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View Full Version : Beginner who needs some tips and has some questions.


Jabbe
09/19/2017, 07:40 PM
Hello all!

I am new to this, and currently getting ready to set up my first reef tank, a 530 gallon Aqua Medic. The last few months I've been trying to research as much as i can, as I knew basically nothing about saltwater aquariums, other than it required a stable water quality. I didn't know much about what species you could have either, so i am a complete beginner, haha, so any tips are greatly appreciated.

I am soon ready to start my cycle, planning on using live sand from CaribSea (Fiji Pink) with Pukani rock, and a couple of bottles of Bio-Spira. Will I need to ghost feed this, or will the pukani have enough dead stuff on it to start the cycle without any ghost feeding?
I've got a sump ready, and I'm going to try and set it up using the Herbie method, but never done anything like that before, so who knows how that will work out :lmao:

What I want, is this to work, and since I'm new, I dont want aggressive fish, or fish that can or will eat any of my other critters or corals. I also don't want too big fish, rather more small ones. After looking into this a bit, I've found some species of fish, corals and inverts I think might work, but I need your advice on this. I don't mind having just one of a species if they are aggressive towards the same species.

I would like a clown pair, and I'm thinking the Ocellaris Clownfish will be the best one? I don't think I want an anemone since I'm new and I have a feeling that would only mean trouble, haha, so I was thinking I might want some Hammer Coral since they seemed to be rather easy to keep, and can host the Clownfish?

I also would love to get an Algae Blenny, but they could nip on and disturb clams? How would that work if I added a Squamosa Clam? I would like a clam, and Squamosa seemed to be more suited for me (beginner). Would the Blenny disturb the clam too much?

Other than that I found Banggai Cardenal, Indian Ocean Firefish, Purple Firefish, and Filamented Flasher Wrasse to be easy and good "starter fish". And gobies, the Orange Spotted Goby seemed to pose a threat to small shrimps, how would would that work with Sexy Shrimps? They are too cool, and I need a few of those sexy little shrimps, but I dont want them to be in any dager from gobies or other critters. Would I be better off with the Pink Spotted Goby, Yellow Watchman Goby, Blackray Shrimp Goby or the Court Jester Goby? Can I keep all of these or just one? Which one would work with pistol shrimps?
And regarding the Sexy Shrimp, will they get along with the Ocellaris Clownfish as they both will host the Euphyllia? Will they live together in the same coral, or different ones? I read that the Clarkii Clown don't tolerate other critters hosting the same corals, so that's why I got concerned.

I am so sorry for all these questions, haha, I hope it's okay :)

I am thinking I want a Tang, but only one. I've narrowed it down to the Vampire Tang, is that a good choice, or is there any other tang that you would recommend?

There are a few more fish that I've found like the Falco Hawkfish and Rosy-Fin Fairy Wrasse, but they could also eat small shrimps, would they be okay with the Sexy Shrimps or would I be better off finding different fish? There are other fish I've found, but I won't list them all as I won't add all of these at the same time, haha. I will add the critters slowly and just enjoy the process :D I'm asking these things so I can plan a little ahead, and not adding anything that will be a threat or aggressive to any other critters I might add in the future.

As for the inverts, I dont have much idea of what I could have, but I've found the Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), Blue Legged Hermit and the Boxer Crab. If I add the hermit, I can't keep snails? What other great clean up guys can I add that will work together and be friends?
I tried to find any info on wether I would need an anemone to keep Boxer Crabs, but I couldn't find any info on that. As they use the anemone for so many things, and seem to treat it like a Portal Love Cube, I would think it would be necessary to also keep anemones, so they can get new ones if they lose the one they have or they need a new one? If an anemone is required, I might skip the crab, as I am a little nervous to ever add anemones to my tank, which would be a shame as those crabs look hilarious.

After looking into corals, I found myself getting very close to a LPS dominated tank, with Candy Cane, Orange Tube Coral, Fox Coral, Bullseye, Hammer, Favites and maybe eventually even an Elegance Coral. I did find one SPS coral I want, Montipora Plate Coral. As I understood this montipora was more tolerable towards a mixed coral aquarium and was not aggressive? Does that mean it can work well with the other corals I have found? Will softies like Pulsing Xenia and Weeping Willow work?

I think that's pretty much it for questions, other than what would you recommend me skipping, should I add anything in a special order, like what would be best to put in first? And what other critters and corals would you recommend me looking into?

I am so sorry for this long post, it might be a lot of newbie questions, but since I didn't know what an SPS coral was a few months ago, I want to ask and be safe before I start :)

Sincerely
Jabbe

Jabbe
09/19/2017, 07:42 PM
Hello all!

I am new to this, and currently getting ready to set up my first reef tank, a 530 gallon Aqua Medic. 130 gallon. I'm from norway so I mixed up the gallons and liters! It's a 130 gallon (530 liter)!

kozmic
09/19/2017, 09:46 PM
lol... was gonna say that 530gal for first reef tank will be an extraordinary challenge!

With that... you seem to be going about zed to 125kph, 'er, I mean zero to 100mph with this... ;)

Please take no offense, but I would humbly suggest you take a step back and understand that nothing good happens fast with reef keeping... and perhaps even worse, correcting things that go wrong can take even longer.

