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BEGINNER SALT WATER TANK-PLEASE HELP <3


StefunnyDoodle

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StefunnyDoodle

Hi! We just purchased a 60 gallon tank. Our two little boys were begging for us to fill it with saltwater fish! (We're still on the fence with it.) We've been doing a lot of research when it comes to caring for a saltwater tank and our oldest is set on having a seahorse! Our youngest says he just wants a lot of rainbow fish in it lol. After looking into it, we are interested in purchasing a male and female Mandarin Dragonet, one female coral beauty, and then the seahorse. We were looking into firefish or royal grammas, but we began to realize that's a lot of fish to just dwell on the bottom, We want compatible fish that are vibrant but still can be found throughout the tank. We're afraid if we keep buying the fish that like to hide in the sand and eat off the floor, they will feel crowded and won't thrive. We were also hoping for more schooling fish, like the guppies that are usually found in freshwater tanks. Advice would be great, especially any stocking suggestions you may have. Thank you! 

Some useful information:
We plan on keeping water temperature at 74 degrees with a low flow level.

We are thinking about buying a fan for the seahorse? Not sure how necessary that it though. 

PH level at 8.1-ish

Salinity level 1.023

We'd like a reef habitat.

We plan on purchasing live rocks and live sand.

 

It is definitely a lot of care that we are still on the fence about, but we know for sure once we sign up we will commit. 

 

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LazyFish

Seahorses require a supply of live foods and need feeding multiple times a day and can be quite delicate same with pipe fish. Not recomended for beginners. Seahorses are prety defenseless not usualy kept with other fishes usualy only with like species inverts or very small or docile fish. What you are talking about a fan...a "sea fan" a gorgonian maybe? There are photosynthetic and non photosynthetic types the non types are the colorfull ones and are extreamly difficult to keep the photosynthetic ones need good lighting and fine particle foods to thrive.  They are not needed for sea horses but they do need hitching spots. Fake decor works or macro algae or photosynthetic gorgs.l or sponges. Sponges can also be difficult to keep and not recomended for beginners.

 

Dragonetts rarely eat anything but live pods and dont do well in small or new set ups. Probly need supplemental pods they can be difficult to keep long term. Its possible but the tank would need to be quite mature honestly I would recommend 6 months old or more personaly before even attempting it.

 

Firefish are a good choice they can be kept in groups and loosely school they are mid water swimmers and dart in and out of rocks when frightened not true bottom dwellers theres a few varietes To pick from. The gramma goes in and out of rockwork alot and a coral beauty cruises around the tank should be fine in a 60.

A pair of clowns could be kept with these fish. There are many many patterns and colors avalable. And swim in most areas. For the bottom.a bright yellow watchman goby or a blue spot goby could be a good choice. These are also good beginner fish. There are other options you can choose from but it sounds like you need to do alot of research

 

Just starting out I would stick with softies and leather corals untill you get a good handle on water paramiters and tank care.l and things. Theres some bright green and pink to tan or purple colors that are commonly avalable on leathers. Zoanthids pallys and mushrooms can add in reds yellows and oranges. All require adequate lighting and good water conditions.

 

Sounds like you may need to brush up on fish care requirements by species and compatability.

 

60g is a good size and gives you lots of stocking options but what kind of filtration will it have is it an all in one system? Are you running a skimmer? Do you plan on having power heads or wavemakers? Dose it have an overflow with a sump? What kind of lighting were you looking at. This will all influence what you will be able to keep as far as fish and corals.

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NanoGrant

There are good guides on here about setting up a reef tank but I also found The BRS Tv 5 minute guide series on YouTube a good place to start. 
 

As mentioned above, seahorses are an expert level fish due to care requirements. They wouldn’t be able to compete for food with other, more active fish in the same tank. Most seahorse keepers have them in a macro algae dominated tank rather than a reef to simulate their natural environment and low flow requirements. 
 

The mandarin dragonet is also a difficult fish to keep due to its diet requirements. It’s usually recommended to have a well established tank with lots of bio-diversity such as copepods before introducing one. I have a scooter blenny (dragonet) and have to hand feed it frozen food at least twice a day. Not to say you couldn’t keep one eventually, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the first fish in the tank. 
 

You could look at something like the Green Chromis if you want a schooling fish. They are a lovely colour and will give nice movement to the tank. A pair of clownfish would be nice as well.

 

Keep in mind that if you want a reef then you will need higher flow and I’d run the salinity closer to 35ppt (1.026) to give better levels of calcium, magnesium etc. 

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Toomanymatts

Start with something hardy and cheap.  Damsels and Clown fish. Don't overlook the quarantine process.  Although I kept salt water fish for years, i've been out for about 20.  Just getting started again and lost the first two fish we picked to ICH, my boys took it pretty hard.  Don't overlook invertebrates either.   That's all we have right now.  Pistol shrimp and hermit crabs are fun for them to watch.  They go nuts watching our "zombie snails" (nassarius snail)   fly out of the sand bed when fed as well.

 

 

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M. Tournesol
1 hour ago, Toomanymatts said:

Start with something hardy and cheap.  Damsels and Clown fish. Don't overlook the quarantine process.  Although I kept salt water fish for years, i've been out for about 20.  Just getting started again and lost the first two fish we picked to ICH, my boys took it pretty hard.  Don't overlook invertebrates either.   That's all we have right now.  Pistol shrimp and hermit crabs are fun for them to watch.  They go nuts watching our "zombie snails" (nassarius snail)   fly out of the sand bed when fed as well.

 

 

Damsels are not really a beginner fish if you consider their aggressiveness. They may kill all-new addition to a tank in the future and they are pretty hard to remove.

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Toomanymatts
4 minutes ago, M. Tournesol said:

Damsels are not really a beginner fish if you consider their aggressiveness. They may kill all-new addition to a tank in the future and they are pretty hard to remove.

True.  I was thinking more hardy for getting started.

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Pjanssen

Curious to know what kind of research you have done that would suggest to you any of the things you mentioned for your first saltwater tank. I've been reefing 10+ years and still would have trepidations about housing seahorses. Dragonets also very difficult to keep. You can occasionally find captive bred ones that will eat pellets, but there is no guarantee. A firefish would be okay as long as you have a top for your tank, as they are notorious jumpers. There are saltwater mollies that you can get, but I'm not familiar with them. I urge to to do some more research.

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