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FAQs about Marine Livestock Stocking 2

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There's almost always room for Jell-O (tm) and a Cleaner Goby

Compatibility, good tankmates for false Perculas and blue tang 1/27/09 Hi there. <Hello Mike> Could you help me with what other types of fish would be good with 2 false Perculas and a blue tang? <Much will depend on your tank size which you did not mention, but here is a link to a compatibility chart that will give you a good idea of who is compatible with who. Do not buy on impulse, research the fish you may be interested in, know their requirements and difficulty of keeping before buying. It will save you much grief and money. http://www.liveaquaria.com/general/compatibility_chart.cfm> Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Starting/Selecting sizes for marine fish livestock, and lighting, 75 gal, reef   1/7/06 Mr. Fenner,         I have a 75 gal starting to be a reef tank,  I have had problems with the acclimation of larger fish.  5"+, I follow quarantine procedures, and I drip acclimate.  I have lost about 200 dollars in fish, even though all parameters are of good quality.  PH 8.3,  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, dKH 12, Temp 78.  I have about 87 gal total volume, with 1300 gph turnover.  Smaller fish under 4" acclimate readily, and even turn out to be excellent fish.  Current stock is as follows;   1 Long nose Hawkfish 3"   1 Sixline Wrasse 2.5"   1 Flame angel   3 Blue-green Chromis 1.75" each   1 Lysmata amboinensis 3" body, largest I have ever seen he will chase the long nose   2 Peppermint shrimp 1.5 and 2"   1 Sarcophyton about 6" tall (toadstool)   1 colony green star polyps   various Corallimorpharians, blue striped, green striped, purple, blue, and a couple unidentified on live rock   20 blue legged hermit   1 scarlet hermit   1 emerald Mithrax 1.5"   1 cream colored crab, looks like emerald, except in color, and body seems hairy, about .5" came in on some new live rock, small enough not worried yet, still trying to Identify.   various snails about 15 total, turbo Nassarius, Mexican black hats, and a sand conch   I have about 120 lbs of live rock, (have an addiction)   I have found no parasitic infections, on current stock, have tried 2 different tangs, Kole, and yellow, both died, and a one spot fox face, all were larger then 5", each had a one month quarantine, did great.  Added to display, none at the same time, worried about bioload as well.  They would be fine for a few days eating well, then they would stop eating, and invariably die. Yes I add marine foods, and a very wide variety.  Each fish has a good diet.  Most food is also frozen, some Hikari pellets for the Chromis, trying to keep Hawkfish a little more hungry, but do not fear he does eat 2x a day, the others 3x, the  Sixline I want to only eat once or twice, for his personality is great that way, and he doesn't hide then.  Flame Angel used to hide a lot, but Chromis were great dithers.  So aside from possible size problems I cannot see why these fish died.  If you have any other ideas, on this it could help.  Yes I have a Protein skimmer, and at the time I was running 440 watts of VHO 1 03 act. 2 6500, and 1 10000, But I have recently bought 2 150 HQI pendants.  The bulbs that came with are 20000, and they are CoralLife AquaLight clip on pendants.  So The main question is was the 440 brighter then the 300 or the other way around. <The 20ks may look/appear brighter... are not as "bright" to your photosynthetic livestock> And would a Squamosa be a good candidate for current lighting scheme.  And yes I plan on changing the bulbs to 10k, what brand do you feel is best. <Like some of the Japanese lamps, the Buschke product. Some of Phillips lines> (everyone's opinions matter, it just depends on how one receives said opinion)  Other then the fish loss, to date 2 percula, 1 killed by blue devil, 1 suicide bungee jumper, no bungee cord, silly fish, 1 Blue Chin Trigger (FAMA Idea on reef safe triggers, was working but he to was over 5") 1 Blue devil, killed by Blue devil (newbie mistake) 2 velvet damsels killed by blue devil ( newbie mistake, thanks to LFS "oh yeah they are shoaling fish that get along with everything") 1 Blue Devil fed to Volitans for being a mean little fish attacking my Sixline wrasse.  Also everything is grounded and drip looped.          Also, sorry I know I am a pain, I keep trying to find good examples of lower light SPS, I don't want Acropora, and I am using the softies for husbandry skills, bigger they get the more they are worth. I do plan on going to SPS and clams, preferably lower light species, will buy a chiller and more powerful lighting if necessary, but prefer to start with lower light and hardier species of SPS and clams.  Also I found two Clarion Angels online, but I am not spending over a $1000 on something that could possibly die, so should be left on the reef, probably also illegally obtained.  But they are a dream fish for a species tank.  Also our community recently lost a fellow reefer in the avalanche in Colorado.  Gabe Medina had 2 150 gal reefs, a 75 gal species, and a 24 gal nano reef.  He lost his life at the age of 32.    <A shame...>   Thank you for your time and patience,   Thomas <The larger fish may just have been poor specimens, but larger fishes of any given species are not nearly as adaptable to captive conditions, nor do they ship as well as "medium" sized specimens per species. I would start with the tangs and Siganids at 3-4 inches in length. Bob Fenner>

Snowflake eel  12/26/05 Hello, I recently purchased a snowflake eel for my son....We also purchased some Brine Shrimp to feed it. Well we have not seen it eat. Also it has begun to develop red spots on parts of it's body with white string substance clinging to it in spaces. It is still active but only at night. What should I do? Thanks for the help.....Neely  <Another prime example of somebody buying a fish without having a clue as how to care for it before the purchase.  I'd get some sort of fungus medication to start with.  Without a pic, I don't have much to go on.  Here is a link you can read on snowflake morays.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm  James (Salty Dog)> David Moore

Compatibility and Stocking  9/29/05  240-gallon FOWLR Hello all at WWM!  You have a fantastic site! <Hello, I can't take credit but thanks.>   Thought I might run my fish list for a 240-gallon FOWLR by the experts.  I would rather learn from others experiences when it comes to the welfare of other animals and this Webster seems to have plenty of experts. <You may be using the term expert too loosely. Were still learning too, that never stops (Well I speak for myself at least).> I am planning on setting up a FOWLR 240 gallon (8'x 2'x 2') tank with about 150-200 pounds of live rock.  I have a preliminary list together.  I have researched the fish individually, but finding information about specific information about each one living together in a specific tank is challenging!  Here's the list: *Blue Girdled Angelfish <Generally not an easy fish, be sure to do lots of research and do not add this fish until the tank is nice and mature. Be sure to acquire a healthy specimen that is alert and eating.> *Spiny Box Puffer < A Caribbean species that is hardy once acclimated but it usually does not fare well from capture and shipment.  Definitely not as hardy s a porcupine puffer but the size of the spiny box would definitely be friendlier to your set-up.> *Humu Picasso Triggerfish <Hardy fish but each has its own personality. Could be a terror or could be very docile. It will be a calculated risk but I would add it last.> Volitans Lionfish <Consider a smaller species like the Radiata Lion, (Pterois radiata). Either way Lions are often the victims of aggression from Puffers and Triggers. So you may want to reconsider altogether.> Angler <Well its hard to comment since you didn't pick a specific species, just keep in mind these fish can swallow specimens that are nearly their own size.> One or two Tangs (Powder Blue and Purple Tang perhaps) <The powder blue is one of the most difficult to keep of the surgeon family (very prone to Cryptocaryon) and the purple can be quite aggressive. I would pick just one, and given your other "wanted" fish I would choose the Purple.> 2 maroon Clownfish <Make sure to acquire these as a mated pair.> Perhaps one or both of the following Niger Triggerfish <I would not risk it with the other trigger.> Another Angel (been trying to see what I could place in a tank with Blue Girdled Angelfish with no luck, maybe a dwarf angelfish) <The odds are against you.> '*' Equals fish I really want (the others are just ideas right now) <I would continue your research, however I will say that the fish you are interested in are large and messy, so be sure to purchase a large and efficient skimmer.> Okay so those are my ideas right now.  What are you thoughts when you see this list?  Way too many fish? <I definitely would not have 2 triggers and 2 angels, that would be too much.>   Any immediately problems that come to mind? <Only the aggression toward the lion and possibly the angler as well.> Thanks! <Anytime, Adam J.>

Beginner's Stocking Questions II - 11/18/05 Thanks for the feedback Eric. <<Always happy to offer up my opinions. <G> >> The Tang is quite small (for now) but I'll post him for trade on my local board and go for the flame angel as recommended. <<Excellent my friend...you will LOVE the Flame Angel, and the tang will be better off in a larger tank.>> I guess I probably need to unload the anemone as well, but permission for the tank and its expense depended on my wife getting her clowns, and the anemone really sweetened the deal. <<Ah, understood...but the possible (likely) demise of the anemone is not worth it.  You can still have the clowns, they don't need an anemone host and will "get along" just fine without.  If you have your (her) heart set on clowns and anemones then spend some time to do the research, learn what specie is best/easiest/hardiest to keep, learn what you need to provide for its long term health (lighting, water flow, feeding, etc.), and set up a specie tank for just the anemone and a couple clowns.  Your chance for success will be greatly improved...and it's a great way to get another tank in to the house. <G> >> I don't really have any other corals to speak of, except some small amounts of Zoanthids, mushrooms, green stars, and xenia that came when I acquired the LR.  I'm fine with the 55g tank not having any corals, but am a little concerned that I could get some chemical drift into the 20 through the sump thus making keeping corals in this tank as planned, impossible.  I'd rather lose the anemone than sacrifice the added stabilization of linking the tanks. <<Mmm...the Zoanthids and Corallimorphs are a bigger contributor of "chemicals" than the anemone (short of it dying and melting in the tank).>> From what I read, my setup in the 55 is adequate. <<Adequate for what?>> I made a bommie in the only corner of the tank that receives approximately 3 hrs of direct sun through a small basement window.  I only have 230 watts of PC's running on the tank <<Another reason to move out the anemone.>>, but also have a small 18 watt PC sump light directing light at the anemone as well (I doubt this is really worthwhile). <<Nor is it adequate...>> With the sun only hitting the one corner of the tank and the bommie there, I haven't seen any movement, although it is recently acquired about 6 weeks ago.  I think I already know the answer is to get rid of the anemone, but the interaction between the clowns and the anemone is one of the most gratifying parts of the setup. <<I would agree that the interaction between fish and anemone is fascinating...but do your homework first...for the sake of all involved.>>   Thanks for your help. <<Always welcome, EricR>> PS I have a response for another FAQ I read, but unfortunately no clear picture. The FAQ is Yellow Clown Goby with "parasites" "This is my second go round buying yellow clown gobies in which they develop small yellow ?parasites. These bumps resemble flaps or tissue like people that have skin tags. <Ah yes... you are likely correct here... parasitic copepods likely> I have not seen these bumps on the green, black or red gobies in the store but have seem them on the yellow clown gobies at the store sometimes. The fleshy looking tags are yellow (not clear or white) there are at least a dozen on each side of the fish on the body, all fins and gill cover. Some lay flat some stick out like flaps or tags. <Mmm, "Marine Clout" or other medicine containing organophosphate (yes, bug killer)... DTHP, Neguvon, Masoten, Dylox... this economic poison mal-affects terrestrial insects and (closely related physiologically, teleologically) crustaceans... of the latter which I believe the bumps are indicative>" This is a perfect description of what my goby developed.  After purchase, I gave him a FW bath and, as recommended, a short quarantine. <<Short?  Quarantine for a minimum of 4 weeks.>> He developed the "tags" within a few days of arriving in the display tank.  I put him in quarantine and treated with an organophosphate as recommended.  I also began treating with a formalin/malachite based treatment with only transient clearing followed by reappearance.  After two weeks, I had to leave town for a day and a half, and without medication the problem came back in full force. <<Never completely eradicated.>> I decided that he might have been re-inoculating himself (probably my fault-I put a fake coral in the tank and a small amount of sand as he was quite distraught in the bare tank). <<Use short lengths of PVC pipe for this...can be sterilized/replaced as required.>> I dipped him and transferred him to another treatment tank, with only a piece of lace rock leftover from freshwater days. <<Another mistake>> I then had a problem with an old heater that I used for this tank and the temp reached 86 degrees.  Whatever the combination of these events, he completely cleared overnight and had no recurrence. <<Yes, often elevating temperature is recommended as part of the treatment.>> He has been back in the display tank for several days now and shows no sign of relapse. <<Yay!>> I don't think I'd try to replicate this exact experience again, but the medication alone just wasn't working. <<Mmm, disagree...likely wasn't given time/of proper concentration to do the job initially.>> I was wondering if somehow I had produced an artificial "fever" state- it helps us clear pathogens, why not the fish as well?  The idea is sort of out there, but if anyone is aware of such examples, it would be you.  I think this would be contrary to the  copepod hypothesis as they should be quite heat tolerant. <<The rise in temperature "speeds up" the parasite for faster development/quicker hatch/release from host to be "poisoned" by the medication.>> Thanks for indulging my curiosity. <<No worries mate, indulge some more by having a read here and at the blue links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasitf.htm   EricR>>

Re: Unexplained  death... rates of mortality, expectations...  9/26/05 Thanks for your Saturday reply (do you ever take a day off?), <Mmm, not often> A few follow up questions.  I want to slowly increase my salinity from  1.021 to 1.025 per your suggestion. I figured I would do it during regular 15% water changes. Is there an accepted 'formula' based on tank size and  current salinity that will guide me on knowing about how much and what salinity  I can replace to rise the overall tank salinity by one  one-thousandth? <A proportionality problem... V1/spg1 = V2/spg2... > I suppose I could just replace with 1.025 each time but if  you have a different method I would be interested to learn. <Easy to "do the math"> Since my tank only has the one Firefish and one emerald crab I decided to add live rock as my budget allows (10 lbs per month or so) after curing   according to WWM's recommendations before buying any new fish.  During  this painfully slow process, I will be researching various fish for the future  FOWLR tank. <Good> Is there software, website or a database of some kind  available that tabulates many of the more basic fish criteria for quick sorting  so I can more easily isolate the kinds of fish I can keep and exclude ones that  are not an option for me (i.e. minimum tank size, food types, and gross  compatibility - <None that I've seen that are accurate, useful> I understand there is a large gray area regarding compatibility  but there are also lots of absolutes that need to be avoided).  Information  like this would be very helpful while deciding about the many, many options out  there.  I keep falling in love with a fish only to find I can't keep it due  to my tank size, overall capability (i.e., beginner) or other fish I  want/have etc. <This "data accumulation" is (actually, for me) some of the "most fun" part of the hobby... I like to "find things out"> Finally, I was very surprised to read your statement about general survivability of marine fishes - specifically  "most fishes don't live for  a month or two". <"Is a fact Jack"> Are you saying that even if I were to approach your  knowledge of marine fish keeping (LOL) I will still experience regular die-off  every couple of months? <Mmm, perhaps a few to several months...> This will be a hard sell to my spouse and  potentially a deal-breaker.  Any help/clarification on this topic will be  very appreciated! Mark   <Just a historical fact that I thought was pertinent. Bob Fenner>

Tank  Compatibility  9/26/05 Hello, crew@WetWebMedia.com <Hello Leslie> I have a 55 gallon salt tank that has about 20 lbs of live rock that I have used to create lots of overhangs and caves.  Currently I have 4 Chromis, 2 black molly's that I acclimated to salt, (I used these as start-up fish to cycle the tank) and I have recently added 2 Sebae clownfish, 1 mandarin goby,<Your mandarin will be short lived without a supply of live copepods.  Few ever adapt to eating prepared foods.  Do research on fish/inverts before buying.> and 1 coral beauty.  I also have a coral banded shrimp I got to rid my tank of a massive bristleworm infestation <These shrimp will eat small bristle worms but is not going to rid a tank full of them.  A bristle worm trap would be more effective.>and a peppermint shrimp to supposedly rid my tank of Aiptasia anemone (Doesn't seem to be working).  I have two emerald crabs and an assortment of hermit crabs for cleaning purposes.     My plan was to add some anemone for the clowns <definitely do research on the anemone and know its requirements before purchase as these are not easy to maintain for any length of time without ideal conditions.> and some corals for color and beautification. <Again, research.  Never keep anemones and corals together.> I also want to add a few more fish such as a hippo tang, a Naso tang and a yellow tang, along with a royal Gramma and a pair of skunk cleaner shrimps. <WHOA, WHOA, your tank is much too small for keeping that many fish.  Tangs alone require a larger tank than yours.  Again, research.> (My son wants the legendary "Nemo" tank, so I am trying to come as close as possible for him)  I also want to add a blue Linckia sea star <forget this guy for now, another no so easy to keep invert.>  or a marble sea star.   Are these possible tankmates???  I have read several internet sites and talked with several people at local pet shops.  I am coming up with conflicting responses, some tell me they will all be fine, some say the tangs will fight, some say the cleaner shrimp will kill the peppermint shrimp, etc.  <Surprisingly, no one told you your tank was too small to keep all these animals.  I suggest getting a copy of Conscientious Marine Aquarist.  This will be one of your better investments.> I do not mind removing the peppermint shrimp, but I really would like to keep cleaner shrimp and the coral banded shrimp.  Is this possible? <It could work with more rock work.  Twenty pounds is not a lot of rock for a 55.> I have heard that anemone and corals can co-exist and I have been told that they cannot.  Which is it? <The later.  They aren't even found in the same areas in nature.> Will the three tangs co-exist, or at least the yellow and the hippo tang, not necessarily the Naso tang? Should I introduce them to the tank together? <I'd stay away from tangs till you gain some experience and definitely read about them before considering.  Do search the WWM on all these subjects and read my friend.  It will help you immensely.> Should I remove my starter fish or are they compatible with the new additions I hope to add? Will the sea stars attack my corals<some can/will> as the chocolate chip starfish do?  (Learned that in my old 20 gallon set-up) If you have an opportunity to respond to this e-mail, please let me know if the above desired combination is possible or if I need to stay away from certain species or remove any current occupants. <Leslie, you need to learn more about compatibility, invert selection and stocking levels along with investigating the level of difficulty in maintaining a given specimen. I've read letters similar to yours and shortly after, receive queries as to why this died and that died.  It is a very rewarding hobby if caution and patience are observed.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your time, Leslie One More Fish...But Which One?  9/22/05 75 gal. FO Hi! <Howzit? Scott F. with you tonight!> I have had my 75Gallon marine tank up and running well for 3 years.  I would like to thank you for the great guidance I have gotten from reading this site and from reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist and Bob and Anthony's Reef Invertebrates book.  I am now completely hooked on the hobby! <Awesome! Glad to hear it!> I am thinking of adding one or two more fish to my set-up and wondered if I could get your opinion. <Sure!> Current Set-up: 75 gallon tank with 30Gallon refugium with deep sand bed and live rock (no light) 70 lbs. live rock in display with 1 inch sand bed ETS Reef Devil Pro Skimmer 260 watts compact fluorescent lights - actinic and 10,000K Total circulation approx. 1200 Gal/hr Water parameters: Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 20 pH 8.2 Specific gravity 1.024 Temp. 76 degrees CA 420 Alk. 8dKH Livestock: 1 Bartlett's Anthias 1 Latticed Butterfly 2 Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse 2 Orange Spotted Sleeper Gobies 2 Cleaner Shrimp Assorted snails and hermit crabs <Nice mix...A bit tight, but nice nonetheless.> All have been peacefully co existing for two years or longer.  I would like to add one or more of the following: a Flame Angel, a Yellow Tang, and/or a Bannerfish (Heniochus sp.).  Before I went ahead I wanted to see if you thought this would be overstocking.  I avoided many pitfalls so far by following the advice in your books and would hate to disrupt my beautiful system. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Joy <Joy, it really seems to me like you're pretty close to the limits of sticking for this tank, as far as "mid-sized" fishes is concerned. In my opinion, the only fish on your list I'd even consider at this point would be the Flame Angel, and I think that is kind of pushing it. All of the fishes that you mention require significant amounts of space to "roam" in. Personally, if I were contemplating another fish for this tank, I'd be inclined to select a blenny of some sort. I think that smaller, less active, yet still interesting (and colorful!) blennies can help "fill in the blanks' in many stocking plans. Plus, in your case, these fishes offer the added attraction of filling an environmental niche (near-bottom dwellers) that you have available in your system. Think small! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Territory...Not Enough - 09/12/05 FO, 55 Hi guy's you helped me before I thought I'd try again. <<Alrighty>> I recently added 2 small blue tangs, and 1 small Koran to my tank. <<This doesn't sound good.>> My three striped damsel is very unhappy about it, he keeps ramming the tangs, and chasing the Koran, though when ever it comes close the Koran swims sideways and the damsel leaves it alone.  What do you recommend I do? <<Return the tangs and angelfish.>> Will the damsel get used to the newcomers? <<Probably not before it kills one or more.  Unless this system is more than 6 feet in length and of several hundred gallons in volume your newcomers are doomed to a life of developmental retardation...if the damsel doesn't kill them first... EricR>>

Tangs, Territory - 09/13/05 A bit of a history and a plea "LET ME KEEP THE TANGS" <<Mmm...>> The system is four feet in length, and is 55 gallons with 60lbs of live rock and live sand, the N02, N03, NH3, P04, all negative or minimal, pH 8.2, SG 1.015 <<Yikes!  This needs to come up... 1.024-1.025 please>>.  The tank is 8 months old, and gets 15 gallon water changes every 3 weeks, using Deionized water, and the only livestock I had in the tank before the tangs and the Koran were 2 small clowns (1.25inches) and a three stripped damsel (bout 2 inches).  I am getting vibes from the response that I got from you guys is that it was not a good idea to buy the tangs or the Koran, (BTW the tangs are about 1-1.5inches, and the Koran is about 2 .5 inches). <<The tangs can grow to more than 12 inches (and a very robust and active/nervous fish as well) and the angel to 18 inches.  I can only imagine the developmental retardation you will be subjecting these fish too in this size system.>> I am not sure if you mean to say get rid of the new guys because they are difficult to keep, or because the damsel will kill them? <<The damsels you have are VERY aggressive and quite capable of doing serious harm to the juvenile tangs and angel.  The difficulty in keeping the "new guys" comes from the fact they are entirely unsuitable for your tank.>> I would rather get rid of the damsel than the tangs or Koran. (Any ideas on how to catch a three stripped damsel?) <<a small barbless fish hook and 2 lb monofilament...seriously.>>, and if you don't think I should keep the tangs or Koran regardless of getting rid of the damsel <<That's what I think...>>, if I can, what species would you recommend? <<Your tank is really too small for any tang in my opinion...as for angels, one of the dwarf or pygmy angels (Centropyge sp.) would be a good candidate.>> Because the LFS said these would work just fine together. <<(Sigh!)  I have no doubt...>> Thanks for all your help. -josh- <<Josh, there are many beautiful fish in the trade that are more suitable for your system...enjoy the hunt... Regards, EricR>>

Fish Compatibility  9/2/05 Hello. <Hi there- Scott F. with you today!> As a big fan of doing an excessive amount of research before I put anything into action, I was wondering if there's a place I can go to research compatibility of fish. I know there are a million different species/sub species of fish and that a database like this would be enormous, but there has to be something. A place to find out that certain fish need *X * amount of flow and will not do well in tanks below *Y *size. How clowns will do well with just about all other fish, but if you put another clown in, watch out. How some fish are more sensitive to PH levels. Certain fish are good with just about everything, however, like to munch of some of your corals. Just small details like that which will make a huge difference on your tank. I don't have any specific fish in mind that I'd like to know about at the time, but, I'm about to start my 2nd (successful because of my research) 125 gal FOWLR and I can't really say what my livestock is going to be, but there's nothing to tell you things like this that I'm aware of. Info that I've found might tell you that certain fish might eat this if you have it, but don't make reference to this other fish that would dine on the prior. I hope you understand what I'm getting at, I feel myself starting to ramble. Since there is most likely not going to be a source for all information like this, what would you recommend as a method for researching all the specifics about one member's interaction with every other member of the livestock? Short of sending you guys an E-Mail that is. I hate E-Mailing you guys for issues that seem petty to me, especially when you go through all these other E-Mails a day from people that could find their answers on your homepage alone. Took me a week to finally send this one. <First off- don't hesitate to shoot us an email if you have a question. Yes, if it is something well-covered on the site, we'll probably just give you a link to the article/query where you'll find the answer, but ask away! As far as a table of some sort with specific compatibility information- I haven't seen all that much, save some of Henry C. Schultz's articles in Reefkeeping Magazine, where he will have such a chart based upon the fish he is discussing. Of course, we have lots of good data here on the WWM site about lots of different fish families. You can search fishbase.org for more scientific information on the fish that you are researching, too.> Thanks in advance guys...great job. On a side note, I'm sorry I'll miss your presentations at MACNA. I know there will be a treasure trove of information to be gained there. Money constraints...you understand? <Certainly do! We hope to see you at a conference in the future! Regards, Scott F.> Taking Stock (Stocking Plan) Hi crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> You guys are great. Thank you for all of your help in the past. I just can't seem to stop asking questions! <Seems like we're all in the same mode...You never seem to stop asking questions in this hobby. That's what makes it so fun!> Currently I have a 55 gallon tank with about 55 lbs of live rock and the tank has an overflow box built on the inside of the tank. I have 2 Ocellaris clownfish right now that are about 2-3 inches long each. Eventually, I want to add the following fish to the tank: Bi-color Blenny Royal Gramma Flame Dwarf Angelfish Is my tank large enough for these 5 fish ? <I think that your tank will accommodate all of these fishes, but will be maxed out, as far as fish population is concerned. If you wanted to pass on one of the fish, I'd recommend passing on the Flame Angel. Perhaps you could substitute a smaller species, like C. argi or C. fisheri. These "Dwarf Dwarfs" are a bit smaller, and a bit less demanding in terms of space required. Hope that this helps. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

One More Fish...But Which One? 'Ello gang. <Hey there! Scott F. with you tonight!> Much praise and respect for what you're doing for the saltwater community. <We're so happy to be here for our fellow hobbyists!> Tank: 29g bow 65W power compact 20 lbs live rock 4" substrate Inhabitants (not including clean-up crew): 2 True Percula Clowns 1 Yellow Clown Goby 1 Fire Shrimp 1 Emerald Mithrax crab.   Brace yourself for this one...  1 Rainford Goby <A neat fish, if your setup is appropriately populated with copepods and other fauna for it to feed upon!> Corals: 1 Zoo Colony Rock 1 Small Red Mushroom Colony First off, I returned my BTA after your response to my first e-mail.  Thank you much.  I really believe it was the responsibly thing to do. <I do, too. It's not that we shouldn't be keeping these animals. In my opinion, it's just that we need to dedicate a system to their specific needs if we really intend to keep them happy for the long term. They are very special animals requiring that extra level of care.> I've only had my Rainford Goby for 2 days. After browsing your site, I've found that it's highly unlikely my tank is sufficient enough to support this fish. I am going to return it to my LFS but I wanted your opinion first.  He has yet to accept frozen food.  Thoughts, please? <Well, it is a fairly demanding fish, in my opinion. In fact, I'd place it in the same category as Mandarins. It will need a constant supply of small copepods and other life forms on which to feed. Some do adapt to frozen foods; many don't. Worth the effort, but unless your tank is really populated with microfauna, I'd hesitate to recommend it.> I was thinking of adding a Royal Gramma.  Is this a good candidate for my system? <An excellent choice. Easy to feed, relatively small and peaceful, and (in my humble opinion) a heck of a lot nicer looking that the Rainfordi! One of my favorite marine fishes!> I pondered Damsels but hear clowns and damsels don't always coexist peacefully. <You might say that "Damsels and ANYTHING may not coexist peacefully!"> I don't want to take any chances.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  If I were to add a Damselfish, which Damsel(s) would make the best addition?  Should I introduce more than one? <I would pass on a Damsel in this tank. If you do add Damsels to a tank, I like the rule of thumb about adding them in odd-numbered lots (like 3, 5, 7, etc.) to disperse their aggression.> Are there any other reef-safe fish that you would suggest for my system? <I like the Royal Gramma, or perhaps one of the smaller gobies or blennies. Whichever way you go, I would not add any more fish after the next one, as you don't want to over-populate this modest-sized tank!> Gracias in advance.  : ) A pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Overstocked Tank? Hello All, First I'd like to say how much I enjoy your site.  Rarely have I seen something having so much value being offered for free. <Heeeee! Thank you> I almost feel guilty.  Now, on to my question(s).  My wife mentioned today that we sure have a lot of fish n the tank, which led me to think to myself that she may be on to something.  It didn't occur to me that I may be reaching the maximum load on my tank, and am concerned for the health of my friends.  I have carefully perused your FAQ's and have been unable to find a tank stocked quite like mine.  My tank is a 72 gal. bowfront running a hot magnum, a large canister underneath (350 gal/hr) an 18" hob refugium (food for the Mandarin), a Remora skimmer with the surface box and a few powerheads for circulation.  The tank has approx 80 lbs of live rock. Currently occupants are 1x clown goby, 2x Firefish, 1x purple Firefish, 1x sailfin blenny, 1x 3" yellow tang, 1x Green Mandarin and a Purple Pseudochromis (added last), and a cleaning crew consisting of a handful of 5x blue-leg hermits, 5x Cerith snails .  Corals include a cabbage and a Pagoda Cup colony.  Everyone seems to be getting along very well; each has a home and comes out for feedings and to "cruise in the current".  So, please give me the bad news.  Did I go too far?  Will the Purple Dottyback have to go when he grows up?  Finally, will this type of load cause me problems if I wished to add a few more LPS corals?  Thanks in advance for your help. Bart <Sounds like a very nice mix... and one that should be able to live on well into perpetuity... with some trimming of corals... Bob Fenner>

Growth Rates Hi, I am new to the saltwater hobby. I currently have a yellow tang (3"), a Huma Huma trigger (2") and a tomato clown (1") in a 90 gallon aquarium. I was wondering if anyone can tell me how large these guys will get in this aquarium and how fast I can expect to see them grow? <Mmm... the tang about five inches in a year, the trigger the same, the clown maybe three inches... can be sped up, slowed down by feeding...> They are all good eaters, and they get a mixed diet of seaweed, flake food, various frozen formula, etc. Thanks! mhm <Second year, the tang will grow another inch or so, the trigger another two, the clown a half... Bob Fenner> 

Re: New Setup, the Random Rambling/Purchasing Marine Aquarist Hello. I don't know who responded to my previous inquiry. <Twas I> It's now two weeks later. Either due to my lack of experience or the health of the pets I purchased, I lost the star and the tang. <...> Is it possible that if the star was "sick" it could have skewed my water quality? <Yes, but there are other possibilities... the Goniopora most evidently> I have been keeping up with 10% water changes weekly and changing my filter media every 2 weeks (rotating one cartridge and replacing the other). I have added the AquaC Remora protein skimmer with the Maxi-Jet 1200 which seems to be working. I get about 1-2 ounces of yucky green/brown stuff every day. <All good improvements> The rotating powerhead I put in seems to be circulating the water quite well throughout the tank and I have a zillion tiny bubbles in the tank which I hope is oxygenating the water. <Mmm, you don't want these bubbles... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm> The fish seem very happy. I feed them 2-3 times a day, alternating between flake food, zooplankton, frozen brine shrimp, frozen algae, frozen krill. All of the fish have voracious appetites. The water quality in my 26g bow tank is as follows: pH 8.2 Salinity 1.023 (I use Instant Ocean salt) Temp 79 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5-10 (10 being the highest it ever reached) Calcium 450 (approximately, I sometimes can't tell purple from blue with the test) <If you're dosing re calcium, biomineral content, I'd get a better test kit> Since my water quality stabilized after I removed the starfish and lost the tang, I added a pygmy angel and a mandarin goby. <!> I couldn't resist since it's more cost-worthy to purchase more at one time to balance off shipping costs (from MarineDepot and SaltwaterFish). I also added a Condy and a Gorgonian and a purple lobster. <... no...> I'm sure I am at capacity for my tank at this point and I don't plan on adding more fish. I'm trying to stay under the 1" for every 2 gallons rule of thumb. I purchased a 12g Deluxe Nano cube for my son's room and it's currently cycling. In a few weeks, I may move some livestock from the main tank into the nano (specifically the Condy and maybe the damsel if I can catch it) so that I can maybe (just maybe) add a pair of mustang seahorses later on and not have to worry about the Condy snacking on them. I tried to choose the fish based on their contribution to the tank community and maximum adult size. Total livestock: Rock & Sand- 28 pounds live rock 35 pounds live sand (3-1/2" - 4" sand bed) Fish- 2 percula clowns 1-1/2" ea. 1 neon velvet damsel 1-1/2" 1 banana wrasse 2-1/2" 1 pygmy angel 2-1/2" 1 neon goby 1" 1 mandarin goby 2-1/2" Inverts-  I have a few Nerite, Nassarius and Cerith snails on the way 2 emerald crabs 1" ea. 1 purple lobster 3" 1 electric blue hermit 2" 1 electric orange hermit 2" 1 blue-legged hermit 1/2" 3 turbo snails 2" ea. 1 horseshoe crab 1" 2 fighting conchs 1" ea. 1 Florida Condylactis 3" base (it worries me every time it "expels" food) Corals-I add marine snow and DTs phytoplankton every other day 1 Goniopora flower pot (placed close to the top, closer to the light) 1 gorgonian deep sea yellow 1 Tubastrea orange sun coral 1 carnation/cauliflower//tree coral? (I can't tell what it is) Plants- 4 shaving brushes Additionally, I am waiting for my new power compact hood to arrive today along with an all-glass bow lid to allow more light to penetrate the tank. Everyone in the tank seems to be happy and healthy, but I'm just a beginner and could be mistaken. Please look at the attached photos and judge for yourself. I'm trying to do the best I can with my limited knowledge in order to keep my tank up and livestock healthy. I really like the site and refer to it almost daily. I just need to know what I'm doing right and wrong (constructive criticism please). Sincerely, Heather <Heather... please stop buying livestock... what you have is incompatible, overcrowded... a disaster that will happen sooner or later. Please listen... carefully. You must study... ahead of purchasing the life you are placing... Books, the Net, other aquarists, are what you need to consult. Stop "buying" stuff... and start reading. Place the name of each type of life you list above in WWM's/Google's search tool... READ re its care, compatibility... You need to return or separate about half of what you list... Bob Fenner> 

Smallest marine fishes? A question just popped into my head as I was researching possible additions to a new tank. What are the smallest, commonly offered fishes for a marine aquarium? The yellow clown goby (Gobiodon okinawae) and its relatives is one group I thought of. Any others? BJ <The list is vast... including other Gobioids, blennies, wrasses, some basses... You can make a list of what of these is small AND available by perusing a site like Dr.s Foster and Smith that offer such data along with their livestock offerings. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Smallest marine fishes? Bob, thank you. www.liveaquaria.com (Foster&Smith) actually has a 'Nano Fish' section - their recommendations for smaller tanks. <Ahh, yes! Thank you for this. Bob Fenner> 

Big Fish In A Big Tank... Room For One More? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> You've heard it a lot, but your website really is fantastic. <Thanks for the kind words. We have some great people that really enjoy working with our fellow hobbyists.> Mr. Fenner's book has also help me tremendously, and I like to think I'm doing a pretty good job as a conscientious aquarist. I have a 250 gallon saltwater tank, fish only, with a wet-dry filter, UV sterilizer, protein skimmer, and circulation of at least 5x's an hour. I've added fish slowly and plan to keep the population down to 8-9 fish total. <Good moves on your part!> I have these fish, which were added in this order: a Volitans Lionfish, a male and female Bird Wrasse (added at the same time), a Striped Soldierfish, a Dogface puffer, and a Pacific Sailfin Tang (just added two days ago). All are eating, and all seem healthy. <Quite a nice crowd!> I would like to add two more fish to complete the tank - an Angelfish and a Trigger. I've narrowed the angelfish down to a French Angel, Koran Angel, or Half-Moon Angel. (A Queen Angel would be great but I've read they can be aggressive.) I've narrowed the Triggerfish down to a Pink Tail Trigger or a Picasso Trigger. My goal is to create the best possible opportunity for the new additions to thrive, and for the existing inhabitants to continue thriving.  Long-term compatibility is my biggest concern, but from what I've read, these choices may be the most likely to result in a tank where all the inhabitants can coexist. I intend to introduce smaller specimens of each - just large enough not to become a meal for the lionfish which is now close to 7 inches - so that they may grow up with their tankmates and hopefully adjust long-term to living peacefully. <Hmm...this may be a bit problematic. You have a system with some fishes that can become quite large, and give off copious amounts of metabolic waste products. Thin about it for a bit. The Sailfin Tang can and will reach a very large size. I've seen them at 10"-15" in the wild, and almost as large in the aquarium. A great fish, but demanding of high water quality and lots of space. The Bird Wrasse can hit 10+ inches and can become aggressive in some circumstances. The Dogface Puffer is also a 10" plus fish. I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, nor your good planning, but you need to think of the "end game" when stocking a system, even a large on like yours. These fishes all require lots of physical space and lots of good food and water quality. If it were me, I'd enjoy the diverse mix of fishes that you have now. In fact, at some point in the not-too-distant future, you might need an even larger tank for this crew.> What would your recommendations be for the most appropriate angelfish and triggerfish for my tank?  <I would not add either at this time. If you had the stocking capacity for these fishes (which you do not, IMO), I'd go with a Humu Humu (Picasso) Trigger, as they have great personalities, and a Pomacanthus maculosus, if you're into the larger angels. This one tops off at around 10", as opposed to 15-20 inches plus for the Queen. These fishes need huge amounts of space to live anything close to their natural life spans. Imagine spending the rest of your life in your living room? That's the best analogy that I can think of when we try to put large fishes in anything less than huge aquariums. I know by your earlier descriptions and level of care that you are a very conscientious aquarist who would not want to do that!> Any other angels or triggers that I should be considering that are not mentioned above? Once these fish are added, do you think a Zebra moray eel would be a safe addition to the tank or would it cause disruption? (I originally had a snowflake moray but returned it when it became clear he was nipping at the male bird wrasse when it was sleeping.) <I would not consider it, as mentioned above. I think your tank is very well stocked already...Enjoy the fish that you have!> Your experience has been a tremendous help, and your recommendation to do my homework thoroughly before buying any fish has helped me be successful so far. I don't want my last two fish selections to upset what seems to be a pretty good balance in a tank that a truly enjoy. Thanks. Mike <Keep everything as it is, and I'm sure that you'll enjoy it for many years to come! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Ridiculous Assemblage of Livestock... Hello there, A very informative site, I've <I've?> been pouring over the articles and FAQ for hours! I have used the info that i <i?> have gathered to convert my fresh water tank into a marine tank over the next year.  It's a 30 gallon 30 inches long, 14 inches wide and 18 inches high Jebo tank (live in china) with a hood, 20 watt ballast with only 2 fixtures. I'm planning to retro fit 5 more fixtures on for a total of 7 20 watt fluorescent lights, totaling 140 watts, about 4.5 watts to the gallon. I have a canister filter, and I'm going to add a 12 gallon refugium to it, along with some powerheads in each corner of the tank for better flow. My friend is giving me his protein <protein> skimmer, as it was too small for his 75g aquarium. Ill <Are you sick?> have about 3 inches of crushed coral chunks, and coral sand. roughly 20 pounds of live rock. I'm planning to add all the live rock, Tufa rock and gravel to go along with the cycling of the tank, roughly 3 months just to make sure its stable. My marine live list is hopefully not putting too much stress on the system. -1 tomato clown -2 firefly gobies -bicolor Pseudochromis -4 yellow tail damsel fish (maybe 2 would be better?) -4 cleaner shrimp -2 feather duster worms -4 turbo snails -one BTA corals are -2 daisy coral -1 open brain -1 meat polyp -1 hammer coral -2 sea mat corals Does this set up seem all right? or should i limit the number of live stock? Thanks Sean <... an insane mix of incompatible species of way too many number for this tiny system. Bob Fenner> 

Grass eel and tank mates? Not likely I just received a grass eel as a present. I own a 200 gallon tank and have lots of live rock and I was wondering if he would be compatible with my rhino blenny, spiny box puffer, blue head wrasse, pink tip anemone, two tomato clowns,  several shrimp, and an octopus? I have him quarantined now.  Thanks, Nick <Is Chilorhinus suensonii your species? Not compatible with the above... who are not in turn compatible amongst themselves... Read on my young friend... on WWM, the Net re each of these species needs, life histories. Bob Fenner>

Cannot keep fish alive for more than a week Hello! I love you website and the various books attached to it. I have run into a brick wall and can't seem to figure out the problem with my tank. Here's what I have. a 30 gallon saltwater tank. I have 1 mini crab, 2 sand stars, 1 bristle star, 1 small snowflake eel, a dragon wrasse, <These last two fish alone can't live in this system...> and a scooting dragonet, I have 10 lbs. of live rock. I've had the tank for 5 months. For some reason I cannot keep any other fish living for more than 1 week, I have tried and killed approximately 25 fish. <...> I've tried an angelfish, a butterflyfish, a cowfish, a Dottyback, damselfish, blenny, lionfish. All live for 4 days in a 10 gallon quarantine tank, I then transfer to the main tank and within a week they are dead. I check the water regularly. I follow the maintenance list in the book "Marine Aquarist". I feed a different foods each day, it is a mix of all frozen: Spirulina Enhanced Brine Shrimp, Formula 1, Formula 2, Krill, Marine Cuisine, Emerald Entree and Omega 3 Brine Shrimp. I don't feed much, a little in the morning and a little at night. We do have teenagers and have people at our house a lot, it's not a very quiet environment. Please do you have any advice?  ~ngoodno <Get a larger system... Bob Fenner> Beginner Too Excited? Combining Two Emails, Info NOT Given.. Oh, and His Name Keeps Changing Hello first just let me say this website is fantastic! It really is awesome. <<Hi, yes, you've mentioned that once or thrice. We're very glad you're enjoying it, and are HOPING that you're making good use of it. You *did* receive my reply to your first message, yes? Marina on this one (saw your further queries regarding the size/dimensions of the 125 - all this is standard, contact your seller on EBay, and search our site regarding computing gallons based on rectilinear containers measured in inches).>> And I was wondering about the flame dwarf angelfish, is it a good recommend fish for beginners? <<Absolutely NOT. The list I gave you, each and every animal I listed is a good fish for you. If you MUST have a Centropyge, then the only one I can recommend for beginners - and this is for folks who seem to have some good information under their belts already - is the Centropyge argi, a lovely little (smallest of the genus, if I recollect) blue dwarf, who IS, without a doubt, THE most pugnacious, uppity little bugger of the genus. However, it could rule your tank as much as those C. cyanea I'd mentioned previously (Blue Devil damsels).>> What do they eat? And what fish food products should I buy for them? <<ALL posted here on WWM, ad nauseum. DON'T buy this fish!>> Can they co-exist with many other fish in a large aquarium? <<All posted.>> Are they expensive? <<You can find this information via Google.>> Are they always available? <<Generally.>> I think they are truly captivating and I am dying for one of these guys. <<I REALLY think you should wait until you've got the marine thing down with easy fishes first. Remember, almost all marine specimens (vertebrate at least) are captured from the wild. Let's not add to the numbers languishing in restaurant tanks, slowly dying in front of customers eating bad sushi.>> I [also] wanted to know more about the yellow tang. Are they just as easy to marine ich as all the other tangs? <<Yes and no, there are so many variables I can't answer that definitively. This is *not* a good fish for you. That is why I listed no tangs for your first fish, because it's clear to me that you are very "green". You need to get some time/success under your belt, then move on from there.  You know, you can go on our site and put in the names of the fish I sent you, and you can see what they look like, how big they get, etc. Another place where you can do this (because I included their taxonomic names) is http://www.fishbase.org/ >> Are these fish recommended for beginners? <<Not for absolute beginners, no.>> What do they thrive on? <<ALL fish thrive on excellent water quality (near sea water - NSW - conditions), and good nutrition. Yellow tang food posts are also posted on WWM, again, ad nauseum/infinitum.>> What fish food product brands should I purchase? <<Determining best brands of feed is probably better learnt via the marine/reefkeeping websites. Believe me, you really, REALLY, really want to take a closer look at the animals I'd listed. I chose all for their hardiness, their color, hardiness, activity, hardiness, ease of feeding, hardiness, resistance to disease, and last, but not least, their HARDINESS. Did I mention that these fish were chosen for their hardiness? Also, you didn't mention preferring an aggressive tank, so I went with all peaceful, easy-to-keep fishes for you.>> How big do they get in a aquarium? <<Maximum would be about 8"-9" diameter (that would be about the size of a small dinner plate) - MANY don't last that long.>> Are they peaceful? <<Some are, some aren't, some are freaking MAD-CRAZY. Stay away from tangs for now.>> I have a permanent fish-only 125-gallon tank with 2 royal Gramma 3 false percula clownfish and 4 green Chromis, could I possibly add a yellow tang or should I move out a few fish? <<Huh... WHAT? I thought you JUST bought a new tank from EBay.. and you *never* mentioned having the thing set up, let alone ALREADY having fish in there! You even wrote in one or two emails trying to figure out the size of a tank you apparently already have. Sheesh, I feel like I've/we've been worked like a rented mule here. Why did you not EVER mention this before?>> I would Love one of these beauties in my tank so is it possible? <<Sure, anything's possible. I can't believe I spent so much time on this to find out you're already set up. Why did you not say this in your very first post?  In any event, DO take a look instead at the Foxface. This really is a much more appropriate fish, MUCH more peaceful, SO much less susceptible to disease, problems, etc., and it's nice, bright yellow (so are some of those hogfishes I listed - take a look at the Twinspot, it's red with yellow stripes, really pretty, peaceful, EASY fish).  At this point yours is more a question of "What can I add to my already stocked tank?" Not, "Help me get started with Marine fish". Alright, let's revise the list to what you can ADD to what's already there, ok? Please tell me you've already got a quarantine set up, that you've read our Q/T FAQs and articles, and that you're going to slowly acquire and properly QT the next fish you get, too.. Now, revised list: 5 Neon Gobies (Gobiosoma oceanops) Act as cleaners, VERY peaceful, small bioload 1 Foxface/Rabbitfish (Lo vulpinus, Lo magnifica) 1 Coris gaimard (a.k.a. clown wrasse) Then choose between the following, remember, going with the bigger fish means more bioload... 1 Bicolor goatfish (Parupeneus barberinoides - I like this fish) 1 Twinspot/Yellow hogfish (Bodianus bimaculatus) This one is very pretty, stays on the small side, too. or 1 Cuban hogfish (Bodianus pulchellus) or 1 Spanish hogfish (Bodianus rufus) or 1 Lyretail hogfish (Bodianus anthioides) Thanks and I will be waiting thanks again. Thanks Luigi. <<Re-read my initial reply to you. If you need someone to "hold your hand" while you get started on this new adventure, first do a lot of reading, then find a GOOD local fish shop (LFS). There's only so much we can do for you from here, but I will do my damnedest to discourage you from getting inappropriate fish. Marina>> <<P.S. Luigi, for the next time (because I'm sure we'll be receiving more email from you), please remember to include ALL previous correspondence for/from us. That is most helpful in ensuring that whoever's been helping you is better able to keep track of what's been discussed (we all answer a lot of queries, and often forget who said what, etc.). Also, now that I know you've already got this tank set up (why didn't you get out the tape measure and measure your tank?), please include your water parameters with future correspondence, this is VERY important.  At minimum, we want to know the following: pH; Temperature; Salinity/Specific Gravity; Ammonia; Nitrite; Nitrate.  Also, do yourself AND your fishes a favor and get some really good live rock in the tank. Walt Smith Fiji rock seems to be getting RAVE reviews, and one fellow purchased via EBay.>>  

Re: Pearlscale feeding  9/1/05 Hi Bob, Thank you for your advice. I took the Pearlscale back to the pet store. They gave me store credit for it, but they  didn't have any fish that I wanted. <Ah, very good of them... Patience...> They said that they would get in a shipment  of fish from Hawaii. I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions on  what to get. I need a fish that won't eat my damsels, green Chromis or baby hippo tang. The smallest of the damsels is 1.5" the hippo tang is 1.5". The fish  also must be able to live peacefully with my yellow tang, my coral beauty angelfish and my 2.5" falco Hawkfish. I have a 55gal. tank. I would prefer to  get a fish that is under $40.(I was thinking of possibly getting a dwarf  lionfish.) The tank has ~20lbs. of live rock in it. thanks, MDM <If it were me, mine, I would not add more fish/es to this size, shape tank... you are about "topped-off"... Perhaps a cleaner shrimp would add spice, help in keeping your fish livestock healthy... Bob Fenner>

Question On Stocking Levels - 08/26/05 I have a 90 Gallon tank that I'm setting up with 125lbs of live rock.  After the rock is added, obviously, the actual water volume will be reduced.  Should I use the actual water volume in calculating an appropriate stock level or the original 90 Gallon. <<The stated tank volume is fine as a reference, but more to choosing tank inhabitants than knowing how many gallons of water you have in the tank.  Consider such things as tank dimensions and the chosen specie's adult size/swimming habits.  Active, furtive swimmers like tangs require much more space to inhabit compared to rock hoppers like Hawkfish or blennies.  Please research carefully...fishbase.org is a great resource for finding such information as adult size, reef habitat (key to flow/space requirements), gut content, etc..>> Thanks for your help! Regards, EricR

Fish Stocking Questions - 08/18/05 Hi everyone! <<Evening!>> I'm writing to you for the first time... probably not the last! <<welcome>> I have a 90 gallons tank with some soft coral.  I have already some fish in this tank - yellow tang (approximately 3") - 2 true percula clown - 2 Firefish - 5 blue/green Chromis I want to add some fish but want your opinion first. <<I like giving opinions <G>.>> I would like to add a medium fish (same size as the yellow tang) but don't know which one... could I have a "blue hippo tang"? <<No>> I heard that my tank may be too small for this fish. <<Is my opinion as well.>> If I can't have one, which one would you suggest me? (medium fish, reef safe, not yellow :) ) <<Ha!  Have had this same dilemma myself!  Yellow "does" seem to be a predominate color.  With the current tank inhabitants listed...my choice would be one of the pygmy angels (Centropyge sp.)...with my personal fave being Centropyge loricula, the Flame Angel.>> >> And another question, would it be ok if I had (with the choice you suggest me) - 1 blenny - 1 goby - maybe a flame angel <<Mmm...should read ahead I see.  I would go with the Flame Angel and one of the sand-sifting/sleeper gobies.>> thanks a lot!!! p.s. sorry if my English is bad... I need more practice :) <<You are doing just fine.  Regards, EricR>> Stocking an 80 Gallon Aquarium 8/15/05 First of all, it is great to be getting actual feedback from a real live celebrity. <What? You in the front rows, just jiggle your jewelry> Now, I am setting up an 80 gallon aquarium with a 20 gallon refugium. Would this be an inappropriate fish load? 3 Green Chromis 1 Butterfly or Angel (preferably small) 1 Regal Tang Let me know if I am being unconscientious. <Acanthurus lineatus are often hard to keep> I'm gonna buy the book if Bob responds to this. <Oh boy... another 28 cents royalty! Call my yacht broker> Also, can aquarium fishes be trained to swim through hoops? Tony <Have seen this, yes. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Questions and Many Thanks 8/13/05 Hello all, <Doug> First and foremost, I want to thank you for such an informative and comprehensive web-site for all of us who enjoy the hobby. <Welcome> On to my questions.  I recently decided to add some fish to my 55 gallon FOWLR.  Currently it's stocked with 1 lawnmower blenny, 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 neon pacific goby, 2 rainfordi gobies, 1 cleaner shrimp.  I was looking at a dwarf lionfish, <Will eat most all, make that all of your present fishes in time> a bluefin angel, <Tank is too small...> and a half black angel.  Will these be good additions to the tank? <Nope> My obvious concern is will the dwarf lionfish gobble up any of the current inhabitants? <Will> Thanks again for all of your help. Doug Poage <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Blenny and Goby Compatibility 8/11/05 Hi, <Hi, Leslie here this evening> I  have a 90 gallon reef with corals system in which I have the following: 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 Yellowhead Goby, 1 Mandarinfish, 1 Marine Betta, 1 Flameback Angel and 2 Green Chromis.  I would like to make it mostly a goby and blenny aquarium.  May I mix, say 10 more gobies and blennies in this mixture? <Yikes…unfortunately not.  Most goby and blenny species do not get along with the same and similar species, unless found in mated pairs. You have already mixed 3 types of gobies/blennies that could do well together. Please do read about these 2 groups of fish that you are interested in here…. Blennioids: Blennies and Blenny-Like Fishes http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blennioids.htm and Gobioid Fishes, and Ones Just Called Gobies! here… http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobioidmars.htm Which ones do you recommend? I want a peaceful tank, with lots of color. There are a few exceptions, which do well in groups…. the Convict blenny http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pholodichthyidae.htm and the Clown Gobies http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobiodon.htm> I want a peaceful tank, with lots of color. < In addition the 2 species mentioned above you may want to consider a Flame Hawkfish or a pair if you can find a male/female pair. They are a beautiful bright flame red with black markings and quite striking. They are not in either of the families of fish you asked about but in some ways they remind me of blennies and gobies and I think you might like them. They will certainly brighten up any tank!  Another point to consider is that your Marine Betta has a good sized mouth and anything that can fit is fair game so,  be sure to choose good sized specimens when considering his tankmates.> Thanks for your input, AJ <Your most welcome! Hope this helps, Leslie> Fish introduction order 8/7/05 WWM Crew, At the suggestion of a friend I have been using your website as a reference to help me setup my first saltwater tank. I have a 100 gallon tank, about 85# of cured live rock, plenty of flow, and a working protein skimmer. It's been 8 weeks since I set the tank up. Last week I added some turbo snails and have seen no change in my water parameters so I think it's time to start adding my fish now. I'm planning on getting a hippo tang, raccoon butterfly, and a flame angel (all around the same size, 3'' or so). I was curious as to the order of introduction for these fish. I was planning on adding the flame angel first. <Mmm, doesn't matter very much which goes in first, middle, last here... but I would place the Tang first... wait a week or two, the Raccoon... and lastly the Angel... mostly to give LR organisms a chance to grow for the latter's consumption> Then a few weeks later adding the tang and butterfly at the same time. Is this the best order in your opinion? Also I was considering getting a yellow and maroon clown, where would he fit into this introduction order? Thanks, Rick <I'd place the feisty damsel last. Bob Fenner>

SW stocking a cylindrical system 8/5/05 Dear crew,     First of all , I absolutely love this website. It's  an amazing resource of which I never tire of reading. Now to business, I  have a 75 gallon half cylinder tank that i want to setup. It is 3 feet deep with  very little bottom area and very little length. <Neat> Its quite nice and i would like  to use it especially since it was free. My problem is making a fish list that  would appreciate this unusual mid water column design.  Can you please tell  me what species would be an excellent showpiece fish? I personally would like an  active, interesting, peaceful and relatively large species that could live  out its life happily in this tank. Also which smaller species would be well  suited for the very limited bottom space. This tank is filtered with a  Fluval 403    canister filter, a Penguin 330 BioWheel  filter and 2 Fluval 802 power heads for circulation. The lighting is a 55  watt 10000K power compact and a 55 watt 5000k blue actinic bulb. There is  also 20 lbs of live rock ( didn't want to cover the entire substrate or stack  them too tall ).  Thank you very much in advance :) P.S. please no  cardinals, they bore me! <Heeee! There are many choices... I would go with fish/groups that stay small... perhaps Gramma/s, Dottyback/s, Fathead Anthias... all are covered on WWM... perhaps start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm scroll down to the articles, FAQs on livestocking... and enjoy the process. Bob Fenner> Stocking Question 7/27/05 I have a 55 gallon tank that has been set up for about 6 months, everything is fine as far as pH, nitrate, etc.   <"Fine" is, by no means, ever going to be an adequate measure of your parameters. Giving real numbers can be the difference between solving a problem and not. Please, guys. You already tested for them, just send them along in the email. Often, the answer lies in the numbers.> It is stocked with: 1 med bi-color angel, 1 med yellow tang, 2 med Ocellaris clowns, 2 Rainfordi gobies, 1 neon goby, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 choc. chip starfish. <A tad overstocked, perhaps remove the Tang? I'd not recommend one in any less than 75 gallons, though the "Tang police" have higher standards. :-)> I am thinking of adding a small Naso tang and/or a tiny blue hippo tang.  My question is, is this too much for the tank.   <Yes. Nasos and Hippos are big Tangs. You'd need at least 125 gallons to pull off a Naso, and around 90 to rear a Hippo.> Also, are these tangs going to be compatible? <You won't have to worry about that, should you abstain from buying a Hippo/Naso and get rid of your Yellow.> Thanks. <Welcome.> Doug <Mike G> <

Sick Amphiprion ocellaris... actually mis-purchased, crammed into inappropriate setting 7/24/05 Hey folks: I have a wild caught Amphiprion ocellaris, he/she is rather mature and about 3 1/2 to 4 inches in length. <Wow, a big specimen> I am in the process of setting up a 70 gallon diamond tank and when I saw this unique looking clown (the white stripes do not fully circle this fish, they start at eye level and cover the top of the fish ending at eye level on the other side, kinda looking like a hat!) I knew he'd be perfect for the tank, but unfortunately the tank won't be able to support livestock for quite some time. So for now he's staying with some friends in my 28 gallon bowfront tank.  This tank is really peaceful, I have 2 smaller juv. ocellaris (approx. 1" in length) a cleaner wrasse, a scooter blenny, a young coral beauty, bicolor blenny, a small yellow tang, and a small Scopas tang. <Real trouble here in terms of crowding, aggression...> There are plenty of hiding places/caves, two anemones (Condy and bubble tip), frog spawn & flower pot corals. <Even more, worse troubles...> The problem I'm having is that the new clown has a greyish look to him, he's not a bright as the other two that I have (they all do get along), The clear tips on the ends of his fins are starting to disappear, almost completely gone on his tail fin. What can be doing this? <... mainly the fact that the animal is poorly adaptive, adapting to captive conditions, is housed with toxic cnidarians...> I was hopeful that he'd be fine for a few weeks until I can transport him to the other tank. I've tested the water and the only thing that outta whack is the nitrites (normally zero) they've jumped up to about 30. <Mmm, you've got this turned-around> The nitrates & ammonia are both perfect. The ph is at 8.2 or 8.3. Any advice or suggestions? Thanks, Ross <... large wild-collected marines of all species poorly ship, adjust... mixing anemone species, keeping Goniopora... in small systems is a recipe for disaster... I would "spread" these animals out, return/trade some in... quick. Please read on WWM re these species care... Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility 7/24/05 Hey. Could an epaulette shark, blue-spotted Ribbontail ray, zebra moray, porcupine puffer, radiated lionfish, and a trigger (queen, clown, Humu, or niger) live together happily? <No> I wouldn't mind forgetting the trigger, though. Also what size tank would I need? Thanks much. <... please read re each of these species System needs, Compatibility... posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Need A Bigger Tank - 07/21/05 Thank you very much for all of your info - absolutely priceless. <<Glad you find it useful.>> I have now just placed a couple of calls to purchase a tank at least double the size. <<Super>> Do you think a 200 litre tank would be sufficient for a Tang, maybe a scribble Angel in the future, and possibly a Butterfly? With my existing clowns Or should I go for 300 litre? <<I don't feel a 300 liter tank is large enough for the tang alone, much less with the addition of tank mates you are considering.  You will need something on the order of 700 liters or more for this bunch.  Please do reconsider your choices and pick suitable tenants for whichever tank size you go with.  There are so many beautiful fishes available, and many can/will live a decade or more with proper care.>> Thanks again <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Last Fish...I promise! Hi Robert, <<Hello - JasonC here...>> I was thinking about picking up a Flame Angel today and adding him to my 180 as the 'final fish'. I currently have the following... 2" Bi-Color Angel, 1" Velvet Damsel, a 1" Green Chromis, a 3" X-mas wrasse, a 7" Hippo Tang, a 6 1/2" Imperator, 3/4" Percula clown, a 6" Auriga Butterfly, 3/4" Neon Goby and a 1" bi-color Pseudo. That's 10 fish all living nicely with each other... (except once in a while the Imperator Angel chases & nips the Auriga Butterfly to keep him out of his area especially during feeding time), but for the most part the tank is pretty much stress free and with no parasites present for a month now... the neon goby and UV sterilizer seem to have done their job in cleaning the tank! I have always wanted a Flame Angel but I am concerned about adding this fish with the Bi-color Angel.  <<That would be my concern too.>>  I have read about the Pygmy Angel compatibility issues and know that I should not put 2 small angels in the same tank together.  <<But this is a pretty large tank. How much live rock [read as hiding places] do you have?>>  I asked a few LFS guy about this and he keeps telling me there will be no problems in having them together in my size tank.  <<Famous last words from a local fish store.>>  Will the bi-color angel accept the flame angel if introduced properly?   <<You mean with formal introductions? "Mr. Bicolor, meet Mr. Flame." No, there's no easy way or 'proper' way to introduce this fish. It will work or not.>>   If I get a much smaller Flame Angel is that better?  <<Hard to say, but certainly a smaller fish will be more likely to suffer from the stress of being hassled by the bi-color.>>  After quarantine, I intend on using a sheet of glass to separate a section of the tank where they can look at each other for a while to get used to each other.  <<Uhh... this comment makes me think you don't have enough decor in your aquarium. I couldn't put a sheet of glass in my 180 without hours of breakdown. You'd be much better off with more live rock, which equals more cover.>>  Will any other fish pick on the Flame Angel?  <<Not on a normal day, but if it becomes weak or distressed everyone may pick on it...>>  Any ideas or should I not add the Flame Angel? Thanks! <<I would hold off. If I've misread, and you actually have #180-plus of live rock, then things will likely turn out fine. If you don't have a lot of places for a pygmy angel to hide, things aren't going to end well for the newcomer. Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking Dear Bob, <cheers... Anthony Calfo in your service> My wife and I currently maintain a 150 gallon Oceanic w/100lbs live rock that has been running for almost 6 months. Inhabitants include 5" Flag fin Angel, 6" Blonde Naso, Coral Beauty, Flame Angel, pseudo, 5" White Spotted Puffer, 1.5" Passer Angel, 3" Porcupine puffer and two damsels.  <a bizarre mix I must say... toothy predators (puffers), ultimate bullies (passer), passive reef denizens (coral beauty)...sheesh. This is going to be tough to pull off in the 3-5 year picture> There are 3 pumps in the 30 gal sump for main filtration (900gph), EuroReef CS8-2 (included) and a 25 watt UV sterilizer (400gph). <very nice> Thirty percent water changes are done monthly using RO/DI water & Tropic Marin sea salt mixed a few days prior. Fish are feed 2X daily a mixture of frozen foods including Mysis shrimp, marine algae, bloodworms and krill. Selcon & Kent Garlic are added about half the time. Dried seaweed (Ocean Nutrition) is supplied on a lettuce clip 3X daily.  <nice regime> All the fish are peaceful,  <for now... but we need to plan for adult sizes and behaviors. Consider, my friend. I just saw a Passer angel in California that was measured at over 16"!!!>  Eating well, growing and seem to have adapted nicely to the aquarium settings over the last 3 months. Tank is kept @78 deg, 1.023 salt, ph 8.0, and no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia levels present. <OK> Sorry for the long background but here's my question.  <no worries... it is appreciated and helps> We wanted 1 more fish (yes I know!!!)  <you cannot be serious... it honestly makes me sad to hear it. You need better counsel my friend if you don't know any better. This is like keeping a litter of Great Danes in a closet and saying they look happy because they fit and they always want to play>  and added a 4" Red Sea Sohal Tang.  <wow... it would be hard for you to have picked a bigger (adult size) or worse fish... rock on!> There were no visual markings on the fish and he wasn't harassed by the other fish (even the Naso didn't really bother him much). The Sohal seemed fine for the first two days swimming side to side across the tank and eating frozen food. Woke up the third morning to see him breathing rapidly on a rock and died several hours later.  <I say he committed suicide knowing the life that was ahead of him... heehee> I understand there's lots of variables but the LFS suggested buffering the water because my ph was too low and they said the fish went into shock. That doesn't make sense to me.  <ridiculous> We take this hobby quite seriously and would appreciate your feedback. <thank you for saying so... please consider my friend that as responsible aquarists we must keep our fishes with the assumption that they will lead full lives just like cats and dogs. All pets need appropriate husbandry and the Sohal alone in your 150 would not be appropriate in the 3-5 year picture...the fish gets 2+ feet long and would be in a tank on as wide as he is and not much longer. Add to that the cumulative adult sizes of the Flagfin, Naso, passer and puffer alone and you have nearly 5 feet of fish length in a 6 foot tank. With all due respect, my friend, it would be cruel to run this tank without thinning the load in the near future let alone adding another fish> On a side note, it's very entertaining watching the passer and the three stripe damsel act like cleaner shrimp. <agreed... a marvel of nature> Thank you, Tom <Tom... the angels, tang and puffer all have been recorded as living over 20 years in captivity. If you have any hope of them living even 10 or 5... please upgrade the tank size or thin the fishes. In shared admiration of the sea, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Stocking Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Thank you for the words of wisdom and we will heed your advice.  <very good to hear :) It is easy to forget how big some of these fishes can get in a few years!> A few more questions if I may.  <my pleasure> The Passer was about a month old (~1 inch) when he was added. Since this fish obviously will only know the tank community where he is being raised are the odds better he will peacefully co-exist w/ the established Coral Beauty and Flag fin?  <unrelated... you can't change evolution (or a Zebra's Stripes, as they say). A baby Piranha is Still a Piranha...heehee. In this case, your only hope of a peaceful fish is the pot luck that your individual is a unique passive Passer <G>> The live rock is laid out to provide many hiding places. In any event we will watch the him very closely. <please do> Do marine fish typically mature or fully develop at a slower rate in an aquarium setting if proper feeding etiquette is followed?  <nope... but studies have shown that they can stunt and die prematurely in crowded conditions. It is interesting to note... some (not all) freshwater fishes can stunt temporarily but continue to grow normally after optimal conditions resume. Damage from crowding to marine fishes is irreversible. It makes sense... the ocean is huge and there is no evolutionary precedent for "crowding" whereas some freshwater fishes are exposed to extremes and duress with shallow streams and drying ponds that fluctuate with seasonal rains. This is THE reason why big fish in small tanks seem to be "fine" for a year or two and then die "mysteriously". No mystery here> Provided the conditions are right, is it probable our Naso and/or Passer will reach 12-16" inches in 3 years?  <if they are kept properly, yes... big tanks or early death. Now... will they die within 3 years with good care on your part: probably not. But will they see 5-10 years when they can otherwise exceed 20: probably not. Its unfortunate that we don't consider the adult sizes and living conditions of fishes the same as we do for cats and dogs>  I've found very little literature that describes actual growth rate for captive marine fish. <tons of data in aquaculture literature. Try Scripps Institute archives. I learned a lot on this topic under Gratzek and Blasiola at the U of Georgia Fish Pathology course> We chose the white-spotted puffer because they're "supposedly" much less aggressive than say a beautiful Mappa. Maybe he doesn't know about his chompers yet or he's kept well fed?  <again... just personality at this point. Hiding places and extra food don't temper bloody desire <VBG>> The personality these puffers have is unbelievable! How do we get the porcupine to stop spitting at us when cleaning the tank? Ha ha! <they are wonderful indeed! Such great personalities :) Like a pet dog...heehee> We enjoy this hobby immensely as it is forever a learning and most of the time very rewarding experience. Having a Golden Retriever we never imagined our fish's life expectancy to be comparable. We do now....Thank you! <and thanks you for being an empathetic aquarist. Best regards to you in your endeavors. Anthony Calfo>

Stocking Hello WWM crew,  <<Hello, JasonC here...>> I have a 20 gallon reef that has been running for 6 months as a reef but 2 years as a fish only I was wanting to know if I could put a 2-3 Venustus angel in it. <<Ahh... 'can' you and 'should' you are two different questions.>>  I can have a 75 gallon in 6 months to a year.  <<Doubt it would live that long in a 20g.>>  For filtration I have a Prizm protein skimmer Skilter 400 and 2 power heads. I only have 3 small fish an orange prawn goby and 2 captive bred Perculas. <<That's really about the maximum I would keep a system of this size.>>   Do you know if this angel will peck at corals I have 2 colts, 1 medium leather and 2 smaller leathers.  <<I'd say in a system like this, it's a definite.>>  I have 30 pounds of rock and a 2-3 inch sandbed. My nitrates are at about 5. Is this angel somewhat hard to keep because the one I seen at the store isn't eating yet so I'm not sure about this one. If this angel is not good do you think I could have a golden pygmy?  <<No to either of those - a 20g tank is too precarious a system for an angel fish of any size. You could certainly try, but I don't imagine either fish would be with you for more than a month, two at the most; even if you managed to make six months, it's just not really a good plan. Really should just wait until you have that 75 for the angels, even if they are pygmies. Cheers, J -- >>

Green Chromis (numbers of the beasts) Dear Bob, A friend read that you should keep these fish in groups but only in odd numbers. Why???? <Sometimes called the "locker room effect" (by me at least), even numbers seem to lead to more fighting, bullying... between individuals. Having the "odd fish" results in having a bit more rest, ability to hide from the alpha individual/s> I have 5 in a shoal with no problems. He had 6 but one was attacked by the remainder and died. <Not atypical... but could be that the others had just already established territories that their resource would allow... no more room for another> Is the theory of odd/even numbers proven. It has certainly caused debate at my LFS (UK Marines -Roy Meeke) <No progress without conflict... not me this time, Nietzsche. Bob Fenner> Any answers would be appreciated. Kindest Regards, Stephen Tope

Tank Stocking Hello <Hello to you, Anthony here helping out.> My tank has cycled for over a month with 4 damsels. My ammonia is 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate 12. I've put a finger leather, yellow polyps, button polyps, xenias, Halimeda, and Caulerpa in and they are all doing good. Please give me your input on what livestock to start with and how often to add additional spices: Purple Tang Red Sea Sailfin Bicolor Anthias Maroon Clown Cardinal Citron Gobi Scooter Blenny Firefish <Yikes... you have a staggering dichotomy in fish personalities here ranging from satanic to fish food! Serious compatibility problems here. The Sailfin, Purple and Maroon are all VERY active community fishes if not seriously aggressive at times. If they don't eventually kill the Firefish, citron, cardinal and Anthias then they will at least intimidate them from their activity (discouraging their feeding and leading to their slow starvation). Further more... the Anthias MUST be in schools and the cardinals likely should be. It would take a huge tank and massive feedings to keep the Anthias with the Sailfin alone. Bud... you really need to decide if you want small ultra passive fishes or a tank of big boys. The chances of a successful compromise with this list are slim.> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony>

Stocking densities... (wrasse selection, and Centropyges, dipping, life) Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. I had a few follow-up and unrelated questions. In the smaller tank, I'm thinking of keeping a deresa clam. Which one of the three (Wrasses/dotty) would you recommend for parasitic snail and/or bristleworm control? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudocheilinus.htm and the FAQs linked beyond, the sections on Tridacnids...> In the larger tank, I was following the capacity outlines of M. Paletta in the new marine aquarium- 2" of fish /gallon of capacity.  <I think this may be way off... Mike may have offered the "rule of thumb" of 1/2" maximum per gallon...> Given that I should easily be able to keep a 12" angel and tankmates. Is it a territory issue or is Paletta wrong with what he is saying? <You are interpreting a generality beyond it's utility... think of two versus three dimensionality... a given length of organism needs more space than its inches subdivided into increments... e.g. 12 one inch fishes are metabolically less than one 12 inch individual...> Also, with a six foot long tank, would I be able to keep 2-3 centropyge angels?  <Likely so... of most species... they will interact, but given enough nooks, crannies, shouldn't cause any real damage to each other> I know they tend to fight, but I figured with that size tank, and enough rock work it should be O.K. I was thinking of a Hawaiian/Polynesian biotope with a flame and a potter's along with a Centropyge to be named later.  <Sounds like you've been doing your investigating> I would add native tangs, butterflies, a Picasso trigger, and a snowflake moray- any general problems with the design so far? <Not as far as I'm aware> Now for the unrelated questions- Can you recommend a good livestock source in the St. Louis area?  <Mmm, not familiar with the town, but do have a suggestion: post your question on the chatforum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ under the "Internet/Local Fish Store" category> They all seem to contradict themselves, and I don't know who to believe.  <Only yourself> One of them told me that you cannot use protein skimmer with the miracle mud product. Any truth to this?  <No... no truth... as in "what has been done"... The owner of this company (Leng Sy) and I are friends and discuss this "to be or not to be" issue quite often... mud/muck systems can be run with skimmers... better to under skim, or run in a punctuated fashion (on/off a few hours per day) IMO/E> He also told me that he has never been able to carry out a successful fresh water dip, and that quarantining is a bad idea as you stress the fish out twice. <Some validity to these statements as exceptions... but, by and large, these techniques/practices are of tremendous utility. Put another way, the vast majority of cases, individuals benefit tremendously through their employ> So far, he's somewhat low on the credibility scale. However, another shop told me to always dip my live rock in fresh water to eliminate bristle worms, crabs, and other pests. I would think you would ruin the rock by doing this. As you can see, I'm in a bit of a quandary. <But you're thinking... very exciting. Do consider all these opinions and ours/mine... and look further at the base rationale, factual understanding to all's points in making up your own mind.> Thanks again, and the website is great! Chris <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish Tank Crisis! Dearest Anthony/WWM Crew, If you will recall I inherited this tank and grew to love it as my own. Thank you for your frankness re. the inhabitants.  <my duty and pleasure... no need to mince words with a fish that grows to four feet in length <G> I appreciate your understanding in suit, my friend> Your answer to the last question was firm and straight forward enough that I was able to show it to my boyfriend and convince him to attempt to undue what we have done. Our fish store allows us to take back fish etc. for credit and as much as it scares me that we may be sending some of these creatures back only to be put into a similar environment it seems that is the best chance we can give them for survival right now.  <understood and agreed. In doing so that is at least one fish that won't be re-ordered/replaced by your purchase. Indeed... that is our best weapon as consumers... the mighty dollar. It will curb merchants from buying or at least re-ordering more inappropriate fishes> Our plan is to take back all "trouble makers" and start over with a strong and balanced living environment.  <awesome!> So now I come to you head bowed,  <no need... I'm a short fellow looking up :) > and humbled asking, yet again, for your unsurpassed knowledge to help me make the right decision now that I have some say in what happens. We are planning on taking my beloved Sweetlips back, the two Nudibranchs, the Hammer Head Coral, and the Coral Beauty. This would leave us with: a 55 gal. tank, one anemone which I think is actually a Giant Anemone (see page 344 of Mr. Fenner's book) and I was wondering if you think we should take her back as well?  <not really... many anemones can live very long lives when given specialized care. Some even breed in captivity. Its just tough to do in a smaller tank with other stinging animals like corals and other anemones. If you decide not to keep the anemone, know that the hammer is actually a hardy coral. A good choice as hard corals go. And the Coral beauty is also a great fish... can be long lived and is one of the best Dwarf angels. Now, the Nudibranchs have to go under any circumstance sorry to say> We bought lighting that was supposed to be good for her but she has gone under our live rock overhang and hasn't come out for weeks.  <can you still feed her? The feeding 3-5 times weekly is as important or more so than the lighting> We have two clown fish, the marine beta, the two Anthias (which we will be sure to purchase the appropriate food for), a neon velvet damsel, the Sponge Brittle Star, a coral of which I can find no pics in the book but it looks like it has several trees or flowers for arms the "stems" are brown and the ends are white. hope that didn't completely confuse you.)  <nope... it actually reminds me of a Cladiella sp (AKA speckled leather... short and nappy like brown and white heads of cauliflower?)> We have another very small and not very attractive anemone, brown, with short "fingers", and a few feather duster worms, and the sun polyps. I think that covers it. So what is a good anemone for beginners to get with our clowns?  <Bubble Tip anemones, Long Tentacle anemones and Sebae anemones are all good although avoid white or yellow ones (dyed or bleached an dying). Dark brown or green colors are best here. Do read through the FAQs and articles in our archives to help you pick the species best for you> Should we take back the star?  <not sure... would need to know the species to comment> Should we take back our anemone?  <the second anemone yes if keeping the first. One or the other>> I thank you for your help and patience through all of my mistakes.  <no worries at all... we are here to help you and all of our friends stay and succeed in this beautiful hobby.> It makes me so angry that our fish store would allow us to bring home all that we have.  <capitalism works in funny ways sometimes> I know it is not all their responsibility  <exactly... being an educated consumer is the best defense> but for example I asked them specifically if brine shrimp would be enough nutritionally for our Anthias and was told YES!  <DOH!... we should ask them to read the nutritional analysis aloud and then repeat that advice with a straight face...heehee. It is over 95% water and fish simply starve to death eating it. Amazing> It is a scary thought that the only people I can trust in this matter are on the other side of the country.  <for now maybe... until we get you acquainted in fellowship with other local aquarists and reputable stores> What do you think of MASLAC? Do you think it would help me if I joined them?  <Absolutely! Aquarium societies are perhaps the single best place to get information, support and fellowship from knowledgeable and unbiased folks. They have nothing to sell you and are spirited to help you enjoy the hobby as they do. Please visit and consider joining!> I read they have a mentor program. I don't know what I'd do without you.  <while we are always here to help, you can befriend local aquarists that can help you physically in a pinch with even more personal support. Weekends, holidays, sick fish that must be diagnosed in person etc. Really do look up a good local club> I've been trying as hard as I can since this became my responsibility and I know I've fallen short but please help me take advantage of this opportunity to start fresh. For ALL of your time and patience thank you thank you thank you I'm forever in debt to you. Laura <it is truly our pleasure to help. The best I can hope for is for you to succeed and share your wisdom and experience with others in kind. Anthony>  

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