Guide to adding fish, corals and inverts.

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by Jmck, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Jmck

    Jmck

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    Keeping livestock
    So this is a follow up to my original “how to cycle your tank”

    I have seen a lot of questions which say, ‘can I put any fish in yet?’ and ‘how many fish can I actually have’. So the aim of this is to address some of these questions as I see them come up.

    If you have read my article on cycling your tank and have asked questions on this board you will understand it can take anywhere from 1 week to 3 months to cycle your tank. Although, 1 month is normally a good amount of time. When this period ends it becomes useful to check all your water parameters. The main ones to check before add fish or coral to your tank are these


    · Ammonia

    · Nitrites

    · Nitrates

    · PH

    · Salinity


    These will all tell you if the environment you have created is ready to support life. On living reefs, if you have a problem we please request that you post all these levels so we can assist you in the best way possible.


    So let’s start with fish as most people will want to stick their first fish in as soon as they get it. So assuming you have completed your cycle, you are now ready to add your first fish. The choice of fish is extremely important as some fish do not do well in new tanks and that will inevitably kill them.


    Adding fish is a difficult thing because we hate waiting and want to get as many as we can as quick as we can. The trick here is to allow your tank to catch-up with the bioload in your tank. This means that you should only add 1 FISH EVERY MONTH. This can be hard to do but you will regret adding lots of fish to quickly as your tank will crash and everything will die. So be responsible and don’t waste your monies J
    The other rule for fish is that 1inch of fish should take up 10 gallons of tank. So if you have a 50gallon tank, you are therefore allowed about 5 small fish. If you have a 100 gallon tank you could have something like 2 large fish and 6 small fish as large fish grow much bigger and need more space. Reef fish do not do well in crowded areas and it can cause stress and death very quickly.


    Here are a list of good starter fish


    · Dwarf angels “flame angel” (Have a 50% chance of nipping on corals)

    · Clownfish (You may add a pair at the same time)

    · Purple Firefish

    · Normal Firefish

    Here are some fish to avoid completely when you first setup your tank.


    · Any form of dragonette fish.

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]This includes mandarin fish, scooter blennies and anything that falls under this category.

    · Tangs

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Tangs can be a very picky fish and as such they are not recommended as first time fish. They also require large amounts of swimming space and as most people do not start off with large tanks, they will die very quickly from stress. Imagine if we made you live in the bathroom with three babies.

    · Damsels

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Although these fish are not hard to look after, they are EXTREMELY violent and as such will cause a lot of problem with other fish.


    Adding inverts

    When it comes to adding animals like snails, urchins, starfish and other invertebrates, you must understand how they will interact with your fish. Some fish are not friendly towards inverts and you may lose that shrimp that you just placed in the tank.

    A starting set of inverts is definitely different types of snails. Strombus snails and turbo snails are two great kinds which will help keep your sand bed stirred up and the algae cleaned up. When you first get your cycle completed it is recommended that you get a handful of each.

    It is also important to acclimate your inverts correctly. This comes down to slowly moving some tank water into the travel bag they were placed in so that the water levels can be matched correctly. This will reduce shock as inverts are sensitive creatures.


    Correct animals to add after a cycle


    · A number of different kinds of snails which will clean the algae in the tank

    · Hermit crabs

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Hermit crabs can be a great addition, but many have chosen not to have them as they can kill snails in order to take their shells. This is not entirely ideal but they are great for cleaning up extra food in the tank. I personally do not have any in my main Display tank.


    Inverts you should add after 6 months of having your tank running

    · Shrimps

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Shrimps can be very sensitive and it can be good to add them later

    · Urchins

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Urchins do require algae to feed so it is beneficial to their life that you add them later

    · Sea Stars

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Sea stars need a lot of detritus in order to survive and newer tanks just do not have the level of food for them to survive.

    · Crabs

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]You should add crabs when they are needed to deal with specific pests or algae. They are not a requirement and can become a pest when they grow larger. Add them with care.

    · Clams and anemones

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]These are excellent inverts but they need extremely clean water and as such an unstable tank will cause them to die. The other problem with anemones is when they die they have a tendency to nuke an entire tank with poison killing everything.

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]They also require extremely high lighting like the SPS corals that are listed below and should not be kept in a tank without the proper requirements.


    Corals
    There is no real limit to how many corals you can keep in your tank. The only thing you have to watch out for is the territorial issues that can arise with corals. You should not place corals on top of each other or in reach of their stinger tentacles as they will most likely kill each other. Some corals also require different lighting conditions and as such will not thrive in some tanks.


