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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 15

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Got room for a bruiser?

Stocking Scheme... 7/4/05 Hello Crew, <Scott F. here tonight!> I've got a stocking/compatibility question for y'all. Up until now, I've pretty much been picking out all the fish for our 150 gallon reef tank. Now I'd like to add some fish that my husband will like. <Very diplomatic of you!> He'd really like some schooling fish and he'd really like something with nice, bright color. He's colorblind and seems to have a hard time seeing purples, pinks and certain shades of green. I'd also like to keep my peaceful tank peaceful, so, after a bit of research I decided on adding a small school of Blue Chromis. I showed my husband a pic, and yes, he confirmed that he can indeed see the blue. Oh, and here's what's in the tank so far: 1 Sailfin Tang; 1 Lemonpeel Angel; 1 False Percula; 1 Lawnmower Blenny; 1 Coral Banded shrimp; 1 cleaner shrimp; 1 Emerald Crab; 1 Sandsifting star; a few hermits and snails. The only other fish I might add after the Blue Chromis' might be either a Lyretail Anthias or a Magenta Dottyback (I know that Dottybacks can be mean) unless that's pushing it in terms of overstocking. So, will the Blue Chromis really school? Will a peaceful environment be maintained? I know that there are no guarantees. I'm just looking for what is most likely. Thanks! Nicole <Well, Nicole- there is a very good chance that these fish will school if kept in a small group. I think you should be okay with the stocking plan that you have. However, the Sailfin Tang, although one of my favorite fishes, can reach a huge size, and will rally need even larger quarters to accommodate the fish for its full natural life span. Something to think about. Best of luck with your stocking plan. Sounds very good so far! Regards, Scott F.> Seeking help in combining two marine tanks Hello!  Long time reader, first time writer, thanks for all the hard work you folks do. <Thank you for the acknowledgement> I have two marine tanks here in Charlotte, NC... a 265 gal and a 75 gal.  The 265 is a full blown reef, the 75 FOWLR.  My wife wants the 75 for a planted fresh water tank (she's outgrown her 30 gal.), so I need to consider the possibility of combining the contents of the 75 into the 265, and your help and advice is appreciated. The 265 currently houses: 3 Apogon erythrinus                 Red cardinals (2" each) 1 Bodianus bimaculatus           2 spot hogfish (3") 1 Siganus vulpinus                     Foxface Lo (the brute of the 265 at a bulky 5"+ and growing) 1 zebrasoma veliferum                 Sailfin (4", but takes no bullying from the Lo) 1 Pseudanthias Pleurotaenia       Squarespot Anthias (4" female, the other females and male died.) 1 Cirrhilabrus solorensis                  Wrasse (4+", female) 1 Paracheilinus filamentosus            Wrasse (4+", female) 1 Chaetodon ephippium                    Saddleback Butterfly (about 4".seems to be finding enough sponge in the LR) <Nice> 2 Ptereleotris evides                       Scissortail Dartfish  (3" each, a mated pair, great to see swimming about together) 1 Nemateleotris decora                    Purple firefish 1 Nemateleotris magnifica                Firefish 1 Valenciennea puellaris                      Diamond watchman goby (keep digging burrows for the Scissortail's to occupy) 1 Pseudochromis fridmani                Fridmani Pseudochromis (3", not very active, hides a lot) 1 Ecsenius bicolor                           Bicolor blenny (the clown of the tank) Various corals, leathers, etc.  Not overcrowded with corals, enough to add visual interest... The 265 has 300 (+/-) lbs of live rock, a large euro-reef skimmer, Korallin calcium reactor, chiller, 90 gal refugium with 6" DSB, the only thing really missing is a closed loop system (Super amp-master 7500 is in the garage waiting on me.) <A nice addition> Readings are: pH 8.3, salinity is 1.024, calcium 350-380, alk is between 8-10 dKH, ammo and nitrites 0, nitrates 10-15, temp varies during the day from 76 in the am to 79 in the pm, lighting is 4@95 watt actinic pc's (9am till 11pm) and three 250 watt 10K MH's (12 noon till 10pm). The 75 currently houses: 1 Zebrasoma flavescens          Yellow tang (4+") <Some chasing fun with the congener> 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia     6 line wrasse (3+") 1 Centropyge bispinosus              Coral beauty (4") 1 Elacatinus sp.                           Gold cleaner goby 1 Pseudochromis springeri         Springeri Pseudochromis (4"...considerably more active than the Fridmani) 1 Salarias fasciatus                  Algae blenny (4"...eats everything but algae) 1 Pseudanthias squamipinnis     Maldives lyretail Anthias (male - 4", a real looker) 2 Amphiprion ocellaris                 Ocellaris clownfish (in a 12" LTA, mated pair, together 2 years) Lighting in the 75 is 3@110 watt VHO's (10K) and two 175 watt 20K MH's, euro reef skimmer, 30 gal refug.... I use lots of carbon and poly-filters in both tanks... So.. what think ye?  My immediate concerns are the possible combining of two Anthias, the two Pseudochromis, the two Zebrasomas (in it's present environment, the sailfin is much more active {i.e., aggressive} than the yellow), and the possibility of 3 wrasses (the sixline likes to be in control.) all in the 265. <All should be able to get around each others similar species... maybe with the exception of the tangs... but even they should come to an understanding> Depending on what you recommend as keepers from the 75, should they be added at once (once acclimated) or some specific order? <I'd place all at once... the confusion, changing dynamics will be better done in one shot> I do not plan on QT'ing any from the 75 as they have all been together at least 6 months, most longer. no disease issues in either tank.   Thanks for all your assistance, it is truly appreciated! Sincerely, Dr. Glenn Brokaw <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Marine setup stock >Helloooo WWM!   >>Hellooo to you! >Great to see the info up to date and the site still up and going.  This site never ceases to amaze me.  Okay, now for the question.  I am planning on setting up a 58 gal. Oceanic aquarium for a fish only except for a brittle star.  If I have a canister filter (can't remember the name but I remember it being very nice) and a Sea Cyclone (I think that's the name) protein skimmer with no live rock, would that be enough filtration for: dwarf lion, brittle star, snow flake moray, a trigger, and anenomes with clown fish?  I think that's the stock I'm looking at.  Would that be a good combo?   >>Nix the anemone with that kind of filtration, no lighting mentioned, and the TRIGGER!  Also, know that the moray will eat the clowns at first opportunity, and that some triggers are known to eat lionfishes. >And is that adequate filtration?  Thanks so much in advance.   >>For everything *except* the anemone.  Anemones are generally not for beginners, and care really should be taken when considering them.  If that's what you *really* want, then set up a system specifically for a host anemone and its consequent clown species.  We have copious amounts of information on anemones on-site, including lighting, feeding, and filtration requirements.  Good luck!  Marina mail me at  Ty Medaris

Stocking Up (Marine Stocking Plan) Hey all - thanks both for your prior help and in advance for the current help! <And thanks for stopping by our site! Scott F. with you today!> Story: I was trying to get a 55 gallon tank set up for my son's 1 year birthday.  I found out that patience really is key and didn't add anything to the tank (other than the LR for cycling) for his parties this past weekend. You may remember I got live rock from LiveAquaria and had mosquito and garden hose water issues. <sorry- didn't here that-but it sounds yucky> I took your advice and complained; Live Aquaria has graciously agreed to send 45 free #'s of LR, which I will receive on Wednesday. <That's great customer service!> My questions: 1) There seems to be mold (whitish green fuzzy) growing on one of the rocks in the tank.  Is it mold?  or some kind of algae?  I will get a picture out as soon as I find my digital camera. <Unlikely to be "mold" if submerged...More likely some kind of decomposing organic material, a dying sponge, etc....hard to say from here, but most likely, something decomposing...You should probably remove the stuff> 2) Can I add the new batch of LR to the tank to cure (will this kill anything that may be living in the rock or should I go with the Rubbermaid basket method Paletta talks about in his book?  there is some stuff growing on the first batch of rock (reddish spots, which I presume is coralline algae). <Adding new, uncured rock to a tank that has already cycled is a definite recipe for trouble! I'd cure in a remote container, a la Paletta...much safer procedure, IMO> 3) Stocking:  The stocking plan has changed and I just wanted some confirmation that it is still OK re aggression and hardiness of fishes (this is my first tank ever... still). <Sure> Week 1 of stocking: 2 ocellaris clowns plus ~6 assorted snails (Trochus, Cerith, Abalone) and 1 peppermint shrimp <Smart to put in scavengers and algae eating animals first...!> Week 4-6 of stocking: 1 Firefish and 1 neon goby plus 1 cleaner shrimp <Good mix> Week 8-10 of stocking: 3 pajama cardinalfish plus ~6 snails <ok again> Week 12-14 of stocking: EITHER 1 Royal Gramma or 1 Sunrise Dottyback plus a simple starfish and more snails <Good to add more scavengers along the way...The Sunrise Dottyback is a very cool fish, if you can find it! I love grammas, but the Dottyback would be cool> Week 20 of stocking: 1 Coral Beauty Angel plus a small scarlet reef hermit crab and more snails <I like the idea of adding and re-stocking your scavenger team along the way> Total: 9 small fish, a peppermint and a cleaner shrimp, a hermit crab, a  starfish, and ~20-25 snails. Sound like a solid plan?  Any suggestions on changes? <Sounds fine, but you'll be maxed out on fishes in this sized tank. Enjoy the setup with what looks like a good mix of fishes!> THANKS! Bart <Good luck, Bart! Sounds like a nice plan! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Low light reef - -3/31/03 I am new to the saltwater hobby. <Welcome aboard. Paul your captain tonight> Always been a freshwater fan. <I feel ya> I have a 36 gallon aquarium.  I've been reading all that I can, especially Tullock's Natural Reef Aquarium. <Good book in my opinion> My questions:          I want to use live sand & live rock, what invertebrates          and corals can I use for low to moderate light?          I would like to use only a 96 watt power compact. <Why only a 96? Live rock and live sand are a great way to go. I highly recommend their use. As far as low light corals I think some zoanthids and corallimorpharians will be your best bet with relative success. Any snails and or hermits will do fine here as well. A starfish could be a good addition for you as they seem to thrive in low light. Brittle stars are easily acclimated and very hardy.>   I will probably use Damsels. <Are we talking as the primary fish or as to be used as a cycling fish? No need to use cycling fish. I feel it is not necessary to do such and inhumane. I would not put more than one in this tank and at most two, but beware of some fighting if used as a primary fish>  I know that the use of fish must be sparingly in order to use live sand bio filtration. <Well while true you can put a few fish in this tank. I believe Tullock discusses this in his book on how many and compatibility of reef fish> If there is any direction you can steer me in, I would be grateful. Thank you for your time. <Sorry for the delay in a response. We have been busy in both personal and fishy endeavors. Please continue to read and gain knowledge from Wetwebmedia and other sites before you decide on any additions to your tank. I think you are on the right track.>

Growing Pains (Stocking a Up-And-Coming Reef) Thanks so much for your response.  I also put this message on your chat board and basically got the same response.  We have a pink tipped Haitian anemone.  I just don't understand why my LFS would not tell me to buy a stronger lighting system.  They seem knowledgeable and we have been telling them we are new to this and they know we would have bought pretty much anything they suggested in the beginning.  Problem is I don't have much choice as there are only a few places around here that sell marine animals. <Well, one good thing- I'd certainly say that Condylactis anemones (which I believe your specimen is) are among the hardiest anemone specimens for captivity. Also, they are fairly abundant in their natural environment, so the impact of their collection is not quite as great as say, carpet anemones, or other species. That being said- they still require a high level of attention to do well in captivity...I also don't know why the LFS didn't recommend more light; perhaps there is some misconception as to their requirements...> Anyway, regarding the anemone and clownfish, as I said the one larger fish stays with the anemone while the smaller one keeps trying the other aggressively shoos it away.  I want the smaller one to be happy too. It doesn't give up.  It has found a hiding place in the rocks but keeps trying for the anemone.  Can I put another anemone in the tank (once I get better lighting)?  Does it have to be the same kind? <Well, I am not a big fan of multiple anemones in a relatively small system. the potential for aggression (yep- I said "aggression"- as in chemical warfare and/or cannibalism) between the two is too great. In time, there is a good chance that your smaller clownfish will become a male in this pair, and the female (the larger of the two) will probably allow him into the anemone at some point (assuming that they pair off), so just make sure that the little guy is eating and not being injured by the other one> We plan to eventually put more live rock, some coral and over the next 3-6 months, fish wise, we are looking at tangs and/or angels, <I'm not a big fan of tangs in smaller tanks, so do consider the ultimate size of the species that you are interested in, and your ability to provide for its needs in the long term. As for angels- I love 'em- but if you intend to have corals, you may have some problems with them nipping and/or eating the polyps. Study the fish you intend to keep very carefully, and make sure that you are okay accepting the potential "trade off" in keeping these animals> maybe one each of blennies, a hawkfish and Pseudochromis. <These are much better choices, for the most part; they stay small, are generally not overly aggressive, and do very well in mixed fish/invert systems> We saw an electric scallop but don't know much about them.  I appreciate your thoughts and comments. <They don't do well in captivity...Avoid them! How's that for some advice! LOL...Seriously, they are most difficult to keep alive for long periods of time in captivity, and I'd say that they are really not good choices for captive systems> Thanks, Sue <No problem, Sue! Glad that you are growing and learning in the hobby! Just take it slow-read a lot, share your experiences with others, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Nocturnal Disappearances Hi Guys, Greetings from Dubai in the Middle east. Ok...there's war goin on here but I've got bigger problems... <Well, not really bigger, but a nice distraction from the war, nonetheless> I have a 66 gallon marine tank with ocean rock (made coral skeleton and shells) for homes stocked with 2 medium clarkii clowns 1 ocellaris, 1-3 spot damsel, 2 green Chromis 2 blue damsel Two weeks ago my wife went to Colombo and met a friend who has a marine farm and he gifted her...2 carpet anemones, 1 Formosa Wrasse 3 fire shrimp, 3 cleaner shrimp, 2 Anthias (squamipinnis) 2 seahorses (1 yellow 1 black)( I was against putting them in the tank but I hadn't a choice !), 2 bi colored blennies, 2 cleaner wrasse. I know what you're thinking by this overstocking (Don't shout at me please...) :) <Ok, but it's still overcrowded, LOL!> and yeah I was shocked as well at his kind gesture but they all seemed to get on well no arguments no chasing AND ALL WERE FEEDING WELL on the flake food + Raw shrimp pieces + blood worms. <Well, fish that eat are fish that live> One evening I returned from work last week and found the yellow seahorse missing....I looked about the rocks and there was no trace. Anyway two days later I saw the red carpet anemone burping the skeleton out!!! <What a nightmare!> My wife wasn't pleased as she's the seahorse fan...3 days later the black seahorse went missing...2 days later, a piece of the skeleton emerged from the same place again...Now One cleaner shrimp has disappeared and so has my poor Formosa Wrasse...Is there any chance that this wrasse has burrowed itself under the 3 inch coral substrate ? He never ever went near the anemones....was always eating 24hrs from the rocks... <Certainly a possibility...However, your guess is as good as mine here...I hope it wasn't the anemone....Just keep an eye out for him.> Also one of my blennies has got stripes along his body like stretch marks...What is this ? <Again, hard to say from here, but it could be a coloration pattern of some sort. I notice very subtle bluish stripes on the facial area of my lack Sailfin blenny...particularly noticeable when he is agitated...could be nothing...I would not be overly concerned about it> How do I stop this from happening ? I am a big fan of my tank and ensure that the water is in peak condition every weekend...I have done a crazy amount of reading on marine life and on WWM's FAQs so I'm kinda puzzled... <Well, if it is the anemone snapping up your fishes in the middle of the night, the only real solution is to remove either the fish or the anemones...That way, no one is at risk, and there is no problem...> Appreciate the help bud's Thanks God bless you all @ WWM <Thank you for the kind thoughts! Sorry I don't have any earth-shattering revelations for you, but I think that you need to review the stocking and compatibility of the animals...An hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Clueless ... Lyndon

Nocturnal Disappearances (Pt. 2) Hi Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for the reply...was eatin dinner yesterday and saw the red carpet anemone trapping my fire shrimp...I started a 911 rescue operation (aided by the Clarkii clown...hahaha) immediately but the anemone would not let go...so I coaxed the killer outta the tank and managed to extricate the shrimp carefully...but the poor bugger was almost dead...unfortunately I couldn't give him CPR and the shock must have accelerated his demise. Guess where the anemone is...Quarantined. <Given the recent events in your tank, I'd say that this was a wise move on your part!> Is this normal for anemones ? Perhaps its instinct ?. <Well, they are not "aggressive", but the tentacles do perform a "reflex" action by trapping whatever makes contact with them, be it a piece of food, or an expensive fish! They certainly don't discriminate!> Also I've noticed that my two Clarkii's behave in a curious manner...the bigger one chases the smaller sized one and the smaller guy does a kind of vibration act with his whole body slanted or sideward...then he proceeds to eat the rock...and this continues....now I notice both are doing this side act.....what's up with them ? Are they bumping each other or is it Break dance ? <Actually, more like a courting dance! The smaller, submissive fish is almost certainly the male. In clownfish courting, the mail will generally "tremble" in the presence of the female (don't get any ideas, ladies out there), before he submits to her and a pair is formed. It's fascinating to watch, and definitely a sign that a male/female pair is becoming established...In the near future, you may even see a spawning event! Start reading up about breeding and rearing Clownfishes, if you're interested! It's an amazing and fascinating hobby in its own right!> Thanks Once Again Regards Lyndon <My pleasure, Lyndon! Have fun with your newly formed clownfish pair! Regards, Scott F>

Trigger and Live Rock  3/30/03 hey again Phil<Hey Tyler!> If i bought a Huma trigger what is the smallest size fish i could keep with it?<This depends on the trigger.  I've seen some that are fine with smallish fish, others rip damsels apart in a few minutes.> Would he get along with a flame angel, clowns, full grown Firefish.<There's a good possibly that this should work out fine.  The tank is between 125 gallons... so that gives "appox." say 20 gallons per fish.  This is if you get 1 Angel, 2 Clowns, 2 Firefish and one Trigger.>   What's a good web site to buy live rock for cheap.<Hehe Cheep live rock??  Where? LOL!  Depends on what ya want.  I like Harbor Aquatics, but they do cost a bit more then other places.  But HA live rock has lots of life on it.  Read over our forums as we just had some posts about live rock.  www.wetwebfotos.com/talk  >   Thanks! Tyler<Hope this helps and good luck!! Phil>

Gobies and Jawfish >Hey Guys, >>And gals.  Marina here. >Is it alright to have a Blue Spotted  Jawfish  and a Amblygobius phalaena Goby >>Do you mean "Amblygobius"?  Check this link for information--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobiusfaqs.htm >in a 135g together? There will also be a Purple Tang, Ocellaris Clown, Flame Hawk, Blue Hippo and possibly another Tang. Also, can gobies of different species be kept together in a system this size (Amblygobius Phalaena  and Mahidolia mystacina)? >>To the best of my own knowledge, care should be taken with animals that occupy the same niche, or have very close taxonomy.  I would exercise care, and not try to mix similar species. Look here for a bit of information on the shrimp gobies (which I think would do alright with the Jawfish or the A. phalaena) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpgobies.htm >Last questions, are Copper banded Butterflies truly reef safe? >>Generally, yes, though there are always stories of some that may get a bit nippy with some types of corals.  Keep them well-fed and I would expect few problems. >And I have read and heard that they will eat Aiptasia Anemones, is that true, and would they eat an Anemone like a Curlicue or a Bubble Tip Rose Anemone? >>I've heard the same as well, it's not an "always" kind of thing.  Also, to the best of my knowledge curly-cue's are an Aiptasia, I've never heard of a Copperband getting nippy with the larger anemones (especially if it's being hosted by clowns). >Thanks for your time,  Nick Shushkewitch >>You're welcome, Marina.

Re: fish in tank order >Dear Crew Just kind of curious about stuff.. I have started to feed my Shoal tang with Nori Seaweed. He loves it and graze on it all day. That is a good sign right?? >>Right! >But at the same time, he is not that interested in other foods, such as squid or clams, or shrimp... is that ok?? >>Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.  I wouldn't worry about it, just keep offering other good quality foods and be sure to soak the Nori in supplements a few times a week. >I was going to put him into the qt for another week, but in QT he is not eating well, and developed Black ich. So I Freshwater dipped him and put it into my main display,( he is cleared of visible black spot) which was fallowed for 31 days.. I know that it is a gamble... all over again... >>Then, you know what may happen. >But the fish is not eating in QT and I do not want to treat him with copper. To harmful for tangs...  ( I used to have a lot of tangs, and most died when copper treatment is administered.) >>This is arguable, I have seen copper used quite successfully with tangs for quite some time.  Specific medications are required, as is daily testing and close observation, as well as copious water changes. >The good news is that, the shoal is at least free of black ich and swimming happily in a 5 foot tank... lots of Nori and other stuff for him to eat... but he is a little shy, is there a problem with him?? >>This indicates that the fish will be easily stressed.  Stress will leave him MUCH more susceptible to reinfection, and you'll end up starting all over again.  Truthfully, my advice at this point is to tough it out and complete a full cycle of treatment as I prescribed before, but it's too late for that now, eh?  You see, subjecting the fish to constant medication is going to make him even more susceptible, better to knock it out for good than have to keep going back.  This is my honest opinion. >Also, all my other fishes are still in the QT, they are doing very well and healthy, eat like pigs. >>Having had pigs, I know what you mean.  This is very good. >How long do I introduce another fish back to my Main?? 2 weeks close inspection of the shoal, make sure nothing is wrong?? >>NO.  Stick to a 30 day MINIMUM. >Lastly, I was trying to raise my Calcium levels, right now is very low (Ca=260ppm and alk-=2.6meq, pH=8.2 daytime) I have been using part A and B additives, 20 ml each for 7 days... but no improvement. I would like to try using Ca(OH)2 as called Kalkwasser to supplement my tank... any detailed method of how to use it?? I bought the chemical from the chemical store, not from Kent marine... so I need some kind of method of how to administered it. >>The standard method is to drip it into your sump/refugium at a rate of approximately ten drops/minute, give or take.  Be careful not to add too much too quickly. >I have a pH meter so I can monitor the pH and adjust dosage. I have heard that if one replenish the evaporated seawater with Kalkwasser, it is ok, is that right? >>Perfect, just mix it up with RO/DI water and dose into the sump, NOT directly into the tank. >And my tank evaporates 4-5 gallons a week... so I have to put 4-5 gallons of saturated Kalk solutions in the system?? >>If that's the rate of evaporation, you can either mix a less saturated solution or alternate between the Kalk drip (for instance, drip it only at night--which is when we tend to get pH drops anyway) and freshwater additions, again, put into the sump and not directly in the tank so it can mix. >I am pretty worry... and does not sound like a good idea to me... any thoughts? I am waiting for this reply and now I am increasing part AB additive dosage to 30 ml each day. >>Read above, and PLEASE use the net for all its excellent information.  You can do a general Google search, for instance on Kalkwasser dosing, and search specific sites, such as ours, or a place such as http://www.reefs.org/library .  Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine with the Kalkwasser.  Marina

Stocking, order >Hey Crew, >Crewmember Marina, here. >I'm was wondering of one or a few of you could weigh in on a stocking plan for a 75. >>Hope I can do for now. >Currently I have 1 goldentail moray, but the tank is moving in several months, and once that is done I am going to start from scratch. (in other words...I won't have the eel anymore).  It's a FOWLR, w/about 60lbs of rock and a 3in live sand bed.  I would like to go with a smaller to medium size community tank.  I don't want super passive fish like fire fish, but I also would like to stay away from more aggressive predators.  Here's a few fish I was thinking about: flame angel; longnose butterfly; clown (2 Percs, or 1 or either clarkii or maroon); purple tang; a Dottyback....and that's it I think. What do you guys think? >>That seems a very prudent stocking plan, to me.  Have you decided Forcipiger longirostris or F. flavissimus?   Both are well suited to the setup you've just described.  Especially if you're going to make one section of the tank well-stocked with the live rock. >Order? >>Well. clearly I would put the butterfly in first (you could go with a copperband instead, should you prefer), and, if you decide on the Amphiprion percula, and, assuming you're getting relatively young (1"-2"), captive-breds, those would go in next. >Any omissions or additions?  Then the Dottyback could go in.  If you wished, I don't see what would be wrong with the addition of some cleaner shrimp, since you've mentioned no wrasses.  Should you want something like a wrasse a sixline wouldn't add to the bioload too significantly.  Have you decided on filtration?  Then the purple tang, then the flame angel.  This is based on my own experience with aggression, and aggression is my own concern.  I'm also assuming that all fish will be being quarantined for a minimum of 30 days, and that you're not starting off with fully grown fish. >If possible, more then one of you can chime in here bc I've been reading FAQS for a long time and I notice that many of you have different ideas.  I'd especially like to hear from Anthony as he seems to be the "strictest" (a good thing) as far as stocking rules. I figure if he likes the plan it's gotta be OK!!!  Thanks....Rich >>I'm sure he'll see it, and you haven't met *me*...LOL!!  Marina

Compatibility I have a 105 gal fish and live rock only tank. I presently have a panther grouper, a lionfish, a dog face, and a porcupine puffer who all get along very well. I wanted to get something with color to brighten up this tank so the LPS assured me that a Spanish hog fish would get along fine with my gang so I purchased him. Since I put him in the grouper has been slowly following him every where he goes and the lion has struck at him a couple times but not apparently trying too hard. The hog is the exact same size as the lion but smaller than the grouper. Do these fish usually get along and could this just be a territorial thing or do they think he is a $19. lunch? The pet store said if I needed to I could attempt to capture him and return him. If indeed I do need to do this what would be a better choice?<Get this guy out of there if he is still alive!  Hogfish are medium sized, semi aggressive fish that will have a hard time competing with this bunch.  Your tank is over stocked right now and you will be needing a much larger tank (at least 200 gallons) as all these fish are messy, large, and fast growing. Cody>

Lookdowns... temperate and big tanks 3/23/03 Hi, my names George. <cheers, my friend> I live in London (UK), <heehee... and thanks to the UK for that TV show "Ground Force" (gardening show). Seriously... I just love it for some reason :) We get it on BBC America> I'm currently researching into my new marine aquarium, I've come to the conclusion that it will be 48x30x24 approx 120 gallons, <that's a fantastic sized tank for rockscaping> I'm just playing with the idea and would much appreciate your expert opinion, would i be able to keep a Lookdown in my tank? <alas no, my friend. Many problems here. They barely occur in tropical waters... many more are in temperate waters. A chiller is required for long-term success with most of them. Furthermore... they are large fish that require enormously long and large aquaria to swim in. Most die in home aquaria within a year or two. They fare better in large cylindrical aquariums (over 500 gallons).> I plan to have around 80lbs of live rock built around the edges kinda like a wall, with a 1-2 inch live sand bed, skimmers I've yet to choose so excuse my newbyness, lol. <no worries at all... you likely have good access to the Tunze line in the UK. I rank them in the top 5 personally> bearing in mind the majority of the tank will be open water, could i keep a lookdown? <your planning has indeed been thoughtful... but this is just not a fish for home aquaria... some say public aquariums only (large size, circular tanks, chillers and a big budget to support them... Ha!)> if so is there any compatible fish (the lookdown looks very delicate). <very few... most will nip their long pennants or simply startle these easily frightened fish into a wall.. ouch.> also what do they feed on, <actually predatory... live fish (which embraces another challenge for long-term success). FW goldfish and feeders are nutritively deficient for SW species... so a feeder tank with thoughtfully gut-loaded prey (feeding prey nutritively dense dry or frozen meaty foods) is required> sounds crazy please say so, I want to provide a perfect setting and environment for my fish so your advice and criticism would be much appreciated. Sincerely George Emeny :-) <I certainly can empathize with your admiration for this unique fish! Alas... most of us need to be content to view them in the public aquarium and resist bringing them home. If you would still like to consider keeping one, I would be delighted to help you work it out. First seek the availability/viability of a larger display (300-500 gallon minimum) and a chiller, then follow up with us to share opinions on filtration and feeding. With kind regards, Anthony> Lookdowns. maybe not Thanks Anthony for the quick reply. <always welcome my friend :)> I like Ground Force too, but personally i would just scrap the garden and install a swimming pool sized pond, stock it with sturgeon (ok, i am crazy, lol) <mmmm.... sturgeon <G>. Anyway back to the subject in hand, apart from Lookdowns, i was also thinking about a predator themed tank, same dimensions (48x30x24) <many possibilities here indeed> I was in my LFS during the week and i spotted a large spiny puffer, he looked so cute, he was at least 12 inches long, <and they do get bigger... some serious concern here for the adult size of this species. Perhaps you can find a smaller puffer species that appeals to you> if I based the aquarium around him <heehee... would have to> (listen to me already referring to the puffer as "him", lol) what sort of other fish could i introduce, I've read on your fantastic site that they can be quite nippy, <very much so... like triggers> and with a 1 foot specimen, I dread to think the damage he could do to more mild mannered inhabitants, would a Volitans work? or perhaps a trigger? <in a bigger tank, either could be fine... the lion is a better choice overall> Or would it just be a bad idea in general? <our problem here is that the adult size of these fishes exceeds the practical (if not ethical) limit of a 120 gallon aquarium. The aquarium is not quite three times their length. Instead, a dogface puffer and a dwarf lion (some dwarf species still reach 25-30cm!) would likely be a better choice. Better still would be an ell mate for the puffer. Eels generally eat less and are less of a burden on the bio-load. May be necessary here? As you no doubt understand stocking is so difficult, with such an amazing array of fish, I've got to get it right first time u know, considering how much it will cost me, i don't want corpses, lol. <very much agreed... and do look up your candidates adult sizes as you shop. One of the most complete sites for species surveys is fishbase.org   a search for spiny puffers there (Diodon holocanthus) reveals that can reach an adult size of 50 cm! Anything near that just doesn't seem possible in a 120 gallon I'm afraid. See more here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Diodon&speciesname=holocanthus  > I mean I'm looking for a selection of say 3-4 show fish, that would get on with a minimum of aggression. What would you stock ? <3-4 predators in a 120 will a little tough, but still possible. A fine mix might include a Niger Odonus trigger (there are some magnificent specimens with purple, teal or green bodies sheens), a snowflake moray eel (one of the smaller of the handsome species), a small Arothron nigropunctatus puffer (many color varieties here) and perhaps a Fu-Manchu lion (very colorful and slow growing)> I trust your amazing knowledge to help a newbie, lol. Thanks again Anthony. :-) <thanks kindly, my friend. Anthony>

