View Full Version : Saltwater Aquariums for or against?

09-05-2007, 20:31
If you thought Scuba was expensive, let me say Scuba is cheap in comparison. But for the years I had mine 125 gallons, it gave me and the family endless hours of enjoyment. It was a invaluable educational experience about a marine ecosystem and really just how fragile the marine environment really is, and insight into the behavior of many of the critters that inhabit a reef. I had percula clown fishes breed, had a snowflake moray grow from pencil size to 4 foot long. A picasso trigger fish (humma humma nuka nuka a pua) that learned to do stupid fish tricks, among a whole host of characters both vertibrate and invertibrate. I had to give it up when a move forced us to adopt out the critters, but I do miss them still.

OK let the flames begin

scuba Widow
09-05-2007, 20:36
We would love to have one, but we know they are expensive and alot of work to maintain.

09-05-2007, 20:38
We had a 110 for years while we were living in Florida but gave it up when we moved to Arizona...and we really miss it. We had a panther grouper, we named him Lunch, and grew him from the size a quarter to about 8 inches long. He would come to the surface when we entered the room so we could rub his side.

09-05-2007, 20:38
There are some species that are raised rather than captured, likewise the coral and other invertebrates, but you have to be very careful. The harvest of inhabitants for these aquariums remains a serious destructive activity for world wide coral reefs. I would say, "No".

09-05-2007, 20:38
I've had several freshwater aquariums over the years, and as much as I moved, it was a real hassle... Now that I've settled down (somewhat), I would like to get into a saltwater aquarium....... Now, if that money tree will just start blooming!

09-05-2007, 20:40
I like to look but have read too many stories about exotic fishing practices and coral destruction because of.
I was all f or them until I got into diving..........

09-05-2007, 20:44
since aquaculture and mariculture is becoming very popular the impact is being reduced. I personally propagate Duncan Coral and rose Bubble tip Anemones. I frag elkhorn montipora and orange plating montipora. I sell /trade my coral to limit teh effect on habitats. However, people how do not research their aquariums can really do a lot of wrongs and with teh popularity increase of these systems we have a long way to go before we can be self sufficient with livestock,

09-05-2007, 20:47
I looked into getting a reef aquarium till I did the research. I can't go on dive trips & trust someone else to take care of something like that. I love to look at them though.

09-05-2007, 21:13
The pros

1. An hands on Educational experience that is impossible to duplicate otherwise
2. A beautiful addition to any home
3. Endless hours of mystery, amusement, and wonder
4. Great relaxation factor


1. Requires a high degree of attention
2. Mistakes can be costly in more than money
3. High startup costs

All that said the rewards are as great as the effort put in. I am not talking about those who have someone else come in and take care of the maintenance tasks. Contrary to popular belief, a well planned and thoughfully stocked and configured marine aquarium can almost be self sufficient. It hinges on establishing the proper ecosystem in the tank. Many of the most sucessful tanks have the barest minimums of equipment to thrive. The equipment used although is exactly what the tank needs and no less. I started out like many buying every known filter and pump that was out there. Over time I learned that 99% of it was no more than hype or actually contributed to degrading the water quality than improving it. Another thing I learned that with salt water aquariums bigger is better. Greater water quantity means more stability and stability is your ultimate goal a large tank will cost less to maintain than a smaller tank. One of the most important thing is patience, the lack of patience is what dooms 90% of all saltwater aquariums. To establish a self sustaining ecosystem takes time. Months of time, but patience pays off in big dividends in long term health of the critters.

Yes harvesting for the ornamental aquarium indusrty has been and still in in some instances destructive. But today there is a much larger selection of tank raised inhabitants for your tank and the industry has been trying to cut down on destructive harvesting practices you just need to be a educated hobbiest.

The cost is in direct proportion to the type of marine environment you wish to recreate. Stony Reef tanks require the most attention and specialty equipment. The soft corals (polyps, mushrooms, xenia) tanks with the proper fish selection are more forgiving and can almost run themselves.

All this said no matter how self maintaining your tanks is (And you'd be surprised how self sufficent your tank can be) You still can not go away on vacation for a week and leave the tank unattended, and you can't just drop it off at the Kennel.

