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Lucasalc46

Reef aquarium vs. Freshwater tank

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Hello all! I'm new to this forum and I'm thinking about starting a reef tank.  The tank I am thinking of setting up is a 20 gallon novo fusion with AI prime hd light. currently, I have a 29 gallon South American tank with German ram and a Leopold angelfish as the centerpiece. The problem I have with this tank is that I have lost interest with this tank and it is more of a chore to take care of it. 

The question I have is in your guy's opinion, do you think a reef tank keeps you more engaged than a freshwater tank?

Im thinking of making a mixed reef with nano friendly corals. Also, to make a good looking reef that includes sps corals, is it necessary to use a dosing system? I'm just worried that it make get overwhelmingly complicated

 

Sorry for so many questions, 

Lucas

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It's hard to say. 

 

Yes in a way a reef tank is more engaging but I'm sure that many freshwater/planted owners are just as engaged in their fw as sw.

 

I miss having my cichlid tank because I truly enjoyed my fish and the ease of the tank.

 

Each individual is different. 

 

Sw does take regular dedication to maintenance, testing, topping up water, and often when you get into stony corals dosing.

 

The only way to completely avoid dosing is doing a soft coral tank.

 

Dosing equipment isn't necessary nor is an ato but they are very convenient pieces of equipment. So if you travel, have irregular work schedules, very busy, etc etc an ato or doser makes it a lot easier.

Otherwise you are looking at manual dosing and daily top up of rodi water.

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15 hours ago, Lucasalc46 said:

Hello all! I'm new to this forum and I'm thinking about starting a reef tank.  The tank I am thinking of setting up is a 20 gallon novo fusion with AI prime hd light. currently, I have a 29 gallon South American tank with German ram and a Leopold angelfish as the centerpiece. The problem I have with this tank is that I have lost interest with this tank and it is more of a chore to take care of it. 

The question I have is in your guy's opinion, do you think a reef tank keeps you more engaged than a freshwater tank?

Im thinking of making a mixed reef with nano friendly corals. Also, to make a good looking reef that includes sps corals, is it necessary to use a dosing system? I'm just worried that it make get overwhelmingly complicated

 

Sorry for so many questions, 

Lucas

It sounds like your current tank is engaging, but not in a positive way.

 

I think the question you will have to answer is how do you WANT your tank to engage with you?

 

If not via the chores, you will have to find a way to change the tank that minimizes chores....or so that it creates chores that you like.

 

There are lots of conventions to setting up a tank.  Most of them can be changed or even omitted when needed, as long as those changes are considered in the overall plan.  In other words, if you're smart, you can set up your tank to be exactly what you want it to be. 😉

 

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19 hours ago, Lucasalc46 said:

Hello all! I'm new to this forum and I'm thinking about starting a reef tank.  The tank I am thinking of setting up is a 20 gallon novo fusion with AI prime hd light. currently, I have a 29 gallon South American tank with German ram and a Leopold angelfish as the centerpiece. The problem I have with this tank is that I have lost interest with this tank and it is more of a chore to take care of it. 

The question I have is in your guy's opinion, do you think a reef tank keeps you more engaged than a freshwater tank?

Im thinking of making a mixed reef with nano friendly corals. Also, to make a good looking reef that includes sps corals, is it necessary to use a dosing system? I'm just worried that it make get overwhelmingly complicated

 

Sorry for so many questions, 

Lucas

What makes a tank engaging for you?

 

This is my basic routine for my sps and lps tank.... depending on your stocking... filtration...types of inhabitants..ect... You may have to do more or less...every tank is different.

 

Daily: dose/feed, inspect tank morning and night for any signs of stress or health issues

2-3 times per week: change floss, scrape glass, test alkalinity

Weekly: water change, blow off rocks, manually remove any pests/algae, stir/siphon sand, empty skimmer and clean cup, dose coral kz 1234

Every 2 weeks: change carbon, clean and siphon back chambers

Monthly: dismantle pumps and equipment to clean/scrub, test magnesium and calcium, nitrates and po4, adjust as needed

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I find reefs more enjoyable. I have a discus tank, and it's been more work and less rewarding imo. 

