Best thing to put in 13.5g saltwater tank?

jkkgron2

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, I’m going to get a saltwater tank and I plan on buying the fluval evo 13.5 gallon. It will not have a protein skimmer (from what I’ve read small tanks don’t need one) at the start but I may buy one later on. I plan on buying 5lbs real reef rock to help start the cycle and 8lbs dry rock. I’ll also be getting 20lbs of Caribsea live sand. At the beginning I won’t be making any modifications to the filter, but in the future I might.

Right now I need to decide what I’m going to put in the tank. I’m really interested in corals, but I doubt they’re a good option for my first saltwater tank. I’m basically looking for the most hardy fish or inverts to put in the tank. So far I’m thinking of getting a pair of clownfish. Although, I would start out with one just to get the hang of things. I’m not really sure what else to add to the tank. Are there Any corals I could add? Or inverts? I’d prefer to add them a few weeks after adding the clown, but I understand that corals and some inverts can be very sensitive to new tanks.
 

ChrissFishes01

That's a nice tank! The Fluval AIO's aren't perfect by a long shot, but they make for a great first nano.

I'd say 20 lbs of sand might be a bit too much. In smaller tanks, Deep Sand Beds usually don't go so well. They don't really provide enough room to get the benefits of a DSB like you'd see from a bigger tank. I run my 10 gallon reef barebottom, and really enjoy that for ease of cleaning. If you want sand, maybe do a thin layer of 1" or less, so that it's easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing to your eye.

Corals would be a fine option for your first tank. Most of them aren't hard to maintain at all, to be honest. You just have to know what's easy and what's not. I might recommend staying away from a lot of SPS, for example - they can be a pain. Montipora and Birdnest corals tend to be easier, but still higher maintenance than soft coral would be. Some LPS can be rather aggressive, as well, so it might be best to stay away from those at first to rule out aggression as an issue. Soft corals like leathers, mushrooms, clove polyps, zoas, palys, and related corals would be easy to start with and should grow quickly, so you can see results in the short-term. Duncans and acans might also be good - they're LPS, but don't tend to be as grouchy as some of the others.

I think stocking the tank with two fish would be a good place to start. If you wanted a pair of clowns, I'd probably buy an established pair from the get-go to avoid the pairing process. Usually, it's not too bad with Percula or Ocellaris clowns, but if you get two that are incompatible, it might make life a bit harder than it has to be. If you can't find a pair, buy two that are similarly sized - one being just slightly larger than the other, and that should be an easy pairing. Or, go ahead and just do one clown. They don't need to live in pairs. A clown and then something like a Yellow Watchman Goby/Shrimp pair might be a lot of fun, especially if you decide to have a sandbed.

As for inverts, you'll have your basic CUC - hermit crabs (usually) and snails. Cleaner shrimp are fine to have, as I've got one in my 10 gallon. They provide a lot more movement and personality than you might think.

More than anything, just take it a step at a time. It's really easy to get excited and to skip vital steps. For example:

  • What kind of water are you using? Tap water generally isn't recommend for reefs - you'll want to either get an RO/DI unit, or buy bottled distilled water for $0.80 a gallon from the grocery store. I do the latter.
  • What kind of salt will you use? I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals, as it's what's most easily available to me, but there are a ton of different salts.
  • Are you going to quarantine your fish? SW fish probably need QT'd more than FW fish, due to prevalence of disease and how much harder it can be to treat simple ailments. In a FW tank, if you have ich, just throw in some Ich-X. It's safe for virtually anything. In a SW tank, you have to remove fish and treat with either copper, hyposalinity, or the tank transfer method, and leave your display tank fallow for 76 days. It's a pain, and much easier to just do the QT period most of the time.
 
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jkkgron2

That's a nice tank! The Fluval AIO's aren't perfect by a long shot, but they make for a great first nano.

