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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 16

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 14, FAQs 15, 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

Parupeneus multifasciatus in Hawai'i.

Fairly new saltwater tank 8/7/05 I think the site is great! I am so glad to have found such a great fish resource center. I have recently set up a 30 gallon hex tank.  I have stacked live rock all the way up to the top, and four damsels now in there.  I recently added 2 hermit crabs and a ccs.  I now realize that the ccs may have been a bad idea because I plan to add corals. Other than removing the ccs, what are some recommendations for fish, and corals that are easy to care for.  Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Trey Smith <Too large a category to respond to here Trey... do take the long, slow approach of reading through the various groups, making tentative lists... including notes on habitat, compatibility, feeding... Bob Fenner>

Mix of SW fishes 7/5/05 Hi, I am planning My first saltwater tank (90 Gallons) and I would like to know if the fish I have in mind are suitable with the tank and the other fish. 1. Ocellaris Clownfish 2. Black and White Percula Clownfish 3. Firefish Goby    4. Kaudern's Cardinalfish 5. Flame Angelfish 6. Blue Hippo Tang 7. Royal Gramma Is This Fine? <This mix is compatible, yes> Can there ever be any other fish I can add? <Mmm, yes> I like Neon Blue Gobies, Fox Face Lo and some others Will any of these fish ever fit? Thank you for all your help <Yes... looks like you've been studying... ahead of actual purchase. A wise move. Bob Fenner>

Another mix of SW fishes 7/5/05 I E-mailed you about the fish stocking/compatibility question and some of the other fish I like and if I am able to put in based on you answer to my previous mail are: 1. Black Saddle Back Clownfish   2. Green Mandarin 3. Foxface Lo 4. Bicolor Foxface 5. Longnose Hawkfish 6. Neon Blue Goby 7. Cleaner Common Wrasse 8. Scopas Tang    9. Convict Tang Which fish are compatible with the fish I listed in my last e-mail (Ocellaris Clownfish, Black and White Percula Clownfish, Firefish Goby, Kaudern's Cardinalfish, Flame Angelfish, Blue Hippo Tang, Royal Gramma)? <Please read through WWM here... there are a few inconsistent mixes... I would just have one Rabbitfish, one Tang, no Labroides... Bob Fenner>

I got an mistaken answer 7/7/05 Dear Mr. Fenner, I asked you a question about a saltwater mix and I wanted to know if I can add any other fish. I sent you a second e-mail of fish I like. I wanted to know which fish from my second e-mail would go with the fish from my first e-mail. <Not a mistaken response... read on WWM re each of the second groups compatibility. Bob Fenner> Stocking SW service company tanks Hello again! <Howdy> I have this customer with very peculiar taste. <Heeee!>   He has a 300g tank, which we are currently upgrading to reef.  I spent 3 hours with him this morning browsing through stocking options online and in books.  We found 6 fish he liked that didn't eat corals or simply die in captivity. These are the desires of his heart:   RS Sailfin Tang Longnose Butterfly Harlequin Tusk Volitans Lionfish Marine Betta Colored Angler I have never kept an aggressive reef tank, and I'm not really sure how this will all pan out.  He wants to keep mostly zoos, shrooms, and LPS. Obviously there will be no macro-invertebrate life other than corals. All specimens will be medium sized - big enough to not be eaten by one another.  I have slight concerns about the BF's reef compatibility but I think I can make that work.   <Should be fine> I have more slight concerns about the frog. A. Eating the other fish, and B. Getting picked on by the other fish, and C. Being difficult to feed. <The last is most important, trouble>   In this size tank with this relatively small medley how much should I really worry? <Worry? None... plan and be resolved> Ultimately my customer is interested in having a water garden more than having fish.    <That's why... it's their system, you have been hired...> Although isn't necessarily reflected in his final fish choices, he really wants extremely unique fish.  His two favorites are the lion and the frog.  Any other suggestions of fun fish that might fit his arrangement?  He loves boxfish, cowfish, puffers, the Clown Trigger, Dragon Wrasse, Mandarins, Batfish, Filefish, that "type" of fish. <Let him visit shops... look for himself... No triggers, mandarins though> I'm sure my queries have been reflected upon by this point, so I thank you! Scott Johnson Critter Cabana <A good idea (one we used with our service customers) was to make, present a greatly shortened "book" list with pix of organisms available... And allow our customers to pick from this... Bob Fenner>

SW stocking, WWM Hey guys! Just a few quick questions before I get round to running my 3' bow-front marine tank. I plan on running the tank with the common equipment (protein skimmers etc.) and a few good bits and pieces of live rock, around 20-30lbs to be exact. With weekly 20% water changes. My proposed stock consists of a dwarf lionfish and a longnose hawkfish, just wondering if you could suggest a few fish/inverts that could take up some of the excess room in the tank without being 'inhaled' (if any!). <Anything larger than Dwarf Lion mouth size that won't pick on these desired first fishes> Feeding time will bring with it an array of tasty morsels, such as Mysis, brine shrimp, squid, turkey heart, <Nay to the gobbler throbber> prawns and whitebait. I would also like to know how often i should feed the dwarf, some tell me only 4 or 5 times a week. <See WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaqs.htm> Well that's me for now, hope to hear from you soon! I'd be grateful if you could point out any flaws in my plan and suggest how to better them as I'm only 16 and have a heck of a lot to learn! Cheers, Andy. <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

The Plan Thus Far... <Morning! Ryan with you> You all are an aquarium keepers best friend. <Hey, thanks!>  Not to mention the wealth of knowledge available on your site is unsurpassed on the web.  All your help in the past has been immeasurable and after 11 months of research and reading, I'm ALMOST ready to begin this endeavor. This is the plan so far for a fish/invert tank, eventually migrating to a full reef.  Please let me know if there any flies in the soup. <Certainly> 75G glass tank 29G sump 45lbs Fiji LR, 36lbs Lalo LR, 25lbs Caribbean LR - Uncured to preserve the biodiversity  <Very nice> ~5" CaribSea Aragonite (1-1.7mm) DSB Aqua C EV240 w/ Mag 12 pump (investment for a larger aquarium in the future) Mag 24 return pump - should give 15-20x turnover depending on the final head pressure 2 titanium 200W heaters 2 MH fixtures with 175W 10K bulbs 2 VHO lamps (actinic blue) I believe I listed all the major components, but please let me know if I have left a major necessity off the list. <Considered building a frame for your live rock?  Perhaps I'm paranoid because I live in San Francisco!> He is my planned fish/invert list (corals to come later).  Could you please let me know if you see any problems with these choices, be it amount or compatibility? <OK> Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) Bicolor Dottyback (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) Blue devil Damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea) <Could be too feisty> Firefish, Purple (Nemateleotris decora) Red Velvet Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis) ??? Yellow Hawaiian Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) Peppermint Shrimp x2 (Lysmata wurdemanni) Blue Linckia Sea Star (Linckia laevigata) Blood Red Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius) Standard cleanup crew Any feedback or suggested changes would be greatly appreciated. <Looks good, well planned.> Off the subject, I read that you all are looking for help with the website? Particularly the daily FAQs.  Well I know I'm not knowledgeable or experienced enough to help answer questions, but I believe I could be of assistance in organizing the daily into categories to free up the time of the crew to answer questions.  Just a thought.  Let me know. <I will forward your interest along! Best of luck in your new setup-Ryan> Thanks again for everything, Jeremy

Handicapped Gramma! Hi Crew, <Greetings! Ryan with you!> I just like to say thank you for your help and support, I've asked a question before and gotten excellent information.  How do I know?  Because it worked! <Under promise, over deliver!  Works every time ;)   >  Now I have another question that I hope you can answer.  Here's some background first...... This weekend I purchased a Royal Gramma.  The tank had about ten of them all floating in separate containers to keep them from fighting.  I check all the fish up and down and picked the best one. (The feisty one, who was flashing his fins and mouth at another fish floating next to him).  I got him home and acclimated him to his Q-Tank and all was fine that night.  The next morning he ate well and was swimming around just fine.  But after the second time I approached the tank to look the fish over I noticed that he didn't have a left side fin.  It was completely gone!  He just had a stub sticking out where the fin should be.  I noticed the stub moves when he does, so there is muscle movement there.  But he swims just fine and eats anything I put in the tank, and seems very happy.  So my question is, do missing fins like this grow back, or will he be the "Gramma without a side fin"?  It just burns me up that I completely missed this, but I really like this fish for the color and personality and hope he makes it to the main tank.  Thanks for your future reply.  Tom <Tom, you're going to have to be very patient with this wounded little Gramma.  He's going to need a variety of good foods, high water quality and lots of hiding places.  With time, he'll grow the fins back.  I would keep him quarantined as long as possible-Haven't you always wanted an excuse to set up that nano?  I really wouldn't put him in your display until he's 100%.  The more stress he endures, the longer he'll be swimming in circles!  All kidding aside, I'm sure he'll be just fine.  See ya! Ryan>

180 Gallon Stocking Plans I am in the process of stocking a 180G FOWLR with a 75G sump and a 44G refugium. I was wondering about the suitability of the following: 1 Pomacanthus angel (yet to be determined which) <I would go with a hardier species...Koran, emperor etc> 1 Snowflake Eel <good choice> 1 Purple Tang <Keep excellent water quality with this fish. and make sure to QT for at least 3 weeks> 1 Long-nosed (or other) Butterflyfish <Would go with a raccoon butterfly or one of the hardier species> 1 Bird Wrasse <Nice fish> Thanks, Steve <Your stocking plans are pretty good, good luck, IanB>

Almost Ready to Make My Big Purchase I am new to the marine aquarium, and I am almost about ready to dive in.  You guys have been very helpful so far, and the CMA was a fantastic resource.  Here is my set up, and forgive me first off with the size and no sump, but money and space are a big issue.  I will be setting up: 1) a FOWLR 2) 40 gal breeder w/ 40lbs. of LR 3) Aqua C hot skimmer w/ the 1200 maxi jet 4) 2-3 powerheads 5) HOT filter w/ carbon that will run 3-4 days/month for mechanical & chemical filtration. Live stock: 1) pair of percula clowns 2) Royal Gramma 3) 3 yellow tail damsels 4) Cherub angel 5) various cleaners (shrimp, hermits, snails, brittle stars) 6) Feather dusters >>Nix the damsels and your stocking list will be safer, they could get aggressive with the clowns and that little angel.  Consider instead Chromis, small cardinals, or neon or clown gobies (small gobies). >Here are my questions: 1) Should I use a shallow sand bed >1 inch or a DSB <5 inches? >>Since you're going with no sump, I suggest a DSB. >2) I am not planning on buying live sand due to the purchase of LR, is this ok?  Will the LR make the sand live?   >>This is fine, it is likely this is how the purchased live sand became live in the first place.  Cure the l/r first, then place in display, then add sand (aragonite or other calcareous is preferred), seed with piece of shrimp to start cycle and feed sand and l/r.  When readings get to zero and nitrate is low, then you can begin stocking. >And is aragonite a good selection or should I use crushed coral? >>For DSB, sand is preferred to crushed coral. >3) Due to cost and heat output, I would rather not use compact fluorescents, are NO fluorescents (one 10,000K and one actinic blue) ok?   >>Not familiar with N/O's that have a Kelvin rating of 10,000K, but if they exist they should be fine for the most part.  Coralline algae does need available calcium, so aragonite would be preferable, as is good quality l/r.   >Can I get coralline algae growth from this or do I need compacts?  Do compacts throw off a lot of heat? >>I believe that it isn't the lights themselves that put out so much heat as it is the ballast that does.  To the best of my knowledge the ballast can be located somewhat remotely, depending on the setup of the power compacts.  It is my opinion, however, that in the long run you'll be happier with the pc's.  Contact a good lighting supply, such as hellolights.com (or one of our sponsors) and ask them these questions as they ARE the "experts".  Best of luck to you!  Marina

One More Fish? Hello WWM Crew, I have a question [sic] regarding my 60 gal. tank. (48") My set up is as follows; 60 gal. tank; 140lbs. live rock; 2" live sand bed; PC lighting 390watts; 8 Med. corals (LPS-SPS); 3 small clams (<3"); 1 Chevron Tang  4"; 1 Flame Angel  2"; 1 maroon clown 2"; 4 shrimp (2 fire, 2 cleaner); 50 Hermits; 4 emerald crabs; 2 small starfish (burgundy Linckia).  Is my tank overstocked? <It is very close.> I would like to add a couple more small fish (cardinal, Blue tang, or a Hawkfish) <I wouldn't do it... much better to be somewhere less than overstocked, than have too much and be hating it. Learn to enjoy your system the way it is, it sounds like a very nice mix. Cheers, J -- >

-Australian fish worth the extra cash?- Dear Wetwebmedia crew <Hi!> Is it worth it to buy a fish from Australia? <Sometimes> Are they more colorful? <Sometimes> Or hardier? <Pretty safe bet that they've been net collected at least.> Or just more expensive. <Usually!> I know red sea specimens are worth the extra money (but this angel doesn't come from there)  Just wondering and can't find it in the FAQs (looking at purchasing a Blueface angel from marine center). <Since they still commonly come from the Philippines, getting an Australian one will pretty much guarantee you that they have been properly handled and not been juiced. The color may be better as well, but that varies specimen to specimen. Enjoy the new angel (hope you have a large enough tank!) -Kevin> Thanks Gary Peterson

Big Time Tank With Some Big Plans! I am in the process of setting up a 300 Gallon aquarium.  I would like to keep the following things in the system.  There will be a lot of caves from live rock.  Crustaceans, anemones, and the following fish: Pinnatus Batfish - Platax pinnatus, clownfish, tassel filefish, raccoon butterfly, and maybe some others.  I have a large trickle filter with 3 little giants returning (3000 gal/hr flow rate), 2 UV sterilizers, a very large skimmer (reef concepts). <If you intend to keep a Tassled filefish, I'd think that your inverts would be in jeopardy...! The batfish is a notoriously tough fish to keep for long periods of time...The large tank is a big plus, but feeding is problematic at times> I would like to keep a queen angel.  There is no way to get a Majestic or Regal to co exist with the queen is there?  If not, can a majestic and a regal co exist. <The Queen is an amazing fish, but it gets huge! Even in a 300 gallon system, the size and personality of this fish make it very difficult, if not impossible to keep with other angels. The Regal Angel is really a fish that is best left in the ocean...Yes, some people have kept them for a few years, but the vast majority croak in a very short time in captivity...Really a fish that should not be kept by most hobbyists. Even public aquariums rarely keep them. Just say no! If it were me, and I wanted to keep a few angels, I'd try to keep a small group of Centropyge angles together. It will take some skill and timing, but it is possible in a tank the size of yours.> The queen is my favorite fish, but I might would trade it for those two. ( I think I already know the answer unfortunately) Also, I would like to ask about tangs.  I would like to keep a school.  What kinds school, and how many do I need to school. <Well, Convict Tangs, Acanthurus triostegus, also called "Manini" in the Islands, can be kept in a school, but you'd need to add them all at one time. I'd get them small if you're going to attempt this.> Also, can I keep other tangs in the aquarium if there is a school? <Well, Eric, I've seen hobbyists keep Zebrasoma tangs in a tank with another species in a school. The key is to add them when they're small> Eric <Good luck, Eric! Just a thought, but you may want to consider keeping small to medium fishes in this tank. A large tank with smaller fishes is an impressive sight, and the fishes will behave in a more natural manner...Lots of fairy wrasses, blennies, etc. that can make an impressive display in a tank of this size...The possibilities are enormous! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Big Tank With Some Big Plans (Pt. 2) Just one quick follow up question.  If I did not keep any other angels in the system you described (with smaller to medium fish) would a queen angel be fine, or would I be better off with a majestic.  Also, the Pinnatus Bat would be fine if healthy right. I have to have a large angel and bat in my system! Eric <Well, Eric- I'd probably go for the Majestic, myself. It tops out at around 10-12 inches...It can be a bit shy at first, but once it settles in, it's an awesome fish. The batfish is still problematic...Even a healthy specimen can be difficult to feed. It really should be left in the wild, IMO. And, the awesome black and orange coloring fades to a rather dull grey/brown pattern if the fish makes it to adulthood. And, because of its tall shape, it needs a deep tank...All in all, not a really great choice. Perhaps some other fish with similar behaviors could work better...? Enjoy the search! Regards, Scott F>

- No More Room - Gentlemen, <Hello, JasonC here...> It's been a while since I last mailed you.  After a catastrophic system crash (caused by a heretofore unseen Mantis Shrimp literally snipping a damsel in two), I lost my entire stock.  Since then, I acquired from a fellow who lost his house (bad lawyer!) a maroon clown, gold stripe maroon clown, and a purple tang.  (This is a 55g with 60lbs LR, a Millennium canister filter, a penguin biofilter and a Berlin fluidized bed filter).  I added a domino and humbug damsel, a strawberry Gramma, and a school of green Chromis.  I've noticed the tang and the clowns performing a ritual of laying horizontally above a certain area of sand and "shimmying"...no visible signs of parasites, color is good, they're eating well and active, and have been in the tank 6 months or so.  I was going to buy a Butterfly or two, and decided to get a cleaner shrimp or wrasse "just in case"- the LFS recommended the wrasse over the shrimp, so I got the wrasse and a 4" Heniochus. <Ugg... please don't buy cleaner wrasses: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm > Trouble started immediately - the Tang took an instant dislike to the butterfly, and attacked mercilessly throughout the day. I removed him and took apart the rocks, let things settle, then re-introduced him this morning (he was in another room entirely last night- thought his little fishy brain would forget).  This morning the butterfly was lying on his side barely moving (so was the Tang incidentally). <Perhaps still sleeping...> I got the tang moving again, and his color came back- so did his memory (who knew a fish would hold a grudge?) but it took almost all day for the butterfly to come around.  When he did, the tang started right back on him. <No surprise.> I moved the butterfly to another tank, but not sure what the next step is.  Nowhere did I read that this pairing was contra-indicated. I knew tangs could be aggressive, but this fish is trying to kill the other one! <I'd call that aggressive... most any tang will go after other organisms they perceive as a threat to 'their' food. In your case, your tank has too many fish, and socially there isn't enough space - any new addition will be perceived as competition for short resources.> Should I re-attempt to introduce the butterfly (I would prefer not to unless you recommend it) or just accept the Tang's claim of all territorial waters? <I wouldn't add any more fish, which means you should return the BF.> If that's the case, would it be advisable to add other butterflyfish? <Not in this system - no room.> Angels? <No for the same reason.> Was the relative size (they were similar in size) a problem? <In some ways yes, but likely not the direct cause. The tang most likely saw the BF as a competitor for the same resources [space, food, algae patch, etc.] and decided to let the BF know what the deal was.> And once again, thanks for being here- all the reading isn't a substitute for a real life person who's "been there- done that" Gerry <Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Selection - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Wow-what an amazing web site.  I have been wading through the FAQ's and while interesting, I am still a little uneasy as I add my second round of fish.  I have a 90 gallon tank with crushed coral sand and about 85 pounds of live rock.  The tank cycled for about 4 months and we have had 4 yellowtailed damsels for about 6 weeks.  I have a few questions I hope you can help me with: 1. Am I supposed to add just one type of fish at a time (after a stay in the quarantine tank) or should I group different types with each addition? <Unless the fish were purchased as a group [like a group of Anthias, or a pair of clownfish] I would not add more than one organism a month. Exceptions would include batches of snails, and other small items that don't add up to much.> 2. Here are fish I am interested in-if it's not too much trouble, do you think you could give advice on the order I should add these in? Also, could you alert me to any and problems with overstocking/compatibility? 2 tank raised ocellaris clownfish Flame angelfish Royal Gramma Blue neon goby (will he get harassed?) blue tang Lemonpeel angel or yellow tang Some starfish, snails, and shrimp for cleaning-any suggestions? <This is a fine list, and am pretty confident you can add these in any order you want. There is one exception... a pair of pygmy angels in this tank will not turn out so well... pick either the Flame angel or the Lemonpeel and stock only that single angel. Same goes for the tang(s) - only one, you pick... both that you list will outgrow this tank.> I also like green fish and black fish-any suggestions? <Hmm... for black fish you might want to try to find a pair of black ocellaris clowns - very pretty. For green fish, perhaps some green Chromis... or there are also a couple of Coris wrasses that stay smaller and are also green. Spend more time in WetWebMedia - you should find several possibilities there.> Thanks so much for your help-I know this is a lot but I am a bit on my own-my local fish store hasn't been very helpful.  Bond <Cheers, J -- >

Overstocking a 55? Hi, love the site!!! it has provided me with a wealth of knowledge. <Great!> I have a 55 Gal Saltwater Tank with about 100 pounds of live rock. All of the tank parameters are ok except the Nitrates are at about 20 ppm. The tank is stocked with 4 blue Chromis, 1 neon goby, 2 clown fish, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 cb shrimp and a few soft corals. Do you think that I am over doing it or could I maybe add a few more smaller fish, maybe some gobies or a wrasse or 2. <Absolutely, just make sure they're compatible. How bout a Centropyge angel?> Thank you very much for the info. <I wish more people were worried about overstocking BEFORE they overstocked; you're heading in the right direction! -Kevin> Mark G

- Stocking Plan - Dear WWM crew, I am planning to upgrade my 50gal. tank to a 120gal. tank, with the 50gal going underneath the tank as a sump. My current stock is: yellow tang, blue cheek goby, pyjama wrasse, Fireball angel, scooter blenny and two common clowns. I hope in the new tank to have: Banggai cardinalfish (a few), a copperband butterfly, and some other fish. <Consider not keeping much more than this and allowing more space between fish... understock.> What is the best way to undertake the move, should I move in my current fish in first, or in groups, split by new fish, bearing in mind the old tank will go as the sump, so my time is restricted. <Sounds like you've got more complexities there than just moving the fish. I would concentrate on how you're going to have the 120 cycled and running. I'd start with a second 50 for the sump so the 120 can already be up and cycled when you decide to move the fish.> If I do have to split my current fish, would they have to re-form their relationships? <I think so, especially if you move them all at once. I'd just catch and bag them in large bags and then float them in the new tank, mix in new water over thirty minutes or so and release... perhaps wait a little while longer if you are also moving decor to let the dust settle.> Many thanks, James Matthams.   <Cheers, J -- >

Compatibility... I would like to know if you have any comments on the compatibility of the fish that I am planning on stocking. My tank is a 90 gallon (not set up yet). Here are my selections (there will eventually be some size issues, but I've spoken to my LFS, and trade ins are not a problem). -porcupine puffer -Picasso trigger -yellow tang -blue dot puffer -Pinkface wrasse -blood red hawkfish -bicolor Pseudochromis <Everyone should get along, but in a 75, it's going to get tight in there really quick. You may want to think about dropping one or two. Make sure you get everyone small (especially the puffer and the trigger) and be wary that the bicolor pseudo may get chomped.> I am willing to part with the wrasse or the blue dot if the load is going to be to much. <Cool, dropping either one or both will be good for the tank.> I will be filtering with a Fluval 404, a Remora Pro, and two sweeping powerheads. <With that setup you'll need some live rock unless you are planning on adding a bio-filter (Fluvals don't cut it for bio-filtration).> How much water flow is to much for puffers? <When they're pressed up against the glass and can't move! You'll have adequate water flow with the setup you described. Have fun w/ the new setup! -Kevin>

Starting Over Hey there crew, <Hey there reader! Ryan here with you today> hope all is well with everybody. <And the same to you my friend>  I'm anxiously awaiting the book to ship! <Aren't we all?>  I would like to run my restocking plan for my 125g marine tank by y'all. <No problem!>   About 5 weeks ago I had a rather bad outbreak of Ich.  While on vacation, I lost my Flame Angel, B&W Heniochus, Domino Damsel (el Diablo), Lawnmower Blenny, Scooter Blenny, and a Clarkii Clown.  I was totally bummed!  Surviving was a small yellow tang, small porcupine puffer, green spotted puffer, and a sebae clown (the Clarkii was it's mate). <I'm sorry to hear this> Anyway, everyone was FW dipped for 5 minutes and the survivors have been in the hospital since.  The tang and the clown were treated with copper while the puffers were in a separate tank treated with FW dips.  All fish have been (knock on wood) Ich free for about 4 weeks now.  Because of Ich and algae, I've decided to start the tank over. <OK> I've left my CBS, snails and some hermits in the main tank for now.  I took out all but one piece of the lace rock, and found that it may have been one of the causes of my algae problem.  This was sort of confirmed by Scott F. in a past query.  When I took it out, 90% of my brown and hair algae disappeared.  I plan on removing my 2" crushed coral substrate, and replacing it with a 3/4" sand bed (preferably live).  My wife doesn't like the "ant farm" look of the DSB so I'm opting for the shallower. I will be ordering about 150 of live rock. <And how does she feel about that?  Just giving you a hard time ;)> Because my puffers will more than likely eat what I want to put in the tank, I will be taking my puffers back to the LFS:(  <One of the downfalls of these incredible fish.  The green spotted isn't as aggressive with fish, but will eat inverts>   When the live rock has cured and the tank has cycled, I want to put in an assortment of snails for detritus and algae cleaning, as well as stirring the sand bed. <Make sure to give it 2-4 weeks to properly cure first- Dead snails are hard to find!>  I would also like to get a sand sifting star to help. <Optional.  Do some research on this, many aquarists, myself included, find these more of a pain than anything.> Maybe also, some more scarlet reef hermits. <Personal favorite, but shy.  Pair them up for more exposure.> I would also like to add some Feather Dusters, and some type of macroalgae. <With any luck, they'll come on your rock> Eventually my Tang and clown will be going back in the 125. <Good!> I plan on getting another mate for the clown (QT'd of course).  Also, I would like to get a neon goby or two, another Flame Angel, and about 5 Green Reef Chromis.  <Very slowly, add the flame angel last.> Also, my kids are bugging me for a "Dory" (Blue Tang). <Mine too...be strong my friend!  Much more demanding than your other stock>  A Royal Gramma?  I already have a Remora Pro pulling lots of nasties from the water.  I was thinking of replacing my Emperor 400 with another Remora Pro.  What are your thoughts on that.  Would two overskim the tank? <No, but I'm not sure that the exact same skimmer is your best bet.  Consider a different make or model for some variance.>  I liked the media trays on the Emperor that I kept carbon and Polyfilter in, but wonder if another skimmer would be better? <No, the flexibility that this offers you will be missed.  A skimmer, while great at what it doesn't, can't replace an area for biological filtration.  Adding a skimmer will help, but don't get rid of the Emperor>  I have lots more planning time, as live rock is expensive, so your comments are gratefully accepted.  Thanks once again for putting up with my ramblings, and please continue to educate us newbies! <And continue to ask great questions.  I'd hold off with the 'Dory' until you're a little more in tune with your system.  You don't want to lose a fish that your kids are attached to!  Otherwise, everything sounds good.  Just remember to be controlled!  Buy slowly, monitor the results of each added specimen.  So many options with this setup!  Good luck!> Vince

Dragon, Trigger and Skimmer <Hi! Ryan with you today> I've got one more question for you before I set up. <I'm all ears>(Thanks for all of the advise by the way) This is my tank <Future tank I assume?>: -90 gallon -porcupine puffer (know about the size, will either go larger, or trade in at LFS. Manager says they do that all the time <Okay> -Picasso trigger <cool> -scopas tang -Pinkface wrasse or dragon <No, not really a beginner's fish.  A dragon wrasse can truly put a dent in your aquascaping plans!> -and maybe a couple of small fish that could survive the puffer. <Just skip the damsels please.  Perhaps a Royal Gramma would be suitable.> Anyway, I've done a lot of reading about HOT skimmers and the one most recommended is the Aqua C. <Great product> I'm guessing the pro would be needed, <Absolutely.> but should I upgrade to the Maxijet, or would the Rio be enough. <Maxijet, it will give you more wiggle room with the bioload.  But, don't take this the wrong way-you'll need some serious filtration and water changes keep all those fish healthy in a 90 gallon tank.  You've got to narrow your selection.  2 of the larger fish and a few mid to smaller sized should be fine.  If you do decide to go with the trigger, add him last and purchase him small.> I'm going to filter with a Fluval 404, and have about 45-50lbs on live rock. <Is adding more live rock a possibility?  If not, add another 40-75 lbs of base rock for seeding.  Having 100+ pounds of live rock in a 90 is a great help.  The Fluval has a bad reputation- but I think mainly it is from improper maintenance of the filter.  These get nasty quick!  Clean it regularly.  Go very slowly with this setup, let the tank establish itself properly.  Please write back if you have more questions! Good luck-Ryan> Anything else I need to add? <Lots of time and patience!>

Clown nibbler... Hi guys. - - <Hey there> First off, much thanks on so much info - I have been in and out of the hobby (saltwater ) for about 7 years now -  I currently have a Koran Angel, Tomato clown, a Lysmata shrimp and a small crab - a bunch of Lace rock for the background and fake coral in many shapes and sizes for the foreground.  I also have crushed coral  on the bottom and am running a Fluval 404  to filter - oh - the tank is 75 G - all readings are good, just had a run with ich - after QT and FWD solved that one - I have a two part question : My Koran is picking on my clown - badly - <That's odd, if you still have your QT set up, throw the Koran back in it for a week or two until the clown can get settled.> should I get an anemone? <Not with that setup. Anemones are suited to a reef type setting.>(SP) - (I always have a hard time spelling or saying that one) <Heh, you got it.>- and I would like to introduce a fish or two within the next 2 months  - any suggestions - I hear that you should only have 1 angel per tank <yep>- Would a trigger be too harsh ??? <If you don't like your clown getting picked on! Nigers are pretty mellow, but you can pretty much say good bye to your crab and shrimp with triggers in the tank.> Would live rock be a good choice (although I don't need due to current filtration) <On the contrary, removing all that base rock and replacing it with live rock (or simply tossing in some live rock) will help out the tank tremendously. With enough live rock, you could even remove the bio-media from the canister. If you wanted to go the live rock way, first I'd yank all the crushed coral and install a live sand bed.> - I am just wondering - I do want to stay away from reef (not good enough yet) <All in due time, pick up some books.> - but I do want some colorful fish - any ideas??? <Alright, fish recommendations: Grammas, Gobies, cardinalfish, small Zebrasoma tang (keeping in mind that it will outgrow the tank in a few years), a small Bristletooth tang (Kole, chevron, etc), maybe a fairy wrasse. Peruse through the fish articles until you stumble upon something stunning, then read all about it. Good luck! -Kevin> Again- thanks for all of your help

Engineering The Perfect System! Hi Scott F, <Hello again!> Thanks for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. It is nice to know that I am headed in the right direction. I haven't had may sites reply to my questions so thanks again. <Glad to be of service!> The fish I like don't lend themselves to reef systems (Emperor angelfish, lionfish, puffers, butterfly fish ...). So I will be having a mainly fish system. <Definitely a good call here!> I am considering getting a tank between 600 - 700 L (~6x2x2 if you like Imperial units) (I think this should be big enough as long as I get smaller species of lionfish, puffers ......) <Agreed...Although the Emperor can reach up to 15 inches, and some of those puffers can get huge, too! You may need a tank double the size to really accommodate these guys for their full life span...> I had a thought today though, can I still use live rock in a fish tank? Or will the fish waste "kill" the rocks unless I am VERY careful? <Well, they won't "kill" the rock, as there will be sufficient bacteria and microfauna on the rocks to continue their benefit as a supplemental "filter". Many of these fishes will, however, forage on the "macrofauna" living on the rocks- and, as you surmised, most sessile inverts are out of the question in this setup> On that note, are there any invertebrates (I mean corals, etc.- not crustaceans, etc) that will tolerate living with these fish? <Well, it's a calculated risk...Some of the "more noxious soft corals" (Sarcophyton, Sinularia, some zoanthids, etc.), as Scott Michael likes to say, might be okay...I'd start with captive propagated frags for a test...> What about coralline algae or algae in general? I know the most invertebrates are very sensitive so I'm not hopeful, but I thought I'd ask. <Well, most of these fishes will not munch coralline; however, other macroalgae may become a snack for these fishes!> The reason that I ask is that I want to try and avoid having a tank with just bare rocks and that looks "empty". My local fish store is good but there display tanks are either full reef or fish only and the fish only ones are full of bare rock and look boring. I know that the fish will be plenty to look at but if I can have my cake and eat it too ...... On that note, I have struggled to find pictures of fish only tanks (everyone seems to be going reef). <I've seen plenty of fish only with live rock (FOWLR) tanks that don't just look like a pile of bare rocks, so don't give up hope! You can also use the very realistic synthetic corals available now (I hear the gasps from reef geeks already), but give it a shot with selected live ones, if you dare.> If you know were I can see some that would be great, we engineers might be able to do math but some times we are a little bit devoid of artistic talent so some inspiration would be great (monkey sea monkey do). <I'd post on the WWM chat forum and see if some of your fellow hobbyists have any pics of their FOWLR tanks. Also, check out sites like Reef Central for more pictures, as well> One last thing. How do I calculate the glass thickness required for a tank. I know that I'm and engineer but my background is in chemical eng not mechanical. I'm sure that the required thickness would change depending on the height, width and length but how ? (remember we engineers love equations:)  ) <Grr...I actually had a site with this information somewhere- but I misplaced the URL...It's an Aussie site (not ozreef.org), but I can't recall right now...If anyone knows this info...please pass it on...> Thanks again for replying to my first email. I understand if you get too busy to answer all my questions. Thanks, Adam L <Never to busy to help a fellow hobbyist! Good luck with your tank...I'm sure that it will be as beautiful in real life as it will be on your CAD plan (LOL!). Regards, Scott F>

Seeking Reef Fish 6/15/03 Anthony, There aren't many fish I would want to look at in my reef tank. I tried a Scott's Fairy and it got skinny and died. <beautiful fish... would have benefited from feeding (jar) Sweetwater Plankton... better still, a mature (over 1 year old) fishless refugium on the tank for plankton> Have you ever seen in all your years in fish keeping a Maroon Clownfish bother any corals? <very commonly, yes. They rasp mucus from polyps/tentacles... and sometimes pick up and move loose corals/polyps from their settings if not secure. Others even try to use large polyped corals as a host (kills the coral in time). No clowns either> I have seen some nice sized ones and they would look nice rather than no fish at all in my reef tank. <also a horrifyingly aggressive clownfish... gets quite large too (over 6"/15 cm)> If you have any suggestions of colorful reef safe fish that are a sure bet I'm all ears............Chet <the list of peaceful reef-safe fishes is longer than non-reef safe ones. And really a matter of personal preference. You just need to research bud. FWIW, the sunburst Anthias is a hardy and handsome fish for the reef: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranocirrhitus.htm best regards, Anthony>

Big ol' angels in a 55? I know that both Emperor and Queen angels like larger tanks but I have a 55 gallon with only two fish and I would like to get one of the two. I do plan on getting a larger tank (180g) but not for a year or so. <The idea here is buy for what you've got. Who knows what will happen in the next year or so...> Would it be ok if I got one of these fish (about 2-3") and put it into a 55 for a year? <Juveniles can grow pretty quickly, you'd be surprised. I would recommend against it until the new tank is ordered. That way you'd have them for only a few months.> I know large angels can't go together but in a lightly stocked 180 gallon would a queen and a emperor be alright? <Most likely not> My 55 gallons right now has a harlequin tusk (5.5") <Better start worrying about a new home for this critter as well, start saving up for that 180!> and a flame angel (2.5"). Which would be a better choice? <Introducing a small angel in with the flame could result in the newcomer getting pummeled.> How fast do these fish grow (talking about the already adult ones)? <Impossible to say, depends on many things. Assume incredibly fast and base decisions around that.> What would you put into my tank? Hippo tang? Blue tang? Powder blue tang? <I suppose that would be up to you but for now I would say try some gobies, Pseudo's, hawks; stuff that stays small. There's nothing big about a 55.> I just want a colorful tank. <All the more reason to check out all the really cool gobies, wrasses, Dottybacks, grammas, etc.> Sorry for all the question. <No problem! Good luck with this and your future tank, -Kevin> Thanks for your time and help, Andy

Re: Sri Lanka and Miami Fish Transshipped 6/13/03 Dear Anthony, Thank you for your reply! Unfortunately I had to place my order before I received your very informative e-mail. <no worries mate... sorry I could not get back to you quicker> Which is sad as i had gone with a few powder blue tangs. I understand the problems with this species, but I know that TMC (Britain's largest marine wholesaler) sources this species from Sri Lanka, with much success, so I thought if I used careful methods of acclimatization (as stated on your website) I may be able to settle this species well. <agreed... and true in part. But there are problems with this species and its suitability in captivity far beyond acquisition. Few receive the dynamic water flow and high levels of dissolved oxygen they need... the very large/long tanks... and the strict diet. A magnificent fish... but light years away in hardiness compared to Zebrasoma species> It is too late now and they are coming. I will do my best to save the ones in my box and next time I wont order these fish. <do consider importing them if they are handled well... but also try to avoid making them a ready staple for the uninformed or unprepared. All part of being a good merchant and sizing up your customers needs and abilities and educating them as you what best to buy from you. Serving you, your customer and the industry at the same time :) > I know what you are saying about triggers and lions, but the shipper is notorious for packing large fish, and I know I will wind up with massive lionfish! <heehee... brother, ALL shippers are notorious for this <G>. Very good to be aware... but use your money as muscle: make it clear to this and any shipper what you will and will not pay for from the start... if they ship you fill ins or inappropriate stock... don't pay, or don't reorder without credit if COD> The triggers on the list were not too interesting, only the standard Undulated (which i find very aggressive), blue niger (which I have) and the Picasso. If there were clown triggers I would jump at the chance to get one. <do look at the black footed clowns from Sri Lanka... somewhat of a rarity here in the US. Also, the sebae/clarkii clowns from here are breathtaking!!> Thank you for the advice on the Florida box. I would really like some Atlantic tangs, as I have dived with them in the Caribbean. These are not that common in the UK so these would be quite special. <alas... they get to 40 cm as an adult! Good thing you don't see many of them in the trade... would be heartbreaking> I would like to shoal them, or keep them in a small group, but I am not sure of their behaviour in such groups in captivity? <the behavior is reasonably good... but they are a fragile fish... and get quite large. I really cannot imagine too many private aquaria that can responsibly house even three adult blue tangs as they approach their adult size. Really best left in the ocean unless special ordered for large/public aquaria> what are your thoughts? also do juv.s do better than adults? <5-10 cm is likely to ship best IMO> what size would I expect to come from Florida (I know these questions are a bit 'dependable' but i should imagine you have a better idea than i have) <be careful of really small specimens so common from FL (under 4 cm). And definitely avoid all over 15 cm (very poor shippers)> I wont order horseshoe crabs, although they are very interesting creatures. <agreed> The hi hats will also be crossed off my list, I haven't much experience with these so I was ordering out of curiosity really (a bit un-ethical of me). I will QT these fish as you said, I do have a substrate but it is only fine white Silica Sand which is inert. I siphon this out regularly and replace it with new sand to remove any 'nasties' in it. also Decor is a minimum and lighting is subdued. When I unpack the fish this is done under red light (I use a red light bulb in my fish house just so i can see around) the fish are unpacked into small plastic containers (about 8"X5"X5") with traveling water. the containers are drilled with air line coming out as a siphon and then system water is dripped in using air line again from the main tanks. this is done for an hour then the fish are dipped (what are your suggestions, i usually use system water with Methylene (sorry about spelling) blue for around 2minutes ) then move the fish into the main system. <outstanding acclimation protocol my friend. Kudos to you> Do you think i should increase the dip time? <varies by species/group... many would benefit from longer... but some would suffer fatally (scaleless and small scaled fishes, dwarf angels, etc) Sorry for the long e mail again! I hope you can answer my questions! Kind regards, Sam Baker <no worries, mate... best regards. Anthony>

Selecting the right fish <Hi, PF with you tonight> Hi, I am looking into buying a 55 gallon tank and was researching some fish i might want to put into it. The tank would be fish only and have an Emperor 400 filtration system, two 20-watt fluorescent bulbs, and a 200-watt heater. I would also put in about 35 lbs. of Live Rock.  I was thinking a Heniochus black and white butterfly fish, a Filamented flasher wrasse, a royal Gramma, a blue green reef Chromis, an ocellaris clown, and a pom pom crab. I like this combination but I want it to be right for me (I'm a beginner) and be right for my tank. Would this work out? Also the kit doesn't come with a protein skimmer, is this essential? Please suggest one of good quality if it is. Somewhere i read it is not necessary for fish only tanks, but I'm not sure if i believe this. Thanks in advance! <Ok, no on the Heniochus, the tank is to small. The flasher wrasse likes to be kept with members of the same species, as does the Chromis. Both are schooling fish. I would recommend 1/2 dozen of the Chromis OR 4 flasher wrasses (if you get 4 females, the dominant will become male, the females are generally less expensive). The flashers are prone to jumping, mine did, even through the eggcrate cover. Something to keep in mind. I like Gramma's and the clowns as well. The pom-pom should be ok, but no crab is to be trusted. The "reef safe" Sally Lightfoots and Mithrax will both kill and eat fish if they have a chance (so speaks the voice of experience). The twinspot hogfish is also a nice animal, and stays rather small for it's group. As for the skimmer, yes it is vital, and will make your life much easier. A can heartily endorse the AquaC Remora units, especially upgrading to either a Mag3 or a Maxijet1200 pump, well worth the money. Have you looked at using a sump and or refugium? Both will aid your tank, and make your life easier. Have a good night, PF>

Importing advice 6/10/03 Hello, I hope you can help me! <cheers from across the pond, my friend> I am a marine hobbyist in the UK who works for an aquatic company (who only sell freshwater fish). Our consolidator has offered to get hold for me a box of marine fish, as i have many tanks. I know of the acclimatization process involved with fish straight from abroad and have unpacked marines with success in the past at the shop I worked at before (before it closed down). I have been offered, and have excepted a box from Sri Lanka and from Miami. What i am after is your expert opinion on what to order. <very well my friend... you shall have my best> I will start with Sri Lanka, I am only ordering 1 box, which i have to fill. the fish i have been looking at, but cant make up my mind (as i am not sure of their success from this part of the world) are: 4x Powder Blue surgeon 4 x Clown / Pyjama tang 4 x Wimple banner (Heniochus) 1 x Koran Angel juv 1 x Convict surgeon 5 x Fire / Scarlet/ Blood Shrimp 10x Cleaner/painted/ skunk Shrimp i know that i have too many fish for a box, but this gives room for substitutions. do you have any recommendations? do you think any of this is not worth getting (poor survival, difficult to ship etc) any thing you would change (for other species)? <alas, yes... this is a typical and dreadful selection of fishes. The three tangs (powder blue, pyjama and convict) ship poorly and really should be acquired (if at all in the case of the Pyjama and borderline on the Powder blues) from a wholesaler only (where they have had a chance to stabilize for a few days to a week). Transshipping these sensitive animals imposes unduly high mortality and is a wasteful use of the resource IMO. I'm not faulting you mate... I realize that this is a typical broker maneuver with a new account. The Koran and Bannerfish are hardy. The convict is actually a fine tang if it acclimates/ships well. The Lysmata are very fine too if the shipper is good and packs them well. Do ask about some of their hardy and colorful small triggers, groupers and lions> I am also going to order a box from Miami. i have been told that the boxes are smaller, and can recall a box that I ordered before from Florida which was small compared to those from Asia. what do you recommend? anything i should avoid? how many tails to a box (i know this seems a silly question, depending on fish size etc) <indeed... highly variable... about 9-18 fishes if small typically> what i have been looking at are the following: 4X royal Gramma 1X gray angel 1X hi hat 2X porcupine puffer 1X juv blue eye Atlantic tang 1X blue Atlantic tang 4X horseshoe crabs <the high hats ship poorly and simply do not live well in captivity... the horseshoe crabs also starve to death in most aquaria in a year or less (they need massive DSBs. All else listed is fine... although the tangs and puffers are very Ich prone. Be sure to QT all new livestock> I would like to order some large angels (French, queen) <understood... Blues and Grays are much hardier though/too> maybe to another box, but i am not sure what size these come in at and how many to a box, and if they travel particularly well? I have the tank space to house all the fish in a number of systems, it is just what to choose to be ethically kind and to ensure what I order arrives in good condition and will do well. <agreed... and again, with transshipped fishes... be sure to only house them in bare bottomed QT tanks for the first 4 weeks... else it is an invitation for an infected system> thank you for taking time to read my e mail, and hopefully be able to answer some of the questions for me! Kind Regards, Sam Baker <best of luck to you, my friend! Anthony>

Re: 240 gallons of doubt revised Thanks for your input. <You're welcome> I used a ladder and was actually resting my chest on top of the tank and could only reach part way. Four foot tall is just way too tall and I really don't want to scuba in my tank. The excitement is building as I order the parts and choose my stock at the LFS. I would love to get rays, sharks and the like but I've read the faq's that they don't do well with reefs or captivity in general. I have lots of works to do for the livestock selection. Tangs are in as well as the cleanup crews and a cleaner wrasse for sure. I love most of the Angel fish family but I understand that they also love coral. Thanks for the wonderful site and information. I know more after two weeks of reading here than I have known for 15 years of keeping sodium based fish. <Well, I don't blame you then, and not everyone wants to replicate the Mr.4000 experience (he scuba'd to clean his tank). One thing, if you plan on keeping SPS and clams, buy you're lighting now. Plan your organisms first then plan your equipment, you'll save yourself a lot of money if you buy the right lights first. Have a good evening, PF>

How does this sound? First time tank setup >I have been asking as many questions as I can before setting up my tank. Now that I have a general idea of what I want to keep, I would like to run everything by you for your opinion. It's a 90 gallon tank, and the fish I plan to keep are listed: -porcupine puffer (I've already been informed of the size) -Picasso trigger -scopas tang -purple tang -Pinkface wrasse -maybe a couple of Dottybacks if possible I would like to rely on the Berlin method for my filtration and keep a magnum 350 to filter with carbon every few weeks and to vacuum my substrate with on a regular basis. ( due to feeding habits of the fish) I have been looking at a sea clone 150 for my skimmer not sure yet though, and just two 40 watt fluorescents. I will of course have plenty of water circulation. How does this sound? >>I worry most about having two tangs in that system and subsequent aggression.  You already know that 90 gallons are going to be slim for the porky, what are your plans when it outgrows the system?  They can be very difficult to find new homes for.  Consider, instead of the purple tang, something like an annularis angel.  It will become the same size, but you won't have the same issue with interspecies aggression that's possible with two tangs.  I can't bring myself to tell you to pick between the Z. scopas and the purple, because the scopas is one of my all-time favorite tangs.  Other than that, you should be ok.  Consider along with the pseudochromids something like neon gobies.  You are cutting it close with having both the Picasso and the porky in the 90, but again, you seem to be aware of this, and have taken time and care in your planning.  Please do religiously utilize quarantine.  Best of luck, Marina

- Has my tank reached capacity? - Bob- <Not Bob today, JasonC instead...> When I switched from Discus to saltwater (much less work) 2 years ago I bought your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and have tried to follow your advice. It is a great book. <Indeed.> I have a 125 Gallon (72"x18"x22") Fish Only tank with 2 inches of Live Sand/Crushed Coral, 10 lbs of Live Rock, and several pieces of sculptural limestone which now look like live rock. For filtration I have 2 Emperor 400 BioWheel filters and a Fluval 404, an AquaClear hang on the tank protein skimmer (I do not know which model but it cost about $200), and 3 MaxiJet 1200s for circulation. I also have a Kent Maxima RO/DI unit to filter my tap water before mixing it with salt. Weekly, I change 10-15 gallons of salt water, clean the front and side glass, top the tank with fresh water and clean the filter pads on the Emperor 400s. Monthly, I scrape the front and side glass, clean the Fluval 404 and change the pads on the Emperor 400s. I started the tank with the live sand, crushed coral, live rock and limestone and a couple of damsels (now gone for obvious reasons). I then added a 4" Pterois volitans which is now an 11" coppery red beauty. I have since added a thumb sized red fiddler crab which is now fist sized, a 4" "Blonde" Naso lituratus which is now about 7" and I also have a 4" Zebrasoma flavescens. My question is has my tank reached capacity or could I add either a Choerodon (Lienardella) fasciata or a pair of Dendrochirus brachypterus or a Lo vulpinis without changing my routine or tank's filtration system too much? <I don't think so... a couple of things occur to me here. One, although the LFS was right about the lime stone becoming 'live' it's not really the best substitute for live rock, as the structure is different - live rock is much more porous with many spaces inside the rock for bacteria to live and thrive. Additionally, even if this were 100% live rock, I'd be willing to wager that you have something less than one pound per gallon, which is ideal - not only for filtration but also for hiding spaces for the various life in your tank. Without this critical media, any additional life will put your filtration beyond its capacity and stress all life in the tank and certainly alter your maintenance regimen. I'd stick with that giant lionfish and enjoy your system under-stocked.> James Nyman <Cheers, J -- >

- RE: Has my tank reached capacity? - JasonC- <Howdy.> Thanks so much for the advice. <My pleasure.> I will add more liverock over time and stick with the fish I have they are all beautiful and will continue to grow I am sure. Maybe when I get a 200 gal....? <Good plan.> James <Cheers, J -- >

Mixing And Matching! (Selecting New Fishes) Dear WWM: <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> I am planning a 36 Gallon Bowfront Reef for polyps, mushrooms, and soft corals. It will have an AMiracle Wet Dry w/ Built in Skimmer (I might update in the future). I have been trying to find a really weird fish that is reef safe. I have looked in to the Golden Dwarf Moray, too much money($250 on Marine Center), Pipefish, too hard or so I have been told, and seahorses, pretty boring. <Shh.. don't let the folks at seahorse.org know that!> Would you recommend a boxfish or cubicus? In know they eat featherdusters, and they might get too big. <Nope.. They just get too big, and you'll be shopping for a larger tank in the near future...Better to start off with fishes that are small- and stay that way...> Do you have an recommendations? If I can't find anything weird enough I'm going to have a six-line wrasse, 2 Firefish, 2 Pajama Cardinals, and an Algae Blenny (too many?) <Not too many...just about right, actually. Some people would advise against two Firefish in such a small space, but if there is a lot of rockwork for the fishes to retreat to (and each fish can have their own "bolt hole"), it might work. As far as other fish possibilities- maybe you could substitute some blennies (the reason I am suggesting substituting something for the cardinalfish is that-well- personally- I find them a crashing bore!!! I like the Meiacanthus blennies, or maybe a Midas Blenny ( Ecsenius midas), or even a couple of prawn gobies...lots to choose from. What they don't have in size, they make up for with interesting behavior and colors. Other thoughts: An orchid Dottyback...a beautiful fish. It can get a bit "chippy" at times, but it's a gorgeous fish. Or, you could consider a Royal Gramma- equally beautiful, but a bit more "civil". Perhaps a "Curious Wormfish"- a really wild looking goby, or even a small group (like 3) of the smaller fairy wrasses...Many, many other possibilities-Check out the many interesting fishes we've assembled on the WWM site. Enjoy the search! This is the fun stuff! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks For All Your Help Bob Najdek

Blenny or Goby? Crew, <Hi Bryan, PF answering your question tonight> My tank setup is a 37 gallon reef system, 70lbs of live rock, 4'' live sand substrate, 10 gallon tank for use as a sump, Lifereef Prefilter/Siphon Box, Aqua-C Urchin Pro skimmer, Millennium 1000 on sump for carbon filtration, RIO 2500 return pump, and 2.5 gallon passive sand bed denitrification filter, from page 52 of Anthony's book, in the sump (Highly recommended!  It has greatly helped me with nitrate control.  Thanks Anthony!). Lighting is CustomSeaLife power compact 10,000K 65 watt daylight & 65 watt Actinic. Water quality - PH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, Ammonia 0, Salinity 1.026, & temp 82. Current livestock consists of 2 Ocellaris Clowns, Six line Wrasse, Yellow-tail Blue Damsel, various mushrooms, Brain Coral, Plate Coral, Star plops, 2 serpent stars, snails, two or more pistol shrimp hitchhikers, and hermit crabs. All residents are doing well and the tank has been in place since November of 2001 with no major additions since September of 2002. I would like to add one more fish since I had a Neon Goby that disappeared about a month ago.  My chief suspect in the disappearance is a large Mithrax (Emerald) Crab who I plan on removing.  I would like to add a bottom dwelling fish since the clowns stay in the water column and the other two like the live rock caves.  Any suggestion on a good Blenny or Goby that would fit my mix?  I was thinking perhaps a Jawfish, but read today in Bob's book that wrasses tend to harass them.  My six line is fairly aggressive, however, she left the Neon alone. Thanks for your help! Bryan White <Well Bryan, your neon goby may well be in your sump, I've pulled mine out twice, after the third time, I've decided that it's fate. I'd say maybe a Midas Blenny, or perhaps one of the symbiotic gobies that live with pistol shrimp (it's a long shot whether or not it would bond with one of your pistol shrimps), read here for more. Have a good evening, PF>

Fish choices for a reef <Hi Paul, PF with you here tonight> Hello Crew,  I would like you opinion on the following question.  I have a 90 Gallon reef, DSB of 4 -5 ", will have SPS corals and some clams.  30 Gallon sump with AquaC EV-120 skimmer and chiller (expensive yes, but makes my life MUCH easier).  Question - fish choices...Could I put in a Tang, maybe Yellow or Chevron or Kole, a Butterfly (???), blennies like a bi-color or lawnmower, both or some other combo, and some gobies and/or Dottybacks?  If you had your choice with the only stipulation being that you would maintain SPS corals and some clams, which and how many fish would you choose?  Your opinions are really appreciated here.  It helps to hear what others like, instead of relying on the few fish that I am familiar with.  Thanks for you time and wisdom! <First off, sounds like a nice setup, and I understand all about the chiller (after my apt. hit 102F last summer, my wife was understanding enough to let me buy one). As for fish, well, it's almost easier to tell you what to avoid than what to get. Honestly, I'd recommend getting a book on reef fish, like Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes 500+ Essential to Know Aquarium Species". In addition to your choices, there are some wrasses to consider  - flasher and fairy. The six-line and yellow coris both are known to eat the parasitic snails that prey on clams. My advice would be to pick out a group, and research it for likely candidates. I would stay away from angels, triggers, and butterfly's. You have other choices to make, a few larger fish, more and smaller ones, etc. I would also advice going to the homepage http://wetwebmedia.com/ and looking at specific groups, tangs, wrasses, etc. Sorry I can't be more specific, but your question was along the lines of asking "what kind of house" to buy - a lot of choices need to be made before a final decision is made. Have a good night, PF> Paul

- 120 Gallon Tropical Reef Setup - <Good morning, JasonC here...> 120 gal w/ B/I overflow in 2 corners 3612 Eco System (2) 175W Metal Halide (2) 110 Power Compact Iwaki WMD-40RLXT Looking to build out a Tropical Reef System with proper mix of coral/fish/others with an eye to buying domestically cultivated species and not wild caught. <Sounds like a good plan. Cheers, J -- >

Hamlets and/or Anthias appropriate for my Reef Hi Bob & All, <cheers> I have a 60 gallon reef with: Soft corals Scarlet-red-leg hermits Blue-leg hermits Royal Dottyback Lemonpeel angel Two false perculas Red scooter (Christmas) blenny Peppermint Shrimp Cleaner Shrimp Green Abalone Turbo Snails Astrea Snails Mithrax Crab I'd like to add a blue-colored Hamlet, such as the Indigo Hamlet, and later a Lyretail Anthias.  Is the Hamlet ok for my little family? <alas, no... while they are wonderful and under-rated aquarium denizens... they are still predatory. Your small fishes and invertebrates will be eaten in time> Since they both seem to be basses, will adding the Lyretail Anthias later work as well? <likely... yet they need larger aquaria and to be kept in a group. They are invertebrate safe though> Anthias without Hamlet? Thanks for the help.  And, I'm checking my mail excitedly each day for the Bob & Anthony Invertebrate book to arrive! <thanks kindly :) Not long now. Printer is coordinating a release date... trucking the week of the 16th... Bob and I to sign the next week and then delivery it seems last week of the month. We are so eager to finally see it in print too <G>> Mark Belding Santa Barbara, CA <kind regards, Anthony>

Stocking a 90 Hola Crew, here is a fish stocking question for you, based on some research and responses from you.  It would be a 90G reef, DSB of VERY fine aragonite, Aqua EV-120 skimmer <I'd jump up to the ev-180 if it's going to be SPS> , very high flow rate ( 20x), with SPS corals and clams, 90 lbs. live rock.  My fish choices would be the following:  1 Wrasse - Mystery Wrasse or a Fairy Wrasse <I LOVE mystery wrasses! Check out mine right before quarantine on my WetWebFotos users page - http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=482 > 1 Tang - Yellow Tang or Kole Tang ( wanted Chevron tang but I think they get a little too big <That they do, but then again so do most. A Kole would be a great choice.>) 1 Butterfly - Copperband butterfly ( Indo-Pacific or Australian <Australian if you can get one> , which is better?? ), or if not the Copperband then maybe a Chelmon muelleri, Chaetodon miliaris, or Chaetodon Collare <I'm not sure about the reef-safe-ness of those last three butterflies> 2 Gobies - 1 Clown Goby and 1 Purple Firefish <Awww, no neon goby?> Will this be ok?  <Sure, sounds good to me.> I have an existing 75G tank that has a Flame Angel, Lemonpeel Angel ( yes they have been getting along for a few years now ), Tomato Clown, and a purple Dottyback.  I was thinking of bringing over the Dottyback and 1 of the Angels, possibly the Lemonpeel.  That would total about 7 fish.  Would that be possible?  Could the Flame Angel come as well, or is that too much for such a small tank? <Well, it's all about under stocking. Whatever you can bear to part with can be removed, but if you put those three in with the others I doubt it would be the end of the world.> Thanks a bunch, where would we be without you all?  Broke with a bunch of LFS gimmicky products and dead fish! <Hah, sounds like a blast! Good luck with the new tank! -Kevin> Paul

Fish Choices Hello Crew,  this might be a duplicate of another email I sent, but I used a diff. interface from a work machine for my other email and nothing stays in my outbox, so I am not really sure the email was actually sent, so I wrote up another just in case the other one didn't make it through.  Forgive the duplicate if this is the case.  I was looking for some opinions on fish choices for the following set up.  A 90 Gallon acrylic reef tank with 4 - 5" DSB, 90 lbs. of live rock, 30 Gallon sump, AquaC EV-120 skimmer, and right around 20X water turnover. <Nice setup!> The tank will house SPS corals and clams. <Even nicer setup!> If this was your tank, what would be your choices of fish?? I would really like to know your guys and gals opinions on this, helps me see beyond the narrow range of fish I have been familiar with over the years.  What about the following for choices:  a Tang ( Yellow, Convict, Chevron, Powder Brown  - Acanthurus japonicus ), a butterfly ( Chaetodon miliaris, Chaetodon collare, or Copperband ) although might be a risk with the corals, hmm...some Gobies like a clown Goby, maybe a Purple Firefish.  How about some wrasses or blennies, or both?  Your opinions here would be very helpful.  Thanks in advance. <Tangs will eventually outgrow a 90, but a small yellow, purple, hippo (regal), chevron, or Kole tang (just some examples) would be fine in there for a while. Copperband's and raccoon butterflies will usually behave themselves in a reef tank as they are used for Aiptasia control. A purple Firefish would look great in there as well. Wrasses of the genus Cirrhilabrus, Paracheilinus, and Pseudocheilinus would also be colorful and hardy additions, just make sure that the tank is well covered. My favorite Pseudocheilinus wrasse (and Jason C's as well) is the mystery wrasse (aka Marshall islands 5 bar wrasse) Pseudocheilinus ocellatus. Check out our sponsors (www.themarinecenter.com) reef safe wrasse catalogue, no doubt you'll fall in love with something there. Enjoy! -Kevin> Paul

Starting Over I have a 55 gallon tank, saltwater, it has two snowflake eels. I may get rid of them, so I don't limit my fish selection.<good idea if you are starting a reef aquarium>I have some coral and I want to buy some liverock what are some fish you would recommend.<for a reef setting, I would recommend smaller fish such as clownfish, damsels, royal grammas, gobies, etc>I would like a community tank. I'm just starting out, so any help would be appreciated.<Do look over www.wetwebmedia.com >   Sincerely,<you're welcome, IanB> Ahab

Goin' Fishin' (Community Fish Selection) I have a 200 gallon tank with just four fish.  One Naso Tang (5-6"), one sunset wrasse (6"), one maroon clown (2-3"), and one small yellow tang (2-3").  I am trying desperately to find a half moon angel to add (5-6" male) but I want to add him last (this is a good idea, right?). <Yep- not a bad idea...He will definitely become the dominant fish in the tank, so adding him last is sound> In the meantime I just want one or two more fish besides the angel making just a total of 6-7 fish max.  I don't want to overstock and want to give these fish plenty of room. <Awesome! I love your attitude. It will pay off many times over down the line, with healthy fishes> I have about 45lbs. of live rock and may add more of that eventually but no more than 6-7 fish at a time. <Sounds fine> What other types of fish would be good for my scenario? <I really like Pseudochromis, and some of the more hardy Helianthus "fang blennies" might work, too. They are colorful and interesting. Another possibility- the old stand by, the Royal Gramma...Such a pretty fish, and hardy, too. And they can hold their own should things get a bit "chippy" in there! You can even keep a small group of 'em for more interesting behavior> I'm been very blessed with having very hardy, easy to keep fish so far and want to continue that.  I love the tang family but don't want too many because I've heard if you have too many tangs they will be disease prone. <Well, true...But also- they simply need a lot of room!> If I could have one more though which one would you recommend? <Id go for a Ctenochaetus tang, like a Kole. this fish inhabits a completely different niche than the Naso, so aggressive interactions are less likely with this combination.> Also, could I have a dwarf angel in with the half moon or not? <I have kept Pomacanthus and Centropyge angels together in a large tank without problems...Probably worth a try> I'm not really fond of any butterflyfish or Anthias -- what are some other good choices?  I've had a clown trigger and wouldn't mind having another type of trigger but just don't know which one would fit in with my current tank mates. Help?  Any suggestions? <Well, you could try a more peaceful trigger, like the "Pink Tail" trigger, or the "Blue Jaw" trigger...They are nice, and quite attractive...If you really want to spend the $$, maybe a Crosshatch triggerfish> Also, I would want the new fish, besides the half moon, to be at least 3-4 inches. <No problem with that, if you're looking at a trigger! They'll hit that size pretty quickly!> Thanks for any advice you can give.  As always, you all are lifesavers! <And it's our pleasure to be of assistance! Enjoy stocking your tank! Regards, Scott F>

200 gallon aquarium (two Zebrasoma sp. tangs?) I have a 200 gallon tank with one Naso Tang, one yellow tank, one sunset wrasse, and one maroon clown.  Looking to add a half-moon angel as soon as I can find one that meets my specifications (5-6" male from the Red Sea).<good choice and size, ranks probably as the hardiest marine angelfish>  First of all, I'm having difficulty finding a half-moon this size.  Got any suggestions? <try the marine center or liveaquaria.com> I've tried Marine Depot.  They normally only have them smaller and tank raised.   The real reason for my email.  My wrasse and maroon clown have never really cared for each other.  The wrasse tends to pick on the maroon -- they go through phases where they are fine and don't even look at each other wrong but then they suddenly hate each other.<both are territorial fish>  I was telling this to a friend of mine and they had an interesting theory that I wanted to run by you and get your opinion.  They told me that the maroon is "unsexed" since it's the only one in the tank. <true>  She said that my wrasse may be "bothered" by this and therefore tends to harass her? <doubt the wrasse cares if the clown has a mate or not>  Is this true? <don't think so, but i also don't speak fish language lol>  She suggested that I get a mate for the maroon.<if not added at the same time they might fight>  However, I had always heard that two maroons can't be together unless they are raised together.<kind of true>  She said that one will become the female and the other the male.  Is this true?  < Try http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfish.htm> normally if you get two fish the larger and more aggressive one becomes the female>  If the wrasse doesn't like one how is getting two going to calm him down? <it probably won't>   Please help.  Thanks for any advice you may have.   Also, I'm wanting to add just two more fish to my tank,  a half-moon and possible a purple tang.  Would you recommend adding the purple tang and then the half-moon?  Are these fish good selections in your opinion? <both are very hardy species, I would say yes on these two species if you want to take the risk-could fight with your yellow tang, but beware the purple tang may/can become very aggressive (more so than the yellow), adding the purple tang last would help if you wanted to keep the two Zebrasoma sp. tangs in the same aquarium> Thanks again.  Hope you are having a great holiday.<IanB>

Don't Harass my Wrasse Hi Bob and crew. I have a pygmy arrowhead wrasse, when grown he'll be 2-1/2 to 3 inches.  He is a very peaceful, beautiful fish.  I would like to add another small wrasse to my tank in about a month and wondered if a fairy wrasse would be okay.  This arrowhead looks absolutely nothing like a fairy wrasse, so I am hoping the answer is positive.  I perused your info on wrasses and couldn't figure out if two totally different wrasses could be happy together in a 60 gallon DSB reef tank. <I give you good odds> PS to Bob:  I wrote to you about him before and you said you had just seen them in LA for the first time.  I discovered the are also referred to as pygmy possum wrasse. <Yes, have heard this common name as well> I really appreciate any advice you can give. (Other residents: 2 ocellaris clowns and a royal Gramma) My best to you, Connie <I would be more concerned re the Gramma's reaction... but would still try these fishes together. Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility >Thanks a lot for your comments, what if I switch the Nassau for a Harlequin Tuskfish?   >>This might work out a bit better.  If you can keep corals and other inverts well, then I don't think a Harlequin would be a problem for you. >About the Flame angel, I've just got to have it, remember is a F.O. tank with life rock, so maybe they can hide lol.   >>Maybe so, but my position is firm, you have to count on the angel becoming lionfish food eventually.  At that point, it's not a very conscientious mix. >Leaving the Nassau out, what do you recommend?  Do you think the other tankmates that I mentioned will bother the lionfish in terms of getting their fins nipped so that they get stressed out and suddenly die? >>I think the rest of the tankmates will be just fine.  Have a good day!  Marina

Stocking Questions....Marine Fish >Hi, I've been in the hobby quite some time, mostly with corals and non-predatory fishes.  But since a couple of years until now I change to fish only tank.  I'm considering housing in a 90 gal. tank the following:   1 flame angel 1 med. lion fish 1 small nigger trigger 1 med blue tang 1 small Naso tang Besides taking into consideration the tank size, are they compatible with each other in terms of social behavior?   >>In a tank under 200gals, I am very leery of mixing tangs.  I would decide upon on tang species or another, and then consider something like a P. annularis (hardy Pomacanthid angel that remains "relatively" small). >The lion fish will be my main show fish, so recommend me on nice tank mates.   >>I think you're planning a very nice mix, though I'm also wary of the Flame angel one day becoming P. Volitans snack food.  The angel will remain a dwarf, while the lion can become a rather large slab of meat, easily able to fit the angel into its mouth one day.  Best of luck!  Marina>

Stocking Questions >Hi, I've been in the hobby quite some time, mostly with corals and non-predatory fishes.  But since a couple of years until now I change to fish only tank.  I'm considering housing in a 90 gal. tank the following:   1 flame angel 1 med. lion fish 1 small nigger trigger 1 med blue tang 1 small Naso tang Besides taking into consideration the tank size, are they compatible with each other in terms of social behavior?   >>In a tank under 200gals, I am very leery of mixing tangs.  I would decide upon on tang species or another, and then consider something like a P. annularis (hardy Pomacanthid angel that remains "relatively" small). >The lion fish will be my main show fish, so recommend me on nice tank mates.  

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