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Beginner Saltwater 32G Biocube Tank Build

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fish' started by iDon'tCare, May 4, 2018.

  1. iDon'tCare

    iDon'tCare New Member

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    Hello! I have owned freshwater fish for years and have finally taken the step to own saltwater. I have always been in love. This is a choice I made on and off for months, and I have decided to get a 32 gallon biocube as I am no longer intimidated. This is my plan..

    Live Sand
    Live Rock
    Corals (Especially Zoanthids and Tadstools)
    2 Cleaner Shrimp
    3 Nassarius Snail
    3 Scarlett Hermit Crabs
    1 Tuxedo Urchin
    2 Yasha Gobies
    1 Firefish
    1 Royal Gramma
    1 Ocillaris Clown

    I feel like I might be pushing the limits here, I have a fear of overstocking my first reef tank. Thank you!

     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Are you running an internal or external filter?
    Are you using a protein skimmer?
    What are the tank dimensions?
    What lights do you have?
    What species of cleaner shrimp did you want?

    Don't waste your money on live sand. Buy a marine sand or go to the beach. After a couple of months in water it will be alive.

    Be wary of snails because lots of them are nocturnal predators that hunt, kill and eat fish and shrimp. Some even eat other snails.

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    When you say Firefish, do you mean Nemateleotris magnifica? If yes, these guys do best in groups rather than on their own. Make sure any fish you buy are feeding well and have nice shaped bodies and are not skinny. Get the shop to feed the fish in front of you so you can tell if they are eating. If the shop is unwilling to do that, ask what time they normally feed the fish and go to the shop then and see them eat. If the fish don't eat, don't buy them.

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    Ocellaris clownfish (aka anemonefish) do best in prs with a sea anemone. The most common and easiest anemone to keep is the bubbletip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). Anemonefish do not need an anemone but do prefer to have one to live in, and they act more naturally when they have one.

    When anemonefish establish a territory around an anemone, the most dominant fish becomes a female and the next dominant fish becomes a male. All the others remain as subordinates and are not allowed to breed with the female. If the female dies or is removed, the male becomes female and the next dominant juvenile becomes a breeding male to form a new pr.

    If you buy a pair of anemonefish, make sure they are a pr. For most species, the females are noticeably bigger than the males. With Amphiprion ocellaris & percula, males & females are similar sized but females are still slightly bigger, but it can be hard to tell. If you can't buy a guaranteed pr, buy a big one and a small one from a group and keep them together at all times. That way the bigger one will become female and dominate the smaller one who will remain male.

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    Sea urchins can be an issue in tanks because they crawl under or behind rocks/ corals and push them over. And they spend most of the day hiding and come out at night to feed on algae or dead animals. Short spined sea urchins are usually better and easier to handle than the long spined urchins.
     
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  3. iDon'tCare

    iDon'tCare New Member

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    ===
    Are you running an internal or external filter? Internal, it is built into the biocube.
    Are you using a protein skimmer? Yes, I will be modifying the filtration to add a protein skimmer and heater.
    What are the tank dimensions? 20.25" long X 21.875" Wide X 21.5" High
    What lights do you have? The LED lights that come with the biocube.
    What species of cleaner shrimp did you want? I've been looking at blood red fire shrimp and skunks, I'm still not sure which works better.

    I am aware of the clowns gender change and anemones and such, but I plan to get anemones six months-a year into the tank running. I have considered getting a pair of clownfish, but I'm sticking to just one to avoid having them run the tank and dominate all my other fish as clowns are semi-aggressive. Also, what was your experience on live sand to make that opinion? I've heard mixed opinions and would be very interested.

    Nemateleotris magnifica, yes I refer to the firefish goby. (both red and purple.) These are also fish that I hear mixed opinions about. Most are telling me they stay in groups when they are young but prefer solitude when they grow older, if that's the case then I'll steer clear of already mated pairs. What's more is that I live in an area where saltwater fish aren't the easiest to come by. My local pet stores don't sell them, if I can't find a marine store that has good fish (I found one that's quite a drive, but I'm not ready to inspect the fish yet.) I'll be stuck with ordering fish and corals online.

    I don't plan to do anything too risky with my rocks, but I plan on using aqua safe glue on it for security. (Still waiting.) I currently have a plastic egg tray for extra grip on the rock and sand. I'm a little confident with the Urchin but don't quote me, it's my first tank.

