Reef Tank Stocking


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Nov 17, 2023
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Hey all! I recently upgraded from a 55g to a 120g (4'x2'x2') tank. Been cycling for about a month, ammonia has dropped to zero (or as low as my API test can detect), and I have had my bully damsel transplanted from my 20 gallon FOWLR tank living in the refugium for the last week with no issues. I had good luck keeping everything alive with my 55 gallon, but struggled to get my coral to thrive. I think this was likely because I cheaped out on the lighting the first time around.

This time my goals are, in order:
  1. A healthy, thriving tank
  2. A lionfish and an eel
  3. Full reef (mainly LPS and softies, might dabble with SPS down the road)
  4. A variety of other fish
I was hoping the pros on this site might help me out with stocking suggestions and feedback on my build.

Tentative Stocking List, in the planned order of introduction. Each group won't all be at the same time, but all will be introduced before the next group starts
1: Marine Betta​
1: Foxface Rabbitfish​
1: Yellow Longnose or Copperband Butterfly​
1: Conch & Nassarius Snails​
2: Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish​
2: Snowflake Eel​
2: Flame Angel (some concerns about this one becoming lionfish food)​
2: Harlequin Tusk​
3: Purple Tang​
Some questions and qualifiers, I know the nassarius snails might just become a snack for the eel, but I'm going to give them a shot. I'm hoping the conch will not become food, but if it does I won't be trying again. I'm not sure about the Butterfly, Dwarf Angel, and Tusk due to potential compatibility issues with the Lionfish and coral, and would be glad to have some insight with somebody with some first-hand experience. Finally, I'm not entirely sure where this list falls relative to stocking capacity of a 120g. I know there's some general guidance regarding inches per gallon, but I'm also aware that I have some dirty fish in here that are going to skew that equation. Does this stocking list and order make sense? I will probably be slowly adding different coral in throughout, rather than all at once.

Equipment list below, for reference:
  • Display
    • Tank: 120 Gallon (4'x2'x2')
    • Lighting: Orbit Marine LED 4101
    • Lighting: Neptune Sky
    • Powerheads: Neptune WAV (2)
    • 125 lbs live rock
  • Sump
    • Tank: 40b
    • Ref Lighting: Kessil H80
      • Additional Live rock & chaeto in the refugium
    • Return Pump: eFlux 1900 GPH
    • Skimmer: SCA-302
    • Heater: Eheim JAGER 150W (2)
    • Float Valve ATO
    • Controller: Neptune Apex
    • Probes: pH, ORP, Salinity, Temperature
  • Other
    • 100 GPD AquaFX Barracuda RO/DI System
Thanks in advance for any advice, glad to be a part of the community


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Jun 26, 2022
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Nunya business
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Everything looks good, just make sure all the fish are full size before you get the eel and lion fish. especially the flame angel.

I wouldn’t bother with the snails because the Harlequin Tusk will probably eat all of them.

If you get a CBB make sure it is eating before you buy it.

Just keep the fish well fed and they should be fine with coral but theres always a risk they might nip.
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Dec 25, 2022
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Ive got a fuzzy lion and two eels, one is a fang tooth and he will eat smaller fish. But my snowflake wont touch fish and neither will my lion! I dont see an issue with the fish at all. Just make sure the lion and eel are well fed! However having a snowflake (pebbletooth, they eat inverts) and the tusk will make it a challenge with CUC. Both mine will eat hermits, especially the tusk, She also eats snails. I have starfish, urchins, and cucumbers as my CUC for this reason
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