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burningmime

What to know about coral-only tanks?

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burningmime

There are many guides out there which assume your tank has fish, mentioning how corals can feed on excess fish food/waste, etc. However, in a coral-only setup you're looking at quite different water chemistry. Some things that I'm wondering...

 

* How far can you get without feeding at all? Are there some species (other than NPS, obviously) that will do poorly without food? Any species that would do particularly well in such an environment?
* Is dosing with amino acid supplements a viable protein source long-term?
* Do you need a cleanup crew or can you get away without snails and other inverts?
* Will there be less calcium or more need for calcium dosing/reactor?
* Are there certain algae or pests specific to tanks with very low nutrient levels?
* Will it be harder to establish microfauna/bacteria and get a good cycle going?
* Anything else to be concerned about?

 

Thanks!

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Tired

I'm pretty sure most if not all corals are going to need to be fed. It's what they're designed to do, after all, that's why they have mouths. 

 

You're going to have algae issues if you don't have anything to eat that algae. Too sterile of a tank to grow algae will also not help your corals much. And keep in mind, corals have symbiotic algae in them- they need to keep that alive! 

 

I don't know for sure about the calcium, but I don't think feeding fish is a significant source of that. You might have slower-growing corals due to less food, which would mean they'd use up less calcium, but that's not really ideal. 

 

Lower nutrients in general means it's harder to establish a cycle, yes, but it should still be doable. It just won't be able to handle higher nutrients if something happens, like something dying. 

 

Why do you want just corals? If you just mean a tank without fish, that's a lot easier, but without other animals at all (i.e. no snails, crabs, shrimp) is a bigger challenge. If it's compatibility, there are definitely animals that won't bother your corals any. 

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Clown79

Corals need nutrients so they need to be fed if you have no fish. 0 phos and 0 nitrates is the worst thing for a tank.

 

 

Not only are you starving the corals but you give your tank a very good opportunity to have a dino issue arise.

 

Calcium and alkalinity will eventually need dosing with doser or manually, they use both to grow. 2 ways to avoid dosing, waterchanges(at dome point become inefficient compared to consumption) doing a soft coral tank only.

 

 

Cuc is important, they clean what you don't every day, so without them you will have more responsibility to keep the glass, rocks, corals, and sand bed clean

 

 

Low to no nutrient tanks have a very good likely hood of getting dino's. Depending on strain, they can kill corals, inverts, fish, and even have palytoxin in it so it becomes an issue for everything.

 

 

Cycling a tank for coral only, fish only, or reef tank is the same. 

Either use liverock or

Dry reef rock with ammonia dosing.

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BioCube Newb

This is interesting, I would like a coral only tank for my bedroom 10 gallon max.  What would be my best option to accomplish this?

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Tired

Best option as far as what? Lighting, heating, filtration, entire setup? The AIO (all in one) forum may be worth a look if you want a tank that comes with everything already in it. An 8 or 12 gallon Biocube could work, actually. I had an 8gal for awhile, and the lighting, at least the lighting that came with it years ago, grew softies fine. You'll probably need upgrades to anything you get, especially a light upgrade, particularly if you want hard corals.

 

By "coral only", do you just mean no fish, or do you mean literally no animals other than coral? The former is pretty easy, the latter is going to be a lot more difficult. 

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burningmime

I don't mind having some worms or microscopic shrimp, but I'd rather not have snails and crabs crawling all over the place. I'm trying for a minimalist aesthetic; ideally going bare-bottom. Looks like I will probably need some reef chili or something to feed the corals, though.

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