Newbie Question - Plants same as Reef?
I am at the researching stage of planning my first SW tank. Looking through the threads here, I see people have reef tanks or FOWLR tanks. I don't think I want to start with a reef tank but I'm wondering if there are plants that can be added to a FOWLR tanks or if FOWLR tanks are just fish, live rock & live sand? I'm kind of thinking of plants somewhere along the line of what freshwater plants look like - you know, kind of tall with flowing branches. If there are such plants, what would be good ones for a beginner?
Thanks for all the info at this site! I'm already learning a great deal!
A FOWLR means Fish Only With Live Rock. A FOWLR is usually for fish that are not reef safe. There are also Fish Only systems that don't have live rock but use fake plants/corals. You don't have to have Live rock and live sand in a Fish only system, some people do bare bottom systems with no sand/substrate at all. It is your choice, most would recommend adding LR (live rock) and live sand to a fish only because it acts as a natural filter, it may cause a nitrate or ammonia spike when first added but after it is cured it will help filter the water. Plus live rock can be very beautiful to look at and comes in a variaty of shapes and colors. You could get some LR and live sand and still add plants or fake decor. In a Reef system LR is defiantly needed, the sand is always up to the person.
Thanks for the response! So, I can have a SW tank with fish, live rock, live sand, & live plants? I think that is the way I am leaning at this point. I definitely like the idea of using the live rock & live sand for filtration. I'm sure choosing live plants takes care & consideration but I think I'd really like adding that to my plan -- at least for now!
That sounds like a great plan to me. In fact live plants can serve a great purpose to a system. Check out the link below, it will give you an idea of the types of saltwater plants you can have and how to care for them. :-D
Saltwater aquarium refugium , marine plants, algaes, nitrate reduction
the plants your speaking of are types of macro algaes, keeping these will still require a good light source. certain species will also go sexual and over populate your tank. research and google anything BEFORE adding it to your tank. by doing this you will increase your chances of buying something you can actually keep.
as for the live rock/sand convo,
i personally would set up a FOWLR the same as a reef ( minus the coral and lighting )
this includes enough rock, an overflow, sump and skimmer. i think i would even use RO/DI water too. FOWLR systems can be more basic, but these methods always worked for me with my reef tanks.
as cali said, enough rock with enough flow will be your filter. ofcourse that can work in tandem with a skimmer, but i personally dont suggest canister filters, hang on filters, bio balls, and anything that can collect debris to break down into un-wanted nutrients. hang on filters and even canister filters have been used by others, but frequent cleaning of the media is a must. even filter socks must be cleaned very frequent. proper feeding will also help to keep water quality pristine.
on the sand topic, you can go without it, which will even allow you to increase flow ( this is why alot of SPS keepers go bare bottom ) but i personally like sand in my tanks. a deep sand bed to be exact. ( you want to keep sand 1'' and under OR 4'' - 6''
seeing as you wish to keep macro algaes, a deep sand bed might be needed for certain species. research will tell.
some fish NEED sand. jawfish, gobies, some wrasse will dart into the sandbed when they feel a threat... as well as other things like nassarious snails, sand shifting starfish and so on...
depending how your fish only tank will be set up, keeping inverts usually doesnt happen unless you pick all reef friendly fish.
so sand doesnt always depend on personal liking. i do however advise to keep away from crushed coral or gravel in a saltwater system.
welcome to the forum.
Good Luck mnewcomb!
not only will some algaes need sand, others will need rock, empty shells, dead coral skeleton to grow on, some are free floating, all this will depend on its type which will need to be researched. by keeping good alk, cal and mag levels your live rock should in time be covered in some very nice coraline algae. certain algaes may even battle the coraline for space, again depending on algae species. i would suggest testing for alk, cal and mag anyways since you plan on housing these algaes. ( i personally would test/dose for this in a fish only system or reef anyways as both fish and corals benefit from proper levels. )
along with these tests dont forget liquid tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, thermo for temp, refractometer for salinity ( i suggest a refractometer over a hydrometer anyday for better accuracy, check ebay) at the minimum. some more demanding algaes may require other testing and dosing. NEVER dose without testing. i suggest picking a reef quality salt mix and sticking with it. by using this it will provide your major elements for alk, cal and mag, along with the minor elements that are found in sea water. water changes alone should replenish these, but testing for alk, cal and mag will tell if additional dosing is required.
i will say, there are some very nice tyes of algae out there, and again coraline is pretty in itself IMO and ive seen it in some very nice colors ( which seem to be rarer then common shades of purple, which still provides a beauty )
regardless, good luck, have fun, take your time, ask questions, research and again welcome to the forum.
Here are some of the Marine Plants you can keep. I would not use the Mangroves unless you are planning on using a Sump.
Thanks everyone for the great advice! I will definitely take my time & research before deciding on which if any plants to add.
So far, here are my thoughts for my first SW tank: 40 breeder tank, live rock (don't know how much yet), live sand (don't know how much yet). I'm currently thinking I might get a dwarf zebra lionfish for my lone tank occupant. Hopefully, I'll find a few nice plants to finish off the tank. I know I haven't addressed the skimmer, powerheads, sump setup, lights, heater, etc yet - those are on the list to research.
I'm thinking setting up this tank will be a good winter project so I have several months to figure out what the actual setup will be.
Any suggestions along the way are greatly appreciated!
A good rule to adding live rock is adding 1 lb of LR per gallon of the tank. 40 lbs of live rock should be a good start. The live sand is up to you most people like to have at least a 2 1/2 inch sand bed.
Zebra Lions are awesome fish but it might be hard to find one that is healthy. When you pick one out at the store make sure it eats right away before you take it home. Often times it is hard to find a dwarf lion accepting frozen foods, and ounce they get used to live foods such as silver sides or ghost shrimp they rarely go to frozens. I got my lion to eat from tongs which makes it fun to feed her.
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