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40 breeder first tank


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Hello everyone my name is brad and im from ohio and im starting my not so first reef tank. i had one a while ago but i jumped so fast into it that i crashed and burned so now i want to start again and make sure i do it right.


here is what my plans are:


40 gallon breeder aquarium

36" nova extreme slr HO t5 with one full atintic bulb and 1 10,000k bulb which will be a total of 78 watts.

fluval 405 canister filter which gives me 340 gallons per our (need 260 more for a 15 times over an hour im aiming for)

dry sand with a capping of live sand to make a 3 inch deep sand bed

live rock that will make my foundation of how i want the scape to look.



idk how soon i will be setting this up because im still reading and figuring out a fish list of interests. to name a few and i know i cant mix the seahorses and pipe fish with much but i still am pondering about them.




potters angelfish

yellow tail blue damsels

royal gramma ( i like them and understand their attitudes and plan to add near the end)

true percula clownfish

black clownfish

yashi goby



i could add a few more but they are really not on my list but a thought


i want to know about a good but on the less costly protein skimmer that can hang on the back of the tank as i dont want a sump or fug on this tank to deal with.


im planning to let the tank cycle then add my clean up crew for about a month and wait only running the filter/light/and skimmer(when bought) at this time. When the tank i feel is mature i plan to add my first fish which will prob be my pair of clowns i choose. then after another month i plan to add a small non expensive coral to see how it does such as a zoo or mushroom. and so forth adding a new fish in a month and a coral once every two weeks permittined to make sure my tank can handle it and that i can handle it.


Also i want to know how much t5 lighting will i need to house birdsnest and LPS when i feel confident with keeping corals again? i read on Dr. foster smith that i need at least 2-4 watts for lps and the birds.



if i missed something that i need to know please ask me about it. thanks everyone from a no so noob!

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Seahorses and pipefish need to be kept in a species only tank. Sorry to burst your bubble but they are docile and with the other fish you listed, they wouldn't really be able to compete with food.


You'll want to have about 1-2 lbs of Dry/Live rock per gallon and set your rock on bottom of the glass before you add sand. Once you add the sand, it will help set the rock in and make it less likely for you to have a rock slide.


When it comes to lighting, I believe you multiply the gallons of your tank by 4 and the sum is how many watts you should have to keep pretty much most corals.


As far as skimmers go, you get what you pay for. A lot of people love the brand Reef Octopus so you could look into that. I had a BAK PAK skimmer on an old setup and I liked it when I had it but other people can chime in and put in their $.02.


You can also check your local classifieds like craigslist to find equipment you could use at a cheaper cost. Since you don't want a sump or a fuge, you can actually convert a HOB skimmer into a fuge if that interests you. You can remove the floss, bio balls, etc and buy a nice clip on light so you can add some chaeto algae/live rock rubble in there to be a mini fuge.


A pair of clowns are nice. Get a mated pair so there really isn't any territorial issues. The largest clown in a pair is the female by the way.


Zoa's are also a great choice for beginner corals because they're hardy and don't require nearly as much light as other coral. They are also pretty tough and can survive through most beginner mistakes. They also have a ton of cool colors and make for a great way to add eye candy to the tank.


Patience is key in this hobby. It's tempting to go out and make impulse buys especially if you want the thing that catches your eye in the LFS. But make sure to take things slow and get your parameters at the right levels before you rush into things.


Let us know if you have more questions.


Welcome to the site!

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Also from Ohio, and also have a 40b


Look into getting a 4 bulb T5, you will be able to keep just about anything.


Deffinatly get some more flow in there, a couple of koraila3 or so.


Just keep reading all the 40breeder builds you can plus others so you can have a good idea of what works for others and that you may incorporate into your build.


good luck


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the plan was to add some power heads on a wave maker when i get to the point of adding more and more corals but for just starting with fish to get me back into things im not to worried about the flow and lights right up from as im taking this super slow.


gutterguy~ what protein skimmer do you have? what stores do you like to go to? ocean reefs and aquariums? thats the one i went to today. i still have the posibility to do a 20 high thats predrilled but then i can keep the things i want like the potters angelfish :( but then again i could get me seahorses!

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+1 to the Dr.


Biggest problem I see with your plans is your stocking list. pipefish/seahorses aren't really compatible with the other fish you listed with the exception being the goby. Also they won't deal well with much flow.


The damsels, basslet (royal gramma), and clownfish would be excellent fish. Potters angelfish, while beautiful fish, could pose problems. They have a somewhat finnicky diet. They're omnivores and like to graze on algae, sponges, etc... So if you add one, add it last, and make sure you have a ton of LR for it to forage on. Also know that they can nip corals and clams as well.


For your equipment, a 40b is a great tank. There are a multitude of HOB skimmers you could try. CPR Bak-pak, AquaC remora, etc... Reef Octopus has one, the BH100 I believe that's particularly neat IMO because the pump isn't inside the display tank but rather connected to the skimmer on the outside.


Your lighting will be fine for soft corals, but if you want stony corals such as the birdsnest you'll probably want a 4-bulb setup. There are a million bulb combinations so look in the lighting forum for the combo you like.


60lbs of sand will give you roughly 3"... At least in the oolitic stuff. I used aragamax in my 40B.


Also I would probably swap out the canister filter for some in-tank circulation pumps. The canister works fine for chemical filtration and also for mechanical filtration, however you'll need to clean it out a lot and it'll get really annoying. I ran a fluval 205 on my 29g for a long time and I didn't clean it as much as I should have. The result was excess nutrients in my system.


Finally, stocking. Seems like this is where you might have crashed before? Here's what you might consider doing. First, set up the tank with sand/rock and be sure to have plenty of flow. The live rock will act as your primary biological filtration. Test your water about a week or 2 after setting the tank up. If there is no ammonia or nitrite, then you can begin adding livestock. Start slow, adding a few herbivorous snails. If there's no algae in your tank then maybe wait a few more days. Then repeat the process. Each week test the water and as long as everything's good add a few more snails/crabs. Do this until you've built up something of a clean up crew. Once you have that down then you could start adding fish. Add your least aggressive ones first, and then build up. Don't add too many fish at once either, as it'll shock the system.


If you really want to understand all this read up on the nitrogen cycle. It's what makes everything work. If you dedicate yourself to understanding it (and understanding the limitations of your tank) I can pretty much guarantee you'll be successful.

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thanks aj!


this is what im thinking in my head at the moment and im very undecided still im limited on space but am set on a reef tank.


its either the 40b or the more compact 20 high that i did once before.


let me explain this real quick about the 20


20 high


4 bulb t5 system i believe no they are coralife ones from psp i will switch the bulbs out for 2 atintic and 2 10000k bulbs.


a hang on the back skimmer...still researching and think i got a lead on a good one for a deal from a friend.


enough rock to make the idea in my head work out. but it would look better in the 40 so i may need something different for the 20.


3 inches sand


2 picasso clown fish

1 ORA bred mandarin goby that eats everything....the only way i will do i a mandarin is if it is bred and they have them.


i will still be using the canister because im use to them and the maintence is not that big a deal for me as i clean 2 on my freshwater tank once a week when i do my water change. so whats one more on a different day lol

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