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Old 01/20/2010, 03:01 AM   #1
MrsHaggis
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What goes first - Coral or Fish?

We were at the LFS last night to order a new membrane for our RO system and were helped by a new guy working there. We got to talking and he actually seemed quite knowledgeable (has a 250 gallon tank at home); tried to sell me a calcium reactor but backed off totally when I told him my calcium was stable at 420. Definitely seems more knowledgeable that everyone else, including the manager; although that wouldn't be hard really.

But he said something strange that I have never heard before. He told me to add my corals BEFORE adding any fish into the tank. Now, in my newbie head, fish can handle the water being slightly dirty whereas most coral expect pristine water conditions (with the exception of mushrooms perhaps). So, I was adding a few fish, then my plan was to wait until about May (tank was setup in November) before adding any corals. Waiting until the water has settled and I'm on top of all husbandry duties.

Is there any reason why you should not add any fish before you add corals?


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1 ClownFish
1 SixLine Wrasse
1 Foxface Rabbitfish

Mushrooms
Long Polyp Leather
Green Anchor Coral
Zoanthids
Trumpet Coral
Goniopora

Current Tank Info: 360 litre (95 US Gallons), Tunze DOC Skimmer 9010, Lights: Metal Halide 250 Watt and 2x24 Watt Moon Lights, Tunze MultiController 7095
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Old 01/20/2010, 06:51 AM   #2
garzaci
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You can go either way or you can add them together at a slow rate.


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Old 01/20/2010, 06:55 AM   #3
Juruense
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I think it is better to add corals first because hopefully you will appreciate the corals enough to do minimal or no fish. In our typically small glass boxes its a struggle to have both corals that prefer pristine water and fish that poop all over the place and want to be fed materials rich in phosphate and ammonia on a daily basis.

After all there is no acronym for "fish with corals" cause its a losing deal unless you have a monster tank, spend loads of money, and/or work your azz off.


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Old 01/20/2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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I disagree completely. Corals not only require CA, Alk & MG to be at certain levels. But more so require STABILITY. And stability is something you just dont really have in new tanks. I generally recommend people wait 3 months before adding corals. You get probably get away with some softies prior to.


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Old 01/20/2010, 07:22 AM   #5
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Nowhere is the thread is newness raised as an issue except by you.

Corals are like freshwater plants add after tank has been running smoothly for at least 3 months that is the conventional wisdom I doubt anyone would argue or suggest adding them to a new tank why would you imply that anyone would?


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Old 01/20/2010, 07:31 AM   #6
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One good thing about adding all your coral first is if you leave the tank fallow long enough, you can have a disease free display, as long as you QT the fish of course.


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Old 01/20/2010, 08:07 AM   #7
patsfan1130
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I am assuming this is a new tank as it has no fish or corals in it and the question being posed is what to add first


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Old 01/20/2010, 08:51 AM   #8
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MrsHaggis, its not to say that the guy at the LFS was wrong, but I liked your first train of thought with slowly adding some fish and waiting a few months for the tank to mature and stabilize. This also gives you plenty of time to learn the tank and what is need to maintain it, like you said.

You are doing great, and I like the fact that you always ask questions when you have them.

Slow is king in this hobby, I will go as far to say that a tank is unstable and "immature" for up to a year, and many things can happen in that time.

Your doing it right, add some fish slowly, and maybe even get a couple of easy to care for corals so you have something to look at and start to get an idea of what is needed to maintain a successful reef.

Remember this isn't a race, if you take your time now you will have decades of enjoyment out of this hobby.

Keep up the great work and keep asking questions


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Old 01/20/2010, 08:56 AM   #9
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Actually...you should always start with the plants in FW. They provide instant filtration of nitrates and are generally tolerant of water conditions. The idea is to make sure that they outcompete algae for limiting nutrients before there are nitrates input by fish. I'm new to the corals though and will listen to the debate!

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Originally Posted by Juruense View Post
Nowhere is the thread is newness raised as an issue except by you.

Corals are like freshwater plants add after tank has been running smoothly for at least 3 months that is the conventional wisdom I doubt anyone would argue or suggest adding them to a new tank why would you imply that anyone would?



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Old 01/20/2010, 09:22 AM   #10
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Fresh water plants and Saltwater corals are very different things!

In saltwater we want to add macro algae early on also in hopes of the same thing you want to achieve in freshwater, nutrient export.

Corals are animals, and finicky animals at that. They require stability and good water params.


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Old 01/20/2010, 09:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbspd View Post
Actually...you should always start with the plants in FW. They provide instant filtration of nitrates and are generally tolerant of water conditions. The idea is to make sure that they outcompete algae for limiting nutrients before there are nitrates input by fish. I'm new to the corals though and will listen to the debate!
I'd agree with that in FW. Especially if you go with fast growing plants like vals and anacharis, you can drastically cut the cycle and have almost no algae growth.

For corals vs. fish, it comes down to which is more sensitive. Do the hardiest first, then slowly add the more sensitive animals over a couple months (being wary of adding any overly aggressive fish early).

So for example, if you want a mandarin and mushrooms, go with the mushrooms first. If you want damsels and SPS, do the damsels first.


