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We have a few small freshwater fish tanks but we are thinking about starting a saltwater tank because there are more fish. I read that it's harder to keep them, though. Is it much harder?
 

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So far it seems much more complicated. When my girlfriend and I bought the saltwater setup it included a kit for testing the levels of four or five different chemicals a few times a week. Each test could take up to five minutes. In two weeks, we've bought a total of 17 fish and we have 4 left. We didn't buy all 17 together. We had 12 initially and we kept replacing them as they died off. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the remaining fish, blue devil damsel and a yellow tail damsel, live until the tank is done cycling and is ready for some larger fish. I almost feel like a scientist trying to maintain the tank, but I hear it gets easier once the tank is done cycling!

Rachel said:
We have a few small freshwater fish tanks but we are thinking about starting a saltwater tank because there are more fish. I read that it's harder to keep them, though. Is it much harder?
 

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It is a bit more complicated however once you get started it's well worth it. If you wait to add your fish until the tank has cycled you have much better luck. Adding fish too soon causes New Tank Syndrome and kills off your fish. You need to wait at least a month to add fish unless you use sand that has live bacteria in it live rock also helps then you can add fish in 5 to 7 days depending on your levels. The live rock should be added after your tank has been setup for 24 hours. Some places offer free water testing.
 

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Hi Jazmine, what does live rock do? Are there advantages to adding live rock to a tank over plastic coral, for instance?

Jazmine said:
The live rock should be added after your tank has been setup for 24 hours. Some places offer free water testing.
 

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If I may, the live rock also acts as a filter by lowering the nitrates in your tank.
 

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saltwater is not that much harder than freshwater. once you get things down its like second nature. Some may even say its easier than freshwater because thing take care of themselves. although you will still need to so some work. the hardest part of saltwater is first starting, and waiting for the tank to cycle. the easiest way to cycle a tank is with live rock in it. and during the cycle you will have to constantly check the water parameters. but after that you should only have to do it once a week.
 

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Live rock has a porous surface and lots of surface area for nitrifying bacteria to anchor to. It helps in the cycling process by breaking down ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate. With enough live rock and a deep, poorly oxygenated sand bed, you can develop denitrifying bacteria that will help break your nitrates down.

If you've added live rock, I wouldn't add any fish until your ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0. It doesn't just waste money, it's unethical in the fact that it needlessly kills fish. Besides, most damsels get aggressive towards your other fish anyway. With a good amount of live rock and some patience the tank will cycle in no time.
 
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