Stocking Ideas for 240 litre (64 US gallon) tank

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wwarby

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I currently have a Juwel Rio 240 litre (64 US gallon) tank measuring 120cm wide x 41cm deep x 55cm tall (47" x 16" x 22") which is home to my peacock mantis shrimp. I'm gearing up to move the mantis shrimp into a smaller tank so that I can make the bigger tank into a mixed reef tank I'm setting up a quarantine tank so that I can start quarantining my first fish for the big tank whilst I cycle the mantis shrimp's new home.

For the 240 litre tank I'm aiming for mostly only easy or semi-easy species because I'm still quite new to the hobby. I intend to have corals, but probably only softies for now because I don't have powerful enough lighting or sufficient experience for more difficult corals. I've got a preliminary stocking list, and I'd be grateful for opinions on it:

Fish
  • 2x Ocellaris clownfish(this is non-negotiable, they're my favourite fish by far)
  • 1x Royal gramma
  • 1x Yellow watchman goby + Randall's pistol shrimp
  • 1x Banggai cardinalfish
  • 1x Dwarf angelfish (order of preference: flame, lemonpeel)
  • 1x Tang or Rabbitfish (order of preference: plain yellow foxface, kole tang, tomini tang)
  • 1x Hawkfish (order of preference: flame, longnose)
  • 1x flasher wrasse (order of preference: McCosker's, Royal, Yellowfin)
  • 1x other wrasse (order of preference: christmas, melanurus, yellow coris)
  • 1x Orchid dottyback
  • 1x other goby (order of preference: diamond, wheeler's, tiger watchman, neon)
Inverts
  • Pom pom crab
  • Halloween hermit crab
  • Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp
  • Emerald crab
  • Porcelain crab
  • Blue leg hermit crab
  • Blood red fire shrimp
  • Some snails (don't really care which)
I realise the list is too long and I can't have everything on it, so part of the purpose of this thread is to help narrow it down a bit. I've listed them in rough order of preference. The tank is borderline too small for even the smallest bristletooth tangs so if I get one I'm prepared to rehome it (or upgrade the tank) if it shows signs of having outgrown the tank. I desperately want a foxface rabbitfish but I fear that one might outgrow the tank very quickly. Not sure if I'll get away with two wrasses sharing a tank of this size? Also not sure if banggai cardinals are better in pairs? Aside from the clowns I really don't want more than one of anything apart from maybe inverts, unless it's necessary. The only invert I feel strongly about is the pom pom crab (I love those little guys!)

Also order of introduction tips would be appreciated - I'll be going pretty slowly as I only have a 52 litre quarantine tank.
 
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killer2001

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I'd say no to the tang, foxface, dottyback, and angel maybe get a lawnmower blenny instead for algae eating / herbivore. I have a no crab policy for my tank except the pom pom, that little guy is hilarious. Mine walks around the tank like he owns the place with his little anemones!
 
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wwarby

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The lawnmower was actually on my list, I just forgot to write it down. I really don't want to end up with all small fish in there and nothing of any substance. I'm know the tank is on the small side for things like tangs and angels, but the tank recommendations for the flame angel range from 30g to 70g. You really think I can't get away with even one half decent sized fish? Even if I forego two or three of the smaller ones?
 
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wwarby

wwarby

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I think you’d be fine with a bristletooth tang or a dwarf angel in a tank with that footprint.
That's what I want to hear :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes: It's also what my LFS said, and they have a very good reputation so I put quite a lot of stock in their advice.
 
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OrionN

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Will you have a sand bed?
Fish
  • 2x Ocellaris clownfish(this is non-negotiable, they're my favourite fish by far)
  • 1x Royal gramma
  • 1x Yellow watchman goby + Randall's pistol shrimp
  • 1x Banggai cardinalfish
  • 1x Dwarf angelfish (order of preference: flame, lemonpeel)
  • 1x Tang or Rabbitfish (order of preference: plain yellow foxface, kole tang, tomini tang)
  • 1x Hawkfish (order of preference: flame, longnose)
  • 1x flasher wrasse (order of preference: McCosker's, Royal, Yellowfin)
  • 1x other wrasse (order of preference: christmas, melanurus, yellow coris)
  • 1x Orchid dottyback
  • 1x other goby (order of preference: diamond, wheeler's, tiger watchman, neon)
I always like to keep breeding units of the smaller reef fishes if possible.
Consider less species but more than one specimen per selected species.
A trio of Royal Gramma. They will breed in your tank
Rather than Yellow watchman, consider more colorful shrimp gobies pairs like Randall or Yasha Gobies, (get trio of these, pair gobies with one or pair shrimps.
If you keep Banggai, you got to keep pairs of them.
A pair or Trio of Flame or African Flame back angels
Rabbitfish (Foxface) will get too big for your tank. They get to 9 inches rather quickly. I would get a Yellow, Purple, Kole or Flametail tangs. 1 or 2 of these tangs would be fine for your tank.
You should get a minimum of three Flasher wrasse. One byt himself will not flash much and rather dull. Pretty much any of them are fine, which ever you like, but you cannot go wrong with Diamon tail and Eightline Red Sea Flasher. Eightline can get rather larger than the normal Flasher. You may want to consider a few small Fairy wrasses like Lubbock, Exquisite or Solon fairy.
Consider Melanurus and Iridis These two are my favorite of this genus.
Consider have a pair of Orchid dottyback.

I keep all of the fishes I mentioned above, they should all do well together, given the fact that they are in reasonably good health when you get them, in your 120 gal tank with sand bed and good amount of live rock.
Obviously, your need to cut back on the species. All of my list will be too much for a 120 gal tank.
 
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wwarby

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Will you have a sand bed?

I always like to keep breeding units of the smaller reef fishes if possible.
Consider less species but more than one specimen per selected species.
A trio of Royal Gramma. They will breed in your tank
Rather than Yellow watchman, consider more colorful shrimp gobies pairs like Randall or Yasha Gobies, (get trio of these, pair gobies with one or pair shrimps.
If you keep Banggai, you got to keep pairs of them.
A pair or Trio of Flame or African Flame back angels
Rabbitfish (Foxface) will get too big for your tank. They get to 9 inches rather quickly. I would get a Yellow, Purple, Kole or Flametail tangs. 1 or 2 of these tangs would be fine for your tank.
You should get a minimum of three Flasher wrasse. One byt himself will not flash much and rather dull. Pretty much any of them are fine, which ever you like, but you cannot go wrong with Diamon tail and Eightline Red Sea Flasher. Eightline can get rather larger than the normal Flasher. You may want to consider a few small Fairy wrasses like Lubbock, Exquisite or Solon fairy.
Consider Melanurus and Iridis These two are my favorite of this genus.
Consider have a pair of Orchid dottyback.

I keep all of the fishes I mentioned above, they should all do well together, given the fact that they are in reasonably good health when you get them, in your 120 gal tank with sand bed and good amount of live rock.
Obviously, your need to cut back on the species. All of my list will be too much for a 120 gal tank.
Hey, thanks for the reply. I've moved on somewhat in the two or three months since I posted that thread and my tank is half full at this point. I do have a sand bed, yes - and a decent amount of rock with lots of swim throughs, which is now covered with a lot of softies and LPS frags.

What I've got at the moment are:

1. Pair of clowns (the regular orange and white kind)
2. Royal gramma
3. Banggai cardinal (singular - I've never heard about keeping them in pairs before and the LFS didn't mention that, so I'll do a bit of reading on it)
4. Foxface rabbitfish (currently about 3 inches, and I'm expecting to get a year out of it after which time I'm fully prepared to rehome it if I haven't upgraded to a larger tank by then).

I had a yellow watchman goby, but sadly he swam into my MP10 and died instantly, so his randall's pistol shrimp is now living on his own. I've since bought a NemProtect for the MP10.

In my QT tank (observation only, no medication) I currently have:

1. Randall's goby + Tiger pistol shrimp
2. Neon goby
3. Midas blenny

With the fish in the QT I'm already at 8, so there's not a huge amount of room left. My current thoughts on what I might squeeze in are:

1. Naoko wrasse
2. Tomini tang
3. Sixline wrasse
4. Starcki damsel

Two most aggressive fish last. I did want a flasher wrasse but I've heard that a lot about the need for multiple specimens to get the flashing behaviour and to be honest, being so new to the hobby still and I want to put at least 500 different fish in my little tank, so the idea of having multiple specimens of the same species really doesn't appeal because it just further reduces the variety I can have, which is already more limited than I would like.

I'll need to slow down after the current fish come out of QT and do the last remaining additions one at a time, keeping an eye on nutrients. They're manageable at the moment but I don't have a sump (cannister only) so my filtration options are somewhat limited, though I'm relying on live rock for much of my filtration needs. I also have quite a few inverts and whilst they don't add tons of bioload, they aren't irrelevant to the calculation.
 

OrionN

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Don’t add a Six-line wrasse. It is a terror for all fishes in the tank
Consider a Mandarin Dragonet.
F52D7974-D934-4CC7-9B62-2CF5DA7F6C39.jpeg
 
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I've heard mixed opinions on the sixline wrasse, but most seem to think it won't be too badly behaved if it's the last fish to go in. You think it's still a bad idea?

