Stocking 55 gallon MARINE TANK REEF

fishnoobie89
  • #1
HELLOO!!!! FISH KEEPING HOBBYISTS!
This is my first time to keeping a marine tank, but I am experienced with keeping freshwater fish.
I have a 90 gallon african cichlid tank..but I didnt want to go through the hassle of selling all my beautiful grown fish just to start a new saltwater tank and a 55 gallon I thought would be cheaper to start up and get a good practice out of.

I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS and I will greatly appreciate anyone who can help.
Right now..all I have is 40 pounds of live sand and 30 pounds of liverock and 10 pounds of texas holey rock for calcium.
A canister filter with a uv recommended for a 125 GALLON tank.
I will try to get my hands on a protein skimmer down the road when my stocking is complete but as of now the tank is fairly new maybe 3 weeks so I felt as if it was not needed now since there is no waste really.
I will get another 30 pounds within the next month and my current stocking is
2 ocellaris clownfish
1 bicolor dottyback
1 hermit crab.

QUESTION 1
In the future I do want some more hermit crabs or snails...which one is more beneficial..I do like the hermits more though.
Are the small hermit crabs better or those large ones.?

Question 2
I also would like a hawkfish...a wrasse (not six lined maybe a flasher wrasse?)...and a dwarf angelfish (hoping for a lemonpeel or bicolor angelfish) and a midas blenny
Recommendations for a reef safe?? I know the dwarfs are known coral pickers but will they get along with ocellaris? I heard they are known to pick on more docile fish....but what about polyps..mushrooms if I do not want corals..I mean they look nice..but lemonpeel angelfish looks nicer but I heard theyre kind of hard to care for


Question 3
For circulation I have 1 Koralia 1050 aimed towards the back surface because I heard for marine tanks you don't use a aerator because of salt issues? I have 1 regular circulator from petco that has 750 gallons and I was thinking of purchasing another Koralia 1050 and aI'm it towards the back bottom to help circulate the sand a little. Is that too much circulation or too little?

Question 4
My last stocking would be hopefully a dwarf golden moray eel? Any problems or experience with this little guy?
I like the snowflake eel..but I feel bad for putting it in a 55 gallon when maybe I get good with saltwater I will get a snowflake eel for the 90 gallon.

Question!!
For oxygen...how much should the surface of the water be moving....? would that 1 koralia 1050 be enough along with the canister filter output aimed at the surface as well..seems as if the left surface of the tank is clear but the right side seems a TADD bit whitish.. overreacting?

Question 5
Good brand for protein skimmer?
The UV in the canister ...I want it to last as long as possible..is it ok if I turn it off at night time.and maybe turn it on during daytime? any problems with that.

Also I like anenomes..but I heard theyre extremely difficult..so I saw the polyps or anything that looks kind of like anenomes.. are they hard to care for?

Please help me with any of these questions as I would like these guys to live a happy long life.
I was thinking of doing a predator tank..dwarf fuzzy lion..snowflake eel and maroon clown and maybe a wrasse..but I felt like they are harder to care for beginners..
 
Dlondon95
  • #2
Welcome to Fishlore!

I don't have much knowledge of saltwater tanks, but I'm sure someone that does will chime in soon!

Hope you enjoy the forum!
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you!!
 
ryanr
  • #4
Hi, welcome to Fishlore

A 55 is a great size to start with.

Ok, so I'll start by covering a basic equipment checklist for a Reef:
- Refractometer or Hyrdrometer.
- Test Kits for a reef - you'll want High Range pH, ammonia, nitrite, high resolution Nitrate (capable of measuring under 5ppm), and once you get corals, Calcium, High Resolution Phosphate (capable of measuring under 1 ppm, I recommend the Hanna Checker), KH (Allkalinity), and ideally Magnesium.
- A Protein Skimmer is (IMO) an absolute must for keeping corals, controlling nitrates and phosphates is a primary concern for reefers.
- You'll also want to consider a nutrient export method, be it a Refugium, Nitrate and Phosphate Reactors, or carbon dosing (more advanced method)
- Lighting is particularly important for many corals, as many require light for energy

Live Rock - it is best to add all your live rock at the start. 1 - it lets you scape your aquarium from the start. 2 - All your rock cycles in one hit, introducing more rock down the track increases the risks of a mini-cycle.

