05-21-2011, 11:56 PM
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This tank will need to be running with water, sand, and live rock for at least a good 8 - 12 wks during the cycling phase. You should not put any animals in during cycling. You will go through a few different phases of algae during the cycle, which will help you to track its progress. How fast and how hard it cycles will be dependent on how much live sand and live rock you put into it, and what quality the rock is. Its important to get all of your live rock in before adding the animals to avoid ammonia spikes which happen when live rock is put into a new environment. All live rock will go through some period of die off, this is normal. What the water chemistry and conditions are from where the rock came from and how well cured it is will help to determine how much die off you will deal with, but generally, the die off is enough to make water conditions toxic for the animals.
Once the tank has completed the cycle then you can begin by adding your clean up crew. Expect 2 wk intervals between additions, so 2 wks after the clean up crew goes in the tank should be ready for the first fish. The 2nd fish and all others should spend 2 - 3 wks in quarantine before adding them to the main tank to avoid disease, parasite, illness issues within the main tank. Start with the most peaceful fish, so it is well settled in the tank before adding anything that may stress it out, chase it, or want to fight for territory. Because you can't fit more than a pair of clowns and maybe a small shrimp goby into this tank as far as fish go, this shouldn't be a real difficult process. Clowns go in first, either a pair purchased together or 1 at a time... make sure they are the same species. If you need help choosing an appropriate goby for this tank, please let me know and I can make some suggestions for you. You have time to think about it yet, a few months before you'll be ready for it... so no rush.