I know I'm getting a head of myself, given that my new 120 gallon tank is almost cycled and will just about be ready for live rock sometime mid next week, and it will be quite some time before I can put in the corals. But I can't help it. I'm an architect and feel that I must design this layout now so it can go through the usual design phases and refinements before any physical work is done or any purchases made.
According to an online calculator I found, for a 450 liter (120 gallon) tank, I'll need about 80Kg (180 lbs) of live rock. I also read it's advisable not to purchase all the live rock from a single source. As part of my aquarium purchase deal, I paid for 50Kg (110lbs) of live rock which I'm yet to pick and get from the place I bought my tank.
Live rock is aquacultured here because it's considered endangered, so the typical price is much higher than in the US, it's about $28/Kg ($48/lb). I managed to settle on $14/Kg ($30/lb) with the aquarium shop so they're selling it to me at a price a little above their cost.
I plan to purchasing the balance of the live rock from another place, so before getting to that step, I need to have an idea what overall form do I want to give this reef so I know what sort of LR
shapes to select. I've seen several designs online of people's tanks and it seems there are 4 general forms followed.
1. A linear ridge looking formation which extends from one end to the other.
2. A heap shape which peaks near the center
3. A central heap with a hole in the middle
4. Something between 1 & 3 but with 2 holes.
I suspect the key here has to do more with the planned corals that will be places on the LR
Which brings me to my next point. I noticed in description of peoples tanks they tend to place similar species of corals together, what I don't know is what each species prefers in terms of light and current so I can locate them accordingly on the LR
, and thus will form the basis of shaping the LR
Lastly, fish selection seems critical to the well being of the corals. If there are any links to previously discussed threads on the selection of fish (especially those that won't eat the corals) I'd be grateful. I've done some searching online, but I suspect this topic must have been exhaustively discussed here. My searches thus far haven't resulted in useful links on the forum.
I'd appreciate any guidance and references.