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Salt vs Fresh
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joitoy
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.09(Wed)8:31    Post subject: Salt vs Fresh Reply with quote

Hello, I'm planning to buy a 55 gallon aquarium in the very near future, but I'm having difficulty deciding upon fresh or salt.

I've always wanted saltwater fish, because I adore anemone, starfish, and seahorses, and I know the only way to have either one is by getting a salt tank

What I was wondering is, how much work could be involved, compared to the upkeep financially and physically to caring for this tank, as opposed to a fresh water tank?

What's the smallest tank size suggested for running salt water, if I choose to do my 55 in salt and purchase another smaller one for just one of the mentioned types. (Really want a star and a seahorse! One of each would be enough to make me happy)
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DanG
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Joined: 15 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.09(Wed)10:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saltwater can be a bit more expensive with the inital setup because of the cost of buying a protien skimmer and salt, but that's about it. The fish are more expensive, but you can't put as many in a tank as compared to freshwater, so the cost of stocking a tank works out to be about the same, depending on your choice of fish. From the sounds of what you want to do, you will need better than average lighting, around 200-300 watts(4-5 watts per gallon) for the anenome to be happy in the tank and do more than just survive. Also, seahorses are not a good plan, they are very difficult to care for.
As for tank size, nothing smaller than 30 gallons for someone starting out, and ideally the bigger the tank, the better. A larger tank has more water volume, meaning that any changes in water chemistry would not be as drastic in a larger tank. IMO, 55 gallon would be a very good starter size.

Found this post by FloridaBoy that has a bit more info on species not recommended for beginners.
http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=17688
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joitoy
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.09(Wed)20:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

So basically, saltwater is not the best idea, and sounds entirely too difficult. I'm staring at the list, and there's so many fish there that I wonder what -is- good for a beginner. My guess is salt water itself is not good for a beginner, understandably since its more expensive to maintain and begin.

I'll go with the freshwater tank after all. Thanks!
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.09(Wed)21:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well my friend, at least you are mature enough to know what you can handle, and for that we salute you! Lest other beginners be discouraged from trying a marine tank, the end of my article clearly states:
"With many hardy species available, like certain wrasses, clowns, chromis, hawkfishes, some of the dottybacks, smaller triggers, certain tangs, gobies, even smaller groupers and predators, etc., the beginner will have no problem stocking the successful marine aquarium while avoiding the ones on this list. Although not all of that last group I just mentioned are necessarily compatible in the same tank, and some will outgrow the small display and eventually need to be moved, they will individually provide hours of fascination and years of success when given proper care and carefully chosen tankmates."
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Michael n Jen
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.10(Thu)20:34    Post subject: It is true, read this, learn Reply with quote

Jen and I always wanted a saltwater tank, we have always had freshwater tanks. We got a tank that was already set up, took it down and brought it home. 75 gal setup with one king angel, one picasso, and two damsils. The angel was a bit eaten on and they said it was "from the black and white fish" (damsils) We took the two to the LFS and purchased a butterfly and a diamond goby. The butterfly lived 4 days, all the while looking and acting great. He loved brine shrimp. The picasso we still had not seen him eat, we got some shrimp from the supermarket (raw) as we were told to try. Well the Angel loved it, but the Trigger never even came out of his hole. the day after the butterfly died, the goby died. The water tested perfectly fine with all the tests we have. The LFS said maybe the Angel was picking on them. And it appeared that maybe he was scaring them but he never seemed to nip them. But they both died. We purchased som live rock (6lbs) and one sea anemone (very small). About two weeks later the trigger died, I found him on the bottom. The next morning The King Angel was dead. We again tested the water, looked great. We took a liter of water to the LFS for them to test it. He could find nothing wrong with it. Our LFS has very good luck with their fish and take very good care of them. We trust their judgement as they have been in salt a lot longer then we have. Yesterday we bought another piece of rock, a bigger sea anemone, another goby, and a small shrimp. I came home today and the goby was dead on the bottom like the others, I can't find the shrimp. Both of the anemones look fine and are eating brine. The water is almost exact between ours and the store's, Temp at 78 What is going on?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.11(Fri)8:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for your losses my friend, not a pleasant way to start this hobby but all to common, unfortunately. Moving SW setups has always been a delicate matter. It's not like moving a plant or piece of furniture. Moving tank AND reloading the fish population is often a recipe for disaster.
In the best case scenario, all fish would go into another system for at least a week or more while the system is moved/resettled/water is changed, etc.
Not sure how much time has lapsed since the move but in many cases the original system was neglected/poorly maintained, so there are lots of nasty pollutants released during the move which results in havoc on the new owner. With little info here about your system type (fish only, live rock etc. history, filtration etc.) all I can say is, if new fish keep dying you will need to break it down and start over with a new cycle; plenty of info on that here and other places. Don't give up, SLOW DOWN. Get back to the basics; start with one damsel and forget butterflies and angels for a while. Review my list on the sister forum; Marine fishes and corals, called "Marine species NOT for the beginner." Unless you have appropriate knowledge/lighting etc. for those anemones, they are doomed; take them back. That LFS you trust should not have sold them to you. (also applies to the butterfly they sold a beginner).
Not bashing the LFS here; it is YOUR responsibilty to research your choices and you will need book-level knowledge to succeed. Try the latest from Robert Fenner; develop a plan from there for your success.
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Michael n Jen
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.11(Fri)21:54    Post subject: Thank you florida boy Reply with quote

OK, here is what we have. Triton bulb, 40W 1200mm/48" 9A 9 for our light. 75 gal bottom drilled tank both send and return. Premiere series sealife wet dry system. It's full of bio balls in one section and then it has 2X4" bags filled with what looks like gung LOL, don't really know. There is a heater in the filter that keeps it at 78. One power head with oxygen feed. The tank had about 50-60lbs of dolemite in the bottom. 4 pieces of fake rock. Two four striped damsels, one picasso trigger, and one king angel. All of these fish were in this tank for 4 years. So they were all very good sized.