I'd say 20 lbs of sand might be a bit too much. In smaller tanks, Deep Sand Beds usually don't go so well. They don't really provide enough room to get the benefits of a DSB like you'd see from a bigger tank. I run my 10 gallon reef barebottom, and really enjoy that for ease of cleaning. If you want sand, maybe do a thin layer of 1" or less, so that it's easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing to your eye.

Corals would be a fine option for your first tank. Most of them aren't hard to maintain at all, to be honest. You just have to know what's easy and what's not. I might recommend staying away from a lot of SPS, for example - they can be a pain. Montipora and Birdnest corals tend to be easier, but still higher maintenance than soft coral would be. Some LPS can be rather aggressive, as well, so it might be best to stay away from those at first to rule out aggression as an issue. Soft corals like leathers, mushrooms, clove polyps, zoas, palys, and related corals would be easy to start with and should grow quickly, so you can see results in the short-term. Duncans and acans might also be good - they're LPS, but don't tend to be as grouchy as some of the others.

I think stocking the tank with two fish would be a good place to start. If you wanted a pair of clowns, I'd probably buy an established pair from the get-go to avoid the pairing process. Usually, it's not too bad with Percula or Ocellaris clowns, but if you get two that are incompatible, it might make life a bit harder than it has to be. If you can't find a pair, buy two that are similarly sized - one being just slightly larger than the other, and that should be an easy pairing. Or, go ahead and just do one clown. They don't need to live in pairs. A clown and then something like a Yellow Watchman Goby/Shrimp pair might be a lot of fun, especially if you decide to have a sandbed.

As for inverts, you'll have your basic CUC - hermit crabs (usually) and snails. Cleaner shrimp are fine to have, as I've got one in my 10 gallon. They provide a lot more movement and personality than you might think.

More than anything, just take it a step at a time. It's really easy to get excited and to skip vital steps. For example:

  • What kind of water are you using? Tap water generally isn't recommend for reefs - you'll want to either get an RO/DI unit, or buy bottled distilled water for $0.80 a gallon from the grocery store. I do the latter.
  • What kind of salt will you use? I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals, as it's what's most easily available to me, but there are a ton of different salts.
  • Are you going to quarantine your fish? SW fish probably need QT'd more than FW fish, due to prevalence of disease and how much harder it can be to treat simple ailments. In a FW tank, if you have ich, just throw in some Ich-X. It's safe for virtually anything. In a SW tank, you have to remove fish and treat with either copper, hyposalinity, or the tank transfer method, and leave your display tank fallow for 76 days. It's a pain, and much easier to just do the QT period most of the time.
I’ll be using RODI from my LFS. They also sell saltwater so that’s where I plan to get the saltwater. I’ll have to ask about the type of salt they use. Would you recommend I mix my own salt instead?
Unfortunately I won’t be quarantining the fish as I don’t have another tank (at the moment, once I get used to SW I’ll try to setup a quarantine) to use.

That’s why I was thinking less fish, and more corals or inverts because they’ll be less likely to be sick. What if I got a single clown and then just did coral, Plus a few snails and a hermit crab or two for cleanup?

The other thing I was thinking about doing, just at first, was to avoid fish entirely and go with a cleaner shrimp and the CUC plus some easy corals, which would be added later on after the tank has been running for A while. If I like it then I just won’t add fish, and if not then I’ll have gotten used to maintaining a saltwater tank before I get any fish. Does that sound like a good plan? Also, would the CUC plus shrimp have a large enough bioload to support the corals?
 
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ChrissFishes01

I’ll be using RODI from my LFS. They also sell saltwater so that’s where I plan to get the saltwater. I’ll have to ask about the type of salt they use. Would you recommend I mix my own salt instead?
Unfortunately I won’t be quarantining the fish as I don’t have another tank (at the moment, once I get used to SW I’ll try to setup a quarantine) to use.

That’s why I was thinking less fish, and more corals or inverts because they’ll be less likely to be sick. What if I got a single clown and then just did coral, Plus a few snails and a hermit crab or two for cleanup?

The other thing I was thinking about doing, just at first, was to avoid fish entirely and go with a cleaner shrimp and the CUC plus some easy corals, which would be added later on after the tank has been running for A while. If I like it then I just won’t add fish, and if not then I’ll have gotten used to maintaining a saltwater tank before I get any fish. Does that sound like a good plan? Also, would the CUC plus shrimp have a large enough bioload to support the corals?
To be honest, I don't trust most of the stores around here to mix my water for me. That said, if the store you're buying from is generally well-respected, it should be fine.

A single clown should be fine - maybe get a few nerites, a few nassarius, and a few dwarf ceriths for a CUC, and throw in a couple of scarlet hermits to finish it off.

Not adding fish should be fine as well. I'd probably feed the tank a couple times a week for the inverts (as well as the coral), but in theory you shouldn't have problems.
 
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jkkgron2

To be honest, I don't trust most of the stores around here to mix my water for me. That said, if the store you're buying from is generally well-respected, it should be fine.

A single clown should be fine - maybe get a few nerites, a few nassarius, and a few dwarf ceriths for a CUC, and throw in a couple of scarlet hermits to finish it off.

Not adding fish should be fine as well. I'd probably feed the tank a couple times a week for the inverts (as well as the coral), but in theory you shouldn't have problems.
The store I’m buying from has pretty good advice and a lot of the employees keep saltwater tanks, so I think that it should be fine

I think I might go the fishless option at first. It just seems safer. What should I feed them? Also, anything specific I’ll need to feed or add for the corals?
 
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ChrissFishes01

Maybe try a few pieces of mysis shrimp for the inverts and some reef roids for the coral. Shouldn't take much!
 
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jkkgron2

What’s the hardiest CUC or invert you’d recommend? I’d prefer to get a type that can handle any beginner mistakes I might make. Also, what’s the different between zoanthids and polythoas?

Edit: Here’s my plan

1st cycle the tank
Then Get a few nasarrius snails
After that I’ll add in a few zoanthids if you think that’s ok
Then I’ll get 1-2 clownfish, but not from my LFS. I’ll probably get them from Craigslist ( a lot of people in my area keep saltwater tanks so I can usually find healthy corals or fish on there) or some place similar.
The last thing I’ll probably do is get a cleaner shrimp.

I may add more corals after I do all this but for now I feel like this is a decent plan. Thoughts?
 
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ChrissFishes01

What’s the hardiest CUC or invert you’d recommend? I’d prefer to get a type that can handle any beginner mistakes I might make. Also, what’s the different between zoanthids and polythoas?

Edit: Here’s my plan

1st cycle the tank
Then Get a few nasarrius snails
After that I’ll add in a few zoanthids if you think that’s ok
Then I’ll get 1-2 clownfish, but not from my LFS. I’ll probably get them from Craigslist ( a lot of people in my area keep saltwater tanks so I can usually find healthy corals or fish on there) or some place similar.
The last thing I’ll probably do is get a cleaner shrimp.

I may add more corals after I do all this but for now I feel like this is a decent plan. Thoughts?
I'd probably get ahold of an algae CUC first. Nassarius snails are more carnivorous - you'll want nerite and cerith snails for algae. They should be pretty hardy, as they're native to tidepools and shallow water where temperatures (and salinity) fluctuate wildly throughout the day.

I'm sure there's some biological differences between zoas and palys, but I've always kinda been told that zoas tend to have smaller polyps and generally have no/or at least less palytoxin, while palythoas tend to have larger polyps and have a higher tendency to carry palytoxin. Plus, it seems that zoas have been crossed to get all kinds of colors and stuff, while palys tend to be much more plain. They're very similar, though, and tend to both be easy corals. They can be picky, but as long as you get a healthy specimen from day 1, you should be good.

I think the plan sounds good!
 
