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Old 11-16-2011, 03:02 AM  
Silock Silock is online now
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Any fishkeepers here? Saltwater or freshwater

I'm looking at starting up a saltwater tank. Is there a good fish store in the KC area without driving out to Lawrence?
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:46 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Holladay View Post
I'll second everything mentioned.

I've had all sorts of tanks for +35 yrs. Never salt due to the expense and a mostly overlooked fact the for every gal of water, freshwater will hold 4x the number of fish vs salt due to the oxygen available.

I want a busy, full of bright fish, low maintainance and low cost.



If you're wanting a freshwater tank with some fish variety, I would really recommend avoiding an Oscar. They're super aggressive, they'll tear the shit out of your tank, they eat/grow quickly, and they're messy. Everyone who starts off with an Oscar will eventually hate it when it grows into a giant asshole fish.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:46 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Detoxing View Post
This post alone proves that Saltwater is harder to maintain than freshwater.
Harder to start. More costly to do well.

Easier to maintain.

If you do your homework first, even the startup isn't that difficult. It just requires about an hour worth of research on the nitrogen cycle and some patience. The rest of it comes from either a knowledgeable local fishstore owner (will steer you right) and some personal preference.

It's not that hard at all once you get going.

It's not my fault you suck at it...
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:50 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by DJ's left nut View Post
Oh yeah - other questions:

Online resources: Marinedepot.com and Drsfostersmith.com are where I get most of my food/supplies. Some swear by Big Als as well. Aquacon has some great specials, but I've never bought from them as the shipping is prohibitive.

Aquarium Wholesale at the great mall is an incredible fish store, though the staff will annoy me on occasion (they're simply understaffed). They have the best prices on coral frags and generally the best fish selection. The owner (Pat) is a nice guy and generally means well, but can be a bit much at times. I try to run by there whenever I'm in town just to see what they have. I've found things like a Mystery Wrasse there for $45 when the only other places I could find them were selling them for $200. He'll also get Achilles tangs, Black tangs and all kinds of stuff that you're otherwise just not going to find.
Couldn't agree more with the info you've supplied on here. You obviously are experienced in saltwater tanks. I've done both fresh and salt setups before, and I agree with you. Saltwater isn't any harder, just takes a little bit more thought than a freshwater.

I almost said something about the staff at AW also, but didn't want to bash them, as I buy probably 75% of my stuff from Pat. But yeah, he can be a bit of a used car salesman at times. It's espicially dangerous if you are inexperienced and don't know that he's overselling you on something you don't really need. I don't know his name, but there's a young guy thats in there most of the time that is very experienced, and if I ever have a question, generally offers good advice. If you become a repeat customer, he will also hook you up on some good deals on stuff he has too much of in stock and the like.

I started with a 75 gal, and I think it's the perfect size for a starter. I've had friends with 55 gal tanks before, and I don't like them. Not enough room to work with your rock, and what you said about water volume is critical. IMO 75 is a great starter tank.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:52 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by DJ's left nut View Post
Harder to start. More costly to do well.

Easier to maintain.

If you do your homework first, even the startup isn't that difficult. It just requires about an hour worth of research on the nitrogen cycle and some patience. The rest of it comes from either a knowledgeable local fishstore owner (will steer you right) and some personal preference.

It's not that hard at all once you get going.

It's not my fault you suck at it...
I don't know what you think... but getting a new tank started is a lot of fun for me. Live rock is outrageously expensive, so I always start with dry rock, then seed it from a piece or two of live. I like the idea of starting from scratch and doing it all myself though. It generally takes me anywhere from 6-8 weeks from the time I bring the tank into my house until I put the first fish in. But like I said, I think the process itself is a ton of fun.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:56 PM   #50
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Above all else - have a plan.

Don't just buy a shitload of fish and throw them in there. Don't go get some blue damsels because they look pretty (they're evil; all damsels are. They're cheap but they're mean and they'll attack the expensive and better stuff later). Don't get an emperor angel and then try to get corals (the angel will eat them).

You'll get run out of the hobby if you have a bad early experience and no plan of attack. Be patient, be persistent and just do a little research.

