First Time in the Salt Water Hobby


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This is my first post on this forum and I'm looking for a little advice on salt water fish. I have two freshwater tanks one ten and one twenty five and have had both for little under a year, and before them had goldfish for around ten years. So I would say i'm a little past the beginner point in the hobby and had plans yesterday to buy a 45 gallon ensemble aquarium (furniture, tank, and hood) for a live freshwater aquascape. But while at my local fish store which stocks well over 80% with salt water fish and coral I asked them if my tank would be to small and they said no. I've heard that salt water isn't to hard to keep and have done research on it in the past because I was just going to go strait to salt water with my two previous tanks, so I decided to go with a salt water tanks. I spent the next one to two hours in there getting the run down and all of that, came home and set up my tank.
  • I have a 45 gallon tank 37 in x 13 in x 59 in
    • (taller than it is long)
  • Fluval 307 canister filter
  • Hydra 26 light
    • for growing and maintaining coral
  • Cobalt submersable 200w heater
  • live rock
  • carbi sea substrate
    • local fish store recommended it
  • Nutri sea water to start up the tank
  • ammonia sulfate
  • aqua top max flow
So i have the whole thing set up, you can look at the pictures below, I won't be stocking the tank until the water quality has reached safe and stable levels for my fish.
I kinda want some ideas of what I should stock in my tank or if I should add anything else
  • Looking for:
    • Colorful Hardy coral
    • decent sized fish
    • invertebrates
    • small fish
    • schooling
    • solo
    • aggressive
    • semi aggressive
    • passive
Obviously nothing is gonna fit all of those categories, but if I had to stock my tank today, what sort of coral should I go with, and what would be the best fish match up for that
Should I have a predator tank or a schooling reef tank
Lots of small fish, or a few decent sized ones
what inverts should I get

Just looking for some basic ideas so I know where to target my research

and any suggestions about my set up are more than welcome

IMG_3668.jpg IMG_3664.jpg IMG_3666.jpg IMG_3667.jpg

Thank you in advance


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Softies are great starters. Green star polyp and Xenia’s are like weeds super easy to keep, they can take over especially the Xenia, as are Kenya trees.
for inverts clean up crew(cuc as its often abbreviated) are a good start hermit crabs, snails ...everyone’s a bit different but I try and keep about one hermit per 5ish gallons and about the same for snails. Turbo snails are algae eating machines but do get big and strong enough to knock over rocks and corals if not secure.
for fish in a 40 you’ll find you run out of room super fast, as a fw-sw concert myself I have to say water quality is many times more important in salt. biggest advantage, and why I’d suggest adding it to your upgrade list, a simple is great is the extra water volume and room for skimmers and reactors. Many predator fish will quickly outgrow your tank as well as have many coral nippers amongst them(I have a blue spot puffer I adore and hasn’t messed with corals but many do) schooling is also hard, many fish don’t do well. With clowns I’ve tanks with 12 or more that do fine, I had three and had to move one before the others picked it to death. Chromis are the only thing that comes to mind you could do a school of. I’d think 3 go well in a 40 they are much more competitive than freshwater fish and many are one per tank unless you have a truly massive one.


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I agree that adding a sump to the setup in the future will help tremendously. The extra water volume can make a big difference in water stability. I have seen several all-in-one tanks with hang-on skimmers and other equipment that have been successful. Water changes will also be a big factor. As for schooling fish for a 40g tank, you can do fire fish, or Chinese zebra bar. I would invest in a screen top for the tank to prevent fish from jumping. You can buy a kit on bulk reef supply for it. As for other fish to help with the tank, lawnmower blenny will help with keeping algae in check (some also have great personality as well), a smaller tomini tang will also assist in algae control. 6-line wrasse will help to control pests that may find their way into the tank from corals. For corals, zoa's are a great addition as they are pretty hardy and can add a lot of color to a tank. Biggest piece of advice is to be patient with the tank and take time to research as much as you can on each inhabitant you choose to put into the tank. Corals are a big one as each has different requirements for lighting, flow, and placement in the tank. And always ask questions.
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