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Planning my first reef tank

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Blackwater guru

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I used to keep freshwater fish a few years ago but lost interest in the hobby for a variety of personal reasons but now I am trying to get back into the hobby and now I am planning to build my first ever saltwater tank which will be the Juwel Rio 350 which as the name implies is 350 liters or about 90 gallons.
1707628872995.png

In terms of the major equipment I will be using this protein skimmer called Tunze doc 9410 probably inside the aquarium stand or a sump.
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for filtration I will be using the fluval 307 canister filter.
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This is my choice of LPS corals as this will mainly be an LPS only reef tank

Green Star polyp
Open brain coral
Duncan Axifuga coral
one purple branching hammer soft coral.

List of fish choices

Orange-Back Fairy Wrasse
Bangai Cardinalfish
Percularis clownfish
Scarlet Scooter Blenny red variety
Anthias Bimaculatus.

Invertebrates

Hermit crabs
Banded Boxing shrimp
Babylonia formosae snails
Long spine urchin

I am still in my research phase so I could change things if needed.

What do you think?

any suggestions or improvements are welcome
 
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Anthias are difficult to establish in aquariums and you want a coral tank with lots of plankton for them. They also need to be in groups of 8 or more. One male with have a territory around 3-4 feet square and will have a number of females living in it. If you want Anthias, wait until the tank has been running for at least 6 months and has a lot of live rock, coral and plankton.

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Amphiprion percula and ocellaris look very similar but the ocellaris are a lot cheaper if you can get them. They are essentially the same fish but the ocellaris comes from the Indian Ocean (west and north coast of Australia and into Indonesia), and the percula comes from the Pacific Ocean (east coast of Australia and New Guinea).

All anemonefish (Amphiprion percula and occellaris) live in pairs, or groups consisting of an adult pair and a group of smaller fish that are neither male nor female. The adult pair keep the others in their place by bullying them. In an aquarium you should just keep 1 pr. The females are usually bigger than the males. If you can't find a bonded pr, buy 2 fish from a group and try to get the biggest and smallest one from the group. The biggest will bully the smaller one for a week while it becomes female, and the smaller one will turn into a male. Then you will have a bonded pr.

You don't need an anemone for the fish but they do like to have one. If you do get an anemone, add it to the tank before you add corals. Let the anemone settle in for a month before adding corals. Anemones sometimes wander around before settling down and they can fight with corals. Allowing the anemone a month or so to settle down normally prevents any fights.

If you have anemones in an aquarium with a power filter, put a sponge on the intake of the power filter to stop the anemone being sucked in.

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Fairy wrasses can be difficult to feed and do best in well established tanks with lots of live rock, plankton and macro algae (Caulerpa and Halimeda species). They live in groups with a male ruling a harem of females. Try to keep at least 4 of them in the tank and only 1 male per species. Most of the males are much more colourful than females.

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Bangaii cardinalfish live in groups among the spines of the black long spined sea urchin. You don't have to keep them in a group but they seem happier in groups in large tanks. A group will also let the males and females choose their breeding partners. When they breed, the males incubate the eggs in a buccal pouch in their bottom jaw.

Sea urchins (especially the long spined varieties) are a pain in the finger (you thought I was going to say bottom). They chew on cables and silicon when there is no algae to eat. You don't need them for the Bangaii cardinalfish and I don't recommend them for aquariums. They also have a tendency to hide behind rocks and you often get stabbed by them when cleaning the tank. The spines are brittle and have small barbs that make it hard to remove bits that break off in your fingers. If you have to have a sea urchin in the tank, get a short spined variety, they are much easier to handle.

----------------------

Scooter blennies and Mandarin fish are not the easiest to keep, They need live rock, macro algae and plankton. If you plan on getting these types of fish, make sure the tank has been running for at least 6 months and there is lots of live rock with creepy crawlies on it.

