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Old 10/22/2009, 12:07 PM   #1
shereth
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Laveen, AZ
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New 75G build : stocking and other suggestions?

I have a 75g tank that I've had up and cycling for a while now - just finished cycling a few weeks ago, actually. Threw in a modest CUC and let them munch around for a week or so, water parameters pretty much held steady (had only tested ammonia, nitrite, PH and alk at the time) so I figured it was pretty much time to start stocking. Wife had a head-start on me in terms of what she wanted to see so there are already a couple of residents.

Current setup:

1500gph overflow kit from gl*******s.com going into a 20g sump, return pump gives me about 600gph flow at the head
Koralia 1 powerhead
4x54 T5 lighting fixture, currently has 2 "daylight" and 2 actinics
~90 lbs live rock (and a couple of purely decorative rocks at wife's insistence)
~4" deep sand bed, mix of various sized particles aragonite sand, dry at first but obvious signs of life now

This weekend I intend to cobble together a 15g refugium to supplement the sump tank. I figure on throwing in a little more live rock and some sand, some chaeto, and keep it pretty much simple. I'd also like to pick up another powerhead to supplement my flow, and I'll also be getting a skimmer (I know I know - should have already)

The live rock came with a lot of good purple coralline, as well as numerous hitchhikers : a couple of hermits, bristleworms, numerous collonista snails, a few stomatellas, a few micro brittle stars, couple limpets, a chiton, some asterina I see here and there, couple pseudocorynactis ... nothing too outlandish. Since there was already a modest population of "cleanup" type critters, it was supplemented with a small cuc consisting of a dozen little hermits, half a dozen nassarius snails, a couple turbos, and a small emerald crab. Additionally, my wife snagged a fire shrimp. Gorgeous creature but woefully shy. Molted once after the first big water change but has seemed largely happy as far as I can tell.

She also talked me into letting her get a yellowhead jawfish, who moved in to the tank last week. Adorable little guy. Picked a nice concave rock to dig his burrow under so he's got a solid roof over his head, and even a couple of little windows he can peek out of. Can't seem to decide where he wants to install his door, he's got a few now. The rock's corners are buried in the sand and flush to the glass so I'm not worried about him excavating it out. He was awful shy at first but has become a little more bold and will now come well out of his burrow when it's feeding time.

I also picked up a few zoa frags from the LFS. They seem pretty happy too, all fully expanded for the most part and looking nice.

That's where we stand currently. I made a big boo-boo in setting up : I used tap water. A co-worker swore his behaves just fine with tap water and some conditioner to get rid of chlorine/chloramine. I suppose it worked in that regards as everyone is happy and healthy, but I am paying for it now in the form of an unsightly diatom bloom. I'm performing my water changes with strictly RO/DI water now, and hoping the diatoms go away before too terribly long.

Now for the inevitable questions.

Recent batch of testing turned up LOW calcium (100ppm), low alk (don't have the exact number on me) and high pH (8.5). I made the mistake of not using a mixture formulated for a reef tank but Ca is still really low. Is this related to the low alk and/or high pH, and what ought I do about it?

Other parameters :
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5-10 ppm
Phosphate - 0
salinity - 1.025

Another question about the above - I am surprised phosphate came out at 0 even though I initially used tap water (I have since perfromed a 50% and a 20% water change with RO/DI). Is this likely a faulty reading or is it possible that since then the phosphates have been used up by the algae?

The fun part - and the part the wife is most intersted in - is livestock. I'll go ahead and say up front that I would like to leave "room" in the tank for a mandarin dragonet. I understand they require a fuge (which I am setting up this weekend) and a very stable tank, so I won't be getting one probably till next summer, but am trying to keep that in mind as a future addition.

I've gone back and forth on the idea of a yellow tang. Personally I think they are beautiful creatures but my wife says they are too "typical". I am also aware that 75g is on the lower end of their size requirements and that they are prone to health issues. I would like to have one "larger" fish in the 5-6" range if I do not get the tang, but naturally something peaceful and I'm kind of low on ideas.

I really like firefish, and was thinking of one (or a pair).

I also like anthias, and my wife wants a purple fish. The Bartlett's Anthia is a pretty fish, but some sources have indicated it might be aggressive? Thoughts?

A small group of blue/green chromis might be neat, as I'd also like to see some fish of this color type. I've also heard that they can serve as a good dithering fish. I'm not sure how big a "small group" would be appropriate, though, and I've also read that there's a decent chance the initial group would shrink due to some in-fighting.

Should also mention that I'm planning to have primarily softies as far as corals go. I adore zoas and am also likely to get some mushrooms and perhaps some leather corals. My wife wants to see things with "wavy bits" as she puts it I'm not sure if I want to go exclusively soft, though, and am wondering if it would still be ok to have some LPS up higher, where the flow/lighting is better, assuming there was some spacing between them and the softies? Would I need to make sure to get a powerful skimmer to make sure all those softies don't go overboard with the chemical warfare?

Lots to process and lots to think about. I don't expect many folks to read all of that drivel I've just posted and dont' expect anyone to answer all my questions, but any and all input is very, very welcome of course


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Old 10/22/2009, 02:13 PM   #2
m_wonnacott
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Location: Stratford, Ontario Canada
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well since I am planing a 75 gal in about 1.5 years (will be an upgrade from the 55 we are setting up) I am following along closely.

What are you using for a return pump we are planning on an eheim pump either I believe its the 1260 or the 1262 I think are the model numbers


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about50 lbs of dead lr , 15 lbs lr to seed, 2x18" NO 50/50, penguin 350 with just carbon, pinpoint wireless therm, 300w heater, 2x korilia 3

Current Tank Info: 55 gal FOWLR atm
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Old 10/22/2009, 09:00 PM   #3
jenjen
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Location: Langley BC, Canada
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Hey shereth, a lot of info in that post! I'd recommend re-posting with a summary listing only your questions, so people can help out a little more easily. In the meantime here's a few answers.

Don't worry about the diatoms... we all get them, and they go away eventually. I know tap water is the cardinal sin of reefing, but I started my first tank with water from a garden hose and it was no worse for diatoms than the tank I started with RO/DI water (shhhh!!!). Switch to filtered water now, and start doing regular water changes and you'll be fine.

I'd suggest working out the water chemistry before adding anymore corals or livestock. Do a couple of larger water changes with 'good' water, then re-test & post your parameters. You're likely showing zero phosphates because the diatoms/algae is consuming them - this is normal. Focus on the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate & calcium and get them nice & stable. And be very careful not to overfeed.

As for stocking...

I wouldn't recommend a YT. I agree they're beautiful and I have one myself. But they're grumpy as can be, and their personality will usually outgrow a tank that size even if their body doesn't. If you 'must have' a tang, look at the tomini or kole. They have teriffic personalities, and fit much better into a smaller aquarium. Also consider a foxface rabbitfish. They get larger and make a nice centerpiece fish, and they're far less agressive and grouchy than a tang.

What does your wife think of a purple firefish... is that enough purple for her? You could do a pair if you make sure to get a male & female and get them at the same time. I love purple fish too.

Get those water parameters under control, add a few corals and add fish slowly! Good luck!!!


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Old 10/23/2009, 09:37 AM   #4
jet fixer
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Location: Litchfield Park, AZ
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A pair of flasher or fairy wrasses would be nice maybe a blue assessor (Assessor macneilli)

I'm in the process of collecting equipment for a 75 now and have put alot of thought into stocking it.


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