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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 28

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

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A Klein's Butterflyfish, a good aquarium-use mid-sized Chaetodont

Fish Compatibility (Need a big tank!) - 05/03/05 Hi I'm planning an aquarium for my friend and he would like to house a Maculosus angelfish, clown trigger, pink-tail trigger, and a harlequin Tuskfish. Are these fish compatible? Thanks Dinesh Patolia < Hello Dinesh! If the tank you're planning is at least 400 gallons, then yes, this mix could work. Do think of their care in the long term, these fish will reach a foot and more in length, are very robust, and can/will develop in to real bullies. regards, Eric R. >

How Many Are Too Many? (4/29/05) Hello,  <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I currently have a 150 gallon fish only tank running. There are six fish: a yellow tang, volitans lionfish, marine Betta, big-eye Soldierfish (had him for 5 years and only 4 inches), black dogface puffer, and a princess parrotfish. I am looking to add, as the final inhabitants, a trio of squareback Anthias.  <These are all big fish.>  Would you recommend this with the fish I currently have?  <Sorry, but no. First, you pretty much have enough big fish for this size tank already. As they grow, it is unlikely that your filtration can support more than this healthily. Square-Spots grow to 8". Second, Anthias can difficult to keep, and Square Spots are among the least likely to live long in captivity. Thirdly, Anthias do not generally get along well in groups in the close quarters of an aquarium.>  If not, do you know of any fish you think would do well in the tank?  <It is my opinion that your tank is already full. Check the adult size of each of the fish you already have and you will understand this too.>  If the Anthias cannot work, how would you feel about a clown or Picasso triggerfish? Would they be too aggressive?  <Clown Triggers eventually get murderously aggressive and generally should be kept as a single specimen in a large tank with no tankmates. Picassos are better, but your tank is too small to add a Trigger to this mix.>  Any information you can offer will be of great help.  <I say the wisest course is to add nothing and let your fish grow. I'm surprised your Soldierfish is so small after five years. They're supposed to get up to a foot long. If you really must add one more fish, you might consider something smaller but spunky, like a Pixy Hawkfish.>  Thank you, Joseph Marano  <You're welcome.> 

Niger Trigger in a 55, continued Hello all again, <Howdy> Just want to say thanks for all the advice. The Anthias and Tang found a home with the store I get my water and supplies from. They are one of three saltwater shops around, and really seem to work well with their customers.  They are placing the Tang in their reef system and said they will keep him safe for me. That's how I got the eel. Someone was moving and sold back their live rock. I came in and by chance got the one rock and he hitched a ride to my house. I called, told them this eel came out, they said "I guess you got an added bonus" (no charge really cool). Later they mention the person forgot he was in there. How anyone could forget something like that is beyond me. <Happens> I will take all advice given and will think of adding a refugium to the 55. And stop impulse buys.......or bankrupt my husband. B- <Sounds good. Bob Fenner> 

Big Plans for BIG Fish! Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a 200 gallon aquarium and was wondering what you think the better fish for me would be? I have narrowed it down to a French Angel and a Clown Trigger. Knowing that both of these fish get very large the tank will be dedicated to that fish and I won't put anything else in it. What I am wondering is which is hardier and which is smarter and can be taught "tricks" easier such as hand feeding? Thanks Adam <Well, If you are up to the challenge, and have a tank large enough to accommodate either fish for it's full life span, then I'd be apt to keep the Trigger. Both fishes require large water volumes to help dilute their metabolic waste products, but the Queen Angel requires a tremendous amount of space to accommodate its need to swim over larger territories. Even a 200 gallon tank would be too small for an adult, IMO. The Trigger, too, requires a large tank, but may be better suited to a captive situation. To be quite honest, I am not a proponent of keeping either one of these brutes in captivity, unless you have an enormous tank (like hundreds or even thousands of gallons. Others may disagree with my opinions, but it just isn't right to keep such huge fish in anything but the largest aquariums available. I admire your dedication to the fish and your desire to resist adding other species into the mix, but it may be best to keep smaller versions of the fishes that you are considering. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> 

