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Salt Water Aquarium

Okami
March 2nd, 2006, 12:50 AM
Just curious, exactly how hard is it to upkeep a healthy, happy, and beautiful salt water aquarium including not only tropical fish but things like coral, small sea urchins, and a small anemone. I've always dreamed of having a salt water aquarium.

Gazoo
March 2nd, 2006, 08:20 AM
Just curious, exactly how hard is it to upkeep a healthy, happy, and beautiful salt water aquarium including not only tropical fish but things like coral, small sea urchins, and a small anemone. I've always dreamed of having a salt water aquarium.


Good question. I've always wondered the same thing. I do know they are $$$$$$$$ though.

SunGurl372
March 2nd, 2006, 09:21 AM
I'm sure someone will come along with some hands-on knowledge here, but I can relate what I know of my father's experience.

Saltwater aquariums are beautiful, but are apparently pretty hard to maintain in terms of water quality. Water conditions are super critical to saltwater fish, and the tiniest of fluctuations can cause big time problems.

And those fish are VERY pricey. My dad constantly had problems maintaining his water, and it ended up costing him a fortune. Its always hard to lose a fish, but imagine losing one or more that cost you $50 each!

That being said, I would recommend reading through threads on some of the more Fish-centric forums. Just Google "fish forums", and you'll get tons of results.

Jackie467
March 2nd, 2006, 03:30 PM
I had a salt water aquarium many years ago, and hope to have one again once I have more time to dedicate to it. They are A LOT of work. It requires at least, the very least once a day ( I would reccomend twice a day) salt, PH checks and a water change once a month depending on how well your filter works. The salt is the hardest part because you can't just dump some in, you first have to dissolve it in a bucket of water (the salt container will tell you how much per gallon) and make sure that the water in the bucket is heated to the same temp as the water in the tank (best to do it with a seperate heater you put in the bucket) because salt water fish are very senstive to temp changes in water. To dissolve the salt fully will take at least 8 hours.

They are also a pain to keep clean. They grow algea much faster than fresh water so it must be wiped away pretty often. Salt water tanks also tend to get a film of salt on everything it's near so unless you like white salty film on everything that will require probably daily cleaning.

Salt water fish while very beautiful are usually very sensitive to ph changes, salt concentration changes, temp changes, light changes, and most species have spicific requirments for everything. Salt water fish also require fairly large tanks that are recommended to be taller and at the very very very least a 29 gallon, but as I said not a regular 29 gal it needs to be taller and skinnier.

although salt water tanks are difficult to maintain they are very rewarding and beautiful. I want another one when I can devote more time to it. If you don't mind the work the reward will be well worth it.

Sneaky
March 4th, 2006, 05:29 PM
Hi Okami,
in regards to keeping a saltwater tank, there are many
differing setups and many different care and price issues
involved.
Basically there are 3-4 types of saltwater tank.
The reef tank - which is your complete saltwater setup,
complete with corals, anemones, invertebrates, fish, live
rock, live sand, etc. These are the most difficult and most
costly tanks to run. These usually require intense illumination,
and intense filtration, and often a seperate sump tank.

Then there is a FOWLR (fish only with live rock), where the
only things in the tank are the fish and the live rock. Sand
is usually inert, and inverts and other creatures are limited.
This is a less costly, less expensive tank to maintain.

Then there is the Fish Only tank- where everything in the tank
is inert - usually plastic resin ornaments, figures, coral, etc.
Nothing is live except the fish. This is by far the cheapest,
least expensive, and easiest tank to maintain.
Many decorations are very nice and lifelike these days, and
a reef effect can occur without all the hassle of super
high lighting and live rocks and others.

There is also another type of saltwater tank,
an Invert Only tank. Only occupants are invertebrates
such as clams, snails, shrimps, etc.

Sounds to me like you are interested in a nano-reef tank.
A small tank, maybe 20g, with a pair of clown fish, an anemone,
and maybe a few shrimp or snails. Something like this.
Anemones are quite the challenge though. They require
high amounts of light...for a 20g tank you would probably
want in excess of 200 watts of full spectrum+ blue actinic lighting.
I believe for anemones+corals you need at least 10 watts per
gallon of appropriate lighting.
Also, anemones grow very very very big. Most anemones will
reach from 1 foot to 3 feet across, many much larger.
Smaller, dwarf versions may be much more difficult to come
by, and still may outgrow the small tank.
Also- if the anemone dies, it will release so much ammonia
into the tank, that it could kill every fish/critter in there.
Make sure to do your research on anemones prior to keeping
one.
Heres some good web links for you to further your research:

http://www.fishprofiles.com/forums/forum.aspx?id=12

http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/liverocksetup/a/aa081501.htm

http://saltaquarium.about.com/c/ec/1.htm

http://faq.thekrib.com/sbegin.html

http://www.marineaquariumadvice.com/