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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! Over the past 3 months or so, I've reading absolutely anything online that I could find about reefs, tanks, refugiums, DSB, etc etc. I noticed that I started getting most of the advice/info that I'm using from this site, so I decided to register. :thumbup:

Ok, I know a lot of people on here will really know what they are talking about so here is my current setup. Nothing has water in it yet, but its all plumbed and ready for water, unless someone thinks otherwise.

I have a 75 gallon (not drilled) that I want to use as a reef tank. I have two wave maker 800GPH powerheads that will be used in the tank. I've got an overflow that will send water down to the sump/refuge (which I made out of a 29 gallon glass tank) which will sit in the stand below the tank. From there, water will flow through the refuge (DSB, live rock rubble, chaeto, and hopefully tons of pods/etc) to the last chamber where it will be pumped back up to the display tank. Hopefully everything sounds ok so far.

I plan on soft coral, no hard corals or anything right now.

If all else is good, I need advice on critters and fish. I've read both ways about a refuge... put crabs/snails/etc in... dont put those in. What is everyones thoughts about that?

I've also read that a flame angel can be put in a reef tank. I remember hearing before reading ^ that angels arent the best for reefs because they can eat the coral. What do you think?

Heres a list of fish/critters that I've compiled that would be ok... let me know.

- flame angel
- pacific blue tang
- mandarin goby
- diamond sleeper goby
- green chromis (a couple)
- nassarius snails
- emerald crabs
- coral banded shrimp

What else could/should I add, or what wouldnt work? Sorry its such a long first post. I've tried smaller reefs before, but this time I want to make sure I've got EVERY angle covered so that I do it right the first time! Thanks in advance. :)
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Welcome to TRT! You've definately come to the right place. Everyone here is always willing to help. Your list sounds pretty good right now I think. What type of lighting will you be using? I'd recommend T5HO if you plan on keeping soft corals. On the fish choices I think they are good. The flame angel I've heard can be a well behaved reef fish sometimes but I've heard other times can be a terror too. It might just depend on the individual fish itself. Mandarins are hard to care for as they require ALOT of live rock for grazing pods. It's very difficult to get them to eat anything else. This makes them a more difficult fish to keep but they are sure beautiful fish. Ocellaris clowns are nice flashy reef fish that are hardy and not agressive. They get along with just about anything. There are some amazingly beautiful butterflyfish that are more reef friendly than others as well. With a 75 gallon you can have your choice of a few nice looking fish so your setup should turn out very nice. Again, welcome and ask all the questions you need.
 

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Kid Reefer
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Welcome to TRT!
Your list sounds pretty good but i also agree that the mandarin will be hard to keep, diamond gobies most of the time slowly starve in our tanks, and the flame angel could be a major terror but ive heard about plenty that are nice fish and dont harm any corals.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I have read that the mandarin can be tricky... I've got a mag pump on my filter that I was hoping would send some pods into the DT from the fuge. I know that the bigger ones will get diced, but the smaller ones should be ok right? I guess if not enough get up to the tank, then the fish would starve. What would I do at that point if i did decide to get one? Perhaps just take some of the cheato from the fuge and shake it off in the DT? ibanez2k, when you say a LOT of live rock, how much are you talking about exactly? Perhaps if they are that difficult to feed and keep, I may hold off on that. They are very cool tho.
I've had one small saltwater before, but beyond that I dont have much experience. With that point, I dont know of all of the fish that are out there. Can you guys recommend any bright, colorful, pretty fish that are reef safe?
How many crabs/snails would be overkill? I'll probably only do 1 coral banded, as I've read they dont get along with others. And on that point, should I put in any other shrimp or inverts (blood shrimp, anything else)?
Oh, and for lighting. I was looking at a 4 bulb T5HO (2 actinic 2 10k) for $169 shipped. Would this be enough light, or should I go with a 6 bulb setup?

EDIT: I forgot to ask about the diamond sleeper goby. I like them because they sift through the sand and get it all clean and pretty :) What other fish/inverts would do this? Sand sifter star or possibly a brittle/serpent star? (I know the green ones will eat fish)
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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I can't say I'm sure on exact amounts of live rock needed to help keep up a population of pods enough for a mandarin. It's best to have about 1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon of seawater you have. I'd say you should at least have about 2 lbs of rock per gallon and let your tank mature about 6 months at least before introducing the mandarine. Perhaps someone else will chime in with more experiance on that.
 

