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Valued Contributor
The_Big_A
Posts: 2,078
Registered: ‎07-06-2012
Accepted Solution

Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

[ Edited ]

Ok, so I know I've been posting a lot of questions.. but I'm trying to get this forum going again. Anyway, most people buy an aquarium and the decide what fish they want in it and overstock it. Would it not it be better to pick out the fish first and the number of fish first then buy the aquarium? For example when I upgrade my reef tank I want certain fish:

 

  • Coral Beauty or Flame Angelfish
  • Royal Gramma Basslet
  • Tail Spot Blenny
  • Spotted Cardinalfish X3
  • Ocellaris Clownfish
  • Purple Firefish
  • Green Mandarin
  • Neon Blue Goby
  • Catalina Goby


These fish add up to a total of 33 inches so then I would go buy a 40 gallon tank if I had the room and money. If not I would remove fish and downsize. Wouldn't this make everything easier? Also, I have a question. Do corals add to the bioload? For example with the remaining 7 gallons on left over water from fish would there be a limit on the number of corals or could I add as many as I would like?

"Whatever happens, happens. I just go with the flow." - Linsey Weenk
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Respected Contributor
Darwin_Ahoy
Posts: 2,805
Registered: ‎06-23-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

There are a few issues to tackle here. First, your question on corals adding to the bioload. They do. However, more importantly, fish add LOTS more, and in tanks where corals are to be the focus, many people tend to go light on the fish to help improve water quality for the coral. In a 40 breeder, I would keep it to just a few very small fish.

 

Second, the 1"/gallon rule is out the window for saltwater. Too much aggression, and too much need for high water quality.

 

Third, there are some issues with your stocking choices.

 

-Catalina gobies are temperate, and should never be kept in tropical tanks. They cannot handle the high temperatures long term.

 

-Mandarins, and the majority of the dragonets, must have steady supplies of live foods, particularly copepods and amphipods. These feed continuously throughout the day, and unless the tank is large and well established, with LOTS of live rock, they mostly inevitably starve to death. For a beginner, I would not recommend less than a 75 gallon reef that is at least 8-12 months old. There are captive bred specimens coming available, however, that may prove to be more suited.

 

-The cardinalfish may fight, depending on the ratio of males/females you acquire. You may do better to get 5-6 and let themselves whittle themselves down to a workable group. While these are "schooling", their schools are often made of a somewhat complex social structure of harems congregating together, and males may actually be quite aggressive with each other.

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Respected Contributor
Darwin_Ahoy
Posts: 2,805
Registered: ‎06-23-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

OH, the cardinals are also REALLY good at eating shrimp, so watch them. The angels are also not always reef safe, so you will have to watch them, too.

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Valued Contributor
The_Big_A
Posts: 2,078
Registered: ‎07-06-2012

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

[ Edited ]

Yes you are right, I just went on www.liveaquaria.com and picked a few fish to make an example out of. Those aren't my real plans....heck I don't even have plans since I will not be upgrading for a while. If anything this would be my next dream aquarium... In a few years (http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/185galloncornerbowfront48x48x24byclarityplus-1.aspx).

"Whatever happens, happens. I just go with the flow." - Linsey Weenk
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Respected Contributor
huachinango
Posts: 5,406
Registered: ‎07-22-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

I am with Darwin on all this. Especially his point about light stocking for a reef.  Sometimes--sometimes--you can get away with a dwarf angel depending on what inverts you choose.  Some inverts are almost irresistible to them, and sometimes in a very large system the damage they inflict is so slight and can be overcome.

 

Remember that David Saxby mega-aquarium on YouTube? He did have a GoldFlake Angel in the tank, and there's no telling what mischief that creature was doing, but the tank was so gigantic with so many potential coral targets for the angel to address, it is doubtful he killed anything. . .

 

Now the bad news about dwarf angels: they are very idiosyncratic  as far as their preferences go, and many are collected from very wide and differing reefs.  The one you purchase comes with no guarantees, and despite your own thorough-going research on the species, it may confound everything you have been led to believe about them once it is in your tank.

 

Your list ignores some good little wrasses that are reef safe, so I would check them out, too.

 

 

“The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
― John L. Culliney
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Valued Contributor
KatS
Posts: 1,633
Registered: ‎06-02-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

[ Edited ]

When a customer is considering a tank. I first ask what do you want in your tank before I discuss the size of the tank. But you are correct Big_A, most people look at it from the other way around and are really disappointed when they discover that the tank they just bought wont accommodate the fish they want. They see certain colors of fish and they don't consider anything else.  It also makes it easier when you have to purchase your supplies for the tank. Why buy a kit if you have to upgrade the lighting or filter? 

 

I know that you said that this wasn't your stocking list, but I'll also add that there is an order of which fish you should add. Usually dwarf angels are one of the last fish you add to your tank. 

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Respected Contributor
huachinango
Posts: 5,406
Registered: ‎07-22-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

True.  Even the dwarf angels can be pushy, so it's a good idea to add them later or last.  Tangs are always my main concern when devising a stocking plan.  They should almost always be added last.  The only time I have gotten away with adding anything after tangs, is the occasional wrasse, (who may not be seen as a food competitor by the tang).  Even so, my Bird wrasse LOVES algae sheets, too.  And I have also been able to sneak a butterfly into a tank housing a Tang.  Sometimes.  In my 210, I recently added a second Raccoon BF.  I am not sure the tangs could figure out that there was suddenly more than one raccoon! Tang personalities remind me of Patrick Starfish on SpongeBob: they are not "bright" but they can have a ton of unexpected belligerence and attitude!  A short while ago I had to move a BF from one tank to another.  The little xanthurus BF got some initial heat from the tangs, but it has since become a pushy little dude himself.  It is the smallest fish in my 210, yet it can bluff my angels and all the larger butterflies, some of them four times its size!  It does this to defend its place at the dining table when I feed algae sheets. Funny to watch!

 

This does not always work.  When I purchased my longnose BF this summer, I initially put him in the 210, but my Powder Brown Tang was relentlessly mean to him.  He ended up in the 120.   In the past, I have yanked tangs out and put them into temporary QT while I introduced new fish.  This has always worked for me. After a week, you put the tang back in, and it thinks it is the new kid on the block! Like Dory in "Finding Nemo", they don't seem to have an overlong memory or attention-span, either!

“The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
― John L. Culliney
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Valued Contributor
The_Big_A
Posts: 2,078
Registered: ‎07-06-2012

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

I feel that if you are going to buy more than one species of tang or angel or trigger, even clowns, you should add each one of the species in the quantity you want in order from least to most aggressive. For example say I want a 3 Tangs: a yellow, Blue Tang, and a Sailfin Tang - 2 Angelfish: Flame Angelfish, and Coral Beauty - 8 Clownfish: 2 Ocellaris, 2 Tomato, 2 True Percula, and 2 Marrons - 5 Triggers: a Clown, a Bursa, a Humu Rectangle, a Blue Throat, and a Pinktail. First I would add the least aggressive fish the 8 Clownfish and let them establish their territory, then I would add the Angelfish, then the Tangs, and then last the most aggressive the Triggers.
"Whatever happens, happens. I just go with the flow." - Linsey Weenk
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Respected Contributor
Darwin_Ahoy
Posts: 2,805
Registered: ‎06-23-2011

Re: Sizing an Aquarium Backwards??

And then the clown trigger will have a nice big tank all to himself. Haha.

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