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Re: salt vs. fresh
You can get some other creatures to live in your tanks, as mentioned
some worms, the dreaded planeria (I personally hate planeria because
they eat fish eggs), gammarus, some shrimp, snails, clams, etc. But you
can't get near the diversity you can with a salt tank. There aren't as
many animals to choose from, they are harder to get and a really big
problem is their requirements.
When you go to a pond, lake, river, stream or whatever natural body of
water that supports a good deal of life, a lot of the life is insects,
many of them only live part of their lives in water, quite a few fly, it
seems that a lot of the more interestting ones require regular live
food, and a lot of it. They can be very difficult to keep alive and
hardly ever work well in the same tank as fish.
There are other inverts, fw sponges, some some other things, even a few
interesting forms of algae. but from what I've heard from people that
have been fortunate enough to find some of these things while
collecting, they have had a hard time keeping them alive.
Maybe if there was a market for freshwater inverts, then some effort
would be made to start finding ones that are tank suitable and offering
them to the hobby.