200 gallon tank stocking

Marsh980

Hi,

I'm currently looking and waiting on a quote for a D-D 200 gallon reef tank/cabinet and working through what I would like to add into it. This will be my first venture into saltwater after having tropical for many years.

It will be a reef tank with beginner hardy corals so no SPS just LPS fish and invertebrates

I'm looking to have the below types of fish but just need some guidance on what you think would work best and what to avoid in your experience. I went for a larger tank because I wanted tangs plus have a varied range of inhabitants. However, no puffer fish much to my sons disappointment (they just can't be trusted haha). I'm also trying to consider top and bottom half fish plus fish that perch on rocks.

1x pair of Ocellaris clown fish (a must for my wife and son). I have been told that maybe I could have two pairs (possibly Black Ice) if there was plenty of territories. I will be looking to get one or two bubble tip anemones.

2x dwarf angels - possibly Flame, Coral Beauty or Lemonpeel

1x Copperband Butterfly - I've been told these are pretty difficult to keep, must be already feeding on prepared food before buying but can still have a high mortality rate - would the Yellow Pyramid be better?

A number of wrasses for example Peacock, Canary, Flashers, Fairys - not a Melanurus as have heard they can be a bully - I'm not looking for all these wrasses just examples of some I like. What would be a great combination and number to safely home

A number of Blennys, for example Midas, Orange Spotted, Starry, Tail Spot, Jawfish - anymore that are great and would work well in the tank and community. Again I'm not looking for all these Blennys just examples of some I like.

1x Blue Throat Trigger - the only reef safe (with caution) trigger and really would like to have one as I think they're amazing

A number of Gobys for example species that will have a symbiotic relationship with shrimps for example Randalls and pistol shrimp, Watchman species, Diamond

1x Flame Hawkfish and 1x Longnose Hawkfish - in your experience are they invertebrate safe if well fed or are these a straight no or at my own risk

1x Spotted Mandarin or Red Ruby Dragonet

3x Yellow Tangs - I want more than 1 and know they should not be housed in pairs
1x Purple
1x Lipstick/Naso
1x Blue Regal/Hippo tang - a must for my son and wife

I would love a Kole Yellow eye but think this could be too many tangs even if added as juveniles together. This is the reason why I wanted a 2m tank 200 gallon tank

Schooling fish

Green Chromis
Purple Firefish or other firefish and dartfish

I really dislike the cardinals - I know they are brilliant peaceful schooling fish, I just can't have them.
No Damsels have been told they're bullies - is this true?

1x One Spot Foxface
1x Royal Gramma

Invertebrates - to clean and eat a varied of pests and algae etc

2x Cleaner Shrimps
1x Fire Shrimp
1x Candy Pistol
1 or 2x Peppermint Shrimps

CUC - to clean and eat a varied of pests and algae etc

Conch Snails
Blue Legged Hermits
Trochus Snails both banded and tiger
Cerith - are their eggs really that much of a problem?
Astrea - i'm on the fence as they can't flip themselves upright which must be a pain.
Nassarius
1x Tuxedo or Pin cushion urchin - to be added after 8-12 months
1x Serpent or Fromia starfish - to be added after 6 months - I've been told the Linkia species often die off
Emerald and Porcelain crabs

No sea hares, cucumbers, nudibranchs, lobsters or arrow crabs

What do you guys think - numbers are yet to be fully finalised.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated

Cheers
 

BadisBadis

I will start off with saying a few things, yes damsels are jerks LOL. Firefish are amazing and peaceful, very shy and not as schooling as the chromis.

I've kept all species of hawks with many shrimps, fire, banded, cleaner, and they did fine when well fed. Shrimps are pretty good at hiding and keeping to themselves. BUT with larger hawks it's always a risk with cleaners and fire shrimps. But personally in a large tank your probably fine. Long nose hawks usually won't bother shrimps at all.

