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Old 07-01-2010, 04:32 AM   #1
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20 Gal Reef - need suggestions please!

Hey guys/gals,

Just got a heck of a deal on Craigslist for a 20 gal glass tank, glass hinged top, stand, Eheim Ecco 2232, submersible heater, Coralife 30" 65W PC fixture (existing 55W 50/50 bulb is a year old and will be replaced with a 65W 50/50 in a few months), and (hopefully) a powerhead. The guy forgot it and I didn't remember that it was part of the deal, and I'm still trying to get it from him. Oh well, this was my first time dealing with Craigslist. Live and learn.

So, I recently bought a Tomato Clown and a large Long Tentacle Anemone from the LFS that will be going in this tank after I buy the LS (20lb) Friday and let it cycle for as long as needed to get the levels all squared away. (I'll be buying LR later, I'll use the Eheim bio-chem coco puff stuff for the bio filtration until then). Unfortunately, he's quite the jerk, so we need to be careful with what we put in with him. His personality is actually exactly why my girlfriend wanted him, lol.

I'm planning on putting 10x hermits and 10x snails (whatever the LFS has at the time), at least one Emerald Crab, and a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. Now, I would like to put one more fish in there, just so there's more to look at. The owner of the LFS (who, by the way, is QUITE knowledgeable) suggested an aggressive tang that was the same size as the Cinnamon or a little larger. So, I looked online and came up with only one real option: a Clown Surgeonfish. All the other ones I liked were out of my price range.

Also, with this being a reef tank, I of course plan on having corals to eventually move to the 75gal reef I'll probably be filling in ~6-8 months. So, due to the lighting I have, I'm looking at some bubble corals and some Kenya Trees.

So, my questions here are:
1. Is a Clown Surgeonfish the best fish tankmate that's not $75+?
2. Looking at my invert list, what should I change, if anything?
3. Keeping my current lighting in mind, what corals can I have in this tank?
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:54 AM   #2
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Hey Apollo.
Nice buy.

As for your questions;
1) Clown Tang (AKA Surgeonfish) is a big no no in a tank less than 8ft for them. No Tang should be kept in anything smaller than a 4ft 90G tank. They are the one of the hardest Tangs (heck one of the hardest fish) to keep alive and care for. A good tank mate would a Goby like a Neon Goby. Gobies are great.

2) You invert list looks good. No need to change anything there except scale back your hermits from 10 to 5. In a tank of that size wth a Cleaner Shrimp 5 will be plenty.

3) The corals you picked are good ones. Some softies like Mushrooms and Leathers are also good choices.

Now one more thing (and I'm saving you from Cmor here ) that anenome is a bad idea, for a few reasons.
1) No matter what anyone tells you, the clown doesn't need one.
2)Anenomes are very hard to keep alive. They require very stable conditions and shouldn't be kept in tanks less than a year old because of fluctuations that can happen in your levels.
3) Your lighting isn't good enough. You need at least T5HO lighting or Metal Halides to keep anenomes alive other wise the slowly perish.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Don't let it discourage you!
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:10 AM   #3
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Mitch,

Thanks for the advice! I have a few counter-points for your suggestions, however.

1. This Tomato (I accidentally put Cinnamon in the original post, I'm half asleep) is EXTREMELY aggressive, and would tear any goby I put in there to shreds.

2. & 3. Alrighty, thanks!

4. The anemone was part of the deal when I bought him @ the LFS, and he's already hosted to it, so I don't want to separate him from it. (The LFS is holding him and the LTA for us until we have a tank ready for him.) So, I did some research and it seemed as if the 65W 50/50 would be okay. Would a change to a 65W 10,000K be better? Or is that still not enough?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:18 AM   #4
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So your tank is not cycled yet? What are you doing with the fish and anemone that you bought?
Before you even think of fish and corals you have to cycle it. If you are going reef tank you will need 1 to 2 lbs of liverock per gallon of tank water. and you will either buy it cured or have to cure it which takes time.
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:23 AM   #5
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thincat, the LFS is still holding the pair in the tank I bought them out of until I have a place for him. The tank is actually completely empty next to me and the filter is upstairs running w/o media in it into a bucket, cleaning out the tubes (the previous owner let algae build up in the outflow tube).