Predator vs. Invertebrate -- The Former Eventually Wins in a Tank (4/28/05) Hello, and thanks in advance for your time and help.  <My pleasure to play a small role.> <<Who are you?>><<Hee! It was roll!>> I have been reading the FAQs and have learned a great deal already.  <Great to hear.>  However, I have not been able to locate the answer to a couple of questions that I have. These may seem like no-brainers, but I would really just like a definitive answer. First, in a tank that contains live rock (with plenty of nooks and crannies) and aggressive fish such as lions, triggers, and puffers, is it possible to have shrimp and crabs running around... <No> ...or are they doomed from the start?  <Triggers are shaped the way they are for a reason--so they can stick their snouts into those nooks and grab their prey. They also have wickedly sharp teeth and an impressively strong bite. Many divers and aquarists have learned this the painful way.>  Will they find adequate hiding places amongst the live rock or just end up being another meal?  <Ultimately the latter. My Trigger managed to kill some crabs I didn't even know were in the tank. I just found the pieces of shell.> The second question somewhat dovetails on the first. What are my options for putting in snails, like Astrea or turbo to help with algae control  <Pretty much zero with triggers and puffers.> ...or other cleaner critters?  <Large Brittlestars will eat detritus, but they may get chomped on here and there.>  Will these end up being a meal as well?  <No gastropod or crustacean is likely to survive for long in the environment you are proposing. In nature, millions and millions of them are eaten, but they have a hugely larger volume to escape so some survive to produce billions and billions of eggs. I'd venture to guess that the rate of survival from fertilized egg to reproduction is under 1% in nature, but that really is just a guess.>  If the above animals will not be left alive in my tank, what options do I have for algae control?  <The only one that really works: water changes, nutrient control, etc. The people who rely the most on animals to "control" algae are often the ones who have the least success in controlling it. Read more on algae control on WWM.>  Again, thank you. Neil  <You're welcome. I hope this helps. It should save you a lot of money on expensive trigger/puffer foods.><Was/is Steve Allen>

Trigger vs. Puffer (4/25/05) Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I have a 75 gallon tank with a only one fish and 120 lbs of live rock. It's a 6 inch Picasso Trigger. <Cool> He's been in there for about 6 months. I saw a pretty solid blue with some spots Dogface puffer fish. <Nice> It's an XL fish for 129.99. <Unfortunately, your tank is way too small for a dogface puffer. It ultimately will need a tank more than twice as big.> Would these two fish get along or should I just trade the triggerfish in and start over. <Given enough space, these two fish could live together, but there is some risk even in a big tank. The Picasso Trigger grows slowly, so you have some time, but it really ought to be in a 150+ in a few years.> I got him to cycle my tank but would keep him if I can put another fish in there with him. <If you don't really want him or cannot meet his tank size needs, consider trading him in and working with smaller fish that are appropriate for your tank. Check out Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" handbook and add about 20% to his tank size recommendations. That book also mentions some suitable tankmates.> What are the odds of these 2 fish getting along. <Fair, in a bigger tank.> The dogface puffer is about one and a half the size of the trigger. Chet <Hope this helps.> Question regarding compatibility and order of intro.... Hey Bob!  I was hoping you could help me out with my 75-gal FOWLR tank which is in its early stages.  I recently added my first fish, 2 O. clowns, who are doing great.  I'm planning on future additions of: 1 Eibli Dwarf Angel 1 Black and White Bannerfish (poor man's Moorish Idol) Can you tell me what order should I add these two fish to my tank? <Either or simultaneously> In addition to those I would like to add something with tons of color - I was looking for something bright blue but the only thing I've found so far is damsels (and I know better than that!) or a blue tang (won't fit in my tank once you factor in my other fish).  Maybe some type of wrasse or firefish??   Do you have any suggestions? <To keep reading, investigating, checking your options at your stores... You will know. Thanks a bunch, you guys are the best! Kat UV and Quarantine (4/2/05) I am currently cycling a 52 gallon marine tank with cocktail shrimps... <Do you plan to eat them? Sorry, couldn't resist. I am not familiar with an aquarium species referred to as "cocktail" shrimp. I've only heard of the ones you buy at the grocery store.> ...and it seems essential that I also have a quarantine tank (perhaps about 20 gallons).  <Yes!>  There is a lot of information on your site on the details of this, and how long to keep fish in there (21 days on average for trouble to show up).  <More precisely, if you have gone 3-4 weeks without having problems, then it's unlikely that any will crop up after that.>  Many people who have submitted questions are in damage control scenarios by not using quarantine tank initially, hoping that an UV sterilizer would help rid of a disease problem in a display tank (if only it were that simple!)  <Hear, hear.>  Are there significant cost effective advantages in having a small UV sterilizer up and running in a QT from the moment the fish are put in there for their three week stay in the hope that this may stop any potential disease outbreak that could develop in the first place?  <UV sterilizers are rather expensive, so I doubt that one could call them cost-effective in this scenario. That said, I will not deny the potential benefits of UV--I use one myself on my display tank. Using it in QT seems better as part of a treatment for infection, rather than as a "preventive." If infection is noted as part of initial quarantine, one could consider UV as part of the treatment, but I doubt it is cost-effective compared with the many relatively inexpensive medications available.>  All the Best. Mike Lomb  <Same to you. Steve Allen.> 

