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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 3

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How big can/will this Mappa Puffer get in your aquarium?

Hair Algae And Fish Stocking - 11/14/05  120 Reef Hello Crew! <<Howdy>> It has been a while. Thank you for all your wisdom to date! <<We hope it has been helpful.>> I am writing to ask you several questions about my 120g reef tank. I have a wet/dry filter, protein skimmer, UV sterilization (8 watt), mixture of actinic and metal halide lighting. It is stocked with about 90-100lbs of live rock, several soft corals (mushroom, polyp, and brains), coral banded shrimp, blood and skunk shrimp, 75-100 crabs, and 10-15 snails. I have several fish: Percula Clown, Hippo Tang, Yellow Tang, Flame Angel, 2 Fire Fish, Banggai Cardinal, Lawn Mower Blenny, Striped Goby, and 3 Anthias. <<Mmm...a tank full...>> Here are my questions: 1.Recently I have had a huge green hair algae bloom. <<Might be the fish load.>> I have tried (and trying) the suggested ways to decrease the algae. I do 10% water changes every 10-14 days, I have been feeding less, I have checked the PO4, <<Likely the algae is using the available PO4 before it can be detected.>> I decreased the amount of lighting to 8 hours a day, <<I never recommend decreasing the photo-period.>> added more crabs, hand plucked the larger thickets, my nitrates are normal, but I am losing the battle. Any other suggestions? <<Well, I don't believe in starving fish...you might want to consider finding another home for the Hippo Tang to reduce the bio-load. You can also try raising pH to about 8.5/8.6 and make sure calcium stays above 350. But I'm sure you read about all this in our FAQs.>> << <giggle> <hint hint> >> Anything I can add to the tank that will destroy or eat the algae? <<Not with any consistency...besides, you're just treating the symptom...you really need to find and eliminate the cause.>> 2. Do I have too many fish in my tank? <<Ah...I think so, yes.>> 3. I have a green polyp coral that has been overrun by the nuisance algae, the polyps have ceased coming out, if I can control the algae do you think it will come back? <<Very likely it will recover once the algae is under control.>> Thank you. Dr. M <<Regards, EricR>>

No Vacancy?  11/12/2005  55 Reef Hi guys I have had a 55 gal setup with 2 Emperor 280 and Remora Pro 1200 and 52 lbs of live rock with a Coralife Lunar Aqualight. Per your advice I added a wave maker and timer center for my lights and powerheads. I added a Zoa as my first coral (a month ago) and it's been doing great and my kids love it.  My tank has been up for about 3 years now and since I've spent my lunch hours searching your site over the last few months my tank has gone from frustrating to a real fun hobby. I plan to add a few more corals over the next year or so but my question deals with my fish. As I said its only 55 gallons and I want to know your opinion on additions. Currently I have a Banggai (sp?) <<Banggai - absolutely beautiful fish.. actually, I love this whole group of fishes.  MH>>  Cardinal who has been in for 2 and a half years. He is my favorite fish and is huge compared to ones I see in the store. My clown is also a little over 2 years and is also quite big.  I also have a Regal Blue tang for about 5 months now and after a rough first month is doing great and starting to grow. As I said I have kids (6, 5, & 1) so you can see the Nemo connection. I also have a blood shrimp (2 years) who blesses us for appearances at feeding time, A Sally light foot (1 year), Choc chip starfish (8 months), and several assorted crabs and snails about 20 total.  My snails seem to die after 6 months except the bumblebees and 2 strong Astreas who are over a year. My crabs do well I have about 3 zebras, 2 blue hermits, 3scarlet and 2 red hermits. They also do well and seem to be happy. To get down to it, I would love to have about 5-6 corals when I'm done and like to add a pygmy angel ( I had a flame for 2 years who died suddenly in the spring) like a coral beauty or another flame or bicolor. <Mmm, this tank is about full-up fishes-wise> I would also like to add a very small clown hoping the big clown won't destroy him (remember the whole Nemo theme, this would make Dory, Nemo & Marlin). Is this possible? <Possible, but will not likely work... if you want to try still, I would "float" the new fish in a plastic colander for a week or two, then switch it for the larger one for a week or so...> I would also like to add a clam eventually and a cleaner shrimp (had one for 2 years and gave to my brother who is starting out). Are my hopes going to blow up in my face by an overcrowded tank? <Mmm...> Or is this realistic? <Well, will need to upgrade the lighting... or perch the clam high up near the present light...> My water is great and I clean my cup in my Remora every day. Or is it possible with a better kind of filter setup and what kind would work best? Thanks for any advice you can give and thanks for making this fun and educational for my whole family. <Well... it is obvious you have patience, careful observation... A commendable hobbyist. Bob Fenner> 

Fish Compatibility/Incompatibility 60 FO Hi - I currently have a 60 gallon salt water tank that contains a small Picasso trigger (approx 2 1/2 in), a coral beauty angel and a bicolor blenny.  <With this trigger I see compatibility issues in the future, not to mention the potential size of the trigger.> All are doing great and get along fine. Salt sits at about 1.023, ph is 8.2, and all other testings done at the fish store say to be excellent.  <That's good, however in the future I would purchase my own test kit to verify readings as well as in case of emergencies.>  I have an antenna lionfish on order that I am waiting for.  <This is another animal that will grow large and possibly consume smaller tank mates…it may also fall prey to the trigger. They have a tendency to pick at the lions delicate fins.>  I would like to add one more fish to the group. I am considering a Scott's fairy wrasse or possibly a blacklip butterfly fish. Do you think that either one of these would work?  <No.>  If not, could you recommend something. I am looking for something with a little more bright color.  <To be honest the lion and trigger will be quite heavy on your bio-load making it unwise to have much more than that. Furthermore its even harder to recommend a compatible fish since this group will eventually be incompatible with one another.>  Thanks for your help! <You are welcome, Adam J.> 

Marine Compatibility issues 150 FO I have been keeping a reef aquarium in a restaurant for several years now, but unfortunately the owner told me I had to scale back because upkeep was too expensive. With my new budget there is no way I could ever keep the 150 gallon reef tank healthy so I decided to take out all the corals, inverts, and clams and turn the tank into a tank for large predatory fish (As disappointing for me as this is I did get to add most of the corals to my tank at home).  The problem is I have never kept large aggressive fish before. It is not that I don't think I can keep them I just don't know how they will react to each other.  The fish I am hoping to acquire are 1 queen trigger (possibly a clown trigger instead), <Avoid the clown, they will definitely rule the roost and cause havoc.> <<Also, please note: certain species of triggers are known to nip the venomous spines of Lionfishes.  MH>> 1 puffer fish most likely a dogface puffer, and 1 Volitans loin fish. As I said the tank is 150 gallons and it has plenty of live rock and great filtration equipment I only wish I could afford. Right now there is only one fish in the tank which is a 5 inch yellow tang I took from my tank from home.  Would it be safe to keep the tang in there with the other fish? From what I have read so far I kind of doubt it. However, I really need a herbivore fish in the tank because the tank is in a restaurant and it needs to be kept very clean of  algae (casual viewers such as the customers and my boss see algae as unsightly).  So would this combination of fish work, or am I just asking for trouble?  <Personally, I wouldn't mix triggers with slow moving puffers. This tank wouldn't be large enough for more than two puffers as they grow to eight inches in length. The lionfish anywhere from 7 to 15" in length depending on species, Volitans being the largest at 15" full grown.    All these would be great waste producers contributing to the algae problem at hand. You would have a better display going with the Canthigaster puffers such as the Blue Dot, Honeycomb, saddle and spotted puffers which average about three inches fully grown. My suggestion, a couple of triggers and the lionfish, or several of the Canthigaster puffers with the lionfish but I wouldn't select the Volitans, rather a dwarf or Radiata and/or antennata lionfish. The tang would do OK in there as well. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your excellent advice as always,  Aron <You're welcome> 

