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Related FAQs: Reef Set-Up 1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Set-Up 6, Reef Set-Up 7, Reef Set-Up 8, Reef Set-Up 9, Reef Set-Up 10, Reef Set-Up 11, Reef Set-Up 12, Reef Set-Up 13, Reef Set-Up 14, & Reef Tanks, Reef LightingReef Lighting 2Reef Filtration, & Reef LivestockingReef Livestocking 2, Reef Feeding, Reef Disease, Reef Maintenance, Marine System PlumbingMarine Aquarium Set-UpLive Rock, Live Sand, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems Reef Maintenance Biotopic presentations Algal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1


Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Hi there from a fan, setting up my first saltwater reef aquarium.     5/5/20
Hi Bob. I hope everything’s well. I’m still unable to return home due to the mainland having shut its borders (though restrictions are loosening up in some places), so it’s not been great for me.
<Sorry to realize>
Some more good news for me. After calculating how much space I’ve got, I’m actually able to do, guess what, a six-foot tank. It will be 155 gallons, 10 gallons less than my plan for a 5-foot tank but more swimming space is always good for the fish. :)
<As stated previously, "bigger is better"... for 'scaping, livstocking....>
I feel as if these constant delays to me getting my tank up and running are subtly benefiting me. More time for the live rock at my LFS to mature with algae. My LFS told me they’ve got a special tank dedicated to cultivating live rock, and that once their live rock is in my tank my tank will be ready for some organisms within 2 days. Are they being truthful?
<Could be... IF the rock is very/well-cured, transported/moved well into new setting>
I had another look at WWM at marine angelfish, and I have decided I’d really like to get a single Lamarck’s or a pair of the smaller species (Bellus, Watanabei, Spotbreast) once my tank’s been running for around six months. If I cannot find a male from these species, I’d mix two females of different species or one male one female of two species but I’m not sure if that’s safe.
Heard they’re the only completely reef-safe genus of angels as they’re planktivores. How would you rate the hardiness and disease resistance of each Genicanthus species out of 10 (when it comes to angels and when it comes to marine fish in general). I know they’re pretty peaceful as far as marine fish go.
I’m also looking at the Xanthurus Cream Angelfish, from what I know it’s the hardiest of its genus. How would you rate its overall hardiness and disease resistance? What about aggression?
<.... not interested in chatting this over>
Would you say some among the Genicanthus angels and the Xanthurus Cream / Indian Yellowtail make good beginner fish as far as angels go?
Other than that, my other plans remain the same. I’ve given up on a Heniochus butterfly as I thought they’d probably do better in a 7’ tank, which is impossible for me and will be impossible for me for many years to
come. Also thought I’m not confident enough to try any Butterflyfish.
The Stripeys I thought I’d rather collect my own. The dealer who sells them uses natural seawater, which I heard can introduce harmful pathogens. As a beginner I’d rather buy only from my LFS, collect fish on my own, or at
most order online with a wholesaler from the same city.
I plan to feed my fish a mix of frozen, dry, and fresh foods. Live foods aren’t an option and I read from WWM they’re often more harm than good, so I won’t go down that route.
Also, for lighting, I plan to have my lights on 12 hours a day. 11AM-11PM.
Feeding I plan to feed 3-4 times a day, and I will vary the foods I feed.
What is your opinion of refugiums?
<Am a huge fan>
Sorry to bother you with so many questions again. I just want to gather as much knowledge as possible before I can take the plunge.
<As gone over before, first things first... fun to speculate re biota, better to just work on the system at this point. B>

150gal reef setup       11/10/19
Good afternoon,
<Howdy Mike>
I greatly appreciate the information contained on WetWebMedia and have found it a useful resource for many years. I would be grateful for a second opinion on a proposed reef setup before I begin to part with my hard earned pennies.
The display will be a 5x2x2’ (150g) aquarium, 100lbs of live rock, 0.5-1” deep substrate of sugar fine aragonite sand and a central combed weir with ‘Herbie’ overflow. I had intended this to be open top for aesthetics and to avoid compromising the lighting but on reflection I may use a screen top to prevent any jumpers.
<Depending on fish livestock... a very good idea>
I have not completely decided on the display lighting but will likely be either a couple of Radion XR30w G4s or Aqua Illumination Hydra 52HDs. Flow will be provided by two Vortech MP40w Quiet-Drive circulation pumps (4,500gph each).
<Nice gear; though I'm still a fan of adding T-5s to LEDs... or adding Metal Halides for deeper systems for systems that seek to maintain, drive high light intensity photosynthetic life.>
The display will drain into a four chambered sump. The first chamber will contain the skimmer (NYOS Quantum 160); the second probably a two chamber reactor (Nyos TORQ 1.0 Litre) with Seachem Matrix and Purigen; and the third sump chamber will house the return pump (EcoTech Vectra S2, 1,400gph max). These three chambers of the ‘sump proper’ will hold around 10-12gal. A fourth chamber will be separate and hold 8gal RO water with an auto top up device (Tunze Osmolator).
I will also add a stand alone 18” cube/25g refugium. 6-8” deep sand bed - I may top this with a slightly larger grade (1-2mm grain) to encourage larger copepod production.
<Just an inch or so of the latter>
There will also be more live rock, though it will be raised off the sand on an eggcrate shelf (supported by glass brackets either end). Refugium will be fed from a teed line from the overflow and drain into chamber three of the sump. It will be reverse lit (TMC AquaBeam 1000HD LED tile - probably not my first choice but I have one to hand and would like to make use of it).
<Should be fine here, for the RDP purpose>
Invertebrate stocking will be mostly corals of the genus Acropora and Montipora, perhaps with one or two Favia and Caulastrea. Emphasis on growing larger specimens of a few species. I may also look to add a dozen or so small hermits (Clibanarius sp.) and snails (Trochus sp.) to provide some grazing pressure in the earlier days of the system (before the herbivorous fish are added).
<Okay... again, do look into, re my note re adding T-5s>
In terms of fish I have tried to compile a list of large showpiece specimens, smaller behaviourally interesting animals and a backdrop of planktivorous shoalers; not just for aesthetics and interest but also to try to minimise competition for particular niches.
Single specimens:
* Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)
* Indian Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge acanthops)
* Long Nose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus)
* Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
* Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas)
<Good choices>
Some selection and/or grouping of the following, likely half a dozen to a dozen total:
* Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis)
* Chocolate Dip Chromis (Chromis dimidiata)
* Blue Green Reef Chromis (Chromis viridis)
<DO put the screen on top>
I may need to see this first hand. See what ‘works’, looks ‘full’ or too much antagonistic behaviour.
<Sure; I give you very good odds of all this getting along. The Green Chromis may diminish in shoal size over time>
Feeding will need to be several times a day for the zooplankton feeders - I have experience of culturing phytoplankton and copepods, but will also look to some high quality (Spectrum?)
<This and Hikari are my faves>
pellets and auto-feeders. Planned water changes of 10% plus each week and media changed/re-charged as needed to maintain water quality.
Phew that was longer than I anticipated! First general question: does this look workable? Any glaring errors or inappropriate risks?
<No errors as far as I can see>
Would it be worth the use of filter socks for the drains to sump and refugium?
<Mmm, maybe... IF easy to fit, I'd try them out... need to be cleaned VERY often... likely daily, every few days>
I’m considering removing the media reactor and replacing it with a rolling mat (Clarisea). I probably already have sufficient biological filtration with the rock and sand without the Matrix media; and I could still use the Purigen (if needed) in another part of the sump (albeit less efficiently). I like the roller mat for actually removing ‘stuff’ from the system as opposed to simply binding it, but this still appears to be fairly new tech - at least in hobbyist applications.
<Mmm; to each their own. I am not a fan personally. Too much expense for the gain>
The tang will need to be added last, any thoughts on whether the penultimate fish should be the angel or wrasse? Both are small and feisty...
<In this size system, with the rock... not a problem in terms of order of introduction of all>
Finally, the ethics of live rock... there appears to be a great deal of concern on the ecological impact of its harvesting, which is a shame since this should be a renewable/manageable resource.
<I do agree... such concerns are nonsense. FAR more harm from sewage, run-off, 'cides... the rock is made in vast quantities continuously. The alternative; man-made is a greater source of pollution than just gathering the wild; which is far superior in functionality.>
Nonetheless it may be necessary to use a cultured if not artificial alternative like ‘Real Reef Rock’. It will obviously need to be seeded with life, but would such a substitute cripple this proposed setups ability to process waste?
<Again, I find the non-wild collected or conditioned to be an expensive poor substitute>
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Kind regards,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Planted macroalgae display/ Mangrove tidepool ...      6/5/19
Hi WWM crew! I promise I've been through dozens and dozens of pages of the forum to get the answers I need but I'm only getting bits and pieces because I guess my idea is a bit odd. I'm currently setting up a 100 gallon rimless display tank (48"x24"x20"). This is what I want... 150lbs of live rock, 1.5" layer of miracle mud topped by 4.5" of fine and medium grade sand to grow both shoal grass and star grass as well as a large and varied variety of macroalgae and a few easy soft corals to fill in some gaps as well as mangroves. Lighting will be high end LED either 2x Kessil or 2x AI Hydras, looking for full spectrum with some flexibility in modifying colors. I'm running a 34 gallon Triton style sump because I like the setup which has an 11gal refugium as the first chamber after filter socks, then to a skimmer, then return pump. And also a 10 gallon ATO.
Main inhabitants will be 3 multibar angelfish, 12 blue green Chromis, 20 yellow striped Cardinal fish, a pair of clowns, and possibly 4-6 butterflies (potential to destroy macros unknown) any idea how butterflies might do in a heavily planted tank?
<I'd limit the BFs here to two, maybe three individuals. Not enough psychological space for more>
I'm not sure of the full stock list but I do plan on a heavy bioload because of the massive amount of nutrients I will need to feed the natural filtration system. I'm not really looking for any very brightly colored or odd shaped or patterned fish for this tank, if you can't tell I come from freshwater, do you have any suggestions of other fish species that would enjoy a tank like this?
<Various gobies et al found in seagrass beds. You can search for such on the Net>
Does any of the above, although maybe unusual, seem completely undoable to you? If so, what exactly?
<Is all do-able; but have to start slow... be careful when disturbing the substrate... otherwise a big mess>
The next question is the in-sump refugium, I'm assuming I don't need another dsb or miracle mud but was going to run some live rock rubble and Chaeto on an alternating light schedule to help with
oxygenation/reduce respiration of macroalgae in display. Or should I run a full refugium with mud, dsb, and macro? I'm just wondering if this will be too much competition for nutrients for the main tank?
<Will not be; and I would run on an alternating reverse daylight period... one system lights on while the other is off>
Also what is the likelihood I will need to worry about regularly dosing nutrients in this system?
<After a few months test and see. Likely iron and zinc will become limiting in time>
I do understand that it is an unusual setup and I'm borrowing a little bit from a lot of different methods but in my mind it seems great! Am I
<No; or no more than I. Bob Fenner>

Sad fish Story        4/30/19
Hi. We are negligent with our fish tanks, don't even want to tell you .
We have a 75 gal tank that was down to one convict damsel. Dropped 4 new damsels and a choc chip star fish in there yesterday.
<Yikes; Choc. chip stars aren't easily kept in captivity>
Existing lamp is the old kind with 32 w bulbs 48 " long. Filter is a big old wet dry. No protein skimmer, think I have an ultra violet light (Filter) but hasn't been on for at least 10 years. Got any suggestions for
a nice inexpensive LED light strip?
<Am a big fan (what I use) of the Zoo Med brand; reasonable cost, do the job>
By the way, we have taken really good care of our three kids, two cats and dog.
Fish have been neglected. One of those dinosaur moments when I walk into House of Fins and they tell me my stuff is ancient.
<Oh! Greenwich, CT? Rob Bray are old/er friends, dive-travel co-travelers>
Like when I wanted a stylus for my turntable at best buy and they look at me like a Neanderthal.
<Hey now! I still have a (now new) LP player>
Any suggestions would be great. We aren't trying to keep plants or live rock anymore.
<I'd ditch the wet dry media itself; convert the filter tank into a working DSB, refugium. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wdmodconv.htm,  perhaps perusing the linked (blue) files above.
I'd also encourage you to chat w/ the folks at House of Fins... re adding a small UV sterilizer... will reduce total microbial levels and their issues, increase ORP... Bob Fenner>

LA Fishguys      1/19/16
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 09:24:17 -0800
Hello Bob,
Episode 151 of LA Fishguys went on-line yesterday.
Its titled ‘Setting up my 180 Reef Tank’.
I have your promotion placed in Part Two,
<Thanks Jim! B>
Part One https://youtu.be/C0KnPMOQCag 
Part Two https://youtu.be/ejikrz4MSCY 
Part Three https://youtu.be/0q3Bn4t9eac 
Part Four https://youtu.be/1nk5R9RMQ5w 
Jim Stime, Jr
Aquarium Design - Installation and Maintenance
Midwater Systems - JELLIQUARIUM Jellyfish Display Systems
MyFishTank.com - Acrylic Aquariums, Stands and Canopies
LA Fishguys - Aquarium Reality Television