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Banded coral shrimp are highly territorial towards other shrimp including their own kind. If you can find a bonded pr, they will be ok. But they have to choose their partners and if a shop says just grab any 2 shrimp, don't do it. The pr of banded coral shrimp must be caught together in the wild, and live together at the shop. If you can't find a pr, get one and leave it at that.

If you want a group of shrimp, get Lysmata wurdemanni (peppermint shrimp). These can be kept together in groups and will breed in an aquarium.

----------------------

Hermit crabs come in a range of sizes and the smaller species usually do better in aquariums. That is to say they are less destructive in an aquarium than the bigger ones who regularly push over rocks. All crabs (hermit and normal) will push over rocks in the aquarium so check live rock for crabs before adding it to the tank. Most hitch hiker crabs are tiny (the size of your little fingernail) but can grow into 3-4 inch+ nocturnal predators that eat anything they catch and rearrange the rocks at night.

----------------------

Duncan corals and green star polyps are fine and usually do well in aquariums.

Purple branching hammer soft coral are actually large polyp stony corals that have sweeper tentacles they send out at night to kill nearby corals. Do not have these near any other corals or anemones. Keep them at least 12 inches away from other corals and anemones.

Brain corals also have sweeper tentacles they put out at night. Keep them away from other corals too.

----------------------

Protein skimmers can be helpful but also a problem. They remove protein and help keep the water cleaner for longer so that is good. However, they also remove plankton and that is bad for coral tanks or if you have fish that need plankton.

I tried using external canister filters on coral tanks (I used a Fluval 303 years ago) but found the corals didn't do that well. I tried tickle filters and they were good but painful to set up. Eventually I went for a small internal power filter or an air operated sponge filter, lots of live rock and lots of Caulerpa. The power/ sponge filter was more of a backup if I fed the fish heavily. The Caulerpa (macro algae) and live rock did most of the filtering and also provided habitat for numerous creatures to breed. A lot of these became food for the fish and corals in the tank.

If you do use an external canister filter, don't use the fine polishing pads that come with some brands. Just use ceramic beads/ noodles and a sponge. Clean the filter each month by washing the filter media in a bucket of tank water.
 
Anthias are difficult to establish in aquariums and you want a coral tank with lots of plankton for them. They also need to be in groups of 8 or more. One male with have a territory around 3-4 feet square and will have a number of females living in it. If you want Anthias, wait until the tank has been running for at least 6 months and has a lot of live rock, coral and plankton.

----------------------

Amphiprion percula and ocellaris look very similar but the ocellaris are a lot cheaper if you can get them. They are essentially the same fish but the ocellaris comes from the Indian Ocean (west and north coast of Australia and into Indonesia), and the percula comes from the Pacific Ocean (east coast of Australia and New Guinea).

All anemonefish (Amphiprion percula and occellaris) live in pairs, or groups consisting of an adult pair and a group of smaller fish that are neither male nor female. The adult pair keep the others in their place by bullying them. In an aquarium you should just keep 1 pr. The females are usually bigger than the males. If you can't find a bonded pr, buy 2 fish from a group and try to get the biggest and smallest one from the group. The biggest will bully the smaller one for a week while it becomes female, and the smaller one will turn into a male. Then you will have a bonded pr.

You don't need an anemone for the fish but they do like to have one. If you do get an anemone, add it to the tank before you add corals. Let the anemone settle in for a month before adding corals. Anemones sometimes wander around before settling down and they can fight with corals. Allowing the anemone a month or so to settle down normally prevents any fights.

If you have anemones in an aquarium with a power filter, put a sponge on the intake of the power filter to stop the anemone being sucked in.

----------------------

Fairy wrasses can be difficult to feed and do best in well established tanks with lots of live rock, plankton and macro algae (Caulerpa and Halimeda species). They live in groups with a male ruling a harem of females. Try to keep at least 4 of them in the tank and only 1 male per species. Most of the males are much more colourful than females.

----------------------

Bangaii cardinalfish live in groups among the spines of the black long spined sea urchin. You don't have to keep them in a group but they seem happier in groups in large tanks. A group will also let the males and females choose their breeding partners. When they breed, the males incubate the eggs in a buccal pouch in their bottom jaw.

Sea urchins (especially the long spined varieties) are a pain in the finger (you thought I was going to say bottom). They chew on cables and silicon when there is no algae to eat. You don't need them for the Bangaii cardinalfish and I don't recommend them for aquariums. They also have a tendency to hide behind rocks and you often get stabbed by them when cleaning the tank. The spines are brittle and have small barbs that make it hard to remove bits that break off in your fingers. If you have to have a sea urchin in the tank, get a short spined variety, they are much easier to handle.

----------------------

Scooter blennies and Mandarin fish are not the easiest to keep, They need live rock, macro algae and plankton. If you plan on getting these types of fish, make sure the tank has been running for at least 6 months and there is lots of live rock with creepy crawlies on it.

----------------------

Banded coral shrimp are highly territorial towards other shrimp including their own kind. If you can find a bonded pr, they will be ok. But they have to choose their partners and if a shop says just grab any 2 shrimp, don't do it. The pr of banded coral shrimp must be caught together in the wild, and live together at the shop. If you can't find a pr, get one and leave it at that.

If you want a group of shrimp, get Lysmata wurdemanni (peppermint shrimp). These can be kept together in groups and will breed in an aquarium.

----------------------

Hermit crabs come in a range of sizes and the smaller species usually do better in aquariums. That is to say they are less destructive in an aquarium than the bigger ones who regularly push over rocks. All crabs (hermit and normal) will push over rocks in the aquarium so check live rock for crabs before adding it to the tank. Most hitch hiker crabs are tiny (the size of your little fingernail) but can grow into 3-4 inch+ nocturnal predators that eat anything they catch and rearrange the rocks at night.

----------------------

Duncan corals and green star polyps are fine and usually do well in aquariums.

Purple branching hammer soft coral are actually large polyp stony corals that have sweeper tentacles they send out at night to kill nearby corals. Do not have these near any other corals or anemones. Keep them at least 12 inches away from other corals and anemones.

Brain corals also have sweeper tentacles they put out at night. Keep them away from other corals too.

----------------------

Protein skimmers can be helpful but also a problem. They remove protein and help keep the water cleaner for longer so that is good. However, they also remove plankton and that is bad for coral tanks or if you have fish that need plankton.

I tried using external canister filters on coral tanks (I used a Fluval 303 years ago) but found the corals didn't do that well. I tried tickle filters and they were good but painful to set up. Eventually I went for a small internal power filter or an air operated sponge filter, lots of live rock and lots of Caulerpa. The power/ sponge filter was more of a backup if I fed the fish heavily. The Caulerpa (macro algae) and live rock did most of the filtering and also provided habitat for numerous creatures to breed. A lot of these became food for the fish and corals in the tank.

If you do use an external canister filter, don't use the fine polishing pads that come with some brands. Just use ceramic beads/ noodles and a sponge. Clean the filter each month by washing the filter media in a bucket of tank water.
Seeing as several of them need plenty of plankton I decided against using a protein skimmer and instead to rely more on macro algae plankton and live rock that is if I do get those species and I am definitely gonna have my clownfish as my first fish added before everyone else and as for why I picked Percularis I think it looks slightly prettier than the Oscelaris clownfish.

I am probably going to keep the tuxedo urchin instead of the long spine variety as it looks easier to handle and might be slightly easier to keep.

Will most certainly keep in mind some of the corals being able to sting the others when placing them in the tank as well as making sure the tank is well established and fully mature before adding the more challenging fish.

Adding a sizeable sump to grow a large amount of plankton and other similar critters in a refugium is another approach I have seen being used such as with mandarin fish although it would take additional planning ahead to do so.
 
A trickle filter with sump full of macro algae is a good way to run a coral tank.
 
