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Old 06/26/2019, 08:42 AM   #1
Chefwheredyougo
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Hey guys

Hope I'm in the right spot. New to the forum and marine/reef keeping. I've wanted to do a SW tank for years, I was always too afraid based on rumors I'd heard of them. I have a 55g cichlid tank running for some time now, and yesterday I found a 56g column tank and stand for 125 bucks and couldn't turn it down.

I've been creeping on this and other forums for about a month now learning as much as I can, but I still have some questions.

#1- I know I want to do reef tank. I haven't quite made up my mind on what I want in there fish wise. Like most of you, (maybe?), I'd like to have as many fish as possible. I know 56 gallons isn't big, so I know the amount will not be very many. What do you all recommend? Does the rule of 1 gallon per inch of fish apply here?

#1a - I would like some clowns of some sort, but I'm not sure how many or if this tank is even suitable for one???
Any additional information from those that have actually kept them in smaller tanks would be greatly appreciated. I.e are more than one pair ever a good idea? Will they work in this size and style of tank?

#2- I would also like some nice looking coral and nem, that can tolerate my mistakes in this learning phase. Are there hardier coral suitable for beginners? If so, which would you recommend and is there a set amount you should keep per gallon?

For now, those are the only questions I have, as they generally hit me out of nowhere then i quickly forget. I do plan on taking this tank slowly, I'm in no rush to fill it with animals. The quicker the better though

I will not turn this into a build thread, however I am kinda excited about this tank. It looks great and even better, (in my head), for its future. With that being said, here is my starting point....


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Old 06/26/2019, 12:16 PM   #2
j.falk
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1. One inch of fish per gallon definitely does not apply to saltwater fish.

1A. One pair of clowns per tank is the norm. Your tank is more than adequate (size wise) for a pair. If you try more than one pair, the dominant pair tend to pick on / kill the other clowns. The only exceptions I've seen to this are large clown harem tanks that are full of clowns and anemones. You can find some videos of them on Youtube.

2. Anemones can sting and kill corals. You should wait a period of 6 - 12 months before adding an anemone to your tank so that your aquarium fully stabilizes. Anemones also need very strong lighting (especially with a tank as deep as yours) to survive. Soft corals tend to be the easier to keep corals. Check out LiveAquaria's beginner corals section for some ideas and info.



Last edited by j.falk; 06/26/2019 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 06/26/2019, 12:38 PM   #3
Chefwheredyougo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.falk View Post
1. One inch of fish per gallon definitely does not apply to saltwater fish.

1A. One pair of clowns per tank is the norm. Your tank is more than adequate (size wise) for a pair. If you try more than one pair, the dominant pair tend to pick on / kill the other clowns. The only exceptions I've seen to this are large clown harem tanks that are full of clowns and anemones. You can find some videos of them on Youtube.

2. Anemones can sting and kill corals. You should wait a period of 6 - 12 months before adding an anemone to your tank so that your aquarium fully stabilizes. Anemones also need very strong lighting (especially with a tank as deep as yours) to survive. Soft corals tend to be the easier to keep corals. Check out LiveAquaria's beginner corals section for some ideas and info.
Thanks for the quick reply..

Would the number of fish just depend on the bio load that the filters and such can handle? Or is there more to it than that? Like do certain fish prefer to have so many gallons to themselves?

As I said, I will be taking this very slowly. I have the light for tank already, but no water or anything until I have all the appropriate needs addressed. Which is why I am here. To learn what I can, and gather ideas/help from the wiser people.

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Old 06/26/2019, 12:49 PM   #4
j.falk
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The best advice I can give you is to try and decide on what you absolutely want in the aquarium and work around it. Some people like clowns and anemones. Some people want reefs full of various corals and not many fish. Some people want a ton of fish and not many (if any) corals. But there is always usually that one single thing that you absolutely want to own...that is the thing you need to find out and build your tank around it accordingly.

For info on tank sizes for different fish, check out LiveAquaria. They have a beginner fish section that is a good start to looking at what is available and easy to keep. When you click on the fish pictures, it'll take you to a page that gives info on care level, temperament, diet, compatibility, adult size of fish, minimum tank size required, etc...

A good light for corals/anemones is not the same as just "having a light" to see the tank. Lighting for corals and anemones is based on PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation). You have to have enough PAR for the corals/anemones you want to keep. Some like low intensity light...some like high intensity light.

Here's a video to give you some ideas on lighting for a reef aquarium:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7XLgLiA0PM



Last edited by j.falk; 06/26/2019 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 06/26/2019, 01:17 PM   #5
Small Heavens
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Oh nice, that does look great, congratulations on getting your SW tank. With your experience, I am certain you will be very happy with your aquarium.
I keep a nano with a Macrodactyla Doreensis & 2 Sulawesi type Amphiprion Polymnus clowns. I suggest you study the clowns First. Some ocean fishes grow huge and will simply hit the glass and hurt themselves, also most fishes grow sick if wild caught and from wildly different places in the world, then any "common flue" can kill a healthy fish

You can easily call Clownfishes for the cichlid of SW, I think you will enjoy them a lot. Polymnus swims with up and down motions (the other clowns swims with side-to-side motion), the bigger clowns are too aggressive and often kill eachother - the Polymnus, a medium clown, looks very different than the others, it is uhm, less flappery or rubbery. Their dorsal spikes look very different from the rubbery types and their entire body is less rubbery and more harmonic (drop shaped).

The issue with clowns is, they aren't good in community tanks. I would make a tank like yours into a single specimen anemone tank with your favourite anemone and then add a group (small group 3-5) of medium size and medium aggression anemones fishes like the Amphiprion Polymnus.
You would have to make sure the smaller clowns have hiding places that are too small or uncomfortable for the dominant clown to follow, otherwise the bigger fish might even force the smaller fish to jump the tank.

People might add other fishes to clown tanks, but, it really really subdue their behaviour terribly to do so. Mixed fishes with clowns, can make the clowns stick together easier, as they become too afraid (of the other fishes) to fight with eachother - but I dont like that tactic, as it still makes the clowns stay very still all day and they shouldn't be doing that, it makes the clowns much less interesting.

I would not suggest that you spend too much time on "starter corals". Many of them are much more difficult to remove again than they are to get to flourish. You seem to have strong experience with the FW and should probably rather study until you find what corals/fish or anemones is a Must Have for you.
Their demands of water conditions are highly different and some cannot tolerate the allelopathy of specific other types: you want to focus on >your< Must Haves from the start. That way you avoid getting a starter coral that release toxics if you try to remove it later, and you avoid mysterious deterioration caused by hostile mixes of allelopathy.

You can easily keep a "smaller" tank, just figure out from the start if you prefer "deep water corals", "not so deep water corals" or "shoreline" (anemones) water conditions. Anemones lives near FW outlets, and in lagoons, etc., they can handle stuff many deep water corals cannot.

Keeping the bigger or smaller tanks is rather like the difference in having a big child or a baby.

You can leave a bigger tank alone but the nano tank acts like a total baby and needs constant attention through regular water changes, the smaller it is, the less you can leave it on its own.

So it is not impossible to keep small SW tanks but mainly if you feel like tending it alittle more so than not Your tank choice seems a good one, big enough to run some auto-dosers or auto-feeders, and not as demanding as a true nano.

I hope you get as little trouble as possible, I read constantly on Wet Web Media to learn and they have a ton of great Knowledge available to read up on, I also find that animal world.com have very stable information about types of corals and care although. Lastly: don't blame yourself for every mistake that happens. Remember that wild caught aquaria often die just because it is hard to handle living in a clear container after being born into the sea. Get Aquarium raised fishes when possible, with wild caught not every loss can be avoided at all and the death rate is rather high with many species. Just learn from potential mistakes, and ENJOY & help mankind become great at saving SW life while you are at it



Last edited by Small Heavens; 06/26/2019 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 06/26/2019, 02:38 PM   #6
Chefwheredyougo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Small Heavens View Post
Oh nice, that does look great, congratulations on getting your SW tank. With your experience, I am certain you will be very happy with your aquarium.
I keep a nano with a Macrodactyla Doreensis & 2 Sulawesi type Amphiprion Polymnus clowns. I suggest you study the clowns First. Some ocean fishes grow huge and will simply hit the glass and hurt themselves, also most fishes grow sick if wild caught and from wildly different places in the world, then any "common flue" can kill a healthy fish

You can easily call Clownfishes for the cichlid of SW, I think you will enjoy them a lot. Polymnus swims with up and down motions (the other clowns swims with side-to-side motion), the bigger clowns are too aggressive and often kill eachother - the Polymnus, a medium clown, looks very different than the others, it is uhm, less flappery or rubbery. Their dorsal spikes look very different from the rubbery types and their entire body is less rubbery and more harmonic (drop shaped).

The issue with clowns is, they aren't good in community tanks. I would make a tank like yours into a single specimen anemone tank with your favourite anemone and then add a group (small group 3-5) of medium size and medium aggression anemones fishes like the Amphiprion Polymnus.
You would have to make sure the smaller clowns have hiding places that are too small or uncomfortable for the dominant clown to follow, otherwise the bigger fish might even force the smaller fish to jump the tank.

People might add other fishes to clown tanks, but, it really really subdue their behaviour terribly to do so. Mixed fishes with clowns, can make the clowns stick together easier, as they become too afraid (of the other fishes) to fight with eachother - but I dont like that tactic, as it still makes the clowns stay very still all day and they shouldn't be doing that, it makes the clowns much less interesting.

