This is Part #20 in a series of blog posts about my 225 gallon peninsula tank build.
I like to take my time when stocking a reef tank with corals. One reason why I wait is due to the inevitable ugly phase. Most reef tanks will have some type of algae outbreak early on, whether it is diatoms, dinoflagellates or something else.
Problematic algae can smother corals and impact their health. Certain methods to combat algae like blackouts can also be detrimental. For this tank I waited four months before adding any corals. I also cranked down the intensity of my LED’s to 10% to lessen the chance of having algae pop up.
Another reason I like to wait to add corals is to give myself time to get used to any new equipment or the functionality of a new setup.
Mishaps are more prone to happen early on. For instance, it took me two months to realize that the float switch to prevent my skimmer cup from overflowing was not working. It also took me some time to get used to my new calcium reactor and learn how to dial it in.
When is it Time to Add Corals?
A good sign a tank is ready for corals is the presence of coralline algae. I started to see some around the three month mark so this reaffirmed my decision to wait.
This is going to be a SPS dominant tank but I did add a couple of LPS corals first to test the waters. I started by adding some hammer corals and goniopora from my 187 gallon system.
The hammers didn’t seem terribly happy. I believe the light was just too intense since the PAR in this new tank is higher versus my established system. There is also a lot more flow in the new tank. The red goniopora opened up nicely but the green one closed up after a couple of days.
My Pyramid Butterflyfish were picking on the green one after it closed up so who knows if they agitated the coral. This type of Butterflyfish is not supposed to bother corals. I had them in other reef tanks and they were all model citizens. They did leave the red goniopora alone.
As for SPS, I typically start a tank with hardy ones like montipora. Certain montipora can grow fast so I want to be careful about adding too many. I want to minimize the coral warfare in this tank.
The only montipora I added in the beginning was a large orange cupping montipora. It is growing and encrusting on the rock. So far so good.
Going With High-End SPS
My focus with this tank will be higher end frags. To start things out I added some “test” frags from my 187 gallon tank.
Added were frags of an Oregon Blue Tort, Cali Tort, Jackson’s Rainbow Tenuis, Sanjay’s Leprechauns Beard, Blue Boy Table, UC Original Strawberry Shortcake and a Walt Disney. All frags have done well except the UC Original Strawberry Shortcake, which crapped out.
So what’s next? Given my open aquascape, I think some tabling acros would look great. I also plan to add some milleporas. Millepora or “millies” come in a rainbow of colors and sport long polyps that undulate in the current.
Once the tank is full with frags then it will be a waiting game to see everything mature. Yes, patience is really important in reef keeping.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.