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Old 09-22-2009, 01:29 AM   #1
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tank cycled: what to put in next?

Once my tank is cycled, what do i put in next?

Ultimately, I'd like a starfish to keep the sand clean, like a "sand sifter" or whatever they're called, same shrimp, corals, possibly an anemone? and a few friendly fish.

In what order do i need to add these guys? I've heard some people say inverts first, and i've heard some say fish first. Does it matter?
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:36 AM   #2
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First off, i would completely advise against the sand sifter sea star because they starve in our aquariums because there is not enough established food to sustain their eating habits. Most of them die within short periods of time, so i would stay away from those. They are one of those SW animals that i believe should not be sold.

An anemone is definitely out of the question because your tank is so young. They require established tanks up to 1 year. You need as least amounts of water fluctuations possible when it comes to nems. Nems are extremely sensitive to water fluctuations, and you wouldn't want one to be stressed out, and then move around the tank and wind up jammed in a power head, and then nuking your whole tank. Just a bad story. They also need very strong light, so you better have the correct lighting to even support a nem in the future.

Shrimp, coral, and fish are all good choices for now, until your tank is mature. I think you should add the fish first, and then the inverts. But be aware that any aggressive fish need to go in to the tank last. So nice fish first, then aggressive ones. Depending on what your getting of course. As for the coral, just make sure that you have low nitrates, and the proper lighting to accomodate their photosynthetic needs. Fish are always best to start with when your tank is first cycled. Just so you can see how everything goes. But there's no reason why you couldn't get a couple of cheap coral frags to start out with to test the tank. That's what i did.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:48 AM   #3
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Sounds great.
I think i'll go with a fish for now. I'm going to stick with friendly guys. I'm shopping around for new lighting, so I'll hold off on the corals until then.

Is there a specific starfish you'd recomend to help me keep the tank clean and that's also compatible with corals?

Are there any "bad" shrimp or crabs that i should avoid?
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:52 AM   #4
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Well, i would say to just go to liveaquaria.com or any other site you know of and look in to their sea star pages. I don't have a sea star personally, because those are also animals that need more mature tanks with enough food naturally occurring to keep them alive. So IMO, i would skip out on the sea star for now as well, until the tank is mature. There's a good amount of sea stars out there that can go in a reef tank, so when the time comes, just look around and i guarantee you'll find one that you most certainly like.

I would stay away from coral banded shrimp. I hear they get extremely territorial and kill other inverts and slow, small fish that they can grab. As for crabs.. just look for ones that a reef compatible and you should be fine. Emerald crabs are a great part of my clean up crew, so i would definitely reccomend them to anyone. I have 2 of them and they are just so awesome to watch. Definitely get a cleaner shrimp, or 2. They are awesome and are also part of your clean up crew if you get them. They're awesome little creatures.

Blood red fire shrimp are also another awesome type of shrimp you can get. Sexy shrimp are really nice too. There are sally lightfoot crabs, pom pom crabs, porcelain crabs.. and all of those are awesome crabs and are reef safe. A general rule i learned is that any crabs that have claws that are black, are ones to stay away from. I would also stay away from the arrow crabs and the anemone crabs, because generally, the arrow crabs are reef safe.. but i know that they like to eat other small inverts. The anemone shrimp are NOT reef safe because of the anemone, and how it can sting anything it sweeps by. I would stay away from those.

And to add to your clean up crew, you definitely need snails. Nerite snails, trochus snails, astreas.. etc.. One snail i would stay away from though are the margarita snails. They are very nice, and do a good clean up crew job, but they are harvested from cold water environments, and are sold to us to put in our tropical saltwater tanks. This temperature change greatly reduces their lifespan. Therefore, you will end up with more dead snails. :/

People also say to get nassarius snails to keep your sandbed clean, but personally is stay away from them because they trashed my tank and killed two fully healthy feather dusters. But just about everyone else i've talked to said their nassa snails just stay in the sandbed. So the choice is fully yours on that one lol. I can't hate those freakin snails anymore than i do now.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:58 AM   #5
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I've got 2 tiny Asterina starfish in my tank that hitched a ride on my live rock. Should i keep them? What's your opinion on those? I've heard bad things...
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:02 AM   #6
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Asterinas are fine IMO. They are a good part of my clean up crew and i have tons of them on my glass. They are weird shaped, but they don't pose a threat as of now. I have however heard storied of them multiplying like crazy and then munching on coral. So i would just keep an eye on their population growth. But i've only heard of one occurrence of that asterina massacre, and everyone else i talk to here, say they have lots of asterinas and never had a problem with them. Niether have i so they're good IMO.
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