Copper bands are pretty difficult. Could almost never get them to eat and even if they did, the people I've known to have them they didnt last too long. But it's worth looking into
 

Marsh980

HI BadisBadis, thanks for the reply. Wonderful to hear about the Hawks because I find them very interesting and want to add all differing sizes, shapes, colours and personalities. I'm conscious that I try and get a range of top, bottom, sand and rock swimmers/perchers

I thought that about the Copperbands so will remove them off my list. I'm new to the saltwater hobby so maybe re-consider when I have many years of experience under my belt.
 

saltwater60

I had a cooperbanded butterfly for years. Did great it was one of my favorite fish. He’s eat anything I threw at him.

I’d avoid the trigger as it will Likely eat your clean up crew.
I skip the fox face as they can be coral nippers as well as the dwarf angels you have on your list. Only one I’d go with is a swallow tail angel fish.
Damsels are aggressive but in a tank that size they should be fine and have plenty of space.
 

Marsh980

Cheers Saltwater60 - I'll update my fish list with your advice and experience
 

saltwater60

Cheers Saltwater60 - I'll update my fish list with your advice and experience
In a tank that size anything with reef caution I’d avoid. It’s super hard to catch and remove critters from reef tanks.
 

Marsh980

Cheers, so to confirm that would be the dwarf angels (bar the one recommended), the trigger fish and the foxface. Its a shame because those 4 fish are partly the reason why I chose 200 gallon tank. However, its also my choice to have a reef and not a FOWLR so need to ensure all inhabitants are peaceful.
 

saltwater60

You won’t be sorry you did the 200 gallon tank. With that said if you’re dead set on those fish a well stocked 200 gallon tank with a lot of corals will likely have time to heal between nipping of corals.
I’m just cautious because I had a rabbit fish eat $300 worth of zoa frags on me in short order. Then I had to tare apart my entire reef to remove him. $300 loss and 8 hours later man was I ticked off.
There are plenty of cool fish to choose from if you play it on the safe side. Also the trigger if you really want get it but just know it might munch on some of your CUC.
Also you will have show fish that are tangs so you should still have plenty of good sized fish to enjoy.
 

Marsh980

I bet you were ticked off and I've not even experienced any of the hobby yet. Still waiting on my quote from my local LFS for a custom built D-D reef tank. I was told yesterday that they could build a 2.2m tank for the same price as 2m. Go on then, twist my arm

I would love those fish and may have to learn the hard way, i'm sure many hobbyists have done the same, but I just want to research, research, research before buying anything. I also really need to get the order of buying these fish, corals, CUC and invertebrates spot on to reduce the chance of fighting and nipping etc.

If I was to get the 3 Butterfly, 1 Purple, 1 Regal and 1 Naso tangs, would you recommend buying them all together and add to the tank together, maybe as juveniles and monitor the Ammonia/nitrate levels very closely.

Would you add the blue throat trigger last once everything has established, maybe 12 months after the tank has cycled and all inhabitants have been added?
 

saltwater60

I bet you were ticked off and I've not even experienced any of the hobby yet. Still waiting on my quote from my local LFS for a custom built D-D reef tank. I was told yesterday that they could build a 2.2m tank for the same price as 2m. Go on then, twist my arm

I would love those fish and may have to learn the hard way, i'm sure many hobbyists have done the same, but I just want to research, research, research before buying anything. I also really need to get the order of buying these fish, corals, CUC and invertebrates spot on to reduce the chance of fighting and nipping etc.

If I was to get the 3 Butterfly, 1 Purple, 1 Regal and 1 Naso tangs, would you recommend buying them all together and add to the tank together, maybe as juveniles and monitor the Ammonia/nitrate levels very closely.

Would you add the blue throat trigger last once everything has established, maybe 12 months after the tank has cycled and all inhabitants have been added?
I think that makes sense in order of fish. Remember it will be a big tank. I’d also add plenty of live rock before adding the fish to ensure they can stake a claim to an area if need be.
Also I don’t think you’ll have water quality issues in a 200 gallon tank if you get tour bacteria going on your live rock. I’m assuming you’ll have a skimmer too?

Also the 2.0 meter and 2.2 meter tank for the same price makes sense. The pane of glass is probably 2.2 meters and they were going to cut off and discard the 0.2 meters in the end anyway.
The bigger the better. I wanted two 40 gallon tanks and I ended up with a 75 gallon tanks because each 50 gallon tank was $3.00 more. I’d have spent double on just the tanks alone.
 

