Fowlr Cost

Discus-Tang
  • #1
Soon I'll have an empty 23 gallon. It's got a light, two filters and a heater. I'm feeling daring, so I'm thinking of jumping into saltwater.

Any extra costs? Any good fish (NOT wild caught)?

BTW I can't get gobies as I don't have a lid.
 
bitseriously
  • #2
I'm in the same boat, been thinking about it for a while.
In my reading, I read that (other than gobies) cardinals and green chromis are good starter fish for the smaller tanks. Don't know if these are typically farmed or caught.
Have you though about hermit crabs and cleaner shrimp?
For me, a big deterrent is the salt crust at waterline and on all equipment... how do you dark-siders manage this?
 
stella1979
  • #3
Soon I'll have an empty 23 gallon. It's got a light, two filters and a heater. I'm feeling daring, so I'm thinking of jumping into saltwater.

Any extra costs? Any good fish (NOT wild caught)?

BTW I can't get gobies as I don't have a lid.
Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

Here's the bad news... you need a lid. It's not just gobies that are prone to jumping, but most saltwater fish in general. Given enough time, any fish might jump, and it feels like the risk increases with smaller tanks like you and I have. A 23g huh? Unusual. You can DIY a lid pretty cheap using parts from the hardware store.


What kind of filters do you have? HOB's aren't a bad thing, but generally hard to clean filters like canisters are a big no-no in saltwater tanks as they hold onto detritus and become nitrate factories. I know you're planning a FOWLR so don't need ultra low nitrates, but filter maintenance is something that needs to be done much more frequently in saltwater tanks, or you'll just end up with unsightly algae all over the place.

You'll also need rocks, sand, saltwater test kits, a refractometer for measuring salinity, and a powerhead or two. Hydrometers are garbage for measuring salinity and refractometers are cheap online. Flow needs to be about 15-20x your water volume, and I don't imagine you'll get that much from filtration. Your cycle will live in your rocks, and that bacteria needs well oxygenated/fast-flowing water to survive.

You also need to think about how you'll provide saltwater for the tank. Even with a FOWLR, I would not recommend using tap water. Ocean creatures are much more sensitive to small ammonia spikes you might get in the tap, and if you're like me, you wonder what else is in your tap. I'm in the city and have pretty old water lines I think. I'd be afraid of heavy metals that may be low in the tap, but over time could build up in a tank. I've seen crashes from things like copper and even tin in the tap, so...

You could buy RODI or distilled water and mix it with marine salt yourself. This would mean you'd need a spare pump and heater to mix water and bring it to the correct temp prior to a water change. You can also buy saltwater from the LFS, and this feels cheaper than investing in your own RODI system in the beginning. I would argue that the RODI pays for itself over time though.

Whether you make or buy your water, always, always, always check salinity before using it for a wc. There is a horror story here by Slug who bought water from a trusted LFS and used it before discovering that it was freshwater. It caused a complete loss of all life in his reef tank. I'm grateful to Slug for sharing this and allowing us to learn from it... refractometers are easy to use and it takes just a minute.

Edit: Oops! Meant to add that there are many nano tank-bred fish options. Clowns of course, pistol gobies, several bleannies and cardinalfish just to name a few.
 
Jesterrace
  • #4
I agree with everything stella said.

1) You need a lid as all fish will jump at some point given enough time

2) RODI is crucial as tap water will only cause you long term problems and trouble, there are some who live in more rural areas who have a low enough TDS that do okay with tapwater, but the problem is that even if water has low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) you don't know exactly what TDS is in there and periodically municipal water systems will do a flush which can spike ammonia in the water (harmless to humans but deadly to life in a freshwater or marine environment). As mentioned LFS (Local Fish Store) will sell the RODI water or RODI/Saltwater pre-mix if you want a way of addressing the tap water issue without having to purchase an RODI system and setting up a mixing station. A solid RODI system runs between $150-$200, but if you are on a tight budget and don't mind having a fair bit of wastewater (a good system produces 1 gallon of RODI water for every 3-4 gallons of wastewater), a "so-so" system produces 1 gallon of RODI water per every 6-7 gallons of wastewater) you can go with one of these:



At $60 it is a no-brainer over tap water. DO NOT GO WITH DISTILLED WATER. It's almost as expensive to buy and a guy on here did a comparison between RODI and Distilled and he had a tank that was almost completely covered in brown after 2 days with a distilled water change and after an RODI water change he barely had any brown after 7 days. Stick with RODI water and you will be happier with the results in your tank.

As for the guy wanting captive bred fish? There are tons of options out there for a 23 gallon tank.
 
Discus-Tang
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

Here's the bad news... you need a lid. It's not just gobies that are prone to jumping, but most saltwater fish in general. Given enough time, any fish might jump, and it feels like the risk increases with smaller tanks like you and I have. A 23g huh? Unusual. You can DIY a lid pretty cheap using parts from the hardware store.


What kind of filters do you have? HOB's aren't a bad thing, but generally hard to clean filters like canisters are a big no-no in saltwater tanks as they hold onto detritus and become nitrate factories. I know you're planning a FOWLR so don't need ultra low nitrates, but filter maintenance is something that needs to be done much more frequently in saltwater tanks, or you'll just end up with unsightly algae all over the place.