The skimmer you posted fundamentally has to be in a sort of sump, in which case if you are doing a sump it’s better to maximize the sump size for the space you have and skip canister filters. All the stuff a canister can do a sump can do better if configured right. The main benefit of a canister is for sumpless setups. I am a dedicated canister filter user with marine tanks and have a lot of success getting them to colonize with filter feeders and stuff, but it’s because I only have sumpless nanos these days. If you can do a sump and are happy with the trade offs (wasn’t clear if your tank is drilled- if not that’s a potential down side) it’ll give you better filtration capacity by far than a canister.
 
The skimmer you posted fundamentally has to be in a sort of sump, in which case if you are doing a sump it’s better to maximize the sump size for the space you have and skip canister filters. All the stuff a canister can do a sump can do better if configured right. The main benefit of a canister is for sumpless setups. I am a dedicated canister filter user with marine tanks and have a lot of success getting them to colonize with filter feeders and stuff, but it’s because I only have sumpless nanos these days. If you can do a sump and are happy with the trade offs (wasn’t clear if your tank is drilled- if not that’s a potential down side) it’ll give you better filtration capacity by far than a canister.
I looked at a smaller 240 liter aquael opti tank after changing to some easier potential fish species with less demanding tank size requirements
1707663487468.png


I am guessing a sump could be installed there, but how would I do that? I do know I could probably order a pre-built sump of the appropriate size which would probably make it somewhat easier even though I would still have to learn all about plumbing and drilling is likely required here.
 
Avoid any stand made of particle board (laminated or not) or MDF. they both fall apart when they get wet.
 
Avoid any stand made of particle board (laminated or not) or MDF. they both fall apart when they get wet.
I realised that buying it with the sump and plumbing already installed is probably much easier for me as I have no idea how do plumbing or build one myself so I am probably going to go with red sea reefer G2 which is reef ready so all I need to do is to install my skimmer and any other equipment I might use
1707669011518.png
 
I am guessing a sump could be installed there, but how would I do that? I do know I could probably order a pre-built sump of the appropriate size which would probably make it somewhat easier even though I would still have to learn all about plumbing and drilling is likely required here.
That's not a good design for a sump. Sumps need to be long side-to-side to be maximally useful.

I realised that buying it with the sump and plumbing already installed is probably much easier for me as I have no idea how do plumbing or build one myself so I am probably going to go with red sea reefer G2 which is reef ready so all I need to do is to install my skimmer and any other equipment I might useView attachment 336716
If money isn't the main factor in the choice then definitely yes, getting something already designed with sump in mind will save you a lot of hassle. That tank has a built-in intake/overflow to let the water flow exclusively down to get into the sump. If you didn't have such a tank, you'd need to use a hang-on-the-back overflow, which relies on a siphon to get the water over the tank edge and draining down to the sump. If the siphon breaks, which can happen if it sucks in lots of microbubbles over time or if an anemone wiggles into the tube and blocks it...then your upper tank can overflow if you don't have a water level sensor that can switch off the return pump. Overflowing the tank rim is technically a risk on any sumped setup absent a shutoff for the return pump, it's just much less likely for a broad, strainer type interface like in the tank above to get completely clogged than it is for a single, narrow HOB siphon to break.
 
That's not a good design for a sump. Sumps need to be long side-to-side to be maximally useful.


If money isn't the main factor in the choice then definitely yes, getting something already designed with sump in mind will save you a lot of hassle. That tank has a built-in intake/overflow to let the water flow exclusively down to get into the sump. If you didn't have such a tank, you'd need to use a hang-on-the-back overflow, which relies on a siphon to get the water over the tank edge and draining down to the sump. If the siphon breaks, which can happen if it sucks in lots of microbubbles over time or if an anemone wiggles into the tube and blocks it...then your upper tank can overflow if you don't have a water level sensor that can switch off the return pump. Overflowing the tank rim is technically a risk on any sumped setup absent a shutoff for the return pump, it's just much less likely for a broad, strainer type interface like in the tank above to get completely clogged than it is for a single, narrow HOB siphon to break.
In my case I have been very very lucky as I happen to have boatloads of money inherited from my deceased grandfather that should cover all the setup and equipment costs and I will go for the G2 200 200 liter variant which should give me tons of stability and open up a wide variety of selection in terms of what fish and other critters I can keep .
 
