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FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 6

Related Articles: Foods/Feeding/NutritionBasic Fish Nutrition by Pablo Tepoot & Marine Nutrition, Probably the most overlooked component of proper fish keeping By Aaron Loboda, Feeding a Reef Tank: A Progressive Recipe by Adam Blundell, Making Vegetarian Gel Food for Fish: Five Minutes, Five Easy Steps by Nicole Putnam, Culturing Food Organisms

Related FAQs: Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 1, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 2, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 3, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 4, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition 5, & FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition: Kinds, Amounts, Frequency, Feeding Methods/Techniques/Tools, Automated Feeding, Holiday/Vacation Feeding, Medicated/Augmented Foods/Feeding, Feeding/Food Problems, Products by Brand Names/Manufacturers... & Dry Foods, by Brand: Sera, Spectrum, Tetra, Other BrandsBrine ShrimpAlgae as Food, VitaminsNutritional DiseaseFrozen Foods, Coral Feeding, Anemone Feeding, Growing Reef CoralsCulturing Food OrganismsButterflyfish Foods/Feeding/Nutrition,

Emperor Angel, fdg.    3/5/20
This website has gotten a lot more complicated through the years. I asked for advice from Bob Fenner many years ago regarding my new addition, Imperator Angel “Gabriel” Mr. Fenner helped me with the problem. Fast forward 14 years.
<Still here>
This same angel suddenly and without explanation just stopped eating. Nothing has changed in the tank- no new additions, water checks OK , no other tank mates ill. It has been 2 weeks. I have tried everything. The crazy thing is that other than not eating he is acting perfectly normal, no breathing issues , or erratic swimming or parasites.
<Or thinness? Perhaps this fish is picking at what is in the system...>
He is anticipating food like his tank mates waiting at the top but when I put food in – I have tried everything- he looks but does not eat. Most people say “It’s just a fish” but not to me. He is a cherished pet. Any advice as to what to entice him to eat or as to why this is happening is greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks
<Do you have another established system that you could move this fish to? What I am proposing is that a sudden, large change in the environment might change this fish's behavior. If it were me/mine, I'd execute a very large water change while gravel vacuuming, move the hard decor about (rearrange all rock... into bommies vs. a wall) and try adding appetite stimulant product to the food AND directly to the water: SeaChem Entice is a fave, or just straight Selcon or the ingredient from Selco... AND definitely try an opened bivalve mollusk (yes, a clam, mussel)... placed on the bottom. Many angels find them irresistible. Bob Fenner>
Re: Emperor Angel      3/6/20

Mr. Fenner, you are indeed the ‘fish whisperer’ I rearranged the rocks (although I had to Google ‘bommies’ :>) I gave him some clams on the half shell from my local fish store and he gobbled them up!!!!!!
<Ah! Congratulations Carol>
I now have hope that he will start eating other foods like before.( I thought he might be dying of old age). Is it safe to buy clams & mussels from the local fish store?
<Yes; but likely cheaper from the human food outlets. Do look for the "mixed seafood" frozen bag of a pound or two>
It is a lot less expensive. You should know that your book ‘The Conscientious Marine Aquarist” has been a guiding light since I started this hobby so many years ago.
<I thank you for your kind, encouraging words>
Any new publications?
<Ah yes; a few. Please search on Amazon.com under my name Robert/Bob...>
I think I will sleep better tonight. Thank You!
<You've made my day. Life to you Carol. BobF>

Re: Striped Fang Blenny and Invertebrates; now foods, feeding       3/5/19
Hi Bob,
<Howdy Callum>
I emailed a while back regarding my Striped Fang Blenny who was biting my resident snail population. Thank you for your advice, I have been keeping him well fed and have had no issues since.
<Ah, good>
However, something odd happened after I successfully weaned the blenny on to high quality Dainichi & Spectrum pellet foods. He now shows little interest in the foods he once devoured, like garlic enhanced frozen Mysis, Brine Shrimp and live Black Worms! Yet once I add the pellets he goes crazy for them and even out-competes my gutsy Green Chromis. I just thought I would share this as I’ve never come across a fish that almost shuns frozen food (he stills eats some) in favour of dry foods.
<Some have exceptional gustatory preference... Like children's cereal eh?>
I suppose it may not be a bad problem to have but I will work on getting him to eat more frozen
offerings. If you have any insight into this I would love to hear from you.
<High quality dried, pelleted foods of complete nutrition are fine as a staple diet>
Many thanks,
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse “Hovering”; now (marine) fish nutrition, foods      2/11/19
Your deep history and understanding is why I bug you so often! I appreciate that.
Bob, in your experience, what can I feed to make sure the fish get enough fibre/fibrous material to help keep them happy. I feed frozen krill, Mysis, both soaked in Selcon. Also feed omega 1/2 flakes and NFS pellets. I guess I’m asking about wrasses mostly given my other fish eat nori and everything else.
<Am a huge fan of modern formulated diets... for ease of provision, absence of disease pathogens, offering nutritionally complete diets, and value. I greatly favor the Hikari and Spectrum pelleted brands and San Francisco frozen offerings>
Hope that is good variety?!
<Most important is simply providing a good mix of useful molecules, in a service-able format of high palatability. Doesn't need to be "live".>
Thanks Bob!
<Welcome Anik. BobF>

A question about one specific European fish species having Thiaminase       5/18/17
<Hello Sami>
I have lots of snakes and monitor lizards and I live in Finland. We have a very limited supply of feeder fish here, herring is out of the question but does Coregonus albula have Thiaminase? It is readily available here, I've read a lot of lists with species containing Thiaminase and species that doesn't have it. So far I haven't seen C. albula mentioned on any lists. What do you guys say? Is it safe?
Regards Sami Myllymäki, Turku, Finland
<I do consider Coregonines "safe" re Thiaminase. They are touted as fisheries forage for other Salmonids over other species (e.g. Alewifes) for this trait. Bob Fenner>

Struggling To Get My Raccoon Butterfly To Eat ? 10/29/08 Hello? <<Hiya Tom>> I think this is my third or fourth time emailing you and you have always provided a lot of help. Thanks! <<Ahh, good to know? I hope I can continue the trend>> In this case my problem is getting somewhat urgent. <<Uh-oh>> I purchased a raccoon Butterflyfish from Blue Zoo aquatics on 10/17, and today is 10/28. He is in solitary quarantine in a 29 g tank. He is about 3" long. Ultimately he will go into a 210 g display tank. Through this entire time he swims around the tank like he is perfectly healthy. He is always inspecting the decorations I put in the tank for shelter. However, I have not been able to get him to eat anything consistently. <<Mmm, I see? and yes, time to get concerned>> I feed my fish a homemade mixture of thawed Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, grated scallops, grated shrimp, and krill, all of which is soaked in Selcon and garlic juice before being frozen in little cubes. <<A good offering?>> Normally my fish love it, but the Butterflyfish doesn't. I have tried giving him pieces of algae sheets, and he seems to nibble on them, but he doesn't eat them consistently nor in large amounts. <<Indeed? not an algae eater>> I have also tried some different pellet and flake foods, but not surprisingly he is not interested in those either. I've soaked pretty much everything in garlic, but he seems to resist it. I did find a live rock in an old display tank with a few mushroom polyps on it, which I put in the quarantine tank. He apparently ate the polyps pretty quickly, although I did not actually witness this. I have heard that to induce feeding with raccoon Butterflyfish you can try giving them a small anemone. <<Is an option, yes>> Unfortunately I live in a small town and my ability to get an anemone for this purpose is somewhat limited. Do you have any other ideas? <<A couple? Try some live, or at least fresh, clam or mussel in the shell. Crack or spread the shell open so the fish can get to the meat and place on the bottom of the tank. Another favorite of mine for inducing finicky feeders is frozen glass worms (white mosquito larvae). Although a ?freshwater? organism they are still quite nutritious for marines? and something about their texture/look seems to be quite hard for fish to resist in my experience. I would also go ahead and move this fish to the larger display tank. The larger quarters will with the presence of the live rock upon which to browse will help here, along with seeing its tankmates eating to help induce a feeding response toward your prepared foods>> Thanks a lot for your help. Tom Dahl <<Happy to share? please let me know how things go. Eric Russell>> Angelfish in large aquarium... comp.    8/9/08 Hey "Crew". Thanks for all your hard work! <Grant> I've got a 210 gallon tank I'm currently slowly stocking, it has about 150 pounds of live rock. Pair of Semilarvatus B/F, Checkerboard wrasse and a Purple tang are the current inhabitants. I want to add a Naso tang, and then hopefully TWO angels. The angels in question are the Emperor and the Queen angel. <Mmmm> I know mixing angels isn't necessarily recommended, but with the current stocking plan and plenty of swimming space, do you think these two angels would be able to co-exist? <Ultimately... not happily likely> The Emperor is going to be about 3", still a juvenile and then Queen would be a 5-6 inch adult. For what it's worth, all inhabitants are quarantined and both angels would be added at the same time to the display tank, although quarantined in separate tanks. Grant <Oddly enough, were this tank a bit larger... hundreds more gallons, you could "crowd" more large pomacanthids in with little concern... but... too likely to be territorial issues here in a 210. Bob Fenner> How do I get my fish to try new food?   3/10/13
Hi all.  I'm wondering if one of you wonderful experts here can give me a hint on how to get my fish to eat a variety of food.  I've had a flame Hawkfish for a year now, and all he eats is krill and Mysis.  I've tried tempting him with New Life Spectrum pellets, which most of my other fish love, and even capelin eggs, which drive some of my other fish into a feeding frenzy.  Nothing.  He just watches the food drop by.  And I don't think he even sees flake food floating on the top.  I'd love to vary his diet, as nothing but krill and Mysis can't be healthy over the long term. 
I've even tried starving him for a few days to make him good and hungry, but no luck.  Any thoughts on this?  Thanks!
<Yes; slowly (over weeks time) but steadily, mix all foods together before offering, decreasing the favored items, and substituting the pellets. Have seen all Cirrhitid species kept in captivity accept NLS. Bob Fenner>
Re: How do I get my fish to try new food?   3/10/13

Bob - Great idea!  Thanks!  I can stuff a pellet or two into a piece of krill, and progress to just marinating the pellets in mashed krill.  Will do!
<Cheers! BobF>

My fish are pigs/Feeding Marines 7/25/12
Hi Bob,
Hi Jeff, James with you today.>
I'm not sure I'm imagining this problem or not, so I thought I'd ask. When I feed our fish (2x a day), our two Heniochus and single Kole Tang slurp up just about everything, leaving hardly any scraps for our very shy Royal Gramma, the Pearly Jawfish, Shrimp Goby, the Mandarin and to a lesser extent the black and white clowns who are a little better at competing. If I push the tang and Heniochus away, the gramma, Jawfish and goby go into hiding, so that doesn't help. I had been giving the mandarin Nutramar Ova to supplement its copepod diet (I've been cultivating copepods in a separate tank but it's slow going), but the Heniochus and tang found out they love that stuff as much as they love the Rod's food and grab that as well before the mandarin can get to it.
Are the others feeding at night and should I assume they're finding nourishment from scraps at the bottom or in the live rock?
<I'm sure they are finding something to sustain them but it may not be enough.>
If not, do you have a tried and true method for distributing food? That's the other problem, I find myself overfeeding them because I'm thinking everyone isn't getting enough, and that creates a whole host of other problems.
<Try target feeding the specific area where the Starvin Marvins are hanging out.  A turkey baster or similar device works well for this.>
Thanks for any advice,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Macropharyngodon geoffroy with Mysis head stuck in mouth/throat. – 5/26/12
I believe that I must have some of the worst and strangest things happen to my fish. (Literally, PERIOD.)
Well, good morning and a happy Memorial Day Weekend to Bob and Friends at WWM!
I've had two leopard wrasses in their 20 gallon reef "Quarantine" for the past two months. They have both been eating very well (brine, Mysis, and Frozen Formula One). One is a M. bipartitus who I've had for three months, aptly named "Sleeping Beauty", and the other, M. geoffroy who had been a voracious eater - I've seen her eat huge pieces of Mysis,
<The genus doesn't come very "giant">
and believe me, these fish know the concept of size and the geoffroy is the one who goes after the huge pieces of food that gets placed in there. Well, I'm thinking that this may be the reason for her current condition. For the past couple of days, I've noticed that her mouth is stuck in a strange open position and she appears stressed by this but otherwise no obvious signs of injury or infection. As I sat there repeating to myself, "why is her mouth stuck open" phrase over and over, I remembered years ago when I kept fancy goldfish, one inadvertently tried to eat an Albino Corydoras, and ended up with the Cory's skull stuck in his throat. All that was needed was getting a pair of small forceps to remove the skull. Okay, I thought, go get me some forceps and get to work, but hey! The Geoffrey's mouth is SMALL!
I remember that my mom used to tell me to gargle with vinegar if you get a fish bone stuck in your mouth. I remember learning the Heimlich maneuver in med school. But you don't do that to a little leopard wrasse!
What should I do?
<Leave all as is... the Leopard Wrasse will work out this bit of stuck material and/or it will fall off>
On a side note, my 220 display is getting fresh water baths to rinse out the chlorine as I type. I poured 2 cups of bleach in whilst the tank is half full as I agitated the sand and scrubbed/moved rocks around - Whew! I think I got my respiratory tract cleaned out!
<Do leave your windows open! This should have been mentioned in the article I referred you to>
Thanks as always, I think at the end of this hobby, I may be able to pen a book named, "All the strange things that occurred whilst I tried to be a Conscientious Marine Aquarist"!
Sincerely Yours,
<Cheers! BobF, twixt three cook-a-thons... this one after seven biking stops at local breweries.>
Re: Macropharyngodon geoffroy with Mysis head stuck in mouth/throat. – 5/26/12

Bob, have a safe and wonderful weekend!
<Thank you. B>

Marine Betta Experience, fdg., training live-food-only fishes    4/25/12
About 8 months ago, I purchased a Marine Betta, and found getting him to eat anything but live foods to be quite a challenge.
<Often the case w/ Plesiopsids>
 I did a lot of
research, including on your website on feeding them. I thought I would share my experience because he is now trained on New Life Spectrum pellets, because others would likely welcome the same information.
<Ahh, I thank you>
I started by feeding him enriched live shrimp, with the goal of weaning him off as soon as possible. The first tip I would have is not to spoil them.

I made this mistake early on when feeding him live foods too often. I then decided to try frozen Mysis, which he would not touch. I fed this to my fish about twice a week and covered it in a garlic supplement. He would not touch it until I used the garlic additive. He then tried it a few times, and spit it out. But after a week of that, he finally ate the frozen stuff.
I then included frozen Mysis and the new life spectrum pellets. Again, I tried the garlic supplement (I think it was called GVH fish food soak). In about two more weeks, after alternating frozen Mysis and new life spectrum, he finally started eating the pellets. I know where he hides in the take, so I put the pellets in a stream of water where the pellets would end up in front of him. Before long, he would come out when I fed the other fish. He will only eat the large pellets, while the other fish eat the smaller ones.
He is now fully trained on the pellets.
<Ah good>
I will say, I have had lionfish in the past, and training him was similar to them. He will also go on periodic hunger strikes, much like they will.
Although he hides a lot, those periods where he comes out make having him worth it.
Hope this helps someone,
<Indeed. Many others. Bob Fenner>

Fresh Water Fish Roe as Food for Salt Water Fish  /RMF   7/19/11
Is fresh water fish roe a bad thing to feed to the inhabitants of a reef?
<In general no; it's fine; though there are some toxic species...>
I ask because I want to start making my own fish/reef food and since I like to fish, I would hate to waste the roe of fresh water fish that I catch.
Chuck Furr
<If you/d eat it, it's fine for your marine fishes. Bob Fenner>
Fresh Water Fish Roe as Food for Salt Water Fish  /Neale   7/19/11
Is fresh water fish roe a bad thing to feed to the inhabitants of a reef? I ask because I want to start making my own fish/reef food and since I like to fish, I would hate to waste the roe of fresh water fish that I catch.
<As an occasional addition it's unlikely to do harm and should provide useful fats and proteins in particular. Certainly, feeding marine roe to freshwater fish does no harm at all. But at a broader level, do understand that many freshwater fish contain thiaminase, and that makes them best used as occasional rather than regular additions to the diet, and furthermore, there's a subtly distinct nutrient make-up in freshwater animals when compared to saltwater ones. While freshwater animals seem to be extremely
adaptable, many marine animals seem to depend on specific nutrients they receive directly or indirectly from marine plankton, so foods with a marine origin are crucial to the long-term success of marine livestock. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Feeding question, reading response, HPO4   1/7/11
Howdy. I would appreciate a collective response to this puzzling question (for me anyway).
I've read recommendations on feeding fish ranging from 3 times per day to every 3 days!
<Mmm, both could be quite right, or both wrong... really depends on what's being fed what for what purpose/s...>
Frankly, for me, this has always been the most perplexing thing about keeping a marine aquarium.
<If so, then you're very fortunate>
I have a reef tank with live rock and corals - well established now for about 3 years. My fish run the gamut - tangs, butterfly, dwarf angel, trigger, gobies, clowns. I've skipped days and feed multiple times per
They are ALWAYS hungry J.
<A good sign, indication of health>
My desire is to keep them healthy and create as realistic environment as possible. I monitor my parameters regularly and keep phosphates in check with a phosphate reactor.
<Not a fan... as you'll find by following instructions re perusing our site>
So, is there any reliable recommendation for frequency of feeding - or is 'to each his own'?
<Mmm, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
scroll down to ... the tray on Nutrition, the FAQs files on Amounts, Frequency... and the same FAQs file for the livestock you have... posted/archived on WWM>
Thanks for the time to share your expert knowledge.
<And you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Feeding question 1/7/11
Hey BobF -- what a great link -- thank you!
<Welcome Gene!>
Okay, I'm convinced: there really is no definitive answer to 'how much' or 'how often' to feed. Each system is unique. I can live with that. BTW, I did not mean to sound 'cocky' when mentioning my greatest concern in keeping a reef tank was the frequency of feeding.
<No cockiness perceived>
Frankly, I've been fortunate to have few real problems -- going very slowly, and relying on sources like 'WetWebMedia' have helped tremendously.
<Ah good, fortunate>
I was, however, a bit confused about your position regarding a phosphate reactor. I read a number of posts on the subject -- but did not get the impression that a reactor was a bad thing. Sorry if I overlooked the obvious.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hpo4control.htm
and MarcoL's article re HPO4, and at least the Chemical Filtrants FAQs linked above. Some soluble phosphate is essential (needed) for chemoautotrophs... and am in general not positive re the majority of folk's utilization of chem. removal...>
Bob, I appreciate your expertise and guidance. You have been very helpful to me, personally.
<Am very glad to help you Gene. BobF>
Thank you!

Humu Trigger And Others! Reef stkg., fdg.    12/31/10
Good morning! Happy New Year! Greetings from Montana!
<And back at you from (today) sunny (though cool) San Diego, CA!>
Hope its warm where you are-it's --12 here right now and that does not count wind-chill. Oh we also got 12' of snow overnight! Glad fish are warm!
<Wish I was!>
I have a 110 gallon bowfront tank with the following inhabitants: 1-3-4' Humu Humu, 1- 2-3' Green File Fish (who has no taste for glass anemones),
2-Pajama Cardinals, 1-Tribal blenny, and 1-3-4' lawnmower blenny and 3- common starfish and a sand star ( I know, he came in the clean-up crew package and I do occasionally do see him when he climbs the tank wall don't know really why they would include one of these as these are really not suitable for a 110), a green BTA , Haitian Anemone, a cleaner shrimp (who belongs exclusively to the Humu), 4 peppermint shrimp (who do like the glass anemones), 2-pistol shrimp and various hermit crabs, snails etc. All they will eat with the exception of the Lawnmower Man is CLAMS and occasionally they will eat frozen whole shrimp...no two ways around it.
<Mmm, not a good strict diet. I'd train them onto Spectrum pellets: http://wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt1.htm
This is fine as I buy them on the half shell frozen (all my pets are spoiled...you should see my calves who are destined for the table (can't beat Montana beef!). But I am concerned that the clam only diet is not varied enough.
<You should be: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
They all will grudgingly eat shrimp (fish foods are an absolute no, no and I think they would starve if that is all I gave them) but the frenzy for the clams is unreal. Are they getting enough nutrition with just clams?
<No; and too much of other nutrient groups>
The Humu I suspect is supplementing his diet with my small snails which oh well! They are all getting along well and the Humu and File Fish appear to be good friends and they play all the time together. Actually everyone gets along well, although the Tribal Blenny does harass the Humu occasionally but I think it is more of a game. I don't see any aggressiveness there.
Several questions here: Is the clam diet sufficient for all?
<... not>
I realize the Tribal Blenny is supposed to eat algae, but he will only eat algae IF there are no clams for him. 2- The Humu can be a bit aggressive at feeding time and will at times guard all clams that are put in the tank. Can I use a net and spirit him in there to eat so all others can eat a bit more peacefully?
<Not a good plan long haul... Mix in a higher percentage of the Spectrum brand... highly palatable and complete nutritionally>
The Humu will eat until he looks like he is going to explode (then he goes to bed and takes a nap for about 45 minutes).
<Fishy food coma?>
Oh also, husband found a mated pair of clowns that he wants they are about 3-4 years old. Would this be an advisable pair to put in?
<Might upset the social dynamic here... the size and shape of your system is about "full up"... I'd have a back up plan just in case the clowns don't hold their own... perhaps if they can be isolated with the BTA... for a few days... they'll take to it, be afforded protection>
If he gets them he is NOT getting anything else till he gets a bigger tank.
They are coming out of a tank where they lived with a lionfish and several triggers (don't know what kind, but this was an aggressive tank) Can they fit in?
<I give you middling odds. Using egg-crate, other screening... as mentioned above, increases those odds in your favour>
Thanks for all your help/suggestions!
<Thank you for sharing! Bob Fenner> 
Re: Humu Trigger And Others!  12/31/10

Thanks for the quick response. Should I use New Life Spectrum Thera-A Large Fish Formula, Sinking Pellet Food, New Life Spectrum Large Fish Formula, Sinking Pellet Food or Floating or can I use what I already have New Life Spectrum Marine 1mm Sinking Pellets? Sinking or Floating which is better?
<Whatever size will fit all your fishes, and some floating and some sinking (mixed). No garlic necessary>
Should I soak in Garlic Guard? Can I soak the clams in Seachem Reef Plus vitamin liquid and that would nullify the loss of thiamine?
<Won't nullify>
Would it be OK
to feed the clams and shrimp say once a week?
<I would mix just some in at this interval>
We have been feeding every other day to try and keep phosphate and nitrate at .01 and 0 respectively.
This also makes everyone hunt around the tank for any uneaten food. Maybe good maybe not?
<Mmm, better to feed twice a day, small/er amounts>
I also feed the clams and shrimp to my BTA and Haitian Anemone and starfish, should I be doing something different for them?
<Please see WWM re... these issues are archived/covered>
Uh-Oh! Husband is now tanking about a 250+ gallon tank!
<Welcome! BobF>

Copper and aquatic life 5/26/2010
Hi Bob, There are so many hobbyists are so misinformed about the present of copper in fish food that I thought the link below 'might' clarify the misconception. Even among the advanced reef keepers still warn fellow reef keepers the danger of copper in fish food! I thought you might be interested in this info. As well. Little learning is indeed a dangerous thing.
<Heeeee! Indeed>
Oceans, tidal pools, lakes, rivers, and ponds --all bodies of water that sustain life-- have copper present as a vital, naturally occurring element. Its presence as a basic component of the process that spawns the abundant species that swim, scurry, wiggle and wallow in the waters of the world has been established by Nature and confirmed by scientists.
It is, simply stated, indispensable because it is necessary for normal growth in living beings.
"The role of copper in small quantities is essential to marine life," says Dr. Karl D. Shearer, Research Fisheries Biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington.
"It is a key component of enzymes, compounds that act as catalysts in the metabolism of organisms," says Dr. A. G. Lewis, an oceanographer and Professor in the Department of Oceanography and Zoology at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B. C., Canada. "Because it is an essential metal, an adequate supply is necessary for normal metabolism," he explains
"Copper's main role in the body is through metalloenzymes and enzymes catalyze many different chemical reactions," says Dr. Kathryn Michel, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Michel adds that "the body is full of enzymes and any chemical reaction in the body has possibly enzymes associated with it. Copper is a very important component and absolutely essential to the performance of the enzymes"
She explains that "enzymes are critical to the development of bone tissue and the production of red blood cells. A copper deficiency would contribute to anemia."
Put simply, "enzymes won't function without trace minerals such as copper, which means there's no metabolism," says Dr. Shearer, the National Marine Fisheries Services biologist, who has worked extensively in the analysis and development of food for fish. With no metabolism there would be no energy to fuel the vital processes that sustain life in creatures.
Aquatic plants, which play an important role in marine life, are no less reliant on copper. It plays an important role in photosynthesis and respiration. Like marine animal life, plants get copper from copper that is dissolved in the water, copper that is present in other particles or sediment found in the water and copper in their food.
Levels of copper in fresh water and salt water have been found to be generally low. In the United States studies of raw, untreated surface water have shown copper content ranging from 0.001 milligrams per liter to 0.28 milligrams per liter. The mean was 0.015 milligrams per liter. In open oceans, copper levels ranged from 0.1 milligrams per liter to 0.39 milligrams per liter, with an average of 0.8 milligrams per liter.
These figures show how copper is effective in small quantities. Dr. Shearer says that "the normal level of copper in whole fish tissue is one to two parts per million." To measure such tiny amounts requires a spectro photometer, an instrument that gauges matter by zeroing in all the way down to atoms in molecules. Scientists heat animal tissue to extremely high temperatures until atoms begin to emit light. Different atoms produce light at different wavelengths. So "we measure (light) wavelength to get to know what elements are present in the tissue of the fish and we measure the intensity of the light, which tells us the amount present," says Dr. Shearer.
The amount of copper and other trace minerals in the growth and development of fish, crustaceans (shellfish) and mollusks such as oysters and clams may be minute in quantity but enormous in economic terms. Many of these species are part of the renewable foundation of fishing, a vast worldwide activity that helps meet a growing demand for protein.
Commercial and recreational fishing is practiced just about every where in the world, including such land-locked countries as Bolivia, in South America, and Azerbaijan, in Asia. Bolivians have been fishing the waters of Lake Titicaca for centuries, and the valuable caviar industry of the world is centered in Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated that in 1997 the world's food fish production reached 90 million tons, an almost threefold increase since 1960. Almost a third of that catch was raised on fish farms in a fast-growing commercial process known as aquaculture. Fish grow under controlled conditions within enclosures and are fed a carefully balanced diet that invariably includes copper.
At Bio-Oregon, in Warrenton, Oregon, a producer of formulated food for fish farms, Dr. Dennis Roley, says that "copper has always been a supplemental trace element." Because copper can be virtually recycled from healthy animal tissue, fish food industries find copper in organic forms such as copper sulfate in the offal of edible fish such as salmon that has already been processed.
By including copper in fish food, fish farmers are replicating what nature does so well in the wild: providing an environment that nurtures life and growth. In this respect marine life is similar to other species.
"The requirements for trace minerals such as copper are pretty steady among vertebrate animals," says Dr. Shearer. Interestingly, he adds, crustaceans, such as shrimp, lobster and crab, are in particularly need of copper because its serves as an oxygen carrier in their blood.
Dr. Lewis, the University of British Columbia oceanographer, notes that "copper concentrations in crustaceans may be elevated compared with other groups since many crustaceans use copper in a blood pigment"
That is why, if you look closely, blood on an uncooked shrimp looks bluish, a typical color of certain forms of oxidized copper. Copper in marine invertebrates plays the role that among humans is performed by iron, which is present in blood as hemoglobin.
It doesn't take much copper to perform its critical role in marine species. Data supplied by Dr. Shearer shows that Atlantic salmon and Channel catfish require 3 milligrams of copper per kilogram of feed. Rainbow trout and carp make do on 3 milligrams per kilogram of feed.
Although requirements have not been determined for every marine species, scientists do know that copper deficiencies in certain species can result in reduced growth and cataracts, among other symptoms. Conversely, scientists have observed that overly high presence of copper in natural waters, due to pollutants or produced experimentally, may badly damage gills, adversely affect the liver and kidneys of fish or cause some neurological damage."
Scientists are frequently frustrated in their efforts to study more closely the effects of too little or too much copper on aquatic species in the wild because it is unusual to find whole fish that have died slowly as a result of malnutrition. "In the wild animals with deficiencies get quickly eaten or decompose," says Dr. Shearer.
Dr. Lewis, who every year prepares a review of copper in the environment for the International Copper Association, says that copper plays an important role in other aquatic environments, too. It is a key component of marine plant life. It is commonly used to purify and distribute drinking water. It combats the growth of unwanted organisms that foul water intake lines, aquaculture facilities and the hulls of vessels.
In another link: http://www.copperinfo.com/health/aquatic.html
The requirements for copper is fairly steady among vertebrate animals. Crustaceans, such as shrimp, lobster and crab, are in particular need of copper because its serves as an oxygen carrier in their blood.
Some scientists believe that copper concentrations in crustaceans may be elevated compared with other groups since many crustaceans use copper in their blood pigment. That is why, if you look closely, an uncooked shrimp looks bluish, a typical color of certain forms of oxidized copper.
<Thank you for sending this along Pablo. As we discussed at last week's Interzoo, some Copper is indeed a good thing... An essential micro-nutrient, and useful as a preservative at times. Not harmful. I will gladly post this about on WWM for others edification. Be seeing you, BobF>

Re: Clown Grouper - buoyancy issue, So is "Spectrum" a brand or a range of foods?  5/19/10
You CAP'd the word so I assumed a brand name but was unable to find it in the links provided.
<Sorry re>
I did an F2 search and it didn't show. Neither did your search in the left nav bar. I only got a spectrum foods in a title, but nothing about the actual food etc.
<See their/Pablo and Ian's site above. Cheers (and biers!), BobF>

Fish food bioaccumulation and humans 6/24/09
slightly bizarre question, that I have not found an answer too, though perhaps have been looking in all the wrong places. I have read on the container of fish food "not to be fed to fish intended for human
consumption". Not being learned in the topic, I must assume that whatever component it is that is harmful to humans is accumulated in the flesh of the fish (it would seem organs being most likely but also skeletal muscle). I have also read of many people, myself included, who water their plants (mainly flowers) with the waste water from water changes.
<Not a/to worry>
And now to the question:
Is there any reason, or risk in using the waste water to water plants intended for human consumption?
<Only if it's marine/salt...>
further would the likely hood be greater in a fruit type plant, a leafy vegetable or a root vegetable?
<Zip to nil>
It seemed to me very unlikely but since this is not my area of knowledge and haven't seen any statement one way or the other I would ask the crew.
Thanks again,
<I suspect this is mainly an "avoiding liability" issue, though some fish foods have had added medications (antibiotics, anti-protozoals), others have incorporated beef/cow material that in a very tortuous way could be associated with human health. I do not, would not worry. Bob Fenner>

Is my food ok? 01/23/09 I first want to thank you so much for your help so far! I am hoping that a few more questions aren't overstepping my boundaries considering all the inquiries I am sure that you get daily. I spend more time on your web site reading and soaking up info to my sponge brain than I thought I ever would! I appreciate and value all that you have to offer! It is so great to have a reliable source like yours! Hopefully a semi-long email will be ok.... <Great!> I am new to the salty hobby about 4 months (been into fresh h2o my whole life on and off, and back on for a year now with African Cichlids, they are great btw!!:-) forgot how great the hobby was!). I wrote in about a month ago with a list of my tank mates and a question about my Trach. G, and a blue knuckle hermit that was digging into him. I have since then returned my hermit to my LFS, for safety of ALL of my corals being mowed (plowed this time of year in New England :-) ) down by him. I was admittedly advised by one of your crew that I had a lot to contend with considering my tank load. She was concerned of possible chemical warfare in the future if not now. <Yep> Being a newbie, with a ton of gift certificates from the holidays, I caved into my new addiction, and want to know how to best take care of what I have until I can upgrade to a 75-90g tank in which I plan on doing by spring-early summer (I would now if I could, but plan on moving and want to set up the big tank there before going). To update you on what I have, this is my list... In a 29g tank (I know really too small!!!), running a hob filter good up to 50g (I've been running full power with new reef carbon every 2 weeks), an AquaC Remora skimmer, a Current Dual Satellite 30" 65W daylight/actinic/moon light, 50lbs live rock, and 40lbs live pacific black reef sand. My h20 quality tests out consistently at; pH 8.2, NH3 & No2: 0, nitrates: 5, Ca :420-450 (supplement upon testing), KH: 7, SG 1.022, temp 78 degrees. <Your salinity is too low for a reef tank (should be 1.025 to 1.026). Your temp should also be a bit higher (closer to 80 to 82).> I have about 6-10 small Hermits, an Emerald crab, one of each Trochus and Turbo snails, one of each Peppermint, and Fire Shrimps, (and mini sea stars and bristle stars that came in on my live rock, yippee!). I also found a Stomatella varia ID'd by your crew the other day, who is about 1 cm big (another yippee!). The rest of the crew that came in on my live rock are a small colony of about 10 zoo polyps, 12 mushrooms polyps, including 3 Pseudocorynactis babies that your crew also ID'd the other day. As I started my reef, I didn't know about specializing, buying a small Xenia, and Nephthea under advise of my LFS, while unknowingly gravitating towards LPS. As I've been reading I am realizing that I shouldn't have these with my LPS'. <True... LPS corals and leathers don't mix. The xenia might be ok, but it will grow fast and crowd the LPS, especially in such a small tank.> I promise, the LPS' will be transferred to my big tank once purchased, while keeping the other soft corals, and inverts in the small 29g. <Good idea.> The rest of my reef consists of; Diaseris (on the sand), Euphyllia divisa (in its own corner well away from the rest), Trach g (also on the sand), one healthy (and snobby I might add, likes only FRESH fish) Dendrophyllia polyp, Caulastrea furcata (20 polyps) , Micromussa (20 polyps) and an Echinopora lamellosa (about 4 1/2" diameter). (any comment here is expected, but hopefully livable for a few months). So far each coral expands fully (even my Trach g. since removing my hermit). Their feeder tentacles don't reach each other as of yet... They all eat a mash of fresh shrimp, freeze dried krill, and brine shrimp, and I feed the tank phytoplankton 2x/wk. My Dendrophyllia eats daily, and the rest at least weekly. Today, I went to the grocery store and bought squid (which they all readily ate), baby octopus and oyster. I chopped all of it up into separate containers in minced bits and froze them separately in plastic containers. Is freezing this going to completely deplete this food from all of their nutrients? <No, it should be fine... good work, making your own food.> I also bought Selcon today from my LFS to soak my freeze-dried foods into to make them more appetizing. Is octopus and oyster an ok food to feed these guys? <Yes> I do a regular weekly-10 day 3g h20 change. Is this sufficient considering my bioload, or should I be doing more like 5 gallons considering what I have here... <Considering your setup/livestock, I would do 5g.> Lastly and finally, I have a fish question.. I can't keep a fish alive for the life of me... Not like my Cichlid tank AT ALL! I bought a Banggai Cardinal, which I was dreaming of for months. I had him for a week, he was eating almost out of my hand. Unfortunately thinking since this was a new tank, there was no need for QT. Hmmm, bad idea. I bought my Royal gramma a week after my Banggai, and both were eating well at first, but by the 2nd week each, they were both dead after a night at the bottom of my tank gasping for air. Heartbreak! I let the tank lay fallow for exactly a month, and after not learning my lesson again, I put another Cardinal and Gramma in my tank w/o QT. (please don't yell) My Cardinal lived a week, never eating, dying with a white string of death, UGH! My Gramma was still eating so, I thought it was just a fluke that the Cardinal died. I added my flametail Goby(was in QT at my LFS for 8 wks for me)last week. Now my Gramma is missing a gap in his Dorsal fin, not eating anymore, flashing occasionally and hiding in his cave. My fire shrimp has been quite attentive to him, but I am mostly concerned for my new flametail. I bought a neon goby today hoping he would help with whatever parasite I have in my tank, and have Erythromycin to feed them as well. My Gramma is still not eating. What do I do???? <Hmm... something is not right. Are you acclimating these fish properly? Maybe your tank just doesn't have enough filtration. I would do a big water change and see if that helps. Try feeding the fish what you are feeding the corals. Please see these links also: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm> My biggest concern is keeping my corals happy, which they seem to be as of now. My Gobies are eating and lively, and very fun! I would like to keep them that way as well, and hopefully save my Gramma. Help! From, Newbie Nancy Learning everyday! <Well, don't add anything more to the tank... that's for sure. Be patient, do water changes... is really all you can do now.> ps. I attached a pic of my tank to show you how I've set everything up. Thanks again WWM!!!!! <Thank you and happy reefing, Sara M.>

