View Full Version : help me spend some money!

03/09/2006, 10:05 PM
I am about two weeks (I hope!) from beginning to stock my 120. Lights should be here tomorrow and I am adding Cycle to ensure I actually go through one--It's been up a week with no ammonia spike. I have 60 lbs of fully cured LR, lots of base rock, and 112 lbs of live sand. My temp is 83, and I had a shrimp in for two days. Ran all tests two days in a row with perfect levels. I will do a big water change tomorrow and add the Cycle, then wait to see what happens.

I have a mated pair of clowns that have been in QT for 3 weeks. Other than that, I have a few snails and crabs, two emeralds, two brittle stars and a cleaner shrimp. All are in the qt for now.

I want a wide variety of things including clams. My lighting will support anything and I have great filtration (sump), a phosban reactor, and very good water movement. What should I put in first? I'd like to have a little something at all levels of the tank without overloading it.

I'm feeling in the money for the moment, since I returned an $800 light set up to my LFS and have store credit.

03/09/2006, 10:10 PM
Well is it Coral or Fish you want to buy?

You have clowns so you obviously need a place for them to call home. It is tough to say what to get without knowing the stock at you LFS. but clams or brains are always pretty. Don't know enough about you purpose for the tank to recomend specific.

03/09/2006, 10:11 PM
well, you sound like you have a good start... what lighting are you going to use? (just wondering) well, i would say....go very very slowly.... i would wait to add say a clam until your tank is at least 6 months old (maturity issues), i would also say to wait on any stony corals (sps) until then or even later..... if you are going to put softies in the tank, i would advise you to prepare to run a lot of carbon.... they have nasty chemical warfare.... for corals, you could start out with some shrooms or zoo's, those would probably be good starter corals, and as your tank matures, add others.... also, something i didnt see you mention, was a protein skimmer.... this will be one of the best pieces of equipment you could possibly buy for your tank... get a good one (euro reef, ASM, Deltec, Coralife) all seem to be good. Finally, if you are not planning to, i would strongly encourage you to run some type of refugium with macro algea, to consume extra nutrients from the tank.... the best thing you can do now, is go slow....hope this helps...

03/09/2006, 10:18 PM
Thanks, it does help. I forgot to mention the skimmer--I have a Remora Aqua C Pro. I want corals, with just a few spectacular fish. I also need something to keep the sand bed nice.

My LFS is awesome! They have four 15 foot long reef systems, absolutely beautiful. Everything in them is for sale; they don't keep the livestock isolated, so I get to see them with everything else. They do full tests right there before you buy so I know the SG and that their water is not contaminated. Plus, I go there often and everything is pristine and all the livestock is healty-looking.

Thanks for the clam tip--that would have been my first purchase!

03/09/2006, 10:23 PM
I forgot--I ordered Extreme Nova T5 lights

03/09/2006, 10:24 PM
no problem... sand sifting gobies (diamond gobies) will help keep your sand white while also entertaining you with all of their various "homes." They can sometimes create a sandstorm so kkep that in mind... Queen conchs will also help with the sand bed......as far as fish, you could probably put a small tang in there (something like a yellow, Kole eye, or probably even a hippo) but you have to be careful with tangs... they love their swimming room... although with a 120, you should be okay....flame angels are gorgeous, but they are 50/50 on whether they will bother corals or not....dottybacks are usually very colorful.... chromis make excellent schooling fish and are very fun to watch, Anthias are beautiful fish, lawnmower or bi-color blennies might not be the most colorful, but they have amazing personalities...just watch them with clams, sometimes they nip, other times they dont..... that is a good start on some fish descriptions i think :D

03/09/2006, 10:25 PM
I would also get some more snails( turbo's conch's)

03/09/2006, 10:42 PM
I don't mind sandstorms. I make quite a few myself!

I love watching the snails. Maybe I should just put in some more snails and crabs, a couple of queen conch, two or three gobies, and the crew I have waiting first, then get some zoos.

