Questions About Starting Saltwater Reef Tank Soon - Page 2

Jesterrace

Pretty much any of those fish are wild caught, outside of some very specific local breeders that might be in your area, these are your options for captive bred:



As for ones more likely to have disease? Other than Chormis and Tangs (both very prone to certain types of diseases) it's simply random luck of the draw with ANY species.
 

abarb

I might also do a 40 breeder saltwater tank. Is there a species of wrasse I could have more than 1 of?
 

Jesterrace

No, Wrasses don't pair up and unfortunately a lot of people don't realize that. In the wild they form harems of females around a given male but the male's position is tenuous and any perceived weakness or injury and the largest female will transition to male and do an opportunistic take over. In captivity most females generally revert to male. So even though you might have a male and female for a while the female will likely transition to male and then you basically have the equivalent of two male bettas in your tank. You can mix the generally peaceful wrasses of DIFFERENT species together but I wouldn't recommend it in a 40 gallon. Outside of the Possum and Pink Streaked wrasse no wrasses are suited to a 20 Long. In a 40 breeder you could do a single wrasse. The Lubbock's or Tri-Color Fairy Wrasse would be a gorgeous choice or you could go with a McCosker's or Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse.
 

abarb

What about a 75 gallon?
 

stella1979

Wow... lots to catch up on. I love all the questions!

I think there are red banded pistol shrimp at my lfs. Which goby would you recommend?
Be careful of shrimp... I wanted a candy striped/Randalls pistol but couldn't find one locally for quite some time. In the meanwhile, I found another snapping shrimp, species unknown, but the LFS I still love told me he'd be good to go with my yellow watchman goby that I was also buying from them. It's a good store, and I know the guy believed what he said but... The shrimp was a Red Caribbean pistol, a kind that pairs with curlicue anemones in the wild. Hmm, at the time I thought, pretty cool, maybe this guy hails from local waters. He was in qt with the goby, snapped in the night, rather loudly sometimes and somewhere around day 8 - 10, we found the goby surprisingly dead one morning. We couldn't ID what was wrong for sure but after research, we thought an infection had got him. We waited several weeks then brought another goby home to the shrimp. That poor guy was dead on day 3 or 4. The night before that death the shrimp had been snapping a lot and the goby had weird bruising or possibly interior blood loss... idk, but the poor fish didn't look physically harmed except for the coloration of his gut. We were positive this time that the shrimp had killed the fish. So... out with that guy, clean the tank, and in with a Randalls and a third ywg. 6 weeks later, this goby shrimp pair made it to the reef tank and are doing well today... but overall, this was definitely one of my great failures and I'd hate for it to happen to somebody else.
Are there any other inverts I can have besides hermits, pistol shrimp, and trochus snails? How much sand do I need for the pistol shrimp and sand burrowing goby?
You could also do a brittle or serpent star. grantm91 calls his the Kraken... and I love it.

So the sand burrowing goby is ok without sand for qt? Is 2 or 3 months enough?
Errrrmm, we tried the sand in a container thing, then felt so bad for the freaked out fish that we ditched the container and sanded the bottom in qt. It's not the wisest thing to do but I'm still prepared to toss that sand whether it's in a container or no.

Should I soak the food before adding it to the tank? Should I make an overhead sump?
Like Jester said.. soak it in tank water. You may see advice to clean frozen food by rinsing/soaking it in freshwater. Tried that... the fresh water soaked frozen food floats. No bueno. If you'd like, you can also add a vitamin to food soaks. People swear by them, so I gave it a try and have pretty healthy fish. Selcon is what I use for a marine fish vitamin.

Do I need to make a hang on back filter refugium for chaeto algae when I get corals?
I'm assuming this question is why you tagged me today? If your asking if I think that an HOB fuge helps to export nutrients, well then the answer is a resounding yes. Nutrient export gets pretty important in a salty tank, especially with corals, and anything to keep the dreaded hair algae in check is a good thing in my book.

What about a 75 gallon?
Sounds awesome! But... you're getting into sump territory, and the only thing I can really say about big sumped tanks is that they're awesome... and require far pricier equipment than nanos.

Edit: Oh yeah, on food, I like LRS too and have Reef Frenzy Nano. It's a pretty complete meal but still has some sizable chunks that are difficult for my clown and goby... though not so much for rock flower nems and the Duncan. LRS is pretty low on green stuff, and in the wild, a clown's diet may be as much as 30% green. My clown does nip at algae in the tank but I still want to provide that omnivore with a varied diet, and the goby too for that matter, as variation is good for all fish. Arguably, LRS does that all by itself, but I still like to mix it up with HikarI Mega Marine and PE Mysis.
 

abarb

So do I need to put the live rock before the sand because of the sandburrowing goby? How should I make a hob fuge?
 

stella1979

It's always best to put hardscape on the glass first... so shifting sand beneath it doesn't cause rocks to shift. As far as sand goes... I have less than 20lbs. in my 20 gallon long. I say less because 20lbs. is what we bought nearly 2 years ago and a little goes with each water change. It's pretty thin in some areas but the goby and shrimp have it mounded up pretty deep where they want it. Anyway, just saying that the fish and shrimp will definitely adjust the sand to their liking.

