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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am still into fish keeping and while I do miss my Betta fish as does the office my boss has been kind enough to let me set up and keep a smallish (for reefing) tank in my Office. So naturally as this is the main attraction for the room I decided on a Predator tank with the most Venomous things that I can fit in here.

Introducing my Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish, the Real Swim Shady
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Hoping to add a Valentini Puffer fish and keep this mostly FOWLR (fish only with live rock) unless my Bubble Tipped Anemones continue splitting in my home reef then i need to upgrade the lights and hope everything in the tank doesn't sting and eat each other
 

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Oh. My. Goodness. You have a lionfish!!!!
What's your kiddos name!?

That is EPIC!
I'm really looking into a reef tank when I'm older and keeping a lionfish, would you be willing to answer questions about it at some point?? If not, no worries!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He is called the Real Swim Shady after an office poll for the name, Snoop Cod came in a close 2nd place, then Wiz KaReefer.

More then happy answering questions, that is what these forums are all about sharing knowledge and experience. I also have a Mantis Shrimp in another tank so have two of my dream animals finally. He is in a Red Sea Max 130D (so 29gallons or 110 litre display), the main thing with reef keeping is patience and letting things stabilise and doing your best to keep them there

Marine invertebrates Underwater Organism Coastal and oceanic landforms Marine biology

above is my Mantis Shrimp and the reason I cannot have fish in the tank

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Started with a single Bubble Tipped Anemone about 5 months ago, I now have 5 of them as the mother seems to split once a month
 

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I absolutely adore those names, they're great!! And Real Swim Shady is just awesome!

That's so cool!! Are Mantis Shrimp the ones that can see a ridiculous amount of colours? Does he/she have a name?

Thanks as well! I'll pick your brain then.. LOL

How do you keep the salt to water ratio at the right amount? Is there a way to tell?

How much does Real Swim Shady eat and what does he get food wise?

What are the parameters for a reef tank?

How often do you do water changes?

How difficult would you say it is to keep a reef tank?

I might have more questions later.. I'll just ask that many right now though :LOL:
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah the Mantis shrimps are the ones with 16 colour cones to differentiate colours (we have 3) my Mantis Shrimp is called Vergis.

You need a variety of test kits and equipment to monitor multiple things in the tank.

Salinity - Refractometer, this measures the amount of salt in the water.
Temperature - I run a temp controller and a standard "non mercury" thermometer
Ammonia - want this to be 0 - i use Red Sea or Salifert test kits
Nitrates - i run these 10-20ppm i use Salifert test kits
Phosphates - i run these 0.05 to 0.1 I use Salifert Test kits
Depending on what corals you keep (SPS and LPS) you will also need to monitor Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium, as i dont keep sticks (SPS Corals) i dont test for these as they are not utilised by the animals that i keep.

I feed Swim Shady 3 times a week, he gets a mixture of a lancefish (one approx 4" long), frozen Krill and Frozen Mussels, each of these i feed approximately half a tube. The clean up crew in the tank takes care of anything that has been left behind.

My Parameters are as follows (this is for both tanks as I have found this is what my tanks naturally stabalise at, so i dont try and deviate from the numbers.)
Temperature - 78-79F
Salinity - 1.020 (FOWLR) and 1.025 (Mantis Reef - I have soft corals and anemones that need more salt in the water)
Ammonia - 0
Nitrates - 10-20ppm
Phosphates - 0.05-0.1

I dont water change either tank, but I do have an Automatic Top Off device (ATO) that keeps the salinity stable by replacing the evaporated water with clean fresh RODI, I also run a Macroalgae refugium to keep Ammonia, Nitrates and Phosphates to the levels that I want. I harvest and give away this algae to other reefers who have herbivorous fish to feed (tangs and blennies), in my Mantis tank the soft corals take on the job of nutrient control, much like a planted tank.

The most difficult part of a reef tank is the first 6 months, as that is the stage where the biological filtration is established and you enter the "ugly phase" where a lot of different types of algae start to establish themselves and work out a balance. I feel that many people go wrong at this point as they want to have that designer fish or coral. Both my tanks went entirely fallow for a full 3 months before i turned on the lights and let algae grow so i could add my clean up crew and start building life from the smallest t largest.

I find that a Reef once established is far more stable then a freshwater set up, but everyone is different and no two tanks are the same. Also it doesnt help that there are multiple ways to start and run a reef tank these days, so i chose to go against internet wisdom and follow how my grandfather set up his reef tanks in the late 70s and 80s. Seems to work well and i have not had to deal with the real pains of reefing (Dinoflagellates)
 

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Oooo thanks!! That's intriguing.

Where do you find everything you need? Are there specific online stores?

Do you have to do anything special for the corals?

I also never thought that saltwater tanks would get algae, that's cool! How different are the saltwater varieties from freshwater?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Equipment wise I hang out on a few saltwater forums so typically snap up any sales on the classifieds, alternatively my LFS stocks a lot of saltwater equipment and what they don't they can order in for me. You can also use amazon but I prefer to support my local store, breeders and businesses.

BRS is a popular site for marine equipment in the USA but in my opinion the only real difference is that you want more flow or velocity in your water movement and different lighting (more blue spectrum and more wattage mostly) although you can use freshwater lighting to grow macroalage and sea grass (decorative seaweed). Also I have seen many people take advantage of the dollar per gallon sales, that are now 50% off o believe. Hell my first tank I used a standard aquarium, cannister filter and a par38 bulb, got laughed off the Internet but that tank looked amazing and was stable for 2 years before covid forced the office to close.