Freshwater tanks are the highballs of fishkeeping. Sure, it's easier to mix a whiskey and coke, but you drink it and it's gone and there's not a hell of a lot of satisfaction there. Or you could do some homework, figure out what you're up to and brew your own beer; you get the satisfaction of a plan that's come together, a much MUCH better product and a good ol' starter brew will pretty much take care of itself if you just change out the water here and there...
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:59 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bunk View Post
I don't know what you think... but getting a new tank started is a lot of fun for me. Live rock is outrageously expensive, so I always start with dry rock, then seed it from a piece or two of live. I like the idea of starting from scratch and doing it all myself though. It generally takes me anywhere from 6-8 weeks from the time I bring the tank into my house until I put the first fish in. But like I said, I think the process itself is a ton of fun.
Hate it. Don't like paying $8/lb for liverock and damn sure don't like waiting for seed rock to cure.

I just keep a constant eye out for folks looking to get out, then I'll buy theirs for $1-2/lb. Cheaper, easier, quicker. I'm not a fan of an empty tank and used rock accelerates the process by a month or more.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:53 PM   #52
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Here are a few pics of my small saltwater tank. I dig the soft corals, they are pretty expensive but really add something to the tank IMO.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:18 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by KC Fish View Post
If you're wanting a freshwater tank with some fish variety, I would really recommend avoiding an Oscar. They're super aggressive, they'll tear the shit out of your tank, they eat/grow quickly, and they're messy. Everyone who starts off with an Oscar will eventually hate it when it grows into a giant asshole fish.
I had Oscars for years and loved them. They'd move things but never tore my tank up and I didn't find them messy at all. Actually I thought they were quite simple. The biggest problem I ever had with Oscars was trying to raise more than one in a tank for a long time because of course one out of a group will end up being the "alpha male" and kill the others a lot of time. I did manage to have 5 in a tank... 3 reds and 2 albino for about a year in a 55 gallon tank. Once I was down to one big red it lived for 5 or 6 years and got quite large. That was pretty cool even though it was the only one left. My pleco got to about 14" long and a few inches wide too before it just up and died one day. Bummed me out.

Mostly I liked buying a dozen feeder goldfish and turning them loose into the tank... heh.

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Old 11-16-2011, 09:52 PM   #54
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I'd say right now, cost is my main deterrent to getting a SW tank. Those fish are ridiculously ****ing expensive. If one dies, I don't want to be out $200.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:06 PM   #55
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Lots of strange information in this thread, IMO.

I've had tanks of various fashions and forms for about 15 years now. I presently have a 90 gallon freshwater community tank and a 130 gallon saltwater reef. I've done cichlids (the pictures above), piranha, livebreeders, fish-only saltwater, and lord knows what else. I've settled on the reef as the best looking and easily the highest 'work/reward' ratio.

Some misconceptions, IMO:

A) Freshwater is easier than salt. I strongly disagree. Freshwater is cheaper than salt, but you'll never get as strong a biological filtration system in a freshwater tank. As a consequence, you need to change the water out to get the waste out well. In a saltwater setup, most of the waste will break down through your biological setup and eventually evacuate as a gas after the ammonia cycle finishes up.

B) Start small with a saltwater tank. NO! No no no, 1000 times no. A smaller saltwater tank is significantly harder to deal with because a change in the water chemistry can be quick and catastrophic. If you're running a 20 gallon setup and a fish dies, it could create enough bio-load on its own to run up your ammonia levels, converting to nitrite then nitrates. The ammonia/nitrite spike would kill your fish and the nitrate spike would cause an algae bloom. With a large tank, however, that dead fish simply won't register. There's so much water that changes in water chemistry are significantly more gradual.

You can do a saltwater tank cheap, or you can do it well. You can't really do both. If you want to start with a 'cheaper' alternative, get a large setup and work slowly into it. Keep the tank 1/2 empty for awhile if need be. Do not, however, start small. I would only recommend Nano setups and the 'desktop' tanks to people that are much more involved with the tank. If you want an easier tank to deal with, especially saltwater, go with 90 gallons or better.

As for setup advice:

1) Go to Craigslist and try to find someone getting out. This is huge in that they will already have live-rock or other biological media that has gone through the ammonia cycle. This will mean that you won't have that 'be prepared for dead fish' beginning suggested. What that is is simply your tank building up its biological bacteria to process the waste appropriately. With 'used' liverock that will already be there and will greatly improve your initial success. It will also be about 1/5 as expensive.

If you don't have that biological setup running through used rock, it'll be a couple of months before the tank has 'cycled' and you won't want any fish in it until afterwards. You can do this by putting some regular ol' eating shrimp in the tank immediately after setup, letting it rot and the bacteria that takes care if it will cycle the tank and the bacteria will populate the rock. Change the water and you're ready to go.

