new to the hobby :)

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Mar 7, 2012
rochester new york
hey guys, i'm brand new to this hobby - very literally...i haven't purchased any sort of item. i've done quite a bit of research on what i want (originally i wanted to do a micro - considering i have no experience in this hobby it was advised that i don't and start with a 40 gallon or above)...i understand that i'm going to make mistakes, i'm just hoping they aren't fatal...last thing i want to do is delete my tank. so far this is what i'm thinking my setup is going to be..if anyone has a suggestion by all means please let me know

40 or 55 gallon long
pacific live rock (probably around 30 lbs from what i've been told)
2 - power heads rated at 300 each (considering using one rated for 600)
2 - 60-70 watt heaters
2 in bed live sand (mix of aragonite and broken shell/coral)
protein skimmer
(i'm not sure what kind of lighting i want..any suggestions?)

as far as fish i'm thinking i want to do these:
2 ocellaris common clown fish
2 pajama cardinal fish (or 2 banggai cardinal fish)
1 or 2 firefish (maybe purple firefish) or 1-2 neon gobies

what i'm wondering about this is will this system support any combination of these:
star shell snail
common cleaner shrimp
sally light foot crab (or a red or blue legged hermit)

am i overstocking my tank if i add any of those?

also, i want to eventually add a clam to my aquarium (in the future)...
probably the tridacna derasa...i know it's large, but from what i've read the lighting for it is less vigorous..

any information/criticism would be greatly appreciated :)
Welcome aboard. We are glad you found us here at AA. :welcome:

Moved to Getting started forum. You`ll get more looks there.
Welcome to the forum!

In a 55g i would go with ALOT more flow as far as powerheads. I was using 2 750's in mine and still felt it wasn't enough. lol You also might wanna jack up the wattage on the heaters, you live up north and it can get cold there so two tiny heaters might not cut it. :)

Your stocking looks fine to me. The inverts can be added in more abundance than the fish, they have little to no bioload. But you will have to feed them if you get a bunch. I personally like the cleaner shrimps and the fire shrimp, awesome additions to any tank. not sure about the sally crab, never had one. lol

But wither way, good luck!
Hi and welcome to AA!

It looks like you've started to get a feel for what you want. Since you're thinking of going reef one day (clam) you've picked a good assortment of fish that are reef safe.

As far as live rock goes, you'll probably want a bit more. Anywhere from 1-1.5 lbs per gallon tank.

Also, have you thought of using a sump? With a sump, you can hide your equipment and also add water volume to your system.

As far as substrate, what mix of sand to crushed coral were you looking for? Personally, I'm not a fan of crushed coral only. It can cause serious nitrate problems if not cleaned well. If you want the crushed coral for a decorative look, that sounds like a good plan if you mix it with mostly sand.

Your system should have no trouble handling the snail and crabs you mentioned. They'll help keep your tank clean and are referred to as a clean up crew (CUC). You could have a sally lightfoot as well as some hermits if you want. They get along. Just have extra shells for the hermits or they'll go after each other and/or your snails when they need a new shell for a larger home.

I don't think you're overstocking. It seems like a good mix of fish.
as far as using a sump i'm not setting one up just yet...i'm strictly using the smaller tank as a quarantine tank...if i start with a 40g i'm going to upgrade to something larger down the road...that's when i'll set up a sump and eventually a refugium.

my substrate i want to get a mix of live sand (70%) and crushed coral (30%), down the road i want to get a watchman gobie (i think they look awesome) do you think that substrate will be sufficient for it?

when i start my cycle (i'm considering doing a fishless cycle), do i start it without my live rock/sand in place? and when i go to add my fish am i adding them all at once? or would that be putting too much stress on the system?
Yeah i think a 70/30 mix would be fine for a goby. The ocean floor isn't all 100% sand ;)

I would encourage you to do a fishless cycle with pure ammonia. It's easier to manage, and smells a lot better than using shrimp. When you do your cycle, you want everything working as it should be. So yes, you want your live rock and sand + skimmer, heater, powerheads working. Read the article here for fishless cycling: The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling

Once you've cycled, you don't want to put in all your fish at once. With a tank that size, i say do 1 fish a week (if not longer). Let your system stabilize after every addition.
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