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jkkgron2

I'd probably get ahold of an algae CUC first. Nassarius snails are more carnivorous - you'll want nerite and cerith snails for algae. They should be pretty hardy, as they're native to tidepools and shallow water where temperatures (and salinity) fluctuate wildly throughout the day.

I'm sure there's some biological differences between zoas and palys, but I've always kinda been told that zoas tend to have smaller polyps and generally have no/or at least less palytoxin, while palythoas tend to have larger polyps and have a higher tendency to carry palytoxin. Plus, it seems that zoas have been crossed to get all kinds of colors and stuff, while palys tend to be much more plain. They're very similar, though, and tend to both be easy corals. They can be picky, but as long as you get a healthy specimen from day 1, you should be good.

I think the plan sounds good!
Great, thanks! When can I add the snails? I’ve seen some mixed info. Some say it’s safe to add fish or snails once 1ppm ammonia can be processed in 24 hours, while others say it’s not safe until the nitrites are all gone. What do you think?
 
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ChrissFishes01

Definitely wait until nitrites are gone - they're just as toxic (if not more so) than ammonia. The snails could probably handle it, but no reason to put them through that unless it's necessary.

I think they probably meant when 1 ppm of ammonia can be completely processed - as in processed from ammonia in nitrite and then into nitrate - then you're good to add fish.
 
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jkkgron2

Definitely wait until nitrites are gone - they're just as toxic (if not more so) than ammonia. The snails could probably handle it, but no reason to put them through that unless it's necessary.

I think they probably meant when 1 ppm of ammonia can be completely processed - as in processed from ammonia in nitrite and then into nitrate - then you're good to add fish.
Ok, thanks for explaining!

I plan on getting 5lbs of real reef rock from premium aquatics to help speed up the cycle. Hopefully it’ll take 3-4 weeks or less. Do you think that the bacteria will survive shipping?
 
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ChrissFishes01

Some will, for sure. I wouldn't expect an instant cycle, though.
 
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jkkgron2

Some will, for sure. I wouldn't expect an instant cycle, though.
Yeah, I expect it to finish within maybe 4 weeks of adding in the live sand and rock, but I doubt it’ll finish instantly.

One question, how often do I need to change the filter media, or should I replace it with live (well... dry) rock?
 
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fish 321

Ok, thanks for explaining!

I plan on getting 5lbs of real reef rock from premium aquatics to help speed up the cycle. Hopefully it’ll take 3-4 weeks or less. Do you think that the bacteria will survive shipping?
I seen on a bulk reef supply video that you can buy dormant bacteria that will survive colder or warmer weather. I just bought some instant ocean bi-spira from petco and it literally cycled my tank in a day. I added my cleanup crew anf them my clowns about two weeks later.
 
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ChrissFishes01

Yeah, I expect it to finish within maybe 4 weeks of adding in the live sand and rock, but I doubt it’ll finish instantly.

One question, how often do I need to change the filter media, or should I replace it with live (well... dry) rock?
I'd probably toss whatever the tank comes with and replace it with a bag of carbon (or something like Chemipure Blue or Purigen), and a sheet of filter floss or polyfil for mechanical filtration. Coral can release chemicals into the water that will cause other coral to close up, so the carbon will help with that. The mechanical filtration is just nice to have to get particulate matter out of the water.
 
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fish 321

Zebra hermit crabs are also a cool addition to the cleanup crew.
 
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jkkgron2

I'd probably toss whatever the tank comes with and replace it with a bag of carbon (or something like Chemipure Blue or Purigen), and a sheet of filter floss or polyfil for mechanical filtration. Coral can release chemicals into the water that will cause other coral to close up, so the carbon will help with that. The mechanical filtration is just nice to have to get particulate matter out of the water.
I think that the tank comes with carbon already, but I can get some filter floss if you think that’d be a good replacement for the sponge that comes with?


I seen on a bulk reef supply video that you can buy dormant bacteria that will survive colder or warmer weather. I just bought some instant ocean bi-spira from petco and it literally cycled my tank in a day. I added my cleanup crew anf them my clowns about two weeks later.
I might have to get that! Did you notice any negative effects?
 
