New 55 gallon tank...where to start?
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New 55 gallon tank...where to start?

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New 55 gallon tank...where to start?
Old 04-11-2008, 08:54 AM   #1
 
New 55 gallon tank...where to start?

I have a newly set-up 55 gallon tank.
It has been set up for 10 weeks now with live sand (~2.5inches) from week 2 and live rock (~40kg) from week 3.
I have 2 T8 marine lamps (1 blue, 1 white) .
I have a Fluval 205 external filter with 2 Maxi-jet 680l/h power heads for circulation (Need to add a protein skimmer? When?)
pH = 8.2, Amm = 0ppm, Nitrite = 0ppm, Nitrate = 0ppm
Temperature at a steady 25/26C.

I have been looking at all of the species of fish available to me, and obviously, being a beginner in Saltwater fish i have no idea about the compatibility of the fish. I am looking to eventually establish a mixed reef aquarium with some hardy corals/polyps some fish and a few inverts.

The fish i have been looking at are listed below but i have no idea about eventual sizes, compativility, which to add first, how long between, how many at a time etc so any help would be greatly apprectiated.

Clown fish (Occelaris or black?)
Yellow Tail Damsels OR blue/green chromis?
Blennies OR Gobies.
A tang/surgeon of some sort OR a foxface rabbitfish?

Obvioulsy i won't want to add all of the above but wanted to leave my options open incase of some clashes??

I also recently (~4 weeks ago) had a massive brown Algae outbreak which has now just left me with lots of dead algae. Can i get in a clean-up crew to sort this out? Hermits/Starfish/Shrimps?? Obviously i want to keep fish/inverts that are going to be compatible with the LR and any hard corals/polyps (any particular suggestions?) i may add later.

Thanks for your help. 8)
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:27 PM   #2
 
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Re: New 55 gallon tank...where to start?

[quote="Mahunky06"] (Need to add a protein skimmer? When?)[/quote="Mahunky06"]

The sooner the better, especially if this is going to be a reef tank.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahunky06
I have been looking at all of the species of fish available to me, and obviously, being a beginner in Saltwater fish i have no idea about the compatibility of the fish. I am looking to eventually establish a mixed reef aquarium with some hardy corals/polyps some fish and a few inverts.

The fish i have been looking at are listed below but i have no idea about eventual sizes, compativility, which to add first, how long between, how many at a time etc so any help would be greatly apprectiated.

Clown fish (Occelaris or black?)

I would stick to occelaris in that size of a tank if you're looking for ease of compatibility with others, and also due to size constraints... the black clowns will get larger and more aggressive than the ocellaris. (ocellaris average 3 - 5 inches for male/female, and the black will average 4 - 6 inches for male/female) Please never mix 2 different species of clown in the same tank. Clowns are dimorphic, which means if you keep 2 you will be assured of a male/female pair.

Yellow Tail Damsels OR blue/green chromis?

Yellow tail damsels average 3 - 4 inches full grown, the green chromis average about 5 - 6 inches. Both are peaceful and can live singly or in groups of any number.

Blennies OR Gobies.

That's a large group of fish, and sizes can range anywhere from 1.5 inches to 10 inches, depending on species. Diet will vary according to exact species as well... as will aggression levels. Can you narrow it down a bit more than that?

A tang/surgeon of some sort OR a foxface rabbitfish?

Not in a 55 gallon for very long, in either case. There is no species of either of these fish that will stay small enough to keep long term in a 55 gallon tank. If you decide to upgrade to 125 or more, then you may find a few options, depending on your tank population and filtration, circulation, and maintenance levels. Foxface are venomous, so care must be taken when keeping these, both for yourself and other animals who share their tanks.

Obvioulsy i won't want to add all of the above but wanted to leave my options open incase of some clashes??

Yes, I see clashes when it comes to size compatibility, and possibly agression if you're dealing with black clowns, certain gobys and/or blennys. If you can narrow your list to more specific speices, we can help more. If you're wanting suggestions for species of these specific fish to fit in a 55, again it will be dependent on what is with them and tank conditions.

