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Saltwater easier to keep than freshwater?!
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Finley
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Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Australia

PostPosted: 2008.09.30(Tue)4:03    Post subject: Saltwater easier to keep than freshwater?! Reply with quote

Hi

I started keeping fish in an era when freshwater tanks were always discussed as being much easier to keep healthy than saltwater tanks. A young guy at an aquarium store recently tried to convince me that saltwater is now the easier option by far, because technololgy has improved.

Was he having me on?! Or have those of you who have kept both fresh and saltwater tanks found this to be true?

Thanks!

Finley
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number6
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Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.09.30(Tue)6:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not true at all... someone's playing a semantic game with your brain.

The only thing I can think of is that this person hates water changes and carrying buckets around. I must admit that my SW tanks are nice since it doesn't require huge water changes...
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art_of_war
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PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)14:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah!

I've been waiting for a thread like this. And, here's the argument I can provide: First off, that guy who said it was easier...IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! First off, yes you do have to do research and maintenance with every aquarium you get yourself into; doesn't matter if it's saltwater or freshwater.

I say this in opposition to anyone who says differently. Is saltwater harder? NO! It's a little more work (YES) but here's the truth: Saltwater fish have NOT evolved. The only real difference is coldwater vs. warm (that's all!). Check if you don't believe it. The specific gravity of saltwater will vary only slightly from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian and the Great Barrier Reef to Florida. What does that mean? Well, it means mixing "most" saltwater fish from different regions of this world is not only possible but it's almost encouraged.

You can't do that with Freshwater. Freshwater fish have adapted over time to their natural environment. You can't mix African Cichlids with Amazon piranha or Discus' together. Freshwater fish live in waters that differ in pH levels, temperature, even dissolved oxgen is an issue. See...those who have had freshwater first that attempt to dive into the saltwater arena carry all their old "BAD" habbits in that direction and open themselves up to all sorts of confusion. It's all about waterchanges (or lack of). In the freshwater arena, the water quality degrades, the fish adapt. The temperature floccuates, the fish adapt. Nitrates escallate, the fish adapt. Then, the freshwater hobbyist attempts to add a new fish and that fish DIES b/c it can't adapt (that quickly).

Saltwaterfish on the other hand require that you keep up on the water quality. They're more delicate; desire more supervision and observation not to mention a conscientious caregiver (BUT THAT'S JUST A LITTLE MORE WORK. That doesn't make it harder). People who chose freshwater over saltwater associate "hard" work with "more" work; hence the freshwater hobbyist is LAZY.

Let me give you a vision--MY VISION: It's so awesome to put a Red Sea Purple tang in the same tank as a Scopas and a Clown. All three are from different parts of the world and they all live in the same tank together. I know this b/c I put them there together. Is Freshwater harder than Saltwater? Absolutely! You can't mix things up with freshwater as you do with Saltwater.
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)15:52    Post subject: Re: Saltwater easier to keep than freshwater?! Reply with quote

Finley wrote:
Hi

I started keeping fish in an era when freshwater tanks were always discussed as being much easier to keep healthy than saltwater tanks. A young guy at an aquarium store recently tried to convince me that saltwater is now the easier option by far, because technololgy has improved.

Was he having me on?! Or have those of you who have kept both fresh and saltwater tanks found this to be true?

Thanks!

Finley


Finley, it's kind of a trick question.
Truth is, we don't keep TANKS, we keep ANIMALS in tanks.
There are certain types of freshwater species that are far more demanding than a Blue Damsel. And, to be fair---there are certain types of invertebrates and marine fish that are far more difficult than Zebra Danios.
It really depends on the animals.
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number6
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Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)19:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

art_of_war wrote:
You can't mix African Cichlids with Amazon piranha or Discus' together.
at a pH of 7.6, GH of between 6 and 12 and a KH of 4 to 10, yes you can...

of course you'd have to keep these three blocked from physically harming each other... much in the way you'd keep a lionfish and Nemo apart.

want to try again?

Signed a lazy person.

P.S. why would a bristlenose pleco, African Peacocks and rainbow shark not be fish from 3 different parts of the world?
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Topper
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PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)21:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, I have to state that I have never kept a successful marine tank of my own and I have no immediate plans to start one. However I do read the saltwater forums occasionally and this topic caught my attention as I have heard this question many, many times.

