Beginner Corals

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Marsh980

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Hi all,

I’ve finally decided to keep my first saltwater system and currently waiting on my 220 gallon tank to arrive and I want it to become a reef tank so want to get the easier soft and LPS corals. Am I correct in thinking I should wait around 2-3 months before adding any corals so my system and water can become established. Are there any easy SPS or should I build up my experience first as this is my first experience of a saltwater aquarium.

I will be using an automatic coral doser if that makes any difference.

My favourite corals by far are the ones that wave in the water as it gives the tank such beautiful movement. I have been put off Zoanthids due to the fact they‘re toxic plus after 5+ years can look pretty brown and awful (is that true?). I have seen a few examples of Zoa gardens and they look great but again was told they’re not worth the effort, to much aggravation.

So should I concentrate on a mixture of the below corals grouped in species that won’t sting each other?

Duncanopsammia
Euphyllia
Catalaphyllia
Plerogyra
Physogyra
Lobophyllia
Goniopora
Blastomussa
Favia
Alveopora
Ricordia

Am I missing anything, I do like some of the mushroom corals, the ones that grow large at the top of the tank, however I’m not sure what those ones are though.

I do want a GSP and Xenia but will isolate them on islands so they don’t take over my tank.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated

Cheers
 

kallililly1973

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No experience with saltwater tanks but i'd like to follow and live vicariously through your build :). I have a feeling its gonna b epic!! Good luck!! Where are you getting the 220 from if you don't mind me asking?
 
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Marsh980

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kallililly1973 said:
No experience with saltwater tanks but i'd like to follow and live vicariously through your build :). I have a feeling its gonna b epic!! Good luck!! Where are you getting the 220 from if you don't mind me asking?
Cheers buddy, I have the same amount of real experience. I have been reading up nearly every night for the past 2 months and thanks to forums like this, YouTube videos, liveaquaria site and the owner of my local LFS I feel confident that I can ’survive‘ my first reef tank haha.

Before replying to you I was just researching on Copepods as I would like a Copperband Butterfly and Mandarins after 4-6 months. I’m going to have to buy enough to start a good breeding colony (possibly 20x 100ml bags) as soon as the tank as cycled. i‘m aware I’ll need to periodically add more in.

I really hope it it will be epic especially after it’s established in the next 18-24 months.

Regarding my tank, I’m getting a custom built D-D reef tank, final dimensions are 2100x625x625 (mm). It may end up as 200 gallons after the dry live rock has been added. The tank will take up to 5 weeks to arrive as it’ll have a metal frame. It will arrive at my local LFS and the owner and his son will bring it to my house and assist me on fitting all the equipment and aquascaping. The owner has 28 years saltwater experience which he has been happy to share his knowledge. He has been amazing with me.
 

saltwater60

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I would not get mushrooms, gsp, or xenia. That stuff especially GSP and mushrooms spread like crazy and you’ll never get rid of them.
Other corals seem relatively easy to care for. Blastomussa is probably the hardest to care for and I wait until you get the hang of things before getting one. Awesome coral though. One of my favorites.
 
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Marsh980

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I was hoping that by placing GSP and Xenia on isolated rock islands would stop that from happening. I'm aware that both can't spread across sand and need to ensure it can't spread onto the glass so need to be far enough away from the edges too. I really want both as they're beautiful but i really need to be vigilant in there placement.

Mushrooms, i'm not too fussed about these however, I have seen some really large beautiful ones in people's tanks. Well i think they're mushrooms. I still have a lot to learn on corals, placement, grouping, de-plugging, attaching to the rock, dosing, water testing for coral specific elements etc.

Its next on my list, I'm currently researching copepods and adding them to my tank as i want to keep a Copperband and mandarins. I'm looking at adding 20x 100ml bags of copepods as soon as my tank has cycled or after maybe a few weeks so i can get a breeding colony started ready for the introduction of the copperband or mandarins after 4-6 months. I'm hoping the near 100kgs of live sand i'll be adding will have a good number already. However, i will be periodically (maybe every 2-3 months) adding copepods to re-stock but i'm happy to do that.

One question on copepods, can you have too many?
 

saltwater60

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Live sand won’t have any pods in it or anything other than maybe some bacteria unless you’re digging it out of the ocean yourself.
Live rock is where your goodies will come from. Also keep in mind pods are detritus eaters and you’ll need something in there to eat them. On the copper banded make sure that fish is eating prepared foods before purchasing. If not it has little chance to survive. Also make sure you have some time under tour belt and the reef is established before buying either the mandarin or butterfly. Seems like that’s your plan anyway.
 
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Marsh980

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saltwater60 said:
Live sand won’t have any pods in it or anything other than maybe some bacteria unless you’re digging it out of the ocean yourself.
Live rock is where your goodies will come from. Also keep in mind pods are detritus eaters and you’ll need something in there to eat them. On the copper banded make sure that fish is eating prepared foods before purchasing. If not it has little chance to survive. Also make sure you have some time under tour belt and the reef is established before buying either the mandarin or butterfly. Seems like that’s your plan anyway.
Ahh thats great to know, i'm buying dry live rock (man-made) so i assume that won't have any copepods either. Therefore, I'm happy that i'm adding them manually, and much sooner before adding the Copperband and Mandarin. So it will be better to wait until I've added my first fish in the tank before adding the pods (for example a pair of clowns)?