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I've had a few reefs over time and have a small one running currently that is sumpless. I have always had sumps in the past. If you can get one with a sump I would strongly advise you do it makes life so much easier with marine. You can have skimmer reactor etc with them.
Personally I have always had better results with a skimmer.
Marine is extremely rewarding when it goes well, extremely frustrating when it doesnt and can become very expensive

My current one has been running 30 months and is in a current decent stable state but if you neglect them for any reason they can bite back
 
I've had a few reefs over time and have a small one running currently that is sumpless. I have always had sumps in the past. If you can get one with a sump I would strongly advise you do it makes life so much easier with marine. You can have skimmer reactor etc with them.
Personally I have always had better results with a skimmer.
Marine is extremely rewarding when it goes well, extremely frustrating when it doesnt and can become very expensive

My current one has been running 30 months and is in a current decent stable state but if you neglect them for any reason they can bite back
Yesterday I finally purchased almost everything I need to get things fully setup and running although I still need to obtain a quarantine aquarium and I may need some Marco rocks + more live rock so I can build the reef foundation for when much later I will add my first corals but until then this will be a fish with live rock setup so I can get used to it and figure out the basics first before moving on to the much more complex full blown reef setup.
 
Just buy dry limestone rocks for the base of the reef, it's about 100 times cheaper than live rock. Once you have the basic reef done with limestone and sandstone, add some select pieces of live rock on top of that.

Once the limestone has been in the aquarium for 6 months, it will be live rock and covered in coralline algae and other things. If you can use natural seawater, you will get tube worms and other things growing faster.
 
Just buy dry limestone rocks for the base of the reef, it's about 100 times cheaper than live rock. Once you have the basic reef done with limestone and sandstone, add some select pieces of live rock on top of that.

Once the limestone has been in the aquarium for 6 months, it will be live rock and covered in coralline algae and other things. If you can use natural seawater, you will get tube worms and other things growing faster.
I do live very close to the sea so getting access to natural seawater would not be very hard I imagine and yeah I am gonna focus on obtaining some limestone+sandstone and in general trying to get an idea of how it would look like once finished before doing anything else.

After doing some more research and looking at the fish section of the website were I bought my red sea aquarium and equipment These are the few fish I am probably going to keep in the end and besides bangai cardinals and clownfish I am most interested in the striped blenny
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and Halichoeres melanurus
1708027053644.png

as for invertebrates Banded Brittle Sea starfish would be my choice of starfish as they are easy to keep compared to many other species of starfish that are either highly predatory and not reef safe or very fragile.

Keeping things lightly stocked and not overfeeding them is probably for the best as it would reduce the amount of waste and make maintenance easier while still having a gorgeous selection of fish.
 
If you live close to the beach, grab your own water from there and if there's a few rocks with algae on, grab them too (assuming it's legal). Some countries say it's illegal to grab a few rocks from the ocean, whereas other countries don't care. You might get some snails, starfish, local anemones or crabs on the rocks too. These usually do well in aquariums as long as the water temperature doesn't fluctuate rapidly. This is especially important for marine algae. Any sudden change in temperature or salinity will usually kill the algae. When I was collecting macro algae I would take enough water from the beach to set up the tank and take rocks with algae at the same time. Then fill the tank with the natural seawater and add the rocks with algae.

Blennies are cool. It doesn't matter what species, they are all cool. They see everything, tame down really quickly, and even breed if you get a pair. Blennies have to be one of the best fish for aquariums. They are real characters.

The wrasse should be fine, just make sure it's eating at the shop before you get it. The picture is of a male, the females aren't as colourful but a dominant female fish will turn into a male. One male will have a territory with a group of females.
 

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