Newbie Question

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Setup' started by MCJoner, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. MCJonerNew MemberMember

    I’ve been a freshwater keeper for many many years now, would love to venture into saltwater. I’ve done a lot of research and it seems it’s a tad more work but doesn’t seem crazy, is it really a pain in the behind like a lot of people say?
  2. PheonixKingZWell Known MemberMember

    Uhhh.... YEAH!! Saltwater takes years to master, and years more to actually keep cool fish, I can tell you have hard it truely is, because I’ve never done it. Lol, I know my limits!!:)

  3. SmalltownfishfriendWell Known MemberMember

    I too have been researching it! I personally don't think it sounds much harder than freshwater, it's just a different way to keep a tank, I have been discovering the start up cost is higher too!! I say go for it! @Nart has written a bunch of beginner guides that are extremely helpful!!!:)

  4. MCJonerNew MemberMember

    Yeah apart from the initial start up costs and marginally more maintenance costs (water salt etc) I think I’ll go for it! Thanks for the link too I’ll be sure to check it out

  5. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    An irritating and recurrent myth about the hobby (and generally perpetuated by those with ZERO saltwater experience). Saltwater is only as difficult as you make it. Most in freshwater would agree that keeping a single Betta in a 5-10 gallon tank is no where in the same league of cost and difficulty of keeping a large amount of Discus in a 150 gallon tank. The same is true of saltwater. One or two ocellaris clownfish in a 20 gallon tank with no corals is no where near the same degree of difficulty, cost and effort of a 6 to 8 foot long full blown reef tank with Tangs, Angels, etc.

    The other issue is that no amount of freshwater experience is a substitute for good solid research in the hobby. I actually started my very first tank as a saltwater tank. I did make a couple of mistakes (nothing that freshwater would've helped me avoid), but I actually avoided a number of mistakes that freshwater folks converting over to the hobby have made. Why? Because I set out from the get go researching what was appropriate for a reef environment instead of being the guy who assumes that because he has years or decades of freshwater keeping experience who assumes he is good to go. I spent about 4 months researching forums, groups, Youtube, talking to people at my various LFS before buying my tank. I do agree that you need to take it slow and research the heck out of it before jumping into it, but you definitely don't need years of experience to be successful with saltwater.

    @ the OP, it all depends on what your plans are. FOWLR aka Fish Only With Live Rock is generally easier and much less expensive than doing reef (ie Corals). Corals themselves are pricey, require additional water testing and checking of parameters and require pricey lighting to do well long term. There is a delicate balance between going too small for your first tank and going so big that you are doing tons of maintenance on it (and yes bigger tanks are more time consuming for maintenance simply because of equipment, scale, etc.). I would say anything ranging from a 20 gallon Long up to a standard 75 gallon would be a good choice for a first tank. Be aware though that around 55 gallon or larger and you are going to want a pre-drilled reef ready type setup with a sump for best results.

    Among the easier fish to keep:

    Ocellaris or Percula Clownfish
    Royal Gramma Basslet
    Easier to keep Halichoeres, Fairy Wrasses, Possum or Pink Streaked Wrasses
    Cherubfish aka Pygmy Angel or Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel (Just be aware these can nip at corals so keep that in mind)
    Most Gobies
    Most Blennies
    Hawkfish (just don't keep them with really small fish or they will eat them)
  6. MCJonerNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much for your time to write that out! Helps a lot I’ve done about 2/3 months worth of just constant YouTube and online research just to see what I’ll be getting into, what do you think about the fluval evo? It’s 13.5 gallons and decently priced, would that be too small and a pain for parameters to keep in check? I’m not looking for the full blown reef style just want a hand at keeping some stunning coloured fish in the marine world. I know I’d also be limited for fish in a tank that small
  7. PheonixKingZWell Known MemberMember

    Very good point @Jesterrace , I gues I dint think of that, you should write a book!! Lol:)
  8. GuanchyWell Known MemberMember

    Ive never had saltwater or thought of even going into saltwater but from what ive had heard from other fish keepers and my LFS that ive asked, they always say its really not that difficult.

    but like everything you do, do your research and ask questions to the experts (like you are doing now) and im sure you will be good.
  9. NartWell Known MemberMember

    it's superrrrrrrrr easy once you get going.
    don't let the myths and rumors deter you. as with anything, it's as difficult as you want to make it and as easy as you want to make it.

    if you're on instagram, feel free to check out all my different builds and/or if you just need ideas for your build @mightynanotank
  10. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    The 13.5 is pretty limited with what it can have (ie 2-3) smaller fish. It's about the smallest tank I would try with one or two ocellaris variety clownfish (ideally they should have 20 gallons or more IMHO). The biggest trick with the 13.5 will be evaporation. It's a HUGE factor with saltwater tanks as water evaporates but salt doesn't. Therefore as water evaporates your salinity levels can rise rapidly with a smaller tank. An ATO (Auto Top Off) System can help this by adding fresh RODI water to your tank to compensate. If you are looking for a smaller all in one tank a 20-30 gallon IM Nuvo Fusion would give you more stocking options and the display glass is exceptionally clear. Generally my starting point for tank recommendations is a 20 gallon Long, followed by a 40 gallon breeder for standard tanks. Length is arguably the most important dimension for marine fish in terms of stocking options. My personal favorite of the smaller AIO is the IM Nuvo 30 Gallon Long as it gives you a 3 foot length in an otherwise compact footprint and the relatively shallow depth makes lighting for corals pretty easy.

  11. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    I already have to an extent. :D
  12. Skullkong101Valued MemberMember

    Honestly if I went saltwater would be years from now and all I would want are pistol shrimp lol. Even though they would die after a week because they are terrible startes. Same with harleyquin shrimp. Lol.
  13. JesterraceWell Known MemberMember

    They tend to do best with a symbiotic relationship and there are many cool looking gobies they could partner with. Harlequin shrimp are a bit more tricky as they need plenty of different things to graze on to do well.
  14. MCJonerNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all of the info everyone! I’ll be sure to check out the tanks you’ve shown and your insta!
  15. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hi, welcome to Fishlore.
    I'll echo the thoughts of those above. Saltwater is not difficult, but it can be challenging depending on your setup. i.e. keeping SPS corals would be the most challenging.

    I think the most difficult part of SW is re-educating yourself about aquariums, and understanding how a SW setup differs to FW, and how it all works. Once you get your head around the setup, and understand it, it's really no different to a FW system. You still test water the same way, you still do maintenance, you still do water changes.

    For me, the maintenance/water change routine was the same as my FW, except it was a larger volume of water in the SW, and a few extra tests, so time wise, it took a bit more effort, but it wasn't difficult. And daily top-offs of evaporated water.

    To me, I liken it to a bicycle vs a car. On a bike, you pretty much have two tyres to check, on a car, it's 4, but you do it the same way, just takes longer to do 4. A bike you have a chain and gears to check, on a car it's oil, water etc.

    And as has been pointed out, it's only as difficult as you want to make it. Yes they cost more upfront, and the running costs are higher, but the same can be said for a 90G vs 20G FW setup.
  16. MCJonerNew MemberMember

    Thanks a lot bud, all info helps a lot! Think I will Definitely look into the tank size more and what I can get here in the uk!
  17. NartWell Known MemberMember

    @Skullkong101 btw- pistol shrimps are really easy to keep. you won't see them 90% of the time, but it's cool when you do.