And now, time for something a little different.
Throughout my life I've vaguely admired saltwater tanks but never had much interest in owning one. Every time I even get the slightest bit of 'maybe saltwater might be fun' I hear a little bit about what is required to get them to a high level of success and it immediately switches off any desires I might have of owning one. I'm speaking right now about corals, because a tank without corals is typically called a FOWLR or Fish Only With Live Rock (so no corals), and... I kind of hate how those look. Sooo no saltwater for me.
This has been the state of things until earlier this year when I paid a visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. There on display was a tank of seahorses with live seagrass... I was somewhat entraced. And there were no corals. No corals, means not having to do all the crazy stuff corals need to survive..... Here are 2 pictures I took at the time:
These pictures don't really show the tank itself, which honestly wasn't much to look at. But hopefully it gets across that there was a lot of seagrass in there. Sooo could I do a saltwater tank with plants and seahorses?
BUT I already have 3 display tanks (only counting ones filled with water and also not counting my 40 breeder quarantine, the 10 gallon blackworm culture tank, or my 5 gallon tadpole raising/breeding tank), and The Wife had been pretty adamement about not getting another tank. I floated the idea and only got a raised eyebrow... le sigh. But then inspiration struck. I decided to make a deal with The Wife. I get seahorses, and she gets another cat.
So lets talk about my new saltwater setup!
First of all the setting. The seahorse tank is going in my office, right next to my newt tank. To that end I am going to make some effort to make them look similar. The newt tank is a Waterbox Clear Mini - 30 gallon. Its 60cm or not quite 24 inches wide and not quite 18 inches deep and not quite 18 inches tall. Ideally then my seahorse tank will be 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Seahorses are one of those weird fish that like vertical space more then horizontal so ideally my seahorse tank will be 24 inches tall. This ideal tank will be about 45 gallons. Since I am going saltwater I will be using a sump which will probably be diy from a 20H I have laying around. For plants.. well there aren't that many to choose from. In the saltwater hobby there are 4 submersed plants that make up 99% of what people have in their tanks, those are turtle grass, manatee grass, shoal grass, and star grass. There are other species, but these are widely recognized as the ones you might somewhat easily find. I plan to have manatee grass and maybe turtle grass in the tank. I will also have a few red mangrove growing out of the water.
I am currently trying to secure the tank itself. I've contacted one custom aquarium maker near me and trying to get in contact with another (consequently, if you know any custom aquarium makers in Maryland or very nearby, I'd very much like to know).
I also have already started work on the stand. The newt tank stand is a petco metal stand I heavily modified. The seahorse stand will have a very similar look with one big change. The inside shelf will be substantially beefier to support the weight of the sump.
Yesterday I made my form for the concrete top on the stand:
And poured the top itself:
Today I worked on the wood for the sides and the brackets that will make the bottom shelf hold the weight of the sump, but I forgot to take pictures ;P Tomorrow I will likely finish the stand.
While I feel pretty confident in freshwater, I essentially know NOTHING about saltwater. So I am doing my research trying to figure out all the new terminology and the odd mix of science, and animal husbandry that make up the aquarium hobby. What is (to me anyway) somewhat odd is how incredibly rare seagrass is in the saltwater aquarium community. There are a handful of articles about it, and a double handful of forum threads scatted throughout the internet, and that is it. It also seems like most of the people who have grown it in the past basically used mud and fish poop to keep plants alive. They did well for a time, then usually they would crash and die out. This is exactly what I would expect would happen to anyone in the freshwater world doing the same thing without adding fertilizer. So I am planning to add ferts to my seahorse tank to keep the plants happy. Right now I am leaning towards the PPS-PRO method and a autodoser since I am 1) having so much success with it in my 120P tank, and 2) its a lean dosing method so probably good for a tank that may or may not be sensitive to the compounds in the fertilizer.
I have a LOT I want to talk about for this tank, but this first post has gone on long enough so I am going to end it now and say, more to come.