An HOB fuge? Well, there are a few threads around here that you could search for, but sorry, I don't have one handy. There are also a few good videos you can find. What it boils down to is, you must install baffles to direct water in such a way that it hits any mechanical and bio filtration first, then flows through chaeto. A grid or cage like piece needs to be on the outflow to keep chaeto in the HOB and not in the tank. You need a small plant light directed at the fuge for the chaeto to grow, (we run ours at night, opposite the reef light.) We used some spare acrylic for the baffle and the Aquaclear's basket to make the grid. You can find pics of our HOB build on post #299 here...
Stella's Salty 20g
 

abarb

Can I use fluval biomax and polyester filter fiber? How often should I change the polyester? What light is good for chaeto?
 

stella1979

You may use biomax if you like it. Yes to poly fiber too. Did you have a chance to look at the pics of mine? I use a filter pad, which I buy in bulk for cheap and cut to size. How often you change it will depend on what's going on in the tank. For a long time, it didn't matter if we went a whole week without changing it but when gha started getting a foothold in the tank we started changing every other day. So, you see, it really just depends on how strict you have to be with your nutrient export method given your stocking and feeding routine. In the early days when we dealt with diatoms, floss and toss every other day... as the tank stabilized, we were careful and nutrients were low... so we got lazy with it and floss and toss was every week or two. This was fine with a single fish and not a ton of corals, but as the stocking grew to 3 fish and there were bigger and more corals to feed, the 'lazy' way didn't work anymore. Wanna hear the best part? Even while gha was getting a bit out of control, nutrient levels still appeared very low via tests for nitrates and phosphates. However, algae doesn't grow without a food source and we knew that the gha growth was hiding rising nutrients in the tank. I have never seen elevated nitrates in the tank... like never over 3ppm since we installed the fuge and very often tests show 0ppm. It was obvious though... gha was outcompeting chaeto growth, gha's growth rate increased from week to week. We've taken numerous steps to reverse this process and one of the most important ones has been to change mechanical filtration before anything caught in it had a chance to break down into the dissolved organics that algae thrives on. Sorry for the long answer, but there it is.

We use an Acke 24W grow light over an AC70 fuge. Hrmm, it's probably more than we need and there's no reason to switch... but there are cheaper alternatives. Have a look on Amazon and pick one that you think will work for your space. I particularly liked one that Culprit had which had two flexible goose-neck lamps attached to a single base. This allowed him to light the HOB box from the top and the side... or the back and one side, either way, as long as it reached the chaeto and was out of the way. Two lamps could reduce the need for chaeto flipping... something I have to do every day or so because the light only comes from above, so flipping the bundle is necessary so the bottom doesn't die and the top doesn't get burned.
 

abarb

I have a goose neck table light from Walmart that grows cabomba (med-high light) in freshwater. Would 2 of those be enough for chaeto?
 

stella1979

I'm no lighting pro and really, idk, but a grow light is a grow light I suppose. It'd probably be worth a try.
 

abarb

Should I use 1 hob for mechanical/chemical filtration and another one for chaeto?
 

stella1979

Ideally? Yes. Two would offer more space for chaeto to grow because it wouldn't share space with other stages of filtration. However, it'll really depend on tank size and the tank's needs regarding nutrient reduction. On a 20 gallon long, I do just fine with a single Aquaclear 70 which houses a filter pad (changed every 48 hours) a large bag of Seachem Matrix biomedia, a small bag of ChemiPure, and on top of it all, a decent sized bundle of chaeto. As long as my other methods for nutrient export are in check (flossing and tossing + ChemiPure), then I seem to have a handle on algae, and chaeto is back to growing a bit faster than it was. So, in this case, the single HOB is doing just fine... but would a larger fuge be better? Always.
 

abarb

Can I use another hob for mechanical/chemical and an aquaclear for chaeto? Is aquaclear 30 ok if I have another filter?
 

stella1979

Sure, you can use whichever you're comfortable with for mechanical/chemical. As for an AC30 for a fuge... well, they're pretty small. I have an AC30 on a 10 gallon right now and the AC70 on the reef tank is probably triple the capacity. Of course, the chaeto will grow to fill its space and you'll have to remove some now and then to make room for more growth. The removal of chaeto is actually the point where you'll be exporting nutrients. So... if the chaeto grows well, and you're prepared to trim it often, perhaps even daily, then a small space won't matter so much. Then again, I'm unclear on the tank size we're talking about here. If you're still in the 40 - 75 gallon range, I'd say there's no way an AC30 fuge would be worth the effort.
 

abarb

It’s for the 20 long tank. Maybe I’ll use an aquaclear 50 then. Is the aquaclear 30 big enough for mechanical/chemical filtration?
 

stella1979

It’s for the 20 long tank. Maybe I’ll use an aquaclear 50 then. Is the aquaclear 30 big enough for mechanical/chemical filtration?
Yes it is.
 

