New To Reefing

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Newbie Looking For Some Advice
Hi all, just wanted some advice on corals for beginners. I don't want anything invasive. Just something that is hardy, looks nice and is easy for a newbie to the hobby.

420 litre tank
Lighting - zetlight pro
Aquaexcell cone skimmer
Sicce voyager wavemaker x2

Just about to introduce clean up crew as I've been cycling with live rock for just over 4 weeks.

ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate has gone down to 5ppm.

Any info on corals and good clean up crew will be great.

After many years of freshwater fish keeping, I just couldn't resist the beautiful bold colours of marine aquariums. Fingers crossed disasters don't strike!
 

Ben Daley

/dev/null
Dec 23, 2016
162
101
Melbourne
Hello,

Welcome to the reefuge!

Take my advice with a grain of salt - I'm new at this too :)

There are a lot of beautiful and fairly hardy coral. Some of my favourites are below (all are LPS):
  • euphyllia
  • trachyphyllia
  • acanthastrea
  • blastomussa
Best advice in this hobby (and I'm sure you've heard it before) is to take your time and go slow. Aside from the obvious issues with giving the bio filter time, it's really easy/tempting to fill the tank up with mediocre specimens - if you can hold back it's really good to see multiple examples of a species firsthand so that when you finally buy one, you know it's a very good example - the space in your tank will go much further with this approach too.

Regarding the clean up crew, some critters serve a valuable purpose, but can be a PITA for various reasons... again, just my experience but:
  • hermit crabs are great to watch, but they knock things over and steal food from coral
  • peppermint shrimp may or may not eat aiptasia, but they will steal food from coral
  • nassarius (zombie) snails are cool, but they won't clean the glass/rocks
  • turbo snails will clean your glass, but will also knock things over
  • bristleworms look like the stuff of nightmares, but apparently great scavengers
With that said, I think brittle stars and bristle worms are two of the best scavengers and no doubt are already in your live rock. I'm not convinced that you need to add a lot of new critters - hopefully someone with more experience will chime in with some better advice.
 

macca_75

Member
Apr 22, 2012
2,125
844
Start with *softies* - they are more tolerant of less than perfect water conditions (that said - they excel when the water is spot on). Plenty of movement as well - it's just harder to find colours that *pop* like SPS.

You can often pickup frags from other reefers either free or cheap - these are often better than freshly caught specimens at shops as they are "tank hardened"

oh - and welcome aboard @Fmxchick
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Hi Ben,
Thank you for your advice.

I do know the importance of slow and steady within the marine world. Although I've got a heap of experience with freshwater I just feel like I know absolutely nothing within this new journey therefor am too hesitant to go too quick anyway!

Love the

I was thinking either an Elegance Coral, as I got into this because my 7 yr old wanted Nemo and an anemone, but have read to steer away from anemones for about a year. I also was considering a Hammer Coral, Frogspawn or a Brain Coral. As long as I can steer clear of anything invasive then I'll be happy.

As for clean up crew, I had the following in mind but again being a newbie I have no real clue:

Stromb Shell Snails
Turbo Snails
Turban Shell
Banded Coral shrimp
Blue Leg Hermit
Algae Grazer Snails

Again, I am not sure if these are right choices and will take into consideration all advice and keep researching.

Such a nice feeling knowing there are feeds like this to guide us on our way.
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Start with *softies* - they are more tolerant of less than perfect water conditions (that said - they excel when the water is spot on). Plenty of movement as well - it's just harder to find colours that *pop* like SPS.

You can often pickup frags from other reefers either free or cheap - these are often better than freshly caught specimens at shops as they are "tank hardened"

oh - and welcome aboard @Fmxchick
Hi Macca,

Thank you for your advice.

I was looking at a nice xenia but am still trying to distinguish which corals will spread like crazy throughout the tank and which won't. I am under the impression these may spread out like a carpet throughout the tank or have I been misguided there?
I also like the Keya tree but then heard that if it is grumpy it releases toxins so I ruled that out immediately.

I'll definitely go through and look at different coral and will undoubtedly have plenty more questions about each as I do get some conflicting opinions.
 

macca_75

Member
Apr 22, 2012
2,125
844
Xenia can get out of control, but its also pretty easy to keep in check.

Kenya tree will wax up a little, but they get over it. Either would be fine as a starter coral. Also check out Zoa's (some of the most colourful softies)
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Xenia can get out of control, but its also pretty easy to keep in check.

