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Old January 18th 05, 04:23 AM
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"Tom Collins" tom_collins[at] wrote in message
| How much more difficult is salt water to fresh?

Some will tell you it's easy. Generally, this will be heard from
people who are already adept at sal****er aquaria. g There is more
to learn. In most FW aquaria, a knowledge of the biological cycle and
the use of 2 or 3 test kits can make you a competent fish keeper.
Sal****er, and particularily reef care has more you need to be aware
of. If there is one thing I could tell you it would be to research,
and research some more. It seems you have already done some of this,
kudos to you.

| I just bought a new 46 gal aquarium. I used to have smaller fresh
| water ones (10, 20, 29, 40 gal) years back and got very good at it.
| I'm tempted to try salt water this time. The guy at the pet shop
| (Petco) said he would help me quite a bit on it.

I have had horrid experiences at the big-box pet stores, Petco in
particular. Just this weekend, I stopped at the local one because
they have a sale on salt. There was a beautiful anthias that called
to me. g I asked the clerk (clueless teenage girl) what the
salinity was in thier tanks. She had no idea what I was talking
about. I found a hydrometer and checked it myself, and found it was
at less than 14, (I keep my tanks around 23) I was surprised the fish
weren't ill or dead. The anemones and polyps *did* look to be dying.
Your mileage may vary, some of these stores, I've heard, have some
rather skilled employees. Just remember to never entrust the lives of
your fish on the word of one person. Much of what you wil be told is
anecdotal, what worked for one person in one situation may be
disasterous for another person.

| Some of the things I learned so far...
| I know everything is more expensive (equipment & fish).

Some things. Many items crossover between fresh and salt. You can
save tons of money if you're at all handy by building things

| You can only have about half the number of salt water fish as
| to fresh in the same size aquarium.

Roughly. Fish temperment, compatibility and food requirements are far
more important that any "inches per gallon" rules, IMO.

| Salt water fish are more temperamental to changes in their
| environment.

Drastic changes in environment are killers, to be sure. Fish are
usually tougher than inverts, inverts tougher than corals. I have
heard people that had nitrates of 200 and the fish were fine. They
did adjust to this over time, though I'm sure.

| Some of the things I know I can do with fresh but am uncertain
| salt...
| Automatic feeder if I'm going to be gone a few days.

Sure. I use an auto feeder for staple food, manually feed the other

| Plecostomus' work very well at keeping the algae down.

Clean up in a salt tank can get a bit more complicated. A good
clean-up crew is very helpful for establishing a low-maintenence
tank. Snails, hermits, herbivorous fish.....

| Which fish will coexist with what fish.

Case-by-case basis. There are charts all over the net, but ask around
until you feel you have enough info on each critter you want to add,
and plan ahead for what you want to end up with. It sucks to have
your heart set on one critter, only to find that it will kill all the
other critters you already have....

| I'm looking for something I can just sit and relax and watch with
| minimum of effort.

Good luck with that. g Depends on whether you're looking for a
fish-only, fish-only-with-Live-Rock, or a reef tank. A FOWLR tank
probably has the best bet of being *eventually* low maintenance. The
Live Rock processes the waste all the way through to denitrification,
so even the need for water changes are minimized. With enough Live
Rock, you can even do away with "artificial" filtration methods.

| Next question. Here's some of the things the guy at the pet shop
| to sell me these items if I go salt water. Does he know what he's
| doing?
| Penn-Plax Cascade 700 canister filter

Canister filters have a bad reputaion as nitrate factories, but I
haven't tried one on sal****er to test the theory.

| Red Sea salt (the cheapest in the store, he said brand doesn't

You do *NOT* want to start a "which salt is best" thread around here.
LOL!!! I use Oceanic, but only because it dissolves really nice.

| Whisper Submersible Heater (says that it's good for 30-60 gal. Will

Best bet is to go with 2 smaller heaters. If one sticks on (yes, they
do) it won't boil your fish in 20 minutes. With the money you will
eventaully have in there, it's worth the trouble.

| Protein skimmer (don't have brand yet)

The protien skimmer, IMO, is the most important item. Buy the best
damn skimmer you can afford. I'm serious. It should be physically
painful when you buy the skimmer. You will never regret it. May I
recommend Euro-Reef skimmers?

| ---------------------------------------------------------
| Can some of you give me your best advice? Thanks.

Best advice? Be patient. Start slow, then taper off. g Read. Sub to
rec.aquaria.marine.reefs Lots of knowledgable marine keepers in
there...and a few fools, too!
Sign up at Even if you're not going full reef,
the information there is immeasureable. There are tons
of resources, utilize them!

Ask questions!

Have fun!!