Hello everyone. Very nice to meet you!
You all seem like very kind, very experienced people and I thought I would come here to see about this stocking list for a future 75 gallon FOWLR. And when I say future, I mean at least couple of years off- though that still doesn't feel like enough to time even begin to absorb everything! ;)
Why 75 gallons? The bigger the better, I think (especially since you're trying to recreate Mother Nature's cycle, and last I checked the ocean was...err, pretty big,) but I know I simply won't have the space for anything larger than a 75 thanks to space constraints. :( I want to go with a 48 x 18 x 20 tank, with a separate sump.
Why a FOWLR? Well, it will be my very first marine tank, and from my research FOWLR's are generally a little easier to set up and maintain (along with being a little lighter on the wallet- coral lights= pocketbook KO for the ones that are worth a darn.) Luckily, this means I don't have to worry about whether fish are reef-safe or not, which is actually kind of nice. :)
For a laugh (and oh, will you laugh- and maybe cry a little at my initial ignorance, I know I did) when I first fell in love with the idea of a saltwater tank, here were my 'dream fish' before I delved into research:
-Seahorses. (Yeah, decided against those the instant I started seriously reading about their care. I just don't think I would ever feel, regardless of my level of experience with marine tanks, that I could care properly for them, and I simply refuse to have an animal of any kind that I do not feel fully capable of taking care of properly. )
-A cowfish of some kind. They absolutely fascinate me. (Again, really read up on them and decided against it immediately based on the reasoning above. They sound like they're almost impossible to keep alive long-term even in the most experienced, capable hands...and I'm far from experienced.)
-A parrotfish. (Hmm, maybe if I built an Olympic swimming pool-sized aquarium in the basement...)
-A leopard grouper. (Yeah, one would totally fit in a 75 gallon tank! ...not. I was so sad when I read they need a 300 gallon tank minimum, since this was probably one of the fish I was most in love with. Those spots!)
So, after you get a laugh (and maybe wince) at the above, here's the fish that I'm looking at. My intention is to get fish that need a 55 gallon tank, maximum, so they have some wiggle room. I'm wavering on a Tang- as much as I'd love one Yellow Tang (not looking at any others as their tank requirements are too large,) I think it might be like cramming a person into a closet if a 75 gallon is their minimum. Sure they can live there alright, but is is comfortable
for them? Especially with them being such active swimmers...any firsthand experiences or thoughts on a Yellow Tang in a 75 gallon? It would only be a single Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) if I did do it, and see below for the others.
At any rate, here goes! I would absolutely love some experienced input here. This is the order I would be stocking the fish after I'm sure that my tank is completely ready, at least roughly based on research, but I always believe that there's new things to learn and that it's always better to have a closed mouth and an open mind. Absolutely feel free to correct or chime in with any thoughts!
-A standard CUC
1 Fire Goby (Nemateleotris Magnifica)
2 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
2 Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosus)
2 Black & White Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris var.) - preferably a mated, tank-bred pair
Then of course, there's my dream fish that I would love to have one of IF I could find a healthy specimen, and my tank has been up and running with no issues for a couple of years so there's lots of grazing for it on the live rocks, and I would also wait until I feel comfortable enough in my skill level to make the attempt. The bicolor angelfish (Centropyge bicolor) is a fish that made my jaw drop the first time I saw a picture of it, and from what I've read as long as you have a larger tank you can have varying Centropyges together with no problems as long as you have a larger tank, but does anyone have personal experience with this? (Right off the bat, is 75 gallons large enough? 'Large' has quite a different connotation in the saltwater world than the frestwater world, I've found...) If it would result in a danger to the fish or anything like that, I would leave this fish off my list, as much as it would break my heart. It would be the last fish into my tank, but again, anyone have any experiences they'd care to share?
Also, please do recommend any good brands you guys have used for skimmers, sumps, filters, etc.- I know there are reviews out there, but I trust first-hand accounts a lot more! And give it to me straight- to me, constructive criticism is only given because someone is trying to help, and I know I have so very much to learn so I can give my tank and livestock their best chance for long-term health and happiness!
Thanks again in advance!