Is my tank big enough? - 09/08/2005   105 Reef Hi, <Hello.> I am looking at setting up a 5" <I assume you mean 5'/five feet in length?> 400 litre marine aquarium, <About 105 US gallons....> I am hoping to stock it with a Porcupine puffer, <Too large for this tank, by far.> Blue Tang, <In my opinion, a tang will not have enough swimming space....  but many folks successfully keep them in tanks of similar size.  You'd probably be fine with this.> Snowflake Moray, <Also too large for this tank, IMO> 2 Clown fish with 2 Anemone <Clowns, great; anemones, maybe not - anemones are exceedingly difficult to care for and have extreme lighting and water requirements.  Please research these intensively prior to deciding to purchase.> and a red hermit crab. <Crustaceans are mostly just puffer food, when you couple them with puffers.  If you decide upon a puffer more suited to the size of this tank, omit the crab.... and any other crustaceans.> I have the  existing jewel internal filter, Eheim external canister filter, sander  protein skimmer and a Sander ozonizer. Is this set up adequate for the fish I wish to keep in it? <I might consider a better/more powerful skimmer....  But any skimmer is better than no skimmer.> If so, is there anything you would recommend that I add to the system in terms of filtration. <Live rock - at perhaps a pound per gallon - would be of great benefit.  You could consider a deep sand bed and/or a refugium, as well.> I have had bad experiences previously with overstocking a 120 litre tank, due to bad advice at fish stores, so your advice would be greatly appreciated. <I urge you to start reading:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm .  Much to learn, here.> Thanks,  -Kev <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Compatibility... fitting in more... considerations  9/8/05  90 FOWLR Morning gents... <David> I have a 90 gallon community fish/invert tank with 3"+ sand and 95lbs live rock.  My tank has about 20x water flow with a protein skimmer. My current tank inhabitants: 1 small Regal Tang 2 Percula Clowns Bi-Color Dotty Back (who learned the hard way to be nice to my Tang) Larger Yellow Watchman Goby Coral Banded Shrimp Feather Duster 2 Large Turban Snails A few surviving hermit crabs from my Pistol Shrimp feast (he is now back at store) 1 small sand sifting star 1 large brittle star <Not a Green/Ophiarachna I trust> 1 small banded serpent star My question is...  what else can I have in my tank that is colorful that would get along with my creatures? <Many thousands of possibilities> I have been reading through your website on the different types of fish and everything that is peaceful seems to be an invertebrate eater/taster. I wanted a Foxface but have read that they will sample my crabs/stars/feather duster... as would butterflyfish. <Mmm, not very likely> Can you recommend any favorites that I could add to my collection?  I'm wanting to add another specimen to my tank here shortly as my tank seems kinda vacant.  My Regal Tang hasn't tasted my feather duster and am wondering if a small yellow tang might fair well in my tank? <Would likely fit>   Anything else? What about a smaller batfish? <Mmm, not unless you intend on a much larger system... these species get big... quick!>   It was kind of hard to get a read on whether batfish were good or bad.  Beautiful yes... but very messy and grow rather large? <Yes> Thanks for any suggestions in advance! Dave Oh, of note... my larger percula clown is about 3.5" long now.  About half the time when my hands are in the tank she will lunge at me and turn away at last moment... or else she will jump right before my hand and splash water at me. <Might be trouble with newcomers> I thought it was rather comical... however, just this past weekend she actually lunged at me and connected.  It felt like a noticeable tap... but after withdrawing my hand from the tank in surprise... my wrist started to bleed from where she hit me.  NEMO bit me!!!  Never new they had teeth? <Oh yes> Didn't hurt or anything... but what a surprise! <You can imagine if you were many times smaller... couldn't remove yourself...> Other story...  when I first introduced my VERY small Regal Tang to the tank, it was very shy and didn't swim around much.  In the first 3 days my small Royal Dotty Back picked at her tail and I thought my $50 Tang was gonna be killed. 4th day... the morning, I noticed my Dottyback with a slash across it's side... it was at the sandy bottom of my tank at the front of the glass not swimming.  I scooped it up and put into my quarantine tank... kept the light off and did not feed...  Within a week the wound had healed and the Dottyback was back to normal.  The Dottyback doesn't go anywhere near the Tang anymore... I guess fish learn quickly? <Yes... Bob Fenner> Re: Compatibility  9/8/05 Thanks for the comments.  Hopefully I am getting Bob Fenner again... <Yes> Ok, so a Foxface should be ok?  The yellow Tang should be ok?  What about both together... With the Regal Tang I have as well, no issues?   <Better to just choose one or the other... of good-size> Can you give me a suggestion of one other fish that I may not have thought of? That's what I was really lookin for off the original email. Thanks again ! Dave <I understand, but am hesitant/guarded to make such suggestions... far better for folks to investigate both what they might want and what's available. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Stocking levels  9/7/05  55 Reef I have 45 lbs of Fiji and 60 lbs of live sand which probably aren't enough for the mandarin. How about a scooter blenny are they the same way? <They are much more forgiving> I definitely want to buy a regal tang it is 1-2". <Joe, why are you wasting my time asking for advice about the regal when you are going to buy one anyway?> I have 260 watts of powercompacts( Coralife). It is about 5 watts per gallon.<Should be enough for most softies and some easier to care for hard corals.> Is a bicolor angel suitable? Would it probably nip at the corals? <You have a 50/50 chance, some do, some don't.  You can search this info on the Wet Web Media where loads of advice are given whether you choose to believe it or not.  James (Salty Dog)> thanks <You're welcome> Joe > Stocking levels > hi guys, quick question <OK, quick answer> > I have a 55 gallon reef for about 7 months now. Currently inhabited by 2 > true or false Percs (not sure but I think true),<trues are much deeper in > color> a sebae clown, a sebae anemone which was completely bleached and > now boom fully back to dark brownish/purplish. I also have some Turbos > and hermits along with a scarlet cleaner shrimp, tons of Capnella which > won't stop splitting, and green star polyps which keep on spreading like > crazy. I just saw my favorite fish on sale on LiveAquaria.com and I am > definitely going to buy it. The regal tang! I also wanted to buy a dwarf > angel such as a lemon peel or bicolor and maybe a small fish such as a > mandarin or a scooter blenny and a six line wrasse. I also was considering > on adding maybe a small clam and probably a candy cane coral or brain. > Would this be ok? I have read mandarins need an established aquarium > because of amphipods...do they eat anything else or is it a hassle? What > about the angel...bad idea because of the corals? <Joe, your > tank isn't large enough for the regal.  It may be now, but as it grows it > will require more space.  If your experience level is low, stay away from > the lemon peel.  There are many other dwarf angels that are much more > easier to care for.  Mandarins require live food such as amphipods.  They > are best kept in very established aquariums with plenty of live rock.  A > pod population should be introduced and allowed to propagate before adding > the mandarin.  A refugium works well for this purpose.  There are some who > have gotten mandarins to eat prepared food the cases are rare. As far as > the clam goes, you will need at least five to six watts of lighting per > gallon to be successful. The candy cane coral will require 4+ watts per > gallon provided it is placed at least mid level in the tank.  Search these > subjects on the WWM for more info.  James (Salty Dog)> > Let me know. > Thanks > Joe

Stocking Opinion - 09/04/05   125 FOWLR Hello, and thank you for you help in advance.  I currently have a Koran Angel, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Hepatus Tang, 1 Percula Clown, 2 Damsels, 1 Copperband Butterfly, 1 Flame Angel, 1 CBS<<?>>, and 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish in my 125 gallon marine aquarium with approx. 100lbs of live rock... <<Oh my!>> All tank mates are doing well and have not lost any since it was set up about 8 months ago.  My question to you is…is my tank overstocked or not... <<In my opinion it is.>> My pet store guy tells me I can put more in it but I don't think so. <<Neither do I>> What do you think? <<The Koran grows too large (18"), and the Hepatus is too large/robust and active/nervous/twitchy for this size tank.  You can argue that you will remove these as they get bigger, but this seldom happens before the fish's demise regardless of how true/good the intention.  This also doesn't stop the developmental retardation caused by keeping an ultimately large, active fish in too small a tank.>> My wet/dry is rated for a 250 gallon as well as my skimmer and UV. <<Has nothing to do with your filtration/skimmer in this instance...the tank dimensions are simply too confining I have been in the hobby for about 10 years...But I still get confused sometimes.  Too much information out there. <<No worries Mate...been at it for more than 30 years myself and I still have much to learn/discover.>> Thank You...Your site is Great!! <<Very welcome...EricR>>

125 Marine Tank Stocking - 09/04/05 Thanks, for your quick response. <<My pleasure>> So it is at its limit or currently overstocked. <<The latter...due to the Koran and the P. hepatus tang>> My cousin is getting a 180 gallon tank, I will set it up for him Tuesday.  So which of my piscine family will become an early Christmas gift to him? <<Mmm...possibly the P. hepatus, though I consider even the 180 too small for the long term.>> I would like to keep the Koran. <<Not if you want what is best for the fish in the long term.  This fish needs a tank with several hundred gallons of volume, as a minimum.>> Or better yet, what if anything do you think I should donate or return. <<Return the Koran for trade or credit, and get something more suitable for your tank.>> I also have a large mushroom colony growth across a few pieces of live rock. Thanks <<Welcome, EricR>> Wrasse And Gramma Compatibility - 08/04/2005   FO 90 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?   <Yes, highly likely.  I have a pal with a fourline and a royal Gramma in a 55g, and over the past year that he's had them, there have been no compatibility issues whatsoever.  There are, however, exceptions to every rule.> Thanks. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Fish Compatibility 8/4/05 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?  Thanks. <Hi Jon... Provided your fish load is low, you shouldn't run into any serious situations with these two particular fish. Both do have the potential to be somewhat aggressive, therefore it would be best if you add them as juveniles simultaneously. - Ali> The Great Octopus Pilgrimage - II - 08/04/2005   Reef Dear Sabrina (Do you by chance have aquarium witch like powers? <Why, yes, of course.  Fish appear, and money disappears!  Just like magic!  Not exactly a stunning witchly power, is it?  Ah, well....> And I don't imagine that you are a teenager.) <Well, no, but I was at one time.> First, allow me to apologize - throughout my  consumption of ever inspiring advise, I didn't expect there to be such eclectic and diverse "wise crabs of the sea". <There are indeed some pretty bizarre crabs out there!  My favorite being a strange hairy crab that eats zooanthids....  I want one; it would be named "Fluffy".> You are, with out a  doubt, a gentlewoman of upstanding character and values. <I wouldn't go *that* far! (grin)> So after absorbing, refining and recycling your advice the following are the changes that I intend to make: Remove  the entire under gravel filter, leaving the two (2) powerheads in place. <Alright>   Replace  the crushed coral w/... well, actually, I wasn't clear on what you  were talking about-I was wondering if I could cover the crushed coral with  some "live sand". <Take a look here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm  and here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm  and check out the links in blue at the tops of those pages....  Also, if you have the chance, you might take a look at Anthony and Bob's book, "Reef Invertebrates", as there is a lot of information on Deep Sand Beds (some octopus info, as well!)....  Again, I would go with EITHER a very thin layer of crushed coral or aragonite sand, OR a 4"+ bed of oolitic aragonite sand.> Buy  a Protein Skimmer-any suggestions IAW the below live stock parameters? <Err....  I totally did not follow that sentence.  But I'm assuming you're asking about skimmer recommendations.  My personal preference is an Aqua-C remora.  Definitely check out our articles and FAQs on skimmers, as well.> Also I would like to add that my tank has cycled now and the nitrates are slowly disappearing-thank you very much for your stalwart advice. <Yay!> As future plans go, I would like to outline the following for your thoughts: -adding live rock to total 100 lbs. <Zowie.  Lotta rock.  Anywhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 100 pounds would be fine.  As much as you can (and desire) to pack in without the use of a shoehorn.> -I  am having a horrible time selecting fish and inverts/corals to accompany my  tank. I would like to have a octopus and a reef tank... can this  both happen conjunctively? <Not very simply.  An octopus is really a difficult animal to care for - not only due to their vast abilities of escaping systems, but their delicate nature in general.  Keep in mind that an octopus is an animal you won't see much in your tank unless you have a red flashlight and like late nights.  Furthermore, they have a keen taste for pretty fish.  For myself, boobie-trapping a tank just to house an octopus does not sound entertaining....  Please do read our FAQs on octopi; I have read that one can keep a small octopus contained if one lines several inches of the tank with Astroturf - enough that the octo cannot reach an arm past the Astroturf.  It really will be an interesting endeavor - though, not impossible.  Again, please do browse through the FAQs.> What other fish and corals would your recommend  that will give me the most diverse color and behavior patterns; yet, still thrive successfully? <Soooooo many options....  and as far as corals go, HIGHLY dependant upon lighting....  My own favorite super-hardy corals are Euphyllids (torch, hammer, frogspawn....).  Regarding fish, there really are a great many hardy animals to choose from.  I, personally, like firefish and gobies.  Try going to a few stores, see what you like, jot down their names, then come back home and look 'em up.> Ya know... someone should tell  Mr. Fenner his and his crew's advice is worth money ;) <.... Thank you for your kind words.  This, and the lives we strive to help, is a reward greater than any amount of cash.> To each of you... many thanks for sharing what is proved over and over again to be priceless intellectual property. <And thank you kindly for making use of it, and hopefully helping to teach others in the future.> J <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Source of Tank Raised Fish 8/4/05 Hello, <Hi there> I have a couple of  questions. I have read that many blennies eat green hair algae. I have some in my tank that is at a controlled level but would like a little help keeping things clean. I am looking for a variety of blennies that eats green hair algae and is colorful. Is there a particular variety that you recommend that I could find that is tank raised? <Mmm, none are tank-raised as of yet... as far as I'm aware> I am also trying to find out where I can buy a tank raised Royal Gramma. I am trying to have a tank raised only fish tank. Any recommendations? <ProAquatix (and their ownership of C-Quest) and ORA likely... but they don't sell to end-users/hobbyists. Ask your LFS if they'll try to order some, a few through their distributors. Bob Fenner>

More marine fishes in a crowded system  65 FOWLR Hey guys one more question for you. I have a 5" Humu trigger and a 4" dogface puffer. I wanted to get a small bright purple fish to flash in and out of my live rock, which I have 65lbs. in my 65 gal FOWLR. Can you recommend a fish that wouldn't get eaten and hold it's own up to these two fish? I was thinking of the royal Gramma, Pseudochromis Diadema, and Pseudochromis fridmani, will any of these work? Or which one is best? Couldn't find much about mixing these with triggers and puffers in the forums. Thanks guys <This tank is already too small for the fishes you list... Not to dampen your apparent enthusiasm, but I would trade in the trigger, puffer... Is there a chance for you to volunteer/work at a local public aquarium or LFS? You might well find the exposure to more gallons, other fish folks satisfying. Bob Fenner>

Crowded marine systems No there isn't unfortunately. And, I know my tank isn't huge but I think it's big enough and I'm keeping these fish in it anyway, there isn't any tank out there that any one person could have that's even close to the size of the ocean and these fishes original habitat. So, in my opinion, they will acclimate and make the best out of what they're given, considering my tank isn't a 20 gal, lol. Bob, even a 1,000 gal tank is small to them since it's no where near the size of the ocean, let's be realistic here. <...> Lastly, they can move around just fine and they have plenty of room. Triggers are very hardy, tolerant fish, why wouldn't they be able to tolerate a so-called "small tank". We're not talking a foot long here, we're talkin 8" or so. <... Tetraodon puffers, Triggerfishes are too large period to be kept in four foot systems...> Horses are huge animals and should be running all over hundreds of acres yet they're only running in one.  We keep them in a 8'x10' stall and they do just fine, <No my young friend... not permanently...> it's all bout what they get used to. <A simplistic, erroneous notion... Triggers, puffers, many other fish groups' members fare poorly psychologically as well as physiologically kept in too small volumes... I encourage you to think deeply re this> And the same goes for fish. If your that critical/selective about captive environment for these fish, then you should promote taking them out of the ocean, just leave them be. <Many I/we do...> No offense and I realize you have been doing this for decades, but regardless of amount of time, the size of your tank is more of a common sense issue that one person can figure out after a short period of time or immediately. <Not a common sense issue obviously... a statement of facts borne from direct and other hand experience. Think what you will until experience changes your mind, you are flat out wrong.> Thanks for your time <Think. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking a Marine Tank  120 Reef I am starting to load a recently cycled 120 gallon reef tank (22 days since I put 60 kilos of live rock in). All readings seem good; PH 8.25, Ammonia, Nitrite at 0, Nitrate between 5 and 10ppm, salinity 1.025, temp. ranges between 24 (morn.) and 25 (evening) degrees centigrade. Just put in two false Percula clowns, a small Kole tang (2 inch) and two leather corals. How long should I wait for the next load? <Generally about one month.> Is there some variation in water chemistry which will tell? <Ammonia and nitrite should both remain at zero. There maybe a small increase but should drop back down in a month's time.> I am planning on a (small) magnifica anemone, a few more soft corals and some easier hards (no pun intended), maybe a clam, another tang (purple), a pygmy flame angel and a mandarin fish. <I would wait at least one year for the anemone, clam, and mandarin. All are somewhat difficult and not to be recommended for the novice. All other seem fine.> Thanks again, Jordon <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking Questions  72 Reef Hi gang- What an invaluable service you provide the reef community! Thanks in advance for looking at yet another stocking list for a new reefer (as wave upon wave of newbies nip at your heels). Here are my particulars: 72 gal. AGA Bowfront tank w/built in overflow, twin returns in back corners 100 lbs.. live "Fiji" rock, 5" DSB seeded w/packaged live sand over aragonite base Aqua EV-120 skimmer in sump w/Mag500 pump K2R calcium reactor Custom Sea Life T3 return pump 800gph. Teclima CA240 chiller/heater w/Dolphin DP270 supply pump Captive purity 4 stage RO/DI JBJ Formosa Deluxe 2x96w 6500/7200k PC lighting <A very nice system indeed.> My tank has been up and running just three weeks, but peaked and cycled in only a week. So far, my only residents are snails, sand critters (an assortment of stuff from IPSF, including their Wondermud and live sand activator), long feather Caulerpa and Tang Heaven red macroalgae. <All very good and showing nice patience to boot.> My water parameters are: pH 8.2-8.3, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate non-detectable, calcium 500mg/L, alkalinity 14 dKH, phosphate <.025 mg/L, temp 81, specific gravity 1.024 <Excellent!> Here's my livestock wish list, ready for your paring knife (in my proposed order of introduction): Purple Firefish Blue-green Chromis (5 if possible) <Better go with just three because of tank size constraints.> Cleaner or Peppermint Shrimp <You could get one of each. They each have their good attributes, fish cleaning and Aiptasia removal respectively.> Citron Goby Percula Ocellaris Clown pair Bubble Tip Anemone <Sorry, but not enough light for the anemone.> Flame Angel Chevron or Kole Tang Soft corals and a few lower light stony corals (interspersed with fish introductions) <All sounds fine taking my above notes into consideration.> Thanks again for the support and guidance. -Ron <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

A Question of Community   150 Reef Hello, Bob (and friends), <Steven Pro in this morning.> It's nice to be writing to you without a laundry list of problems. Thanks so much for your past assistance in bringing us to this state! I would like to add some additional members to my aquarium, and would appreciate your thoughts. I have a 150 gal reef, with 200+ lbs of live rock. All my water levels are great, and every fish looks healthy and they are all eating well. In addition to numerous soft corals, polyps, zoanthids, worms, shrimp, snails, crabs and other things, I am growing a couple of kinds of macroalgae to supplement my herbivore's diets. The current denizens include (most of them are full grown): 1 yellow tang 1 ocellaris Anemonefish 1 pink skunk Anemonefish 1 scissors-tail goby 1 zebra bar goby 1 Firefish (magnifica) 1 purple Firefish (decora) 1 blue assessor 1 royal Gramma 1 pajama cardinal 1 Swiss guard Basslet 1 lawnmower blenny 1 pink bar goby (Don't know real name, though it behaves like a watchman type) 1 flame angel (dwarf) 1 coral beauty angel (dwarf) 1 Dispar Anthias 1 orange-tail Solomon island damsel 1 smithi damsel (it's much more gold/yellow than pink in its highlights) 11-member school of green Chromis <A total of 29 fish now.> I would like to add only 4 more fish in the future, and would appreciate your advise as to appropriateness, size, and sequence. First, I'd like to include two more tangs: 1 tank-raised hippo, and 1 sohal. I have seen more than one reef, even smaller than mine, with 3 tangs living peacefully together. <Peacefully does not seem like the right description. More like a negotiated settlement or standoff.> In selecting these specific ones, I thought that since each was from a different genus, that would reduce their potential negative interactions. <Yes, will help to cut back some.> Because my yellow tang is currently the "big man on campus", I would try to trap him and put him into my 45gal acclimation tank at the same time as I introduced the other two. Hopefully that would "reset" their territories, and when I put them all into my display tank, they would be able to get along. <Yes, when mixing Tangs, Zebrasoma's should be added last. They are usually the most aggressive tangs and yellows can be some of the absolute worst.> I thought I would buy a sohal which was slightly bigger than the yellow, and a hippo which was slightly smaller than the yellow. <Ok, put the Blue Hippo in first and then add the Yellow and Sohal together.> In addition, (either before or after the tangs), I would like to add one fairy or flasher wrasse (probably a fairly good-sized one... 4-5"), and a Sargassum triggerfish (maybe a bit on the smaller size). <The Wrasse is fine, but I would forget the Trigger. Your crabs, shrimp, worms, etc. would all be up for grabs. Their other bad habit is overturning rocks searching for foods.> Thanks so much for your insights. Sincerely, Jim Raub <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

Overloading a tank 24 FO Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I must say that your website has been the best source of information on salt water fish than any other source I have found, including a friend that has been in the business for over 5 years! I have learned more in the last 2 weeks since I found your site than in the last 2 years. <Thank you very much. I am sure Bob appreciates the high praise.> I currently have a 24 gallon FO tank with an Eclipse 2 filter system here. I have been told that a fish tank can support 1" of fish per 3 gallons. <These rules only work well when you are talking about small fish. A six inch grouper metabolizes much more than six one inch Chromis.> The tank has been setup for over 3 months and currently have a magenta Dottyback, yellow wrasse, and a yellow grouper. How stringent is this rule? <See above comment.> Can the tank support more fish, i.e. an snowflake eel and a couple more small fish, if I keep the nitrates low by doing frequent water changes? <Sorry, but you already have too many fish. Your grouper will outgrow this tank shortly or perish from problems arising from being cramped.> This tank is stable at 82, with 0 ammonia & nitrites, 1.023 salinity. Thanks, Craig <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Peaceful fish 47.6 FO <Cheerio, old sport. Anthony Calfo in your service. Bob is preoccupied after eating a meal of Chinese food with waaaaaaaaay too much MSG in it. He had a strange request for a fire extinguisher> I have a 180l aquarium with a: pajama wrasse yellow tang scooter blenny blue-cheek goby 2 Common clown I want one more fish which would be peaceful, active and colorful. In my local shop they have a cherub angel and a Banggai Cardinalfish (on his own.) I wondered which would be a better choice, considering behavior (as I don't want to rearrange the rock too much).  <either are fine. both are hardy... although the cardinal as you suspect would live better with company. Being alive for weeks or months alone does not mean it will live its natural lifespan outside of a shoal. Besides they are marvelous to watch in a group> Or is there another fish which would be better?  <too many good choices... lets find something you like> I have an Eheim 2233, a Sander maxi-skim 400 and an internal Juwel filter. Also, is at worth upgrading my skimmer at some point, or is it OK? <more live rock and better skimmers are always good moves> As always, I am grateful for your opinion, James Matthams <thank you for caring to know it. Anthony Calfo>

