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Broseff

I'm not like new new, but I definetly haven't been doing SW long enough.

 

I've noticed in my general findings, research, and experience (only like 1-2 years of SW) that SW tanks are much harder to maintain in general than FW. And I do mean this in a general sense, so like FW vs SW in general (I don't mean FOWL FW tanks vs SW tanks with coral specifically, incase anyone thought that). 

 

It seems like SW tanks battle with nuissance algae a lot more than FW tanks. I've seen plenty of FW tanks with just spongefilters running and little to no problems with algae, but I can't say the same for SW. Is there any particular reason for this? Do SW tanks just have a more complex mix of nutrients than FW (which make it harder to balance/maintain things)?

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davidcalgary29

1. There should be no salinity concerns with FW tanks, so large water drops don't necessarily adversely effect tank dwellers.

2. Reefs are stable environments and we aim to achieve the same stability in our tanks, which requires effort in such a small closed system.

3. Many decorative freshwater species are swamp dwellers and/or live in turbid, murky water. They're going to be much more forgiving of poor water conditions than some delicate pipefish.

4. There are no specific lighting requirements.

5. There are no corals.

6. They're cheap(er) to maintain.

7. CUC members breed explosively and clean up our FW mistakes quickly.

 

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Simulated Fish
1 hour ago, Broseff said:

I'm not like new new, but I definetly haven't been doing SW long enough.

 

I've noticed in my general findings, research, and experience (only like 1-2 years of SW) that SW tanks are much harder to maintain in general than FW. And I do mean this in a general sense, so like FW vs SW in general (I don't mean FOWL FW tanks vs SW tanks with coral specifically, incase anyone thought that). 

 

It seems like SW tanks battle with nuissance algae a lot more than FW tanks. I've seen plenty of FW tanks with just spongefilters running and little to no problems with algae, but I can't say the same for SW. Is there any particular reason for this? Do SW tanks just have a more complex mix of nutrients than FW (which make it harder to balance/maintain things)?

 

 

Your exactly right. Most FW life we keep and trade in the hobby have been through decades of breeding. Plants, fish, shrimp; all have long been in the trade. Most live in very simple environments and are far more resilient than your average SW livestock.

 

Another big piece is most FW setups included heavy planting. Plants HUGELY impact the balance of a FW tank and that is a part absent in most SW tanks. That is why the rise refugiums have grown so much in the last 10 years. Natural filtration and balance will always be simpler and more effective (in the broad since). In SW we try to replace most of this due to the size and scope of the natural mechanisms.

 

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Broseff

If we were to compare FOWLR FW to FOWLR SW, would saltwater still be more challenging (excluding top-offs and water changes)?

 

Are there any fish that have been captive bred long enough in SW to compare to freshwater?

 

Are nuissance algae's more common/challenging in SW?

 

I know with reef tanks and macroaglae set ups lighting probably plays the biggest role as to why nuissance algae's are such a problem. And then I imagine balancing nutrients is the next biggest issue with nuissance algae. Is there anything else that factors in that might not be an issue in FW?

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davidcalgary29

Algae is often only a nuisance because we claim it to be. I know many reefers freak out when they spot a patch of turf algae or whatnot -- even though they know it's not going to hurt the tank's inhabitants -- but because it spoils the look of a picture-perfect instagrammable masterpiece.  FW owners are much better about this, I think, because there's no ideal FW tank form to attain.

 

I think chaeto's pretty gross myself, but a lot of the macro available to hobbyists is lovely, and should be a part of every reef tank. 

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Broseff

I was thinking diatoms (I think is what I'm thinking of) and GHA specifically as some of the nuissance algae.

 

I know that diatoms can survive in low nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) and I imagine a lot of this has to do with all the filtration that SW tanks use that FW tanks don't. That's why I'm assuming that there's probably some nutrient balance in SW that FW doesn't deal with. 