03/09/2006, 10:58 PM
sounds good....just be careful with the gobies.... they are very territorial nad a lot of people only have one per tank... diamond gobies get a good size, so they would do a good job cleaning....you have a farily good size tank so you might be able to keep two or so....just keep in mind they are very territorial towards their own kind....

Alaskan Reefer
03/10/2006, 01:15 AM
I personally would get a better skimmer with the store credit.

Does that Nova system have individual reflectors on the T5 bulbs? If not, I'd be cautious about adding clams or SPS at any point.

You could also add more LR unless the 60 pounds manages to fill the 120 decently.

Not trying to rain on your parade at all, just being honest which hopefully is the most helpful.

03/10/2006, 02:06 AM
I'd suggest some fish with personality. My fave is the Flame Hawk I got. He's hell on fins and great to watch. He likes to pick on the Blue Damsel. I hear they have a taste for small shrimp, though. Some say they'll go after snails but mine are untouched....so far. Go ahead and get those Zoos, I'd say. They're pretty tough from what I can tell. Just make sure you get some with good color. Good luck spending that jack!

Alaskan Reefer
03/10/2006, 02:28 AM
And I should answer your question. :)

Nice fish in a 120 reef might be a yellow tang, a midas or bicolor blenny, a royal gramma, a school of blue chromis, a goby of some type, six line wrasse. Lots of nice choices.

I'd do a six line or the chromis gang if it were me, then go to the more aggressives later.

03/10/2006, 05:48 AM
When you said a shrimp, I assume you meant a cocktail shrimp? My advice is just go slow. Especially since you did not have a solid cycle. I have heard of this with fully cured live rock though. Did you get the rock at your LFS? I'd say start with the Cleaner shrimp (biological assay), give him a few days, then follow with the Clowns. A good first coral might be a Hairy mushroom. Start it low by a big piece of base rock. If it looks good after a month, leave it there. If it doesn't, move it up some. Hopefully, the Clowns will enjoy it too.

The most sage reefkeeping advice ever: "Only bad things happen overnight." (Except for livestock deliveries.)

How's be me englush der teach?

03/10/2006, 05:59 AM
The nova t5's do not have indivdual reflectors. You may want to think twice about that purchase.

03/10/2006, 07:25 AM
Yes, I meant a cocktail shrimp. Nothing live until I am sure I have cycled completely. I'm a tree-hugger, vegetarian, and animal activist.

What skimmer would you suggest? I had this one on my 80g for awhile and it did a great job, but I will upgrade if it's best to do so.

I looked at several T5 systems--I have a nova on my 29 and it does quite well. I know the ones with the individual reflectors are better, but I can't do a kit because I would be afraid of putting it together myself--electricity frightens me. I emailed several companies regarding their systems to ask about them and premium aquatics was the only place to reply, so I went with them. What system would you suggest?

I took the live rock out of my FOWLR 80g--it had been in for over a year. I added 4-5 pieces that I had cured in tubs for a month. I have another 70-80 lbs of base rock, and some flat rock I am making shelves out of, about 50 lbs. I have quite a bit of rock in my 80 that's been there 1-2 years, so as I aquascape I can add or delete as needed. I am moving the tank to its final home (changed my mind after filling!) tonight, aquascaping, adding Cycle, and monitoring the parameters for as long as it takes to make sure I have everything right. Then . . .

2-3 queen conch
my snails plus several more
my hermits and emeralds
cleaner shrimp
A week later:
2 diamond gobies
5 chromis
1 6 line wrasse
1 midas or bicolor blennie
my mated clowns

Too much at once? Should I put my clowns in then a week later get the other fish? No way do I want to kill things because I rush it.

You guys are great! Thanks for the information.

03/10/2006, 07:43 AM
I have the Nova extreme T5 hood on my 55G. I'm very pleased with it. All corals, including SPS are doing well, are colorful and growing. My Derasa Clam has grown at least an inch since I put it in over a month ago.