Feeding Your Reef  11/30/08 Hi Eric, <<Hello Michael>> I am always a bit worried when it comes to overfeeding, <<Mmm, yes'¦ And the line between feeding enough and feeding too much can be a fine one indeed. But it has become my opinion that feeding a little too much is far better than not feeding enough. Though this needs to be supported by feeding the proper/necessary foods (all the brine shrimp in the world, if fed solely, is not going to do any good)>> and it seems like the general opinion among (reef) hobbyists is to underfeed. <<This was popular opinion when I set up my first reef tank in the late 80s. But then the use of bleached coral and under-gravel filters was common then as well. Underfeeding your livestock (read: starving) as a means to control nutrient buildup is an outdated concept in my opinion. I believe hobbyists who do so would experience fewer fish illnesses/deaths if they simply fed them properly (assuming a healthy environment overall)'¦thus making the fishes healthier/bolstering their immune systems in the doing. I have some fishes often considered difficult to keep (Tomini Tang, spawning pair of Leopard Wrasses, etc.) to which I contribute a large measure of their success to the feeding of a �large� and proper diet>> But don't you think that too many people overfeed their tanks? Or do think that it is actually the other way around? <<Each type system has differing needs re'¦ But when it comes to REEF systems then yes, I think many hobbyists underfeed their systems, with a few overfeeding with the wrong foods>> I always rinse the frozen food in RO water, because I am thinking of phosphates. Is this overkill? <<Maybe'¦ Maybe not'¦ Phosphate is a required nutrient, as is Nitrate (some advanced hobbyists actually administer Nitrate to their reef systems to promote coral health/color/vigor). Both in excess can be problematic for sure, but if your system is not expressing problems re, then your livestock/system maintenance/husbandry practices may well handle or be handling the load just fine. While sometimes a necessity, and while also strongly advocated by some authors, I do not routinely rinse my frozen foods as I believe this also robs the system of some beneficial dissolved nutrients (remember, you are feeding more than just the fishes in your reef tank). But that's not to say that if an issue emerges that I think I can help deal with by rinsing for a while, then I will. Each of us must assess our own situations re>> By the way what kind of fish do you have? I would like to know a bit more of what you have in your tank including corals and invertebrates, if that's okay? <<Sure'¦ I have a large and well stocked system (375g display supported by a 75g sump and 55g vegetable refugium) comprised mainly of Acroporids with a few Faviids scattered about, and a couple of ever-growing hitchhiker colonies of neon-green Palythoa and orange Ricordea (which I will not be able to ignore much longer). My fishes are comprised of five Tangs from four genera (Blond Naso, Mimic, Powder Blue, Tomini, and the ubiquitous Yellow Tang), the aforementioned pair of Leopard Wrasse, a Strawberry Basslet, a Bullet Goby, an Orange-Tailed Damsel, a Copperband Butterfly, a Scribbled Rabbitfish, and a dozen Pajama Cardinals>> On an entirely different note do you have a quarantine tank? <<I do'¦ Though admittedly used primarily as a �treatment� tank if/when needed. I generally use just a prophylactic freshwater dip for new introductions>> I don't know of any who does, although I can clearly see the benefits of it. I freshwater dip new arrivals, and run a UV filter. <<Depending on your source/how your fishes are acquired it may well be all you need, and the dips should certainly be the minimum that you do. Interestingly, I have heard Bob state more than once that if the trade (collectors/shippers/wholesalers/retailers) would only adopt this simple procedure as routine, that many fishes could be saved thus>><And hobbyists! RMF> I did have an outbreak of Ich a year and a half ago, then I bought a UV filter, and it went away, and I have not seen it since (knock on wood). <<Mmm, this is likely attributable to more than the UV device (lack of overcrowding, good husbandry, etc.). These devices have their uses, but there's no single silver-bullet out there>> After that I started to do freshwater dips of new arrivals. <<This probably has helped you more than the UV ever could. An ounce of prevention'¦>> But I would like to have a quarantine tank in the future. <<Very good>> Michael, your friend in Denmark. <<It's good to have friends. Cheers from wet and dreary South Carolina'¦EricR>>

Honorable mention, Nice article on aquatic nutrition  5/1/08 Hi Bob, <Neale> You get a mention in one of pieces on Fish Channel, here: http://www.fishchannel.com/freshwater-aquariums/fish-food/feeding-fish.aspx <Ahh! An excellent piece... I do like the "click to enlarge" aspect of OliverL's photos> Hope you don't mind! <Not at all. A pleasure to be mentioned in such extinguished co.>  Cheers, Neale <Mmmm, and I note in the bio. that you are an "exhibit designer"... Might I "prime the proverbial pump" here and ask that you consider coming out years hence... to Hawaii to aid our efforts in putting up the Kona Aquarium and Education Center? A longstanding dream/project... coming more to the fore in recent years. Bob Fenner>  

Feeding / Nutrition, part. Spectrum foods  3/20/08 Crew (Bob), <Steven> I came across a thread written by Pablo Teepot (sp?) <Tepoot> regarding New Life Spectrum foods. Have you seen this and what are your thoughts regarding his statements that no one can really know what proportions of vitamins, etc. are really in foods and that mixing foods can cause "vitamintosis in the fish"??? Here is the article: """People who use Spectrum along with many other foods might attribute their fish looking healthier because of a varied diet. This is far from being the case. If Spectrum is not incorporated into the diet, chances are the hobbyist will notice the deterioration of both health and color within 30 days. If you want your fish to look their best, the key is to feed New Life Spectrum exclusively. Spectrum is the only food that makes a very specific guarantee: Feed New Life Spectrum exclusively for 10 days, and you will notice the enhancement in color and vitality of your fish or we will refund your money. I want to emphasize the word "notice" but it will take at least 30 days to show the full benefit of feeding Spectrum exclusively. Many people might wonder why exclusively? In order for the fish to thrive all nutrients have to be met in the correct proportions, such as: Calcium, Iodine, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Chorine, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Vitamin A, B6 & B12, C, D2 & D3, E, K2 & K3, Pantothetic Acid, Niacin, Biotin, Thiamin, Riboflavin, folic Acid, Myoinositol, Omega 3 & 6, all amino Acids: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Trytophan, Valine. If one uses vitamins in excess it can cause vitamintosis in the fish, if too little is used it will cause poor health. When you feed your fish with a variety of food, somehow you hope to give them a balanced diet, but do you honestly know what is in your "mix" of foods? In reality, it is guesswork at best. At New Life we have painstakingly experimented for many years to come up with the right proportions to produce healthy fish, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We have conducted experiments for over 10 years at New Life International. We have managed to keep Parrotfish, Angelfish, Surgeonfish, Triggerfish, Butterfly fish, and even some of the more difficult species such as Rock Beauty, Regal Angel, and Moorish Idol just to name a few, and all exclusively fed with NLS. We have yet to encounter lateral line and/or fin erosion, or hole in the head syndrome. If they will eat NLS, chances are they will thrive. We also experimented with Malawi and Tanganyikan cichlids, as well as numerous species of herbivore, omnivore, and carnivorous freshwater tropical fish without encountering any dietary issues, including bloat. Not even in the ultra-sensitive digestive track of species such as Tropheus moorii and Labeotropheus! This is why our guarantee extends only to exclusive feeding. We know what the fish is getting in their diet with NLS, but we simply cannot guarantee other company's food, in most cases we don't even know exactly what is in it. Krill and whole herring are the most easily digestible sources of protein, and they have the best amino acid profile with the added bonus of omega 3 fatty acids. It should be a no brainier to use these ingredients as the main protein source, but good ingredients cost money, and result is less profit for the manufacturer. Unfortunately like most things in life, it all boils down to the bottom line...$$$$$$.""" End quote. <I do disagree with both stmt.s... There are well-established assays for vitamins... and avitaminoses are not caused by mixing foods as far as I'm aware. Nonetheless, Spectrum foods are obviously of high value... Highly palatable and nutritious. BobF> Should we be nervous about mixing / or varied diets, or is one food that has it all OK to use? <This food appears to be completely nutritious... ala such in the way of dog and cat foods of excellent quality (e.g. Eukanuba, Science Diet et al.)> I wouldn't want to eat the same thing over and over, but have heard many raves about this food. Your input is greatly appreciated. Maybe just a marketing ploy to scare folks into thinking you only get all of the benefits if you use exclusively (use more / buy more), but the thread did sound convincing. Best regards, Steven <Do please see/read through my ppt pitch re: http://wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt1.htm After long speculation, I am a "believer". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Spectrum Foods comment 6/17/08 Bob, Can you check this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrfaqs6.htm again. I have never imply mixing food will cause vitamintosis. I have no idea where did the poster and you get this idea? Please read it again-carefully, The statement I made was " If one uses vitamins in excess it can cause vitamintosis in the fish, if too little is used it will cause poor health" It has nothing to do with the subject of mixing food. Do you think I am that lame to make such blunder? <Ah, no> Pablo <I do see where this fellow (Steven) states such... I will interpolate your stmt. here re. Cheers, BobF>
Saltwater Aquarium Help, Stars, Jawfish 3/6/08 Hey guys, sorry I'm asking more questions, your advice thus far has been much appreciated and more helpful than many other sites I've e-mailed. I have a few questions about my 125 gallon saltwater tank. Recently I have noticed that one of my serpent stars has been disintegrating from the tips of his arms. Could this be due to water quality or from stress. <I would bet water quality, they are sensitive to changes.> The only thing I think might be picking on it would be blue-legged hermit crabs, but the other serpent star in the tank seems fine. Also, I have noticed my sand sifting star has been crawling on the glass recently, could this be due to a lack of food in the sand? <Could be, but most likely just roaming.> I try to feed a little extra in my tank so the crabs, stars, and shrimp get food to eat. <Better to occasionally target feed than add a little too much daily.> I have seen on your site that yellow head jaw-fish like multiple grade sand to make their burrow. I only have fine sand but there has been pieces of live and lava rock that has started to break off onto the bottom. Is it possible for one to make a burrow only from fine sand, and if not, will it incorporate the rubble into the cave? <It should be fine.> Lastly, I just added a six-line wrasse into the tank. It seemed interested in flake and freeze dried blood worms at the pet store and even sampled some. I added it to help keep bristle worms from getting out of control, but is flake, and freeze dried blood worms a good choice? <I prefer pellet to flake food, holds its nutritional value longer, and try some Mysid as well.> I am considering getting raw, uncooked shrimp from the store today. Thanks in advance. <Go for it.> <Chris> Re: Saltwater Aquarium Help 3/6/08 I actually work at a pet store, we don't stock saltwater fish, but we do have a packet of Marine-A pellets, would these be fine, and if they are, would they be small enough? <If of small size... smaller than mouth...> Also, last question for a long time. I was looking through my tank with a flashlight last night, and saw something on my live rock. It was about 1 1/2 inches long, a pale yellow and translucent color, tubular, and ended in a disk. When I shined the light on it, it went into a hole. It resembled a leech in my opinion, any clues? <... a photo... Bob Fenner>

Turn off Gen-X pumps for Feeding? 12/22/07 Hi Bob - <Hello, Scott V. here.> We emailed a while back and you and your crew rule the world! <Just a small part of it!> That being said: I have a 100 gallon reef tank with a main pump (currently two Gen-X PCX-40 pumps) pushing my main water from the sump about 12 feet up and into the display tank. There are also several pumps circulating water within the display tank. I rigged up a timer system that turns off my main pump for feeding. I can set it for 15, 30, 45, 60, or 75 minutes. Historically I had been turning off the main pump for 15 minutes when feeding fish food, and 30 minutes when feeding plankton. But recently my Sequence 3.5-amp main pump recently froze, after only about 3 years of use. (Yes I know that pump was way too much for this system even moving water 12 feet). So I replaced it with the two Gen-X pumps. Although I don't really know why, I suspect that the Sequence froze because of turning it on and off two to three times per day. <Doesn't help.> What do you think? Is it a bad idea to turn off my two Gen-X PCX-40 pumps for feeding? <Start up is the hardest thing on an electric motor in service. But, a few times a day is not terribly significant. It will shorten the life of the pump, but not significantly.> Thanks, Carl Beels <Welcome, Scott V.>

Banded Catshark food thaw... Still okay?  12/15/2007 I recently lost electricity due to the ice storms in my state and my silversides thawed. Are they still usable to feed to my Banded Catshark, or are they garbage? <Should be fine if not "too stinky"... Bob Fenner, too chilly even in S. California!> Thank you for your time. Kim

Phosphates in Pet Fish Food...  7/12/07 I have a 155 gal reef tank I have fed my fish only frozen mysis shrimp foods for years and about two months ago I bought a pellet food to feed with the frozen foods, <Good, variety is important with our critters diets.> the pellet foods say they have 0.8% phosphorus, can that make phosphate levels go up I have read that foods other than frozen can do so. <Many foods have phosphates in them which yet another reason not to overfeed. If you want to get down to it, rotting food is just another ammonia/nutrient source. It may also scare a few aquarists to know that most aquarium foods have some level of copper in them. Again the key here is not to overfeed, and with frozen foods do not put the defrosting water into the tank along with the food, rinse with fresh RO water several times.> My phosphate levels use to be zero now they read about 0.25, <Not overly alarming.> but I had not checked them for about four or five months until now. <If this a reef tank I would encourage at least bi-weekly testing.> Should I stop feeding my fish with pellets or do you think the phosphate levels just go up on there own, <All foods are a source of dissolve nutrients, so the question becomes how much should you be feeding? Only you can answer that question to suit your tank.> my tank has been set up for about five years I have a wet dry filter <That could be a source of your nutrient problems too.> with the skimmer built in for a tank up to four hundred gal. My tank is not over stocked with fish, my corals are doing great, but I have read that you want your phosphates to be zero. Thank you. <As cliché as this sounds, dilution is the solution to pollution! Keep up with he water changes and consider testing your source water for phosphates as well, if you're using an RODI or just RO filter even it may be time to replace the inserts. Good Luck! Adam J.> Feeding Regimen, reading... SW  -- 06/26/07 I have a couple of questions about feeding regimens. If you have a link or site where this information can be found you can direct me there but so far I have found the recommendations lacking the specific information I am looking for. <... the indices, search tool on the site...> I have a 90G FOWLR tank with the following inhabitants 4" Majestic Angel, <Misplaced here... this is not enough room for this species> 4"Porcupine Puffer, <Ditto> 4" Yellow Tang, 7" Lutescens Wrasse, 1 1/2" Hawkfish, Two Starfish. Anyway I want to know how much food is appropriate for them. I currently use frozen cubes of Mysis, enriched brine, emerald entree, formula one and two, soon to add angelfish formula. Anyway I soak in Zoecon and garlic until melted. I feed a total of five cubes a day. All of the fish eat heartily and still beg for more, as usual. Twice a week the tang and angel get seaweed, also. Also a caveat for the puffer and wrasse. I also soak krill for the puffer, he won't eat anything else. I have tried everything. Of course I do give him special treats of small hermit crabs. And the wrasse will always grab a piece of krill. So is this amount of food suitable to sustain their nutritional needs? They look healthy and well but certainly not fat. I just want to make sure they are healthy. And is shrimp from the supermarket more healthy for the finicky puffer? Feed him raw or cooked human shrimp, if it is healthier? Finally the starfish, one is a red general star, he will eat anything. I feed him whole silversides, occasional freeze-dried krill or formula one or two. Is this healthy for him? How often or much does he need to eat? Can inverts eat freeze dried food? Like the fish he is also perpetually hungry. The other starfish is commonly called a doughboy. He won't take anything I try to give him, is there anything you might think has the potential to tantalize his taste buds? He seems to survive off scavenging but of course supplemental food must be necessary? Please advise. Thank-you for all your help <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Scroll down to the tray on foods/feeding/nutrition of marines. Bob Fenner>

