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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 21

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

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Elysia (Tridachia) crispata, the Lettuce Sea Slug. Photo by Stormbringer/Steve. 

Stocking 40 gallons (4/18/05) Hi Thanks for great responses the question asked to you all  <Our pleasure. Steve Allen with you this time.>  I have just started my first 40 gal FOWLR tank it has been running for 2 weeks still waiting for the cycle to complete.  <Give it time. Everything you need is in place.>  I added LR (25lbs) 4 days ago and today I have Brownish / Diatom Algae outbreak on all the rocks and coral sand I have read all the posts regarding this problem and have decided to let it take its course.  <All new marine tanks go through this phase. Follow the advice you read and it will abate in due course.>  My question is will I be able to add livestock when my tank has stabilized if the Diatom is still present?  <As long as it has cycled you will be able to begin the gradual introduction of livestock. Are you planning proper quarantine?>  And do you think this stocking level will be ok for my tank? 2 Percula Clowns  <A Pair of these would be fine, but having only one means you can add one of something else, such as a Royal Gramma.> 1 Regal Tang  <Your tank is too small--minimum 100-120 gallons> 1 Yellow Tang  <Your tank is too small--minimum 75 gallons> I would like cleaner shrimps and hermit crab/s but can you advise me on more clean up crew I would need.  <Consider some Nassarius, Astrea, Turbo and Cerith snails. Also a couple of serpent stars.> Here is a list of equipment I'm running this tank on: Deltec MCE600 Skimmer Fluval 404 External Filter  <Needs to be cleaned weekly to prevent nitrate build up.> 300 watt Heater  <This is fine. I tend to be a two-heater guy, just in case one fails.> 2 Maxi-Jet 1000 Powerheads D&D Mega Twin T5 Lighting (2x39w) 8hrs a day T8 Marine-Glo (Actinic) 10 hrs a day <With all of this light, I assume you are planning a reef.> My Skimmer is not turned on due to creating to much foam upon reading Deltec website this is common in a new tank set-up and will stabilize when the tank has matured.  <Try adjusting it to get an amount of foam you can deal with. This will help get rid of the algae bloom faster by removing nutrients.>  Would be grateful if you could give me any advice on where I have gone wrong if I have or any extra things I could be doing.  <You do need to downsize your fish plans. Take a look at Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" for ideas. Take a look at flasher wrasses, shrimp gobies and other smaller reef safe fishes. You want fairly peaceful fish for a smaller tank. Do take a close look at the Royal Gramma--a beautiful and hardy fish.>  Also is my light good enough to keep corals in the future with more experience gained?  <Yes, there are quite a few appropriate choices here. Wise to go slow & learn more. Check out WWM and some good coral books.> THANK YOU in advance Kindest regards, Baden  <To you as well. My number one piece of advice is to be patient and realistic, and do the research.> 

Stocking Question (Marine) Just a quick question, just looking at getting just a few more smaller fish and just want to see if I can. <Good job checking up on it before going out and buying a new fish. Kudos to you for being a responsible fishkeeper!> Here's the stats: 135 gallon tank 150 pounds Tonga and Fiji rock Coral beauty Z. scopas tang Regal/hippo tang Yellow watchman goby Red- headed fairy wrasse Six- line wrasse 2 false percula clowns Lawnmower blenny Royal Gramma <Very nice community you have there. The tank must look splendid!> How does everything look? <It looks fine. I'd say that you have a bit more room in there when accounting for the full adult sizes of your fish.> Could I get maybe a orchid Dottyback <Most certainly, that would be the perfect sized fish to round off your collection. A pair might be nice, too. Males of this species have a spiked caudal fin, females do not.> And a (this might be pushing it) Genicanthus angel? <I would say that, at adult size, that would be pushing it. Stick with an Orchid Dottyback (or two), and enjoy a diverse, nicely stocked marine aquarium. Good luck, Mike G> 

Pick a fish! Hi<Howdy!> Later tonight I'm going to look at some fish in a LFS. I was wondering if you could give me any idea on what might work with my 30 gallon reef/community tank. So far there is a Yellow Tang, Blue Damsel, Percula Clown, 8lbs of live rock, a Black brittle star, and a couple of snails... If you could just give me some names of fish to look for that would be great. <That yellow tang will need a much larger tank in the near future.  There are tons info on different fish at our website: www.wetwebmedia.com.  You could look into some gobies, blennies, or smaller wrasses for a start. Cody> Thanks, Tom - Livestock Selection - I know you all are busy and just wanted to make sure you received my previous email.  Here it is again just in case. I need to know if several clownfish, lawnmower blenny, Sailfin tang, Whitecheek tang, Diamond Watchman Goby, and a Volitans Lionfish would co-exist in a 125 gallon reef setup. <For a while... the smaller sized fish would eventually become food for the lionfish.> Also, would I be able to have a clean up crew consisting of several sea cucumbers, hermits and snails. <Yes.> Thank you for your assistance, Shane <Cheers, J -- >

- Stocking a 55 - Hi, Please don't yell at me but I'm afraid I might have overstocked. <Let's look and see...> I have a 55 gal reef that's been up for about a year.  I took it slow at first, but I think I might have gone overboard recently.  I currently have: 65 lbs live rock  several Actinodiscus Shrooms (they keep budding)  waving hand polyps (xenia, anthelia? - they pulse, but not like the xenia I've seen elsewhere)  open brain coral 1 coral beauty 1 purple firefish (decora) 1 ocellaris clown 1 scooter dragonette 2 Lysmata amboinensis shrimp 4 Clibanarius tricolor hermits 3 turbo snails 3 green/blue Chromis Have I overdone it? <No, I don't think so... the invertebrates don't add up to much... I would say, however that you probably shouldn't add anything else.> I recently set up a 26 gal bowfront w/ some live rock that was going to house seahorses eventually (still researching), and a pink spotted shrimp goby that is currently on hold.  I could move some fish to this tank if necessary.  Maybe the shrimp or firefish (OK w/ seahorses)? <Best to have seahorses in a tank of their own.> Any advice you could give would be appreciated. Thank you  again.  Nicole <Cheers, J -- >

Growing A Tank-Not Algae! Hi Scott, <Hey, There!> Thanx again for your mail.  I've asked someone is South China to send some things to me, and I'm not sure if I'll receive them or not but I wanted to check something with you first.  I was thinking of trying to set up a "reef-top aquarium for clownfish" as described by John Tullock in the Natural Reef Aquariums. <A neat concept...great book, BTW> I have the Magnificent anemone and a Percula Clown so I'm trying to get more Percula and also later some clams and a 6-Line Wrasse.   However as I have an algae problem, I really want to get some hermit crabs, snails and a cucumber to help clean up.  I probably can't get them in the end, as I've asked before for and the answer always comes back as "not available" however if I do I'm a little concerned if the 6 line-wrasse would make a quick lunch of the snails and crabs?  I also have the peppermint shrimps and need a few cleaner shrimp that I'm worried the wrasse may eat.  Seems John's not worried about the shrimp and the wrasse but I'm worried about the snails and crabs if I get them.  Also I wanted to put some kind of other fish in later like the orange lined cardinal fish or something else and I've read that the wrasse may be a difficult tank mate to others.  Perhaps I might like to add a goby some day too.  What do you suggest? <So many gobies to choose from.. I'd check the WWM FAQs for some good choices...> Also about the algae: Tomorrow I plan to rub the brown hair algae of the rocks with a tooth brush, then let it settle.  Then vacuum the substrate while changing 100 litres of water (my total is about 350 liters) with RO water.  Change all the cotton pre-filter mater to new material.  Purchase and add a Aqua Medic phosphate filter.  From then on top up only with RO water ( a little expensive as it's very dry here and I have to add water every day and don't have an RO filter, well sort of expensive, about $2 USD/ 19 liter bottle of RO water)   Do you think that this will be helpful in the algae control? Greg <Well, Greg- it seems like you've got the handle on creating an effective water change regimen. Keep up the good work! This will definitely help with algae control! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Compatibility (1-13-03) I need to know if several clownfish, lawnmower blenny, Sailfin tang, Whitecheek tang, Diamond Watchman Goby, and a Volitans Lionfish would co-exist <I would only choose one tang and even then neither of the two you have listed.  The Sailfin gets much too large and the white cheek can prove challenging to keep alive for any extended period of time.  The lion will eat anything that will fit in its mouth.  So you should choose between the lion or the smaller gobies and clownfish.> in a 125 gallon reef setup.  Also, would I be able to have a clean up crew consisting of several sea cucumbers, hermits and snails.  Thank you for your assistance <You can find more info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Young Man, Young Tank >Hi, I'm 13 and I have a 30 gallon tank Marine) with live rock and two damsels. >>Great, you'll learn a lot from it and have lots of future science papers. >I've had it for a month, all I have is a filter, and a heater for the tank. I'd like to what should I do next. If possible I like to get a Blue Hippo tang, or some Clownfish. Please help me.  Thanks,  Trevor >>Your tank is too small for a tang of any sort, but you should be able to add a couple of clownfish IF you ensure excellent filtration and plenty of water changes.  You may have to watch the damsels for aggression towards the clowns.  I suggest considering instead (much more in line with your tank size) clown or neon gobies, royal Gramma (really pretty little fish), six-line wrasse.  Marina

Praise For Reeftopia.com  (1/13/04) Hi Crew, <Steve Allen here> This time I actually do not have a question (unbelievable huh!:-); <I'm sure you could think of at least one if you really try hard. :)> instead I just wanted to pass-along a good experience I had with a recent online purchase from Reeftopia.com. <Great> Not only were Reeftopia.com's prices very competitive (when considering total cost, including shipping, etc.) but I also I feel they went above and beyond the "normal" sales and customer satisfaction process.  I had a seemingly-unique problem with "something" growing on my acrylic tank.  Rather than just sell me a variety of "janitors", they took the time to ask specific questions and to try to determine what this problem might be.  They even included a few additional snails in my order just to try-out to see if they helped solve my problem!  I have not yet found this level of personalized service with any other online supplier. <This kind of help is so great. I wish every business were this way. Truly good businesspeople understand the value of a satisfied customer base. I would add Indo-Pacific Sea Farms ( www.ipsf.com) and Inland Aquatics ( www.inlandaquatics.com) to that list. They have been very helpful to me. Do consider posting this experience on the Local/Internet Fish Stores forum at wetwebfotos.com> One other advantage: I also purchased a queen conch with my order.  I nearly skipped this purchase because I ordered a fighting conch and a queen conch from another online store and I could not see why anyone would pay $6 for a conch that is the same size as an Astrea snail.  When I receive my queen conch from Reeftopia.com I was very pleased to see a 2" conch! <Don't you just love a pleasant surprise.> Purchasing live fish and inverts online can be unnerving so I just wanted to pass-along this experience.  Their selection might not be as large <thus enabling them to be better at the ones they do stock> as some other reef livestock web sites but I would not hesitate to purchase from Reeftopia.com again. <Thanks for the heads up.> --Greg