 

I enjoy the maintaince on my nano. Where it's become a bit of a chore on the freshwater. It's subjective though. I just find the results of maintaing a reef tank more worth the effort. I got bit by the coral bug. 

 

As for dosing, if you keep stonies at some point you'll need to address Alk and cal. Kalkwasser can work also. If your demand doesn't become more than it can handle. 

 

Anyway, the best advice is if you really want to get into reefing is research, research, research. 

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Thank you for all the great replies everyone! I know it is hard to answer this question but how much would the corals cost to stock one of these tanks of this size? I would like to do a variety of everything including 2 or 3 sps. I wouldn't be buying the top quality corals just the corals that of the affordable range that look nice. I just want to get a sense of what it will cost for the livestock.

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I did a little calculation, I dont know if its right. I said that 7 of the corals would cost $25 and another 7 would cost $35 and it came out as $420. Is this an acurate amount of corals for a tank like this and does the price seem fair?

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Average corals are anywhere from 10 to 30 dollars each. Maybe some losses... although getting healthy fish is harder than corals Imo.

 

I think it's hard to put a price on livestock as wants generally change but there is no rush to fill the tank. 

 

 

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I actually find both my FW and SW tanks rewarding. Of course, I find the SW tanks a bit more stressful to manage at times, because if something tiny goes out of whack, and goes unnoticed, it tends to affect the tank and its inhabitants all at once, and you can lose the whole system if you're not too careful.

 

If you're unsure if a reef tank is the way to go, just spend some time walking around the SW LFSes in your area and look at their DTs. Ask yourself repeatedly if this is what you want to go into, because it does take a lot of time, research and effort. If done right, it can be very, very rewarding. Patience is the key to the hobby though. 

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I find both very rewarding, but that is a personal thing, Just because I do you may not feel the same. I would caution though that SW does require a good bit more care than a simple FW setup (some specialized FW setups do rival reefs in difficulty though), so if you are not keen on doing maintenance on your freshwater tank, you probably won't want to do the more time consuming maintenance on a SW tank either.

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I enjoy both but keep my feet super KISS like gravel or barebottom and fake plants KISS lol. My rerfs though I strive to make ULM (ultra low maintenance).  Making an ultra low maintenance require quite a bit of money because you are investing automation. However, for me, reducing the maitanence and stress of it is definitely worth the cost. So like someone said, it depends on how you want to engage with the tank. I prefer to just clean glass, feed fish, dump skimmer and look at my phone to make sure all parameters are okay.  Other people really enjoy testing, dosing by hands, and oodles of water changes plus the other things I just said and that's cool too.  I prefer to be more hands off and let things grow out other people like to add a new coral like every week. And that is also just a style that has evolved for me over my seven years in the hobby. I have figured out how I prefer to interact with my tanks.

 

I do have a year old tank I have done nothing with for a year and it's fine but coral have been appropriately chosen for that environment (majority soft coral, macro algae no heavy Ca consumers) and treat it more as an experiment than a show tank.  So that's another aspect.  Are you gunning for a hardcore show tank? Or something you can just play with? All of that will also determine how much maitanence, livestock and equipment choices for your build.

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11 hours ago, Lucasalc46 said:

I did a little calculation, I dont know if its right. I said that 7 of the corals would cost $25 and another 7 would cost $35 and it came out as $420. Is this an acurate amount of corals for a tank like this and does the price seem fair?

It's hard to determine costs for livestock.

It will depend on where you purchase them, the type you purchase, and even time of year.

 

Here the price can go anywhere from $10- $300+

 

If budget is an issue, then I would consider overall costs as well.

 

Tank and stand

Lighting

Liverock/dryrock

Sand

Heater

Powerhead(s)

Filtration Media, food, salt, refractometer, test kits, buckets

 

This is the basic list of needs. Depending on the tank you choose will determine a need for a sump, hob filter, canister filter, media basket

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