    There are three different kinds of corals. These are:


    · Soft Corals

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Very basic fleshy corals that are easy to look after.

    § Mushrooms
    § Leather corals
    § Riccordia
    § Zoanthia

    · LPS

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]LPS Are Large Polyp Stony corals. These are corals which have a skeletal base but have fleshy parts to them

    § Duncans
    § Lobo’s
    § Hammer corals


    · SPS

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Small Polyp Stony corals are generally considered hard corals. These require large amounts of calcium and drain the tanks alkalinity in order to grow new skeletal bodies.

    § Acropora
    § Montipora


    So if you are looking to add corals I’m sure you can understand which ones are more difficult to look after. SPS Corals are the most difficult as they require regular dosing of key elements in the tank and merely doing water changes will not be enough to keep up with the amount that they use.


    SPS Corals also have the problem of requiring extremely high lighting in order to get the nutrients they need. So if you do not have powerful lighting for your tank you may be in trouble. The main kind of lights for tanks are:


    · T5 lighting

    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Excellent lighting providing great colours. T5 are one of the more popular lighting methods because it is cheaper to run than metal halide and cheaper to purchase than LED’s. Getting the right fixture depends on the tank size, what you want to keep and what fixture you are looking at. A fixture with individual reflectors needs fewer watts than what a fixture without IR would need.


    · Metal Halide Lighting


    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]Metal halide are a pendant lighting system that create a large amount of power and are quite good for lighting tanks for a cheap price.


    · LED


    [FONT=&quot]o [/FONT]LED’s are now the new way to power tanks but they do not need as many watts in order to create the same effect as what a metal halide would. By using 3watt cree LED’s you can have a 160watt fixture which is the equivalent of a 250watt metal halide fixture. This would work well over a 2ft space in the tank and as such if your tank was 6ft long you would need 3 of these units.


    So for a beginner, softies are the best starting corals as they will survive for long periods of time without any extra minerals being added to the water. LPS are also quite good for beginners as they are attractive but do not drain the tank of lots of different minerals.
     
    Jmck, Jun 30, 2011
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  2. Jmck

    Jmck

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    Another article, this ones a bit of a mess with formatting so any mods feel like editing or formatting it? go for your life :D

    But hope this helps some newer members.
     
    Jmck, Jun 30, 2011
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  3. Jmck

    little_fish Moderator

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    Great article!
     
    little_fish, Jun 30, 2011
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  4. Jmck

    ErinCahir Sausage Wrangler

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    Awesome article Jmck!!
     
    ErinCahir, Jun 30, 2011
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  5. Jmck

    Jmck

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    Thanks guys :) Anything that should be in there that im missing? I chucked it together quick while I was bored lol
     
    Jmck, Jun 30, 2011
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  6. Jmck

    Kevinguyen

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    This article is awesome!
     
    Kevinguyen, Jul 7, 2011
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    Jmck likes this.
  7. Jmck

    Jmck

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    Thanks Kevin :)
     
    Jmck, Jul 7, 2011
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  8. Jmck

    Gogita88

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    nice! Jmck thats the way to do it.
     
    Gogita88, Jul 19, 2011
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  9. Jmck

    jr7168 Artic Reefer!

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    Nice article i wonder if there is a way to direct ppl introducing themselves to this. very helpful
     
    jr7168, Feb 23, 2012
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  10. Jmck

    pjb001

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    spot on very helpfull ty
     
    pjb001, Apr 29, 2012
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  11. Jmck

    Big K

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    Thanks, I learned a bunch! :Cheers:
     
    Big K, Sep 30, 2012
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  12. Jmck

    hen loc

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    hey guys I want to start up a 35 gallon saltwater aquarium, 4 yrs ago I had a 50 gallon but sold everything, therefore I need refreshing on lighting. I had corals in my last tank ad I want to do the same, however, I want to know whats a good light fixture... can you guys help plzz
     
    hen loc, May 6, 2014
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  13. Jmck

    finestbeast

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    I added the damsel fish and then the nemos almost 1 1/2 weeks after...got lucky and they all seem to get along quite well contrary to what ive read...they butted heads the first day but now seem to hang out together...added 2 shrimp (pepperment) this week and i think i have a full blown tank going (will wait a few monthes on anemones and coral).... good list though....looking back i prob should have replaced 2 firefish with my solo damsel but again...my guy isnt overly aggressive and i got lucky...plus my 2nd nemo is bigger then the damsel...
     
    finestbeast, May 16, 2014
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  14. Jmck

    MillstoneBill

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    Awesome article!
     
    MillstoneBill, Feb 19, 2016
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