Aquariums - too much hassle?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Alsacien, Jan 18, 2010.

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  1. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Thinking of getting one, decent outlay if I do.

    Salt water ones have critters n' stuff in them which I like more than fresh water ones.

    My question is, apart from the initial outlay, what is the running cost and most importantly time and effort involved?
  2. I've had a fresh water aquarium for a number of years and kept various types of tropical fish. If you believe all the b0llocks about water testing, water changes and cleaning you'd never want one because of the amount of time and effort you need to invest. I give mine an occasional clean and change half the water every couple of months and the fish are fine. All the serious cleaning is for the benefit of the looker-in as opposed to the looker-out.

    Don't know much about salt water aquariums but intend to go in that direction once retired. But people I know who keep salt water fish tell me it's not really any more work than fresh ... just a bit more water quality testing.
  3. I have had marine aquariums on and off for some 20 years...and my current tank takes me about 2 minutes maintenance a day..and about 15 minutes for a partial water change once a month!

    The key to a marine tank is plenty of good quality liverock, good flow, good skimmer and low fish stock!.

    This is my tank just now... [​IMG]
  4. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Thats what I'm talking about, pukka Red Sea reef.
    Can cope with that effort too. How much does the choice of pump/filter/salinator/heater influence the result?

    You only appear to have 2 fish...... is that what you mean by low fish stock 8O

    I guess the choice of sponges/corals etc is important in the filtering context - or how does that work?
  5. I broke up my reef last year, 1000litre system, it was great with very little work until I started growing hard corals........ and then it all went horribly horribly wrong!

    Marine systems come in 3 levels really: fish only, fish soft corals and maybe a few crustaceans and a full blown reef. For a full blown reef you are going to need a degree in chemistry (or at least a firm understanding of the relationship between ph, temperature, calcium, carbonate and magnesium to start with), lots of chemicals, a calcium reactor and some very expensive lighting not to mention pockets deeper than the North Sea.

    I now run the 1000 litre system as a South American fresh water tank....bliss! It takes me exactly 0 minutes everyday because even the feeder is automatic, I haven't done a water change in over a year, everything is sweet and all I do is top up evaporated water (that's automated to some extent with an RO system under the sink and auto-topup in the sump from when it was a reef) I feed live at weekends when I spend maybe 15 minutes on it.

    My recommendation would be leave the reef until you are retired and have at least 2 minutes every day. A fish only marine system is a viable option but a bit boring as you still need to keep stock levels fairly low, marine fish can be incredibly picky about feeding and a pinch of dried food will never do to keep them healthy.

    PS. The reason mine became a disaster was my huge anenome that hadn't moved in 2 years decided to go walkabout taking in the scenic view via one of the power heads, chopped up ananome does the water quality no good whatsoever and the tank never really recovered, I lost about £500 worth of stock in one night (all crustaceans died instantly and I lost 5 very expensive fish), calcium reactor switched itself off (because ph plummeted) and skimmer went mental, it took months to get the ph back up because £1000 of live rock started to die off and took a while to cycle through. I sort of lost interest (or rather my bank balance couldn't justify a complete restock of what had taken nearly 5 years to stock) The best option was to go back to fresh water.

    Good luck though :D
  6. Initial outlay on the important stuff will minimise the amount of 'fiddly hasslish' stuff you have to do once its up and running, so good quality filters, skimmers etc which will do alot of the work for you, and as 2/51 says don't over stock it!

    Am in the process of setting up a marine tank myself but going towards a British theme (ideally something like the habitat's at Studland Bay so I can keep seahorses) rather than a tropical reef theme.
  7. What happens during power cuts?
  8. As scuba angel said, there's some stunning creatures in UK waters, can be collected by a friendly diver.

    Shrimp, juvenile lobster, squat lobster, cuckoo wrasse.

    And if there's a power cut........

  9. ebay ois your friend when it comes to marine aquariums!

    i had a 450litre tank last year and it cost approx £4k all in but was spectacular - just like our leccy bills1

    if you need any help with the basics or advice pm me.
  10. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Have a look on for a decent second hand set up, there are some incredible bargains to be had.

    I bought my tank as a complete beginner, with 12 Malawi Cichlids, 2 Australian Blue Lobsters (Blue Crayfish) and 1 mental sucker fish thing that looks like a baby shark for £120.
    It also came with all the pumps, filters and a load of artificial plants and some rocks. (Cichlids will eat real plants.)

    I feed them all once every two days with a mixture of pellets for the fish and frozen prawns for the lobsters. Once every 2 months I empty half the water and refill it again also taking out the filter and rinsing it under a tap.

    That's it. I've had the tank for 2 years now with just two Cichlids dying but 4 babies were born so I am now 2 up. The guy who I bought the tank from had it for 5 years so some of the fish and the lobsters are over 7 years old.
  11. Fish are gay.
  12. that sucker fish is called a pleicostamus, its can grow to a quarter size of your tank, mine lived for twenty years, becareful as they jump when provoked and the spines on it can be quite nasty they hurt and do give you a infection. It will keep your tank clean. To stop it getting bored I put together a couple of lego bricks for it to nuzzle.

    its a south american catfish, to stop it getting stressed put a rock in the same colour so it can hide and rest.

    had to lose my tank due to constant postings,

  13. That Southpark "joke".

    Jimmy: Do you like fishsticks?
    Cartman: Yeah.
    Jimmy: Do you like putting fishsticks in your mouth?
    Cartman: Yeah.
    Jimmy: What are you, a gay fish?
  14. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Cheers for the tips!

    I have seen it get angry and the spines look nasty. It has a few rocks to hide under and it is now about three times the size since the pics were taken two years ago so I have put some more rocks and logs in for it. I saw one in a fish shop in Penrith, Cumbria that was 36 years old and about 3 feet long!
  15. my first fish I had for around for five years, near my tenth birthday it decided to trip the light fantastic and do some freestyle breakdancing on the surface of the water.

    It died before I got to school, I was devastated,

    got home to look at my empty tank, my dad typical RSM mentality said he got me a special dinner for tea, yep you guessed it fish n chips. bastard.

    honestly did not engage brain on the way home from work. I still remind him how insensitive he can be...