03/10/2006, 08:18 AM
Good to know! I really like the set up, and I know I could put it up myself (If I can't, I need to get out of the hobby!). I did get two systems to make up for the lack of individual reflectors--one 8 lamp and one 4 lamp for a total of 648 watts, all 10,000K.

Love your avitar! I have a blue greyhound (96 lbs!)and a little brindle girl, both racing rescues. They love to play dress up--they get their coats when they want to go for a walk.

03/10/2006, 11:35 AM
That will be plenty of light. You'll be able to grow anything.

I have two rescued Greys and a Whippet (the avatar). My biggset is 55 pounds and thinks she's a lap dog. I can't even imagine one at 96 lbs.:D

03/10/2006, 12:04 PM
I refer to the blue a freak of nature. He thinks he's a lap dog as well, and I don't have a very big lap! He ran a few good races, but size was definitely an issue.

I had a Whippet when I was a teenager. Hard to tell the difference w/o seeing hindquarters.

03/10/2006, 12:17 PM
Great choice on the 120! That's what I have, check out my setup here:
http://www.AquaAddict.org/MyTank/MyTank.php I like the diamond gobies personally, but a lot of people have said not to get one until your tank is at least 5 months old as there wont really be a whole lot for them to eat. My tank is only 4 months old.

Alaskan Reefer
03/10/2006, 01:45 PM
For a 120 with sump, I'd get an ASM G-3 if you're looking for a skimmer you won't outgrow that's a good value. If that won't fit then a G-2. I personally have a Euroreef CS-180 on my 125, but it's overkill and most who own ASMs say they work just as well.


As for the lighting, I have the Sunlight Supply Tek T-5 8X54W over 2/3 of my 125. I have seen T-5 without individual reflectors and the difference is dramatic. Your call of course, just wanted to make sure you knew that the option for considerably more light output for the same wattage / electric bill existed. The Tek 8X54W would fit better on your 120 than it does on my 125, and you wouldn't need any more light at any point.


I'd just put a snail or crab in the tank after you think it's cycled. They'll let you know better than the fish will, and they're a lot cheaper than cleaner shrimp. :) After a week or so, the rest of your existing livestock. Then, add your other fish as slowly as you can, preferrably at least a week between each individual addition -- I've been stocking this 125 at one fish per month.

Make sure you post some pics!!!

03/10/2006, 02:50 PM
Lyscer, beautiful tank! Thanks for the heads up on the gobies. I'll wait awhile.

Alaskan Reefer, Thanks. I like the tek setup. You went with just 8 lamps? I ordered an additional set of4; guess I can save some money! BTW, I spent a summer in Eagle River way back when--actually, I used it as a base while I traveled around Alaska. Beautiful country.

03/11/2006, 04:54 AM
Alright, so since this thread was about spending money...
An upgraded protien skimmer is on the list, I'm not knocking the Remora, it may be a shade undersized though. And since you have a sump, there's several better choices. And while we're at the sump, Nemo's fuge suggestion was very good. No one has yet asked what you're going to do about flow. Maybe a set of Tunzes and a multicontroler. Hmmm... was going to try to save a little for livestock, oh well, time to sell the Remora on the seller's forum. Or you could save it in case you get the 80 running again. Oh, do you have an RO/DI filter? I probably wouldn't buy that at the LFS, but thought I'd mention it.

03/11/2006, 05:31 AM
What is the lfs called? Just wondering.

03/11/2006, 07:45 AM
I agree with Im14abeer about the RO/DI unit. It will save you a ton of money in the long run if you consider topping off your tank and doing water changes. Also in order to get the maximum performance out of a skimmer the water level needs to be pretty consistent. www.airwaterice.com has a compact reefkeeper unit for $139 and they have excellent customer service.

Do you have pictures yet?

03/11/2006, 09:44 AM
The LFS we go to is called Red Sea Aquatics in Marysville, CA. They have healthy stock and I like the fact that I can see everything together. It helps to see them that way in order to judge compatibility.

I'll check sites for pricing on the skimmers. I already have an RO unit. I also got a phosban 150; thinking about getting another for carbon.