Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Small Marine Systems 8

Related Articles: Small Marine Systems, Tom Walsh's Small Reefs, Nano Reef Systems by Adam Jackson, Large Marine Systems, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Large Systems, Plumbing Marine Systems, RefugiumsMarine Biotope, Marine LandscapingFishwatcher's Guides

Related FAQs: Small Marine Systems 1, Small Marine Systems 2Small Marine Systems 3, Small Marine Systems 4, Small Marine Systems 5, Small Marine Systems 6, Small Marine Systems 7, Small Marine Systems 9, Small Marine Systems 10, & Small Tanks, Small System Lighting, Small System Filtration, Skimmers for Small Systems, Small System Stocking, Small System Maintenance, Small System Disease, Tom Walsh Systems, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Large Systems, Marine System Plumbing Biotopic presentationsSkimmers for Small Set-ups,


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

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bare Bottom or Coarse Shallow Substrate for Coral-Only Nano -- 10/05/11
Hi all.
<<Hey Tim>>
I'm setting up a 28-gallon NanoCube for coral only (plus a few Nerites, Ceriths, and hermits for cleanup duty).
I have never tried coral before, so I am a total beginner at this.
<<If you haven't found it yet, have a look here and among the links at the top of the page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reef1.htm).
I've read most of the substrate discussions here,
but the vast majority concern DSB,
which I don't want.
<<I see>>
Also, fine aragonite is not possible, as I know from prior experience that in this small tank my powerhead will shift it into sand dunes.
So I'm left with the choice of bare bottom (possibly carpeted with star polyps, xenia, Zoanthids, which is appealing) or about 1/2 inch of coarse (0.5 mm - 5 mm) aragonite. The aragonite will (I assume) support valuable benthic organisms better than a bare bottom.
<<Yes'¦or at the least, likely a wider 'selection' of organisms>>
It will also provide a bit of buffering, though admittedly not as much as fine grade. So... considering that I am a beginner and want to keep this as simple and foolproof as possible, do you think I would be better off with a bare bottom or the thin layer of coarse aragonite?
<<For aesthetics I prefer a sand/gravel substrate'¦though the bare-bottom does facilitate better monitoring and removal of accumulated detritus. But I think you would be fine 'either way.' The use of a very shallow substrate as you describe will be easy enough to clean periodically as you would a bare bottom'¦and with no fishes in the system (and the subsequent possibility of overstocking), probably a moot point. I suggest you make a decision based on 'your' sense of aesthetics'¦what does 'Tim' want here?>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Re: Bare Bottom or Coarse Shallow Substrate for Coral-Only Nano -- 10/05/11

Eric --
<<Hiya Tim>>
Thanks for your prompt and thoughtful response!
<<Quite welcome>>
The aragonite I've been looking at is black, which will make a great background for well lit corals. So per your suggestion, that's what I'll go with.
<<Excellent'¦ Do keep that black substrate well vacuumed to keep it looking good as it will certainly 'show off' any detritus as well. EricR'¦>>

Should I buy a Biocube?   6/12/2011
Dear Crew,
<Howdy DG>
I was thinking it is time to transition into saltwater aquariums. After doing research I learned about the Oceanic Biocube. From what I have read, they seem to come with everything (except a protein skimmer and a few others) that I would need to have a healthy aquarium; even sufficient lighting for some basic soft corals. Though, I have one question. Is it better to buy a regular tank then buy the other supplies or should I simply get a Biocube and do some upgrades as I go along?
I know a Biocube is expensive but wouldn't having to buy everything separately even more expensive?
Thank you very much for the reply,
Dante G.
<Good questions... Years back, when we had/ran retail fish stores, the "all-in-one" units were, to put it absolutely, "crap"... Starting 5-6 years ago, some very nice boxed systems have been produced... and I do like the Oceanic line. As a related note, the last 2-3 years I've penned a "small marine system" column for the UK hobby 'zine "Ultramarine Aquarium"... and now an example small system column for TFH here in the US (and abroad to be accurate)... Have had occasion therefore to make close examinations of
these units... and I like most all that I see.
How to put this succinctly? We're it me, I'd purchase this/these units.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