 

I also think macros should be more common, some even look like coral (blue scroll and plating corraline grow similar to montipora) and some are iridescent. I'm sure if they were used more often SW could compete better with FW in terms of ease, some FW setups purposefully use algae instead of plants.

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davidcalgary29

Well, a lot of people want perfect SPS colonies with species from widely separated geographic regions with different water and lighting requirements, AND decorative fish. AND all of that in a 70g package with unassayed tank biota. Something's gotta give. 

 

One of my builds (new, at two months) is suffering from both GHA and some other golden algae outbreak at the moment. I'm not intervening to make it pretty, as the skunk clowns think that the GHA is "hosting" them, and will let my urchin take care of the bulk of the problem. What's the rush, anyway?

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Diamonds x Pearls

I feel like fish tanks for both fresh and salt would be relatively similar...I sense that 20 to 40ppm is the sweet spot for FW and I'd be willing to bet it's similar to SW fish fish tank.

 

Longest captive bred marine ornamental fish historically is likely the ocellaris clownfish. (The earliest earliest fish cultured were for food purposes in ancient civilizations...Rome...Hawaii...etc)

 

Freshwater feels easier to manage algae because you have household staples like Amano shrimps and nerite snails that really eat up the most common algaes that show up in aquaria. Of course there are stubborn cases of like black beard algae, cyano, etc... I sense that in SW algae becomes a bigger perceived deal since the management plans and solutions get more intricate. However the basic principle still applies...decent nutrient management, That being said my freshwater tank doesn't run into serious algal issues ever because I literally have one nerite, one bn pleco, one amano, timed lighting, and I'm growing pothos out of a HOB. In that regard, there's layers of redundancy. Nitrate hangs out at 10ppm fwiw.

 

(Not saying freshwater aquatic ecology is simple)

 

From what I see in my reef tank marine algae are incredibly resilient. The slightest drip of nutrients will have either a micro and macro algae grow...just a matter of scale. Anyway, it kinda sucks there's not as much market demand for the decorative macros like shaving brush, gracillaria, etc etc etc. Heck Tigahboy has a top notch planted marine tank. (It got featured on Youtube!) Home reef tanks are only small samples of the depth and complexities in a reef environment, so there's still much to be known and understood even to this day. I do know that those picturesque shots of coral reefs are the way they are due to strong grazing pressure from everything. That's fish to invert to microbe.

 

At the end of the day, each can bring their own challenges and joys. Both sides of the spectrum have cool fish to care for.

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mcarroll
11 hours ago, Broseff said:

SW tanks are much harder to maintain in general than FW

I think the difference you are seeing is between strongly lit tanks and minimally lit tanks.  

 

In saltwater that's because reefing ATE saltwater fish keeping back in the 90's and 2000's....there are almost no saltwater tanks that are minimally lit these days.  

 

Contrast this with freshwater, where it's still common to see just fish tanks.  Light on fish only tanks has always been kept to a minimum, and not without reason...primarily unwanted algae growth.

 

But when you include planted tanks on the freshwater side, I think there are fewer and smaller differences with modern saltwater tanks.  

 

I have to say (not having really been into freshwater in a couple of decades) that it seems like freshwater planted tanks are becoming more popular than they were historically...and there is a much better selection of plants and inverts than the freshwater hobby had back in my days there.  (I had a low-tech planted tank in the 90's.  🤷‍♂️)

 

I think this might be of interest here.  (It's a pretty short read.)  There's a download link to the first Marine Aquarium Handbook, which was written back in the 1850's.  Once you get over the initial shock of how old aquarium keeping is – even in the modern sense/excluding keeping fish for eating – it's pretty interesting to see what went into it back then.

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Firefish15
38 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

There's a download link to the first Marine Aquarium Handbook, which was written back in the 1850's.

That’s crazy! I had no idea it had been around that long. Cool article!