Kenya tree will wax up a little, but they get over it. Either would be fine as a starter coral. Also check out Zoa's (some of the most colourful softies)
Looking into the Zoas atm, beautiful colors.

Usually I'd have no problem with keeping nuisances in check but the fact that the top of this tank is at 1.8m in height I'm already having nightmares on how I am going to get coral etc into the tank let alone having to clear things out all of the time!
 

Wazza22

Member
Oct 3, 2015
116
50
Perth
Hi and Welcome to the Reefuge,

Hammers, Torches and Frogspawns are great beginner corals imo. Elegance are great to but some can be finicky from what i understand.
Zoas are an excellent beginner coral however beware as some can also become invasive and cover an entire rock out-competing other corals so careful placement is required.
I also hail from a 20 year fresh water aquarium hobby and am now 15 months into my reef journey.

You have come to the right site as the guy's in here are fantastic.
There are no ego's on this site, just people wanting to help others
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Hi and Welcome to the Reefuge,

Hammers, Torches and Frogspawns are great beginner corals imo. Elegance are great to but some can be finicky from what i understand.
Zoas are an excellent beginner coral however beware as some can also become invasive and cover an entire rock out-competing other corals so careful placement is required.
I also hail from a 20 year fresh water aquarium hobby and am now 15 months into my reef journey.

You have come to the right site as the guy's in here are fantastic.
There are no ego's on this site, just people wanting to help others
Thanks Wazza. I've been doing some homework and think I may just go for a nice frogspawn.
I thought with the knowledge of freshwater then I may be able to get things right and so far so good but there really is a lot of work ahead of me!
Use to keeping the maintenance routine of the Front tank but that's a walk in the park compared to this I think. Only time will tell I guess.
I have my fingers crossed this tank gives me just as much joy as the other display gives me!
And I agree that this site is the right 1 for me. Already great advice given and so much learnt just by going through all the other posts on here.

Do you still have the freshwater or are you already fully converted?
 
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Wazza22

Member
Oct 3, 2015
116
50
Perth
Nice to hear, homework or research and patience are 2 of the most important undertakings when it comes to reefing.
Yeah i had Malawi Cichlids for years and thought i knew fish tanks lol
Since getting into reefing the more i learn the more i realize i know very little :eek
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Nice to hear, homework or research and patience are 2 of the most important undertakings when it comes to reefing.
Yeah i had Malawi Cichlids for years and thought i knew fish tanks lol
Since getting into reefing the more i learn the more i realize i know very little :eek
Lol exactly how I'm feeling atm!
 

Ben Daley

/dev/null
Dec 23, 2016
162
101
Melbourne
I was thinking either an Elegance Coral, as I got into this because my 7 yr old wanted Nemo and an anemone, but have read to steer away from anemones for about a year. I also was considering a Hammer Coral, Frogspawn or a Brain Coral. As long as I can steer clear of anything invasive then I'll be happy.
My first corals where an Elegance and a branching Hammer and they both did well.

Having a plan of your stock list from the beginning can be a big help to avoid compatibility issues (order of introduction is important). A lot of fish are complete jerks (Damsels being notorious) and some clowns are particularly nasty (such as the maroon)... it might be appropriate to hold off on clownfish for a little while depending on what else you want to keep.

I think your CuC looks ok but I would reconsider the coral banded shrimp - these guys can be really mean, killing other shrimp and fish.
As an alternative, perhaps a (skunk/redline) cleaner shrimp?

One other thing - do you have a glass cleaner? Be really careful with the magnetic algae pad things, a single grain of sand caught in the pad can put a nasty scratch in your tank. After the 3rd scratch I gave up and only use a scraper to clean the glass.

Happy reefing :)
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
My first corals where an Elegance and a branching Hammer and they both did well.

Having a plan of your stock list from the beginning can be a big help to avoid compatibility issues (order of introduction is important). A lot of fish are complete jerks (Damsels being notorious) and some clowns are particularly nasty (such as the maroon)... it might be appropriate to hold off on clownfish for a little while depending on what else you want to keep.

I think your CuC looks ok but I would reconsider the coral banded shrimp - these guys can be really mean, killing other shrimp and fish.
As an alternative, perhaps a (skunk/redline) cleaner shrimp?

One other thing - do you have a glass cleaner? Be really careful with the magnetic algae pad things, a single grain of sand caught in the pad can put a nasty scratch in your tank. After the 3rd scratch I gave up and only use a scraper to clean the glass.

