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Old 03-13-2016, 05:45 PM   #1
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Advice on starter corals for first reef tank.

I have recently started my first saltwater tank.
It is an AquaOne Minireef 120 liter ( with 30 liter sump ).
I have a mix of live and ceramic rock,and live aragonite sand for the aquascape.
Stocking so far is a pair of tank bred occellaris clowns, 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 3 red legged crabs and 3 snails.
I use ready prepared salt water and ro for top up ( from my lfs ).
10% weekly water changes.
Temperature 25c.
My water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate between 5 and 10 ( closer to 5 ), ph 8, phosphate .36.
i am taking steps to reduce the nitrates and phosphates by using some poly filter and will be placing some chaeto in the ( lit ) sump on reverse cycle.
What I would like to do next, after i have lowered nitrates and phosphates is to add a few coral frags and see how things progress.
What i would like to know is where should my water parameters be for adding some starter corals such as mushrooms, zoas, duncans or leathers.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:37 PM   #2
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What lighting do you have? The corals you listed would do fine in the tank with the parameters listed. Honestly I wouldn't add gsp or like Kenya tree unless you really really like these corals.

Gsp was my first coral because it was easy but I realized later it is super invasive and took me forever to get rid of it as I got into nicer corals I really wanted.


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Old 03-14-2016, 12:54 PM   #3
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Really? I was a little concerned that my phosphates were to high at 0.36.
I am going to try and get them down a bit but may try a zoa or duncan frag in a couple of weeks and see how things progress.
My lighting is the standard mariglo led light fitting as supplied with the tank and other users say it is capable of growing easy to moderate care corals.
Further down the line I may upgrade or supplement the lighting if needed.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
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I'm not familiar with that light. Most of the time when that happens, it isn't enough to keep photosynthetic corals.
So with that said, why not look into lighting options first? You are already on the right track with things in your tank and that is great. What helps things along is you are looking at pretty hardy and less light demanding corals.
Have you done any research into lighting yet?


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Old 03-14-2016, 03:21 PM   #5
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The only research that I have done is following other users of this tank and they do have success with most beginner corals such as frogspawn, zoas, polyps etc.
I have read up on some coral species so I have a fair idea of what I want to get started.
Some mushrooms on the bottom, a xenia about halfway up my rock structure in an area with medium flow and one or two zoa colonies positioned middle and upper would be nice.
Like I mentioned, it is the water parameters that concern me the most that is why I would like to get my phosphates down a little first.
How high a phosphate level could I get away with?
they are at 036 atm and nitrates are between 5 and 10, closer to ten.
Would it be worth risking a pair of small cheap zoa frags and maybe a duncan at this point or should I wait a little longer?
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:45 PM   #6
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Advice on starter corals for first reef tank.

Some soft corals actually prefer a slightly elevated P4 level. Rule of thumb is .05ppm for Stoney corals, but they can still thrive up to 1ppm and maybe higher. After that algae becomes a problem. Lighting and flow will have as much effect or more as to how successful you are. The corals you have mentioned are good starter corals, your on the right track.


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Old 03-14-2016, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregcoyote View Post
Some soft corals actually prefer a slightly elevated P4 level. Rule of thumb is .05ppm for Stoney corals, but they can still thrive up to 1ppm and maybe higher. After that algae becomes a problem. Lighting and flow will have as much effect or more as to how successful you are. The corals you have mentioned are good starter corals, your on the right track.


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+1 to what Greg said. Most softies and even lps do better when phosphates are a bit elevated. The corals you mentioned are pretty dang hardy.


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Old 03-14-2016, 05:00 PM   #8
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Thanks to all.
I have a timer socket for the lights on order plus some chaeto to get the nitrates and phosphates lowered a little.
I currently do a 10-15% water change every week so this will help a little too.
I have most likely overfed a bit during the last week as I added 3 snail and 3 red legged hermits as a cuc (along side the pair of cleaner shrimp I already had) as I was a little worried that there was not enough food to go around so I will just do 2 light feeds per day instead of 3.
The good news is my brown diatoms are down to almost nothing since the extra additions.
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