Too many too soon Hello, I just found this site and I have a couple of questions.<O.K. maybe I can help.> I am a new hobbyist. I have a 110 gallon tank and have had it for 6 to 7 months. I have had the following fish in the tank for that time; 3 stripe damsel, blue velvet damsel, bluefin damsel, electric blue damsel, Pseudochromis paccagnellae, sailfin blenny. I also have 2 large corals, and live rock (12) to be exact to give my fish plenty of places to hide. I have been told that my tank is doing really well and have had the pink hard algae all over it.<Coralline algae.> Well my 1st question is that I just added the following fish; Bicolor angel, coral beauty angel, porcupine puffer, blue tang, purple tang, yellow tang, cinnamon clown.<WOW!!!> Did I add to many fish that are going to get large for my tank to handle it.<Yes, I think you added too many fish and too many too quickly.  I would consider taking some out.  The puffer will bother the corals also.> My second question is am I going to need to give the damsels away since they are more of an aggressive fish.<I would get rid of some fish because that is too many for that tank.  The damsels would be a good start along with one or two of the fish you just added.> I have a dual Bak Pak, a Fluval 404 another dual filter, two heaters to move water. <The filtration is minimal for that many fish.  I would recommend purchasing a wet/dry filter for that size tank.>Ok, I guess I have one more question and that is my blue tang is rubbing and I do see on one side some white on him.  Please advise as this is my first tank ever. Thank You, Kelly <Kelly, your fish blue tang sounds like it is getting sick.  Look up ich on the wetwebmedia site.  I would treat the fish in a quarantine tank and then thin that tank out.  Test the water for quality and do a water change as needed.  Good Luck MikeB.>

Raccoon Butterfly Compatibility 12 Aug 2004 I would like to know what other type of fish and sea life are compatible with the Raccoon Butterfly- Chaetodon. <Hi Kimberly, MacL here with you. I don't want you to think I'm dodging your question but the answer to that depends a lot on what size tank you have. If you are able to give me some more information we can try to help you a little more.> Thank you in advance for answering my question Kimberly Burton


- Fish Compatibility - First, I wanted to thank you for providing such a  wonderful resource. I have learned a lot by visiting your site and wish this type of resource had been around when I first started in the hobby. I have a 200 gallon FO saltwater tank with a miniatus grouper (4-5 inches), a Foxface (3-4 inches), and a clown trigger (3 inches, the most recent addition). I would like to add one more fish and am seeking advice about which fish would be most compatible with my bunch, with special emphasis on fish with reputations for being hardy. I know the clown trigger has a reputation for being mean and would like to add another addition while the trigger is still small to increase the chances of everyone getting along. Likewise, I know groupers can get rather aggressive too. <Yeah... that and they get large as well.> Possible fish I've been looking at are the Naso tang, purple tang, and the harlequin tusk (though a bit unsure because a previous grouper hated tusks with a vengeance and we recently had a tusk that  died).  I'm VERY open to other suggestions and would appreciate any advice you have. <Hmm... really would shoot for something that would be hard for the grouper to eat, like a puffer. None of the fish on your wish list will last any time around that grouper, especially as it gets older.> Sharon <Cheers, J -- >


Compatibility? <Hi! Mike D here!> Would a Arothron diadematus Gymnothorax melatremus Picasso trigger and a blue tang all get along in a 135 gallon tank? <Wow! Now THAT'S a specific question! Possibly is the best answer I can give you. I'd be worried about putting a moray that small in a tank with a triggerfish, with the likelihood of it eventually ending up a "trigger snack" pretty high, IMO ( I DEFINITELY wouldn't try it without a LOT of LR for the eel to remain hidden in!). Likewise triggers, puffers and morays can all be messy eaters so good filtration is a must, and again here, if you stick with normal foods found in an LFS, the odds for a problem go even higher. For everything on your list but the tang, I'd never use LFS prepared foods and instead would opt for a seafood market as my food source> thanks a bunch<You're welcome>


Shrimp & Turbo Snail Gone Hello. <Hi Jill, MacL here with you tonight> First of all, Thank You for all the valuable information on your site. You guys are great! <Glad you think so.> I have a 7 month running 55 gal tank with excellent water quality. I have had the same inhabitants for over 4 months which consist of:  2 small tank raised percula clowns, 1 lemon peel angel, 1 large yellow tail blue damsel, 1 blue legged hermit crab.  Until last week, I also had 1 very large turbo snail and 1 cleaner shrimp. Suddenly, within a few days of each other, my shrimp and turbo snail disappeared! <How strange> I can find no trace or remnants of either.  Is the small blue legged hermit crab suspect? Could it be the damsel (the most aggressive inhabitant) or angel? <Its possible but not likely after 4 months, more likely a large ph fluctuation or something biological. Have you tested your tank?>