Marsh980

I will be adding plenty of live dry rock to ensure plenty of caves, arches, islands (islands for fast growing corals like GSP), plus a 1.5 - 2” deep live sand bed for the sand sifters. Also want some of the islands (single rocks) to stick out from the sand like sand glaciers haha. Hope that makes sense.

I was looking to complete weekly 75 gallon water changes once the tank has cycled and using dr TIM’s one and only live nitrifying bacteria to give it a kick start.

I will be using a skimmer.

That decision makes sense to me, you could always buy another 40 gallon tank lol
 

saltwater60

Sounds good and makes sense to me.
 

Marsh980

thank you for your help. Just a quick update. I ordered my system today, turned out it was a 220 gallon (1000 litres as I‘m British). Just need to be patient now as it‘ll take 5 weeks to build. Just hope I selected the right equipment haha
 

saltwater60

thank you for your help. Just a quick update. I ordered my system today, turned out it was a 220 gallon (1000 litres as I‘m British). Just need to be patient now as it‘ll take 5 weeks to build. Just hope I selected the right equipment haha
5 weeks gives you just enough time to start buying the equipment.
 

Rcslade124

I'd love a marine betta. I'm only doing a 40 gallon so I cannot.
 

Rcslade124

200g would be tangs maybe 2 pair of clowns. School of Cardinals. Goby shrimp combo. Cuc. Maybe a wrasse and dottyback. But idk if all are reef safe but marine betta is lol
 

Marsh980

5 weeks gives you just enough time to start buying the equipment.

I've already bought the equipment, my LFS is holding it all back ready for the tank to arrive
 

Marsh980

I'd love a marine betta. I'm only doing a 40 gallon so I cannot.

My wife and I went to my local LFS at the weekend to discuss the quote and set up of my new tank and she fell in love with a marine betta so that will be added to the tank. She also said she wouldn't be buying it.... typical haha
 

Marsh980

200g would be tangs maybe 2 pair of clowns. School of Cardinals. Goby shrimp combo. Cuc. Maybe a wrasse and dottyback. But idk if all are reef safe but marine betta is lol

Cheers, my LFS said I could have approx 30 fish in the 220 gallon tank spread across top half, bottom half, sand dwellers and rock perchers. So spread across Clowns, Dwarf Angels, Wrasses, Blennys, Trigger, Goby, Hawkfish, Mandarins, Tangs, Firefish, and a few miscellaneous. I'm going to play it by ear after adding my inhabitants very slowly over 12-18 months.

The owner has 28 years of experience and crossed out approx 40% of the fish on my list including the regal tang because he said they're great when smaller but are a nightmare when large. I told him I wanted a peaceful tank so he automatically crossed off Flame Angel, Damsels, Melanurus Wrasse, Longnose Hawkfish, both Powder brown and tangs, orchid dottyback to name just a few.

I understand people will of course argue that some of the fish above are fine in a reef set up and theirs are absolutely peaceful.

I was told to NOT get an anemone if i'm looking to start a large reef tank with plenty of corals, he said they were fine in a small tank but they can be a problem with their movement, stinging corals, getting blitzed in powerheads etc. I was aware of all this before adding to my list and have seen plenty of tanks who have them but are they that problematic? Do they become an issue if they grow large and start mitosis (splitting).
 

SecretiveFish

I am glad you have an experienced person helping you out!

To add to the excess of information you have been getting, here is what I have learned:
- One Combtooth type fish per tank otherwise they will fight a lot, even in a tank as large as yours. I had a lawnmower blenny and a yellow eye Kole tang in a 150g, and the Kole tang chased that blenny mercilously. In the end, the Kole tang won. Mixing combtooth blennies is also a bad idea.
- Lemonpeel angels are vicious, avoid unless you are setting up an aggressive tank.
- The wrasses will out compete the mandarin or scooter blenny for micro fauna. These guys can be very hard to be kept feed... Honestly I would pass.
- If this is your first Saltwater venture, only do one clownfish pair. Even in a large tank, it is very likely there will be fights between the pairs with potential injuries. It is just no fun watching your fish duke it out, and in a tank that large, you are very unlikely to be able to catch them if you have to remove.

