Freshwater vs Saltwater - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Freshwater vs Saltwater
Freshwater 14 73.68%
Saltwater 5 26.32%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Freshwater vs Saltwater

This could start a huge debate but I'm willing to try!

I've always been fascinated by corals and I decided to join the fishkeeping hobby with a Freshwater tank because it's cheaper and supposedly easier. Now that I've got experience... I'm looking towards a coral tank.

So, I'm calling on you fellow PlantedTankians to share your experiences with coral tanks...

Which is best... Saltwater or Freshwater?
Pros and cons of each?

I look forward to seeing what you all think!

Rad91

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 07:13 PM
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Well if I was only going to have 1 tank I'd say saltwater but knowing me and how many tanks I have, I opt for freshwater I could never imagine having only 1 tank and wouldn't want the hassle of multiable saltwater tanks with all that comes with them and the exspense that goes along with saltwater but that's just me I too am interested in what others think
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 07:39 PM
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I too started with freshwater, had a couple tanks. Then I went over to saltwater and had two saltwater tanks and tore down all my freshwater tanks. After about a year, I tore down my 15 gal. Cube and converted it to freshwater. So now I have a 15 cube freshwater and a 55 gallon saltwater. Saltwater is fun and very interesting, but the stakes are higher. When you loose, you loose big. I forgot how much cheaper freshwater is, I went to the lfs for my freshwater stock and was amazed at the prices. 2 - 3 for non tetra fish, 1 each for tetras. For saltwater I am paying 60 for a pair of clowns. Plus freshwater is just soo much more relaxing, I am back to enjoying the hobby. Don't get me wrong, I still love my saltwater reef, but I think I just slightly prefer freshwater.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:05 PM
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34 years all FW

13 years neck deep in SW

3 years ago I saw the light (no, not LED's) and switched back.

The SW side of the hobby has changed. Corals get bought by anybody who can get a wholesaler's license and chopped up into itty-bitty frags get sold by the square inch because somebody gave it a goofy name or some guru somehow got the right to put his name in front of it. It's a money pit......meant to take the money of the person who just HAS to have that designer frag. Fragging started as a way for hobbyists to simply exchange livestock. It turned in to an industry. 20 years ago Fiji PomPom xenia was incredibly rare, exotic, and expensive. Bright red Monti Cap slabs cost a bundle. Now both are garbage corals most consider a scourge or an amateur's coral.

If you add the elitist nature it's taken on to the fact that being away from the tank for more than a few days is a sure bet to come home to a disaster and it ceases to become fun too. After the second day away, you find yourself worrying about the tank and forget you're on vacation.

I went through all the lighting platforms before quitting at LED's. There are LED fixtures out there that should come with payment plans. Some protein skimmers aren't far behind. Did I mention it's a money pit?

Sounds like I really soured on it , eh?

About 80% dedicated to breeding angels, and got my first trio of guppies a few months back. I haven't had a guppy in a tank in almost 50 years. They call that coming full circle I think.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
34 years all FW

13 years neck deep in SW

3 years ago I saw the light (no, not LED's) and switched back.

The SW side of the hobby has changed. Corals get bought by anybody who can get a wholesaler's license and chopped up into itty-bitty frags get sold by the square inch because somebody gave it a goofy name or some guru somehow got the right to put his name in front of it. It's a money pit......meant to take the money of the person who just HAS to have that designer frag. Fragging started as a way for hobbyists to simply exchange livestock. It turned in to an industry. 20 years ago Fiji PomPom xenia was incredibly rare, exotic, and expensive. Bright red Monti Cap slabs cost a bundle. Now both are garbage corals most consider a scourge or an amateur's coral.

If you add the elitist nature it's taken on to the fact that being away from the tank for more than a few days is a sure bet to come home to a disaster and it ceases to become fun too. After the second day away, you find yourself worrying about the tank and forget you're on vacation.

I went through all the lighting platforms before quitting at LED's. There are LED fixtures out there that should come with payment plans. Some protein skimmers aren't far behind. Did I mention it's a money pit?

Sounds like I really soured on it , eh?

About 80% dedicated to breeding angels, and got my first trio of guppies a few months back. I haven't had a guppy in a tank in almost 50 years. They call that coming full circle I think.
Thats a pretty interesting outlook form someone with some real life experience right there. While I've never dabbled in saltwater tanks, this is exactly my concern. Makes me even more confident in sticking to freshwater tanks for the time being!
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting points people!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
The SW side of the hobby has changed. Corals get bought by anybody who can get a wholesaler's license and chopped up into itty-bitty frags get sold by the square inch because somebody gave it a goofy name or some guru somehow got the right to put his name in front of it. It's a money pit......meant to take the money of the person who just HAS to have that designer frag. Fragging started as a way for hobbyists to simply exchange livestock. It turned in to an industry. 20 years ago Fiji PomPom xenia was incredibly rare, exotic, and expensive. Bright red Monti Cap slabs cost a bundle. Now both are garbage corals most consider a scourge or an amateur's coral.

