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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 19

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 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 20FAQs 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

Anemones often require more light than hobbyists provide. Heteractis aurora here.

Fish compatibility Hi Guys, <Wendy> I have just stumbled onto your wonderful site!!  We have a 300 Litre tank (sorry don’t know what that is in gallons!) <There are approximately four liters/litres in a U.S. gallon> We have all the right filters, protein skimmers etc…. We have 2 butterflies, 1 clownfish, 1 wrasse, 2 starfish, and my son wants us to get a banner fish and a royal dotty back.  Do you think that would be OK <Likely okay compatibility-wise, except your system is too crowded... what type of wrasse do you have?> I have heard that the dotty backs can get a bit agro.  We eventually would like to get a blue tang and an emperor angel <Not for this tank... too small a volume> as well, and have thought about a mandarin for a ground cleaner? <... read about these on WWM> Please let me know your thoughts on their compatibility.  Also with the 2 butterflies (I think they are called threadfins?), could we add a copper band butterfly or is it better to just have the 2? <This tank is too small for the Chaetodon Aurigas and a Chelmon or Heniochus> Excuse my uneducatedness!!!! – My son knows far more than I, but I would hate to put the wrong fish together.  Thanks for the help. Wendy Tunbridge <Wendy, have you and your son read on WWM re each of these species, their needs... Bob Fenner>

Algae Control Advice Worked, Now for the Fish - Listen to the Lady! Hello WWM Crew, <<Hello.>> Thanks for all the good advice about the 'red algae' control, I placed a small header blowing a light current over the sand substrate and it has made a HUGE difference. <<Good to read.>> Now to my question: I have 5 fish in the tank (120g) 2 perc clowns, 2 firefish, and a royal Gramma, 3 anemones, and banded coral shrimp and a cleaner shrimp. I have paid a local woman to help in setting up/establishing my first marine tank. I want to add a few more fish. Maybe a Yellow Tang, Shrimp Goby, and maybe a wrasse. She wants me to wait another 3 months before adding another fish. The tank is now 6 months old, should I wait? Or can I add another fish at the present time? <<I used to be that "woman" (lady).  Listen to her!  She knows and understands well the value of patience.  You will be well rewarded if you heed her advice.>> My second question: What is the maximum number fish I should have in my tank? (Based on what I currently have and want to add). <<There's no way to quantify that, FAR too many variables to be considered.  I would ask the lady you've hired, she's the one much more intimately involved with the setup, and will probably get things set so that you'll have few maintenance or disease issues.>> Thank you, Ethan <<You're welcome.  Marina>>

- Livestock Compatibility - Hello, Would it be possible to have a fuzzy dwarf lionfish, yellow long-nose Butterflyfish, a filefish which I have in my tank now that is about 3 inches long; a Singapore angelfish, and if possible a Hawkfish if it could be kept in this setup.  <What is "this setup"? Without knowing more about "this setup" I cannot properly answer your question.> Thank You, please write back ASAP Jason <Cheers, J -- > 

- Livestock Compatibility, Follow-up - It's a 75 gallon tank, 2 300 AquaClear power filters, a Jebo 180 protein skimmer.  <I think, based on your list you'd be pushing the limits. I'd drop either the lionfish or the angelfish.>  No Ammonia, No nitrites, No nitrates, any other information that I missed? Please write back ASAP. Jason <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking Question Dear Mr. Fenner or Crew,  <James here> I am planning a 75-gallon tank an I am thinking of getting these fish when it's established: 1- Ocellaris Clown 2- Black Percula Clown 3- Firefish 4- Royal Gramma 5- Banggai Cardinal 6- Blue Hippo Tang 7- Flame Angelfish 8- Humbug Damselfish Eventually 6-months after it's established I want to get a Bubble-Tip Anemone.  Is this too much for stocking levels, and what order should I add these fish into the tank?  <The humbug damsel is not a good choice, they can get nasty, especially with some of the easygoing fish you are going to have in there. Tangs should be added long after the tank is established. I'd say clowns first then firefish (these don't do well singly, better in groups of three or more), cardinals, and last the flame. You can search the Wet Web Media for these fish and make assessments as to compatibility. James (Salty Dog)> 

- Livestocking and Dip pH - Dear WWM Crew, Thank you once again for the wonderful website and the willingness to share your vast knowledge. We are setting up a 75 Gal. marine reef aquarium (dim. 48" X 20" X 20").  We have been researching a stocking plan and would like to have you opinion on fish compatibility and stocking levels. The following are the fish that we are thinking about adding the following fish in presented order: 3 - Sharknose Neon Gobies 3 - Firefish Gobies 3 - Banggai Cardinalfish 1 - Royal Gramma 1 - Regal Tang 1 - Clownfish with Anemone 1 - Cherub Angelfish The fish (each individual species) would go through a minimum of a 2 week quarantine before being added to the main display tank. Would this be overstocked? <Well, up until you added that anemone... it will likely consume several of those small fish. I'd stock the clownfish without the anemone if it were my tank. Anemones require specialized care and are best kept in systems specifically designed for these, with relatively few fish occupants.> Could you please give me a little more information on freshwater dips?  I have read the information on your website, but I am unclear on the make up of the dip water.  Simply for me, I start with RO water, aerate it, and add buffer to bring the PH up to match the QT? <And temperature, yes.> The buffer that I add is the same buffer that I would add normally to my main tank? <If you want - you could also use regular baking soda.> The PH in my main tank is 8.6. <That is too high - should be between 8.2 and 8.4.> Don't most all buffers raise the PH to 8.3, but not higher? <For the most part, yes.> If so how do it continue to increase the PH? <I'd work first on getting your tank's pH into the proper range.> Thank you very much for all of your efforts! John <Cheers, J -- >

ADDING A FISH Hi, I have a 75 gallon F/O saltwater tank with no live rock and a crushed coral substrate.  The fish I have are as follows:  2 false perculas 1 butterfly 1 coral beauty angel 1 flame hawk I would like to add one or possibly two more fish and would like some suggestions please.  I have thought of a yellow tang but am scared of ich.  I have also thought of a cardinalfish, but don't know if they would have problems since they are so passive. <A cardinal should be fine, I do not personally like yellow tangs...so I would go with a tang such as a chevron or blue tang> Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, James <good luck, IanB>

Sluggish Huma is the Least of it >Hello.   >>Hello, Marina today. >First of all, I'd like to say that your website has had plenty of helpful info.  My problem is with our Huma trigger.  He's pretty small, like about 1.5 to 2 inches in length.  We've had him for a month or two.  When I first got him, he was very friendly, much like he was my "Pet".   >>They certainly can be.  Or, they STALK you. >He always would come up to the glass when I came near the tank and he always ate everything I put in the tank, including trying to eat my fingers.   >>Better watch out for that, it is NOT so cute OR fun when they get big. >Lately, for the past week, he has gotten very sluggish and has been hiding inside of ornaments and sitting at the bottom of the tank.  His scales and fins look fine and our water has tested great.   >>"Tested great" tells me nothing. >We have been adding new fish to the tank, such as First, a month ago, all we had was a Maroon Clown, then two weeks ago we put in a Yellow Tang. >>Without quarantine?   Then, a week later we put in a Sailfin Tang and this week we put in our last fish for the tank, a Dolphin Tang.  We also put in this week a baby Banded Shark.   >>Oh lord.  No mention of quarantine, and WHY are you adding fish so FAST???  AND a shark??  Please, please, please tell me you researched before buying any of these animals.  PLEASE tell me you haven't put the shark on crushed coral. >Could all of this stress to him have caused him to act this way?   >>YES!  Watch the others, too. >We only have a 55 gal with a wet/dry filter below, but all of these fish are all babies.   >>You're going to end up killing these fish soon enough.  You are going WAY too fast, no matter how small the fish.  Not to mention that this is an awful mix of fish. >They are all very small.  Just barely big enough to not be eaten by the shark.  Is this too many fish for our 55? >>Uh.. YEAH.  The shark is the LEAST of the problems here.  I can only assume that you're buying first and asking questions later.  I'm sorry to be so harsh, but you have stuffed this tank FULL of fish, NONE of which are suitable for a system this size!   >We don't have any large rocks that take up room so there is plenty of swimming room, including a deco. of barnacles with plenty of hiding places.  This morning, I was almost sure my Huma was dead.  I went to pick him up with the net and he felt stiff, but when I scooped him, he slowly swam out of the net.  Have you ever heard of feeding them fresh garlic?   >>FRESH garlic??  Garlic, yes, fresh, no. >Would this help?   >>VERY doubtful.  Have you performed any water changes?   >He is eating less and less each day.   >>Of course he is, I doubt your water is testing very well at all at this point.  Test kit age and brand are at issue here, including ACTUAL readings.  Not to mention that it seems you've quarantined not one fish before adding it, you very well may have introduced something into the tank.  Shame on your local fish shop for not paying closer attention to how you're going about this, they're the ones who should be the experts (at the very least MUCH more knowledgeable!), and as such should be guiding you through this. >The only way he is eating at all is because I hold the food in front of his mouth until he nibbles on it.   >>This is how I fed "my" brood of baby bamboos. >Please help!! He is my favorite.  Thank You, Kristie Hall >>Ok Kristie, the brutal truth.  You have WAY too many fish in this tank.  I don't know if you've ever heard of quarantining fish for 30 days before introduction, but now you have for sure.  I can't say, "If you were my customer", because I never would have let a customer of mine end up in this situation, so, what's got to be done is return some fish.  Honestly, at this point I would return them ALL, especially the shark.  A 55 gallon is far too small even for a baby (which are much more "special needs").  The Maroon clown can get very aggressive with other fish, and the tangs.. well, just NOT suitable, again, for a tank this size.  The Huma is your favorite, so concentrate on making him healthy.  WATER CHANGES, large and copious, do not vacuum the substrate, just change the water.  To be safe, test the makeup water BEFORE putting it into the tank, especially if mixing using tap water.   Garlic has been known to stimulate feeding, but it's not going to be necessary if your water quality is pristine.  Extract would be a better way to go, though I have never used it myself.  I think your money is better spent on nutritional supplementation--Selcon.  I'm serious when I say test kit brand is an issue--Salifert, SeaChem, LaMotte--QUALITY, and RELIABILITY.  Start here, and then we'll move on.  Marina

Stocking A Hex Tank... Hello--I have had successful freshwater aquariums for over 30 years --both community and semi-aggressive.  I now have a 30 gal. hex tank and feel as though, due to depth rather than length, that certain fish may survive better than others. <Well, maybe live more comfortably is a better way to put it> I would like your advice regarding stocking.  I am starting a new biosystem  in this tank with all new fish. Thank you. Gail Bruner <Well, Gail- this is certainly the most enjoyable part of creating a tank...I couldn't even begin to tell you where to begin, except to tell you that you should consider small fishes, that do not require lots of swimming room, such as the less active gobies and blennies. If you are up to the challenge and responsibility, then seahorses might be really well suited to this shape of aquarium...Lots and lots of possible directions...Do review the numerous resources on the WWM site to find fishes that your tank can support, and which pique your interest! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Keeping The Peace (Proper Tank Stocking) Hi, I'm in the process of planning a 65 gallon tank with a lionfish in it. I wanted to set it up with a Live rock system and a Protein skimmer with a canister filter for mechanical filtration. I'm also going to get a Power compact lighting system. <All will work, if properly maintained, and good husbandry is used...Be sure to consider one of the dwarf species, as 65 gallons is too small for a full-sized lion, IMO> Unfortunately, my younger brothers (4 and 10 years old) are pestering me to get clownfish and a blue tang,  (They just saw finding Nemo). <Thanks, Disney...> Anyway what I wanted to get is a more aggressive tank with a lionfish, an eel,  A yellow tang and a dwarf Angelfish (I know its pushing it with the Angelfish but I'll take the chance with that one). <Well, I'd avoid the dwarf angel, as it will definitely be on the menu for someone. And I'd pass on the Blue tang for this sized tank. They really should not be kept in anything less than a 100 gallon tank, IMO...They get quite large, and need a lot of swimming room...> Is there any way I can get all these fish in this tank with them eating each other. <In my opinion, not really. This is just not a viable combination of fishes for this sized tank. Frankly, If you are into this combination of fishes, I'd look into a 100-150 gallon tank to start. More flexibility, and more room for fishes to escape each other's aggressive acts if things get out of hand...Keep researching alternatives to create a more workable community...The WWM site is full of good information on compatibility...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Purple Fire Fish and Mandarin Goby Good Morning, I have recently set up a 38 gal. reef tank.  I have read through your site and had numerous fish/invertebrates that I wanted to get ruled out ahead of time thanks to your information. <Welcome> I have 30 lbs of live rock and a few snails.  I intend to add: a cleaner shrimp some type of crab (haven't finished my research on this) <I would leave out any true crab... maybe get a few "false" (hermit) crabs instead> bubble tip anemone and a cinnamon clown fish. What I could not find was if it would be ok for me to have a Mandarin Goby and a couple of Purple Fire Fish in this tank? <Mmm, no, not really. I encourage you to pick EITHER the anemone and clown OR the Firefish and Mandarin... the anemone would very likely eat the dragonet... and the clown either terrorize or just outcompete the other proposed fishes for foodstuffs> I actually would prefer to have these 3 fish instead of  the clown if that is an issue. Thanks so much <It is indeed an issue. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Reef Selections Hi, <hello! Ryan with you>   I have a 50 gallon marine aquarium, which currently has, 1 regal tang, 2 cleaner shrimps, 1 ocellaris clownfish, and one potters angelfish and 2 crabs. My aquarium has excellent water quality and is a reef aquarium. Can you suggest any other fish that I could introduce, baring in mind that my reef tank doesn't have much (Invertebrates). <Hmm...Not what you want to hear, but with one angel and one tang in a 50 Gallon tank, you're arguably overstocked right now.  With all your live rock, corals where do you expect these guys to swim?> I was thinking of having one of the following, sergeant major, Clarks Anemonefish, blue cheek goby, Randall's shrimp goby, Rainford goby or a   Copperbanded butterflyfish? <A blue cheek goby would be a good selection when space permits.  Best of luck! Ryan> Which ones would you recommend? Thanks Daniel...

Sponges and Those Who Sponge From Them >Hello all, >>Good morning, Marina today. >I wanted to share an experience and ask a question as well.  Yesterday I received a red ball sponge (Pseudaxinella lunaecharta) from an online livestock retailer (I will omit the name here).  I just wanted to say something that most more experienced aquarists probably already know - that some species are just not a good idea to mail-order.   >>Mail order or purchase from any retailer, indeed. >The sponge came without any attached substrate and had some small patches of white/clear surface material, which I understand is dead/dying tissue.  I complained to the vendor and they told me to keep them posted about the specimen's condition, and call them if it gets worse - maybe I can get a credit.   >>"Maybe"?  Not good enough for me (I'm a real hardnose when it comes to customer service), I hope you paid with a credit card. >This is fine from a business standpoint, but they are still selling sponges that are almost certainly going to die in short order.   >>Especially since they question no one regarding suitability of final setup. >I think we as consumers can do a great deal to discourage this practice among dealers.   >>We vote with our dollars, yes? >I am also suspicious that, while the vender packed the bag ALMOST full of water, some air became trapped in the sponge during shipping - it looks like its blowing a bubble out of one of the openings.  So that's my two cents there.   >>I wouldn't want to be a sponge. >The question I have is now that I have this compromised specimen, what is the best way to attach it to some live rock?  I have some reef-safe epoxy - would that harm the sponge?   >>I don't think so, you could use that or cyanoacrylate (superglue) on a small portion.  If you're still not positive or comfortable, you could try some fine monofilament (fishing line) and mechanically affix the specimen. >Right now it is sitting with its base gently wedged between two rocks, but this is not a viable long-term placement.  Also, after 24 hours the opercula have opened and some of the white patches seem to have disappeared.  Does this mean the sponge is looking up, or is it just false hope?   >>Can't say for sure without actually seeing the damage and then this occurrence firsthand, but if it appears healthier, then I would not give up hope. >Finally, is it a bad idea to leave a damaged sponge in the system?   >>I would prefer it to be in a quarantine system.  I believe in q/ting EVERYTHING (a bit hardnosed about that as well).  You can certainly watch it closely, as when they "go" they don't go as quickly as say, anemone.  I would think you'd have some time to remove it should it be necessary. >If it goes downhill fast will it poison the tank?  I read somewhere (I think WWM) that the really noxious sponges are mostly the photosynthetic ones.  I can only find very meager info about this species - is the formal name above outdated?  Thanks.  Nick >>Not sure about the rest of these queries at all.  If I were you I would hit our forums http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk as well as http://www.reefs.org (though I've not seen too many folks very knowledgeable on sponges frequenting this site), and finally you might have more success on http://www.thereeftank.com as well as http://www.reefcentral.com .  Marina

Stocking Order for Marine System >It is finally time to add fish. I don't think I would have made it this far without all of your help. Thanks to everyone.  OK, I want to figure out an order that might best for the introduction of my fish. I'm going to list everything out in the order that I am planning on adding. If you have any input just let me know. 1. scopas tang 2. Foxface 3. purple Dottyback (maybe, but might be eaten) 4. dwarf lion 5. snowflake or chain eel (aren't the chains smaller?) >>According to my reference it's same/same.  However, I haven't handled many chain morays, have handled too many snowflakes and am wary of them--it is not unknown for them to go "postal" during the night and take others out. 6. porcupine puffer >What do you think? >>I think I sure would like to know the size and filtration of this system.  However, at this point I'm going to assume all are ideal.   >The Dottyback is just an idea. If you don't think he will work out, what else is small that should bring some color? Someone once told me some neon gobies, but they would probably become lunch to. >>They could, though I would be willing to bet that they're more likely to act as cleaners.  I would expect the Dottyback to become a snack (heh.. Dottyback snack).  I would reconsider the snowflake, as this is the most limiting animal of the mix.  Also, I'm quite partial to Zebra Morays, my experience with them shows them to be incredibly docile.  You could also consider instead of the puffer a Humu trigger (again, I'm assuming you have a system appropriately sized for these animals) and this would add a bit of color.  Marina

Marine Stocking Question >Hi >>Hello. >I was interested in knowing how close I am to overstocking my tank. I would like to buy another fish for my tank, but obviously don't want to do this if I am at my limits. Details: * 2 foot tank * 2 Percula Clown Fish (About 1 inch each) * 1 Dotty Back * 1 Red Scooter * 1 Coral Banded Shrimp * 1 Starfish * 2 Anenomes (I know they don't contribute to the bio load) * A few Cowries (not sure of the spelling) - but they eat my algae quite efficiently. >>You've spelt it correctly. >They have all been living harmoniously for quite some time without any incidents.  I do a 25% water change every 2 weeks.  All the stock are quite small and so I am not sure whether I can have another addition.  For example if I am getting close to being overstocked with Fish could I just say get a starfish - or do they have similar effects on the load? >>In general terms of "bioload", invertebrates do not place the same demands on a system as fish do.  You can certainly add animals such as starfishes (of course, be careful what species you add).  In terms of what fish could be added, without knowing the actual capacity of your system it's a bit difficult for me to say, but at 2' wide I'm going to guess you're using a tank that's approximately 30 gallons.  Considering the ultimate adult size of the Clownfishes, I wouldn't add anything larger than neon gobies.  You also have a limitation because of the Pseudochromis and aggression.  Think dissimilar coloration, dissimilar feeding habits, and the ability to "lie low" when it comes to attracting his attention. >Also how do I know if I am feeding them too much?  At the moment I am giving them about half a cube of brine shrimp once a day, and they annihilate that in about 30 seconds. >>Feed what can be eaten in about 2-4 minutes.  However, brine alone is WOEFULLY inadequate for their only source of nutrition! >But is that enough or too little ?  I have a reasonably ugly green hair algae problem which I know can be attributed to lots of things - overfeeding could be one right? >>Overfeeding could be one, but you should address any and all other issues as well, because your feeding routine is poor and will lead to shortened lifespans for all. >What's the best way to clean the glass of the tank - inside and out?  What do you guys do - I get a lot of salt around the place and when I wipe it, I get a lot of streaks (on the outside). >>Um, well, for the inside I've always used the scrubbers, both on a "stick" or handheld, depending on size and decoration structure.  For the outside vinegar is what you need.  It will remove a good deal of the mineralization without toxicity.  I like using a bucket with a vinegar/water solution with a squeegee.  Of course, this routine is borne of necessity (having to clean several hundred tank fronts in a short period of time), and in an aquarium shop there are no worries about spilling and drippage.  Try vinegar/water with those blue auto shop disposable towels. >Your help is much appreciated.  Regards, Simon >>You're welcome, and DO investigate better nutrition for your animals, please.  Marina

Marine Stocking Question II, With Feeding Issues >Hi Marina >>Hello again, Simon. >Thanks for your advice. I was told to feed them the brine shrimp - but in light of your comments I will do some research. >>Very good idea.  Just think "marine sources" (which brine are not), and VARIETY.  There are many dried prepared and frozen prepared foods that will meet these criteria.  Marina >Regards, Simon

A Rough Bunch (Stocking Scenario) Dear Sir: <No "sir" needed here...Just Scott F. with you today!> I would appreciate your perspective on the following: I am planning ahead for the stocking of a saltwater fish aquarium. Being new to the saltwater hobby my research has directed me to do an aggressive tank since it appears that most of these types are relatively hardy. <Well, true in some cases, not so true in others...> Based somewhat on beauty and color, I would desire to stock my 110 gallon tank with the following numbers and types of fish: one Volitans Lionfish (or two smaller Mombasa Lionfishes) <Small is good...Think small> one trigger (Pinktail or Blue Throat) one Harlequin Tusk one Miniatus Grouper and, one Yellow Tang <Some pretty messy eaters here...> My system consists of a 110 gallon aquarium (5' long x 2' high x 18 " wide) with plans to purchase approx. 1# of live rock per gallon of tank capacity. I have a Red Sea Berlin Turbo Classic protein skimmer sitting in a 20 gallon long aquarium used as a sump.  A Mag Drive 9.5 pump returns the water from the sump to the main tank and flow is returned back to the sump via a 600 gph siphon overflow with the water returning to the sump through a bag strainer sitting in the sump. Two Hagen 402 (270 gph) powerheads are to be placed in the main tank to prevent dead spots around the live rock. A substrate (yet to be purchased) will cover between 1" and 3" of tank bottom. <Go for 1/2 inch or less, or 3 inches or more...> A separate Marineland Magnum 350 canister filter (carryover from a previous freshwater setup) will be used to provide some additional chemical and mechanical filtration. <Good idea in a tank of heavy eaters/metabolic waste producers> In terms of fish load, can my system do the job ? (some books state that 1" of fish for every two gallons of water is acceptable- the adult size of this collection of fishes appears to meet this criteria). <To be quite honest with you- I think your stocking plan is a bit too ambitious for a tank of this size. The grouper will require a lot of room, reaches a very substantial size (like 15" plus), and gives off a lot of metabolic waste. On its own, I wouldn't use anything less than a 300 gallon tank to sustain this fish for anything approaching its natural life span. Pinktail and Bluethroat Triggers are great fishes, relatively peaceful- but they are also heavy eaters, and require a lot of physical space in their aquarium. If it were me, I'd go with "miniature" versions of the fishes that you are considering. For example, the P. mombassae that you are thinking about, maybe a "grouper-like" fish, such as a "Blue Hamlet (Hypoplectrus gemma), which tops off at around 6 inches, and a more modest sized wrasse, such as Thalassoma lucasanum, the "Rainbow Wrasse" (hits maybe 4- inches). The tang is optional- another fish that requires lots of room...Add it after careful observation and contemplation.> I plan to stock all fish as juveniles, quarantine, stock slowly and feed modestly. <Very wise idea, regardless of what fishes you choose, IMO> I was going to start off with a water change of approx. 5% once/week and adjust this rate as needed based on water chemistry/conditions. <Good idea...Frequent small changes are very important in tanks with heavy eaters...> If the above filtration/stocking plan/feeding and maintenance plan for the above system is acceptable, it appears from what I can learn out of books that the only fish in this bunch that may not be able to "hold its ground" is the lionfish (or lionfishes).  I certainly don't want to watch my lionfish getting his spines eaten off. Can I make the above mix of fish work in terms of breed and temperament? <Not in this sized aquarium, IMO> I have 12 years of experience with freshwater systems. I don't have any experience with saltwater filtration or the temperaments of saltwater fish above other than what I've observed in aquarium shops and read in books (primarily "The New Marine Aquarium", by Michael Paletta, and "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", by Robert Fenner.  Some books or advice are sometimes contradictory or confusing/vague with respect to filtration capacity or fish compatibility. Your advice or confirmation regarding the chosen fish population in terms of my tank and filtration specifications and fish breed temperaments would be most appreciated. John Rowe <Well, John, Bob's, Mike Paletta's, or even my advice should not be taken as the "last word" by any means. Everyone needs to reach their own decisions to be truly successful in this hobby. However, I can tell you that my suggestions are based on a lifetime of observing marine fishes in captive and natural settings, and in having both good experiences, and bad experiences by foolishly attempting non-viable species in the past. The most important thing to keep in mind with these fishes is that you must consider the "end game"; i.e.; how large they will grow, and what kind of waste production they are capable of, etc. Fishes will not "grow to the size of the tank; rather, they will be physiologically stunted, and live abbreviated, uncomfortable lives. My best advice is to "think small"- smaller specimens, even in fairly large aquariums, will fare far better, IMO...Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

- Can I Have? Can I Have? Can I Have? - Hi, What is the smallest size you could get this fish? And would it be safe to keep it with invertebrates? Regards Aaron. Hi, Is the Randall's shrimp goby an expensive fish? And, will it live happily with a tang, clownfish, dwarf angelfish, and grammas and butterflies? Also, Can surgeonfish be kept with butterflies? And can the Copperbanded butterfly be  reef safe? Regards Aaron. <My friend, I've included both your emails in one response because honestly, I'm concerned about your desires to put more life into a tank that has no room for same. I answered your queries yesterday, and I do realize you PLAN to get a larger tank at some juncture but you don't have the tank YET. I mentioned this yesterday, but I feel I must caution you again that you currently have NO ROOM for anything else. Please don't purchase any additional fish until you actually have the new, larger tank set up and running for several months. You need to take these things a step at a time, and I just can't encourage impetulant questions like, "Will this fish fit? Will that fish fit?" Please take the time to browse the Wet Web Media web site as we archive a huge quantity of questions like this in addition to specific articles about the livestock in question. Many of the answers you seek are there. In the time between now and when you get this new tank, you have plenty of time to inform yourself and make smart choices about what you might put in the new tank. If you are aching to spend money, consider purchasing a couple of books - Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist comes to mind. Cheers, J -- >

Suggested book? (On Angels, Butterflyfishes) Thanks a lot Mr. Bob, so can you suggest (if there is one) an "aquarium book" for angelfishes and butterflyfishes which tell us what kind of angel or butterfly can be keep and can't be keep. <Mmm, no... don't have such a suggestion. Instead, I would/do encourage folks to read a few "current" titles dealing with this or any other group of organisms, AND use the Internet to query other aquarists (on the aforementioned Bulletin Boards, Chatrooms), AND ask other folks at the fish stores, clubs... re their success, trials, including where they secured their livestock from. To sum up, there is no ONE source of information that is accurate, significant and meaningful on this subject (or much of any as far as I've experienced)... even, yes, penned by myself. Situations change, new sources, suppliers, technology on capture, holding, shipping evolve, new foods that supply needed nutrition are produced... "Things change" I assure you in the survivability/mortality ratio in the species used in our interest> I'll try to guess that if you being ask to give your suggestion about Chaetodon baronessa, triangulum, trifascialis, ornate, meyeri, larvatus and few more you will say that this kind of butterfly is better leave alone in the ocean, and should not be kept? Am I right? <Yes my friend. These are/have been very difficult to keep in captivity... living mainly on live polyps in the wild, not adjusting to captive conditions on many occasions. Almost all are dead within a month of capture> Have you seen my picture, can you give me your opinion, I'm waiting from the expert opinion! Thank you "very very" much for your suggestion and your helping! <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

- New Tank, Livestock Questions - First and foremost I want to thank you and everyone else who is involved with providing the information on the website.  Once I started looking at the website I realized I didn't know as much as I thought I did about marine aquariums.   I recently purchased an aquarium and I would like your input on the equipment.  It is a 180 acrylic tank and I plan for it to be a FOWLR system only.  It has a wet dry that measures 36x12x16 with two chambers that are 12x12x12 for bioball capacity.  Would  this be sufficient or would you recommend a refugium? <It wouldn't hurt to have one.> The other chamber measures only 8x12 and this is where the protein skimmer powerhead feeds a Turboflotor 1000 Multi.  Is this a sufficient skimmer? <Sure.> The main pump is a Iwaki MD55 pump and is this sufficient? <Sure.> It has an internal overflow and I am not sure what the dimensions are for the return and overflow so what do you recommend they be?  <The overflow is probably 1" - the return is likely 3/4" - that is pretty standard.> The lighting is set up with four 24 inch fluorescents with Ice Cap ends and what looks like Home Depot style ballasts.  Do you recommend Ice Cap ballasts or would you go with PCs? <Depends on what you want to keep - is personal preference here otherwise.> It also has a 40 watt Aqua Ultraviolet sterilizer.  I am pretty positive that this should be enough for a UV. <Is quite a bit, but in my opinion a waste of money. The problems that UV 'might' avoid can be more effectively eliminated by careful and consistent quarantine of all new livestock.>   The tank is surrounded by a solid oak stand and canopy. As far as decor goes I have right now 200 pounds of white Fiji Island sand.  I plan on getting the recommended amount 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of live rock.   The main fish I plan on getting is an Asfur Angel.  The rest will be depending on compatibility with this fish.  They would be an Imperator, Blue Face, a Cowfish, a Lion, a Zebra Eel, Stonefish, and a couple of Masked Butterflyfish. <I would stick with only one large angel in this tank... adding more in such close quarters is asking for trouble.> And maybe a couple of Yellow Tangs depending on what you say. <One tang would be a better choice.> Thank you for past, present and future help Anthony <Cheers, J -- >

- Packing 'em In - Hi, Currently in my tank I have, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 crabs, 1 regal tang, 1 potters angelfish, 1 ocellaris clownfish, 1 tube worm, and a mushroom rock. I am considering to introduce a longnosed butterfly, but am worried if it will eat my shrimps. My shrimps are 2inch and 3inches. My tang is 2inch, my angelfish is 2.5 inch and my ocellaris clownfish is 2inch. Could you please let me know if it will be fine to introduce one of these fishes about 2-3inch, bearing in mind that I will introduce him into a larger tank when bigger. <Your tank is fully stocked. I would not add any more fish until you have your new tank up and running for a couple of months.> Thanks Darrell <Cheers, J -- >

Questions About Marine Tank Stocking >Hello, >>Hello. >I'm a 15 year old who currently has a reef aquarium and a few other freshwater tanks.  I have a few questions regarding a tank I am about to set-up.  It is an 85 gallon all glass aquarium.  I am placing it in my bedroom which is on the second story of my house.  It is sitting parallel on I think two or three 2''6'.  Will this support the tank?   >>I'm not sure I understand how the tank is situated in regards to your floor joists.  What is important is to ensure first that it's as close as possible to supporting walls, and that the joists themselves are in good condition.  At this point I cannot answer adequately whether or not they will properly support a tank of this size.  Maybe you can contact a contractor who could answer better than I. >The second question I have regards the set-up of this tank.  I am planning on it being an all fish marine tank.  I want it to be a outer reef crest or ridge of the Red Sea.  I plan on putting a Purple Tang and a Lined Surgeon in it.  Both of these fish will be purchased around 3 inches in length.   >>Huge mistake, my friend.  The tank is large enough for one tang, not two, and especially not aggressive tangs as these. >I know you are probably going to try to steer me away from this idea, but I plan on giving this a try anyways and if things get to heated I will remove one of the individuals.   >>Then I fail to see why you have written us with this question if you have your mind made up.  Know that when they go at it, the death of one, the other, or BOTH can happen in less than 5 minutes.  There is a reason why they're called "Surgeonfish", and if you believe that you are so quick with a net then it is a sad day indeed for the animals you plan on taking in.  I am much dismayed.  There is one way that I see for this to be successful, and it involves ensuring a HUGE disparity in size of the tangs.  Since you have already decided on getting 3" individuals, this does not bode well.  I implore you to learn MUCH more about what you plan on doing here before you do it. >The ones at my LFS seem to get along fine.   >>There may be a myriad of reasons for this, not the least of which is a phenomenon called "displacement of aggression".  It involves stocking a system with large numbers of fish, something we all see in shops but can never (and should never) practice at home. >I was also wondering if Green Chromis and Humbug Damsels are found in this area of the reef.   >>Do look up http://www.fishbase.org for your best source of locale information on this biotopic region on which you plan. >If not what other fish would come from this area?   >>Some pseudochromids, and Anthias, that I can think of off the top of my head.  Of course, that is nothing compared to real variety of life to be found in this area, but I am hardly an expert on this region. The Tank will be well filtered and have a few large powerheads on it.  Thank you for your time.  Sam Reef >>If you plan on keeping any planktivores from this region, consider the addition of a refugium.  Talk to the contractor, first, though, to be sure you can set up where you want.  Marina

Building A Population- Slow And Steady! Dear Scott, <Hello there!> It's time for an update and new questions (of course). Both of the clownfish died. Luckily they'd been in the hospital tank. No other fish ever got sick. <Sorry to hear about the loss- but I commend you on the use of the hospital tank...Very beneficial> I am not interested in replacing them anytime soon. The BTA is too small for a female anyway. I think it is a clone and have read that they don't get as large, nor do they like strong lighting. <I would disagree on the lighting part, based on my experience. Bright lighting is very important with the majority of anemones..> This one is on the bottom, well guarded by Bob, the cleaner shrimp. Bob argues with anything that comes near the BTA. I think he has ulterior motives, as he steals from the BTA whenever possible! <Ahh...how altruistic!> Our water conditions are still excellent, but we have not acquired any new fish. We want to wait for a new protein skimmer first, as ours is not quite up to the job. <Great show of restraint! The tank will always be there- don't worry...Get the "infrastructure" set, then add to your population...> We have a snail problem. There are hundreds of baby snails everywhere, in about three sizes, so far. The nice thing is our algae problem is not a problem anymore! Do we want to add a critter that likes baby snails, or should we just remove as many as possible and take them to the Aquarium guy- who said he'd take them- a true pain, (but whatever)? <I'd definitely share them with your fellow hobbyists...Everyone seems to want/need some at one time or another!> We were going to get the green Chromis for schooling fish, but wouldn't yellow Chromis look great! :) They are a lot more expensive though. Maybe I'll paint yellow fish on the tank hood! <A great solution- and one that one cause territorial disputes or add to your bioload! LOL> We have bubble algae, but I think the sally lightfoot is eating it. We also have some sponge growing along with a funnel weed, interesting. The pulsing xenia moved up about an inch, but seems happy. How do they reproduce? <Amazing "fission"...They'll start "creeping" all over the tank before you know it, if conditions are right!> It is about full-size now. Can I add another BTA near the other one? Wide open, there would be about two inches between them. I have one other location that would be similar, but the water flow isn't as strong. <I would stick to one...> Last questions; there are several varieties of liquid "food" for anemones, corals, etc. Do you mix and match, stick with certain brands, or get an all-purpose supplement? <Many of the liquid foods on the market amount to little more than "pollution in a bottle" if misused (which is all too common)...Find a food that you and your anemone like, and stick with it> What about the ones that mention protecting fish from ich? I guess they help with the slime coat? <Well, there are a lot of so-called "anti-ich" foods out there. Some are of dubious quality and effectiveness. Some foods contain garlic, which is thought to contain substances that may or may not interfere with the Cryptocaryon parasite's ability to locate the fish...Still not conclusive, but garlic additives are a possible preventative against ich and other parasitic diseases. Lately, I have heard a lot of discussion about ginger "performing" the same role...None of this stuff is conclusive at this point...> We believe ich exists in the tank and wonder if some/one of these products would help newcomers? After all the time and money we spent on the clowns, it would be good to get it right next time! <I think that, if you are convinced that there is still Cryptocaryon in the tank, you should utilize a "fallow" period, when all fishes are removed, and the parasite population is denied hosts (your fishes!), causing it to crash or diminish to the point where otherwise healthy fishes should be able to withstand it...> We still plan to buy the Blue Hippo and Coral Beauty at the same time. We will probably get the Chromis first, in a month or so. The Chromis will keep the yellowtail busy so the other two can adjust to the tank (after quarantine of course). <Definitely after quarantine and observation...And at a leisurely pace! Stocking a tank is a marathon- not a sprint! There is no need to rush things...Let your system adjust, and enjoy each new addition...> If you had a 155 gal tank with the afore mentioned fish, plus five silly blennies, what would you add, if anything, for fun and/or balance? (We still have the brittle, two emeralds, a sea cucumber, and blue-legged crabs). <I'd opt for a small wrasse, such as one of the Halichoeres species...They are colorful and have tons of personality..> Thanks again for all you help. Books are great, but the response of an "expert" enthusiast sure comes in handy. Crystal <Thanks for the kind words, Crystal! "Enthusiast", true..."Expert" is probably a stretch, though! LOL.. Have fun with your growing community! Regards, Scott F>

Cycling - And Get That Tang Outta There! >Hi, >>Greetings, Marina tonight. >I have a 36 gallon FOWLR with 45lb live rock, two false percula clowns, a blue velvet damsel, and a small Kole yellow eye tang.   >>Eek.. you were doing great till you got to the tang.  I do hope you're aware that this fish won't do well for long at all in such a small system (should actually be busy growing in something along the lines of a 75 gallon or better). >All fish seem to be doing well, all are active and have excellent appetites.  I am currently running a CPR BakPak 2R and a Hagen Fluval 204 canister filter.  The tank has been running for a little more than two months now, and it still hasn't cycled.  My water parameters are pH 8.2, ammonia 0.5ppm, nitrite and nitrate at 0.  These are the same parameters that the tank was at two months ago.  I have tried adding live sand as well as using Hagen's Cycle product.   >>Not a prudent use of funds. >The tank has already passed the brown diatom stage and has a thick growth of green covering everything, with a beginning of bubble algae on the sand.   >>Ah, my Valonia!  You have excess nutrients very quickly building up in your small system (which by many would be considered a nano), my friend.  I will suggest you upgrade your filtration very soon, to start with.  The canister is undersized for a marine system, I would be using a 304 or even a 404 on a tank that size, with FREQUENT cleaning. >I am currently using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Master Test Kit.  Have you heard anything about the accuracy of these tests?   >>Not only heard, but personal experience has taught me they're not very.  Also, if I recollect correctly, their ammonia test may be using the Nessler's reagent (this may have changed, so don't take my word for gospel, please), which would mean that your dechlorinator would give you false ammonia readings.  Fancy that, eh?  Try either SeaChem or Salifert ammonia tests, see what you come up with on those (they really are better quality overall, too), then go from there. >I was also thinking about eventually switching to an AquaC Remora protein skimmer.  What do you think?   >>If your current skimmer is giving you the nastiest skimmate possible, then the only reason I would change would be because it seems over-taxed.  The change I really WOULD make would be to upgrade that Fluval, or add a refugium (I believe CPR makes a neat little hang-on 'fuge), and DEFINITELY find that tang a better home.  Then you can add something that won't outgrow the tank so quickly, nor will pollute so much as a tang. >Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Rem >>You're welcome, Marina.

Marine Tank Stocking Question >I have a 46 gallon bowfront. Presently I have probably 40-50 pounds of live rock (and a couple mushrooms and a couple small polyps). I presently have one maroon clown (only about an inch and a half), one long-nose hawkfish (probably 3.5 inches), and one coral beauty (3 inches or so).  Will my tank also accommodate a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma? From my calculations that would max out my tank at full adult size for all fish. Thoughts? >>I think you are spot on, they would do fine, and would inhabit the areas the Maroon will most likely allow them to live in. >I also keep hearing accounts of the maroon being aggressive.   >>They are quite true. Maybe so, but my clown has never shown any aggression.   >>Your clown is quite juvenile.  Time will tell. >Is that almost certainly because of his youth/size, especially in relation to his present tank mates?   >>Without a doubt. >Incidentally, the clown spends most of his time hiding up under the lip of the return from my Emperor 400 power filter.  Is that odd?   >>No, consider it "hosting", especially since it is a juvenile. >Do you think it may be intimidated from the Coral Beauty?   >>Could be, but I doubt it unless you've seen the angel harass the clown. >I've never seen the Coral Beauty harass the clown.   >>That answers that.  Give them time, one day the clown very well might end up tearing that angel who's been minding his own beeswax a new "hm-hm". >Perhaps that is just its hiding nature?  Either way, it sucks since I can't see him much and his color is so cool.  Anyway, the angel and maroon were added at the same time, so that may account for the angel never bother the maroon.  The Coral Beauty does act like the King though and occasionally chases the hawkfish.  But, for the most part the Coral Beauty is peaceful.  It just gets upset initially upon the introduction of any new fish.  The hawk bothers nobody, not unlike the clown.   >>All as it "should" be, in other words, as I, personally, would have predicted. >As an alternative to the royal Gramma and sixline, could my tank house as a fourth fish such as a small Canthigaster puffer (I realize this could be trouble for shrimps, etc.), or a yellow tang, or a blue (hippo) tang, or a Wimplefish (Heniochus), or a rabbit fish (probably not good with polyps and mushrooms, eh..)?   >>Absolutely no to the tangs, the puffer will likely prove a good target at the outset for the angel in the beginning, and for the clown in the end.  The Rabbitfish will also become far too large as well. >I suspect you'll tell me that these all grow too large in the end.   >>You suspect correctly.  However, do consider adding a small number of neon gobies, both for additional bits of color, and for their propensity to act as cleaners.  They also add very little in terms of bioload, a very good deal all around.  Marina

- Livestock for a 23 Gallon Tank - Hi, Could you recommend some fish Suitable for a 23 gallon tank. Regards A.D.M <I do hope you mean saltwater ;-) I'd pick three, perhaps four fish maximum that are generally peaceful and stay small. Perhaps an ocellaris clown or two, a neon goby or two, and perhaps a Royal Gramma. Cheers, J -- >

Does Size Matter? Tank Size that is... Hey guys, I currently have a 45(36x12) gal I am thinking about setup for FOWLR.  I only have a space large enough for a 36" tank.  I have thought about getting a 65 Gal(36x18).  I know that the additional depth will help far aquascaping. <It can, depending upon the biotope that you are trying to replicate...> My question is, will there be a great difference in water stability due to the larger size, to off set the cost of the new tank, stand, and the loss taken on the 45 gal that I have no use for otherwise.  Also what fish cannot go into the 65? <Well, when you take into account the amount of water displaced by sand, rocks, etc. that 20 gallons can make a difference. Even the 65 gallon tank will probably hold less than 40 gallons of water once it's ultimately stocked and aquascaped, so there is some validity to buying the largest system that you can. And, by the way, you could always use the 45 as a sump/refugium for your 65 or larger, which will effectively increase your system's capacity! Just a thought!> Dwarf angel, trigger, tang, puffer, will they be to large and work against my bio on the LR? <Well, I'd personally hold off on any trigger, tang, and some puffers in anything less than a 100 gallon tank. That's my personal bias, but it is mainly based upon the ultimate size that these fishes can achieve, their need for physical "space", and the quantity of metabolic wastes that they are capable of producing. A well-stocked 65, or even 45 gallon tank can be every bit as impressive as a much larger tank if a few simple rules are followed concerning bioload, equipment and aquascaping. If 45 gallons is what you have to work with, then try to assemble a system and animals to compliment a tank of that size. Have fun! Regards, Scott F. > Thanks again for a great site and service you provide to our hobby.    -Randy

50 Gallon Tank... Overstocked? <Hi! Ananda here today...> I'm interested in purchasing a small cowfish, but haven't at this point do to the current stock in my aquarium. The aquarium doesn't look overstock to me, but it may feel like the occupancy has reached its max to the tenants. <Kudos to writing before getting such a demanding species. I would avoid *any* cowfish in a tank that small. Do talk to the kind folks on the Yahoo forum "Cowfish, Puffers, & More" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CowfishPuffers_andMore/ to hear/read first-hand experiences with these fish.> Please advise if I've overstocked the tank or if I can continue adding. The following are the occupants in the aquarium: (1) 3 inch Powder Brown Tang, <Long-term, this guy needs a bigger tank. I would not keep this guy -- at his *current* size -- in anything less than 75g. And he's going to get a lot bigger.> (1) 3 inch Clark's Anemonefish, (2) Damselfish (a 2 inch green Chromis and a 2 inch four stripe damsel), <The 4-stripe is going to get bigger & meaner...> (1) 2 inch Mandarinfish, <Ack! For long-term survival, these guys need a tank at least 2-3 times the size of your current tank and lots of live rock to provide habitat for their food source (primarily copepods and other critters in the rock). Most people who report any success with these fish (i.e., keep it alive for more than six months or so) have at least a pound of live rock per gallon of tank size. Some have more, and many have a refugium dedicated to 'pod production. Do read up on these guys on the WWM site!> (2) Medium size Cleaner Shrimps, (1) small Arrow Crab, <Arrow crabs are not safe with smallish fish or smallish shrimp... and it's probably competing for food with your mandarin fish.> (5) small Cleaner crabs, (5) small Snails (for algae cleaning). Their is also (I'm guessing) about 15-20 pounds of live rock. <I would suggest tripling this as soon as possible. Do check the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for discussions about where you can get good live rock inexpensively.> Thanks for any feedback you can provide P.S. The tank has a penguin filter and an under gravel 403 Fluval system. <*blink* Undergravel filters are, um, usually considered pass? by most marine fishkeepers... they can be a source of nitrates and are far from efficient at filtration. Much info on marine filtration, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm ... Do look into getting a protein skimmer for that tank, too! If you use the Google search tool at the bottom of the Daily FAQ page, try "50 gallon skimmer" as a search phrase to get some recommendations.> The salt and water levels are checked weekly <And hopefully your ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, and nitrates are less than 20? If not, a filtration upgrade is definitely in order... --Ananda>

A New Tank <Hello! Ryan with you> My friend just started a 20 gal reef with my old tank.  I wanted your input on stocking -33 lbs live rock -30 lbs aragonite sand not live (yet) -2 pumps for circulation 1 penguin mini Plan to get a backpack skimmer soon.<Perhaps an AquaC Remora is in the budget?> it has a 36 watt power compact. 1 rock with green star polyps. <Hmmm...1.8 watts/gallon is pretty low.  Please read up: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm 16 hermit crabs 10 snail 1 sally light foot crab to clean up <Overkill.  Skip the Sally lightfoot, it belongs in a bigger setup.  Try 8 hermits, 5 snails.> fish. 1 Pseudochromis purple 2" 1 maroon clown 1 1/2" <Too large, too aggressive.  Perhaps a small wrasse, goby of some sort would be a better choice.> My friend wants to add a long nose hawk. <OK...then certainly skip the maroon.  Only 2 fish of this size will coexist happily in 20 gallons of water.> I know the maroon clown will get bigger will it be too big? <see above.  With a small system, the water can pollute very quickly.  It's important to keep it under stocked, with a good amount of live rock for a balance.  Best of luck! Ryan>

- New Marine Aquarist, Follow-up - Thanks for your fast reply! <My pleasure.> I have read the article highlighted and decided not to go with the plenum. (Don't have much depth to the tank anyway. :D ) <Sounds good.> I was thinking of keeping a Midas blenny, 2 Ocellaris Clowns and Bubble Tip anemone. Could you suggest other species and corals I could keep without significantly increasing the bioload? <Not in this tank. I would try to stock the tank lightly and learn to enjoy the system like this - it will give you more enjoyment for a longer amount of time. In fact, I would like to encourage you to skip the anemone - this tank really isn't large enough.> I will definitely look around and purchase the MHs. I'm not very sure if the internal box filter can be removed but if possible, I'll install a external one. Any recommended brands? <Unfamiliar with what you have available in Singapore - wouldn't want to recommend something you can't find.> I'm kind of confused about the sump system and the steps taken to mature the tank. Do the corals go in with the sand or with the fishes? <Uhh... I would think all three would be in the same place, the main tank. But again, I will ask you to consider NOT putting too much stuff into this tank. You really only have room for two or three small fish [that stay small] and one or two corals. Much more than this, and you will be opening the door to endless problems.> Also, the coral sand I understand should be the grade of fine sugar. How deep should the sand bed be without sacrificing the remaining volume? <For a 'deep' sand bed, you need at least 4" of sand depth.> And will the results be the same if I seed the sand bed with bacteria enhancement products? <I don't think 'seeding' products will make any difference on the formation of your sand bed.> Thank you again for your help! Sorry if it seems long winded.. :P  Hector <Cheers, J -- >

Three Is Definitely A Crowd! Hey, guys I have a question with regards to stocking my 55 gallon tank. <Fire away! Scott F. here today> Right now I have a Naso tang approx 6", a purple tang approx. 7" and a black edge moray about 13". <Wow! Way too much life for a 55 gallon tank. I'm sure that you want the best for your animals; do consider a MUCH larger home for them in the future...Like 150 gallons minimum, preferably 240-300 gallons for the long-run> I don't have much live rock at all, and I started my tank with dolomite as a substrate. My first question is: If you guys think I will be able to make any additions to my tank. I was thinking of purchasing a Huma Huma trigger, or bursa trigger, since I know those two mentioned are the smaller of the trigger family. <Not to be to harsh- but absolutely not...I wouldn't even think about it at this point. Really. Start saving for a much larger system...That's the best thing for you and your animals...> I have a 25 watt UV sterilizer, wet/dry filter and protein skimmer that came with the wet/dry, but my nitrate levels seem to always be a little elevated around 60-80 ppm. <Not surprising, with a full bioload of very heavy metabolite-producing fishes...Nitrate reduction is possible, but will be a true struggle in this tank...> There seems to have been an increase since I got the eel. I know triggers are messy eaters as well and figure this will only contribute to elevated nitrate levels. <Good thought- you are 100% correct!> My ammonia levels are always at or near 0 and nitrites are also at or very near to zero (this seems to depend on me cleaning filters (pre filter and filter cloth), or adding removing ornaments). <These factors should always be undetectable in a well-established, properly-maintained tank...> My salinity is approx 1.022. I have always had algae growth, but now seem to constantly get red algae in addition to the diatoms and green algae. <No doubt due to a high load of metabolic waste in the water.> I use a deionizer to treat the tap water, and that is what I use for water changes. <Excellent prep) I use Instant Ocean Sea Salt and it claims to not have any phosphates. <Your phosphates may be coming from...food! Feeding is one of the biggest contributors to excess phosphate levels in closed systems..> I also wanted to know if you thought the addition of live rock would help to stabilize my nitrate levels, and I thought about changing my substrate to sand to make it more natural, I wanted to know if that would help. <The addition of sand and live rock may provide bacteria and microfauna that can help process additional nutrients. If properly maintained, they can help. However, the tank is still overstocked for the long-term..> Also reading some of your articles I see that some of you guys talked about removing bio balls from filters, Is there anything wrong with bio balls? Also I've had my tank for a couple of years, should I be doing anything to the filter itself in terms of maintenance, cleaning, washing, etc? <There is nothing wrong with bioballs. They help foster bacteria that can very efficiently break down ammonia and nitrite. However, they are so efficient at this initial work, that they come up short in the denitrification department! A "victim of their own success". They will do good work, but you will see an accumulation of nitrate...> Thanks Neville <My pleasure, Neville. I'm sure that you're going to be successful with your system. You just need to make some adjustments and consider the long-term needs of your animals. You have some great insights and thoughts, so keep on working on your system. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Clownfish gaggle 9/21/03 Hello <howdy> I'd like to have a tank with group of clowns (ocellaris or maroon). By the group I mean 8 to 12. I have a 90g cube tank with 150WHQI. Is it possible to keep such a group of them. <it is possible with ocellaris... but nearly impossible with the severely aggressive maroon clowns.> I'd also want to have 1 anemone and no more corals as You suggested Which anemone should I choose (I know they are hard to maintain - but I do my best) < a common brown or green carpet anemone might be a good choice here> By the way can I add yellow tang to clowns an mandarin <I would not advise either... the tang would be too aggressive... and the mandarin would likely be stung and killed by the anemone in time (beyond issues of its challenging requirements)> Best regards, Darek <kindly, Anthony>

- Losing Fish, Follow-up - Thanks, for your quick reply, it was an angelfish and a tang. <Hmm... these fish are often trouble to ship, and depending on where your fish store obtains their fish this could have been the source of their problems. Also, these fish do better in tanks that have had some time to mature... I'd wait a couple of months before you try either of these again, and when you do, only add one fish at a time - one fish per month.> BTW you have a great website, with a lot of resources. <Glad you find it useful.> Greets Julie <Cheers, J -- >

On The Fast Track To Disaster? The first fish I added to my marine aquarium were 2 green Chromises and 2 yellow tailed devil damsels. After a few weeks I added 2 clowns, 1 bicolour angel and 1 semicircular angel. After a week or two the semicircular fish supposedly killed the bicolour angel. And so the next week I added a coral beauty and a yellow tang. The morning after I added these two fish the semicircular angel died. Then a few days later a green Chromis, the yellow tang + the coral beauty died all in one night. So I started adding some marine Ph buffers (2 every day) and some other tablets that kills diseases (7 every 2nd day). 4 days after I started adding them, one of the clownfish died. I have a 180litre (50 gallon) tank that is reef setup. All the fish have died over night. When I test my water the levels of everything is very good. What is going on and how do I stop it. <Woooahhh...! First things first. Please slow down a bit! The adding of new fishes (some of which have very specific demands for water quality and stability) in rapid succession is not only hard on the fishes, but taxing on a newly established system. Also, you mentioned nothing about a quarantine procedure. I'll bet the majority of the problems could have been averted with a proper quarantine of all new arrivals...And- medicating the main tank is a no- no! Selection of compatible animals is also a bi issue to address here! I'm also curious about the need for pH buffers? Was there a big drop in your pH? If so, do you know what may have caused it? The water tests that you ran: Were you checking Nitrite, ammonia, pH, Alkalinity, Nitrate? It's important to determine what the readings were so that you can get a picture of what's going on...My best advice would be to slow down, get back to the "basics", and review the husbandry techniques and procedures that you need to be successful. We have some great resources on the WWM site to start with. And I'd also recommend Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", as well as Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium". These are two excellent books to really help you get the basics down, and they will serve you well! Your determination and enthusiasm are great! You just need to slow down and throw in a healthy does of patience, and I'm sure that success will be right around the corner! Feel free to write us any time, okay? Good luck- and enjoy the journey. It's a marathon- not a sprint! Regards, Scott F>

-Invert bio-load?- I have had a 100gl marine tank for about three months now and want to  start stocking with fish.  My question is, if I already have 30 blue legged hermits 3 emerald crabs and 30 turbo snails, will this bio-load of inverts effect how many fish I will be able to stock? <If you have ample liverock, and some sort of substrate on the bottom of the tank, and it's efficiently filtered, you probably couldn't crash the tank if you tried (ok, well maybe you could, but the answer is no, they don't count unless they require much additional food).> If yes, how much? Is there a general rule of thumb like there is for fish,1/2" per gallon", on stocking? <Ew, as far as I'm concerned there is no 1/2" of fish per gallon rule. If that was true, does that mean you can toss in 50 1" green Chromis?>  If so what is it? <I'm sure somebody has come up with a X grams of hermit crab biomass per gallon, but it has much more to do with available food and crab-crab aggression that decides how many crabs the tank can support (same deal w/ snails).> I have not been successful in finding any information on this topic from the books I have been reading. <Glad to hear it. Basically, at this point, you'll only need to add any snails or hermits if they're not keeping up with algae growth (which would mean that you are having a nutrient control issue as well). Stocking the tank with fish is more about making sure everybody gets along and that nobody's cramped. The way we set up tanks (come to think of it, I don't know how your tank is set-up...) these days with plenty of live rock, sand, and a good protein skimmer, bio-load is really not an issue if nutrients are properly controlled. The tank finds its max "bio-load" by personality conflicts :) > I really enjoy this site for all the information it has to offer and the expertise/experience you guys share.  Whenever I get stuck I can always find an answer here, even if it's not the one I want to hear," see ICH Cures". <Hehe, excellent! Good luck, Kevin>  Thanks again

-Last fish selection- Hi there, I am a avid reader of this site and really enjoyed Anthony and Bob's newest book "Reef Invertebrates". <Cool!> This is a great reference book to own. I wanted would like your input on fish selection for my 100 reef tank. It is a 60" flatback hex acrylic tank with a 40 gallon sump and a Euro-Reef skimmer (this skimmer is great!!). I have a mix of easy to keep leathers, zoanthids and mushrooms. I currently have: 5 green Chromis 1 royal Gramma 1 lawnmower blenny 1 potter's angel I would like to add several more small fish or one medium sized fish that would add a splash of color to the tank. I was thinking about a trio of Hawaiian flame wrasses or a yellow tang in a few months but I don't want to overload my tank. <Sounds ok> Is this plan feasible or am I at my limit? <You have some room, choose carefully b/c you'll be done soon! You could also do some squamipinnis Anthias instead of the flame wrasses.> I only have a 1/2 or so of sand on the bottom so many of the gobies are out. I would appreciate any other suggestions. <How 'bout some neon gobies?> By the way, my Potter's angel came from my 30 gallon tank with an ecosystem filter on the back with a lot of critters growing in it. I bought him before I learned that they can be touchy. He initially refused all food but was really picking at the algae growing in the tank. Based on his rating habits, I put several small pieces of live rock in tank water outside in the sun in hopes of getting more algae on them. After a few days I put them back in the tank covered in algae. This seemed to work for several weeks until he decided that my food was edible. I don't know if this will work for all fish but it seemed to work well for mine. <Exactly, it worked well for this one, but unfortunately not for all. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Ed Ryan

Too small, too soon  (9-17-03) Hi,<Cody, Cody here today!> This is my first mail. but I have been reading the articles on your website for quite sometime. very informative. I have a 12 gallon saltwater tank.. and have recently a week back) introduces a Blue Damsel and an Ocellaris Clownfish. Damsel dude seemed to be fine. but the Ocellaris color have faded. fins are droopy. Water condition is fine. temp around 80f. salinity around 1.024.<This is way too soon to have fish.  Do you have any live rock or anything?  Did you go through a cycle.  Have you checked you ammonia, nitrite, or nitrite?> By the way, was it a good idea to have a clownfish and a damsel is a 12 gallon tank. is this size too small?<It is a bit small especially with a fish as aggressive as the blue damsel.> Any help will be greatly appreciated.<Answer these questions and get back to me.  Other than that just keep reading and learning and you will get it with time.  Cody> Ajish C

One More Fish...? I have a 125 gal fish and live rock system that's been quite stable for several years (wet/dry filtration and a skimmer). I have a lion fish (6in and still growing a bit), a narrow line puffer (full grown at 5in), a Scopas Tang (3in, kind of smallish, but hasn't grown over the last couple of years), a harlequin tusk (4in), and a rusty angel (3-4in). It seems like an odd combination of fish, but I can assure you, everyone gets along fine (no visible damage, everyone eats well, no observed harassment amongst tank mates). The last fish was introduced over a year ago. <Sounds like an interesting, stable population...> As you can tell, I have an unusual brood here. I would like to add one more fish - a bird wrasse. I am concerned that I have lucked out with the fish in this tank (mostly because the puffer is docile to his tank mates). So my question: Would adding a bird wrasse 'push' the tank over it's limits? I want to keep my current fish happy and ensure they live long lives, but I am really smitten with this potential new addition.   Thanks and kindest regards, Teresa <Well, Teresa, it's a tough call, but the answer is pretty clear if you look at it objectively. The Bird Wrasse can and will hit over 10 inches in both the wild and in the aquarium, and likes a lot of room to swim. Your Tuskfish can also hit 10 inches, and likewise, needs a lot of room to swim as well. And, when you take into account the volume of waste that the puffer and the rest of the crew can produce when well fed, and it all adds up to the classic dilemma: Either forgo the new addition, substitute a specimen or two for the new guy (and risk upsetting the social dynamic in the process), or consider a larger tank (You knew I was gonna suggest that, huh?)! In the end, you're doing a great job as it is with this group. I'd avoid the temptation to add that "one more fish" that always seems to tip things against us! Hope this helps make things more clear for you...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Stocking Question - Hey crew <Hey!> Movin' an old 75 gal about an hr away and restocking. After cycling w/out fish, I am going to restock the tank as I have only 2 cleaner shrimp and some hermits in there now. I was thinking: 2-4 perc. clowns (tank raised) 1 flame angel 1 hippo tang 1 purple pseudo (tank raised) 1 copperband What do you guys think? Additions/omissions/substitutions????? <Is a pretty good list, but I would keep in mind that the Hippo Tang can grow as larger than a size 12 shoe... so larger than your tank will fit. Other than that, the list looks good to me... do try to obtain a Copperband that is already eating aquarium foods.> My DSB and LR are about 2yrs old and well established. With that in mind I was thinking the clowns first, copperband, flame, hippo, pseudo. <Sounds good.> Thanks for your time! Rick <Cheers, J -- >

- Stocking Question, Follow-up - Thanks a lot.  I was thinking the same thing about the hippo.  I just love the idea of the striking blue in the tank to go along with all the red and orange I'm gonna have. Any suggestions for something more suitable that would bring a different color/look to the proposed mix I have?? <I'm really partial to the Fairy Wrasses: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/cirrhilabrus/index.htm I think you could find one that would offset the current colors and provide some real personality to the tank.> Thank you very much for your time...again! <Cheers, J -- >

-Stocking a 30 FOWLR- Hi,  am in the process of setting up a 30 Gallon marine tank (this is the largest tank we can have unfortunately). I have read many articles and believe that as a fish only setup I can have about 15" fish in total. <Ew, toss that cheesy 1" of fish per 2 gallon rule right out the window. Your final stocking level will necessarily be much lower than that.> I will be using liverock, skimmer and an external canister for filtration. I would like a pair of clownfish, but I am stuck as too what other fish would be suitable for my system. I'd rather have more smaller fish than one or two large fish <Not the tank for large fish, keep them under 3" full grown.> , your recommendations would be very much appreciated. <I'd suggest picking up Scott Michaels Pocket Guide to Marine Fishes, it has some pretty good minimum tank size recommendations for most of the common fish you'll see in the trade. I'd look into neon gobies, shrimp gobies w/ pistol shrimp, Pseudochromis, and cardinalfish for starters. If you'd like some sort of guide as to how many fish should be in this tank, I'd say 4-5 small, peaceful, lil buggers. If there is any question of particular fish being too large for the tank, please don't hesitate to ask. Good luck! -Kevin> Regards, Ian Barnett

-Freshwater dips and stocking ?'s - A few quick questions to explain what I cannot seem to figure out, if you don't mind. Question 1:  I know you recommend a temperature and ph adjusted freshwater dip for tangs and angels upon introduction.  Should I give them a freshwater dip before I even put them in the quarantine tank?  This seems like it would add more stress to the whole acclimation process. <That it would. If there is no visible parasitic infection, skip the bath upon introduction to the quarantine.> If it is to be done before acclimation should I adjust the ph of the freshwater bath to the ph of the shipping water, and then after the dip put them back into the shipping water and acclimate from there?  Or should I just acclimate them to the quarantine tank, and dip them a few days later if a notice any scratching spots or unusual behavior? <Only treat when necessary.>  Also should I give them one last dip enroute to the display tank after a 3 or 4 week quarantine? <If after four weeks nothing has surfaced, it would be safe to skip the dip and avoid that additional stress.> Question 2 Do you think a Sailfin tang would get along in this mix?  4 inch regal tang, 2 perc clowns, 3 inch yellow tang, 3 inch flame angel, and a 2 inch niger trigger (that will only reside in this tank until he is about 4 or 5 inches). Or would a coral beauty perhaps fit in better?  90 gallon bow front, 100 gallon sump, 140 lbs of LR half in tank, half in sump. If neither of these, what tang or angel would suit this mix, if any? <I would skip the tang since you already have 2 in there. I'd also pass on the angel since you have a flame angel (there will likely be fighting). How 'bout a nice Anthias? Good luck! -Kevin> Again, thanks for the expert help.

New stocking plan...and please NO REGAL ANGELFISH thank u very much for your reply u say that they are about maximum size so will I desperately need to upgrade the tank, but just incase I will take your advise and upgrade the tank. U asked me about my tank its a very simple set up I just have one huge table coral creamy white coloured it's an imitation coral ( I don't want to harm the coral reefs anymore)<good to hear> but now I have a different stocking plan I plan to trade in my pearlscale's even though I'll miss them greatly and gat a malu anemone I have the right lighting to maintain but I'd like your advise on what to feed it.<fish food. shrimp, silversides etc> With it I'd like to keep a butterflyfish any long nose variety as u deem those most trustworthy with invertebrates or perhaps any other nicer and equally hardier butterfly u can recommend<I say no butterflies with anemones. if you would like to risk the specimen and the money go right ahead> but I'm also keen on keeping a regal angelfish I'd like to think of my self as out of the beginner region and move onto more challenging fish to keep would u say that it would be safe with an anemone and what should I feed the butterflyfish or the regal? <neither of the two, do you know how hard it is to get a regal angelfish to eat. many advanced aquarists cannot keep these fish for long periods of times..3 years plus!> currently I give my pearlscale's the following in the morning flake food, when I get home from school 4 ish I give them I tea spoon of large brine shrimp<this food has no nutritional value what so ever, Mysis is a good choice though> and or Mysis and then at night I give them some flake food all in small amounts with more frequent feeds also once a week I leave a tablet flake food and stick it to the side of the glass for them to graze on they also enjoy the algae on the large coral.<good, except for the brine shrimp> Unlike u suggested I stay away from meat foods apart from the flakes and fresh meat but here in England that's all that is recommended for butterflies and I think its fine as in 4 months of having my pearlscale's this diet hasn't steered me wrong what are your opinions?<the diet is fine. I would add some vitamins to their diet though, good luck and stay away from the Regal Angelfish!!!, IanB> thanks Agen looking forward to your reply bye!!!

Searching For His Angel... Hi Scott, how are you doing, hope you are doing great!!,  Thank You for your advice, I will Only add 1 more fish to my 140gal office tank, which all ready have a: clown trigger  3" zebra moray eel  10" miniatus grouper 3 1/2" puffer           5" Which one would you recommend, a Volitans Lionfish or a Harlequin Tuskfish??? <Umm...I really advise against either of these...Simply too large, and they give off too much metabolic waste for this tank. I'd opt for something smaller, yet tough...> And in my 95 gal home aquarium I will only add 1 fish (a promise to my wife)  an angelfish, which one would you recommend for a beginner the following list?? I all ready did a little research. Passer angelfish blue angelfish French angelfish emperor angelfish Koran angelfish queen angelfish xanthurus cream angelfish yellow band angelfish Please tell me which one is the most hardy and the one you will recommend the most (not considering the price of the fish), but the hardiness of the fish. <Well, the French and the Queen are quite hardy- but these fish require huge systems to keep successfully...Again- I'd pass on all of the above...Please reconsider a Centropyge species...Much better suited to your sized tank> I prefer to spend 100 dollars for a hardy fish than 50 dollars on one that I'll get attached to and die. And consider this is my first angel, and I am a person who takes excellent care of my fish. <I'm sure that you do! Just do a little bit more research into smaller, more appropriate species for your system, and I'm sure that you'll be successful!> Thank you again Scott, you have been great help!!! Saludos de Tijuana <The pleasure is mine, my friend! Good luck with your search! Regards, Scott F.>

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