View Full Version : Thinking about getting a coral - ideas/thoughts/help

03-03-2011, 03:09 PM
I have a FOWLR tank, established about 8 years. I have never branched out into coral as I don't have the funds to equip my tank properly for corals to thrive and I didn't think my current set-up would work.

However, I have been told recently that some low-light corals would do well in my tank. I would like some expert opinions on what, if any, would not just work but actually thrive.

I have a 65 gal w/about 100+ lbs of LR. Crushed coral/shell substrate over a UGF that is no longer used. LR & substrate well seeded with many pods and good coraline algea growth. I have 2 VHO light strips with 2 actinic blue bulbs and 2 coral light blubs. For filtration I rely on my LR and two HOT Magnum Cannister filters. Also have a low flow powerhead to help move water thru the LR about mid tank.

My fish are all reef safe and I have a decorator crab, cleaner shrimp and a few peppermint shrimp. Also have the standard snails (about 10) and blue-legged hermits (about 20).

Thoughts and comments would be appreciated on if you think corals would work or why they wouldn't work.

hugs -


03-03-2011, 03:17 PM
I'm not exactly an expert, but you could try some mushrooms or leathers. Certain leathers (like finger leathers) and mushrooms are among the easier to keep corals and they do not like prestein water conditions nor do they require high lighting levels.

If you have pretty good water flow in your tank and you do not have a lot of nasty algae, I would say it would be worth a try to put some mushrooms in the tank and see how they do.

After a month or so if they are doing well, you could try a leather

03-03-2011, 03:18 PM
What kind of wattage are we talking about from the lighting. That'll be the determining factor regarding what, if any, corals you can have.

Another factor I would look into would be increasing the water movement in your tank. Most corals do better when exposed to a lot of water movement. Your setup with two semi-canisters and 1 powerhead will probably not provide sufficient flow.

Also, what are your nitrates and phosphates like? Do you have a skimmer?

That said, some low light soft corals could be an option like mushrooms and certain zooanthids.

But until we have a few more details about you tank ... it's still a gamble. I'd also suggest you keep an eye on the decorated crab. I've seen one returned to the store I work at because he pulled up a bunch of mushrooms and tried to stick them to his shell!

03-03-2011, 07:21 PM
I have two double linear strips which each have one 21 watt 10,000K Daylight bulb and one 21 watt True Actinic 03 Blue bulb. So a total of 84 watts.

My tank is 36 x 18 x 21 in size. My tank is well established (over 8 years old). I don't often make changes to my tank and I've not done weekly testing since the tank was about 2 years old. I now usually only test regularly if I add any livestock or if I notice any changes in fish/invert behavior or algea growth. All levels have been normal with no spikes for years.

With my cannister filters & powerhead I'm moving around 850 gallons per hour. Is this sufficient?

I do not have a skimmer.

Thanks for your help.

hugs -


03-03-2011, 08:11 PM
The flow is not bad, provided it is spread out over the tank. it's hard to tell for sure without seeing how your equipment is placed in your tank.

I still think you could try some mushrooms and see what happens. Just place them higher in the tank so they are closer to you lights (about 1/2 way up towards the top) and in a area were they are going get good water flow. Mushrooms are one of the more hardier corals and tolerate a very wide range of envirnements.

If you ever wanted to get seriously into corals (or convert your tank into a reef), you would need a skimmer, a few more power-heads, and better lighting. And possibly a reactor to help reduce phosphates and nitrates

Have you been testing for Cal and dKH ?

What are your nitrate and phosphate levels at ?

03-04-2011, 02:57 AM
At the moment, you're circulating the water in your tank about 13x per hour, for most reef tanks, the minimum is around 30x. An extra powerhead or two probably wouldn't hurt. Even less demanding corals like mushrooms do much better with high flow rates.

A possible direction you could go would be to get corals that don't need light. Things like sun polyps, cactus corals and many gorgonians don't require light. Ornemental sponges are another interesting option. The down side is that you have to feed them frequently, usually with targetted feedings. If you do this, a skimmer is definatly a good idea to keep your nitrates down.