Wait at least a month for the sand bed and live rock to seed the aquarium before adding the clams and corals. Keep the lights on a regular twelve-hour schedule, and make sure the calcium level remains at 400 ppm or above. Three types of inhabitants in this tank build a calcified skeleton: the seaweeds, the clams, and the corals. Without adequate calcium and correct alkalinity, they will not fare well.

When all the invertebrates have been added, the wrasse (Pseudocheilinus) and gobies (Gobiodon) can come next. The wrasse will help protect the clams from parasite damage, as it feeds on the tiny snails that often enter the aquarium attached to a clam host. As added benefits, either species of Pseudocheilinus is colorful, active, and hardy. Add the comet grouper last, and remember not to fret if it lies low for a long while.

The gobies are naturally short-lived. Expect only a couple of years or three. The neon wrasse likely will live about five years. Follow proper maintenance procedures, and the comet grouper will grace your blue lagoon for many years. The corals and clams have much longer life spans and should survive more than one generation of fish inhabitants. Carefully planned and thoughtfully executed, this relatively simple reef tank will charm your family and guests.

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