- Livestocking and Clown Hosting Choices - Hi Guys <Hello.> My clown is looking rough. <Uhh oh...> I have a cinnamon clown and have had it for more than a year. He is housed in a 90 gal reef with a Kole and blue tang( moving to a 200 gal soon) a royal Gramma, and crabs and shrimp. I added an elegance coral that he calls home right around the time he started looking beat up. He also really digs in to the star polyps growing on  rock too. He also has a couple brown spots along his belly and lower side area. Can the elegance or polyps be stinging him?? <Possible.> Also, the 200 gal I'm going to be setting up for the 2 tangs, they are about 5" long now. What other types of fish can I put with them?? Id love a Picasso trigger. A clown trigger I would love but I wont for fear of its unpredictableness. A lion is on the list. What else would be safe?? <Pretty much anything large enough to either avoid becoming food or something that isn't a tang.> Joe <Cheers, J -- >

How Many Fish and Anemones can I Put in a 30 Gal? I have a 30-gallon tank with 36' x 12' x 15 deep, excluding the three inches of Crushed coral and sand mixed together that make up my substrate.   For current and mechanical filtration I have an Aqua Clear 300 filter and a Maxi Jet 300 power head, in the opposing corner from the filter.  The water parameters are as follows, specific gravity-1.022, temp-80 degrees, pH-8.2-8.4, nitrite and ammonia-0ppm, and a nitrate level of <10ppm.  I use treated tap water to conduct weekly 5-10 gallon water changes.  My tank is about 6 months old (It is my very first saltwater tank), but I recently had to take it down (5weeks ago) and move it into my new apartment.  I brought all the old substrate with me, and the tank rapidly zeroed out.  Along for the move, was my pair of Percula clowns, a devil blue damsel, 1 Kenya tree coral, 1 Trachy brain, green star polyps, mushrooms, various crabs, and snails.  All survived the move and the slight cycle that occurred shortly after.  None of my coralline algae, (attached to the live rock) seemed affected, copepods, feather dusters, and sand worms abound, and recently a sponge has started taking over a large piece of my live rock.  I recently added a pygmy angel to the group and everyone seems content.  Although, I wonder if I am slightly overstocked fish wise? << I think you are fine.  I too have a 30 gal and that fish load sounds appropriate. >> As for lighting on my tank I have 1 30 watt actinic blue and 1 30 watt 50/50 10,000k (2 watts per gallon I suppose that comes out to). << This to me is way under powered for a reef tank.  For a fish only tank you are okay.  But in my 30 gal I have two 150 watt halides, and I'm not sure that is enough light. >> I recently extended my photoperiod to 16 hours and make use of timers so that the blue actinic is turned on an hour before and after my 50/50.  The Kenya tree coral and my pacific long tentacle anemone have responded with an increase in coloration.  I am wondering though if my anemone is getting enough light? << I really don't think so.  I would recommend getting him to a different tank, or upgrading your lights. >> After the move he took only one day to find his new spot and has stayed there.  He extends every day, has lovely dark green/brown/pink coloring, consumes his food, and yet I have noticed that sometimes his mouth seems to swell?   Until recently, I didn't realize his food (frozen shrimp) had to be shredded into small pieces and I have since corrected the problem. Could that have been the reason for the pout? << It's possible, and if he looks good, then the advise I just gave you could be totally wrong.  If everything is going fine, don't change it. >> Also there is a mushroom coral on the piece of rock across from my anemone (5 inches away) and sometimes his tentacles brush against it.   He seems to be not extending as much and his tentacles have not been so stringy, probably because he is now getting more to eat, hopefully not because of the mushroom?   If it is the mushroom, is there a way I can detach it and move it out of the way? << I doubt it is the mushroom, and worry much about it. You can, however, just cut the mushroom's stem, and move it to another location.>> I just really love to watch my pair of Percula clowns rolling in his embrace and I want him to live.  I would like to get another anemone but having read previous questions I understand that a differing species of anemone would be a bad Idea.  Could I get another Pacific Long Tentacle after I am sure there is nothing wrong with my other one? << Yes, but the key is to wait and make sure this anemone is thriving, and has everything it needs. >> Thank you, for giving your time and answering my questions! << You're welcome. >> Regards Jess <<  Blundell  >>

