Which One Is More Difficult To Keep??

Discussion in 'Saltwater Beginners' started by danelch, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. danelch

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Hey everyone
    Although I've had freshwater aquariums for quite some time now,I'm yet to keep discus (raising them from juvenile to adults). I've also had no experience with saltwater tanks BUT I'm planning to keep a pair of clownfish after, of course, setting up a saltwater tank for them.

    Now here's the dilemma : right now i can only afford (financially) to implement only one of my plans ^ for the time being ( for the next few months). Which one should i go for keeping in mind the following points :

    1)which one is more difficult than the other to keep in terms of maintenance and the time for maintenance?
    Growing juvenile discus or the clownfish?

    2)which one would be more profitable in case I decide to breed and/or sell them in the future ?

    3)related to "2)" , which fish would be more difficult to breed ?

    4) which would be more fun to keep?

    I really hope there are people out there who have knowledge and/or experience with both these.

    Thanks in advance. Cheers :)
  2. kluggy

    kluggyValued MemberMember

    I'm following this thread as I'm keen to see people's thoughts :)
  3. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Umm you got any thoughts about these yourself?
  4. kluggy

    kluggyValued MemberMember

    Discus can be time consuming when breeding, although very profitable :). Unfortunately I have no salt water experience which I hope to change in the near future.
  5. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Kinda like me. Well let's hope we find answers to some questions that need answering and maybe we'll have a sw tank in near future lol
  6. happygolucky

    happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    2) I would say discus are more profitable. Clownfish are pretty much the saltwater poster child, and thus they are easy to come by.

    4) I might guess clownfish are similar to community tropical fish in terms of behavior, but it would definitely be cool to see them move throughout coral/anemones. IMO the discus would be more fun because they are larger and have a wider variety of colors.

    Disclaimer: never kept either fish :)
  7. smee82

    smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    Both fish will be time consuming for general day to day maintenance but discus will maybe be slightly easier.

    As for breeding and making a profit i would say discus would be better
  8. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    I've never kept discus fish before...but if you get them as juveniles, you won't know what sex they are I'm assuming...Where with clown fish if you get them smaller, you are guaranteed to get a female and a male because of the way that they reproduce.
  9. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I haven't kept discus, but my first thoughts are....
    What size tank?
    Discus generally do better in larger tanks (55G +, depending on how many)
    A pair of clowns (oscellaris or percula) would be fine in a 20G (though IMHO, 30+ would be better)

    Neither species are "easy" to breed, though you can make life easier by getting a known mated (breeding) pair of clowns. The rest then comes down to husbandry.
    Discus as a general rule (based on the experiences I've read), you start with about 6, and hope that you get two that pair off. But be aware, when discus pair off, you'll want to remove the other inhabitants, as just like other cichlids, a breeding pair can be very territorial.

    Maintenance, my understanding is that discus require pretty much daily maintenance. (especially if you're trying to breed)
    SW tanks, like FW, just need weekly water changes and maintenance, and potentially daily water top-offs (depends on size of tank, and evaporation rates)

    Profitability? Well, clowns are pretty commonly captive bred now, so they're relatively cheap in the hobby. Discus, depending on the strain you breed can either be cheap, or expensive. The rarer the strain, the more you can sell it for.

    Also, I wouldn't expect to actually turn a "profit" if you're doing it as a hobby. The costs involved (even just in time), you might be able to offset/subsidise some of it, but to come out in front can be difficult.
  10. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    Agreed with what @ryanr said.

    I like to just add.

    Clowns are very hardy fishes in the saltwater world. Whereas Discus are the more delicate fishes in the freshwater world.

    In terms of fun to keep...

    Corals are the most fun to keep in this hobby ;) (my opinion of course)
    Why? It's fun to check up on the corals daily to see their growth, how they react to every little thing in your tank, it's very rewarding.
    Expensive, but rewarding.

    I wanted to just keep clowns at first and did not have an interest in corals at all... As you can see in the picture below,


    And now?
    My tank has evolved to this...