I would not suggest that you spend too much time on "starter corals". Many of them are much more difficult to remove again than they are to get to flourish. You seem to have strong experience with the FW and should probably rather study until you find what corals/fish or anemones is a Must Have for you.
Their demands of water conditions are highly different and some cannot tolerate the allelopathy of specific other types: you want to focus on >your< Must Haves from the start. That way you avoid getting a starter coral that release toxics if you try to remove it later, and you avoid mysterious deterioration caused by hostile mixes of allelopathy.

You can easily keep a "smaller" tank, just figure out from the start if you prefer "deep water corals", "not so deep water corals" or "shoreline" (anemones) water conditions. Anemones lives near FW outlets, and in lagoons, etc., they can handle stuff many deep water corals cannot.

Keeping the bigger or smaller tanks is rather like the difference in having a big child or a baby.

You can leave a bigger tank alone but the nano tank acts like a total baby and needs constant attention through regular water changes, the smaller it is, the less you can leave it on its own.

So it is not impossible to keep small SW tanks but mainly if you feel like tending it alittle more so than not Your tank choice seems a good one, big enough to run some auto-dosers or auto-feeders, and not as demanding as a true nano.

I hope you get as little trouble as possible, I read constantly on Wet Web Media to learn and they have a ton of great Knowledge available to read up on, I also find that animal world.com have very stable information about types of corals and care although. Lastly: don't blame yourself for every mistake that happens. Remember that wild caught aquaria often die just because it is hard to handle living in a clear container after being born into the sea. Get Aquarium raised fishes when possible, with wild caught not every loss can be avoided at all and the death rate is rather high with many species. Just learn from potential mistakes, and ENJOY & help mankind become great at saving SW life while you are at it
Thank you both for the info and the websites, I'm sure they'll be a ton of help in this process.

As far as the light is concerned, it came with the tank and is a kessil, (I believe, I'm not home to check it atm). The lady who had it wanted to do saltwater. Did things wrong and had a massive die off and decided to sell everything for pretty cheap.

To Small Heavens, do you mean 1 species of anemone? Tbh, the only reason anemone was on my list was for the clowns. I'm looking for alot of color in my tank, which is why I said coral. (The cichlids are pretty colorful but I don't think I'll find the same vibrancy in fw as sw).

I also had two small(ish), children, 4 and 5, that love the fish tanks. As I learn, i try to teach them about the animals we have, (python, 2 dogs, 1 cat, an axolotl, 15+/- assorted cichlids). I'd rather them not be afraid of everything as adults, and to learn to take care of the Earth.



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Old 06/26/2019, 02:46 PM   #7
j.falk
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Kessil is a good brand. Also, clownfish don't need an anemone. Some of them will host inside of coral.

These two are inside of a toadstool leather coral:



Hammer coral:




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Old 06/26/2019, 03:12 PM   #8
Small Heavens
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Yeah, nems don't like the toxins produced by other nems and specially corals, so they best survive if they have a tank alone - look into the more colourful corals that clowns like, as suggested above (wow great pictures!) - keep going strong


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Old 06/26/2019, 03:39 PM   #9
Sugar Magnolia
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Have a look here -http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1031074


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Old 06/26/2019, 03:40 PM   #10
Chefwheredyougo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.falk View Post
Kessil is a good brand. Also, clownfish don't need an anemone. Some of them will host inside of coral.

These two are inside of a toadstool leather coral:



Hammer coral:

Those are fantastic pictures, you guys have convinced me on them already are the hammer coral hard to grow?

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Old 06/27/2019, 11:41 AM   #11
Chefwheredyougo
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Have a look here -http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1031074
Thank you for this link. Tons of info

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Old 08/20/2019, 10:01 PM   #12
Chefwheredyougo
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Thanks for all the help guys. Here it is. Cycle finished about a month ago. Went through a bunch of stages of where do I want this rock to go. But I think I've finally found a happy place. 2 maroon clowns, (1 thunder, 1 lightning),1 GBTA that came with the thunder maroon, 1 elibi dwarf angelfish, 1 skunk cleaner, and 1 diamond watchman goby.

Water parameters are stable, and everyone is happy. The GBTA deflates every now and then but less than an hour later, he's up and happy again. Currently hosted by the thunder maroon, while the lightning is much smaller and hangs out far and away from everyone else.

Everything eats very well also. Tank has been seeded 3 times with copepods, the goby does little to no sifting though. They all eat marine cuisine, (whatever the 3 other types that come in the package with it), pellet, flake, and nori. The goby swims all throughout the column snatching food. Figured he'd hangout more on the bottom though.

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