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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a cat forum, but I also know quite a few members here have fish. Since I don’t belong to a fish forum, I figured I’d post this here. I’m not looking for advice per se, just any experiences people might have.

I used to own a house with a large pond in the backyard, and I kept various pond fish, primarily shubunkins. Since moving a few years back, I have missed my fish. So, I recently got a small freshwater aquarium. I’m very much enjoying my little fish, as are the girls! I’ve learned a lot, although I had a bit of a start from my knowledge of the pond (water quality, etc.), and my brother has a lot of experience with freshwater aquariums, so he’s been helping me.

All that said, every time I go into the fish store, I can’t help but wander over to the marine side and marvel at the saltwater fish – the tangs, the clownfish and many others. They are just soooo beautiful. Anyway, to cut to the chase, and in case you haven’t already guessed, I’m very seriously considering getting a saltwater tank. Does anyone here have saltwater fish? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences.
 

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A lot of work! You're supposed to do water changes every other day or so, rather than just once a week. Test the water EVERY day to make sure all levels are safe. Marine fish are VERY sensitive!
Also, you need a huge tank and still can only keep maybe half a dozen fish. Those things are used to the ocean, then get snatched from home and stuffed in a little box... I know they're "just fish", but I figure they have SOME way of knowing the difference of such a change in space.

It's also very expensive, for the initial purchase of equipment, and the upkeep. They need better lights, filtration, and then the continuous buying of salt and stabilizing chemicals. The water is not supposed to be just tap water with conditioner, I always got told you should get a stand-alone filter system like Reverse Osmosis or Deionizer, or something like that.

I love the look of saltwater fish and tanks. Even considered getting a nano-tank (figured it might be a little less work). But finally decided that overall, I'm still too poor and/or lazy to really get into it and do it properly.

So if you like the challenge, go for it. If you just want it cuz it's pretty, I say just keep going to look at the pet shop and let THEM do all the work LOL
 

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Marine tanks are hideously complicated and very time consuming. There's a fabulous marine tank in the foyer of my work, which is used for research and teaching. It looks incredible, but considering it has live corals, and some seriously nice anemones (with clown fish!) it's obviously taken a long time.

Unless you have plenty of money, plenty of time and a 5+year attention span, I wouldn't recommend it. If you have all that, then go for it, but we want to see pics when it's thriving.

When I get home I'll stick a couple of decent links up which explains what you need to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses so far. So…cost, time and hideously complicated...well, you guys are really inspiring me! :)

The cost part I was aware of and, although I spent many days counting pennies when I was younger, I’m now fortunate enough to be at a point in my life where cost is not a concern. That also solves the complicated part and the time issues somewhat, since if I decide to proceed with this, I would have the tank and equipment professionally installed. I would also have it professionally maintained for the first few months, until such time as I felt comfortable doing things myself.

As for the work/time aspect, I’d be interested in hearing more about that. On average, the pond used to take me about a half hour to an hour each day, plus 3-4 hours on the weekend. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which suggests a saltwater tank might require about the same amount of time. If so, that’s fine, since I would view this as a hobby…but if we’re talking a lot more time than that, I might have to think twice.

Thanks in advance for the links, Hugh. I’m currently working with a company that installs aquariums made by a company called Living Color Aquariums. They make synthetic coral reefs that are extremely realistic, not the gawdy plastic things you see in stores. That will help to reduce some of the complexity and the work, although if I want, I can also add some live coral to the mix over time. Now, when I say “working with”, I mean I’ve had a few phone calls with the company and I’ve checked out Living Color’s website (which is absolutely incredible!). I don’t want to go too much further with the company until I know I’m going to proceed, so I will check out your links once you have a chance to post them, since I’m definitely at the research stage right now.
 

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Sorry if I seemed like I was trying to put you off. I just know people who have tried marine tanks and gone through massive cost and killed a lot of fish because they could look after a couple of guppies. I also assumed you were talking marine tropical rather than coldwater.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry if I seemed like I was trying to put you off. I just know people who have tried marine tanks and gone through massive cost and killed a lot of fish because they could look after a couple of guppies. I also assumed you were talking marine tropical rather than coldwater.
No apologies necessary, and I didn't think you were trying to put me off. In fact, quite the opposite! I thought you were being very helpful. I also fully agree with your comment about killing fish because one is able to look after a couple of guppies, which is why I won't make a final decision until I'm convinced I can do this and why, even then, I would involve professionals until such time as I'm sure I know what I'm doing.

BTW, I am talking about marine tropical. Why did you think coldwater?
 

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I didn't mean to put you off either. As I said, if you're up to the challenge, go for it. I would think an hour every day and a couple every week sounds about right (not that I've actually done it...but just testing my freshwater stuff took a good 20 minutes, and small water changes another 15 minutes for a 60 gallon tank).
I would love to be able to afford somebody to come do the stuff for me... but the cheapest place around here is $65 each visit, and I think they have to visit at least once a week... and then of course, I'd have to do little stuff every day myself, like feeding (some fish need LIVE food...which doesn't gross me out, I think it would be pretty fun!)

All this being said, they may be expensive/work, but certainly worth it! Not that freshwater tanks can't be pretty, but for some reason marines always seem fascinatingly beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hugh: LOL...no tuna planned for the tank! Clown fish and anemones are definitely more like what I had in mind.

Vivid Dawn: You didn't put me off either, at least not until you mentioned feeding LIVE food...ick! I shall have to stick with fish that will be happy with flakes or frozen. Either that or get over my squeamishness. :)

I shall continue my research and keep you posted.
 

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I DID have a ton of decent links to both freshwater and saltwater aquaria info and so on, but they've gone (they were all in a browser I no longer use). SO peed off. There was stuff there that I wanted as well GRR. Just googling Marine fishkeeping will get you something though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks! That's too bad about your links. If you are able to find them, it would be great. If not, such is life, but I appreciate your trying!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It must be nice to have a saltwater tank at work! I'm not crazy about crabs either...but they're the clean-up crew, since they eat algae and the like. As for the fish being expensive, saltwater fish typically range from $5 to $100 (although they can go higher), depending on the breed and the size, with the larger ones obviously costing more. I'm not a fan of keeping very large fish in home aquariums. For example, it seems a little cruel to me to keep a fish that's 10 or 12 inches long in a tank that's only 3 or 4 feet. The poor thing barely has room to swim. So, if I go ahead with this, I would stick with the smaller varieties of fish.

When I had my pond, I had shubunkins (goldfish) that were almost a foot in length, but the pond was a huge natural spring-fed pond containing almost 2 million gallons of water. So, my shubunkins were very happy! :)
 

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Yeah, that's one misconception about Betas (and goldfish).
Just because Betas stick to one little area in the wild does not mean that there was only a gallon or so of water. Rice patties are HUGE fields of water... the Beta just has it's territory in a small portion.
Goldfish are small when you buy them... but proper amounts of water for goldfish are 10 gallons per inch, because if they are allowed to grow properly, they can get quite big. Plus, they're "dirtier" than other fish, and create more ammonia through their bodily cycle than other fish.

Anyhoo, I'm so glad you're doing research before getting into it! S'what I like to see pet owners do ^_^
(I would also love to have an Emperor Scorpion, but they take a lot of work too)
 
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