LA Fishguys sets up a glass coral reef tank        12/10/15
Hi Bob,
Episode 150 of LA Fishguys is now on-line. It features the set-up of a coral reef tank Your promotion is in Part Two Part One https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5UcI-irqBM  Part Two https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNcS9wFQhR4
Jim Stime, Jr
Aquarium Design - Installation and Maintenance
Midwater Systems - JELLIQUARIUM Jellyfish Display Systems
MyFishTank.com - Acrylic Aquariums, Stands and Canopies
LA Fishguys - Aquarium Reality Television
<Thanks Jim. B>

New 6ft marine tank upgrade, Reef, stkg.     10/31/13
Hello to who ever reads this at WetWebMedia! Hope all is well with you guys
Got a few questions regarding a system upgrade from a 4ft - 75 gal marine aquarium to a 6ft 150 gal.
Do you think this stocking list could work well?
Tank dimensions are: 72x18x24 inches
. Yellow tang
. Regal angelfish (red sea)
. Golden semilarvatus angelfish
. Kole tang
. Jewel pufferfish

. McCosker's flasher wrasse x3 (Male:Female:Female group)
. Osc clown x2
. Lemon damselfish
. Fiji yellow belly damsel
. Blue cheek goby

. Goldentail or banana moray eel (miliaris)
. Dwarf golden moray eel

. Skunk cleaner shrimp x4
. Blood red cleaner shrimp x2

. Sand sifting starfish x2
. Turbo snail x10
. Tube worm x3
<These should all go... with the following likelihood troubles. The Muraenids will consume the shrimps, the Puffer will likely nip the eels and goby>
. Brain coral
. Candy cane coral
. Green toadstool coral
. Button polyp
. Thick finger leather coral
. Colony polyps
. Green fluorescent mushroom
<And these, given they're introduced as "well-adjusted" specimens, small in size...>
Sump tank 50x18x17 inch

Deltec SC1350 skimmer
5ft T5 silver aqualumi aquarium lighting pendant
Just wondering if you guys think this set up could work and if not, what would you suggest?
<Sounds fine as presented... would add notes re converting part of the sump to a refugium, RDP macro-algal culture, DSB there>
Also what should I feed the regal angel for a staple diet to keep it healthy?
<Already posted, archived on WWM...>
Thank you and keep up the good work! :)
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Indian Ocean sps Zoa reef flat biotope tank: Sump design      9/13/13
Dear Friends and Bob San :)
Would be awesome to get thoughts on the below. Please feel free to comment on any point below.
Am I on the right track?
<... of what? Oh, guess I've got to read below>
Any changes you would suggest?
Anything to be aware of?
What am I looking to achieve?
I just started a new tank and looking to recreate a reef flat biotope.
I wanted to keep the main focus on a Harem of dwarf angels darting between coral heads.
Tank specs
The tank is a custom rimless tank with a sump included in the back side (dimensions and design attached)
<I see this; and have read your small written notes>
Since my previous tank was Aiptasia infected horribly (hundreds of big ones) I decided to play safe and used dry live rock.
<Mmm, where will you "get" the biota from otherwise?>
Basically freshwater dip for few weeks then dry for a week and then freshwater dip again (twice the same cycle)
Finished scaping (a pleasure with dry rock I must say) and cycled for 4-5 weeks.
Here are the equipment specs..
Lighting- 3x Mazarra P modules
3x 24W T5 (2 actinic and one purple plus all ATI bulbs)
Lights are hung 6" above water line
Circulation - 3x MP40W Vortechs with anti sync on slaves using nutrient export mode.
1 return pump of 1700LPH with around 12" head.
<All right>
Deltec 1060TS skimmer rates for 1500 litres.
7" DSB in second chamber of sump (moved the algae to in tank refugium)
<Sounds good>
Bare bottom (hope to get a Zoa carpet)
<Are toxic; for you as well... DO see WWM here>
Using Chemi pure elite 4 bags of 11oz
Changed every 15 weeks (change is slowly bag by bag)
<I'd change one out every four weeks, leaving the newest/newer ones in place>
Husbandry tasks
- water tests every Friday (CA/Alk/NO3/PH4) PH is on continuous monitor.
CA is ranging between 420-450
Alk is 160-170 using Hanna meter
NO3 is <0.5
PH4 am still to start testing from tomorrow :)
- 120 litres ( approx 25-30%) WC on Saturday. Still toying with idea of 15% every 3-4 days
Daily approx half cube size portion of mix of frozen brine, Cyclopes, Mysid, angel formula.
5-7 pellets of spectrum
Vacuuming - every 3-5 days
<Once a week is fine; easier to keep on schedule>
3x 2" African Flameback angels added all together (first fish in tank)
2x true percula clownfish

