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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the whole reef tank system but have owned aquariums before so I am well aware of the maintenance involved with operating a reef tank. Currently I have NOT started cycling the water in the tank bc I am waiting for my ro/di system to arrive in the mail. My setup is a 40 gallon long tank with a 10 gallon sump. The sump is set up with a filter sock, a small refugium and protein skimmer. Currently I have about 50 lbs of base rock, about 40 lbs of base sand, and a 20 lb bag of live sand ( I am going to get about 10-20 lbs of live rock wen i can start cycling the water). As I mentioned I do not know a lot about what species are more likely to survive and how to go about stocking. Any advice would be appreciated. What is a good hearty starter fish and What are some easy to take care of coral to start with? Also, What should I put in the fuge?
 

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You can't go wrong with peaceful clowns. As for coral, mushrooms are hardy. What lights are you thinking of getting?
 

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There are many starter fish you could go with clowns are pretty easy cromis are too and for corals the easyist coral you can put in your tank i think is mushrooms they dont need to be feed and they dont need a ton of light
 

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clowns and damsels are great....just take caution with damsels and maroon clowns as they tend to be territorial and aggressive.
 

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life is BeAuTiFuL! <3
New 16g BioCube Gen 3, April 2021... back at the habit!
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Hello and welcome!

I agree with ezera - damsels are great starters but it's hard to introduce other fish with them later, as they can be little jerks.
Gobies or blennies usually do well, too.

As for coral - xenia and mushrooms are two hardy, low maintenance corals. They're softies, meaning no skeleton, but don't need anything special like unique lighting or a hand feeding. They both actually prefer slightly dirty water too, which is good when you're getting the hang of your tank cycling.

You can also always get some reef hermits when you first introduce fish - they'll help keep the tank clean, they're also hardy, and very cute!

I'm glad you're using live sand and live rock - I definitely think that's the way to go.

Good luck to you and let us know what you get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone for your helpful responses! I just had no clue of what to get to be successful. I'm just trying to plan ahead and do things right the first time rather than having a headache later down the road. The lights I'm getting are 36" T5 HO 2 x 10k and 2 x Actinic and possibly some lunar lights as well. I've been looking into light cycles as well and I've decided I would let the actinic bulbs come on one hour before the 10k and one hour after they go off (and they would be staying on throughout the 10k cycle of course) Is there any way to introduce the species in a specific order...i.e, fish first, then hermit crabs later down the road, then coral when the water is well cycled? I for sure want a clown fish and possible a butterfly fish later, but i'm worried about overstocking due to the 2" per 10 gallons rule. I will only have about 45 gallons total and i know clown fish can grow to be about 8" long, so that fish alone would allocate the entire space. Would it be possible to stock more fish if i keep up with the water levels? I will post pictures when i get my setup up and running :)
 

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The 2" per 10 gal rule doesn't really apply as much in saltwater, it's more the bioload produced by the fish. For instance a chromis doesn't produce as much waste as a clown and a clown doesn't produce near as much waste as a tang. I would stay away from tangs in your tank until you upgrade to a larger one ;-). A clown and 2 or 3 other fish with similar bioload will be fine in your tank. It'll take years for a clown to grow large and I personally haven't ever seen one that got to be 8". Maybe in the wild? As far as the hermit crabs they need a food source so either wait until you have a fish in there or if you have a an algae problem. I agree mushrooms and xenia are hardy and easy to keep but Xenia will spread really fast so you'll have to keep them pruned back. Some stores will buy them from you but my lfs aren't interested because theirs spread so fast they never need them lol. Good luck! You're definately starting off right by asking questions. There's a lot of great help on here
 

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I would start with a few Damsels and hold off on all coral for at least 4-6 weeks. Gotta give the live rock and sand time to cycle properly. Even though some corals can accept "dirty" water, spikes in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are not beneficial. Wait until you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and minimal nitrates before adding the coral.

It is important to understand this is more a marathon than a sprint and you really need to exercise patience with salt water systems. Especially if you intend to have a reef tank.

After the tank cycles properly, you can remove the damsels and place other fish in the system.
 

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There is no reason to put damsels in your tank to start it off. You can properly cycle a tank using a piece of shrimp.

Damsels are mean and aggressive. Your small sized tank will only make the aggression worse.
 

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Yes, clowns are in the damsel family.

I would not recomend putting them in a tank to cycle it either. There is no need for a fish to be used to cycle an aquarium.
 

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There is no reason to put damsels in your tank to start it off. You can properly cycle a tank using a piece of shrimp.

Damsels are mean and aggressive. Your small sized tank will only make the aggression worse.
+1


Although clowns are damsels they are a peaceful fish and not aggressive or territorial with the exception of the maroon clowns. My first fish was a blue damsel and my second was a perc clown. I've regretted getting the blue damsel from day 1. He chased my sixline wrasse for 2 days and when I put my speckled hawk in he bit all of the fuzzy white puffs off of his back. With 4 kids they wouldn't let me get rid of him so I had to set up a 24 gal tank just to house the damsel. If you want a clown start with that after your tank is cycled.
 

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+1, its just cruel to the fish. i have never used fish to cycle and my tanks have always been fine, using a fish seems unnecessary. just wait until its cycled and get the fish you actually want to have. damsels are a bad choice, their cheap and colorful but aggressive and will kill most if not all other fish. and yes clowns are in the damsel family and some clowns are aggressive (tomato, cinnamon, maroon) but others (skunk, clarkii, oscellaris) are not aggressice usually and make goos tank mates. true percs can be aggressive too
 

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i love tomato clowns. i would completely recomend a midas blenny, super hardy. As for coral zoo's are great, so are riccordia ( dont get yuma its hard get florida riccordia) Also Xinia ( i love the way it pulses). Dont get Damsels they are a trap! They will end up killing peaceful fish.
 

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Didi would start with either clown fish or chromies and to start with coral I would start with a leather toadstool or leather coral.
 

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i love tomato clowns. i would completely recomend a midas blenny, super hardy. As for coral zoo's are great, so are riccordia ( dont get yuma its hard get florida riccordia) Also Xinia ( i love the way it pulses). Dont get Damsels they are a trap! They will end up killing peaceful fish.
xenia is too hard to look after need to give it awhile before thinking of them and damsels arnt bad. As long as they are the last fish to be put in the tank and not kept with there own kind. I have a four stripped damsels who plays with mt clown fish and gets cleaned by my cleaner wresse
 

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i wouldnt recommend xenia, it either loves or hates your tank. it hates mine and after 3 times of trying i gave up. others have to cut it back all the time to keep it form overtaking the entire tank. i would go with a leather, zoas or mushrooms/ricordeas for a first coral. zoas are always a good choice because they are easy to take care of, really colorful and you can always add more and have a "zoa garden" like i kind of have
 

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I happen to like damsels. They are feisty and cute and help break the monotony during the cycling process. They are a good interim choice because they can stand tough water conditions while still providing something to look at. I started with 4 of them for the first couple of months, then took them back to my LFS and traded up for a maroon clown and 4 line wrasse.
 
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