos.

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 11:29 AM
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Sounds like a curious project but you did present your reasons. I've seen some fake saltwater stuff being sold before like this.
https://www.instantreef.com/ and similar. Would those help? I'm also curious of how algae will be addressed when it starts building up on the fake hardscape. In my past, I could never get algae completely off fake painted decor without damaging it. One of the reasons I switched to plants! Sounds silly but I can just cut badly algae infested stuff and dispose! Anyway. Good luck. Will be watching with interest. Clearly, you've gave it decent thought so I hope it works out!


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like a curious project but you did present your reasons. I've seen some fake saltwater stuff being sold before like this.
https://www.instantreef.com/ and similar. Would those help? I'm also curious of how algae will be addressed when it starts building up on the fake hardscape. In my past, I could never get algae completely off fake painted decor without damaging it. One of the reasons I switched to plants! Sounds silly but I can just cut badly algae infested stuff and dispose! Anyway. Good luck. Will be watching with interest. Clearly, you've gave it decent thought so I hope it works out!
Sorry about late responses- I have a rehabilitation Nestling (avian) that has stretched me pretty thin. But next week should be down to feedings every 2 hours, so I will have more time.



I didnt see that product till now- instead I have been casting/sculpting myself. My test run went AMAZING.
I use oodles of natural stone in all of my scapes. So I assume this will be even less porus? especially since I usually use dragonstone- which has a habit of being a algae magnet if my bioload exceeds 'its' preference- lol.



Ill be using silicone forming and pouring for the anemia (so it might move with water flow), Hibitat Free Form (three part), PVC for form strength and sealing with Tarbender (clear 2 part epoxy). All is safe for animals as long as the required cure times are met.


UPDATE:
Tank gets here on July 1st-ish. Light is here. Filter has been seeded for a few weeks in my other tank.

Ill take some photos of the final 'coral' product I created. Im a bit OCD of VOC's so I will be sure to have lots of cure time.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Its been awhile... Sorry for lack of updates.
So I have just about finished the 'coral'.... I was trying to follow my drawing- but a little bit of alcohol and I did it backwards. Ooops.
Im not going to redo it.... I finished painting it.... the next step is to coat it in Smooth-on Epoxy sealer.... and order my plants/fish. Aquaticarts is out of what I want, so I need to find another source.

Here is what I did so far.... a word on the material: AMAZING! I love that I cant paint multiple layers of acrylic paint as long as it is sealed/dipped with the epoxy.
Cons: you have to wear gloves
Pro: you have oodles of working time and it preps like kneading bread dough (im experienced in that department).
I made a 'pocket' so I can plant real plants in it on it. I think that will add to the 'underwater sea' type since when I dive in the sea- there are in fact plants. I used a real piece of dead coral with a bit of water on it to 'stamp' the material before it dried.

The tank is not in the proper location as it will be replacing a different tank- but this is the scale (minus the white sand substrate which will raise it a couple inches).
*note: in the image it has bolder color than in real life.... I made it more subtle with layers of pastel colors. Not sure why it shows up so bold!
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Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
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Last edited by livebearerlove; 07-10-2019 at 05:03 PM. Reason: added a close up photo
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-10-2019, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Any chance you would be interested in a Amazon puffer? That's still a puffer but generally considered to be more communal. I still doubt you'll be able to keep shrimp alive longer than it takes for the puffer to get hungry. But he might not eat all of your fish too.
Where can I find this? I have been searching with no luck from my normal fish sources. Thanks!

Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
10 gallon midwest bluffs I 10 gallon freshwater coral I 15 gallon custom I 2.5 gallon female tank I Vases I 7 gallon fry I all these critters to feed critters
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