First Saltwater Tank: 65g mixed reef

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bert236

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Started my first saltwater tank around 3 weeks ago now. My parents had a couple when I was younger I vaguely remember but always had an interest in I guess fowlr tanks until I discovered how amazing coral tanks were this summer. Decided I wanted to do a mixed soft/lps reef instead. After a month or two of research I decided on the following setup:
Aqueon 65 gallon tank
Aqualantis elegance 36 stand
Reefbreeder Photon V2+
Seachem tidal 110
2x 200w eheim heaters
Inkbird heater controller
2x jebao sow-8 powerheads
Aprox 70-80lbs of Carrib sea flat rock and moani dry rock
Aprox 30lbs of carrib sea reef grade dry sand

used fritz and dr tims ammonia to cycle and currently have added one frostbite clownfish, one extreme gladiator, 10 mini blue legged hermits, 2 astrea snails and 2 trochus snails. Looking for suggestions on further stocking as my qt is almost done it’s cycle as well and hopefully will be buying the first fish for that in the next couple weeks.


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A big thanks to everyone who helped out with all my questions on here you guys are amazing. So awesome to have so many knowledgeable people and such quick responses. I’ll keep updating as the tank does. Currently waiting for the paint to dry on the two lids then they will be installed by tomorrow night I hope.
 
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Impala67

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First of all good job, it’s not every day people start a reefing hobby and ace it the first month lol!! As of stocking ideas with fish what are you interested in, do you want fancy and rare or common and cheap or even big or small. As for corals I would wait another month before adding any I would start off with some Duncan’s, mushrooms, zoas, Xenia, toadstools and so forth.
 
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bert236

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First of all good job, it’s not every day people start a reefing hobby and ace it the first month lol!! As of stocking ideas with fish what are you interested in, do you want fancy and rare or common and cheap or even big or small. As for corals I would wait another month before adding any I would start off with some Duncan’s, mushrooms, zoas, Xenia, toadstools and so forth.
I’m far from an ace lol but I hope I’ve at least got the basics down for fish and corals. Spent a lot of time doing research so fairly confident but also stressed I’m gonna **** up. For fish stocking I was thinking mainly utility fish to compliment the invert cuc I will build up with maybe one fancy or rare fish for show but my interests are more in corals at this point. Plus less money spent on fancy/rare fish means more money for coral. I’m worried about how picky some of the classic fancy fish are about eating and how prone to disease some are so that’s another reason I’m not to crazy about it at this point.

for corals the plan is to wait another month or two until I get another couple fish and some more inverts through qt and settled in and I’m feeling more comfortable with that stuff. I’m thinking Zoas and mushrooms for sure to start. Maybe some gsp on an island up front or I have considered doing some Xenia but worried it will end up everywhere. Probably gonna go to Fragbox in Toronto and seeing what they can set me up with as a small beginner package then that way I get good care tips and the proper food etc if needed.
 

Impala67

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For the fish I would do a mandarin gobby those guys are beautiful and very peaceful there easy to keep as long as you have a huge stock of copopods “ forgive my spelling” because that’s all they eat. You have to have a blenny so I would do a lawnmower blenny they have great personality and also will eat some hair algae. You can never go wrong with fire fish, cardinals, or even the occasional wrasse. Also a good pair would be a watchman gobby and a pistol shrimp really good relationship and are both easy to keep.
 
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bert236

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For the fish I would do a mandarin gobby those guys are beautiful and very peaceful there easy to keep as long as you have a huge stock of copopods “ forgive my spelling” because that’s all they eat. You have to have a blenny so I would do a lawnmower blenny they have great personality and also will eat some hair algae. You can never go wrong with fire fish, cardinals, or even the occasional wrasse. Also a good pair would be a watchman gobby and a pistol shrimp really good relationship and are both easy to keep.
Missed this somehow when you posted. I’m gonna wait for a Mandarin if I end up getting one. New to all of this so keeping up a good amount of pods in the tank just seems like one more complication right now but maybe once I get everything more stable. Then Blenny or goby/shrimp combo are two things I’m for sure doing so maybe I will just do those as my next two. They have a good healthy looking long nose hawk fish and a 6 line wrasse at my lfs but the wrasse is about 2.5-3” so I’m worried that’s to big for my 10g qt. I’ll have to look more into fire fish because I have seen some really cool looking ones I just don’t know much about them.
 
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bert236

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Just a small update. The gladiator clown had what looked like lymphocystis after a couple days in the tank but it has since cleared up and it is eating like a machine now and looking much happier. Had a few hermits die off and a snail which I couldn’t explain because everything else in the tank was and is still fine. Maybe just not enough food at first since I didn’t have any real algae growth yet. That caused a bit of a spike in ammonia, no2,no3 but dialed back the feeding for a few days and everything seems to be coming back in line now. As you can see from the picture the diatoms are in full force but I added 4 more astrea snails to help a bit and they did but it’s already starting to die off a bit so hopefully I’m past the worst of that. Going to be ordering some tests kits for all the parameters I don’t have and try to patiently wait for the tank to stabilize enough for corals.
 
