freshwater vs saltwater - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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freshwater vs saltwater

I currently have 3 tanks and all of them are freshwater. My question is, why did you all choose a planted tank over a reef tank? I know money is a big factor. My LFS has a black tang they're selling for $700. You definitely don't need one of those for a reef tank to stand out. If money weren't an issue, would you still choose a planted tank over a reef tank?

p.s I am not bashing on freshwater tanks, I love all my planted tanks. I just want to hear what everyone's pros and cons is about freshwater and saltwater.

Discuss!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 12:48 AM
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I've seen enough used saltwater equipment to know that I do not want to go there!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 01:51 AM
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Do both!


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 02:06 AM
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For me it's more of a lazy thing. I don't have the time to take care of a salt water tank.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 02:17 AM
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I had a 120 gal. reef tank full of sps corals. It was beautiful and expensive. It was the show piece of my living room. It got to the point where I was spending a lot of time taking care of it and I was always worried something would happen if I went away for more than a couple of days. I enjoyed it very much but I wouldn't do it again. My planted tank is low tech and pretty much runs itself. I spend more time enjoying it and less time maintaining it.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 02:20 AM
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Time is a factor for me too.

There's really no comparison between reefs and planted tanks, the corals come in all colors of the rainbow.

You can always start a s/w planted tank with macro algae.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 02:39 AM
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I got into the hobby with a betta in a vase. First, I was just trying to do right by the betta, but I had a lot of fun researching and my ambitions grew from there. The tanks went from gravel to sand to planted to dirted and now I'm edging into high-tech. I've also been messing around with terrariums, which has been much tougher than expected!

Slowly, slowly, I've been accumulating the supplies for a nano SW (next up is a 10G when Petco has its $1/gallon sale!). But with a to-do and DIY list as long as my arm in terms of getting my current (planted) tank where I want it, I don't know when I'll actually set up that SW.

I'm also trying to avoid MTS...in an already-have-MTS kind of way. As long as they're different *sorts* of set ups, I figure having multiple tanks is acceptable! So the old betta vase is now an open terrarium, I've got a pico closed terrarium going, and my big tank is planted. If I want another tank while remaining in MTS-denial, I guess I have to go SW!

There's no rush, though. Increasing my depth of knowledge, in terms of one particular kind of tank set up, is just as fun and interesting for me as increasing my breadth of knowledge. And thankfully, there's still a lot for me to learn about and do with my planted tank, so that's giving me a good bit of patience.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark T View Post
I had a 120 gal. reef tank full of sps corals. It was beautiful and expensive. It was the show piece of my living room. It got to the point where I was spending a lot of time taking care of it and I was always worried something would happen if I went away for more than a couple of days. I enjoyed it very much but I wouldn't do it again. My planted tank is low tech and pretty much runs itself. I spend more time enjoying it and less time maintaining it.
I really want a reef tank and this is exactly why i'm hesitating.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 03:37 AM
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I've got both.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 04:00 AM
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As somebody who works in a fish store maintaining fresh and saltwater tanks; the learning curve seems to play more of a role than cost. With freshwater, you could maintain a semi-nice tank, knowing nothing more than what your LFS employee can tell you in 15 minutes. With reefs, you need to know the paramaters that each coral, fish, crab, and shrimp like. You can't just throw reef together and hope it will work...because it won't.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 05:24 AM
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I have a 40B softie reef - the maintenance on it isn't all that bad. You have to plan ahead a bit more for water changes as SW needs to be mixed for a bit before adding it. With a good skimmer, the water changes are less than a lot of FW tanks. There is a reason I have soft corals and not the more difficult / demanding SPS or LPS corals. There is a lot more that goes into those - dosing and maintaining pristine water.

With SW, and reef tanks especially, the stocking level is also much different than FW. There are no schooling SW fish until you get to about a 6' plus tank, and even then there really are only anthias and they have specific feeding needs. So you've got a bunch of different species, and each needs its own space and territory, and that really limits the stocking more than the bioload. I've got a 40B with four fish right now (planning to add two more), the largest of which is 4".

That being said, the colors and personalities are different than FW. The 4 fish I have all have different behaviors, swimming patterns, habits, etc. I personally find that much more interesting than a bunch of tetras floating around.

SW is (typically) a bigger investment off the bat. But there are often good deals from people getting out of the hobby, so you can grab a whole setup for a steal. There are also a lot of ways to build for relatively cheap, but no matter what you do you cannot stock a good looking reef tank for cheap. I think what drives a lot of people out is having one large issue can wipe out the whole tank (disease, heater broke, power outage w/ no planning, dosed something majorly wrong, etc), and when you've got hundreds or thousands invested in the livestock it is disheartening emotionally and financially. This is why people with big systems also invest in backups, controllers, QT tanks, and the like.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CAPSLOK View Post
I have a 40B softie reef - the maintenance on it isn't all that bad. You have to plan ahead a bit more for water changes as SW needs to be mixed for a bit before adding it. With a good skimmer, the water changes are less than a lot of FW tanks. There is a reason I have soft corals and not the more difficult / demanding SPS or LPS corals. There is a lot more that goes into those - dosing and maintaining pristine water.

With SW, and reef tanks especially, the stocking level is also much different than FW. There are no schooling SW fish until you get to about a 6' plus tank, and even then there really are only anthias and they have specific feeding needs. So you've got a bunch of different species, and each needs its own space and territory, and that really limits the stocking more than the bioload. I've got a 40B with four fish right now (planning to add two more), the largest of which is 4".

That being said, the colors and personalities are different than FW. The 4 fish I have all have different behaviors, swimming patterns, habits, etc. I personally find that much more interesting than a bunch of tetras floating around.

SW is (typically) a bigger investment off the bat. But there are often good deals from people getting out of the hobby, so you can grab a whole setup for a steal. There are also a lot of ways to build for relatively cheap, but no matter what you do you cannot stock a good looking reef tank for cheap. I think what drives a lot of people out is having one large issue can wipe out the whole tank (disease, heater broke, power outage w/ no planning, dosed something majorly wrong, etc), and when you've got hundreds or thousands invested in the livestock it is disheartening emotionally and financially. This is why people with big systems also invest in backups, controllers, QT tanks, and the like.
well said sir!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 10:32 AM
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fresh

me personally would take a well aqua scaped fw over any reef tank under 1000 gallons if you go to aquariums like newport or shedd aquariums or the great barrier reef there is nothing more stunning than salt but for small aquariums i have yet to see one that was a show stopper like a well aqua scaped tank
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2014, 01:55 PM
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I started with few saltwater tanks for years. It's a big difference as far as maintenance and cost. Saltwater tank is very expensive if you're going reef than planted. Maintenance, once you get it going, you don't need as much tinkering than of a planted tank, certainly not weekly trimming. Key to saltwater tank is patience and don't skimp out on equipment. The advantage of freshwater tank, is you can put 3x or more the number of fish than saltwater tank, and they're cheap.
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