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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 5

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Gobies can be great aquarium additions. Ctenogobiops crocineus.

Your recommendation for stocking 75 gallon tank  - 01/24/06 FO Hello WWM Crew, Thank you for your very informative website. At times it seems nearly overwhelming with the amount of information available, but I keep on reading! I l am very excited to learn all I can about this hobby. Because of your site, I have successfully cycled a 75 gallon saltwater tank and am now ready to add the permanent residents. I have elected to begin with a FO tank. My substrate is a mixture of very fine aragonite and live sand. I have lots of (not live) rock and (not live) coral and some other tank decorations that provide good hidey holes. The tank came "reef-ready" and has an under tank refugium. Water flow is excellent. There are two Turbo snails and two small hermit crabs as well as an elephant-nosed snail who is really a blast to watch. The tank cycled with some black and white (domino) damsels, who have completed their mission and will be going back to the store because of what I have learned about their aggression levels. I have grand visions of a very peaceful, very colorful tank. I have done lots of reading but can't decide which fish to buy or how many this size tank can sustain. Since so many of you are passionate about fish, I thought you might be able to offer some fun suggestions. I do not have a "favorite" fish although I saw some bright orange angels at the store that were pretty. What would be a good, peaceful mix? <?> I'm open to any recommendations from your fine crew, and excited to see what you think would look nice and be sustainable. I am willing to learn all I can about each species before doing any purchasing. Thanks for everything! Morgan <"Man of the sea"... keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Question  1/22/06  FOWLR 90 Good Day,<And to you.> Would you rate the long-term success of the following combination in a FOWLR 90 gallon? 1 Splendid Dottyback 1 Maroon Clownfish 1 Lemonpeel Angel <I do not know your experience level but if you are new at this I'd shy away from the Lemon Peel.  They really require a well established tank.  Not one of the easiest pygmies to keep.  A Coral Beauty would be much better.  The maroon clown is another I'd replace.  Can/will be very aggressive with age.  Two perculas in its place would work much nicer.> I've read that there is at least some Alpha attitude with all of the above.  If you think it's workable, do you have a recommended order to introduce them?  I'm working with a clean slate and want to do it right.  They would all be introduced as juveniles. Thanks much  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>      Who's First...And Second...And Third? (Stocking Order)   1/22/06  90 FOWLR Hello to the WWM crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I've read this site back to back for months (it's addictive!) but this is my first time writing in.  I just wanted to get an expert opinion on a couple things. <Sure, ask away!> I've kept fresh tanks for years, but slowly started a new marine tank this past summer while researching everything I could.   I'll get down to my current specs: -          90 gal bowfront -          100 lbs Walt Smith Fiji (good stuff!) -          30 gal sump, mag-drive 12 return -          3 Maxijet 1200's -          1-1.5" CaribSea Aragamax, sugar-sized -          AquaC Urchin Pro w/ Maxijet 1200 -          PC lighting - 2x 65W @10,000k, 2x 65W @ 6700k The rock was cured in a bare tank back in November and has started to look really good. <Good to hear!> After curing I added substrate and 10 Mexican Turbos, which seem to be doing really well. In the last couple weeks, I've also started noticing a significant number of copepods on  the tank walls.   <Nice!> Current water: NH3 = 0 NO2 = 0 NO3 = approx 15-20 pH = fluctuates slightly between 8.1 - 8.2 SG = 1.022 temp = 78 I'm not an experienced marine aquarist, but I've done as much research as a person can do. <Always a good thing- it will benefit you immensely!> I'd also like to think that some of my freshwater husbandry skills can carry over nicely. <They sure can!> At this point, I am pretty confident that I'm ready to start adding some livestock.   <Now the fun REALLY begins!> I'd like a peaceful FOWLR tank and don't have any desire to migrate to a reef tank. My livestock selection has been narrowed down to: 1x Royal Gramma 1x Percula Clown 1x Yellow Tang (open for other suggestions here) 1x Banggai or Pajama Cardinal   1x Longnose Butterfly <Nice stocking list! A good mix of colorful, interesting fishes.> It's tough to find a definitive answer regarding compatibility, as everyone has a slightly different opinion. 1)Can I expect any unforeseen compatibility issues here?   <The only real issues I could imagine would be the Cardinalfish getting bullied (by just about anyone). Also, I'd get the Butterflyfish established as soon as possible, so that it's settled in before the other guys.> 2)Is the Tang too aggressive for this crowd?  Do you have any alternatives? <I have never experienced any real aggression issues with the Yellow Tang; unless you are keeping other Yellow Tangs or Zebrasoma Tangs, I would just keep an eye on things. Yes, they can be a bit feisty in some situations, but in my opinion, your stocking situation sounds okay.> 3)Is there a preferred stocking order for this grouping? <I'd start with the Butterfly, then the Gramma, the Percula, and then the Tang. I'd probably pass on the Cardinal in this group, and maybe consider a Halichoeres species Wrasse instead! I think that the Cardinal may be a bit too timid for this bunch.> I appreciate your help!  I purchased the CMA book and learned an incredible amount. <It's a great book. Bob pretty much nailed it with that one!> You can never learn too much! <Agreed! We all learn, each and every day!> If you have any other suggestions or criticisms, please don't hesitate! Thanks, Drew <Well, Drew, you have my 2 cents worth! I hope that my suggestions are of use to you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Marine stocking order   1/22/06  90 FOWLR Hello to the WWM crew, <Hello Drew> I've read this site back to back for months <Good> (it's addictive!) but this is my first time writing in.  I just wanted to get an expert opinion on a couple things. I've kept fresh tanks for years, but slowly started a new marine tank this past summer while researching everything I could.   I'll get down to my current specs: 90 gal bowfront 100 lbs Walt Smith Fiji (good stuff!) 30 gal sump, mag-drive 12 return 3 MaxiJet 1200's 1-1.5" CaribSea Aragamax, sugar-sized AquaC Urchin Pro w/ MaxiJet 1200 PC lighting - 2x 65W @10,000k, 2x 65W @ 6700k The rock was cured in a bare tank back in November and has started to look really good. After curing I added substrate and 10 Mexican Turbos, which seem to be doing really well. In the last couple weeks, I've also started noticing a significant number of copepods on the tank walls. <Good> Current water: NH3 = 0 NO2 = 0 NO3 = approx 15-20 pH = fluctuates slightly between 8.1 - 8.2 SG = 1.022 temp = 78 I'm not an experienced marine aquarist, but I've done as much research as a person can do. <And, keep on doing my friend.> I'd also like to think that some of my freshwater husbandry skills can carry over nicely. <Yes> At this point, I am pretty confident that I'm ready to start adding some livestock.   I'd like a peaceful FOWLR tank and don't have any desire to migrate to a reef tank. <OK> My livestock selection has been narrowed down to: 1x Royal Gramma 1x Percula Clown 1x Yellow Tang (open for other suggestions here) <Sounds good.  Do search/read on tangs on the Wet Web, know what you are getting into, requirements/needs.> 1x Banggai or Pajama Cardinal <These do much better in groups of three or more.  Replace with another fish if you only want one.> 1x Longnose Butterfly <Again, search/read on this guy.  I wouldn't recommend it for someone starting out.> It's tough to find a definitive answer regarding compatibility, as everyone has a slightly different opinion. 1) Can I expect any unforeseen compatibility issues here?  <Looks good> 2) Is the Tang too aggressive for this crowd? <No>  Do you have any alternatives? <What you have with the exceptions noted, everything sounds good.> 3) Is there a preferred stocking order for this grouping? <I would put the cardinals in first if you decide to buy three or more.  I'd put the Gramma in last.> I appreciate your help!  I purchased the CMA book and learned an incredible amount. <Good book to have on hand.  Do read the daily FAQ's on our site, much to be learned there also.> You can never learn too much!<Amen> If you have any other suggestions or criticisms, please don't hesitate! <I think your Urchin Pro would be a little more efficient with a Rio 1400 or Mag Drive 3.> Thanks, <You're welcome and welcome to the hobby.  James (Salty Dog)> Drew Marine Aggression, Crowding   1/22/06   FI 50 I have a 50G tank. <Okay.> In it was a 2.5" maroon clown, a 2.5" fuzzy lion, a 2 " 6 line wrasse, a 3" Pygmy Angel and a compressed Toby also about 2 ". <Heavy Load.> I added a Coral Banded Shrimp and that seemed to upset the Angel.  She showed some tail flapping signs that were new to a couple of the fish. I didn't really consider the shrimp the same as adding another shrimp in terms of waiting, which in retrospect was likely a mistake. <Usually invertebrates are more inconspicuous as far as territories but this isn't always the case.> Yesterday I added a 1" Yellow Tang. <Not the best idea.>   I don't have a QT tank, but I am getting one. <Should have waited, tangs are notorious for bringing in "yucky" things like Cryptocaryon/marine ich.> I also plan on upgrading tank size one day when necessary.   <Will be soon, in like 6 months at the most.> As soon as I added the Tang, the Angel was all over it biting its tail, fins, etc very aggressively. < The result of physical/psychological crowding, not unexpected to say the least.> That continued while I tried to do what I could.  I hoped that things would be better the next morning, but it isn't. <May continue until a death results in one of the tank mates.> The Angle is still attacking the Tang.  At least thank Tang is acting defensively now, where as when the fish first was put in it just "sat" there and took it. probably shocked.   I had seen similar behavior when I had three damsels, but it settled over time. <I have a feeling this will not end so well.> Will the angel need to be removed? <Him or the tang, I would remove the tang though, surgeons of this size don't adapt well to captivity anyway. Furthermore your tank size is much more appropriate for the dwarf angel than the tang, which will outgrow rather quickly.>   Will adding any small Damsels take the "heat" off the Tang.   <That would not be a very good idea at all.> I have previously noticed the group dynamic can change with every removal or addition of any fish…strange. I know the tank is now fully stocked and potentially overstocked <The latter.> , but they are all tiny fish and I have a massive amount of Live Rock for this tank.  Will this resolve over time or have I created a war zone that will need me to intervene? <Some outside intervention needs to take place.> I thought the Angel was a harmless peaceful fish and has been.  I thought Tangs were the aggressors and able to defend or go on offensive.  The Angel has a black and white body with a yellow line on the face.  Do both fish having yellow color have anything to do with it or the similar body shape? <This is just the result of an established specimen offending it's territory from a new intruder.> The Angel has never treated any fish like this, including the damsels. What do you recommend?   <Remove the tang and start looking to upgrade.> Alas. and thanks <No trouble.> David <Adam J.>

Am I overstocked? Can I get "one more"?   1/20/06   125 FOWLR I have the following: 125 FOWLR Setup 20 gal refugium/sump 165lbs LR DSB Filtration consists of an AquaC EV-120 Skimmer & Magnum 350 running carbon only. Livestock: 4" Yellow Tang 6" Naso 6" Damsel 4" Foxface 3" Flame Angel 2" Striped Damsel 2" YT Damsel 3" Maroon Clown 3" Flame Cardinal Fish 2x small Heniochus Butterfly fish 5x 1-2" Green Chromis 2x Cleaner Shrimp Big red Star fish (starfishus redus?) Misc crabs, snails and other cleaners Vitals are: Alk 12dkh PH 7.9 - 8.1 Ca 420 NO3 <10 PO4 1.0 (working on this) <I would> Any more room in this setup? <I wouldn't add any more fish life> Was looking at a Blue (hippo) Tang as the next addition? Also are there any soft corals that you can recommend in this setup? <Perhaps some of the hardier Alcyoniids, Selection FAQs. See WWM re> Thanks for maintaining this site and answering all these questions. <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Mordy Eisenberg

Aggression, Ich and lessons learned   1/20/06   50 FI 50G tank 192 W PC lighting 1 3" Maroon Clown 1 3" Fuzzy Dwarf Lion 1 2" Six Line Wrasse 1 3" Pygmy Angel (white and black body with yellow stripe down face) 1 2" Compressed Toby/Blue Spotted Puffer 2 Emerald Crabs 1 Sally Light Foot Crab 1 Porcelain Crab 20 hermits if they are all still alive 4 Turbo Snails 55lbs or so of LR. Crushed Coral Substrate Macro in Sump Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; Nitrate - 10-20. Temp - 76 All was fine with my tank.  Then I added a coral banded shrimp.  I then noticed the Angel acting a bit more aggressively, darting at a couple of fish and backing into shrimp, etc.  Regrettably I didn't think much of it and the situation seemed to improve. A couple of days later I added a 1" Yellow Tang. <Tiny!>   I have learned the hard way now why a QT tank is truly needed and a 4 week QT.   <Oooh... good> Immediately the Angel attacked the Tang in a voracious way.  I tried to train the Angel to not be making a noise on the tank glass or with my hand in the tank; I tried lights out, etc, etc.  I finally got a breeder box and placed the Tang in there, but too late. <Better the antagonist, the Angel> The Tang died last night.   I'm not certain what killed the Tang...sheer fright/stress, Ich or me doing a FW dip incorrectly (too cold). I did notice what I am quite sure was Ich on the Tang.  There was some white material on the side of the fish which I could rub off with my finger. What was most likely the cause of the Angel attacking the Yellow Tang? <Territoriality. This system is too small... among other things> Was it probably because the addition pushed the tank into being over populated or more likely because of similarity in body shape and that they both had Yellow color? <Mostly the former, some of the latter, yes> Was the Tang too small? <Yes... best "started" at three inches total length or so> If the tank is at max population now, then I may remove the coral banded shrimp if that will allow me to add another fish or I may exchange a fish for another.  If the body shape, color or size were factors, I would like to try a Purple Tang maybe. <You don't have the room> In regards to Ich...I think I saw what could MAYBE be Ich on the Clown. I can't tell with the Fuzzy dwarf Lion because I'm not sure if what I see as white specks on hi is Ich or the "fuzzy" natural part of his skin. <You'll know soon enough> Now that 1 fish in my tank has had Ich though, what is best/required? <Either to wait/see, or to move all... and treat... Covered over and over on WWM> I have raised my tank to 81 degrees.  I will continue to do weekly 20% water changes.  I'm considering getting QT tanks now and moving the fish into those for 4 weeks with a Methylene Blue dip before and after going into QT.  Is this necessary or is there a treatment I can do to the main tank?   <Posted> I have heard something about Jungle Juice or something along those lines. <A caustic material used for eliminating glass anemones...> From reading WetWebMedia, it sounds like there is no treatment that can kill Ich and not harm the LR/Reef.   <This is correct> It also sounds like Ich is a huge debate and whether it is ever truly gone versus always present. <Mmm, no... there are pathogen free systems> This is my first tank ever and I only have 3 months experience.  I'm trying to learn and do best by the creatures, but I am making some mistakes along the way.  Unfortunately those of those mistakes could have been averted.  Now I get it.  Much I have been told or learned from various LFS I have found has either been misleading or totally inaccurate. <Happens... what did our moms say? "Don't believe everything you hear/read"> My biggest concern now is why did the Angel attack the Tang so much so (went on for a few days and at times seemed to be subsiding) and what does that mean to what I add or subtract from the tank now and what about the Ich? Thanks for any feedback/comments David <Keep reading David... and observing closely... I would not add any more fish life to what you have here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Aqua c EV 180 protein skimmer & stocking opinion differences   1/19/06   55 FO Hi Bob,              I contacted the customer service agent at Aqua -c and he said that they changed the manual and now recommend running the water level at  the dark gray box level or sometimes higher for the New EV model series. <Thank you for this info.> Quick question, I discovered the marine fish supplier Marine center, (which comes highly regarded from many people I know including some people from your site) states that fish such as the clown trigger at full size can be kept in a 30 gallon aquarium by its self, honey comb morays in 55 gallons, and other large fish is much smaller tanks than I have heard anywhere else. <Yes... we do have differences of opinion here> Maybe this is plausible but would impact my design on how I could stock my tank in the future.  What do you think? <These species need/deserve more space>   I also visited my local fish store and talked to the manager, highly regarded as wise fish geniuses and has been in the hobby for many years, I discussed with him my tank size(110) and future tank mates and he said I could keep a Porc puffer Diodon holocanthus, clown trigger, Bluelined grouper, zebra moray and several other rather large fish in this tank indefinitely except for maybe the porcupine What are your thoughts about this? <I disagree... the likelihood of real trouble... fighting, anomalous loss, maintenance headaches is too large to suit me>            Thank you for your valuable time and consideration,                   Chris <And you for yours. Bob Fenner>

Cyano/stocking level... Featherdusters  1/16/06   90 Reef Hi! I have a 90 gal reef tank (30 gal fuge, 5"DSB, and 150lbs LR) that is 8 months old now. Things are going quite fine (and I owe it in great part to your great website) except for a constant fight against Cyano. Nothing dramatic, but annoying. I do a 20% water change each second week. I have half a dozen crustaceans, corals, and 6 fishes (a young yellow tang, a pair of ocellaris, a clown goby, a mandarin, and a lawnmower blenny). Nitrate and phosphate are at 0 on my Seachem tests. <Read here for some help on controlling Cyano. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> I have a Tunze Comline automatic 3130/2 skimmer. I think it works well but it's only producing 350ml of skimmate per month. Is this normal or is there something wrong? <Seems normal to me with your fish load.> I have four big feather dusters. Two of these are there since 6 weeks and the two others since 6 months. I found the feathers of the latter's lying on the DSB this week. One of them 4 days ago and the other just today. Can they lose the feathers by themselves? <Yes, but should grow back in a healthy system.> Could it be from starvation? <They feed mainly on bacteria and organic matter present in the tank but supplemental feedings of phytoplankton are beneficial.> There is one electric blue hermit in the system (Calcinus elegans), could he be responsible?  <Possibly, they have been known to damage feather dusters along with attacking snails, eating them and taking over their shell.> I am going to upgrade to a 210 gal tank. I am planning the fish load now. I would like to ask your opinion as I want to be sure not to overstock. Here is the plan, is it too much/borderline (gives about 70" of fish for a 210 gal + min. 50 gal sump/fuge) ? 1 yellow tang 1 other tang (maybe Kole) 2 ocellaris (mated pair) 5 clown goby 2 mandarin (mated pair) 1 Tailspot blenny 1 Jawfish rosenblatti (blue spotted) 5 Chromis viridis 5 Banggai cardinals <Good choices.  I'd probably go with a blue tang rather than the Kole.> Many Thanks! <You're welcome> Dominique Tank Set up Questions - 01/12/2006   100 FO Ryan here again, <Hello Ryan. I've combined your queries here.> OK so here's the scoop I got everything set up 100 gal 50+ pounds of rock in various starter fish (one died) but no other casualties. <Yet...Why not cycle fishless?> I have had them in the tank for roughly a week and everything's going great. <Except the dying part, right?> I've been putting this stuff in called SeaChem stability control. They said at the fish store it would help the tank gain the biological filter faster. Now the question is when the chemicals are stable for a couple of days in a row is it alright to put in the lion fish? <Once you've verified the completion of the cycle through proper testing, yes. You do know what you're looking for right?> Because that's what I asked them in the fish store and they said yes but check your sources. I also wanted to know when you would think its safe to add a ray (Cortez, or blue spotted). <I would not. Do you know the needs of these?> Is it OK and do you know of any good places to buy fish online and supplies. <Hmm...Try the links found on WWM.> The fish store I go to takes advantage of me a lot and ,since there a local business and I'm only 15 years of age, the lets just say multiply everything that doesn't have a price tag on it like 5 times what its worth <How's this? Age is only a factor if you let it be. Why continue to shop there?> OK, I need some info on the Cortes ray. Can they go in a relatively new tank after cycle? (meaning about a month after) how do you feed them and what (feeding stick, by hand, etc)? How messy are they in a 100 gallon will it take w/ a lion fish? <Now I really don't think you should get one. Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and follow the links.> What have I gotten myself into.....Oh god. I have a job, school, homework, and fish tanks does my life suck? <Guess that depends on you.> I thinks its bad when you add stuff up I have spent 1900 dollars in this damn tank and the research sucks. <Hmm...This may not be the right hobby for you. Research is a must, and should be enjoyed. Without it, you will spend much more and your money will be wasted. - Josh> Not ready for primetime marine stocking  - 01/12/2006   40 Reef Hello, <Hi there> This is my first post, but I often procrastinate by reading your seat; it's great. <Man, I've got to lose weight... folks are reading my seat! Heeee!> I'm just starting a 40 gallon tank--my first one.  Right now I just have a couple of hermit crabs, a coral banded shrimp, and a maroon clown, <Yikes.. this fish will limit your further choices... extensively> plus several inches of live sand and about 35 pounds of live rock (with plans to get another nice big piece or two).  I want to add a snowflake eel, <Mmm, not in this system... too small> valentini puffer, and fuzzy dwarf lionfish (I know the little critters will probably get eaten).  Do you see any potential problems with this set up?   <Yes... the Toby will bite the Dickens out of a Lion...> Also, a little down the road I'd like to try adding some mushroom corals and maybe some other types.  I know the puffer can't be totally trusted around coral, but what about the others?  Do you have any suggestions of anything I could try putting in to add some color?   Also, does non-reef safe eliminate fan worms?  And no starfish, right?  I'm just torn because I love all that stuff, but I really want to do the puffer. Thanks for your advice! Aimee <... Keep reading... Bob Fenner> Re: Aqua C EV 180 protein skimmer operation, Eel stocking  - 01/12/2006 Hi Bob! <Chris>              Thank you very much for the help, I think you were right, the bioload in the tank was pretty low and once I started feeding more, it kicked in.  I do have another question regarding my tank stocking list, do you think I could keep a zebra moray in with my dwarf fuzzy lion and snowflake eel for its life span as long as these are the only inhabitants. <In a system of a hundred or more gallons, likely so> I am planning on getting the large Eheim wet dry canister filter model in addition to my 180 AquaC skimmer and tide pool filter and UV sterilizer.  Any other recommendations much appreciated! thank you again!                       Chris <Bob Fenner> Stocking Trade Offs...   1/11/06   40 Reef Hello, <Hi! Scott F. with you tonight!> This is my first post, but I often procrastinate by reading your site. It's great. <Thanks much for your kind words!> I'm just starting a 40 gallon tank--my first one.  Right now I just have a couple of Hermit Crabs, a Coral Banded Shrimp, and a Maroon Clown, plus several inches of live sand and about 35 pounds of live rock (with plans to get another nice big piece or two).  I want to add a Snowflake Eel, Valentini Puffer, and Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (I know the little critters will probably get eaten).  Do you see any potential problems with this set up?   <Well, you asked! Yep- I do. This tank is really too small to sustain such a population of fishes. These guys are very messy eaters, who produce a lot of metabolic waste, need lots of room, and generally may not get along with each other. Remember, once you account for rocks and substrate, that 40 gallon tank may hold less than 30 gallons. Do rethink this population. I'd recommend a group of much smaller, more appropriate fishes for this tank. Perhaps some Blennies, Gobies, a Wrasse, or maybe a small Hawkfish if you like drama! You might even want to think about one of the smaller Centropyge Angels (A Centropyge fisheri, for example), although you may want to think about this fish and its potential to nip at corals if you are planning on a reef system at some point.> Also, a little down the road I'd like to try adding some mushroom corals and maybe some other types.  I know the Puffer can't be totally trusted around coral, but what about the others? <As above- I think the larger issue is the sizes and waste production of the fishes you are considering> Do you have any suggestions of anything I could try putting in to add some color? <Zoanthids are pretty cool.> Also, does "non-reef safe" mean a fish that eliminates fan worms? <In most instances, that is a safe bet!> And no Starfish, right?  I'm just torn because I love all that stuff, but I really want to do the puffer. <Well, if you really want the Puffer, I'd consider a much larger tank, possibly dedicated just to this fish! Lots to think about...Wanting to try lots of different fishes and animals is the reason why so many of us fish nerds end up with more than one tank! Enjoy this addictive hobby! Regards, Scott F.> Thanks for your advice!

Taking Stock (Stocking Question)   1/11/06   180 FO Hi Bob <Scott F. in for Bob today!> I gave some thought to my new selection of fish considering your advice (thanks!); though you didn't say whether or not the 4-5 inch Clowns would be ok with a Snowflake Eel. By the way my tank is 5 foot by 2.5  by 2. What do you think: 1 Snowflake Moray (20 inches) A pair of 4-5 inch latezonatus clownfish 1 Niger trigger (as it is supposedly less aggressive) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish Thank you for your patience, but I don't want to get this wrong!!! Sam McMenamin <Well, Sam- I'd hazard a guess that your tank holds somewhere around 180 gallons or so, right? The stocking list doesn't sound too bad. My biggest concern (no pun intended) is the Niger Trigger. Yes, it is a potentially less aggressive fish than other Triggers, but the bugger gets HUGE (Up to 20 inches). Large Triggers need large tanks, with heavy-duty filtration to deal with the copious amounts of metabolic waste they produce. And, these guys do need large amounts of physical space in which to move. If it were me, I'd opt for something less demanding and smaller...Maybe a Wrasse of some sort? Do a little more research and see if you find one that strikes your fancy...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Taking Stock (Cont'd.)   1/13/06 Thanks to Bob, James, and Scott for your help! <Scott F. with the follow up! Thanks for the kind words!> Glad to hear the list is slowly looking better! Bob thought a wrasse would be too aggressive in the initial setup but now that I am looking at a larger, more aggressive list, I could definitely go for a Banana Wrasse or a Bird Wrasse (can a male and female bird nose be kept together or will aggression still occur?) <Good question, and it really all depends upon the individuals. These fishes generally are haremic, so trying to form a pair is potentially problematic. Get small ones and proceed with caution if you choose to go this route.> Wow! 20 inches - I guess that is a little too big! :) actually that makes me think -I had better check how big those wrasses get! < Yep- I've caught them with a bamboo pole and eaten them at close to that size! They are quite tasty, actually! The wrasses do get to a pretty substantial size, too! Consider a group of Halichoeres species wrasses. Lots to choose from.> Thank you all VERY much for your help! (am getting excited now I can see a list forming!) Sam <You're getting me all stoked, too! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Taking Stock (Take 3)   1/17/06 "Stoked" ... you wouldn't be an Aussie would you Scott? (am in Brisbane) <Well, no- I'm a Yank, but I love the Aussies and your beautiful country! Some of my surfing buddies are Aussies and they're great guys! I'm a big fan of Occy by the way, and I'd love to see him win the ASP title in his final year!> I have caught a few triggers on the reef before but threw them back (big head = no flesh ; big spines = no flesh left on my hands!) <Yep- a definite hazard!> I may proceed with the Birdnose wrasses only if they are being kept together at the LFS otherwise its not worth the trouble for me <I agree...They are really cool fishes, but they can biker amongst themselves if they are unfamiliar with each other.> Most of the wrasses I checked out didn't get any bigger than 10 - 12 inches which seems manageable with quite few fish <True, but they do need some room to roam!> A question: do you have experience with Foxface Lo's and or Harlequin Tuskfish? <I have had experience with these fishes, and of the two, I've had greater success with the Tuskfish. If you get a good specimen (the Australian variety, BTW!), you'll have better success! I have found that the Foxfaces tend to be more "neurotic", and I find their behaviors a bit annoying. I prefer Tangs for herbivores, myself.> I have never owned a herbivorous fish are they difficult to feed? <Not difficult to feed- just difficult to keep well fed! As long as you can provide fresh macroalgae or some algae growth in the tank for them to graze on, they should be okay. And you are right, many of them will take Mysis, etc.> (I read you may also feed the Mysis along with seaweed, Nori, lettuce etc) <You read correct!> As for the Tuskfish, I have heard they go on hunger strikes - are many fish lost this way or if it eats in the shop should I be fine? <Well, it does depend on the individual, but most of them will be just fine if you quarantine and acclimate them carefully. Try a variety of foods and be patient with them!> Thanks again! Sam <You're quite welcome, Sam! Looking forward to hearing how it all works out. Do consider those Halichoeres wrasses. They are not as unusual as the Birds, but are very colorful and have great personalities! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Compatibility... more general suggestions   1/11/06 Ok so perhaps another wrasse would be pushing my luck! (but they sure are cool) <Agreed> As for direction I was hoping to go the large aggressive road but am stuck with a dwarf wrasse (5 inches perhaps) and the Chromis In addition I don't want a HUGE load on my tank (though I have a large skimmer etc.) I have read conflicting information regarding the bio load of eels - some say large due to meaty food, but others say (and I tend to think this is more correct) that feeding once a week an animal with a slow metabolic rate would produce less waste? <Depends on size mainly... temperature to a large degree... and species... some individuals, types are far more active than others> As for the clownfish - I believed them to be quite aggressive and thought they would hold their own? <Not against piscivorous morays> Regardless I didn't make it clear that I was considering a pair (clarkii or latezonatus) which are readily available for me at 4-5 inches at my LFS <Wow> Since I sent my email I have also researched zebra morays - in your opinion are they too large? <For?> I feel they might be - if not would one snowflake, one zebra work or if not, two snowflakes? <...?> I hadn't considered the aggression coming from the trigger properly (glad to hear about the coral though), taking all this into account how does this sound? 2 green Chromis     \ 1 blue damsel         > already own 1 Tailspot wrasse    / 1 snowflake moray (perhaps 20 inches) (possibly another zebra or snowflake - what do you think) <I'd just have one> 1 medium Picasso trigger (introduced last?) <May become too aggressive> 1 PAIR latezonatus clownfish (4-5 inches) Also, I would not hesitate to return any of my existing fish as they were simply left as a small bioload during transition. I know the variety is huge but do you have any compatible suggestions of "cool fish" or some of your favourites (I tend towards unusual ones like cowfish, eels, etc. - though I know a cowfish may not be kept with a trigger or aggressive clowns!) <Correct> Thanks for your ongoing help and for reading my long emails! :) Your suggestions are greatly appreciated especially since I am not really SET hard on anything but the eel(s) thanks again! Sam McMenamin <I agree with the previous responders suggestion... you should give a bit more thought here as to a "theme"... geographic region, biotope... and build your livestock selection accordingly. Bob Fenner>

Tankmate question  - 01/12/2006 Hi Bob <James with you today, Sam> I gave some thought to my new selection of fish considering your advice (thanks!); though you didn't say whether or not the 4-5 inch clowns would be ok with a snowflake eel. By the way my tank is 5 foot by 2.5  by 2. What do you think... 1 Snowflake Moray (20 inches) A pair of 4-5 inch latezonatus clownfish 1 Niger trigger (as it is supposedly less aggressive)<Less aggressive in triggers is like saying I will only take one teaspoon of arsenic instead of two.  I'd eliminate this guy from your selection.> 1 Harlequin Tuskfish <Much better than the trigger.  Do make sure this guy is eating before purchasing.> Thank you for your patience but I don't want to get this wrong!!!<Understand.  James (Salty Dog)> Sam McMenamin

Keep sending stocklist till you get the answer you want   1/14/06 Not 10 minutes after sending a "revised" stocking list to you guys I stumble upon an old forgotten (then unkeepable) favourite of mine from when I still had enough time and cash for coral (haha) So how does this list sound: Snowflake eel Pair 4-5inch latezonatus clowns Harlequin Tuskfish Foxface Lo <A possibility> Perhaps a birdnose wrasse but I think that would be near overstocking! or otherwise in need of more frequent water changes which I certainly don't need! Thanks very much for your help and patience with my emails (: Sam <BobF>

Any suggestions... need better titles James... Livestock Selection might be one   1/10/06   175 FO Thanks so much for your time and patience James. I have run across salesmen, but nobody really that wants to answer my questions. My tank is 175 gallons, and I am definitely new at this. I will read up on what you suggested. Could you possibly suggest some fish that I could purchase? As far as overcrowding, I don't think so. I have had no more than 10 fish at a time. <Monica, it isn't the amount of fish that matters, it is the size of the fish.> I have two little girls and we are not allowed to have animals, but they want a pet. All I am trying to do is provide a pretty tank full of "pets" for them. In there now are damsels, a porcupine puffer, a coral beauty, a yellow tang, a bi-color Pseudochromis (is that right?) and a fox-faced rabbit fish. I just want to add something that will not die. They are not picky about what type of fish, neither am I , but I feel guilty bringing them home and killing them. <First off, do search the WWM on the fish you do have so you will know their food requirements.  Flake food alone isn't the best idea, I use it but it is one of the fish's variety foods I feed.  Ocean Nutrition is a good brand to get.  As far as suitable fish for you, I would feel comfortable recommending the blennies, Kaudern's Cardinalfish, Spotted Cardinal, Blue or Green Chromis, Yellow Tail Damsel, the bi-color of which you have, Dartfish, Clown Goby, Court Jester Goby, Purple Stripe Pseudochromis, Neon Gold or Blue Goby, Longnose Hawkfish, Flasher Wrasse, Coral Beauty (but not now, as you gain experience), Percula Clownfish (Nemo fish), and Dottybacks.  These are all relatively easy to keep providing a vitamin enriched diet is used.  Do search WWM on foods/feeding/vitamin supplements.  The more you know and understand about this hobby the more you will enjoy it. Do consider buying a good protein skimmer as this helps keep excess nutrients out of the water aiding in keeping your nitrate level low.  And, DO NOT overfeed, never feel sorry for the fish.  Most woman have very soft hearts in this regard.  Excess food turns into problems down the line.  Also consider getting a clean up crew such as snails and hermit crabs.  Very good at eating up excess food etc. The book (Conscientious Marine Aquarist  authored by Bob Fenner) I suggested can be had for a reasonable price through Drs. Foster & Smith on line.  Good luck.  James (Salty Dog)>

How many fish   1/10/06   150  FO First off I love the site, great information. <Thank you> I searched and couldn't find an answer to my question thus why I'm emailing. I have a 150 saltwater tank with  60lbs of live sand, 140lbs of live rock and plenty of filtration. I have 8 fish  in it now. Dogface Puffer, Red Coris Wrasse, Dragon Wrasse, Blue Hippo Tang,  Yellow Tang, 2- sailfin Tangs and a Snowflake eel. <With the tangs and the eel you're pretty much at your limit now.  All the fish you have do get quite large.> They all get along great and  seem to be happy. They are all average size, none are full grown. My question is  how many more fish can I add and still be ok? <Wouldn't add anymore.> I'm not looking to add 10 ten more  or anything but would like to be sure. Oh I almost forgot. I have a Pink Square  Anthias in quarantine waiting to go in. <That should do it.  James (Salty Dog)> Wrasse Compatibility   1/10/06   Hi crew! You've rescued me in the past but this time I am hoping to be in no need of such a rescue! I have read lots on your site and others about wrasse compatibility and have a fair idea but would much rather ask your opinion!!! <Glad to hear you have benefited!> I have recently had some troubles with my coral in my 5x2.5x2 reef here in Australia due to the hottest summer on record. I have lost my two favourite leathers and two other softies (but the LPSs are still fine???!!!) <It is a bit surprising that LPS survived when softies didn't, but such things can be quite unpredictable. I have decided with my final year at school being a very tough one I will not replace these corals and instead focus on the fish - hoping for something a little less time consuming than dissolving ocean plankton and Mysis and blackworms in the gravel twice a day for my gold head sleeper gobies (which are to be found a new home with a good friend).  So I will have: Tailspot wrasse, blue damsel, green Chromis, brittle and serpent stars, an anemone, some corals but going to trade them in bar the mushroom polyps attached to my liverock. I was thinking (and need opinion on): one or more snowflake eels (possible aggression in small numbers? - maybe one? - what about other eels with or instead of?) a Picasso trigger (less of a coral eater I believe but I wouldn't risk it) and I would love another wrasse (preferably a small one like the Tailspot - I love banana, bird and leopard wrasses but understand they get big.) Also I would love to get a pair of clowns (such as clarkii) for my sebae anemone. <Corals (especially mushrooms) would be at very little risk from a trigger.  <<? Triggerfishes and "corals" make very poor tankmates. RMF>> The same is not true of other fish!  You are correct that the wrasses do get large, but more importantly they get aggressive.  Mixing any of those that you listed with your Tailspot would be risky.  I would advise against mixing the clowns with an eel or trigger (Though the wrasse could probably hold it's own.> I understand that the eel may eat the Chromis and damsel - though I'm not sure it could catch them. <Snowflake eels are crustacean predators and would have a hard time catching your fish, but there is some risk.> Your help is greatly appreciated - once again I just didn't want to take a chance again despite what I have read!!! Thank you for this great service to  me and my fish!  Sam McMenamin <My biggest suggestion is to pick a direction to take... either large, aggressive, predatory fish or small relatively peaceful fish.  Any time you mix fish that are capable of eating their tankmates with tankmates that are capable of being eaten, you are asking for trouble!

Re: My Damsels Don't Play Nice! - 01/08/06 Thanks allot for the advice! <<Welcome>> I was wondering if a better line up of fish would be 1 flame angel, 1 Banggai cardinal, 1 gold stripe maroon clown, and 3 or 4 blue green Chromis. <<Yes, though the clown may become a problem...another large and aggressive species.>> Also, my urchins just recently "spit out" some small round pale yellowish things from the back of their body.   I was wondering what it might be. <<No idea...>> I was also wondering if 305 total watts of lighting would be sufficient enough to upgrade to a reef aquarium. <<Depends on what you plan to keep.>> I would choose a different lineup of fish if I were to do so.   <<Actually, your "lineup" presented here could work just fine.>> Thanks, Aaron <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Ammonia and Nitrite IV... stocking - 01/08/06 Dear Eric <<Hello Akila>> My tank is fully cycled.  My Ammonia and Nitrate are Zero and the tank seems to be in fine shape.  Thanks for your advice in this process. <<Very welcome my friend.>> Today I went to the Aquarium shop and returned all 6 damsels I bought for the cycling process. <<Ah, outstanding!>> After this I bought one Powder Blue Tang (4"), one Clown Tang (4"), <<Mmm, not good choices I'm afraid.  Please do research these species (you need to do this BEFORE you purchase) on our website and elsewhere.>> one Sebae Clown Fish (3"), and one Clown Wrasse (5").  Is this a good choice? <<I feel the tangs are not.>> What do you think? <<I think you need to do more reading/research my friend, and slow down on stocking this tank.>> I only bought 4 fish cuz I want my filtration to adopt to the new conditions first. <<Understood...just not good choices in my opinion.>> The Aquarium staff told me to feed all of these fish with only dried shrimp twice a day but when I research on the net it says that tangs are herbivore and need to be fed with seaweed. <<Yes...as well as more than "dried shrimp".  Do feed a selection of foods...quality flake/pellets, Mysis shrimp, diced clam/mussel/squid.>> Actually I have no place in Ceylon to find seaweed (I really don't know why there is no seaweed or any other natural sea veggies available for purchase in Ceylon). <<Hmm, having not traveled (yet) that part of the world I have no idea what might be available to you.  See if you can get some dried Nori from a market/specialty food store, else order some algae flake foods from the from etailers on the internet.>> Anyway what should I do now? <<My preference would be to return the tangs...just not suitable in my opinion.  The Powder Blue is just too delicate/unsuited to aquarium use (specially for beginners), and the Clown Tang is just too mean as tangs go.>> Should I just feed them with dried shrimp or are there any vegetables that I can find in the local market like a "broccoli" that will work for these fish. <<Some aquarist will feed frozen/par boiled veggies from the market, but I feel vegetable matter from a MARINE source is much more suitable.>> Also I heard that Clown Tangs are very difficult to maintain.  Is this true? <<Not overly difficult to keep but VERY aggressive as they mature.  You will have a difficult time adding any other fish with this bully in the tank.>> If so, are there any good tips to maintain their heath. <<Yep...leave them at the LFS.>> Also are Powder Blue Tangs easily infected with diseases? <<Regular "ich" magnets...>> Are there any tips to maintain them? <<See my comment re the Clown Tang.>> What do you think about the Clown Wrasse (this animal always hides in the sand? It this ok or is there some kind of problem?) << If we're speaking about Halichoeres maculipinna it is fine for a FO system like yours, though this guy will grow to about 15".  As for hiding, it will likely be more visible as it becomes more comfortable/familiar with its surroundings.>> And the Clown fish?  Are they easy to go with in the aquarium? <<Is a damsel...but will likely be fine.>> Please let me know some tips on maintaining these fish and also let me know of a practical food that I can use for tangs (something I can buy at a supermarket). <<I hope I have done so.>> Thanks a lot for your help.  Appreciate your response. Best regards Akila <<Do take heed of my comments my friend.  Regards, EricR>> Possible Additions to Marine Fish Only Display  - 01/03/2006   110 Hi, <Hello Chris.> I have a 110 gallon aquarium with an Aqua C EV 180  protein skimmer, Tidepool 2 sump, 18 coral life UV sterilizer, 60 pounds of cured live rock and 50 pounds of live sand.   <Sounds good.> I currently have one dwarf fuzzy lion fish, one small snowflake eel and a few damsel fish.  I am planning on getting a zebra moray for this tank. <Possibly okay short term, the dimensions of the 110 standard favor show height and not surface area. I also want a puffer. <Not a great tank mate for a lion.> I am stuck between three choices, maybe you can help, a dogfaced puffer, Diodon holocanthus porcupine puffer or a stars and stripes puffer. <All grow quite large for a 110, and all are very messy. Due to their possible curious behavior (which is often expressed by sampling tank mates) and their potential size I'm not really fond of any of these species for your current set-up. Why not look into a smaller more "predictable" species such as a Toby; Canthigaster epilampra or even Canthigaster valentini.> I was leaning for the porcupine because of personality, <I admit they are very "dog like."> the dogface for its more docile nature, and the stars and stripes for its looks.  Which do you suggest, and do you think that the stars and stripes would bite the zebra moray or lion.   See above and to answer your question, yes.> Thank you for your time! <No worries.> Chris <Adam J.>

Stocking question and angel noises  01/01/2006   129 Reef Hello, and thanks for all the excellent info on this site!  I have a question about stocking my tank.  I have been keeping fish for about 10 years so I am not a newbie, but I greatly respect another point of view, and yours more than most.  Here goes with the system info.  My system is a 100 gallon with 29 gallon sump.  Equipment includes a Turboflotor skimmer, UV sterilizer, 4 x 65w power compact, 2 x T5 bulbs.  About 200 pounds of live rock are in the tank and sump (hard to keep track over the years!)  The rock forms a wall from floor to top of tank with many, many caves for all the fish to swim through, however about ? of the tank is free off all rock so that the fish can swim then entire length of the tank in the open if they wish.  Inverts include 2 blood shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner, 1 coral banded shrimp, blue Linckia sea star, a large brittle star, many mushrooms and numerous hermits and snails.  Fish include a bi-color blenny, long nose hawk, royal Gramma, a pygmy angel (Centropyge argi),  blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus, 5"?), Purple Tang 6"?, an unknown fairy wrasse, possibly a Cirrhilabrus solorensis, a yellow Coris wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus, 2 maroon clowns, mated pair, and the big daddy of them all, a changing juvenile Imperator angel, 5"?.   The long-term game plan is to move the tangs, hawk, clowns (the female is rather large) and large angel to a 150 or 200 gallon tank in the next year or so and make the 100 gallon more of a reef" tank with the smaller fish.  I have had the yellow Coris, clowns, and blue tang for at least 3 years and the rest of these fish for about a year, starting off in a 55, then a 75, now the 100 that they are in.  You know how this hobby does that to your wallet! <Oh yes> I have chosen these fish carefully for compatibility, and they get along great.  The tangs and large angel swim together most of the time, and everyone else just ignores everyone else.  The large female clown has a hissy if the yellow Coris gets into her territory, which is very rare since the Coris likes to swim in the open and the clown likes a particular cave.  I have two Bulb anemones in this tank's future to keep her aggression down.  She was a VERY docile creature when she had her long tentacle anemone, however the anemone preferred the sand substrate to root in and did not get enough light to survive, which is why I am going to find some bulb anemone for the clowns which prefer the rock to root in, which is should put them much higher up in the tank closer to the lights - right? <Hopefully, yes> I followed the X inch per fish per X gallon rule I learned somewhere from some website or book sometime in the past, and as of right now, I am ok with my stocking levels according to that formula.  I know that I WILL have to get a larger tank as the tangs and angel grow larger, but my wife just HAD to have the blue tang and we all know how big they can get!  Not that I am complaining about getting a bigger tank? Do you see anything that I could possibly add to the tank? <Not at this point... I would hold off till there is more room... the occasion at the time for mixing/blending something in> I was thinking about a Jawfish or shrimp goby and pistol shrimp combo.  My wife is partial to firefish but I told her that was a bad idea with the hawk, large angel and large clown.  Or should I remove some of the smaller fish (Gramma and/or pigmy angel) to my 12 gallon nano with only corals in it?   I really want to get a small dog-face puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus, if I remove the shrimp would that be ok?  I don't mind if I lose a few hermits or snails to him.  I probably already know the answer to this but I have to ask.  Sorry.   <Patience my friend. You're topped off currently... in need of more room, not more livestock> Personally I think I did a pretty good job picking these guys for compatibility but what do you think? <A good mix>   Since I have had these fish for quite some time, I have grown quite attached to them and their personalities, and as much as I would like to see more life in there I would also hate to upset the balance I have by adding anything else.   <Then I would not> My other question is about my changing imperator angel.  He makes noises. Lots of strange grunting, low frequency noises.  He seems to have one for Hi, how are you doing, you going to feed me?  He also has a rather sharp sounding one for anyone that ticks him off, a kind of get out of my way grunt-noise.  When you DO put some food in there for him you get a strange excited clicking/grunting kind of noise.   I have researched all over the web and have found no reference to angels making these noises.   <The larger angels are quite audible... and do, as you state, have a large vocabulary... Have heard them in tanks as well as in the wild> The first couple of times I heard these strange noises I about tore my sump apart looking for a malfunctioning pump!  Have you heard of this?   Thanks in advance and you guys are great, keep up the good work. David <Thank you, will do. Bob Fenner>

Live Christmas Surprises, Unfair To All Involved - 12/30/2005  27 FO Hi my name is Mason Gecsey. For Christmas I got a 27g saltwater nanocube with 4 damsels and I was wondering how long I need to let the tank cycle. <Umm...No set time limit really. Requires testing to determine cycle conclusion.> Then after I was wondering if I could put in a goby, a dogface puffer, and a seahorse without the damsels. <Please don't do this. A seahorse? How much do you actually know about what you're getting yourself into?> If that doesn't work what would you prefer. <I would prefer that you read our Marine articles and FAQs, buy yourself a good collection of references and study before moving ahead. If at all open to the idea, you could also return the damsels (to be fair to them) and use that money toward the start of your library. - Josh>

Can I add "X" and "Y" to "ABC"? - potential eel and shark additions   12/28/05  180 FO Hi, <Hello.> I have a 180 gallon tank, currently stocked with a Humu Humu trigger, volitans lion, porcupine puffer, Foxface, sailfin tang, and Pearlscale butterfly.  All of the current occupants are small.  The largest being the trigger at about 5".  I've been considering purchasing either a small shark and/or moray eel.  I was wondering... is this a terrible idea?   <With your current bio-load yes.> Would a banded or horned shark fit in this tank and get along with the current fish? <Both get too large and the second is a temperate species.> As far as eel's go, I like the golden tail moray and the tessellated.  Would any of these fit in my current set up? <No, sorry.> The online fish stores of course say my 180 would provide more than enough room, but I remember when my LFS told me that my first 29 gallon tank would be big enough for a pair of lions.... As always, thanks for the help! <Quite welcome, if you ever scale back your current stocking list a smaller eel like the Snowflake or Zebra Moray could be acceptable but as for now I recommend against even these options.> mike <Adam J.> Zoanthid "Pimples"/Fish Selection - 12/22/05   30 Reef Hello, (insert name of WWM crew member on duty here). Sorry, but I hope you're up for some reading. Thanks in advance for your time. <<Hello...EricR here...ready to read..>> Question #1: My girlfriend and I have been running a nano-reef (20 gal with 10 gal fuge/sump) for a while now.  We recently picked up two frags of some nice colorful zoanthids.  About a week after getting them, we noticed white dots appearing on the stalks of one of the colonies.  These dots have been increasing and now some of the most afflicted zoanthids aren't opening at all.  The colony is pretty much covered with them now.  The other colony, which I placed a bit away, has some too but not nearly as many.  Our nitrites and ammonia are zero, nitrates are 0-5 ppm, specific gravity is 1.023, pH is 8.3.  I actually don't remember our last phosphate and alkalinity readings but they were well within what I have seen listed as acceptable on WWM.  I have checked at night to see if I can find some sort of predator or culprit but no luck.  I thought perhaps another coral was doing something but haven't found any sort of info on the corals I have to indicate this would be so.  When the white dots started appearing, I had these corals in the tank: -Candy cane coral -Various mushrooms -Zoanthids -Pearl coral -Green star polyps I know the green star polyps can be very aggressive but they are actually one of the farthest corals from the colony and the other colony, the less effected one, is much closer.  My fish are a royal Gramma and a six-line wrasse. Any thoughts? Does this sound like the work of some pest that I perhaps haven't caught at work? <<Mmm, more likely physical/chemical aggression from another coral, or, a symptom of too intense lighting.  For the former...make sure no other corals are touching and add some Polyfilter and/or Chemi-Pure to your filter path...for the latter...make sure the zoanthids are not close-up and directly under any intense lighting.>> Question #2: We are moving up to a 105 gallon tall tank with these measurements: 48"L x 28.5"H x18.5"D.  I have been trying to plan out the fish who will one day inhabit this tank carefully.  It will be a reef tank consisting of softies and LPS with at least 100 pounds of live rock. I have read a LOT on WWM about compatibility and the fish I am considering but I still have some questions and I would also like an overall opinion on this list: (# of fish) Name [Adult size] (1) Six-line wrasse [3"] (1) Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus) [5.5"] (1) Royal Gramma [3"] (2) False percula clownfish [3"x2=6"] (2) Two spot gobies [3"x2=6"] (1) Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus Solorensis) [5"] (1) Scott's Fairy Wrasse [6"] Total: 9 fish, 34.5 Inches My thinking is to vary up the habits of the fish so they won't all be competing for the same space and also just to see different types of fish in action. <<Very good>> So there's the 3 bottom-dwellers, the six-line likes to move through rockwork, the Gramma sticks to a spot in the rock, the clowns can be dither fish for the wrasses.  I also tried to select larger fish that are peaceful (the wrasses) <<The six-line isn't.>> so we can keep the small fish we like and have more fish overall. Are there any conflicts here I am not seeing? <<Generally speaking I think you have done a good job researching/making your selections...kudos to you for that.  My only real concerns are the six-line wrasse and the starry blenny.  The six-line can/will become problematic for the other wrasses.  I have seen this fish maim/kill the more peaceful fairy/flasher wrasse species...even in displays of several hundred gallons.  You might get away with it if you add the six-line to the new tank as the last fish...but don't expect to be able to add any fishes of similar size/shape/habits later on.  And as for the blenny, It's just my opinion they are not suitable for reef tanks...too likely to munch corals I feel.>> Okay, now assuming that list passes muster, I want more (doesn't everyone that writes in?).  For either of the other two fish I would like, I could sacrifice members of the above list if necessary. <<Mmm...maybe the six-line and the blenny?>> Of course it would be cool if we could have all of that and these two. <<Yeah, I know...and I would love to have a half-dozen Zanclus canescens in my reef. <grin> >> We would still be under the rough 1/2" per gallon rule but it still feels to me like adding two more would be pushing it. <<Forget this rule...make your choices based on compatibility/suitability, feeding habits, mature/adult size, activity, natural environment, etc., etc, etc....and some good common sense.>> First, I would like to have a flame angel but am worried he may be too aggressive. <<Hmm, probably no more/less than the six-line.  The bigger issue is will it eat your corals...bit of a crap-shoot really.>> OTOH, lots of people seem to keep them in reefs with several other fish without much of a problem. <<Does happen/is possible...but still a gamble.>> I was hoping that by keeping him with larger wrasses I could prevent him from feeling dominant in the tank. <<Mmm, no...but less of a threat than you might think.>> I am not sure though if he is likely to pick on the bottom-dwellers. <<I doubt it...more likely to go after con-specifics/similar shaped fishes/other dwarf angels.>> Also not sure if this is sufficient space and rock work to not have to worry about the Gramma, clowns, and six-line. <<Likely so, yes.>> I would also like to have a mandarin (waiting at least 6 months after cycling).  The tank will have at least a 30 gallon refugium and we are planning on adding cultured pods to kick-start pod production.  I am not clear on whether or not the starry blenny or two spot gobies would compete for his pods. <<And the wrasses too!>> I have read the blenny and goby FAQs but didn't see anything about this.  I am also not clear on whether the fairy wrasses and flame angel are big pod eaters.  I know the six-line is.  Trying to research and plan as much as possible. Thoughts? <<Do keep up the research...But I'm hesitant to recommend the mandarin as I consider your new tank/refugium marginal for keeping this fish.>> THANKS! -Clark Carruth <<Regards, EricR>> Stocking and Sand for a 29 Gal. - 12/17/2005  FI Hey guys first time question, long time reader. First up thank you for running such a great site. <Glad that you enjoy it, though we'd probably be lost without the help from the ladies!> Okay I have 29 gallon with a magnum H.O.T filter, 20watt NO lighting, with 24lbs of live rock and about 20lbs of aragonite live sand. I've had the tank up for about two months now and just ordered the Orbit Lunar Lights PC (130watt), Maxijet 1200, and the Bak Pak 2. In my tank I have 2 Yellowtail Damsels, a large Green Brittle Star (about the size of a computer mouse) that hitched a ride on some liverock, <I'd recommend removing this. Well known for ambushing fishes at night.> a Feather Duster and 2 Peppermint Shrimp. Water checks out fine as well, I do a 5 gallon water change a week because of the lack of a skimmer. <Good but better to have the skimmer.> First question is I plan on getting rid of the Damsels for 2 Percula Clowns, a Flame Angel, <The Flame Angel needs more room.> a sixline wrasse <May not work out either.> and 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, not at all the same time of course. Is this a fair load of livestock or overkill? <Way over.> For corals I would like to do some striped mushrooms, button polyps, and xenia, I hope my new light would be powerful enough for these. <Should be fine but be careful mixing these in a small tank.> My last question is I would like to add more sand to my tank to create a deeper sand bed. Can I use the same live sand about 20lbs or would that cause an ammonia spike in my tank? <Can use the same, be careful not to bury the existing bed. You'll have to add small amounts at a time, in sections. Move a portion, add sand smooth back over.> Thanks <You're welcome. - Josh>

