I don't think I've ever heard of any problems from copepods. If you're going to have a mandarin (I really want one, but don't have a tank big enough atm), you will want pods. Amazingly, you're tank would actually large enough to support a copepod population that's large enough to handle a mandarin or two.
I'm hoping to have a pair of mandarins
I love the pods in my tank! They are little algea munching machines. This was something I noticed post cycle. As the algea in my tank increases, so did my pods. Then one day I noticed that I had less pods and vitrually NO algea on ANY of my glass. I was impressed with these little critters cleaning skills. Then I put my clowns in and they ate them all.... But on the bright side it was free live food!
Agreed, I think I'll be encouraging the reproduction of copepods in my reef
Dry rock is a lot cheaper of course, thats always a benefit ! Also, in a 200g system you are going to be surprised at how little you can actually see on the rockwork compaired to a nano
I think the tank will be a peninsula so I'm not sure how the rock-work is going to look.
Well, "clean" systems are just that--clean (or *cleaner*). While probably more visually appealing for most, they just seem incomplete to me. I guess it all depends upon one's goals. Mine is to make a more complete, fully functional ecosystem. This doesn't always result in the typical TOTM-style tank, which is, IMHO, far from a completely functional ecosystem. They rely too much on care of the aquarist to maintain the health of the animals. This is where, IME, the advantage of natural systems shines--they are, quite simply, more biologically stable. Depending upon the system and its inhabitants, this biological stability far outpaces a typical "clean" system.
My previous 40g system and my current setup (as well as my first reef setup) are a prime example of this in action. My 40g was started almost entirely clean, with a single piece of live rock in the entire system. Corals were always dipped, inspected, etc. I also had dosing equipment, temperature controllers, etc., as well as a very oversized skimmer. The slightest mistake on this system would tilt it in the wrong direction--not changing water often enough, not cleaning the skimmer often enough or carefully enough, not changing filter sock, etc. I could practically sneeze at it and something would go wrong. It looked great and corals looked decent. That was until I couldn't keep up with the constant maintenance required to run it, then it went downhill entirely. That turned around partially when I made a refugium for it and added an algal scrubber. Maintenance was very slightly less, mostly requiring the skimmer to be cleaned and scrubber to be scraped. Then the power went out and killed the scrubber. The tank went reeling, building up NO3 very rapidly and practically wiped out everything. This tank was nowhere close to as stable as my first reef system of 75g ("natural," minus skimmer), which was rock solid. It even survived power outages for a week or more during during several hurricanes. My current little system requires little maintenance outside of heavy feeding and occasional carbon usage. It has survived power outages, cold temps, etc., as well without any issues.
Anyway, this has been my experience with different system types, as well as what I've observed elsewhere, such as LFS displays. I'll stick to simplicity and biological stability any day, FWIW.
Thanks for the well written and descriptive post.
I feel that the best option, for both aesthetics as well as functionality, will be to add copepods and use a chosen CUC to scavenge, sift the sand, etc.
If I feel the need I will introduce various other HH to the system.So, on that note, does anyone have any suggestions as to what HH are good for a tank?