QUESTION 1
In the future I do want some more hermit crabs or snails...which one is more beneficial..I do like the hermits more though.
Are the small hermit crabs better or those large ones.?
Do you know what hermit crab you currently have? Some species of Hermit crabs can be coral eaters Even the suggested 'reef safe' hermits have been known to eat corals and/or other inverts, so I advise strong consideration when stocking them. Personally, I don't consider any crab reef safe (save for acro crabs that live symbiotically with acro corals) https://www.fishlore.com/Profiles-HermitCrab.htm

Question 2
I also would like a hawkfish...a wrasse (not six lined maybe a flasher wrasse?)...and a dwarf angelfish (hoping for a lemonpeel or bicolor angelfish) and a midas blenny
Recommendations for a reef safe?? I know the dwarfs are known coral pickers but will they get along with ocellaris? I heard they are known to pick on more docile fish....but what about polyps..mushrooms if I do not want corals..I mean they look nice..but lemonpeel angelfish looks nicer but I heard theyre kind of hard to care for
Use caution when stocking hawkfish with inverts, particularly smaller shrimp and crabs. Some will see them as a snack, some will leave them alone, and there's no guarantees on personalities.
The wrasse could be good, but due to potential aggression/territorial nature, it is best to try and introduce a wrasse last. Other than that, they're pretty good.
Angels do pretty well in community tanks, but as you've found out, they are known to nip at corals, particularly LPS corals. I have a Coral Beauty with a Percula Clown pair, and there is no problem there. Angels tend to bicker amongst themselves more than bickering with other species.

Question 3
For circulation I have 1 Koralia 1050 aimed towards the back surface because I heard for marine tanks you don't use a aerator because of salt issues? I have 1 regular circulator from petco that has 750 gallons and I was thinking of purchasing another Koralia 1050 and aI'm it towards the back bottom to help circulate the sand a little. Is that too much circulation or too little?
With marine tanks, an aerator, or air stone is not required. One reason being that the bubbles will most likely result in foam on the water surface (same as crashing waves on the beach). Your Protein Skimmer is the best form of aeration and oxygen injection, along with good surface movement.

As for flow, well the first thing to avoid is dead spots in the tank. How much flow do you require, well that's an interesting question.
Generally speaking, for a reef, you'd want to aI'm for (as a minimum) 20 x turnover for most corals, but higher (30x) if you're keeping SPS corals. These are the minimum recommended, but many will say "as much as you can"

Question 4
My last stocking would be hopefully a dwarf golden moray eel? Any problems or experience with this little guy?
I like the snowflake eel..but I feel bad for putting it in a 55 gallon when maybe I get good with saltwater I will get a snowflake eel for the 90 gallon.
No direct experience with eels, but check out the profile https://www.fishlore.com/profiles_snowflake_moray_eel.htm
Generally they are better suited to a FOWLR due to their appetite for anything small enough to fit in its mouth.

Question 5
Good brand for protein skimmer?
The UV in the canister ...I want it to last as long as possible..is it ok if I turn it off at night time.and maybe turn it on during daytime? any problems with that.
Skimmers, depends on budget. I use a Tunze, the Deltecs are awesome (and most expensive), I've read good reviews on the Octopus range as well. Here are some reviews on skimmers https://www.fishlore.com/Aquarium_Equipment_Reviews.htm

Now, the canister. IMO, canisters are not beneficial to a reef environment. They have a propensity to trap nitrates, making it extremely difficult to keep nitrates at the levels they need to be. I do not recommend a canister for bio-filtration, your live rock will do this. Whilst a canister could be used for mechanical, the maintanence required to keep them clean and nitrate free makes them more of a hindrance in a reef setup.

Also I like anenomes..but I heard theyre extremely difficult..so I saw the polyps or anything that looks kind of like anenomes.. are they hard to care for?
What anemone are you looking at? With adequate lighting, and parameters, they don't have to be difficult. The BTA is probably the most common and 'hardiest' of them.
If you are simply looking for the "waving" and movement created by an anemone, then there are a number of options.
Green Star Polyps are easy to care for, and can create the waving, albeit very small.
Elegance (Catalaphyllia) are awesome, and fairly easy to maintain
Hammers/Bubbles/Frogspawns also come to mind.

