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New to Salt, long time fresh keeper.

Jan 23, 2019
Houston (Cinco Ranch area)
I have been keeping freshwater aquariums my entire life, but just now getting the opportunity to dive into the salt side with a reef (in the planning stages now).

We are planning a 150-190 (4'long x 2'wide x 31"tall or 5'long x 2'wide x 31"tall) peninsula within our entryway. We are researching and learning and shopping now, but I wanted to make sure I have the basics before I buy anything.

- start off slow with fish and inverts (clean-up-crew) only
- move into soft corals (maybe one or two to start and add more once those go well)
- add one LPS
- add more LPS once those do well
- add one SPS
- add more SPS once those do well

Does that sound about right?

with the 150/190 peninsula, the back will actually be the "left" side of the tank, and the right side will be the "back". Both will be up against a wall/stairs, so I plan to put live rocks within these areas. My question would be, how much live rock should I expect to buy? Can I mix live rock with dry rock?

Thank you in advance.



Supporting Member
Apr 27, 2016
Hey, I would begin with what you like from the beginning. The last thing that you want is getting corals that seemed easy at the start that you no longer like. You're starting out with a huge tank which what I wished I would have done from the get go but hey you live and your learn!

I would absolutely plan on doing a sump/refugium


Board Member
Jan 28, 2015
as far as how much rock you need is basically up to you, some people put a lot and other not so much. And yes, you can mix dry rock with live rock.
Jan 23, 2019
Houston (Cinco Ranch area)
We are planning a custom sump (we have some hurtles with the peninsula and being able to access curtain areas below the aquarium). Our stair case will wrap around the aquarium, so we will only have under tank access from one of the short sides (right-hand side).

Starting with soft, lps, & sps sounds more intimidating but not out of the realm of possibilities. Guess I need to start learning which corals we like and then narrowing down which are compatible with the fish we like to have a general idea of our livestock.

If I was shooting for a medium level of liverock/dry rock how many pounds might I expect to purchase? 30-40#, 50-60#, or more like 100#+? I am not used to buying large amounts of rocks so am trying to establish a realistic budget for the entire setup before making any purchases.

Thank you both for your advice and help.


Supporting Member
Oct 12, 2017
Columbus, TX
When I switched I took the time to watch all those BRS videos. 52 weeks of reefing was full of good info and really helped me quite a bit.