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Old 05-25-2008, 02:51 AM   #1
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Hi All (Copied from Welcome Forum for Advice)

Hello to Everyone,

Well I am new here, as you all might have guessed, hehehe. I have been keeping fish ever since I was a lad, some 20 years ago. I setup a 270 Bow fronted Tropical Tank 18 months ago, which has just been decommisioned as we are about to move house, it had 5 Clown loach, 2 Zebra loach, 2 golden sucking loaches, 3 Panda Cory's, 2 Dwarf Rainbows, 5 Cardinal Tetras, 4 Purple Emporor Tetras and A Flying Fox. It ran well with no major problems.

But I am now moving home, the tank is empty and ready to go. I have decided to move over to Marine Fish, a reef tank. I have decided on a very small number of fish, infact 2 - a Clown Fish and Royal Gramma, though this is not set in stone. There will be the usual collection of Hermits, soft corals, shrimp etc

The system that I hope to set up will have protein skimmer, dual heaters, water pump with UV tube, undecided yet about the external filter, as I may op for a Fluidised bed sand filter. Water will be by RV.

Am looking forward to racking all your brains on here, and hope to achieve the magic self-sustainning reef, with minor interference.

A few extra questions:

(1) I have read that I can stock between 15 and 34cm of fish, without straining the biosystem. What would be a good level - approx 23cm? Built up over time?
(2) Fish in the books state there size, eg a clownfish @ 13cm, do they ever get to this size? Or are they like tropical and grow to a size in relation to the water available?
(3) Does having Shrimp take cm's off the allowance of fish?
(4) The fish I was thinking of having are: Clownfish, Royal Gramma and Potter's Angel, 1 of each. Will this cause any problems, or do the fish like to be kept in pairs?



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Old 05-25-2008, 10:10 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA.

External Filtration (noticed you said you weren't sure) is typically not done in a reef tank, at most people will use a sock on an overflow to the sump to catch particulate. (you didn't mention if you will be using a sump, but it's advisable if only to keep the clutter out of the display.)

Reef tanks often require Live Rock, it's also advisable since it adds a huge amount of bacterial surface and places for the fish to call home. You can use base rock, but I'd advise a bit of LR to bring some life into the tank (and you can cycle with just LR)

1) Never concerned myself w/ how many inches of fish.. Are you talking 270Litres? or 270Gal? (Noticed you are using Metric so I would assume 72Gal)
2) Fish never grow to the water available. Their skeletal structure grows regardless, and having too big a fish in too small a tank can cause deformities, I won't go too much in detail on this. Suffice to say, fish typically don't hit their Max size, but some can, so it's better to choose some fish that will have adequate swimming room.
3) Great question, no good answer. Crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp (and to the same extent, snails) are not considered part of your bioload, however, in large quantities they can add a small amount, but not massive.
4) Royal Grammas are territorial and should be added last, when stocking work your way up in aggression, it will save you some grief in the future with hostilities leading to deaths. The potters angel, some will warn angels can nip at polyps on SPS corals, I've not had this problem, nor do I have a problem w/ my bicolor doing this. But something you may want to read up on. Clowns can be added in pairs, but purchase them both at the same time from the same tank. They change sex, the largest in the tank being female, all others being male, if the female dies, the next largest male becomes female. This does not mean that a female can become male, and having 2 females in the same tank will be issues.

Hope this helps,

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3 x Halichoeres Chrysus (1 surfed), 3 x Nemateleotris magnifica, 1 x Centropyge bicolor, 11 x Scarlet Hermits, 6 x Zebra Hermits, 40 x Astrea Snails, 6 x Nassarius Snails, 3 x Cerith Snails
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:17 AM   #3
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I'm assuming we are talking of a 270 Liter tank (aprox 70 US gallons), correct?

The cm/liter (inch/gallon) is a bit dated as a rule of thumb. It really depends on the filtration system, frequency and size of water changes, protein skimming, etc. I feel that cm/liter is ok when you are just starting out, till you get a feel for the proer stocking level. The best advice is to post what you want to stock your tank with and wait for the replies. There will be many as we each have our favorite fish.

My female A. percula is about 10cm. Marine fish do grow close to their adult size. If the book says a tang grows to 30cm., believe it.

Shrimp and snails are not counted towards the bioload.

I would get a pair of clownfish as jueviniles, and a single royal gramma. The Potter's Angel is a coral nipper so if a reef tank is in your future there are better choices out there.

I would also skip the hermit crabs. I personally found them to be evil snail killers, even though I provided plenty empty shells for them to choose from. They seemed to always want one that was already occupied, whether by a snail or another hermit.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:58 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you,

Just to clarify its a 270 Litre tank, approx 70 US Gallons. As I say I am still at the early planning stages. Not too sure about the sump idea, I will put up with the additional "clutter" in the tank for the moment - I can always swap over later.

Ok the rough list:

Clown fish - pair
Royal Gramma

That should just about take me to a nice limit,


Shrimps (Cleaners)
Crab - I assume crabs will act as a substitue for the hermits?
Coral - soft

As I say, first tank, so I don't want to run before I can crawl.

I hope that this meets with everyones agreement.


(1) Protein Skimmer with inbuilt UV?
(2) Water pump to pump through external UV (If option 1 without UV)
(3) Two heaters
(4) Lighting - Twin T5 lamps and Single Dusk lamp
(5) Wave makers and Control unit - possible D/D X-Waves?
(6) Water via Reverse Osmosis
(7) Refractometer
(8) Live Rock, Rubble & Sand
(9) Possiblity of a Fluidised bed sand filter - Question, do these have a pump inside? Or can I link it through the Water pump/external UV line?

Thanks again

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Old 05-25-2008, 11:33 AM   #5
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Regarding #8 Where is the rubble going? Are you referring to live rock rubble for added surface area or Crushed Coral Rubble for substrate

As for #9 what would the fluidised bed sand filter accomplish for the tank?

And #2 where would the water pump pump from if you don't have a sump?
Are you reffering to a powerhead?
#5 which specific powerheads are you using and how many?

What is your total GPH flow rating is it 10x-20x total tank turnover?

And with a Reef tank specifically how much lighting do have (watts per gallon)_

120G Oscar tank in progress
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:58 PM   #6
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Ref #8 - I was thinking about crushed live rock rubble for the added surface area.

#5 - Yes powerheads, not sure yet, as I say I haven't bought them yet, so I need about 15x my tank, so that's about 3,500 to 4,000 LPH

#9 was to again increase the surface area for the good bacteria to live.

Lighting, again I haven't bought them, but was looking at twin 40+ T5's, so that's approx 1 watt/US gallon, perhaps Twin 54W, so that's 1.5 Watt/US Gallon, plus the single lamp for dawn/dusk.

Once again thank you for all the help, I think that I am treading ok in the minefield of going salt. Thanks

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Old 05-25-2008, 12:58 PM   #7
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I have never seen a skimmer with a built in UV. UV is questionable as to need. Some use it most do not. It usually requires its own pump as the water flow through the UV needs to be slower than a normal return line to the tank. That gives the UV light time to kill everything that passes through the unit.

T5's are a good option but if you want to go reef you will need more than 2 tubes. More like 6 - 8. You would normally have a mix of 10k and Actinic (03) tubes in a T5 fixture.

By dusk lamp, do you mean a moonlight? A 270L tank would probably have 2-3 moonlights in the fixture.

There are simple wave makers and very expensive wave makers. Some power heads (Koralia-original, Seio) are not meant to be used on a wave maker.

Be sure to add a DI cartridge to the RO unit making it a RODI. RO removes 90-98% or the water's tds. The DI cartridge brings it down to Zero (0)

I have not heard of hobbyists using a Fluidized bed sand filter in a SW tank. I know they are made, but usually used in FW planted tanks. The pump is external. Like canister filters they can become nitrate factories.

IMO ALL crabs are opportunistic predators and should not be in a tank. The only livestock with claws in my tank are shrimp (1 cleaner and 1 hitchhiker pistol).

Keep reading and asking questions. You are on your way!
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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Welcome to AA!

I think just above everything was covered, but let me add this. I would advise against using crushed coral/rubble over the sand substrate or even mixed in with it. The bigger stuff would eventually rise to the top of the bed and be a trap to accumulate all kinds of waste. It can lead to some problems down the road.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:37 PM   #9
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Just one last question - to which I think I already know the answer. The Powerheads - you use in conjuction with an undergravel (sand) system yes?

Thats useful information , thanks,

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Old 05-25-2008, 02:20 PM   #10
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No... most folks have abandoned the undergravel filter system. The powerheads are used underwater just to circulate the tank water. Most folks will put them in the back corners of the tank and shoot them across and forward in their tank to create an "X" pattern of flow. You really want random, chaotic flow in your tank... but that's pretty hard to get. Having the flow from the powerheads "crash" into each other gives you fairly random flow with minimal effort.

Rather than use the suction cup attachment pieces that come with the powerheads, it's a wise investment to get some of the magnetic powerhead holders that are sold... or make some yourself. (Search the DIY section... I remember seeing some there.) Nothing worse than having a powerhead's suction cups come loose and have your powerhead fall down into the sand. Makes a big mess, real quick!

Welcome to AA, and keep asking questions! Researching BEFORE doing is a wonderful thing! Saved me a lot of $$. (That's not saying I didn't waste any!)

PS... Your stocking list (2x clowns, 1x gramma) is a good. Good fish to start with. But you will definitely be able to add more. How many more will depend on what they are, but a 72g bowfront will easily handle several more fish. Just for comparison, I've got a 46g bowfront, and have a O.Clown, a Banggai cardinal, 3x chromis, and a tiny yellow clown goby. I think I've got about one too many fish in there, so I wouldn't say my list is a good example. But I wouldn't even hesitate to put this many fish in a 72g.

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