And a note on predator tanks - the fish are awesome, but remember the word predator. This means that just about everything in the tank is a potential snack for a predator. Stocking a predator with a maroon or a wrasse, IMO will only lead to the maroon/wrasse becoming dinner. Most (not all) predator tanks are species only for this reason.

Hope that helps - oh, and don't forget the photos
 
Mike
  • #5
Great info from Ryan.

QUESTION 1
In the future I do want some more hermit crabs or snails...which one is more beneficial..I do like the hermits more though.
Are the small hermit crabs better or those large ones.?
I prefer the turbo snail over the hermit crab as far as a reef janitor goes. The only downside to me with turbos is how they can sometimes knock over frags if the frag isn't placed tightly enough.

Question 2
I also would like a hawkfish...a wrasse (not six lined maybe a flasher wrasse?)...and a dwarf angelfish (hoping for a lemonpeel or bicolor angelfish) and a midas blenny
Recommendations for a reef safe?? I know the dwarfs are known coral pickers but will they get along with ocellaris? I heard they are known to pick on more docile fish....but what about polyps..mushrooms if I do not want corals..I mean they look nice..but lemonpeel angelfish looks nicer but I heard they're kind of hard to care for
I'd go with the coral beauty angelfish if you wanted to try a dwarf angelfish. Keep it well fed - multiple small feedings per day - and they should do ok.

Question 3
For circulation I have 1 Koralia 1050 aimed towards the back surface because I heard for marine tanks you don't use a aerator because of salt issues? I have 1 regular circulator from petco that has 750 gallons and I was thinking of purchasing another Koralia 1050 and aI'm it towards the back bottom to help circulate the sand a little. Is that too much circulation or too little?
Depends on what you're keeping... in a 55 gallon for LPS you might be able to get by with one powerhead but if you want SPS like acropora coral or montipora I'd get a couple Koralia 4's and place them at opposite ends of the tank so the flows could create turbulent water patterns and keep all detritus in suspension so it can be pulled out by the skimmer.

Question 4
My last stocking would be hopefully a dwarf golden moray eel? Any problems or experience with this little guy?
I like the snowflake eel..but I feel bad for putting it in a 55 gallon when maybe I get good with saltwater I will get a snowflake eel for the 90 gallon.
I'd skip the eel.

Question 5
Good brand for protein skimmer?
The UV in the canister ...I want it to last as long as possible..is it ok if I turn it off at night time.and maybe turn it on during daytime? any problems with that.

Also I like anenomes..but I heard theyre extremely difficult..so I saw the polyps or anything that looks kind of like anenomes.. are they hard to care for?
I'd wouldn't use a canister filter and instead of a UV sterilizer get a skunk cleaner shrimp or fire shrimp.

Provided that you have the proper lighting (T5 or metal halide) bubble tip anemones are not hard to care for. Just have to feed them tiny bits of marine origin foods a couple times per week. I started with 1 and now have 10 bubble tips. I wouldn't recommend that you keep them in a reef tank (I do and need to get them out) because they can move around and will sting corals. They've stung the acros, montis and nearly finished off a pocillipora before I could move it further up in the tank.

For filtration I try to keep it as simple as possible - plenty of good porous live rock (1 pound per gallon at least), high turbulent water flows, good protein skimmer and biopellets for nitrate and phosphate control.

Tunze, Euro-reef, Reef Octopus, AquaC, Bubble King (expensive), Deltec, Precision Marine - several good makers of protein skimmers. Get one rated for double your water volume if you can afford it. They tend to over exaggerate their performance on the labels in my experience. You can always dial them down if necessary.
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
WOW....thanks for your input, so I guess its recommended I get a protein skimmer asap?...I heard some protein skimmers are garbage..and the octopus ones go over 200 dollars..so I was thinking my canister would be ok until I save up some money for a decent skimmer seeing as how I'm only going to be keeping around 7 small fish it should be ok?.
For the hawkfish I see your picture is a flame hawkfish.. I was going to go with a flame hawkfish or a firered hawkfish? your opinion?
also for corals, say they do get nipped..does it release some bad chemicals into the water like anenomes do if they die?
Oh also do you know anything about engineer gobys? THey have a body shape of a eel..but websites say they need 75 gallons? so should I stay away from that goby? thank you

Also if I get a hawkfish and they do eat my hermit crabs..how about one of those big ones?? I just like the little crabs and the way they sift the sand.
Also my light..I just have a regular light that came with the hood..Is that not sufficient enough to keep any kind of corals or polyps. I think the way they wave in the water is AMAZING!!! STARE AT IT ALLLLL DAY
 
ryanr
  • #7
Hehe, my flame hawk is a character. Mad as a box of frogs, but fun to watch with the way he looks at you. He's been great with my inverts (peppermints and skunks), probably because he was introduced well after the inverts had established themselves.

