First Time 125 Gallon Saltwater stocking ideas

  • #1
Hey everyone,
I have been keeping freshwater task for years, but I recently purchased a 125 gallon 6' long aquarium that I want to make into a saltwater tank. I have done much research and I have come up with the following set-up and stocking Ideas. I would appreciate some feedback on this since it is my first saltwater set-up. Also, I am not trying to go nuts with this set-up just yet.

Equipment -
Fluval FX-6 high performance canister filter.
Reef Octopus Classic 2000 Hang on Back Skimmer
2 Hydor Koralia power heads rated at 600 gph
Current USA Orbit Marine LED Light

Rock -
25 pounds live rock, the rest of the tank will be dry rock to save money as I can't afford all live rock for a 125 gallon tank. I understand that over time the dry rock will become live rock.

Sand -
120 pounds (6 20 pound bags) or CaribSea Ocean Direct Oolite Live Sand

Live Stock -
1 Royal Gramma Basslet
2 Fire Fish
4 Blue Reef Chromis
2 Ocellaris Clowns
2 Kaudern’s cardinals
2 Yellow Tangs
1 Blue Tang
1 One-Spot Fox Face

I know it should deb with caution keeping tangs together, but I have seen countless youtube videos of people with 6' long 125 gallon tanks with 2 yellow tangs and a blue tang. As these two fish are my favorite I'd like to give that a shot. Please hit me with any criticisms or changes.

  • #2
Hi, I'll comment on the filtration system questions for now which of course is the first consideration. I question why you would need a canister filter at all considering you'll have the live rock, power heads and skimmer to provide the filtration ???

You'll eventually want around 125lbs of live rock in there and may I suggest you double the gph on the power heads for around a 20x turnover rate (Koralia 4's or...?). The skimmer you're considering is not even the bare minimum for this tank then IMO HOB skimmers (especially for mid-large tanks) are all inadequate and as we more experienced Saltwater keepers say "never skimp on the skimmer".

Lastly for now, canisters aren't suggested for Saltwater and eventually you'll be having to clean it very often (much more than Freshwater or wind up with very high nitrates) or doing a lot of water changes or both-ugggh! The canister will also starve the bio load for the live rock or taken up by the skimmer where it belongs.
With a tank that size (I have two 100+g Saltwater tanks) the last thing you want is inadequate filtration and having to change out 40+ gallons of water per month which will cost ALOT in salt mix $$$. Adequate live rock filtration and a good skimmer is the first step!

* BTW, I urge you to seriously consider sump style filtration.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
So do you suggest I return the flu all (haven't even opened the box yet) and instead build a sump? I am unsure how to build a proper sump. How big of a tank should I get for the sump, and how would I make it? Can you recommend a HOB skimmer or an in sump skimmer if I was to return the canister? I appreciate the help.
  • #4
Replying to my reply with questions-NICE ! Yes return it, no need for it.

Your going to have to research this yourself but I promise that a sump system is only scary if the research is not done, they're not all that. Maybe consider a 600gph overflow (eshopps..maybe), 20 gallon long DIY sump or a an Aqueon Proflex model 3 or 4 premade sump etc.., I like Reef Octopus skimmers such as an xs160 or 200 etc.., and a return pump with check valve. All these have a lot of bang for the buck but there is a lot of other great stuff out there...look around CL too.

Here's one of many old threads from this forum which explains the basics well enough I suppose, plus youtubes etc...etc...

* You don't HAVE to do a sump but I strongly recommend it and you will be so glad you did - if you do. Enjoy your research !

edit; xs model skimmers discontinued but can be had used, any of the RO "in sump" skimmers are good all around
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks man, appreciate the help. I'll be returning the fluval Friday and my friend has an old 30 gallon tank he is going to give me. He also knows how to make sump, so I should be able to get it done. Plus that fluval was $350, so I'm hoping I might spend a little less on the sump creation than I did the fluval.

Any critics on the fish choices?

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