Help with aquascape requirements

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Andrew Stevens

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Hello everyone,

I am brand new to reefing and will FINALLY be setting up my first mixed reef tank in the next couple of months.


I will be building an NSA aquascape with Marco Rock and would really like to know what coral requirements (height of scape, placement of corals and clams etc) I need to know before working on the aquascape. Corals will be basically anything except SPS (love trachys, scolys, acans, zoas, torches etc). Livestock will include a Blue Throat Trigger, Yellow and Purple Tang, Melanarus Wrasse, Tridacna Clams (both Squamosa and Maxima).

Can anyone help me out by letting me know what different requirements for the fish and coral I need to know? Tank is a Waterbox 5526 Peninsula 130 gallon.

Thank you,

Andrew
 
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Saltyreef

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Plot out your scape with a piece of cardboard cut to the footprint of your tank.

If no SPS or any tall soft corals like kenyas, you can put the height closer to the water line.

Requirements should consist of how much space in the sans you want and what looks pleasing to the eye.

Leave room between rocks and glass for cleaning and for the love of god, dont make the same mistake i did and not cover your mortar joints with crushed/powered rock before they dry....
 
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Andrew Stevens

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This is wonderful feedback, thank you! I've made a special note to add crushed/powdered rock to the joints.

Is there a guide of where coral/clam need to be placed based on their requirements? Such as, can I place a clam anywhere in the sand or does it need to be placed up higher? Same question for acans, zoas etc.
 
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Andrew Stevens

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Saltyreef thanks for your swift and thoughtful responses. I definitely overcomplicate things, but as a brand new reefer I don't know what I don't know... so all your help is definitely appreciated!
 
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Sam816

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you need open swimming room for your trigger. It will literally run laps all day. since LPS softies don't like too much light you can keep your rockscape lower according to your chosen lights. keep one shelf/rock high in case you want to dabble with sps later. other wise that high rock will get algae for tangs to graze on. tangs can be skittish initially so they will need caves and dark under hangs. I made my rockwork a bit modular in a sense that there are multiple structures made by cementing 3-4 rock pieces that i can move around without dismantling the whole thing.
 
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Andrew Stevens

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Sam816 that's great advice. I was thinking of a modular NSA aquascape so your advice is really reassuring. I will definitely leave swimming room for the trigger, hopefully he will be happy with what I build him!
 

Sam816

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this is my aquascape. i have put bio media in my sump to compensate for lower amount of rock in the display. each rock structure can be moved if needed. around 1:05 min mark you can see the high shelf for any high light loving sps.
I am planning to add more rock later with age.
open swimming room is essential for triggers to feel happy. they will knock any corals or fish in their way once they grow mature and bossy.
 
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Andrew Stevens

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I love your minimalist tank design! I was hoping to go something a little more abstract. I would really like to recreate something more like this:


Sam816, we are both Waterbox people so I saw Nate's design recently on the Waterbox Facebook group and absolutely loved it. I know this design like this is pretty tall, but would it be ok with a trigger? Or should I definitely bring the aquascape lower to the sand?
 

Sam816

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I would go as high as the structure on the right. u need to keep in mind that there will be a coral on top as well. and it (if lps)can grow 1-2 inches taller. I couldn't judge how much room is there bw the rock structure and back wall. you have a peninsula so you have no choice but keep rocks away from the walls. I would also prefer more caves for fish to feel safer and CuC to hide from the trigger(in case it goes rogue)
are you going bare bottom as well? you will need a lot of bio media in sump in that case
 
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DeniseAndy

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There are so many rules and such that are pleasing to the masses. Check out the many threads on these ideas.

Me, I tend to ignore them and base it around my animals. Clams do just fine on the bottom. Of the lps you mentioned, brains, acans, scolies will like a bit of lower light and shaded lights. The hammers/frogspawn types will like lots of flow and brighter lights. Zoas, it varies.

Yes, a trigger and tang will want some swimming room. Keep it fairly open for them. I have a pair of Genicanthus angels and they are big open water swimmers. In the top and middle all the time. Th purple will like a few hiding spots though. The wrasse will need a good sandbed to make its home.

Good luck on the scape!
 

vetteguy53081

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Overall, in your creation, provide hiding, caves, and a height that will satisfy SPS coral yet not reduce or interfere with water circulation.
 

Weasel1960

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All solid advice above, so just a reminder to allow enough room for maintenance, coral growth, and animal activity whether it be swimming or hiding.
 
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Andrew Stevens

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Thanks for all the fantastic responses. I have 80 pounds of Caribsea Special Grade Sand (probably won't use it all) that I will be using as I would like at least one wrasse.

I will definitely aquascape for open swimming and hiding. I have 90 pounds of MarcoRocks Reef Saver and 10 pounds of MarcoRocks Shelf, I probably won't use anywhere near that much but would really like to create a functional NSA aquascape.
 

Thaxxx

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NSA is just another trend imo.
It might look good before corals grow out, but once they do, it won't look anything like it does day 1.
I don't get the name... Nagitive Space Aquascape?

The Nagitive thing is your not providing your fish with protection to hide, and nowhere to sleep. Can you say stress?
It would be like camping without a tent or sleeping bag. There is nothing natural looking about it.

I sound like a hater huh? Lol. It's just I hate when people don't take the fish into consideration.
Edit...
Yes to above post. A functional NSA. with hiding places ;)
 
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sp1187

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skip the rock.
make the scape out of pvc and two part putty.
imprint it with a rubber stamp, made by yourself, to look like dead coral.
go high in places, like break the surface high.
hide your pumps, returns, overflows and any other mechanical items in the tank. :cool:
 
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Andrew Stevens

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Thanks Thaxxx, I'm still new and learning with each day. I'm going to have a think and create a functional rock aquascape with open swimming and hiding places. Thanks for all the great feedback.
 
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