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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 11

Related Articles: Stocking, Collecting Marines, Marine Livestock Selection, Reef Livestock SelectionQuarantine, Acclimation, Acclimating InvertebratesMarine Life Use in Ornamental Aquatics

Related FAQs: Best Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 8FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQs 21, FAQ 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

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Questions Regarding sand bed and fish compatibility Let me start off by saying sorry for such a long post here. <No worries> Hi, Bob this is my first question to you and I am sure will not be the last. I have been reefing for about 2 years and I have to say on a skill bar I would give myself a 3.5 out of 10. That being said here is my tank info. I am setting up (transferring from a 46 bow with crushed coral 3.5 to 4" in depth to a 75 drilled and I am going with sand "SouthDown" I am going to go with a 1.5" depth. Equipment is as follows: Lighting 2ea 250watt MH 10K 4ea 24" VHO 2 Actinic White and 2 Super Actinic Filtration Wet-dry (I will probably not use this or just use it as a remote power head for water movement) Canister (for carbon and nitrate sponge). Chiller Aqualogic Drop in 1/4hp 29 Gallon sump Mag 18 as a return CPR HOB Fuge (I am planning on a DSB with macro and LR Rubble). Water movement Tunze 6060 Live Rock 80-90 lbs. Skimmer Euro Reef 5-2 Calcium Reactor Still shopping for one Controller Medusa <Lots of nice gear> My 46 was/is over stocked and nitrates were higher than I like. I am pretty sure the crushed coral has something to do with this as it traps a lot of detritus and even though I have a huge clean up crew and do regular water changes and vacuum it is still higher that normal and I want to go over to sand. Livestock Purple fire fish, 2 Maroon clowns, Yellow tang (probably going to give/sell him) Coral beauty and Flame angel, Scooter Blenny and Lawnmower blenny. All the fish are under 2.5 and as they get bigger I will probably need to replace them with smaller ones. Two clams and 2 BTA's (1 red 1 green) along with the clean up crew I wrote of above. I keep pretty much just hard corals and 1 or 2 softies. I am going to also get 3-4 Shaving brush plants for not only looks but also function in the main tank.  I will be adding two of my favorite fish down the road they are Laboutei Fairy Wrasse & a Geometric Pygmy Hawk.  My questions:  #1) I cannot put a deep sand bed inside my sump due to my skimmer, chiller, and return pump will be in there and I am not sure if they would be harmed by sucking up sand and there is really no way to separate the sump. So would the HOB Fuge with DSB and macro be enough along with the Shaving plants in the main tank? <Should be> Or not enough to even bother with? <Well worth bothering with> My goal with the fuge is for nitrate control and also a place for critters (pods and such to grow and reproduce)  <Will indeed help with all these> #2) Do you see any problems with the 2 fish I plan on adding down the road with the current livestock I have now. <No... but will about "top off" this volume system> All the fish I have now have been in the tank for about 1.5 years with no problems getting along or nipping corals or my clams. Thanks for you time and if you see anything that I am missing or need to correct please let me know. Thank you  Bruce <Do set up the two systems in parallel for a while if you can, be careful re new additions, quarantine incoming livestock... you should do fine... I foresee a much larger upgrade in your future... perhaps some dive, adventure travel... Bob Fenner> 

Stocking 100g Tank I love your website.  I'm a novice and really appreciate your help. I started a 100g corner tank 6 weeks ago.  It has 100# live rock and live sand.  I'm using a Top Fathom protein Skimmer in a 30 g sump with Euro Filter.  The ammonia and nitrites have been 0 for 3 weeks.  pH is 8.2, Specific Gravity is 1.0255, Temp 80F.  Nitrates climbed to 20 ppm this week. I'm planning on doing a water change this week to bring down the specific gravity to 1.021 and nitrates to less than 10.  I currently have 2 yellowtail damsels, 1 yellow tang, 1 hippo tang, and 2 peppermint shrimp.  All are doing great.  I getting a 1/4 inch of dark brown stuff from the skimmer each week <So far, so good> I would like to add 2 Percula clowns this week and 1 coral beauty angel in a couple of weeks to the tank plus a couple of feather dusters and mushrooms.  Is this a healthy bio load and will these fish get along? <Should do so... I would quarantine or at least dip/bath the new fishes. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility I have a couple of questions about fish compatibility. I have a 75 gallon tank with a small Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), a small Ocellaris clown (Amphiprion ocellaris), and a Scott's Velvet Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus scottorum). I also have various soft and hard corals, a bubble tip anemone, and a maxima clam. Could I add another Ocellaris clown or two? The one I have is a tank-raised clown that I have only had a couple of months. It's not full grown yet. <You could likely add a second Ocellaris clownfish and the two should pair up.> I would also like to add some Firefish gobies. How many could I add to my tank? <Three or more> I have about 3 inches of sand on the bottom. I also have over 100 lbs of live rock. I have a skunk cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis). Can I add more cleaner shrimp to my tank? <Yes> I'd like to add Blood Red Fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) and maybe another skunk cleaner shrimp. <That sounds ok.> I'm also looking for a bottom-dwelling fish, but most of the ones I've seen (like mandarins) don't seem to be appropriate for my tank. I have a small refugium (AquaFuge 24, about 4.5 gallons), but I don't think that would be enough to support a mandarin. <I agree.> Can you suggest a good fish for me? <Take a look at the Gobies beginning here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm> Thanks! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Stocking a twenty long I sent an e-mail to Kent tech support asking about the reason for the drop and other ingredients besides ascorbic acid.  I will forward the reply whenever I receive it.  Until then, I hope it's okay if I ask a couple of questions about my own tank (the whole reason I was on your site to begin with; I need to be shot for lending out my copy of TCMA ;)).  It is a 20 gal long nano-reef that has been up and running for over two years.  Recently, we had some things happen and basically ignored the tank for 2 months. <Oh...> Between evaporation and Caulerpa die-off, I had a mess when I finally cleaned it up last week and we lost all inhabitants (BTA we've had for nine months, maroon clown, 3 hermits, couple of snails) except for a couple of hermits.  However, everything seems to be stable now and we are planning on restocking the tank after the holidays over a course of 2-4 months.  This will have given the tank 3 weeks or so to sit fallow (all water qualities are stable now) just to be safe.  Here are the tank stats: Prizm skimmer, Rio powerhead (the total per hour turn over is ~13x so we will probably add another ph), JBJ compact fluorescent hood (1 65-watt actinic blue and 1 65-watt daylight), 30+ lbs. of well-seasoned LR, 2.5" LS bed, Amm: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: near 0, Temp: 81 in winter, 82 in summer, Alk: 10 dKH, Calc: 340 ppm (going up), and pH: 8.2. I would like your opinion on stocking the tank.  Here is what I would eventually like to have once the calcium level has stabilized around 450 ppm (all sessile inverts will be purchased at 3" or less and traded in as they grow too large): 2-3" of fish (I want a pair of Carpenter's wrasses, <A bit too "jumpy" for such a small volume> neon gobies, or Catalina gobies <Not Lythrypnus... a coldwater species. Will attach article here> and my fianc?wants a Firefish, so we'll see what we end up with), 6 blue-legged hermits, 6 snails (turbo, margarita, or Nerites), 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 cultured squamosa or derasa clam, <In a twenty? I wouldn't do this> 1 star polyp , 1-2 corallimorphs, 1 Alcyoniidae or Nephtheidae, 1-2 feather dusters or Christmas tree worms, 1 Faviidae, and 1 small bunch of Halimeda (maybe). I realize this is probably too much; what do you think is most likely to cause problems or will simply not thrive in this set up? <What I have listed to leave out, I would. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much for your time and expertise. Laura Lawrence

Triggers, Puffers & Tangs I have a 65gal, w/d, skimmer, power compact,50lb LR/LS with a small puffer, clownfish, and a goby. I want to stock my tank and the LFS just wants to sell me anything so they say everything is compatible when they are small. <Not true. Even if it were true, you will be amazed at how fast marine critters grow. I had a 4" volitans that grew to more than 8" in a little less than a year!> So I am turning to you guys for the truth. I am partial to triggers and puffers and would like a tang. <This grouping would easily work in a larger tank...but in a 65? If you must, I suggest one of each...no more. These fish if healthy and fed well, will likely outgrow this tank rather quickly. Did you know that a yellow tang can easily grow to 8" and a Picasso trigger to almost 10"? If you go with the above combination, I would stay with the yellow tang, one of the gentler/smaller triggers such as a Niger or Picasso and a puffer of the Canthigaster species. Only one Canthigaster in your tank, please. All of the other puffer species will outgrow your tank in short order. How much is too much and will puffers go with puffers? <Most puffers yes...but Canthigaster? one only> What about triggers <Trigger....S? Get a good book like Marine Fishes by Michael Scott to aid in your quest to stock your aquarium. Honestly...most if not all of the triggers will outgrow your tank rather quickly. I think one is enough for long term success> with what I already have? <I think it will work. After rereading your email, the addition of this trigger will probably fill your tank capacity. Skip the tangs and the additional puffers. May I suggest, if you must, add one small trigger and stop stocking. This will be much healthier in the long run> Thanks already. Hadley <You're welcome. I'm just trying to save you some money and a heart ache. David Dowless>

Marine Stocking Hey "crew", I currently have a 125 gal reef tank with: Coral Beauty Yellow tang Fox faced rabbit Purple Firefish Goby Firefish Goby Mandarin Goby 4-Lined Wrasse 2 Cleaner shrimps A few snails Many Polyps Mushrooms 5" DSB 125 lbs LR Refugium I would like to add one more fish. Am I already reaching my stocked limit? <I think you could add at least one more fish, depending on size.> If not I would like add another wrasse, the Blue Pinstripe Wrasse, Halichoeres marginatus. <It is usually best to not mix fish of the same family; Clownfish, Tangs, Wrasses, etc.> Since I no longer can trust the LFS for advice I would like to get your unbiased opinion. My goal was to have one more larger show fish, but since I already have the Angel and Tang I am limited to what I can add to a reef tank. If you can think of any other fish that fits this please let me know. <I really like Heniochus.> I realize how large a question that is. Thanks for your time. Your site has helped me so much, and my tank is that much better because of this. Robert <I am glad to hear that. -Steven Pro>

Re: Help!!! (stocking, maintenance) Sorry to bother you, but I need your help to know if I'm really on the right way or I throwing my money away. I'm an Italian boy from Rome <I am an Italian boy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who has visited Rome twice. A beautiful place that I hope to take my wife and child back to see. I still have some family in Frosinone.> and hopefully I read some news from your FAQ's and around the web and reading as much as possible on books and other materials. I have learnt the importance of right knowledge about all marine stuff and nitrites, nitrates, etc. The point is: I have been running a Reef tank 100 gallons for a month and a half and gradually in this month I reached (with a great, huge effort) a complete Berlin system: so no biological filtration, no mechanical, a mighty skimmer (for tank up to 500 gallons, a Red Sea venturi skimmer with Eheim) and 80 kg (about 170 lb) of live rocks. The point is that after a week from the very beginning I tested the tank everyday and the values of Ammonia nitrites was perfect... a perfect zero! I added "CYCLE" for good bacteria. Nitrates was always 15-25 mg/l. Then after two weeks I started adding fishes and some invertebrate: <A little early here. I prefer one full month to ensure full cycling and also to give the critters on the liverock time to repopulate before you add in the fish (predators).> 2 very small ocellaris, 1 Clarki, 1 frenatus, <Mixing clownfish is almost always a bad idea. The aggression between individuals is usually too much for one of them.> 1 flavescens and an Amblygobius fasciatus, 1 Anemone for the clarkii (but when the frenatus came he lost his precious home), <Anemones are categorically difficult for anyone and really cannot be recommended for beginners.> 3 Goniopora that sometimes fully open up and sometimes not. <The Goniopora are also a poor choice. They tend to starve in our aquariums and die in about 6-12 months.> The sand is a big coralline sand high only 2cm. 2 Interpet triton and 2 super actinic marine Glo. <I don't know the wattage on your lamps or the dimensions of the tank, but I suspect your lighting maybe inadequate. Four fluorescent lamps on 100 gallons is a stretch.> Frequent water changes and all the husbandry as if I had a child (seriously!). 1 or sometimes 2 times a day for feeding fishes with as little as I can of food. No nitrites, no ammonia, no phosphates, calcium 450 mg (perfect), adding iodine and strontium, testing water everyday, fishes healthy, invertebrates (I forgot a Lysmata) a little bit less. The Lysmata is wonderfully changed his size 2 times in this 1 1/2 month,  but the nitrates are still between 25 and 50 mg/l and every time I change water they lower down a little bit till 12-15 mg/l and the day after or two they return to 30 mg/l. I spent so much money. I spent a lot of money for the skimmer and the LR and two sumps under my tank for all this stuff plus a mini sump for water evaporation. I spent so much money for the RO for the water quality (no tap water) and I spend so much money for the best (so I've been told by books and experts) salt. WHY, WHY! Is it normal for a tank so young? <No, I would bet you are overfeeding or under skimming. You have an appropriate size skimmer, but is it performing for you. You should need to empty and clean the cup every other day. If not, something is wrong with the installation or adjustment.> Why denitrification isn't started in so much rocks (that's why I spent a fortune)? <You may have some denitrification going on, but not enough.> Is it only a commercial fiasco? <I think you have made some bad decisions, but I would not give up yet.> Or where did I go wrong?!! <See above for my notes.> Sorry for my emotional exploit but it's turning like a loosing battle against a ghost: NITRATES! <No worries> Thanks in advance. Hope to hear from you soon. Hope before I throw myself from my balcony with my tank on my back. (joking) Best regards, Claudio from Rome, Italy <Best of luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Stock Exchange? (Stocking New Tank) Greetings again. Thanks to Scott F for rapid and helpful response to my questions regarding setup of a fish-only 80g as  move from fresh to marine. <Glad I could help. Back with you this morning> He felt that my eventual stocking plan of 1 clownfish, 1 yellow tang, 1 royal Gramma, 1 flame angel, 1 or 2 yellow-headed Jawfish, and perhaps a butterflyfish (he recommended a long-nosed rather than the Pakistani I was considering) sounded good. <I think you'll have a much better chance of success with this species> I was wondering if it would be OK to go with a purple tang rather than a yellow. I find the purple more attractive. A highly reliable LFS will sell a very nice 3" specimen for $60. That's a lot more than your average yellow, but it's worth it if the fish won't be more difficult than a yellow tang. <Not more difficult than the yellow tang, per se, but it does have some slightly different requirements. The Purple does grow larger, and requires a more spacious aquarium, IMO. It also can be substantially more aggressive than the yellow tang. Personally, I'd stick with the yellow tang for your aquarium.> In what order would you recommend adding the fish? <Jawfish, Gramma, butterfly (once the tank is really established well, however), tang, flame angel> Could a Valenciennea puellaris be added to this group? I found it's behavior fascinating in the tank at the LFS. <Neat fish-but notoriously difficult to feed. Most starve to death in captive systems. Best kept singly in a very well established aquariums, with substantial amphipod populations on which the fish can feed> Thanks again, Steve Allen. <Best of luck on your tank start up, Steve. Keep researching- you're doing great! Best wishes, Scott F>

Compatibility Questions Hello fellows. I was wondering about adding the final fishes to my tank: 120 gallons, good parameters. There are only two postings on the Tang compatibility link. Perhaps this will be the third! Here's the current inhabitants, all been there for a month or more: Marron Clown 2" Sailfin Tang  5" Strawberry Pseudo 2" Black Cap Basslet 2" Scissor Tail Goby 5" 2 Orange Diamond Gobies 4" each Arc Eye Hawk 3" I want to add: Saddleback Clown 4" Sohal Tang 5" Purple Tang 5" <No, no, and no. It is never a good idea to mix Clownfishes unless you have a pair of the species. Sohal Tangs get too large and aggressive, especially considering you already have another Surgeonfish. And lastly, the Purple Tang is going to go head to head with the Sailfin. Not the best of choices.> If this is no good, any other suggestions? <You don't have any Butterflyfish, Angelfish, nor Wrasses. Investigate these families. See if any interest you and if you can properly care for them.> I am quite sure my filtration will hold up to the bioload, at least this is more of a compatibility question. Thanks as always. Matt <Keep looking and I am sure you will find something. -Steven Pro>

Fish Compatibility Chart Bob, I would like to get more fish for my tank, but the only thing is I lost my compatibility chart. What I have in my tank is (1) clownfish (1) flame angel (1) purple/yellow dotty backs. The tank size is 46 gallon with 46lb of LR. Do you have a chart that I could go by? <FFExpress.com has a compatibility chart online. But remember....fish don't read charts very well. It's only a general "rule of thumb." David Dowless Thanks

Live Rock... Done Curing Hi there... I'm back with more questions for you :)   I followed your advice about using live rock as a tank starter and so far, so good.  I have a 45 Gallon pentagon corner tank with a Proquatics canister filter (carbon only), one power head, and an AquaC Remora skimmer.  It has 45 pounds of Fiji LR.  I bought the LR about 4 weeks ago, and since I have no fish in the tank, I finished curing it in the tank.  I have been testing the water ever since, >for two weeks straight the Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is 20ppm.  I took those measurements last week, and since I assumed the tank was cycled (having zero ammonia and nitrite for two weeks straight) I did a 50% water change.  Its been a week since that water change and I took another round of tests.  The only change is Nitrate has fallen to 10ppm.  As for PH, its 8.6, ALK is normal, Temp is 79F. <all sounds fine> Now for the questions.  I have two 15watt NO lights.  These are not the factory installed lights, they are supposedly 10,000k lights. <still too weak to be of much use for any invertebrates or plants> Anyway, I don't plan on getting hard corals or anemone.  Do I really need high output lights (VHO or PC?) for the LR?   <nope... these lights will be fine for the live rock> Of course I want the LR to flourish and grow with bright colors. <indeed... but water chemistry is more important here. Maintain very stable levels of Calcium, Alkalinity and Magnesium and you will enjoy very attractive growths on your live rock> I've been keeping the lights on for 3 weeks now (about 12 hours a day), and I have some growth (small mushroom type things, green outgrowths that are fanning out, brown stringy outgrowths.) However it doesn't seem like the coralline algae is growing or becoming more colorful.   <target 8-12 dKH, 350-425 pm Calcium and about 1200 ppm Mg> I have been using Kent Marine "Liquid Calcium", "Strontium & Molybdenum" and "Iodine" solutions to help promote growth.  Is this a good idea?   <please stop the liquid calcium ASAP. It is a temporary calcium and dangerous for long term use (accumulated chloride ions skew Ca/Alk dynamic and cause buffer/pH problems). Kalkwasser has far more benefits anyway. Much about this on the dailies and in the WWM archives> Some of these, like the Calcium recommend daily treatments... do I really need to be adding this solution every day?   <for most tanks yes. To maintain consistency and healthy live rock, coralline algae, inverts, etc. It takes mere seconds to dose... you will be inspecting your tank (temp, filter operations, feeding, etc) at least once a day anyway. No biggie> What do you recommend to make my LR flourish? <Jack Daniels and dancing girls> The last question I have is regarding live stock.  I want a "friendly tank", no aggressive fish.  I've been doing a lot of reading on what fish are a good match for each other, but of course I'd like your opinions. I've read that I should get a "clean up" crew, so, how many of what?   <not really necessary if you have appropriate water flow and aggressive protein skimming (a good skimmer that produces daily skimmate or nearly so). Otherwise, the crew gets picked after the display fishes for compatibility> As for the fish, how many inches of fish in a 45 Gallon tank?   <a terrible rule of thumb as some fish like triggers, puffer and other predators are scary messy for their "length" compared to other fishes. Still... I'd suggest not more than 15-20" of fish. Be mindful of their adult sizes too! This does not mean 20" of fish from go and then they grow bigger. 15-20" of adult/potential fish. That means 3-5 medium fishes. Perhaps a couple little ones too> My general ideas are to have a few smaller fish, with one larger fish.   <very wise> Since 45 gallon is generally a small tank, what's the largest fish I could get, say with two or three smaller fish?  And what would you recommend?  Trigger? Tang? <neither... no tangs are small enough as adults for this tank. Most triggers are also too large and too aggressive. One exception would be a Niger Odonus Trigger> Thank you in advance... You have helped me along a great deal so far! Justin <best regards, Anthony>

Stocking Questions Hi again, <Helllllllllllo!> Oh well, no tangs for me.  Are there any macroalgae eating fish that would fit in this setup?  I have quite a bit of macroalgae and I'm getting a little worried that it might overgrow some of the corals.  Maybe a Blenny >of some type?   <A blenny would be fine...> Other types of fish?  Some reef-safe inverts maybe? <Lots of choices on this one. Too many to delineate> Also will the shrimp goby/pistol shrimp pair and the Jawfish be ok over time or should I bee concerned about aggression between them? Finally, will a coral banded shrimp fight with a fire shrimp? <I'm more concerned about the coral banded. These guys can be aggressive and will often hunt down other shrimp and kill them. We'll have to wait and see what happens with this combination. Time will tell> Thanks for all the help, <You're welcome! I'm glad to be of service! David Dowless> Erik Jorvig

Re: Live Sand Hi, <HELLLLLLLLO!>    I have a question about live sand.  I have a 58 gallon tank with 80lbs. of live rock and about a 2" sand bed in my tank. In the deeper lighted areas of the sand, it has started to produce large amounts of bubbles.  It doesn't appear to do this in the shaded areas.  Is this normal? <Yep...Just the natural processes going on in the sand> Is this the nitrogen given off by denitrification processes? <With a bed this shallow your are unlikely to get denitrification> I was always under the assumption that nitrogen gas given off would be dissolved in the water.  All the water parameters are good: NH4 = 0ppm, NO2 = 0ppm, NO3 = <10ppm, etc.  The fish and inverts appear healthy and happy. <Nothing to worry about> As a side question, is this tank big enough for either a Kole Tang or a Purple Tang?  I currently have the following:  Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (Fairy Wrasse), Stonogobiops nematodes (Striped Shrimp Goby) with Alpheus randalli (Pistol shrimp), Opistognathus aurifrons (Yellowhead Jawfish), (incidentally, and not to get off topic, should I be worried about this pairing of the Jawfish and goby/shrimp pair?), Amphiprion ocellaris (False Percula Clown), Gobiodon oceanops (Neon Goby), Nemateleotris decora (Purple Firefish). <I think your tank is at capacity. Besides...tangs, especially the purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum)...are very aggressive. This tendency is even worse when you have them confined in small tanks (like a 55) with lots of little fish. The tangs will terrorize this peaceful tank. Leave it out...Pleeeeeeease?> Thank you for all your help, <You're welcome! I'm glad to see that you are researching before spending a $100 or more on a fish. This habit WILL save you a lot of money and aggravation. David Dowless> Erik Jorvig

Compatibility & Stocking Hi there, I've been scouring your stuff pretty thoroughly but still have a question. I have a 70 gallon tank and want to purchase a dwarf lion for it but am kind of stumped on what fish to go with it and how many. It seems that if I go with large angels or tangs, as I am reading, I run into the problem of my tank not being big enough for them. In other words, if they are big enough not to be eaten, they are too big for my tank. Any suggestions? <Anything in the 5-6 inch range should be both ok for your tank and large enough to be safe. Dwarf Angelfish and smaller Tangs should be fine.> I would love to have a variety of fish. And, how many do you think my tank could manage? <About a half dozen in the 5-6 inch range.> Thanks! You people are all really super, Jean Ireland-Eggerth <Thank you very much! -Steven Pro>

Big Fish in a Small Tank Good evening! I am in the process of de-mothballing my 55 Gal fish-only marine tank. <there's a joke about an insect Bris in there somewhere> It has been unoccupied for the past couple of years due to some job changes and lifestyle adjustment. It's all cleaned up now and placed in the "perfect" location -- a ledge between our dining room and family room which exposes both side of the tank. <very nice... and welcome back!> Okay, it's perfect for the humans -- not necessarily for the fish! It’s been cycling empty for about two weeks now. When last there were occupants in the tank, I kept a couple of percula clowns, a yellow wrasse, a few green Chromis, a damselfish and the occasional other resident that caught my eye at the fish store but which didn’t usually live too long. Generally, there were between 9 and 12 fish. <whew!> This time, my desire is to keep 1 to 3 larger fish. <hmmm... OK> I discovered WetWebMedia about three days ago and have been learning volumes about my past mistakes. I hoping to find suggestions of suitable fish for this setup. I’ve looked through many many FAQ’s and articles but haven’t found exactly the answer that I am looking for. Therefore, I am penning this query. Most of the fish that I had in mind when I formulated this plan are not appropriate for my tank and my situation. <and we are grateful to you as fellow aquarists for your foresight rather than buying inappropriate fish first> I was thinking: volitans lionfish, panther grouper, Humu trigger, niger trigger or harlequin Tuskfish. I was dreaming, or so I’ve learned. <indeed for all to be included... but we can work with this!> All of these, it seems,  exceed my abilities and capacity. The tank is only about 12” from front to back and I don’t know if a respectable size lionfish could even turn around! <correct... the Volitans lion is ruled out even if kept alone! But there are many smaller lionfish/turkey fish species that will work fine. Pterois antennata is handsome and not as benthic as most dwarf lions (but still gets 8" as an adult). The niger Odonus is a definite keeper... great fish and peaceful. The Huma is a possibility, but probably too active for all (especially the lion). Perhaps a nice little eel? Hawaiian dwarf eels when available are great (8-10"). Else the old standby snowflake moray for 1-3 years before a bigger tank> > My setup is rather basic: about 2 inches of crushed coral, <whoa! Stop there... with an UG filter this is not enough gravel (4+" needed)... and without an UG filter 2" is dangerous... too much and will trap detritus and cause terrible nuisance algae. Best to siphon this down to a sprinkling (1/2") or you will have to be a slave to weekly gravel siphoning. Unless of course you like hair algae in the tank <G>> a few ordinary  (dead) rocks and a Penguin 330 (I think) dual bio-wheel filter. <Hmm.... what other filtration? More live rock please> Not much in the way of hiding places. No skimmer -- it wouldn’t fit well with the tank’s location. <Actually Tunze makes a really nice top (rail) mount skimmer that sits at the surface and is barely noticeable for the built-in wall tanks. Does not hang off the sides. See www.marinedepot.com for Tunze model 210/3 ($112). A modern marine aquarium simply must have a skimmer!> Can you suggest any suitably colorful and/or interesting fish for this situation? Maybe plastic ones? <heehee... definitely stick with two of your first choices... enjoy the niger trigger and an antennata lionfish. Add the trigger first. Many species for a third choice. The Tuskfish could work but does get to large for the 3-5 year picture.> Thanks! I appreciate your input. And thanks for the excellent resource that you provide. Ray Brooks <thank you, my friend. Be sure to watch our travel dates to a club in your region and be sure to stop by and say Hi! Kindly, Anthony>

Stocking A Reef Tank Hi again, <Hello! Scott F. here tonight> The following is a list of my current tank inhabitants and specimens that I would like to add.  I was hoping you could comment on each to help me determine which are compatible, which are very difficult to maintain, which are good to start with, and if this is too much of a bioload. <Will give it a shot> My current setup: 90 gallon with 90# LR, 2" of Aragonite (would 3" be better?), Ocean Clear canister running with PhosGuard and carbon (alternating), Mag 12 running the canister and for circulation, AquaC EV120 skimmer,  Little Giant pump for return, one Hagen 802 powerhead, and 330 watts of PC lights. Current Inhabitants: (20) Snails (10) Crabs (2) Cukes (1) Blue Linckia (2) Blue Damsels (1) 4 stripe damsel (1) Yellow Tang (1) Royal Gamma (1) True Percula (1) Tomato Clown (1) Domino Damsel What I would like to potentially add: Coral Banded Shrimp Blood Shrimp Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp Camelback Shrimp Horseshoe Crab <I like the smaller shrimp (no pun intended), such as the Lysmata species> Sgt major Canary blenny Hippo Tang <I'd go for the canary blenny- a great fish! The hippo can get pretty large, and the Sgt Major can be a terror!> Various Mushrooms (Can you recommend some vibrant red, green, yellow, blue species) <I like the Actinodiscus species, such as A. cardinalis (red). A. coeruleus (blue), and others of this genus> Red Finger Gorgonian (Is this Photosynthetic?) I have heard that non-photosynthetic gorgonians are difficult to keep.  I really like this one). <Common name is confusing, need a scientific name to comment further. Non-photosynthetic gorgonians do require specific care> Star Polyps - Clavularia <Great corals- but can be aggressive> Sand Polyps <Fungia? If so- a good coral, but needs proper conditions to prosper> Brain Star Goniastrea Coral Green Open Brain Coral   Favia Brain   Plate Coral, Short Tentacle Sebae Anemone   Feather Duster - Giant Hawaiian - Sabella penicillus <All can be good- do get a good reference, such as Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", or Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" for more information on these than I can go into here> Burgundy Linckia Star Orange Linckia Starfish   Red Brittle Star - Ophiomyxa species   Black Banded Starfish <I'd get the brittle star> Any comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks again, Adam <My pleasure, Adam- do check out the books I mentioned- they will be invaluable in your research! Good luck! Scott F>

Slowly moving towards a reef I have had a fish only tank for the past 6 years, and am in the process of preparing my tank to support gorgonians, anemones, shrimp, polyps, mushrooms etc.  Would you agree that these are good specimens to begin with before trying any corals?   <the polyps (Proto-/Palythoa and Zoanthus) and the mushrooms are very good and hardy choices. The gorgonians are highly variable ranging from hardy to nearly impossible to keep alive. Please (!) be sure to avoid aposymbiotic species (Red orange, yellow and anything with white polyps). Stick with brown purple and grey species. Anemones are an entirely different story. Never to be mixed with sessile cnidarians (they are motile) and most require higher water quality and brighter lighting than most corals! Species tanks only for gorgonians please and after you have gained reef experience. Too many anemones die prematurely> Do these specimens have the same requirements as hardy corals, except that slightly more forgiving?  My head is spinning trying to figure out how much and how often to supplement calcium, iodine, and strontium.   <it shouldn't be that difficult my friend. Iodine dosed in very small amounts daily. Strontium is not needed. And calcium as necessary (test weekly and maintain target of 325-450ppm. I recommend Kalkwasser> At the suggestion of a well known LFS in the North East (The House of Fins), I purchased the EVS B-ionic system, and 'Reef Solution' by Ecosystems.  Are these good products?   <I like the ESV very much (but shake this and all 2-part solutions VERY well before Every dose, else they become separated and misdosed). I personally wouldn't take or use the Ecosystems product for free. Unnecessary IMO> How long before adding my first 'reef' specimens should I begin using these additives?   <no rule here. Calcium is dosed as needed (Ca testing).> The B-ionic is relatively expensive when compared with Kalkwasser, so I think I will switch to Kalkwasser after I finish the B-ionic (Can you recommend a brand?).   <Kalkwasser is more tedious to use, but has many benefits over all others. Read up on it well before using. Have you seen my primer article on Calcium and Alkalinity here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Anthony%20pics/understanding_calcium_and_alk.htm many other good reef articles here and beyond on our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Latest%20Articles.htm> I have also learned that Kalkwasser eats away at alkalinity, What should I use to keep this up, Kent SuperBuffer?   <Completely inaccurate... Kalkwasser actually indirectly Supports (!) alkalinity. So much so that some people need little or no buffer additions . Still... test Ca hardness to be sure when to dose buffer> Since I plan to move slowly, I am thinking of adding a gorgonian, an anemone and a few shrimp to start for the first 3 months or so.  Does this light load of inverts change the dosing of supplements?   <no anemones for at least 2 years or until you get a dedicated tank for it with no other corals or anemones. Also resist getting a clown for the anemone at least at first (more harm than good to the anemone). Seek a brown sebae or a bubble tip anemone first> (I currently have a 90 gallon w/ LR curing in a garbage can, Blue Linckia, crabs, snails, 2 cukes, and an assortment of damsels and clowns, 1 yellow tang).  How does my plan sound? <sounds like you have a blue Linckia that may starve my friend. Most needs mature reefs over 1 year old with aged live rock. Please target feed this sea star several times weekly for its survival. The cucumbers are also at risk of starving on immature livesand> Any suggestions are much appreciated. <as per above my friend. Overall though it sounds like you are on a good track> My biggest concern is a regiment to help me maintain consistent levels of these critical additives with which I have no experience.   <in that case, simply conduct 25% weekly water changes and sleep well knowing that for the first 6-12 months you will be doing better with wc's than any supplements could provide> Thanks for all your help, I'm sure your advice will save me many $ and headaches down the road. Adam Best regards, Anthony>

Fish plan Hello-- I am new to the hobby and would like to check that my fish plan is reasonable.  I have a 90 gal tank, Excalibur protein skimmer, sump w/ 900g/hr return pump, 3 300 g/hr powerheads, 2 200 watt heaters, and 4x65 light fixture (2 compacts, 2 actinics).  I added 70 lbs. of live rock 10 days ago to cycle the tank, and when all systems are go, I will add a clean-up crew.  The following is a fish wish-list that I hope is compatible: 1 clownfish--false percula 1 pearl Jawfish 1 dwarf angel--either coral beauty OR flame 2 tangs--yellow and hippo Eventually, I might like to add some of the easier soft corals, and don't want to preclude that option now with my fish selection.  Is this fish list ok?  In what order should I add the fish? Will the tangs fight? Do you recommend one dwarf angel over another?  And will these fish overload/thrive in this set-up? Or are there other fish you'd highly recommend for this set-up?  Thank you so much for your time--I really appreciate it!  Laura <Hi Laura, First, let me advise you wait a few weeks before you add your clean up crew.  Also, before you buy any fish, jump over to WetWebMedia.com and type "quarantine" in the google search engine. Follow the guidelines for quarantining your fish before you introduce them into your main aquarium. Don't take any shortcuts, there aren't any! For your list I like all of your choices individually, but not so much together. The clown is fine. The Tangs may or may not get along, very individual. You may want to pick one and start from there, probably the hippo first. The Jawfish is a quieter, more peaceful type, would do better with smaller, slower, less obtrusive fish. Be aware of their territoriality with other Jawfish, gobies, Blennies, etc. The dwarf angels, while beautiful, can sometimes be coral nippers. The load is fine for your set-up as long as you add slowly over time so the system can keep up. You can find all the information you will need on WetWebMedia.com, just type the name of the fish you are curious about in the google search.  Also, please read the marine stocking pages at WWM, they will help you a lot!  Have fun with your new aquarium!  Craig>

Sand bed safe fish My new 125 has a four inch deep sand bed. I would like to know some safe fish that will not dig in the sand. <Definitely no triggers or Tuskfish!> I would like to have a flame hawkfish, flame angel (my wife does anyway). will they be alright? <If this isn't a potential reef tank, you're doing okay. If it's going to be a reef...We'll need to talk about these two fish> and also what would be the most beneficial tank in the future. Most of my fishes I would like to have a role in keeping the tank. not just live there for free like algae eaters, etc. <Excellent idea! WetWebMedia.Com has many many articles and facts about this topic. There are literally dozens of fish that would fit your requirements. Try researching at the WWM website. I'm sure you will find lots of help> thank you and any advice will help <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Butterflyfish Thanks for your reply. Having read my email and your reply over again, I realized I might have led you astray in what I was asking. Again in my 4 foot long 55 gallon tank, so far I have a black Sailfin blenny, yellow tang, 2 tank bred true percula clowns and 2 cleaner shrimp. What I meant to ask was, should I just add the flame angel and no more fish? Or do you think it would be ok to add the flame AND the butterfly (Heniochus)? <I think you would be ok with both, but no more after that.> Thanks, hope your day is great :) <Looking like an even better weekend. -Steven Pro>

Fish Stocking and Reef Keeping Anthony, Thank you for your reply. First I would like to say that I am definitely not averse to being an educated consumer. <understood and agreed> I love my tank and all the inhabitants and I am trying to provide a good environment for them. <I certainly believe this to be true as demonstrated by your empathy/care to seek shared opinions> I do a lot of internet research, and I am mostly uninformed. <no worries here... we all are learning and evolving <G>> Thanks to your website and others I am learning.  You are correct about my LFS stores, they leave something to be desired. I live in Atlanta Ga. and there isn't much to choose from. I go to a store that I feel is one of the best I have found in my area because they only sell marine fish, however I sometimes feel my knowledge exceeds theirs and have been dumb enough to listen to them from time to time. <alas... this is an all too common feeling. We'd all like to be able to got to our LFS and feel like we have found the experts! Its rather anticlimactic when you realize that person could be your in the store that day> I would like to clarify my fish sizes as well. My yellow tang was one of the first fish I had, and had a disease when I first got it. I was able to eradicate whatever it had (to this day I still don't know what it was) and it has done excellent for 2.5 yrs. The regal blue tang was purchased about 1.5 yrs ago and was a tank raised baby. <hmmm... somebody lied to you, bud. There are no tank raised blue Regals tangs. At best, they are just now starting to bring in larval reared wild caught specimens (French researcher through ERI of LA). These are still extremely limited in quantity and rather expensive. Sounds to me like some crook sold you one of the all to common dime sized Philippine imports. They wholesale for about $4 and retail for $15-20. Some stores will gouge this price even higher> It is currently 2.5 inches long. The Naso was also a tank raised baby and was purchased within the last six months. It is also about 2.5 inches in length. <I really would like to hear more about your source for these fishes (or the source of the fibs:) ). Perhaps your LFS really is buying off of ERI. But ERI does have exclusive rights on the patented technology for harvesting and rearing this "product". Interesting> All fish get along wonderfully and swim together constantly. No harassment has been observed at all. <I understand my friend... but it doesn't change the facts. You have had your yellow tang for 2.5 years and as young as it was when you bought it... it was still at least six months old. Perhaps older. A 3+ year old yellow tang should be larger than 2.5 inches! It isn't because like so many it has been packed into a smaller aquarium. They grow slower, stunt and die for it. Now the real problem isn't the yellow tang in the 55 gall. No worries here (although it is a minimum). The problem is the Naso that gets 18-24 inches and the Blue Regal that hits 12"+. These species don't and can't grow slow in the wild. They all mature quickly. In the confines of a 55 gall for several years... the inevitable happens.> I am planning on getting a 180-200gal tank 2 years from now, and felt that these fish would be fine for now because they are slow growers. <they are slow growing because of the tank size bud. Just like snakes, sharks and anything else in the wild. Just look at a creatures lifespan. A tortoise that lives 100 years old might take 15-20 years to reach sexual maturity and 20-25 years to reach full size. Why? Because it is consistent with its lifespan. Now your yellow tang that can live over 10 years, needs to reach sexual maturity and defend itself in its prime. "Prime" adult size is not age 8 when the fish is 2 years away from dying (if it makes it that far in the ocean!). As a rule, mother nature does not plan for the aged and decrepit to produce the bulk of a given population. And so... these tangs grow fast, mature fast, and breed young by design! Easily reaching adult size in less than 5 years. Really closer to three years old. Aquarists don't like to hear it... but it is what it is. And a 2.5 ", 3+ year old tang is stunted... and it will not likely realize its full lifespan for it. Best bet here would be to keep smaller tankmates and remove the regal and Naso> I hope I am right about that. I will also be utilizing the ecosystem filtration system on the new tank. <I do not subscribe to the methodology but have seen some that worked well> All I have to do now is get everything I have to live another couple of years in the best environment I can possibly provide. <understood. We do the best we can. No more fish though please> How many water changes do you recommend I do, and after that what should my schedule for water changes be since I am not doing enough because of the crappy skimmer? <weekly water changes and do get a better skimmer ASAP. It is one of the single most important pieces of equipment for the marine aquarium> How often should I use Kalkwasser? <test your calcium and determine the daily need (X ppm) to be supplied with X gm of Kalkwasser. Daily will ultimately be the routine at night (small portions)> Should I use it for all top offs, or should I just monitor the calcium level and use it accordingly? <the latter my friend> Do you recommend more substrate? <over 3"-4" if you want denitrification. Else, no worries> You said you didn't recommend 1-3 inches but said something later about 4 inches. I was thinking of adding some natures ocean live aragonite, would you recommend this? <yes... and sugar fine is better for the grade> I really want to succeed with my reef tank. Is the ecosystem reef supplement I add once a week beneficial, or should I stop using it. <it does not compare to weekly water changes> I will definitely stop using the turbo calcium. My LFS recommended I use that for calcium. I was using a liquid calcium supplement but, stopped when they recommended the turbo cal. <they are the same ingredient and your LFS needs to study the Ca/ALK dynamic a little better> I have been using turbo for over a year I'm sure. I really appreciate your time and like I said before PLEASE HELP!!!! <you'll be fine my friend... keep reading and gather enough to make an informed and intelligent consensus. There are many ways to have a successful marine aquarium.> P.S. I also have three power heads in the tank for circulation in addition to the return pump which is 500gph. <you will need 2-3X more flow once the tank goes reef. Best regards, Anthony>

Water quality and stocking of small tank OK, thanks to the crew at WWM for having the patience to help the novice.  The more research I complete, the more I recognize that, well, I have a lot to learn.   <That doesn't stop until we do my friend! Keep living and learning!> I am most unhappy with the amount of "good marketing" that I have succumbed to so far.  I have been promised a copy of Mr. Fenner's book for Christmas but in the interim I would really appreciate some advice on the health of this system.  If you can provide any distinction between choices of products with effective performance and products with good marketing I would really appreciate it. <The best way is to learn from others' mistakes. Read the chat forums at WetWebFotos, there is all kinds of personal experience there for your benefit.> (A) Tank & current equipment: 29g tank - aerated, Penguin 170 power filter with Biowheel, 200 watt heater, 2 inches of 50/50 small gravel/crushed coral, misc. decorations.   (B) Stock: 2 three stripe damsels (1.5 in) introduced at week two.  Stock added in week 10: 1 cleaner shrimp,  1 percula clown (1.5 in), 1 large piece of extremely porous rock (12in X 6in X 6in) was added.  Unfortunately I did not ask what type of rock - but it was purchased from a LFS with good review from local (unbiased?) aquarium clubs.  Description of rock: extremely porous, beige, and crumbles if mishandled- should I be concerned about what type of rock this is?.  Stock added in week 11: 5 Turbo snails. <Should be a porous Fiji type live rock. 29 gallons requires somewhere between 29 lbs and 45 lbs for adequate biocapacity from LR.> (C) Current water conditions: Ammonia (NH3) - between .016 and .019 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 5 ppm, Phosphate 0.2 ppm.  Following a successful nitrogen cycle the diatom bloom lasted about a week (week 8) and there is now a slow steady growth of diatom and I have noticed a couple of minute areas of purple algae (coralline?).  I believe the following items are/have contributed to the Ammonia level: addition of new stock, "over cleaning" of top 1 inch of substrate, collection of detritus in bottom 1 inch of substrate.  How should I clean this current substrate? <A course substrate will accumulate and trap wastes contributing to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate problems. Ammonia is from fresh wastes/source water/overfeeding/overstocking/poor filtration/no protein skimmer.  Likely overfeeding combined with coarse substrate, no skimmer. Please look into deep aragonite sand beds on WetWebMedia.com...just search on DSB or go directly to the marine set-up section.> (D) Planned changes to tank & equipment: Add skimmer (CPR BakPak2), replace substrate with 1/2 inch deep 2.0mm sand.  What type of sand has good performance?  Can I place the sand directly on the bottom or should I have a plenum? <Directly on the bottom, aragonite sand of varying particle sizes from approx. 0.18 to 1.5 mm or so. Can be larger on surface.  With fish you will need to remove them to a QT tank while you install live sand. Dead dry sand can be used on the bottom layer, but I would look into purchasing live sand from your LFS or a friend or culturing my own beforehand.> (E) Planned stock additions: remove 2 damsels, add 1 Flame Angel, add 1 sea cucumber, add 1 puffer (if less than 3 in. full grown).  Will 1 percula clown, 1 flame angel, 1 puffer, 1 sea cucumber, and 5 turbo snails be an excessive bio load? Thanks for your help. <The flame angel may or may not get along. Drop the Sea Cuke idea. Unstable and many are toxic. Please research your wish list searching on each specifically at WetWebMedia.com.  Especially puffers.  Most of the smaller puffers are actually brackish or freshwater. There is also a lot of good information in the marine set-up section.  Craig>>

Marine Stocking Hello, I love your site it gives me tons of useful information when I need it most. My question today is that I have a 75 gallon aquarium with a 3" yellow tang <Grows to 7.9"> 3" Picasso trigger <Grows to 9.8"> 2" regal tang <Grows to 12.2"> and a 4" Naso Tang (Naso lituratus). <Grows to 18.1"> My question is regarding the Naso: People at my LFS tell me that these species can live in a tank of my size until they reach of about 10" then to move it into a larger tank. <This is a free-ranging fish in its natural environment. It's accustomed to a large swimming space. Check out the maximum sizes that I have listed for each of your fish and then add the Naso. That equals almost 40" of fish in a tank that's 48" long and probably no more than 18" wide!! If you keep these fish healthy, they will grow and there's no way to stop it...if you try to stunt them they will die prematurely. In the near future, your tank will not hold all of these fish. They need space to swim without bumping into other fish, rock, tank sides etc. At the sizes that you have listed, these fish will be okay for right now...but....Is this the same LFS that sold you these fish?> Also he pigs out on the algae given and is huge and then the next morning he has a pinched belly again. <They are free-ranging therefore lots of foraging in the ocean> Thanks, Greg <My friend, I would rethink the above fish selections for this size tank. If you keep them healthy, they will grow...fast...I have experienced this personally. David Dowless>

Fish Questions Hi Crew, Just a few quick fish questions if you have the time. Are ocellaris clowns hardier/better to buy than perculas? <They seem to be slightly hardier, more prolific, more widely available.> Is it better to buy either in pairs? <Either can be purchased in pairs.> Are there any best butterfly fish for the reef tank? <Some people like to use Raccoons or Copper-Banded Butterflyfish.> I like the Heniochus acuminatus but that's a sure no no isn't it? <Acuminatus is no good, but diphreutes is fine.> Thanks again gang, great website! Justaguy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Water quality and stocking of small tank OK, thanks to the crew at WWM for having the patience to help the novice.  The more research I complete, the more I recognize that, well, I have a lot to learn.   <All of us have a lot to learn!> I am most unhappy with the amount of "good marketing" that I have succumbed to so far. <Welcome to the world of the aquarist> I have been promised a copy of Mr. Fenner's book for Christmas but in the interim I would really appreciate some advice on the health of this system.  If you can provide any distinction between choices of products with effective performance and products with good marketing I would really appreciate it. <I'll do what I can my friend...> (A) Tank & current equipment: 29g tank - aerated, Penguin 170 power filter with Biowheel, 200 watt heater, 2 inches of 50/50 small gravel/crushed coral, misc. decorations. <Are you asking my own Biased opinion on power filters? Some folks swear by them I swear at them. HA! I don't care for power filters at all on a long term display tank. QT? okay. If you use the Penguin accept that you will have high nitrates and low circulation in the tank. Every power filter that I have ever seen or used provides only minimum circulation: almost all of which occurs at the top of the tank. The filtration capacity IMO in a marine tank is minimum at best. Go check out an 29 gallon Eclipse system and you'll see what I mean. But as I stated up front, this is my biased opinion and I'm sure that lots of people would disagree. If you must have an outside filter...have you considered an Eheim? They are the best in the business and Fosters and Smith (one of our sponsors) has a good price on them. Do change the media weekly...There is much more info on power filters at WWM>   (B) Stock: 2 three stripe damsels (1.5 in) introduced at week two. <No. When your water tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) say the cycling period is over. Could be two weeks, three weeks or even 6 weeks> Stock added in week 10: 1 cleaner shrimp,  1 percula clown (1.5 in), 1 large piece of extremely porous rock (12in X 6in X 6in) was added.  Unfortunately I did not ask what type of rock - but it was purchased from LFS with good review from local (unbiased?) aquarium clubs.  Description of rock: extremely porous, beige, and crumbles if mishandled- should I be concerned about what type of rock this is?.   <Sounds like Tufa. The first marine tank I had included this rock. It will become a detritus trap which will cause high nutrients and grow Cyanobacteria like you won't believe. It will also slowly dissolve over the years> Stock added in week 11: 5 Turbo snails. <Okay> (C) Current water conditions: Ammonia (NH3) - between .016 and .019 ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrate 5 ppm, Phosphate 0.2 ppm.   <You need 0 (that's zero) ammonia for a week or more before adding anything living to the tank> Following a successful nitrogen cycle <If you still have ammonia the cycle probably isn't over!> the diatom bloom lasted about a week (week 8) <OHHH...week 8....Let me back up a moment...Remember how I felt about power filters on a marine tank? You may not have enough filtration. The ammonia could easily come from not enough filtration, no live rock, etc.> and there is now a slow steady growth of diatom and I have noticed a couple of minute areas of purple algae (coralline?). <Possible but not likely if you're showing ammonia> I believe the following items are/have contributed to the Ammonia level: addition of new stock <and lack of adequate filtration> "over cleaning" of top 1 inch of substrate, <Possible...how many inches of substrate do you have? You need either less than 1/2 inch or more than 4> collection of detritus in bottom 1 inch of substrate.  How should I clean this current substrate? <With a cheapy Python vacuum nozzle and hose from your local LFS.> (D) Planned changes to tank & equipment: Add skimmer (CPR BakPak2), <Good> replace substrate with 1/2 inch deep 2.0mm sand. <Great!> What type of sand has good performance?   <If your going for 4+ inches, sugar sized. If you're doing less than 1/2 inch, it won't matter that much> Can I place the sand directly on the bottom or should I have a plenum? <_Place it on the bottom> (E) Planned stock additions: remove 2 damsels, add 1 Flame Angel, add 1 sea cucumber <These guys can die and release toxins into the tank that can take out all of your livestock. I would leave this one out> add 1 puffer (if less than 3 in. full grown).   <You mean one of the Canthigaster genus? Okay but they're not really that hardy. Be sure you get the right genus. The others get way too big for your tank> Will 1 percula clown, 1 flame angel, 1 puffer, 1 sea cucumber, and 5 turbo snails be an excessive bio load? <I'd leave out the flame angel (they need consistently high quality water) and the cucumber and substitute a hardy fish that will stay small. > Thanks for your help. < You're more than welcome! Hope I've helped! David Dowless>

Harlequin Tusk ,Thalassoma Lunare, Butterfly and Emperor/Queen Angel Hi again Anthony, Thanks for your reply even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear! The reason I picked the Harlequin was because I read at WWM that to quote "most everything leaves a harlequin tusk alone and vice versa" so I thought I was reasonably safe with this <generally true... but beyond tank size issues, mixing two wrasse species (tusk and lunare) is quite risky just like mixing tangs or angels. More often than not there is serious compatibility issues> and they had a lovely one at the LFS! <a gorgeous fish indeed> They also said it would be fine with my existing wrasse and as I hadn't heard back from you then (I think you were lecturing) I bought it and it is now in my QT! <wow... bummer. Hmm... what to do. Since you do have a QT, you can chance the mix after QT, and be prepared to pull them if they scrap. This may mean tearing the rockscape down. No guarantee that the victim will service the stress of it all either. I'm also thinking in the long run.. lunare wrasses have a well deserved reputation for turning out to be satanic once sexually mature. Now I must decide what to do with him! Also I find that the "pearl" butterfly I was asking about is actually a Redback butterfly >according to Bob's book ,what can you tell me about this, is it timid like the pearl or could I get that ? <too timid indeed. In fact, there are very few butterflies that have a prayer with this crowd of active feeders even if they are not aggressive. A Raccoon butterfly may be one of the few with a chance> regarding the Emperor or Queen are you saying never OR just never with this tank size? <I hate to say it... but they are all really dreadful mixes for the long run. These angels are as aggressive or more so than the lunare wrasse after a year or two. And we need to plan for the long run since these fishes live well over 10 years. Its like planning for space with a puppy: no great Danes when living in an apartment. I see this fish dominating a 300 or 400 gallon aquarium in the 5 year plan. Indeed... I have seen quite a few in my lifetime do this very thing. For aggression and your present tank size... no angels in my opinion> I didn't strike very lucky with this list did I? Thanks again - Jenny <alas, no my friend. You have picked many wonderfully hardy fishes... but too many attitudes and too great a size even for the new tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Stocking Plan Hey crew! I just wanted to get your opinion on my stocking plan for my 55 gallon with 60 lbs of LR. It will be: Black Sailfin blenny Yellow tang Royal Gramma Percula clown Flame angel (or cherub) Cleaner shrimp My concern is will the Sailfin and Gramma get along? <Not a problem> I'm not dead sold on the Gramma as they tend to be shy. Will the angel bother the shrimp? <No> Look forward to receiving your reply, thanks! Justaguy. <Everything should be fine. -Steven Pro>

Harlequin Tusk ,Thalassoma Lunare, Butterfly and Emperor/Queen Angel Hello Anthony <cheers, Jenny> How are you? Well I hope! <very well with hopes for you in kind> I would like to ask you a question regarding stocking my FOWLR tank. <excellent... lets have at it> It is 5ft long,1 1/2ft* wide and 2ft deep. At the moment it contains: 1 * 7" Naso , 1 * 7"  Lunare wrasse, 1 3 1/2" yellow tang, 1 3" pyjama tang, 2 percula clowns and 2 green Chromis. <yes... well stocked already considering the potential growth of the two biggest> I am taking your advice and moving the 2 clowns and 2 Chromis into my reef tank to stop the wrasse from making a meal of them! <Ha! they are happier than I am about it <G>> This will leave me with only four fish in this tank although I know the Naso and Wrasse will get quite big in the end. <agreed> I am thinking maybe 2 years from now I will need to upgrade their tank . <yes, fair enough> As I will have to do this anyway I was thinking I could have 2 or 3 more fish now . <not at all recommended. Although the two big boys are peaceful now, sharing quarters with other competitors can raise tempers easily here... especially with the lunare> My wish list is to add a Harlequin Tusk ,a Butterfly fish (pearl) and either an Emperor OR Queen Angel . <the tusk will get pummeled by the Lunare... two wrasses with tempers in the same tank is very unlikely to work. Emperors and Queens are fiercely competitive even if the old boys leave it alone. I'd say a Raccoon butter fly is your best bet. The pearl will get outcompeted if not killed from aggression> I've read up on your site about these fish and think they should be o.k. except I'm wondering if the Butterfly would be  bothered by the active wrasses and I also, would it be o.k. to mix the two wrasses? <exactly as you suspected... and not recommended> Thanks for you help in so many ways/times. - Jenny <best regards, my friend! Anthony>

Re: chart Do you have a compatibility chart and if so how do you find it on your website  thanks Jill <Hi Jill, For stocking what? This is perhaps more complicated than you think. Start at WetWebMedia.com and follow the stocking links for either marine or freshwater and proceeded from there. Make a list of inhabitants you are interested in and research their needs/tendencies, purchase equipment to meet those needs/tendencies.  Taking some time to plan will pay off handsomely!  Craig>

Planned 75-90 Gal Stocking and Lighting Greetings unto the Great WWM Crew! <And to you as well!> Quick question this evening reference my planned 75-90 Gal!> <Fire away!> I had a shopping list I had sent in a few days ago looking for comments on my specific Drygoods and didn't receive any. I was hoping you could give me some possible suggestions. I am still researching the animals I would like to keep but for now plan on a few damsels (like 3-4) and/or Clowns (2-3), a couple of goby's and a small starfish (any suggestions?) <Damsels and clowns are very territorial depending on which species you want to keep. research carefully. I like the chocolate chip starfish. They are hardy and stay out in the open. But they do have a ravenous appetite. They will not work well in a reef tank.> in a FOWLR that at some point I might try my hand at maybe keeping some soft corals or?. 80-90 Gallon w/4" DSB and 100pds Liverock. Remora Pro Skimmer w/pre-filter AquaClear 100 Gal -- (Media Removed other than Carbon/Sponge) as a Mechanical Filter (changed often) 4 110Watt VHO lights (2 10K, 1 7600K, 1 Actinic) <If you're not trying to grow corals or algae, I wouldn't want this much light> Any suggestions on Dry Goods or Lighting Changes? <Research on the web and see what other people say about equipment they have purchased. wetwebmedia has a message board with just this type of information. Thank you all so much! <It's a pleasure to assist! David>

Additional Fish Dear WWM crew, I have asked you a few questions in the past, and I am always very appreciative of your timely and informative responses. This time I have a question about adding fish to my aquarium.  Last time I emailed you, I had an emperor angel, purple tang, Naso tang, hippo tang, Foxface, and clownfish in my 4 month old 150 gallon aquarium with 130 lbs of live rock. Recently (three weeks ago), my emperor and purple tang were killed by a Brooklynella outbreak in my aquarium. I have since added a 30 watt UV sterilizer and have started feeding garlic, and my remaining fish have been doing fine. <If you are not already, it is extremely important to quarantine all new fish for one month. The UV and garlic are of questionable benefit, but not a quarantine tank.> My question is, I have a feeling that my emperor got sick because he was stressed from my tank not being established enough for him, and because I couldn't find anything else that would have stressed him out that much. <I would look for anther cause here.> I know that I eventually want to replace him, but I will wait for my tank to become much more established before I do. I was wondering how long I should allow my aquarium to establish itself before I add another one? <If you had any ammonia and nitrite present, then you had a problem, but I am guessing you brought in a sick fish or perhaps this event coincided with cooler weather. Are you sure it was Brooklynella? Temperature drops and fluctuations in general are notorious for triggering outbreaks of Cryptocaryon/Marine Ich.> I also want to know if you think it would be a good idea for me to add a few Chromis' to my tank, and then remove them when I want to add the emperor, to allow my tank to be able to accommodate the bigger bioload? <Probably not worth the effort/hassle of removing them if you do not want them.> Also, do you think that with my other fish (Naso, hippo, Foxface, and clown) that it would be too much to add the emperor, and possibly another purple tang? <That would be all.> And finally, do you think that medium sized emperor, maybe 7-8 inches long would be okay, or do you think I should get  a smaller adult (4-5) inches, like my last one? <I would go for the 4-5 inch one.> Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out, I know that you get a lot of questions, and it must be difficult to get to all of them! <We have quite a crew to help.> Thanks again! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Decisions, Decisions! (Marine Stocking) My main tank is an 80 gal with about 130lbs of live rock. I have another question about numbers of fish. With all the rock the fish are often hidden from view. I would like to add a few more but would like to know the "limit" of fish. Fish include: 1 small blue tang (will likely trade when he gets big), 1 coral beauty, one percula clown, 3 green Chromis, 1 flame hawk, 1 yellow "coris" wrasse, and a orange spotted goby. I have a large Eheim canister wet/dry filter, a Prizm and CPR backpack protein skimmers, and a Penguin 330 for filtration, along with a couple of powerheads. For lighting I have 2 110watt VHO 50/50 bulbs. The first part of my question is regarding fish. I would like to add a royal Gramma, would this co-exist with the wrasse? (I had a problem with a Pseudochromis in the past) <The Gramma should be fine, as long as there are enough spaces for him to hide in. They are much more sociable than Pseudochromis species!> I also like Firefish. I have read that both do better in pairs. If I were to add all the above it would be 15, which seems a bit much, however, all are small, and most stay small. Or would it be better to add a single cardinal and Firefish. <I'd keep a fire fish singly. Yes, they can be kept in mated pairs, but usually, when kept in groups, one almost always becomes the dominant fish, killing or injuring the others. BTW, no more fish after these- you're getting maxed out as far as capacity, IMO...> I was also wanting to add something in the way of inverts. Would mushrooms or anemones live in this environment? <I think that you'd do well with the mushrooms> Thank you much. Rich. <And thank you, Rich, for stopping by! I'm really happy that you're taking the time to examine your future fish purchases. You'll be much more successful this way! Best of luck in your future efforts. Regards, Scott F.>

Stock Exchange? Dear Crew, <Scott F. here tonight> Long time reader, first time mailer... :-) Background: 65 gal AGA pre-drilled tank: 36Lx18Dx24H 20 lbs live rock (plan to add 20-30 lbs within 6 months) 20 gal sump/refugium with Caulerpa and Halimeda Return pump + 1 powerhead = ~1100 gph flow Current residents: Two amazingly peaceful Yellowtail Damsels (they will stay as long as they wish ;-) ) I would appreciate your review of my proposed stocking list. <Sure- will try!> After reading Mr. Fenner's "CMA", and spending (many) hours perusing the WWM faq's, I hold your opinions in high regard. I have used CMA and Scott Michael's Marine Fishes guide to compile what I think is a reasonable list of additions. 1 Banggai Cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni) 2xMaroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) 1 Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) OR small puffer (C. valentini or C. solandri) 1 Triggerfish (R. aculeatus or X. auromarginatus) <I'd pass on the triggers as they will get quite large (8 inches plus), tend to be messy eaters, and will probably wreak havoc in your tank down the line. Ditto for the puffers (not for the size, but for their habits and general destructive behavior!). Just not good additions to your community, IMO> Possibly a small hawkfish, but not if that would overcrowd the tank. <Not if you avoid the trigger and puffer, but keep in mind that many hawkfish can prey on their fellow tankmates...You'd be surprised at the size of prey these little guys can capture!> Could you please comment on the feasibility of these choices? <I like all of the fishes that you are interested in, including the triggers and puffers, but not in this sized tank, and not with the Cardinal, clowns, and Flame Angel. Perhaps you could choose some interesting blennies and gobies, or even some small wrasses...? Lots of neat choices, and you won't find a tank-wrecker in the bunch!> Also, I am interested in making/getting a host for the clownfish. As this tank would probably not be coral/anemone friendly, have you heard of any successes in artificially made anemones? If so, could you point me in a good direction for research? I have thought of methods using Koosh balls or molding aquarium grade silicone... <I recall seeing an ad for a company in FAMA not to long ago that makes artificial corals and, I believe, anemones...I just can't recall their name! :(  .I like your ideas for artificial anemones...Very creative! BTW, don't be surprised or disappointed if your clowns fail to "move in" to the anemone you provide, be it natural or artificial. I've had lots of people ask about this lately, and I think this phenomenon is really due to the fact more and more clowns are captive-bred, and have never even seen an anemone, let alone resided in one! You just don't know how they will react!> Thanks for any suggestions/comments you have for me! P.S. - Thank you for putting the time and work towards this treasure trove of info known as WWM! I will continue to refer the local LFS's and e-tailers I deal with to you for advice/research/advertising. Neil <Neil, thank you so much for the kind words! We appreciate your stopping by, and are grateful for your support! Good luck in your stocking efforts! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: compatibility Hello, just found your site and thought I would see if you mind helping me. <David D...at your service!> I have a 65 gal, wet dry, protein skimmer,  60 lbs live rock, live sand, PowerCompact for light. It has been going for 4 months. Traded in damsels for  1  percula clown (1 1/2 ")- pink spotted watchman goby, and dogface puffer 4". I love the puffer and want to keep him as long as I can. Do you have any suggestions for any additional fish. I like gobies, blennies, Jawfish but would like some fish that swim around. I really don't know what is compatible with the puffer. Also what about crabs and such. <Inverts are on this guy's menu! The puffer will eat all crustaceans including shrimp, crabs, etc. I would suggest fish that are about his size and are moderately aggressive. No fish that will fit in his mouth. You might consider a trigger. These fish have more personality than you can imagine. They're like dogs that live in water! Do a word search on wetwebmedia.com for other suggestions and consider buying the Marine Fishes Pocket Book by Michael Scott. It will help a lot!>   Thanks, Jill <The pleasure was mine! David D.>

TANKMATES <Bring on The Fish!> Hello Crew @WWM, <Scott F. here tonight!> Was hoping you could help me.  I've set up a 200 gallon FOWLR tank (50 lbs of live rock), and have it up for 2 months now.  Am excited to finally start buying my fish. <That's when the fun REALLY starts!> I have tried a marine tank 7-8 years ago and failed but decided I'm going to do it again, go slowly and do it right. <Way to go!> My goal is to choose fish that are hardy and not overstock so as to decrease the chances of having problems.  There are two specimens which are a must ... the queen angel and clown trigger.  This is my wish list and order of purchase, please let me know what you think.  Firstly a lionfish, yellow tang, green bird wrasse, porcupine puffer, queen angel, and lastly the clown trigger (fairly small and hopefully not too aggressive).  Do you think this is an acceptable combination and amount of fish?  I know they are large fish and want to make sure my tank size is sufficient for these 6 fish.  Could a niger trigger be mixed in here as well? <Well- you are considering mixing some pretty large fish together, all of which demand considerable amounts of space to be comfortable and healthy. you have selected two mutually incompatible species, the Queen Angel and the Clown Trigger as your "pivotal" specimens. I'm afraid that you'll have to choose one or the other, if you want to ensure that they live long, healthy life spans. The Queen, as you know, can achieve a length of 18 inches, and needs a huge amount of space to live out its life (which can be 15-20 years!) in comfort. As crazy as it seems, a 200 gallon tank is too small for an adult queen, IMO. It's kind of like you or I having to live out our whole lives in our living room-all the comforts of home, but over time, confinement will take its toll. I would omit any triggerfish from this setup if you intend to keep the Queen. Ditto for the puffer. The Yellow Tang would be a nice addition, as would the Green Bird Wrasse, although I think a smaller wrasse, perhaps a Bodianus species, would be more acceptable. If you are dead set on a lionfish, I'd try one of the "dwarf" species. I certainly don't want to discourage you on following your dreams, but you really need to do the right thing and just get one "star" and plan the rest of the community around that fish. I would take a very conservative approach towards stocking when you are considering fish which get huge!> Last question my live rock has beautiful coralline algae growth which I would love to keep and have flourish, is that possible with these fish? <Should not be a problem if you omit the triggers, which chomp on everything they can get their mouths on!> Is there any of these fish not suitable for a relative beginner? <I think that they all are pretty hardy, with the exception of maybe the clown trigger, which can be touchy sometimes.> Thanks very much for your great help!!!!   Joe. <And thank you for stopping by, Joe. Best of luck on your tank start up! I know that you'll be successful because you are putting a great deal of thought into your stocking plan before you jump into it. Keep up the good work!>

Reversing a Disaster (And Preventing Another)-Pt. 2 Scott F. Thank you for your quick response. I have a few follow up questions if you don't mind. <Sure!> In your letter you say my trigger and porcupine are inappropriate for my 45 gal tank, let alone being together period. I was afraid of that.) These two fish are my favorites and I don't want to lose them. You suggested a larger tank. Question #1: are we talking 75-125 gal or larger? <To keep them both together, I'd say 125gal plus...Individually, you could probably get away with 75 gal each, IMO> If so how much of my existing equipment would work on a system of this size? <That's the beauty of this hobby- you can always recycle stuff for your next tank! Well- to start- the 45gal would make a great sump for a 125... One of the main reasons I decided on a fish only tank was so I could keep these types of fish. I lived in the Marshall Islands for about 3 years and spent lots of time in the wild with them. I have always been fascinated and wanted to recreate this in my living room. <Absolutely- just need the right equipment, and a tiny version may be within your reach!> Question #2 : Why aren't the people at my LFS giving me better advice? The husband and wife team seem very knowledgeable and run a very nice shop. Being new to this whole thing I have relied on them to help me get started. They seem to be conscientious (I do have Bob's book) but at times they seem so unconcerned. I guess they wouldn't be in business if fish didn't die. <Well- I'm sure that they give good advice on things, it's just that they probably don't look at the bigger picture- the animal's whole life span. Bottom line is, they're trying to sell products...they need to make a living. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but if they'd take a bit longer to find out what you wanted to do and accomplish, they probably would have had the opportunity to: A) Sell you on the idea of a larger tank and it's equipment and B) Sell you appropriate animals for the set-up that you had in mind. By taking a "short-term" view, they probably caused you and your animals more harm than good. Do take the time to explain to them your goals when you contemplate your future purchases and upgrades, and I'm sure that they'll serve you better. It's a win-win-win situation for you, the animals, and the LFS!> Any way I'm glad I found you guys and appreciate all your help. Thanks again, Tim <Any time, Tim- good luck!  Scott F.>

Stocking & QT Questions Thanks again for the input!   You're all great, other then some of your FAQs contradict each other (1 post said 1" Bulk head will move 600 gph, most say 300), but everyone has their opinions, which is what helps make your site so great!! <Yep- take everyone's advice with a degree of skepticism, learn and make your own decisions...that's the beauty of this site! What works for me might be a joke for you, etc...> As far as the fish load below, this is a current 125 gal, and when I get a house within the next 5 years hopefully, the livestock will be moved to a larger tank, depending on how much $$$ I have 180-400 gallons, turning the current 125 into a reef!    <Cool!> Regarding my concern with the Redox in my previous email, I am concerned of overall water quality, like you said. not just fixated on the Redox level...I bought the ozone for the benefits of the ozone and did not even know my Redox level until I plugged in the ORP and watched it read 120 :( Since then I have done a few water changes with RO/DI, and removed all sponges etc, Redox is now up to 158...still low, I would love to get it at least over 200, keep doing water changes? <Yep- absolutely! I'm a big fan of twice weekly smaller (5-10%) changes. These give you a chance to remove organics from the water before they begin to build up. Also- very aggressive protein skimming-removing at least a couple of cups full of gross dark skimmate per week. Oh- and be sure to clean that skimmer when you do your water changes...A clean skimmer is infinitely more efficient!> The live rock in the tank has a history....It is probably 5 years old, it started in a 75gal reef, did great, then I used it as FOWLR, but we had to have the house painted, and I had no fish, so I put the rock in a bucket and it sat for 6 months as water evaporated and stagnated...that is the same rock I use today...Is it still ok rock? <IMO, even "dead" rock will become "live rock" over time, and with exposure to the aquarium environment. I'm sure that your rock is okay> Could it be causing poor Redox / water quality? <Well- if you experienced a lot of die off of organisms on the rock when you introduced it, sure- that could be a source of pollution. Pick up a piece and smell it-if it smells necrotic- well, that could be a possibility!> There's really nothing else in the tank I can think of that keeps my water not that great. <Again- keep searching beyond the obvious, and making those water changes. They certainly cannot hurt your situation!> Back to the point:)  I have a dilemma. The stand my tank is on, has 2 small doors, I can barely fit the Americle-150 wet dry through them.  So what I did was drill the wet dry and plumb it to another sump (12"x12") using a 1" PVC.  This of course, isn't enough, the water level in the first sump is always higher then the second.  Which leads me to the next problem. >After reading many of your FAQs (working on all of them, I actually downloaded your whole site into offline content to read on the plane today), <That's a true enthusiast!> I believe I will go with a Iwaki W/MD40RXT, and drill my tank for 2, 1.5" bulkheads for the drain (there is no overflow box I will use the old store method and use a PVC elbow and strainer piece), and use my 2, 1" bulkheads I have now for returns (not sure yet how I would like a manifold or something).  Is this enough drainage?   I will use the T behind the bulkhead to allow air to escape.  Would I be better off with 2" bulk heads? <If I had to do it again, I'd use larger bulkheads. They allow for greater flexibility and future pump changes> They seem hard to find....or perhaps a 3rd 1.5"?   <That would work, too> If it was YOUR 125gal. And you were going to use a MD 40RXT what would you drain with? :)  Also, is it worth the extra $100 for the Japanese motor??    <Actually, I'd look into an MD55, and I like the Japanese motors, yes> The last problem I stated above, is the doors on the stand.  I was going to build a new stand, and a new sump  refugium etc and even drew out a plan I liked very much, but I cannot afford that at the moment, and I think just getting the water flow up is the most important at the moment. Certainly the config I have now with 2 sumps connected with 1, 1" tube isn't gonna cut the new setup, so I need something else.   Most likely I will just do a plain Jane sump and when I upgrade my skimmer to the EV-180, place it outside with another Iwaki pump (hey, less heat right). <I like that idea the best of all> For now my SeaLife crap skimmer will do ok inside it (I hate this skimmer I can't raise the water level in my sump!!)  Any suggestion at all would be appreciated. <Hey- if it can pull a couple of cups of dark stuff out per week, it works for me> Not too keen on the Rubbermaid thing, and a 20L will not fit (that's how I got my QT tank lol). Regarding the skimmer (when I upgrade to the EV-180) the return on the skimmer seems VERY low, does it matter if the return is under water? <Do consult Jason Kim at Aqua C on best set ups for his skimmers. He's a nice guy, and can offer good advice> I have a whole slew of questions to send off to AquaC some day, but want your opinions as well. <Again- do contact Jason> If I drain 1 of the bulkheads to the top of the sump for the bio balls, should the 2nd one drain at the bottom of the sump?  I remember reading in your FAQ that they drain better under water??  So many question so little money!! <Well- I would omit the bioballs, and have both drain into the sump.> I think that's it for now, until I read more of your site, then get more questions!   I read it every night for a few hours, I think I'm addicted! Thanks as always, Mark PS - the puffer had ich, thus the copper, it was starting to clear up already after 2 days in cu.  When I get back from my trip (next (weekend) I will do another water change (did 50% yesterday) and not read the copper. I always feel bad after I write one of these long winded emails to you and suck your knowledge, so to give some pay back, when I get home I am going to order Bobs "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation".  Hopefully I'll learn a lot (tho I really think a lot of it's in these FAQs but I notice you never give outright answers hehe) and I'll feel a lot better about picking your brains!!!  You guys are an amazing source of info, I only hope one day my dream of a service/store come true and I can be as helpful to others! <You're going to love those books, Mark! And we all learn by working on these FAQs...So many ways to accomplish the same thing. Keep reading, learning, and sharing your experiences! Good luck! Scott F.>

Stocking Order Howdy to the WWM Crew! <Scott F. tonight> Setting up a new tank and wanted your input if willing? 90 gal (to handle DSB) 4x110 Watt VHO w/ 2 10K, 1 6700K, 1 Actinic 4" Sandbed w/Southdown (seeded w/LR) 100 pd.s LR 1 Remora Pro w/prefilter (prefilter will have carbon & bio-balls) 2 or 3 Powerheads Planning on starting with a couple of clowns or damsels, turbo snails, cleaner shrimp, Maybe a goby to stir the sand, and possible a Choco-chip starfish (this ok?) What order would you add this mix and is it ok to do the sand and LR on the same day at start up? <After your temperature and salinity are stabilized, and the Southdown is settled a bit, I'd add the rock and start checking the chemical parameters for a week or so. After ammonia and nitrite return to zero, then you could add your snails and other "clean up crew" members. I'd add your more docile fish, like the goby, first, then go with the more aggressive guys, like the clownfish and damsels. Also, you probably don't want a "sand stirring" goby, because you want to leave the sand undisturbed for a while. Maybe another type of goby would be a better choice. In fact, I like gobies so much, that I have a few different ones in my tank! >Any input would really be appreciated as I am totally new to the marine scene although I have done a lot of self-education with more to come. <Sounds like you're doing great so far! Good luck!> Thank you so much!! ---Doomed <And thank you for stopping in!>

Fishes For New Reef Tank Guys, I am looking for some input here. I have acquired a 300 gal tank that will (again) be a reef tank. The system is currently dead. I am rearranging things to start a DSB with LR, I have added a larger sump (55 gal), added a refugium (also 55 gal) with PC lighting and am trying to figure out how to add a calcium reactor. <Open wallet, remove cash... :) > My eventual goal is for it to be a SPS reef tank with a moderate amount of fish stock. Can you suggest a mix of fish that would be both commonly available and compatible with SPS corals? My wife is also insisting on a few Derasa clams so I guess they need to be safe as well. Many Thanks! Scott <Well, lots of possibilities here, actually. In a large tank, you could have a nice population of smaller fishes, like gobies, blennies, Anthias, reef-safe wrasses, (can you tell I favor smaller fishes?), smaller tangs, even some angelfish, like the Genicanthus species...lots and lots of choices-do check the wetwebmedia.com site for plenty of information on many different species that would fit your needs! This is the best part of setting up a tank, IMO. Have fun!  Scott F.>

Overcrowded, etc. Hello to all again, I have been reading on your site for hours every night, and am learning a lot. I have a 55 gallon corner bow front with a magnum 350. My pets are a 10" snowflake moray, 3" crown squirrelfish, 3" red emperor snapper, 6" lionfish, and my personal favorite, a 7-8" panther grouper. Yes, I know it is crowded! <Admitting your mistake is the first step. Now lets take some steps to correct the situation, either get a much larger tank (hundreds of gallons or remove some of the fish).> Today I took the snapper and the panther back to the pet store and sold them back for the same amount I paid. <Those were the best choices to remove.> It hurt because after a year of raising that panther and hand feeding him and actually petting him I was quite attached. Now the first question is this. Is there anything wrong with buying a fish that you know will grow too large for your space and then selling him back after he gets too big, but before he starts to have problems. <He will begin to have problems from day one. The high levels of dissolved organics, nutrients, hormones, and other pollutants will have an effect on them immediately resulting in stunting and premature death.> I can plainly understand that you are right about the fact that a 3' adult will not live in a 55 gallon tank, but what if you buy juveniles and sell them back after a year? <These fish should grow up very fast in the wild. They do not in the confine of aquariums because they are being artificially stunted and will die early because of it.> That is what I am being told by the fish stores. <They are incorrect.> I have not yet purchased Bob's book but it is on my wish list, so just give me a clue if that would be wrong. <See above.> My next question is in my tank there is a very large pores rock with caves in it. It has some algae growing on it. Can I place maybe a 1/2 pound of live rock on it and have it become live rock over time or should I just leave it as is. <It can become colonized, but starting with only 1/2 pound of liverock is going to severely limit the diversity and initial populations.> My only problem with water quality is nitrates around 5 ppm probably from the crowded conditions. <That is not too bad. I would have expected far worse.> The next question is what kind of protein skimmer to buy? <Please see our archived FAQ files for this.> The only one that I have seen that I could stand being on my tank is called a Prism. Has anyone ever had any experience with this model? <You can get an opinion on this from www.WetWebMedia.com in the skimmer section.> It is the only one that will fit between my tank and the wall. <There are other slim profile options like an Aqua-C Remora or Remora Pro.> The last question is this. Do you know of any website where the species of fish are arranged by the minimum tank size they need to live? <No, but adult sizes by species can by found on our site and www.fishbase.org.> That would be an invaluable resource for people who buy a smaller tank like mine and are unable to expand to a larger tank. I am planning a huge tank between an existing room and an addition and it has the approval of the wife, but it is still 10 to 15 years in the future. So for now I am stuck with this one and it is hard to find an organized list of fish that are the right size for this tank. <Anything that grows no larger than 6" would be excellent.> Sorry for the long-windedness but I had to give up my favorite fish today and I do not want to repeat that experience again. That is why I don't have a dog because it is too sad when you lose them. <We may have just added another Golden Retriever to our family. The wife and I, our eight month old baby, two Golden Retrievers, a 55 gallon reef tank, a 1500 gallon pond, and two dinner plate size Yellow Belly Sliders in a 75 gallon tank, it is beginning to become quite a zoo here.> Thanks again for all your advice and you all are just great! Bryan Flanigan P.S. - Along with 1/2 inch of fish to the gallon, another rule of thumb should be 1 hour of reading per 1 dollar of fish. :) <Sounds good to me. -Steven Pro>

Oops...overfed? Hello again guys.  This one is stupid.  I have a 120gal FOWLR.  9 damsels, and a Flame Angel.  LFS has a gorgeous Naso Tang and a Pyjama Tang for unbelievably cheap, so I came home tonight and tested the water to see if I could go buy them tomorrow.   <please don't buy the pajama tang...they are very inappropriate for captivity. They have extremely challenging dietary needs (they are one of the few coral feeding tangs) and most don't service more than 3 years in captivity with most of them dying within 18 months. The ones that do acclimate are extremely aggressive/territorial.  Besides, their adult size with the Naso at 18" (adult) is too much for a 4 foot long tank> For over a month I've had 0 Ammonia, 0 NO2, <25 NO3.  Temp is 77F, Salt at 1.023, and pH at 8.5 (or so says my test kit...is this too high?).   <not too high by day> Anyway, I tested tonight and to my dismay (my wife laughed at me because now I can't buy the fish) the nitrites were at about 0.15 and the ammonia was trace...not quantifiable, but still not absolutely 0.  Here's the thing...I am pretty sure I overfeed.  I give at least one cube of either frozen brine, frozen plankton, or frozen Daphnia (Hikari) every day, plus some algae tabs and either flake or pellet food.  This is probably way too much for these guys, right?   <not at all... small frequent feedings are one of the keys to long term success with marine fishes and corals. Your lingering remnants of nitrification are more likely a tell tale sign of a nutrient export flaw. Lack of water changes, lax use of carbon, and most likely a skimmer than does not give you a full cup every day of skimmate (something that should be easy with this load and feeding schedule)> And this probably could have caused the nitrogen spikes, right?   <could have> So, my main question is:  will the Flame Angel be alright without being fed until the nitrogen compounds are gone?   <yep> There is live rock to munch on.   <agreed... more the better> How long before I absolutely have to feed him again?   <5-7 days... but examine your filtration instead> Also, should this drop back to 0 NO2 take long, assuming the bio filter is mature?  Thanks so much, you guys are my saviors....my LFS doesn't seem to know what they're doing most of the time. Matt.  PS  I got a 10 gallon QT as insisted by Steven Pro....great for peace of mind. <awesome! Forward progress my friend. Anthony>

Puffer/Wrasse Conflict My porcupine puffer never had any noticeable necrotic tissue.  However, there is a spot at the rear edge of his dorsal fin that my coris wrasse keeps picking at.  I don't know if the wrasse is responsible for the spot in the first place, or if he's just doing his "removal of necrotic tissue" duty to try to take care of it.   <Likely the cause...not the cure.> What I do know, is that I lost my Banggai cardinal about a month ago because he was outgrown by the wrasse and he become lunch.  The cardinal was also outgrown by the puffer a long time ago, but the puffer never bothered him even though he was so much bigger.   Also, I know that my puffer is not at all happy when the wrasse is picking at the spot.  If the wrasse wasn't so fast, I'm sure that the puffer wouldn't mind having him for lunch. So, do you think that this conflict is just going to get worse? <Yes, do separate these fish and find a home for one or the other.> I've been thinking about adding members to the tank.  Who might be a good tank mate to keep the wrasse in check? <It doesn't work this way my friend. Adding another fish won't help your puffer or keep your wrasse occupied.> There's also a spotted hawk in there.  He pretty much keeps to himself, but he gets very tall when the wrasse comes around.  The wrasse is a little bigger than him, but there's never any fighting...just some squaring off. <I would find a home for the Wrasse.  Before you add anything else please read the marine stocking pages and the specific page for any fish you are considering by searching for them at the google search at the bottom of WetWebMedia.com    Craig>

Marine Stocking Hello, <Hi John!> >I have a 75 gal. setup with about 100 lbs. of live rock built up in the middle of the tank with swimming room all around.  Current occupants are a Royal Gramma, Yellow Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus), Neon Goby, cleaner shrimp, and a few hermits and snails.  I have some button polyps and yellow polyps and plan to eventually add some green star polyps and/or mushrooms. My water consistently tests out very well, and I am slowly and carefully continuing to stock the tank (up for 6 months now). I have some stocking questions and would appreciate your thoughts/opinions/advice.  I'm considering: Longnose Butterfly or Heniochus diphreutes (two?), Flame Angel or Kole Tang.  My particular questions are: 1) Heni's are said to be best kept as a small school.  How many would comfortably fit in a 75?  Perhaps I would be better off with a single Longnose?    <Your choice.  The heni's are wonderful, require approx. 30-40 gallons each, so perhaps two since your other fish are not large.> 2) Is a Flame Angel likely to eat my soft corals?  I'm considering the Kole mainly for it's algae eating habits.  Do you suggest any other alternatives? As always, thanks for your advice. John H. <The Pygmy angels can be variable, some are well behaved and some are coral eaters. I would err on the side of caution. Make sure to look up any consideration on WetWebMedia.com (the google search at the bottom of the page) to make sure you have enough room if you consider one of the Tangs. You have some nice choices here! Good luck....oh and one more thing....use a quarantine tank for your new fish!!!  You don't want to write us in a week and a half asking how to cure ick, velvet or something worse! Craig>

The 29g Stocking Plan I have a question about stocking. I have a 29g FOWLR set up for 1 year, 30lbs live rock, Eheim 2217, Remora skimmer, 2 powerheads for circulation. Water parameters ok.  Nitrates >5, ph 8.2. For fish, I have 1 yellow tang, 1 3-stripe damsel, and 1 tomato clown. All are very healthy.  What are the long-term implications of keeping these fish in this tank over the long term?  I now know tangs for this size tank are discouraged, but is it possible with careful maintenance?  Thanks for all your help now and in the past. Mike <Good questions, Mike. In all honesty, the tang will definitely need larger quarters in the near future (like within a year, depending on the tangs size). The real issue is not just tank maintenance (which it sounds like you are on top of!), but the physiological, and for that matter, psychological implications for a larger fish like the tang. These fish have a "need" for lots of swimming room, vigorous circulation, and lots of foraging opportunities. The clown and the damsel should be fine indefinitely in this set up! If you cannot afford a larger tank in the future, maybe you can work a trade with someone who has a larger tank for him/her, and work in a couple of smaller fishes into your set up. I'm glad that you are aware of the issues surrounding the maintenance of larger fish. Good luck! Scott F.>

Marine Stocking 140g Hi guys, First off, your website has been instrumental in my never ending path to this awesome hobby. Thanks! <You are welcome.> OK, I have about 2 weeks left in my cycling process. I will be going down the aggressive road as far as fish and would LOVE your input on these fish as well as when to place them in the tank. 1.) zebra moray eel 2.) volitans lionfish 3.) porcupine puffer 4.) Yellow tang 5.) French Angel 6.) Clown Trigger 7.) Picasso or Niger <First off, two Triggers is a bad idea and so is any Triggers with a Lionfish. I would also not add the Tang and Angel. With the other messy eaters, nutrient export is a primary concern and maintaining adequate water quality and diet for these two could be problematic. Allow me to instead suggest some Squirrelfish, Soldierfish, or large Wrasse.> I will be putting all juveniles in. Can I put #'s 1-5 in all at once? <No, too many, too quickly.> Your input is the deciding factor. I have wet/dry trickle with bioballs and hang-on protein skimmer. <If you opt to leave out the herbivores, you may want to employ Caulerpa as both decoration and nutrient export in the tank.> Thanks in advance, Lenny <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Compatibility Hi, I was just wondering, based on your experience, what you would say to the below questions: 1) In a 65 gallon tank with about 50 lbs of rock could you keep an Arc Eye Hawk and a Falco/Spotted Hawk? <Not to be recommended> 2) In the same tank could you keep a Flame Angel and a Cherub (the yellow head pygmy angel). I know Flames do not like other dwarf angels, I didn't know if the Cherub was small enough to avoid its wraith? <Same as above> 3) Do Long Nose Butterflies generally bother other non-long nose butterflies? <That I am not sure of, please refer to www.WetWebMedia.com regarding.> 4) Do blennies generally get along with other, different sp. of blennies? <I have seen/read of some problems combining them.> 5) I have a 20 gallon mini reef tank with a 10 gallon miracle mud sump. The water values are 80F, 1.023, nitrate low (less than 10), no nitrite, and I add buffer, Ca, supplements. I have some mushrooms and leather corals which are doing well, but my button polyps will not open anymore? I know the list of causes could be endless, but what common cause should I be looking for? <A change in the environment.> I added a pygmy angel recently but haven't noticed it picking on them. Could harassment be the cause? <Yes> Thank you very much for your time, Steve Thornton MD <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Marine Stocking Hello Bob! <Steven Pro in this morning.> I have another question. It is about stocking a fish only tank. I have a certain fish that requires at least 75 gallons. Does it need the 75 all for itself? <At least most of it.> For instant, I have a 125 and I have a lionfish, a stars and stripes puffer, and a wrasse. The puffer needs 125 buy itself and so many gallons for the wrasse. Does this mean I am already overstocked or could I still get a trigger or a type of eel? <I think you could add a moderately sized one of the above.> What is your rule you go by on gallons per inch of fish if I may ask? <You can ask, but there really is no go rule like that.> Thanks a lot for your webpage. It has helped me learn a lot of things I may have been doing wrong. It is kinda hard when one LFS may tell you one thing and another says something else. Your chat form helps a lot, too. Thanks again. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

My tank <Hi Dustin> I have a standard 75 gallon tank that is about 8-10 weeks old. I went through many fish during the cycle because I was just plain impatient. After about 5 weeks and still in the last stages of my cycle, I let just live rock finish the job. Now everything seems to be fine. I have a wet/dry under tank filter with built in skimmer that is rated for a 150 gallon tank. I am also running an Emperor 400 hang on with bio-wheels from a tank that had been running for a couple of years (yes I kept them wet). So, I am not concerned with filtration.  <Do test for and change water to eliminate nitrates.> Currently, as far as livestock, I have a 3-4 inch gold stripe maroon clown, a 3 inch Huma trigger, a 6 inch dog face puffer, and a 6 inch lion.  <You are already overstocked. The Huma could easily use 100 gallons. The puffer is at his limit in my opinion in 75, and let's not even factor the clown and lion..... You need to either get a larger tank or place some fish in new bigger digs somewhere else.  Please go to http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and start from there. PLEASE go to WetWebMedia.com , scroll to the bottom of the page, and type the names of your fish into the google search engine. Read the articles and FAQ's.> The fish I want to add are: yellow tang, spotted puffer, panther grouper, clown trigger, and maybe another type of tang and puffer. I have a lot of rock built up on the entire back wall but over half the tank is available for swimming room (lots of hiding places). My question is, is this too much to put in and do any of these sound like they would not fare well with my current stock? Also, what about an eel? If my fish plans are too much, which would you recommend not adding? Again, it is a 75 gallon. Thank you. <Hope this gets you on the right track Dustin. Craig>

Marine Stocking, Set-Up Hi Craig and WWM crew, <Hi Jun!> Since you guys are my new best friends now, here' another question/s. My tank was fallow for 4-5 weeks and hair and filamentous algae grew out of control. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are 0. I'm using a PolyFilter and carbon as part of my filtration for debris and unwanted chemicals. I recently bought a pacific Sailfin tang (I know I should put the tang in last) out of desperation (algae). The fish is doing a good job munching on this algae problem. My water temperature range from 77-80 (day and night fluctuations, 80 daytime due to VHO lights). Is this OK?  <Hmm, maybe install fans to keep this steady.> I'm planning to add a Foxface (remember me now, LOL), perculas a six lined wrasse and possible flame angel. Is this still too much for my 90 gal. Home depot is installing my RO unit in 2 weeks (WooooHoooo). Thanks again, you guys are the best....Jun <Well Jun, you have the details and we have the links! The Foxface needs room as does the Tang so you need to check them out. Try these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stripedzebrasomas.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rabbitfi.htm The Wrasses tend to be assertive as do the angels. Some flame Angels are well behaved and some sample polyps, corals, and harass tankmates. There is much more on stocking and each of these fish at WetWebMedia.Com You have the space you just need to match temperaments carefully. Craig >

Eels!! Hello Everyone, <Scott F. here tonight> I am looking to add in eel or similar fish to my reef aquarium. It is 135G w/ 150# of LR, 3-4" SB, and lots of fish, corals, and inverts. From the research I have been doing there seems to be several possible choices. The Engineer Goby, Filamented Sand Diver (Little info available), Mini Golden Moray Eel (some info, grows about 6") <Not familiar with this fish>, others? I was curious if experience with these species or if you could recommend something else that I missed. Thanks, Bryan <How about a "Curious Wormfish", Gunnelichthys curiosus? I've seen a bunch of these recently. They are eel-like in appearance (but actually in the same general family as the Firefishes. They are peaceful fish and grow to around 5 inches or so. Do also check the resources of WetWebMedia.Com for more fishes that fit your interests. Good luck!>

overcrowding again Hello again, <Hi Bryan!> I have a 55 gallon bow front with a magnum 350. My pets are a 10" snowflake moray, 3" crown squirrelfish, 3" red emperor snapper, 6" lionfish, and my personal favorite, a 7-8" panther grouper. Yes, I know it is crowded! <You ain't seen nothin' yet!> My usual regimen is to feed with frozen prawn 2x daily, feeders 1x weekly, 5 gal water change weekly, carbon change every two weeks. If I get rid of the squirrel and the snapper do you think I will be all right in the long run. The lion and the grouper are my favorites and I couldn't bear to part with them. Also is there anything else I should be doing? <Yes. You should be planning where you are going to put your adult 28" Panther Grouper. This fish will not be able to turn around in your bowfront. Picture you living in your kitchen sink. Then the lionfish will need 30-40 gallons for itself, and some caves and hiding places. The Moray needs a minimum of 60 gallons and will get 36". Getting rid of the *three foot long* snapper is a good idea and the 9" squirrel fish is the only fish you have that can live in your bowfront comfortably as an adult, which they all will become.

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