We are making another run to the LFS on Friday when my girlfriend gets paid to get the LS and the water. We'll start cycling it after the LS and water are in there!

The LR will be added when she and I have the money to do so, and we'll probably be buying cured pieces from the LFS that already has bubble corals and Kenya Trees on it. I will only be buying cured LR either way. The goal is to get it to 20-25lbs of LR when this tank is complete. I was hoping to get around the bioload problem of not having the LR by using the bio filtering media in my filter in the mean time. Is that a legitimate idea, or am I crazy?

So basically, this tank will be starting out as FO and slowly making the transition to reef.

I will not be putting the clown or LTA in the tank until the LFS has verified that all of my tank's water levels are good to go. I don't want him in there when it's not safe, nor do they. Works out well!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:04 AM   #6
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The filter idea only works if you have some rock in there to start with to give the bacteria to the filtering media. LS doesn't hold that much bacteria.

If you must keep the anenome (which you should if the clown has bonded as they die if seperated) you'll need better lights. T5HO's at the minimum.

Also on the fish I suggested a Neon Goby because they assist other fish by cleaning them so he is unlikely to attack a fish which helps him. Another alternative (still goby) is a Pistol Shrimp and Goby pair. This works because they have seperate territories and both have the protection of something. The Goby hides in the shrimps tunnels and the Clown gets the nem. Both are happy. You'll need to ditch the Cleaner Shrimp though and have a DSB (Deep Sand Bed) for the shrimp to burrow.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:43 PM   #7
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Mitch is givning you good advice. The way you worded the 1st post I thought you had put the fish into a non cycled tank. My bad.. Just do things slowly and you should be okay.
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:00 PM   #8
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Let me clear up Mitches statement. In the wild a clown will die if it does not have an anemone host due to the fact that it is a poor swimmer and an easy pick off by predators. The opposite is not true as an anmone will do fine without a clown as a host. In a tank there normally are no predators and so either clown or anemone would be fine without each other. Your anemone will more then likely die in a new tank setup due to changing parameter which are common to a new tank setup.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #9
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The chances are that the clown is just extremely territorial. They usually don't bother other fish if there is enough space that the other fish can stay away from their territory.

IMO if you are interested in keeping the anemone, the PCs arent going to cut it. No matter what bulbs you put in, the actually quality of the light they put out just isn't enough. I also think that the 20g is probably too small for a LTA, they can get over a foot and a half, which is a large majority of a 20g and would be unhappy.

There are varying opinions on this site, which all have merit, but if you choose to get an anemone, you should try and get one that has been aquacultured (from a fellow reefer), make sure you have a large stable tank, and you have high quality lights to keep them happy. They can live an extremely long time, and deserve the utmost care.

Sorry, I don't mean to preach! Lemme go ahead and step off my
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #10
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Good to see another 20g tank! I thought I was the only one...

Ive had mine up and running for over a year now. I can tell you that youll want to skip the nem on this size tank. Its really not as big as you think. That nem will make the tank even smaller.

You really shouldnt be getting aggressive fish. It is funny at first, but becomes a PAIN later. Nothing like watching ULTRA CUTE gobys get their rear handed to them by an angry clown fish! Reminds me of that murdering clown...

I have two clowns, a sixline wrasse, and the final fish HAD to be a strawbery baslet due to how mean the three fish can be. They would KILL anything not as mean as them. Strawbery baslets are supposedly some of the meanest things around. My clowns STILL beat the crap out of him. He fights back though...But still, no fun to watch!

If it were me, id spend most my start up cash on live rock/dry rock and lighting. Live rock will cycle your tank faster than anything else will, but is $$$$. Id get 10lbs of live rock and 20lbs of dry base rock. That will still cost a bit, but will save you alot of money and headaches down the road.

You really should trade the clown/nem combo for something that will get you up and running quicker. Like live rocks. . Id skip the cured rock, and go for the stuff from the ocean. It will be PACKED with weird critters to keep you busy while you wait for the tank to be ready for fish. Its also much cheaper than LFS cured rock.

Next id be saving up for a t5 light...

EDIT: Youll also need a salt water test kit you can trust. I like the API test kits. A refractometer would be best, but youll get by on a hydrometer long enough till you mess up and buy an Acropora coral!
Matt
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