Inherited FOWLR Tank
This is my first post to the Forum. I just inherited a 55 gallon, corner, saltwater aquarium. Right now the tank is fish only with live rock, but Iím interested in learning about my options. This is a very well seasoned tank with green and red algae growing on the rocks and glass. Iíve arranged the rocks to provide many places for fish to hide (complete caves and pass through tunnels). The temp is set to 77 degrees and fluctuates between 77.5-77.8. The remaining 10/15 gallons were made fresh.
The previous owner fed the tank brine shrimp, but the local pet store said to feed them Mysis shrimp. About 25/30 gallons from the previous owner was transferred to my take. What do you recommend?
The current live contents are as follows:
∑Pair of clowns
∑Pair of PJ cardinals
∑Green spotted mandarin fish
∑1 fire shrimp
∑2 chocolate ship starfish
∑3-5 small hermit crabs
I would love to add an anemone for the clowns, but I understand anemones would change the dynamic of the tank dramatically. Also, Iíve been informed the starfish may eat any live corals and/or anemone that I introduce. What impact would the anemones have on this tank as is? What anemone would I want to add (hardy and good beginner anemone).
Likewise, what would be good fish to introduce? I would like to add as much color as possible. My first thoughts were yellow tangs, angels, and blue hippo tangs, but it appears 55 gal is going to be too small for those species.
After 2 days of research, I think I would like to add the following:
∑1 dwarf flame angel ~ Centropyge loricula
oOR 1 pygmy angel (aka cherub angel) ~ Centropyge argi
∑3 Banggai cardinals (2 or 3?)
∑1 or 2 Scooter bleenys
∑Small school of Blue/Green Chromis (how many ?)
∑Something yellow (maybe Blackmouth Bicolor Chromis or Yellow Clown Goby)
∑Something red ~ what is not flame angel?
∑Something blue ~ what if not pygmy angel Ö damsel?
I want everything to live peacefully, and I donít want to have too many fish either. A friend said damsels arenít bad additions, but they are agressive. What is the maximum number of fish I could have in this tank? Iím willing to sell the PJ Cardinals and starfish if I could have better fish or more options. Iíd like to be able to feed everyone the same food (brine or mysis) or maybe 2 different foods if need be.
Is there anything else I should be doing?
Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Well I cant really help...at all, but I want to wish you good luck, also I have read somewhere that anenomes are (the opposite of hardy, I cant think of the word, sensitive I guess). Just letting you know.
anemones need reef enviroments. this means 0 nitrates, proper ca,mag,alk levels, good lighting and flow. there is no such thing as a hardy nem. and honestly all inverts are sensitive, ofcourse some more then others.
what are your water parameters and what are you using to test for them? ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alk, ca, mag, salinity, temp and pH at the minimum and anything else you have a test kit for. do you have a protein skimmer? brand/model? other filtration? what are you using for flow? what kind of lights? how much live rock? how many inches deep is your sand/subrate ( if its not sand, what is it? ) what kind of water? salt?
a mixture of different foods is best for the health of the fish. its pretty easy to get fish to eat brine shrimp but they hold little to no nutritional value. personally i mix a few different foods ( and i pre-rinse them with RO or tank water a few times prior to feeding ) and then soak it in selcon or a garlic suppliment. mysis is for sure a good food but mix up what your feeding. i personally feed my reef every 2-4 days with certain corals and things more/less depending.
you mention green algae. what kind of green algae? a manderin is tough in a 55. this is prob. pushing it. these fish tend to only eat copepods and ampipods. is it accepting prepared foods that you have seen? a tang wont work in a 55. however it could for the extreme short term. when i say short term im talking a few months max as these fish grow most of their size in the first year or so. i personally dont suggest getting a fish you cannot keep long term.
i think a flame angel would make a great final addition. i have one myself and its a great fish. if your looking for something yellow, a yellow assesor works, or if your not trying to spend that much, a yellow headed jawfish has some personality. a lemon peel angel ( i believe thats what its called and i have no experience with them ) is a striking yellow but im not 100% if that works with your setup either. i would personally by all means avoid the damsel. i would also avoid the scooter blenny as this will compete with your manderin for food.
i guess we will start with that, welcome to the forum.
What water test kit do you recommend? So far I've only tested for salinity, but I added the stress coat to the "fresh" water. There is not a protein skimmer - past owner said the tank was well enough established to need one. There is 65 lbs of live rock. The store was closed today before I could buy the kits. :(
I'll take the advice for no anemone or damsel. I agree - why only have a fish for a couple months - no Tangs. I saw the mandarin eat a mysis today. He's a great fish so I won't make him compete with a scooter blenny.
