When to add coral

Freshwaterscrub

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When should I add corals to a tank. I'm think about adding some basic beginner corals like Xenia, Toadstool, Kenya Tree, and Mushrooms. Do I add them before fish, with the fish, or do I wait a few weeks.
 
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tbrown3589

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When should I add corals to a tank. I'm think about adding some basic beginner corals like Xenia, Toadstool, Kenya Tree, and Mushrooms. Do I add them before fish, with the fish, or do I wait a few weeks.
Most of the ones you mentioned "eat" nutrients so adding them after fish and giving the water time to cycle (nitrogen cycle) is recommended for sure since they'll be consuming nitrates and phosphates.
 

Patman

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I may be the outlier here, but I add them with my first fish, it will offset part of the bio load from the fish and feedings, provides a huge amount of bacterial diversity and pods if using dry rock. Also zooxanthellae are dinoflagellates and will out compete them in many cases. It just cuts down or straight up eliminates the ugly phase.
 

Joe31415

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I would think you'd add them after fish since they need/want some nitrates (and other nutrients). While cycling the tank will leave you with nitrates, any water changes, plus the corals consuming them will bring them back to zero. Some fish in the tank will keep those levels elevated.

Also, if you plan to QT your fish your inverts/corals, and I know a lot of people don't QT inverts, the QT time for corals is considerably longer than it is for fish. About 30-45 days for fish, if nothing goes wrong and 76 (little more, little less, depending on who you listen to, but in that neighborhood) for inverts. So if you're looking for an excuse to buy some inverts/corals now, set up an invert QT tank and get some in there.
While the lighting for the corals can add a considerable expense to setting up a coral QT, especially when compared to how cheap it it is to set up a fish QT, since your DT is empty at the moment, you could move those lights over to a coral QT and back to the DT when you move the corals to the DT. That would buy you 76 days to get something more permanent for the coral QT.

But again, I know not everyone QTs fish and many, if not most, don't QT inverts. It doesn't sound like you plan to, so this may be moot.

PS, if you haven't cycled your tank yet, it might be worth it to QT some livestock, since that'll take a little while anyway.
 
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OneOtter

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Depends on how hardy the corals are, when i start a brand new tank what i do is after adding water and everything but fish and corals i dump a bottle of microbacter start XLM in, (for every 50 gallons add one large bottle the entire bottle(s)) Then depending on what food you use for corals add 2 times the dosing (for instance Aquavitro's Fuel says 5ml for every 20 gallons so for a 32gallon biocube i would add 3 capfuls or 15ml for a double dose) this way you have some nutrients in the water from the day you start to an extent. I then add a fish the next day afterwards (remember to leave filter pump and a power head running overnight obv to get everything in the water flowing to begin with.) Every time i set up a new tank like this my tank finishes up it's first full cycle and has no ammonia or nitrite within usually a week or two depending on size of tank obviously. I added a duncan coral in on day 2 of my tank and it went from a single head to now 5 heads at 6 months down the road. My wifes biocube which is 32gallons cycled in about 8-9 days and during the second month we added a bubble tip anemone which is normally not recommended on newer tanks but if you keep the parameters good and keep a good flow and light schedule as well as nutrients in the tank you dont have to wait too extensively long for some corals. Just don't add an Acropora early on that will more than likely die i tried adding one to the biocube and it struggled for about 2 weeks before finally feeling comfy and growing but its color took 7 months to come back fully.
 

OneOtter

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Also sorry to added another post back to back but i would not recommend xenia they are a spore based coral so when they release spores they can get out of hand pretty quickly and it can cause some real maintenance annoyances to try and get rid of or manage them unless you want that kind. I recommend green star polyps but isolate them on a separate rock from other corals and dont let the rock touch within an inch or they can grow over other corals eventually and kill them. best way to make green star polyps grow fast too is med high flow and medium high light. :p
 

Joe31415

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To add on to OneOtter's post(s), if you use overfeed to bump up nutrients, you should be testing, and include phosphate in those tests, to make sure things don't get out of hand, which they can in a hurry when you start dosing (and I'd think overfeeding for the sole purpose of nutrients could be considered dosing). Otherwise you can quickly end up with outbreaks of one thing or another.

I mean, you should be testing Am/Nitrite/Nitrate on a cycling/new tank, but keep an eye on everything if you're dosing. As they say, don't add anything you can't test for and overfeeding is designed to bump up Nitrate (as an end result of bumping Ammonia) and some foods can send phosphates through the roof in a hurry. You need both of those in a reef tank, but not so high they cause other problems.
 

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