Is My Tank Big Enough For Two Large Angelfish Dear WWM Crew, << Hi there >> First of all I want to thank Adam Cesnales, and all the other WWM Crew for always getting beck to me with a quick and helpful response.   << Adam is awesome.  Unfortunately you have the other Adam here tonight. >> I have an opportunity to purchase a "Blue Girdled Angel" which is exquisite, but I don't know if it will peacefully co-exist with my "Blue Faced Angel".   In addition to the Blue Faced Angel I also have (in this 437 gal. tank) a Copperband Butterfly, 12 Green Chromis, a Cleaner Shrimp, a Blue Neon Goby and lastly , a mated pair of True Percula Clowns.  Do you see a problem with adding the new angel?  << Nope I don't.  Here is why.  437 gal!!!  That is a big tank.  I would have responded differently if you had a 55 gal, but for me a 437 gal tank is large enough that just about anything (at least with angels) should be fine.  They may snip here and there but if they are well fed I wouldn't worry. >> Thank you once again, Ron Allard <<  When you get them together in that tank, I'd like to see a picture.>> <<  Blundell  >>

Stocking a 135 (7/16/04) HI <Hi Sharon, MacL here with you today> currently I have a 55 gallon fish only. I have just upgraded to a 135 gallon. I'd rather have a bunch of little fish then 3-4 big fish. <Makes sense.> I was hoping on putting these fish in 1 Scopas tang 2-3 blue tangs some other tang what do you recommend? <I love all tangs so that's too hard for me to answer> some type of butterflies maybe auriga or Longfin Bannerfish? <I'm assuming this would be a fish only tank? Since the butterflies will munch?> a flame angel a Koran angel maybe some Anthias a mystery wrasse and a few others what do you think? is this a good combination? I want mostly peaceful fish no aggressive ones. <As much as I love the tangs its going to be important for you to think about the size of tangs when they get full grown.  Be aware that at some point you'll need to find a place to take your full grown fish or they might outgrow the tank. Speaking from experience here as I keep having to make bigger tanks to accommodate my tangs. That being said I like your choices. On the blue tangs are you talking, regal (hippo) tangs, Atlantic blue tangs, powder blue tangs? These fish all require just a bit of a different requirements so it might be important to know. Great info on the site about all of them. The Anthias are going to require some hiding space so you'll need to create some caverns for them to retreat too when necessary.  Be aware of the sizing of some of the other animals you have chosen, some Anthias get big, Korans can get huge, tangs grow. But if you plan your tank knowing they might possibly grow bigger than the tank you should be okay. Making sure you have alternative places for them as they grow. Sounds like a lovely tank that should be very aesthetically pleasing. As for the alternative tangs, I got to say they are all amazing, but you'd want to pick one that is a different family than the Scopas and whichever blue you choose to avoid fights. If you add more than one of a kind get them the same size, add them together, and have lots of hiding places.> thanks a lot

STOCKING A 135 7/17/04 <Hi Again Sharon, lets take a look.> These are an updated version of my stocking list for my 135 gallon tank. 3 hippo blue tangs (Hopefully at a small size so they can grow together> 1 Scopas tang <Honestly I'm a tad concerned about the Scopas and the Kole, they might be a problem> 1 Kole tang 1 flame angel 2 wimple butterflies (Surprised me there, I hadn't heard them called wimple but only bannerfish.5 plus inches in size each> 2 Auriga butterflies (7 inches each, would be nice if you could find a true pair and not just put two together because that might not work.> 1 royal Gramma 2 Sebae clownfish and 1sixline wrasse is these alright? also will the hippo tangs be okay in my 55 gallon for 2 weeks? there's a Scopas tang six line wrasse false percula and dwarf hawkfish in there? thanks a lot <With the Scopas already in the tank you are taking a risk putting the hippos' into his territory.>

MULTIPLE YELLOW TANGS IN TANK 7/17/04 Hi guys - fantastic site - very helpful <Thank you LB, we appreciate that MacL> Two things, firstly I am setting up a new tank a 5ft x 18inch wide x 24inch high. <Interesting dimensions. Good swimming room.> I love yellow tangs - would it be possible to get 3 into this tank? I only plan to have gobies and other small fish with them. <In my opinion you could put three yellow tangs in the tank. You'd have to get them very small, about the same size and put them all in at the same time. They should be okay as they grow but as always be prepared should they outgrow their tank.> If the yellows are a no go - would this tank be big enough for an Asfur, Passer or queen angel? Also which of those three angels is best for captivity? <You might could put ONE of those angels in the tank. The passer and the queen while some of the most lovely fish are very aggressive. In my experiences the Asfur is less aggressive and more suited for a community tank with small fish. But I have to warn you depending on the small fish, some of them just might be food for any of the angels.  I've seen an Asfur chase small gobies with intent to eat in an aquarium.> While I'm here my mate's tank, a standard 3ft, has bad brown algae problems. He has phosphate sponges in his filter but his skimmer only just handles his tank so if he get a more powerful skimmer will this help? <A skimmer will help his tank but there are multiple other things such as cutting back on his feedings that will help.> Thanks very much for your help.