Jesterrace

What about a 75 gallon?


In a 75 gallon you could have 2-3 wrasses of different species (provided you stick to the generally peaceful ones. Halichoeres are one of my favorites:



I have a Melanurus (Hoeven's Wrasse) that is currently transitioning from juvie to adult and it has tons of activity and personality

Here are some other options for Wrasses:



(By the way not sure why the Lamarck's Angel is coming up but it won't work)



One of each of those different varieties of wrasse (ie One Halichoeres, One Fairy, One Flasher) would work together in a 75. As mentioned above though don't try and do mated pairs, because wrasses don't form mated pairs.
 

abarb

Is there any species of crab I can have besides hermit crabs? Can I have 2 species of hermits?
 

Jesterrace

You could, but the problem is that the larger crabs are even more opportunistic than the hermits. Usually people get them for very specific purpose (ie battling hair algae or certain kinds of pest removal) but they come with their own baggage (ie can prey on smaller fish or harm corals). That's why many just stick to the dwarf hermits as they are the least trouble of any kind of hermits, usually only bother fish when they are either dead or near death and they leave corals alone. They can kill each other and snails for their shells though. Other crabs will just kill hermits and snails for food.

As for mixing species of hermits, yes, it can be done. I have had a mix of reds, blues and zebras (aka left handed) in my tanks over the last couple of years without any additional issues than hermits normally come with.
 

abarb

Can I mix the yellow and blue ones? If I give them a lot of shells will they kill each other and snails less?

Should I add the snails or hermit crabs first?
 

Jesterrace

It will help but you need to plan on losing snails, it's going to happen at a rate much faster than freshwater. It's just a cost of the hobby that you need to accept. I easily spend between $20-$40 a month on snails. Now keep in mind that I have a 90 gallon tank, so I need quite a few more snails than a 20 long.

You could add them at the same time. Just a handful each (ie 5 each just to test things out).
 

abarb

How many shells do I need per hermit crab? Can I buy smaller sized shells since they are smaller hermit crabs (blue and yellow).

Is 12 shells fine for 5 hermit crabs?
 

Jesterrace

I would do an assortment of size and there is no "X number of shells per crab" it's just a handful of shells with a decent mix of sizes (although I would avoid anything really big ie Turbo or big Trochus snail shells). As mentioned it does help but it's not guaranteed.

That should work as long as they are different sizes within their range.
 

abarb

Should I qt the tangaroa goby and pistol shrimp together? Do I have to qt the hermit crabs and trochus snails?
 

Jesterrace

Should be fine to qt the fish and shrimp together, BUT if you have to treat the fish with copper you will have to remove the shrimp as the copper treatment would kill it. The only issue with the shrimp is that it might be a potential carrier for disease that can affect fish. Although it's not very common. Personally I would stick the shrimp in the display tank and then put the goby in qt. The fish diseases can't survive without them and the pistol shrimp will probably be okay on it's own for a couple of months if you target feed it with a turkey baster every couple of days or so.
 

abarb

Can I just buy the pistol shrimp when the goby is done with qt?
 

Phish_Phan

For what it’s worth, Amazon has a whole bag of shells for hermit crabs, in various sizes. LOTS of shells for like $12 or so.....

I was told to rinse them, and then put them in a bag full of my tank water and shake them like crazy, and dump them under water. I was told an air-bubble can get in the shells if you just drop them in, and it’s a harmful dose of CO2 to the crab just waiting to happen.
 

Jesterrace

I wouldn't buy shells from an online vendor unless I had no LFS. Many LFS will virtually give the shells away as they have so many of them. Mine does them for free. As for the shrimp that could work to just buy it after the goby is QT'ed.
 

abarb

I'll ask some stores about the snail shells. Is there any chance that the pistol shrimp won't pair with the goby?
 

Jesterrace

I suppose there is a slight chance, but I haven't really seen it happen. The Shrimp Provides the Goby with Protection and the Goby Provides the eyesight and warns of danger (pistol shrimps have very poor eyesight) and the den as well as food bits. It is an engrained survival strategy for both of them.
 

abarb

Can I cycle the tank then add 5 hermit crabs, then qt the tangaroa goby, add the tangaroa goby and pistol shrimp, then add trochus snails if there is algae, after that qt the pink streaked wrasse, then qt the clown goby, qt the royal gramma, add more hermits or snails?
 