If you add the elitist nature it's taken on to the fact that being away from the tank for more than a few days is a sure bet to come home to a disaster and it ceases to become fun too. After the second day away, you find yourself worrying about the tank and forget you're on vacation
I find your comments fascinating!

If people didn't strive for the rare and exotic corals and instead focussed on the corals that they "just like the look of" instead then would that change your perception of the hobby? Well... if they weren't bein sold for such ridiculous prices!

For example, some of my favourite corals are actually the cheaper ones. (maybe cheaper should be replaced with less expensive ). Perhaps when I get a tank and start to build a collection of corals then I will start to fit the description you've mentioned and look for rarer ones but at this point I don't know

Also, I completely agree with your view on worrying about your tank. It's a serious investment depending on what's in the tank! I've seen a lot of reviews on the aquarium controllers which automatically kept everything stable and notified you via text if anything goes wrong. That would solve your problem! Although it's about 500+ to get that installed Again, if you had one of these would you think differently about the hobby?

The price is a big killer really huh?

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:41 PM
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I love both. I started as a kid with freshwater tanks. I was on the road a long time and in my twenties I got back into tanks and started a 55g salt tank. After a number of years I was on the road again and had to tear down my tank and sell everything.

A few years back I started back in and I went with freshwater because I had limited space and was on the road still. Currently I'm breeding apistogramma and happy as can be but I can't wait to get back into breeding clownfish again.

I love freshwater and saltwater. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Salt is much more expensive but has a lot more colors. Freshwater is cheaper and has a beautiful natural feeling to it.

I don't prefer one over the other I love them both for what they bring to the table. I know they are both fish tanks and are so similar on the outside, but, to me trying to compare the two is like trying to compare apples to oranges. They are so different there isn't really a comparison.

Therefore I am withholding my vote untill there is a third party!

Last edited by ErtyJr; 01-09-2015 at 08:44 PM.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 10:17 PM
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I keep both still.
I have [email protected] 120g,[email protected] and [email protected] salt.
1 of the 120s is a reef along with the 75 and 29.
The other 120 is a fowlr.
That's 350g of my almost 1,000g.
Like Angelo said corals are more common and tech is outrageous!
I got the second 120 for free(from another site ) along with all the goodies and receipts that added up to 15K!'
FREE!
I enjoy breeding in my freshwater tanks and (myself) actually prefer my 180 in my living room be a FW planted community.
Best tank I ever had!
My wife might want my 120 fowlr!
The 2 lion fish,morrey eel and minautus grouper are some of the most interesting and beautiful fish going.
I would keep fresh if I had to choose one.
You can blow way too much money on either!

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WHERE'S YOUR RAMS MAN?

Pictures of some of my fish;
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 11:28 PM
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Yes its a debate between the two. Has been for years. Considering this i a FW forum, SW will play second fiddle. I have never done a SW but I am very intrigued by them. Someday I will though. My 90 long that I am currently working on now as my main display tank was going to be that dive into SW. I joined reef central and was learning up on it last fall. I was almost convinced that was my direction......Then the same switch that got turned on years ago, clicked back on. The expense. The larger gorgeous SW tanks that are out there cost an arm and a leg. I only have finger nails to give, lol. I priced the live sand bed and live rock that I wanted and my total with just those two was 700-800 bucks. That doesn't even include lights or equipment. I can get MGOPM and a cap substrate for under 100 bucks easily. I can fully load up on plants for 100-200 bucks. The list goes on and on, lol. SW is definitely heavy on the wallet so one must be prepared. I was getting there until I pulled the chain harder.

Most SW tanks I see look very similar. You just can not beat a well planned out planted FW tank. AGA contest tanks do it for me over SW.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
Most SW tanks I see look very similar. You just can not beat a well planned out planted FW tank. AGA contest tanks do it for me over SW.
^ This ^

In contests you see the same corals in the same arrangements with the same rock formations over and over, its changes very little. In the FW contests I am blown away by peoples creativity and aquascaping skills!

I need to stop bashing SW before my anemone decides it wants to go for a run, into a powerhead.

15 Gallon Dirty Cube.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:02 AM
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^ This ^

I need to stop bashing SW before my anemone decides it wants to go for a run, into a powerhead.
There's my good laugh for the day! Thanks!

