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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i know this is a cichlid forum, but there are *many* knowledgeable folks here - has anyone ventured to the 'dark side', i.e. marine environments?

thinking of a nano reef tank, and would love to hear from those who ride both sides of the fence. :D

comparisons to cichlid keeping? tanks, water. testing, overall effort....?
 

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I came from 8 years of reef keeping.

I won't discourage you from trying but saltwater, and especially reefs, require considerable effort. Expensive fish, finicky coral, perfect lighting, perfect water- all of these make a small failure clearly visible.

You don't know until you try if you like it or not, I just found it very taxing. It was a job, not a hobby anymore.

It's very pretty, and rewarding when you have a good reef growing and can keep fish alive that do not eat the food you feed them (like a dragonet that can only survive if your micro crustaceans are flourishing and will rarely take to flake or prepared food).

I feel like cichlids, Malawi Mbunas in particular, have the most personality of any fish and are much more entertaining to watch.

What I do now is recycle my old reef stuff- I have white sand and live rock as my decoration and use all of my reef equipment (lights and wet/dry). This creates a very saltwateresque look, couple that with colorful African cichlids and your house guests will ask you 9 out of 10 if it's a reef tank.

Very similar in look with a quarter or less the effort.
 

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The most difficult fish tank I ever owned was Discus... those make my Reef tank feel like cake walk.

Why Nano? if you are trying to do Nano cuz you cannot afford larger then forget it... nanos cost more to do right than huge tanks. 8)
 

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My neighbor had his salt water take for a couple of years and lost it all it less than 3 days. Just to show you when things go bad they are not as forgiving as they are with cichlids
 

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Adam, that's why I hung it up. In one week I lost 400 in fish alone.

Final straw was when a $3 brittle star ate my prized $75 male Squareback Anthias.
 

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JoelRHale said:
Adam, that's why I hung it up. In one week I lost 400 in fish alone.

Final straw was when a $3 brittle star ate my prized $75 male Squareback Anthias.
Yup he tried to start it again but it was to difficult
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for all the replies..... i think y'all have cooled my lust :lol:

number6 - was looking at nano for small footprint, not cost
 

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ktaylor
Ok, that is a valid reason... I've been tempted to try a nano with a large sump (like one of equal size) as I think that would help significantly with stabilizing the system without adding to the bioload... we'll see.

londonloco, I change 15g on my 150g Reef system weekly... so 3 5g buckets max.
Discus love pristine water and I used to change 50% of a 100g tank. That's ten buckets weekly... yes, 10. I hate buckets as well... necessary evil! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
well, i took the plunge and have set up a biocube 14g! while it cycles, i'm investigating choices for the little reef. put in live sand & 2 pieces of live rock w/red coralline algae.
 

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Congrats! Some good (cheap and colorful and easy to care for) choices would be firefish, a smaller species clown, clown gobies, pj cardinal fish, maybe a green chromis or 3, a blenny (starry blenny looks awesome), and consider first fish being a blue damsel or yellow tail damsel (very cheap and hardy!)
 

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JoelRHale said:
This creates a very saltwateresque look, couple that with colorful African cichlids and your house guests will ask you 9 out of 10 if it's a reef tank.
I think cichlids do that on their own, everyone asks if my tanks are salt. "They're salt right?" They say confidently. "No." I reply.

Having said that, I have had the want to setup a marine tank for awhile now. Just need to find a tank and the space. Not sure if I want to venture into fish only, fowlr, or reef. I'd really like to have a shark because, well, how many people do you know that have a shark? And I mean a real shark, not a bala shark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks for the suggestions joel. i quite like how the damsels look, though the LFS says 'too aggressive'..... she was pushing clowns. would much rather risk a couple damsels than the 5x more expensive clowns.

the blue & yellows and the dominos really caught my eye.

what is yr opinion on the aggressive label for the damsels? ( now my elongatus are AGGRESSIVE :wink: )
 

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I used to keep a 10g (is that still considered nano?) reef. Other than the cost of stock (live rock/sand, coral...) it wasn't too expensive. Only thing I really had to buy that I didn't already have was lighting, and that was a 2x36w (1 actinic, 1 white) power compact ballast. I think at the time it was around $100.

Mushroom corals hated that much light. Xenia, star polyps, leathers/devil's hands, acropora, etc., loved it. I had great coralline growth, too. Fish stock was a damsel and a false percula clown.

I didn't do anything in terms of supplementing. Just saltwater and light. Worked well for the years I had it set up.
 

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She's talking aggressive for saltwater, they are nothing near the aggression level of Africans, especially elongatus! Think tiger barb aggression or a little less. I had about 10 (5 blue, 5 yellowtail) in a 75 with no issues.

Since you only have two pieces of rock I think you'll be good. The damsels are more open water, they are reef dwellers but they aren't afraid to venture from the rocks.

If I were you I would do 5 fish:
1 blue damsel
1 yellowtail damsel (buy these at the same time and first)
1 small clown (true percula or ocellaris are the smallest usually available, but I think tomato clowns are very nice too)
1 green clown goby
1 purple firefish

With those five you would have very easy to care for fish and all primary and secondary colors represented: red (firefish and clown), orange (clown and clown goby), yellow (damsel and firefish), green (clown goby), blue (both damsels and a little on the firefish), and violet (the firefish).

None of those exceed 3", are hardy, and together will cost between $50-$100 (very cheap for a complete stock!!
 

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Just did some online snooping, found all of the above fish online for $51+shipping, can PM the site if you want :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
sounds great joel! i like the colors..... i also like the deeper color of the tomato clown

dlms - i have stock lighting in the bicube - 2 flourescents & 2 LED moonlights. i do want corals or zoas or polyps, but dont know enough about them yet. recommendations for my lighting?
 

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ktaylor, PM will be sent after this, and your lighting will be fine for most any invert you want to grow. Mushrooms are a good beginner coral and come in most any color. Zoas are also pretty easy to maintain.
 

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I have an 8 gallon Biocube currently, so far so good :)

Give it a shot! All the cool inverts and corals pushed me over the edge, now I want inverts for my FW tank..
 
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