Yellow Tang >Hi! >>Hi! >I have a 75g tank with one yellow tang whose about 1.5" long and a Maroon clown fish , a little smaller. Also one coral banded shrimp. I would like to know specifically what fish i can add to the tank and how many. I would love to add more tangs, but  finding more about fish that get along with the yellow tang has been hard.  Also can i add live plants, if so what kind?   >>Ok, consider the Forcipiger longirostris or F. flavissimus--two different species both known as Longnose butterflies.  Make sure that they are at least twice the size of the Yellow tang, to avoid aggression towards these more timid fish as they are both yellow and shaped similarly to the Yellow tang.  You could also add a Copperband butterfly. >>You could add a Royal Gramma or Pseudochromis, please don't mix them, though.  Hawkfish are a great addition, Arc-eye or Longnose are good (watch the Longnose for suicidal leaps).  The more timid damsels (such as the lovely pink and yellow Fiji damsel) would fare well and provide lively action.  You could also consider a pygmy angel, such as a Flame angel, but only add one, they don't care for each other and interspecies aggression is an issue.   >>If you added two butterflies (maybe three, but be careful), a hawkfish, a Pseudochromis or Royal Gramma, and a pygmy (not a Potter's) I think you should be doing fairly well.  Please avoid fishes that require aged, well-established reef tanks to thrive, such as Mandarin fish.  Without knowing your tank parameters or filtration it's difficult to be hard and fast about numbers (it is anyway, though), so it's better to err on the side of Understocking.  Marina

The Big (and Crowded) Picture Dear Bob and Crew: <Scott F. today!> To keep this short...I have fallowed my main display for 30 days now because of an ick outbreak. All the fishes that made it are in my QT. and all free of parasites. at least that is what I can see). <Well done!> In this month, I changed 60-80 gallons of water, my tank is 125 gallons and siphon the top layer of my sand substrate and cleaned with freshwater, just to be safe. Within this month, I also added about 100 lbs of live rock and a devil hand soft coral. <Sounds like a serious "retrofit!"> I added appropriate supplements. I keep water conditions as best as I can. I intend to wait for another 2 weeks before I start adding fish back in there. This is the third time I have had it fallow my tanks so I have to get this time right. <Just be patient and see the process through!> I would like to ask you about the order of fishes that I put in. 1st- 2 x 2inch palette tang for 14 days (because tangs are ick magnet, I put them first to see if the ick has gone away. <A bold move, but I can appreciate the logic here. As long as environmental conditions and water parameters are acceptable and stable, why not?> 2nd- clowns (tomato and common), Firefish and scooter blenny, and a 2 inch squirrel fish <Are you sure about the squirrel fish? They can get fairly large- and they can munch on smaller tankmates...I am not a big fan of them, except in dedicated "biotope" tanks, myself...Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents!> 3rd  rusty and coral beauty angels (2.5 inch) <They are getting along together? A bit unusual-but good...Watch out for the corals- there might be "sampling" on occasion> 4th  clown tang (4 inch) <Uh-oh> 5th  shoal tang  (6+ inch) <Oh, Boy!> I am intended to keep other fishes, Powder Blue tang, harlequin tusk, , , queen angel  and a clown trigger. <Whoa!> (these I have not bought) Maybe emperor angel (juv),  asfur angel and regal angel <Ok- time for 'ol Scott to speak up here! I'm not sure how to say it really nicely, so I'll be blunt. Way, way too many fishes in this tank, especially the tangs. One of the many 'inducers" of ich is stress, and stress may come about for a variety of reasons, including overcrowding (and the environmental degradation that it causes), and "social" problems, caused by aggressive behaviors among the inhabitants. Also- take into account the "end game" here-the ultimate size of some of these fishes, and their needs: The Clown Tang and Sohal tang can easily reach a foot or more. Also, they are among the most aggressive of all tangs, and will absolutely wreak havoc in time. They require huge amounts of space, superior water quality, compatible tankmates, and lots of food. The same thinking holds true for the larger angels, Tuskfish, and trigger that you are thinking about. Even if you don't intend to add all of the fishes from that "wish list" to this tank, you'd eventually have problems...Please restrain yourself here, and find good homes for some of the fish that you already have...just too many. You're doing a great job running the tank fallow and re-starting; let's get it right this time, and not wander down the same path that may have caused the problems in the first place, huh? Ok- enough preaching, but do think about it, okay?> Questions 1. Is the order right?? How long should I wait between introduce another group into the main? <Well, the order may be okay, but not the animals, as I indicated in my rant above! Wait about a week between introductions> 2. Should any future fishes (the ones I have not buy) be put into the main before the sohal and clown?? <In any tank where these wo fishes are to be kept, I'd introduce them last!> 3. I am thinking I should get the powder blue the bigger than the other 2 tang.  Any thought?? <Well, I'm honestly thinking that you should avoid the Powder Blue altogether, for some of the reasons outlined above, and also because this fish, among all tangs, ahs the supreme distinction of being labeled as THE "Ich Magnet" in aquariums. You really need to get back in the sing of things and make sure everything is up and running well for a while before even thinking of adding this touchy fish, if at all. You (and the fish) will be all the better for it...> 4.Not related. If I feed the fishes fresh clams, is there a chance that the clams carry ick into my tank?? <I would not be overly concerned about them binging in ich to the tank> 5. I am trying a kind of seaweed that I bought in a Japanese food store to feed my tangs. My sohal and clown tang are living at a separate qt for now (due to size of QT). The kind of seaweed is used to make sushi. Do they justify to be fed to my beloved fish?? The shoal actually prefers this type of seaweed over brine shrimp mix meaty stuff. Will the seaweed kill my fish if they are lightly salted??? I am not sure if they are salted. I tasted it and they are kinda lightly salty. pls help <Well, sushi Nori is one of the best "prepared" substitutes for live macroalgae that you can get. I'd avoid any that has been salted or otherwise seasoned, as you can get it unsalted/seasoned anywhere that you'd find the seasoned stuff. If you are serious about your tangs, you really should obtain and cultivate some live macroalgae, such as Gracilaria parvispora ("Ogo", or "Tang Heaven"). You could get a starter of this from Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona: www.ipsf.com   , and then grow your own from the starter. Herbivorous tangs absolutely love this stuff...well worth the effort to obtain and grow it. You could also go back to the Asian market and get it refrigerated  as "Ogo", or a similar macroalgae (called "Limu" in the Islands), and feed this stuff. Lots and lots of algae possibilities in a well-stocked Asian market!> 6. If my synthetic sea water has low pH values (8.0-8.05) using instant ocean, what should I do??? should I add pH buffer first then put into the main? Or is that other alternative? <Well, I'd trace it back to environment, not just the salt mix...Overcrowded systems tend to have depressed pH levels. Look to improved husbandry (water parameter maintenance, water changes, circulation, feeding, etc.) for your answers. Conduct an "audit" of the situation, assess the possible "culprits", and make appropriate corrections as needed> Lastly, want to ask about holiday/vacation issues I am going away for about 2 months for the summer (Thailand/Malay snorkeling), and I need some instructions as to how my tank is going to survive this period. I have read your FAQ's and most of them are not applicable, so I would like if you can give me some comments about my plan. (1. Evaporation) First evaporation is replenished via a automatic top off system using float switch and Rubbermaid container and a powerhead (28 gallon) so.. I usually evaporate 3-4 gallons a week. That should last at least 3 weeks. <As long as you are confident in the reliability of the design and operation, then go for it!> (2. heating, temperature) Second, I will only turn on light for 10 hrs. I have 4 fluorescent lights and afraid overheat tank water.  I will turn on a fan and install it at the water surface, turn on during the middle of the day. Might even do a little controller for it.. ( :-) ) Usually this is not a problem, but error on safe side. <Fans work nicely, but you may notice increased evaporation, so consider this when constructing your top off system (i.e.; consider increasing it's capacity, if possible, to take this into account)...> (3. feeding, additives) Feeding is left minimal. Will measure amount of food and feed every 2 days. Additive are keep minimal. PA and PB additives added weekly. Will dosed in vial and let my friend added for me. <If you can, you could dump a healthy portion of the aforementioned Gracilaria into the tank for the herbivores before you go...Some may even grow, if it survives the onslaught from the tangs! I would not stress out over the additives...In a well maintained tank with a regular, frequent water change schedule (as yours definitely should have), you really won't need to use them, in many cases> (4. water changes) water change will be made after the first month with the help of my LFS owner (20-30 gallon). Is that a good plan?? Any comments?? Pls help. <Should be fine. I like the idea of having an experienced, trustworthy fellow fish nerd take a peek at the tank once in a while, or to conduct regular maintenance while you're away...More frequent water changes would be better, but I understand if you can't arrange this practically and affordably with the LFS> Sorry for taking you so much time. your help is greatly appreciated. I spread the words around in Calgary ( a place for stampede in Canada) for your website!!!! <Cool! Glad to hear that! Maybe one day the Flames will have another winning season, eh?...LOL> Confused and help is needed. Eric <Eric- you're doing a lot of stuff just fine...You just need to think about the "bigger picture" in your stocking plan (literally!). Granted, we all have our opinions, but I think I can save you a lot more future grief if you consider what I touched on...(besides, getting another huge tank would be a cool idea, huh?) Patience and restraint are major virtues in stocking aquariums, and doing it right will pay huge, lasting dividends to both you and the animals in the future! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Don't Pass On The Wrasse! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I hear that fairy wrasses are reef safe but that they eat invertebrates. <to be honest with you, this is not the case at all, in my experience, and the experience of many fellow reef hobbyists who keep these fishes. Sure, there might be the one in 10,000 fairy wrasses who decides that an Acropora would be a nice snack, but that is very, very rare..> This is something I do not want in my fish- I would like to keep shrimp and maybe snails.  I am setting up a 120 gal reef (mostly SPS) that I am planning fish for.  However, I read that some of the fairy and flasher wrasses (for ex. Cirrhilabrus laboutei , Cirrhilabrus filamentosus, Paracheilinus carpenteri ) are reef safe, do not eat invertebrates, and may be kept in harems of one male to a few females. Would this be a possibility for my tank? <Sure- a group would make a colorful and lively addition to a reef tank. You have it right- definitely keep several females to one male, if you're doing the "group thing"> Could you give me a clear list for how to care for them? <Check out this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm   > I originally wanted to keep a small group of Anthias (Fathead Sunbursts) but they seem like a more demanding species than the wrasses. Must these fish really be fed more than one time a day? <On the whole, Anthias tend to be more difficult to keep, don't always acclimate well, and can be a bit more finicky to feed. Unless you are willing to devote considerable time to feeding and housing them properly, I'd pass on the Anthias> If you could clear up my thoughts I would really appreciate it. Thank you, Rafael Rodriguez <My pleasure, Rafael. These wrasses make amazing additions to your tank. Hope that you enjoy them! Regards, Scott F>