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NoahLikesFish

Personally I’d do 2 ocellaris clowns, a flame cardinal and then a goby with a pistol shrimp then you have some room for a CUC and just do soft corals and macro algae, both are very hardy and can survive with very cheap stuff.
 
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ChrissFishes01

I think that the tank comes with carbon already, but I can get some filter floss if you think that’d be a good replacement for the sponge that comes with?



I might have to get that! Did you notice any negative effects?
I do. Sponges are great for holding BB, but that's what your live rock is doing in a saltwater tank. I do keep a small sponge in my HOB on my 10 gallon in case I ever have to set up a hospital tank, so you might keep a bit of sponge, but having too much in there will just trap debris and cause your nitrates and phosphates to elevate.
 
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fish 321

I think that the tank comes with carbon already, but I can get some filter floss if you think that’d be a good replacement for the sponge that comes with?



I might have to get that! Did you notice any negative effects?
Nope I have not noticed any negative affects, never got any amonnia spikes or anything else. Just a reminder you want to keep your nitrates at around 5-10ppm for corals, I can't seem to keep mine above 0 so I am starting to heavily feed to try and raise them. You will also should probably have auto top off system to keep you salinity stable. Also if you cover you tank use mesh, I made the mistake of covering my tank with plastic when I went on vacation to prevent evaporation and it cause a massive nitrate spike and caused an green hair algae outbreak.
 
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jkkgron2

Nope I have not noticed any negative affects, never got any amonnia spikes or anything else. Just a reminder you want to keep your nitrates at around 5-10ppm for corals, I can't seem to keep mine above 0 so I am starting to heavily feed to try and raise them. You will also should probably have auto top off system to keep you salinity stable. Also if you cover you tank use mesh, I made the mistake of covering my tank with plastic when I went on vacation to prevent evaporation and it cause a massive nitrate spike and caused an green hair algae outbreak.
Wait, how am I supposed to cover my tank with mesh? I’m using the fluval evo and that comes with a lid. I’ll make sure to feed heavily. How many times a week should I feed them?
 
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tuggerlake26

I feel weird jumping in here, but just wanted to comment on soft corals.

A few of them can grow really quickly and takeover nanos if you aren't comfortable trimming/fragging them. I had a nano with some leathers and tree corals, and they outgrew the tank in four months. For whatever reason I cringe at the thought of clipping them to frag, so I took them out and gave them to my LFS.

Just something to think about. Zoas are a good choice though.
 
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jkkgron2

I’m just gonna list my whole setup/all the stuff I’m adding in the tank. Does this all seem good for the fish, inverts, and corals?


Fluval evo 13.5g

Fluval M submersible heater 50 watt

20lbs Caribsea live sand- I’ll probably only use half of the bag

Real Reef 5lb rock

8lbs dry rock

Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride

Filter Floss

Instant Ocean Bio-Spira

Hydor Koralia 240 GPH
 
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ChrissFishes01

Sounds good! I've used the Koralia Nano 240 for almost two years straight with no issues.
 
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Fishproblem

I’m just gonna list my whole setup/all the stuff I’m adding in the tank. Does this all seem good for the fish, inverts, and corals?


Fluval evo 13.5g

Fluval M submersible heater 50 watt

20lbs Caribsea live sand- I’ll probably only use half of the bag

Real Reef 5lb rock

8lbs dry rock

Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride

Filter Floss

Instant Ocean Bio-Spira

Hydor Koralia 240 GPH
From the research I've done, it looks like a great plan!

Total long shot but are you by any chance near NYC? I know it's a long shot but I bought a whole bag of live sand for my pico and only needed like a pound.
 
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jkkgron2

From the research I've done, it looks like a great plan!

