Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freshwater vs. Saltwater

Freshwater and Saltwater have different advantages, here are the considerations I thought about and how I came to the conclusion to go freshwater.

+More colorful fish
+Generally they tend to have a cleaner more sterile look
+Sea Anemones are cooler then freshwater plants
+Something about having basically a mini ocean in your living is cooler
+Makes you think of snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean
+A vastly wider selection  of invertebrates (shrimp, starfish, crabs and other crustaceans)

-The fish are EXTREMELY expensive compared to freshwater
-You really do not want to tinker with it
-Live corral is extremely expensive compared to dropping in some driftwood and few freshwater plants
-Equipment, you need some fairly serious equipment from protein skimmers to sub pump filtration.
-Maintenance heavy (maintaining salt and water quality)
-Maintenance costs (chemicals and media to maintain water quality)
-Breeding saltwater fish in captivity can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most species, so your going to miss the circle of life with the exception of clown fish.

-Sustainability, this one is fairly serious for the most part with the exception of clown fish, these fish are being plucked from our oceans and reefs, ecosystem that are already dying off due to pollution, overfishing and global warming

+You can breed freshwater fish
+Fish are affordable ($Discus$ can really set you back though)
+1/3 the cost of a Saltwater tank in general
+A freshwater tank is more tolerant and forgiving to mistakes in water quality
+If you experience a complete die off of your entire tank you can start again for relatively low cost
+Easier water changes
+You can grow freshwater plants (some people focus on the horticulturist part more creating Zen landscapes, the fish are more of compliment to the plants, check out this '09 winning tank http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2009.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=2&id=97)

-Colors are a pale comparison to saltwater fish (though see the georgious Discuss below, Angels and Cichlids can also be very colorful)

-Freshwater tanks can be pretty amazing as you can see in the link above, but to be fair saltwater tanks are the ones that always take my breath away
-Algae can be more of an issue in freshwater tanks
-Less fish selection

Fishlore provided a great service by breaking down the costs comparisons here http://www.fishlore.com/saltwatervsfreshwater.htm. The conclusion is a saltwater tank will cost you 3x as much as a freshwater tank. If you go for a saltwater "reef" tank your looking at 5x the cost. For a 29 gallon tank the break down is this:

29 Gallon Tank
Freshwater $350
Saltwater $635
Saltwater Reef Tank $1270  

My next post will focus on why I chose freshwater.


  1. Hello
    Can I use your picture of Discus for my website please ?

  2. Very beautiful pictures. Can I know which camera is been used ? Thank you.