I'm not 100% on dieing/dead corals releasing toxins into the water - more research for me to do on that front, but I'm pretty sure the harder LPS which tend to be a favourite of angels, will die and the skeleton essentially becomes more live rock.

I haven't researched engineers. But if the recommendation is 75+, my first question is always to find out why (swI'm space, size of fish, tempremant). Once you know why the recommendation is made, you can make the choice on whether you stock it or not. Also double-check the temperature range, some gobies don't fare too well in a reef tank because of their sub-tropical temperature preferences.

Personally, when you're spending the money, and the time and effort, it's best to provide the best environment you can, so I would (without research) say no to putting one in a 55G.

With your lighting - without knowing what type you have, it's hard to say yes or no, but generally you're going to want a dual tube T5HO with White/Actinic, or Metal Halides or LED with White/Blue spectrums for corals.
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
oh man....I mean my light seems kind of bright to the point where my ocellaris looks BRIGHT ORANGE...but I guess I need to spend more $$$ on a lightbulb this hobby is making my gf think I'm more in love with fish than her..hahaha I mean in a way ....the fish don't nag

But I was thinking quiet a lot..even though I should be studying for my final... THIS HOBBY!
But for the angel..I was thinking a flameback angel..seeing as it is more reef safe than the lemonpeel or bicolor angelfish..and after doing some more heavy research..I heard the lemonpeel and bicolor will be more aggressive in a tank less than 75 gallons even though most sites say 30 gallon for one..
I am also considering a flame hawkfish seeing as it is pretty cute and stays pretty small. But I just wanted a different angel because my ocellaris is orange...hawfish is red...flameback is red..kinda wanted a diverse colorful tank..not just a RED RED RED RED lol..any suggestions on different colorful peaceful fish?

and after I add those 2 and a midas blenny..would I still be able to stock a little more ( not too much..maybe a 1-3 more?? or a school of chromis?) if I get a protein skimmer recommended for a 90 gallon?

sorry for the questions..just..SOO ADDICTING! and are protein skimmers quiet?: because the 55 is right next to my bed..on top of my drawers..so no space for a sump unless I buy drawer for one..but since its a small 55 gallon..dont think a sump is NEEEDED..probably beneficial though.. As for pictures..my tank is kind of looking bare and ugly because no background...
SPeaking of background...do you have a background on your tank or does live rock cover?
I will post pictures after I pick up some more live rock hopefully after getting a paycheck this weekend.
 
ryanr
  • #9
Check your light tube when it goes off (and cools down), it should have some text that will tell you what it is. Probably something like T5HO 34W 18000k, or it may just be a brand and tube, e.g. GLO Coralife or similar.

As for angels, it's best to keep to one angel (irrespective of species) per tank. Angels will often fight amongst themselves.

What about cardinals? Pyjama or BangaiI cardinals?

A little school of smaller Green chromis could work, or possibly anthias.

If you're set on a reef, you'll get diverse and colourful from the corals

Protein Skimmers are not quiet (IMO), especially with higher volume ones. They work by injecting micro bubbles into the water, which just like an airstone in FW, makes a bit of noise. I wouldn't say it'd stop you sleeping, but depends on how light a sleeper you are.

Sumps are definitely beneficial - somewhere to hide equipment (skimmers, heaters), dose the tank, maintain the level in your display, somewhere to top-up water, and increased water volume to name a few benefits.

Backgrounds - mine is just a dark blue, many reefs have black backgrounds, some are light blue, but generally I typically see darker blues/blacks as a solid colour background, which let's the reef set itself off.