Kole & Copperband Would a Copperband Butterfly & A Kole Tang do okay in a 135 gallon reef or would their be fighting?  Thanks. Tyler < They would likely be fine just make sure to start out with healthy individuals and be sure to quarantine as they are both prone to ick. Cody>

Tough Customers! Hi Scott or Bob: <Scott F. here today!> How are you guys doing, hope you're doing great. <Sure am! Thanks!>   I wrote you a week ago to ask some information about my 120gal fish tank only.  As I told you a few weeks ago, I only have (1 clown trigger 3 1/2", and one puffer 4") and two blue damsels, that you already told me that sooner or later they will become food for my fish. <Unfortunate, but true> I was asking you for my final addition that I decided to be the (harlequin Tuskfish) You already told me that it was a good addition since these fish is hardy and I am a beginner in the aquarium hobby. <Well, they can be hardy...Where they come from is important> I went to the store and they sold these beautiful fish (Australian) that they already have in the store for 3 weeks, it was a 4 1/2" fish, that I saw a few times I went to the store but some body beat me to it. there was another one but was about 6" and I remember You told me to get small specimens so that they will enjoy the tank so, I didn't get the 6" fish.   <Good move- but small!> But in the store they suggested to get also a Snowflake eels, because as I already told you they are very messy eaters. <Interesting recommendation...Yes, they are messy eaters, and I think that combining a bunch of large, messy eaters in any but the largest tank is asking for trouble in the long run> Since the harlequin Tuskfish grows to about 12" what is your personal opinion to the addition: 1.-  Only harlequin Tuskfish 4" 2.-  Snowflake eel 6", and a Picasso triggerfish 3" (I read a lot of stuff, some saying that is not a good idea to put to triggers together, but there are some people who said that is bad, and others who said it isn't)  what is your personal opinion???? <I don't recommend combining triggers in any but the largest aquariums> Most things I read said that is not a god Idea to put triggers of the same species, and the best thing is to put fishes that don't look a like, (the Picasso and the clown trigger don't look similar, do you think they will fight???? What is your personal opinion on both options, please tell me the ups and downs on both. <Well, I think that you can't predict what a trigger is going to do in captivity. There are many possible outcomes, some of which include outright death for the less aggressive trigger. If it were me, I'd stick with the trigger and the Tuskfish, and "call it a day", as far as adding fishes to this tank is concerned. Unless you have plans for a much larger (like 300 gallon plus) tank, you really have to just enjoy these two characters, maintain great water quality, and watch them carefully.> Thank you. You been a great help. Saludos de Tijuana B.C. <Glad to be of service! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Yikes! No room left for water! Hey guys, great site, the! I would like to know what you think would be the next step in upgrading my aquarium!  I know you'll probably say that a bigger one is better, but I live in a small apartment, so space is premium.  This is what I've got: 16 g bowfront glass 36w PC 1/2n1/2 day/actinic CPR BakPak Minijet 606 powerhead x2 75 watt heater 16lbs LS 32lbs LR LS and LR are amazing stuff from Tampa bay saltwater.  Cheap and awesome.    Initial cycling of tank took only two days, and Ammonia never went over 5ppm. Livestock: 32 Astrea snails 16 Turbos 32 Blue Leg hermits 2 emerald crabs 2 peppermint shrimp red brittle star 2 (1big, 1small) mantis shrimp (both uninvited, but not pests, yet) The rock has many cup corals, star polyps, tunicates, clams, oysters, scallops, encrusting sponges, macroalgae, small brittle stars, and those pest anemones that I can't find in any of the books. Also 1 true percula 2 3stripe damsels 1 bicolor blenny. I also had a Florida Condy anemone that was getting really huge (4-5 "disk) that disappeared. I have added recently (2mos) a green Galaxea coral, octopus (or frogspawn), green star polyps, Lobophyllia, colt, lobed leather, mushrooms, and a disc coral. I add Aragamilk 1x daily, 1drop per gallon, 1hour before lights out. Feedings are live brine 1hr before lights on, flake at mid-day, frozen Marine Cuisine 2hrs before lights out.  Everyone is very happy, growing, and multiplying. Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 0 Phosphates ~0 (unreadable)(thanks to sponge and store bought water) pH 8.2 alk norm-high (according to red sea kit) SG 1.022 temp 75 I'm sorry to have been so long winded, I want you to know that this is the happiest and healthiest micro-mini-reef I have ever seen.  It's only 4 months old, I have never had slime algae problems, and the back wall, power cords, and skimmer return are well encrusted with coralline algae.  Basically I want to know what the next step would be so that I can increase the bioload (I want to add a coral beauty and an LT anemone-clown), more LPS and soft corals, as well as start some SPS and see how they do.  More light? what kind?  a refugium?  with what, reverse light cycle? other additives? I apologize for the length of this email, but I am really proud of my tank, and want to make it better.  Thanks for your help!! <Wow, your kidding right? The only recommendation I have is to return 1/2 to 2/3 of these animals to the LFS or someone who has the space for them. Don> Allan M. Moss

What's The Deal With This Eel? Hi, <Hello! Scott F. here today> I just wondered if you could answer me a question please, I have a 117 UK gallon tank with a 2.5ft Zebra moray, 6 inch French angel and a Sailfin tang. I would like to put a 12inch snowflake moray in the tank as well would he be compatible with my current fish. I have 2 70 gallon external filters with good aeration and circulation. Your comments would be much appreciated. Kind Regards, Darren Adams <Well, Darren-from a "space"  and compatibility aspect, I suppose that it is possible to include this fish, as these eels generally will stay in their chosen cave, and not display excessive territoriality. However, I am more concerned about the long-term husbandry issues caused by this bioload in the tank. Both the French Angel and the tang eat a lot of food, give off a respectable quantity of metabolic waste, and just get plain large! The moray will also give off lots of waste products, as you are no doubt aware. I think that adding another larger fish with somewhat "messy" eating habits can be problematic in the long run. I'd hold off, unless a larger tank is in the future. As it is, you need to really be on top of the maintenance in this tank, with regular, frequent water changes being one of the main tasks, not to mention the need for efficient filter media cleaning and replacement. I say enjoy the wonderful selection of fish that you already have! The Sailfin Tang is an absolutely gorgeous fish, and you'll really enjoy watching him grow! Regards, Scott F.   

Re: blenny compatibility Hi, I currently have a 125FOWL (120lbs) tank containing a 8" palette tang, a 4" maroon clown and a 5" clown wrasse (c. gaimard) in adult colors.  I've had all the fish for about five years now with all basically getting along with the exception a wrasse/clown quarrel once in a while.  I've read on your site that a six/line wrasse should get along with a blenny.   >>Yes, I see no problems between them.  Watch the Premnas, as you know they're territorial. I've really enjoy watching blennies at the LFS, and would like to get one.  Would adding possibly a black Sailfin blenny in my tank be o.k.?  I'm only worried about the wrasse who took care of six small crabs about a year ago, although it leaves the mushrooms, snails and featherdusters alone. >>Then you've discovered what wrasses are good at, eh?  The fish I would worry about is the Maroon (Premnas).  I'll suggest getting a bit of new (cured) live rock and adding it to the tank at the same time you add the blenny.  This will allow him the chance to set up a new territory away from the clown before the clown has had a chance to lay claim to it.  Hopefully he won't be too belligerent with the blenny, but it sounds as though you have plenty of hiding areas for the blenny. I would like to add I acquired much knowledge from your site and  attempt to pass it on when needed.          Thanks for your time.  Jim >>Glad to know that the site has been of such help.  Marina

Getting Ready For A 125g Tank  3/14/03 hey Phil,<Hey Ty!> have another quick question.<Ready when you are...> now i really want to keep mushroom and polyped coral but i also still want to keep a flame angel a longnosed butterfly and a thornback cowfish i know these species have been kept in reef systems before but what are the chances of them completely destroying the mentioned types of coral. i know very little about the thornback but i assume he'd be the worst. is there anything i can do to get them from harming the coral any advise would be great.<I know you really want a cowfish/boxfish, but I would NOT keep them in a reef tank. All it takes is one toxic slime blast and its over.  Maybe setup a tank just for this amazing and deadly fish??...  The Flame Angel is a 50/50, some do fine others nip at corals.  This is the best out of the three.  Most Butterfly Fish nip on coral, so not a good idea.> Thank again, Tyler <Hope this helps, best wishes.. Phil>

Re: stocking tank What's up Phil, <You got Cody today> I have some more stocking questions for you. I've revised my stocking list since my last one wouldn't work. I've also decided to try and get a 150gal tank. 1hippo tang 1thornback cowfish 1longnosed butterfly (is this fish peaceful enough) 2flame angles 5 blue-green Chromis 2firefish 2watchmen gobies < This looks pretty good but only go with 1 flame angel here.  The longnose is a peaceful fish and should be fine. > If I end up with a 125 gal tank will it be big enough/what fish would you get rid of.... the only fish I'm not that familiar with is the butterfly what do you think its either him or a yellow tang what's your choice. Also with a sump and protein skimmer and live rock I don't have to get a power filter to do I. < You will be fine with out the power filter.  The 125 will fit all of these fish except the hippo tang.  Between the yellow tang and the butterfly I would have the go will the butterfly. Cody>                                                     Thanks a lot again,                                                                 Tyler Lindberg