I'd LOVE a mandarin dragonet but I've talked myself out of trying on the basis that they're labelled expert only due to the difficulty in getting them to feed. My gut tells me I shouldn't ignore that advice and label myself as an expert when I am very definitely still a novice.

I could possibly see my way clear to letting go of the sixline and the damsel and getting flasher wrasses instead, and a yeah I have a list of other ones I'd want to look for if I was getting more than one. Anthias for whatever reason I'm just not that keen on - I'd probably have them if I had a bigger tank but there are a lot of other fish higher on my wishlist. There's a whole bunch that didn't make the cut because of risks to inverts or corals too - scarlet hawkfish, yellow coris wrasse, melanurus wrasse and valentino's puffer to name a few.

Opinions on the bristletooth tang are definitely mixed but I want to try it and see how I get on. If I feel like it's outgrown the tank after however long, I'll rehome it but I do want one or two fish that are a little bigger than the 3 inch species that will dominate the tank.
 
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OrionN

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I make a mistake, 64 gal is likely not big enough for a Mandarin. I would not get the damsel and definitely not the Sixline. Your realestate is to valuable to wated it on fish like the damsel. Got t have colors befor it can
FlameAngel2019082511Maleresized.jpg
LubbockFairyA2019111201.jpg
EightlineFlasher2019062902resized.jpg
ExquisiteFairyWrasse2019062401.jpg
Flameback2020102801Maleresized.jpg
go into my tank.
 

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The foxface grows very fast. I was very surprised, by the speed of it, and I would not recommend it. I would not agree to the tang either.
A dwarf angel such as a coral beauty, flame or eibli should be ok. My eibli angel loves to go in and out of rocks, so make sure you get plenty of them.
Do not get a pair of Bangai unless it is a mated ones, if you get 2 of the same sex, they will kill each other.
Your tank is too new for a mandarin. Wait a little before you get one.
I think your list is a good list for a beginner.
I keep all of the fishes I mentioned above, they should all do well together, given the fact that they are in reasonably good health when you get them, in your 120 gal tank with sand bed and good amount of live rock.
The OP has only 64G, not 120G. So I think that a tang would not do well, it grows fast.
 
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The flame angel was high on my list but I kept getting warned off it on the basis of coral nipping. I’ve had a couple of experiences with coral nippers already in the form of emerald crabs and peppermint shrimp, and I wanted them out of the tank immediately. The foxface is already in there so I guess I’ll find out whether that was a bad idea, but if I get a year out of it (the LFS said 12-18 months) before rehoming is necessary I’ll be happy with that.

Theres a good chance I’ll end up replacing this tank with something around 120G within the next 12 months too, so I’m reckoning on the possibility of keeping these larger fish if and when that happens. I originally bought the tank to house a mantis shrimp - my first experience with salt water which turned out to be a big mistake. I hated that my big tank looked so empty when the mantis was in her burrow and I couldn’t safely put anything in with her (she’s a savage). The mantis is now in a more sensibly sized 26G RS Max Nano Peninsula and I repurposed this tank as a mixed reef, but it’s not well suited to my needs because I didn’t buy it for that purpose. It has no sump and it puts too many of the fish I’d like out of reach on size grounds.

If I had my time over again I think I’d have gone 120G FOWLR. Despite all the money I’ve sunk into corals I just can’t get all that excited about them - they’re basically just an expensive floral backdrop for my fish, and I didn’t realise when I started down that road just how many of the best looking fish would be off the table because they nip at corals. Because I’ve spent so much money on corals now I don’t want anything that’s a risk to them, but yeah, I very much wish I could start again armed with my current knowledge and my original starting budget!
 
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The foxface grows very fast. I was very surprised, by the speed of it, and I would not recommend it. I would not agree to the tang either.
A dwarf angel such as a coral beauty, flame or eibli should be ok. My eibli angel loves to go in and out of rocks, so make sure you get plenty of them.
Do not get a pair of Bangai unless it is a mated ones, if you get 2 of the same sex, they will kill each other.
Your tank is too new for a mandarin. Wait a little before you get one.
I think your list is a good list for a beginner.

The OP has only 64G, not 120G. So I think that a tang would not do well, it grows fast.
This... 64g, no tangs, really no foxfaces unless your willing to rehome quickly. No Mandy's unless it's a pod paradise or are willing to supplement ($$$) until pods take off.

Dwarf angels is a good show piece fish for that size display.
 
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