Good luck!
 

Marsh980

Thank you for the help and sharing your experiences with these fish combinations. I will definitely only be getting one pair of clowns (the standard ocellaris).
 

MomeWrath

I was told to NOT get an anemone if i'm looking to start a large reef tank with plenty of corals, he said they were fine in a small tank but they can be a problem with their movement, stinging corals, getting blitzed in powerheads etc. I was aware of all this before adding to my list and have seen plenty of tanks who have them but are they that problematic? Do they become an issue if they grow large and start mitosis (splitting).

The problem with anemone is they can move but have no eyes or brain. It makes no nevermind to them if they are walking across your GSP, your designer zoas, your $200 an inch SPS, the front glass, or a 500 GPH powerhead. The problem then is if mr. anemone takes a walk into mr. powerhead then your tank becomes an anemone smoothie, which leads to ammonia spikes and overflowing skimmers and sometimes a nuked reef. They may not walk for a year and then decide to move to the opposite side of the tank because some neighbor grew large and obstructed or changed the flow of water and they don't like it. In a tropical tank a death is not as big of a deal, but the ocean is constant and the animals that live there do not like change. I had a thirty gallon reef that I was certain was crashing...the culprit: one single dead turbo snail, the size of a large grape. That's my cautionary tale.
But it isn't all doom and gloom. And also I am excited to follow your journey into the salty side.
oh ALSO!!! - consider ClarkiI clowns. They get bigger, are still relatively peaceful, and the way they swim is really cool. They use their pelvic fins like rudders and I haven't seen any other fish that can turn on a dime like that.
 

Marsh980

Cheers for the info, that’s what the owner of my local LFS said. He said they’re just not worth the risk if you’re wanting a coral reef.

Thanks, I have set up a diary in the ‘saltwater aquarium builds’ which will log my first experience into the hobby from the tank arriving and being set up to adding inhabitants. I’m hoping to take lots of pictures.

I’ll certainly take a look at those clownfish. Cheers
 

Marsh980

HI all, from all your experiences would you think it’s worth adding approx 4 orange firefish Blennies in a 200/220 gallon tank that will house larger fish.

With them being smaller shy fish would they just hide all day or even be bullied.
I was hoping to get at least one schooling fish and don’t like cardinals or aggressive damsels (the two clowns will be the only damsels I’ll have).

If not can anyone recommend a good schooling fish for a larger tank? Or maybe just don’t bother?

Cheers all
 

saltwater60

Can you post a picture of the fish you’re talking about. Not sure what an orange fire fish blenny is.
 

Marsh980

Here you go

The pic was taken down so will try another. Hopefully this one will be ok. Cheers
 

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saltwater60

That’s what I thought it was. We just call them dart fish or fire fish that’s why I was concerned it was something I wasn’t sure about.

I’ve had good luck with them in mixed reef tanks. If you’re not going with an aggressive trigger or aggressive tangs I think you’ll be fine.Your tank is large.
 

Marsh980

Cheers, I will be getting a pair of blue throat triggers and the below tangs, these and the triggers will be my ‘showpiece’ fish in the tank

Yellow
Purple
Naso
Kole

No Hippo though as I’ve been told they can be aggressive when larger. I’m yet to be convinced as many sites say there great beginner reef fish.

Did you have one, what was your experience of it?
 

saltwater60

I had fire fish with tangs and it was fine. I had a powder brown tang, Naso tang, and Kole tang. Also the trigger might be ok since I think they are more top level fish. The tank will be fairly large so you could try it and see what happens. Fire fish are shy so just make sure they are eating and have an established home before adding the more aggressive fish. The tang list looks ok to me except the yellow and purple together. They are the same body shape and they will likely fight.
 

