I'm going to try not to make this a novel...but here goes.
I currently have a 125gallon tank, with a lot of corals (about 23+ xenias, some SPS
, and a huge star polyp mat, a nice Torch), one mid-size (I'd say 7-8" long) Tridacna Deresa, and one baby (4" long) Tridacna Crocea. A pistol shrimp, 2 sexy anemone shrimp, some odd chromis and a beautiful purple tang. I also have a Berlin Classic XL skimmer (modified a bit), a 55gallon sump, and some various other things.
I've been fighting cyano
for some time, and I think I've linked it to our horrendous water quality. In only 4-5 weeks of doing top-offs, and one 25gal swap, the new DI
resin I ordered is 3/4 brown (used up). Anyways, I've been wanting to redesign my tank to make it more...well, organized. I've recently moved out and my tank is in its old location, and suffering due to the fact that I am no longer around 24/7 to monitor it. So, I have a few options, and I'd like your advice.
I can break it down into a 20gal or a 55gal, as I have both. I'm going to sell the 125gal, and a lot of what goes with it. so, here are my questions, numbered for ease.
1. 20gal or 55gal? I'd love to keep my corals (beautiful), with the exception of all the Xenia (check the classifieds soon for anyone wanting Xenia!) and I absolutely must keep my clams. I'll keep the shrimp too. Either of those tanks is too small for a purple tang (I think. Correct me if I'm wrong), so unfortunately he'd have to go. I'm thinking there's no way to keep it all in a 20, so I think I have to go with the 55, but I want advice. Which do you think?
2. The protein skimmer. I'm aware Red Sea's aren't the best, so I'm asking for the short-term: what's a good protein skimmer (for a tank that matches your answer for number 1)? I'll be selling the Berlin and I will get a new large one when I re-do my big setup in a year or so. I won't have a sump...nowhere to put it...so it'd have to be hang-on-back, unfortunately. I know seaclones suck, but will it get the job done in a tank with such low bioload? Remember: Just clams, corals, and at most 2 fish. 2 small fish. Like clowns.
3. The lighting. Currently, the hood is a 6' 3x250wMH 4x96wPC setup. So, question is this: When I go with the smaller tank, can I cut it to fit the smaller tank, and simply re-screw it into the canopy when I get another large tank, or do you recommend selling the whole reflector/leftover ballasts, keeping one or two, and buying a new reflector for the smaller tank? Keeping in mind that I'd have to repurchase a large one for a bigger tank when I got it. (Though I have a feeling when I get the big tank again, it'll be larger than a 125, and possibly longer than 6') I will absolutely require MH
for the SPS
and clams, so I must keep something for them.
4. A question deserving it's own slot: I love my mandarin. Love it. It does just fine in a 125, because I have pods
and little tiny shrimp all over the place. In a 20 (or more likely a 55) will he be ok? I love him to death, and I'd love to keep him, but I'm not sure if there will be ample food source.
5. Is there anything else you can think of that I'd need to recycle, or buy new, for a smaller tank? Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated!