Fake Saltwater Aquarium Challenge - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Fake Saltwater Aquarium Challenge

Preface:
I may do this FOR FUN in the near future. Suggestions like: "Just make a real reef tank" or "it's going to look tacky" will be ignored.

Challenge:
Design the most realistic saltwater aquarium using only freshwater (no brackish) animals and plants. Tank size: 30 to 55 gallons.

1) Choose fish (Bonus for adding compatible invertebrates) Note: All animals considered must be captive bred and have the ability to breed in an aquarium setting.
2) Choose at least one saltwater looking plant to add in the design.
3) Choose décor (example: lace rock, fake corals, giant barnacle clusters, etc.)

Who can fake it the best!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acro View Post
Preface:
I may do this FOR FUN in the near future. Suggestions like: "Just make a real reef tank" or "it's going to look tacky" will be ignored.

Challenge:
Design the most realistic saltwater aquarium using only freshwater (no brackish) animals and plants. Tank size: 30 to 55 gallons.

1) Choose fish (Bonus for adding compatible invertebrates) Note: All animals considered must be captive bred and have the ability to breed in an aquarium setting.
2) Choose at least one saltwater looking plant to add in the design.
3) Choose décor (example: lace rock, fake corals, giant barnacle clusters, etc.)

Who can fake it the best!
A Cichlid tank is really the closest you'll get to a salt water tank as far as overall appearance. Cichlids are all uniform in shape but they're colorful enough to pass for salt water.

The hardscape in a typical Cichlid tank would help too. With the right lighting it could look pretty salt waterish.. I wouldn't add inverts though, they'll be dead in seconds of course.

I've seen some pretty nice looking Cichlid tanks in the local fish stores in my area that to the uneducated observer could easily look very much like a salt water tank.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:55 PM
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Why?


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:02 AM
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Fake corals, freshwater gobys, painted fire shrimp, and subwassertang?


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 12:09 AM
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Why?

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 01:02 AM
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Subwassertang, certain of the thinner Vals look a bit like certain types of grassy looking sea plants.

Texas holey rock is light, almost white, or lava rock (red or black) are the most 'coral' looking rock.

Fish are harder. The more distinctive, colorful fish, trying to be similar to ocean fish are (to me anyway) so obviously fresh water (OH! That is a... Haven't seen one in years, Where did you get it?)
However, perhaps some of the more unusual fish will be accepted as salt water substitutes.

Other than Rift Lake Cichlids...
African Brown Knife- not for the color, but the unusual way they undulate to move.
Pseudomugils- not as common, and some are interesting colors.
Chocolate Gourami- Somewhat different
Hatchets- different shape
Glass Cats- different color and shape
Glass Knives- unique, not common, most people do not know about them.
Hillstream Loaches- unique shape and behavior
Gobies, Hummingbird Tetras- Behavior similar to salt water Gobies.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelub View Post
Why?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrill View Post
Why?
As I said in my first post . . . FOR FUN
Sometimes there should be no "why", but only a "because". So be creative and imaginative, thelub and jrill, join the fun of thinking up something different, even if it's a little silly in your opinion. I know you got skills, come up with something that could fake people out.

High five to you Michael M and prighello! Great ideas!

Michael M,
Yes, cichlids were the first fish that came to my mind. And I have to say, not all cichlids are uniform in shape. Definitely very colorful. I can imagine some shell dwellers popping in and out of a giant barnacle cluster. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yy3DEOmwM8...0/IMG_2925.JPG
The right lighting would set the mood and using LED lights would give that nice shimmer effect that used to only be seen in marine aquariums. I imagine some Texas Holy Rock would look great too. As for inverts, I read somewhere that snails can work, I think it would depend on the type of cichlid and the type of snail. Thanks for being the first to reply!

prighello,
Fake corals could definitely be used. There are so many quality ones being made now, that it would work. I have this fake sea fan in with Opae Ula shrimp and after a year it's still looking good. Dead corals could be used too, they would just be white.
Gobies have that saltwater look, however aren't most brackish? I only know of Chlamydogobius eremius as being full freshwater.
Painted fire shrimp are beautiful! They remind me of live krill: http://www.petenzymes.com/images/Kri...boveWater.jpeg
I have always thought subwassertang looked like some kinda sea weed.

Maybe I should make this a game for my next RAOK, with the best fake saltwater design winning the prize . . .
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Diana,
Wonderful post!
Vals do resemble sea grasses and would have a nice effect. And yes, subwassertang gets another "check".
Texas holey rock and lava rock do have that coral/live rock look. I've seen several saltwater tanks using them.
Good thoughts on the fish, High Five to you for going into detail! I'll have to do some research on them. What a variety of unique shapes!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 02:16 AM
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Red cherry shrimp, pink rams horn snails, cichlids, dwarf puffer fish or a properly conditioned Figure 8 Puffer Fish, freshwater Goby's, and a stingray.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 02:23 AM
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What about dwarf praecox rainbows - they kinda look like chromis. I think a group of those, plus some sort of FW goby: ie blue neon goby (Stiphodon atropurpureus), red spotted goby (Rhinogobius rubromaculatus), or similar. Add some kind of brightly colored killifish and/or a female betta with a bright color (looks sorta like a basslet). You've got the variety and color of SW.

Can't get more SW than live rock, so why not decorate with dry rock (base rock without the microorganisms that make it "live")?

A few plants that look like SW - Crypt beckettii or African green hygro would be good.

Add a bamboo shrimp / singapore shrimp or similar, a few snails of various sorts. Sand substrate. Voila.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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AnthonyW8822,
Are dwarf puffer fish, Figure 8 Puffer Fish and stingrays actually freshwater? I thought they were all brackish? As for Red cherry shrimp, pink rams horn snails, freshwater Goby's, and cichlids, I agree fully! They would look great in a fake-salt water tank! There are even blue, red and other colored rams horn snails!
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned rabbit snails yet.

CAPSLOK,
Nice comparison with dwarf praecox rainbows and chromis!
And another great comparison with killifish or female betta with basslets.
Rhinogobius rubromaculatus would look great with a group of dwarf praecox rainbows!
Stiphodon atropurpureus need brackish to breed don't they?
I have to say that decorating with dry rock is a genius idea, 12 high-fives for that thought!
Very good thoughts on plants, very salt-like and bamboo shrimp would totally add the finishing touch!
Fish, inverts, plants and decor, nice job!
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 07:11 AM
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Motoro and reticulated (ie teacup) stingrays are both very much freshwater.


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 01:13 PM
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Like this?

Check out 1:41
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 11:30 PM
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Fish, inverts, plants and decor, nice job!
Thank you. Helps to have a current SW tank. And to have spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time researching various fish...
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oh I missed something, bamboo shrimp don't count, they can't breed in captivity.

Can Motoro and reticulated (ie teacup) stingrays breed in captivity?

TyrannosaurusSex, that link does not work. :P
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