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Old 02-25-2008, 11:43 PM   #1
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'Lively' Fish for a 30H?

I have a 30-gallon high (24x12x24) system that's been running as freshwater for some time now, and I've decided to make the move to saltwater. The problem is, I've been spoiled--I've been keeping African cichlids, and I'm completely stuck on fish with a lot of personality. So far as I know, most of the 'lively' saltwater fishes tend to be rather large--puffers, triggers, and the like.

The LFS recommended to me a single smaller trigger, perhaps Rhinecanthus aculeatus, but I'm uncertain of this as most things I've read say they need at least a 55 and preferably something larger. However, I'm not at all averse to having a one-fish tank.

So--give me all your hardy, mean FOWLR recs for a 30.

I wish I could have a bigger tank--it's not money that's the issue, but space. Oh, the sorrows of apartment life.

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Old 02-26-2008, 12:00 AM   #2
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Oh wow, welcome to the world of the "salties". There are plenty of fish that have personalities in the SW world. Clowns come to mind real quick (such a strange way of swimming), gobys, they can form a relationship with the near blind pistol shrimp (both clown and "pistol gobys" can form a relationship with their hosts....although, this is not always a guarantee). Cleaner/fire shrimp setting up "cleaning stations" to pick off parasites from their customers (fish), I can't recall but I think there is some sort of cardinal fish that will hang out between the long spined urchin (correct me if I'm wrong)...actually found it Here . It looks like liveaquaria.com changed their format a little bit but I kinda like it (I have to pick a bone that the FW stuff is on the top....LOL). Anyway, check around that site and see what you think. Get some ideas and let us know what you are thinking, post your ideas and we can guide you from there.
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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A trigger would quite rapidly outgrow a 30H, if it didn't flat out die of stress. You would be much better off looking at the fish in the liveaquaria marine fish for nano aquariums section. Marine fish require a lot more space than freshwater, and you definitely can't stock a tank like you would with cichlids. A more reasonable alternative would be gobies, blennies, clowns, or even damsels. In your case, damsels might actually be the best bet. They're semi-aggressive to aggressive, colorful, easy to care for, and best of all, cheap. They are basically the cichlids of the marine world.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link, roka64--I spent today researching there. What do you guys think about a Valentini Puffer (Canthigaster valentini, grows to 5", and *SQUEE* puffer!) and a Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus, can get to be 5", but most of them apparently don't get that big)? The LiveAquaria chart said that blennies and puffers are compatible, and that makes sense to me, since they eat different things and tend to occupy different areas of the tank. Still, I'd like to hear your thoughts--good? Bad? Really, really ugly? Doomed to be a repeat of the Angel that Ate Manhattan (or at least my fancy pleco)?

Also, I'd like some advice on two other subjects--lighting and filtration. Lights, first off--I've found a lot of information on the subject for full-blown reef aquaria, but hardly anything for the FOWLR tank. Right now, I've got the 'standard' freshwater setup--a hood that holds two fluorescent tubes. I don't know what wattage the current tubes are, but they are due to be replaced. What are your recommendations, for type and for wattage? Are 'lunar lights' necessary for the FOWLR tank, a nice thing to have, or a complete waste of money?

The other thing is filtration. Right now, I have an Emperor 400, and I hate it--it's prone to disruption, and it's impossible to restart after that or a water change, requiring 30+ minutes of priming to get it going again. Overall, I have NOT been pleased, so it's going, probably getting cleaned and resold. I have two Hagen AquaClear 20's, one on a 10 and one on a 2.5, and those I love, so if I need another filter of that type, that's what I'll get. The question is, do I need another filter of that type? I know the live rock is supposed to take care of the biological filtration, which leaves us with chemical and mechanical. Are those processes also taken care of by other means in the marine aquarium?

I've heard many strong opinions on the subject of protein skimmers, and I think I've finally decided that I am going to have one. The Reef Octopus has been recommended to me; does anyone have any experience with that brand? Also, what are the benefits of RO(/DI) water in the FOWLR system, and is it really worth it to pay the extra money for water from the LFS or a system that does it for you?

I think that's all of my questions--for now. I'm sure I'll come up with more later. But hey. Better to sound like a now, than to have dead fish later, yes?
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:39 PM   #5
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First off...welcome to the salty side of things!

Second off...find a new LFS is they suggested a trigger for your tank. There is really no species of trigger that would be happy in a 30gal. tank. However, you have lots of options. I love my royal gramma, lots of personality. Of course, perc. clowns or a few blue/green chromis would be fine as well.

As far as lighting goes, NO or CF will be just fine. CF will offer a bit more "depth" of color to your tank and allow for a transition from actinic to daylights.

For filtration...I recommend using 45-60lbs of LR and a good skimmer along with good water flow (very important in a "tall" tank with little surface area). I am sorry you are having issues with your Emperor 400. I suggest removing the biowheels and just using the filter for chemical and mechanical filtration. I used one on my first reef tank and it worked great. Good luck.
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:51 PM   #6
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short thread about the lawnmower blenny. just thought i would post that since i've heard people having problems getting them to eat prepared foods.
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Old 02-27-2008, 01:05 AM   #7
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Pretty limited on mean saltwater fish with a 30gal the fish will have to stay small. I started with FOWLR but found that you can't have some of the really cool aggressive fish with a smaller tank. With REEF tanks invertabrates are just as fun to watch In my opinion and can be manageable in the 30-50 gallon range. There are lots of different kinds of clean-up crew that are really cool. If you are really interested in the aggressive FOWLR fish. I would definately suggest saving your cash and investing in a 75gallon or larger tank. Way more options with a 75gallon for sure. and if you get a 100gallon or larger you can get some pretty cool mean aggresive species.

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Old 02-29-2008, 02:35 PM   #8
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Before we can answer we need to know what type tank we are looking at. If you go FOWLR then your exsisting lights will be fine. If reef then you`ll need to upgrade. IMO puffers and triggers and tangs will not make it in a 2 foot tank. But you have recieved some good ideas. Clowns, Chromis`s, small gobies, Maybe some small dwarf angels(only in a non reef tank) and a gramma.


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Old 02-29-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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I have two clowns and they have a ton of personality, mine are so spoiled for food that they will bite your hand or arm if it is submerged in the water. It doesn't hurt but it sometimes leaves a small mark. I also have a orange diamond watchman Goby who is absolutely hilarius to watch. My blue legged hermits also do some strange things from time to time. My next purchase will be blue chromis and a firefish.
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