Marsh980

I had fire fish with tangs and it was fine. I had a powder brown tang, Naso tang, and Kole tang. Also the trigger might be ok since I think they are more top level fish. The tank will be fairly large so you could try it and see what happens. Fire fish are shy so just make sure they are eating and have an established home before adding the more aggressive fish. The tang list looks ok to me except the yellow and purple together. They are the same body shape and they will likely fight.

Firefish are going to be the only schooling fish bar maybe getting a couple of yellow tangs. I’ve read that you shouldn’t put tangs together that have the same body shape but I’ve seen so many example tanks that have both yellow and purple tangs together and read loads of accounts saying they were fine.

I really want both so will try it, but if it doesn’t work or there’s any fighting I’ll have to remove the purple. Fingers crossed the size of the tank and plenty of hiding places etc will reduce that.
 

saltwater60

Firefish are going to be the only schooling fish bar maybe getting a couple of yellow tangs. I’ve read that you should’ve put tangs together that have the same body shape but I’ve seen so many example tanks that have both yellow and purple tangs together and read loads of accounts saying they were fine.

I really want both so will try it, but if it doesn’t work or there’s any fighting I’ll have to remove the purple. Fingers crossed the size of the tank and plenty of hiding places etc will reduce that.
I’d love a report on success or no. The tank size will definitely help you out.
 

Marsh980

Will do buddy. Fingers crossed everything goes well. Just waiting patiently or should I say impatiently for the tank to arrive
 

saltwater60

You’re making me catch the reef fever now.
 

Marsh980

You’re making me catch the reef fever now.

I’m like the devil on your shoulder
 

Marsh980

One further question, what would you say is the best ‘first’ fish to put in your tank once it’s cycled. You often see clowns are added first but just anxious because they’re damsels and can be territorial and bullies. Could it be start with the firefish maybe as most shy?
 

Marsh980

HI all,

Is there anywhere that has guidance on what order you should add fish to reduce the chance of fighting, territorial bullying etc. I'm sure its a hard question to answer as it would depend on the size of your tank, amount of rock and hiding places etc.

Cheers
 

saltwater60

Most territorial or aggressive last. That’s tour trigger fish.
also some recommend adding wrasses and tangs all together in a group. I too recommend that as well. So add tour group of tangs at one time then a bit later add tour group of wrasses. I love wrasses they are by far my favorite fish!!
 

Marsh980

I'm looking to get 5 tangs plus approx 4 or 5 wrasses so that's a lot of bio load in one go, let alone destroying my wallet haha.

Would it be ok to add the wrasses, then the tangs and then the triggers in that order. I assume I would add the copperband and mandarins/dragonets before them as well.

But what about the angels (Coral Beauty and Red Stripe)?
 

saltwater60

I'm looking to get 5 tangs plus approx 4 or 5 wrasses so that's a lot of bio load in one go, let alone destroying my wallet haha.

Would it be ok to add the wrasses, then the tangs and then the triggers in that order. I assume I would add the copperband and mandarins/dragonets before them as well.

But what about the angels (Coral Beauty and Red Stripe)?
Yes. That’s what I was saying. Add in three groups. Wrasses group one, wait a month(just saying a timeframe) add the tangs, wait a month then the trigger.
The mandarin will all depend on your pod load. 200 gallon tank should have a good bit of pods. Don’t be afraid for it to take 6-12 months to add your fish. I know we don’t like to wait but the slower the better for the wrasses and mandarins since they will forage off the live rock
 

Marsh980

Yes. That’s what I was saying. Add in three groups. Wrasses group one, wait a month(just saying a timeframe) add the tangs, wait a month then the trigger.
The mandarin will all depend on your pod load. 200 gallon tank should have a good bit of pods. Don’t be afraid for it to take 6-12 months to add your fish. I know we don’t like to wait but the slower the better for the wrasses and mandarins since they will forage off the live rock

Cheers, that’s what I was thinking. In the meantime I can add the goby’s, clowns, foxface, firefish, Blenny’s, Angels, Hawkfish and Betta.

I’ll be adding plenty of pods into the tank as early as I can to ensure a good colony is there ready for the copperband and mandarins.

I’m in no rush and will take it slowly.
 

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