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Saltcat's Big Reef (Witty Title To Come)


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Finally got my first fish after my nano reef being up and running since late 2020... And then immediately decided he was way more active than my research had led me to believe and I wanted a bigger tank for him. Through a series of "aquarium math" ("I could get the 20 gallon for this much... but then it's not really a huge upgrade and it's only a little bit more for the 25.... But at that price honestly may as well get the 30L...") I settled on the IM 50 Lagoon as a big enough upgrade to actually be worth the hassle while not going too overboard.


I'd originally planned to get the AIO model and resolved to wait for the next sale. Of course, the AIOs didn't actually get reduced in the spring sale, but the same size with a sump did. I was worried that I'd quickly find the AIO chambers limiting, and it would be a struggle to reach over 24" of tank to access them for maintenance. A sump also seems better for growing with me and giving me a lot more flexibility in running the tank down the road... and anyway, I've always really really wanted one! I like that IM sells complete kits for it so I dont have to worry about figuring out and cutting my own plumbing for my first time.


All that said, here we go!




Tank: IM EXT 50 Lagoon

Stand: IM APS in white

Sump: IM RFS 22

Light: TBD (Probably 3x AI Prime 16HD, at least to start with)

Heater: TBD (probably Eheim Jager, thinking 2 x 75W?) with Inkbird controller

ATO: AquaDuetto Micro




Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse (Rutherford; added 3-17-23)


Blue leg hermit crabs

RFA x 2

Cerith and Nass snails



  • Pink Birdsnest


  • Duncan
  • Favites (?)


  • Ricordea florida
  • Assorted zoanthids



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Aside from what I have in my current setup, I'm not too sure yet what my future stocking will be for this tank. I definitely don't want to end up feeling like the tank is too small for the fish again, and I'd appreciate any critique on my tentative list, or suggestions that I may not have considered!


My possum wrasse is currently not very timid and is always out and about, so my top priority is that none of the other fish are mean to him and scare him into hiding.


Fish I'm considering -

- Pistol shrimp/goby pair: this is definite, since it's been in the plan since the very beginning. Currently leaning towards yellow rose goby; maybe also a yasha if you think the tank is big enough for 2 separate territories?

- Bangaii cardinal: I've always thought they were very pretty, even if they don't do much. I think I read that they might snack on ornamental shrimp; is this a concern?

- Clown goby (multiple?): these are very cute and small! Can I have more than one (different colours)?

- Neon blue goby: I don't have my heart set on this guy but I saw them at an aquarium recently and they're very cute. Adds a nice blue colour I don't have otherwise.

- Clownfish pair: these are probably a no, because of the aggression risk, but I can't deny the appeal. Thoughts?



- Porcelain anemone crab: I had one of these before (lost it to I think a bad moult) and definitely want to try again!

- Blood red fire shrimp: I know they are secretive but I love the colour.

- Pink dwarf feather duster

- Maybe, very much maybe, crocea clam? I think this might need more light than I'd get from the Primes?

- Money ring cowrie


In terms of corals, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the options out there! How do you decide?

I'd like my pink birdsnest to grow out into a large colony; I'm thinking of looking for a green or blue stylophora to make my other main SPS colony and complement it.

I am pretty sure a zoa garden will feature, because I can't resist a pretty zoa when I see it... The only coral I've lost so far is a frag of magicians palys which I'd really like to replace.


Thanks to anyone reading!

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10 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

look forward to seeing pics.  IM50 is one of nicer dimensions tank out there under 3 feet.  

Thanks! I'm very excited about it, I love the look of non-standard dimension tanks. Need to move some furniture around and get everything prepped before I can move the tank in.

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