Newbie setting up marine aquarium  55 or 80 Reef Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this afternoon.> I'm planning on starting a salt water tank soon. I'm currently doing as much research as possible before purchasing or designing anything. 1) Is there a difference between live rock and coral reefs? <Live rock is one part of what makes up a coral reef.> I've read that the anaerobic bacteria in live rock helps break down the nitrates in the water, and I would be interested in using this advantage. <Also, a natural food source and habitat.> 2) I have an idea of what fish I would like in my tank (tank size will be minimum of 55 gallons but probably around 80), I would like to know if these fish will live peacefully or if I will have problems: a couple of clown fish, 1 fox face, 1 Huma Huma trigger or Assasi Bursa, 1 Red Volitans Lion or Dwarf Lion, 1 Butterfly, 2 Tangs, and maybe a ray. <Leave out the ray. Chose between having the trigger or the lionfish.> 3) Would these fish species generally be safe in a reef environment with sea anemones, shrimp, or lobsters or live rock environment? <It would depend on the Butterflyfish species. The triggers will eat shrimp and crabs and may flip over corals. The lionfish will eat anything it can swallow.> 4) Last question, do you know of any reef safe angel fish? I love the brilliant colors of these fish however I hear they are completely unsafe in reef environments. <Many of the dwarf species of Angelfish, Centropyge, can be house in a reef tank. They may eat some of your inverts though. It is kind of hit and miss and depends on the inverts kept.> Thanks for your time. And thank you for an excellent website. I wouldn't dream of trying this hobby without the information available here. <The website is great, but I would recommend buying and reading Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". -Steven Pro>

Fish capacity question?  55 Reef Bob, I have recently purchased a 55 gal tank, a Fluval 304 canister filter, a SeaClone protein skimmer, 40lbs of biologically active sand (Arag-Alive), and 40lbs of dry reef sand to be used as my first marine aquarium. I set up the tank on Dec 30, 2001 and added two Blue Devil Damsels on Jan 2, 2002. I tested daily for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and have yet to see any!  <You may not... the live sand likely "pre-popped" this system... established sufficient biological cycling. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm> On Jan. 10, I added two Domino Damsels and have still failed to see any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. A friend of mine who has been keeping a reef tank for years said I possible missed the nitrogen cycle since I added the biologically active sand.  Is this possible and if so, can I add another fish such as a common clownfish to the tank in a week or so?  <Yes, and yes...do keep an eye on the Dascyllus (Dominos)... can be quite mean.> How many fish can I keep in this size tank? I was planning on adding a blue-headed wrasse, a strawberry fish, a blue cheeked goby, and possibly a flame angle. <Please read over the various Stocking, survey by group articles, FAQs on WWM here> Is this an acceptable mix in regards to both temperament and space?  <Possibly> My last question is in regards to hiding places. I currently have a 14" by 14" coral reproduction that has a cave built in the base as well as a single 12" elk horn coral reproduction. Do I need more structure in the tank for the fish I have listed to hide in/behind? <More would definitely be better> Thanks for your help. Ray McClain <And for your query, participation. Bob Fenner>

Your choice of tank inhabitants  92 FOWLR Hello Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please, no phid> I just wanted to know what you would house in one of my two auxiliary tanks, a.k.a. refugiums, if the choice was totally up to you. But first, some details of my system. The display tank is an AGA Corner 92 (curved triangle) set into a wild ---and I do mean WILD (I am a professional furniture maker) curved moldings and carvings stand.  <Neat! Hope you are documenting (taking good pix) of all your work!> This triangular tank will be set perpendicular to the wall, leaving room for a Hex 18 tank either side (these will be the refugiums). The whole setup resembles a giant "W" and is absolutely ultra-cool (I was commissioned to build one, so I built two instead--one for me! ) <Sounds good> It will eventually house a Gymnothorax miliaris, a Zebrasoma of some sort, a pair of Premnas biaculeatus w/ an Entacmaea quadricolor, a pair of Stenopus hispidus (if the eel doesn't eat them), <Yikes... the first moray will likely eat the clowns... maybe the shrimp> some Tridacnid sp., some Linckia sp., maybe a goby and shrimp combo, plus the usual brittle stars, hermits, snails, etc. One of the refugiums will probably contain a DSB, Caulerpa and Lysmata sp.. But the other...? I have considered seahorses, but they'd be as much maintenance as my FW Pipefish (3X feedings daily), and I want to set this SW system up so it could be left for a day or two without tending... <Good planning> So, if this were your tank, what would you house in the other Hex?  <Live rock, another type of macro-algae (maybe some reds), perhaps some "mud"... a low flow rate (1,2 X per hour)... a "different timed lighting schedule from the other tanks... and leave it at that with some opening for new livestock choices down the road, a separate tank to separate newcomers, bullies...> It will be illuminated by a JBJ 36w PC fixture, so high-lux needing creatures are out. I' like a Toby, but it would belong in the display, where it'd eat the Stenopus, so that's out. <Yes> Could you recommend an interesting species that would live comfortably in there? Thank you, Erik Nelson <As stated... I would (like to) leave my/your options open for now... suspect (I have been accused/assessed of having high intuition) that you will "come up" (awaken to your consciousness) "something" of interest. Bob Fenner>

A special fish (stocking)  46 FOWLR Hello, <Hello> I just found the WetWebMedia site today. I have really enjoyed the information on it. I saw a link that said to direct aquarium questions to you, so here goes.... I have 46 gallon bow front saltwater aquarium. I have two canister filters on it. One is rated for 40 gallon aquariums, the other for 55 gallon aquariums. On the smaller filter I have a UV clarifier. I have about 40lbs of crushed coral on the bottom. The crushed coral is on top of a Under Gravel Filter. I have two power heads on each side of the under gravel filter. I have about 15lbs in live rock, and about 10lbs in "dead" coral (did not realize the negative environmental effects of the dead coral when I purchased it). I have an air pump with four air stones on it. I have five turbo snails, one cleaner shrimp, three green Chromis, one Percula clown, one Atlantic cherub pygmy angel. The aquarium has been running for about six months. The salinity stays around 1.022, pH around 8.0, ammonia at zero. Here is the question...... I would like to add one more fish to the aquarium. I would like to get something that would be a good show fish. I would like to avoid the blue and yellow colors. I would like it to get a bigger size fish, but one that wont outgrow my aquarium (though I plan to go to a 72 gallon in about a year). I really like the look of Tangs and Angels, but most are too big for the aquarium. I like the pygmy angels. Since I am fairly new I will need something that does well in captivity. Any suggestions? <Mmm, I have both the Angels and Tangs rated by historical survivability in articles posted on WWM... I would go back, review them by species, and pick out a #1 rated one for your system. Perhaps a Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus sp.. tang, or one of the handful of hardier Centropyge angels. Glad we have met up with each other. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Charlie Lisanti

A few questions - Please  70 Reef Dear Mr. Fenner <Hello there> Greetings from the UK. First of all thanks for the pages they are great. I've spent lots of time reading them as this is our first venture into keeping marine fish - or any fish for that matter!  <Ah, a bold adventure> Hopefully Santa will be bringing me your book for Christmas. A few questions in the meantime if that's ok. I have a Juwel 240 liter, (about 70 US gallons I think) <Very nice tanks> With about 23Kg cured Live rock. As well as the inbuilt filter in the tank I have a Eheim Professional Canister Filter, A Prizm Skimmer, TMC Vecton UV Sterilizer, and a Maxi jet 1000 powerhead. So far we've taken it fairly steady we waited about a month with the live rock in just with a few snails and red leg hermit crabs. <Good idea> We now have about 5 soft corals (will get more) and are moving onto the fish. Do you think the tank would benefit from another powerhead? <Yes... placed at the opposite end of the other> The fish we have so far are: 1 Sailfin Tang 1 blue band Goby These seem to be settling in really well the Tang is demolishing the algae and the goby is doing a good job with the coral sand. we are thinking of a dwarf angel of some kind, plus a Banggai Cardinalfish. How much more do you think we can reasonably accommodate? <These and perhaps one, two more small fishes (up to 10cm.), or twice that in very small (5 cm.)> I rather fancy a butterfly fish but as they all seem to munch on corals I think that's out. <Actually... there are some good candidates that leave corals alone... you know where to read here> But we'd like something with a splash of color. Could we have another Tang or is the tank too small? <Another Sailfin like a Scopas might go, or a Ctenochaetus species... likely with just a bit of "jousting" before settling in.> Thanks, Phil <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple Tang and Picasso Trigger  150 Reef Bob, I have a question. I need to know what you think of mixing a few different fish. I have a 150 Gallon tank with a few fish. (1)Bi-color Angel 3", (1) Eiblii Angel 2", (1) Snow Flake eel 6", (1) Leopard Eel 2', (1) Black-back Butterfly 3", (1) Threadfin Butterfly fish 3", (2) Fire Fish Goby 2", (1) Clown 1" and (1) Long-tentacle Anemone. I was looking to add only two more fish, the Purple Tang and the Picasso Trigger. The Purple Tang is about the same size the Black-back Butterfly. The Picasso Trigger is about the same size. I just wanted to know if the Picasso Trigger would eat my Anemone or any one else or if the Tang or Trigger would kill any one of my fish. I know they can be territorial.  <Yes...> The other fish in my tank have held there own with the 2 foot long Leopard eel. Before I buy these fish I would just like your opinion on the possible two new tank mates. I have seen some of these fish together in my LFS. I did do some reading from your web site on these fish but I would just like your opinion. Thanks in advance, Pat <I hope that the Trigger will be one from the "mellower" end of the spectrum... this species exhibits wide, changeable ranges of behavior... It might cause trouble or not. And I would keep an eye on the Leopard Eel... you will likely want to trade it out in the future... as this species is "messy" with size/growth, and a piscivore. Bob Fenner>

Another stocking question...  45 FWLR Hi Robert, how is everything? <Seems okay> I'm putting together a 45G tank (I also have a 55 and 125 reef, and a 10G nano). The tank is 36" long x 12" deep x 24" tall. It is a Fish only with Live Rock tank. <Should be a breeze for you> It has a 5" sandbed, with a lot of rubble coral mixed on the top. The tank is viewable from both front and back, so I decided I wanted the rock in the middle of the tank. So I made 4 - 3/4" PVC piping going vertically up the tank attached to a base siliconed to the bottom of the tank. I then drilled holes in some LR and made the tank with the rock all climbing upwards almost to the top of the tank. <Only twelve inches wide? Must be a good job of stacking> It also has a few nice shelf pieces. Really interesting looking! Maybe you know what this type of tank is called? When I get pics I'll email you one. In short, their is a lot of swimming room in the tank, a fish could keep going in circles around the rocks like a race car swerving threw cones! <Okay> Anyways, back to the question. I am not using any skimmers or filters, just live rock, a DSB, and good water circulation. The tank is completely covered, so I don't have to worry about fish jumping out. This list isn't final, just looking for info so I can start crossing fish off the list. Will a Yellow headed Jawfish and a Pistol Shrimp/Watchman Goby live in this tank peacefully together? There's no worry of the rock falling because it's all up off the sand bed a half inch or so. Should I get a pair of shrimp gobies, or just one? I believe Jawfishes shouldn't be kept together correct? <In large-enough systems they are fine... one to this tank> I'm also curious to know if I could keep a longnose butterfly fish (juv), in this tank for a year or two? Or is it just too small? The only corals in this tank are xenia, polyps, and zoanthids. <Without filtration? I would leave out the Butterfly> Would a Sixline wrasse or a neon goby take a mate (friend) if I added one? I was thinking of trying to pair up the goby with a small friend. The 6-line I have no clue about. <Maybe the Neon> Would I be able to keep a flame angel and a coral beauty angel together in this tank if added together as juv.s? <No... too small a system for either> Do you think a small orchid Dottyback or longnose Hawkfish would chow down on my large cleaner shrimp?  Would they pose a threat to a coral banded shrimp? <The Hawk definitely... the Dottyback s/b fine> Would the coral banded shrimp pose a problem with a Jawfish or gobies? <No to the last> Any help, insight, opinions would be highly appreciated. Your opinions go a little farther than some IMO. <I would add a skimmer, other filtration. Bob Fenner> Thank you Robert, Happy Holidays! John Thompson Fish (stocking selection)  55 FO I am in the process of cycling my saltwater tank and preparing to stock with fish. I have a list of fish I would like you to look at and possibly make a recommendation as to which ones and how many of each. I have a 55 gallon tank The fish I am interested in are: Naso tang, yellow tang, Sailfin tang, clown triggerfish, black lion fish, Klein's butterfly, raccoon butterfly, Atlantic blue tang, queen angelfish, Korean angelfish, flame angelfish, and tomato clown fish.  I realize I cannot put all of them but I would like you to recommend the fish that will survive and how many of each. Thanks, Sal <Mmm, well... would rather suggest which of the above to consider further... I would leave off with a Naso in a 55, a four foot long tank won't be big enough for long enough for this species. Skip the Clown Trigger... too mean, big... Ditto with the large Angelfish species (Queen, Koran)... The others could get along together... but would limit your stocking to just three of them in a tank of this size, shape. Please read through the various survey pieces on these groups of fishes and general livestock selection pieces on our site (WetWebMedia.com) for much more. Bob Fenner, who has a brother in law named Salvatore).>

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

Can I add more fish?  72 FI Dear Mr. Fenner; I came across your site two weeks ago, it is great. Thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. <You would do the same, given a similar background my friend> I have had my 72-gal. bow tank up for three months now, I currently have two 4-stripe damsels, 1-green Chromis, 1-fox face, 1-maroon clown, (male) I lost the female the very next day. I also have 2-feather dusters, 1-peppermint shrimp and 1-long Spined urchin. I would like to get a female maroon clown, 3-banggai cardinal, and 1-lawnmower blenny for cleaning the bottom-has my tank been up long enough or should I wait?  <Hmm, from now? About a month should be fine for adding all these next> I am new to the trade and loving it! <Outstanding. After all these years me too.> Thank you so much! Lori <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Large Marine System Questions, principally stocking  1000 FO Hi! Mr. Fenner.... Well I must tell you that planning a big fish tank project is as exciting as it is stressful. <Yes> I stay awake at night thinking about the combinations of fish I am going to put in my two tanks. It is also frustrating that I can't do this till Jan. But I guess what makes a good hobbyist, is someone who plans well. <You are correct> My latest question for you is, can you tell me more specific stuff about the green bird wrasse. Can I keep him with corals and anemones? I know he will eat crabs and shrimp but that is o.k., just not corals. What about clams? <Likely fine with these> Also would a G. Bird wrasse or a snowflake moray try to eat a 2 inch maroon clown with a 6inch mate to maybe protect it. What are your thoughts on the matter? <A six inch female maroon clown is formidable... tougher than I. Should be okay> Finally, you had given me the o.k. to keep a Emperor, Maculosus and Annularis in a thousand gallon (15x4 feet) foot print tank. If I added a French to that collecting would it be too much? <Should also be fine> Thanks again for everything. You have been a great help to me. It would be a pleasure to meet you someday. Please do consider visiting Alaska someday. <And you coming around to places where the water is warm and clear and diving with us. Bob Fenner>

Fish selection   125 FO Mr. Fenner, I hope you have some ideas or thoughts about what I want to ask you. I want to have the following fish in my 125gwlr tank: emperor angel, asfur angel, Naso tang, Atlantic blue tang, powder blue or Achilles tang, saddleback b/f, and a raccoon or auriga b/f. <Whoa! Just one of the large angels... and it won't be able to live in this size system happily forever... the Powder Blue and Achilles Tangs are hard to keep. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/acanthurTngs.htm and the associated FAQs file for the genus> I  want your opinion on which ones might have a better chance of getting along. I have done all the reading I can possibly do,  <What? Do you have a theory, theme re the above selections? Please read through the "Selection" parts of the Marine Index on our site (WetWebMedia)> and have asked numerous people, but none of them are as experienced as yourself, and any question I have had in the past for you, has been answered with amazing accuracy. <Not that amazing my friend. If you had spent as many hours, years studying, writing, presenting in the fields of ornamental aquatics and was as limited, I would be amazed> I want to know if the PB or Achilles will get along better with the other fish I listed. I have read that both Achilles and pb's are fairly territorial as far as tangs go and that they should not be kept together. (Your book states this). <Yes> Is getting these two fish to get along together next to impossible or is there a 50/50 shot with good preparation and techniques?  <Good chances in very large (a couple of hundred gallons on up), very well established (lots of live rock, algae) systems> If I have a decent chance of keeping the pb and Achilles together, than I will just have those two and the Naso, and not get the Atlantic blue. If you think it is less than a 50% chance these two fish will get along, then which of the two (pb or Achilles) would get along with the Atlantic blue and Naso?  <Do "practice" with easier (hardier, less disease-prone) tangs... trust me here> I know that tangs will fight if they are the similar color, shape, size, or display similar behavior. But I have also heard from many other people and seen their tanks) that as long as the tangs are not the same species, they usually get along, not all the time, but no serious problems occur.  <Hmm, actually... don't like this generalization... and since you make it here... should respond: Some species are outright intolerant of other surgeonfish's (like the Orange-shoulder), others more so, dependent on apparent niche sharing/resource partitioning... and there is enormous within group differences in many of the larger species of acanthurids... have seen some absolute terrors...> You and others also have stated that if the Acanthurus tang is the dominant tang, there should be no problem. Others say that the PB should be the last tang added, others say the Achilles should be the last added.  <All these statements are good/useful... and confluent... read through them again.> So as you can see, I am very confused as to what exactly to do when I do try this. And seeing another person that has a PB and Achilles together and getting along makes me wonder. I would like your opinion on what order I should add the fish and in what size compared to the existing inhabitants.  <You have it... I wouldn't add either the Achilles or Leucosternon tang... trouble for you, believe me> I already have the changing 4.5" emperor and the Naso 5.5"(they get along like they're best friends for life), and am thinking of adding the b/f's next. Then I kind of have some tuff decisions to make about which fish I should add, and what size it should be. Do you think I should add the PB first at about 3.5-4" then add the Achilles afterwards. And should the Achilles be bigger or smaller compared to the PB? <Neither, none of the above> Just stuff like that will help me a lot on making my decision. One thing though that I have learned from you is to take what you know and devise your own ideas and hypothesis.  <Bingo!> I take your advice in the highest regard, but sometimes you need to decide for yourself. <Not sometimes... Always, each individual must ultimately decide for themselves. Remember this> I know you advise that having an emperor and asfur and a PB and Achilles in a 125g tank is probably not going to work, but I want to try it, but only if I get some encouraging responses. <Why would you allow such a flaw in personal logic? This seems inconsistent.> I mean, I have seen other peoples tanks that have fish that you shouldn't have together and they get along great. I do plan on moving all these fish to a much bigger tank within a couple years (240+g tank), <In the meanwhile, would you be happy living in a relatively little space yourself? Say something similar in dimensions... ten times your length by three times your width? Cruel and foolish> so I am getting smaller or juv fish for now so that they still have swimming room. But I know that they will need a much larger tank in the coming years <Months> to have sustain a healthy long lived life. I know that crowding fish in too small of a tank is asking for it. I have also noticed that people say to add to territorial fish at the same time and that juv or smaller fish tend to get along better than if they were full grown adults. Do you find this to be true?  <Yes, almost always> I am also planning on adding more LR to add to my 100lbs right now to make even more hiding spots, caves, holes, crannies so that the fish feel like they have more of their own territory. I also am going to be adding quite a few rocks that are covered in different types of macroalgae (i.e.. Caulerpa, Halimeda, and possibly some Dictyota) to keep the fish feed at all times and make the tank seem more like home. Also a quick question about the angels, I am going to try to add the asfur sometime in the future but would like your opinion about what size I should get to lessen the aggression between the emperor and asfur.  <Just get one or the other>  Thank you for your time and answers, Ryan. <Ryan, take diving lessons, and come on a trip with us or on your own... see how much space these animals "enjoy" in the wild... don't cheat yourself (it will be heartbreaking to lose this livestock) or your fishes. Study, and take your time here. Take care. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner fish and tank mates  55 FO I have a 3in porcupine puffer set up in a 55gal by itself with live rock and sand. I am wanting to add some tankmates. Any suggestions? <All sorts... How about a hardy tang? See our coverage here re hardiness and temperament: http://wetwebmedia.com/tangs. Maybe a Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species... Or a hardy wrasse, or bass of small maximum size... You can sort through all of these... and much more on our site (www.WetWebMedia.com)> Also wanting to add something to help clean the tank? Once again any suggestions would be appreciated? Thanks. <All posted on the WWM site. Enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Marine fish Hi, Bob. Can you tell me good web site that shows pictures of marine fish including a short description of them (length, adaptability, etc).  <Wish I could... I use Scott Michael's Pocket Guide and Reef Fishes books, the old WEB/HRA/RayH TFH Atlas... and a bunch of other references... oh, including fishbase.org on the Net...Bob Fenner> Thanks, Bernd Butterflyfishes Hi! Mr. Fenner, I have a couple of questions for you. In your Q&A page, someone mentioned having a trio of semi larvatus butterflies in his reef tank. Is that a good idea or do you think they would eat up the corals.  <It's a very good idea... if enough space is available (large butterflies as you know, up to plate-size) and adequate feeding...> I am in the process of slowly setting up a thousand plus gallon reef tank with three large angels and some tangs. Can I put butterflies in there? <Yes, certainly> If so which ones, other than the copperband and pyramid? <Please see the many pieces on the chaetodonts archived on our site, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm Lots to read, consider.> Thanks again for everything. Bhaskar. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine stocking again Hey Bob, I did put my new piece of live rock in my tank today. My tang is really happy about all the new algae to much on and my cleaner shrimp seam to love the cave in it. Anyways I have put the list of fish I want to gradually add together and wanted to run it buy you before I start buying. Ok right now I have a clean up crew of 50 snails and hermits, a Kole tang, and a mated pair of Percula clowns. I would like to add: 1 6 line wrasse, 1 or more neon gobies (do they live ok singly or should I keep a group), <One is best in a small volume... under a hundred gallons> and last a juv. blue or Cortez angel (I haven't decided which yet and I'm going to wait a long time to add these to make sure my larger tank becomes a reality) <Good idea... both are too big for a small tank... under a hundred gallons. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Jonathan Pac

Fish problem I have put in two Common Clownfish, but my pajama wrasse is harassing them constantly. At the moment I have put a mesh partition across the tank. Is there anything I can do to improve his behavior as I don't want to return him to the fish shop. In the shop the clowns were with a yellow tang, would he keep the wrasse in check? <Possibly, and worth a try if you enjoy the wrasse otherwise, have space for the Tang> If I did return the wrasse, could you suggest a suitable stocking plan of peaceful, interesting fish. My tank is 38 gallons net. (I am a beginner) <Many choices here my friend. Please peruse the "marine livestock selection" and many survey pieces on fish and non-fish groups posted on our site (www.WetWebMedia.com). Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, James Matthams

Fish stocking  40 FO Thanks for your help on skimmers, it has been very helpful. I have read that stocking order is important. Could you suggest an order for these: (I have already put in the wrasse) pajama wrasse 2 common clowns Scarlet Hawkfish Orange-spotted goby Royal Gramma Scooter blenny <Hmm, would have been better (here's someone's law at work) to place the Wrasse last (of course!)... but from here the Clowns go in with the Scooter (wait on the Orange-Spotted till there is sufficient "interstitial fauna" (critters growing in/amongst your substrate, lest it starve)... then last (a month or so later) the Gramma and Hawk> Will they all swim near the bottom, or is there anyone I can add who will swim higher up the tank? <Gramma and Wrasse midwater, rest near bottom> What inverts could I add? My tank is a 40 gallon containing approx 2 gallon worth of rock. <More rock... this tank will be overcrowded fish wise with the growth of your wrasse. Read about the invertebrates on our site, starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/non-vert.htm> Your help is appreciated, James Matthams <As is your conscientious involvement. Bob Fenner>

New addition  75 FI Hi Bob, I have a 75 gallon with the following occupants, 1 Regal Tang, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Flame Angel, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Blue Damsel, 2 Feather Dusters, 3 Snails and 1 Cleaner Shrimp. I would like to add a new fish, perhaps a Falcula Butterfly or Foxface. I'm worried they may pick at my feather dusters though. <The Butterfly may well.> What do you think or do you have another suggestion for a fish that will be compatible with the rest of my tank mates?  <This is a long list... I encourage you to keep investigating your possibilities... Perhaps by perusing the "Livestock Selection" articles and "Stocking FAQs" posted on the WWM site, as well as the Marine Fishes survey pieces and FAQs (there are many)... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd6of6.htm> Anything smaller than the clowns and the damsel will beat up. Thanks for any suggestions you may have. Patty <Be reading my friend. Bob Fenner>

LR curing and stocking plan  120 Reef Hi Bob, After what seems like forever, my system is finally setup and actually has water in it! Yeah! My wife never thought this day would come! :-) I just ordered some LR from FFE and it should arrive tomorrow. Can't wait! Here's a quick recap: 90 gal tank, 30 gal sump (1/2 filled with 3-4" sand and will have Caulerpa), Dolphin 800 for return, Aqua-C EV90 skimmer, 90lbs LR (tomorrow), 80lbs cc (about 1.5" deep), Rio800 (leftover from old tank) for additional water movement, 220watts pc. Two questions: I still have a Turboflotor 1000 available. If I wanted to cure the whole 90lbs of LR in place, would running the Turboflotor along with the Aqua-C speed up the curing?  <Wouldn't hurt. I would run it> Second, could you give me your opinion of this potential stocking list: 40 Astrea snail, 10 blue leg hermit crab, 2 Lysmata amboinensis, 2 tank raised true perculas, 2 Gobiosoma oceanops, 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, 2 Gobiodon citrinus, 1 Ctenochaetus strigosus, 1 Cirrhilabrus scottorum, 1 juvenile Pomacanthus imperator, plus various 'shrooms, Ricordea, Sarcophyton, and later anchor coral and frogspawn? Would I need additional lighting for the anchor and frogspawn? <No extra lighting... you know the Emperor will outgrow this ninety> Sorry about the long email. I'm just really excited! Thanks again for everything. During this whole process, I've felt like I've had a friend help me along every step of the way. Have a great weekend. <Ah, a pleasure. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: LR curing and stocking plan Wow Bob, good morning. I didn't expect a reply this early. You must be reading emails while brushing your teeth! :-)  <Instead of...> And yes, I know the big angel will eventually outgrow the 90, but the wife loves that one. If I started with a 3" juvenile, how long do you estimate it would be happy in that environment? 2-3 years hopefully? <About this time frame, yes> I'd be able to provide a larger tank by then. If not, then I can try talking the wife into a Centropyge again in the meantime. Thanks. <No thanks! Bob Fenner>

Re: More Questions from Mexico :)   125 Reef Hula Robert Your speed at answering questions amazes me :) My question is about my future tank inhabitants. The fish I already have: a couple of P. biaculeatus, 1 Salarias fasciata, 1 royal Gramma, 1 yellow surgeon, 1 six line wrasse (after your suggestion of avoid the green bird) and 1 Valenciennea strigata (small). Shrimps: 2 S. hispidus, 2 L. amboinensis and 3 L. wurdemanni The tank is 110 gal + 15 gal sump with 180 (approximately) pounds of live rock In the main tank (from Fiji and Mexico's gulf) + 20 pound of Mexico's gulf rock in the sump (do you think I still need more LR?) <No... but likely a bigger sump!> The sump capacity is in fact 27 gals, but because of the water circulation and the fact that I use the world famous "R. Shimek Kalkwasser addition method" (an inverted bottle, in fact 2 of them) inside the sump I haven't increased the water level. How much I should increase the amount of water in the sump? <Oh! This new volume is better, fine...> Is there room for more fish? I guess not for big fish, but what about some gobies? damsels? Chromis? <Yes...> Which ones? Pseudochromis? how many? <Would stay away from the last genus unless you can pick out some of the easier-going species that are tank bred... And would add a couple, trio of what interests you and wait/see how psychologically fit the mix is before adding more.> I love the fridmani the flavivertex and the springeri.  If I add some of these, I still have room for other of the fish I mentioned above or should I choose between the Pseudo's or something else <Something else would be better, less likely to inspire behavioral problems... the tank bred flavivertex tend to be easy going however... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm> So far the water parameters are "perfect" except for the Ca which I can't get above 390ppm. <This is fine> Last questions: I really love xenias, which are really difficult to find here in Mexico I saw the Xenias FAQ's and seems people either love them or hate them. What should I look when buying a xenia? <Local supply (terrible shippers), good health, pulsing...> Do you think they could survive a 1 day trip from US to Mexico? <Maybe... best to "hand carry" in your back pack...> One of the owners of a pet store could get me a permission for import, but I don't know whether the Xenia could stay in the bag for a day. <Just say any/all such livestock is for "personal consumption"... If asked, what are these for: Personal consumption> Same situation with some Tridacnas (which are VERY expensive here) and shrimps, which besides the Stenopus are hard to find. I wish I could get some more L. wurdemanni if they could survive and perhaps some small corals if they could survive the trip. Which could be my best options? <These can all be shipped with little chance of loss... by folks who know what they're doing (loose bags (even though the cabin is pressurized), multiple layers, some sessile invertebrates suspended/floated upside down... all carry-on... all for Pers. Cons...> Guess I should put them (if I can find one) under a shadow and in front of a current? <Okay> I have 2 250 watts 12000K bulbs) Will the shrimps eat the xenia? <Not likely> Any special tricks to making the xenia grow? (seems a lot of people have exactly the opposite problem, but here that won't be a problem cause I'm sure I could trade them). <For a few months... very easy to keep in general> Guess that's all for now. Gracias, nos vemos edg <Por nada mi amigo. Buenos suerte. Roberto Fenner>

Fish Stocking  135 Reef Bob Once again thank you for all your help and if I am bothering you, please let me know. I have a fish compatibility question for you. As I told you before I am currently upgrading my 46 gal reef to a 135 gal reef. I had a 6 line wrasse, cherub angel, Percula clown and a fire fish in my 46 gal. I would like to add to those fish one more Percula clown, Yellow assessor, Royal Gramma, schooling banner and a decorated goby to the 135. I have also thought about a blue assessor and a flame angel for this list. I want to know your thoughts about the compatibility of these fish with each other and the reef environment. <Should all be fine in the 135> I also want to make sure I am not adding too many fish to this system. I do not want to have any overstocking problems. Once again thanks so much for your help. Jason <Press on my friend. It is obvious you have been studying. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish Bob I have a couple of follow up question if you don't mind. I have done research on the flame angel and have found some info that says they will eat soft coral and other that say they are just fine if fed twice a day. <Some individuals, sometimes do/will consume stinging-celled animal tissue> Would you feel comfortable with one of these in your reef tank?  <Yes, have kept Centropyge of many species in reef tanks many times> I also want to know if the yellow and blue assessor will be ok together.  <If the system is large enough, has sufficient decor/habitat, yes> Finally, is there any order in which I should introduce all these fish into the tank. <Certainly... the least aggressive, more adaptable at first, ones that need more stable environments, more interstitial fauna later> Thanks again, Jason
<You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

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