But Planning Should Be The Fun Part - 12/17/2005 Hi, <Hello Brian.> I am getting my SW tank started and I think I found a few things I really like. <Just a few? I wish I was that lucky!> I was wondering if you would give me your option <opinion?> weather <whether> or not these fish <fishes when more than one species> will live to gather <together> or a bad combination.. I have a 55 gallon tank and want to put 2 Percula Clownfish, Mandarin Dragonet - Psychedelic, and my favorite a purple lobster. Along with some cleaner shrimp and anything else you might think's a good idea to keep the tank clean. <Well Brian welcome to the most fascinating hobby in the world (I'm not biased!). Planning your tank and stocking it are a crucial part of getting started. During this process you'll learn (hopefully) how/what to feed, behaviors, signs of stress and environmental requirements. For these reasons it would be hard to recommend what someone should get as you can't know their future intentions or what they're willing to deal with. The clownfish you've mentioned would be nice in this size tank, but only go with one or a mated pair. Please do not start with a Mandarin. These are difficult fish, with special requirements to live long. Most die in captivity. You'd need a larger tank and a refugium before even trying. I wouldn't recommend starting with a lobster either. Do a bit more research and cross check against each for compatibility, it'll be fun and beneficial for you.> Once again great site and thank you very much for the help <Sure. All of what you need, you can find here.> Brian <Josh> Combining tanks  12/17/05   120 Reef Hi Guys and Gals, <What's up Jeff? Adam J here with you this evening.>      I am going to be buying a single family home soon and have got the OK to use the entire basement for my fish obsession. <Ahh, lucky you, very few homes, have basements here in SoCal, though a greenhouse would be nice eh?> I currently have two 120 gallon tanks set up. The first has a small (4inch) dog face puffer, lunar wrasse, yellow tang, dwarf lion and dwarf angel (coral beauty).   <Stocked quite heavily.> The second tank has a Purple tang, two perculas, one dragonet, one red scooter blenny, one potter's angle, one lyretail Anthias and a few corals (mushroom and other leathers).  I wanted to get your input on how you think possibly combining both groups would go in a 300 gallon tank? <It would not go very well at all, your first set-up has rather boisterous fish in it while the second has much more sensitive critters such as the dragonets, the Anthias and the C. potteri…the puffer and lion could make short work of these. Due to the potential size/aggression of the puffer I would omit him anyway, especially since you have sessile invertebrates.> Would I need to use a divider? <Either that or keep in separate set-ups.> I am concerned that the puffer might go for the perculas or the dragonettes, <Yes a very LARGE likelihood he would go for them.> or that the angles and tangs might have issues, what are your thoughts on this? <This is a possibility too, I would rather not mix the angels mostly due to the timid behavior and sensitivity of the C. potteri. The tangs could work together in the 300, depends on the individual fish, the "purples" can get quite testy with other tangs, especially those in it's genus (Zebrasoma) like the yellow. If you plan to keep the tangs together, try to add simultaneously and be prepared to remove one if it does not work out.> I know the tangs and angles could have issue in the 120 but I was wondering if the 300 would be enough room for them to create territories. <See above.> Thanks <Welcome.> Jeff   <Adam J.> Stuff in a Tank Should Be Fine, Right?! - 11/21/2005   25... FO Hi, <Hello, Josh here.> I recently bought a Snowflake Moray, and I have a giant Brittle Star with a huge Cleaner Shrimp at the moment. <At the moment is right! These probably won't last long.> I also have a couple hermit crabs and snails. <More trouble possible here as well.> My ? <<"question", please, don't do this for laziness.  MH>> is, I'm getting ready to buy a Lionfish and a Puffer. <Not a "?" (spelled "question" by the way). My advice, though you haven't mentioned tank size, is to leave these last two out. They don't belong together. All are heavy waste producers, and though they look beautiful in LFS tanks together (inappropriate as it is), they're probably much higher maintenance than you wish to undertake and would rather avoid each other.> It's going to be my predator tank. <Oh yes, it will be.> Do you think the Eel, Brittle Star, Lionfish, and Puffer will get along ok? <The Lionfish, Puffer and Moray will last the longest of your mix.> The fish store owner says it should be ok, but he didn't sound convincing. <Rightly so.> Just wondering. Thanks <Review the care of these animals. You'll see what it takes for one, let alone all of them. Your inverts. are likely to be snacks for any of them. Since you already have the Moray, just dedicate your system to it. Avoid the other mess in one tank. By the way, what size tank/filtration are we talking about? Also, please capitalize and spell check in the future - Josh>

Re: Stuff in a Tank Should Be Fine, Right?! - 11/22/2005   I've done other research, not just from your website.  <Very good to take in all views.> I've read other places that a Puffer and Lionfish are compatible, it just depends on the fish itself.  <True, also depends on tank size, filtration and general system set-up.> I have started with a 25 gallon, which will be upgraded to a 55. <You mean that you're keeping the Moray in a 25, and wish to add the Puffer and Lionfish? You could just buy a blender (joke)!> If you could tell me what kind of small Puffer or Lionfish I could start with, it would be great, and how long before I should switch over to the 55 gallon? <For this tank I can't recommend any of these, including the Moray. Should've had the 55 to begin with, even then not suitable for this mix as the Moray would still need a bigger home (up to three feet you know.> How come my Green Brittle Star won't survive with these choices, they are all pretty much bold. <Oh, Green Brittle Star. You had said giant which I simply took as an adjective. In this case I'd fear for anything that is small enough for the 25. The Moray will eat anything that fits in its mouth so smaller/ish fishes and inverts are out. The Brittle Star will ambush any fish small enough, not excluding a tiny Moray.> My guy told me there wouldn't be a problem with these choices. <Truth be told, money seems to make all truths less relevant. - Josh> <<Is truth my young friend. RMF>>

Small tetraodont puffer and Basslet mix  11/19/05 Bonjour, I was wondering if I could keep a green spotted puffer, Valentini puffer and a tobacco Basslet together in the same tank. <I wouldn't... too much chance the puffers will pick on the bass> And what would the minimum tank size be? <Sixty gallons> I asked another site and they said a 40-50 would be good but I just wanted another opinion. I know it is an odd mixture but they are three of my favorite fish. I currently have the green spotted puffer alone in a 20 gallon brackish tank and the Valentini in a 10 gallon saltwater alone. The tobacco Basslet has been in the local pet store for about 2 weeks and looks great. I will move the spotted puffer into full marine obviously, laudable (Latin) any help.  Merci, Mark <Bob Fenner> 

2 questions about setups  11/16/05   Hi crew, <Clare> 1st setup ideas: Eclipse 12 with the standard light that comes with it, I believe a 13 watt 50/50. Will have a 3 - 4 inch DSB with sugar fine aragonite, and 16 lbs. of Nano Rock from LIVE AQUARIA. Stocking Plans: 2 Longspine Urchins, <Nope... this system is too small...> 2 Kaudern's OR orange lined cardinalfish, <Ditto> a yellow striped clingfish and a black lined blenny. Possibly a cleaner shrimp too? <Some are too predaceous..., stenopids> I haven't done the setup yet, so suggestions are welcome.... 2nd setup ideas: a 75 gallon tank with 440 watts of VHO 2 actinic 2 daylight 4 48" 110 watt bulbs in canopy. <Now you're talking> A less than 1 " sand bed and 79 lbs of live rock, I have a wet dry and protein skimmer from Sealife Systems, and a HOT 5 gallon refugium with an Aqua C Remora Pro with Mag 3 pump ( do you think the bubble stopper is necessary?). <Maybe... you can run for a few weeks... let the "bubbles slow down" and see if you still would like> This gives me total water volume of about 90 gallons. Stocking Plan: 2 cleaner shrimp, and assorted corals (haven't decided yet) 1 neon goby, 2 ocellaris clowns, 3 blue green Chromis, 1 purple tang, 1 flame angel, and 1 Foxface lo.... I know I am probably out of fish room in this tank but do you think I could fit a royal Gramma OR a fridmani Pseudochromis? <Maybe> Thanks for the feedback, Clare <"Bigger is better" Clare. Bob Fenner> 

