37 Gallon XH FOWLR Tank!

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HarrisonAquatics

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Hey guys! This tank is still in the planning phase, but the ball is already rolling on it - got rock ordered through a store a few hours away, and will be going to order in some fish to QT tomorrow.

I have this tank laying around and have decided I want to do some more saltwater. I've had quite a few salty tanks, but I always end up doing the same stuff. I wanna try some new stuff! Never had a FOWLR tank before, so I do want this to be FOWLR (also it's cheaper lol). I'd also like to keep most of the fish in here reef-safe, although if one or two is non reef-safe that's okay too.

I'm sorting out equipment and such now, but here's the skeleton of what I'm building on:

30 lbs of dry base rock
HOB Filter (I'm trying to decide whether to cheap out and use a Top Fin HOB for a while or if I should bite the bullet and go straight for an Aquaclear 110)
Maybe a powerhead, if you guys think I'll need it.
Fluval 300W Heater
Cheap stock LED lighting, because I'm cheap
25 lbs of aragonite sand

Other than that, everything is adjustable. Here's a few fish I'm interested in:

A trio of mollies (these are definitely going in)
Clarkii Clownfish (just one)
Chalk Bass
Coral Beauty Angel
Blue spotted puffer/Central Amreican Puffer/Valentini Puffer
Chromis

Any other recommendations?
 

saltwater60

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Between the coral beauty and the two puffers I think that’s a lot of large fish especially for a high tank. There’s not much left to right swimming room. The puffers might be ok because they aren’t super active but the angel concerns me. Also clarkii clowns get rather large too and can get aggressive in a tank that size. I’d ditch the angel and the clown.
I also think your original plan is fairly over stocked. I didn’t have that many fish in my 75 reef tank.
Also I’d just get the better filter to start off with.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

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That wasn't a stocking plan - it was a list of fish I was looking at.
 

saltwater60

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HarrisonAquatics said:
That wasn't a stocking plan - it was a list of fish I was looking at.
Sorry read it first thing in the am.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

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It's all good! I do have a tendency to overstock my tanks a bit, so I'll definitely keep it in mind.

I've decided against the Clarkii, after more reading - I love them, but I think that having a pair in their own tank will probably be a better environment for everyone involved. I might replace them with some Ocellaris or maybe some Perculas, I'm not sure. Same goes with the angel - I'm not sure about keeping them in a 30" tank. I might keep something a little smaller and less active instead.

I went to my LFS and picked up some stuff - a frag for my reef, and a Blue Spot puffer. This will be the only puffer in the tank, and I'm excited to have him. He seems healthy (he's chubby, and put up a good fight in the store), but he'll be QT'd for a month or so to be sure. Pictures will be coming tonight!
 

saltwater60

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Good plan. Ocellaris clowns have great personalities. I had a breeding pair for years and raised out their dry and sold them. It was fun. They used to get mad when I went out of town for work. My wife would feed them for me and they recognized it wasn’t me. They would dark at the top of the water and turn around right at the surface to splash water at her. Never did it to me. There’s lots of good options out there and we all over stocked our tanks. I just saw a bunch of bigger fish and thought oh that could be trouble.
 
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Ocellaris would be my first choice, probably - unless I found a decent size pair of Perculas. I'd consider that too. When I had my last pair of clowns they got pretty aggressive towards me, not so much other people.

How's this plan sound?

1 Blue Spot Puffer
2 Ocellaris Clowns
3 Mollies
1 more small fish
 

saltwater60

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Perfect. Can I reccomend a yasha hasha shrimp goby or a clown goby. Love them both.
 
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HarrisonAquatics

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A yasha goby would be cool! I actually already have a pair of Yellow Clown Gobies.
 
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Alright guys, here he is! My Blue Spotted Puffer.

IMG_20191221_233432.jpg

IMG_20191221_233426.jpg

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He's a beautiful little guy, and is insanely healthy for a puffer - most of the salty puffers I find around here are starved to death. This guy is chunky, active, and spunky. Canthigaster puffers "flare" just like bettas do - they stiffen up their bodies and elongate themselves, and change their swimming pattern so that they consistently have their largest side towards the "enemy". In this case, he really didn't like the camera - I couldn't get a picture of him flaring at it because he was moving too fast, but I might try and get it on video one day.

Oh, and he's already eating! I brought some ghost shrimp home from work, and he ate two as soon as he found them in the tank. He had a few pond snails, too. I think I'll be feeding this guy mostly frozen salad shrimp, frozen scallops, frozen krill, and live ghost shrimp. Canthigaster puffers have such tiny mouths that most snails are a challenge unless they're pre-crushed.

