How Hard Is Saltwater?

Caleb Smith

In about a month, I leave for college and alongside my 20 gallon axolotl tank, I will have room on my desk for a small tank as well.
I have been looking into the small fluval kits because I don't have much room and I think the proportions will fit well on a desk.

I have been looking into taking the leap into saltwater for a while and I was considering getting an Evo V instead of a Spec V.
I know this is obviously not the ideal way to start in saltwater being such a small tank and Saltwater being more difficult to maintain and more expensive. I also understand that my selection of fish will be slI'm to none. I am not expecting much but a few beginner corals and MAYBE a type of goby.

So I am wondering how hard it is in your opinion to make the transition from a Freshwater to Saltwater tank.
Do you think this is feasible to do in such a small tank and if so, what are some tips that you could recommend.
The tank would not be setup for at least another month, then it would be empty for a month of cycling so I am in no rush and I'm open to any advice or opinions you wanna share.
I just want to hear other opinions on the subject outside the generalizations on the difficulty of Saltwater.
 

Lchi87

I just started my saltwater journey about 7 months ago! I turned my 10 gallon betta tank into a nano reef. I’ve got a build thread you can browse

Is it hard? Depends on what you consider hard. As you know, fluctuations in parameters are much more impactful in tanks with smaller water volume. I think that aspect might be challenging for you. It HAS been done before so it’s definitely feasible but I don’t recommend it. The learning curve for sw is a bit steep and larger tanks are more forgiving. I would have started larger if I could.

In terms of cost, a smaller setup is definitely less expensive. I was able to reuse a lot of fw equipment like my light, HOB, and heater for the first few months. You start wanting the nice stuff eventually though You will definitely need a light upgrade if you want to grow corals.

If you want to try it, you’ll have to watch your numbers pretty carefully. A good test kit is definitely a must, especially with corals.

A second tip is to take your time. Make adjustments slowly.

Third tip is research. Do a LOT of it.

I wish you the best of luck though! Going salty has made me a better fish keeper all around and I am so glad my salty friends convinced me to take the plunge.
 

Floundering_Around

I have the EVO 13.5 that I take back and forth with me to school. Most annoying thing is having to move the corals. I can't really let anything encrust onto the rock because I stick all my live rock into a five-gallon bucket with some water.

On a tank that small, doing multiple small water changes will keep your parameters in check so you won't have to dose. However, since the tank is so small if you have a swing in ammonia or salinity (due to evaporation) it'll happen quickly and can crash your tank. That's why I went for the 13.5 cause it has a closed hood whereas the 5 doesn't
 

Jesterrace

In about a month, I leave for college and alongside my 20 gallon axolotl tank, I will have room on my desk for a small tank as well.
I have been looking into the small fluval kits because I don't have much room and I think the proportions will fit well on a desk.

I have been looking into taking the leap into saltwater for a while and I was considering getting an Evo V instead of a Spec V.
I know this is obviously not the ideal way to start in saltwater being such a small tank and Saltwater being more difficult to maintain and more expensive. I also understand that my selection of fish will be slI'm to none. I am not expecting much but a few beginner corals and MAYBE a type of goby.

So I am wondering how hard it is in your opinion to make the transition from a Freshwater to Saltwater tank.
Do you think this is feasible to do in such a small tank and if so, what are some tips that you could recommend.
The tank would not be setup for at least another month, then it would be empty for a month of cycling so I am in no rush and I'm open to any advice or opinions you wanna share.
I just want to hear other opinions on the subject outside the generalizations on the difficulty of Saltwater.

I cannot stress this enough, research and taking your time is key. Anyone who tells you that you need X number of years of freshwater experience or to spend $1000 plus to get a saltwater tank doesn't have a clue. Some will disagree with me, but personally I feel that Freshwater teaches you both good and bad habits when it comes to saltwater.

Among the good habits:

1) A basic understanding of the nitrogen cycle (ie going from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, establishing good bacteria)
2) Basic fish care principals (ie Filter Changes, Water Changes, Maintaining temperature and water testing)
3) Not overfeeding
4) Checking for signs of disease and a basic concept of Quarantine Procedures

Among the bad Habits (I am using real examples I have seen from saltwater newbies who converted over from freshwater)

1) Not understanding what is appropriate for a marine environment (ie setting up a saltwater tank with gravel, fake plants, bubblers, goofy decorations) and realizing how crucial live rock (or dry rock that is going to be seeded with bacteria to essentially become live rock) is to a saltwater tank
2) Using treated tap water and then wondering why they are having all kind of problems with algae or other problems with their tank. TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) are a much bigger factor with saltwater tanks. Very few municipal water systems have tap water which is low enough with TDS (and even then you don't know what solids are in the water) to make it suitable for use. Hence why you will hear about RODI (Reverse Osmosis/De-Ionized) Water, which strips all of the solids out of the water to produce 0 TDS. You can either purchase an RODI system or you can buy RODI from an LFS, if you have one nearby. Most prefer to buy their own units and make their own since the cost of buying it can add up and some LFS may not change out their filters when they are supposed to on their systems.
3) Understanding that the biological filter isn't established in the filter media, but in the rock itself, hence the reason why live rock/dry rock is a must for a saltwater tank
4) Getting comfortable with an API test kit. Some will disagree with me on this one, but until you use another kit (ie Red Sea, Salifert, etc.) it's tough to explain why they are much more accurate and reliable kits (especially for nitrate testing).

The Fluval Spec kit will work, but a 20 Long would be much better if you can find the room. The Fluval is pretty complete but it's lighting isn't the best for corals, so you may want to look into starting out with a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) setup as it will save you money in the long run. You would be amazed at how expensive corals and quality lighting can be.

For a 13.5 gallon tank you could do a max of 2-3 of the following fish:

Ocellaris Clownfish (ie Nemo)-Although these would be better suited to a 20 long IMHO
Small Gobies
Small Blennies
Firefish
Possum Wrasse/Pink Streaked Wrasse

The last on the list would definitely give you something unique. After getting my Melanurus Wrasse, I can't imagine having another tank without some form of Wrasse
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
6
Views
1K
eliscofield12
Replies
4
Views
2K
Aquaphobia
Replies
36
Views
2K
Jayd976
Replies
17
Views
519
Culprit
Replies
2
Views
338
Jesterrace

Random Great Thread!

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom