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Old 11-09-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
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Stocking a 150G Reef

It's finally time to start doing at least a little bit of research into stocking my 150G reef tank. I have a lot of ideas, but not much that I'm really set on, so suggestions are welcome. Here's what I have so far:

150G main tank, 30G sump/refuge, 250 lbs LR, 75 lbs sand. In a few weeks my fishless cycle should be complete -- I'm using the LR as filtration and dosing the tank with ammonia to cycle it.

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Here are all of the specs that are concrete:

I have five damsels that made it from last time, currently in a 20G quarantine. No matter what you say I'm not getting rid of them, and they will live in the display tank. Two of them are larger and a little more aggressive, and I imagine that I might need to wait and add them last for that reason, but that raises an issue with possibly quarantining the other fish after I get them, but we'll see about that...

Any creature has to be reef safe, because I really want to have corals as soon as it's safe to do so; I'd like to keep as many options open for corals and other invertebrates as possible, so if some fish choice limits any options I'd at least like to know about it. Also, I want this to be a community tank, not a species tank or a predator tank or anything like that.


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Other than that, it's pretty open. I've had my eyes on a few specific types of fish but as for some of them I don't know too much about keeping them...

Clownfish: I know I want clownfish, and my ultimate goal is to get a mated pair bonded to an anemone. I know that's nearly impossible to do, but if it's feasible I'd at least like to try, even if that means waiting for the tank to get more stable. I'd prefer one bonded to anemone over a pair without a 'nem. Color or style isn't important as much as beauty. I'm not looking for Nemo here.

Damsels: I think the five I have will be plenty, even though there are a lot of pretty damsels out there.

Gobies: I really like gobies. I had a Diamond Watchman Goby last time and he was my favorite, I'm looking to try maybe a couple of smaller gobies this time, how many gobies would fit in a 150G tank safely? What type of gobies look the best? There should be plenty of places to hide...

Blennies: Basically the same as the gobies, how many can safely fit and what types are liked the best?

Pseudochromis: I like the way these guys look, though it's not a requirement. If one fits well with the rest of the fish then I'm sure he'll make a nice addition.

Cardinals: I like most cardinals out there, but my favorites by far are Bangai cardinals. I would really like to breed them unless it's completely impossible to do so. Pretty much all I know is that I should get at least 6 at once in order to find two that will survive and mate, past that I don't know much. What about other types of cardinals? Would they be compatible?

Tangs: I really like tangs. I think with my tank I could get two? Maybe three? I'm not sure what types of tangs would work well together and with the rest of the fish I'd get -- this is the type I know the least about.

Clean-up crew: I think this is the first thing I would get once the tank is cycled... In the way of reef-safe CUC, I think my only options are shrimp and snails. I like these, but don't know much about the right types of shrimp to get and I wonder if there are other options.

Other options: What else out there would work well with these guys?

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I know I ask a lot of questions, I'm sort of brainstorming at this point so I can have something coherent by the time I need to start ordering/buying livestock. If I manage to stumble across an idea that's actually good, please let me know because I'm assuming most of my ideas are bad ones.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:38 AM   #2
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OK, I will do my best to make your tank look like my 155g before I took it down. Somebody has to have one now.

I'd try to hold off on the clowns for 6 months maybe if an anenome is the target where you want to add them together and you're adding other new fish and just starting the tank.

On your damsels, got any space for another 20g tank somewhere??? I'd agree trying to add them last would be preferable since they would likely terrorize the cradinals, blennies and maybe the gobies I'm guessing. Those are the guys less likely to fight back. Now, having said that, the fish you're adding for a while might take 6 months to QT and add to the main in shifts of course.

Gobies: you're gonna want a watchman or other variety of shrimp goby for your pistol shrimp. Need to make sure the rocks are on the glass bottom and not on top of the sand for a pistol however. The shrimp gobies will dwell at the very bottom of the tank near holes in the sand. I hear folks love their Bullet and Diamond gobies, but IME they made sand piles way to high for me and I couldn't have any corals near the bottom of the tank because they'd cover'm up. Still, a pistol and 2 or 3 gobies (one or two shrimp varieties and a non-shrimp) would be fine IMO. You could also do a clown gobie with these guys. He'll perch and swim on the rocks and coral higher in the tank.

Blennies: one of my favorite fish indeed. Loads of personality. Curious and funny. You could consider a midas blenny for the gorgeous golden color. He'd swim in the top half of the tank only and perch on rocks and have a hole he backs into to look over the tank. Swims like an eel almost and give you immediate diversity. I've also had a forktail or fang blenny with the midas. The fangs come in nice pale blue and yellow. They swim out front all day and do not perch. They will perch on the front or side glass sometime. That's where they sleep too.

Pseudochromis: never had one, but he'd have to be added near last too as they are territorial and can be mean. Of course, the purple (or Fridmanis or something like that) are the least agressive of the family, but still can be tuff.

Cardinals: Any kind you like, but don't do 6 so 2 can live IMO. I bought 3 together from the same tank and they did fine together and schooled.

Tangs: Oh yeah. That's where the fun comes in. Consider 3 different families. One would be the soft mouthed, algae nibbler, Ctenochaetus type tang. That'll be the smaller type. Kole tangs fit in there and might be the first you add. He's a different family than the Zebrasoma. That's the yellow and purple tangs. Great color of course. Then, you might want to do a Naso. Go with the blond. Beauties!! I had 1 Kole (no the teeny one either) and two zebrasomas. One yellow and one purple tang. I added the purple and the Kole together with no problems. Same sized. A year later (of course you're not waiting that long) I added the yellow. Larger than the other two. The yellow and purple squared off for a week with tattered fins and all. Finally the yellow emerged as the boss and they all 3 hung out together all the time.

CUC: Nassarius snails for the sand bed. Astreas (they can fall over and die though - but only .50 to $1.00 each. Both are cheap. What about hermits? Plenty are reef safe. of course they might kill a snail now and again for a new home - even if you do provide empty shells for them to grow into. IMO, that's the way it works and I just add to my snails annually or so. Buy at least 3 shrimp at a time. Either the blood red or the regular cleaner shrimp. They are less ghidden when there are numbers and they feel safer I think. Later, you could even add peppermints (3-5) and a CBS.

ANyway, that's my take on it. Longest post I've typed in some time. Got me excited stocking your tank!!
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:04 AM   #3
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Oh yeah, think wrasses too. Plenty are reef safe. Look at the flashers. In 3's. (2 females added first, then one male).
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:26 AM   #4
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I figured I'd have to wait on Clowns. My only concern is that they'd get bullied since they'd be added last, but I guess there isn't a way around that.

So with this method of cycling I've heard that it's best to add all of your livestock (or at least a lot of it) at once because all of the bacteria is there in full force and if I don't add a bunch of fish some of it would die off, maybe causing a mini-cycle when I add fish later? What truth is there to that? If an extra QT for a few months is what it takes to add the damsels last then I'm prepared to do that, but now I'm confused as to what is better: adding rapidly or slowly...

How does one get a hold of a CUC? My LFS probably wouldn't have very much in stock... I could try asking them to order some in I guess...

I would prefer not to order livestock online and have it shipped, but would it be OK for a CUC?

When I get home I want to look at pictures of all these tangs you suggested, I'm most excited about them.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:53 AM   #5
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Cannot add a lot of fish at once. The bacteria established can be overwhelmed that way. Not a problem to add 3-4 medium fish at a time or or kinda large ones in such a large tank with that much weeded rock, but all at once is out of the question. As you add fish, the bacteria will increase.

Don't worry about the clowns. They're damsels and can defend themselves.

I'm all for adding slowly since QTing is preferrd in my book. Adding fish too fast with the potential for introducing disease or creating disease from the stress of a new home and other inhabitants, in addition to all that rock where you cannot catch them calls for QTing in my book.

CUC mail order is a good thing. They've got arrive alive guarantees and will credit future orders for things dead. Try this one. There may be other good sites too, but this is the only one I've used.


P.S. - you're only waiting on the clowns since you want to find a pair AND an anenome. Clowns can come earlier and try the anenome later once you're more established and stable.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:02 AM   #6
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dont get the pseudochromis, i had one and he was mean and he will eant any crabs and shrimp you put there but if you ant one for the colors ill get a royal gramma ive seen a tank that has 3 of them with out any problems and they were all hanging out together
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:01 PM   #7
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I had a pseudochromis and he was pretty territorial, but it was a big wuss too, he just hid all of the time. Although I do like them for their colors -- I'll consider the royal gramma, it looks just like the pseudochromis.

So out of all these guys, I think the CUC would go in the tank first, but after that I guess it would be the tangs and the cardinals? I have 3 10G tanks lying around but only one extra filter, so for three tangs I guess I might have to buy some extra hardware. If I need a bunch of extra filters I should start seeding them now so they can cycle along with the rest of the tank...

The only time I've ever QT-ed a fish is what I have now, but it really isn't serving the same purpose as a real QT would, so I'm unfamiliar with this territory.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:22 PM   #8
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i would also add the tangs as one of the last yellow tangs are semi agressive
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:32 PM   #9
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Yeah, Id get some media seeded now.

I'd go CUC, gobies, blennies, cardinals, and then the small tang, add the next 2 together. Then, more CUC.
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsdad View Post
Yeah, Id get some media seeded now.

I'd go CUC, gobies, blennies, cardinals, and then the small tang, add the next 2 together. Then, more CUC.
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