    You seem very well informed, thank you so much for taking the time to give me advice. A reply will be greatly appreciated. Am I overstocking by any chance and is there any other coral I can try out other than zoanthids and toadstools? (I already have my heart set on getting them.)
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Skunk or red line cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) are the more common of the 2 shrimp and they are cheaper and easier to care for than blood shrimp (Lysmata debelius).
    Peppermint cleaner shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) are cheaper than both aforementioned species and very easy to keep, breed and rear in captivity. But they are not as colourful.
    Red line cleaner shrimp grow bigger than the other 2 species and breed readily but the larvae are hard to get to settle to the substrate. However, with a protein skimmer on the tank you will remove any larvae with that.

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    If you are getting a toadstool coral (Sarcophyton leather corals), they get big and one healthy individual will fill most of your tank when it is expanded. Anemonefish will also live in them if there are no anemones available. If you have a leather coral I would not get an anemone later on. You will also have to make sure any other corals in the tank are kept away from the leather coral, and they get light. If you get a leather coral and it sits in the middle of the tank, it could shade most of the tank and any corals under it will eventually die from lack of light.

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    Corallimorphs are good for small tanks and come in a range of colours.

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    Live sand is simply a waste of money. It is often dried out to some degree when shipping and costs a fortune. If you can't get beach sand then look for a fine calcium based gravel. You can use live sand if you like, but I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on beach sand in a bag of salt water. You are better off spending the money driving to the beach, grabbing some rock, sand and water and using that. You could probably buy dinner for the family with the money you would save.
    If you want to use it then that is fine, but I just think it is a waste of money.

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    Nemateleotris magnifica, decora & helfrichi are beautiful fishes to keep in marine aquariums. They are very peaceful and usually do well. I have always kept them in groups of 6 or more and had H. magnifica spawn in a tank. The entire group lived underneath a brain coral and one day when I was moving rocks around, I lifted the brain coral and a swarm of baby fish came out (and got eaten by everyone else). But they definitely prefer company.

    You won't find prs of Nemateleotris species and any shop selling you prs is misleading you. They will simply grab 2 fish and sell them to you as a pair. If you buy a group they will pr off naturally.

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    You don't have to buy any "special" glue to stick rocks together. Any normal aquarium glass silicon will work and superglue also works, but silicon is better.

    Any rocks glued with silicon will need time to cure and dry. this normally takes a minimum of 24 hours so don't use it on live rock because it will be dead rock by the time the glue dries.

    You can drill holes in the rock and use wood dowels or short lengths of pvp pipe as dowels. You drill into the top of one rock and bottom of another rock, fit the dowel into one rock and put the other rock on top so it slides down onto the dowel.

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    The fish and shrimp you want are probably not going to overstock your tank. However, my main concern would be swimming space. The leather coral and anemonefish could limit the room for the other organisms to live. If the tank was longer it would be better in this respect.
     
    #4 Colin_T, May 5, 2018
    Last edited: May 5, 2018
  5. iDon'tCare

    iDon'tCare New Member

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    Thanks so much! I'm going to go with the peppermint shrimp, dry rock, I'll go ahead and find a way to get a second firefish without overfilling the tank too bad. As for the coral I won't get a toadstool but instead a Corallimorph as you recommended. Thank you, you've helped me greatly.
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you want a toadstool coral, get a small one and when it gets too big (6-12 months later), trade it in at the petshop and get another small one.

    Corallimorphs come in a variety of colours but are usually brown with green. If they are kept in good conditions, they reproduce readily with buds. Basically they produce little tiny corallimorphs next to the big one. They can also divide but normally its buds.

    When you buy corals, make sure they are open and don't have any grey or white bits on them, and they shouldn't smell bad. When you transport them home, make sure the coral is not being squashed by the rock it is on. Some shops wrap corals in paper and then put them in a bag of water. This is ok for hard corals as long as the coral has retracted inside the skeleton. But for soft corals and corallimorphs, they do better if they aren't wrapped in paper, and are simply put in a bag of water like a fish is bagged up. Corals should be double bags tho, you put 1 bag inside another so there is less chance of the coral or rock popping the plastic bag.

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    Shrimp normally hide under rocks during the day so try to make some caves or have ledges for them to hang out under. :)
     

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