24g cube, SW, set-up principally    4/12/11
Hey crew! I've had a 14G Biocube for 2 years now, and all of the inhabitants including a now near 2 year old peppermint shrimp and Percula have remained alive. (I've read 1 year is the life expectancy for a peppermint shrimp, so I expect it to die off soon :'[ )
Recently a friend offered so sell me his 24 gallon JBJ nanocube for 150 dollars so I bought it. I'm going to use the 14 gallon as the new quarantine, and was wondering if it is safe to transfer the Percula to the 24 gallon (which has nuisance algae and worms) without any special treatment.
<It is>
The live rock in the 14 is blue and pink with coralline, but I will let it stay simply because I don't want the bristle worms going over.
<Mmm, you could likely remove (most) all with "spritzing" (even immersing) the rocks in "soda water">
Would there be any chance of something spreading to the 24 gallon by moving the Percula there?
<Very little, no>
I have already added 10 pounds of live sand and 25 pounds of aragonite to the 24 gallon, and was wondering if base rock would be necessary for a tank of this size.
<Mmm, no; not necessary>
Long term I plan on adding Montipora to the tank, and I assume that with base rock in addition to live rock with spreading Montipora will result in restricted swimming spaces.
<Easy enough to curtail, break pieces off... generally this genus grows slowly in such small, change-able settings>
Could I get away with simply picking out choice pieces of live rock and arranging them against the back? Or should I purchase some base rock "just in case".
<I think you'll be more than fine w/o>
Ah, and I nearly forgot about this one. The 24 gallon included bagged "pellets" of activated charcoal, which I ran through water until the water going through it was clear. After running the tank for about 48 hours with the filter on (just sand and saltwater at this point) I can easily smell the charcoal when I put my nose a few inches away from the water. Should I remove the charcoal and replace it with another brand, or does the smell indicate nothing wrong. I'm not exactly sure of what the effects of dissolved charcoal could have on the water quality.
<I'd leave it where it is... not move any livestock for a few weeks.>
Because it is a nanocube, it is self contained and doesn't leave too much room for modification. I was wondering if, when I introduce a bioload of 3 or so fish, several crustaceans and possibly Montipora (several months from now, of course) to the tank with a simple trickle filter which goes through sponge, charcoal, and some ceramic rings, leading to a pump with a 250 gph flow will be able to handle that bioload.
<Should; yes>
I may be able to add a small canister filter if I punch a hole through the lid if necessary, but want to know beforehand if that will be needed.
<Not needed, but nice to have redundancy in function, extra margin in filter, carrying capacity should the inevitable "something" go awry>
If you are aware of any high quality filter media that I could use in place of what I have said I would appreciate it, because I'd rather not blindly buy something that I won't need.
<Eheim's products here>
Sorry for the multitude of questions, but I really don't want to make too many mistakes this time around.
Best wishes,
Sam Sutonovski
<And you. Bob Fenner>

