Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   15g difficult? (

Grimmjow 10-07-2009 05:33 AM

15g difficult?
How hard would it be to do a 15g saltwater tank? would it be unwise to go this small?

Pasfur 10-07-2009 05:49 AM

I think a 15 gallon is large enough for your first saltwater tank, assuming you are willing to live within the constraints of the tank size. You are looking at 1 or 2 fish at most, and the fish need to be able to live their entire life span inside this small aquarium.

Regardless of tank size, the basics of a marine aquarium are the same. You want live rock, aragonite sand, and a protein skimmer as the live support system. If you are really interested, lets discuss what equipment you currently have and see what you need.

Grimmjow 10-07-2009 06:05 AM

I had a betta fish in it but it just died and its got snails popping up everywhere so im taking everything out and starting over. So I basically just have tank, lid, light, filter and heater which i dont think I could use, and of course a paycheck burning a hole in my pocket.

Right now I'm just searching the internet and planning things out.

bad kid 10-07-2009 08:36 AM

i would say no but only if u kept small fish such as

small wrasses

Grimmjow 10-07-2009 09:08 AM

Ya all I really want is 2 MAYBE 3 clownfish

Pasfur 10-07-2009 03:33 PM


Originally Posted by Grimmjow (Post 254087)
Ya all I really want is 2 MAYBE 3 clownfish

This is exactly my point. In the saltwater hobby, ESPECIALLY on small aquariums, you can't push your luck. When I say "1 or 2 fish at most", I mean 1 or 2 fish AT MOST. If you put 3 Clownfish in a 15 gallon tank you will not have any level of sustained success. Period.

Look, saltwater is not difficult. What is difficult is controlling the desire to have more and more. If you will simply stick with the limits of what your aquarium can do, you WILL have success.

Grimmjow 10-10-2009 09:37 AM

Alright, Im gonna spend a while researching, making decisions, saving money, etc.

How is a large tank easier? What general differences are there between keeping a smal tank and a larger one?

Pasfur 10-10-2009 10:50 AM

The care of a larger tank is far easier than a small tank. There is no comparison at all. The simple answer is dilution. The larger the water volume, the more stable the water chemistry. Marine fish are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and this single factor alone increases greatly the ability of the fish to remain healthy and resist disease and infection.

Another huge factor is the aggression between fish, corals, and other animals in the tank. Until you keep a marine aquarium you can not begin to understand the differences in the behavior of freshwater fish compared to marine. They are totally different. The most passive of marine fish would be considered highly aggressive by freshwater standards. Simply mixing fish together is an art form of its own that requires very careful analysis and caution. As a general rule, in aquariums that are 6 foot in length or larger, most combinations of fish become possible, provided in the fish do not attain an adult size that is to large for the environment. Aquariums under 6 foot in length present much more of a challenge, and aquariums under 4 foot in length are highly volatile when it comes to fish behavior.

Another huge factor is the fish selections and coral growth. Very few fish can settle into a small tank well. Most of the fish you see in pet shops are going to need a 75 gallon tank, preferably a 125 gallon tank or larger to be healthy. If these fish do not have the space to swim and feel comfortable, they are going to have a weakened immunity and constantly battle disease and infections. Take the most common fish, a Yellow Tang. Keeping this fish in a 55 gallon tank is very difficult. In a 75 gallon they become much easier, and in a 125 or larger they are extremely easy to keep. This concept is hard to understand for a freshwater fishkeeper, because there are not many fish in freshwater hobby that have these types of demands. Almost all marine fish have these demands.

Another issue is space and growth rates. Freshwater fishkeepers will regularly keep a fish in a small tank and move it into a larger tank as it grows. This simply does not work in saltwater. If a fish reaches an adult size of 14'', you need to give it the amount of space it would utilize as an adult. Marine fish needs for space are much more dependent upon BEHAVIOR than on present size. Adult size is a good indicator of behavioral space needs, but size does not determine the tank size. This causes all sorts of problems when people try to buy a "baby Dori" and keep it in a 29 gallon tank. These situations almost always result in an early death for the fish, which should have been placed in a 55 gallon tank or larger and quickly moved into a 75 gallon or larger as it reached the 3'' to 4'' size range. When fish are cramped into these smaller tanks, they have persistent health issues.

So, what this comes down to is some very strict rules that need to be followed for successful small aquariums. Unfortunately it is very difficult to stick within these parameters, because human nature is to push the limits. For these reasons, I would recommend that you do a 75 gallon or 125 gallon for your first marine aquarium. These tanks are not all that much more expensive than a 38 or 55 gallon tank, and are much less expensive by the gallon.

gus1911 10-10-2009 05:06 PM

Pasfur is right on, if you decide on a 15 gal. I've had a 20 gal saltwater tank for 20 years and I've had far more success with the salt tank than with freshwater tanks. This past summer I converted the fish only tank to a reef and it's doing great. BUT - you must resist the urge AT ALL COST to buy every fish you see. It will test your will power for sure.

As already stated, there is less room for error in a smaller tank, but if you watch your water parameters, follow all the proven rules, stay with small easy keepers, the success rate can be just as good as with a 100 gal tank. I have 3 fish in my 20 gal reef, a clown, a damsel and a wrasse. Two are several years old, my corals (also easy softies and two easy stonies) are thriving.

I'm one of the few, probably, who thinks that smaller is better. Much less work - AND think of the small 10% weekly water changes! 1.5 gals in your case vs 10 gals in a 100 gal tank!

kitten_penang 10-10-2009 05:16 PM

larger tanks are more stable and suitable for should run the tank without any fish for a week to let it stabilize.i learned that the hard way.i used to have a nano tank that charshed and burned.i'm not very proud of it.
i had a juvinile coral grouper and a small crab in it.poor things.may they RIP.

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