150g Fish Plan - Please comment

Huckleberry

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I would appreciate any and all comments and suggestions on my current fish plan. I am particularly worried about the order I intend to add the fish.

After 2 years maintaining a 40 gallon breeder softie tank, I am upgrading to a 60" x 24" x 24" SPS dominated reef tank. The tank is scheduled to arrive in about 1 more month but I have been cycling 100 lbs of dry rock in two heated, aerated, covered trashcans for almost 5 months. After agonizing for the past year about whether or not I want to add sand, I have decided to go with sand. In total, I intend to push around 12,000 gph of flow in the tank primarily via powerheads. First and foremost, I am willing to be patient and trade time for success. Discipline was the hardest hurdle to jump when I first started my softie tank.

My priorities in choosing fish are in the following order:

  1. SPS compatibility (the corals will be star of this show)
  2. Plenty of movement and schooling behavior
  3. Availability at my local fish store
  4. Beginner friendly species
I intend to use a 20 gal high quarantine tank and do not have room for any other quarantine tanks to set up at this time. This will limit my additions to 1 group per month. After setting up the tank and adding the rock, I would like to start adding fish after about 2 weeks of testing. The amount of fish are a little more than the 1" per 3 gal rule, but it is my hope that because I am using primarily smaller, more docile fish that I can get away with a more fish dense tank.

Fish Plan:
Month 1: (2) Clownfish - I have had Ricky & Lucy since the beginning and they will be the first to go in.
Month 2: (3) Blue Green Chromis
At this point, I plan to start adding some LPS to the bottom of the tank to soak some of the nutrients. Copepods and cleaner crew will probably go in about this time as well.
Month 3: (3) Lyretail Anthias - I intend to supplement their diet with an autofeeder feeding pellets 5 times daily, should I wait a little while longer before introducing a larger amount of nutrients?
Month 4: (1) 6 line wrasse
Month 5: (3) Banggai Cardinal
Month 6: (1) Royal Gramma Basset
Month 7: (1) Yellow tang & (1) Bristletooth tang - will two juveniles be able to quarantine in a 20 gal breeder at the same time?
A week before putting the tangs in the tank, I intend to turn on the aquarium lights for the first time, until then I'd like to just use room ambient light. I then intend to wait another month before adding a few SPS frags.
Month 12: Mandarin Goby - I shall name her "Smaug"

I still consider myself a beginner so advice from all you vets out there to help make this successful would be awesome.

Huckleberry
 
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Cell

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Do a little more research into the six-line, they seem to be pretty polarizing these days what with their penchant for aggression.
 

Gtinnel

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So in month 2 you plan on adding some lps, but your not going to turn lights on until month 7???
Also I would move the anthias to later on in the plan, and I probably wouldn't get the 6 line wrasse.
 
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Huckleberry

Huckleberry

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So in month 2 you plan on adding some lps, but your not going to turn lights on until month 7???
Also I would move the anthias to later on in the plan, and I probably wouldn't get the 6 line wrasse.
And this is why I wanted to talk to the vets....

I intend to use a T5 LED hybrid light system. What if I used T5 w/ Actinic bulb fixtures when I introduce the LPS but left the Kessil A360s off until months later when I add the SPS, would this help keep the algae at bay?

Because I intend to dip but not quarantine the corals, I wanted the 6 line wrasse to handle any pests (i.e. Nudibranchs) before they become a problem. Does anyone have any suggestions for a replacement?

Thank you for all your help.

Huckleberry
 

PatW

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You seem to have done your homework. For fish, try to find the LFS with the best (healthiest) fish even if they are a bit more expensive. You do not go wrong buying the healthiest fish you can find.

Also, if you develop a relationship with the owner of the LFS, they may be able to order fish that you have a particular desire for.

You might have problems multiple green chromis. I have tried keeping multiples several times and they murder each other till only one is left standing. You could try multiple chromis of different species and that might work. I have had luck with that. Or you could go with a few of the less aggressive damsels.

The 6 line wrasse can be very aggressive. I would go with a reef safe flasher wrasse or a fairy wrasse. Actually even “difficult” wrasses can be quite hardy if you get one that eats. I have a difficult species and it eats everything in sight.

A pair of Bengai cardinals will work if they are a pair. And they are good fish. But a pair will murder the odd one out.

Royal grammas are good fish.

I have never had luck with anthias. Again, they murder each other and the last one dies of loneliness. You could get a similar effect with a number of different reef safe wrasse species.

You are getting a 5’ tank and that should be big enough for a yellow tang and a bristletooth tang. And they should get along fine. They are good for SPS corals. Mine eat nori and poop out clouds which I think feeds the corals. I keep my nutrient levels pretty low. But even LPS corals thrive. So fish poop seems to be good coral food.

Mandarins are really nice looking fish. But I have never tried one. The screed on them is that they need live food and lots of it through the day. I do know that some will eat frozen but again they need to eat frequently. But it might work.

You might look at dart fish. They pair up but a pair can be quite nice.

Also, you might consider a goby or two and a blenny. If a fish is in a different guild than your other fish, they tend to ignore each other.

Your 20 gallon quarantine should do fine for a couple of tangs.

Good luck to you.
 
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Gtinnel

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I never had an issue with aggression with the chromis I used to keep, but I'm sure every fish is different.
To replace the 6 line wrasse I would personally get a melanurus wrasse. It is possibly my favorite fish, they're attractive, mostly peaceful, and will eat pests. They may not be completely safe with shrimp and crabs, although thus far mine has been fine. They also need sand to sleep in and right off I don't remember if you mentioned whether or not your going barebottom.
As for the lights you will go through certain ugly phases I would just turn the lights on normal and get them over with. I don't believe there is any big advantage to trying to wait on using the lights, but I may be wrong.

It is refreshing to see someone who has spent this much effort making a plan. All too often people just get what looks pretty from the pet store without having any idea if they can properly care for it.
 

WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR TANK TO HAVE A HEAVILY, MODERATELY OR LIGHTLY STOCKED CORAL BIO-LOAD?

  • Heavy Coral Load

    Votes: 76 20.9%
  • Moderate Coral Load

    Votes: 130 35.8%
  • Light Coral Load

    Votes: 145 39.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 12 3.3%
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