Can I add a trio of flame angel??
Can I add a group of Chromis (5-7)??
Can I add a mandarin goby pair??
Can I add a group of royal gamma (3)??
Can I add a pair of purple fire fish??
<How large is this tank? 120 liters? I'd stick w/ just the intended/stated 3 and 2 fishes>

Am totally fine to not add ANY more fish other than existing 3 dwarf angel and 2 clown!!
2xmontipora digitata
1x Montipora reniformis
1x Montipora (unknown genus)
6x Acropora species
2x Zoa (multi color colonies)
Planning a group of 3 (cleaner or peppermint shrimp)
<A peaceful Lysmata species is what I'd use>
Other info
No QT possible due to space constraints. So, added all existing livestock at one shot
I dip the new additions using CoralRX.
1- what are lighting considerations based on colour or shape of Acropora?
<See WWM re... You need to learn/use the site; ahead of writing us>
2- can I afford to feed more given current filtration and WC regime?
<I wouldn't be concerned re overfeeding here>
3- should I add more light modules?
<I'd wait and see (a few months) if you like what you have>
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Indian Ocean SPS Zoa reef flat biotope tank, add all to reef sys., set up f'    9/14/13
Thanks for the super fast (as usual) response Bob.
<Ah welcome>
Some answers to your questions
Regarding the point of fish addition over the existing 3+2 fishes, you asked if the water volume was 120liters.
I believe the total volume is 110 gallons with the tank being 90 gallons.
(42x29x18) LxWxH
<Oh! You could put more in here. Likely all the fishes you listed>

So you still feel the current 3 dwarfs and 2 percula are the best in this volume for peaceful existence and displaying natural behaviours?
<Mmm, this is likely so; but I would add more for my /our own interest>
Just to mention, the dwarfs and the percula are already in the tank.
Dwarfs were added together as a trio from the same clutch at 2" size.
Percula I added a week later.
Regarding your question on where will I get the biota from if I use dry live rock,
Coralline am not for or against purely for aesthetic reasons.
Pods I already have lots from the Zoa rocks
Since I don't have sand bed, do I really need any worms etc?
<Would be helpful>
Why do you say no worry of over feeding?
<Not really an issue with the set-up as you list it. You're not likely to encounter superfluous chemical nutrient issues>
Regarding the lighting, I did research on Acropora lighting on WWM and advanced aquarist. but the details are all bit dated and discuss MH which are single Kelvin bulbs. LED technology nowadays uses multiple Kelvin sources.
<Not really useful measures... Look to PUR, PAR at the location of your livestock>
Also, is there any way to ascertain what level of depth the coral was taken from given its coloration?
<Mmm, not easily for aquarists, no>
If a specific Acropora was short and encrusting, it can be guessed it was taken from shallow depths and thus strong lighting, the question is, can it be placed 6" under water line with LED lighting blasting at it?
<Mmm, no; shape of skeleton has more to do w/ prevailing water movement, patterns... stringy/thin in low current, short/compact in more rigorous in general>
Nevertheless, I will revisit the FAQ on WWM to see what I missed :)
Very very IMP question
The Montipora capricornis specimen I added was infected with the Montipora eating white Nudibranch. The base of the coral was eaten and half a dozen Nudibranch dropped out in the CoralRX dip!!
I took cuttings from the top half of the coral which looked like it was uninfested. The rest was discarded. Was this a good decision?
<Likely so; though I might have kept the rest in isolation>
This was added Just 2-3 days back and I can pull it out right away if you think there is ANY chance of eggs being there!! Please let me know your thoughts on this.
<Could be; though the dip (had I devised the formulation) would take care of these. Again; isolation (quarantine)...>
<And you, B>

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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