    Corals up the ying-yang :)
  11. grantm91

    grantm91Fishlore VIPMember

    The same thing happened to me started with a pair of clowns and went more over to the coral side of things they are so fun and addictive, i still love my occelaris though they are interesting doing different things everyday, they are that strange i find my self googling stuff thinking they could be unwell but they just get up to all sorts of mad stuff. 9185a3e6b8efebff60d291b17f4a9f90.jpg
  12. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Beautiful tank
    I do agree how the coral game is so cool and I'd love to do that myself one day ^.^ but I'm only a beginner right now as you know, so I'm not going all in atm until i get some first hand experience at a more umm basic level

    Btw how do you clean your sand ? If you do do that, i mean ?

    Isn't that a very hectic job?

    You guys seem to be doing great-you got a beautiful tank too ^.^ i saw your tank in another thread i created :)
    Would love to do that myself one day!!

    And just like i asked above, how do you keep your sand clean ?
  13. grantm91

    grantm91Fishlore VIPMember

    My two hermit crabs keep it clean ive also seen some snails on there too which came in my live rock it dosent really get dirty just don't overfeed or over stock. Thats another plus one for getting 2nd hand good live rock.
  14. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    @danelch Yeah. Once you get the hang of it though, it's fun to keep corals. It's sort of an experiment too.

    Great question about the sand cleaning and probably the least understood.
    So, if you don't have a DSB (deep sand bed) then the sand is mainly for aesthetic purposes. It will harbor some beneficial bacteria, but not a whole lot. From what I have learned through my own experience and through some folks that's been in the hobby for a while, is to keep your sand bed stirred and cleaned, as best as you can!

    So going into this, I am no longer following the 1lbs per 1 gallon rule. I essentially have just enough sand to cover up the bottom and a little more for some snails to bury themselves under. Each week, I do a very thorough stir of the sand and then use a gravel vacuum hose to go through the entire sand bed.

    Detritus build up and what does that entail?
    Not only are we talking about excess food, but also fish/invert wastes that collects over-time in between the rocks, underneath the rocks and sand. All this should be exported out as best as possible, especially in nano setups.

    What if you don't clean the detritus build up within the pockets of rocks and sand?
    If the detritus has a chance to sit there for a while, either due to low-flow, dead spots, or just hard to get to areas for you to clean properly, you'll eventually get what they call an "old-tank" syndrome, detritus build up, whatever you want to call it. It's basically a build up of gunk (left over food, fish waste, invert waste, etc...) It will slowly cause your tank to have algae issues and if you, let's say move that pocket of sand/rock that has the gunk built up. It can release the built up toxin that can harm your tank inhabitants.

    How do you prevent this from happening?
    - A good rock set-up so you can easily go in between the areas to clean
    - Try not to over-feed, spot feed as best as possible
    - Make sure you have good flow going through all around your tank, so the flow kicks up any detritus before it has a chance to settle in between the sand or rocks.
    - During weekly maintenance, make sure you stir up all the sand, use a turkey baster to blow all over the rocks.
    - Vacuum. Vacuum. Vacuum.

    Just doing water changes is probably the least effective way in exporting excess nutrients.
    The steps above will greatly help you achieve a long-term thriving reef tank.

    Is it a hectic job?
    Nah. Not really. I really sat down to think about my rock-scaping and equipment set-up prior to setting up my IM 25 Lagoon. My goal for the tank was to keep all equipment simple, must be easy to maintain, and have it thrive long-term. So asides from mixing up my salt for weekly water changes, it takes me... 20 minutes tops for maintenance... this entails scraping my glass, vacuum sand bed, clean equipment, etc...

    Anyways, this is probably much more than what you were looking for.
    Hope you join the darkside ;)
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  15. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Haha no it kinda felt like going through a mini Wikipedia which answered only the specific questions i had in mind lol can't tell you how well-thought and well-put a reply it was ^.^ thanks a lot! :)
    Guess it's answered most of the queries i had

    1)You might get angry after i ask you this but i still gotta do this :
    I know you seem to love the idea of a DSB in a sw tank right ? But wouldn't having a BB tank make maintenance much more easier?
    I could just lift the rocks and vacuum the waste at the bottom ( i do understand how a strong wave at the bottom of the tank would prevent any detritus from settling down, but still to be on the safe side ? )

    2) and here's what I'm thinking about how I'm gonna set my first sw tank :

    Barebottom, 30- 40 gallon, HOB filter, wave maker, a lot of live rock (no corals for now, like i said earlier ), mix the salt in water and check with a refractometer, a heater and a thermometer for the right temperature. Put in 2 clownfish after i cycle the tank. Still need to learn how to do that.