New arrivals, what do you think?? Bob, <JasonC here today in his stead.> I just purchased several fish which just started a 3 week quarantine. Coral Beauty Blennies Salarias fasciatus x2 Yellow-Tailed Blue Tang For my 210 Gallon 6ft tank My water parameters  Ph 8.1,  Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10, Phosphate.25, SPG 1.024. and current inhabitants: 1 Maculosus Angel tank bred (3-4") 1 Yellow Tang (3") 4 Clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris tank bred (1-1.5 ") 1 Starcki damsel (3") 2 Neon Gobies 2 Serpent stars 2 Emerald crabs 2 Blood Red Shrimp 4 Urchins 2 Cleaner Shrimp around a dozen Hermit Crabs 20 assorted snails Seem like a decent stock? <Sure.> Not overcrowded? <No, not yet, but I do predict troubles between the two tangs - shape is too similar.> I still have a return option if you see any potential disasters. Should the Blennies eat Nori in quarantine, or should I be looking at something else? <Hmm... I'd try everything you have just to be safe.> Also would like to later down the road add a few corals that may have a chance with this group. My emphasis is on fish, but a few coral species would be nice after proper lighting is procured. What families of corals should I be looking at (if any)? <Options are wide open with this group... lighting will be the deciding factor. Suggest you get a hold of Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and bring yourself up to speed on the options.> I see you are an avid diver, so am I. I think we picked out 2 very addictive hobbies :) Heading to Cozumel for the 3rd time in 18 months this March, maybe I'll catch you on a boat down there sometime. <Perhaps.> I always dive with Deep Blue.  Thank you for your time.  Kurt - Cleveland, Ohio <Cheers, J -- >

New arrivals, what do you think?? PS, my daughter is driving me nuts about a fish. Would a pair of Banner Fish (Heniochus) fit into this community? Preferably a species that stays on the smaller size. <I don't think there are any that grow any less than six inches, hopefully that would work into your plans... certainly the tank is large enough. Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Selection - Hi Crew, I have a ton of questions regarding fish stocking and compatibility.  I have a new 240g reef that is completely empty at this moment and I am doing some research prior to stocking.  I'm planning to stock mostly corals and have a light, small, reef-safe, peaceful, non-aggressive fish load.  I was fortunate to see a couple of Mystery Wrasses at the LFS yesterday and it is on one of my 'wanted list'.  However, the mystery wrasses that I saw were all with lavender/purplish color instead of the 'mass' bright red color that I see in most of the photos. <Perhaps just an effect of the film used, these fish are really more lavender than red... certainly mine is as are most that I've seen.> I was informed by the LFS that they change colors?  Is this true? <Only based on mood... day/night patterns, but not a drastic color change like some other wrasses or parrotfish.> If so, what causes the changes?  Or are there several colors to this fish? <I think there is some variation, depending on the where the fish are collected. I've seen some that are very purple, less pink... but for the most part most that I've seen are that same lavender/pink color.> Also, are they hermaphrodites? <Not sure much is known about these wrasses, they've only been in the trade a short while - a couple of years. Probably a safe bet that they are similar to other wrasses in this regard.> Would it be safe to get a random pair? <I wouldn't do it. Very expensive fish to take chances with.> Would they be compatible with Flame Wrasses? <Should do fine... is not typically an aggressive fish.> I plan on getting a male with 2 or 3 females for the flame to get a harem going.   Also, I currently have a Nemateleotris helfrichi quarantined in my other tank, but am also thinking to get the other Dartfishes like decora and magnifica.  Will they be compatible if I get one of each or a few? <Given the amount of space you have in the tank, you could probably get away with this. An overabundance of hiding spots would be the guarantor of success.> I would love to get at least one of each.  I've read that either put one or an aggregation?  Does this mean a bunch of helfrichi only or mix? <An aggregation of same species - this is how they are found in the wild.> Don't want to lose them to senseless fighting.  Just one more. pls.  Anthias pictilis or Ventralis or both? <I'd do one or the other.> Compatible? <I wouldn't predict peaceful cohabitation.> If not, which one is more hardy and your preference? <Both about the same.> Also like to get a harem going here.  How big do they get? <Check fishbase.org.> Don't want to have any fishes with full grown length over 6".   Based on the above fishes, in what order should I stock them? <Any order really... probably the smallest fish first, give them a chance to establish some territory.> Thanks in advance for going through all the fishy questions!  Roy <Cheers, J -- > - Livestock Questions - Hi again crew, And happy New Year!! Thanks for your help last time (blue cheek goby breeding) helped no end! I have a general question this time as I have almost completed my setup of 3 tanks now all seems to be going well I just wanted to check if the species I have got will not become more aggressive towards each other in later stages? And I am unsure about my filefish, in my 5 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft I have the following: 1 Orbiculate batfish  <You do realize this fish will outgrow just about any tank you can throw at it. Really, an inappropriate, albeit too common aquarium fish.> 1 blue cheek goby (offspring of other 2 which u helped with!!) 1 torpedo goby 1 cleaner wrasse 1 yellow tang 2 common clowns 2 blennies 1 cleaner shrimp 2 fire shrimp 2 Atlantic anemones 2 feather dusters and various polyps in the next tank along (4ft x 2ft x 2ft) I have the following: 1 flame angel 1 tasseled filefish 1 panther grouper (small at the moment) 1 mandarin 1 long spined sea urchin in 3rd tank are breeding gobies!!! Does this sound ok to you or would the tasseled filefish like the taste of the sea urchin?? <I'd be much more concerned about that grouper - it may be small now, but it won't stay that way and it will eat just about everything else on that list. The filefish might sample the urchin, then again it might not.> (your FAQs suggests inverts aren't safe) or the grouper like the idea of a mandarin munching? <It will happen in time.> All seems ok and I would like to leave the tanks now. <Give it time.> Thanks in advance.  Jim <Cheers, J -- >

210 Gallons to Fill (1/9/2004) Hi Gang, <Steve Allen tonight.> Its a great thing, this forum. <Have loved it since I first found it.> I have the following stock plan, what do you think.  My current stock, in my 72X24X30 tank. My water parameters  Ph 8.1,  Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20, Phosphate.25 (working on this) 1 Maculosus Angel (3-4") <will grow to 10-12"> 1 Yellow Tang (3") 4 Clownfish (1-1.5 ") <What kind?> 1 Starcki damsel (3") <May get mean> 2 Serpent stars 2 Emerald crabs 2 Blood Red Shrimp 4 Urchins 2 Cleaner Shrimp around a dozen Hermit Crabs 20 assorted snails Would the following be OK and please stop my if I am overstocking. Do not want to hurt any of the current inhabitants. Neon Goby x1 Banner Fish (Heniochus) x2 Royal Gramma x1 Possibly a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) x1 ,would it fight with my yellow? <Probably. I'd leave it out> or a Forcipiger Butterfly x1, might it eat my Urchins? <Sometimes goes after their tube feet, but might be hard for it to get at.> Or both ( I know, pushing my luck).  Would also like to add a Sand Sifting Star or to for substrate cleaning. I currently have about a 1' 1 1/2" bed of live sand, would I have to add more sand? <Only if you want a DSB of 4"or so. I'm not a big fan of these stars. In your big tank it would be less of a problem, but in smaller tanks they can rid your sand of all desirable organisms. You might want to consider a fleet of Nassarius snails. They dig around in the sand nicely.> Would this keep me within my stocking limit?  <Leave out the Tang & you'll be fine. If your Damsel is mean, the Gramma and the Butterfly could have problems.> Thank you for your time and wisdom!!  Kurt <Hope this helps>

More Questions on 210 Gallon Stocking (1/10/2004) Steve, <Kurt> Thank you for your reply. <You're welcome.>  Actually, the Starcki is the most mellow fish in the tank, I have never seen a bit of aggression out of her. Hope it stays that way. <Keep your finger's crossed.> How about instead of the Blue Tang, one or more of the below in addition to what was already discussed.  Neon Goby Hawkish <I am partial to these fish.> or a Thornback Cowfish Latria foramina <I'd leave this out as it will not tolerate any picking on by the Tang or Damsel and may exude toxins if stressed.> Spotted Drum <Based on what I read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/croakers.htm I'd lean toward a hawkfish in your shoes. I think the Spotted Drum will be hard to find and hard to keep alive. It also will hide most of the day.> Just trying to establish a good long term stocking plan. Do not want to overcrowd and would like my pets to live a full life.<Good.> I see some of you are divers. I am an avid diver (Cozumel in 63 days and counting). <I am going to start with some snorkeling soon and then maybe try diving. Bob and some of the others are accomplished divers. Hope you have a safe and fun time.> This gives me my own little piece of Ocean for my to frequent dry-dock period...lol. Having a blast with it so far. Thanks again for your time. Attached a couple of pics, if interested. <Nice start.> Work in progress. Take care, Kurt (And you as well.>

Guidance Counselor  - Stocking >Hi guys, >>Hello. >I  have a question regarding my 54 gallon corner tank.  It has been running for about 5 months now (FOWLR), and it currently houses 1 blue damsel, 1 Percula clownfish, and 1 overly aggressive three striped damsel.   >>Oh yes, the lovely Dascyllus.  I hear they're quite tasty. >The three-striped damsel seems to be very protective of certain spots and his aggression seems to be getting worse.   >>I don't think it seems worse, I think it IS worse, and shall continue to do so. >My wife and I are trying to plan our next course of action and I was hoping to add either a yellow tang or a coral beauty.  My wish is that by having a larger fish in the tank it will lessen the aggression of the three-striped damsel.   >>Don't count on it, this fish now rules the roost! >Could this possibly work?   >>Highly doubtful with a Coral Beauty, you're going to be hard pressed to find one big enough and pugnacious enough.  Even with a tang, a yellow isn't exactly the toughest customer, and it would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY larger.  Try a barbless fishing hook or a trap and get that damn damsel out! >If so, in what order should I add the coral beauty and the yellow tang?  If it won't work would you recommend returning my three-striped damsel?  Thanks for you help.  Your site has been very helpful to me in many occasions.  Sincerely, Dan >>Yes, I recommend just that.  Then, because the angel and the tang would likely have no compatibility issues, it wouldn't really matter who you add first, just as long as BOTH go through 30 days quarantine.  Marina

Compatible Compadres? >Hi, >>Hi. >I currently have a 75 gallon SW take with live sand, and live rock, 5 yellow tailed damsels, a tang, a Clark's clown and a stars and stripes puffer. I was wondering if I could also add a blue tang, flame hawkfish and a Copperband butterfly fish. Would this work out? Thanks >>Hhmm.. all at once?  No.  With the puffer you're pushing it.  I would choose EITHER the tang or the butterfly, then one of those with the flame should be alright.  This is, of course, assuming you have adequate filtration for all animals.  Marina

Goin' Big! Hi WWW Crew, <Scott F. with you today> I was just browsing your site as I do about every few days and am convinced it is by far the most useful on the web. I would love an opinion about my stocking plans for my 250 FOWLR. The tank has been in operation about a year an a half and never runs over 0 nitrite, ammonia, and seldom runs over 10 in the nitrate arena. <Sounds good > The tank currently has 4 Fridmani's, 2 tank raised Perc's, 4 or 5 brittle stars, 2 sand sifter stars, 5 cleaner shrimp, 2 coral banded shrimps and about 30 blue legged hermits. <Nice mix...> The tank also has a Queen Angel, a Personifer Angel, a Navarchus and Emperor Angel.  ( I know you guys do not like multiple angels in a tank but these have been in my tank together for about 7 months with no known quarreling.  The queen and Emperor were quarantined together for 2 months before that and the Personifer and the Navarchus were quarantined in a separate tank together for 2 months. <Still, a lot of fish for this sized tank...The Queen can hit 18 inches or more, and the Emperor can easily reach 15 inches. These fish need lots of room, and lots of water to dilute their copious metabolic waste> All told almost a year together.  I am starting a new home and will move these fish to the new tank that will accommodate about 950 gallons (a little more room).  This though will not be completed for about a year or more depending on the contractors. <Aha! But worth the wait! This will be a much better arena for the fish...> Anyway I would also like to add a Naso Tang (currently in quarantine for another 6 weeks or so, I "Q" all fish 2 months), a Lineatus wrasse, a small Blue Hippo tang or Powder Blue Tang <I like the Hippo, myself...> and two Heniochus.  Would this be an OK mix? <I'd be hesitant if the 250 is the end of the line. But with the 950 on the horizon, this can work. However, I'd hold off on any more fish after the tang. Yes- the larger aquarium is coming, but let's make sure that everything lives until the tank comes! That would be a super crowded situation in the 250; it's already maxed out, IMO> Are certain Heni's better than others?  I am partial to the Heniochus singularius, or a Heniochus monoceros.  but I can't find any info on them. <Do check out Scott Michael's "Reef Fishes"...> <Do check fishbase.org for lots of good scientific information on them, and use other internet searches for specific maintenance data on each> Can you help me with these two questions?  Thanks a ton for all you people do, Matt <A pleasure, Matt! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Marine Setup Stocking Hi Steve- Thanks for your reply.  Sadly, I'll skip on the tang. <I noticed that another crewmember replied that you could have the Hippo Tang if you take the Yellow out. Jut goes to show that there is a variety of opinion among us. Mine is based on Scott W. Michael's recommendation of a minimum 100G tank for this fish. Also, I think you will find it an "interesting" challenge to get the Yellow out.> Thank you for suggesting other choices for the tank.  I would like to ask you if you have any experience with 2 choices that you didn't mention; first a neon goby (as opposed to a shrimp goby) <Very nice little fish. Hardy, attractive and usually tank-bred. Cleaners too.>, and second a yellow assessor (assessor flavissimus). <No personal experience because I haven't been able to get one. Very interested though.  I really wanted a blue one (Assessor macneilli). Can be kept in groups and generally hardy by reputation. Rarely available.> In reply to your questions: Lighting: I have 2- 24" Custom Sea Life Power Compact's w/ Moonlite's. <nice> [2-65W PC w/ Moonlite - 10,000K + actinic blue].  I have them set on 2 coral life power supply's.  I hook the actinic blues from both lights to come on for 12 hours [10am-10pm]  I hook the 10,000K white lights to the other power supply and plug them into the 12 day outlets, but I set the timers to come on at 11am and off at 9pm.  The moon lite LED's are plugged into the night outlets.  So the way it works is from 10pm - 10am the Moonlites are on, at 10am the moon lite goes off and the actinic blue lights come on (this simulates dawn) then the whites come on with the blues at 11am (simulating full daylight).  At 9pm the whites go off leaving only the blue on (simulating dusk) and at 10pm the blues go off and the Moonlite LED's come back on. <Nice set-up.> Feeding: I currently feed a flake food mix of Ocean Nutrition's Formula One, Formula Two, Brine Shrimp plus flakes, and Tetra marine color enhancing flakes.  Every 2-3 days I also feed frozen Ocean Nutrition's' Prime Reef, Invert food, Squid, Krill.  What I do is take 1 invert food block & 1 of the others [Prime reef, Krill & Squid are the favorites] and dissolve both in some tank water.  Once dissolved I pour it into the tank.  Lastly I have Tenera Blue Sea Algae (sheets), I soak it in Kent Marines Zoe {heavy Spirulina formula}.  Once it is all absorbed I cut it into 1 in strips and put it on the veggie clip.  Only the yellow tang seems to eat it.  However he seems happy so I keep doing it. <Yes, they need algae> I think I am doing ok on the feeding, but that doesn't mean I can't be doing things better. <I think you're doing well. Be careful to manage water quality. Lots of good info on WWM. Also, your lights may not be adequate for the anemone unless it is very high in the tank. Read more on WWM. Lastly, Sun Polyps (Tubastrea sp.) need target-feeding. Search WWM for more info.> If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.  I just don't think I am ready for metal halide lighting and am not sure if I need it at this point.  with heat issues etc, It just seems like more trouble than I need to get involved with right now. <Then don't. It gets frustrating very quickly when one gets in over one's head. Just stick to inverts that can thrive under your lights.> Thanks again for all your help. Rich <A pleasure>

Planning a Reef the Right Way (1/8/2004) Hi-- (Hello. Steve Allen today.> I'm in the process of planning a reef tank and my plans have gone up from a 75 to a 125 gallon tank (6 feet long). <Size does matter. Bigger is better. The planning is half the fun.> I've been reading and researching various fish and have a list of those I like, but I would really appreciate feedback. <Good. Advice #1--No impulse buys.> I know some of these are not good for beginners and for newer tanks, those would be added down the line when the time is right. <Proper sequence and patience are important.>  And of course all would be added gradually over time, with proper quarantine. <Always wise.> But I'm trying to plan out all of the fish I would eventually want. <Best to get what you need for what you really want.>  I'd like: 1 Atlantic blue tang 1 yellow longnose butterfly 1 flame angel 3 carpenter wrasses (2 female, 1 male) 2 ocellaris clowns 1 Midas blenny 1 royal Gramma 1 yellow watchman goby 1 blue neon goby 2 green Chromis Questions--is the 125 gallon tank large enough for the Atlantic blue tang? <Should be OK.>  I really don't want to get something that will outgrow my tank, or be unhappy/unhealthy in it. <Wise> --is this species a good aquarium choice generally?  how is it as far as hardiness and temperament?  you don't hear much about it. <Perhaps because many prefer flashier Pacific tang. This fish enjoys a good reputation. Search WWM for more.>  Seems like everyone likes the flashier powder blues and hippos. <True, but they are not as hardy.> --any likely conflicts among the listed species?  I'd like everyone to get along and "play nice." <No glaring problems, but some clownfish do get nasty.> --And most importantly, are there too many fish on this list?  I've read lots of things (here & elsewhere) on how much bioload is ok, but I still have a hard time getting a feel for it, especially with the variables of different tank sizes & shapes, and different sizes of fish. <No to mention the various opinions, silly inches-per-gallon "rules," and the human urge to cram more in. As far as the inches-per-gallon rule, is a gross oversimplification. Obviously a 10" Tang is going to produce a lot more waste than five 2" Neon Gobies do. I do think you have a few to many fish on your list.> If I am overdoing it with my list, by how much would I need to cut back? <Which ones to delete is more a matter of taste. Maybe one of the bigger ones. The Butterfly may find the swimming habits of the Wrasses and the Tang rather stressful. Or perhaps a few of the smaller ones, say one of the clowns and both Chromis? Chromis are rather drab compared to your other choices. You might want to obtain Scott W. Michael's "Reef Fishes" for a great overview of the available fishes. I do love the Royal Gramma--hardy and pretty.> thanks for any input you can give--this site is a wonderful resource! Beth <A pleasure. Hope this helps.> - Planning Livestock and Refugium for New Tank - Hello All, It has been a while since I last wrote to you guys, however, I do frequent the Wet Web Media chat forums and find a bunch of useful information there. I am in the process of re doing a 125 gallon tank w/dual overflows (each hole is about 1.75 inches) and had a few questions about the sump/refugium (used to supply the main tank with home grown goodies) that I wanted to install under the tank.  The inhabitants of the tank are going to be 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, one Purple Tang, one Royal Gramma Basslet, one neon blue goby, and one reef safe wrasse.  I saw what was labeled a "Christmas Wrasse" at one of the LFS but have been unable to nail down the image on any of the fish websites.  I have found something close but not exactly what I saw in the store. <Most likely a Thalassoma species of wrasse - more on these here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/thalassoma.htm > I will also be keeping a couple of cleaner shrimp, a few snails, mushrooms, xenia, and a few LPS. <The shrimp won't last long around a Christmas Wrasse.> My lighting will be 4-96W PC.  I currently have about 120 lbs of live rock (various origins) curing in a Rubbermaid tub.  I have about 18 bags of south down sand to use in either the display or in the refugium (would a DSB in both be overkill?). <Both would be fine, but will cut into your water volume in the sump.>  I was looking at implementing the Return Manifold as suggested by Anthony Calfo. Is it possible to use this manifold with a fuge? <Don't see why not.> All the information that I found in the Q&A was about using it with a sump. <In either case, you still need a pump to move the water out of the 'container' and back up to the main tank. Refugiums are just glorified sumps when positioned below the tank.> Also I was thinking about using a standard 55 gallon tank as the sump/fuge.  I have read that if the sump/fuge was too narrow it would not allow the water enough area to slow down and render the fuge useless.  Would this be too narrow to use as a sump/fuge. <Don't think so.> There would also be an Aqua C skimmer and a Supreme return pump in the sump.  This would leave approximately 24"X12" for the actual refugium. <Think this will work well.> Any comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated.    Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking question: 30 gallon "cube" (1/5/04) <Hi! Ananda here this afternoon...> I recently set up a 30 gallon tank, Dimensions as follows, Height=22", Depth=(front to back) 20", and Width 21". <Interesting size.> I am transferring from another tank 2 small (1.5") False Perculas, 1 camel shrimp, and one green monkey shrimp. <I'm not familiar with the "green monkey" shrimp, but that sounds like a good stocking level for a 30 gallon tank.> I plan on transferring in about 3 weeks, after the tank "seasons" <Also called "cycling"...> There will also be a quite large (10" Diameter) Purple LT anemone, that was basically tank raised (split in a friends tank, and i have seen it grow 1-2 inches the past year in my tank) <Cool. Hope you have good lighting.> The clowns and the anemone have been together for about a year. Do you have any suggestions on what else I could keep fish wise with these. <In a 30 gallon cube, with an LTA that large, I wouldn't keep anything else. Let this be a showcase for the anemone.> These are my thoughts so far, but I don't want to be limited. <Ah, I think you already are, with the size of the tank and the size of the anemone. It's going to take up a full quarter of your tank all by itself.> I don't plan on keeping all, but more how many, and are any of these compatible. Fish: Tang (Yellow, Hippo, or powder blue) <None of the above -- they deserve at *least* a 4' long tank for swimming space. These guys cover a huge area in the wild.> Blennies Gobies <I would be worried that they might become anemone treats.> Cardinals <Most appropriate of the bunch, but again, I wouldn't add anything to that tank.> My Girlfriend really wants a Box Fish, Puffer, or Cow fish, are there any species compatible or small enough for this tank? <None of the saltwater varieties, not with an anemone.> I keep telling her we would have to have a much larger tank for one of those, but she talks with LFS's and gets another opinion other than mine. I don't particularly trust LFS's that sell Mandarins that will eat anything, nudibranchs that eat algae, or carpet anenomes that can be kept under normal lighting. <Yikes. Me, neither.> All the locals tell customers that here. I do most of my stocking mail order. I was also interested in keeping some corals, mushrooms, Xenia, maybe some zoanthids, nothing to hard to start, I will have plenty of lighting, 175 watt halide, and 2 32 watt actinic PC's, will they do ok with the anemone? <You're good to go for most types of corals with the lighting you have.> And will clams do well with such a deep tank? <Depends on the type of clam -- some need more light than others. But starting with a metal halide, you should be able to keep some types, though they may need to be near the top of the tank.> I have more than adequate filtration, and a protein skimmer. I also will have a 10 gallon refugium as well. <Sounds good.> Sorry one last question, I recently inherited a "Sally Lightfoot crab" Most places on the net say they are reef safe, and harmless, I have two friends who claim such crabs have preyed on their fish, the one I received is about 3 1/2" wide should I not put him with my fish? (He is in a Fuge right now as a quasi quarantine) <Sounds like the crab is bigger than your clownfish...in which case, it stays in the 'fuge. A friend of mine lost a fish to a Sally Lightfoot, so I don't trust them. This is a case where "reef safe" may mean "it won't hurt your corals" rather than "it won't bother anything in a reef tank".> thanks Aaron <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Stocking a New 55 (1/3/2004) Hi! How are you doing? <Great, thanks. Steve Allen tonight.> I recently discovered your wonderful website and have been spending a lot of time reading the pages. <Good for you, I have found this site very useful myself.> I'm setting up my first 55 gallon saltwater aquarium <good starter size> and I am having trouble choosing peaceful co-inhabitants. <It's a real dilemma. So many wonderful fishes to choose from.> I want to include: 2-3 clownfish, a carpet anemone, 1 royal Gramma, 1 flame angelfish, 1 mandarin goby, and 1 starfish. I know this might be too much for a 55 gal, but I'm open to any suggestions. I also want to include some shrimp. I would appreciate your help and guidance. <Sharon. Buy and  read "The Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta and "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Bob Fenner before you spend any money. You will be well-served by this. Consider also Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes," which is an excellent guide to species.> <As for the specific fish on your list, I love the Royal Gramma. Skip the Mandarin (Dragonet, they are often erroneously called Gobies)>. More than 90% starve to death within a few weeks/months. If you read more on this site, you will learn why this fish is not for you, at least not anytime in 2004. You will also learn why you should not keep an anemone. They require intense, expensive light and pristine water conditions. Very difficult to do even for more experienced aquarists. Do no let anyone try to tell you that Clownfish need anemones. They do just fine without them. I recommend no more than two in your tank. A third is likely to be killed by the other two.> <Flame Angels are beautiful fish, but should be added last and after several months for your live rock to establish. Consider some other fishes such as Flasher Wrasses, Firefishes or Dartfishes and Shrimp Gobies.> <As for inverts, I strongly recommend avoiding Linckia species.  Very high mortality. I killed several myself before realizing the error of my ways. Look to Fromia or even better, Serpent and Brittle Stars. If you want shrimp, consider  2 or maybe 3 Lysmata amboinensis or Lysmata debelius. An alternative would be Stenopus hispidus, especially if you can get a mated pair. Stenopus can be aggressive, so I would probably not mix with Lysmata in this size tank. On the other hand, I have a Stenopus and 4 Lysmata in an 80 and they are getting along fine. Be sure not to include fish that eat shrimp.> thank you, Sharon USA <Hope this helps you get started. Much more reading/research to do.>

Stocking (1-2-04) hi again...<Howdy, Cody here today.>I'm considering fish for a peaceful 125 gal reef tank.  some of the ones I like include the lawnmower blenny, midas blenny, watchman goby, and hippo tang.  Are the blennies/gobies going to get along? <I think you should be fine.> and is this too many algae eating fish for the tank to support? <You should be ok as long as you keep them well fed and have plenty of live rock.> Also is this tank big enough for the tang? <It would be ok for a while depending on the initial size.  These guys do get about a foot in length though so a bigger tank would be a must some where down the road.> I would love to have one but only if I can provide a good home for it.  thanks!  your site is an amazing resource! <Thank you for writing or should I say typing! Cody> Beth

6 Is A Crowd! Hi guys, <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight> With the loss of my Coris Wrasse ( I believe he was eaten by my Volitans while pecking at a crayfish) I am trying to determine if there is anything else I can put in my 110 FO tank. <Okay...> Current inhabitants are Clown Trigger Dogface puffer Volitans Lionfish Snowflake Eel 2 Damsels (didn't think they would last this long) Can you think of anything else that I could add to this tank.... <Yes...Water! Seriously- you've got some potentially large and heavy-metabolite-producing fishes there. I would not add any more at this time. Personally, I'd consider acquiring a larger tank at some point in the near future!> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated Chris <Again, Chris- I think I'd hold at this point, and refrain from adding any more fish. Enjoy this bunch of bad boys! Regards, Scott F>

Growing A Community (Stocking Question) Hey Dude <Whassup?> How are you. <Doin' fine, thanks!> Got a stocking question for u today. My tank size +/- 350 litres. I currently have 1 yellow belly damsel which I purchased as a tester fish, which I already mentioned to you. Planning to keep the little guy. <Good! He deserves to be part of the community if he helped cycle the tank!> I plan to introduce 2 Nemo clowns <uhh- Perculas?> Cleaner Wrasse <Please, please avoid any cleaner wrasses. They are almost always doomed in captivity..> Cleaner Shrimp and a Yellow Tang. This would give me a total of 6 fish. <Sans Cleaner Wrasse- this is about right for this sized tank, IMO> I have quite a bit of live rock supporting the tank. Would this fish load be my limit, could I possibly introduce one more dwarf angel, was thinking of a flame or a coral beauty. <If it is absolutely your last fish, I suppose a Flame Angel or Coral Beauty would work okay. However, if you plan on eventually having corals, keep in mind that these fishes can "pick" at them...> What do you think? <Sounds good...Just stock slowly, quarantine all new fishes, and pick healthy specimens>   Thanks Again. And a happy new year to you and your family. Regards, Ziad Limbada <Thank you very much! And the same to you and yours! Regards, Scott F>

- Tank Mates - Hi there, Hope you had a good Christmas!! I am looking to add a new fish to my tank, at the moment I have a lionfish and a gold spotted eel. I have plenty of room for another potentially large fish. I think I've narrowed my choices down to either an emperor angelfish, a Picasso trigger or a blue tang. My question is, out of these choices what fish do you think will be most compatible with the fish I already have? <I'd go with the trigger.> Regards, Andrew <Cheers, J -- >

125 gallon tank 1st time set up. 12/31/03 Thanks for your time and advice.  One last question on the 50 gallon tank. If it is going to be fish only with no inverts or corals at all do I have to add  more live rock with the filtration I am currently using because my water  tests have not fluctuated at all the last 3 months.  Thanks again <Hi Scott.  Adam here.  When posting follow up questions, please do include the text of previous messages or remind us of the details.  Sometimes a different crew member will get your follow up, or with the volume of mail just can't remember all of the info. Generally, if you have a well established tank with at least 1/2lb per gallon (very rough rule!) of quality live rock, it should be able to handle proper stocking; that is give the tank a couple of weeks to adapt after each addition.  Monitor water quality after each addition and recognize that if any nitrogenous wastes begin to accumulate you are exceeding the capacity of your filtration.  If this doesn't answer your question, please feel free to write back with some details.  Best regards and Happy New Year!  Adam> Scott

Squeezing the Entire Ocean Into 65 Gallons (12/31/2003) Happy New Year to you and your crew! <Same to You and Yours. Steve Allen here.> I?m seeking a bit of help making the final cut in my stocking plan.  I can?t believe how difficult it is to reduce the entire ocean into a 65 gallon tank. <'tis hard to narrow it down, isn't it?> Actually as i typed that last sentence, the problem seems obvious!  I plan on acquiring small specimens wherever possible so i can have the fun of watching them grow.  If this tank is successful there will be a larger tank (this is the $1,500 experiment before the large piece of furniture goes in the living room - but the wall is bare and waiting ;)  - some of these fish will get moved up to that tank. <Since you use the word "if" about the bigger tank, you need to stock the 65 as if the fish were going to be in there their whole natural lifespan.> Still i am trying to keep my stocking plan reasonable for the tank i have, this is difficult to fully assess as multiple sources give very different maximum sizes for fish. My original plan was to build the tank around a pair of butterflies.  The more i look around and shop, the less likely this seems.  Have yet to ever see a pair offered in any species. <on occasion, but your LFS is right about the difficulties of obtaining a mated pair.>  I asked my LFS and they advised that it would be very unlikely but they would be happy to put out requests for me. Their contention was that given the mortality rate in collection and shipping, the probability of a caught pair both making all the way to me was slim.  My plan was to aim for a more common species (to increase the likelihood of finding a pair) like Threadfin (Chaetodon auriga) or Raccoon (C. lunula), but i am leaning toward a smaller species like Black Backed (C. melannotus).  What do you think of trying to get a pair? <Not a bad idea, but ultimately, I think 65G is too small for any pair of butterflyfishes, even these ones that run on the small side. Some butterflies grow to dinner-plate size. C. melannotus more in the 5-6" range.> Also looking for a small fish to keep my substrate stirred. <You might consider brittle stars or Nassarius snails for this purpose. I discourage "Sand-Shifting Stars" because they eat everything in the substrate.>  I have rejected goatfish because they seem too problematic <and too big> and i don?t have enough substrate for a Jawfish. <Jawfish dig one hole & stay there, so they do not maintain your entire sandbed.> Red Sea Mimic Blenny (Ecsenius gravieri) ?  Brownbarred Goby (Amblygobius phalaena) ? Decorated Goby (Istigobius decoratus) ?  Any suggestions on a good candidate for this job would be greatly appreciated. <Something other than a fish. The Amblygobius are prone to slow starvation, the Istigobius is not a real sand-sifter. The Mimic is a very nice fish to consider, but don't expect it to maintain your substrate. Consider also the Yellow Watchman Goby--even funnier if you can get one with a shrimp if you don't have shrimp-eaters in your tank.> Tank Specs - 65 gallon, Remora Skimmer <Nice skimmer>, Emperor 400 <only needed for chemical filtration periodically> (potential to upgrade to a CPR Aquafuge <Great product. Love mine!!>), 100lb base rock (on tank base, epoxied together for stability w/lots of hiding places)<IME, epoxy really doesn't hold LR together well. Too much gunk on it. Perhaps base rock adheres better.>, 35lbs live rock, 1.5? crushed coral varying sizes <If you want bottom-dwelling gobies, you need a fairly fine substrate. With only 1.5", you can really maintain it yourself with periodic gentle vacuuming. A couple of Brittlestars and some Nassarius should take care of the spots you can't get to>,  2 powerheads.  Water - temp 77 deg, sg 1.023, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10.  Current inhabitants 4 feather dusters, 12 blue leg hermits, 12 bumblebee snails, 12 Cerith snails, 1 red serpent star and lots of bristleworms! <no need for fish to work your substrate.> Dream plan: Pair of (or at least one) Butterflies Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosus) Chainlink Eel (Echidna catenata) Thornback Cowfish (Lactoria fornasini) Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) Sharknose Goby (Gobiosoma Evelynae) Five Bar Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus) or Six lined if i can?t find Long nosed Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites Typus) Pair of Percula Clowns (Amphiprion percula) A Gravel Stirrer (as discussed above) <Let's use the more realistic Plan B as a starting point.> Other than the total number of fish, size and tank limitations (which i?ll get to) do you see any problems or conflicts in this group of fish? The only sacred things here are the Butterfly (which i want) and the Thornback Cowfish (my wife wants a cowfish, puffer or boxfish - this seemed like the safest choice) the rest are all negotiable. <though you deem the cowfish sacred, there are some important reasons to leave it out of your current tank. Firs, it grows to 9" in length--too big for the tank. Second, although this is the "safest" cowfish, it can still lead to a massive disaster if harassed or injured. Powerhead intakes an Cowfish are a recipe for disaster. Do you really want to risk the complete wipeout of your tank?> The most obvious cut to me seems to be the eel. <definitely skip this one.> Removing him greatly lessens the bioload.  From here it gets more difficult although the Hippo Tang (due to mature size) <among other good reasons> and the Longnose Hawkfish (due to aggressive tendencies) <only to fish it can get it's mouth around, and to shrimps.> seem likely cuts.  Finally taking out the clowns would get me to within the 1" per 2 gallon rule (assuming only 1 butterfly). <This rule is outdated bunk. You have to consider the metabolism of each fish. A single 8" Lionfish puts out vastly more waste products than 8 one-inch Neon Gobies.> This also "feels" right intuitively with 8 fish total and a nice mix of sizes and shapes. <The cowfish will get too big>   So that makes the ?reality check? plan: Black Backed Butterfly (or similar) <1 seems reasonable> Coral Beauty <nice fish, add last after at least 6 months> Thornback Cowfish <IMO, not right for your tank. See above.> Royal Gramma <Very nice choice> Orchid Dottyback <Often aggressive--will harass/kill Gramma. Known to attack bigger peaceful fish as well, no doubt including cowfish.> Sharknose Goby <Nice. Unsure if available tank-bred, If not, do consider tank-bread Neon as environment-friendly alternative.> Five Bar Wrasse (or lined wrasse) <Some from this genus can be aggressive. Have you looked at Flasher Wrasses?> Red Sea Mimic Blenny (or similar) <nice choice> <Have you looked at Firefish and Dartfish? If you leave out the Dottyback, they are beautiful but shy.> What order would you add these in? <Small, peaceful fish first, then bigger, more aggressive types. Coral Beauty last.> I?m having a hard time giving up the Hippo Tang.  It will take well over a year (adding a fish every month or two, allowing time for locating and quarantining each new species) to get the tank to this level, would the Hippo make a good first fish (hardy, active, attractive and relatively inexpensive), his fate to be decided later (trade in or move to bigger tank) depending on increasing bioload/new tank readiness? <IMO, you should leave this fish out due to it's ultimate size. Also, I would not use the word "hardy" regarding Hippo Tangs these days. First off, they have always been very susceptible to ich, velvet & HLLE. Secondly, because many LFS have been heavily marketing "Dory" a lot of Hippo Tangs currently available are too small and/or obviously unhealthy. I have observed this phenomenon at several LFS here in Salt Lake City.> Thanks for the guidance, Arnold <Hope this helps.> ----without wind i lack direction---> Check out what i was doing two years ago: www.kitenerd.com <fun stuff. I hope you haven't dropped kites entirely. It's nice to get outside away from the aquarium sometimes.>

The Ocean in 65 Gallons, Part 2 (12/31/2003) Hi Steve, <back with you again in the waning hours of 2003> Thanks for the quick reply. <you're welcome.> I had my doubts on the Orchid Dottyback, you confirmed them.  Guess I'll be leaving all those bristleworms for the Wrasse! <Bristleworms aren't all bad, especially if you do not have corals. Read about their good points on WWM.> (I will read up on the Flasher wrasse as alternative to 5 bar or 6 lined). <Prettier IMO. As a kite person, I'd bet you'll like them. Their fins evoke kites in the sky.> I like the Shrimp Gobies, but thought they "needed" shrimp to thrive.  <Just as clownfish do not need anemones, shrimp gobies do not need shrimp.> With no Dottyback would anyone else on the list harass the shrimp? (Black Backed Butterfly, Coral Beauty, Royal Gramma, Sharknosed Goby, Wrasse to be determined).  <Choose the right wrasse.> Will the Watchman Goby bond to any shrimp or do you look for a "pair" to buy together? <I have seen them successfully bond to shrimp introduced into the tank at the same time if they don't eat it.> My info on Cowfish says under 6" - i agree 9" would be a monster! <Sources vary. On review, I think 6" is closer to reality.> As much fun as i am having setting up this aquarium, given the choice I'd take my wife.  That being said, before i turn this into a tank centered around the cowfish, do you have any suggestions that would work in the mix we are already planning.  <If she really wants the cowfish, it will probably work. Just be aware of the risks. I personally would not keep any wrasse in the same tank because they can get boisterous, which stresses slow-moving fish like cowfish. Read more before you decide. How about a harem of flasher wrasses (1 male/2 female)? It would be quite "flashy." My Powerhead intakes are covered with sponge filters. <wise> I'd love a Spotted boxfish but size and higher tendency to poison tank scarred me off.  <smart> I rejected the Tobies due to aggression and fin nipping <bad for flasher wrasses> but i keep coming back because of small size and beauty.  (Understandable. Forget about any shrimp if you have these or a cowfish. BTW, have you ever looked at Fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) or Coral-Banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)--vert attractive addition to a tank. A mated pair of CBS could be very interesting. Are there better (play nice with others) Tobies that you would recommend? <Take a look at Canthigaster valentini> Will follow your advice on the Hippo Tang, i just needed to be told :( <A wise choice for now. Save it for that 180 you'll eventually want. BTW, if you do not already won it, I highly recommend you pick up Scott W. Michael's "Marine Fishes." It's a great guide to over 500 species.> Thanks again for the advice <my pleasure> Arnold PS - Kites are still going strong - fish are the logical extension - brightly colored things moving around in the blue! ----without wind i lack direction---> My website never changes - what can i say I'm lazy: - Stocking Density - Hi everyone, I have a 135 gallon reef that has the following fish: Whitecheek Tang, Red Sea Sailfin Tang, Kole Tang, Flame Hawkfish, Flame Angel, Firefish, Clarkii Clownfish & a Fairy Wrasse.  I am not planning to add anymore fish.  Do you think these tangs will tolerate each other or will they get too big to stand each other? <I'd be concerned about the tangs, mostly because as they get larger, they tend to be more aggressive about enforcing their territory.> Is this too much for a 135 gallon?  <The number of fish in this tank is not too high at this point, but I certainly wouldn't add any more.> If I have to remove a fish, which one should I remove? <I'd pull one of the large tangs.> Thanks a lot. Tyler <Cheers, J -- >

Compatibility Questions (12/26/2003) Dear Anthony: <Steve Allen filling in tonight while Anthony takes a well-deserved Rocky Mountain vacation.> Thanks so much for your kind and relaxing (many beers) response to my email regarding my DSB.  I have another question regarding combining the fish from my small tank with the fish in the large (sort of large: 60 gals.) tank.  The large tank has 2 fairy wrasses, 1 tiny arrowhead wrasse and a small ocellaris clown; the 3 fish I'd like to put in there are two b/w ocellaris clowns (trouble?) and a Royal Gramma. My main concern is with the clowns.  Will the b/w female turn the orange female in the tank into a male if I put her in alone? <Possibly, if it is clearly the bigger of the two> Scenario two is putting them all in and if the b/w male starts bullying fish, remove him, but it still leaves me with the two female clowns.  What happens when you get b/w & orange together? <They are really the same species.> The male b/w has bullied fish in his own little tank and I am concerned that after he is acclimated his behavior will resume. <quite possible> So, even after a couple of beers, and I can't decide whether to sell b/w male clown to LFS or take a chance on the main tank. <I would be very concerned about the two clownfish that are used to each other ganging up on the third one that is already in the larger tank. If you sell on back to the LFS, that's the one I'd chose. Read more about their behavior here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm> Cheri and I are now email pals, thanks to you, and look forward to meeting you both all at once in Feb. Hope the shock all around isn't too severe.   ABOVE ALL, HAVE  A WONDERFUL XMAS DAY TODAY WITH YOUR FAMILY. <Same to you> Connie

Tankmates (12/26/2003) Hello. <Greetings. Steve Allen tonight.> Sorry to bother you guys again, but I wanted to ask you a question. I have a watchman goby, blue damsel, percula clown. Do you have any suggestions to make my tank a little more colorful. The LFS told me many blue damsels could be kept together but eventually the one killed the other two... <and will likely harass new additions as well. If I were you, I'd reconsider keeping this fish.> Can you give me any suggestions on what I can get to make my tank a little more attention grabbing?  <That's a tall order. I can't remember how big your tank is. This makes all the difference. Since you have fairly small fish right now, I'll give you some species to research and consider: Royal Gramma, Firefish (must lose the Damsel to have these), Flame Angel, shrimp gobies, flasher wrasses, hawkfish. All of these are worth considering if your tank is less than 100 gallons. Do consider buying Scott Michael's excellent "Marine Fishes">

Reef On The Rise... Hi Scott <Hello again!> Had my water tested at my LFS yesterday and ammonia and nitrates have dropped to zero so I decided what the heck and got tempted in buying a small yellow belly damsel to test my tank out as well as 2 snails as they guy told me that they will get rid of some of the algae. <Okay> I also got tempted and bought another piece of live rock.  A healthy 2 kg piece with lots of purple growth on it.  Got all of them in the tank and while doing all of this I managed to pop two of my globes.  I did not notice the wires getting a bit wet and when I turned on my lights, I heard a little boom and now two of my globes won't come on. <Uh-Oh...> I am gonna recheck the wiring today and see what I can do cause there now seems to be a short, I get the feeling that some of the wires may have burnt out. <Sounds like a definite possibility here...> Too bad, cause now I have to go spending again on a new blue globe. <Open wallet - remove cash. This may be part of the "hobby mantra"...> I was thinking of getting the Sylvania as I am rather impressed with the 10000k white one that I bought, what do yo u think? <This is one of the best all-around spectrums for many applications, IMO> I also noticed another large crab in the tank could of come along with the new piece of live rock, light brown in colour, perfect camouflage against the live rock. I am hoping he is harmless so far so good as the damsel is still living this morning. <I'd keep a close eye on him to try to get a positive ID> The LFS also told me that the yellow belly damsel is not so aggressive. Will I be able to keep him once I introduce new fish or do you think I should get rid of him later down the line? <Your call, here. Some people enjoy the personalities and colors of damsels, other people are trying to assemble a population of animals that are more sedate...> They gave me some frozen brine shrimp and said I should feed the little guy only a pinch around every third day as he will eat on the algae in the tank as well, does this sound right? <Many damsels will eat algae in addition to "meaty" foods. However, I'd recommend a more nutritionally "complete" frozen food, such as Mysis.> Please give me your treasured input. Thanks Again.  Regards, Ziad <Always a pleasure to be of service! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Compatibility Question (12/25/2003) Hey crew, <Steve Allen tonight> I just wanted to know before i got in over my head if these fish are compatible: (they would reside in my 55 gallon zoo only reef) 1) Dwarf Angel (flame, or potters, or coral beauty) 2) Yashia hashe Goby 3) Banded Possum Wrasse There would only be one of each ..with the Yashia's possibly being a pair thanks for all the recent help.  Mike <I don't see a problem with the wrasse and the angel, though I'd put the angel in last, and only after the tank has been established for several months. As for the goby, I have to plead ignorance. I have never heard of this goby. I did and extensive search with Google and on fishbase.org with the name you give and get nothing. Do you have an alternative popular name or a scientific name?> >>Marina's note - this is the Yasha goby, of Japanese extraction.

75G Stocking Plan (12/23/2003) Hi--I've enjoyed reading the articles & FAQs on wetwebmedia & would appreciate some feedback on my plans.  I'm planning to get a 75 gal tank, and these are the fish I would love to have in it: 2 green Chromis yellow watchman goby blue neon goby 2 ocellaris clowns small group of flasher or carpenter wrasses (1 male, 2 female if that would work?) Midas blenny Royal Gramma flame angel (which I would add much later when the system, and my skills, have matured) Is this overload for a 75 gal?  <Pushing it a bit.> I tried to stick to smaller, peaceful fish so that none of them will be harassed.  I plan to get the best skimmer I can find, and lots of live rock also.  If this selection of fish is ok, is the order above ok for introducing them? Any input would be great!   <This is certainly a nice group of fish. The Flasher wrasses, of which Carpenter's is one species, do tend to do better in harems. Beware of their tendency to jump tank. Wrasses are all active, hungry fish, so no timid tankmates. Flame Angels are also very nice. Add this one last, and only after 6+ months to get the LR well-established for it to pick at. You're right on track with your plan on this one. Although Green Chromis are hardy, they may prefer a larger shoal. IMO, they are also rather plain compared to the other fish on your list. I'd consider giving the wrasses more swimming room by leaving them out. As for the clowns, you might want to think about cutting back to one. Whatever your choice on the clowns, don't let anyone try to tell you that they need an anemone to be happy. This is simply not true. You will almost certainly be getting tank-bred clowns that have never seen an anemone. Anemones are very difficult to keep--too hard to meet their needs early on in a marine aquarist's career.> thanks, Beth <Hope this food for thought helps, Steve Allen>

75G Stocking Plan Follow-Up (12/24/2003) Thanks so much for the speedy response!  I keep going back and forth about the green Chromis.  guess I'll keep mulling them over.  I plan to have a top (either glass or egg crate) to keep jumpers in, also to keep cats out.  and not to worry, I have no plans for an anemone.  I understand they're hard to keep and may eat some of my fish to boot.  I'll give my clowns plenty of corals and what not to swim around.  : ) <Sounds good. If you want corals, you need good light penetration. Go with egg crate rather than glass. the glass gets too opaque with salt build-up. I bought my egg crate and Home Depot. Works great.> Thanks for your help! <You're welcome, Steve Allen>

- [Live]Stocking Stuffers - Dear Crew, First, I would like to thank you for the site and answering our questions in the past. I have used the site as a source of information and had fun reading it. I would also like to complement Mr. Fenner's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" that we have used a as one of our main sources of information. I have a question about a potential stocking plan for a 75g tank. The tank has an AquaC Remora Pro, a Biowheel 330, and 110 pounds of live rock for filtration. The tank also has 40 pounds of pretty fine aragonite, 130 watts of actinic blue power compact light, 130 watts of 10,000K power compact light, a heater, four 400 gph powerheads, and a wavemaker. The tank has been fully cycled for months and has about 10 ppm of nitrates (maybe a little less). Temperature is 78 and all other water parameters are fine. We currently plan to add the following creatures in the following order: 1 tank-raised Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) 1 Tiger Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus bellulus) to bond with the goby (do you think this will work?) <I'd add these two at the same time and give them enough time to get established, build a burrow, etc... before you add anything else.> 1 or 2 (if two we would try to from a pair using the instructions in "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" (Great Book!!)) Tank-raised Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) OR (we will not mix the two species) Tomato Clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) Do you have any preference between the two species? <Personally I don't like either one as they are extremely territorial, especially as pairs. At a certain point, they'll even make it hard for you to put your hand in the tank. I'm much more partial to the percula and ocellaris clowns.> 1 tank-raised Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) <Another potential hell-raiser.> 1 tank-raised Bubble-Tipped Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) Our lights are a little low for an anemone, but the guy who tank-raises them thinks that lighting is secondary to feeding and that our lights will work if we feed well. <Don't agree with that premise... think you should reconsider until you have the proper lighting.> We have been told that the Maroon Clownfish and Orchid Dottyback are fairly aggressive and that the goby is fairly peaceful. If the goby has a burrow and is introduced first will this be okay? <No... Pseudochromis are the right shape and size to give just about anyone the boot from their burrow.> We saw that "PF" said that his peppermint shrimp got ripped apart by his Orchid Dottybacks. What is the chance that this happens to our pistol shrimp? <50/50> How much gravel do a shrimp and goby need to construct a burrow? <I'd say at least four inches deep.> We have another 40 pound bag or somewhat larger aragonite gravel in the basement (we have already added a little, so there is  a bit more than 40 pounds in the tank now). We could add this gravel, bury (except for one opening) a piece of PVC pipe. Do you think we need to do something? <Just make sure there is adequate substrate depth - no way to guarantee that the fish would find the PVC pipe.> If so, should we add the gravel or the pipe? <The gravel.> We have heard that for certain creatures such as Dottybacks and shrimp you need to cover all the opening on the top that they could fit through. How necessary is this? <No so much for the shrimp, but very important for the Pseudochromis. These fish can launch themselves right out of the tank.> In the summer, we worry about the tank getting too hot.  We assume covering the water surface will make the tank hotter.  Is there any other way that works to keep fish in (screen system, for example). <Yes, a screen system, for example.> ORA is currently culturing some peppermint shrimp and if these went on the market, we would want to buy some. Could these be added to our tank at any time, during the stocking plan we currently have? How many should we add if we decide to put some in? <I wouldn't add more than one or two. At any point in your stocking plan would be fine.> In a different saltwater tank that we have, we are keeping a large hermit crab (2x2x3 inch shell). The tank also has some Tufa rocks that we have turned into live rock and a scattering of aragonite gravel. It is fully cycled. Should we add calcium or iodine (or something else?) to help the crab when he molts (he does not eat his cast off shells, so is not getting minerals from them) and if so, how much of the supplement should we be adding? <Actually, iodine is the crucial trace element to add for crustacean exoskeletons. Get a test kit and test before adding.> Tyler and Tom <Cheers, J -- >

150 Gallon Tank 12/16/03 Quick Question: Are Corals easier to care for then Fish? <Hi Adam.  Adam here.  This is an impossible question.  Yes.  No.  Maybe. Any animal is easy to keep if you know what it requires and can provide it and is doomed if you don't know and/or can't.  It comes down to having the financial means, time and knowledge to meet the needs of the specific corals or fish you choose.  There are many fish and many corals who's needs are easily met, many of both who's needs are not so easily met, and many who we don't even know what their needs are, so it is not possible to generalize. What it comes down to is educating yourself as much as possible on the needs of the animals you wish to keep and knowing the limitations of your abilities and your set up to meet those needs.  If you choose the animals you keep this way, you can be successful even with basic knowledge and modest equipment.  If you don't choose animals this way, you will be doomed to kill even the "easiest" animals because even their simple needs won't have been met. I hope this answers your question.  Adam>

