I was really convinced I was going to do a SW tank eventually, but the more I get into planted tanks, the less the SW appeals to me. In fact, I had even purchased the future light fixture (which I have on my 55, only using 2 out of the 6 ballasts right now!). I really think I'm going to pass on the SW, even though I can't deny they are beautiful.
Like most people I started with freshwater tanks as a child. I eventually moved on to african cichlids and ultimately, or so I thought, reef tanks. After a dozen or so years in reefkeeping I am back in freshwater again. I traded coral frags for my tank and my eheim filter. I am the only person who is a member of both the local freshwater and saltwater clubs so its been interesting comparing and contrasting the two disciplines of the hobby. Ironically, in Saint Louis, Missouri, the "middle coast" if you will, there is a relatively large selection of corals and saltwater fish compared to hardly any plants at all being available. At 44 I am one of the old guys in the reef club but among the young ones at the freshwater meeting!
I admit I am biased toward marine tanks because of my general impression of marine aquarists. Generally, the ones I've met are people who would look at a wild swordtail and wonder what the heck all the fuss is about. I've also been subjected to "conversion" before, when I worked at the LFS...stuff along the lines of "Why would you EVER want to breed that freshwater crap?"
Reef tanks are very expensive. And generally, the fish are unbreedable. Thus, I have both a financial and a moral obligation to freshwater.
Great tank. I think I've seen it before, but is it yours?
Error, I have to agree with the SW people about the fact that SW fish are much more attractive than the FW fish, they can't even be compared! I mean just look at Wrasse sp., Anthias sp., and Dartfish sp. for example, brilliant coloration. While many SW fish have amazing shapes, such as the Boxfish, Batfish, and the Dragonets.
Is that your tank? It's beautiful!! I started keeping a nano reef last year when I needed something less maintenance intensive than a plant tank. They're cool and all that and the gadgets are beyond compare, but even with a tank teeming with corals and small critters they still seem so stagnant and lifeless even though it couldn't be farther from the truth. One of these days I'll set up another nano reef and we'll have to compare notes.
The energy consumption for a reef tank seems irresponsible to me. I do like to look at them, but I can't bring myself to do that. I've backed off on the lighting on my planted tanks too, and guess what? They are way easier to keep when not running on the edge. Sure, I can't do carpet plants anymore, but they were a PITA anyway.
im on the complete other side of the spectrum, i currently keep several nano-reefs (modified nanocube, 4.5g custom glass bowfront, and a 1g pico reef) and i still find planted tanks super interesting, the plants seem to be muuuuuch cheaper than some of the coral i have purchased and being able to have lower lighting and cannister filters seems appealing. as far as activity in a tank goes, if any of you have ever seen the symbiotic relationship between a yellow watchman goby (or any other shrimp goby for that matter) and a pistol shrimp its amazing, the shrim burrows a hole for protection for the pair while the goby protects the shrimp and brings it food. i will post some pictures of my reef tanks soon.
anyway both sides of the spectrum are very interesting, and i cant wait to start my planted tank.