What to add after cycling ?


New member
Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who has provided info, feedback, etc to get me this far.

My tank is a 75 gal that I started almost 2 weeks ago. The parameters are ammonia=0 (peaked at .25 and fell to 0), nitrite is between 0 and .25 on the color chart; nitrate=10; pH=8.1; temp between 79 and 81; SG=1.023. From what I have read, it looks like the cycle is getting close to done even though it's only been 2 weeks, so I am looking at what to add in the next week or so. The ultimate goal is to be able to support SPS.

Other observations. There are 100's of copepods in the water and on rocks and glass (I posted my "what's that little white bug"? question last weekend). With lights off (250W XM 10K MH) there is a pink cast to some of the LR, especially in places that are in relatively low-light areas in the tank. With lights on it appears more of a green/brown color. Could this be coralline algae ?

Under consideration for adding to the tank soon are a cleaner crew of some sort, and a clown fish. And I have some questions relating to that. First, which do I add first ? Second, I have seen some "pre-packaged" cleaning crews like the Reef Janitors at Garf that contain dozens of crabs and snails (82 for their standard 55 gal package). Isn't that too much to throw in all at once ? If it is too much, what's a good number and mix of cleaners to start with ? Third, does anyone out there have an opinion on Garf Grunge ?

Down the road I am thinking of adding the following:

Dwarf Angel
Regal Tang
Wrasse of some kind
Dwarf Lion
Royal Gramma
Cleaner Shrimp

Any guidance here is welcome. I'm not sure if it's possible to keep these guys together. My favorites on this list are the Tang and the Lion. So I will probably build around one of them (or both if possible).

One other question from one of my kids. He would love to have a Moray, but they get pretty big and are predatory. So, is there an eel species that would be safe to have in a tank with corals, anemones, and other fish ?

I ordered a larger cleaning crew for my 55 after it completed its cycle. It consisted (roughly) of 30 astrea snails, 25 nassarius snails, 25 cerith snails, 50 blue leg hermits, 4 emerald crabs, a sea cucumber and a brittle starfish. I'm pretty sure the majority of it is still alive now. If anything isn't fairing well, it's the cerith snails, which I don't see very much. Could be that the hermits are killing them for shells, though.

I do think my cleaning crew was too much. Within two to three days, all nusance algae was gone and I'm starting to worry that my cleaners aren't getting enough food. If I could do it over again, I'd reduce the number of snails and crabs I ordered.

I'd get the cleaning crew before you get the fish, just so the tank is nice and clean first. Your fish list looks ok to me, though I'm not sure on the diet of the fuzzy dwarf lion. Not sure if they'd eat your cleaner shrimp, or various other invertebrates. May even take out your royal gramma if you don't feed it enough.

I think a snowflake eel may do ok in your 75, just make sure the lid has no gaps that it can squeeze through. They're generally pretty peaceful for eels, though they too may put an end to your cleaner shrimp. In captivity, snowflakes tend to max out at around 2 feet long.
I would add a clean up crew first.

I personally wouldn't add a lion or a moray to a SPS tank but that is just me.

Dwarf angels are risky. Regal tang will get much too large for your tank. The royal gramma may eat the cleaner shrimp. Be very careful of clownfish as well as some of them are downright mean.

I personally have a 38 gallon with a 40 breeder sump/fuge. I have a royal gramma and a lubbock fairy wrasse. I had a cleaner shrimp but he went bye bye (mr. gramma ate him?).

I also added Garf Grunge after buying into the hype. Waste of money and very unattractive. It made my sand bed look like the ghetto. Stay away from it.
OK, clean-up crew first, but a lighter touch than some of the pre-packaged deals, at least to start.

Then the clown.

CeeGee, I have a book that lists Regals at 4". After your heads up, I looked around some and found other info that puts their full size around 12-16". So no Regal until I build my 300gal some time in the next life.

Twallace, I'll take a look at the Snowflake eel. 2 ft is an awfully big critter for a 4ft tank, though.

Andy O, I thought they were a little easier to get along with than that. Sounds like I need some more research. Does your comment go for the Dwarf varieties as well ? And would his menu include the rest of my list ?


I would start slow with the clean up critters. If you add too much and your tank can not support them, then chances are they will slowly starve.

From you description of the copepods every where, I would not get the GARF Grunge and would just get live sand locally to ad diversity.