Stocking for a 30 gallon with 20 gallon refugium Soft Corals/Macroalgae

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Just got the life rock, is it safe to assume I should let them warm up before putting them in water? Will spend a bit figuring out how I want to arrange it, at least they weren’t as massive as I thought they would be
 

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Got all the rocks in and dropped the biospora in. Will finish the aquascaping when the sand settles. Oh and I now have a dsb, about 4” so I’ll have to start over on stocking. Surprisingly it doesn’t look like a lot of rocks. Only put the biggest ones in the sand on the glass. Will rearrange them and get some pictures after it clears up
 
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Might not need another 20# but 4 more rocks would make it seem less empty, think they will be about 20# give or take anyways
 

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Still a bit blurry but you can see for the most part. Trying to read up on halo and dsb, attempted to keep as few as possible rocks in the sand and I pushed them a bit to the back.

At some point I will figure out what I want to stock in this fish wise. Roughly between 22-23 gallons water volume at the moment.
 

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Okay that would explain a lot, somehow I ended up burying the biggest rocks. Got it redone now and sand is closer to 3”, thinking I should probably cut that down to 2”.
 
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Still gotta epoxy them together but cleared up pretty good. Definitely heavy on rock but doesn’t seem too overkill
 

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Too blurry for a shot from above but have probably moved the rocks around 3 times now. Thinking I should settle on one placement and this is better than a long wall.

Sand is just shy of 3” with a few low spots in the back and in between rocks.

Only thing decided so far is a pair of clownfish. I know a mandarin would wipe out the pods but I wonder if a ywg 1 or 2 would as well, amphipods anyways. Considering a pair of Bangai cardinals but also considering passing on them at the same time.

Just started putting the holdfast on the rocks, haven’t done the last two but think I’m gonna go with it

image.jpg
 

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I've read the first and 3rd page of your thread. The vision you have for your tank is very much like my tank system. Mine is a little bigger with a 56g display, a 30g XH refugium and a 20g sump. My display has 13 fish; 2 cardinal fish, 1 firefish, 1 royal gramma, 1 barnacle blenny, 1 tomini tang, 1 ocellaris clownfish, 1 carpenter wrasse, and 5 yellow tail damsels. There are 2 salt acclimated mollies in the fuge with lots of grass shrimp and a few peppermints as well to provide shrimp larvae for the display as food. There are macros and seagrass in the fuge. The 20g sump has rock to be home to copepods, and amphipods.

I feed very heavy to nourish the coral, macros and seagrass. Usually I feed a cube of frozen and 2 generous feedings of flakes and pellets.

Anyway I will be following your progress.
 
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Suppose I should stop posting here and make a new build thread instead, had to go simple and drop the 20 but will be picking up a large cpr aquafuge2 before it sees fish. Rocks are all glued, might be a bit much on the rock and sand though unless I can put that to good use. Plan to ghost feed for 6 weeks and then start adding copepods, amphipods and phytoplankton.

A lot of varied height to the rock work so I may mix up the macros, maybe mix in dragons breath and green/red ogo. Fuge will go on back on right side, almost debate on growing cheato up the back glass on that side eventually, in other words giving pods safe passage from fuge to rock structure. Not too sure how well it would work, heck maybe a chaeto carpet across the whole back glass but that sounds like a challenge to pull off, figure lack of flow and lighting on the back side would give me issues.

Edit: Going with Fluval Plant 3.0 for display tank and probably fuge too, light that comes with the cpr looks pretty cheesy. Wouldn't mind some blue hypnea but don't want to push my luck on how many macros.
 
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Updated pictures, really think stocking will depend on the scape and I went a tad overboard on the rock but it's not moving now.

Open to any suggestions on stocking and macros as well, thinking I will pass on ywg for sake of the micro fauna and the pair of clowns are up for debate. Not really sure what would work best for this layout.

IMG_0057.jpeg IMG_0060.jpeg IMG_0059.jpeg IMG_0058.jpeg IMG_0061.jpg IMG_0064.jpg
 
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Not sure if I will still go with the large aquafuge2, debating on doing a medium and a small and putting one light over both. No idea if that would be too much weight for this stock stand, don't think they list a weight limit. Worst case I have someone build a simple 2x4 support to go under both, which shouldn't be too major. I have left over self leveling pad anyways.
 
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Anyone have luck with a group of 6 Black Bar Chromis in a 30 gallon tank?

Edit: Suppose I could push it to 7 but just read they suggest 55 gallon.
 
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Think my smart bet would be to stick to captive bred fish, no jumpers, hoping to keep it open top. Debating between the ac70 filter and large fuge or just run 2 fuges, aquafuge2 small and medium to use the whole back of the tank and put one light over both.

Would this work and what order should I add them? All captive bred

2 Ocellaris clownfish
1 coral beauty angelfish
1 court jester goby - Could skip this one, not really sold on it yet.
 
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Anyone have the Zombie Ocellaris clownfish from ORA? Thinking of doing a pair of them and coral beauty at the same time, probably wait until summer, cuc in spring. Probably cheaper to order it all off liveaquaria than buying locally, they also have stuff local lfs doesn't carry. Would ghost feed the whole time, although pet quarters has a tank of sw acclimated mollies, grabbing one might be a better long term solution than a empty tank for 4-6 months.
 
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After a bit of research I think I'll pass on the angel.

Would a pair of ORA Blood Orange Clownfish work in a 30 gallon? Only fish of course
 
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Not finding much outside of clownfish for captive bred fish that really interest me. Can't see sustaining macros with just a pair of ocellaris or percula, but would the pair be a big enough bioload for soft corals?

Thinking simple, just some green star polyps and either the fluval marine 3.0, if it will be enough or worst case I have to spend a bit more for the AI Prime. Want to keep it somewhat low tech if I go corals, doubt I would need a skimmer with 6" of fish.
 
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So just pulled out 2/3 of the sand, got it in a bucket with saltwater in case I need more later. Dropped down to about 1", rubble will mostly end up in the 2 ac110 fuges. Also grabbed an ac30 and running 2 foam inserts to help pull dust out. Unsure of exact number but water volume is now 25-26 gallons.
 

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I'd add the livestock in slowly. 1 or 2 at a time see how the tank handles it. As time goes on you might find a need for a different utilitarian fish. I've always been a huge fan of the goby shrimp combo!
 
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Going simple route and sticking with macros, got the first ac110 modded, letting the silicone set for 2 days. Will get another one next week and run 2 ac110 fuges and the ac30 with just foam inserts rinsed every few days in old tank water. Background is on the tank, not the greatest job but doesn't look terrible, I see why most people paint the back of the tank now. Thinking just 1" of rubble in the fuges and rest for chaeto later. May have room to upgrade the ac30 to an ac50.

Want to stick with captive bred and omnivores if possible but I may have to mix in carnivores for the bioload. Haven't found much outside of ocellaris clownfish for captive omnivores under 3" that interest me. Debate on trying a coral beauty but honestly think it would out grow the tank.

IMG_0276.jpg
 
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Got the 1st fuge up and running, no light or macro yet of course. Wow does sanding down the impeller really slow the flow down. Picked up the other ac110 today and its all siliconed and in place, will get water later this week. All the rubble is in the one fuge for now. Definitely gonna upgrade the ac30 to an ac50, probably next weekend since I need to pick up more saltwater anyways. Probably overkill but the actual fuge space in each is only 1.2 gallons and this was cheaper than a hob refugium from cpr and probably spreads the weight out better than one large fuge hanging on the tank.

Edit: Gonna add surface skimmers from ocean box designs for all 3 filters to the build.

IMG_0282.jpg
 
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