    You think it it'd work??

    Thanks again for an elaborated, excellent reply :)
  16. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    @danelch I am terribly angry with you.

    Just kidding :)

    1) Kind of mis-understanding here. I personally don't like the idea of a DSB. You will need at least 6" of sand in your tank to create that and seems like a lot harder to upkeep. I personally would get too annoyed looking at the brown diatoms in between the glass and sand... A 6" DSB also means you have a lot less space now for water... which I rather keep more water. If you are an OCD clean freak, a thin layer of sand will suit your needs.

    BINGO!!! You hit the nail right on the head with your lifting the rocks and vacuum the waste.
    Let's take this to another level of thinking... Our small reef systems are enclosed. So if you think about it, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year down the line... how much waste can accumulate under rocks? A lot! So what I try to re-create is the cleanest reef environment for everything in the tank.
    There's an article out there of a reefer whose been keeping his reef tank up and running for 40 years. He actually runs a reverse under gravel filtration set-up. Genius! Nothing collects underneath.
    Anyways, I digress. Obviously for some of these reefers with bigger set-ups, and rocks all stacked up, it's not feasible for them to lift it. But take a closer look at those really good reefers with bigger tanks with no issues. Their rock formation and scaping is properly stacked to allow water to flow through. Yes, they do run protein skimmers, however, they don't run them 24/7, they run them a few hours a day to assist with exporting nutrients so they can stretch out their water change schedule.

    So to give you a bit of insight with my set-up, which I have yet to talk about in my youtube video... is the rock-scaping.
    Have you seen my video? If not here it is. My tank set-up is actually a little different now, will have a new video out soon.

    Each island of the rocks are epoxied together. This gives me the option to either slide my rock or even lift it a bit for cleaning. You wouldn't need to lift it all that much either. You can use a power-head or turkey baster to blow out the gunk as well and place your rock right back down.

    2) Yip. That will work perfectly just to keep clowns.
    So a little tip here... Since you are using a HOB filter, jam it with bio-media, this way you can get away with using less live rock in your tank :)
    I have Seachem bio-media in the back of my tank, which allows me to use only 12-15lbs of rock in my 25G set-up.

    You know, I think in my next set-up I might consider a bare bottom tank. It's a clean look and don't have to worry about any build up and you can really hone in on keeping harder to keep corals. Take a look at some of the bare bottom coral tanks. Amazing!
    For the wave-maker, get the ones where you can tune the flow. Check out Jebao SW-2. It's what I am using. Not only can I adjust the flow from high to low, but there's also a variable wave maker setting that let's me mimic the waves going back and forth in the ocean. This helps to mix up the flow and so your corals don't get hit by a constant flow.

    Trust me, as soon a you get those clowns in your tank... You will want corals. Next thing you know, you'll say "You were right" haha.
  17. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Thanks a lot for such a helpful answer yet again!!! ^.^

    And God, your tank is beautiful ! <3

    And lol yes i think i will begin to increase my "things-i-want-for-my-tanks" list lolol cuz i do have a tendency to do that

    Thanks again.. will bother you again if something comes up!

    Tbh , more than anything,it's the water-changing regimen thing that I'm actually the most afraid of in my freshwater tanks as well :/
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2017
  18. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Why are you afraid of water changes?
    You'll get the hang of the routine over-time.
  19. grantm91

    grantm91Fishlore VIPMember

    Yeah water changes are easy literally all you need... check out this noob stuff..

  20. Nart

    NartWell Known MemberMember

    What @grantm91 said :)

    Hey grantm91 - so just a heads up... I see that you are using Red Sea Pro salt as well. What salinity are you mixing it at?

    So what I am finding now is, for some LPS, and SPS coral that I have... I mix the RS Pro salt @ 1.025 and getting a dKH of 11-12. Which is higher than what most reefers would keep LPS and SPS's at. Essentially a high dKH could burn the skeleton structure once you start stocking LPS corals and up. I am planning on switching to the regular Red Sea (blue bucket) which has a lower dKH value. I believe if you mix the regular RS at 1.026 you'll get 8-9 dKH which is perfect for keeping LPS and SPS.

    My LPS and SPS corals are fine in the mean-time, but over-time I am afraid of any adverse affect.

    Just an FYI :)