I have a low tech freshwater planted 10 gal that's been running for a month and a half and a 30 gal reef tank for almost 8 months. My reef tank is actually a reef with tons of coral. Both aquariums are beautiful in their own ways. People may say that a reef is harder to maintain than a freshwater tank. I do not believe this to be so.
The only thing that may be "harder" about a reef is keeping your salinity in check and making sure that your nitrates do not exceed 20ppm. By the way those things are fairly easy to keep in check. You will have to top off your salt tank with fresh RO/DI water daily. As for nitrates which are the end of the nitrogen cycle, in a small tank like a 10 gal you can keep them under control by doing 20% weekly water changes and watching how much you feed your fish and how many fish you keep in it.
For a 10 gal reef you will need at least 4 watts per gallon of lighting. Most beginners usually choose to use Power Compact lighting or T5 High Output. I wouldn't keepore than 2 fish in a 10 gal reef. Basically any type of small damsel would be a good choice. A firefish would be good too. You could keep a pair of clowns when they are really little but you will have to get at least a 30 gal tank to keep them full grown.
In a freshwater tank you could keep 12 fish pretty easily especially if you have a lot of live plants in it. Your nitrates can get up to 50ppm. You also don't have to topp off from evaporation..
I would say do your reashearch on both types of tanks and decide from there what you want to get. If you gain an understanding of how the nitrogen cycle works It will be a lot easier. Be patient also. That is the most important thing in this hobby. Also some people might say to start at least with a 50 gallon tank for saltwater but that is unecesary. Just do your reasearch and do it right and you shouldn't have any problems. If you want some awesome vids on starting a 10 gal reef tank for noobies go to Youtube.com and search for ipsfdotcom and watch his vids in oreder.
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Last edited by wake49; 05-16-2010 at 03:43 PM..