Cameron92's 35 Gallon Reef Build

Cameron92

So, I'm finally doing it, after being involved in Freshwater for quite a while and trawling through the depths of the Saltwater section on Fishlore and having an absolute overload of information, I'm going Saltwater!
I have a 35 gallon bowfront that I've just emptied and cleaned out, will post a pic up of it when I get home. Will most likely paint the back of it this weekend if the weather is nice.

After some help on here in regards to filtration I've decided against a canister and a sump is probably pointless for a tank this size so I'm going with the HOB option. Haven't decided on what brand, was initially looking at something from Fluval, but will check out my LFS this weekend and probably get something from there, would rather be able to get parts locally if something breaks.

Still not entirely sure if I want to go with the live rock or start from complete scratch and go with dry rock, would really rather not have to deal with hitchhikers (I do plan to do a mantis shrimp tank in the future, but it'll be on my terms and not by suprise lol) and I'm also not entirely sure how much rock I'll need. That'll be one of the questions asked this weekend at the LFS.

Stocking wise I'll start with something simple, either a blenny or a pair of clowns. I really wanted longfin clowns but due to our import laws in Australia, I am unable to get any here, so I will most likely just go for the ocellaris variety. I will probably also get a clean up crew to go with them, I really like how the fire shrimp look. Thinking a bit ahead, but I'm trying to decide between a mandarin dragonet (I LOVE the colours) or a Flame Hawkfish (The aquarium at my work has one and I love how curious they are) once the tank is well established in some time after everything is stable and running.

Corals are going to 100% be in this tank, I'm thinking I will start with some zoas and a hammer, something not to demanding and quite hardy (as hardy as corals go) Not putting too much thought into corals yet though, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Excited to get this going is an understatement!!
 

Coradee

Sounds like an exciting project, I’m sure our salty members will have lots of hints & tips for you.
I’m assuming you’ve already read some of the stickied threads at the top of the beginner board? loads of useful info there, there’s also the Fishlore free ebook, you can d/l that here https://www.fishlore.com/saltwater-aquarium-reef-tank-book.htm
 

Jesterrace

So, I'm finally doing it, after being involved in Freshwater for quite a while and trawling through the depths of the Saltwater section on Fishlore and having an absolute overload of information, I'm going Saltwater!
I have a 35 gallon bowfront that I've just emptied and cleaned out, will post a pic up of it when I get home. Will most likely paint the back of it this weekend if the weather is nice.

After some help on here in regards to filtration I've decided against a canister and a sump is probably pointless for a tank this size so I'm going with the HOB option. Haven't decided on what brand, was initially looking at something from Fluval, but will check out my LFS this weekend and probably get something from there, would rather be able to get parts locally if something breaks.

Still not entirely sure if I want to go with the live rock or start from complete scratch and go with dry rock, would really rather not have to deal with hitchhikers (I do plan to do a mantis shrimp tank in the future, but it'll be on my terms and not by suprise lol) and I'm also not entirely sure how much rock I'll need. That'll be one of the questions asked this weekend at the LFS.

Stocking wise I'll start with something simple, either a blenny or a pair of clowns. I really wanted longfin clowns but due to our import laws in Australia, I am unable to get any here, so I will most likely just go for the ocellaris variety. I will probably also get a clean up crew to go with them, I really like how the fire shrimp look. Thinking a bit ahead, but I'm trying to decide between a mandarin dragonet (I LOVE the colours) or a Flame Hawkfish (The aquarium at my work has one and I love how curious they are) once the tank is well established in some time after everything is stable and running.

Corals are going to 100% be in this tank, I'm thinking I will start with some zoas and a hammer, something not to demanding and quite hardy (as hardy as corals go) Not putting too much thought into corals yet though, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Excited to get this going is an understatement!!

Sounds like you have some good ideas and info here. a Fluval aka Aquaclear in the 70gph range would be a great choice as would a Seachem Tidal 75gph. As for the live rock not sure if you have access to the man made stuff (ie Caribsea Life Rock) but that could be a good compromise as you get pest free rock but have the benefit of a bacteria coating so you have some bacteria to start with. I use it in all my tanks. As for the fish, I would strongly advise against a Mandarinfish. They need to feed near constantly and are generally picky copepod eaters and a tank of that size cannot keep up with their dietary needs. I had one in my 36 gallon bowfront, spent hundreds of dollars in copepods during my ownership, got it to adapt to frozen food and it still starved to death in 3 months. The Flame Hawkfish is a better choice, just be aware that they may eat inverts and any fish that will fit in it's mouth is a potential meal, so don't keep small fish with them.

As for corals, Zoanthids can be finicky. Some are great and grow very well and others you can't keep alive to save your life. I lost 3 Zoanthids in my first tank and I now have one that is starting to do well. So I don't recommend them for a first time Coral. Hammers and other Euphyllia Corals on the other hand (ie Frogspawn) are excellent choices for first time corals. Just keep the Alkalinity in the recommended range and nitrates a bit higher (ie 10-20ppm) and they stay happy. Hammers are super durable corals as well. I have a branching hammer that shed nearly all of it's tentacles at one point due to my own noobish stupidity (usually that's the kiss of death)
 

Cameron92

I’m assuming you’ve already read some of the stickied threads at the top of the beginner board?

I've read the stickied threads and probably every thread start to finish on the first 3 or 4 pages haha, I've done a TON of research. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

A Fluval aka Aquaclear in the 70gph range would be a great choice as would a Seachem Tidal 75gph. As for the live rock not sure if you have access to the man made stuff (ie Caribsea Life Rock) but that could be a good compromise as you get pest free rock but have the benefit of a bacteria coating so you have some bacteria to start with.

I went to my LFS yesterday and got heaps of info. They don't have the Aqua Clear HOB filters but we have an aquarium brand in Australia called Aqua One, you can pretty much buy their stuff at nearly every pet store that sells fish and their HOB filters are suitable for saltwater and I can buy parts if anything breaks. I'm going to need about 11 pound of live rock to support the bio load and I want to have the reef built up in sort of a half circle so it looks almost like a wall of rock and corals.

I would strongly advise against a Mandarinfish. They need to feed near constantly and are generally picky copepod eaters and a tank of that size cannot keep up with their dietary needs. I had one in my 36 gallon bowfront, spent hundreds of dollars in copepods during my ownership, got it to adapt to frozen food and it still starved to death in 3 months. The Flame Hawkfish is a better choice, just be aware that they may eat inverts and any fish that will fit in it's mouth is a potential meal, so don't keep small fish with them.

I asked about a Mandarin as well, I'm only really thinking about even the thought of it in about 6 months down the track, once the copepods have been well established, I had a thought of possibly even doing a HOB refugium with chaeto in it. Maybe. To be honest, I'll probably just end up getting a hawkish and maybe get a Mandarin for a different bigger tank that I'm thinking for the future.

As for corals, Zoanthids can be finicky. Some are great and grow very well and others you can't keep alive to save your life. I lost 3 Zoanthids in my first tank and I now have one that is starting to do well. So I don't recommend them for a first time Coral. Hammers and other Euphyllia Corals on the other hand (ie Frogspawn) are excellent choices for first time corals. Just keep the Alkalinity in the recommended range and nitrates a bit higher (ie 10-20ppm) and they stay happy. Hammers are super durable corals as well. I have a branching hammer that shed nearly all of it's tentacles at one point due to my own noobish stupidity (usually that's the kiss of death) and this is what looks like now:

If zoas are a bit finicky then I might go for a hammer or frogspawn first and if I don't kill them then maybe I'll consider a zoa.

I'll check those vids out!
 

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