New Tank, much reading ahead 6/14/07 Hi I'm Keith W. <Hello, Keith, for future reference please spell and grammar check your mails before sending, it takes too long for us to correct them and keeps us from answering other people's questions.> I just started a 75 gallon salty tank. I put together a crushed coral substrate, 2 1200 series power heads by Marineland, under gravel filter, AquaClear 110 gallon filter, CoraLife turbo-twist 6x, 2 6 inch discs for aeration, 1 light Odessea 130 watt fluorescent 2 bulbs 65 watts each blue and white?, just over 60 lbs. Fiji live rock, and 300 watt heater. <You are using some outdated methods for lack of a better description. It is going to be difficult to maintain this system currently.> Allowed a little over 3 weeks for tank to mature before adding fish. Added two damsels blue to start. Waited 10 days chemical balance looked good so started adding fish periodically. Presently have 2 damsels 1 snowflake eel, 1 Volitans lion, 1 dogface puffer, 1 long tentacle anemone <may become a puffer snack>, 1 chocolate starfish <puffer food>, 2 urchins short spined, and 10 small hermits <puffer food>. Question is how to feed all of these creatures to keep them healthy / no short-cuts. Any additional information welcome above and beyond feeding. Thank you Keith w. <Unfortunately there is way too much to cover in an e-mail format here. I suggest checking out the articles here on WetWeb, picking up a couple of good books, I suggest Bob's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium", both are excellent books for beginners.> <Chris>

Topic 2 Overfeeding   4/11/07 I recently had an outbreak of Cyanobacteria in my 125 gallon tank. This was resolved by changing my RO/DI filters and phosphate reactor media. My nitrates were undetectable but I suspected that the undetectable phosphates were due to an old test kit. Anyway, despite the numerous references to overfeeding in the algae control FAQ's, I have never really seen a good approximation of the dietary requirements of fish. <You can very likely appreciate the difficulty of such a description... with variable quality foods... conditions... even simple temperature as a factor...> For instance, it seems like a 5 inch tang (any species) would eat a similar amount of food as any other 5 inch tang. <Mmm, okay...> Why aren't there recommended serving sizes for fish food? <Lack of valid information perhaps... More likely the apparent lack of heed it would generate... the "bio assay" of folks feeding, watching their livestock for "fullness" of appearance, behavior of satiation are likely the most important...> I assume that I probably overfeed but am not really sure. I feed twice a day and all food is rapidly consumed. My setup is as follows: 125 gallon display with 4-5 inch DSB 150+ lbs LR 20 gallon sump/refugium  5" crushed coral substrate and grape Caulerpa in refugium compartment 125 gallon refugium with 5" DSB, 75 lbs LR, Chaetomorpha reverse daylight ASM G3 skimmer in sump- empty 2x week AquaC Remora Pro w/ prefilter on big refugium- empty 1x week Mag7 return from refugium Tunze Wavebox in display <Sounds very nice> Livestock (overstocked I know-planning upgrade to 210g) Fish Scribbled rabbitfish 7" Purple tang 5" Hippo tang 5" Yellow mimic tang 4" Green chromis(5) 3" Yellow "Coris" wrasse 3" Canary blenny 3" Percula clown pair 3" & 4" Cherub pygmy angel 3" Firefish 4" Redheaded gobies(2) 2" Neon goby 2" Okinawa goby 2" High fin goby 3" Invertebrates White striped cleaner shrimp pair (Both always carry eggs) Scarlet cleaner shrimp pair Pistol shrimp Various snails, a few hermit crabs and one small emerald crab I feed 2 cubes of mysis and 1/6 sheet of Nori (big sheet from Asian food store) in AM, 1 cube of mysis and additional 1/6 sheet Nori in PM. I also substitute 1/10 of a block (the long bar type package) of Cyclop-Eeze instead of mysis and target feed corals 2-3 times/week. I think my big refugium minimizes the effects of the overfeeding, <Yes... to a large degree> but any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks <I'd be upgrading to that 210... soon/er. Perhaps using a chemical filtrant (e.g. a unit of Chemipure) periodically... let's say, once a month. Considering adding an ozonizer ahead of getting a calcium reactor (which I would also use) for the new system. Bob Fenner>

Sodium tripolyphosphate; Is supermarket shrimp safe for marine fish?  4/5/07 Is the sodium tripolyphosphate found in supermarket frozen raw shrimp safe for marine fish?<I wouldn't use anything with it in it. Depending on what livestock you're feeding, I'd go with frozen krill, or similar, available through your local fish/pet store. Sodium tripolyphosphate, or STPP, is a chemical preservative that has the added merchant bonus of increasing the sellable weight of a product. It also makes seafood taste funny! We don't need it and neither do our little fishy friends!>Thank you for your time.<You're welcome! -Lynn>

Re: Some revisions on my article <Fish foods, Pablo Tepoot... New Life Enterprises... Spectrum>  03/23/07 Good article, much to ponder there.  You can tell he genuinely cares about what he is doing, which I'm sure is not unrelated to why he has such a great product.  Do you know when/where this will be published? -Chris  <Pablo is passionate... about the trade, his work... life en toto... He had told me where this would go first, but can't recall... Pablo? BobF> Bob, The watered down version will be published on Oct. issue of Aquarium fish magazine, only 1/3 of the length, as you know average readers might have a very short attention span. After it is published, it will be an honor to put it on your site with the more complete version. Remember 2 years ago you asked me to write an article about fish food? Well, this is the article. Pablo <Yes I do... and I do thank you for allowing us to post it after AFM. BobF>

Regal Angel HLLE 3/19/07 Hello Wet Web Crew. I hope all is well. <Quite well, thanks.> I wanted to provide some input (maybe beneficial to some reader out there is the same boat) about a recent experience I had with a Regal Angel and IMO a 'miracle product'. <I usually hate that term but I cheated and read ahead, and am in agreement.> About 6 weeks ago, I obtained a regal angel from a tank at a restaurant that I frequent. The little guy was not looking healthy and had the beginning signs of HLLE. I spoke to the owner of the establishment and provided my observations. I told him that these fish are difficult at best to care for. He explained to me that they have a company come in every two weeks to service that tanks and he would let them know. I went back a week later and the situation was the same. I spoke to the owner and asked if I could take the fish. He agreed and I went the next day (before opening) and got the fish. <Good for you and the owner.>  I brought him home and placed him in QT for 3 weeks. <Good to hear.>  Initially, I could not get him to eat anything (I believe this also to be the problem at the restaurant). I tried Mysis, frozen angel formula, Nori, flakes, Formula products, fresh shrimp, clams, and squid. He would not eat anything. He would pick at LR, but that is about it. I was out of options, until I was cleaning out a cabinet where I store my dry products and came across some New Life Spectrum Marine Formula pellets. I think that these were about a year old, as I had not been feeding them to any of my tanks at the time. I had nothing to lose at this point and dropped a few in the QT tank. I watched them sink to the bottom and the regal was uninterested. I came back a while later, and noticed that they were gone. I dropped a few more in the tank and the regal went nuts. I started feeding him 3 times a day with the pellets. He was doing so well on the pellets, that I started feeding all of my tanks the pellets. He has now been in my 210 gal main display tank for 3 weeks now and is doing awesome. His color has returned, no signs of HLLE, and he is now eating Cyclop-eeze along with his pellets. Aside form that, all of my fish never looked so good.  IMO, the New Life Spectrum line is absolutely amazing stuff. This food should be a staple for anyone who owns a marine tank period. I have also started feeding my sun polyps the small fish formula and they seem to love it also. This stuff is truly incredible. I hope that someone from the New Life Company reads this. They should be proud of this product. Best Regards, Dean Oliver <I agree, I really love this food.  All our tanks, both fresh and salt water get this line.  Makes a great staple food, some even claim to feed it exclusively, although I still won't go quite that far.  But don't minimize your work either, the QTing allowed the fish a chance to start eating which would not have happened if competing with tankmates.  Congratulations on your success with this difficult fish and thanks for sharing your story.> <Chris>

Advice on frozen and canned foods   3/11/07 Hello crew and thanks again for all of the great information. <Hello Vince, Brandon here tonight.>   I have read through the FAQs looking for some advice on the suitability of some frozen and canned foods I would like to feed my trigger fish, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for in the food section.  The questions are 1) are canned mussels and clams suitable if washed with tap water and then <Canned Mussels/Oysters usually have oil or something that they are canned in.  I would not use them.  If you have to have Mussels/Oysters in the fish's diet, I will say use only fresh ones.> frozen for regular feedings and 2) I have been purchasing a multi-pack of frozen uncooked seafood from my local grocery store which has shrimp, squid and scallops, is there any concern feeding scallops? <No.  But, additionally you might want to soak these in Selcon, or Zoe and Zoecon once or twice a week.>   I assume the rule of thumb applies, if its of marine origin its OK. Thanks again for your continued help. <You are welcome.  I hope that this helps,  Brandon.>

Your Spectrum (Foods) DVD  - 03/10/07 Pablo... very nice... Though... for the sake of contributing a bit to possible improvement: 1) I would add the word "Fish Foods" to the opening graphic... As "New Life Spectrum" by itself is not clear enough IMO, doesn't hammer home what you're about, trying to sell... 2) I would add a bit more (yes... artificial) light/ing to your tank video... esp. your big home tank... as this will not only show the fishes color better, but give people a much more realistic view of what you have accomplished. I do really think the mix of species, types of systems (brackish, koi, predator...) that you show is outstanding... 3) and lastly, my usual pitch re the term "fishes", versus fish for multiple species... Oh, actually not lastly. I would like to propose that you and I produce a podcast of your foods... to make available on WWM... Are you game? Bob F.

Mysterious Death (P. fuscus) & "Feeding incompatibility" 2/4/07 Hi All, <Go ahead, "caller"> Long time reader, first time emailer (always wanted to say that) <Dork... ;)> To the point: I woke up this morning with a dead (floating) Blue Line <(Pseudobalistes fuscus)> Trigger.  <Perrrty.> I've had him for about 6 months and during that time he's grown from about 1 1/2" to 4".   <Wow! That's fast, indeed!> He was the boss of the tank and up to and including last night, was round, robust, and very healthy.  I tested the water today and everything was fine as were the other fish.   <"Fine" water quality is relative, or speculative at least. Need real numbers.> He had no visible marks on him.  Besides some sort of random genetic internal organ failure, <Mmm... yes, barring that...> two possibilities occurred to me as causes; he could have smacked into the dwarf lionfish when feeding and been envenomed (if that's the right word), <Not impossible, but you *should* be able to see puncture-wounds on the trigger, and would've seen some very obvious signs of "envenomation" (I like that word as much as any other...) in the form of erratic swimming, pain, etc.> or he could have gotten some of that wiry stuff from muscles <mussels> that I feed caught in his gills or digestive system.   <Again, not impossible, though not likely IMO.> Are either of these possible causes of death?   <Not to me.>Is there something else that comes to mind for this sort of thing? <With what information I have, I would rate water-quality as number one, with the lionfish spine as a second. After these two, I would speculate about an internal infection that killed your friend. > While I'm emailing, there's one other thing I've been wondering for a while.   Having set up a couple of 'predator' type tanks before this one<.> I've repeatedly run into a stocking compatibility issue that seldom or never is mentioned in books or on the web, yet in my experience is of critical importance.   <Ok, cough it up.> Basically it's the issue of feeding compatibility.  What I mean by that is this: some fish like groupers and lionfish should only be fed about twice per week depending on size.  Most other fish need to be fed once to twice per day.   <Or more...> However, the groupers and lions are able and willing to gulp down vast quantities of food intended for other tankmates, even while using sticks, nets or whatever to distract during feedings.  <True.> While trying to adequately feed the tankmates (wrasses, triggers, angels), I have twice before ended up with the same problems: 1) Overfed and rapidly growing lionfish and groupers (in one case a very aggressive miniatus)  2) Minimally fed or under fed and slow growing tankmates (including one Picasso trigger who was nearing bite size)  3) Diminished water quality from having to throw more food in the tank than I wanted and having the wrong fish eat it. These situations both culminated having to trade some of the livestock after a period of about 2 years.  This is the reason in my new tank I have included a Dwarf Lionfish which in terms of feeding has been working out much better.  <Ahh, yes. More "manageable."> In my opinion, the only good companions for large Lions and Groupers are others who are able to feed seldom, then wolf down their food in the same manner.   <I disagree. I have had many systems thrive with both groupers and lionfish housed with tangs, angels, triggers, eels, etc. I think the "key" here is to teach your other aggressive fishes to feed from your hands. The triggers should have no problem associating your hand with food, and the lions are usually less-inclined to grab right from your hand. Wrasses can be fed smaller chunks that would be less appealing to the lions/groupers, too. As for the angels, they have different nutritional needs from the lion/grouper combo, so I wouldn't think they would be gulping down the angel-food. > Morays and Sharks seem like good choices though may have to be fed by a stick.  Puffers might be ok.  However, the vast majority of fish often touted as being possible Lion/Grouper companions (Large angels, wrasses, tangs, and butterflies, and more peaceful triggers) all seem to have such dissimilar feeding habits as to be very poor choices for the long term, period.   <Really haven't seen this to pose a problem in practice.> Is feeding compatibility an issue with other types of tank setups?   <Can become a problem, but with the variety of foods that most tank-mates thrive on, lions and groupers turn many of them down. Well, at least the lions do. I find that the heavy-hitters prefer the bigger hunks of food, and that they will ignore smaller stuff if there is big food available.> Why is it almost never discussed? <Got me, bub.> Thanks in advance, David <You are welcome, and feel free to send some more info on H2O-chemistry our way. -GrahamT>

Feeding Frequency, Feeding grandma at the all you can eat buffet?!   1/8/07 Hello, <Hi Jay!  Mich here.> In my aquarium I have a Sailfin Tang a Maroon and Gold Clown, 2 Engineering Gobies, a six-line wrasse, and a purple grandma.   <WOW!  You have a purple grandma in your tank!  Where do you keep grandpa?> Along with, some zoos, some star polyps, a moon brain, a tree leather, and a candy. Also a Sebae anemone and some other misc. inverts.  I have been feeding them a cube of prime reef, a cube of emerald mix, and 1/2 a cube of brine shrimp twice daily.   <Holy all you can eat buffet Batman!  Grandma must be pretty hungry!> From what I have read on your site that is obviously too much, I was hoping you would be able to suggest a proper feeding regimen, at least as a baseline to work from, as my nitrates were 160ppm and after a water changed dropped to about 60ppm (I will probably be doing another 30% water change tomorrow. <Yikes!> My Nitrites however still present also dropped from 1 to .25.   <You want to get this down and keep it at zero.> Everything else tests perfect (can't test for ammonia, need to get a new kit).   <Well, as you know you are overfeeding by several orders.  You should feed no more than what your fish will eat in five minutes, while the tank circulation is shut down.  I would suggest starting with 1/4 of a cube of anything but the brine shrimp as they have little to offer as far as nutritional value.  You can feed twice daily, but only what they can eat in five minutes.  You may also want occasionally offer your tang some Nori (available at grocery stores as it is used for sushi) or other dried seaweed fish foods.  I am hoping you tank is quite large as Sailfin Tangs (Zebrasoma veliferum) can reach up to 15.7 inches long and should be housed in tanks that are at least 135 gallons in volume.> Thanks for your continued help. <Welcome.  -Mich> Jay

Question: Sweetwater Zooplankton is fresh water Daphnia.   12/25/06 Any thoughts on feeding freshwater plankton to Marine creatures ? I've been using it for 4 years and my fish seem to like it. <Is useful for marine use... has a similar "laxative effect" if fed too often, exclusively... But nutritious, pathogen-free... BobF> Thank you, Chris WetWebCrew Rules !!!

Catching own fish food   12/16/06 <Hi Kevin, Mich with you today.> I was wondering if bait fish that I can catch myself can be used to safely feed a moray eel and lionfish.   <Possibly.> I go saltwater fishing quite often and we commonly catch jumping mullet, shrimp and small minnows that resemble silversides to use as bait. If I catch a few fresh ones right before we leave our fishing grounds, and then bring them back home alive in aerated buckets, I was wondering if I could then package and freeze them to use for feeding at a later time.   <Sounds good in theory.> I have read that freezing fish for a length of time will kill saltwater fish parasites, but perhaps not all micro-organisms.   <This is true.> It seems that I have read where it is an accepted practice for feeding these types of fish fresh seafood from the local fish market, so I don't know what the difference would be between my netting some fish or a commercial trawler doing so.   <Yours would be fresher!  I imagine that food quality fish may go through an inspection process of some sort, but I am unaware for any other significant differences.  RMF please comment.> <<Can indeed be done... is worthwhile freezing to remove chance of pathogenic introduction. RMF> But perhaps it is not a good practice to feed your fish food from the local fish market either, I read a lot of mixed opinions on this......as with everything in this hobby it seems.     <Yes, sometimes it seems inconsistency is the only constant.> These bait fish are taken from good waters, not from the Hudson river!   <What, you wouldn't eat fish out of the Hudson? Hehehe!> Thanks for any opinions you may have to offer on this. <Welcome -Mich> Kevin

A Grab Bag of Questions... Water changes/SW, UV use, Sponges as foods   11/19/06 Good evening WWM crew, hope all is well. I have a few general questions for you, if you don't mind. First off, a good number of aquatic-veterans agree that, in most properly planned and maintained systems, smaller, more frequent water changes are more beneficial than larger, less frequent changes. I was reading Scott F's article on doing 5% water changes twice a week, and was wondering if it would be just as good, better, or worse to do 1 or 2% daily water changes? <Mmm, possibly... the ideal would be to continuously change out a bit... as in dripping in/out> Most of the information on daily water changes that my search turned up referred to emergency situations and medicated tanks. I currently live in an apartment and it would actually be easier for me to mix up a quick <Ahh... better by far to pre-mix, let age... per WWM...> 2 gallon (tank is 90g) batch of saltwater. And by "easier" I mean that my girlfriend does not like the idea of having a Rubbermaid trashcan full of water in the living room. <Can be located elsewhere... pumped or bucketed...> I'd estimate, three weeks of daily changes a month, and one week of a single 10% water change so I could actually have time to vacuum the gravel. Any thoughts or downsides?? <Time, trouble, spilling... mostly> Tank will be (still in the planning process) a 90g FOWLR system, with a canister, skimmer and maybe a UV sterilizer, (see next question.) I'm only picking out 4 or 5 medium sized fish as Bob, Anthony, and others suggested in various FAQs for this size tank. So, no major worries about the stocking level. My second question is... Any idea how a UV sterilizer would impact tunicate populations in a tank? <Mmm, possibly reduce available foodstuffs... are filter feeders...> I was given one as a gift, and figured I might as well hook it up, but was curious/concerned about its possible effect on the free-swimming young of tunicates. <Oh! These will likely be readily removed by skimming, predation... if produced at all> My concern stems from the fact that I would like to put a medium size angel in, and want there to be some live food available. I love the Apolemichthys genus, <Will very likely consume ascidians...> and it's not too hard to find retail specimens eating prepared foods in my area. <You are fortunate here> But even if it's eating, I'd like to provide the most complete diet possible. The sterilizer takes a 9watt bulb and suggests 100 - 200gph for most applications and I think around 50gph for parasites. I would prefer to hook it up to my canister's output at 350gph, because in all honesty this would make it much, much easier to clean, service, etc. Is it even worth bothering at that flow rate? <Yes> I know that the extra head (it's a "turbo-twist") will decrease the gph a bit, but I doubt enough to meet ESU's recommended flow rate. Also, on the general subject of feeding angels, is there any real risk to using most forms of "tree sponges" as feeder sponge for angels?? <Mmm... some... many of these... oh I see you address this below> Any concerns about toxicity or decay?? <Yes> I have a small 36"x18" tank I'm using to culture rock that I could quarantine the incoming sponge in. I've read the warnings about most types of "ball sponges," but haven't heard the same caveat about "tree sponges." If there are any major risks with "tree sponges," is there any decent type of sponge to use as a feeder, or is best to just rotate old live rock out and new live rock in? <This last is more... preferable. Oriental food stores may be able to supply you with useful Poriferans... in dried formats> (Shouldn't be a hassle with the extra tank.)  Any ways, thank you again for your help, this wonderful site and your contribution to the hobby. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Zoo- And Phytoplankton Products  11/10/06 Hello, Cam here, <Hi Cam, James with you today.> If I May ask...What is your opinion about the manufacturers Two Little Fishies? I am considering buying Two Little Fishies Zoo-and Phytoplankton products namely: ZoPlan, PhytoPlan, Marine Snow, Seaweed (red, green (Flakes) <Never used any of their products so I cannot comment here, nor have I heard anyone boast about such.> and/Or Aqua Medic's Plancto? What is the best choice liquid dead?) plankton, dried or frozen? I think ZoPlan and PhytoPlan are dried plankton, I cannot get live plankton? What other supplements should I give, I have mostly soft corals and stony corals? Thanks I appreciate it. Thanks for answering all my previous questions. <Cam, I'm not familiar with, or have used any of these products, therefore it is best for you to place this on our chat forum.  In this regard, people who have used these products can comment.  You can find the link in the lower right column on our home page.  The products I use are made by Liquid Life.  There are three, Marine Plankton with Cyclop-Eeze (smaller fish enjoy this also), Bio Plankton, which contains billions of preserved green algae, green flagellate, and golden algae, varying in sizes from 2-16 microns.  Coral Plankton, contains 3,000 rotifers and 1 billion Pavlova algae per milliliter, ideal for carnivorous corals and Tridacnid Clams.  All must be keep frozen or refrigerated. I find these foods to be the least detrimental in increasing nitrate and/or phosphate levels, and the most nutritious of products I have tried. I purchase  these at my LFS, but they can be ordered through Foster & Smith or other etailers that carry them. James (Salty Dog)> Fish Losing Color 10/17/06 Hi Crew. It has been more than three years since my last question was posted here. <Long time no see ;)>  Recently, I have got a 95 gallon new tank to replace my old one.  All my old fishes are doing ok in the last few years. <Good> Some of them have already been with me for more than five years. <Congratulations!>  They are eating well and have no signs of diseases except that some of them have lost their color. My yellow tang is almost a white tang. My blue tang, powder blue tang and flame angel all have similar problem. I understand that three tangs will be too packed in my tank. And I am so lucky that they seem to get along quite ok in the last few years. <Stress from this may be part of your problem, although probably more related to diet.> My question is what sort of food I should feed them in order to bring back their colour apart from maintaining the good quality of water. Thank you very much in advance. Eric <Variety is the key.  Use a high quality pellet as a base, I personally love New Life Spectrum.  Then add to this algae (Nori) sheets, algae flakes, and a variety of frozen foods, Mysid being my personal favorite.  Also make sure your water quality is good, this can also have a big effect.  Hopefully with a little time their color will return.> <Chris>

Questions - Lettuce and Empty Calories  - 10/15/06 Aggression is very limited, fish wise. <For now. You have some fish that tend to grow up into bullies.> The Clowns for sure. If I can't have a Mac, would you recommend a medium to large, easy care, easy going Angel that would work? << I can't remember your stocking list off hand (couple of tangs, maroon clown pair etc?), but you should look for something that stays under a foot in the wild. Large angels that are easy going are often of the shy type who may feel threatened by the boisterous tangs and grumpy clowns. >> <It's good to see your ph and temp are well regulated. I'd also suggest skipping the lettuce and sticking with seaweed/Nori soaked in Selcon.> I fed lettuce after reading that parboiled lettuce is ok for marine fish. Also, because the Tangs and Angel seem to prefer it to seaweed. But will skip if it's still no good for them. Thanks for the Selcon idea. << The lettuce isn't necessarily bad for them, but it's not very nutritious either. >> <Your fish list in its current form is reef safe. You could always turn the 240 into your reef tank <G>.> That would be awesome! But the reason for the smaller reef tank, aside from not knowing anything about them, is that it will be small enough to put in the living room, so I can see more of whatever ends up in the tank. The big tank is in the converted garage, off the kitchen. Get to see the fish half a dozen times a day, but not the same as having them close in. Thanks to Wet Web and all the great advise I've gotten. << Most welcome, and have a great day! -- Emerson >> Teresa

Feeding Guidelines   10/2/06 You guys have been a true help for the beginner.  Everywhere I go I've tried 3 LFS's and all have differing opinions so I once again come to you guys for a more definitive answer. <Glad to hear that! Scott F. here tonight!> I've searched the website for rough guidelines on how much food is enough for fishes.  I'm afraid I've been overfeeding.  I have a 30 gallon tank, 300 BioWheel power filter, Prism Protein skimmer, and a power compact light: Inhabitants 2 False Perculas (about 1") each 1 Flame Angel (2") 1 Green Chromis (1") soon to be going back to the fish store due to concerns of overstocking 2 Fire shrimp (2") 2 Peppermint shrimp (3/4") 1 Skunk Cleaner (3/4") 12-16 snails (top and Astrea) 1 small Open Brain 1 Fungia Plate Coral 1 Bubble Coral Various polyps, Zoanthids, and other soft corals and Frogspawn <A caution here- this is a pretty serious combination of noxious corals in a pretty confined space. Allelopathic issues will emerge, so be prepared to move some of these corals in due time.> I've been giving the fish a pinch of flake food (Formula 1) twice a day they eat all of it within a few minutes except for various pieces that float to the bottom that are dispatched by my shrimp.  I also feed pieces of frozen silverside (finely minced to less that 1/4", I have been reading your site) to my Open Brain, Bubble Coral, and Plate Coral 3-5 times a week.  I also feed the larger fire shrimp pieces of this fish at the same time. <Good that everyone is getting their fair share.> I also dose with a mixture of DT's phytoplankton with Cyclop-eeze every other day (1 pump).  Just typing this all out makes me realize it's too much huh? <Not in my opinion, actually. As long as the food is being consumed, this is not too much of a problem. Keep up regular water changes and stay at basic husbandry, and you can feed in good quantities.> I know from some of your other answers there are many factors on how much food to feed them but I'm just looking for some general guidelines. <To be honest, I think that you're doing fine. Better to keep you animals well fed, IMO. Too many of us tend to underfeed our animals in an attempt to keep our systems "nutrient poor." As long as you are doing frequent water changes, using chemical filtration media (i.e.; activated carbon or Poly Filter), and observing common sense husbandry rules, you should be fine.> On a completely different topic I have a 750 gpm powerhead in the upper corner of my tank to agitate the surface and provide oxygenation and some current to my tank. Is this necessary, or should I move it too the bottom and provide more circulation and less aeration? I like the idea of agitating the surface.> My fish and I thank you in advance. Paul <Glad to be of service! Regards, Scott F.>

Flake Food Question   9/17/06 Gentlemen, <And some ladies...>               I have been having trouble getting my Coral Beauty and my Tomato Clown to eat anything other than "Omega One Marine Flakes", and "Marine Plankton Gel".  The fish turn their noses up at Mysis shrimp, "Nutrafin Max morsels", and "Angel Formula". <Interesting> My question is, is this enough? <Nutritionally... likely so... If you have live rock in/with these fishes I would not be concerned> I originally had four damsels in the tank left over from the cycling, but I have since removed them due to aggressiveness.  They were pretty, but not so nice.  Well, when the damsels were in the tank, the clownfish would eat the shrimp, but now, not so much. <Ahh!> Both the clown and angel seem healthy and active.  My tank is a 55g FO, sg 1.022, ammonia, nitrites both 0.0, nitrate around 5.0, pH 8.3.  I am running an Emperor 400, plus an 75gal wet/dry with skimmer.  I think my parameters are O.K.  My problem is not that they won't eat, but that they seem very finicky.        You guys have a great website, I could (and have) spent hours going over all the info presented. Thank you, Drew    <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Feeding/Schedule   7/28/06 Good morning. <And to you.> This is one of those questions that I seem to find multiple different answers for (including from your site), so I'm trying to tap your expertise to get a specific answer for my system, if I may.  I have a 36 gallon bowfront mini-reef with HOB skimmer and filter, 2 powerheads in the back corners pointed toward the front at roughly 90 degrees to each other, and 4 small fish with  3.5" DSB, 50# live rock, with several softies (star polyps, yellow polyps, mushroom), and a branching anchor.  All is fine, but I have a nagging question about feeding.  I presently turn off the skimmer and HOB filter for my one time daily feeding in the evening, and leave the powerheads running which blows the food around.  Should the powerheads be on or off for feeding, and should it be the same routine everyday or maybe one day with them off and another day on to vary the flow (and food) distribution around the corals? <I'd leave the powerheads on, could shut the filter off...up to you.  I do not shut anything off when I feed.> I've also read about putting the powerheads on timers for a "tide" effect.  I have some spare timers around, and I could do this if it helps.  Is there a benefit to alternating the powerhead flow, and is there a benefit to a period of "quiet time" at night or in the early morning to have both powerheads off? <What you've read are about "wave timers" which turns powerheads on/off at a user selected frequency.  They can be set to go on/off as much as 60 times per hour.  Household timers aren't much good in this regard.  Aquarium Systems makes a inexpensive wave timer ($50-60> that can run up to four power heads.  These units work best when using at least three powerheads.  In my opinion, wave timers are beneficial to corals as they create a cleansing effect with to and fro motion of the water.  If considering a wave maker timer, it is not necessary to buy the expensive units that are available.  Just wasting money as they work no better than the Aquarium Systems unit.  Incidentally, most power heads do not work well with frequent cycling.  The Aquarium Systems powerheads do.> I presently have plenty of flow between the 2 powerheads and HOB filters (roughly 20x tank volume/hr).  Thanks!!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> PS>  Thanks your for all your help, and for the easy access to your accumulated knowledge.  At this point, I've gotten into this hobby solo out of a great deal of interest, and your website has been my most reliable source of info, as I haven't had time to get involved in any local clubs....

Fish and star question, Marine Snow food opinion   7/22/06 Hello,          Great site!!!!! I have a 100g reef tank with mushrooms, a torch coral, a frogspawn coral, two devils hands and tons of clean-up crew. I have a purple and yellow tang, one powder blue chromis and a clown goby. I want to add another fish that is cool looking and beautiful. I don't know what to add. Any angel fish? <A few possibilities... likely a Centropyge... or Genicanthus species> any other cool tangs. <Mmm, not likely a good idea> I would love an achilles tang or sohal tang. <Not good choices here... see WWM re temperament, hardiness, size...> Also, what is a cool starfish that would be reef safe? <These genera, species are listed on WWM> What do you think of "marine snow" by two little fishes? <It's "The Emperor's New Fish Food" (like the story of the emperor's new clothes)... A scam... non-nutritious, a waste of time. Don't know why Danny and Jules of Two Li'l Fishies are involved in this gimmick> I would love your opinion. You guys have been a great help in the past.      Thanks,      Jeromy <Glad to proffer them. RMF>

Monosodium Glutamate in Fish Food - Is it Safe?  7/19/06 Greetings WWM Crew, <Cindy> I recently began feeding my Pleco Hikari Tropical Sinking Wafers and now it's the only food she wants to eat.  I read the ingredients and discovered it contained monosodium glutamate.  No wonder she loves this stuff so much, MSG makes everything taste good.  I try to feed my fish only the best foods (although I confess I throw in a few so-so brands, occasionally, for variety).   I decided to read the ingredients on all the brands on my shelf (New Life Spectrum, Ocean Nutrition, Omega One, HBH, Tetra, Marineland Bio Blend, and Hikari).    Every Hikari label I have (Tropical Sinking Wafers, First Bites, and Tropical Micro Wafers) contain MSG.  I get terrible migraines from MSG and know there has been a lot of controversy about it and was wondering what your thoughts are about feeding this to fish? <Not much of a problem if any in aquatic use as far as I'm aware. Is indeed added as an "appetite stimulant", as well as an essential amino acid source (glutamine). Bob Fenner>

Feeding New Life Spectrum Foods...Solely? - 06/27/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Tom>> I started feeding Spectrum pellets almost a year ago after reading about the product on WWM. <<Ah yes, an excellent food indeed>> Had also been feeding Mysis a couple of times a week along with Nori, for variety...sometimes other frozen foods. <<As is usually recommended...>> Their label claims best results are obtained when feeding Spectrum pellets exclusively, so as an experiment I started doing just that about 3-4 months ago, a pinch 2-3 times a day. <<Glad to see you feed small amounts multiple times per day>> The livestock seems to be in excellent health, basically fat, very active and colorful.   <<Excellent>> The fish are a purple tang, pacific blue tang, flame angel, 2 Percs, yellow watchman goby, royal Gramma, Twinspot/yellow hogfish, yellow Foxface. <<Lucky for you they all take to the pellets>> Tank is a 2 year old 125G reef with around 150lbs live rock, mostly SPS, some LPS, cleaner shrimp, hermits, serpent stars.  Also feeding phyto 2-3 times a week for a 5" derasa and other inverts.  Here's the question:  What is your opinion of long-term fish & invert health when feeding only Spectrum marine pellets? <<I have to admit Tom, I am skeptical that a single food source/formulation can provide for long-term health for "every" marine species...at least until "proven" otherwise (maybe you're on the way to doing that!)  I think the New Life Spectrum foods are an excellent, high quality product and use them myself.  I have a friend who claims to have kept healthy breeding pairs of cichlids fed solely on this product...and the seeming successes with Zanclus cornutus fed these pellets speaks very highly.  But even so, I still provide other foods to my fishes...as well as vitamin/HUFA/amino supplements>> It's a lot easier (almost too easy) than frozen/meaty foods, but sure seems to be working well. <<Agreed...but perhaps best used as a "primary" staple, supplemented with the occasional and varied frozen "treat">> Thanks, Tom

Feeding In General...Mixed Bag  - 06/07/06 I have a 225 gallon tank with (in tank ruler order) 1) 7" Male Naso Tang 2) 4" Blue Dot Grouper 3) 5" Purple Tang 4) 5" Desjardini Tang I have the following questions. 1) How often should they be fed, and how much food? Meaning specifically, how many sheets of seaweed selects (I feed them the brown, red and green normally in combination) should I feed daily and at what intervals? <Fish should be fed slowly until not interested, and twice a day would be fine.  No set amount on number of sheets to feed.> 2) How do you soak the algae, as I heard that you should always soak it in garlic, Selcon and vita chem (to prevent illness), but do you wring it out before placing it in the tank? Wont the tank just wash the vitamins and garlic and Selcon out of the algae within a minute or two of being on the clip in the tank? <Not necessary to use more than one vitamin supplement.  Selcon would be my choice, and I'd use the garlic twice a week.  The fibers in the food will retain some of the vitamin supplement.  No need to wring it out.> 3) How many of New Life Spectrum's Thera +A for large fish pellets should I feed them and how often? <As above.> Should I soak these also as they don't break down to easy in water? <You can.  What do the container instructions indicate?> 5) Is brine shrimp not worth feeding the fish? I heard that they are like potato chips for fish, and therefore not nutritious at all? Should I switch them to mysis shrimp that is soaked in the Selcon, VitaChem and garlic? If brine shrimp are ok to feed them, should I soak them as well? <Very little nutritional value in brine shrimp.  Mysis is fine and you can soak in a vitamin complex.> 4) Is it possible to have too much current in a tank? I have an Iwaki 100mdrlt pump for the return at 10' of head, hooked to a wavy sea plus wavemaker (which I love). I also have a Rio 2100+ powerhead in the tank pushing 692 gph. Is this too much current? <In your tank I would want a total water movement of at least 2,300gph.  Yes, you can have too much current.  Total water flow exceeding 15X the tank volume isn't necessary.> 5) I have a sump full of red Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha, should I feed them this as well? I have tried the red Gracilaria (via hooking to a clip) but they don't like it? What advise do you have in terms of how much to feed, and how to feed? Should it be soaked in Selcon, vita chem, and garlic? <Probably won't like the Chaeto either.  You need to stop repeating yourself..."how to feed, how much to feed". 6) My 7" male Naso has a bloated belly always, I don't know if it is because I refill his clip 3 times a day with about 8 sheets of seaweed selects each day? <Wowsie, way too much food.  Tangs should look slightly round looking at them head-on, not like a turkey.> Is he over-eating? <No, you are overfeeding.> If it is not, could it be dropsy? I will add pictures to this post tomorrow. <Please do, we love pics.> 7) Should I add Zoecon to the list of pre-soaking items for the tang food? <You have all you will need.> 8) I feed the 4" blue dot grouper 1 silverside a day stuffed with about 5 New Life Spectrum's Thera +A for large fish pellets and I soak the fish in garlic extreme, vita chem and Zoecon. I alternate days with krill done this way on one day, and the next day it is a silverside. Is this enough food for him? Is this a complete diet? <Yes and Yes.> Thanks again and I LOVE your site. It is the best on the web by far! <Thank you, continue to enjoy.  Keep in mind, there is much information on the site regarding feeding...Do search/read.  James (Salty Dog)>   Thanks again for your help! <You're welcome.>    Greg R.