I also recently (~4 weeks ago) had a massive brown Algae outbreak which has now just left me with lots of dead algae. Can i get in a clean-up crew to sort this out? Hermits/Starfish/Shrimps?? Obviously i want to keep fish/inverts that are going to be compatible with the LR and any hard corals/polyps (any particular suggestions?) i may add later.

A good starting clean up crew for a tank of that size with the ideas you listed above would be these:
blue leg hermit crabs (at least 24 of them)
brittle or serpent starfish (limit of 1)
Margarita snails (at least 6)
Nassarius snails (at least 6 - 8)
Astrea snails (about 6 - 8)
I would suggest adding them one thing at a time... so all hermits together (with lots and lots of empty shells larger than they are), then wait 2 wks, add one type of snail... wait about 1 wk, then add another group of snails.. starfish should be added spereatly from the others. The reason for this is to control waste. While these animals will eat and clean "waste" from the tank, they also produce it. If you add too much of anything too close together, ammonia levels will spike higher and send your tank through a mini cycle, which can be dangerous to everything. The same rule applies when adding fish... only 1 - 2 at a time, and stick with a specific species at a time for what you're creating... and again, the same with corals... let them each settle in for 1 - 2 wks before adding anything more, and watch your water params closely during that time. Each time you add animals you will also be adding more food... which again brings more waste. Yet another reason for tracking water params closely with each addition and as those animals grow.
I didn't see a calcium level posted... that is going to be very important... as much as any of the others. Everything else looks/sounds good at this point, but with no nitrate level you can't consider a tank cycled. With dead algae in the tank, there should be some kind of nitrate level reading. Algae needs nutrients to grow, and when it dies, it gives off ammonia, which when broken down completely will result in nitrate.
What kind of test kits are you using? If they are strip tests, toss them and get yourself a good set of liquid kits. API makes a good master kit, but calcium will need to be purchased seperately.

I also didn't see a listing for spg/salinity... do you have a hydrometer? This is also something that must be checked often. Anytime water goes into a tank or comes out of a tank, salinity should be checked before adding anything. Evaporation will have an effect on salinity, as will salt creep (yes, everyone gets this, it's the dried/crystalized salt on cords, around filters, tanks, etc... where water or moisture from the tank has dried. Water evaporates, salt does not. As that salt dries in other places, it is no longer in the tank, which will lower salinity. Frequent salinity fluctuations are very dangerous to most animals, and especially to corals and other inverts just as a proper calcium levels are needed for these animal's organs to function properly.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:19 AM   #3
 
NO FISH!

I went out at the weekend and found possibly the BEST LFS i have located so far. They were very clued up and spot on with the water testing. My water was perfect with regards to Amm, Nitrate, Nitrite, PH, temp but when the dKH was tested i ended up at a value of 20! spg was at 1.031 so a little high also. They advised i bring the spg down with water changes with RO water and the dKH should follow. I have changed ~8 gallons in my 55gallon now and the dKH has only dropped to 18. Am i right in thinking that the ideal is between 8-14 dKH? Shall i just continue with water changes until i get to the desired dKH? My spg is fine now at 1.024, so i'll need to continue with salt water... I have also bought Ca/Mg test kits and will test these as soon as i have sorted out the dKH. Is there anything else i should be doing or is this all good? So so far no fish, but i'm glad of that in a way and the LFS seem pretty good, not allowing me to have them. I have also purchased a Refractometer, how handy!

Thanks
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #4
 
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Did they give you the test results in numbers?
Without us knowing all of the numbers, there isn't much anyone here can do to help you. Each number individually means something, but also how they balance together. Quite often when 1 thing is off, the cause is found in other readings for other levels. Everything works together.
If you post all of the levels, we can take a look and see what matches up where... and the calcium & magnesium numbers will help also.

It's going to be very important for us to always know those test result numbers before we can do much to help... even the simplest of problems will usually show something there. Those of us with the experience in this hobby/profession will tend to recognize things that the newbie will too often miss.

Also, be aware, the lighting you have right now will likely not be enough when it comes to adding corals... what bulbs are in you fixtures? Blue and white doesn't tell us anything about them, really.
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