Tang Compatibility 7/16/04 <Hi Jason, MacL here.> I have a small/medium Purple tang and was thinking about adding a Powder Brown Tang. Different body shape and different colors, do you think they will be ok together? <I have to be honest and tell you that in my experience purple tangs are hard to add any fish with. They are very aggressive and they are very competitive. I have to tell you that it can be done but its taking a huge chance that the purple tang will attach and even if he doesn't kill the other tang he will keep it so stirred up it will be vulnerable to ich or other diseases.> All compat. charts say tangs with other tangs with caution. I kept a Powder Blue with a Yellow for a good while (lost them to ICH) and they got along beautifully but I have read the Purple Tangs are more aggressive, what are your thoughts? <I don't want to tell you it cannot be done but it is taking a chance. Your best chance for success will be if you get tangs of very marked size difference. Yes the small one will grow but hopefully not for a long time and in the meantime they will come to accept each other. The other thing is to make sure that your tank size is large enough to handle two adult tangs or be prepared to find them a suitable home as they grow too large. MacL> JB

Fish Compatibility <Hi, MikeD here> Nothing else in there now but a pair of juvenile ocellaris, and am hoping to get a royal Gramma soon.<An excellent choice>  The angel would definitely go in last.<For whatever it's worth, the longer you can go before adding the angel the better. I've found that if a tank is well stabilized (often right around the one year mark) the odds of success increase dramatically>  I do have a copy of "Marine Fishes", well-thumbed.  thanks again for your invaluable advice!<Our pleasure. Continued success and enjoyment!>

Tang Compatibility Follow-up 7/17/04 Thanks for the input, I was afraid of that.......Being that the purple is about 3" to 4", do you think this would work better with a medium pushing large to large powder brown? <Personally I would go with a very small tang and provide it LOTS of hiding places but I have to tell you that for me personally a powder brown is much to similar to a purple. I think you'd have better luck with another type of fish other than a powder blue, or one of the types of powder browns. Also to be very honest powder browns are prone to ich so quarantine is vital.  Good luck! MACL> JB

Community Fish <Hey whaz up> I was regarding a community fish tank  that I could put fish in my 29 gallon. I have 15 pounds of live rock and a jewel  fish. I was going to ask for your opinion on fish and shrimp that would live  with this jewel fish. PS other fish besides damselfish. and one more question  would a flame-angel fish live with this jewel damselfish. thanks for all your  help><I would not add the flame angel to the 29 gallon aquarium. I would try fish like gobies, cardinalfish, Basslets, Pseudochromis, Chromis, small wrasses, etc., good luck and happy fish hunting. IanB>

Stock List Joe again, just once today <Cheers Joe, Ryan with you> Here is a fish list for the 200 gal 1-hippo tang 1-kole tang 1-flame angel 1-antennea lion or volitans lion 1-racoon or other type butterfly 2-maroon clowns <Yes, it's a nice mix.  Good luck, Ryan> is that list do-able??

Questions about Captive Raised fish and their Attitudes Hi, <Who, me?> I would like to know if a captive reared angelfish tend to be less aggressive than wild caught juveniles in the long run?  <captive rearing has nothing to do with the price of tea in China...or reducing typical aggression of a species through early generation offspring. Just look at so-called "domesticated" cats compared to dogs. A few thousand years and still they have attitude <wink>. It would take much more time than our natural life to selectively reduce such aggression in fish, for example> I know that butterflyfish eat inverts, but do they eat starfish?  <depends on the species and the starfish in question. Few can harm the non-reef safe thorny starfish species (chocolate chip, red African, and the like). Reef safe butterflies (copperband, longnose, etc) will not touch a healthy starfish... but then all bets are off with my favorite sturdy butterflyfish species like Raccoons. Kindly, Anthony> Thanks, Stephanie