However, I do have experience. I have set up dozens of marine tanks and professionally maintained marine tanks for commercial buildings and private residences. I was also responsible for around fifty tanks of fish, inverts and corals at the LFS where I worked for years when I was younger (20+ years ago). I must also admit that I have forgotten a great deal of the specifics involved in keeping a marine tank, but the overall understanding and knowledge is still intact.

That being said, I will chime in and state that neither a marine tank nor a tropical tank is easier than the other. In fact, I believe it has nothing to do with the set up at all and everything to do with the person who is responsible for the tank and its inhabitants.

I always found it more difficult to get a marine tank "going". The water fluctuations were more unpredictable in the beginning and more things seemed to go wrong. Yet when stable and properly stocked, I found the marine tanks easier to maintain as far as hours spent.

On the other hand, I found saltwater animals much more fragile than freshwater. This could be due to the fact that the vast majority of marine life destined for home aquaria was wild caught back then - but it was a fact regardless. The time between diagnosis of an illness and death with marine life was about one half (if not less) than that with tropical fish. This meant vigilant observation of all inhabitants of marine tanks and a better-than-average knowledge of remedies/cures. Freshwater issues were easier to diagnose and there was more time to act - much easier.

I think that it also might be the "type" of person that keeps each kind of tank. The saltwater folks seemed to be more involved in and enlightened towards their charges. Most had done research before they came into the store and asked questions about the specimen they were interested in itself. Freshwater folks had much more general questions about the hobby. But let's face it... almost everyone THINKS they can keep a freshwater tank based on limited knowledge. It is a far less number of folks that have the confidence to keep a saltwater tank. When was the last time you saw a marine animal for $1.99?

I could go on and on but this is already too long. IMO and IME, both saltwater and freshwater tanks are difficult if you don't put the necessary time in. It all depends on the person and what you as an individual consider "hard" or "easy". I will say that "lazy" doesn't apply to either if a person takes the responsibility of keeping fish seriously.
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MackEmmons
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PostPosted: 2008.10.02(Thu)22:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

As said its the individual as well as the particular setup you are talking about. Freshwater tanks as well as saltwater tanks is a very broad title to put on which is easier than the other.

I maintain a reef and in all honesty, I spend less than half the time on my reef than I do any of my freshwater tanks.

harder is a relative term.
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.10.03(Fri)5:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday I just had a small disaster on my Saltwater tank that reminded me why I find my SW tanks much harder... knowledge!

I just lost my largest Killifish after it ate some sort of millipede like animal.
I scoured the net for photos and nothing. It reminded me how often I've posted photos of live rock hitchhikers or when I bought the Fromia sp. starfish and there is just so many animals in the ocean unidentified, unknown, etc.
From the mystery anemones in my tank to what does a fromia sp. eat, there's a giant black hole where I can get no help.

In the freshwater side of this hobby, there is such a vast pool of knowledge, it is a very rare event now-a-days to ask a question and receive no answer.

So I have a dead killifish this morning who was the picture of prime health yesterday and the fish is just looking wrong! It's all distorted like some evil toxin ran through it's system... this sort of thing never happens in my FW tanks...

So it may e somewhat relative... but there's no denying the obvious!
The reality that SW is "generally speaking" a tougher act is a dead give away in every response to the question, switching my FW tank to SW... what do I do?
http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=53330
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art_of_war
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PostPosted: 2008.10.03(Fri)8:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

number6 wrote:
art_of_war wrote:
You can't mix African Cichlids with Amazon piranha or Discus' together.
at a pH of 7.6, GH of between 6 and 12 and a KH of 4 to 10, yes you can...

of course you'd have to keep these three blocked from physically harming each other... much in the way you'd keep a lionfish and Nemo apart.

want to try again?

Signed a lazy person.

P.S. why would a bristlenose pleco, African Peacocks and rainbow shark not be fish from 3 different parts of the world?


Well lazy person,

Those are only a few exceptions. Still can't keep them all together no matter how big the tank. Besides, freshwater fish all look the same.

Signed,

The saltwater antagonist.
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number6
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PostPosted: 2008.10.03(Fri)13:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, nope... I can probably come up with about 5000 combinations of fish from multiple parts of the world that can live together and I could come up with 5000 examples of fish from the same exact bodies of water that will not work together.

I do understand and get that the oceans are treated as one giant single body of water as far as chemistry and agree that it creates some flexibility but the details are just as tricky as FW...

I love SW tanks... don't get me wrong... and I want to encourage them in every way... but I also don't want to see folks jump into it without sufficient knowledge or equipment and then sell out in 6 to 18 months...
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