Gettin' Twiggy Wid It – Red Sea Reefer Peninsula 500

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    My nutrients were too low in my last system so i’m going to combat that by jamming in as many fish as is physically possible. I’ll keep my filtration fairly simple. Big skimmer, siporax, ALR1. I’ll also have a phosphate reactor on standby in case algae takes hold.

    No water changes as i’ll be using ATI Essentials

    Water chemistry

    I’ll be using ATI Essentials because water changes suck. To get me off on the right foot, i’ll use only ATI Absolute Ocean so my parameters should be mint from the word go.

    Was it Shakespeare who once said we don’t keep fish and corals, we keep water? Well, whoever it was: I hear you loud and clear.

    On the subject of water, I want mine to be as clean as a virgin’s honeypot. There’s no point investing serious effort to export pollutants if you’re going to add them every day from your RO top up. For now, I have 2 membranes, a booster pump and 3 DI pods. I’ve been watching a lot of BRS videos on that subject though so may upgrade it in due course.

    My fish plan last time was pretty solid in terms of swimming space occupied – I went for a mix of rock-hopping, benthic, pelagic, big, small, secretive, pairs/groups, show-offs and symbiotic relationships. So combining this with a more considered approach should be the recipe for success. I may have 1 or 2 bigger fish (Genicanthus Angels and a Yellow Tang) but I’m trying to keep mostly smaller fish with a focus on bright colours. Rarity or difficulty of keeping don’t turn me on so my criteria are bold colours, character and lastly utility.

    I will have a few fish for pest purposes – some Halichoeres Wrasses and a Peacock Wrasse. I love a bit of character and I’ll have that in spades – Hawkfishes, Blennies and the Shrimp Gobies. I’m reliably informed the Midas Blenny will think it’s a Lyretail Anthias and will school with them! On my list currently is:

    2x Clownfish (type not yet decided
    7 Lyretail Anthias
    Midas Blenny
    Scarlet Hawkfish
    Longnose Hakwfish
    Iridis Wrasse
    Peacock Wrasse
    Koi Wrasse
    Scooter Blenny
    Wheeler’s Goby with Pistol Shrimp
    Silver Belly Wrasse
    Royal Grammar
    Algae Blenny

    I’ve gone as reef safe as possible as I don’t want to inhibit polyp extension or risk corals and I want to keep clams this time round. However, butterflies and angels are so damn gorgeous, I’m sure I’ll end up getting at least one! I’d sacrifice my first born to Lucifer for a healthy Regal Angel! A close 2nd would be a Mitratus Butterfly which I think would be a safer bet with corals.

    I’m not going to be scared of buying expensive fish and corals this time. Cost was too high in my decision-making process last time and hindered the tank as a result. That doesn’t mean I’ll have Peppermint Angels and Feminus Wrasses everywhere though. It just means that I won’t pick a coral or fish because it’s cheap.

    I used to QT every fish but I found I was losing loads of fish during the process. I tried lots of methods of QT and kept it as simple as possible but I just didn’t get on with it. Plus I like to live dangerously so i’m not going to QT this time

    My view now is that it is far better to carefully select a healthy looking specimen, minimise stress during transfer, provide a good environment for them to live in and feed them well. I will also run an Eheim UV steriliser which I think is pretty important if you don’t QT. I won’t run it 24/7 – only during certain periods such as when I introduce new fish or if I see any issues.

    I’m mainly going for Acropora this time although I’m not a total snob so I’ll still have some plebby corals. I love stylo so will have a green and a purple. I’ll also have a bird’s nest but this time it’ll be Aussie which I think looks much better. I’ll have some montis – sunset, rainbow and maybe other similar types – but my focus is on high-end corals. My preference is the branching acros but variety is the spice of life so I’ll have tabling and staghorns as well. I’ll get a mix of frags and colonies – I love the idea of seeing the tank grow out but I don’t want to just stare at frags for the first 2 years.

    I may also have some LPS for a bit of movement – maybe a Torch, some Duncans and Acans. I’ve never been able to get the best out of Acans though which ****es me right off! Softy-wise maybe a few nice zoas and ricordeas but that’s it. The softies might have to be confined to an island to stop them taking over but we’ll see.

    I also have some coral projects in mind. I want to make some kind of structure for an encrusting monti to grow on – maybe a dead branching acro skeleton. That would essentially give me a branching sunset monti which I think would look amazing! Encrusting montis look best when they’re on contours so you can see the base as well as the polyps. I started that process in The Interim Tank but it’ll be years before it starts to look good.

    I also want to cover a ceramic zoa rock in either a few different types of encrusting monti, zoas, acans and chalices. I think chalices are massively under-used although that might have something to do with aggression, price and availability in the UK! Finally, i’ll have a euphyllia garden for a bit of movement.

    Although I love watching hermit crabs bimble around and climb corals like monkeys in a tree, they can be right little d*ckheads at times! So I’ll instead focus on snails – Conches galore, Trochus, Nassarius and Mexican Turbos. I’ll also have a few Cleaner Shrimp, Blue Tuxedo Urchins and a Brittle Star. Maybe a Mithrax Crab or 6 for bubble algae.

    For me, the best threads on here are full of high quality photographs. I’ll use my DSLR/macro lens where possible but I need to figure out how to use it a bit better. Simple snaps will be taken with my Samsung S8 Plus which has an excellent camera. I’ll put the best photos on Instagram too.

    YouTube channel
    I’ve also set up a YouTube channel under the name ‘The Reef Dork’. I don’t look as good in a yoga top as Miss Saltwater Tank so i’m going to have to smash the content quality out of the park! That’s a separate venture though so you won’t see any of those videos on here.

    So that’s it. My stated intentions. I can look back at this in 6 months and see how much I stuck with! If you’ve got this far without skipping ahead, well done – you’ve earned yourself a cuppa.


    Just waiting for the delivery date to be confirmed but provisionally 25th May. I’m going take my time though so it might take me a few to weeks to get it wet.


    Sounds gooood, pretty much what I’m hoping to go for when we’ve bought a place next year

    Gieseman are bringing out their own 4 tube T5 system with a slot to mount your LED’s in, it’s called the Stellar. Not sure how much it will be, probably lots


    Surprsingly affordable then, I’m sure that will be much cheaper than an import from the U.S


    Ooh I can come and help you with your acans lol.

    Sounds good mate look forward to see how it develops.

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