Jesterrace

You could, although once the diatom bloom comes in you will want some snails to eat the algae.
 

abarb

I forgot about the conch (fighting or tiger). Do I need shells for it?
 

Jesterrace

No, the conch is good on it's own.
 

abarb

Is an acrylic lid with minimal open spaces ok?

Should I use dry rock or live rock?
 

Jesterrace

Should be okay.
 

Jesterrace

Should I use dry rock or live rock?

That's a loaded question and there is another alternative in the man made stuff (ie Caribsea Life Rock).
 

abarb

I’ll have to see the prices at some stores to decide.
How much water change should I do?
 

Jesterrace

I’ll have to see the prices at some stores to decide.
How much water change should I do?

Don't rule out amazon either. You can get the Caribsea Liferock for between $3.50-$4 per lb in a 40lb box. It normally runs around $5-$6 per lb from an LFS. Obviously if you do real live rock then the LFS is really the only option, but for dry rock or the man made stuff you can save some money by ordering online.

As for water changes, it depends. Generally I find a 15-20% weekly water change works best for me. Some go with larger water changes every 2 weeks.
 

NPC

Is there any species of crab I can have besides hermit crabs? Can I have 2 species of hermits?

If you still want crabs other than hermits, I got a strawberry crab from my LFS about a month ago. ( Strawberry Crab ) they are nocturnal so I don’t see it, but when It does come out it’s fun to watch. It’s been an upstanding citizen in my 10 gal reef. Another option are Saltwater Aquarium Crabs for Marine Aquariums: Pom Pom Crab , while I don’t have experience with them personally I’ve read they are very peaceful, they are not nocturnal but tend to hide a lot.
 

abarb

I just changed the plan and now I’ll have a 29 gallon tank. What other fish could I have?
Maybe I will have a strawberry crab.
 

Jesterrace

what are the dimensions on the 29 gallon? That will help us narrow it down to what you can put in there.
 

abarb

It’s the same footprint as the 20 long. 30 x 12 x 18.
 

Jesterrace

About the only thing a 29 gallon will do for you over a 20 long is give you a little more stability with more water volume and the possibility of adding another fish (ie 5 instead of 4). It will not give you any extra stocking options for fish. You have to bump up your length and width in order to do that. Personally, I would bump it up to a 40 breeder as that gives you 3 feet of length and 18 inches of width. If you go to a 40 breeder you could look at adding a pygmy angel and possibly a Lubbock's/aka Tricolor Fairy Wrasse OR McCosker's or Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse.

Here is a Pygmy Angel I could recommend for a 40 breeder:



Lubbock's or Tricolor Wrasse (pictures DO NOT do it justice):



McCosker's and Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse
 

abarb

Maybe I’ll get a 40 breeder since petco’s dollar per gallon sale has it 50% off. Which aquaclear filter would I need for it?
 

Jesterrace

Saw that today, so the timing is perfect. I would definitely recommend a 40 breeder over the 20 Long or the 29 gallon if you can do it. It's big enough to give you some cooler stocking options (and can handle more fish) and get the stability of larger water volume, without being so big that maintenance consumes your life or that you are required to drill it and run a sump system on it.

As for the filter, I recommend the Fluval (formerly Aquaclear) 110 as it will give you the best HOB filtration on a tank of that size. Site to store through Petsmart can save you a bit on those as they usually have some form of promotion running on them.
 

abarb

Maybe I can do the 20 long for a qt then. Could I have the 20 long fish and some other fish in the 40 breeder?
I might skip the pink streaked wrasse since it’s $40 unless I can find a cheaper one at a store.
 

Jesterrace

The 20 long would be a great QT tank. As for the 20 long long fish and others in the 40 breeder, yes, you can. I would say 8 fish max (ideally about 6 total would be good for managing the bioload). Definitely skip the pink streaked and go with the Lubbock's or Flasher Wrasse with the 40 breeder. Far more color and activity and visibility.

Personally if it were me this I what I would do in a 40 breeder:

Pair of occ or percula variety clownfish
Lubbock's or Tri-Color Fairy Wrasse
Cherubfish (aka Pygmy Angel)
Possibly a Blenny of some kind
Royal Gramma Basslet

If you plan on a substrate go with a couple of conch snails (fighting or tiger)
Assorted Trochus Snails
A handful of dwarf hermits


Are you planning on corals? Or just fish only with live rock?
 

abarb

I’ll probably do fowlr then reef after a few months. Can I still have the goby and pistol shrimp?
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
4
Views
541
Nart
Replies
5
Views
974
MJDuti
Replies
12
Views
744
Jesterrace
Replies
2
Views
231
Jesterrace

Random Great Thread!

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom