Convincing my parents to let me get a saltwater tank

Discussion in 'New Hobbyists' started by catsolax, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. catsolax

    catsolax New Member

    Hello, I am fifteen years old and I am homeschooled, me and my family live in the mountains of colorado in a small ski resort town, we also live on a small farm with goats, ducks, and chickens; I own and care for two crested geckos and a betta fish by myself. For the past year or so I've wanted to get a saltwater tank, I've had a 55 gallon freshwater tank in the past but I didn't know what I was doing, I had found a bunch of information online about the "correct" way to care for a tank. I wanted to give my fish the best life I could so, I started buying chemicals and different equipment that was supposed to make my fishes life better, the fish slowly died and I felt terrible, me and my mom were left pretty trumatized from the experience. I wanted to give them a better life and I failed, we ended up giving the equipment and fish to someone who had worked with fish for a long time a knew what they were doing but, we kept the tank. I know that fish are going to die when you have a tank but I felt so bad and I still feel bad because I didn't know what I was doing I was about 13-14 so I was quite young. I've learned from the 55 gallon tank and I understand you should do your proper research before jumping into something more so then I did then, I believe one of the reasons the tank failed is because of my extreme lack of research. After the 55 gallon tank me and my mom promised we'd never get a fish tank again but, for almost a year I've been fascinated with reef aquariums and the life within them, over that time I've been doing a lot of research on them. I'll get super into it and non-stop do research and then my mom will tell me it's not possible or yells at me and I'll stop for about a month maybe more but, then my will for a saltwater tank will spark up again, I've tried moving on from them but they are so fascinating to me. I am an extremely persistent child (if you couldn't tell) and I can understand how that can be very stressful to my mom especially seeing how I want a saltwater tank and they're not known for being easy to care for. I have two ideas for what I would want to do if I would be able to get a saltwater tank, I do not have a job or money to pay for the tank but right now I am just doing research and I just want my parents approval. I plan to get a job and save up for the tank as I continue to do research and figure out the best setup for me, I wouldn't want to end up getting the tank until next year around winter. Every time I talk about or mention a saltwater tank my mom gets upset and either yells at me or lectures me about why I could never have a saltwater tank. I get very frustrated because my mom is very fixed on this idea of how it would end up which is we'd spend a lot of time and money into the tank and I'll either get tired of caring for it or a bunch of fish will die and she'll be the one caring for it or we'll toss the whole tank and we'll just have wasted a bunch of money on the tank; I can understand why she'd be afraid of this as I've gotten things in the past and she's been left to care for them for example, I got a cat when I was 11 and my parents care for him because he's more so family pet I just call him "mine" we never agreed that I would care for the cat. I have two crested geckos and a betta fish as mentioned before and I've never asked for any help with them I've cared for them and done all the research myself. She's also afraid that once I move out in a few years I'll move some where I can't take the tank and she'll be left caring for it, I don't plan to go anywhere, where I cannot take my animals with me. I've talked to my dad about it and he's a lot more reasonable and understanding than my mom, I've told my dad that I want to pay for everything and I want to care for everything, I just want them to have my back if I need them and to approve me having the tank. I don't know how to make it clear to my mom of my intentions because every time I talk to her she never lets me get more then a few sentences out of my mouth before she interrupts me. My mom also thinks saltwater tanks are bad for the environment, or that since we live in such a high climate that somehow fish can't live up here, It's very frustrating when I've spent so long doing research on this and she hasn't done any research what so ever but assumes it'll go a certain way. Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can try to convince my mom to let me get a saltwater tank?
     
  2. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    Do you plan to go college or leave home when you around 18? If so, really investing in a reef tank when you are 15 may not be the way to go, unless maybe you try a nano-reef. Showing your mom that you are serious may simply be done by demonstrating resolve, such as she seeing that you are consistently reading and researching and not be dissuaded by her saying no. Reef tanks are rather expensive, even small ones. If you are not working are your parent(s) in a position financially to foot the bill? It's hundreds, if not thousands of dollar to invest in a reef tank and the money keeps needing to be spent. You should have an RO system, or be able to buy RO water. You need to have a continuous supply of salt as you do maintenance on your tank, etc.

    Anyway, maybe when you speak to your mom, be sure not start off argumentative. And, if she goes that route, figure out a way to bring her off it like, "please, mom, let me express myself and listen, and I will also listen to you." It may really be a financial issue, but she doesn't want to say no, we can't afford it. If you are serious, maybe you should start with a part-time job, save the money, so you can help to pay for it and let your mom know that you plan to do that so that you can have a tank.
     
    catsolax likes this.
  3. catsolax

    catsolax New Member

    Thank you for replying so fast! I do not plan to go to college, though, my plans may change. My family is financially able to afford a reef tank in the case I need their help, and I plan to get a job very soon. I plan to buy a ro/di unit since I do not have a LFS and I plan to get plenty of salt for water changes, etc. I am going to wait a couple of days before talking to my mom about getting a reef tank since I have been bringing it up a lot within the past two weeks, thank you for your reply!
     