Total long shot but are you by any chance near NYC? I know it's a long shot but I bought a whole bag of live sand for my pico and only needed like a pound.
Nope, I’m in MN. I’m glad you think it’s a good plan though!
Do I need calibration fluid for my refractometer? Some say you can use distilled water, which I already have, so I’d prefer to use that but I can get calibration fluid if needed.
 
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Fishproblem

Nope, I’m in MN. I’m glad you think it’s a good plan though!
Do I need calibration fluid for my refractometer? Some say you can use distilled water, which I already have, so I’d prefer to use that but I can get calibration fluid if needed.
ooh, sorry I missed this yesterday. I used distilled water to calibrate because it's what I had on hand, and it's what the instructions said I could use. I'm realizing that calibration fluid can make for more accurate seawater readings though, and that I also bought a crummy refractometer. I'm gonna post more about that on my build thread in a bit, I'll tag you.
 
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jkkgron2

ooh, sorry I missed this yesterday. I used distilled water to calibrate because it's what I had on hand, and it's what the instructions said I could use. I'm realizing that calibration fluid can make for more accurate seawater readings though, and that I also bought a crummy refractometer. I'm gonna post more about that on my build thread in a bit, I'll tag you.
I might just use distilled water. From what I’ve heard it’s still pretty accurate and I’m not going to be getting any crazy sensitive fish or corals. What refractometer did you buy?
 
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ChrissFishes01

I have the ABI refractometer off Amazon. Cheap and generic, but good enough.

Distilled water is good enough as long as you're good at keeping your SG stable at 1.025. That way, if it's a little off in either direction, you'll still be within range. That said, if you mix your water at 1.025 (according to the refractometer) and it's actually mixing at 1.027 (according to a completely accurate one), as water evaporates it'll creep up. You'll see it at 1.027 and top off, but by then it'll be upwards of 1.029 (according to the accurate tool), which is gonna cause some stress.

Honestly, I'd just order the calibration fluid. Everyone's saving money right now (and trust me, I feel it) but getting your water mixed correctly is one of the first steps to a successful tank. Any shortcuts on that may not work too well - at least IMO.
 
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jkkgron2

Could someone give me a link to a calibration fluid they recommended? I think I’ll get some, it sounds like it’s going to be safer that way.
 
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Jesterrace

Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, I’m going to get a saltwater tank and I plan on buying the fluval evo 13.5 gallon. It will not have a protein skimmer (from what I’ve read small tanks don’t need one) at the start but I may buy one later on. I plan on buying 5lbs real reef rock to help start the cycle and 8lbs dry rock. I’ll also be getting 20lbs of Caribsea live sand. At the beginning I won’t be making any modifications to the filter, but in the future I might.

Right now I need to decide what I’m going to put in the tank. I’m really interested in corals, but I doubt they’re a good option for my first saltwater tank. I’m basically looking for the most hardy fish or inverts to put in the tank. So far I’m thinking of getting a pair of clownfish. Although, I would start out with one just to get the hang of things. I’m not really sure what else to add to the tank. Are there Any corals I could add? Or inverts? I’d prefer to add them a few weeks after adding the clown, but I understand that corals and some inverts can be very sensitive to new tanks.

As mentioned above I would go with half that for sand. 10lbs is plenty for that tank. Any more than 2-3 inches and the sand bed becomes problematic. As for stocking a pair of ocellaris or percula variety clowns would be fine (although it might be a little cramped for them in the long run if you want to hold onto them for 10-15 years). A good choice for nano tanks are a small goby (ie Tangaroa, Pink Spot) and a pistol shrimp as they form a really cool symbiotic relationship and share a burrow together.

As for corals, most folks consider soft corals (ie mushrooms, kenya trees, etc.) the easiest to care for but honestly I have had the best luck with the easier LPS (Long Polyp Stony) Corals. They don't mind water on the dirtier side so you don't have to fight nitrate levels as much with them. I would wait for the tank to mature a bit (ie running a few months AFTER cycling is done) before adding them to let things stabilize a bit. Among my favorites for LPS: Branching Frogspawns and Hammers (avoid the Wall variety) and Blastos.
 
