New To Reefing

Dean Lovett

Apr 11, 2015
Cuc Coming This Weekend, And Maybe Some Zoas?
Hey all and good morning!

So this weekend I am going to head down to the LFS and acquire me CUC. Now the question I have is, what should I get? The fella in the shop suggested a couple of snails and a small star? I have a fair bit of algae on the glass and a little on the sand but not much on the sand.

Also, considering getting some zoas, yay or nay? How hardy are they and what are their requirements?

Now, levels: I plan to run only fish, inverts, and hard and soft corals - no anemones. What should the levels be? And any supplementation that I should be considering at this stage?

I'm looking at running the CUC for at least two weeks before even looking at getting fish.

Oh and I have a pistol shrimp... It was only on this Sunday just gone that I removed a mantis shrimp. And now I'm still hearing the faint clicking (faint compared to the mantis shrimp!!) and I saw its claw this morning. It's only small. I'd be inclined to say that it's claw is only as bit as about 7mm long. Tiny compared to the mantis shrimp. Any problems there? I've read they can be OKAY but I just want to be certain.

Thanks all and have a great week!

And thanks so much for the help thus far!


Jul 11, 2011
Hobart, Tasmania
Snails are fine but I would not consider a seastar of any sort at this stage. They require a lengthy acclamation time and more often than not will eventually starve in an aquarium, especially a new one. Unfortunately, you won't necessarily recognise a starving seastar until it starts to disintegrate, and by then it is too late.

The algae will eventually diminish if parameters are maintained within acceptable boundaries, although you will always have some grow on the glass - that is why we all have glass cleaners :)

The common zoa's are fairly hardy, as are morphs etc.

For parameters, have a read of this - it should answer all of your questions.

The more time you allow for everything to settle down, the better you will be - if you think it is time to add a fish, wait another week.

Pistol shrimp shouldn't cause too many problems, providing you can put up with the clicking - if you have any thoughts about trying to get it out, then now is the time. It will be so much harder once you start to add fish and/or corals.

Agent M

Oct 21, 2011
x2 what magic said, seastars are not of any benefit as cleanup crew and difficult to keep.

When it comes to snails, I like to get 3 so that they can start breeding in the aquarium and build a self sustaining population that way. Turbos do a good job. Nassarius & ceriths are also good choices.

I also like miniature yellow tip hermits. They are green with yellow tips on their legs. I've found them hardy, long lived & they clean up left over food. Not to mention they are cute.


Moderate ;)
Jan 7, 2012
I would stick to soft corals - zoas and morphs - to start with. With hard skeleton corals, you're getting into measuring Magnesium, Calcium and other trace elements and it takes long attention span learn all the ifs and buts related to those :) start with some easy ones and work up to the tricky ones - it won't be such a load to take on board, then :) Don't get any of the non-photosynthesizing soft corals either - those also require patience because they require feeding with certain methods. Zoas and morphs are very forgiving of high nitrate and phosphate levels, which is a common issue. They're relatively cheap, come in a fantastic range of colors and grow quickly.
Just be aware that the more species you add to your tank, the more parameters and requirements you have to keep in mind. Often it's more feasible and satisfying (for beginners) to focus on a few particular species and meet their known needs rather than struggle to keep a wide selection happy.
For example: many people buy fish to go with their corals without realising the reason why those fish live on the reef is because they eat corals. Some fish come from deeper waters and need cooler temps, some from shallower and need brighter lights, some from gentler currents and need lower flow, some from open water and need choppy flow. All the same considerations goes for inverts and corals as well. Trying to match coral needs to fish needs to invert needs takes patience and dedication but it results in a gorgeous reef display. So begin small & slowly add to your collection. Nothing good ever happens quickly in a marine tank and nothing bad ever happens slowly ;D most of all enjoy your research and keeping your critters - it's a fantastic and fascinating hobby :)