  4. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Active Member

    My recommendation is to get the job first. You have a lot more bargaining power that way since you have a source of income to support your hobby and your mom will see that you have a serious commitment to it this go round. With saltwater there is a huge variance in the amount of cost and work required for a tank. A 6 foot long tank with full size Angels, Foxface/Rabbitfish, Tangs, Butterflyfish or Small Triggers with Corals (aka Large Reef Tank) is far more demanding than say a 20 gallon Long to 40 gallon Breeder with no corals and a few fish (ie Clownfish Pair, Gobies, Blennies, Cardinalfish). Do you still have the 55 gallon tank or did you get rid of it? If so then I recommend looking at getting a one of the long tanks in the 20-40 gallon range. Not sure how far your nearest Petco is but they periodically do dollar per gallon sales on their tanks. Corals will add greatly to the cost of the setup. I only have two coral frags (single stem) in my tank and I spent $65 between the two of them. A basic LED light with a timer is fine for fish only, but corals need some fairly spendy lights (for a 20 gallon tank a nice grow LED light would be in the $150-$200 range and the cost goes up from there with a larger tank). A fish only with live rock will help with both cost and maintenance, but be prepared that even a 20 long will likely run you $500-$600 total with all the accessories including the RODI system.

    What you would need for a fish only with live rock 20 Long setup

    An RODI System
    Instant Ocean Salt
    A Refractometer (to test the salinity of the water, ideally 1.025 would be the target)
    A Powerhead in the 800-1000 gph range (ie Hydor Koralia)
    20lbs of either dry rock that can be seeded (ie Pukani), Live Rock/Life Rock or a mix of the two. Dry Rock is cheaper and won't come with pest hitchikers, but takes longer to cycle properly and build up bacteria. Live Rock has plenty of bacteria and critters but can also produce some nasty surprise pests. Life Rock is man made and dry rock seeded with artificial bacteria on it. This way you get a compromise between live rock and dry rock.
    10-20lbs of marine aquarium suitable sand (ie live sand)
    A good quality Marine Test Kit (ie Red Sea)
    A Basic LED Light
    A Screen cover for the tank since many fish jump and in general it helps to have a cover
    A drain hose
    A few 5 gallon buckets
    A source of Ammonia to get the cycle started in your tank
     
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  5. jay0705

    jay0705 Administrator Staff Member

    Lighting will be your biggest expense with a reef tank. Now do you only want coral or do you want fish aswell?
     
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  6. catsolax

    catsolax New Member

    I plan to do a fowlr tank when I first start and see how that goes and someday add corals. I still have the 55 gallon tank and I have a ten gallon tank that I could pretty easily turn into a sump, I also have an 80 gallon bow front tank. Another idea I had is to get a 32 biocube and use the ten gallon tank as a reservoir for an ATO. I had done a lot of research for the 32 biocube and with everything except rock, corals, and fish it would be around 900 dollars, the only down side I see to this plan is that since it is a smaller tank it will be harder to care for, I am a beginner and I am scared of killing innocent fishes and corals. I also don't have any room in my bedroom for a very large tank, and the biocube would fit into my room.
     
  7. catsolax

    catsolax New Member

    I plan to do a fowlr tank when I first start and until I feel comfortable that I know what I am doing and then add corals in the future
     
  8. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    If you wish to successfully keep fish, then learn about Quarantine. Set up a quarantine tank and use it religiously and appropriately for ever fish you get prior to placing them in the display.
     
    catsolax likes this.
  9. jay0705

    jay0705 Administrator Staff Member

    Ok kido, you have done your research. I agree with beth's comment aswell. A good qt program is worth its weight in gold.
    Now to your tank choice. Personally bigger is better for 2 reasons. Ease of use, more water volume much easier to catch issues before they become a problem. 2nd you will always find something "new" you want. Fish, coral, ect. Bigger the tank more wiggle room you have. That said, a 32 would work. If you go w a sump it means drilling the tank tho. You can do an over flow via siphon, but a drilled tank is far easier. If you go w a sump, alot of big chain fish stores do $1 gallon sales. Get a 20L use that as your sump. It will up your water volume to 50+ gallons.
    To save some money, start w mostly base rock. Add a few lbs of live rock. That will help seed the base rock.
     
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  10. Jesterrace

    Jesterrace Active Member

    You might as well use what you have as long as the seals are still good. No sense in blowing that kind of money on a 32 gallon biocube when you can at least forgo the cost of the tank itself. The 55 or the 80 would both be very tempting to do saltwater in as they will give you some real options. If you are scared to start that big then I would go with the 20-40 Long tanks as those will give you more useful dimensions. If you go with the 55 or the 80 then it would be best to set them up for sump. If you go with the 40 or less I would go without a sump and just keep the tank simple with a solid HOB filter (ie Fluval 50, 70 or 110 or a comparable Tidal HOB filter) and just do small weekly water changes. The sump will add additional cost and complexity (particularly if you need to drill a tank).
     

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