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jkkgron2

As mentioned above I would go with half that for sand. 10lbs is plenty for that tank. Any more than 2-3 inches and the sand bed becomes problematic. As for stocking a pair of ocellaris or percula variety clowns would be fine (although it might be a little cramped for them in the long run if you want to hold onto them for 10-15 years). A good choice for nano tanks are a small goby (ie Tangaroa, Pink Spot) and a pistol shrimp as they form a really cool symbiotic relationship and share a burrow together.

As for corals, most folks consider soft corals (ie mushrooms, kenya trees, etc.) the easiest to care for but honestly I have had the best luck with the easier LPS (Long Polyp Stony) Corals. They don't mind water on the dirtier side so you don't have to fight nitrate levels as much with them. I would wait for the tank to mature a bit (ie running a few months AFTER cycling is done) before adding them to let things stabilize a bit. Among my favorites for LPS: Branching Frogspawns and Hammers (avoid the Wall variety) and Blastos.
Do you think all those corals could work with the fluval evo light?
 
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jkkgron2

Anyone know if premium aquatics ships their real reef rock wet or damp? I think it’s dry, so does anyone know of a place to get either good live rock or some wet/damp real reef rock?
 
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jkkgron2

Anyone know if premium aquatics ships their real reef rock wet or damp? I think it’s dry, so does anyone know of a place to get either good live rock or some wet/damp real reef rock?
Nevermind I figured it out. I’m a bit confused on the filter media though. At first I thought it came with a rack for the carbon, but now I realize that the sponge is where you put the media in. Because I’m not using the sponge, Can I just stick the filter floss and carbon in one of the filter chambers, or do I need a filter rack?
 
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Jesterrace

Do you think all those corals could work with the fluval evo light?

The easier LPS Corals and Softies should work fine with the stock light. Anything more demanding though and I would definitely upgrade. An AI Prime 16HD would be an amazing light for that tank if you decide to upgrade in the future. I run it's bigger brother (Hydra 26HDs) on my 90 gallon (as seen in my forum Avatar).
 
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jkkgron2

The easier LPS Corals and Softies should work fine with the stock light. Anything more demanding though and I would definitely upgrade. An AI Prime 16HD would be an amazing light for that tank if you decide to upgrade in the future.
I’ll just stick with the softies and LPS for now. If I decide to upgrade, I’ll make sure to get that light.
 
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Jesterrace

I’ll just stick with the softies and LPS for now. If I decide to upgrade, I’ll make sure to get that light.

Keep in mind that each tank is different, so what does well for some may not do well for others. I always recommend starting slow and definitely going with cheaper/hardier coral frags. Much cheaper to buy, easier to track for potential pests and you get the fun of watching them grow over time.

For example I got this little frogspawn for $20:


A year and a half later here is the same coral:

 
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jkkgron2

I found someone selling some huge pieces of live rock with zoas on it. If I were to get that would that speed up the cycle in my tank? Would the zoas die? Of course, I’d still dose ammonia and wait as long as i need to, but I’m all for a faster cycle if possible.
 
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ChrissFishes01

I found someone selling some huge pieces of live rock with zoas on it. If I were to get that would that speed up the cycle in my tank? Would the zoas die? Of course, I’d still dose ammonia and wait as long as i need to, but I’m all for a faster cycle if possible.
In theory, as long as it wasn't allowed to dry out any, it should introduce quite a few bacteria into your tank. Maybe not quite an insta-cycle, but pretty close. The zoas may die or take some damage, especially if you're dosing ammonia. If you were to get that rock, I'd stop dosing ammonia, let the tank cycle through whatever ammonia/nitrite is in the tank, and begin adding a CUC and slowly stocking as if the tank were cycled.

Keep in mind that when buying from other hobbyists, you have the potential to get some good deals and introduce good life to your tank. You also have the chance to introduce all of that hobbyist's problems to your tank. Might be something to weigh in your mind.
 
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