2) Build your tank around your light. If you have the means or if you get lucky, go with one of the new LED setups or a Metal Halide/Power Compact combo. These will make a tank look better than you will ever imagine. I'm particularly fond of the MH setups; the point-source effect created by the light creates a literal 'shimmer' effect in the water. It really can't be duplicated by any other light setup and it's really incredible. I have found that the light is more important to the overall feel of the tank than anything else, including the fish or corals you add to it. A bad light will make beautiful fish look bland.

3) Protein skimmer. The expensive filters are only necessary if your biological setup is insufficient. More critical than filtration is actually water movement. This will keep algae down as well as oxygenate the water well (critical for healthy fish; especially tangs and a few others). A protein skimmer will get the small particulates in the water that won't settle and break down on the bottom of the tank. These help a great deal. I have a Precision Marine Bullet; I don't recommend them. It's a beckett injector system and frankly it sucks a little bit. Look for a good cone skimmer. These are the most important 'filter' mechanism. If you decide you need another supplemental filter, a Magnum cannister filter will be sufficient to run carbon or something like that. I use a Fluval 350 (I think), it's overkill.

4) Maintenance is simple. Do a 10% water change every couple of weeks and you'll be fine. Some people do more, some people never do any. I have found that my corals are healthier with periodic water changes, but I think that's because they need the nutrients in the salt as I don't have a calcium reactor and don't dose with coral nutrients. I really use the water changes as my sole additives. It's not going to get me a show tank, but it works well enough. If you can get a Reverse osmosis setup, I'd suggest it. They're a couple hundred bucks but they'll keep the phosphates out of your tank and greatly reduce algae problems (as algae feeds on phosphates).

There's a ton of other stuff, but that's why they write books on the subject. If you have a question, just ask. I can tell you what I've learned through my own myriad of failures at this point.
I have never even had a gold fish. But a few years ago, I was seriously looking at starting a saltwater tank. I probably did 100 hours of research on it. In the end I decided that I'd scratched 80% of my fish itch by doing the research and planning and didn't need to spend untold number of hours and $ scratching the last 20% of my itch. That is a long preamble to saying there is a ton of great advice in this post.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:36 PM   #56
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When I was in college I had a Black Rhombeus Piranha that I named Petey. I bought him when he was an inch long for $50. I sold him 4 years later when he was 7 inches long for $500 (included the tank). Some guy drove like 300 miles to pick it up. Man we got a lot of drunk entertainment out of him. In retrospect, it was morbid, but he shredded feeder fish like no ones business. Sometimes we would even buy a large goldfish just to watch him go to town on it. I used to have pics of him, but they vanished the last time my computer crashed....sigh*
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:52 AM   #57
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Years ago we owned a small pet store. During that experience I learned African cichlids offer the best balance of color/activity/survivability. Just do your homework and make sure the types you're getting are compatible. There are local clubs you can join and they even have swap meets and auctions. You can get MUCH healthier fish at these events than you can from any store, just because of all the travelling the fish go through prior to arriving at the retail location.

With my Africans I have a great filter and change 1/3 of the water every 10 days or so. I never check PH or anything else. The only fish I've killed were from a big heater stuck on. I now put two small heaters in my tanks so I'll have a little more time if one sticks on. My fish usually die from old age
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:01 AM   #58
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:38 AM   #59
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A) Freshwater is easier than salt. I strongly disagree. Freshwater is cheaper than salt, but you'll never get as strong a biological filtration system in a freshwater tank. As a consequence, you need to change the water out to get the waste out well
I would suggest there are options available to prove otherwise. See my post #25 on Overengineered RFUGF. I dont know of anyother way to get 18 FT SQUARED in just one filter method.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:44 AM   #60
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If you're wanting a freshwater tank with some fish variety, I would really recommend avoiding an Oscar. They're super aggressive, they'll tear the shit out of your tank, they eat/grow quickly, and they're messy. Everyone who starts off with an Oscar will eventually hate it when it grows into a giant asshole fish
Agreed as a non-starter fish, posted it because of its' color in defense of salt has more color.

Quote:
I had Oscars for years and loved them.
Quote:
Mostly I liked buying a dozen feeder goldfish and turning them loose into the tank... heh.
Brings back memories. Had a 12" Red Snakehead. His mouth cavity was 1/3 of his body. We'd starve him for a week then drop in a dozen feeder fish and take bets on how fast he could finish. Boy could he connect the dots
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