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Marine Or Malawi Mbuna

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jellychris

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Hi,
I can't decide weather to get a marine tank (90litres or so) or a lake malawi mbuna tank (170litres, 4ft)
Both marine and mbuna have pros and cons
Marine: expensive coral and live rock, delicate salt levels
Mbuna: extra filtration needed, expensive fish
I just can't decide, does anyone have any advice?
Thanks, Chris
 
are you experienced with marine? 55 gallon is better for begginers ands remebr that smaller tanks i n marine are harder to manage.
i would go with the mbuna since the tank is alrger and freshwater is easier to manage.
 
i would go with the malawi mbuna aquarium. Its bigger plus cheaper and in some ways easier to run and easy to change other freshwater fish if need be. Plus more visually appealing i find.
 
Malawi ATW! marine is so much more challenging
 
So the common consensus here on this forum is to always go with the least challenging route!?   I think you should really stop and think about both and what kind of personal enjoyment you will get out of either,  and you don't HAVE to have a 50+ gallon marine tank in order to have success, it is just as stated many times in these responses, "less challenging", as well as the ease of freshwater over saltwater.   That being said, I get the most enjoyment out of things that provide a challenge to me, but I am sure even the Malawi tank would be a bit of a challenge, so again really weigh the enjoyment level you would get out of either and go with the one that is going to be most fun for you!!
 
I recently started a 10g nano reef with absolutely no experience in marine fish keeping.  It is a serious learning curve, I am learning from square one again after becoming pretty proficient in freshwater, and it is NOTHING alike.   I have been able to keep some polyp corals growing, many feather dusters growing, my blenny is still alive and doing great, hermit crab and snail still alive n' kickin'!   Granted the tank is only about a month old, but i was able to get the initial few steps of the cycle completed without much issues.  With my 10 gallon tank I have to add water every day to keep the salinity balanced as the tank is open top, but i keep it down to about a .3 ppt shift daily, which isn't too terrible from what I have read, and my corals are only getting healthier!!     With a 90L tank I would imagine you could keep it even more balanced, but would still definitely need daily salinity checks and probably every other day top offs, so the bigger, the less frequent the checks/top-offs will become.
 
So if your up for a challenge, and a bit of a cost boon(compared to freshwater, saltwater purchases seem to be much larger), saltwater is certainly fulfilling!!!
 
I'd go marine, yes it's expensive to set up but no more difficult to maintain than a freshwater tank.
As for needing 55 gallons, you don't, although a larger tank does give you more options nano tanks can be just as rewarding
 
Lillefishy said:
I'd go marine, yes it's expensive to set up but no more difficult to maintain than a freshwater tank.
As for needing 55 gallons, you don't, although a larger tank does give you more options nano tanks can be just as rewarding
 
i only said 55 gallons because i didnt know if the OP kept saltwater before, as 55 gallons is reccomended for begginers and nano reefs are hard to maintain period.
 
Since this thread isn't a journal and also isn't marine-specific, I'm going to move the it to tropical discussion for now. I worry if I move it to marine chat there will be zero feedback on the other type of tank in question since that area of the forum is a bit less active than tropical. 
 
Marine: expensive coral and live rock, delicate salt levels
Mbuna: extra filtration needed, expensive fish
 
Add "expensive fish" to marine as well. Marine livestock tends to be more expensive all around compared to freshwater if money is a main concern. Marine tanks can be cheap, but they tend to be pretty basic and not reefs when done on a tight budget. The livestock for marine is also still largely wild-caught. Captive-bred individuals of some species exist but can be substantially more expensive (although they are usually hardier).
 
As far as which to pick...research the livestock you're interested in and the costs involved.  If neither is a budget problem, then pick whichever set of livestock interests you most. Marine tanks are fascinating and very rewarding if you like ecology and biodiversity at the invertebrate level, as they can provide a diversity of micro-habitats not often seen in freshwater aquaria. If you're stuck for stocking ideas in marine, journals are a good place to look although I assume you've already been through them since you originally posted in the section. 
 
 
ncguppy830 said:
i only said 55 gallons because i didnt know if the OP kept saltwater before, as 55 gallons is reccomended for begginers and nano reefs are hard to maintain period.
 
 
Adding to this response, there are two other fairly specific reasons that sizes like 50-55gal are recommended as the starting size. First, far too many new people to marine botch small marine tanks either due to inexperience or freak accidents and kill a bunch of animals as a result. Even many experienced reefers crash a small tank or two just because there are lots of crazy things that can go wrong. Some problems that will just create a lot of annoying work to fix over a few days in a 55gal can kill everything within hours in a 10gal; extra size is extra buffer against both inexperience and freak accidents. Second, larger tanks are also what is required to meet the needs of what most people are actually interested in: a bunch of fish (plus or minus corals and whatever else). Smaller than that and you have to pick just a few fish, if even one as you go down through nano into the pico range. Basically small tanks like lower end nanos and picos are better suited to invert enthusiasts because of the needs the fish have and their impact on filtration. A lot of people even start out wanting fish that need even bigger tanks than 55gal, which frankly isn't big as marine tanks go. 
 
To put the strong emphasis on safety and buffering against risks into a frame of reference, I used to be very much in the camp of supporting starting with smaller tanks for space and budget reasons. That is, in fact, where I started with a 5gal (although it was invert-only for a long, long time!). However, I stopped waving the pom poms for beginner nanos after I saw even some rather experienced freshwater hobbyists set up tanks that were basically death traps. Experimentation without experience in the basics of marine systems puts the animals involved at greater risk.
 

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