Re:  Feeding In General... Mixed Bag   6/8/06 How do I measure the tank's total current to come up with the recommended amount? If the return pump pumps at 1500 gph, the overflow is 1400 gph and  a 692 gph power head on a 6' x 24" x 30" tank? Thanks again, you are an asset to the fish community and should be carried through the streets as a hero! <Mmm, afraid of falling, Bob may want the honor.> <<Heeee, though am "stature challenged", I too don't like heights... RMF>> <It will be the total flow in the display tank only.  If you have a return pump rated at 1500 and a power head at 692, you have a total flow of 2192, a little shy if we look at multiplying 225x15=3379 or 225x10=2250.  Somewhere in this range would be ideal.  Keep in mind, you will have to subtract head pressure loss from your return pump.  That info should be in your user manual.  If not, go here.   http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php> Thanks again <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   

Dosing Kalkwasser/Inadequate Feeding/Falling pH - 06/02/06 Dear crew, <<Greetings>> Thanks for doing us all an invaluable service.  Your time and effort with this site is greatly appreciated. <<Ah, thank you for these words>> I have a 30gal reef, 20gal sump, with AquaC Remora Pro and a 10gal refugium with Chaetomorpha. <<Very nice>> Lighting consists of 2x96 watt10k/actinic, and 65 watt 65k lamps.  My ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates 0, alk 10, cal 325, pH 7.9.  I have about 4" DSB in my main tank and 6" in my sump. Substrate is CaribSea Aragonite Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand Grain size 1.0 - 2.0 mm.  I employ 5gal weekly water changes with RO and salinity is kept about 1.025.  Calcium is usually maintained around 400 using Seachem's reef complete. Circulation is about 20x using a MAG 7.5 connected to a SCWD and a Rio 600.  The last few months I have been getting more and more hair and BGA algae.  I have a pajama cardinal and a royal Gramma.  I have an emerald crab, red and blue legged hermits, and a serpent star.  I also have some narcissus, <<Nassarius>> turbo, and Astrea snails.  I feed 1 cube of mysis shrimp or bloodworms every other day and do not drain the packing juice. <<You need to feed a better selection in my opinion.  The brine shrimp and bloodworms are fine as a "supplement", but neither should be fed as a staple diet.  The bloodworms, being a non-marine organism, are lacking in those elements needed by your fish...and the brine shrimp is sorely lacking in "any" real nutritive value (mostly water).  Please feed marine-based foods such as frozen mysis/plankton/krill and a quality pelleted food such as New Life Spectrum>> Lately I started using Kalkwasser hoping for the benefits.  I use the slurry method using about 1/8th tsp every 2-3 days. <<Hopefully you have an electronic meter to monitor pH as you dose...strive to add enough to raise the existing pH by two-tenths (e.g. - 7.8 to 8.0)>> Now my pH has dropped to about 7.8 to 8.0 and it has never done this before. <<Mmm...how do you measure pH?  If using a test kit, perhaps it is time for new reagents.  I would also stop dosing the Seachem product and see if this affects you pH>> Even when I first started to use Kalkwasser it only elevated my pH. <<It would/is expected to do so, yes>> So now I'm unsure what to do to raise my pH back up other then trying to change about half of my water to try and get back to par. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <<Do the water change, stop dosing the Seachem product (the Kalkwasser should handle your calcium needs), renew your test kit, and read here, being sure to follow the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm >> Thanks Mark <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

My fish is addicted to Piscine Energetics Mysis - 4/24/2006 Dear Mr. Fenner <Nuri> My fish is addicted to PE MYSIS and won't eat anything else. He\she is a pig. Can you please let me know where I can take my fish to a PEMA meeting (piscine energetics  Mysis anonymous meeting?) <I ate some just last night and saw God! Better than that, I woke up this AM and was that self-samed entity! More power to Mysis relicta! BobF, levitating>

Copper Sulfate in Fish Foods    4/4/06 Hey crew!  Shout out to all those helping us amateurs achieve our goals/dreams! I have been researching fish foods to serve in my reef tank.   I plan on housing some inverts, 2 clowns, and corals with my live rock. I would like to use either flake or pellet food and have read about how bad copper sulfate is for reef tanks/inverts/live-rock. Many/most of the pellet and flake foods contain copper sulfate or 'trace elements' (which usually include copper sulfate). Are these products unsafe for a reef system? <Yes>   Would the copper accumulate in the system over time? <Not in a "toxic format"... gets insolubly precipitated... quickly> I do not want to harm my inverts, live rock, or corals...but almost all the major brands list copper sulfate in their ingredients? Please advise... Thanks much! Eric B. <As a preservative... in very low concentration. No worries. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper Sulfate in Fish Foods  - 04/05/2006
Bob, Forgive my confusion...but...you've answered 'yes' to whether pellet and flake food products containing copper sulfate are unsafe for a reef. Then after this, you wrote that it won't accumulate in a toxic form and not to worry....which to me says that these foods are ok. <This latter is correct... I mis-read your "unsafe" as "safe"... Copper sulfate is to be avoided, but not long-term in the way of accumulation in foods> These answers are contradictory and a little cryptic; and I know how much clarity in expression is valued by you and your staff : )  I just want to insure my investment won't be at risk because of the food I provide. <I understand. Sorry for the mistake. Categorically, I would not be concerned with the amount of copper in prepared marine aquarium foods>   New Line <Life> Spectrum Marine foods have been recommended on your site but contain copper sulfate.  Is it ok to use fish food in a reef system that contain this, or not? Thanks again. Eric B. <Is ok. Bob Fenner>

Dried fish foods    4/4/06 In the past, I have fed primarily frozen and fresh foods, and some flakes. I have a large queen angel who has decided her favorite fare is pellet food - really only picks at anything else. I have been through a number of major brands, and now that I'm using a significant volume, I'm noticing that it really doesn't assimilate well - there is a lot of residue accumulating in the tank and in the prefilters, and its not from anything uneaten. <Yes> Some brands are worse than others, more "fillers" I guess; I've found Hikari to be the "cleanest", so far; any thoughts on this? Thanks, Steve. <Do look into the Spectrum line... about as "clean" and almost totally nutritious and very palatable to a huge range of fishes. Bob Fenner>

Food Size and Disasters  - 03/29/2006 Hi guys. <and gals...> First of all, I want to say that I LOVE your site.  <I'm glad we could be of service.>  I've only had my saltwater tank for about 2 1/2 months, so I'm still learning.  It's great to be able to have someplace to go and find trustworthy information from people as knowledgeable as yourselves.  <Wish every subject had a place for reliable info, right?  :)> I have a question about the food I feed my saltwater fish.  I have: 1 rusty angel 2 percula clowns 3 yellow-tailed damsels 1 royal Gramma <Did you say the size of your tank?  This seems to be a lot of fish for a tank as young as 2.5 months.> The guy at the LFS said I should be feeding these guys frozen Mysis shrimp, frozen brine shrimp, and flake food on alternate nights (skipping feeding one day per week).  The brine shrimp and the flake food seem to be popular with all the fish and are small enough for everyone.  The problem is the Mysis shrimp.  It has some kind of gel binder in it that makes it very hard to cut down into small enough particles for my smaller fish to be able to eat.  As a result, I've been putting only about 1/2 cube of the Mysis shrimp (cut up) in the tank, and then adding a small pinch of pellets for the smaller guys. My questions are: 1.  Is it possible for the small fish to eat the larger pieces of Mysis shrimp without my having to add pellets?  <Probably not - thaw in some tank water, then blend it a bit smaller.  I use a Black and Decker handy chopper for mine - cut to the size of the pellets that they like.  This way you can add half normal size, half blended.> 2.  How long should I leave the chunks of uneaten shrimp on the bottom of the tank?  I want to give them enough time to eat, without polluting the tank (and smelling it up, too).  <I wouldn't leave it more than 20 min.s at the most.  Probably much shorter period of time.  You have to watch them - if they aren't going for it, remove it immediately.> Sorry for the dumb questions, but I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing.  Any advice?  <No problem everyone has questions sometime.> P.S.:  I had a major aquarium disaster the other night.  I was in the other room and heard a very loud crack.  When I ran into the room where I keep the aquarium, there was a huge crack in the front panel and the water was gushing out at an alarming rate. <AHHH!>  Thanks to quick thinking by my husband and myself, we were able to set up temporary housing in a Rubbermaid bin until we could get to the store the next morning to buy a new tank.  I'm extremely thrilled to say that all of the fish survived <You're lucky.> and are looking good 4 days after the disaster.  One question I did have about this, though, in the event (God forbid) it should ever happen again.  I have read that if your tank leaks/breaks, you should save as much of the tank water as possible and put that water back in the new tank when it's set up.  We were able to save all but about 7 gallons (luckily, I was RIGHT THERE when this happened).  However, the next day, when I checked the ammonia levels in their new tank, they were elevated (about 0.2).  I did a water change and the ammonia levels went back down.  For future reference, should I have discarded the tank water that the fish were held in in their Rubbermaid bin before transferring them back into the display tank?  <They were only in there overnight?  I still would've put around 50-60% old tank water back in.  If you start with all new you're asking for it to have to cycle again... this time with the fish in it!>  Do you think that that water in the bin developed an elevated ammonia level due to the fact that we were unable to set up the filter overnight (although we did set up the aerator)?  <Yes probably - no mechanical or chemical filtration will do this.  It's always good to have an extra filter on hand for this.> Sorry for all the dumb questions, <No dumb ones.>  but I'm still learning and want to be prepared.  Thanks so much!  <Not a problem.  Good luck!  ~ Jen S.> Pam Fishmongers leftovers    3/29/06 Hi Crew, <Johnny> An opportunity may have just opened up next door to where I work. A new fishmongers has opened for business. When I was a kid, we used to ask the butcher on the way home from school for a few choice bones for the mutt at home. Has anyone got a similar setup with their local fishmonger? i.e. taking a few "off cuts" off their hands to blend into a home made type of frozen food ... for a nominal donation of course! Is this type of food safe, viable, healthy? <Oh yes. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Progressive_Recipe/Progressive_Recipe.htm and the linked files above> Best regards from sunny London! Johnny <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mysids as food  - 03/12/2006 Hi Bob, <Nuri> Nuri Fisher here with Piscine Energetics. Hope this note finds you well. <Yes, thank you> I am currently in the process of creating some new information pamphlets on PEMYSIS and was wondering if you would be interested in sharing a quote, or tip on PE MYSIS which we may include in the brochure. <Mmm, what sort of input are you looking for? Mysids are nutritious food organisms for many captive marines... particularly where bolstered supplementally> We are also in the process of redesigning our website which should be relaunched in the next month or so.  When the web is complete I would like to explore the options of advertising on wetwebmedia.com <If this "makes sense"> Look forward to hearing from you, Regards, Nuri <Bob Fenner>

Feeding for Community Marine Tank 3/11/06 Thanks for all the help. I have a question about feeding. What foods would you recommend for the following fish: yellow tang, velvet damsel, yellow tail blue damsel, percula clown, blue spotted watchman goby and a horned Heniochus? Thanks again. <<In general, choose foods of marine origin.  I am a fan of Omega and Ocean Nutrition as well as Piscine Energetics Mysis shrimp.  I am especially fond of Ocean Nutrition's frozen "Pygmy Angel Formula" because it contains marine algae as opposed to terrestrial vegetables.  Also.. when choosing dry foods, pellets are preferable to flakes since it takes longer for water to penetrate the pellets and dilute the nutritional value.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>>

Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat  - 3/1/2006 Hi Bob and Crew....hope you're all keeping well. <I am, thanks> I acquired a Double Saddle Butterfly last weekend for my 55 Gall FOWLR. <... a small world for this species> I made sure I acclimated him properly and added him to the tank on Saturday afternoon. Only other inhabitants are a couple of Green Chromis. <Can be bullies in such a sized system, tankmate> I was told by my LFS that he would eat pretty much anything..... <Mmm, when in good health, adjusted... yes> I'd done some research on your site first and found out that he is one of the easier to keep butterflies. Anyways after he'd been in the tank for around 5 hours, I added some Mysis for my Chromis and he seemed to have a bit of a go at it as well (I'm not sure if he actually ate any of it because the lights were out). <Not likely to feed the first day or two> Day 2 I gave more Mysis and as soon as it hit the water he was up looking for it, but turned his nose up at it when he saw what it was. Next day I tried again, but added some Garlic Extreme before feeding. He went into a frenzy but again never took any (I also added some very finely chopped Mussel). Day 3 (today) and same...he was actually at the front of the tank looking for food when I came home from work. <Mmm, might have damaged mouth... very common... from capture, transport, bagging...> I'm not overly concerned, because he looks a really healthy specimen. He's about 3 inches and acting fine. I'm off to my LFS tomorrow to pick up some live Brine Shrimp (does this sound OK?) <For periodic use, yes> ....can you suggest anything else to get him eating? <Posted... on WWM...> I've noticed he has a pick at the LR so hopefully he's getting some goodness out of that for now. Thanks in advance Phil P <I do hope/trust you have healthy live rock in abundance as well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part II    3/2/06
Bob, thanks for the quick reply.... <Welcome> I got the Live Brine shrimp on my way home and added it to the tank. He takes the food in his mouth but then spits it back out. It's as if he wants something else instead (but I don't know what!!). His mouth looks perfectly healthy (no signs of any reddening at all, or obvious damage). <Good> There's plenty of Live Rock in there (about 60lbs, I'm adding another few pounds of cured at the weekend) <Also good> I'm a bit confused over your comment re the bullying in the tank. Do you mean the Chromis might be a bully, or the Butterfly? <The Chromis... though rare for the genus in general (in comparison to many other Pomacentrids), in such a small volume (four feet long is not much running room), even relatively "peaceful" damsels can pester easily-disturbed fishes like most all Butterflies to the point of non-feeding. This being said, it is not uncommon for new Chaetodonts to not feed for a few days after arrival. I would just keep offering an assortment of small meaty foods and observing this specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Getting Double Saddle Butterfly to eat - Part III  - 03/05/06
Bob, <Phil> Thought I'd give you an update. The DSB has been eating happily for the last two days now. I concocted a finely chopped mix of Mysis, Cockle and Lancefish tails and added two drops of extreme garlic per teaspoonful. I feed about 1/4 teaspoon in one go. He takes some of it in the water column and then picks the rest off the LR for a while later. The Chromis seems to like it too. Hope this helps anyone else who is looking for advice. Many Thanks Phil P <Ah, outstanding. Congratulations on your success... will post. Bob Fenner>