I think this guy does have internal parasites (all puffers do), so I'll be treating him for that. For size reference, he's in a 5 gallon - so he's pretty tiny! I'll get him healthy over the next month, and let him loose into the 37. Can't wait!
 

saltwater60

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HarrisonAquatics said:
Alright guys, here he is! My Blue Spotted Puffer.

IMG_20191221_233432.jpg

IMG_20191221_233426.jpg

IMG_20191221_233440.jpg


He's a beautiful little guy, and is insanely healthy for a puffer - most of the salty puffers I find around here are starved to death. This guy is chunky, active, and spunky. Canthigaster puffers "flare" just like bettas do - they stiffen up their bodies and elongate themselves, and change their swimming pattern so that they consistently have their largest side towards the "enemy". In this case, he really didn't like the camera - I couldn't get a picture of him flaring at it because he was moving too fast, but I might try and get it on video one day.

Oh, and he's already eating! I brought some ghost shrimp home from work, and he ate two as soon as he found them in the tank. He had a few pond snails, too. I think I'll be feeding this guy mostly frozen salad shrimp, frozen scallops, frozen krill, and live ghost shrimp. Canthigaster puffers have such tiny mouths that most snails are a challenge unless they're pre-crushed.

I think this guy does have internal parasites (all puffers do), so I'll be treating him for that. For size reference, he's in a 5 gallon - so he's pretty tiny! I'll get him healthy over the next month, and let him loose into the 37. Can't wait!
Wow cool. He is a little guy. Watch him and him eating is a great sign. Clear up those parasites and you’ll do him a world of good.
 
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Treated the tank with PraziPro this morning - I don't have any Metro, so I'm hoping that the Prazi will take care of the internal parasites. If not, I'll order some Metro.
 

saltwater60

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Prazipro is good stuff. Works on lots of parasites.
 
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Ugh...

So, I noticed the puffer was a bit more skittish this morning, and I decided to test the water just to make sure I didn't have a bit of an ammonia spike or something. I used a bunch of well-cycled media, but anything can happen I guess. I got a reading of around 1 PPM.

That didn't make sense after like 24 hours of having a little puffer in what should be a clean tank, so I tested my tap water. Boom - 1.5 PPM out of the tap.

I went to Kroger after work and picked up a bunch of distilled water since the LFS I buy RODI from is closed for the week. I did a 3 gallon WC, and will probably change out a couple more gallons tomorrow.
 

saltwater60

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Get yourself and RO filter for yourself. It’s much easier and cheaper in the long run. Good heads up play testing. You likely saved his life.
 
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Only been living on my own for a couple months, and when I was at home, an RODI unit wasn't in the cards. Now, I'm just sorta waiting on the "OK" from my landlord.

Ammonia is around 0.25 PPM this morning, so I re-dosed Prime and started mixing 2 more gallons of water. I'll change it out around lunch, and we should be back on course by then.

Little guy seems better today - he came out of his "cave" (a solo cup that I use in my QT's lol), and he went ham on a couple pieces of krill. All nice and fat, now. His poo looks better, too - he's getting rid of all those worms.
 
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For equipment on the tank, I was planning on starting off with the cheapo HOB filter and combining that with 1 OR 2 Aqueon 950 powerheads that I have laying around. Think I should go for two? Or will the one be plenty?
 

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I’d start off right and get a good filter. You’re probably fine with one powerhead.
 
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I think this HOB will do just fine. I'll replace if/when it fails - or when I have a chance at a decent price on an Aquaclear 110.

I threw some hermits into the QT to see if the puffer would go after them. A couple nips at the shell and he gave up, same as my Valentini used to do. So I guess I'll be doing an all-crab CUC in the 37. I'm sure he'll get the occasional crab, but I'm cool with that.

I guess throwing the crabs in there was a break of QT, but they're from an established tank with QT'd fish. I think it'll be okay.
 
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Rock is in the tank!

Okay, not ALL of it. I put in around 12 lbs of live rock, and around 20 lbs of dry rock. 32 lbs of rock looks like nothing in here - I think I'll be adding at least another 10 lbs or so, if not 20. The rock really only gets halfway up the rock, leaving the tank looking pretty empty.

The "dry rock" came out of a curing bin, and looked pretty clean - I decided to go ahead and move my mollies over, as I have a cycled sponge in the HOB and some well-seasoned LR in the tank too. I'll test for ammonia tonight and tomorrow, to make sure it doesn't spike.

These mollies have been troopers - acclimated to saltwater, going through ammonia spikes, etc... pretty cool! They're already grazing on the rock like I wanted them too, so I think they'll work out well.

Oh, and I ended up switching the Aqueon 950 out for a MJ1200. Not nearly as strong as the Aqueon pump, but the mounting system is absolutely horrid on the Aqueon. The suction cup is weak out of the box, even on clean glass. I'll be using it for mixing Saltwater only.

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