So now I have the 2 clowns, 2 PJs, and the mandarin. How difficult is the flame angel? Does he require special food? He would make 6the fish. How many more could I comfortably add to the tank? Could I add the 3 Banggai cardinals? The local fish store breeds them. (number now potentially 9)
I like the yellow assessor. Have you had either of the other 2 yellows I mentioned: Blackmouth Bicolor Chromis or Yellow Clown Goby? I just read that the bicolor chromis turns mostly black and becomes aggressive. The Yellow Goby appears similar to the assessor, but $100 less. How are Gobies in general? The Catilina Goby is very pretty. Could I do one of each? :) (number now potentially 10/11)
What about a good blue fish? (number now potentially 12)
I probably don't have room for the Blue/Green Chromis since they school, right?
I do understand that adding any fish is goingt to be a long, store, and careful process. I would like to add maybe a couple $10 fish before investing in the trophy fish (flame angel).
Likewise, I would like fish that will be very active, similar to the clowns. How do I encourage the fish to approach the front of the tank? Could I add some marine plants to my FOWLR setup? What about adding fake scenery (coral, caves, etc)?
Hi Matt- I also want to welcome you to the forum. I'm still in the process of doing my research for a future S/W set up so I really enjoy seeing the questions you are asking get answered by experienced keepers. You're off to a great start and I look forward to pics when you can post them. :-)
im glad you agree with the tang, damsel and nem. i must agree tangs are beautiful fish. i dont suggest getting "beginner fish" prior a flame angel. your prob. best keeping what you have alive for some time before getting a new fish. it can take months if not years to properly stock a tank. its better to have an understocked tank then one overstocked. i strongly highly recommend a protein skimmer but i suggest reading online reviews, asking around and finding one worth your money and even rated for a tank much much larger then the one you have. this way you can upgrade to a bigger tank and it will handle your tank no problem. a skimmer isnt something you should skimp on.
i have a feeling there is a canister filter on this tank. if this is the case there is better means of filtration. a sump is a good investment. it adds more water volume and a place for a skimmer. what are you using for water flow? this is important too. a properly set up system along with good feeding routines shouldnt have a problem keeping 0ppm nitrates. it may be smart to find a local reefing club in your area to pick up cheap equipment and learn new things.
ive personally never kept an assesor. a yellow watchman goby or yellow headed jawfish would be a good yellow addition.
your going to want to drip acclimate a new fish ( i suggest after using a QT tank for a month )
give your fish time to adjust to having people infront of the tank. some fish tend to be more shy then others. you prob. dont see much of the manderin. if your looking for an active fish i think a flame angel is a good choice, however i would hold off a bit and prob. make that my final addition. maybe add a goby first then after some time the flame.
i forgot to add the catalina goby doesnt tend to live very long. these fish prefer a slightly cooler enviroment.
Believe it or not, my tank is in good shape, chemically. I took a cup full of water to have it tested. The salinity was 1.020 - so a little low. How is the best way to add more salt solution? How much would I add to this 54 gal tank?
I do have a sump filter. It provides adequate flow. Also, the blue bio balls have been removed due to non necessity.
The mandarin is one of my most active fish. He's less skiddish than my PJ cardinals. The clowns were almost begging to be fed. Today, I saw EVERYTHING eat the mysis, including the mandarin. I feel good about the tank so far.
I would like to adjust my live rock. When is the best time to do this? I assume I need to do it sooner than later to not disrupt the algae any more, correct?
I want to add some type of "plant like" things. Any suggestions? Petshop guy said perhaps algae or sponges.
Well, I moved the rocks one last time to create the desired cave effect. The clowns attacked my hand repeatedly!! They love the new cave though - they keep swimming in and out of it. :) First time I've ever had a fish nip my hand as opposed to run from it.
Is this normal?
you found out the salinity but were you able to get any other readings? 1.020 isnt extremely low, i personally wouldnt be overly concerned with it and would just slowly bump it up over a water change or two if your looking for 1.024-25. you tested the salt or the store? what did you ( or they ) use to test it? if you dont have anything to test for salinity yet i suggest a refractometer over a hydrometer anyday. look on ebay to find one for a decent price. its also good to have your own test kits because if need be and the stores closed you can perform a test or in some cases stores will lie saying your water is "good" to get you to buy fish which isnt always the case but i have heard it happen.
its great you already removed the bio balls from the sump. these ( and any canister/hang on filters, even filter socks, filter floss/sponges tend to trap debris causing excess nutrient build up.
the clowns are just protecting its territory.
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