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Stocking a 55 gallon reef aquarium
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.06.07(Wed)18:42    Post subject: Stocking a 55 gallon reef aquarium Reply with quote

I have a 55 gallon saltwater aquarium with two leather corals, two xenia corals and a button polyp coral. I'm looking for advice on species of fish I can add to the aquarium (currently have no fish in aquarium). I've read where clowns, damsels, basslets and gobies would be good for my situation. I'm really sensitive to finding fish that are compatible, reef safe and hardy in addition to being the proper size. Does anyone have recommendations as to other species that may work? I would be interested in tangs or butterflys that stay small (5" or less) and are reef safe and hardy (already had a bought with ich on a yellow tang a few months ago). Also, how about six line wrasse? Or other wrasse? Just looking for proper stocking but as interesting as possible.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2006.06.09(Fri)0:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BB, welcome to Aof A.

I'm not the best fish advisor as my interests are fairly specific and have more to do with one or two species and corals but I can give you some thoughts on ways to approach the stocking question.

First, try not to overstock. Though it is tempting, your biggest challenge will be in the waste management arena. The more fish - the more waste. Stock lightly at first and then build up to a manageable bioload.
Second, think longterm. What species will you want to commit a lot of time and resources towards?
Develop a vision for you tank. How do you picture the final product? Do you want colour, activity, oddities etc... Will you be happy with fish only, fish and soft corals, a full blown reef setting? Each scenario requires specific equipment and will allow certain types of fish. Changing directions midstream or wandering aimlessly may mean wasted resources or incompatable fish and coral species.
Choose the fish you "must" have. This will be the species you should base all other decisions around. For my current tank it was seahorses. My wife said I "must" have them. How I built the tank and the flora and fauna I stock all revolve around their compatability with the seahorses needs.
Weigh out the environmental needs, food requirements, mature size and personalities of the fish you are considering. Can you meet and cope with them. Some of the fish you have suggested are indeed hardy but can be very aggressive while others have a poor record in captivity due to specific dietary needs.
Try not to stock species (that require live foods) that compete for the same food resources.

I wish I could be more specific as to species but perhaps someone with more experience will chip in.

I'll start the ball rolling by suggesting a theoretical beginning stocking list, just for discussion sake:

Pair of clownfish (C.B. ocellaris)
1 scooter blenny or 1 goby (perhaps a bicolor or clown)
(As an alternative I would suggest 1 lawnmower blennie for algae control but they can become somewhat aggressive with age)
1 or 2 orange firefish
1 skunk cleaner shrimp

Hope this helps,
good luck.
Intelligence is not having all the answers; it's knowing how to think!
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006

PostPosted: 2006.06.16(Fri)17:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dale.

Well, I got started. I just purchased a single clown and a yellow clown goby. Both seem to have acclimated pretty well. I'm a little leary of adding Firefish since I have an open top. I understand that they are jumpers. I'm thinking now about adding a Royal Gramma and a Blue Neon Goby in a week or two.
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.06.16(Fri)19:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hope you are using a quarantine tank for all new arrivals?
This protocol is essential for your long term success...

There is no such thing as a hardy butterflyfish.

Caution: clownfish will also jump out of an open tank.
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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Joined: 04 Jul 2006
Location: Northwest

PostPosted: 2006.07.04(Tue)7:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

You won't ever regret carefully choosing members for the community!
Due to tank size, I wouldn't advise any tang or butterfly. They require room, as well as a well-established tank. Also these fish are reputed to damage corals.
The wrasse family does include some very attractive fish, though as with most species, you have to plan ahead in choosing.
Fairy Wrasses are nice, even-tempered and active fish. Most are reasonably priced. Easy to care for.
What type of clown do you have? And who is your clean-up crew?
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