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Fish or Coral First?


richast

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On 12/3/2018 at 11:20 PM, banasophia said:

From my perspective, when someone is new to the saltwater hobby, there’s so much to learn, so it’s good to simplify and not overwhelm people with too much information they aren’t ready for. 

Isn't the flip side of that something like:  

 

"We'll just overwhelm all that fine wild-caught livestock with a newb that just didn't have the info they needed?"

 

I don't think there are too many people that really get overwhelmed when presented with good information.

 

As a newb (we're all newbs in lots of ways), I personally prefer to be overwhelmed with information first.  My hope is that a little info-paralysis is a good thing and will keep me from making (as many) noob-like mistakes! 😄

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4 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

Isn't the flip side of that something like:  

 

"We'll just overwhelm all that fine wild-caught livestock with a newb that just didn't have the info they needed?"

 

I don't think there are too many people that really get overwhelmed when presented with good information.

 

As a newb (we're all newbs in lots of ways), I personally prefer to be overwhelmed with information first.  My hope is that a little info-paralysis is a good thing and will keep me from making (as many) noob-like mistakes! 😄

Glad that works for you, but I find there are many ways to run a reef tank successfully and your way is one way, but not the only way.

 

Like a friend of mine told me when I started the hobby, it can really be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. I spend many, many hours researching and working on my tanks and I like a lot of information, but for many people the KISS method is a better way to go. 

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Also, adding fish to a cycled tank prior to adding corals is not going to jeopardize the health of “all that fine wild-caught livestock.” If that was the case, people would never be able to keep FOWLR systems. And I totally disagree about corals being easier than fish. I’ve never killed a fish, but I have had corals that have not survived in my system. 

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I admit to picking nits at this point, but KISS is system design method, not a method of learning.   

 

I still don't think most folks get confounded when presented with good info.

 

I do think KISS principle is a good thing for most folks to keep in mind when putting their tanks together.  I try to.

 

From the link:

 Leonardo da Vinci's "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

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  • 5 weeks later...

I was thinking about this subject the other day since I am planning out my new 34 gallon reef. With my first reef tank years ago, I added animals and fish with no plan other than "if they will work in my tank". For the most part it worked out, most all of my corals were doing ok but never "thriving". I had more trouble with fish. I think part of the reason was that I was always in my tank adding a new frag here, moving a coral there, acclimating new frags on and on. This was likely a lot of stress on the fish. I battled ich on a few occasions and then later on would lose a fish here and there for unknown reasons. So in my experience, with my new reef tank, I am carefully planning each step and this is how I think I will add my tank inhabitants this go around: 

 

1. cycle tank with dry rock, live sand, corraline algae in a bottle

2. add some cleaners and feed moderately to increase bioload

3. add frags and corals slowly

4. add fish slowly

 

Hands in the tank is only going to add stress to the fish and make them susceptible to disease. This way, once the last fish is added, my hands won't really need to be in the tank and I can sit back, monitor, feed, and enjoy.

 

Not sure if this is the "correct way" or even if there is a "correct way" but this is my approach to my new reef anyways. I am far from a master aquarist but looking back on my first reef, I have no doubts it will go much smoother this time.

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  • 7 months later...
glutton4punishment
On 12/2/2018 at 11:40 AM, mcarroll said:

@richast Think of coral as part of your CUC rather than another livestock item like a fish. 

 

Coral will consume dissolved nutrients like a plant.  Corals will also consume particulate food in a range of sizes.  In addition, corals will help to balance the tank by producing a natural coral-friendly carbon source - coral mucus - to grow coral friendly bacteria.  This is GOOD for the tank.

 

Feed very little to none while they grow in/before fish are added (should be weeks to months ideally), but DO keep a close eye on alkalinity if you add stony corals.  This is similarly important (along with watching calcium) for your coralilne algae, which may be the #1 preventer of new algae settlement.  Keep those two parameters STABLE.  Whatever corals you pick, they must remain healthy to outpace algae once you start feeding the tank.

 

Once you add fish, nutrient levels naturally will skyrocket since that's usually when the tank goes from NO FEEDING to LOTS OF FEEDING.  A nutrient spike. 

 

Algae are usually the main benefactors of any big nutrient change. 

 

Unless you want to depend on luck or just like battling algae, minimize this spike/the number of fish added to a new tank at once.  (As long as particulate food sources aren't too available, corals will be able to consume small nutrient spikes, keeping the tank nicely balanced.)

@mcarrolland @lgreen  Thank you for your input.  This makes so much sense to me and I appreciate your taking the time to resurrect this question for newbs (or olds as in my case! - I have been out of the hobby for a few years and needed a refresher on this.)  I remembered what I thought but not the science behind it.

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  • 4 years later...
Salty65rr
On 1/6/2019 at 5:59 PM, Bato367 said:

I was thinking about this subject the other day since I am planning out my new 34 gallon reef. With my first reef tank years ago, I added animals and fish with no plan other than "if they will work in my tank". For the most part it worked out, most all of my corals were doing ok but never "thriving". I had more trouble with fish. I think part of the reason was that I was always in my tank adding a new frag here, moving a coral there, acclimating new frags on and on. This was likely a lot of stress on the fish. I battled ich on a few occasions and then later on would lose a fish here and there for unknown reasons. So in my experience, with my new reef tank, I am carefully planning each step and this is how I think I will add my tank inhabitants this go around: 

 

1. cycle tank with dry rock, live sand, corraline algae in a bottle

2. add some cleaners and feed moderately to increase bioload

3. add frags and corals slowly

4. add fish slowly

 

Hands in the tank is only going to add stress to the fish and make them susceptible to disease. This way, once the last fish is added, my hands won't really need to be in the tank and I can sit back, monitor, feed, and enjoy.

 

Not sure if this is the "correct way" or even if there is a "correct way" but this is my approach to my new reef anyways. I am far from a master aquarist but looking back on my first reef, I have no doubts it will go much smoother this time.

I'm resurrecting this thread after 5yrs..

Fingers crossed that some of you folks are still around.

I'm hoping to see how things turned out with these new systems, and how well you followed your plan.

I'm starting to stock my new tank very soon.. ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 3 ppm.

 

Thanks for all the great input to read!

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geekreef_05

Wow. People gave you alot of interesting answers. 

 

Generally fish do not require stringent water parameters. If your salinity, heat, flow and such are stable you can add fish anytime. 

 

But is a freshly cycled tank ready for coral? The answer is no. Not yet. 

 

First take the time to check and balance your water chemistry based on the coral you intend to keep. 

 

Even without coral a healthy reef will consume Calc, Alk, Nitrates, Phos and Mg. 

 

Determine the levels you have now. 

 

Determine a dosing plan to reach your desired levels, based on your upcoming corals.

 

Testing regularly. Dose daily. Until you reach those levels and can hold them steady for a couple weeks. 

 

Then stock with coral! 

 

After stocking keep water testing regularly. Your reef will consume more of those elements and your dosing will have to keep up.  Eventually intake will slow and become more of a slow linear increase. But the first 2 or 3 months will be a dosing rollercoaster after stocking corals.

 

The key to a healthy reef, is a tight dosing game

 

Thats the deal with stocking fish and coral. Hope that helps. 

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  • 1 month later...

I’m in the “it doesn’t matter” camp. Whatever catches your eye first. The fish will survive without a coral. The coral will survive without a fish. Adding the coral will add bacterial diversity. Adding the fish with strengthen the existing bacteria. But either way, you’re not likely to speed up the process of tank maturation by any meaningful number by what you choose to go in first. 

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