- Livestock Selection - G'day Guys I live in Townsville, Queensland Aust, so the Great Barrier Reef is pretty much my backyard - which is really ironic as I am finding it so hard to get information on keeping a marine aquarium... Anyway, I have just started in this hobby so I am learning heaps! I have bought a 35 gal  tank and all the necessary bits like lights and a protein skimmer and have had it cycling with live rock for 4 weeks. <Ahh... good on ya!> I've been testing the tank constantly and then asked my boyfriend to take the water to the LFS to be tested.  I come home to find water quality is perfect. Great! But we are now proud owners of 2 false Percs - OK cool, but there is also.....a yellow tail damsel - Crikey! <Heh.> If he gets narkey I've said he's going straight back to the fish shop - that's the damsel not the boyfriend! <Perhaps both [the boyfriend and the damsel] would be better ;-) > This is not the fish stock I had in mind, but surprisingly, they have all been getting along now for 2 weeks. <Good to hear... those damsels can become a real drag once they establish territory. For their size, they are perhaps the most pugnacious fish on the reef, with perhaps the exception of the Pseudochromids.> I really wanted to have a bicolor Dottyback and blue-green Chromis and was wondering if I can add one of each to the current tank? <Hmm... wouldn't push it much beyond this. You can keep these fish in there, but do watch the Dottyback... they can be aggressive too. The more rock and hiding places you have for the fish, the better the chances for everyone involved.> I am concerned about over stocking etc as this will eventually mean 5 fish in the 3 inch range - or should I just relent and let the boyfriend have my tank with his fish and start another for me and my Dottyback and Chromis? <Perhaps the latter strategy is the best... is hard to split one tank between differing interests.> Thanks heaps Sarah <Cheers, J -- >

Getting More Realistic in a 30G Tank (12/14/2003) Thanks for your information. <You're welcome> I'll return the tang as soon as possible. <Smart move.>  But one last thing, can you give me an ideal aquarium set up. Like what fish should I start with that I won't have to worry about aggression. I know you said I should start with some ocellaris clown (will percula clowns do?) and should I have a host anemone? <On the anemone, No. Too difficult and requires too much light. NOT for beginners. Will die. Clowns do not need an anemone. Most are tank-raised and have never seen an anemone. Then may not even take to one. I would not be surprised if over the next decade or two whatever genetic trigger makes these clowns live in anemones is bred away and they lose all interest. Perculas and ocellaris (False Perculas) are very closely-related and may even be variants of the same species. Both are fine.> <Now, I am not necessarily advocating clownfish. They are not without problems, especially recently. With all the hoopla over "Finding Nemo," they seem to be being over-bred. I am noticing a lot of concerns on various forums about defective/diseased newly-purchased clownfish. I did see a nice-looking batch at my LFS last week, though. Also, they can become aggressive.> <Do read the references I gave you. Search WWM. Consider the various options and choose what makes sense. Do look closely at the Royal Gramma, Pixy Hawkfish, smaller shrimp gobies, Dartfishes, Firefishes and perhaps the flasher wrasses. A few fish chosen from these groups would work well. If you come up with a list you would like to run by the crew, send it along. Remember, patience is a well-rewarded virtue in this hobby. Impulse-buying and impatience lead to sorrow. Enjoy.> Thanks again for all your help

- Stocking a 30 - Hello, I have a 33 gallon fish only tank with approx 10pds of live rock. Filtration is a Fluval 404 and an AquaClear 300 with a smaller powerhead providing additional current as well as aeration. The tank was cycled for 6 weeks with a percula clown and blue damsel, the damsel was lost about 3 weeks in but the percula continues to do well (the tank is now 10 weeks old). Two weeks ago I added a 2.5" Picasso trigger to the tank and would like to add one more fish in 2-3 weeks. I realize this tank is too small for the long run but I have a 150 gallon I plan to set up within 1-2 yrs. <I wouldn't get any more fish until you have that system up and running.> My question is what to add with the clown and trigger? <Nothing.> My wife would really like something colorful along the lines of a regal tang, yellow tang etc., whereas I tend to think we may be limited to species similar in lifestyle like a puffer etc.. What do you think? <Think any additional fish will cause problems in a tank of this size. Many folks such as yourself 'plan' to get larger tanks at some point, and stock their existing tanks in expectation of the new system only to have life kick in and change the plans. Please wait until you have that 150 before you buy anything else... you'll find your existing livestock plenty interesting and entertaining. Cheers, J -- >

Stocking Level 12/14/03 Greetings and Happy Holidays to Anthony, Bob and the rest of the crew. <and to you in kind, my friend> Thank you all for your dedication and sharing. This past March I set up my first reef tank. All has gone remarkably well, thanks to the plethora of information I have been able to absorb from your site over the past year. My set-up consists of a 75G with about 120lbs of LR and am using Len Sy's EcoSystem sump/refugium. My question is in regard to overstocking. I understand the rule of thumb is 1" of fish for every 5 gallons of water. Does this rule change with the amount of LR, filtration methods, etc.? <it is a very rough rule of thumb and really needs to take into consideration the surface area of the vessel and means of gas exchange/aeration, etc (50 gall long versus tall aquarium for example)> My 'family' consists of a Purple Tang, 2 Clowns, 4 Royal Grammas, 1 Diamond Watchman Goby and 1Mandarin (eating well; plenty of copepods from established LR). As things stand now, being that all are still immature, I'm already at approximately 20", total. OOPS! <the tang of course is the primary concern for its adult size and aggression (present or future likely aggression)> So far, water quality has been great (no skimmer.....yet!). <no worries with controlled feeding and increased water changes> No problems with ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, etc. According to what I've read to date, I'm looking at 40+ inches, or 25 inches beyond the suggested limit, if and when they all reach maturity. (Didn't mean to sound pessimistic there!) <yes... it is so important to leave room for adult sizes even if they do not actually attain it. Our aquariums as you know are so much smaller than their natural home ranges. Do opt for the conservative stocking limits> I'm in the process of  setting up & cycling a second tank; a 55G, which will be a FOWLR, so I am able to split things up per your recommendations. <All but the purple tang will be fine in this new tank. I believe the tang will need larger quarters in the 1-3 year picture> Thanks again and Good Tidings to All. Looking forward to hopefully meeting you guys here in Chicago next June.      <ahh, yes... hope to see you at IMAC :) Anthony>

Peaceful fish ideas Hi, <Greetings, Steve here> I was wondering if you could provide fish stocking ideas. It is a 55 gallon, 55lbs live rock currently with 2 small ocellaris clowns. Eventually, there will be softies and other low light corals. My criteria is smaller, colorful, and peaceful. I just need ideas and will do the appropriate due diligence. <Bear in mind that clowns are not always peaceful. They can actually get quite territorial, though ocellaris are not as bad as some others.> I am interested in a purple Firefish, but have read that they do best as pairs. Would you keep a single one? <Sure. In a smaller tank like this, one would be fine if the other fish are peaceful. In fact, two might fight. Do look at the other Firefish & Dartfish, too> Any other ideas would be appreciated! Thanks. Thien <Well Thien, there are hundreds of possibilities here. With eventual coral plans, you need to avoid fish that will nip at them. Do check out something like Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" handbook. Just a few to consider: Royal Gramma, smaller fairy wrasses, Cardinalfishes, Jawfishes, Flame Angel (may nip corals), various gobies. Enjoy the search.>

Compatibility Critique Hi crew - <evenin'> Thanks for your response to my last question. <On behalf of the entire crew, you're welcome. Steve Allen answering tonight.> I have a 2 month old 72 gal FOWLR tank (46 lbs Live Rock and 60 lbs Live Sand, Skimmer, Wet/Dry, UV, etc.) and am planning my livestock additions. <Good that you are being patient. Are you quarantining new fish.> Please comment on: - compatibility of livestock -quantity of livestock (i.e., too many for 72gal?) -timing and sequence of the proposed additions Fish (listed in order) -3 Green Chromis (added to tank appx. 2 wks ago) -2 False Percula Clowns (plan to add within 3 wks if all goes well with Chromis) -1 Yellow Tang (after 1 mo.) -1 Flame Hawk (after 1 mo) -1 Watchman goby (after 2 mo.s) -1 Pearlscale Butterfly (dwarf) (after 3-4 mo.s) -1 Flame Angel (after 5-6 mo.s) <Just some thoughts here. Ultimately you that must weight all the factors that need considering and make the final decisions. Two important things: (1) no impulse buys and (2) always quarantine. These two things along will greatly improve your chances of success. These are all very nice fish. I certainly wouldn't add anything more than this, and I would strongly consider leaving one of the bigger fish out. The Tang will get to feeling cramped after it gets bigger and will likely be mean. The Butterflyfish may be hard to keep. Do read Bob's article on WWM about good & bad Butterfly choices. Why two clowns? I can tell you from personal experience that one will be find by itself in a community of compatible tankmates. Hawkfish are nice. Look at a couple of others before you choose one--The Longnose & Pixy (Coral) Hawkfish come quickly to mind. If you really want the Tang, add it second to last so it won't be so territorial. Wait longer on the Goby so there is more live food in/on your substrate & rock.> Invertebrates (added simultaneously in next 3 wks., except for fire shrimp) -5 Red leg Hermit Crabs -5 Blue leg Hermit Crabs - 5 Scarlet Hermit Crabs -10 Margarita (Turbo) snails -1 Cleaner Shrimp -2 Peppermint shrimp -1 fire shrimp (add after 2 mo.s) Finally, Do you think I have enough/right mix of cleaners (i.e, crabs/snails). <There are a lot of opinions in this area as to how many of what for which size of tank. It is a good idea to have "detritivores," but a bad idea to rely on them to make up for overfeeding, overstocking & poor tank maintenance. Some thoughts:  Consider other snails in addition, such as Strombus (see www.ipsf.com) Nassarius & Ceriths. Read more on WWM about snails & detritivores. Consider a couple of serpent or brittle stars. Read more about hermits on WWM. As for shrimps, consider 2 or 3 of the same species. Lysmata are hermaphroditic and will breed, thereby producing eggs/larva as fish food. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/cleaner.htm > Thanks again for all your great work. <Best of luck. Proceed thoughtfully and patiently.> Ade

