iv been in this hobby for a long time and i think its time for a change...
recently iv been thinking about getting a new tank and making it a reef tank.
i need help setting it up and im going to add corals and only corals. is that ok?
any suggestions on beginner corals?
It's not all that simple...
Reef tanks aren't exactly "difficult" to care for, but there's SO many more things you have to do and pay for. For me, running 3 tanks (14, 29 and 34) was costing me about $50-$75 per month.
One does not simply "only add corals" to the tank... I was "only going to add fish" when I set up my 14 gallon, but I added loads of corals. Corals are expensive. Many corals (most of the nice, colorful ones, at least) require super specific water parameters. It is easier to maintain this in a larger tank. If you go with a smaller tank, you'll be testing every few days. Your params can rocket everywhere randomly, depending on what corals you have and how many. In my SPS tank before it crashed (changed salt mixes, continued with that story below) my calcium/alk/mag levels were changing rapidly every day. I had to have family members test the tank twice daily and dose as needed while I was on vacation for a week, and it changed a ton from morning to night even. Nightmare.
Also, you'll need extreme lighting if you want to keep hard corals (SPS)... HQI or LED works well.
Saltwater is cool, but it's so expensive and stressful at times. I used to mix my own saltwater because stuff directly from the ocean is unstable and has other things in it that could be harmful to fish and corals -- I switched salt mixes one day to a super fancy mix and it crashed my SPS tank.
You WILL get addicted. You WILL lose LOTS of money... You'll likely end up killing a good amount of coral. Saltwater fish are generally easy to keep and are supplied to the hobbyist is much better condition that freshwater fish are.
For a saltwater tank, you'll need a cleanup crew... Snails, hermits, ect. Also there are a lot of pests that will randomly pop up. Since corals and stuff start from eggs, you may add pest anemones and pesky invertebrates to your tank when you buy a new piece of coral -- or even upon setting up the tank.
SW is cool but it is a complete PITA and you'll lose thousands -- especially if you're just going to keep coral. That's why I moved from SW to FW again. I only have to pay for water conditioner and electricity costs for lighting.