The keys are

Conservative and carefulful fish stocking and selection
Deep Sand Bed
Live Rock
Plenty of water circulation

If you are deciding if this is right for you and want to learn the rights and wrongs here is a link to an excellent site to ask questions and learn, before you leap.


Capt Hook
09-05-2007, 21:21
Nice to look at but don't think i want the upkeep.

09-05-2007, 21:38
I've got a porcupine puffer, and a maroon goldstripe clown, and a Long tentacle anenome, and a cleaner shrimp. The puffer acts like a dog, the clown is a bully, and the shrimp is an antagonist. Quite fun to watch. and really expensive.

09-05-2007, 22:02
I kept a 90 gallon tank for a few years. Had way too much money invested in it and as much as I loved it, it had to go. I've thought about setting one up now that I'm a bit older and can afford it. Well, maybe not afford it, but I won't rack up 3 grand in credit card debt buying fish and rock :).

Anyway, on the morality of owning tanks, I'm all for a pretty tank. I'd prefer to buy fish that have been tank raised, but you can never be sure, so by buying them, you're supporting the illegal, what's the word, hunting? druggin? destruction? of reefs and reef fish. Because of this, I really don't know where I stand at this point in my life. I love the idea of keeping a tank, but I detest the destruction of our natural resources. I'm going to have to think about this one and if I ever come to a decision, I'll post about it. Thanks for posting the thread. It's given me a lot to think on.

09-05-2007, 22:12
OK, I am going to demonstrate my naiveté. I think they are really cool but I had never even considered that the fish, etc. weren't tank raised.

09-06-2007, 06:07
In Australia the amount of coral and fish that are collected for the aquarium industry are closely monitored.
The areas that collectors are able to collect from are monitored for sustainability and the collectors are restricted to collecting in specified areas.

There is alot of talk among aquariests about the use of cyanide for the collection of fish in some countrys, and most aquariests go to quite a bit of trouble to try to source there fish from shops that stock locally net caught fish, and not fish that have been sourced from these countrys.

Some shops are displaying signs showing that there fish are locally caught and cyanide free.

Most aquariests do care alot about the inhabitants they keep in there tanks....and the environment they are collected from.
I think the knowledge and awareness that keeping aquariums promotes, outweighs the downside of the few that are doing the wrong thing.


09-06-2007, 06:53
I had a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium with two Oscars, had to get rid of it because we moved to a smaller house. I miss it, and plan on having a saltwater, and a freshwater eventually. I've always wanted a saltwater with Lionfish, anemones, and clownfish. They are so beautiful, and peaceful to watch.

09-06-2007, 12:46
I love my salt water set up. The fish are well cared for, enjoyed thoughly, and they are my pets. What is the difference between that and a bird or dog?

Charlotte Smith
09-06-2007, 12:57
I think they are beautiful and my brother-in-law has one but I don't have the time for one.....and no one to take care of it when we are gone...

09-07-2007, 23:38
I've been in the hobby for around 10 years now and don't regret a minute of it, except the casualities. That's gonna happen in most hobbies, although we are talking about live animals here. It takes Patience, Patience, Research, Patience, Education, Patience, and did I say.... patience? There's so many early enthusiasts who want "nemos" and whatever else that's a novelty at the moment, or because they've been in a reef store and the fish, corals, etc. pay for their (understandable) ignorance. I was lucky in the fact I have a husband who is very methodical in his hobbies or interests, and has that scientific mind & we did take things slowly & read & researched everything we could get our hands on. Of course, you can ask 10 people something and you'll get 10 "facts", which is opinions, of course! BUT... my 240 gallon salt tank is my passionate hobby, besides SCUBA. When we got into SCUBA, it only made me more compassionate towards the natural reefs and my little fishies's natural habitats. My fish, anemones, & corals are my kids, & I cherish each of them. Weird maybe, but that's how we are w/all our pets, since there are no actual children! I firmly believe to buy Tank-bred and/or raised specimans whenever possible, and most areas have local reef clubs who meet each month or every so often, and learn, swap stories, and swap frags, which helps preserve what's left out there. The best of luck to anyone who's thinking about getting into the hobby! Sometimes I wonder, "why in the world didn't I take up cross-stitching or something?" would've been a LOT cheaper! :)

09-07-2007, 23:41
Oh and we are blessed to have a house-sitter when we go on vacation! She's so well-versed in reef-keeping, she could probably start her own! She's perfect... we met her when she was working for our vet- fanatical animal lover, like us!