Big Plans in Demark 2 (12/11/03) Oops-I think you made a mistake Steve:-) I read the hawkfish faq and neither are considered safe with crustaceans like the cleaner shrimp? He he! <In this case, size matters. If you put full-size cleaner shrimp in the same tank with a small hawkfish such as Neocirrhites armatus and keep the hawk well fed, it should leave the shrimps alone. No guarantees, though.> And you are so right about math. Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be rich. If I pass my exams I'll be of to study biology next year:-). But the thousands of Kroner will be very well spent as a saltwater tank would be very educational(and WAY more fun than any book!!!) <true indeed> The peppermint hog would be Bodianus opercularis-beautiful fish and people give them high credits. <Ah, yes. AKA Black-Spot Hogfish. Nice-looking fish. I am quite fond of Bodianus. They are boisterous though. Always in motion when the lights are on. Willing to pull the food right out of the mouths of more timid fish.> I'll spend the money I'm gonna save on the lighting to by one of those. I've  I'm definitely not adding anemones, even if I could care for them the butterflies would be too big a threat to them. I really like those masked butterflies. <Real beauties that are rather hardy if healthy/acclimated properly to captivity. Can grow as big as dinner plates.> The clownfish will be getting a flowerpot...  <Make certain it is inert and contains no heavy metals.> So this is the new and improved stocklist: 1 Imp. angel 2 C. semilarvatus 1 Bodianus opercularis <has been observed to eat the legs of off cleaner shrimp> 5 Chromis viridis 1 Heniochus intermedius 1 Zebrasoma xanthurum <does tend to get mean as it ages> 2 Amphiprion bicinctus 3 Pseudochromis fridmani (or one but I prefer fish that can be kept in groups) (After doing some research I'm beginning to question if I'll even be able to get fridmani's) Is this an improvement? -only 3 butterflies- instead of 6, 2 clowns instead of 5 and perhaps skipping the orchid Dottybacks (how about 1.2 flasher or fairy wrasses instead?). <I'd consider dumping the Pseudochromis because they may harass the larger, but peaceful butterflies. Consider adding a second Heniochus instead. Quoting WWM: "These butterflyfishes are social animals, being found in groups of a pair or more to veritable shoals of a few hundred individuals. It makes sense that they should not be kept solitarily if possible." They're beautiful fish for sure.> And still 5 Lysmata amboinensis, hermits, snails, perhaps a seastar. <Do read up on these. Thousands of them die every year in the aquarium trade. Form experience & reading, I recommend against Linckia stars.> Still room for more fish small)? <Not really, I think this current list is starting to push it in 250G. I'll forward this message to another crew member for a second opinion.> Will cutting down on the number of butterflies ease down on the aggression that you talked about? <These butterflies are relatively peaceful. It's the Dottybacks, the tang and the hog that would be most likely to cause issues.> Well this is it for now, but you'll probably be hearing from me again soon! <at your service>

Hej Steve Allen! Tack f? ditt snabba svar!! <Vars?od!> It sure feel better now, when your answer gave me happy news! That transparent thing, the drawing, was the whole thing! If it's complete bone, I'm not sure, but it looked like it when I found it! <most likely crustacean and probably harmless> I've found the "clam" again, its now sitting with the "back" in LR, in top of the Reef, close the suffice.. And has not moved in 12hours! <They don't move much if they like things where they are.> So, like you say, no worries! My reef is running now complete - 1month!, when I setup my reef, I take my present aquarium water, Lrock, Lsand and corals, and that was an 210 liter system. <Nice upgrade to 900L then>  I have built it in a own aquarium room--where I see front glass in the living room, a side glass in firestadroom. <Sounds beautiful. Do post a picture on saltvattensguiden or WetWebFotos--I'd love to have a look.> So I can see my aquarium (150X100X60) through 2 rooms. I bought a house of my own, so I can built a big one!<Congratulations on the house, I know hou big a thing it is to own one in Sweden. I owned one there myself (Vallentuna) for a couple of years.> refugium (sump)- 210 liters. <great to have a large refugium> So now I have animals: 5 anthias <what species> tomato clown pair 3 yellow tail damsel 1 other taild damsel 1 anemone crab 1 haddoni anemone 1 cleaner shrimp 2 Turbos 1 red leg hermit 1 blue/white leg hermit And many soft corals! <what will you be using for lighting? Anemones need a lot.> My old system was running without problems in 1?year before I did mine now! Im so happy of my hobby, and proud :0) <It's an exciting and rewarding hobby to be sure.> So I can say that you are almost half Swede then *s*! Im from Oskarshamn- that is in Sm?and (littleland in Swedish)- in a small village called P?kallavik (atumeverybodybay in Swedish) <I love the Swedish country side--it's so beautiful>, I am one of 3 in o-hamn that have marine as a hobby! <nice that you know them, it's great to have people to share with.> Were in Sweden do you have new roots? <Min fru, Marie, kommer ifr? Vadbro utanf? Flen i S?ermanland. Jag har varit d? flera g?ger. Vi bodde i Stockholmstrakten f? tio ? sedan. Vi hade en l?enhet i V?terhaninge och k?te sedan ett hus ute p?landet i Vallentuna. Det var underbart d? men det gick inte ekonomiskt i l?gden. Vi flyttade d?f? tillbaka till USA. Vi bor nu i Salt Lake City, UT. Jag tj?ar fyra g?ger s?mycket som i Sverige och betala mindre ? halva skatten. Men vi saknar svenska landet.> Thanks one more time mr Allen! <det var s?litet> - Kalle

Stocking Questions Hi Bob,<Cody here today.> Thanks for the answer about tubeworm. Anywhere I have few more questions hope that u can help me up. 1.  Is it ok to put cleaner shrimp and coral banded shrimp (boxing shrimp) together? My tanks size is around 25 gallons but I did do a lot partition inside.<I would just choose between one or the other.  The boxer would likely pick on the cleaner.> 2.  What kind of plant can we put in the tank? Can u suggest some for me?<There are many types of macroalgae and corals you can get but I would need to know your lighting situation before I could recommend anything.> 3.  Is it possible to put few different kind of clown fish together? like Maroon clown and Percula clown or clarkii?<I would stick to just one in this small of tank and stay away from the maroon as they get big and aggressive.> Anywhere, that's all for now and I really appreciate it. Thanks!<No problem!  Let me know what our lighting scheme is and I can recommend something for you.  You can also find tons of info at our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody> Seng

Overstocking a reef system you are more than welcome. we have exchanged mails before mostly through the WWM site. You may, or most probably not recall me asking for some advice on a Hawaiian reef set-up. <Mmm, no, not right off> For the past 4 yrs I have had a small 40g reef system with minimal corals (Sinularia, euphyllia glabrescens and pulse xenia), which has been my basis for learning the hobby. The fish I have kept are 4 green Chromis (once 5 but a mishap with an overflow...another lesson learnt) are these found in Hawaii?? <No... there are a few other Damsels (you can search those found there on fishbase.org under the region, then resorting the fishes by family)... but these are rarely imported... maybe the irascible Dascyllus albisella... needs real room... a mean fish, much like the Domino> if not could you suggest a reef safe shoaling fish. 4 convict gobies now 5" and made their full colour changes (I am not sure whether these would fit in my planned species set-up) I have also read that these can become aggressive with age, and my oldest salt water buddy Rooney my 2" maroon clown whom I've had for nearly 3 yrs. <Can and likely will> I have recently purchased a chevron tang and a Hawaiian 4 lined wrasse, neither came cheap I can assure you but worth every penny. They are both in quarantine waiting to be introduced to my new eco-system run reef.  <In this 40? I hope in another, perhaps larger system> Other than the Chevy and 4 lined wrasse I intend to add a flame angel and if possible to find 1 a flame wrasse. are there any other livestock fish or other wise that you would add to this system?? I do plan to add a bubble-tip and pair up my maroon clown before introducing them to the aquarium, the maroon clown would be the only fish I would not be prepared to sacrifice for the Hawaiian reef system. <Is this still the forty gallon system? I would not place more fish livestock in this volume... too small. Bob Fenner>

Big Plans (12/10/2003) Hi again Steve and rest of the crew, just wanted to thank Steve for helping me the other day and ask a few more questions. <my pleasure) I have to cut back on this site and look more into my math books so I'll just ask these question and then leave you alone for a while:-). <A few minutes each day reading the daily FAQs while taking a break from your fascinating math book will teach you a lot, and it's certainly more interesting! :)> As I wrote the last time, I'm currently planning to set up a 253g sw tank with fish, shrimp, hermits and snails and perhaps some hardy corals as the system matures and I become a more experienced aquarist. I'll use all the LR I can afford and tropic marin salt. <excellent product> What I need from you is a bit of help deciding what equipment I'll be needing for this setup. I'll get skimmer, sump, perhaps refugium and definitely a quarantine tank! What I'm having problems figuring out is lighting. <This is often the most expensive single component of a system, with the possible exception of the live rock. Easy to spent $1-2K on lighting for SPS corals.> I know it depends on what kind of invertebrates I'm planning to keep and that will depend on what fish I'll like to keep. This is the stocklist I scribbled down in my matchbook today. <A much better use for a matchbook than actually doing math problems, eh?> It may be a bit too much. The fish will be added some at a time during a period of a few years --okay here it is: 1 Imperator angel or Asfur but definitely like imp. best) 2 Chaetodon semilarvatus 3 Intermedius bannerfish 5 Chromis viridis 1 Chelmon rostratus  <not very hardy> 1 purple tang <beautiful fish> 5 Amphiprion bicinctus 3 pseudochromis fridmani-tank raised if available 1 peppermint hog <Bodianus masudai?> <May get a bit aggressive in there. Some of these fish may not get along very well.> Sorry about the Latin, actually prefers that instead of their common names, its so confusing. <O, please continue with scientific names. So much less opportunity for error, especially since we're in different countries.> This is going to be a Red Sea species tank, so if you have any thoughts about replacements, it would be nice if the fish is also found in the Red Sea. It's not the easiest kept fishes I know. If the fish load is too big, I'll rather skip one of the bannerfish and the purple tang. Now, for invertebrates, some hermits and snails and 5 Lysmata amboinensis (is that too much, possible?) <In this size tank, 5 would be fine. These are fun and attractive shrimp. I would be a little concerned about the Hogfish eating them. Also, Pseudochromis (Dottybacks) can be quite mean. Don't know if they go after shrimp. Do read up on this. They'll need some good hiding places.> Now how about those corals? Are there any species that won't be chewed to death by the butterflies and are easy to keep? <No Butterflyfishes can be guaranteed as reef safe, and Pomacanthus Angelfishes definitely are not.> If there are any, how much light do those species need-their special requirements? I was especially thinking about sarcophytons( as clownfish hosts) and mushrooms, maybe a lettuce coral. <No guarantees here, the Clown may not adopt the corals. Do not allow anyone to convince you that you need an anemone for your clown. They are very hard to care for and should be left in the ocean. Your clown will be fine without one.> Will the fish on my list bother sps corals? <Some, yes.  I'm glad you're taking a lot of time to think this through. I think you have a fundamental decision to make here before you get started. So you want corals or not? If you want corals, then no Pomacanthus. Do check Reef Secrets by Nilsen & Foss? If you do want corals, consider such reef safe fish as Siganus (Lo) Rabbitfishes, possibly Centropyge dwarf angels, Genicanthus angels, hawkfishes...ooh, the possibilities are endless. Much more planning/thinking to be done yet.>   Thank you very much for helping me! <pleased to be of assistance> Joanne in Denmark  

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