If you want to learn a little more about my setup checkout this month's spotlight: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariummagazine/may12/member-spotlight-ryanr.htm
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
OH wow NICE TANK!!!! yeah I don't know the cardinals..are kind of dull....
and yea I mean ive been sleeping with 2 Hang on back filters ..so sholdnt be as bad as that with the protein skimmer I hope..haha
I will look for the quietest protein skimmer out there and for what tank size should I get a protein skimmer for. Is one rated for a 55 gallon okay or should I get one recommended for twice the tank size.. Like you said the bigger the skimmer, the more noise am I correct?

Also for stocking issues..if I add just the midas blenny...flame angel....and flame hawk
is that good stocking?? maybe one more fish? or is the bioload with the addition of those 3 with what I have going to be enough.
 
ryanr
  • #11
Hey thanks, the tank actually looks a little different now (ssshhh, don't tell anyone yet, big reveal coming :whistling

I like my cardinal, he's peaceful, graceful and very relaxing to watch - but each to their own, I can see the 'dull' bit.

I would imagine a bigger skimmer = more noise - purely based on logic (more water and air throughput logically suggests more noise) - that said, my skimmer is hidden/muffled by the cabinet and by being submerged. It doesn't really annoy me while watching TV. Kind of sounds like the ocean and fizzy water. Just go to a LFS and have a listen to their skimmers if you can.

Your stocking;
2 x OCs
1 x Bicolor dottyback - I don't have any experience with them, but some quick googling suggests caution with blennies

The following chart might help you a bit.

My only concern is possibly the dottyback/blenny compatibility - do a bit more reading (google is your friend on this) and see if you can find some direct experiences.

Flame angel, hawk are great, but do be warned, as above, angels can nip at LPS, and hawks are known to have a go at inverts.

I would say you could still go one more, I personally like wrasses, but some don't.

I put together a spreadsheet for my stocking, detailing their preferred parameters, coral suitability, and notes on what species they maybe shouldn't be housed with.

Also, America tends to have a much wider variety of fish available, so it's harder to recommend. Check out some of the profiles, put them on a page to compare and make a shortlist.
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
HELLOO KIND SIR! yea ive researched on the dottyback.. mine is very small right now currently have ich
tried feeding garlic but this weekend I think I may pick up a skunk cleaner shrimp pair hopefully.
After trying to research....I ended up finishing my final exam paper at 5:30am and my class is 720am..didnt get much sleep lol

I may pass on the hawkfish because I heard they LOVE SHRIMP ..so I will wait on the hawkfish until either my shrimp dies or if I find a BABY hawkfish ? no?

Last question is I know for freshwater...a filter rated over the tanksize is recommended...how about protein skimmers..? since I have a canister filter rated for a 125 gallon can I just get a protein skimmer rated for a 55 or a 75 maybe?

So my stocking will be 2 more cleaner shrimp...more hermit crabs
midas blenny
flame angel
maybe a flasher wrasse? there's so many...I'm going to have to do research on which will like a 55 gallon for life. I like to give my fish a lot of space to swim seeing as how I would not like to be cramped in a room
so 6 fish 2 shrimp and other hermits I think is ssafe for bioload? rest of my $$$$ will go to corals

also I would like to thank you again for helping me out so much in this hobby...its always good to get some advice from experienced rather than asking pet store owners saying yes to everything so they can get some money.
 
ryanr
  • #13
Hey, glad you're enjoying yourself

First things first, I'd deal with the ICH before introducing anything more. Even though inverts aren't susceptible to ICH, you're better off dealing with one problem at a time (IMO)

As for the Hawk, you're right, they are a gamble when it comes to inverts. Mine thankfully leaves the shrimp alone. That said, there's no guarantees that a baby hawk wouldn't grow up and start going for your shrimp. So my advice, you're prepared to gamble, go for it, if you'd rather stay safe, leave it out completely.

With skimmers, mine is rated at 1,200 litres per hour water throughput, on a 250-300 litre tank. It is generally advised to aI'm for a skimmer with a throughput of approx 3x your volume. I don't go off "rated for x litres/gallons", I look at throughput.

As for total tank turnover, with corals (no SPS) a minimum 20x total turnover is recommended, 30x if SPS. Total turnover is the combined flows of Powerheads, Skimmers, Filters, Return Pumps.

And stocking looks pretty good so far
 
fishnoobie89
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
THANKS!! and alright..I will let you know how it goes this week!
and true...I like the wake the flame hawkfish follows you with the eyes though..sometimes buggy..but its cool.
 

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