Fish Wish List Having done some continuing research I have compiled a wish-list to stock my 90 gallon reef tank.  I haven't yet decided what kind of corals I will keep (I'm waiting for Eric Borneman's book to arrive in the mail), but there will be corals.  Right now I have 2 clarkii clowns (1.5" and 2" each), 8 small blue-legged hermits, 1 turbo snail, and 2 smaller unidentified snails.   I would like to add a few shrimp and more snails in the future, so stocking with fish that will leave them alone is a goal. Before I give you the list, I know that two tangs in a 90 gallon is not a situation that is stable in the long term, but I have a 230 gallon fresh-water that I plan on converting in a year or two to a FOWLR.  At that time I will transfer one of the tangs to that tank, and perhaps one or both of the Clarkii's if they get too big. Here's the list to date: 1 six-line wrasse 1 hawkfish (coral, dwarf, or flame... haven't decided yet) 1 hippo tang (the GF's favorite, so .... ) 1 dwarf angel (flame or coral beauty) 1 sohal tang What do you think?  Is the order I listed them the rough order I should add them?  There are some very nice looking six-line wrasse specimens at the LFS and would like to get one of those for my next addition unless you think it's too early for him.  Other possibilities for small fish additions include a mandarin after a year or more (or do you think the other inhabitants are a little to aggressive... there are plenty of hiding spaces now, and there will be even more later).  I was also thinking of displaying a goby/shrimp symbiosis relationship... if this is appropriate which fish and shrimp would you suggest?  Any other very small fish that could be added?  Which species of tang stay the smallest?  < This list looks good although there is some risk of the hawkfish eating the shrimp, the longnose is usually the least risky of the hawks.  This order will be fine also.  Leave the mandarin out here as the sixline will eat most all pods (mandarin food) he can find.  Also leave the shrimp and goby out because you have such aggressive eaters.  Some other neat additions would be a neon goby, fairy wrasse, or Pseudochromis, there are many others though so keep searching.> Quick side question:  I will be putting new fish in QT and I'm considering a fresh-water bath (for the fish... I already showered today).  Is the procedure to: acclimate to QT water, match FW bath water to pH and temp or QT, transfer to dip for 5-15 minutes, transfer straight to QT?  I'm planning to use old water from my 90 gallon to start an the QT, then do water changes with newly mixed and aerated salt-water... is this OK?  <Excellent.  The procedure usually goes something like, acclimate to QT, dip, then release into QT. Best regards, Cody>   Jeremy

7 Is A Crowd, 8 Is Bouillabaisse! The Fish only Questions: Background: I've been keeping my fish-only 75Gal saltwater tank for over 4 yrs now. I've got an Amiracle wet dry (6 gals of bioballs), a large Amiracle Venturi protein skimmer and an Emperor Aquatics 25W UV. The tank is stocked with: A Volitans Lion, Yellow Tang, Naso Tang, Miniatus Grouper, Green Bird Wrasse, Dog Puffer and Clown Trigger (7 fish in all, average fish 4 inches long). I've had no issues with water quality other than a slight struggle to keep my PH levels up, ammonia, nitrate and nitrates have been fine (Nitrates below 40 PPM). <Wow- that's a LOT of potentially very large fish in a relatively modest-sized tank...!> I'd like to put another fish or two into the tank, specifically, a Paddlefin wrasse and a second fish to be determined (maybe 2 small yellows instead of one larger fish). <Yikes...NO! please...enough is enough already! You need to save for a larger tank...> My questions: 1) Am I taking a huge gamble with the fish load or am I OK ? <I really think that you are overstocked already, and the fluctuating pH is one clue here. You've done well to keep this many animals in the tank so far, but it is definitely not a good long-term situation> 2) Will the grouper or lion try to eat the small yellows or should they be OK ? <Hard to say...In a potentially overcrowded tank, all sorts of nasty behaviors are possible with these fishes...I'd assume that they will at least attempt this> 3) Is there any invert that I can add give the fish that I've selected??? I really want to add some interesting invert... an anemone, feather dusters, crab, or something..... <Honestly, I'd hold off on any more bioload in this tank. Perhaps in a larger tank, you could consider a few cleaner shrimp..> Reef Tank Question: I am thinking of setting up a reef. A local pet shop owner tells me that the best approach is a mud filter. Is a mud filter the same as a refugium ? <Nope. A mud filter is designed to create an environment that aids in the growth and propagation of macroalgae. Yes, some creatures will propagate within the mud filter, much as they do in a refugium, but it's a slightly different concept. A refugium is really designed to be an "accessory" for a reef system, and provides delicate animals a place to grow and multiply, free from predators. The refugium provides some nutrient processing, as well as the potential supplementation of natural foods, in the form of plankton and larval animals...> Do you agree with his suggestion? <Well, the "mud" concept is just one of many ways to approach reef tanks. I don't really think that there is one system that's the "best". Really depends on the animals you'll be keeping, your interests, skills, and budget. All of the theories have their relative merits and problems, and many of the nicest reef tanks that I've seen incorporate elements of various "systems"> Do I need a skimmer or other filtration with the mud-filter ? The pet shop owner tells me that I do not.... <I disagree on that point...I believe that a skimmer is a necessity for pretty much every closed marine system...that's my opinion, of course, but I feel that it's valid nonetheless> Finally, I'm thinking of a 39 gallon tank. Is this a reasonable size ? Allen L. Seidman <Sure, it can work, if you adhere to proper stocking levels, and make sure that you keep appropriate animals in this sized aquarium. A smaller tank is less forgiving than a larger tank, as the water volume is not as great, particularly after you factor in displacement caused by rocks, etc. I'd go for the largest tank that you can afford to outfit and maintain...Use the wetwebmedia site for a ton of information on reef set up options...Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Party Mix? Dear WWM crew, :) <Scott F. here today!> Well, we've finally gotten around to setting up our 75 gallon reef tank and after much research (on your site, of course) have devised a list of fish that we would like to keep. <Here's where the fun begins!> As far as the phrase "reef tank" goes, I'm really referring to mushrooms, macro and calcareous algae and whatever comes out of the live rock at night:)  So with no further ado, I would greatly appreciate any comments or constructive criticism on our choices.  By the way... filtration consists of sump located plenum/Caulerpa refugium and a BIG diy cc venturi protein skimmer.  Circulation is a Rio 2100 at about 1 foot and 2x200gph powerheads.  So anyway... Already have- 1 pair ocellaris clowns and 1 coral beauty angel Would like to get- 2-4 Citron Clown Gobies (would like to breed these... or rather have them pair off and breed:) 1 neon cleaner goby 1 golden not-so-coris wrasse 1 black-cap Gramma 2 fire shrimp 5 blue legged hermits (spouse's spelling:) 5 bumblebee snails. various mushroom anemones 3-5 blue Chromis 1 scopas tang We're concerned about the Chromis and the tang's size for our tank, but have found conflicting information to their maximum growth potential and space requirements.   <Sounds like a major "party" in there...A bit to many fishes. In my opinion, the Scopas needs more room than the tank could provide...I feel that Zebrasoma species tangs really need length...5 feet at least...and capacity of 100 gallons at a minimum to live a full life span in captivity. This is MY opinion, however, so it's not the "gospel" on this fish...I just think that hobbyists tend to keep tangs in aquariums that are too small. This fish can be kept in the 75, but not with the number of fishes that you are proposing, IMO. As far as the Chromis- I once again think that you're looking at too many fishes for this sized tank. The Black Cap needs a tank with lots of dark overhangs, and tends to be somewhat secretive. In a "busy" community, like the one that you're planning, this fish may or may not settle in...> To give everyone plenty of room, we want to aquascape with the live rock pieces spread out on the bottom, and stacking higher toward the back, but not actually touching the back wall of the tank, thus giving everyone their own room and niche to occupy, while leaving most of the middle/top water column available for the actively swimming Chromis and tang while providing bolt holes and caves for the gobies, wrasse and Gramma. <Very good idea, when dealing with fishes that need territories and retreats to feel comfortable. Also, easier for maintenance and access!> Also, does the golden wrasse need more than 1" of sand for security and general well being, and if so can the sand just get higher on one side or corner of the tank? <Frankly, I don't think that the deeper sand bed depth is a prerequisite for keeping these wrasses. As long as you have good rockwork and caves for him to retreat to, he should be fine>   Thank you so much for your time, Daniel and Kelly in Houston. P.S. Aforementioned spouse can and will stab me with a broken shard of said fish tank if I say no to the Chromis: J( <Ok, Ok...How's this: Coral Beauty, Neon Goby, 3 Clown Gobies, Yellow "Coris" Wrasse, and 3 Chromis? Or just Coral Beauty, 3 Clown Gobies, and 5 Chromis? It's kind of a "give-and-take", as far as fish population is concerned, but it's really important to consider the needs of the fishes first. Hope that this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Am I overstocked??????? Hi Craig, How are you these days? <I'm just fine Jun, a little bothered by international events, but personally I'm just fine!> Sorry to bother you again. <No bother!  Our pleasure!> My tank is still doing great (just FYI). <So good to hear!> My question is not about water parameters, ich problems etc. My concern is that I'm afraid that I overstocked my 90 gal (36x24x24). Here's what I have (I hope you're ready for these!!!) 3.5" scopas tang 2" yellow wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) 2.5-3" lawnmower blenny 2" royal Gramma 2"-2.5" Firefish a pair of bar gobies (2.5" both) 1" yellow watchman goby 2 sand sifting stars several snails (Astraea, Nassarius and Cerith) colt leather coral Kenya tree coral an unidentified leather toadstool green finger leather fox coral yellow polyps several mushrooms (red, fuzzy and green striped) green polyps I have about 70 lbs of LR (20-30 lbs to go) and an inch to inch a half of LS. I am planning to start to remove my bioballs in my sump (still waiting for my refund to get more LR) and turn it into a refugium. What do you think about my livestock? <I don't see a problem Jun, esp. with your corals, but I will forward this to Scott to have him check it out the fish list as well. Do wait until you have your rock before removing capacity of bio-balls, esp. with your sand bed which isn't all that deep. Just to be safe!> Can I still add a 1" queen conch and an Amblygobius phalaena (brown barred goby) into this mix. <I don't know about all the gobies together, again, will forward to Scott who may have some input.> Will be waiting for your expert advice before purchasing these two future additions. Thanks again.  Jun <No problem!  Thank you for the update.  I'm so happy to hear all those past problems are behind you! Make sure your new rock is well cured and from a fishless system to avoid any future complications.  Craig>