09-07-2007, 23:50
I plan to start a nano reef toward the end of the year. I'm in the midst of researching now.

09-08-2007, 00:04
I love my salt water set up. The fish are well cared for, enjoyed thoughly, and they are my pets. What is the difference between that and a bird or dog?

Like I said, I've kept reef tanks and loved every second of it, but I do think there's a difference between that and a dog. As was already mentioned, many fish collectors use cyanide in the waters to drug the fish. Not only does this affect the fish taken, but those left behind. Others will go so far as using dynamite to break reefs apart for live rock. These people make their living by destroying what we as hobbyists strive to preserve. It's pretty sickening IMHO.

I used to have an umbrella cockatoo as well. "Bingo" was wild caught, and I'd never buy another bird like that. He was a good bird once he was trained, but I think it's wrong to take a wild animal out of his habitat for my selfish need to have a pet.

Dogs, on the other hand, are domesticated animals. They're bred to be pets. By keeping them, we're not encouraging others to destroy fragile ecosystems. That said, things like puppy mills make me ill, and should never be considered as healthy for the individual animals or the breed.

09-08-2007, 09:04
Guys I have no problems with someone having a salt water aquarium at home.

What gets up my nose is the large aquariums that house captured large species such as Whale Sharks. That is unethical to me.


09-08-2007, 09:11
i love reef tanks (with few fish, and lots of coral). i used to own one... and loved it and miss it!!
when we set our tanks up, we always... ALWAYS put all the liverock in a large garbage can (or 2) fill it with salt water, and trow a pump in there, and leave it for about a week or 2, then change the water, and leave it for another week...
that way, we never get bad things that might be on them... we never had levels out of the norm, even from day 1.

we set it all up, sand on the bottom, a bit of water (2 inches or so) than the rocks... then fill it with water.. and then comes the waiting game..... runing an empty tank (just water/rocks/sand) for 2-4 weeks...
after that, it's all peachy!

maintanence is a pain in the ARSE!!

09-08-2007, 09:12
I love my salt water set up. The fish are well cared for, enjoyed thoughly, and they are my pets. What is the difference between that and a bird or dog?

the difference is obvious!!! you can take your pets diving with you, while i cant go diving with my birds.

09-08-2007, 12:49
An ethical dilema for sure at times. But there are alternatives. There are two florida companies that have licenses to aquaculture live rock. Some of thier stuff is terrific, chock full of life and can overnight ship. I've driven up to Tampa on a few occasions to pick up stuff that was in the tank in just a few hours.

09-08-2007, 12:59
An ethical dilema for sure at times. But there are alternatives. There are two florida companies that have licenses to aquaculture live rock. Some of thier stuff is terrific, chock full of life and can overnight ship. I've driven up to Tampa on a few occasions to pick up stuff that was in the tank in just a few hours.

That's really good to hear. Mind if I ask how much they charge per pound on average?

Charles R
09-08-2007, 15:07
I love mine and its not an issue to keep up when I am out of town we have a local fish sitter that come in and cleans the tank and feeds when were away. kinda like when you drop your dogs off at the kennal but he has a key to the house!

09-08-2007, 15:18
I used to have a lion fish who would come to the surface and take shrimp right from my hand. I miss him! but, I had no time to take care of the tank while working full time and going to school. I just graduated from school, YAY! but, now comes the transition from one career to the other, and in that process I may find myself working 2 jobs for a while so I will have to wait a bit to get a new tank. plus, I don't have the money anyway! but, one day I would like to have my own spa, with a nice tank in it. I think that would be a nice way for clients to relax while waiting for their massage.

WV Diver
09-08-2007, 15:26
Here is another forum for all you aquarium freaks. :smiley20:

I have had many freshwater tanks but no way I would tackle a saltwater tank. I have had it all from frogs and eels to big 10" + piranha that we would feed gold fish during the Sat. night poker games. What fun.

09-08-2007, 18:21
For aquacultured rock prices go to the farmers


09-08-2007, 18:58
Thanks Pnevai.

09-09-2007, 10:35
too much work for me but they are great to look at being many miles from the ocean.