Mixed reef - easy or not?

scotty333

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Hi guys

For all you guys that run mixed reefs, by that i mean the full range , softies , lps , sps , non and photosynthetics
Where is the sweet spot ? I mean it’s fairly straightforward with lighting and flow i.e soft lower light and flow moving up to the high par loving turbulent waters for sps.
What about your water ? I’m finding i have something that not happy at different times . Is everyone in the same boat or do you have the key I’m missing
 

Reef Wizard

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The best advice I can offer as I am attempting a mixed reef is create zones in your tank. Have a spot for higher light higher flow. medium light medium flow. Low light low flow. Use rockscape to make breaks in the flow and breaks in light. Dont place branching and plating coral like sps and montis right above others. Its easier said than done and I feel its easier to do in a larger tank for sure
 

Uncle99

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It took sometime to get everyone happy, some had to be moved, but once set, it was pretty easy to predict new locations
IMG_0062.jpeg
 

Northern Flicker

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Mixed reef is the hardest

LPS that want lower light/flow and higher nutrients, SPS that want higher light and flow and less nutrients, softies and LPS stinging stuff etc.
Ya I find it a bit tricky, especially in a tank with as little height as mine (16"). Tough to balance PAR and flow requirements.

In general OP, stick with the easiest SPS, it's the higher needs Acros and similar that really are an outlier for needs.
 

Seansea

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I used power heads to make the center of my tank a swirling hurricane. The outsides closer to the powerheads and lower in tank medium flow for lps. Bottoms and corners for low flow. I got everything g from acros to mushroom
 

Fritz05

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I would also say that having the right expectations can be helpful. While of course all corals should do well, some will do better than others. In my mixed reef some SPS corals grow slowly, while some LPS grow quickly. I am not changing anything trying to improve SPS growth, as this may impact the LPS. Everything seems happy in the tank now, so I am not messing with it! And quite honestly quick growth can lead to other problems like running out of space and coral warfare.
 

Serpentman2024

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Although mixed reefs sound ideal, they are a challenge as some corals prefer opposite conditions when it comes to flow and light. And in some cases, corals will downright assault each other. As mentioned, some LPS will sting. Some softies will release chemicals and SPS like to shade out competition. Personally, I target what I want to keep and plug in the gaps with a suitable coral (s).
 

Biokabe

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Mixed reef is quite difficult unless you set things up correctly from the beginning. Even then, there are some things that are just fundamentally more difficult.

For example, zoanthids and acropora. Zoas are supposed to be an easier coral. But whenever I've had a tank that can keep acros happy, zoanthids have just kind of stagnated. For years, I just couldn't keep zoas alive at all. Recently I've been able to keep them by paying more attention to where they are placed.

And that's really what makes a mixed reef challenging. You can't just throw anything anywhere in the tank and expect success. You have to think about what the conditions are like at any given spot, and actively create spots for certain corals to live.

I like acros and want a tank that can keep them. That means lots of light and lots of flow. But I also love euphyllia, and that means lower light and gentle flow. So if I want euphies in my tank, I have to create spots that are sheltered and shaded from the acro-favoring conditions.
 

Malum Argenteum

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NPS can really throw a wrench into things by pulling the parameters into the eutropic zone. If those are a must-have, then staying away from corals that prefer low nutrients and high light is a good idea.

Lighting would be the easiest issue to deal with. A person could run higher light in the center and put lower light stuff in the shoulders of the tank.
 

Uncle99

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Is that duncans up at the very top?! What's your par up there?
Duncan’s at the top, Duncan’s at the bottom, (bottom right hand corner left of the red shrooms) they don’t seem to care much.

Top 1/3rd is 200, middle 150-175, bottom 80-100, corners at 50.
 
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scotty333

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I would also say that having the right expectations can be helpful. While of course all corals should do well, some will do better than others. In my mixed reef some SPS corals grow slowly, while some LPS grow quickly. I am not changing anything trying to improve SPS growth, as this may impact the LPS. Everything seems happy in the tank now, so I am not messing with it! And quite honestly quick growth can lead to other problems like running out of space and coral warfare.
What’s your params like
 
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scotty333

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I’m more interested in your water params since lighting and flow is fairly obvious
 

Gribbles

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I’m more interested in your water params since lighting and flow is fairly obvious
Hi Scotty, I have a mixed reef that's coming up on a year. Things are still small but most are starting to encrust and/or take off. My nitrates hover around 10 and my phosphate around .15, my alk around 10. BactoBalance (carbon) is all I dose for now
 
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scotty333

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Great news , thanks
My current params are a bit out of whack at the minute
Nitrates .06 despite 16 fish and 8 cubes of frozen a day , only my phosphates go high , currently lowering from .16 to 0.05-.08 range and am dosing nitrate up to 5-10
It’s a tricky thing to balance but I’m sure when it does everything will be happy at that ( everything’s happy currently but don’t like those numbers and I’m a sucker for testing )
 

Enad

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They can be hard or easy depending on your coral choices.

I run an LPS dominant mixed reef. I don't care much for SPS, but I enjoy the structure they add to a reef so I pick easy varieties that do well in the conditions I've created for my LPS. I don't have too many softies, but the ones I do are very happy. I also keep Anemones, which I have to keep the flow pretty high for (in order to blow their tentacles in a certain direction, so they don't sting everything).
 

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