When can coral be put into a tank - a philosophical / scientific discussion


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Dec 28, 2016
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So - having read the threads here - for several years - I keep hearing 'you cant keep corals unless the tank is xxx months/years old' - on the other hand - I have also seen examples of people setting up tanks at reef shows, aquarium stores, and hobbyists - who set up their tanks and immediately add livestock. Frag tanks would be a perfect example. Would like to do a little poll - and then discuss. My opinion - There is no set time for adding coral to a tank. If the water parameters are stable - and proper - there is no reason coral won't grow and thrive. BUT - I want to hear opinions.

Spare time

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Apr 12, 2019
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I think that the time to add a coral is more dependent on how experienced the reefer is as well as whether or not they have the rhythm of their tank down. X amount of time is a rather useless number. A better way to think of this would be to say x amount of days that you have mantained the same levels of nitrate, phosphate, salinity, etc. in a tank. Once someone knows how much to top off a day, how much to feed, how often to clean or change the water, then they are good to add a coral.


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Mar 15, 2019
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I'm not sure it's fair to use reef shows and frag swaps as examples since they're only setup for a few days. I've setup more insta-tanks than I'd like to admit and they can support just about anything for a week or so before various cycles start to kick in and the corals suffer. Even with large, regular water changes to make sure parameters are in range, most corals just dont seem to grow for the first few months. But I definitely agree that theres no set time for adding coral, particularly when using established live rock. A better rule of thumb would be "X species has a better chance of surviving if the majority of surfaces have been cycled for Y days"


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Feb 1, 2018
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You’ll get varying opinions on how long before adding various types of corals. Some will say when you are able support coralline growth. Some will wait a full year before attempting Sps. On my last build I waited 6 months before adding any corals. And we’re talking about softies and lps here. I’ve also seen insta tanks setup that thrive. I think “some“ of it has to do with experience level. You’ll also read about those reefers that have a lot of experience and have stable parameters, but still can’t keep sps. Due to the tank not being mature enough. Jake Adams set up a little insta tank not to long ago. It’s doing very well. He’s also been in the hobby for a long while. This is an example of what he set up.


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Feb 20, 2020
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mesa arizona
I practically cycled my current system with my OG bounce and a cpl clownfish.
I believe it strongly depends on what type of Coral. What your system is made up of.
I run 300 lbs of Live Rock from ocean in a 160 gallon system.
That being said I really want a Walt Disney and higher end torches but I'm holding off on those for my system to mature and my reefing skills to get a little more refined.
Its totally stabile now just want to let it run another year or until I can't hold out no more lol.

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