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Old 01/20/2010, 09:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbspd View Post
I'm new to the corals though and will listen to the debate!
This is not a debate, and should not turn into one, someone asked for advice and folks are giving there opinions.


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Old 01/20/2010, 09:24 AM   #13
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While most go with fish first, I am also in the corals first group (easy to care for corals, not SPS or anemonies which should not be introduced for the first 6 months). If you do go corals first, you should lightly feed the tank every other day to keep the bacterial levels up (and keep the CUC happy).


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Old 01/20/2010, 09:24 AM   #14
Juruense
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmbspd View Post
Actually...you should always start with the plants in FW. They provide instant filtration of nitrates and are generally tolerant of water conditions.
No that is not true at all and the plants will just die in your scenario. a freshwater tank needs to be at least 3 months old for the organic chemicals to be sufficiently broken down and metabolised by bacteria to be taken up by plant roots.


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Old 01/20/2010, 09:39 AM   #15
MrsHaggis
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Well, I have a six-line wrasse, a long polyp leather and some mushrooms from my previous tank (which sprung a leak, and pushed me into getting a bigger one). So those are already in the new tank. I have added two clowns; mainly because I just love clownfish - who doesn't??

I noticed today that I have 4 zoanthid polyps growing - that I didn't add (must have hitchhiked there way in - yay).

My next move is to get a foxface rabbitfish. We have extremely poor quality water here (TDS input above 300 generally) and so we faced a bit of an algae issue over the holidays (despite using RO water) when we had to leave to visit family and the neighbours were looking after the tank. No water changes, more food than necessary, more lighting than was good, etc. We've pulled about 95% of all the algae but there is still enough to feed the foxface for a few days/weeks :O)

After that I would like to add some coral before adding any more fish. I like mostly LPS and softies; not a huge fan of SPS to be honest.

On my list of corals to research are:

Frogspawn
Hammer
Lavender Mushroom
Pipe Organ Coral
Mushroom Polyp Orange
Plate Coral (Neon Green)
Colt Coral
Candy Cane

I know that mushrooms can grow and grow and get out of hand so I probably won't add both kinds that I have on the list considering I already have some green-striped mushrooms but I will add one; I really like them.

After adding 3 or 4 different coral. I would then add my next fish - probably 3 green chromis. Then some more coral, etc.

BTW - It's not that I really want to take things slowly it's a cash flow problem..... :O)
Maybe that's why this hobby is so expensive; stop the newbs from making even more mistakes than they normally would.


__________________
Nothing scarier than a clown!!

-----------------------------
1 ClownFish
1 SixLine Wrasse
1 Foxface Rabbitfish

Mushrooms
Long Polyp Leather
Green Anchor Coral
Zoanthids
Trumpet Coral
Goniopora

Current Tank Info: 360 litre (95 US Gallons), Tunze DOC Skimmer 9010, Lights: Metal Halide 250 Watt and 2x24 Watt Moon Lights, Tunze MultiController 7095
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Old 01/20/2010, 09:45 AM   #16
thegrun
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What is your TDS reading after going through your RO/DI unit? We have bad local water (450 TDS well water), I had to add a second DI cartridge to get my TDS down to 0, it ran at about 20 TDS before I added the second DI filter.



Last edited by thegrun; 01/20/2010 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 01/20/2010, 10:19 AM   #17
cmbspd
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Sorry but that simply doesn't jive with my many nice FW setups nor with mainstream sources (Amano etc...). High initial plant load and low fish load is an easy way to maintain a FW tank without any other filtration. But, off topic so I'll stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juruense View Post
No that is not true at all and the plants will just die in your scenario. a freshwater tank needs to be at least 3 months old for the organic chemicals to be sufficiently broken down and metabolised by bacteria to be taken up by plant roots.



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Old 01/20/2010, 12:01 PM   #18
MrsHaggis
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Quote:
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What is your TDS reading after going through your RO/DI unit? We have bad local water (450 TDS well water), I had to add a second DI cartridge to get my TDS down to 0, it ran at about 20 TDS before I added the second DI filter.
We are having some RO problems at the minute actually.
We had our TDS down to 0 with just and RO system - I know, everyone tells me this is impossible but it's true. Then it started rising to 003/004 so we changed the carbon filters, lowest TDS was 004. Mucked around with things and decided to change the membrane (after a lot of help from people here). Took the membrane out to take to the LFS to order a new one. Did not realise that membranes don't like the air and to be messed around - lowest reading now is 120. We are not using this water I assure you!!! We are getting some water from the LFS at the moment but to be honest I don't think it's the best quality!!!

So, we have ordered a new membrane and tomorrow I am off to the LFS to also order a Tunze DI unit. Hopefully after all that we can get back down to the 0 we had before. We have been assured by the Tunze guy that we don't need DI, that it is in fact overkill but for the 30 bucks it'll cost better safe than sorry!!!


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Nothing scarier than a clown!!

-----------------------------
1 ClownFish
1 SixLine Wrasse
1 Foxface Rabbitfish

Mushrooms
Long Polyp Leather
Green Anchor Coral
Zoanthids
Trumpet Coral
Goniopora

Current Tank Info: 360 litre (95 US Gallons), Tunze DOC Skimmer 9010, Lights: Metal Halide 250 Watt and 2x24 Watt Moon Lights, Tunze MultiController 7095
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