Making a freshwater look as a saltwater - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-08-2010, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Making a freshwater look as a saltwater

I am in the process of looking into building my mother a freshwater fish tank. I was considering attempting to build a fresh water tank with fake saltwater decos(fake coral, dead rock etc). Is it possible? how easy or difficult would it be to maintain and keep clean?

I thought I once saw someone do this here, but wasn't sure if its something that would be smart to even attempt. Thanks for the help :)
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-08-2010, 02:50 PM
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Any kind of decorations are welcome in a aquarium (assuming they are fish-safe). The kind of decorations you have should not determine the care of your tank. The care for a tank is the same regardless of what you have in there. I've seen everything in aquariums from shipwrecks, to live plants to vodka bottles (no joke).

The main thing that every tank needs to stay happy and healthy is weekly water changes.

ďThe space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more...."-- Dave Matthews
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-09-2010, 03:24 AM
added you don't have too much lighting cause the algae bloom the get's stuck to the fake coral (presuming you use soft plastic as they are expensive an real like) you wont want scrubbbing to be involwed as you might actually have a hard time cleanin it and not spoil it.

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post #4 of 9 Old 08-09-2010, 02:30 PM
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I would sat that if you want to do a saltwater tank then actually do a saltwater tank. It seems that you like the look of a reef but don't want to do all of the extra maintenance you hear about. I have a 30 gallon reef and I would say that its about the same maintenance as a planted tank.
I have a planted tank too and the only extra work that I put into the reef and not the planted is mixing the salt with the RO water and messing around with it til you get the right salinity. In my opinion a reef tank can definitely become way more of a hassle than a freshwater tank but you don't have to make it a huge hassle.
My reef tank is very simple as far as equipment goes. I have a heater, powerhead, lighting, and a HOB filter with a big bag of carbon in it. No protein skimmer for me.
The only maintenance I do on my tanks is weekly water changes, dosing ferts (which takes 2 seconds) and feeding.

Another option could be a freshwater planted tank. To me, they are just as beautiful as a reef tank and a re a little tiny bit less to maintain, but they are a whole lot less expensive.
If you going to do a FW fake reef then getting a bunch of snails seems like a smart thing to do to keep the algae down on the decorations.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-09-2010, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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You are right, I do absolutely love the look of a reef. I'm actually in the process of starting up a 75 g reef which is why it made wonder I maybe could start a fresh water fake reef in my mothers home. Doesn't sound like it's worth it though.

Thank you so much for your input.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-09-2010, 07:29 PM
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Maybe you could do a saltwater tank, without the reef?
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-09-2010, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ah no, it's like having a fish tank without the fish. If you're going to do a saltwater, you have to have the reef :) since bringing up the idea months ago, she's also considered allowing to build her a reef in her own home. When it comes down to it, it seems you just cannot replace the beauty of a saltwater tank I think and if maintenance is not much different, I would rather build her a saltwater as well.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-10-2010, 07:25 AM
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You can almost do it. African cichlids have lots of colors, are pretty easy to keep and most are herbivores to some degree and thus you wont have much in the way of algae problems. Actinic and white bulb will give it that blueish reef look and bring out the colors in the fish as well. Just an option.

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post #9 of 9 Old 08-16-2010, 11:26 AM
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Ive got a 10 gal setup similar to a saltwater looking tank. Its actually a light brackish water setup but more on the freshwater side. I used some dead rock, sand substrate and javamoss. The java grows on the dead rock pretty nicely and has a cheatomorpha look to it. I also have a couple marimo moss balls and mangrove plants in there. For lighting I used some LEDs and a few blues that a lot of people use on salt water tanks. It looks great and gives it a nice saltwater tank look to it. For fish stock, since its a brackish tank, ive got a pair of desert gobies, and a figuire eight puffer. Theres a few snails in there aswell. I find that it looks like a saltwater tank, but still is easy to maintain as a freshwater tank. Also being these fish are brackish they can live in a pretty wide range of water salinity. Most can live anywhere from full salt water to full freshwater.
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