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Freshwater aquarist thinking of getting a saltwater tank in the future.

Blackwater guru

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For 3 months now I have had this 145 liter blackwater aquarium that tries to emulate the tropical rainforest rivers of the amazon river with both tea coloured water , driftwood and rocks , and of course some plants although I mixed asian , african , and south american plants but they have been thriving because they have similair requirements .

The top has not been ignored either because I have marbled hatchetfish and amazon frogbit to create shadowy areas.

Even before I got that one I researched extensively about everything I could find for several months and because I have aspbergers = repetition over and over again for no reason which means more research even if it appears excessive to people who are not into the fish hobby.

As for now I am not too sure where I would put another fish tank and economically I simply cannot afford it because I am a swedish high school student who gets paid 1250 swedish crowns a month to study.

In terms of the aquarium I have been thinking of setting up either a saltwater aquarium or possibly a blackwater aquarium with discus fish that can be quite beautiful but challenging for people who have not done the required amount of research.

What I would like to know is if I can start in the saltwater aquarium hobby at the stage I am at and I want to know about the difference in water chemistry compared to freshwater setups.

As far as I am concerned and from what I have read saltwater setups have some differences in chemistry when compared to freshwater tanks especially in reef tanks where you need to remember the names of various supplements like iron and zinc depending on the inhabitants and because of this test kits for saltwater tanks are different.

Of course I am aware of the basic freshwater chemistry with things like ph and hardness/softness , ammonia and nitrates and the nitrogen cycle.

Would starting a reef tank be a good idea once I have the money space and the right amount of time and research required for this?
 

Colin_T

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If you want to make the most out of the space you have, get a double or triple tier stand. You can have 2 tanks (one above the other) on a double tier stand, and 3 tanks on a triple tier stand. It takes up the same space as a single stand but is higher and gives you more tanks in the same space.

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Saltwater is not really any different to freshwater, and in fact it's easier as far as water chemistry goes because sea water is virtually the same all around the world. The GH, KH and pH are pretty much the same world wide. Coral reef tanks and fish only tanks have exactly the same water.

Freshwater tanks can have a wide range of water chemistry with soft acid water in the upper reaches of the Amazon, to hard alkaline waters in the African Rift Lakes, and even brackish waters.

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You cycle a marine tank in exactly the same way as you cycle a freshwater tank. You can even use the same ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits for fresh and salt water.

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You can do marines on the cheap or spend thousands on them. I do them on the cheap and collect natural sea water, sand and rocks from a clean beach. Check with your local fisheries department to see if you are allowed to collect sea water and stuff from the beach. Specify you only want a bit for an aquarium.

I run a small internal or external power filter. Some of my marine tanks had air operated sponge filters in them. They have a normal aquarium heater and a light unit. If you want corals or sea anemones, then have a couple of lights on the tank. Use globes with a 6500K rating.

Have a coverglass on the tanks to reduce evaporation. Top up the tanks with freshwater to keep the salinity stabile.

Do a big water change on them once a week or every couple of weeks (depending on how many fish are in the tank.

Feed the fish a variety of foods and that's it. There's nothing special about a fish only tank and even corals aren't that hard to keep. Clean water, good filtration, regular water changes, good light.
 

Barry Tetra

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If you want to make the most out of the space you have, get a double or triple tier stand. You can have 2 tanks (one above the other) on a double tier stand, and 3 tanks on a triple tier stand. It takes up the same space as a single stand but is higher and gives you more tanks in the same space.

------------------
Saltwater is not really any different to freshwater, and in fact it's easier as far as water chemistry goes because sea water is virtually the same all around the world. The GH, KH and pH are pretty much the same world wide. Coral reef tanks and fish only tanks have exactly the same water.

Freshwater tanks can have a wide range of water chemistry with soft acid water in the upper reaches of the Amazon, to hard alkaline waters in the African Rift Lakes, and even brackish waters.

------------------
You cycle a marine tank in exactly the same way as you cycle a freshwater tank. You can even use the same ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits for fresh and salt water.

------------------
You can do marines on the cheap or spend thousands on them. I do them on the cheap and collect natural sea water, sand and rocks from a clean beach. Check with your local fisheries department to see if you are allowed to collect sea water and stuff from the beach. Specify you only want a bit for an aquarium.

I run a small internal or external power filter. Some of my marine tanks had air operated sponge filters in them. They have a normal aquarium heater and a light unit. If you want corals or sea anemones, then have a couple of lights on the tank. Use globes with a 6500K rating.

Have a coverglass on the tanks to reduce evaporation. Top up the tanks with freshwater to keep the salinity stabile.

Do a big water change on them once a week or every couple of weeks (depending on how many fish are in the tank.


Feed the fish a variety of foods and that's it. There's nothing special about a fish only tank and even corals aren't that hard to keep. Clean water, good filtration, regular water changes, good light.
How do you change water to salt? Using sea salt?
 
OP
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How do you change water to salt? Using sea salt?
you should always use special aquarium salt which can be bought at most lfs but if you are lucky to live near a beach finding sea water is very easy and it can always be used provided the water is not contaminated also keep in mind that in some parts of the world it's illegal to borrow sea water or without permission.

If you do use aquarium salt you mix it with dechlorinated tap water or if you live in a country with more poor water quality like Germany or America use ro-di water.
 

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For a very brief time about 15 years ago I kept seahorses. Not finding out such things beforehand I found out later that these aren't beginner marine fish. They died and at $65 bucks a pop it was both a bitter and expensive lesson. Do your homework first. @Colin_T says saltwater isn't any different than freshwater and I agree with him for the most part but there are some differences and you need to be aware of them .
 

shabash

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you should always use special aquarium salt which can be bought at most lfs but if you are lucky to live near a beach finding sea water is very easy and it can always be used provided the water is not contaminated also keep in mind that in some parts of the world it's illegal to borrow sea water or without permission.

If you do use aquarium salt you mix it with dechlorinated tap water or if you live in a country with more poor water quality like Germany or America use ro-di water.
I May be wrong but aquarium salt and marine salt are different and their use is also different. “Aquarium salt“is designed for freshwater use and marine salt is for mixing or recreating marine water. Aquarium salt is simply sodium chloride while marine salt has other elements and minerals required for marine species. So if you intend to embark in the marine aquarium hobby, look for salt mixes that are specific to what you will keep. Reef salts for example have additIves needed to keep corals and such while standard marine salt does not. The costs of such are some times reflected in the difference. And yes, you do mix it dechlorinated tap or bettter yet, ro/di water because it’s easier to control your tds. Good luck!
 

Colin_T

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Yes aquarium salt is normally rock salt, which is just sodium chloride.
Marine salt has sodium chloride as well as magnesium, calcium and a bunch of other things in it.

There is no difference between marine salt and "special reef salts" apart from the packaging. They are a gimmick.

Just get a decent brand of marine salt and add it to dechlorinated water, aerate for 24 hours and make sure the salinity is correct, then use it for water changes. Or go to the beach and get your own.
 
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