Setting Up A 55g Tank  3/10/03 OK, thanks for your help so far... just 3 more questions (for now;-)!!!)<Phil reporting for duty today, sir!> 1) What do you think of the Prizm Skimmer?<I had one, total junk IMO.  Better to get a different skimmer, Aqua-C, Bac-Pak.. etc> 2) Do you think there is a difference in the quality of livestock acquired from LiveAquaria vs. local large pet stores or local small fish stores?<I believe that the LR that comes to the LFS is not as good as the LR that comes from large mail-order companies.  But with that being said some mail-order companies have bad LR.  I like http://www.harboraquatics.com they have GREAT service and selection.>  I haven't found any good local stores (I'm in central NJ, close enough to NYC).  I just placed my order for live rock, and will have a few weeks before getting fish.  LiveAquaria is about the same cost as local Petco and other such stores, so I figured I would be ordering from them.<They have a good LR from what I've heard.> 3) We decided to go with this stocking plan: 3 ocellaris clownfish<1 might fight… 2 may be better> 1 Pseudochromis bicolor and 1 Midas (or bicolor) blenny<Get only 1, but both are very good fish IMO> some varied snails and a shrimp 1 coral beauty angel 1 regal tang<Tank is too small, you will need a 100 plus gallon tank in the 2-5 year picture.> possibly that starfish that we are now debating on<If you have a lot of live rock it would be a nice addition.> We would be ordering the smallest size fish available on Live Aquaria... will the 55 gallon tank look empty for the first year or two?<If you get these fish not at all!> Is this a good blend of livestock with the addition of the blenny in place of the second angel and the cardinals?<IMO, yes>  Our son is turning one, but he is already tapping on the tank window; will this stress the fish too much and can these selected fish take it?<My g/f taps on the glass and she's 16… Nothing you can do really, try telling him just to watch.  But he's only one and telling a one year old what to do can be tough :) the fish should get used to it.  FYI, the Regal (aka Hippo Tang) is an ich magnet, too much tapping may upset him causing him/her to get ich.  Please go to our forums at www.wetwebfotos.com/talk and post.  One member "Freckleface" is our resident Hippo Tang lover, she can tell you all about her Hippo.  Possibly a good start for info about this fish…> Thanks again,<No problem, good luck with your tank and your son! :)  Phil>

Mixing Plesiopsids and Grammatids would like to know what The crew thinks is a Blue Assessor and a Blackcap Basslet  compatible in a 40 gallon reef or not at all due to the same shape and habits. I all ready have the Blackcap quite a beautiful fish though seems to be a little timid. <Not a good mix... better to select just one or the other. Bob Fenner>                                                                                          Thanks,                                                                                   James W.       

Stocking a 125g Tank  3/9/03 hey Phil,<Hey Tyler> how's it going<It's going good!!> i have a few (actually more than a few) questions to run by ya.<Let's hear them> i was wondering what you think about the copper banded butterfly.<A great fish! But sadly most die in the hands of an aquarist.  Some do just fine, while other die for no reason.> Also do yellow tangs like to be in pairs/small groups same question for the hippo tang.<These fish will live in pair/groups but in a tank 200g or more only.> ok here's my longer q's I'm going for a 125gal tank this it what I'm planning on keeping so far (a dream team if you will) 1 hippo tang 2 if they like being in pairs<In this tank 1 will be fine.> 1 yellow tang same as above<1 only please, but I don't like to mix tangs in a tank short of 200g.> 1 copper banded butterfly (possibly) or a white cheeked tang (what do you think)<No to Butterfly, yes to WCT, but once again this is a lot of tang for a 125!> 2 clownfish<ok> 1 black boxfish (i know the danger of keeping it)<Not in this tank, I won't suggest this fish to anyone who houses it with other fish!!> 2 Firefish gobies<Add first and make sure their a pair so they don't fight!> 1-2  three striped damsels (do they like being in a pair)<No to damsels, they may be a real pain w/ all the other fish.> one last question I'm going to set up a above tank refugium with Gracilaria and other macro-algae because of this do i still need to feed my tangs Nori or can i support them on the algae same with my gobies can the live mainly of the inverts that are produced.<Ya, you'll still need to feed the tangs Nori etc, but some fresh algae will be nice! And ya you'll also still need to feed the gobies.> i know i still need to feed them other things but can i do it less often.<I'd still feed them normal amounts of Nori etc.. and use the algae as a treat.> one more question i live on the water in Washington state can i rinse and dry my own sea weed for my tangs and feed my gobies and other fish with mussels I've collected and cleaned.<You live on the water... so when am I moving in?  I don't take up that much space!! :)  You could do this but remember, Tangs are from a warmer climate they probably won't eat the algae you find offshore.  They want the algae from the warm South Pacific.>  thanks a lot for your time again, Tyler Lindberg<It was my pleasure Ty, IMO go with 1 Hippo Tang and 1 White-Cheek Tang.  The Yellow may be too aggressive towards the Hippo and vice versa.  If you plan well this tank will be very nice!  Hope this helps and feel free to send some pic's once it's all setup!  Phil>

Newbie, marine operation Hey Phil,<Hey Rick> Funny thing after you told me about the sponge I noticed that CPR had actually included a little sponge in side the packaging and it seems to do the job.<Good deal> I am cycling the tank and I was wondering if I need to do weekly water changes yet or only after the levels have stabilized?<When a tank is cycling I like to do small 5% water changes until all levels have gone to normal... pH8.2-8.2 etc etc...  Other people do the normal 15-25% changes the whole time.  IMO, you can do what you want!>    Also I wanted to know about stocking, I'm considering four to five small fish for my tank. Cardinal, blenny, clown and a goby. What order should these guys be put in to the tank and how long in between additions?<We have a 30g tank. Depending on the clown it will probably be the most aggressive and your going to want to add it last. Most Cardinals are peaceful and it could be added in the middle of the mix. A goby should be added first so it can "scope" out the tank and find a little area to call home before the fast fish move in. Make sure you have some microalgae in the tank so the blenny can feed at his/her own will.> Thanks for the help.<No problem, hope this helps and good luck!  Phil>

More fish? Hey guys, <Hey Tommy, Don with you this AM>        Just found this web site and been reading way too much.  Lots of great info.  Once upon a time I had a beautiful powder blue tang in with my yellow tang and a Kole tang.  After about 2 or 3 months, the powder blue started swimming real fast and into the glass and rocks.  He tenderized his head in two days or so and died soon thereafter.  (That's where it hit me that a fish this big won't fit down the toilet, much to the delight and ridicule of my wife, sister, neighbors, etc.)  No one at the LFS had a clue.  You seemed to have the answer as pasted below: "the powder blue is probably pacing in your tank (common behavior in small tanks where they swim back and forth against the glass)... or will be soon."  "My strong advice is to pull the powder blue soon as it is the most likely to suffer in the short run 12-18 months for a mere 4 feet of swimming space. Its just a needy/sensitive fish."        My first question is this.  I have  75 gallon oceanic tank.  The dude was only four or five inches long!  How much room does one need? <6' min, 8'-10' would be appropriate for this fish, depending on other inhabitants. Still, a very sensitive fish. While you brought this up, ponder this: The powder blue was 5" that is about 10% of the length/height of the tank eh? If you are 5' tall consider living in a 48x18' box (pretty close to a 3 bedroom/2 floor house). You might think, not bad eh? Now add furniture taking up 20% of that space. Add 17 other individuals of varying size that are taking up maybe another 30% of that space (and are CONSTANTLY on/around you, literally in your face as it were) Throw in a dozen or two little lap dogs running around. All of this only getting worse as everyone grows and competes over time. See what the powder blue tang was up against? I won't even start on the polluted atmosphere/environment that you would have to live in <G>>        Ok, here is the rest.  I have: 75 gallon tank w/sump about to be out of bio-balls as per your site. three 96w PCs (two daylight and one true actinic) 1200 gph mag drive with a creative multi output so I have no power heads in the tank, but good movement/stirring of water 1.023 salinity 79-81 degrees 85 ph, (might remember wrong, but in the recommended range per test) <Will assume a missing decimal here 8.5> 0 ammonia 0 nitrite > 20 ppm nitrate for the first time EVER, yeah <Again, I am thinking < 20ppm> 350 ppm calcium about 30 - 40 pounds live rock <all sounds good, maybe more live rock as you can afford it> beautiful yellow tang, 2 in. when I bought it almost a year ago, now 4+ in. mean as hell yellow damsel, too quick for me to catch, but leaves familiar neighbors alone.  i.e. hard to add new fish very docile blue damsel two awesome fat-faced (good eaters) true Percs.  Love these guys pajama cardinal two Banggai cardinals Firefish goby pistol shrimp (aka bulldozer) watchman goby  (These two are the coolest thing in the tank.  SO entertaining!) handful of hermits (Scarlets, Hawaiians, blue legs, etc.) three Mithrax crabs (very cool) two starfish (one brittle, black hairy thing and one serpent, neat when you can see it) various snails (Nassarius, turbo, Astreas, etc.) one pink poo (pink and brown cucumber) two Hawaiian feather dusters one skunk cleaner shrimp two peppermint shrimp and some slowly dying green star polyps        I have had my tank set up for a couple of years.  Ok, I'll admit, I am a real slacker.  I am terrible about water changes.  I do 25 - 33% once every two or even three months.  Go ahead let me have it, if you want. <No need as you already see/understand the problem here. BTW, you (and you fish) have been pretty lucky too! <G>> But especially after adding my protein skimmer, water seems to be great.  Even my nitrates that were 80 + is down to >20ppm and has been for a month and I have not changed my water recently.  I use a mechanical water filter when I add tap water, no RO/DI.  I never quarantine, but am considering doing so after the scare tactics used on this site. <Believe me, not scare tactics at all. Soooooo many times a new fish is added to an existing tank and before you know it, everybody is being flushed. Tried and true, success speaks for itself>        That's about the history.  Now, I can't and never could get coralline algae to grow.  Any guess as to why?  And I get a light coating of red or brown algae on the glass that has to be cleaned every three to five days. I think this is normal, but would like to hear that from you.  Comes off easily enough with my magnet cleaner, but clouds the water for about 10 minutes or so afterwards. <You don't mention Alkalinity, could be a factor stifling coralline if too low. Do you have a lot of other algae? This would 'choke' the coralline out. Look for BGA and diatoms using the Google search on WetWebMedia.com. This is what you describe. Regular water changes (like 10% weekly) would help (but then you already know that eh?), reducing Nitrate more would benefit as well. Removing the bio-balls will help as well (in removing nitrate). High nitrate is causing the demise of the coral. Needs to be at 0 to keep any>        And lastly, what other types of fish might be agreeable to add?  Or do you think I have enough.  I case you lost count, I currently have nine fish!  My Kole tang died after several months, so I was thinking about adding another, since everybody seemed to get along with him.  My goal is more fish, not a reef style.  (cheaper)  And I really like the Firefish, so was thinking about adding another. <I would not recommend another tang of any type. One tang to 75G is plenty (too much IMO in the long term). Firefish have been known to battle each other (to the death) as well. The yellow damsel is going to be a problem, unless you add something bigger/more aggressive, again not recommended with the other peaceful/number of inhabitants you have. The aggressive damsel is a concern. If you cannot remove and find a new home for this one, I would recommend you stay where you are at as the aggression will likely stress the new fish to death. If the yellow damsel can go then maybe a canary wrasse would be a good addition. Would fit well with the other fish as it is peaceful. I would consider the swap but not an addition. BTW, the yellow tang is likely to become more and more a bully. May have to make a decision about this fish in the future as well>        Thanks for the help, and great site!! <You are very welcome, Don> Tommy