Starkist? Canned tuna is for nekkos, but not fish tanks  3/3/06 Hello WWM Crew! <Hello John - Tim answering your question today!>     Let me assure you that as a court reporter, I will do my best to use proper punctuation and grammar throughout my query. <As will I in formulating my response!> I have a 30 gallon marine setup with 5 small fish <Small fish as in they are small at present, or will stay small even in a few years time? A 30G tank is small for 5 fish I should imagine, though obviously this will depend on their type.> , a skunk banded cleaner shrimp, 5 blue legged hermit crabs, some frogspawn and two small Hawaiian feather dusters.  The tank has 3 power heads, a UV sterilizer, and a filter with a bio-wheel.  Now after researching your site, I realize that they (the feather dusters) ideally need to be in a larger tank.  This is great! I needed an excuse to justify a larger tank purchase. <Haha - and a good excuse it is indeed!>     Sorry, enough blabbering. My question was this:  Today as I was getting ready to make a tuna fish sandwich ( I know, I know. I felt guilty.) and draining the can of tuna, I stopped to ponder whether this juice is of any value to my frogspawn or feather dusters? <Interesting thought but I would advise against this.> I've looked over your site and could not find anything relating to the tuna juice. I know it is an odd question, but one never knows unless he or she asks; right? <Exactly! And I am sure others will have wondered the same thing but have been too shy to ask!> The only things that I can think of as far as immediate negatives are this: I have recently read that some species of tuna have shown elevated mercury levels due to human pollution in the water and that this might cause a nitrate spike in my tank water <The mercury would not cause a nitrate spike, rather it is a toxin that may poison your water. This may then result in the untimely death of some occupants, their decomposition being the cause of an increase in DOCs. It has also been suggested that the metal of the can leaches into the food. I am no expert on food preservation or standards but frankly, I would be concerned of introducing canned foods into my aquarium. If you decide to try this, then be all means, do inform us of the outcome. But my recommendation would be to avoid the risk.>  Any ideas on this? If I become brave enough/ignorant enough (your choice here) <Maybe a little bit of both :o)> to try this would you like a report in a few weeks? <Yes, please!> I sincerely appreciate your time and help.  This is a great site and the time and devotion that you put in to it should be evident and appreciated by all. <Thank you ever so kindly!> John H.
Starkist follow-up and featherduster beh.   3/16/06
Hey Crew!     Just wanted to give you a quick update and ask another question.  I have been trying some of the Tuna juice, but on the advice of Tim saying not to use the can, I have tried some of the juice (which is  very little) that comes in the new tuna pouches they are selling.  I have not had any adverse reactions that I know of, but I did notice that the one feather duster that I had been trying this with has changed in the following ways: (whether or not this is a normal change that I have not noticed or is a result of the feeding I am not sure.) 1. The plume of the crown has expanded in size. 2. The coloration has changed and is slightly more vibrant than before. 3. The small cilia, for lack of a better word, that is on the longer pieces of the crown is much more evident now. The hairs seen to be more abundant and thicker than before. 4.  The duster is open more often than before. Anyway, I am going to conclude my experiment now and revert back to phyto plankton feedings supplemented with clam juice every other day.  My new question was this:  My other feather duster shed his crown about a day after he arrived from shipping.  I know this is normal and that it will grow back. However, this morning when I looked in my tank I noticed that his tube is covered in a clearish white substance on almost all of the tube except the top.  It looks "bubbly" in nature. Any ideas? I can try to get a pic but any help would be appreciated! <Mmm, maybe something growing over it... Perhaps an observable change from the worm itself... Maybe this worm has perished and the bit of organic lining inside the tube is decomposing, showing itself outside? Bob Fenner> John

Feeding question ... SW - 3/1/2006 Hello there, fabulous WetWebMedia crew. <Well!> I currently have a longnose Hawkfish, lawnmower blenny, Potter's angel, and maroon clown.  I've had them all together now for almost two months.  I feed them Mysis, plankton, and flakes.  I also put a piece of an algae sheet in there sometimes (for the angel and lawnmower) and Spirulina (esp. for the angel) but they don't seem to take to those so much. <Potter's are not easily kept> The angel and lawnmower blenny are constantly picking at the rocks, so I think they're getting enough algae from there.  My question is, how often should I be feeding them? <Mmm, twice a day... some live rock for "casual munching" would be a very good idea...> I always feed them at night, but I'm wondering if you think I should feed them in the morning as well.  I don't want to overfeed.  What do you think is best? <In the AM and PM... Bob Fenner> Thanks, as always, for your help!
Re: feeding question    3/2/06
Thanks, Bob.  I have about 45 lbs of live rock, which the Potter's and the lawnmower both munch on often. <Ah, good>   I've heard Potter's are hard to keep, but mine does seem to be doing very well.  He's very active, his colors are bright, and he eats heartily.  So I'm hoping he'll make it... Anyway, I'll start feeding them smaller portions twice a day.  Thanks for the advice! <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Foods... getting fish to eat new foods   1/22/06 Hi, I recently purchased a large amount of frozen Ocean Nutrition foods mostly Pygmy Angel formula and Spirulina.  My problem is the fish won't touch it.  If this is not bad enough the aquarium is in a restaurant and I just possibly wasted over 200 dollars of my bosses money. <You may have to acquire a taste for it.>  I know Ocean Nutrition is good stuff <Yes> because my fish at home will eat it.  This food is a much better quality than the no name brand they have been eating, so it surprised me when the fish refused to eat it. <Not what they normally eat.>  The yellow tangs won't eat it and even the greedy damsels won't touch it. <Unusual>  So far my only plan is to starve the fish for a day or two and then see what happens, but other suggestions would definitely be welcome.  Also would garlic be appropriate to entice the fish to start eating the new food?  Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. <Could try the garlic or soak the food in a vitamin supplement.  I would mix just a little of the new food in with the old and as they go on their feeding frenzy  they are sure to grab a piece or two of the new stuff.  If so, then gradually increasing the amount of Ocean Nutrition and less of the old stuff.  See what happens, maybe the boss can use it in a sea food dish.:):)> Thanks so much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Aron

Feeding schedule  12/14/05 Hi to our kind and knowledgeable aquarist! <Hiya Joel! You got crewmember Lorenzo today.> Once again, I want to express how grateful I am for the fountain of information on the WWM site. <We do our best. Thanks for the kudos.> I directly attribute much of my success with my reef tank to the wealth of articles and FAQs on WWM.  My question is about feeding.  Other than WWM, all my sources for info about fish food are trying to sell me more food. So, I would love for you to evaluate my feeding plan.  I have a 55 gallon corner tank (about 7 months old) with a 4" -5" DSB with sugar-fine aragonite and 75 lbs of LR.  I use SeaChem Reef Complete and Reef Plus twice a week and 5 gallon water changes every two weeks.  My stock is as follows: 3" Diamond goby 1" yellow clown goby 3 turbo snails 4 Nassarius snails emerald crab 3" crocea clam pink and green cucumber brittle star 4 stalks pulsing xenia blue mushrooms yellow and brown polyps 2 big feather dusters pink coco worm green/ purple Fungia plate coral Galaxea coral (about 2 1/2") 2 branching hammer coral heads (frags, about 1 1/2" to 2") I feed the tank every other day (during which I shut off the sump w/ filter sock and skimmer for one hour).  I feed one cube of Ocean nutrition frozen food <Wow! A whole cube, for two little fish and a handful of inverts? That's quit a bit of food...> (alternating each feeding between Formula One, Brine Shrimp Plus, and Prime Reef) <Good idea, variety is important.> along with 1/2 ounce of DT phytoplankton and 1/5 teaspoon DT oyster eggs.  I use a turkey baster to make sure the mix of foods gets spread throughout the tank. I just don't know whether the Ocean Nutrition is good stuff <It certainly is.> and if the variety is beneficial or not. <Definitely.> Is it ok to only feed every other day? <Sure.> I know less is more when it comes to feeding <To a certain degree...>, but I wonder if I should feed every day <Probably.>, and just do phyto and frozen one day and oyster eggs the next. <Alternation is good, but the fish will appreciate being fed every day.> The skimmer works fine, and the only nuisance algae I have is some hair algae on some of the LR. <Less food, but more frequently, might help keep this under control.> I'd like a  refugium, but my sump is just an open aquarium with no dividers, so I am hesitant to grow algae down there. <Not too hard to rig up a fenced-off area by putting a smaller container into the sump. You just want to make sure the algae can't clog the return pump.>  Except for one xenia stalk (I think he was to close to a hammer coral and got zapped) <Could be.>, everything seems fine.  Overall coral color has slightly improved with introduction of the oyster eggs. <Glad to hear it!> I am going to add two pajama cardinals from my quarantine tank <Good on you for performing quarantine!> in two weeks, and I would love an informed analysis of my techniques beforehand. <These guys would definitely like to eat every day. No need to set the tank awash in food though!> Thanks so much, <Any time. Cheers, Zo.> Joel Schwartz

Marine Fish Food  12/12/05 My fish include: Yellow Tang Blue Angel Sixline Wrasse Royal Gramma Chalk Bass Green Chromis Lawnmower Blenny I will likely add more, perhaps a Foxface, another angel (maybe dwarf), and maybe a small goby. <In what size tank?>   Also have my eye on a red Coris wrasse, but I'm not sure about compatibility.   <And its potential size...an adult would make a snack of your smaller fish.> Anyway, what flake food would be best for this group? <I don't like to use one type of food...variety is the key.> Some foods are labeled carnivore, some herbivore, some staple.  Which is best? <I am fond of the O.S.I Spirulina brands as well as those made my Ocean Nutrition. You have a lot of herbivorous animals so the formula 2 formulation would probably be better for you.>   Also, would flakes or pellets be better?   <I feed both.> What size?   <Depends on the size of your fish, if you have different sized specimens you'll have to use different sized pellets.> Any preference of brand (Formula 1 or 2, Bio Blend, OSI, Tetra, etc.)?  Should any of these brands be avoided? <I'm not a fan of those that have a high concentration of brine and shrimp meal.> I also feed a rotation including frozen Mysis shrimp, S.F. Bay Saltwater Multipack, and Sweetwater Zooplankton.   I'm currently including Nutrafin Max (both flake and pellet) in the rotation, but they are not specifically for marine fish so I'm concerned that they may be inappropriate for my tank.   <These foods are fine, variety is the key.> <<Mmm, content and palatability are more "key". RMF>> Any opinion? <See above, Adam J.>

Hawkfish  12/04/05 Hi,  <Hello Craig> I just bought a flame Hawkfish, it's about 2.5 inches long. During feeding, he snagged a 1/4 inch piece of shrimp from my anemone. The issue is that about 3 hours later the food looks stuck in his mouth, it's sticking out of his mouth a bit. He does not look distressed. Is this normal?  <Like us humans, sometimes fishes bite off more than they can chew:) Not to worry, the fish probably regurgitated it by now. Hopefully you are not feeding shrimp with the shells still on. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Craig Ellenwood 

See Food Seafood Fresh and Frozen  12/9/05 Hi- <Hello... John here with you today.> Recently some of the fish in my tank recovered from some type of illness. (These are very hardy guys who never get sick.) I feed them a variety of food: frozen smelts, fresh calamari, shrimp, salmon, other filets, as well as pellets. I was wondering if maybe these fresh or frozen foods could be carrying germs, illness or fungus from when these foods were alive. <Possibly.> <<Don't ever feed fishes other fishes, for just this reason!  Stick to invertebrates.  Marina>> Maybe this is what made mine sick. I just heard on public radio yesterday that a lot of the fish we buy in markets for ourselves could have had health problems problems because overfishing is causing fishermen to have to be catching less healthy sea creatures. <Undoubtedly.... we are fishing the seas almost dry.> <<This is not entirely true, what is far more problematic (especially in the case of salmon) is the current state of fish farming practices.  Much has been written, reported, and the data is showing that aquaculture can be QUITE detrimental - to the environment, to the livestock being raised, and to the wild stock that comes in contact with farmed stocks.  Much more of a problem in presentation of disease than overfishing.  Marina>> Whether this is true or not, is there something we should be doing to make sure the food is healthy for our aquariums? Cooking it can't be the answer, I'm sure. A very long time ago a vet said that freezing fish for at least three months can kill germs and fungus. What are your thoughts on this? <I freeze all fresh food for at least 24 hours, and then thaw it out in a cup of tank water before feeding. This should kill most of the parasites.> <<Use human consumption standards - freeze to ZERO degrees Fahrenheit at MINIMUM.  Marina>> Thank you so much- Dana Mardaga. PS- my fish are doing much better. I did lots of water changes, upped the temperature, and added some salt to the tank. Tried a couple antibiotics, but I don't know if that helped. <I would avoid treating fish if you cannot clearly identify the ailment. Do check your water parameters - ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, and perform water changes accordingly. Do not over-feed, especially with such messy, meaty food. Best regards from Shanghai, John>

Nutritional Considerations  11/30/05 Hi Guys: After six months, I finally got my Dwarf Zebra Lion to eat non-living food! He was on a diet primarily of live ghost shrimp gut loaded with frozen marine foods. I fed him between one and two shrimp every other day. He is really beautiful and in great health. Now the bad news. The food he is now eating is Hikari freeze dried krill. Considering Hikari's reputation for purity and vitamin loaded food, I thought I was just fine. Then I read one of your posts that stated that predators on a diet of krill can lose their eyesight due to a missing nutrient. Is that the case with the vitamin loaded krill as well? Can I add anything to it to compensate such as Zoe and Selcon? This is really disappointing considering how long it to me to wean him off of the live food. Your help is certainly appreciated. Regards, Rob >>>Hello Rob, There is no SINGLE, NON-WHOLE food item that you can feed any predatory fish that will fulfill all of its nutritional requirements. Consider this, when a lionfish eats a small fish, it's not only getting meat, but blood, bone, organ tissue, etc. Keepers of reptiles and certain birds also run into this issue when feeding their charges. Soaking dried krill in a vitamin solution will not account for these missing items totally. You MAY be OK soaking the krill as you are doing, but long years of experience tell me this is wishful thinking. My advice is to keep soaking the krill, but begin conditioning the lion fish to accept other food items such as frozen silversides, whole fresh shrimp, etc. Best of luck.  Jim<<< 

Fish eggs as a Staple food  11/21/05 Hello, I was wondering if frozen fish eggs are suitable as a staple food.  <Mmm, can be> About 9 months ago, I bought a tiny (less than 1") Mitratus butterfly. The fish ate live brine and frozen Mysis in the store with gusto. I thought he would learn to accept other foods i.e.: flake, pellets, Lifeline 'green' or 'red', but no. I hate to feed Mysis everyday, so I bought some frozen fish eggs.  They are pin-head sized and orange in color. There is no identification on the jar. Well anyway he loves them, and they aren't as messy as the Mysis.  Are they a suitable staple food? <Not exclusively, no> A couple of times a week I soak them in Selcon or VitaChem. It has grown to about 2" and shares his 125 FOWLR tank with a flame angel, goldflake angel, solar wrasse, and magnificent Foxface.  Nitrates run about 10ppm, NH3 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm. Thank you <I would be on a bit of a crusade to find, mix in other small, meaty foods here, in an effort to expand this fish's diet. Bob Fenner> 

Copper sulfate in food  11/19/05 Hi, <Hello> I recently noticed that Dainichi has a pellet food for marine fish. The label says that it contains copper sulfate. Do you think this would be harmful to my cleaner shrimp? <Mmm, nope. Not high concentration, and will become insolubilized quickly...> They often eat some of the food that I feed to the fish. I was attracted to the product because it is formulated with Cyclop-eeze. I currently feed a variety of foods- frozen Mysis shrimp, krill, Cyclop-eeze, Ocean Nutrition Formula II and Prime Reef flake. I e-mailed Dainichi and they said that the amount of copper sulfate was too small to be harmful to shrimp or corals, but I wanted to get your opinion before I tried it. Thanks! Joy <I agree with them... and have met one of the principals of the company... a mighty fine woman, good products. Bob Fenner>

Floaters, or Sinkers? Floating food or sinking food 10/25/05 Hi crew,  <Hello Marc> So my question for this week concerns the use of floating food vs. sinking food in my reef tank? I notice that regular flake food floats initially gets sucked into my overflow very quickly leaving little time for the fish to get to it. Plus leaves a lot of uneaten food in the sump! I've taken to sinking the flakes by hand and the fish seem to eat better. However I now worry about pollution. I typically underfeed my tank if anything (my fish are always ravenous). The other problem I face with this is, unfortunately I have no viable alternative but automatic feeder for a few vacations I have coming up. (I bought a LifeGuard and have tested it over a week per your recommendations). I'm comfortable with its delivery and quantity, but not comfortable with the fact that most of the food will simply get pulled down the overflow. Any suggestions short of putting the main pump on a timer so water stops overflowing when the auto feeder goes off? I thought about using sinking pellets, but I'm not so sure on these either?  <I would suggest the use of a timer to shut down the pump during feeding. I'd go with a good quality flake food (Ocean Nutrition). Pellets can contribute more dissolved protein than flake. James (Salty Dog)> 