We tested the water in the tank before any of the moving process began. The results were 30ppt and 8.3 pH. We mixed up some new water, 15 gallons at 30 ppt. We transfered all their water except 15 gallons in new and rinsed trash cans. We put the fish in a 55 gallon while we did the transfer with about 40 gallons, all theirs except for the 15 we made up. It took us somewhere between 1 1 1/2 hours to get this completed. We tested the water in our tank. We put the fake rocks back in then the fish.

The next day we took the damsels to the pet store b/c they had been nipping the angel. The whole time the trigger hid out in his hole. We removed the algae covered dolemite and replaced it with 50lbs of filtered play sand. We then purchased the heniochus butterfly. We checked him over as good as we knew to, he was eating fine swimming fine and all looked great.

The next day we bought the diamond goby, 6lbs of live rock, and the small white sea anemone (a little larger than a quarter). We put them in the tank with everything dark to introduce them without new fish and old fish problems meeting.

The next morning we fed them brine shrimp. Everyone chowed down except the picasso. So later on I put in a small freshwater fish hoping maybe the picasso would eat him, but the sea anemone got the meal b/c the trigger didn't want it. I have a friend who owned a pet store for over 12 years dealing with salt and he suggested trying raw shrimp chopped up for the trigger. He still wouldn't eat it but the angel and butterfly loved it.

All looked well but we did notice that the angel was kinda bullying the butterfly around a little. He didn't nip him at all but just darted towards him a bit.
Four days later the butterfly was lying on the bottom dead. We immediately took him out and tested the water, all tests were fine. The next day the goby was dead, we took him out checked him over looking for gill burns, missing scales, etc and again tested the water which again tested fine. He looked fine except he was dead with his mouth wide open.

We called the LFS. He didn't know what exactly was happening but that maybe the angel was picking on the fish and had stressed them to death. The picasso finally started coming out of his hole and swimming around, but not much. He didn't do this until the butterfly and goby were dead. But we still had never seen him eat. The angel was eating brine shrimp and marine pellets and was looking really good.

About two weeks later I found the picasso dead when I came home from work. I pulled him out and we tested the water. This time the ammonia was just shy of .25 and the pH was at an 8.6. I ammo locked the tank. The next morning the king angel was dead, pulled him out looked him over, nothing looked abnormal. Immeadiately tested the water once then twice. The ammonia had dropped to nothing for some reason and the pH was still at an 8.6, nitrite at zero, and 28.5ppt. We brought a cup of water up to the LFS. He tested it and same thing except he pulled a 26ppt. He said it was kind of low but shouldn't have killed the fish, maybe it was old age or his wounds finally catching up to him from the damsels.

We left the tank alone for a day. We went back to the LFS to get a goby to clean the sand. We got a blue gilled goby, purple tipped sea anemone, and maybe a two pound rock that the anemone was attached to.

The next night the goby was dead. That was yesterday. Today we brought in another cup of water and the goby to the LFS. He noticed a little bit of redness on his gills so he tested the water again. Copper 0, ammonia barely over 0, salinity 26ppt, but our pH was over 8.6.

Right now we are mixing ten gallons of water with 40ppt to raise the rest of our tank's salinity and treating the tank with prime and stress coat. Tomorrow we will test the water for pH and salinity. If it still isn't right we will get water from the LFS b/c his is a pH of 5 after is RO filter. Our tap water comes out at 7.0. Here we are at this point. Oh yeah we also bought a shrimp when we got the goby and sea anemone the day before yesterday. Both anemones and the shrimp look awesome. We will update and check back, thank you again floridaboy.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.12(Sat)13:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything I said in previous post still applies.
What type of sand; aragonite or silica based?
Did you circulate water through bioballs while moving or did they go dry?
Again, slow down.
1.For your main tank I suggest you start with one hardy blue or domino damsel and add nothing else for 3-4 weeks just let things settle; if the damsel lives proceed with a maroon or tomato clown or other hardy specimen one at a time and 2-3 weeks apart, after time in your quarantine per below.

2. Invest in a basic quarantine tank NOW and start a cycle in there with a resident damsel; place ALL new arrivals in QT for 3-4 weeks before adding to your display system. Did your LFS tell you about QT practices?

3. ANY ammonia is cause for concern in a populated tank, nitrite may follow.

4. Take the anemones back.
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Michael n Jen
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.03.12(Sat)21:28    Post subject: update Reply with quote

We didn't let the bio balls dry at all, we knew better then that. We had already told the LFS that we had a solitary tank for fish. I just ordered more efficiant lighting and a new stand. So on Saturday we will be tearing down and setting the tank on the new stand. This will be the new begining of the tank and with a lot more knowing than before, but with still much much more to learn. Currently our water is 30.2ppt, pH 8.3, 0 nitrite, and 0 ammonia. With the new lighting coming in which is two 50/50 bulbs do you think we would be able to keep the anemones? They both look very well and are eating great along with the shrimp. We will not introduce any new fish to the tank until after about a week of cycling and monitoring. On the sand, all I know is it is sanaitized Play Sand bought from home depot.

thank you again
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