Newbie to the Saltwater world!!!


Reefing newb
Hello!!! :sfish:
My name is Katy and as of yesterday I am now a saltwater aquarium owner! I've always loved the saltwater world and since our family friend (J and her husband B, who are like my second parents) own 3 saltwater tanks (90 gal reef, 30 gal reef & 16 gal nano) I've been spending a lot of time with their tanks. J has had tanks (salt & fresh) her whole life and she knows a lot, so I rely on her for most of my info. I just thought it would be good to get on a forum to get outsider opinions/info.

Okay, here is what I walked into yesterday.
I have been trying to decide if it was best for me to start from the sand up, so to speak, when it came to getting into this hobby. J&B talked with me about why it's good to start from scratch, get an established tank or get a nano tank. They told me pros and cons of each. I searched our local Craigslist for people selling their tanks and didn't have much luck at first. Then Tuesday 8/30/13 J found an add for a 47 gal column saltwater tank with live rock, a tang, picasso trigger, moray snowflake eel and 2 clowns (black and white and usual orange and white) for $300. We got a picture of the tank and decided this was the tank for ME. It was established, but still could be worked with. We go over to the peoples house, get the tank broken down and head to my house with it. The tank was not set up, in my opinion, for the fish. They had a plastic colosseum that the eel (which is at least 12 inches long) was hiding in, the live rocks were just sat on the bottom of the tank and provided NO hiding places for any of the fish. The fish were in good health and were very active.

We get the tank back to my house and start setting it up. I'm in need of more live rock but J has some she's willing to give me. We had to buy more substrate because there was hardly ANY in the tank. I felt like these people had just gone out, got what they could afford and then put fish in it that they thought looked "cool" and didn't really look up anything about them or what they need to survive. The lighting they have doesn't even fit on the tank and isn't powerful enough for coral so I'm replacing that ASAP. They're feeding the fish flakes and the eel silverheads (I think that's what they were.) J is giving me some of what her fish eat so we can get them used to that. (I can't remember what all she gives them but she's writing all of that down.)

Thanks for reading!
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Hello Katy, welcome to the hobby and the forum! I know you bought the tank from another person and it isn't your doing but I would suggest definitely finding a new home for the picasso trigger since they need a lot more space. I don't know what kind of tang you have but that is another fish that will likely need a new home. I hope you understand I'm just trying to help you be successful with your live stock.

Since it seemed to be a FOWLR set up I'm not surprised the lighting isn't very good. Sounds like you have a plan to upgrade those and getting more live rock. Congratulations on the purchase and there is a lot of information here and people willing to answer your questions and offer advice. Good luck!
It's a Yellow Tang. I have already been thinking that the Trigger fish might have to go, which is unfortunate because he's gorgeous and has such personality. I've been looking into the tank specs for triggers and some say 75 gal and up some say 180 gal and then one said 50 gal would be alright, depending on what kind of fish are housed with it. Like I said, the previous owners definitely didn't look into the profiles of the fish before they bought.
The only thing that came with that tank that I would keep as far as livestock goes is the clowns. If you have a good LFS that will give you credit for the other fish, that would be ideal.
It sounds like it was a predator tank to me. Fowlr is the way to go, but if you like the clowns, with no protection(anenome), they will just be a snack for the eel. Usually predator tanks are a little bigger unless you had a mantis which would house by itself. Everyone here is right, to small of a tank for those fish. :-(
It sounds like it was a predator tank to me. Fowlr is the way to go, but if you like the clowns, with no protection(anenome), they will just be a snack for the eel. Usually predator tanks are a little bigger unless you had a mantis which would house by itself. Everyone here is right, to small of a tank for those fish. :-(

They had this tank for at least a year with all of these fish in it and no problems. I just find that strange since they're like.. not compatible at all...
Some times luck is what you are seeing, but it is not the preferred way of keeping fish. We are here to help you and not to demand you what to do by all means. This is YOUR tank and i have no part of it besides my suggestions.

Stress is the biggest factor in all tanks and so is ick. Those to alone are fine until you put them together or move the tank to a new location and then it breaks out. Ive honestly never seen those fish actually housed in a sized tank like yours but hey, it could happen and all depends on the fish. If it is lighting out side, i keep my ass in side( better chance of not being the number) if you get what i mean.
Of course, I agree. The last thing I want is stress and sickness. I don't care how "cool" they look, I want to house the right kind of fish for my tank. I do plan on adding some more rock, adding anemones and coral. I have a LFS that I'm going to talk to this weekend on what I can do with the Tang, Eel and Trigger. I love how majestic the eel is in the tank. This morning he was out and about.. beautiful.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Keep them coming!

Now.. the 2 clowns will be the only fish in the aquarium. What other kind of fish could I add and how many?
Check live aquaria for nano tanks for starters. I would do no more than 5 2inch fish in there if your planning on coral or a nem. Clean clean water for the nems. I love six line wrasse because of their zipping in and out of the lr. Stay away from damsels as tjey are very aggressive, but so are clowns once a nem is hosting. Please just look around, they have all their demands listed on every fish.
You can still have some cool fish in a smaller tank! Damsels and chromis are hardy but can turn into bullies. Since you are adding fish after the clowns have established you need to make sure that they are bigger than the clowns or you get a few of them. Otherwise the clowns can really beat up on them and potentially kill them. A few cardinals, a wrasse, a goby as a sandsifter, maybe a firefish or two? I would browse the tank showcase section, look for tanks that are similarly sized, and find fish that you like.
Hello Katy and welcome to the site. Seems as though you are getting some good info from the members so far, and your plan is superb.

As mentioned above, firefish would be a good addition. You may also want to look into a Coral Beauty, though I do not remember off the top of my head the tank size requirements for that one. Bennies and Gobies would also do well.

What are your plans for lighting? Do you plan to house coral as well?
Thank you for the suggestions everyone.
I do plan to add anemones and corals eventually.
My light plan is to get a nice set of lights im assuming I need to get T5s since I want coral.

I will be talking to my LFS this weekend about finding a new home for the trigger and the eel. Im going to keep the yellow tang for now and the 2 clowns.
I super strongly suggest taking the tang back, too.

T5's may not be effective since the column tanks are usually pretty deep. I'd look into an LED fixture.

Welcome to the site and thanks for listening!
Ok. Ill just keep the clowns and pick my next fish carefully :)
LEDS might have been what I was looking at. I was in a hurry because we had the fish in route to my house.
If you ate looking at LED's I would suggest tbe Kessil A350 for this tank. You could use tbe standard rather than the wide version and have botb nems and coral.
So, what should I look for lighting wise when it comes to the tank depth? I mean, am I looking for a certain wattage? How will I know if it is suitable for the depth I have?
I'd go with what Wade suggested (or something similar). He's one of the LED gurus here.

Also... you're going to need LOTS more rock. 1-2 pounds per gallon is recommended.