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How difficult is it to keep marine fish?

Discussion in 'Marine and Reef Chit Chat' started by deansplit, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. deansplit

    deansplit Member

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    Hi

    Possibly a common question that is not a 2 line answer, but how easy or hard is it really to keep marine fish. I have a 33L wall tank which I know’s not ideal for any set up, it’s only 110mm thick, 1800mm wide and 445mm deep. I have kept tropical fish for a 3 or 4 of years and if I’m honest, it’s been hit or miss with fish either dying or lasting. I think the most common reason for losing them is overcrowded – the forum advisers suggest a certain handful of fish whilst the fish retailer say that they have small tanks which have much more fish in and providing the water’s changed at the right intervals there should be no issues.

    The video on the website of the same tank that I have does make it sound easy (top video here) – http://wallaquariums.co.uk/videos/

    The tank is empty as we had a plumbing leak in the room which damaged a lot of contents the room (kitchen diner), and contaminated the tank, so now’s my chance to start again, but wanted some advice first.

    Thanks

     
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  2. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

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    Small marine tanks are really quite challenging to keep stable compared to larger ones, since evaporation can cause salinity swings if you don't check/maintain that aspect of the tank daily or have an auto top-off unit to add freshwater periodically. Sudden catastrophic crashes in small tanks are also much more common because marine animals are generally more sensitive to nutrient spikes and other water quality problems (which occur more rapidly if something goes wrong in a small system). If you had difficulty maintaining that tank as freshwater, I would not recommend trying saltwater with it. The tank is so small it would really only be suitable for a single fish - and even many of the smaller marine fish won't thrive in such a small environment. Marine tanks nearly always have sparser fish counts than their freshwater equivalents, and overstocking is a recipe for the tank crashing. Small tanks are easier to maintain as invertebrate-only systems.

    Typically closer to 200L is recommended as the best starter size for a first marine tank, but of course that's quite large and many don't have room for that (and it's expensive). Often 100L is also a fine starting size, but depending on the region can also require daily or several times weekly attention to salinity.
     
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  3. fluttermoth

    fluttermoth The current Mrs Treguard ;)
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

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    This is not meant as a reflection on you, OP: I've bought loads of really stupid things over the years too, but, man, that's a horrible tank.

    I just watched the top video (I'll admit I had the sound turned off; I'm watching the snooker :oops: ) and those are some seriously stressed out fish :/ Happy clowns would never be swimming up and down like that. And it's, quite frankly, disgusting of them to put a blue tang (a fish that is a foot long as an adult) in such a small tank, even if it's only intended to be for a short time.

    If I were you, I'd heavily plant it and put some freshwater shrimps in it. Maybe some nano type fish, like ember tetras or CPD, but that's all it's suitable for, IMHO.

    I'm afraid retailers are always showing really badly stocked tanks in their promos; people are always complaining about it, but nothing ever seems to change. I've seen some absolute shockers over the years :( I really don't understand why they insist on doing it.
     
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  4. pandagobyguy

    pandagobyguy New Member

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    If you go small get an ato (auto top off). You do not need much more than salt mix, a hydrometer/refractometer, a heater, a powerhead and a test kit. The most expensive thing you should buy is an ato to keep salinity stable. After that you can start experimenting filter wise (i have repurposed old freshwater filters) and turning them into algae turf scrubbbers and media sites. But for a fish only with rock all you really need to do is test nitrate and ammonia.
     
  5. pandagobyguy

    pandagobyguy New Member

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    Also perhaps i am not watching the same video but the in wall tank in your link seems large enough for a tang ime. Tangs have gallon recommendations but, as you have probably experienced with fresh water, often the recommendation is not the full picture. Most often i see 4 ft of swimming length as the required length. That tank seemed (my perspective may be off there) to fit the 4 ft requirement.

    I didn't watch the full video but nano tanks are not extremely difficult. They require far more effort and money than fresh.

    Also clowns are very much fine in small enclosures. They tend to stick to one spot in the tank when mated and do not like to swim to far from "home base". If you are questioning wether this is the case, granted other comments, I'd suggest researching clown breeding setups. They get VERY small. In a non breeding setting i would recommend more space than typical breeding setups but still, they are quite comfortable in smaller tanks.
    My advice would be to research A LOT and DO NOT IMPULSE BUY EVER.
     
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  6. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    That would make an ideal Betta/ Shrimp tank, without all that current and some plants of course.

    Something like the big tank in my sig maybe?
     

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