Marine greens for food  9/22/05 Hi Bob! <Kris> Thank you so much for such a fast reply. Your answers were very helpful and I will look into the subject more. I have a couple of other questions for you. I was reading on your website about feeding marine herbivores and I saw that you recommended feeding Nori soaked in vitamins. I was also reading an aquarium book by Moe and he suggested feeding lettuce such as romaine. What do you think about that? <Bunk... not nutritious, often laced with molecules to avoid> Is that a good alternative to Nori? If not, why is it not good? Is it harmful to the fish? <Can add nitrate, pesticides> Thank you for letting me pick your brain a bit! I think your website is fantastic! Thanks again!   Kristina <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algfoodfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Gobioides broussonettii in SW, Copper in foods  9/4/05 Hello, I have searched your FAQs for information on the Gobioides broussonettii, also known as the violet goby, or dragon fish. I was unable to obtain anything of help. I am aware that they are a brackish fish. Mine is currently in a fresh water tank with two Apteronotus albifrons, black ghost knife fish. I recently removed my snowflake eel from my 55 gallon saltwater tank and was curious if the dragon fish can be acclimated to the conditions of my reef tank. <Can be done... this fish is marine at times, in places. Here on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=3856&genusname=Gobioides&speciesname=broussonettii> The lack of the eel leads me wanting something of its character. If this is possible, a procedure would be greatly appreciated. <Slowly... a few thousandths per week, raise the saltwater/salinity of the Goby's environment (sans the knives of course)> One more unrelated question. I recently noticed that both the flake food I use in my reef tank, (Wardley's) and the frozen brine shrimp, (Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp Plus) have copper sulfate listed in the ingredients. <A common preservative> I was under the impression this would kill invertebrates and have discontinued use but have had no adverse side affects. Any input on this matter also would be greatly devoured. I thank you for your time. <Can be problematical in "free" concentration (cupric ion), but there is not much in the foods, and this quickly "falls out of solution". Bob Fenner>

How to feed everyone when you have one "pig fish"?  8/30/05 Hello, crew!   <Good morning, you have Leslie here this morning.> Sorry I've been bugging you guys a lot lately, thanks for all of the wonderful advice. <No worries and you are most welcome.> The latest conundrum we are encountering is that we seem to have fish that eat at different speeds.  In the 120 gal FOWLR right now are three small damsels, a medium-sized longnose B/F, a 3-4" ornate ("Christmas") wrasse, and a cute-as-can-be 1" dwarf fuzzy lion.   I've been feeding mostly Mysis shrimp, as well as San Francisco Bay brand omnivore and carnivore formula frozen foods (usually a little of each).  When the food hits the water, the B/F is all over it, eating most of it.  The damsels jump right into the frenzy as well. By the time the wrasse and the lion "wake up" and start noticing the food, it's all gone.  Add more food, same deal.  I swear I've put 20 lbs of Mysis in there today (well, ok, maybe just most of a cube) and  that darned butterfly eats it all!  The wrasse and lion aren't getting much, if anything.  This is obviously not sustainable!  I tried feeding the lion with a feeding stick today but it's so much bigger than he is, he runs away from it. Certainly this is not a "new" or "unique" problem, but I read all of the "feeding" FAQs and didn't find anything on this...  any help would be appreciated. Many thanks, Dan <I would keep trying with the feeding stick'¦..your little Lionfish may just need some time to get used to it. As for the others try target feeding with a Turkey baster. Get your self a couple of clear turkey basters. You want a clear rather than opaque baster because they will not really see it, just the food inside it. Defrost your food. Suck some up into the turkey baster. Feed the fast eaters on one side of the tank somewhere away from the slow fish. While they are in a feeding frenzy, use the turkey baster to direct the food, releasing it as close to your slow eaters as they will allow. It will not take them long to figure out where the food comes from. My seahorses will eat right out of the tip of the baster. Hope this helps, Leslie>

Cyclop-eeze question  8/27/05 Hello and thank you for this fine resource, <Welcome> I just purchased a can of freeze dried Cyclop-eeze after reading about it on the forum.  The only thing I cant find is exactly how to use it.  Should I mix it up before feeding or drop a "pinch" in like flake food? <Can, or could be fed directly if your livestock can use such small foods... or it can be made into homemade gels, frozen food concoctions...> Also should I refrigerate it? <Is a good idea to refrigerate all such fish foods> Sorry for the simple questions, but the can has no directions concerning feeding method/amounts, or anything.   Thanks, Brian <Good point... the manufacturer should provide an insert, point folks to a website re. Bob Fenner>

Carnivores won't eat 8/5/05 Hello gang,   I've a 125 gal marine tank, with 50-70lbs of live rock, currently housing, amongst others, a Dendrochirus zebra, and a Diodon holocanthus.  Not quite 2 weeks ago, the lion stopped eating, and the porcupine followed 3 days ago. <Bad sign...>   Both had previously fed with considerable gusto on krill, ghost shrimp, pellets, and the odd bit of chopped table shrimp. <Bad diet...> Both fish attempt to eat, but either turn away as soon as they reach the food, or spit it out as soon as they get it in their mouths.  None of the other fish (lunar wrasse, 2 Fiji blue devils, 1 domino damsel, powder blue tang, Foxface lo, snowflake moray, ocellaris clown) exhibit this behavior, and usually rush in to take what the other two ignore.  Also, the lion's gills seem to be a bit puffy.  All water chemistry checks out ok, save a very high nitrate level I've been fighting with. <Bingo... need to fix this>   I've tried other foods (silversides, Mysid shrimp, crab, and squid) but have had no luck.  Anything you could suggest would be very helpful. Thank you, Jacob <Fix their environment Jacob. Read here please: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm And the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Terrestrial Snails As Trigger Treats....? 30 Jun 2005 Hi, can I feed my triggers snails from the front yard if they are rinsed first? The big ones that crawl everywhere after the sprinklers go off. Thanks, Dan. <Yuck! Interesting question...However, I think I'd avoid terrestrial snails, if for no other reason than the fact that their nutritional profile may be unsuitable for marine animals. Better to feed creatures of marine origin, IMO. Regards, Scott F.>

Gourmet Foods For Butterflies... 6-28-05 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I've always heard people first feeding Butterflies or other fish with clams or mussels and then slowly change its diet to frozen food by attaching it to an empty shell. <I've never tried it, but it can be done, I guess.> My question is- how do you attach the food to the shell?? Won't, for example, frozen brine shrimp fall apart to individual little shrimp and float away from the shell?? <Quite possibly.> How do I keep the frozen in the shell?? By the way, when I go buy some clams or mussel in the market later, is there anything I should be aware of? Or is any clams or mussel is fine?? <I think that you might be confusing the technique/concept a bit. The practice of using a fresh clam in the shell to help stimulate a finicky Butterfly into eating has been used for some time with varying degrees of success. I've tried it with Manila Clams, which you can get at a fish market or grocery store. You simply split the clam and place it in the bottom of the tank or on a rock...> Also, before putting it in the tank, do I need to do any preparation with the clam or mussel?? Thanks!! <I simply rinse 'em off before using...Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> Reef Chili? Hi Bob, < Bob at IMAC, Blundell here. > Are you familiar with Reef Chili, a zooplankton/phytoplankton formula for coral feeding? < Yep. > It comes in a very, very fine powder-like form which is to be shaken seriously with tank water (a blender would work well) before feeding (includes a tiny spoon for precise measuring).  I believe this product was originally available in a frozen formula but the expense of shipping drove it to the "powder" formula.  The feeding response appears to be good, but it's obviously difficult to determine actual consumption. < Indeed, be careful to not overfeed as small particles can become trapped in filters and breakdown. >   Others appear to have had good results (daughter colonies on LPS's, etc.)  Care to opine? < I think it is great food.  Nothing bad to say about it.  However, I think you can get better food, or cheaper food, or just make your own.  But as for convenience and small size it is great.  I'd probably also use golden pearls (brineshrimpdirect.com) or Cyclop-eeze or rotifers and things like that as well. > Thanks. <  Blundell  >

- Fish Digestion - Greetings! <Good morning.> I recently added a 3" Yellow Tang into my tank.  He's doing pretty well and eats like a pig. Twice or three times a day I put a reasonable chunk of  Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Selects algae "paper" in and it's shredded and consumed primarily by the tang, but also several other tank mates. However, I've noticed while watching the tank that when the Tang  "relieves himself", it comes out looking pretty much like it did when it went in. Like little flakes of algae. So much like the algae that, rather disgustingly, my Sergeant Major routinely believes that it's fresh food and eats it.   Since he's started eating the algae, the Sergeant Major is having the same occurrence as well.  Algae is consumed. Algae (seemingly) is defecated. <Nutrition has been passed on... it just seems that it has not.> Perhaps this is a rather dumb question, but shouldn't the fish waste be a little more...digested? <Depends on the food-stuff. Generally speaking, greens are a little more difficult to digest so they aren't always fully broken down. But they are partially broken down, which is what you are seeing.> While I honestly don't care what color/shape/form the excrement is, I'm a bit concerned as to why it hasn't seemingly been digested. Could this mean that the fish really aren't getting any nutritional benefit from the algae? <Is worth keeping an eye on - if the fish aren't gaining any weight for instance... but think this is pretty normal, and wouldn't be overly concerned.> They graze on it like crazy, and accept brine shrimp once a day as well. <Do try something other than brine - Mysis shrimp would be an excellent substitute.> Overall, the tank seems to be doing fine, and the fish behavior seems normal. The tang's gilling seems to be a little fast but it acts normal otherwise, more aeration should fix this (I hope). The tank is a 75 gal / pH 8.3 / Ammonia 0.0 / Nitrate 0.0 / Nitrate 0.0 (yes...confirmed by several kits, I was surprised but happy with this number) / S.G. 1.022 Thanks in advance for your time. Love the website! Before I buy a critter I always log on here to get some info on it  :) <Is nice to hear. Cheers, J -- >

Re: My mushroom shriveled up... Actually a question re TLF Marine Snow Thanks for the reply. My shroom is doing well right now. I think getting rid of the camel back shrimp did the job. I don't see the white tentacle which tells me that its no longer stressed out. I am curious about your comment with the Marine Snow. I take it you are not too fond of this product. My LFS told me otherwise but I am curious about your opinion on this and your recommendation. <Ron Shimek did some simple nutritional analysis of this "Two Little Fishies" product... It's the "Emperor's New Food" (as in the Emperor's New (non-existent) Clothes story)... a placebo, a sham, a non-food. You've been swindled. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Tough Crowd! I have a 7" Bluejaw Trigger, 6" Porcupine Puffer, 5" Harlequin Tusk in a 100 gallon tank. How often should I feed? I feed Spectrum pellets, Krill, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Mussels. Thanks, Dan North. <Well, Dan- you're definitely going to want a much larger tank for this crowd in the near future. These guys will get quite large and produce copious amounts of metabolic waste in the process. I'd feed them at least once daily, preferably twice. Make sure that your filtration system and husbandry habits keep up with the fish's waste production. Good luck with this rough crowd! Regards, Scott F.>

Help with Quarantine follow up 4/28/05 Hi Adam, Thanks for all your advice. I lost one Anthias, but the other is doing really well. Only problem now is that he won't eat anything except the brine shrimp fry. He refuses Mysis and Cyclop-eeze. Any suggestions on how to get him to take other food. Thanks.  <Sorry for your loss. To coax your remaining Anthias to take other foods, try offering the new foods mixed in with the brine nauplii. Another good strategy is to invoke Pavlov... Figure out a way to signify feeding time to the fish. A consistent change in lighting, current, placing an object next to the tank, etc. (even your approach can work if the tank is in a low traffic area) can be used to train the fish to expect food when it sees that change occur. The change must be consistent and must be unique to feeding time, and it may take many days or a couple of weeks to work well. Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Feeding Straight From the Sea, You got a Problem With That? I have a pair of Clark's Clowns. I have had them for about two months now. I try to bring home something from the ocean and feed it to them a few times a week. <<Literally from the ocean? As in, you're collecting stuff from the ocean?>> They get mussels, limpets, urchins, and what ever else I can find. <<So it seems, you are. Mikki, you should know that, depending on where you live, you could be breaking a few laws that can net you large fines (thousands of dollars), jail time, or BOTH. I cannot advise this action for this, and other reasons.>> They seem to love everything I put in the tank. Are there any dangers of feeding them live food straight from the ocean, or any creatures I should stay away from? <<Indeed, as there is no way for this food to be known to be completely free of pollutants, contaminants, parasites, or other diseases. This can be VERY dangerous! Don't do it, spend instead some money on restaurant quality seafoods - those intended for human consumption - as these WILL be guaranteed to be of the highest quality, freshness, and cleanliness. It is what is fed to all the fishes at the local public aquarium I used to work at.>> I'm hoping they will breed for me, so I'm trying to give them as many different foods as possible. <<An absolutely WORTHWHILE endeavor, Mikki! Too many people don't care a bit about providing nutritional variety or quality for their pets, not realizing that this is where good health begins. Do as above, round out feeds with Selcon supplement and good quality prepared fish foods. These fish will be well on their way. Oh! Do get (if you haven't already) Joyce Wilkerson's book on Clownfishes (sorry, the title escapes me, but we should have it listed here, or search Amazon/Google). Marina>>

Spectrum Fish Food, Pablo Tepoot Hi Bob, I thought you might be interest in the reviews & article on NLS. How are you doing these days? Pablo http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/new_life_spectrum.php  http://www.cichlid-forum.com/reviews/view_product_review.php?id=286  <Thank you for sending these links along... your foods are very well regarded... and for good reasons. Di and I are fine (in Quito now, coming back from the Galapagos). Sorry JasonC and I missed you... we drove down from Ft. Lauderdale past Xmas, but you were out... And Di asks re your books... in SD... is Suk Kim ready for these yet? Bob Fenner>
Spectrum Fish Food Forum
Bob, Just to let you know. Pablo http://forums.spectrumfishfood.com/  <Ah, very good! Bob Fenner>

Food and Feeding Hi Crew! <Aaron> Thank you for all the info, and your dedication to the science, I've learned a lot, but I'm still a little thick I guess. <You're in good company> On food and feeding - I keep 6 Dispar Anthias, they are comprised of a male and 5 females, four of which are quite docile, but eat very well. I have been feeding them many times every day - probably about 7 or so, I give them a cube of Mysid in the morning, which everything devours.  I also have 6 Banggai Cardinals (they tend to be out during the evening, and give the aquarium some eye candy for the late hours).  So the cardinals, Anthias, Midas blenny, scooter dragonet and palette surgeonfish all eat the mysids - then throughout the day I feed a pinch of crushed Prime Reef Flake, when the halides go off, I through in another cube of Mysid.  Now, this seems like an awful lot, but they eat all of it - I've had some spawning behavior among the cardinals and neon gobies (not together!) and they seem happy.  I can pull off about 1/2 gallon of pretty nasty skimmate weekly, and my water parameters are in check: no ammonia, no nitrite, no nitrate, pH goes from 8.17 to 8.32 during a 24 hour period, ORP is 450 to 490, SG is 1.025, temp is 76.7 to 77.3. I have a little spot of slime algae in a low circulation spot, I think it will dissipate in time, but other than that, no algae. I worry that they (Anthias) don't get enough food - they always eat every last bite in the tank, be it flake, frozen. Should I feed them more? <You could... but several times a day sounds fine... do they appear thin? This is the best guide... their appearance, behavior> A second question is this: I setup a large refugium for the main display, it's a 3 year old reef tank with all the corals taken out, about 45 lbs of old live rock and couple inches of aragonite sand.  I covered the rocks with hair grass, Caulerpa, kelp, and something I can't identify, might be Halimeda? I get some type of planktonic life filling the tank once a month or so, the fuge empties to a 30 gallon sump and is sent to both the fuge and the display.  Are these planktonic life forms getting into the main display? <Very likely so> There are no sponges (cleaning sponges) in the setup at all, and I was hoping to provide zooplankton to the palette surgeonfish and Anthias' in this fashion from time to time, but is it reasonable to assume that some of this life ends up in the display and is eaten? <Yes> Or should I manually transfer directly to the display via a dosing pump or such... <No> ...live plankton really makes a difference to my corals, will it help these delicate fishes? <Yes> I really don't have a problem getting them to eat, but nutrition wise, I'm always concerned - it's so much easier to keep them healthy than to make them better. Anyway, thanks and take care. Thanks, Aaron <Sounds like you're doing fine. Bob Fenner> 

Blue cheeked goby needs bulking up Dear Bob, <Michael> I have written you before, and thanks for the response. I have a new question. I was at a pet store looking at a blue cheeked goby, aka yellow headed sleeper goby. When the clerk found out that I had interest in the fish, she pleaded with me to take it, she even gave it to me for free. <!> Apparently they had requested a different fish, but were given this one as a replacement, and they were not prepared to keep this fish.  Since it was such a fussy eater and they did not have the proper system, and a tank for itself, they couldn't feed it properly, and it was slowly starving. I took it and promised I would try my best to recuperate this poor fish. I have live sand which it is sifting, and I read a suggestion of mixing food (Mysis, brine, or chopped shrimps) into the sand, which I have been trying. I am also, as soon as time or whether permits (at the moment I am in the middle of the nor'easter in the northeast US, going to get live rock for my tank. <Good> Do you have any other suggestions, tips, and/or tricks I can use to get this fish healthy again? Thanks, Mike <Do soak whatever small, meaty foods (whole or chopped) in Selcon or such for a good ten, fifteen minutes and when you have time, use a plastic "turkey baster" to carefully squirt some of this (mixed in water) toward the area where this fish is sifting. Bob Fenner>

Supplements Had a question.  I just purchased the Kent marine Zoe which I have been told is vitamins for salt water fish.  And I also purchased iodine concentrate by two little fishies name brand.  My question is: Is it safe to let both soak in the frozen brine shrimp before feeding?  Is mixing the Zoë and iodine together safe? <No, the addition of an iodine supplement should be monitored with a test kit. Too much iodine in the system is not good.>  Would it be beneficial? <If the instructions on the Zoe bottle indicates you can mix with food, then follow the instructions. If not, you may want to email Kent Marine with that question since I do not know the ingredients of this product.>  The fish that I have are as follows: 1 false percula clown, 1 orange tail damsel, 1 yellow watchman shrimp goby, 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 8 Mexican hermit crabs, and 3 snails?  <James (Salty Dog)> 

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