Ten Gallon Nano Stocking Level   Hello Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I enjoy reading your column. I find it very helpful and informative. My question is regarding a ten gallon nano tank that I started up five weeks ago. I would like to know if I can safely keep the following animals in it. I currently have: 2 True Perculas 1 Watchman Goby 1 Dragonet (pinkish in color) <The key word above is "safely". I would not recommend keeping anymore than two fish in a ten gallon tank safely.> 1 Bubble Tip Anemone <And I do not recommend people get host anemones unless they are willing to work hard to provide the utmost of care for those challenging animals. A ten gallon is just not large enough.> 2 Peppermint Shrimp 2 Blue Legged Hermits 6 Small Red Hermits 10 Astrea Snails 1 Sand Stirring Starfish (beige and brown in color) <I would remove this guy. He will surely starve in time in such a small tank.> 18 lbs of live rock 2 inches of crushed coarse coral Remora Protein Skimmer (Berlin Method) 1 Rio 90 Power Head 1 Rio 180 Power Head 10 Gallon Via Aqua Tank 1 32 Watt 50/50 Smartlight 1 18 Watt 50/50 Light Yesterday in my LFS, I learned that my Dragonet eats only Copepods. I'm fearful that this one will eventually run out of food. <Yes, he will if he hasn't already.> I'm planning to return the Dragonet and possibly replace it with another fish. <See above note. Just return, do not replace.> What kind of fish do you think would be a good fit with the Goby and Perculas? I'm thinking of adding a second Goby, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea. I have the Maxi Jet 1200 on the Remora so I have plenty of skimming, water flow and live rock filtration going on. Am I pushing my luck if I keep 2 Percs and 2 Gobies? Would I be better off in the long run if I just kept 2 Percs and the Watchman Goby? <Yes> What would be best to feed the Anemone and how often? It doesn't like Krill much, but seems to like Silversides. <Please read this article to see what is required of you to successfully house these creatures, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubbletipanemones.htm > Will the Goby be okay eating formula1 and frozen brine shrimp? <Brine shrimp is not a great food. Try finding some Mysis instead. The Formula I is fine.> I'm new to the hobby so any advice you can give me would be very helpful for me. Thank you very much for your advice. <My best advise is to get Bob's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and read it.> Sincerely, Scott D. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Reef Tank Looking For Fish   30 FO Dear Bob, I just found your Tang FAQ's section and wanted to get some suggestions. I used to have a 30 gal. salt fish only tank. After 2.5 yrs everything went bad and I lost the fish that were left. (I live rural and had several >10 hr. power outages). I have recently (January 2002) set up a 90gal reef tank with an ATS, 100 lb live rock, 100 lb live sand. I have snails, brittle stars, a couple shrimp, hermit crabs, 4 Chromis, 2 small tank raised cinnamon clowns, 2 feather dusters and two Spaghetti leathers. I also have 4 emerald crabs, a Sally Lightfoot, and a cucumber. All are doing well, ph is 8.2, Ca is 500, nitrates, nitrites are both zero. Sump is 20 gals. I am adding B-Ionic and strontium. My Coralline algae is starting to pick up. I would like to add several other fish but am unsure about the compatibility. I am installing a refugia for my Mysis shrimp and critters to increase as I would like to add a Mandarin (Pterosychiropus splendidus) when the tank is mature enough for it. <A very challenging fish that does not compete well for food.> I would also like to add a flame hawk (Neocirrhites armatus). <Fine.> I am planning on getting a Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum). <Also, fine.> Can I also add a Powder blue tang (Acanthurus leucosternon). <Not a good idea to crowd these two tangs. You will surely have territorial disputes.> Are all of these compatible and in what order? Any other suggestions? <See above notes. -Steven Pro>

New 125gal Setup  FI My setup is a fish only 125gal 6'x18"x24". I am in the process of curing 90lbs of live rock and will be putting in substrate and live sand when that is finished. (ammonia came down after less than a week and now nitrites are up - halfway thru this process :-) . Other items are an Eheim 2217 filter, Tunze skimmer, 2 Maxijet 1200 powerheads and 2 NO Coralife bulbs. I have an idea of what fish I would like to put in my tank and wanted to see if you could give me some guidance. Here is my wish list: 3 Green Chromis, 3 Blue Chromis, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 dwarf angel (Flame or Coral Beauty), 1 Fairy Wrasse, 1 Hippo Tang, 1 Yellow Tang and 1 Wimplefish. Would it be possible to double up on either of the two later? <Yes, possible for the Heniochus.> Since some of these fish are more territorial than the others, which order would you suggest adding them? <Clowns first, then Chromis, Angel, Wrasse, Hippo, Heniochus, and finally the Yellow Tang.> I will probably also be putting in some assorted invertebrates -primarily Fromia starfish and hermit crabs, maybe some shrimp, but I will wait a couple of months before adding them. Thank you for your time. Susan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Fish Compatibility   FO 75 Hello <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I have been in this hobby for about 4 years now and have kept triggers, angels etc, all aggressive fish and I have never kept "peaceful" fish, and I had a few questions about compatibility. I have a 75 gallon tank that has been set up for about 3 years now I have 100lbs of cured LR (because the clown trigger, emperor angel, etc has eaten almost everything and are now in a 135gallon tank). I was wondering if I could keep 3 blue Chromis, 1 sunburst Anthias, Goldflake angel, blue-spot Jawfish, 2 Percula clownfish, 1 juv chevron tang all in the 75 gallon tank without any problems with feeding or aggression. Thank you for your help and time. Ian Behnk <the angel and chevron will ultimately be too large or assertive for this mix. Else, all is quite fine and peaceful indeed. Do research the special needs of Jawfish however. Best regards, Anthony >

Fish Compatibility   125 FOWLR G'day Mates! I have a 125 gallon FOWLR with two occupants thus far, an Odonus Niger and a Rhinecanthus Aculeatus that have grown up together. Both triggers are about 5 inches body length. Soon I am going to be adding to the tank a few fish and wanted your recommendation on whether or not they'll be compatible and what order to introduce them as well. Here's my current wish list: 1. Queen Angel 2. Annularis Angel. I have read that it's possible to keep a Holacanthus with a Pomacanthus, and wanted your opinion on that, too. If recommended against, I'll probably replace the Annularis with some kind of Rabbitfish, more than likely a Foxface or bicolor Foxface. <I would not recommend mixing two large angels. I also would prefer to take out the Queen. I have seen many parasite problems when mixing Atlantic with Pacific species. If you do add the Queen, be sure to quarantine all new additions for one month minimum. A good rule of thumb anyway.> 3. Grouper, Clown or Miniatus or Panther <Miniatus would be my choice.> 4. Wrasse, either Lunare or Harlequin Tusk 5. Zebra Moray Over the years I have found it so much more appealing to get youngans and watch them mature <talking fish still> than adults. So, I'd like to introduce all these as juveniles. Any information is greatly appreciated. Love your site, books, and passion for the hobby. Thanks guys! ~Rob <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Fish capacity   29 Reef I have a 29g reef with a skimmer, LR & LS. This tank has 1 Ocell. Percula clown, 1 Bubbletip anemone, 1 sun coral, various snails & crabs. I would like to have a few clowns in this tank. I would like to add 2 true Percs, and 2 saddleback clowns. Is this too many fish for my tank &/or should I avoid mixing different types of clowns together?  <more a problem o the latter... aggression between the species> What would you recommend?  <it is always best to mix fish of dissimilar color shapes and sizes, and feeding habits to minimize aggression...especially in smaller aquaria> Also, could you recommend a hearty reef safe starfish.  <most any serpent or brittle starfish (except green O. incrassata) and most Fromia. Avoid Linckia (sensitive) and thorny backed stars (predatory)> Thank you. <always welcome. Anthony>

Compatibility Issues I'm setting up a tank for my wife. She only wants a few things in it. It's a 29 gallon tank for her counter. Anyhow, she only wants a blackcap Basslet, a flame hawk, a yellowtail damsel, and a cleaner shrimp. Not too worried about the damsel, but do the Basslet and flame hawk get along ok? <The fish should be ok together, but the Hawkfish may try to eat the shrimp.> I believe most of these are quite moderate sized even as adults, but not sure of husbandry requirements. . <They all have fairly simple requirements. More specifics can be found for each species on the WWM site. -Steven Pro> Any thoughts are welcome. Jim

New tank and a whole 'lotsa fish hello <Anthony Calfo in you service> I have just purchased a new aquarium, and I wanted to ask a few questions about the compatibility of the fish that I would like to put in this aquarium.  <fire away...> It is a 125gallon tank (72" X 18" X 22"), with wet/dry filter and protein skimmer and will be cycled in about 5-6 weeks. in the 125 I would like to have- 5-6" emperor angel, 3-4" Sohal tang, 3-4" clown trigger, 4" Australian harlequin Tuskfish, 6-8" Vlamingi tang, golden puppy dog puffer, 3-4" lyretail hogfish, 3-4" powder blue surgeonfish, 4-6" queen or blue-face angel. do you think it is a wise idea to house these fish in this tank?  <admittedly it would be seriously overstocked even while many of these fish are juveniles. The Vlamingi and Sohal are not even candidates for a tank this size even as the only fish! An adult Vlamingi grows to 2 1/2 feet long (60cm)!!!! and the Sohal is not far behind. We really must be responsible aquarists and plan for this growth in the 2-5 year picture just as one would do considering a big dog in a small apartment>. The puffer is way too clumsy and dangerous for this crowd (really belongs in a predator tank perhaps with the clown trigger (most likely in fact). The two angels will almost certainly fight... you'll need to pick one. If you are a beginner, don't take a Powder Blue tang for free... they are sensitive and it would be best to wait until you are more experienced and prepared.> I have an existing 75 gallon tank with the emperor angel, Sohal tang and clown trigger and when the time comes I am going to take them out and put them in the larger tank. thanks for your time and advice <as adults...these three fish will outgrow the 125 gallon easily (cumulative adult size of the three approaching four feet of fish in total in the 4-7 year picture. So... it is hard to recommend more fish without knowing if there is an even larger tank in the future (else you might watch them stunt and die prematurely and wonder why). In the meantime, frequent water changes, two good skimmers (cleaned alternate times) and of course a great biological filter... I'd say the hogfish would be a nice addition or even a blue or green bird wrasse (probably could hang with this tough crowd)> Ian Behnk <best regards, Anthony>

Stocking a New Tank Hi Bob, <<Not Bob, but JasonC, filling in one of Bob's shoes while he's out diving>> I'm new to salt water aquariums but have been in the aquarium hobby for over ten years. I recently set up a 55 gal salt water tank. Right now I just have two damsels in the tank to cycle it. I eventually plan on adding a snow flake eel, a yellow watchman goby, blue tang.  <<so far so good>>  I was also wondering if there are any small puffers or small trigger or trigger like fish that I could add to this mix.  <<well, even though puffers and triggers are all available small, they don't stay that way>>  Please let me know if this is a reasonable mix and what order I should introduce them in.  <<You were doing well up until the trigger/puffer which would spell doom for the goby in all likelihood. Do avail yourself to the many pages of the WWM web site and additionally to the discussion forum where you can get a broader spectrum of ideas on good fish-mixes.  http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/  Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking a 55 <<Greetings, JasonC filling in for Bob while he goes away diving>> I have a 55 gal reef tank with a Yellow Tang, a cleaner wrasse, 2 Percula clowns, and a Coral Beauty Angel. I was wondering if I could add another dwarf angel?? and if you had any recommendations for another fish in the current reef? Thanks, Jeremy <<You could probably fit another fish, but I'm not sure I would make it a second angel. A 55 is a little tight for two fish in the same genus to be in the same tank. How about a six-line wrasse, royal Gramma... the list is lengthy. You should pose this question over on the WetWebForum where you can get a wide sample of opinions: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Cheers, J -- >>