Itching fingers (trying difficult marine species) Dear Bob, After my successful attempts with regal angels and the common wrasse, I have decided to try my luck with either the pinnatus batfish or the ribbon eel. <Worthy challenges> I was at the LFS 3 days ago. Decided not to go for the ribbon as it has to be trained to eat with a feeding stick (doubt I have the patience) and is an escape artist. (my tank is open top). Pinnatus is out as I have various other fishes which would probably outsnatch food. Maybe I would try it when I set up another 30 gallon just for them. The good news (or bad) is that I've got myself 3 Moorish Idols and 2 melon butterflies. Based on your guidelines, I've chosen these 5 specimens that are active and most importantly, not overly coloured or darkened (sign of cyanide poisoning). I originally wanted only 1 Moorish idol but the guy at the LFS (my buddy) convinced me that 3 is the least I must get as they are schooling fishes. This is the third day and all 5 are alive and kicking, with the bad news that most of the copepods, sponges on the live rock and 50% of the green star polyps are gone. Thank GOD they left the mushrooms and leathers alone. The Moorish idols are still a bit skittish but all 5 of them have tried flakes and frozen blood worms but spat them out. I will only consider successful keeping both these types of fishes only if they are weaned off and eat either flakes or frozen brine and blood worms. Will keep you posted but one more note is that I can't help but relate the melon BF's behaviour to that of the freshwater headstanders. Can't help but feel a bit guilty as many other aquarist feels that these fishes should be left alone in the seas. <Guilt is borne of sense of misguided expectation/s... You expect to do your best, add to the body of experience in these animals successful captive husbandry... What is there to be/feel guilty about?> One interesting note also is that the LFS has the sailfin tang (Desjardin, not veliferum) but from Indonesia as well as Red Sea. They look similar but the Red Sea's specimen has wider sails and narrower stripes on the body. It is true or is my eyes playing tricks and my buddy lying that Desjardin comes from Indonesia also. <Actually... these are currently considered the same species. Please see WWM, fishbase.org here. Some geographical variation, gradation in appearance here... Bob Fenner> Bye.

