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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im am going to be leaving reef tanks because im in college and spending a ton of money on a reef tank seems impractical right now. I had success on reef tanks but compared to each other, which is harder to setup? Im mainly just talking about the setup, not after its going and growing.

My tank specs are going to be

-48''x13x13 rimless starphire (black background, and silicone)
-Either a 2 or 4 bulb t5
-I have the space, and have it sitting around so im doing a 55 gallon sump (mainly to add volume so I can add a lot of fish)
-Ill probably get a CO2 system set up.


BELOW IS HOW I AM GOING TO WANT TO SET IT UP

The layout like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYeAeiOhh48&feature=BFa&list=HL1353015067

with a tree like this..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWxtJDThLNQ

 

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Both can be easy or hard. I think planted with easy to grow plants is the easiest (even easier than freshwater without plants) but you can easily ramp it up to a high degree of difficulty with sensitive, high light plants, high co2 levels, touchy fish, heavy feet dosing, etc.

You can also do a fish only salt water as long as you have a place to mix the water (not that hard, but not as forgiving to me), or a whole hog, can't miss a day or else reef.
 

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For me, reef is easier... all I do is water changes and dose alk and calc every other day or so and my coralline and corals are growing. I don't really test anything and eye it.

For the planted tank, I have issues with plants browning on my swords and algae growing on the glass and some plants. It's not really that bad but the growth is slower than what I expected. Dosing ferts has been somewhat of a challenge to get it all right and it's a bit more maintenance because of trimming some of the faster growing plants in my 55G that I trimmed half and grows back pretty quickly compared to the others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For me, reef is easier... all I do is water changes and dose alk and calc every other day or so and my coralline and corals are growing. I don't really test anything and eye it.

For the planted tank, I have issues with plants browning on my swords and algae growing on the glass and some plants. It's not really that bad but the growth is slower than what I expected. Dosing ferts has been somewhat of a challenge to get it all right and it's a bit more maintenance because of trimming some of the faster growing plants in my 55G that I trimmed half and grows back pretty quickly compared to the others.
as far as the trimming though, if you were to take a vaccation wouldnt they just get really long and maybe start to die in some spots?
 

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The small leaved plant in the first video looks like HC to me. Never grown it but it gives people here a lot to talk about. The grassy plant looks like mini sword plant. That I have grown and it was a nutrient hog that collected algae if it wasn't getting what it needed. The technique of mixing species like that is quite advanced. I haven't ever actually failed with moss but it doesn't always do what I think it will do.

The plant mass in that sort of tank is low which leaves room for algae to attack. A tank crammed with lots of plants is easier to take care of.

The art aspect of such tanks is huge. You might consider buying at least twice as much rock and wood as you think you need so you can play with your hard scape to get it just right.

You might check out Francis Xavier's threads on how to do such a tank. One is - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=168992
 

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Nothing is "hard" when you're passionate about doing it. In this hobby it really is just a matter of research and planning....that and taking one's time.
 

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I forgot. The dimensions of your tank are great, very close to the Mr. Aqua 12 at nearly 4x wider than it is tall. Check out the 12 gallon club for some really great scapes. Might fine tune your plans a little bit.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=168088&highlight=aqua+club

Actual time to set up the tank after you have all the bits? No idea. I took apart and put back together my 180 gallon in 14 hours last December. Only thing I didn't do was redo the plumbing under the tank or have to rinse out substrate.

If a planted tank is new then you will want to do a lot of reading up on how tos and whys and all that stuff. Maybe because you have had some tanks you won't be confused by all the different methods we all use, some have a terrible time sorting through all the information. That takes more time for me than anything else. That December redo might have taken me 14 hours to finish but the research and planning took more like 140 hours.
 

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In terms of time and money, reefs are a deeper hole to sink both into. I dropped around $10k on my reef over a three year span before burning out. I'm doing a low tech planted now and I love it and it's a fraction of the cost and time.
 

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Im a newly active member here who just started a 40B planted tank 2 weeks ago.

I have a 58G mixed reef that I've had since 2004.

Right now, I feel like some of you might feel about saltwater about freshwater - new, nervous, uninformed, making mistakes

Its really all about experience. Although, with my SW I started VERY slowly, gradually getting more complex - whereas I just started a high-tech planted tank right from nothing. I will say knowing saltwater helps with things like water chemistry, ph controllers, and having alot of the equipment already.
 

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I don't think one is harder than the other, just different.

A fowlr tank and a low-tech planted tank really aren't that different, both have some special care which needs to be attended to but both are fairly cheap to start and maintain with the edge in cost going to freshwater.
Stepping up to a full reef vs. high-tech, I still think freshwater has the lower cost by a pretty significant margin but they both require daily or at the very least weekly attention to ensure they are at their peak.

Pick your poison but if I were you and wanted something simple I'd set up a freshwater tank with some crypts and moss. Do your weekly or bi-weekly water changes and toss some ferts in a couple times a week.
 

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I am doing high tech planted with EI dosing now, it is soo much easier and less stressfull to me than sps reef (which I did for ten plus years).

I use a combo of tap and RO on my planted, and water changes are much easier. Even if I was using all RO, not having to mix up salt water is awesome. Also, the lack of salt creep is a huge plus. Plants are cheaper than corals too.

I also love that I can dump my tank change water on the lawn or my houseplants and it is actually GOOD for them. I often worried about what to do with the excess water when I did changes on my 155 and 120 reefs on the weekend. Was that much salt bad for the septic tank? If I dump it in the lawn it killed the grass.
 

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I also love that I can dump my tank change water on the lawn or my houseplants and it is actually GOOD for them.
This part is fun. There is a spot in my yard that was struggling grass wise. I started dumping my WC water on it and it's the greenest spot on the yard now. :)
 

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I also love that I can dump my tank change water on the lawn or my houseplants and it is actually GOOD for them. I often worried about what to do with the excess water when I did changes on my 155 and 120 reefs on the weekend. Was that much salt bad for the septic tank? If I dump it in the lawn it killed the grass.
Yeah, you can't put salt water down the drain to a septic tank. Well, you can, but it will kill the bacteria and can cause major problems. But yeah, SPS reef is about as expensive and difficult as it comes.
 

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