You'll also need rocks, sand, saltwater test kits, a refractometer for measuring salinity, and a powerhead or two. Hydrometers are garbage for measuring salinity and refractometers are cheap online. Flow needs to be about 15-20x your water volume, and I don't imagine you'll get that much from filtration. Your cycle will live in your rocks, and that bacteria needs well oxygenated/fast-flowing water to survive.

You also need to think about how you'll provide saltwater for the tank. Even with a FOWLR, I would not recommend using tap water. Ocean creatures are much more sensitive to small ammonia spikes you might get in the tap, and if you're like me, you wonder what else is in your tap. I'm in the city and have pretty old water lines I think. I'd be afraid of heavy metals that may be low in the tap, but over time could build up in a tank. I've seen crashes from things like copper and even tin in the tap, so...

You could buy RODI or distilled water and mix it with marine salt yourself. This would mean you'd need a spare pump and heater to mix water and bring it to the correct temp prior to a water change. You can also buy saltwater from the LFS, and this feels cheaper than investing in your own RODI system in the beginning. I would argue that the RODI pays for itself over time though.

Whether you make or buy your water, always, always, always check salinity before using it for a wc. There is a horror story here by Slug who bought water from a trusted LFS and used it before discovering that it was freshwater. It caused a complete loss of all life in his reef tank. I'm grateful to Slug for sharing this and allowing us to learn from it... refractometers are easy to use and it takes just a minute.

Edit: Oops! Meant to add that there are many nano tank-bred fish options. Clowns of course, pistol gobies, several bleannies and cardinalfish just to name a few.
I have a sponge and a power.
 
stella1979
  • #6
You won't need the sponge filter for the FOWLR as the rocks in the tank to support your BB colony. You don't need to buy live rock though, as dry rock will cycle and become live in your tank. Cycling is certainly quicker using live rock, but there's also the potential for pests like aiptasia. Still, lots of folks choose live rock and you can also use some live and mostly dry to save on costs.

I suppose you could use the sponge if you want it for mechanical filtration. It will need to be thoroughly cleaned with each weekly water change, and it will not help much with flow requirements.

Not sure what you mean by 'power', but I am honestly not experienced with anything but HOB's and all-in-one's that contain filtration within the tank.
 
Discus-Tang
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
You won't need the sponge filter for the FOWLR as the rocks in the tank to support your BB colony. You don't need to buy live rock though, as dry rock will cycle and become live in your tank. Cycling is certainly quicker using live rock, but there's also the potential for pests like aiptasia. Still, lots of folks choose live rock and you can also use some live and mostly dry to save on costs.

I suppose you could use the sponge if you want it for mechanical filtration. It will need to be thoroughly cleaned with each weekly water change, and it will not help much with flow requirements.

Not sure what you mean by 'power', but I am honestly not experienced with anything but HOB's and all-in-one's that contain filtration within the tank.
power filter; internal filter powered with a powerhead

Sorry, I have another question: Saltwater tanks always have blue lights, whether it is a reef or not. Benefits?

Thank you for your help
 
stella1979
  • #8
The blue light makes colors pop and the spectrum is integral to coral growth as it mimics some of what the get from the sun's light through water.

You don't need blue light, or in fact, any light at for a FOWLR tank. The lighting is simply for your viewing pleasure... unless you're keeping the tank in a very dark room, in which case, the fish should still see a difference in night and day of course.

Edit: Power filter - Okay, so I have never seen one of these in a saltwater tank, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Do you keep biomedia in it? If it's just sponges, again, you don't need it for BB, but you could use it for mechanical filtration and to add flow. Then again, if the powerhead supporting this filter could be used alone, I'd probably do that instead, as sponges get so dirty and need constant cleaning. Mechanical filtration can so easily become a nitrate factory that many reefers employ the floss and toss method... where filter floss is used for only 3-5 days before it's thown away and replaced with new floss. In larger tanks, they're working with skimmers, sumps, and refugiums to keep nitrates low, but in smaller tanks, we rely on water changes alone and do our best to not provide any additional organics to the water... which is exactly what happens as detritus and uneaten food degrades in a sponge. I know you're not going reef, but I just want to impress upon you that nitrate levels are still important. and most do without sponges in saltwater. Even without corals to worry about, many fish and inverts like fun saltwater shrimp are sensitive to nitrates.

Do you know the GPH this filter will supply?
 
Jesterrace
  • #9
I would disagree in saying that fish don't really need light. I agree that there is a large degree of aesthetics in it, but IMHO any fish that isn't naturally living in the depths needs some form of light on a regular basis to thrive/be content. You just don't need anything fancy or expensive. A $30-$40 blue/white LED bar would be plenty for FOWLR and provide a decent look for the tank. I would agree that the filter sponge is just asking for nitrates (think canister filter). I have never run any sponges/bio-balls, etc. in either of my tanks. a Chemipure Elite media bag and some extra carbon combined with regular water and filter changes worked for me on my small tank. The lighting on my 36 gallon bowfront listed below was an Aqueon modular LED that came with a stock white bulb with moonglow accents (looked pretty cool in the dark) and then I added a blue max LED bulb to it to create the look:

 

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