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growsomething

As a personal anecdote, I have much more trouble with my fw planted tanks than my little sw nuvo 10.  Specifically with algae and tank balance. Lights/ferts/co2.

However, the fw tanks are high tech w both difficult and easy plants.  The lone sw tank is as simple as I could make it with mostly softies with nsw changes every week and no dosing.  Not apples to apples comparison.

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mcarroll
12 minutes ago, growsomething said:

 

As a personal anecdote, I have much more trouble with my fw planted tanks than my little sw nuvo 10.  Specifically with algae and tank balance. Lights/ferts/co2.

However, the fw tanks are high tech w both difficult and easy plants.

 

There was a so-called "Hi Tech" era of reefing wedged into the 1980's and early 90's.....those setups were also complicated and problematic.  

 

The reef revolution happened when the simple combo of live rock and a protein skimmer replaced all that.  (I think we've since gotten somewhat off track from that simplicity.)  

 

My guess is there's a similar parallel of simplicity somewhere in the planted tank world too.

 

On my own example, I never really dosed fertilizer in my planted tank because I couldn't afford any test kits back then and selection was limited...but somehow I DIY'd a low-tech CO2 rig for my tank.  So I did manual CO2 on a 30 Long that was under a single Triton T8 full spectrum bulb.  (Anyone remember those?)   Not too tough, no fancy plants, no problems.  But I'm not sure what my approach would be these days...China had not yet happened in full force when I was in freshwater, so everything was a lot more expensive and selection of everything was more limited.

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Broseff
44 minutes ago, growsomething said:

As a personal anecdote, I have much more trouble with my fw planted tanks than my little sw nuvo 10.  Specifically with algae and tank balance. Lights/ferts/co2.

However, the fw tanks are high tech w both difficult and easy plants.  The lone sw tank is as simple as I could make it with mostly softies with nsw changes every week and no dosing.  Not apples to apples comparison.

Does your FW tank have wood in it? I find wood to be such a pain, it's a huge algae magnet. 

Do you have plants? What's the subtrate? I always found inert substrates with root tabs to work better than anything else (whenever I've used mud or dirt it messed with the nutrients in the tank).

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growsomething
1 hour ago, Broseff said:

Does your FW tank have wood in it? I find wood to be such a pain, it's a huge algae magnet. 

Do you have plants? What's the subtrate? I always found inert substrates with root tabs to work better than anything else (whenever I've used mud or dirt it messed with the nutrients in the tank).

Yes, plenty of wood. Had a lot of plants for a year.  Had swamp mud mixed w ferts and safetsorb, capped w safetsorb.  Was carefree for 6 + mo, then bba took over, then cyano.  No real change in routine, just old tank syndrome.  I think the soil gets depleted, then turns into some kind of detritus nutrient balance killer, like it holds some and releases others or something.  Like you said. 

I took all the substrate out recently, replaced with inert safetsorb, and will either break the tank down or lower the water level and raise the substrate to create a fish paludarium.   No co2 worries,  will put a pump in a sponge under the substrate mound, no more tubes coming out of the water.  I also think canisters are of the devil.  

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mcarroll
5 hours ago, growsomething said:

No real change in routine, just old tank syndrome. 

Going off topic by joining in on the freshwater conversation, but I can't help it...

 

Do you have lots of pods and snails in the freshwater tank, or is the substrate empty and it's just plants and fish?

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growsomething

You probably put your finger on something, I did have a change - in fauna. I got a pea puffer and he decimated my snail, amano, and micro critter populations.  (Actually, he was in a smaller tank and I added him to the large one after he got big.)  Still one of my favorite fish, but he killed everything that wasn't a fish.  The lfs said he was the largest pea puffer they ever saw when I took him in.

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Broseff
58 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Going off topic by joining in on the freshwater conversation, but I can't help it...

 

Do you have lots of pods and snails in the freshwater tank, or is the substrate empty and it's just plants and fish?

FW tanks don't tend to keep pods (scuds). I wish they did, but most people say they're awful.