Re: fish stocking question Hello,        I have used your site for a lot of research so I figured who better to ask than the source.  I recently acquired a 120 gal (48x24x24) tank which I plan to transfer all of my current 75 gal livestock into.  But this new larger tank has me antsy in choosing more fish.  I plan on making this 120 a full reef tank with SPS, LPS and softies.  <This will not work in the long run, choose just 1 of the 3 groups> Would this be too many fish: 1 Maroon clown, 1 Mimic tang, 1 purple tang, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Coral Beauty angel, 1 Flame angel, and one mandarin dragonet.  Is this too many tangs or too many dwarf angels for this tank/reef? Will the Mimic get too big?   If I would like to have a school a Chromis which one of these fish would you recommend I remove? < The mimic tang will get too large for this system and the two angels are likely to butt heads until there is just 1 remaining.  You need a lot of live rock for a mandarin and a well-established tank.  Maybe look into some of the smaller reef safe wrasses.  Keep reading over the WWM site for more info on these fish.  Hope this helps, Cody> Thanks in advance,        Rafael

Introducing New Fishes... Hi Scott or Bob: <Ya got Scott F. here tonight!> How are you guys doing, hope you're doing great. <Couldn't be better!> I wrote you about 3 weeks ago to ask you some questions, and I wanted to tell you that all the information You guys have given me have help me a lot. <Very glad to hear that! > My 2 fishes (puffer 3" and clown trigger 3") are doing great in my 120 gal tank with 30pounds of live rock, since I am fairly new in the aquarium hobby, I only intend to keep hardy fishes who can forgive my mistakes. <These fishes certainly fit that description! And, I like the fact that you're starting with small ones! Give 'em room to grow and you'll really enjoy them-and they'll enjoy the tank!> I'm planning on adding my final fish to the tank and it's a (harlequin Tuskfish). I read some information on these wrasses and said that is a very hardy fish, but a little expensive (about 110.00dlls) since I intend to buy the Australian fish; but I wanted to ask you guys if it's really hardy enough, and compatible with my other two fishes???. <The Australian population of this fish is definitely the way to go...It can be a very hardy specimen, and a good addition to this tank...and it should be your last! These three fishes all reach large sizes...In fact- they may actually outgrow this tank in just a couple of years...Larger quarters may be in the future for these guys...> My tank has normal readings PH 8.1, nitrite hardly readable, and they make other test in the fish store and the water was fine. <Nitrites should be completely undetectable...Make sure that you recheck this again...> My only concern it's that when I add my first two fishes (puffer and trigger), I put them in my tank with the water from the fish store (I didn't know then that you have to acclimate the fish first in a bucket, and start putting 1 cup of the fish tank ever ten minutes (these process to an hour), and then put the fish in with out any water from the bag that contains ammonia from the capture stress and the fish waste. <Well-not a bad idea...Good technique...But you should introduce these fishes to quarantine prior to the main tank...> So my concern right now is how do I know my water has no parasites???? Since it was fully cycled and all the readings are normal?????? <Well- you can't...but you can take steps to eliminate the introduction of parasites into your aquarium through the use of a quarantine tank...You need to embrace this practice. It will give you a tremendous degree of control in your hobby...The likelihood of introducing a disease (parasitic or otherwise) is greatly reduced, or even eliminated by this process...Read up about it on the Wetwebmedia.com site..> Second- The bed of the tank is crushed coral, that I put about 3 1/2" including the live sand, and there's a stain forming in the acrylic (from the crush coral bed to about 3" UP ????? I scrub it of but about 5 days later the stain begins to form again, and so I scrubbed of again.  What is that??? is it algae or parasites?? I wonder if you can give me some advice since I all ready search for information and didn't find it. <Sounds like algae forming against the front glass, where the light hits the part of the substrate that is exposed to it...Nothing t worry about, IMO. > Final:  I read about in several articles of (fresh water dip) some recommend it , some don't, what is Your personal opinion, and what it consist of.???? <I am a big fan of the freshwater dip with Methylene blue...this process is simple, gentle, and very effective at reducing or eliminating many parasitic diseases from the fish themselves...Do read about this process on the Wetwebmedia.com site. Use the Google search feature and enter the keyword "dips"...you'll find tons of good information. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

One More Fish? Thanks in advance for your help and thank you for all the times in the past. I am seeking advice on selecting my last "fish" addition to my 65g reef tank. I currently have a 1 yellow tang, 1 Kole tang, 2 clowns, 1 mandarin goby, and a 1 bi-colored blenny. <That's pretty close to the max bioload for this sized tank, IMO...One more small fish, okay? Those tangs are gonna need more room for the long run, or they will face some problems...> I also have a wide selection of corals & crawling critters (shrimp, crabs, etc.). I want the last fish to be blue and visible. I have been searching and reading trying to find a compatible reef safe addition. What is your opinion on black cap Basslets (Gamma melacara)? I have only seen pictures. They look very nice, but do they typically hide? Do they have personality? <They come from deep water, and in both the wild and in captivity, they tend to hide under ledges and outcrops...They will hide and come out only when they feel comfortable. A nice fish, but somewhat shy> Do you have any recommendations for a reef safe blue fish that are not tangs and will fit in my tank? I prefer to not introduce a damsel because they get mean when I have to replace a fish down the road. How about some of the dwarf angels? Most people say they are reef safe, but I also see warnings on the web about them "nipping" at stuff. Thanks again. <I love dwarf angels...they are some of my favorite fishes...It is a gamble, however, in a reef aquarium...some never show the slightest interest in your corals- others will essentially decimate your coral population...However, as we discussed previously, I think your tank is near maxed out on bioload...I would avoid a dwarf angel at this point. I guess that a fine choice in this situation (from a bioload impact and population perspective) would be a Neon Goby. They are attractive and utilitarian as well. Most larger fishes will not cause any problems for them. They are a great addition to many tanks. Probably not what you were thinking, but a good choice, IMO. Another possibility would be a Pseudochromis fridmani- another small, colorful fish that tends to keep to itself...A great little fish if provided with the right setup. I really implore you to hold on adding new fishes to this tank. I hope you don't get too mad at me- but I think that holding off here would be the wise choice> Jeff <Good luck with your system, Jeff! Regards, Scott F>

Stocking a Tank of Unknown Size...  3/8/03 Hey Phil,<Hey Rick> Funny thing after you told me about the sponge I noticed that CPR had actually included a little sponge in side the packaging and it seems to do the job. I am cycling the tank and I was wondering if I need to do weekly water changes yet or only after the levels have stabilized?<During cycling I do small water changes only about 5% a week.  Others do full 10-25% water changes.  IMO, it's kinda what appeals to you...> Also I wanted to know about stocking, I'm considering four to five small fish for my tank. Cardinal, blenny, clown and a goby. What order should these guys be put in to the tank and how long in between additions?<Not being rude or anything but you haven't told me your tank size!?!  I think I answered an e-mail from you about 2-3 weeks back...  you said you have a 55g tank, right?  Don't hold me to it but I believe that's about right.  Just to be sure, send me a quick e-mail with your tank size!  Thanks! :) Phil>  

- Livestock Compatibility - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I am relatively new to the hobby and have just started my new 90 g. It has 100 lbs. LR, 20 g sump, EV-180 skimmer, 6-inch sand bed, Mak4 for return. I already have a Picasso trigger and a striped/manila puffer (they have been in my 55 for a while). Picasso is 3" the puffer is 4", each at least two or more years old. I was in hopes of adding the following with my two existing fish (in the 90 g): 3-4" Harlequin Tusk 2-3" One-spot Foxface.. or something else small, hardy w/some color.. Lemonpeel angel? <The words hardy and Lemonpeel angel don't belong in the same sentence.> Does this sound do-able or a stretch? <I would do one or the other - neither the Foxface or the harlequin tusk will stay small, and with your existing fish, you don't want to overcrowd or over-load the system.> Thank you VERY much for your advice. <Cheers, J -- >

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