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bert236

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Decided to setup a coral and invert qt as well so I’m currently up to 3 tanks lol. Went with a fluval evo 13.5 since it had everything i needed for a decent price. Hopefully the light will be good enough for the first round or two of corals going in then I’ll upgrade when I get to some more demanding ones. Left everything stock for now but I’ll upgrade stuff as I need it and add a power head when it’s ready for corals. Put in the left over sand and rocks for the inverts and filtration and will just use an egg crate rack above the rocks for corals. Worst case it will be very easy to swap out new rocks and/or sand if anything bad gets into the system.
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bert236

bert236

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Really bad at updating this. Everything is going along pretty well minus a few hiccups. The one clown has a cloudy eye and my no3 and po4 have bottomed out at zero for a week now but hoping with the extra feeding and adding two new fish after they finish qt this week will help bring them back up a bit. Bought some corals and have gotten some really good deals so far and some nice pieces.
Bought all these frags for $40 from a local reefer. sorry for heavy blues in some they were the only good pics I had and I need a lens kit.
Frog skin acro I believe is what he called it. Small piece broke off when he was fragging I figured I’d save on the right side.
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10x Gatorade zoas, 5x scrambled egg zoas and one orange oxide
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Goniopora
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Gsp
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And then picked up these at a couple local stores over the last few weeks

Duncan with one big head, one small head and a few tiny ones sprouting for only $7 somehow
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Neon candy cane
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Bi colour candy cane
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And a bad picture of a war coral

have some in the display but most are in qt right now. Looking forward to seeing them grow out and really hoping that acro survives. The guy just broke it off the main colony and it was $5 so couldn’t resist a tester acro at that price.
 
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bert236

bert236

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Always forget to update this thread. Had a problem with dinos for a couple weeks before Christmas but did a blackout/low light period dosing hydrogen peroxide at night for 5 days and they cleared up. Have picked up some new corals and fish since my last posts. The tank now has the two clowns, a lawn mower blenny, a firefish and a Mandarin. Everyone seems to get along well and I have even seen the Mandarin and blenny sleeping next to each other at night lol.

The coral qt is pretty much stocked up right now (excuse the dirty glass) and I’m pretty excited about some of the pieces I got especially the acan colony I have been wanting from the lfs since I bought my tank. Upgraded the light on the evo to a aqua knight v2 and am very happy with it so far. The original pump almost died as well so it was upgraded to a sicce syncra 0.5. Going to get an in tank media basket for it and deciding on an ato.

Still need a phone filter or one for the dslr so I can get some better pictures but here a few random ones.
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MrBubble47

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Always forget to update this thread. Had a problem with dinos for a couple weeks before Christmas but did a blackout/low light period dosing hydrogen peroxide at night for 5 days and they cleared up. Have picked up some new corals and fish since my last posts. The tank now has the two clowns, a lawn mower blenny, a firefish and a Mandarin. Everyone seems to get along well and I have even seen the Mandarin and blenny sleeping next to each other at night lol.

The coral qt is pretty much stocked up right now (excuse the dirty glass) and I’m pretty excited about some of the pieces I got especially the acan colony I have been wanting from the lfs since I bought my tank. Upgraded the light on the evo to a aqua knight v2 and am very happy with it so far. The original pump almost died as well so it was upgraded to a sicce syncra 0.5. Going to get an in tank media basket for it and deciding on an ato.

Still need a phone filter or one for the dslr so I can get some better pictures but here a few random ones.
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Great looking corals! Did the first Acropora that you put in manage to survive or not? May I ask you where your water parameters stand at?
 
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bert236

bert236

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Great looking corals! Did the first Acropora that you put in manage to survive or not? May I ask you where your water parameters stand at?
Thank you. Ya I still have that frog skin acro which has actually started to encrust over the rock I glued it on. I have a green and ponape birdsnest, a montipora undata and an acro tenuis that all seem to be doing good as well. Before the dinos I was running around 9dkh, 420 cal, 0 nitrates and phosphates and for some reason my mag is always around 1550-1600 I think it’s my test kit though. Now the only difference is I’m around 8-10ppm nitrates and 0.05 phosphate but trying to get the phos down a tiny bit but I’m not to worried. My qt runs about the same but slightly lower nutrients.
 
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bert236

bert236

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Got some new stuff from FragBox today. I am really liking chalice corals so far and how fluorescent they are so I’m slowly building up a collection of some ones I like. The flamethrower and avatar were two of my favourites so I grabbed them and only $60 for both. Added a polyp of purple people eater as well to grow out for my zoa garden.
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Got some new stuff from FragBox today. I am really liking chalice corals so far and how fluorescent they are so I’m slowly building up a collection of some ones I like. The flamethrower and avatar were two of my favourites so I grabbed them and only $60 for both. Added a polyp of purple people eater as well to grow out for my zoa garden.
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They look awesome! How much light are you going to provide them with?
 
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bert236

bert236

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They look awesome! How much light are you going to provide them with?
Thank you. I don’t have a par meter but I have a single aqua knight v2 on the evo 13.5 and I think I have blues around 80 and whites around 40-50 for the peak period and the chalices are off to the side as far as they can be. I have 6 chalices in there right now all in different spots on the bottom rack to see where seems to be best for them.
 
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Picked up a bi colour favia, cyphastrea and what I think is a euphyllia cristata. The cristata was spawned in an aquarium apparently and the lfs thinks it’s just a baby torch but based on the skeleton shape I saw when it was retracted looks more like cristata.
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bert236

bert236

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Finally bought a used sump to add onto my tank. 30 breeder size diy should it’s a beefy one for my Setup pretty good as is but probably going to remove the first set of baffles since it seems like it was set up for a fleece roller. Debating whether I add them back in and have the filter socks and skimmer in the first section, frags in the second, fuge in the third and return in the 4th. If I didn’t add them back in I would just have the same setup minus baffles separating the frags and skimmer section.

just need to figure out plumbing and a cabinet for it now since it will have to go beside the tank. Poor planning on my part and bought a stand that definitely won’t work for a sump so going to have it in a cabinet directly beside my tank stand.
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