I think I made my point, but it's just my won experience and view of it. I got in at the very cusp of the SW craze and kind of rode the wave farther than most did. People left the hobby in droves in '08/'09. but I hung in and just watched it evolve into a "boutique" sort of hobby.

Having gotten in at the time that I did, I saw what was once common, meat-and-potatoes corals all of a sudden become fodder for side-cutters, band saws, and dremel tools. What was once just a bunch of zoanthids all of a sudden became "Gorilla Nipples" and "Armor of God". And somehow a guy by the name of Leng Si got his name attached to a green plating monti with purple lip. Fragging and swapping corals as it was originally conceived was awesome. But doing it and slapping a name on it to make newcomers think they have the latest and greatest just got under my skin. Zoanthids by the polyp, and echinos by the square inch. Meh!

Did / does everyone fall for the hype? Certainly not. But so many did that folks that had become successful at it couldn't get anyone to take things like Zenia, Anthelia, green zoanthids, or even Monti. Cap. of any color.

Certainly the cost was a constant source of "tension" with my wife. my signature is a carryover from the SW days. With bulb changes costing almost as much as the fixture and LEDs that would just take food off my table, it became clear it was becoming a different hobby and time to cut bait.

So now I'll be able to drive to North Carolina in the spring to watch my son play baseball for a weekend without breaking into a cold sweat worrying about the tanks after one day.

Right now I'm really glad I just came full circle and the only thing I'm sweating about is the temperatures next week while my new All-Red Albino guppy trios are in transit.

Angelo

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:43 AM
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Can I vote Yes/Maybe? I really like both sides of the hobby. Yes, freshwater is easier, but there's always the hard to keep fish, like newly discovered imports. At the same time, saltwater is harder, with sometimes easy to keep fish, like the staples of the hobby. I enjoy all aquariums, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A lot of the pros and cons reside in how people think our tanks should look like. But where's the variety in that? If we all had Iwagumis, Dutch, or some other type of tank, where would the spice of life be? This is also present in the saltwater hobby, where SPS (small polyped stony) corals cost a house and a half for a frag because people say that you "want" this coral. Personally, I've never listened to what people tell me to get (with moderation), because if I did that, then they would be other people's tanks, not mine. My dad loves goldfish, and my mom loves dottybacks, but I like tiny nano fish in giant planted aquariums, and drab striped fish in reefs.

There's also been a lot of specializing. Sure, I can have an all carpet tank, or SPS filled tank, but where's the fun in that? I like experimenting, from sticking "background" plants front and center, to making mixed reefs (LPS, softies, and macroalgaes). If the "experts" say that I need this plant for "X" reason, I question, and if I'm not satisfied, I find different ideas from other "experts." The gist of this, is that we may just need to listen to ourselves more, rather than the experts. Sure that SPS/carpet tank is beautiful, but which is prettier, the tank you made to satisfy your preferences, or the one you made to emulate this or that experts tank?

Also, we haven't taken time into consideration yet. I remember reading Dick Mills' 'You and Your Aquarium." As a 5 year old in 2001, that was my bible, because what other books on aquarium keeping were available at my public library...none. I don't know whether this statement is true, but take a look at the freshwater hobby a few years after aquariums were invented. I wonder if they all looked the same because people knew that sticklebacks and sunfish were easy to keep, while tetras and gouramis were impossible. They probably would have looked similar on a regional basis, because if there were even any planted tanks back then, they were probably collected in the local region, not shipped in from south america, southeast asia, or any other exotic places. I bet if we give the saltwater hobby time, then creativity will eventually replace the "keep them alive at all costs" mentality that some people have. Back during the Victorian era (according to Mills), they had very crude oil lamp heaters (or something similar). When modern day heaters first came out, were they not super expensive? I believe the same is happening in the saltwater hobby, as lighting moves from what we knew then (single light fixtures) to what we know now (LED's).

The same with breeding. Back then, did we know how to breed neons, cardinals, and discus? NO! Have we created commercial hatcheries that easily keep pace with our current demand? YES! For now, the saltwater hobby's in trouble, because we haven't been able to propagate fish in captivity. When neons and discus came in, I bet that nobody knew how to breed them. In time, I again, believe that we will find better ways to breed saltwater fish, and who knows? Clownfish may cost .99 USD eventually!
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:46 AM
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Both. It's like asking whether beer or wine is better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
Most SW tanks I see look very similar. You just can not beat a well planned out planted FW tank. AGA contest tanks do it for me over SW.
That's a funny statement to read on a board where words like "clean look," "carpet," "iguwami," and "Amano" are more frequent than "a," "the," and "and."


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:49 AM
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Why is this frag I bought at the lfs melting in my planted tank?
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:56 AM
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Too much light, not enough CO2!

Hey, it's the right answer in 95% of the cases.^^


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