Salt/Freshwater "Theory" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Salt/Freshwater "Theory"

So I've been working on this "theory" lately...It seems like most people seem to scoff at me or brush me off when I tell them I'm setting up a freshwater tank. "Really, not saltwater. Why not?" they ask. "The fish are sooo much prettier..what are you going to keep, some perch?" My LFS even seems to pay me less attention when I come in asking them if they'll be getting any more freshwater livestock in. "I'm expecting the next order in about..." is about all i get out of him before he turns to help a customer with a $90 SPS. "Excuse me, sir, but we wait on our customers in order of how much money they'll be spending with us..." (Surely I'm not the only one to experience this)...

It's been my experience that people interested in the freshwater aspect of the hobby usually have a hard time being taken seriously by others (by hobbyists and non hobbyists alike), perhaps because of that first experience with aquarium keeping when they were kids and had a few dull-colored fish, some plastic plants and orange-glo substrate.
Regardless, I've determined (at least in theory) that planted tank enthusiasts are, to some degree, occupy a more 'evolved' sector of the hobby. Because of the staggering variety and phenomenal coloration of many saltwater fish and invertebrates, it's easier to create a layout that is, at least to some degree, pleasing to the eye; it's like the difference between drawing in pencil and oil painting. Those with planted tanks need to rely more on composition and "technique" than those working with saltwater, if for no other reason than their (the planted folk) resources are, to some extent, more limited.

Of course there are exceptions on both sides of the...water? Some planted tanks are overgrown messes, and some saltwater tanks are absolute masterpieces.

I'm certainly not trying to start another "eheim vs. rena" thread, or "mac vs. pc" debate, but I'd like to hear anyone else's thoughts on my so-called "theory." I am not trying to suggest that either is better than the other, but rather better understand the seemingly negative "boring" connotation the general public has with freshwater fish keeping.

I could extrapolate, but I'd rather wait to see what others (if anyone) have to say. Am I crazy?
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 01:12 AM
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Hm, the reason why i think lfs's pay less attention to you about freshwater and salt water is because freshwater does not bring as much money in for them as saltwater.

Mostly, fw fish are about 1-15 dollars, 50 max (unless its a really rare fish) while sw fish is always like 50+ Not saying coral/live rock and all that.

just my thought.
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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CobraGuppy View Post
Mostly, fw fish are about 1-15 dollars, 50 max (unless its a really rare fish) while sw fish is always like 50+ Not saying coral/live rock and all that.

just my thought.
Not true at all.

I have been in the hobby for close to 30 yrs and in the business off and on for close to 20.

Bottom line is that there is more money to be made in marine tanks. Not because of the price of the fish, more so in the price of the hardware.

If I had the time I would list for you 100 marine fishes, inverts, etc with a retail price of less than $9. I could also do the same with freshwater.

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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 02:02 AM
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find another fish store..We have plenty to serious freshwater store keepers with a little saltwater on the side.


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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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well lucky you!

I'm not just talking about fish stores, by the way...I'm talking also about people who aren't maybe as informed about the hobby and their reaction.

If you asked 10 people at random whether they would prefer to view a saltwater or freshwater tank, 8 times out of ten they'd choose the saltwater. This is my point.

Well, this and the fact that I think people who maintain planted tanks need to work harder to get positive feedback from people in general. You can plop some saltwater fish in a tank and people walking by will stop and ogle..
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 02:44 AM
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Because Saltwater's better and harder to do. It seemd to me the saltwater people might need more help from the lfs guy. I just started a planted tank and before I just thought freshwater is easy and kinda for kids (to some extent). Now I'm starting to see planted tanks are more complex then I assumed.

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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Because Saltwater's better and harder to do.
I think many people may take issue with this (at least your conjecture that "saltwater is better")
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 03:08 AM
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When I decided to set up a couple tanks in the house my husband and kids all wanted salt water tanks. They said the fish were prettier and is was way "cooler". I just couldn't go that route as I didn't want to contribute to the decimation of wild oceanic reefs and fish and I knew many more freshwater fish are raised commercially.