First... plan the tank setup... lighting... flow... filtration... planned bio-load... nutrient import/export. (consider placement of tank and nearby natural sun light sources, etc)

Then do some rock-scape planning... if you intend to use wet live rock, be sure remove any visual dead organisms on arrival and then cure the live rock before adding to the tank... this takes a couple months, so could actually be started before setting up the tank - I typically use a large trash can, small heater, and circulation powerhead.

After curing the live rock, add cured live rock, sand, and fresh mixed salt water (reef salt mix as it contains higher levels of certain elements) and then start cycling process... again, this will take another couple months... but can be accelerated with ghost feeding and adding bacteria starters, such as MicroBacter7, etc.

Then... research every organism you plan to introduce for compatibility and impact to tank ecosystem as well as individual required care, etc.

Go SLOW with adding your live-stock... 130gal is pretty big, so you could get away with adding a few fish at a time, but I would suggest giving at least a couple weeks between each addition of a few fish at a time to give the system time to multiply bacteria to match the new higher bio-load.

Honestly, I treat initial setup of a larger reef tank as a 6 to 8 month process... and that is before adding the first fish... and once you start adding live stock, the tank will continue to go through stages of secondary cycling with over growth stages of cyano, GHA, brown algae, etc...these will eventually stabilize, creating a balance...but each time you make a change to either the lighting, livestock, flow, etc, you risk another outbreak... and you will learn that post-initial setup, reef keeping "setup" is not a one and done activity...

And the best advice I can give any new keeper is to quarantine everything (I use a 4 week minimum QT)... one may be lucky for while, but it only takes one episode of a single non-QT'd infected fish killing off 3-4 years worth of adding/keeping $$$ livestock to learn that QT is not optional...

Anyway, this is a high-level one-post reply... there are entire novels dedicated to instruction on marine fish and reef keeping "how to"... so this is definitely not meant as everything you need to know...

Wish you all the pleasure that each little reef-keeping success brings! :thumbsup:

Jabbe
09/20/2017, 01:02 AM
Thanks for your reply! :) But i must ask, with no offence, did you read my post? I dont know why you are thinking I'm planning on adding everything at once and think that's it.

With that... you seem to be going about zed to 125kph, 'er, I mean zero to 100mph with this... ;)

Please take no offense, but I would humbly suggest you take a step back and understand that nothing good happens fast with reef keeping... and perhaps even worse, correcting things that go wrong can take even longer (...)

(...)Go SLOW with adding your live-stock... 130gal is pretty big, so you could get away with adding a few fish at a time, but I would suggest giving at least a couple weeks between each addition of a few fish at a time to give the system time to multiply bacteria to match the new higher bio-load.

(...)Then... research every organism you plan to introduce for compatibility and impact to tank ecosystem as well as individual required care, etc.


Thats' the entire point of my post, the research to make sure they will work together as I add them to the tank. I have no plans of adding all at once, I'm planning on starting with one fish, and then slowly add a little more. That's kinda what I have been doing, researching every organism I plan to introduce, thats the reason behind my post, to make sure they can all get a long in the long run. Again, I am absolutely not planning on adding them all at once.
I will add the critters slowly and just enjoy the process :D I'm asking these things so I can plan a little ahead, and not adding anything that will be a threat or aggressive to any other critters I might add in the future.

(...)if you intend to use wet live rock, be sure remove any visual dead organisms on arrival and then cure the live rock before adding to the tank... this takes a couple months, so could actually be started before setting up the tank - I typically use a large trash can, small heater, and circulation powerhead.
(...)but can be accelerated with ghost feeding and adding bacteria starters, such as MicroBacter7, etc.
I am not planning on using wet live rock, like I said in my post Im planning on using pukani, which is dead rock, with live sand from CaribSead.
planning on using live sand from CaribSea (Fiji Pink) with Pukani rock, and a couple of bottles of Bio-Spira. Will I need to ghost feed this, or will the pukani have enough dead stuff on it to start the cycle without any ghost feeding? I have read a lot about curing and cycling, and also asked around wether I could cure and cycle at the same time, which seemed to be something I could do. That's why I am asking if I need to ghost feed when I'm using dead live rock and Bio-Spira.

And the best advice I can give any new keeper is to quarantine everything (I use a 4 week minimum QT)... one may be lucky for while, but it only takes one episode of a single non-QT'd infected fish killing off 3-4 years worth of adding/keeping $$$ livestock to learn that QT is not optional...
I have a quarantine tank set up and ready to go, and I do plan to quarantine everything for at least a month.

Again, I am not planning on adding everything at once. I hope that's not how you read my post. I am asking all these questions because I want to make sure that everything will get along as I slowly add them to the tank. I want to start with one fish, and then slowly add a little more over a long period of time, but I don't want to add anything that might become aggressive or a threat to something I might add a year later etc. That's the reason behind my post. I do realize this will take time, and that's exactly why I'm doing it, I want to watch the process of things growing and settling in, I just want to plan a little ahead to avoid war in my tank.

Most guides out there is telling you to plan your tank set up, wether you want mostly LPS corals, SPS corals, softies, or a mix, plan a little ahead on what creatures you want etc, and that's what I've been trying to do. Maybe my post is written in such a way that it seems like i'm super eager to add everything all at once, but I am not planning on doing so at all.

I am planning my aquascaping with care, using tips from the aquascaping threads on this forum, and taking my time to set it up.

Thanks again :)

bertoni
09/20/2017, 04:59 PM
[welcome]

I assume that you mean Acanthurus tennenti when you say "Vampire Tang". That fish gets rather large, though, close to a foot in length, and I would find something smaller for a 130g tank, personally.