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predatory reef tank?


Registered Member
I have taken an interest in setting up a tank containing a scorpionfish(I haven't decided which one, not a leaf fish though), a dwarf fuzzy lion, and one other fish, preferably a bit more active since the other two are fairly sedentary fish. Aside from the display tank i would be using a good sized sump with two man made rock inserts, i forget what they are called, but they are extremely porous, and possibly some macro algae for the mass amount of nutrients i'm assuming these two(hopefully three) animals feeding habits will produce. I would also have the best quality skimmer i can afford for the tank that i would use mostly after feedings, but not all the time. I also love reef tanks, and was wondering if i could maintain a tank with these two (possibly three) different species with live coral. I love the floral like appearance of the reef tank, but predatory fish as well.

For my questions tank size isn't the biggest concern, I want to keep it on the smaller size though, but suggestions wouldn't hurt.

so here are my questions regarding this possible set up.
1) What coral suggestions do you guys have, I think something easy to maintain like a soft coral that doesn't sting and won't mind being made into a perch every so often would be good, but i'm unsure which ones meet that criteria.
2) The rockwork will contain over hangs and some caves to help keep the perchers off the corals and more interested in those, so suggestions for rockwork designs that the perching fish will enjoy and typically be more inclined to perch on than my corals would be appreciated.
3) What clean up crew members would you suggest? I'd like something to eat algae, something for the detritus and uneaten food, and something to keep the sand turned. I would probably start with only one of each CUC species per 10 gallons.
4) I would really love a third possibly more active species, somethings i am looking for are predatory behavior, possibly venomous or poisonous since the first two are venomous and it would make for an interesting theme although this is not required, nothing too huge, close to the first twos size, preferable with a small min tank size like 30-40 gallons, obviously as reef safe as possible, although i am willing to try something more questionable and to look until i find a specimen that does good with the reef set up.
5) For food i would like to use a variety of at least four frozen options, I want to offer to start with different shrimp, crab, fish fillet pieces, silversides, sardines, octopus, and squid, are all of these options safe to try or are some potentially dangerous for my fish? I plan to try them all to begin with and narrow my fish groceries down to four different commonly offered foods and use the others they likes as occasional treats.
6) Are there any weaning methods you recommend for said fish in case i have to wean them off of live food?

Some of these questions are for the coral, while others are for the fish so if you're an expert in one and not the other that's fine, I would really love advice from people who have a vast amount of knowledge and experience in both or either tank styles. I won't be able to set up my tank for at least a year from now, but research and planning far out never hurt anyone!


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
1) Most predators produce too much waste for a reef tank.
2) Rocks ledges. LR.
3) Predator and clean-up crew does not mix.
4) See #1. Most predators are already too big for a 30gal.
5) Decide on which fish first.
6) See #5


Registered Member
I am aware most carnivorous fish are too big for a 30, the actual tank isn't going to be that small. the two fish i have picked are small, i personally don't want huge fish for this tank and don't want the tank itself to be a monster sized tank. The fish I like are the dwarf fuzzy lion and one of the scorpion fish that grows to a max size of 4-4.5 inches, haven't decided which specific scorp yet. As individuals with no one else in the tank I've heard they do fine in 30 gallon tanks, which again, i won't be using as it is just a reference point to their individual tank needs.


AC Members
I have a 30 gal that's maxed out with a clown, six line, mandarin dragonet and a juvenile blue hippo tang. My parameters are good, no nitrates and pH stable. I have an orange sea star, some Zoas and I try to keep 10 hermit crabs, 2-3 turbo snails and handful nasarius snails. CUC will balance out over time. I think a predator tank is at least a 75 gal with a good sized sump, but 120 gal to do it right. I think the first issue you will run into is like tanker said the "waste" issue which will make your tank parameters not suitable for corals. I think maybe larger turbo snails and possibly an urchin for CUC. Crabs (no matter what size) and shrimps will be lunch in no time. With a good fuge and luck you might be able to pull off LPS coral. But you need to decide on what fish first.


Registered Member
Alright, If i went the 75 gallon route would a sump between 40 and 60 be good for the lion and scorp? i plan on finding a large enough stand for a good sump and building my own as I've had experience with construction, and will have an extra hand or two if i need them. For the waste they make i would have a large protein skimmer, Marine pure rock block, and macro algae in the sump, and rock in the actual tank of course. Do you think would that provide ample filtration for them in order to maintain some easy Lps or softies? I still like the idea of a third fish, but i would rather have just the two and the coral if it's possible to maintain. Thank you guys for all the help by the way, Researching coral and fish is helpful but i've found it's not nearly as helpful as reading and having actual advice from people in the reef community.


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
A 75gal, with a 40 to 60gal would be OK, but IMO, just those 2. LPS, and especially SPS just do not like Nitrates, and any Proteins in the water.

I still think you should go either/or= Reef or Predator.


Registered Member
Thank you, if push comes to shove with this tank or it's simply too much for me to keep up with i will probably do just that, but I do want to try this first. What kind of corals do you think are the hardiest or would have the highest chances of survival in such a set up?