I have read that the Copperband must be eating prepared food beforehand and i intend to wait as long as possible before the right fish comes along. I also want the pod community to be as established (large) as i can make it before adding it and a mandarin. I may leave them till the very end but I've not quite figured out the order of fish to put in the tank
 

saltwater60

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Marsh980 said:
Ahh thats great to know, i'm buying dry live rock (man-made) so i assume that won't have any copepods either. Therefore, I'm happy that i'm adding them manually, and much sooner before adding the Copperband and Mandarin. So it will be better to wait until I've added my first fish in the tank before adding the pods (for example a pair of clowns)?

I have read that the Copperband must be eating prepared food beforehand and i intend to wait as long as possible before the right fish comes along. I also want the pod community to be as established (large) as i can make it before adding it and a mandarin. I may leave them till the very end but I've not quite figured out the order of fish to put in the tank
Good plan.
Yeah live sand is kind of a lie since it just has live bacteria or so they say. Not really sure how bacteria could survive that long with out anything.
 
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I did always wonder because the bags could just sit in storage or take months to sell and be added to saltwater.

However, won’t stop me adding 100kgs to my tank, I want a relatively deep sand bed
 

Magicpenny75

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Most beginner coral are beginner coral because they are easy to grow (GSP, xenia, anthelia, kenya trees) and because they thrive on neglect a lot have the potential to take over in time. I never had issue with zoas browning out, but every tank is different.
Some species of euphylia like frogspawn and hammers are relatively forgiving, as are duncans. If you like the look of mushrooms and don't want them all over (I love them but to each their own) check out tonga frilly mushrooms and ricordea species. Good luck!
 
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Magicpenny75 said:
Most beginner coral are beginner coral because they are easy to grow (GSP, xenia, anthelia, kenya trees) and because they thrive on neglect a lot have the potential to take over in time. I never had issue with zoas browning out, but every tank is different.
Some species of euphylia like frogspawn and hammers are relatively forgiving, as are duncans. If you like the look of mushrooms and don't want them all over (I love them but to each their own) check out tonga frilly mushrooms and ricordea species. Good luck!
Thanks for the help, I’m not looking to neglect the tank but more having the easier ones whilst I build up my experience on reefing and keeping corals. I can imagine this is the route most newbies take before building up to the SPS. I really don’t want to kill off any coral due to my lack of experience

I will check out those mushrooms and other species you‘ve mentioned. Thanks again
 

Magicpenny75

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Marsh980 said:
Thanks for the help, I’m not looking to neglect the tank but more having the easier ones whilst I build up my experience on reefing and keeping corals. I can imagine this is the route most newbies take before building up to the SPS. I really don’t want to kill off any coral due to my lack of experience

I will check out those mushrooms and other species you‘ve mentioned. Thanks again
Of course, sorry I didn't mean to imply at all that you would neglect it...just a phrase I use for easy to grow things (like pothos vines and kenya trees). I blame my mother she says it all the time. I just meant those corals are recommended for beginners since they don't need such strict attention to water parameters. If they get that strict attention though, the ones I mention can easily take off and take over. I started out with kenya trees and waving hands anthelia myself, and after six months I was peeling it off of rocks and throwing it away every week.
For someone who is jumping in with both feet such as yourself, with a large tank that should stay pretty stable once it is cycled, providing you keep up with water changes and have the right equipment, I wouldn't stress too much about whether a coral is a "beginner" coral or not. Sounds like you are doing your research and have a solid plan in place. I'd let the tank cycle and go ahead and get what you want.
If you want GSP and want to isolate it, you'll need to keep it pretty far from any other rocks because it will grow these long fingers and start reaching out to touch things. I had snowflake anthelia showing up in my refugium so I can attest that it will travel where it wants haha :)
 
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Magicpenny75 said:
Of course, sorry I didn't mean to imply at all that you would neglect it...just a phrase I use for easy to grow things (like pothos vines and kenya trees). I blame my mother she says it all the time. I just meant those corals are recommended for beginners since they don't need such strict attention to water parameters. If they get that strict attention though, the ones I mention can easily take off and take over. I started out with kenya trees and waving hands anthelia myself, and after six months I was peeling it off of rocks and throwing it away every week.
For someone who is jumping in with both feet such as yourself, with a large tank that should stay pretty stable once it is cycled, providing you keep up with water changes and have the right equipment, I wouldn't stress too much about whether a coral is a "beginner" coral or not. Sounds like you are doing your research and have a solid plan in place. I'd let the tank cycle and go ahead and get what you want.
If you want GSP and want to isolate it, you'll need to keep it pretty far from any other rocks because it will grow these long fingers and start reaching out to touch things. I had snowflake anthelia showing up in my refugium so I can attest that it will travel where it wants haha :)
No worries buddy, no offence taken and i understood what you meant. A lot of the soft corals can tolerate poorer housekeeping. I thought going larger would make it easier (more expensive of course) because the system should remain more stable than a nano or one half its size for example. I like to jump into things with both feet, more exciting that way haha.

I'm looking to complete weekly 75 gallon water changes and sticking to it because whats the point putting all the love, effort and money into a system to not maintain it. I know sometimes it can be tough with family life, holidays, summer BBQs etc etc but i'm confident that i will remain vigilant (especially with me buying the saltwater and RODI water in and having it delivered to my door every 7-14 days)

Is it true that a RODI uses 300 gallons of 'tap' water to produce 50 gallons of RODI water?

I'm trying to do as much research as i can and really studying up in these remaining 4 weeks before the tank arrives.

I will ensure that any GSP or Xenia is very far away from other rocks and glass, if there is any doubt, it'll be going back to the LFS.

I've not heard of the snowflake anthelia, i'll take a look at it online and add it to my 'with caution' coral list.
 
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