 

27 minutes ago, growsomething said:

You probably put your finger on something, I did have a change - in fauna. I got a pea puffer and he decimated my snail, amano, and micro critter populations.  (Actually, he was in a smaller tank and I added him to the large one after he got big.)  Still one of my favorite fish, but he killed everything that wasn't a fish.  The lfs said he was the largest pea puffer they ever saw when I took him in.

Can't keep anything with puffers unless your tank is like SUPER planted. 

 

Speaking of fauna, there seems to be a lot more fauno available in the CUC variety for SW than FW. It makes me wonder why nuissance algae would be so problematic in SW. I've kept very diverse tanks in both.

 

My FW:

  • Female Betta (koi)
  • 2 African Dwarf Frogs
  • Hillstream Loach (borneo)
  • 3 Nerite snails
  • 1 Mystery snail
  • 5-10 Ghost Shrimp
  • 5 Micro Thai Crabs
  • Plants of course

The tank was fed twice a day everyday and I never saw any algae, except on some wood (which I removed).

 

My SW:

  • Variety of coral frags
  • Bistle worms
  • Pods
  • Asterina Starfish
  • Variety of Macroalgae
  • Nassarius Snail
  • Cerith Snails
  • Astrea Snail
  • Blue and Scarlet Hermits
  • Coral Banded Shrimp
  • Rock Flower Nem
  • Feather Duster (both large and duster cluster)
  • Emerald Crab

The tank was only fed maybe once a week/every other week (mostly spot feeding) with a 30% water change the next day. I fought algae ALL the time.

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growsomething

We have had the opposite problems!

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Broseff
3 minutes ago, growsomething said:

We have had the opposite problems!

In FW I've found that, nerites + almost any shrimp + just a couple plants = perfectly clean tank. Lighting, heating, feeding schedule, nothing else every really impacted my FW tanks. 

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growsomething

Here is the lone survivor of a 75 full of mystery, apple, and nerite snails.  Puffer almost got him as you can see by his shell.  He barely moved for days after I took it out, then slowly recovered.  I even added a bit of nsw bcs both gh and kh run low, hoping his shell grow over his wounds.   Lights are out, had to use flash.

 

20210228_211321.thumb.jpg.1cf536aa816529ec223f33b960ef23d2.jpg

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growsomething
17 minutes ago, Broseff said:

In FW I've found that, nerites + almost any shrimp + just a couple plants = perfectly clean tank. Lighting, heating, feeding schedule, nothing else every really impacted my FW tanks. 

Did you run co2 with ferts or more of a Walstad tank?

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Broseff
2 minutes ago, growsomething said:

Here is the lone survivor of a 75 full of mystery, apple, and nerite snails.  Puffer almost got him as you can see by his shell.  He barely moved for days after I took it out, then slowly recovered.  I even added a bit of nsw bcs both gh and kh run low, hoping his shell grow over his wounds.   Lights are out, had to use flash.

 

 

Yikes! I have no idea how people keep puffer tanks clean.

 

1 minute ago, growsomething said:

Did you run co2 with ferts or more of a Walstad tank?

No co2. I had Anubias, Dwarf Amazon Sword, a bunch of different floaters, Java Ferns, Java Moss, and Pothos growing out of my HOB. It wasn't really a Walstad, just heavily planted. It's what lead to my Walstad Shrimp Tank. 

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growsomething

Post some of your fw tanks here @Broseff

Some people have interesting tanks or really attractive tanks.

 

 

 

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Jakesaw

With planted tanks, the growth can come a little too fast. 

 

You can leave the tank alone for long periods and it stays healthy, but the growth can get out of control before you cut back the plants.  Particularly with stem plants.  I was always having to cut back my bacopa stems.  Like .... ALWAYS

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Broseff

@growsomething I only have full shots of my current tank, but they're up there now. Thanks for letting me know. 

 

 

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