Re: Fish selection Mr. Fenner, I was hoping for better news, but I understand what you are saying. The fish I am talking about adding usually have vast amounts of space on the reef to roam and putting them in a tiny little tank (125g) would almost spell disaster in every case.  <Yes my friend> It is hard to believe you though that it can't be done after actually seeing tanks with these fish together in harmony. <Can be done... with lots of time, potential for disaster... not worth it in my estimation... it would be wrong to encourage you to try...> You mentioned a guy named Dave from sea dwelling creatures, I am not talking about this gentleman at all, I am talking about a relative newbie to the hobby named Steve.  <Ah, "two Salties"!> He had a few problems here and there, but for the most part, all the fish I mentioned are still alive and getting along well. I also forgot to mention the tank of the LFS owner I mentioned. He has a 100g tank with only about 40-50lbs of LR, and he has the following fish in his tank (all fish adults, and I have seen the tank in person): red sea emperor, blueface angel, majestic angel, Naso tang, powder blue tang, Saddleback b/f, raccoon b/f, auriga b/f, Pakistan b/f, and whiteface b/f.  <Amazing. Reminds me of a eastern seaboard (U.S.) service company years back that placed a huge number of show fishes (especially angelfishes) and actually bragged about how many pounds of food they fed these tanks per month... each system had two skimmers, big swimming pool pumps... The company is gone.> He says there is no aggression and each fish he adds he puts a divider in the middle of the tank for about 1-2 weeks and lets the other fish get used to the new fish by seeing him, but not being able to attack him. <Good technique> I also just saw another tank on the net that has the following fish in his 135g tank: 5" French juv, 3.5" juv emperor, 3" half-black angel, 2.5" clown trigger, 3.5" niger trigger, 4" yellow tang, 5.5" purple, 3.5" Kole tang, 4" tomato clown, 3" maroon clown, 6 Chromis, 2 damsels, and a 2.5" cleaner wrasse. He only has fake corals for hiding which is not hiding places at all, and has had no problems so far, and his tank has only bee running for 6 months. I saw another tank 150g with the following: 8 adult blonde Naso male tangs, an adult puffer, adult blue angel, juv French, 2 adult squirrelfish, adult niger trigger, and a juv Picasso trigger. So if these people I know have these fish that are supposedly so wrong to keep together, then why does it work? <Well... aggression is actually depressed by degrees of overcrowding... and the nefarious effects of pollution can be countered in a number of ways... filtration, water changes...  But, think... how many folks/trials of overstocking have resulted in massive losses? These data points are not likely to be posted.> I am not trying to prove you wrong, I am trying to figure out from an expert what could make it possible to keep all these fish together that shouldn't be in such a small area as you say. The one angel per tank rule is almost obsolete it seems like. <Depends on the types, sizes of angels, same with systems...> I have seen so many tanks that have more than one angel and they all get along that it doesn't even warrant the warning. Granted some angels, some tangs, etc will just not get along with other fish (queen angels, Sohals, orange-shoulders, most triggers), but I think with certain precautions and other things I do not yet know about, you can keep these fish together. I mean it's pretty obvious you can keep them together, or these people wouldn't have these tanks full of amazing fish all together and living together in harmony, right? <Not "harmony" so much as detente> Or is it just make believe?  <No, not make believe... in the sense that there are indeed situations where whole bunches of life are jostled together and apparently do fine... but on "average", are these successes?> And that is what I am trying to find out, what do you think is the secret these people are using to get these fish to get along that shouldn't? "More extreme skill... care in selecting specimens that are small/about the right size for the mix... and being VERY careful on handling/dipping/quarantining the stock before introduction... Being in the wholesale side, he can pick through MANY specimens, picking out ones from locations that you will not likely see (due to cost)." This statement, I understand the first part, but can you go into more detail about the "being in the wholesale side..." <Yes. Looking at dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands of specimens, it is much easier to "cherry pick" the best ones (point one). Being familiar with which actual collectors/stations "know what they're doing" and choosing them... let's say Tony Nahacky in Fiji's Centropyge angels versus anyone else's there or the same species from Indo., the P.I.... and choosing those specimens (point two). Knowing which shipments "have trouble" and will have trouble... due to chilling/overheating, delays... and avoiding these... even though they're "sent on" to retailers and end-users (i.e. you)(point three of many such points) What things is this person looking for when picking through all these specimens that would make them better suited to getting along.  <These insights are posted with the general and categorical livestock groups coverage posted on WetWebMedia... Help yourself> What locations will I not likely see that he is picking these fish from? <Ones that your dealers won't buy from due to the perception that they're too expensive, there's not enough margin to mark up the live products from... For instance the Dwarf Angels mentioned above. A true Lemonpeel from Fiji will likely "land" (all costs inclusive) at your LFS for fifty dollars, versus thirty or so for an Indo or P.I. specimen... both can only likely be sold for sixty to eighty dollars... which one do you think you're more likely to see?> As you can tell, I AM going to try at least the second angel and possibly the two difficult tangs. So what I would hope you could do is let me in on the little secrets of picking out specimens that will have a better chance of getting along. What sizes I should get. What should I look for when picking the fish and what locations (behavior, size, etc)? It is just so hard for me to believe that it can't be done or shouldn't be done, when I can see it in front of my eyes working. Do you understand what I am saying?  <Yes. What little I know is posted on WWM or will be with time going by> Why would it work for others but not Ryan, is it because I am not "skilled" as you say. What does "skilled" mean, what does it entail. <Knowledge of what species/specimens should look and behave like when healthy... Of the better to best sources of locale... of their capture, husbandry, holding and shipping protocols. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm  And consider volunteering, working at a retail store or "higher up" the chain of supply if possible (are there distributors in your geographic area?). You will learn much. It's obvious you have a good mind, are driven to understand...> I am so committed to having a tank full of fish, but without the help of experts like yourself, it's a little harder. Thank you for your time once again and appreciate your honesty. Maybe I'll have to learn a big mistake on my own, and maybe I'll get lucky. Ryan <You will become yourself my friend. Believe what you will till experience changes your mind. Do save these brief messages and review them in a few months. Bob Fenner>

1st tank livestock selection Saturday's the big day!!! Tank to be delivered and set-up...finally! The waiting was a good thing as I have had endless hours to peruse this website and your incredibly detailed book. In trying to be "conscientious" regarding my wish list of fish, I would be very grateful to hear your opinion as to their being a hopefully happy group and not overcrowded . Set-up is a 135g FOWLR (50+lbs) with 7 green Chromis, 5 blue-reef Chromis , 1 false common clown,3 pyjama & 2 Banggai cardinals, 1 Brazilian or royal Gramma, algae blenny,1 Scott's Fairy Wrasse,1 Flame Angel & 1 Eiblii Angel (put in together), 1 regal/hippo tang & 1 yellow or Naso tang. <The Yellow would be better... Naso's are very active, get quite large.> ( Took a long-time favorite -looking l/n hawkfish off list and replaced with wrasse ( talk about a lot of choices.) due to concerns of eating small clean-up crew.) Any input would be greatly appreciated as while I am feeling a lot better informed (will take it slow in stocking) I don't have my feet wet yet and practical experience is ultimately the best info. Thanks so much, Barbara <You are well on your way. This grouping is fine. Bob Fenner>

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