Happy reefing :)

I have both. I learnt that lesson in the freshwater tank! Nothing like seeing a nice scratch along a crystal clear piece of starphire glass :/

My 7 year old wanted a redline shrimp (anything associated with Nemo in this tank keeps her happy ) so looks like she gets her wish on this 1 even through the coral banded is beautiful.

As for coral, I think I may just go the Frogspawn rout for the first, seems a little easier. I have been researching coral and another question I find myself asking is, Do people mix hard and soft coral or do must we choose one or the other?"
 

Wazza22

Member
Oct 3, 2015
116
50
Perth
I have both. I learnt that lesson in the freshwater tank! Nothing like seeing a nice scratch along a crystal clear piece of starphire glass :/

My 7 year old wanted a redline shrimp (anything associated with Nemo in this tank keeps her happy ) so looks like she gets her wish on this 1 even through the coral banded is beautiful.

As for coral, I think I may just go the Frogspawn rout for the first, seems a little easier. I have been researching coral and another question I find myself asking is, Do people mix hard and soft coral or do must we choose one or the other?"
Mixing is fine as long as you understand the aggressiveness of each species and place them accordingly.
 

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
Hi @Fmxchick and welcome to The Refuge :)

Different people will have different experiences so there is often no right or wrong answer. I have kept CBS (Coral Banded Shrimp) for many years and never had an issue with them - they are often less secretive than some other species of shrimp. The cost of a redline might be enough for you to reconsider this as an early purchase :rolleyes

Whilst some people consider Euphyllia species (hammers, torches etc) bullet proof others struggle with them - and you need to keep an eye out for 'Brown Jelly' disease - Google it for more info.

You might also want to consider some of the morphs and plate corals (Fungia sp).

Whilst it is tempting to see a nice coral at the LFS and buy it (and we have all done this at some stage in our reefing life!!) it is always better if you do your research first.

Have fun
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Hi @Fmxchick and welcome to The Refuge :)

Different people will have different experiences so there is often no right or wrong answer. I have kept CBS (Coral Banded Shrimp) for many years and never had an issue with them - they are often less secretive than some other species of shrimp. The cost of a redline might be enough for you to reconsider this as an early purchase :rolleyes

Whilst some people consider Euphyllia species (hammers, torches etc) bullet proof others struggle with them - and you need to keep an eye out for 'Brown Jelly' disease - Google it for more info.

You might also want to consider some of the morphs and plate corals (Fungia sp).

Whilst it is tempting to see a nice coral at the LFS and buy it (and we have all done this at some stage in our reefing life!!) it is always better if you do your research first.

Have fun
Hi @MagicJ,

Thank you for your advice.

I've been keeping my head in the books, so to speak, for a while now and I think I can confirm that everyone's experience does differ.

Originally i had my heart set on a CBS and a Blood Red Fire Shrimp but unsure of their compatibility! Still reading up on shrimp compatibility.

Would something like the picture uploaded be what you are suggesting?
The LFS had no info on the uploaded pic on their fb page but I think it's a Pinewheel.
 

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MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
Yes, that is a Short Tentacle Plate Coral - I've never heard of 'Pinewheel' but that is the problem with using common names rather than scientific names :confused:

There is also a Long Tentacle Plate Coral - a different species Heliofungia actiniformis - which is also very nice.

I don't think I would trust a CBS with a Blood Shrimp - they might be OK but do you want to risk a $165+ purchase ?
 

Fmxchick

Member
Mar 9, 2017
113
51
Yes, that is a Short Tentacle Plate Coral - I've never heard of 'Pinewheel' but that is the problem with using common names rather than scientific names :confused:

There is also a Long Tentacle Plate Coral - a different species Heliofungia actiniformis - which is also very nice.

I don't think I would trust a CBS with a Blood Shrimp - they might be OK but do you want to risk a $165+ purchase ?

Sorry, I'm still studying the names of everything and after looking through a few sites last night, Live Aquaria called it a Plate Coral, Pinwheel (Fungia sp.).

I'm sure i'll be at the LFS tomorrow for hours, hopefully can make all the right decisions!
 

MagicJ

Moderator
Jul 11, 2011
9,651
3,761
Hobart, Tasmania
Sorry, I'm still studying the names of everything and after looking through a few sites last night, Live Aquaria called it a Plate Coral, Pinwheel (Fungia sp.).

I'm sure i'll be at the LFS tomorrow for hours, hopefully can make all the right decisions!
Don't be sorry :)

I like Live Aquaria for information but we need to be careful with some of the common names the yanks come up with - I am sure you would agree @ReeferRob :D
 

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