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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 14

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 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, 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

Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis male, photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Picking The Final Fish... 07/01/05 Hello Wet-Web Crew! <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> Kudos to each of you for your continuing efforts. I thank you, and my fish thank you too!! <Glad to be of service! We're thrilled that you enjoy the site!> After reading up on the Blue-Green Chromis, I am wondering if you could advise if I should add these fish to my current set-up. I have a 90 gallon, 2 year old soft coral reef tank. It has about 90 lbs. of live rock. Presently, it is home to the following... 1 Royal Gramma, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 2 Six-line wrasse, 1 Coral Beauty Angel and 1 Banggai Cardinal. Every one gets along swimmingly. (ha-ha -sorry).  I would like to add some of these Chromis, but how many? Based on the size of my tank, and population so far, what is your opinion? <Hmm...I think that you might be pushing it adding more than 1 or 2 Chromis. Since they seem to fare better in small groups (like 3 minimum), I'd pass on them at this stage.> If you think this is a poor option, I'm open to other stocking suggestions. I appreciate your input, and thank you sincerely, in advance.  Brenda  <Well, Brenda- I'm a big fan of smaller fish, like Blennies and Gobies. I'd look into neat fishes, like the Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor), or The cute Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae). Both are small, relatively undemanding fishes that are a good example of the kinds of fishes that you should be looking at to round out your tank's population. Hope this points you in the right direction. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Knowing When To say "When" (Restraining From Adding Another Fish) Dear "Crew" <Scott F. here today!> Greetings from the UK. Hope you can spare the time to help with this query. <A pleasure to serve!> I have a 180 litre tank (just under 50 US gallon) about 5 years old with a good selection of live rock. Soft corals, a couple of cleaner shrimp, and Brittlestar. Hardware wise, an Eheim filter plus Vecton U.V sterilizer, 4xT5 lights. Deltec hang on Skimmer plus couple of  powerheads.  I currently have a Longnose butterfly fish, a Schooling Bannerfish, Eibl's Angelfish plus a Zebra Dart Goby. The Goby and the Butterfly are about 5 years old the other two fairly new (and small). They all seem to get along splendidly! <An interesting, colorful mix of fishes!> I was thinking of getting either small fairy or flasher wrasse. My question is If I do get one of those is that the limit (or indeed can I even have one of those) or could I have anything else as well? If so, any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks for your time and the great resource. Phil <Hmm...to be quite honest, I think that you're at the maximum stocking limit of this tank already. Some of these fishes can and do get quite large in captivity (forgive me for my poor US/Metric conversions here): The Longnose can reach 20 cm or more, the Schooling Banner fish can hit about 17-18cm, and the Eibli is among the largest of the Centropyge Angels, reaching about 15 cm. All need good amounts of "physical space" in the aquarium in order to thrive and be happy. In short, I think that you'll need a larger tank at some point to accommodate this whole crew for their regular lifespans. I would be inclined to hold off on any new additions at this point. If you just have to have one more fish, I'd make it a very small, relatively inactive one, such as a goby of some sort. You have such an outstanding mix of fishes already that I'd be inclined simply to enjoy these guys for a while, and start planning a newer, larger system somewhere down the line. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Introducing Puffer to new home... Not Ready for Prime Time Players Our 135 gallon fish-only tank has been running for two weeks. It has a wet/dry filter with bio-balls, a protein skimmer, a UV sterilizer, two recirculation pumps and a 30 gallon sump. The person we bought it from gave us his fish, and we currently have the following fish in the tank:  two blue damsels (@ 1 inch) two prison damsels (@ 3/4 inch) <I guess some sort of striped Dascyllus sp.> one spiny blue lobster (@ 6 inches), one chocolate chip starfish (@ 6 inches) one clam (@ 3 inches) one blue tang (@ 1 inch). We would like to keep the blue tang and the two prison damsels, and we can take fish that are not compatible to our store. We are happy with these inherited fish, but our ultimate plan is to add a puffer fish, a trigger fish (or two) <Mmm, you'll want to investigate these a bit...> and two clown fish with one or two anemones. <And these last as well> We also like a Nassau tang, <What species is this?> bluebird wrasse, an angel fish and some cleaner fish/snails. We are trying to figure out what will work around the puffer. We would like to add the puffer in about 6 weeks. I am interested in what order and at what pace the fish should be added/taken from the aquarium.  <... Please read on WWM re the compatibility of all of these...> We are also interested in any recommendations for the types of puffers (we love the porcupine puffer), triggers (We like the Huma trigger and the Niger trigger) and clown fish that would get along best. <... also to be investigated on WWM> We are looking for fish that are not shy, relatively hardy, and are easy to feed. Thanks for your suggestions! I have been reading your site for two days and have learned so much!!! <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: new tank, new fish Hello, <Hi there> I am upgrading my tank to a 90 gallon, and I am wondering what suggestions you might have regarding the fish I will put together. First I will place a settled pair of orchid and sunrise from my old to new tank,  <Four Pseudochromids in this size system may be asking for trouble> my pair of long nose hawkfish will also move, I currently have one flame hawkfish ( over a year), will adding another one to the new tank the same time I move the same one give it a better chance to become a pair? <Maybe> Will two sixline wrasse co-exist? <I'd stick with one> There will also by a 5cm Spanish hogfish, a pair of Banggais, and I am thinking about pairing up my hutchii Anthias? The Anthias is really beautiful and is larger than all the fish and it eats incredibly. How does a male differ from a female? <Please see WWM, fishbase.org re... I have some pix of both sexes posted> Will false percula clowns work with a pair of black percula clowns and a tomato? <Maybe... start them all small, place at the same time> I know the tomato clownfish is extremely territorial but in the past year the black percula clowns and tomato have decided to get along.  Please tell me your thoughts on my plan, thanks <All sounds workable, try-able. Bob Fenner> 

Livestock compatibility and order of stocking I did the reading you suggested and have checked out protein skimmers (which are cheaper than I thought).  Are there low priced ones ($50-$75) that you feel are especially good values? <Not new. Unfortunately>   I see the SeaClone 100 as a possibility. <Mmm, not a good choice. More of a gimmick than a functional design> OK, now some follow-up questions if you don't mind re livestock. Revised plan (in this order): 3 Ocellaris clowns 2 spotted cardinalfish 1 Pseudochromis bicolor 1 coral beauty angel and 1 bicolor angel (I know they shouldn't be in the same tank, but if I introduce them at the same time will I be OK?) 1 yellow tang or regal tang <looks fine except I would limit the system to one Centropyge angel> We cut the damsels as you suggested, but added the bicolor angel.  With the 2 shrimp, 15 snails and one carefully chosen star, is this a full tank with a good composition?  Should we add more spotted cardinals?  Any other fish that are easy for beginners that you could recommend? <Do remain speculative re the star... most specimens, even of better species don't survive in aquarium settings... as you will find> Many thanks, Bart <Bob Fenner>

Stocking levels 3/8/03 Hey guys, I searched your site for info on this but it's sort of case sensitive.  I'm wandering if I am overstocked.  I have a 75 gallon w/ plenty of filtration, live rock, movement, etc. Corals: sea mat, several mushroom rocks, galaxy, leather, hammer (2), xenia, clams (2), bubble, bulb anemone, brain, trumpet, star polyps, pipe organ, colt, devil's hand, and Nephthea. <a bit of a hodgepodge, but no worries here other than the organ pipe. Likely to die in the long run for being mixed with mushrooms, colt and galaxy in particular... they are very noxious> Fish: powder blue, yellow, and Sailfin tangs (all small), percula clown, purple pseudo, scissortail goby, goatfish, damsel (3) So, what do you think?   <clearly overstocked on fishes for the long run. There was a recent poll on ReefCentral where I think more than half of all aquarists agreed that a 75 or larger was required to safely/humanely house a single yellow tang. In this case... the powder blue is probably pacing in your tank (common behavior in small tanks where they swim back and forth against the glass)... or will be soon. And the Sailfin tang alone will outgrow this aquarium. My strong advice is to pull the powder blue soon as it is the most likely to suffer in the short run 12-18 months for a mere 4 feet of swimming space. Its just a needy/sensitive fish. Perhaps you can enjoy the Sailfin for another year or two before it gets too aggressive> Water parameters are PERFECT, everything looks ok but I always wander if they are miserable. Thanks. <other than if/when your powder blue is pacing, I suspect all else is fine for now with these hardy fishes (yellow and Sailfin). Just be mindful of their adult sizes and the fact that a 75 cannot house the Sailfin properly in the 3-5+ year plan without stunting it or making it a bit more aggressive than they already are. Best regards, Anthony>

Six-Line Wrasse with Dragonet in a 30 gallon - 3/6/03 I was wondering if it is possible to keep a 6-line wrasse and a mandarin dragonet in a 30 g reef tank w/o a sump. <Both possible, but I would recommend against this.>  There are a few corals (colt, toadstool leather, gorgonian, assorted mushrooms / Ricordea) and one percula clownfish (and plan on getting 2 more). <This is the reason why (plus a few more). First of all, clowns can be fairly aggressive, but a six line can be even more ferocious and aggressive. In the wild these fish rarely come in contact on the reef if at all, but in a tiny little 30 gallon, these guys would be in each other's grill quite often! Moreover, if you plan on getting more clowns (I recommend against this as well, as your tank is just not large enough to sustain long term keeping of a harem) this would simply be disastrous for such docile fish as the dragonet or the  aggressiveness of the six line wrasse. Maybe a fairy wrasse or something to that effect. Definitely not a dragonet though. Secondly, for the sake of argument, let's say you didn't have any fish and the six line and dragonet would be your first additions, this tank is just not big enough to supply the dragonet with enough of its natural food source. Dragonets are notorious  for not accepting prepared foods very well. Do some more research on our page and others about dietary needs, environment, and mortality of these animals in captive environs.> I was also wondering what other small fish you would recommend that are reef safe, compatible with what I already have, and are non-aggressive (and also easy to keep!!!). <Maybe a Firefish, but other than that take a look at the FAQs on wrasses and clowns and see if someone might have a similar tank size and stocking question.> A separate question was about helping a mushroom attach to a rock. I've got a loose mushroom that hasn't attached yet and keeps getting blown away from a location I'd like it to be when the powerheads are on. <I keep my mushrooms in an area of low flow> Is it possible to attach it with a rubber band? <You could try a needle and thread technique. Sewing the base to a piece of rock.>  Any type of glue? <Mushrooms seem to "escape" from Cyanoacrylate in my experience. You could use some bridal vale or something similar and wrap it over the mushroom and hold it in place with a rubber band (not over the mushroom but around the sides to hold the veil in place) then place it in and area free from flow for about a week or two. There are many sites regarding attaching mushrooms et al. Try a google search with the key word "Attaching mushroom corals" or something to that effect. Also, Anthony Calfo's book "Book on Coral Propagation Volume 1" is a great source with lots of ideas. Basically, if you have the room, place it near the bottom on a small piece of liverock or a shell or something, with a piece of bridal veil. You could try glue but might be futile, in my experience. Good luck> Thanks for your help.  Ben <regards, Paul>

Re: Livestock compatibility and order of stocking Bob, I am new to fishkeeping (goldfish when I was 5 don't count), <Does to me> but have decided to start a 55 gallon marine tank for my son's birthday.  I have done a lot of reading and have found lots of resources which provide some info re compatibility, but still have questions.  I purchased the 55 gallon Instant Ocean Starter Kit, which has an Emperor 400 filter, 200 Watt heater, and other assorted goodies. My wife and I have come up with a final composition that we want in the tank, but the more I check... the more nervous I am about it.  Our goal was to add small, relatively non-aggressive and hardy fish that would be a good blend of colors and would handle pests like bristleworm and parasites. <Sounds good> We are going to cycle the tank with 45lbs of live rock and then add: 3 ocellaris clownfish (I was told two is a bad idea, three would allow the one that becomes female to spread her aggression between the males).  My wife loves these guys and it is why we are doing saltwater instead of freshwater. <I see> With about a month-6 week intervals between every addition, we were then going to add (reason): 2 spotted cardinalfish (peaceful, interesting pattern) 5 blue green reef Chromis (thought a school of fish would be cool) 1 Pseudochromis bicolor (to eat bristleworm) 3 yellowtail blue damsels (3 to spread aggression) 1 Coral beauty angel (I have to have him) 1 yellow Tang (I have to have him - my wife gets three clownfish, I get the angel and tang;-)!) <Need to cut down the number of damsels here. Counting the Clownfishes I would have no more than five total... too much aggravation (for you and them) by crowding otherwise> At some points (probably before the Pseudochromis and after the Angel) we were going to add some invertebrates, totaling up 5 shrimp (scarlet skunk, peppermint, blood red, banded coral), 10-15 snails, and one starfish).   <No more than two shrimp for this size system... especially the coral banded coral may eat the others if/when they molt... And be careful re the species of star you choose. Do read over WetWebMedia.com re this possibility> Then I found out that the Pseudochromis would eat the shrimp... <Mmm, not likely with the live rock to hide in> I could switch the shrimp for 2 cleaner wrasse, but I read those are hard to care for. <Yes, avoid these> No protein skimmer, but I will be vigilant about water changes, and plan to add one about the time I get the bicolor. <Do get/use a skimmer. Very worthwhile... as you will see> Questions: 1) I would get small fish to start, so I should definitely be OK until they grow up.  When they grow will I have to move some? <Limit the numbers to what you have. The order of introduction you list is fine> 2) Will I be OK waiting on the protein skimmer? <Not likely. I would get this piece of gear along with the tank, run starting with the live rock addition> 3) How often do I need to change the water with/without a protein skimmer? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm> 4) Any suggestions on what else will eat bristleworms and will leave my shrimp alone?  What do I do if I have mantis shrimp? <Oh! Please become familiar with WWM, the search tools there. Much to state, learn, contemplate, enjoy> 5) Any suggestions on the overall composition?  Have we met the goals we set out with originally (peaceful, self-maintaining in terms of pests)?  If we were to cut something, I'd like it to be the 5 Chromis. <Me too> 6) Will adding 5 fish that early overload the tank and start a new cycle that will hurt the prior inhabitants? <Better to wait for just the live rock to cycle the system> 7) How thick/fine should my substrate be with these fish?  I had planned on .5 inch thick, using Florida crushed coral.  Is this OK? <Please see WWM re> 8) Any suggestions as to the order I want to add them?  I know the angel needs a well-developed tank, the damsels are near the end due to aggression... any issues that I am not seeing? <None that I see> Sorry to have so many questions; I'm just trying to do it right.  Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Bart <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Corals and Puffers and Triggers Oh My (03/05/03) <Ananda here again...> I guess that is what I thought, but I was hoping you might tell me otherwise.  What about things like mushrooms and polyps, or some of the encrusting type stuff?  Would they bother that stuff?    <The puffer might ignore them, but the trigger might think they might be tasty… I’ve read of supposedly reef-safe fish munching on corals, and neither of these fish is considered reef-safe. You could always try a small frag from the reef tank and see what happens. ;-)> I guess I will just plan on having two tanks, but which setup goes in the new larger tank?  Decisions, decisions, I guess I’ll be getting two larger tanks.   <Isn’t that always the way it works??> I've actually thought of putting the tanks next to each other so I can share a large filtration system in the basement between the two.  Seems like that would improve water quality in the fish only tank. <But possibly at the expense of the reef tank, where the critters are more sensitive to water quality… I’ve heard of some large-scale operations where they use “old” water from the reef tank as “new” water for the fish-only tank, as the fish can tolerate higher nitrate levels than the reef critters.> You brought up a few things I have questions about, I guess it is still the subject of much debate whether a protein skimmer is required with an ecosystem filter? <Yep, still lots of debate on this issue!> I thought it became a better idea as the tank grew larger, so I’m not sure if that theory holds for a 58 gal. Why introduce a protein skimmer to the 110 gal, everything seems to be doing very well with the ecosystem only? <Just an option to consider. The protein skimmer removes gunk from the water before it can be converted into nitrates; the Ecosystem exports the nitrates. Personally, I’m not convinced that the Ecosystem is better than any other refugium. However, with a sufficiently large refugium, you might not need a skimmer. And so the debate continues. I also like the idea of the skimmer as an additional level of “insurance” in case something suddenly goes wrong with the tank.> I believe the puffer to be an Arothron Golden Puffer aka spotted puffer aka guinea fowl puffer aka Arothron meleagris, the overall bright yellow color and the patch of black with white spots over his eyes seems to support this.  I’ve seen dogface puffers and this fish is distinctly different. <Okay. I’d forgotten that species also had several color morphs; my usual fish picture book does not have a photo of the gold morph. Hmmm. This puffer doesn’t get football-sized, it gets medicine ball-sized… I’d plan for a BIG tank in the long term: 300 gallons or bigger is not overly large for this fish. Have fun planning your new tanks! :-)   –Ananda>

Good reef fish? (03/05/03) Hello.  Can you please list some good "reef" fish to have in my reef tank.   <Far too many to list here -- see the links at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm for info on various types of fish. Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" is also a good place to start, as it comments on the reef tank suitability of the species included.> I have two Percula Clowns that have aggravated some of my corals to where they are starting to slowly die.   <I would add something else they can host in -- one of the Lobophytum or Sarcophyton species, (leather corals) perhaps.> I want to get rid of those two Percula Clowns and replace them with a couple fish that will not bother my corals.  I do have a Mandarin that is totally harmless when it comes to corals. <The mandarin will limit your fish choices -- do avoid anything that eats copepods and amphipods. You may want to read up on these fish a bit more.> Thanks, Bryan <You're welcome. --Ananda>

More questions for first tank Brief system recap: 30 gal Eclipse 3, FOWLR (no fish yet), 30 lb LR, 3/4" Fiji pink sand, Berlin Airlift 90 skimmer, temp 80F, pH 8.0, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, sg 1.023, CA 360.  Additives used:  Seachem buffer and CA, alternating days, water change with water heated/aerated minimum 3-7 days, approx 3 gal/week. Well, so far you have successfully guided me through some potentially rough patches in setting up my first tank, with a Turbo snail being my only casualty.  After five weeks, my tank appears to have cycled.  Readings, as indicated above, are all good.  I decided to take it real slow, and added two Nassarius snails, two Turbos, and two peppermint shrimp.  All are doing well after three days (although the Nassarius snails are AWOL, but I am not worried yet, since I know they bury themselves). <Ah, good> Question 1: I have seen a few sources that tell me iodine additions may be necessary so that the shrimp can molt properly.  What is your opinion on this?  Do you feel it is necessary, or would the trace elements from water changes be sufficient? <Useful to add on a weekly basis to foods, water with changes...> Question 2: My potential fish choices continue to change after researching - my intention is not to torment my charges.  The tank-raised percula is still on the list.  A royal Gramma is in the running, as is a parrotfish  (just seeing if you were really paying attention) <Am glad... no Parrotfish, please> My daughter recently took a liking  -as did I- to a redheaded fairy wrasse in the LFS.   I found some information on the fairy wrasse group in general, and all I could discern is that there are a few types that may be suitable for my system with, perhaps, only the clown for company.  Are you aware of a fairy wrasse that would stay small and perhaps be happy? <Would be psychologically cramped for any member of the genus Cirrhilabrus. I'd skip on this choice till you have a larger system>   Should I assume that a flame angel is also out of the question? <Mmm, there are some "dwarf-dwarf" species of Centropyge (e.g. argi, aurantonotus...) that could be tried, but not loricula> Thank you again for making my first tank a success so far. <Glad to enjoy the journey, vicariously with you> (PS Thank Bob again.  Thanks in part to him, my four year-old son was at a birthday party at a local Rainforest Cafe.  While the other kids were saying 'Look at the fishies!', my son was saying 'Look! A clown trigger!  There's a porcupine puffer fish! Hey! A yellow tang!'.  A proud dad moment)   <Ahh, the pleasure. Bob Fenner>

Corals and Puffers and Triggers Oh My (03/04/03) <Ananda here today on puffer patrol...> First, as always, thank you for the wonderful service you provide.   <You're welcome.> I would like an opinion on some things i have been thinking about.  I currently have two tanks. First is a 2 year old 110 gallon reef tank.  About 150 lbs of fully encrusted live rock, shallow aragonite base, eco system filter, VHO lights, very good circulation, fish, inverts, mostly LPS corals, a few soft corals, a Merten's carpet anemone.  This tank is great, everything is as close to perfect as i care to get.  Everyone is happy. <In that case, I wouldn't mess with it...until the carpet anemone gets too big, that is. Hmmm. I would add a skimmer if you don't have one.> A month ago a friend gave me a 58 gal tank, about 65 lbs of rock, shallow aragonite base, eco system filter, VHO lights, well sized pump, the works, all less than 1 year old. <Okay...> I had my eye on a gold puffer at the fish store, and took this as an opportunity to start a fish only tank.  the puffer is currently small so he is ok, but i think i will have to move him to larger accommodations as he grows, I am also thinking of getting a small Picasso trigger to share the tank with him. <A "gold" puffer? I'm thinking this is possibly a dog-nosed puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus. <actually A. meleagris xanthic variety. BF> I would suggest you do more research on the Picasso trigger -- they can be okay as juveniles, but get progressively more belligerent as they get older.> I have no experience with fish only aquariums. do you think my filtration is adequate?   <I would add a protein skimmer. Do check our skimmer selection FAQs; you can search for your tank size to get more specific opinions on skimmers.> Should i replace the VHO lights with regular output to limit algae growth?   <I wouldn't bother. A skimmer and good tank husbandry will do more to inhibit algae.> What inverts can i introduce that won't look like a snack for a puffer or a trigger? <I don't think there are any that will fit in a 58 gallon tank.> What about just getting one larger tank say 175 gal or maybe 265 gal, and combining all of my rock and sand, and adding some additional lace rock, my corals, inverts, larger fish (Desjardin tang, yellow tang, purple tang, flame angel, maroon clown, flame hawk, sgt. major damsel, fox face) and then adding the puffer and trigger? <Unfortunately, it's a recipe for disaster -- especially from the viewpoints of the corals and inverts, who will become puffer and trigger lunch! However, you will probably want to get a tank of about this size eventually, as the puffer will likely get to be about football-sized.> Do you know of anyone who has kept aggressive fish in a large reef tank? <Um, well, the planet keeps aggressive fish in the ocean, but other than that, no....> Do you think they would bother the corals? inverts? other fish? <Corals and inverts, yes. Other fish? It depends on the species.> I really like the personality of the puffers and triggers, the puffer is already eating out of my hand, but the beauty of a reef tank is what got me in the hobby in the first place.  Are the two mutually exclusive? <Yep.> I appreciate any help you can offer. <Do check out the various articles and FAQs on puffers and triggers, as well as the questions asked on the WetWebMedia forums (the links are on the left side of the Daily FAQs page).> Thank you once again. <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Thinking Through A Stocking Plan! Greetings, <Hi! Scott F. here!> Kudos to your great site.  Many good things learned thanks to you people.  I would like some feedback on my stocking choices for the 150 gal I am setting up.  I have fallen in love with Jawfish and a pair of them (not sure what species) will be the first additions.  Following that I would like to add a pair of true black percula clownfish, and then either a pair or trio of Heniochus Diphreutes, which WWM indicates is the best Heni choice for a reef tank. <Agreed- just make sure that the ones you are purchasing are not H. acuminatus- the "Longfin Bannerfish", which looks similar, and will use your reef tank as a buffet!> Also, I hope to keep a variety of LPS, SPS and perhaps a few Tridacna clams.  I am wondering how this sounds to you?  I am concerned the Henis are way too much, considering how large they get (approx. 5" I believe).  I would have gone with one, but I hear three is a good choice, as they are social fish, and a pair may fight.  If one, two or three Henis are all bad choices, I will probably consider a dwarf angel or a copperband, after much research. <I love your honest appraisal of the situation! I really, truly think that a Centropyge angelfish, like the Coral Beauty, is a better choice...Yes, Centropyge angels are a bit of a risk in a reef system, but if you pick a good species, i think that you can have a better-than-average chance that there will be no destruction caused by a well-fed specimen. I like smaller fishes, or less larger ones-even in a "large" aquarium...It's better for the fishes, and better for you...Important to always consider the ultimate potential size of the fishes in captivity...> Lastly, what about an LTA or BTA in this setup, perhaps in a year or so (plenty of lighting and so on, not worried about it causing problems with my corals, I'm mainly concerned about it causing problems for the fish). Cheers, Quinn <Well, Quinn- I am more concerned about the anemone than the fishes, in actuality most anemones don't have the greatest track record in captive systems, so it's always cause for concern...Just stay on your plan, keep researching the animals before you buy them...you have a great thought process here- I have no doubt that you will make the right call here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Start w/ a 125g Tank   2/27/03 I am new to marine aquariums and not had an aquarium for years.<Welcome back to the hobby!>  I have been saving and researching and have decided to start with a 125 gallon FOWLR w/ protein skimmer, etc.<A very nice sized tank!>  I have been trying to plan my livestock and am getting more and more confused.  I would like a nice cleaning crew and fish with a fairly mild temperament.  I would like a pair of clowns and am open to the rest of my choices, with the understanding that I don't want to start with anything overly expensive.  Could you please suggest a manageable & beautiful tankful of fish and inverts to start.  I don't want everything I buy to instantly eat each other and I don't want anything that will grow too large as I may never upgrade the size of the aquarium.  Thanks for your help and great site!!-Oliver<Well, Oliver there is so much to list.  Try picking up a copy of Bob Fenner's wonderful book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist".  It will help you get a hold of this hobby.  In the future feel free to ask anymore questions!  Phil>

50g Stocking List  2/28/03 <Hey there!  Phil here!> I'm shortly going to begin stocking my 50 gal. FOWLR tank and I was wondering if the following choices were valid (2) percula (tank raised) clownfish,<Sounds good.> either a Flame Angle or a Rock Beauty (not sure on the Rock Beauty I have read they are somewhat difficult to keep in you FAQ's),<I'd stick w/ the flame angel, as it is one of my favorite angels and is a hardy fish.> possibly a Blue or Yellow Tang (not sure on this either have had both in the past and quite honestly consider Tang's to be "stress balls").<Ya, they are rather prone to ich.  Also your tank is about 50 gallons too small for the Blue and 30 or so too small for the Yellow.>  Any other additions or substitutions you might bring up are welcome,<Well, I always think a Royal Gramma is a great choice for a FOWLR.  Maybe a Blenny or a small "sand-dwelling fish"?  Try and pick-up a copy of Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes".  It gives tanks sizes for the 500 most popular fish.  It will help a lot!!> I value your feedback.  thanks again Kevin Conner<Glad to help, if you have any more questions feel free to ask!  Phil>

Re: Stocking a 30g Tank  2/28/03 Wow! I appreciate the quick response!,<No problem man, Phil here w/ ya again!> I'm glad to know my tank isn't too small to start with.<A 29 is fine for a start tank.> I did a little research on the Flame Angel and it looks like a perfect choice for the "main attraction". Cool lookin orange color and seems to only get around 5" long.<5" is pretty rare!  "Marine Fishes" lists them to only 3.9"!> That's great! You said maybe go with an all invert tank, which I would like, but would I still be able to add the Flame angel?<Ya, it only nips on Clams and some soft corals.> And are you only recommending the couple of cleaner shrimp and a peppermint with no crabs at all?<No you can have more, just listing a few that came to mind and are easy to find.> I've been reading on lobsters and they seem to have an appetite for just about all other inverts (crabs and shrimp anyway) so they're out of the question.<You are correct!  And they get big!!> I did see this website that is evidently a supplier for pet stores, and they were offering what they called "Clean-up crew" package for various tank sizes.  Their job is to supposedly help rid the tank of algae and detritus.  In the 20-55 gallon package, it contains 20 scarlet reef hermits, 20 turbo snails, 20 dwarf blue leg hermits, 1 sally lightfoot, 2 brittle stars, 1 coral banded shrimp and 3 emerald crabs. It says the minimum tank size is 20 gallons for this particular package, but sounds a little much for even a 29 gallon. But assuming that all of these critters get along with each other, could I get by with at least a couple of what's listed in that "clean up crew" package for my inverts along with the only fish being a Flame Angel. I just couldn't have any cleaner shrimp or peppermint with the Coral Banded.<Ya no cleaner/peppermint.  IMO, skip the Coral Banded and get the other 2.  They will help more than the CB Shrimp.>  I read something about the coral banded shrimp being good for eating uneaten food.<Yes, and also eating other inverts.>  Will this combination work?<Without a CBS it should be fine.> Thanks in advance for your expertise! P.S. That Goby I was talkin about, was an orange diamond Goby, but I don't know the scientific name. (might not be able to use one, I saw one in the local pet store and it was pretty big!<I have two gobies that match Orange-Spotted Goby.  One is a 4 out of 5.  The other is a 2 out of 5.  Unless you know what type it really is I'd skip this one and find another type of goby.> Thx<No problem, if you need anything else please ask!  Phil>

Anemonia majano and stocking questions Greetings once again! Brief system recap: 30 gal Eclipse 3, FOWLR (no fish as of yet), <Good man John...planning ahead gets big points here!> 30 lb LR, 3/4" Fiji pink sand, Berlin Airlift 90 skimmer, temp 80F, pH 8.2, Ammonia .25-.5ppm, CA 360 <Yep, wait for the thing to cycle! Ammonia and nitrites should be zero when done.> Thank you for identifying the Anemonia majano hitchhikers from my LR.  In addition to identifying the anemones as 'sponges' (granted, their tentacles were not showing much), they told me that the two dozen green polyp-looking things were feather dusters (actually baby majanos).   Now that I have done my research, I cannot fathom how anyone with a modicum of saltwater experience could mistake these for feather dusters and sponges.   <Oh, that's nothing! You will certainly hear more!> Once again, I turn to the only source not looking to sell me something for assistance! <That's us!  Although...have you seen our T-shirts?  LOL!> My question is this: Sometime after the tank cycle is complete (and maybe a month or two after that), I plan to add fish. <You are killing me with the points now dude! Good on Ya!> Given the large number of majanos, and after reading Bob's take on them in TCMA, would it be permissible in this system to stock one raccoon butterfly (as the only inhabitant)?  You told me that watching my water quality is paramount to halting the spread of these, but, barring the use of the raccoon, is there any other hardy predator of majanos of which you are aware? <Yes, an adult human with a syringe of Kalkwasser to inject them and kill them that way, a few at a time. Your choice of fish should match your tank size....surf over to WWM  and look up the Raccoon to see what size tank is required, and any other husbandry needs for this fish. You have a perfect record, so I know you'll check it out first. Gee, I love this kind of post!> My daughter would be sad if I didn't get her percula, but if the raccoon would work, I would make the sacrifice. <Get the syringe and needle (local feed store) and go on a search and destroy mission.  When done, get your daughter her dream fish, a good choice for a 30.> One more question:  After constantly reading about the importance of maintaining a constant salinity level, I recently acquired a salinity refractometer.  My intention was to adjust the salinity to the required level, wait one week, then test again. <Not necessary. Get it right first, then top-off the water to that desired level (any water that evaporates) and you will be back where you started, salt doesn't evaporate, only water does. Replacing the water reconstitutes the previous correct SG.  Replace evaporated water daily and you have a constant SG. It won't hurt to test between water changes to be sure.  This is like leaving a glass of colored water in the sun. The water will evap. leaving the dye. Add the same amount of water and the color should return to it's previous dilution/color.> After measuring the water required to bring the level back to its desired state, I could use that to calculate the amount of top off water required per day. <Already done. Anything that evaporates is the amount.> I was thinking that if I go on vacation (I am planning ten days in December), my dog-sitter can not only add the pre-measured food, but pre-measured doses of RO top off water.  Is this something that is feasible? <Sure!  Try; "Use one of these per day to feed, *no more*, and use this water to keep the tank filled to "here". Do it daily so you don't add too much all at once." When you get back, better do a water change ASAP to replenish alkalinity, calcium, etc. because you won't be there to supplement.> Thank you again for all of your help thus far.  Also, tell Bob that my 4 and 7 year old kids love his book, too (mostly the pictures at this point, but you gotta start somewhere!)  JPM <Does it have print in it?  I don't read books without lots of pictures! LOL! I'm with your kids on this one!  Craig>

Taking Stock (Stocking Plan) Hello and thanks for such a great website! <Glad you like it! Scott F. with you today!> I am making my wish list for the fish I want to have in my 100g FOWLR tank. The tank is set up with 100lbs.live rock sitting right on top of 3" aragonite sandbed . The guys who brought everything out set it up that way. Should I change it? It looks so nice! <If it's running well, looks good, and you like it- keep it the way it is!> I would like some help in narrowing it down to the best community possible and the amount and order in which they should be added. I should add that this is a 6 ft long tank and only 18" high. Ocellaris or Maroon Clownfish Blue Green Chromis Firefish Goby <One only- add early> Neon Blue Goby <2 or 3- also add early> Golden Neon Goby <maybe 2- add early on> Banggai Cardinalfish <just one- add relatively early> Pajama Cardinalfish <I'd stay with one type of cardinal or the other> Flame Hawkfish <Watch those neon gobies!> Long Nose Hawkfish <Again- choose one or the other- I like the Flame, myself> Picasso Triggerfish <Add last> Naso Tang <I'd avoid this fish- but that's just my own, biased opinion> Yellowtail Blue Tang <P. hepatus?- Add after the cardinal> I've read "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta from front to back, back to front, etc., etc. <A wonderful book- highly recommended!> I have ordered "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", among other books but haven't received them yet. <You'll love this one!> I'm just so excited and yet trying to be very patient. I know it will be some time before I can start adding fish. Since I'm snowed in right now, all I can do is plan! <Hey- this is the best part! And the planning is so vital for success in the long run. I'm glad that you're putting in such an effort! Just remember to add the more aggressive fishes last. Let the little guys get established, and let the tank "ease in" to the bioload...Slow and steady. Do think twice about the big tang- even in a large tank, these guys get huge, need lots of room, and sometimes can be troublesome to acclimate. The Blue gets large, too- but tends to do better in captivity, in my opinion. Remember to quarantine all new fishes for at least 3 weeks before placing them into your display...Don't deviate from your patient practices...you're doing great- Keep it up!> Thanks so much for your input. I'm like a sponge right now just soaking up all the info I can get. Signed, New to the hobby and somewhat obsessed <Thrilled for you! Regards, Scott ("Not new to the hobby but still stoked and obsessed beyond all rational levels") F.>

Send In The Clown- Hold of On The Anemone! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here!> Anyway I have only 2 people to help me move my tank so far, so I had an idea. I wonder if this is workable: I thought of setting up the 10 gal QT ahead of time. <YES!! I like it! I like it!> Setting it up and getting it going. Since all the critters know each other and are disease free to stick in a piece of LR. <Sure- this would be the only time I'd use other than inert materials in a QT. However, don't assume that they are disease free and get lax on the quarantine process...Three weeks, minimum, okay? Plan for the worst, hope for the best!> Anyway I have a feather duster attached to a piece. Might also have a container for some sand as I have a small fighting conch and Nassarius snails. Anyway get the QT going and  then put in the Royal Gramma, snails (quite a few), hermits, conch, duster. I'd acclimate them to the tank and put them max a couple weeks. <It would be optimum if you could do a separate tank for the inverts, and one for the fishes. Maybe not practical...but optimal! I'm thinking I'd do 10% water changes a week on this. And also feed the Turbos Nori. <I like smaller water changes twice a week (like 5% of tank volume). Maybe a piece or two of algae encrusted rock for the snails> Could also set the Ecosystems on the QT (other Equipment is AquaClear200 or Whisper 3, 50 watt heater, top). Then I could pack up the LR, LS, and equipment and not worry about the critters. Do you get my drift and do you think this is workable? <I think I see what you're thinking of. However, keep in mind that a quarantine tank is not meant to be a permanent feature. Just use a sponge filter, outside power filter, etc. Break it down when you're done. The Ecosystem method is a long-term approach, best suited for the display tank. Keep it simple> Stocking order: Plans are Royal Gramma; Red sea Clarkii clowns and anemone (both TR); blenny (midas or bicolor); and maybe an Angel (i.e. Coral Beauty). This is a 40 gal. What order should that be, considering I will have the RG already? <I like the Gramma first, blenny second, clarkii third, and finally, the angel fish. I'd avoid the anemone unless you have superior lighting and pristine conditions. The clown can do fine without it, really!> Also do you think an angel fish would try to eat the anemone? des <Not likely, in my experience. I have kept coral beauties with anemones before without incident (of course- that does not mean that your won't chow down on the anemone in YOUR tank!), but again, I'd hold off on the anemone for a while. Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Stocking a 65g tank  2/27/03 Hi, guys...first, let me say how much I appreciate your excellent website, and your willingness to answer questions.<Hey Ralph!  Phil here!  Thanks for the support!>   I spent most of today studying your FAQs on stocking (and have read Bob Fenner's excellent book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist).<Yes it is a wonderful book!>  My situation, briefly, is as follows:  I have a 65G reef-tank, which has been up and running since November 2002; it has 400 watts of PC lights, a sump, an in-sump skimmer, approx 60 lbs of Marshall Rock and 1 1/2 inches of live sand (I was told my a knowledgeable aquarist that smaller amounts of live sand, with frequent water changes, is less risky than a deep sand bed). I am doing modest water changes every two weeks.  The temperature runs at 76 degrees, controlled by a chiller, heater and Medusa.   I now have only a Royal Gramma, which has been doing very well for about six weeks, and have recently added the following small corals and mushrooms: red mushroom, yellow polyps, cabbage, baby hammer, green fuzzy mushroom and white litter.  Also, a sand star, some hermit crabs and about six snails.  I would like to add a few more corals, 1-2 shrimp and a few more fish.<ok>     My first question is:  Do you think the water temperature is too cold?  (This same aquarist told me that corals generally do better in cooler temperatures, but my son, who also keeps reef tanks, thinks it may be too cold).<I don't think the water is too cold.  I keep my tanks between 76-79 degrees F.> My main question, though, relates to stocking, which I would like to plan out in advance.  Do you think that, given the size of the tank and the presence of the corals, etc., I would be able to safely add the following fish:  Two percula clowns, a brown/scopas tang, a wrasse (6-line or fairy), marine beta and lawnmower blenny?  Or would adding all these, over a period of several months of course, be too much for my aquarium?  And is there any specific order in which to add these?<The two clowns can be added.  No to the tang.  The 6-Line is out if you want shrimp.  I'd go with Scott's Fairy Wrasse.  The Marine Beta gets too big for this tank and can be quite mean.  A Lawnmower Blenny needs a DSB, IMO. I'd add the Clowns and the Wrasse.  Since you have corals there's not that much more you can add fish-wise.> I had thought to add a flame angel or coral beauty as well, but it seems as though they would likely be very tough on the corals, mushrooms, etc., and perhaps just be "too much fish" for my aquarium.<They would take care of your coral problem!! :)  >    Thanks so much for considering these questions and answering them if you have the time. Best regards, Ralph (Block) <I hope this helps!!  Good luck and feel free to ask questions here and at the WWM forum www.wetwebfotos.com  Phil>

Adding new fish to a balanced tank Mr. Fenner <Alas, you are stuck with Don today. Able to fill a toenail sized portion of Bob's shoes, but I'll try> I would first like to thank you for having such an amazing site. <Yes, it is a vast, amazing resource eh?> And secondly I have some questions about stocking my marine tank. I currently have a 37 gallon tall tank with an eclipse hood. Another note is I have no live rock. Not available at the pet stores in my area. It is about 6 months old and housed in the tank are a medium sized yellow tang, a clown goby ~1 in. and a 2.5 in orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis). As for inverts I have a arrow crab, 1 scarlet reef crab and about 5 dwarf blue legged hermit crabs. I would like to add a blue damsel, and a clown fish. One of my concerns is the tank seems to be working in great harmony. All of the waste is taken care of the water is in excellent condition and i am a little worried about messing up this "harmony".  Also I know that the dotty back can be a bit scrappy. Do you think it would be possible to add these two fish if so should I add more hermits to take care of waste. Any input would be great. <OK, the standard "Yellow tang in a 37G?" routine. This fish is going to get far to large for a tank this size. You may have balance now, but this guy needs a much larger (4-6') tank to thrive. The Damsel will be very aggressive. I would avoid it. You may have enough space (minus the tang) for the percula. To your current setup? I would add nothing and plan on moving the tang in the near future. Best of luck, Don> thanks Adam ps Your book is a bible to me.

Mis- and overstocked 35 hex marine I have two questions for you...first, let me give you the background information on the tank.  It's a 35 gallon hex (30 gallons of water) that's been running for a few months now.  We had 3 yellow tailed damsels, a bicolor angel (which we later learned was a bad choice for a beginner after it died a week or so ago) and a tomato clown. <The Angel and the Clown are not good choices for your size, shape system with the three damsels> We just lost the angel, and now one of the damsels appears to have been beaten up by the other fish.  His fins are all frayed and he's hanging at the top of the tank.  We're not sure who the culprit is.  So, my first question is, are tomato clowns aggressive? <Can be, but this damsel is more likely being beaten up by its fellows> He's definitely ruler of the tank, but we've never actually seen him attack one of the other fish.  Is the tomato not compatible with the damsels? <It is not... this tank is too small, and too vertical for these fishes to co-exist peacefully> My second question is, how do we control our nitrite levels?  I think this is the reason we lost the angel.  We've done water changes every 3 or 4 weeks (usually 5-8 gallons) and did an extra one a week after we added the angel and clown.  When we noticed the angel was having problems and read it might be because of the nitrites, we changed out 10 more gallons, but the levels are still somewhere around 5 ppm. <Yikes! Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no2probfaqs.htm and the next FAQs page (linked, in blue, at top)> We've been feeding them a little less, but we don't know what else to do if the water changes don't work.  Help! Thanks, Kerry Betsold <Quit feeding period till the nitrite level drops below 1 ppm. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mis- and overstocked 35 hex marine Could you tell me what would be appropriate for our tank?  We told the owner of the fish supply store we go to what we have as far as fish and tank size, and he let us buy these fish without much hesitation, so I don't know whether to trust him anymore.  How many fish can a 35 gallon hex support? <I can offer you some hints, guidelines: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm and the FAQs beyond> And what would be some good choices (non-aggressive, colorful) for a beginner? And concerning nitrites again, there's not much we should do besides water changes and minimal feeding? <Please read where you've been sent> Thanks for your help and quick response <You're welcome. Apply yourself. Bob Fenner>

- Marine Livestock - Jason, Is my tank fully stocked or can I still add ? <You can add, but you've got some fish in there that might not approve.> I was thinking of 1 or 2 neon gobies as well as maybe a cowfish... <Your clown trigger will eat the neon gobies - the cowfish would likely get picked on.> Can I add anything else or is that it....If I can add, what do you suggest...I cannot do the lionfish...kids and possible fatalities don't work <Possible fatalities from a lionfish? What have you been reading? The worst they can dish out is severe pain, and besides - your kids really should not have their hands in the tank - it's a great way to introduce contaminants. Your tank is not full, but you need to consider something that will tolerate the punishment the clown trigger will dish out. It may not be a problem yet, but in time, that trigger will be the meanest fish you've met.> Let me know thx <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Marine Livestock - The kids know better than to put their fingers in...It's just paranoid mothers that wanted me to stay away from anything poisonous...So a Lion fish is ok? <Probably not... most of these fish get simply too large and your tank is approaching what I would like to call full. It may not look full, but one needs to strike a balance with bioload and tank size, and you are very close. The lionfish would tip it over the edge.> Fantastic.... Can you think of anything else ? What would you put in this tank ? <I think nothing... the Emperor Angel will grow to be a showcase fish, as will the Clown Trigger. I'd just learn to enjoy this mix and pray the trigger doesn't turn on everyone else.> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated thx <Cheers, J -- >

Big Fish Story WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today!> As the long process of planning my reef aquarium winds down, my attention has turned to stocking the tank. <Ahh...now the real fun begins!> Here is a brief overview of the planned system:  220g display (72x24x30), 120g refugium (gravity drained to the display) and a 55-70g sump.  Filtration will be provided by LR & DSB's in the display & fuge.  Also a powerful skimmer will be at work in the sump.  This will be a mixed reef. My questions are in regard to this stock list: 3 Convict Tangs 1 Copperband butterfly & 1 Flame angel (taking the risk) My two biggest concerns are towards the Convicts and the Copperband.  The fact that my flame angel could someday destroy my entire tank, oddly enough, does not concern me. <Well, I share your concerns here. I, personally, have not had problems in keeping Centropyge angels in a reef setup, provided that they are well-fed. However, I may just be lucky, however. It's a calculated risk either way...one that you as an aquarist must be willing to take. The Copperband is potentially way more problematic, in my opinion, due in part to it's dietary preferences, and tendency to starve in captivity! I worry a lot about the Convict Tangs because of their sheer size requirements and need for space...> First off, do you think that the tank is large enough (6') to house three tangs? <Well- I have some very biased opinions based on my personal experience, my observations of these fish in nature (locally in Hawaii and parts of Polynesia) and in other hobbyist's aquariums, and my conclusions don't make me too popular sometimes! Frankly, these fish just are not well-suited to captivity, IMO, whether kept solitary or in groups. I have a 6-foot tank myself, and I would not even consider putting one of these guys in there. In nature, they range over a wide area, do travel in large aggregations, and are exceedingly messy, voracious eaters. I remember a scene from the recent TV documentary showing a huge school of Convicts move in to a reef covered in macro and micro-algae, and essentially lay waste to the place in a matter of minutes with their amazing appetites and frenzied eating. In captivity, a group may work for a time, or may be a recipe for outright disaster, with constant fighting and destructive behavior. In an 8-10 foot tank, you might have better luck, but even then, I tend to favor "smaller" (a relative term in this family) tangs, such as the Zebrasoma flavescens, or the Ctenochaetus tangs, like the Kole Tang. Even though some can reach larger sizes, the smaller ones don't seem to have the same destructive and antisocial tendencies as the Convict Tangs.> I’m under the impression that the tangs will school, gliding along the rocks grazing algae.  If that’s not the case and the three tangs will act independently, I would probably reconsider getting three. <Yep- there is no guarantee that they will follow a prescribed behavior, especially in the confines of an aquarium.> I am also concerned that the three tangs may be a little too boisterous for the Copperband, causing too much stress for the timid fish to handle.  Any thought on this? <I think that you're right on target here. Personally, I'd go with one or two smaller tangs (of different families), and a more hardy, easier-to-feed butterflyfish, such as the Long Nose Butterfly. A much nicer, more "aquarium friendly" setup, IMO> Also any comments on the over all bio-load would be appreciated.  Too much, borderline, room to spare? <Well, I think that with smaller fishes and only one tang, you'll have a much better situation, both in terms of bioload and in fish behaviour. I wish more hobbyists would consider the benefits of keeping smaller fishes in large tanks. If you keep fishes like blennies, gobies, Pseudochromis, Centropyge angelfishes, and even Anthias or Chromis species of damselfishes (which will school beautifully, BTW), you'll see these fishes display very natural behaviors in a captive situation. You can have every bit of the color and activity that you'll get from the big guys, but with fishes kept more humanely and better adapted to life in captivity. Think about it!> Thank you in advance for you help, it is much respected and appreciated. Mike <And thank you Mike, for stopping by! Regards, Scott F>

Lots of Different Directions To Take... Hey guys, <Scott F. your guy today!> A couple of questions: <Ask away!> I have a 50 gal Uniquarium, 35gal tank 15 gal sump, Based on Tullock's Natural reef system- live rock, live sand, skimmer, good circulation, 192W of PC lighting.  My only resident at this point is a yellow tang ( I know he will out grow the tank, but I have a 125g waiting for him when he gets too big) and herbivores (Inverts). <Good that larger quarters await him. And- I completely agree with Tullock's ideas about "less technology-more biology"- a concept more hobbyists need to embrace!> I'm going to buy a BTA (clone) with a pair of A. melanopus clowns from Dr. Mac and sons corals (both captive bred). <Glad that you're using captive-propagated stock. Good for the hobby-good for the reefs! Note that mixing corals and anemones is not always something we advise..."Chemical warfare" and other potential interaction problems between animals that do not naturally occur in such close proximity exist..> Other than that, I need some suggestions for tank mates.  I would like to get either a Gramma, orchid Dottyback, or six-line wrasse.  I like grammas,  but I'm not too keen on mixing Atlantic and pacific species. <The Gramma is one of my favorite all-time fishes, but I am biased towards the Pacific, so I can relate...Either the sixline or the orchid Dottyback are fine choices, IMO. I'd go with the sixline, myself- more fun to watch, very colorful- and they have wonderful personalities> I like the orchid Dottyback, but I've been told that he will harass my cleaner shrimp. <A definite possibility...> Six-lines seem fairly benign.  Would any of these fish be potential anemone victims? <It's always possible, but many fishes seem to have the "smarts" to avoid getting zapped by the anemone while wandering about their little world> I'm also thinking of adding a dwarf angel- flame, coral beauty, potter's, etc.  But any other possibilities would be great- I'd like to keep more than 4 fish. <To be honest, I think that a tang, dwarf angel, wrasse, and two clownfish is pushing it too hard for a 50 gallon, both in terms of bioload and community harmony. In slightly confined spaces, it's entirely possible that these otherwise benign fishes can become slightly "chippy" towards each other...If you are dead-set on a Centropyge, I'd go with the Coral Beauty...In my opinion, this species seems less likely to sample your corals...but the possibility exists...Just a "risk" that you'll have to take..> I also need to know with the lighting system I have what other inverts could I keep with the anemone. <Glad you brought this up. I am a big fan of PCs, but they are probably "on the cusp" as far as how much intensity they can provide for anemones. It will work- but halides are really the best way to go, IMO. You'd notice a big difference in how the anemone appears and thrives under halides versus PC's...> I'm somewhat concerned about nettling. I know that SPS and anemones are good tankmates, <Debatable, but certainly possible- as mentioned above..> but I don't know if I have the wattage for these guys.  I really don't think I have enough for a clam- maybe squamosa? <I'd definitely pass on the clam. Again- it can work- but halides are definitely the better choice with clams. They will really suffer in the long run if the intensity is not there> Mushrooms in the lower part of the tank seem reasonable, along with Star polyps, but I'm not sure about leathers and LPS because of potential nettling. <Good concerns...It certainly is possible to keep LPS and softies together, but when you add into the equation clams, SPS, cnidarians- it gets pretty iffy- particularly in a smaller tank. Star Polyps, in particular, are one of the most noxious and aggressive corals around, and can certainly overrun more benign animals with their growth and allelopathic compounds.> On to the big tank.  I'm looking to set up an SPS and Clam tank in the 125 ( LR, LS, Skimmer, Refugium). <There ya' go! That's what I'm talking about...much better assembly of animals> Would 500W of MH do it, or do I need to supplement with Standard or VHO lighting. <Really depends on the animals. You'd probably want to go with one halide (regular mogul or double-ended) for every two feet of tank length...250watts is probably the best wattage for SPS and clams. Whether or not to supplement is strictly dependent upon the needs of the specific animals you are keeping, and the aesthetics that please you. You may try blending different color temps, such as 6500k and 20000k together, or even straight 10000k or 20000k-lots of possibilities> Also very interested in keeping a powder blue tang, which I know is a big no-no with you guys. <Not necessarily a no-no...but a potentially difficult fish to keep healthy. Proper quarantine, acclimation, and environmental conditions are absolutely critical to assure success with this fish> I discussed this with my LFS, and he agreed with your assessment of their general hardiness based on his experiences from 5-6 years ago.  However, he now says that he has a source from Africa that is absolutely cyanide free, and their mortality rate is very good.  He would put them as hardier than the regal tangs he occasionally carries.  Are you still anti-powder blue, or If I can guarantee a net caught specimen would this make a difference. <Sure- net-caught is absolutely the best way to go, but it's all about the handling that the fish receives on the way from the reef to you. A lot can go wrong along the way that can doom an otherwise healthy animal...> Also, what is your experience with keeping Pomacanthus or Holocanthus angels with SPS?  I'd love to hear your input.  I've heard that red sea Imperators and Regals ( can't think of the genus right now-sorry) are usually reef safe- please confirm or deny. <Well- that's another one of those $64 million questions! Any angelfish, with the possible exception of the Genicanthus species, is a potential coral muncher, so you take a calculated risk including one in a reef setup. "Reef safe" is a relative term...everything on a reef eats something else from a reef! I have seen species such as the Majestic Angel and the Regal Angel (another fish that is very difficult to get to thrive, even if well-handled) kept in reef systems with success, but it's another one of those decisions that you have to make. Sometimes, we have to decide whether we want to keep fishes or corals as the primary focus of our systems...You certainly can keep both together, but it takes equal parts planning, care, and outright luck! The desire to keep different animals like this is why many of us fish geeks have multiple tanks!> Thanks again, Chris <Glad to be of assistance! Good luck with your plans! Regards, Scott F.>

Fishy Friends, or Mortal Enemies? What are my chances of a small Basslet and a fairy wrasse coexisting in a 75g tank with two large bommies? <Well, in many cases, this could work...by having two "bommies', you are creating natural "territory breaks", which will help the fish feel more at home and reduce potentially aggressive encounters.> Also, I've read a couple of places that a flame angel should be the last addition to a peaceful tank with the aforementioned fish, or is that not necessarily true? Surely a Centropyge wouldn't be aggressive to other totally different fish, right? <Well- it all depends upon the individual fish. Most Centropyge have a tendency to "blend in the background" and become good citizens. Others, like Lemonpeels, and sometimes, Bicolors and Eibl's, can get a bit nasty at times...As far as adding the angelfish- I'd delay adding the angel until the tank is more established, and has some microalgae and other life for the fish to forage. I personally would not be too concerned about this combination of fishes in your described aquarium, as long as the above caveats are considered. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Increasing The Population (Pt. 2) Scott- Can I add these things all at once or one at a time? IM going to set up a quarantine tank, (10 gal) before I buy them, and use my water from the tank I'm going to put them into later. Is this OK? <That's exactly how to do it...What could be better than quarantining the animals in the same water that they'll ultimately be residing in? Use the main tank water for water changes in the quarantine tank, too!> I'm going to get a wet dry filter and use the lighting from the tank that it comes with (fluorescents) is this OK just to quarantine them for a while? How long do I quarantine them for? <Frankly, I'd go with a more simple filter. Use an inexpensive sponge filter, such as the Jungle "Dirt Magnet" or the Tetra "Brilliant" filters. Before you use the filter for the first time, just place the sponge in your main system's sump for a week or so- this way it's "pre-colonized" with the beneficial nitrifying bacteria before you place it in the quarantine tank. When you're through with the quarantine period, rinse the sponge out thoroughly, and place it back in the sump until you need it again. The beauty of doing this is that you'll never be "caught short" without an established filter when those inevitable "impulse" purchases happen (and believe me- they do!). Remember, the quarantine tank is not a permanent feature-you clean it and break it down until next time. I would recommend a minimum of 3 weeks (ideally 4) for quarantine of your animals. It's such an important habit to get in to-and it will pay off HUGE down the line, in terms of healthy animals and less headaches for you!> The only fish I have in the 55 gal tank are the 4 damsels. Domino striped and 2 yellowtails. I know, I know, I have to get rid of them eventually but I'm having a hard time doing this. Maybe I'll just buy another tank to set up for aggressive fish. LOL. <Yeah! It's pretty cool to do an all damsel setup- lots of color and action- almost like an African Cichlid tank. Besides- it's so much better than to cast away these great fish to an uncertain fate in the LFS.> Oh- by the way- I have a 55 gal, 35 ,20 and 10 gal., all with FW fish. LOL- They were all supposed to be SW tks and I chickened out. <Well- maybe it's best that you went with a larger tank for your first saltwater effort! But hey- if you wanted to, now you can do a propagation tank, frogfish tank, seahorse tank, etc.... :)   > Now I'd love to switch them over to SW,  but don't have the heart to get rid of them. <Yep- just buy more tanks!> I'm raising guppies in one, swordtails in the other- lots of pretties in my 55 and a cichlid in the 20. <Serious "Fish Nerd" action goin' on here!> She is the love of my life, with a personality plus so I guess I'll just get another tank for the damsels lol <You go, girrrlll!> Thanks soooooo much for all your help. Misty <Any time, Misty- keep learning and having fun! regards, Scott F>

To buy online or not to buy online....that is the question - 2/20/03 Happy Thursday, y'all. <To you too!>  My question of the day...how do you feel about purchasing fish from online suppliers? <well, I have not purchased fish per se, but have done a great deal of business for dry goods and corals. I guess that sort of counts....I see the beauty in it personally. Check around, post this same question to the forums located on our main page. I don't want to recommend any one in particular over another but check references, forums, maybe a site out there has online reviews???? Something of that sort. Again, overall my opinion is positive, but it is very important to find an online business with a very good reputation via live arrival, livestock health, charges, overall costs comparison, shipping methods, and guarantees (although a guarantee is only as good as the person offering said item), collection practices (i.e where they ultimately get their livestock from and how)......stuff like that> I was looking at one site that offers a 5 day guarantee on livestock.<Really?>  I realize that sounds good in theory but how do you find reputable places? <exactly....see above. There are many out there, a little due diligence will go a long way here and we all know knowledge is half the battle. In any event, I highly recommend farm raised animals whenever possible. One such farm is a company called ORA, and their animals can be found on many online retailer sites. These animals are extremely hardy and acclimate quite a bit better than the same wild caught specimens. Check it out.>  Muchas gracias.  Heather :D <No hay de que. Pablo>

Stocking Up! Hi there! <Hi! Scott F. with you today> Thanks for this great service.  I just started a 75 gallon in December. I have a 150 I will moving to at a later date.  My first round was 55 lbs of live rock, a black volitans lion (4") and a Miniatus grouper (5").. also a couple of feather duster worms and a few hermit crabs.  About three weeks ago.. I lost both the grouper and the lion to what I think was a very quick outbreak of marine velvet. <This disease kills very quickly...often times it's too late by the time the symptoms manifest> I am now thinking of restocking (and yes.. I have a quarantine tank) <Great to hear-it will definitely prevent nightmares like you had before> Have I left the tank long enough without fish? <I would leave the tank fallow for at least a month...In fact, with a fatal Amyloodinium outbreak in the tank- I'd go for a month and a half just to be safe...Perform all regular maintenance (water changes, etc.) during the "fallow" period.> I was thinking of the following fish: Longnose butterfly, Indigo Hamlet and Radiata Lion .. and possibly a large flame angel.. too much?  Compatibility problems??  Suggestions for replacements?  My criteria was a mixture of sedentary and active fishes, with striking shape and or coloration. I am a lion enthusiast, so this is the one fish I have my heart set on. <Okay- then let's base the tank around a lionfish...The Radiata lion can get to be almost 10 inches in length, so a large tank is mandatory! Even in temporary situation, the 75 might be to small...tankmates may start disappearing! I'd opt for a slightly smaller version, the Pterois antennata or the Dendrochirus zebra...These guys top out at about 7 inches, and may be better for the long run. The Indigo Hamlet is an interesting fish, but it also reaches about 6 inches in length...I like smaller fishes, myself, so I'd opt for a Pseudochromis species, or even one or more Grammas. These are super colorful fishes that will do very well in your tank. I like the Longnose butterflyfish- but make sure that it's in the tank long before any other fishes, and happily eating. By the way- I wouldn't even consider a butterflyfish with a full-size (non dwarf species) lionfish...They can become a menu item...You'll notice that my trend here is to go with smaller fishes, or small versions of big guys...They are better suited for the tank sizes that you're talking about, IMO. Plan carefully, proceed slowly...Research thoroughly! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>> Thanks again, Frank Jordan

Stocking a Small (But Colorful) World I am new (first tank) to salt water fish and it has been many years since I had a fresh water system. I have just purchased a 55 gal tank and would like to start a fish only tank with live rock. I would like as much color in the fish as possible. <OK- let's look at small, colorful fishes here...Scott F. with you today!> What would be a good choice and final quantity of fish for this tank? <I'd go for a few small guys here. You could start with a Royal Gramma, one of my favorite all-time fishes-peaceful, colorful, and interesting. Other great choices would be the so-called "Fang Blennies" (don't let the name freak you out- they're mostly harmless and peaceful), such as Meiacanthus species, as well as other types of Blennies, such as the Ecsenius species (for example, the Bicolor Blenny, Ecsenius bicolor). Other cool little fishes would be some of the Shrimp Gobies, such as the Stonogobiops species. You may even want to add one (I said "one") Firefish (like Nemateleotris magnifica)- a great fish, with gorgeous colors. Other cool choices might be a smaller Hawkfish (but these can be predatory on smaller fishes and inverts, however), a Cardinal fish, such as the Banggai Cardinal. If you like dwarf angels, you could go for the Centropyge argi (can get a bit feisty, though). Also, don't overlook the smaller wrasses, such as the outrageously colorful Fairy Wrasses (dozens to choose from). Whew! The list can go on and on...I'd go for no more than 4- small fishes in this tank. If you choose small, colorful fishes that utilize different areas of the water column (such as bottom, midwater, and top), then you'd be surprised how 4-5 fishes could fill up a tank nicely. The gobies, blennies, and wrasses offer great coloration, interesting habits, and super personalities! Set up lots of nooks and crannies for the fishes to "work with", and you'll be rewarded with a great display. Stick to combinations of the families mentioned here and you'll have plenty of great fishes to choose from!> I have visited many web sites and looked at numerous pictures of available fish but find it all quite overwhelming. Thank-you Joe Bonise <Yep- it can be...Hope that I didn't contribute to the clutter here, but you get the idea that there are some great choices for small-to-medium sized fishes, right? Good luck, and have fun populating your small slice of the ocean! Regards, Scott F>

Fish order - 2/24/03 I have a large fish order coming in to save on the shipping, <not a problem if you have enough quarantine space> and was curious about your view of adding these all at once? <unsafe, not recommended... a proper QT is one fish per tank. Else, all might be healthy but one sick individual can wipe out the rest> They will be in a 44 and a 55gal Q-tank for two or three weeks then added to the 135 reef display. <OK> They are a juvenile blue face, flame angel, ventralis Anthias, court jester (he will go strait into tank K), <?> and numerous shrimp and crabs.  I have a very efficient 4' skimmer and a large mud filter as well as a large 150 sump on this tank, would this be too much bio load to ad all at once? <the main concern is communicability of disease. Daily water changes can correct most water quality issues in QT if necessary> One more? will the Brazil flame back beat up on any on the angels he is pretty passive? <mixing multiples of tangs and angels is especially risky. Also not recommended when there are so many other beautiful and compatible fish to pick from> The mystery wrasse is going to have the same colors as the ventralis will this be a problem in you opinion? <quite possible. Anthony>

120g Stocking Plan - 2/24/03 Hello crew,<Hey Tyler!  Phil here!> I love the site but I have a few Q's for ya I'm going to be setting up my first marine tank soon (100-120gal) and wanted some advise on livestock and a protein skimmer.<Fire away!> It's going to be a FOWLR tank here's what I want to keep (1) hippo tang<FYI, it's an ich magnet!> (1) long horn cowfish<This cool dude needs a tank 220 gallons or bigger.> (1-2) flame angels<Only one please, as they will fight.> (2-4) clownfish<ok, these guys are fine.> (3) Firefish gobies<These guys will fight for good caves so make a few!> and possible a couple blue damsels.<Damsels are little terrors.  I'd skip them!> Is this tank large enough?<If you stock like I said and you don't overfeed and have a good skimmer!!> will this fish get along ok?<See above> I also wanted to know what a good skimmer is for a tank that size that is under $160 (I'm only 17 and don't have a lot to spend cause I only work part-time) have you heard good things about the Seaclone brand because i can get a good price on one rated at 150gal. thanks a lot for your time thanks again,     Tyler Lindberg <Well Tyler I'm 15 and I know what you mean about the money, but...WHAT EVER YOU DO DON'T BUT A "SEACLOWN"!!!  They are junk!!  I'd dished out the extra cash and get one of the Aqua-C line.  Much better!  Plus, if you buy a Seaclone you will need to upgrade in a month, trust me.  Don't skimp on the skimmer!!  PLEASE!!  Hope this helps and good luck!  Check www.wetwebfotos.com they have a chat forum w/ a for sale section.  You might find a good skimmer for a great price!!  Phil>

Stocking the Tank... Yes I would like to know how many fish can be in a 55 gallon acrylic tank?  Is there some kind of legend like there is for fresh water tanks like 1inch per a gallon or something. I need help. <No, for marines this is done by researching each desired inhabitant and it's needs, much like water needs of FW fish. There is also aggression issues with marine fish that must be factored into your decisions. Please go to "marine stocking" section of WetWebMedia.com and also search specifically on any fish you may want for specifics. You will also need to factor in skimmer size/efficiency, filtration, biocapacity, etc. All this information is at WWM.com  Hope this helps you!  Craig> Stocking the Tank... Here is a new list of fish I will have in my tank because I don't have a 500 gallon tank all I have is a 55 gallon tank. So here is the list.  Lemonpeel angel, bubble pearl coral, toadstool yellow coral, percula clown pair, yellow damsel, Strawberry purple Pseudochromis, royal Gramma, sebae anemone, and a coral beauty angel. Is this too much let me know which ones I can put together and which ones I cant and will my tank be over crowded? Thanks <Please do research these fish specifically at WetWebMedia.com searching in the google search. I wouldn't recommend the anemone(s) at all, requiring high intensity lighting, pristine water, aged systems, expert care and feeding, and highly toxic when not doing well. I would also pass on the damsels and look further into the others for habit, needs, care, temperament. Also look at the needs of the Lemonpeel. The Coral Beauty may not get along either, very individual with these fish. He may hassle the others. Please look further into the specific needs/temperaments of these fish, there is simply too much info to present in an e-mail! Craig>

New system for puffer lover (02/20/03) Hello to all. First of all, thanks again for all of your help. Your wisdom is invaluable! <Thank you for the kind words... Ananda here today...> I'm currently in the process of setting up my first marine tank. 120 gal FOWLR. I initially planned on keep about 8 small to med sized fish. That was until I recently fell in love with the two puffers I saw at the LFS. One of them was a Dogface and the other which is my absolute favorite was a Solomon (Black with small blue spots!). <I am still not sure which species this fish is. I think it may be Canthigaster jactator (aka Whitespotted Toby) or C. rostrata (aka Sharpnose puffer aka Atlantic Toby). Do check with your LFS to get a better idea of exactly which fish this is.> I am so intrigued with these two fish I have rearranged my entire plan. Being that these fish get to be so large, I'm going to downscale my live rock from 100lbs to about 50lbs. <A bad idea, in my opinion. Cutting your system's filtration capacity in half does not allow you to keep more fish!> I'm also going to cancel all of the small fish that I wanted. My new group is: 1: Solomon Puffer (black with small blue spots) 2: Dogface Puffer 3: Red Volitans Lion <If that Solomon puffer is the Whitespotted Toby, its fins are in danger of getting nipped.> 4: Bannerfish Butterfly (poor man's Moorish Idol) <Ditto.> 5: I would like to keep a Porcupine but I've read that they won't work with a Dog. <Dogs do tend to chase porcupines up trees, or at least until they get needles in their nose... oh, you mean the puffers! ;-) The porcupine puffer does get too big for this tank.> 6: Yellow Tang My setup will be: Wet/Dry filter/Aqua Medic Turboflotor/Mag 9.5 return pump/4 x 65w PC light/ 50lbs LR,2-3 inch live sand bed. <I would consider a different skimmer (search this site for "Turboflotor" comments) and a deeper sand bed, in addition to sticking with at least 100 lbs of live rock. The live rock and deeper sand bed would eliminate the need for the wet/dry filter.> Do you see anything wrong with my setup that I might have overlooked? <Wet/dry filters often become nitrate sources in marine tanks. This is less of an issue with a fish-only with live rock system, but the deeper sand bed and possibly a refugium would help keep the nitrates to acceptable levels.> Also, am I right in assuming that I should downscale the liverock if I'm going to keep these large fish. I figured that they would need more swim room and also my wet/dry should be enough bio-filtration. <Yes, they need more swimming room, but they need more filtration, too! Large fish eat a lot, and what goes in one end comes out the other end....> Please help. <I would consider waiting on the lionfish and butterfly until you can get another tank. With those two out of the tank, you might be able to include a few of the smaller fish you were considering in this tank. --Ananda> Demetrius

55 Gallon Stocking Plan  2/19/03 Hi.<Hey there!  Phil here!> I've enjoyed looking through your Web site.<Please look but don't touch.. just kidding.. thanks!  I also enjoy looking at this site.  I few it may take years before I've read everything!> I am setting up a new 55 gal. saltwater tank (4' long), and wanted to know what you thought of my stocking plan. The tank has been up about a month, and I have 70 pounds of live rock and about 1-1/2" live sand/aragonite. I have an emperor 400 dry-wet filter and a red sea Prizm protein skimmer that says it is good up to 100 gallons.<*RED FLAG* Prizm Protein Skimmer's are a PITA!!!  Feel free to browse our large collection of skimmer FAQ's and see for yourself.  For a lightly-mildly stocked 55, you could use a Aqua-C.  IMO they are the best for tanks under 60 gallons.> A couple of days ago, I moved in a pair of young tank-raised false perc. clownfish, a skunk cleaner shrimp, 15 red-legged hermit crabs, 20 burgundy hermit crabs, 20 aquarium snails, 10 bumblebee snails, and a featherduster.<Wow, that's a lot of snails!  Please be aware that since the tank is newly setup many of those snail may die do no food which is algae etc.  I like to add my "cleaner crew" about 3-5 months after the tank has been setup.  This way there is enough food to go around and I don't waste money> I plan to add 1-2 fire goby Firefish,<Just one Firefish please.> 1-2 neon gobies,<You can have two, but they may fight for a cave to call home.  Remember to build lots of hiding places.>  1 powder blue tang,<*RED FLAG*  A Power Blue Tang requires a 100 gallon tank.  Plus it is an ich magnet.  They can be kept in larger tanks, but are very prone to contract ich.> 1-2 yellowtail blue damselfish,<One of these also please.> and 1-2 royal Gramma fairy Basslets.<In the "Marine Fishes" book it says that two adult can be kept in a tank larger than 55 gallons.  So you might want to try two, I won't suggest it.> Will also put in some easy-care mushrooms, other featherdusters, etc. I am also am toying with the idea of adding a mandarinfish for Christmas if the system looks like it can support one of the little fellows at that point.< A Mandarin requires a tank of at least 100 gallons to support it's a appetite for pods.  A 55 really isn't enough.> Thanks for your advise, <Not a problem, hope this helps and best wishes!  Phil> Melanie

Re: Stocking a 55g Tank  2/19/03 Thanks for the quick answer.<No problem! BTW you have Phil again!> If I may, I have a few follow-up questions.<Shoot> Re: getting 1-2 of the Firefish, yellowtail blue damselfish, neon gobies, and royal grammas. I know that 2 males in the same tank will fight, but I guess that my question is will each of these fish be happier if they are in a "pair" or will they be happier if they are the only one of their type in the tank?<In this tank you should keep only one Firefish, if you keep more they will fight till the death.  I see no problem keeping two Yellow Tail Damsels, but it would be better if they are a mated pair!  I believe you should be able to keep two Neon Gobies in a 55 gallon tank w/o problems.  They may even become a mated-pair.  The eggs are great food for the fishes!  The Royal Gramma... one of my favorite smaller fish.  I've heard of people who have kept a few in larger tanks 100 gallon plus.  But I've seen first hand in a 125 gallon tank a Royal Gramma chase and kill the other one.  I'd stick w/ one.  You could keep a tang but only if you planned on upgrading to a tank 120 gallons or larger in the next 12-18 months, maybe less depends on how often you feed it and what is fed.  A better option is either the Blue or Yellow Tang.  Both need a 75-100 gallon tank at their max size.  So only get the tang if you can get a 100 gallon tank in the next year and a half or less!>   In other words, do they prefer to be in a pair, or do they only more likely to tolerate other fish if they happen to be of the other gender.<See above please> For example, I know that I haven't had them long, but my two clownfish really seem to adore each other.<Clownfish are one of the species that enjoy staying together, but they do fight every once and a while.  Don't we all?> Re: "A lot of snails," I guess I rushed that a little. I guess I should feed them a little extra until the tank gets going a little bit. But, how much more should I add? I don't want to put in more than they can eat and thus pollute the system. What do you think?<Try feeding small bits of Nori... aka "dried seaweed"  Not a lot.. just small amount near groups of snails.  Some of the snail will find some algae.> Re: the tang. I've seen a lot of stuff, including stuff on this site, that implies you can keep a tang in a tank this size.<Sure I can keep a small shark in this sized tank.  BUT only for a while.  It will outgrow this tank quickly just like the tang will.  Not to be rude, but a better idea might be to buy a pygmy angel instead.  e.g.. My favorite the Flame Angel.> Is it that I have picked a bad tang for a medium tank?<Ya, kinda.. it grows just too big for this tank.> Also, I thought that most of the general concerns about the powder blue were tied to poor collection. Does it make any difference that I would be getting mine from what seems to be a very good distributor?<Even if the President of the United States bought a Power Blue Tang and kept in in a 1000 gallon tank it would probably get in sometime in it's life.> (I was planning on going to Marine Scene in Herndon, Va. They are very careful with their fish sources, won't sell a fish until they have quarantined it for two weeks, etc. They charge a bit more, but I have yet to see a fish that doesn't look great in the half-dozen times I've been there recently.)<Sounds like a good fish store!!> Re: the protein skimmer. I've only had it for about 10 days, and I can already see why people don't rave about this product. It is loud and you have to adjust it often so it doesn't either (1) just not work or (2) make way too many bubbles. However, if I set it right, it seems to be working. Apart from the hassle, is it bad to use it?<Not bad just a waste of money.  It would be better to sell your skimmer on say E-bay and buy a good skimmer.  It will save you money in the long run and headaches over time> I hate to buy a new one while I still have so many other expenses in getting the tank started.<I know what ya mean.  On E-bay you could get between 50-75% of what you paid for it.  It's better than nothing.  But it really is your call!>  Also, I'm not sure what "PITA" stands for.<Let's just say.. Pain in the Rear...> Also, and I guess most importantly, how do I know how many fish I can keep in my tank? I have read the 1/2" per gallon guideline, but I know that fish have more than one diminutions. For example, I have heard that a school of Chromis (say 5) isn't a big addition to a tank, but full-sized, they could equal 18". Are there fish that I can keep where I get more fish for my inches, if you know what I mean?<I know what ya mean but really the only scale that I use is the 1/2 inch rule plus I have been known to under-stock tanks.  I'd rather have way too little than way too much.  Pygmy Angels have a lot of bang for their buck if you know what I mean. e.g.. Flame Angel, Coral Beauty, Bluespotted Angelfish.  Hope this helps and best wishes!!  Phil Thanks for your help.<No problem... anytime!> Melanie

Stocking an Unknown Size Tank.. 2/19/03 I have a acrylic tank and i plan on having reef and fish in my tank specifically a toadstool yellow and a bubble pearl coral I will also have a sebae anemone. My fish I will have are  Coral beauty angel, flame angel, true clown, maroon clown, sergeant major damsel, yellow damsel, 3 stripe damsel and a half black angel. I would also like to know if these fish are compatible with each other.<Well I know that these fish are not going to work in say a tank any less than 500 gallons.  The flame angel may eat soft corals.  You should never mix two species of clown in the same tank ever!  A Sgt. Major gets to be about 6 inches and becomes a real terror!  Please send me more info on your tank and it's lighting!  Thanks  Phil>

- What to Stock - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here at your service...> Hey the 40 gal is back!  (No, I didn't really go anywhere had a nasty case of Bryopsis which I finally won!!! YIKES and Yea! are in order. ) <Yay!> I read all the FAQs on anemones last night. And posted on WWF but I thought I'd try to ask my questions to the pros. Just when I thought I was going to do CB seahorses (have been on seahorse.org), I saw the ad for TR BTA anemones (I have had a bit of a problem getting these from the wild). You can get them paired with TR clowns, some nice color morphs as well. Anyway here are my choices. I think there are cons (and pros) to both. Specifics-- smaller tank or I go with the 40; 65 watts of PC light; Ecosystem 40; AquaC Remora. 1-2 prs of seahorse; Jawfish (already have); and maybe another small fish. This involves daily feeding (gotta have it). CB seahorses are pretty healthy and a bit longer lived than the WC. I think going out of town will be a bit complicated. <I thought I read you had started an aquarium club... does this not mean you could ask a fellow member to watch the tank for you?> I was going  do some 'shrooms and a couple other non-aggressive corals or polyps (not much in such a space). Some people say that giving mysids is polluting to the tank, hey I do that anyway. <Can be counteracted with small, frequent water changes.> Other possibility:  TR clown/anemone; sell back the Jawfish (I'd have to sell back a Royal Gramma the other way); blenny (bicolor or midas); RG; and a small angel (i.e Coral beauty, Flame, or Cherub). I think I could also keep some non-aggressive 'shroms, etc.?? <I think so too...> Is 144 Pc lighting enough (on the 40 breeder)?? <Yeah, I think so... these tanks aren't that tall.> Drawbacks: More heavy feeding perhaps. And the wandering anemone thing (powerheads, outtakes, etc.) and poisoning from dead anemones. <Those are all "yeah... but..." type situations that can be worked around with frequent, small water changes and/or having enough pre-made water around to affect a large change if the situation warranted.> BTW, it is a bit ironic as I have been a big purveyor of warnings to beginners not to keep anemones. Of course not sure I am still a beginner, it's 2 years and all. Advanced beginner? tadpole? Shark? Scallywag? <At the very least, safe to say you already know the advantages, disadvantages, and pitfalls.> My water perimeters lately are: Temp 80. SG 1.024. All ammon; nitrite; nitrite 0;  pH 8.3; alk 3.5 mg/l; CA 400. (of course I have a VERY light bioload). Any comments?? <Not really... it sounds to me like you have a good handle on the situation. Perhaps you just need to flip a coin.> I think both would have challenges but I think they are different ones. <Same, but different.> BTW. also any comments on how to pull water  around?? I am feeling the effects of middle age (or is this good weight training??). Someone suggested pulling water in a buckets on wheels. <Or perhaps a Radio Flyer.> Thanks guys (and gals), --des <Cheers, J -- >

- Starting up Again - Hi, <Good morning, JasonC here...> Since finding your site I've spent a lot of time trying to absorb the fascinating information in your FAQs. It has explained a lot, such as why I a tank that seemed successful eventually crashed and why the cleaner shrimp liked to rock back and forth under a favorite rock. Anyhow, I am rehabilitating my 55 Gallon tank. The ultimate goal is to have a tank populated with:   - a variety of polyps (a green star at the very least),   - a larger variety of mushroom anemones,   - some damsels,   - a sand sifting goby or two,   - at least two cleaner shrimp, and   - Perhaps a brain coral and a few other inverts. Right now I have:   - a very rugged and washed out damsel that has survived hell,   - 50 pounds of live rock that is extremely well seasoned,   - a new, fine grained aragonite sand substrate,   - and a handful of very small snail like critters with rather flattened conical shell "hats". For lighting there is a recently added an Ice Cap 660 with four 3 foot (1 meter) fluorescents (2 SO cool white, 1 VHO 50/50 URL and 1 VHO Actinic URL). The sump is a bare 10 Gallon tank containing a new Aqua-Medic Turboflotor 1000 (with an unadvertised ad on bio-ball outflow box) fed from the tank overflow, a titanium chiller head, heater, return pump and nothing else. The sand, which replaced crushed coral, has shown a mild brown algae bloom that is fading. I've been doing large water changes starting at 50% followed weekly by 20% for the last three weeks since adding the new light system. <You may also want to consider some additional circulation inside the tank - best provided with powerheads.> The Turboflotor is replacing a Sea-Clone that only managed a teaspoon of filtrate at best, but won't go on line until I match my hose with their intake. A new test kit is on order to check ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and pH. Oh, and sometime in the next 12 months I expect to move everything into a 90 gallon tank, adding a catch tray and sump to house a refugium. Both the return pump, a twin to that which came with the skimmer, and the skimmer's re-circulation pump will get replaced with Eheims (isn't there a model that has two pump plenums on it?) <I think so...> My questions are this. What else would you recommend for tank mates and in what order and what time schedule would you add each life form? <Uhh... the list is long and varied. Better to throw me some suggestions of what you might like, and let me comment on that.> I don't want to add anything that doesn't have a good chance of surviving for a long time or to overlook denizens that will help with house keeping. For example, would a brittle star be in order? <Probably.> Also, I've come across something called a NURCE by Aqualab that is supposed to be a low maintenance, high reliability gizmo for making up for evaporation. Your thoughts on that? <They work.> Regards, Charlie H. <Cheers, J -- >

- Selecting Fish for a 20 - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 20 gal, tank that is a saltwater setup that is fully cycled and has had fish in it for a year. Due to me moving the fish out of the tank to another it is now open and I am trying to decide on what to put in it. I have heard that there are small scorpion, angler, frog and other reef fishes of the sort. <These fish do exist, but are totally inappropriate for a 20 gallon tank - all of them can eat like little machines and will produce as much waste, turning a tank of that size into a sewer. Even with weekly water changes, you really aren't doing the fish any favors.> I want to have a camouflage rock set up for these fish but I don't know which species are good for the tank size and which are compatible with each other. <I'd say something much smaller, or even saving this system for quarantine purposes.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
<Cheers, J -- >

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