in your main system. Be sure to observe
the rocks after lights-out as well as in the
daytime to ensure that nocturnal pests don’t
escape your notice. Now, to be perfectly
honest, even with a quarantine period, it is
still possible for some undesirable live-rock
inhabitants to evade detection, but there’s no
question that your odds of excluding them are
significantly better if you allow for a period
Inverts for the
Can you recommend some
good choices of coral or other
invertebrates for the nano reef? I’ll be stocking
a 20-gallon nano, and I want to be sure I get
started on the right foot with invertebrates
that will do well in a smaller system.
While far fewer marine fish are aquacultured compared to their freshwater counterparts,
some marine species, such as the red-headed goby Elacatinus puncticulatus, are increasingly
available as captive-bred specimens.
If not subjected to overly
intense lighting (e.g., metal
halide lighting) or powerful
currents, many of the mushroom
polyps—the so-called corallimorpharians,
which comprise four different families—
will do well in the nano reef. Given more
intense lighting schemes and more vigorous
water movement, the zoanthid polyps (e.g.,
Zoanthus, Palythoa, and Protopalythoa
spp.), green star polyps Pachyclavularia
violacea, or pulse corals Xenia spp. would be
a good choice. Just keep in mind that each of
these invertebrates can reproduce rapidly and
prolifically under the right conditions and can
overrun a small system if allowed. Hence, it
may be necessary to prune them back and to
scrape them from the aquarium glass to keep
them from getting out of control. You can
then affix these cuttings or whole colonies
to rocks or plugs and trade them with fellow
hobbyists, or maybe even sell them to a local
aquarium store for cash or credit.
Several of the so-called large-polyped
stony corals, such as the open brain coral
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi or one of the bubble
corals Plerogyra spp., would also be a good
fit for a 20-gallon nano, and you don’t have
to worry about them overrunning your tank.
These corals will do well if provided moderate
to intense illumination and gentle to moderate
I’m new to reefkeeping, and I
With intense lighting and a powerful current, zoanthid polyps such as these Zoanthus sp. are an
appropriate choice for a nano tank, although they may need to be pruned often.
currently have a 55-gallon soft-coral/large-polyp stony (LPS) coral tank illuminated
with two 175-watt, 10,000K metal halide
bulbs. My question is how frequently
should I replace the metal halide bulbs?
I’ve read advice ranging from every six
months to every two years.
I strive to replace mine on a
yearly basis, and this schedule
seems to work out pretty well.
On a few occasions, I’ve stretched
it out as long as 14 months with no ill effects.
Replacing them every six months is, in my
opinion, a waste of money, as they still have a
lot of useful life left in them at that point. On
the other hand, I think every two years would
be pushing things, as the output of the bulbs
would have declined significantly by that
time. Also, if you wait two years to replace
them, your corals would become acclimated
to the reduced intensity and likely be shocked
by the sudden increase in light intensity once
the new bulbs are installed.
Are lionfish a good choice for
reef tanks? I have a 75-gallon
reef tank housing a variety of soft corals,
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