Corals typically get most of their nutrients from photosynthesis as well as some nutrients from the water column. All use Nitrates and phosphates, anything with a skeleton requires calcium,magnesium and other trace minerals which the salt that you mix with RO or RODI usually provide. Unless you have a heavily stocked sps tank with huge coral colonies in which case you most likely want to dose and then automate. I don't that's not relaxing or fun for me.

Algae in a reef tank, hmmmmm. That's a long post, some are easy to remove and just look ugly (cyanobacteria), green hair algae, then get things like coralline algae (which does consume calcium so sps keepers don't like it, I think it looks interesting and glows pink under blue lights) then you get the pest algae like dinos, crysophytes, etc. Most things actually eat this algae, but as a reef keeper you need to keep it trimmed back for the Snails to be able to control it further. A lot of the skills are transferable, just slightly more complex in a marine tank
 

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Woah, the one glows under light!? That's awesome!!

Thank you so much for all the information and answering my questions too, it's fascinating!! :)

You've definitely got me convinced to have a reef tank one day. They sound like a sort of challenge but also fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So firstly I do not like the heavy blue (actinic) so my lights are close to the freshwater spectrum as I think gives a more natural look.
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Under blues certain colours produce a highly florescent colour. I tried to take from the same position. Plus my phone hates the blues and I cannot be bothered to play with the white balance or clip on lenses to filter the blue out.
Blue Plant Purple Organism Aqua


You can also see the anemones reaction to losing the other colour spectrums (shrinks but will expand tentacles with bubbles to make more surface area).

Also Anemones will walk all over the tank, if you look at the first picture on the top left corner you can see my sand dwelling anemone at the water line 🤦‍♂️
 

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They walk!?!
How do they do that??
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I went into my LFS today, wanted to have a look at the plants, both Aquatic and Terrestrial as well as the Betta's. I was shocked at the price that they are selling a Betta for. A "Standard" fish retails for about £25.00, if you want a "premium" or different colour I am looking at roughly £35-£40. I picked up my Lionfish for roughly that price and spotted this absolute Beauty in store. Sadly I dont have my large tank up and running and cycled as otherwise I would have no second thoughts picking up this guy.
Water Blue Liquid World Rectangle

Vertebrate Water Underwater Natural material Marine biology
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Water Azure Blue Terrestrial plant Underwater


Thankfully the plants are affordable, so at the very least the planned DIY tank can still go ahead and I can have an Orchid Paludarium with Waterfall
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So on Friday I decided to take a small risk and have some Mollies in the tank to act as dither fish for Swim Shady (the idea being to encourage him to use more of the tank then he currently is, he mostly hides under the weir). So after a long acclimation of 4 hours I acclimatised the Mollies to Saltwater and let them get used to the tank.

Within an hour Swim Shady had spotted them and was lurking after them around the tank.
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Lights out time, love seeing all the details on this little guy.
Water Fish Terrestrial animal Underwater Scorpionfish


I have also placed a reservation for the final two fish for this tank, after that it will be focusing on the aquascape and rockwork to allow for more hiding and swimming spaces, I have noticed that Swim Shady likes to perch on my powerhead and wavemaker.

So the first fish is another Oddity, the Long Nosed Hawkfish
Scaled reptile Fin Fish Marine invertebrates Underwater


And the final fish for the tank is a Valentini Puffer fish
Water Fin Underwater Fish Marine biology


So all three of the fish contain a venom , with the puffer containing the most dangerous. Then I may look into getting some easy and colourful corals once the new rockwork has matured and I have gone through the ugly stage again.

Anyway onto Water Change and Tank maintenance now, so a busy afternoon in the Office
Body jewelry Necklace Jewellery Eyewear Bracelet
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Does anyone ever make an online order and forget all about it? Well i have, i forgot that i had ordered some Blue Discosoma Mushroom Corals, They arrived today shortly after my Amazon order.

Ignore my Weir Gate, this is an OOOOOOOOLD tank and is held together with a lot of bodge jobs.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So a few shots from around the tank, I added the rocks and mushrooms around my main rockwork as a sort of rubble zone. These corals propagate fast and walk around the tank so I will expect soon to have a lot of these throughout the tank. Not a problem as my LFS will take in Corals for Store credit and i do have an affinity for Reef tanks that are predominantly Soft Coral Based (Softies) Also have a snail in shot working the new algae of the rubble.

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Below is one of my favourite Clean up Crew member a Nassarius Snail, these are Detritus eaters that live in the same with only there trunk exposed until the sense food, then they emerge from the sand like a Zombie raising from the grave hence the Hobby's nickname of Zombie Snails.
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Blue Discosoma Mushroom currently these are about 1/8"-1/2" but can and will grow up to 1.5" wide
Organism Marine invertebrates Underwater Fungus Terrestrial animal


Electric Blue Leg HErmit Crab, another Clean up Crew member, eats some algaes (not film) as well as Detritus.
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The main attraction waiting for breakfast.
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1) 25 litres, Espresso the betta,2) 60 litres with 2 blue rams,3) my cat!
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I'm in love with this fish:love:🥰 Maybe I should consider stealing him...🤨jk
 
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