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ajkochev

Mixed Reef Success

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ajkochev

Many consider a mixed reef as a more challenging tank.  I would like to hear your thoughts on what you consider vital in making a mixed reef a success in a nano tank.

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Clown79

Keeping everything happy when they have different requirements is where things can get frustrating.

 

Finding a balance, correct placement can help but sometimes there will be a coral that is unhappy.

In my case, its frogspawn. Nothing I do keeps them fully open, they don't seem to like the flow but all other corals in my tank are happy.

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seabass
13 hours ago, ajkochev said:

I would like to hear your thoughts on what you consider vital in making a mixed reef a success in a nano tank.

When I hear mixed reef, I generally think of soft coral mixed with some LPS.  This is a very common combination, and not especially challenging to keep.  However, some corals can make this more challenging (due to specific requirements, sweeper tentacles, growth rates, or chemical warefare).  I like to avoid leather corals (or use activated carbon and pay attention to downstream flows if keeping them).

 

SPS tend to like higher light and higher flows.  Depending on the size of nano, and the presence of higher light and flow zones, you might be able to keep SPS as well.  Typically you have to be much more aware of element levels, often dosing to maintain stability.  Some SPS, like montipora, are easier (more forgiving) than others.

 

Make sure the nutrient levels (nitrate and phosphate) don't get too low.  Moderate flow and decent lighting should appeal to most soft and LPS corals.  As Clown79 stated, placement can be key.  I often marvel at how packed many tanks are, when each has their own method to out compete its neighbors.  I suggest ample room between species to allow growth.

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Lognor
1 hour ago, seabass said:

When I hear mixed reef, I generally think of soft coral mixed with some LPS.  This is a very common combination, and not especially challenging to keep.  However, some corals can make this more challenging (due to specific requirements, sweeper tentacles, growth rates, or chemical warefare).  I like to avoid leather corals (or use activated carbon and pay attention to downstream flows if keeping them).

 

SPS tend to like higher light and higher flows.  Depending on the size of nano, and the presence of higher light and flow zones, you might be able to keep SPS as well.  Typically you have to be much more aware of element levels, often dosing to maintain stability.  Some SPS, like montipora, are easier (more forgiving) than others.

 

Make sure the nutrient levels (nitrate and phosphate) don't get too low.  Moderate flow and decent lighting should appeal to most soft and LPS corals.  As Clown79 stated, placement can be key.  I often marvel at how packed many tanks are, when each has their own method to out compete its neighbors.  I suggest ample room between species to allow growth.

 

This 100%.  I have softies and LPS.  I feel like I am constantly monkeying with flow and placement to get everyone happy.  I see full tanks and think they've found the secret sauce to it.  Everything will look good for a few months, things grow well and suddenly I'm having issues because things are touching.  I just fragged and rearranged some things for just this reason and two days later I find that not all euphyllia actually get along.  My duncan doesn't seem very happy having hammers next to it.  The torch looks even better than before, so it's tentacles are extending more and its about to be touching an acan.  I love the look of a full tank, but I have no idea how other people do it without having coral loss, parameter issues, etc.

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Nano sapiens

I find that providing flow that all the different corals like (or at least tolerate) the most challenging thing in a small nano tank.  As stated, coral placement is really important and sometimes even just 1/2" up or down (or side-to-side) can make all the difference between hanging on and flourishing.

 

Starting off with small frags, instead of larger colonies, allows the corals to grow out and get used to each other's presence (doesn't always mean they'll tolerate each other, though) and those that can, grow into forms that are adapted to the tank's flow pattern.

 

Not all coral specimens can adapt to a small mixed reef, but luckily most can (especially those that are farmed/captive bred).  Most systems have those one or two coral types that just don't do so well and for me it's Blastosmussa, and some specimens of Rhodactis inchoata (both lower flow adapted corals).  My lower flow areas are occupied by Ricordia, so I only have medium to medium-high flow areas available.

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Clown79

I once read that starting a mixed reef, the end result is the most powerful corals being left.

 

Being nano's, it's pretty inevitable that fragging will be needed to control things or loss of corals because of space and warfare.

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Nano sapiens
7 minutes ago, Lognor said:

 

This 100%.  I have softies and LPS.  I feel like I am constantly monkeying with flow and placement to get everyone happy.  I see full tanks and think they've found the secret sauce to it.  Everything will look good for a few months, things grow well and suddenly I'm having issues because things are touching.  I just fragged and rearranged some things for just this reason and two days later I find that not all euphyllia actually get along.  My duncan doesn't seem very happy having hammers next to it.  The torch looks even better than before, so it's tentacles are extending more and its about to be touching an acan.  I love the look of a full tank, but I have no idea how other people do it without having coral loss, parameter issues, etc.

It's a constant challenge to keep a full, small reef aquarium in tip-top condition.  But even the best have their ups and downs.

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Nano sapiens
8 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I once read that starting a mixed reef, the end result is the most powerful corals being left.

 

Being nano's, it's pretty inevitable that fragging will be needed to control things or loss of corals because of space and warfare.

Controlling parameters to restrict growth can help to delay the inevitable warfare somewhat, but eventually a few corals with superior conquering abilities tend to dominate.  In extreme cases, a coral may have to be removed entirely before it completely takes over.

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Clown79
2 hours ago, Nano sapiens said:

Controlling parameters to restrict growth can help to delay the inevitable warfare somewhat, but eventually a few corals with superior conquering abilities tend to dominate.  In extreme cases, a coral may have to be removed entirely before it completely takes over.

Definitely😁

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