Questions about Stocking, the Right Mix Mr. Fenner, <<JasonC here, Bob has gone diving to collect some more of those wonderful photos>> First let me say that enjoy reading your answers to peoples questions immensely. My questions are about the stocking of my 125 gallon tank. I have a huge wet-dry, three power heads (Rio 800) and two heaters in my sump. I wish to stock the following; a harlequin tusk (Australia) , a yellow bar angle, 3 threadfins b/f, a Red Coris wrasse, a Odonus Niger, a Naso, and either a Koran or a equally beautiful but smaller fish. From what I've read, these guys should get along (?) but a Koran will get too big. Your thoughts? Also in what order should I stock them. Do you have any recommendation what to put in instead of a Koran? Thanks for any input, Spencer <<well, not familiar with the "yellow bar angel" designation, but would guess that this and the Koran might not mix if the yellow-bar is a "large" [non-Centropyge] angel. Perhaps skip them both in favor of a Queen angel. One of the larger angels should do well in a 125 with that mix. Do keep in mind that just about everything you've picked grow considerably larger than the size they are usually acquired. You may want to skip a fish or two in order to give some room to grow. Cheers, J -- >>

150 gallon tankmates could I house a Huma Huma trigger, a blue ribbon eel, a panther grouper, a Volitans lionfish, a porcupine puffer, a Foxface, a imperator angel in a 150 gallon fish only tank with live rock?  <too many fish with consideration for their collective adult sizes> Any additions or replacements I should make?  <please don't even think about the ribbon eel with this group if at all. Very passive and difficult to keep. Best in a species tank and for expert care> Also are their any special products I have to get or take any special precautions with these fish? thank you . <the puffer is cute as a button, but a definite Ich magnet. Take heed. With this kind of investment, you must quarantine all new fish for preferably 4 weeks in a hospital tank (medicated if necessary) before adding to the display. Most people skip or abbreviate this step, and most people learn a hard and expensive lesson for it. Do be very considerate of these living creatures and quarantine strictly else I'm sure you'll be one of the many folks that write to us in the future about dying fish with contagious infections...hehe. Do review the archives on proper QT set up and execution. Best regards, Anthony>

Stocking Questions Hi Bob, <<JasonC here, Bob is away diving in the tropics.>> Need your help please. I currently have a 48"x15"x15" tank containing 24" snowflake moray eel ,6" copperband butterfly, 5"kole tang and a 3" regal tang 1 long polyp leather , green and brown polyps, hairy mushroom colony, 1 white Christmas tree coral and a large green carpet anemone. <<That sounds like something near 50-ish gallons. That would be a crowded tank.>> At the moment it 's a well balanced tank with no problems.  <<at the moment, yes>>  the advice I need is which angel would fit in with this set up.  <<none that I would recommend.>>  I would really like a non dwarf species but would accept it if the dwarf angles were the only fish compatible with this system  <<you need to upgrade your facilities.>>  Thanks in anticipation, Paul <<Cheers, J -- >>

Advice for the Overstocked <<JasonC here at your service, Bob is away diving.>> 55 gal setup, 60+ lbs live rock, excellent water quality. I have six fish. Purple tang, red sea Sailfin tang, tomato clown, panther grouper, Niger trigger, and lionfish.  <<overcrowded is right.>>  All the fish were added about 6 months ago.  <<they must have all been tiny.>> Starting to grow a little bit.  <<fish do this...>> They all get along really well. <<for now>>  pretty neat to see all the different species co-habitating in the same area. <<you should probably go buy a lottery ticket - you are quite fortunate to have made it this far without problems. These guys must all be pretty small?>>  Problem is should I let the fish go until I see signs of stress or remove a fish or two and take them to the pet store.  <<signs of stress often come too late.>>  My LFS says everything should be ok. <<I disagree>>  I am graduating in May and will have to break the tank down then. Will they be alright until then?  <<my guess is no, but based on the good luck you've had so far, you might just make it until May - then again, you could as easily end up with fish soup.>> Thanks and keep up the good work on your web site. It has helped me a lot in the past.  <<has it? I'd like to think that we had advised you away from building such a crowded system. You've been very, very fortunate up until now, but it's certainly not something I would recommend to anyone. Again - think about a lottery ticket. Cheers, J -- >>

Searching for a reliable source of info. Very overcrowded system Hello, first let me start by saying you site has been a great help in my quest of being finally satisfied with my tank! I hope you do not mind sharing a few moments of your day by responding to my email and helping me out. I have a 55 tank with maybe 30 something pounds of live rock. I have four eels (small snowflake maybe 10", a common green moray smaller in length than the snowflake but thicker by far, a good sized dragon, and finally my prized tessellated [spelling] which is about a foot and a half in length). I have two starfish; an African red with large spikes and an orange chocolate chip. Just recently my tank has grown to include five fish (a small dogface puffer, Minigrouper maybe 5-6", an assasi trigger 6", a clown trigger 6", and finally a young emperor angel again 6". <Wow! That is all I can say.> I have tried to keep things relative in size; still the bass is a bully but everyone is managing. My concern is two fold. One am I over stocking my tank? <A bit of an understatement> (the tessellated will get bigger as I am sure). And second will the two triggers get along? <Probably not long term> Also while I am thinking about it, once the emperor becomes an adult is it true that I will not be able to add anything else to the tank? (As I have heard it will kill them.) <The Angelfish is the least of your problems.> This summer I plan on moving in which I will buy a new tank...possibly a 75 with front bow. Maybe larger. <I would hope considerably larger, 180 gallons as a minimum.> I would appreciate your expertise in the subject and any other opinions you may have regarding my tank. Again thanks for taking the time out of your day to converse with me on this matter. I apologize for being so lengthy in my inquiry. Nick <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Reef tank stocking Hi all, I'd like to bounce a stocking plan off you. I have a 210G tank with fish friendly rockwork (lots of swimming channels, caves, etc.). I currently have: P. Asfur angel Z. xanthurum Purple tang 9 Chromis viridis 2 Chrysiptera parasema yellow tail blue damsels Rainfordi goby V. puellaris orange spot goby Red Firefish Scooter mandarin Halichoeres marginatus I'm considering adding: 4-5 A. ocellaris, tank raised (I have some BTAs and an H. crispa) <2 is preferable> 2-3 Pseudochromis fridmani, tank raised <2 is preferable> Halichoeres ornatissimus <I would advise against another wrasse> A longnose yellow butterfly or 3-4 yellow "Coris" wrasses for some yellow. (I prefer the butterfly though). Would love a pair but I've yet to see one advertised anywhere or in the LFS. <Get the butterfly. Maybe a Semilarvatus?> Think the multiple Pseudochromis are too much? <See above.> Marc <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Making a list Greetings Mr. Calfo, <Greetings, Robert> I have a 55 gallon tank. I currently have 2 Perculas and a handful of Caulerpa. I would like to get your opinion on the following potential future inhabitants: <thank you kindly for caring to know my opinion> Hermit Crab Green Marble Shrimp Marine Betta Will all of them get along? The green shrimp is classified as a carnivore but do they eat algae as well? <not sure by the common name "Marble" shrimp...but wonder if you are referring to a Saron species (please reference). And the Betta is a great fish and one of the absolute hardiest and long lived fishes for marine aquaria (one of my favorites). However, shrimp are a natural food and they do eat small live prey (including fish and crabs). So in truth... there are conflicts in your targeted mix. I'd focus on a centerpiece, like the clowns, and work around them. As much as I like the Beta/Comet... they are shy and no fun <wink> by hiding in a cave all day. Get another hit list of more fish that interest you and pass it along, please. Anthony>

Re; Stock levels in tank Dear Bob, Thanks for the reply regarding yellow-tailed damsels, anemones, etc. I have one more question. Is my tank overstocked? 35 gals, Fluval 304, Turbo master protein skimmer, (and small additional Fluval 100 filter - mainly used as water agitator.) I have in it; 40lbs cured rock, 1 lot of button polyps, 1 leather coral, 6 small anemones - all 1/2inch sq (- I'm trying the local intertidal variety - they live in rock pools that get very warm indeed at times, so I'm hoping they'll cope with the temp), 4 bunches of red macroalgae seaweed (tang loves it), and 2 large rocks all pink with a layer of rock-like algae, plus 2 1/2 tennis ball sized absolutely bright orange intertidal sponges that grows here in the shallows too. Very hardy sponge - can survive out of water at very low tides, and is the most orange thing you ever saw - even more orange than 70's orange glowing oil filled bubble lamps.) <Hey! I have one of these!> 2 small snails 1/4" diameter. Plus - 1 Percula, 4 Chromis, 2x1/4inch (small but cute) domino damsels,  <Not so cute in the long haul... I would remove this fish, and/or get a much LARGER tank for it and its comrades in the near future> 1 bicolor blenny and one 2 1/2 inch yellow tang. Generally my parameters are good - 0 NH3, but when I feed (and I love to feed them all, so I think I over do it) I can get an NH3 reading of .25ppm - this usually recedes overnight. Is this tank overstocked? <Yes... dangerously so... the attendant fluctuating ammonia is a real danger sign... some day... bang! This whole system could crash in a very short period of time (minutes to hours)...> I have just started keeping all the macroalgae and coral, and don't know how to calculate the life forms amount of the tank. Does algae count? Do sponges? Do small anemones? The tank is 36x15x18 inches by the way. Thanks very much for any help you can give. Miria, New Zealand <More filtration, aeration would help some... but adding more volume is your real direction... BTW, will be down to NZ this March for a wedding. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stock levels in tank; Act two, scene 1.Differing expert opinion on... Dear Bob - sorry to bother you yet again about this, but I asked my LFS - (usually very good, 25 years in business etc...) if I was overstocked, and he said you don't count sponges and corals as part of the stock level as they have virtually no impact on the tank?? <Umm, I don't agree... all life counts to a degree> Have you heard this theory before?? Any comments? <Above> Also he states my NH3 is fluctuating at present (usually it doesn't) because I did such a big water change 2 days ago. Why? <Mmm, disruption of nitrifying microbes? Not enough establishment at this point/time?> You may well ask. It has to do with catching a certain small yellow tailed damselfish that required removal ASAP as it was hassling the tang - this involved basically upending the whole b***** tank to get the jolly thing. I will NEVER keep this breed of fish again. What part of NZ are you coming to for the wedding? Anywhere near Auckland? <It is Auckland> If you want fish contacts here - you may well have enough already - let me know!!!! Miria <Thank you for this... a real possibility. Don't know folks there. Bob Fenner>

Re: new setup (marine stocking) A lot of people I talk to say housing a lion/porcupine/grouper won't be a problem. One thing I can't quite seem to get over is this... feeding. The lion and especially the porcupine are kinda slow hunters. Will the grouper be too aggressive and prohibit the other fish from getting fed? (especially with live food.) <Chances are the Lionfish will be the "odd fish out" at feedings... but all can be trained, kept together. Bob Fenner>  

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