I agree that most people think salt is "better". I did talk to a marine tank maintenance person and he told me he tried a planted tank once and eventually gave up as it was too much maintenance.

Also I'll never forget the first time I wandered into a fish store after 15 years of not being in one. I saw this beautiful planted tank and I just thought it was gorgeous. I had to have one! I asked the clerk about the tank and he went on about the CO2 set up, and how difficult the tank was to maintain. I was so bummed 'cause I knew I wouldn't commit to such maintenance.

I ended up doing a low tech planted tank without all the C02 "hassle" and I love it. It is beautiful. Granted I don't have a green "carpet" and really cool unique plants but it looks good and I have colorful fish. Even my husband says I did a great job.
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 03:39 AM
 
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I had salt water tank eight years ago,I just switch to fresh water about six months.it depend on how you to set up, like my salt water tank before,I set up for coral and fish, I can tell you every time I go to local pet store, I alway some body come to me, you know why, because you going to spend alot money there, just 1 pound live rock cost 3.00-5.00,coral 40.00 up,and the fish, if you want pretty one can over 100.00.that's reason I switch to fresh water. I forgot tell the lighting cost almost 700.00 for my tank, and pump, protein skimmer, calcium reactor, only the wet/dry filter cost more than 200.00, you just add it up, no wonder your LFS tell you salt water.all those above the basil, don't forget you have to maintain down the road, somewhere about 80.00 per month to maintain a tank 150g with coral and fish. saltwater and freshwater are not easy, there are different, saltwater coral require calcium and freshwater plant need co2 when the light on.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 03:48 AM
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Yup I've experienced the same thing, repeatedly, and I also think it's b/c of the "cheap and easy FW stigma" and the profitability for LFSs on the salty side. Personally, I think FW is harder, especially planted FW. There is more to consider in terms of water parameters, more options in regards to lighting, more variety in the needs of various livestock species...

You should see the looks I get when I ask in an LFS about NATIVE FW fish and plants ROFL!!! "Who on earth would want to keep THOSE?" ummmm ME and many other ppl around the country and world who think FL has some pretty cool and gorgeous FW fish and plants?!? But you'd never think it walking into any local LFS, they all majorly emphasize SW...

*sigh* One of these days...





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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:01 AM
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at least for me i always saw SW tanks as more expensive and much more maintenance in keeping up water quality. also at least with me i was originally planing to just have fish and SW never entered my mind nore was i planing on a planted tank.

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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:15 AM
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also as lauraleellbp said there are many more species of Fish that require many different water parameters. i also think FW and planted tanks are more forgiving an SW or reef tanks.

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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:30 AM
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Saltwater fish really are, with few exceptions, prettier than freshwater.
Saltwater tank stocking also appeals to a pokemon sort of mentality that a lot of people seem to have, gotta collect them all! With each tank having a requisite lion, eel, clown, damsel, hawkfish, goby, etc...

It is a real shame that many times freshwater tanks will be stocked the same way, with a cory, a pictus, a gourami, an angel, a red tail shark and 3 different tetras The real beauty of the freshwater tank being that you can stock a true community of fish: a school of tetras, a shoal of cories, and often pairs or trios of centerpiece fish. Then it is possible to watch them interact with each other and their environment in an interesting manner that is completely impossible in saltwater without having a tank in the thousands of gallons.

So, to sum up, I think most people have only seen really crappy freshwater tanks, and assume that is what a freshwater tank is. Whereas even if they haven't seen a well put together reef tank, they probably have at least seen a salt water fish they thought was beautiful. "OOOH, a puffer!"


*Disclaimer: I clean tanks for a living and have to respond politely to 17,000 uninformed comments daily.


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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:34 AM
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Oh yeah, since it has come up... Fish only freshwater and saltwater tanks are the same difficulty, as long as the fish are healthy and eating when purchased.

I've never played with SPS, but softie reef tanks are at least as easy as high tech planted, I would say easier actually.


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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:43 AM
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ya i know thats wy i'm going to set up a nano reef tank over the summer. also as i understood it FW fish can handle higher nitrates.

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