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Welocome to TRT! we all always here to help. you got a nice first tank. If I was you i would get around 70 pounds of live rock. a pound per gallon, a little more is even better. take a month before you put fish in. I wouldn't get any kind of crab because they might eat your inverts and fish when they get bigger. But that's me. but ya you got the right idea!:thumbup:
 

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If you want a flame angel fish do NOT get two unless you get a tank of 120 gallons or more. They keep well with larger specimen so no worries about that.
 

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Marine Addict: 75g Habit
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how i keep my mandarin and other ideas

welcome to TRT

:hismiley:

i have a mandarin and here's what i do to keep him fat and happy in my 55g...

i have a refuge stup up just as you describe, i have 5 pieces of live rock about a pound each. i then pull one piece a week out of the refugium when the lights are off in the sump area and place it in my display on the sand bed while the display is in full daylight. this causes the pods to go scrambling form the rock and thus seeding my display with pods. i leave the rock for 24 hours and then move it back to the refuge. this has kept my mandarin fat and happy for 6 months now.

now here's the difficult part...it took 3 months for me to have a pod population that was self sustaining...i bought bottles of pods every other week at $20 a pop to keep him fed until i could cut back to every 3 weeks i have now not added pods for nearly 2 months and he is staying fat. my advice is either wait for 6 months or plan to spend $40/month keeping him fed for awhile...otherwise it is a very hardy fish and absolutely my favorite fish in the tank...

about the clowns...keep in mind that although they are "reef safe" this mostly refers to the fact that they won't view corals & inverts as food sources...however, they are tough fish and that means they'll try to rearrange rocks, corals, clams as they see fit and this can be hard on these inverts...also, unless they are very happy with having a place to host, they will see you LPS as a place to host, i have an open brain that is struggling right now because my larger of the pair wants to treat it like an anemone and i believe it is damaging the open brain's delicate tissues

i think you're dong a great job researching and moving slowly keep that practice and you will limit your chance of mistakes, although you will certainly still encounter them...TRT has been a lifesaver for the inhabitants of my tank

good luck and share lots of pics as you go along
 

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Discussion Starter #10
wow lots of good info. thanks everyone! the mandarin is looking like more and more of a big deal to keep. i think i'll wait until im sure i can keep him healthy and happy. i still have a question about the diamond sleeper goby tho. if I dont go with one of those, what would be the next best choice to keep the sand clean? i think sand sifting stars are out since they will plow through the sand and eat everything in it. what about a serpent star, say a harlequin or banded?
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Tonga Nassarius snails are AMAZING! Throw a few of those in your tank and they will not only help keep your sandbed stirred up but they are carnivorous and will make LIGHTNING work out of anything that happens to die in your tank. They will pop out of the sand, consume everything, and go back into the sand again. You'll probably never have to worry about an animal dieing and poluting your tank again. They are very cool. You have to give them regular meaty bits though if your tank is pretty clean. I've never even seen them touch algae before. Amazing for your sand though!
 

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wow lots of good info. thanks everyone! the mandarin is looking like more and more of a big deal to keep. i think i'll wait until im sure i can keep him healthy and happy. i still have a question about the diamond sleeper goby tho. if I dont go with one of those, what would be the next best choice to keep the sand clean? i think sand sifting stars are out since they will plow through the sand and eat everything in it. what about a serpent star, say a harlequin or banded?
Yea in the past ive done mandarins before without much succes to the point now when i see em in the LFS i know there pretty much doomed :peeved: so yea IME id wait 6 months or so untill you see very big numbers of pods in your display tank as well in your fuge. Along with seeding it with the rocks, you can also make "Pod Condos".

Also stay away from the Harlequin Shrimp unless you plan on feeding it a steady supply of star fish.

Anyways welcome to TRT and good luck, be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
hey that pod condo is actually kinda cool... i like that idea. ok so i'll get some snails and see how they handle everything. thanks again guys!
 
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