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Can I start with fish only while I add components for corals later? (1 Viewer)

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Brooke

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I'm starting over. I've tried this several times and always ended up failing so I want to do it right.

Because of the previous failures, I was going to do only a FOWLR but I keep thinking if I'm going to set up the tank, I may as well set it up for corals also. What are your thoughts?

So far, all I have is a 75 gallon tank. It's aqueon so I'm afraid to drill it because I don't know if it's tempered or not on the sides.

I also have 60 lbs of sand and should have 100 lbs and of South sea base rock today after they deliver it. It's that adequate for both FOWLR and corals?

I need to decide filtration and lighting. Any input would be great
 

frankc

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Welcome to MARSH!

The biggest differences between a FOWLR and coral setup are lighting, and how much you have to monitor/maintain certain parameters, so you absolutely could start FOWLR and add corals later. Either way, you will need some kind of hang-on-back filter or canister filter, and will likely want a HOB protein skimmer. You could start with a cheap light and upgrade later, or get a coral-worthy light now and run it at lower percent output to minimize algae growth.

My first SW tank was not drilled, and had a HOB wet/dry filter and a HOB airstone-driven skimmer. It was mostly FOWLR, but I did manage to keep a clam alive for a year and grow a few corals despite not really knowing what I was doing. I am not at all knowledgeable about what is good in HOB equipment today, because once I had a tank with an overflow and sump, I never looked back.

That should be plenty of sand and rock. People will debate 'till the cows come home whether you should have a deep sand bed or not. I have one tank with a deep bed and one shallow and am pretty happy with both.
 

decimal

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Hi Brook
welcome to marsh.

So yea, you can definitely go FOWLR and add corals later. Lighting choices are ample and you can go as basic or as lux as you want. Really depends on your budget. These days even basic lighting should be able to grow some corals. Browse around and see what people are selling and what they are saying about lighting in the forums and on the internet.

As far as filtration, do you have something in mind in regards to what kind of corals you want to keep? LPS are easier than SPS and also have different filtration requirements. Regardless, a skimmer is a must imo and maybe a carbon reactor. Also, if you can’t add a sump, consider an AIO tank to give you filtration flexibility and a cleaner look. If you add a good LED light to an AIO you can grow almost anything.
 

Lambianz

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Cleaner crew, corals>1st< , feed them heavy lots of water changes, and as a cool member in here once told me, it takes patients to dial in a tank. Id worry about fish later, unless you want a couple small clowns or damsels. But be prepared for failure, because it can happen. The corlas can tell if you're dialing in right. Mine like a lower salinity, 32 33....
 

decimal

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☝️Lol.. welcome to reefing. Everyone has their own way to get to a great tank. I would do the exact opposite. Fish are much more resistant to water parameter changes than corals. The waste they create is the basis of a healthy tank ecosystem. Do the fish, dial in the tank with water test and give everything a chance to go through the phases all tanks go through. That’s the milky white or powder green bacterial bloom stage, the algae phase and so on. You can start adding coral whenever you like but I have my tank running on FOWLR for about 3 months now and I will probably start adding corals in another month or 2 depending on the water parameters.
 

jrounding

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Corals are a pain. That being said there’s hardy corals and pita corals so you can do corals if you want, but you likely will need to test and dose alkalinity if doing LPS. You don’t need a fancy dosing pump or anything if you do that. If you decide to get fish and master that first it is probably the better option. My first tank had a hang on back overflow and a 10 gallon DIY wet/dry filter sump with a skimmer and return pump. That was a long time ago, but if I was going to do a fish only with live rock now I would run Filter socks and a skimmer. One of the most frustrating things I’ve found about this hobby is the varying opinions. So do what you would make you feel happy. If a FOWLR would make you happy then go with that. If you want corals then dive in and give it a shot. Pick good beginner fish and corals. Also prepare for defeat, triumph, defeat, and then triumph again. It’s all a learning process and you will likely not nail it right out of the gate.
 

jrounding

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For lighting I used the flourescent fixture that came with my first tank for a long time with just fish. I changed the bulb to a blue one though. If you do want to get corals AI prime lights are pretty reasonably priced. You can usually find them used in here pretty regularly.
 
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