Small Marine Nano Cube With Mushroom Coral (not for the inexperienced aquarist) -- 03/20/11
While visiting LFS, found that there was a supposedly established 6 gal marine Nano cube for sale.
<<Such 'small volumes' can be difficult to maintain'¦and certainly not for the beginning marine aquarist in my opinion, as so often touted>>
It has only mushroom corals.
<<A noxious organism, and often deadly in such a small volume of water if/when mixed with other inverts'¦best kept alone here>>
The set up was pretty and quite tempting to put on my desk.
<<No doubt'¦though I must admit to not being a fan of 'office' aquariums due to their tendency to be abused/neglected>>
When I questioned the extremely young clerk about maintenance, he said it would require only monthly water changes and little else.
<<Bunk'¦ If anything, more frequent (weekly) maintenance will be required as such small volumes of water 'Go South' much more quickly than larger volumes>>
Currently I only have a freshwater setup and I haven't owned a marine aquarium in nearly 30 years (F.O.W.L. R. back then-successful but sold it during move) but even with my limited and antiquated experience, his maintenance claims sound pretty light to me.
<<Indeed'¦ A lot has changed in 30 years; technologies have improved along with our understanding of both what/how to keep'¦and what NOT to keep. I suggest you get a good book or two, as well as doing some research and reading here and elsewhere on the NET before making any sort of impulse buy. Here's a few links on WWM to get you started: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bookswwmsugg.htmhttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/ofcaqrelbiz.htmhttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoodBadMarLvstkSel.htm  , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htmhttp://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm  , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/small.htm
Do also follow and read among the associated links at the top of the pages>>
When I said so he replied it was so easy because the "corals only" set up required little care.
But that wouldn't stop evaporation changing salinity would it?
<<Nope'¦and any and all changes come very quickly in such a small volume>>
And I thought corals were sensitive to water conditions?
<<Some more than others, but yes>>
Anyway, I thought I would ask an expert before sinking money into this Nano venture.
<<I see it as three strikes against you at the moment'¦ a 'Nano' tank'¦ a planned 'office' tank'¦ and an 'inexperienced' aquarist'¦ I'm not saying this can't be done, but to avoid disappointment you really need to 'bone up' for a while before you set out on this venture>>
What would the optimal maintenance be for a 6 gal mushroom coral only setup?
<<Can be as varied as the animals kept in it (do check out the links provided)'¦but at the least it will need to be 'frequent'>>
Thanks for any reply!
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Cycling up new tank/Ammonia   1/31/11
Hi again WWM crew,
<Hello John.>
I'm starting up a new 28 gallon tank. Specs thus far:
150w MH lighting
M-J 1200/Accela stock power head, on Wavemaker
25 lbs. aragonite sand
45 lbs. Fiji live rock
3-part Filtration chamber - filter floss, carbon (to be replaced by Chemi-pure elite after cycle), Chaeto ball under lighting (after cycle) I wanted to preserve as much diversity on the rock as possible; I ordered it
'cured' from LA, two-day shipping. The plan was to use this rock to cycle the tank. In the face of two different schools of opinion on the issue of how best to preserve as many of the hitchhikers as possible, I elected not to scrub the rock; only to remove and large, clearly dead organisms.
<Pretty much what I do too.>
I expected a healthy ammonia spike but for the last four days the rock has been in the tank the ammonia has been steadily off the charts of my API test, over 8ppm. After a little under 24 hours the nitrite started
showing up and is now around 1.5 ppm. So we're cycling, but the nitrite is climbing very slowly. Not sure if there's a 1:1 linear relationship in converted ammonia / nitrite. I'm concerned that in trying to preserve the life on the rock by not scrubbing I'm actually causing more of a problem by nuking the rock with way, way too much ammonia.
<You are...in the territory distinguishing between normal curing and the ammonia killing off more than needed. The latter is happening at these levels.>
I've done two 10% water changes two days apart, and even after these changes I'm still enough above 8ppm that I can't detect the true value.
<You need to change much more, even 100% a day if need be for a few days.>
I'm trying to decide a course of action - time and effort not factors, just hoping to keep as much life as possible;
1. Remove/Scrub all the rock, flush the water, try again.
<Would help, but I prefer not to personally. You do lose more than needed doing this.>
2. Ride it out with 10% water changes every other day as I've been doing.
<You need more here.>
3. Ignore it and let the cycle do its thing.
<Well, what you will end up with is "cured" rock that is all too common.
So many LFS sell cured rock that show no life. They simply get live rock and throw it in a holding tank until it is bought. So much life on the rock is lost. We have all seen the bare white "live rock". It is live to
a point, but not the live rock we all wish to start out with.>
4. Increase the size and frequency of the water changes, trying to keep the ammonia within my testable levels.
<Yep, tis the route. As low as possible. A scale going up to 8 is ridiculous. There is no reason to be anywhere near that high!>
It would also be possible to start running the Chemi-pure and Chaeto now, though I have heard this isn't the best idea.
<You could, but it would just be a waste. You will need significant water changes anyhow. Do be sure to clean the filter floss at least daily.>
There's a ton of advice on WWM in this regard, but it seems there are differences in opinion as to the best course of action to take. All ears!
<Live rock curing is where many reefers diverge in opinion. Oh, do you have a skimmer you can add? Would be very beneficial here.>
Thanks folks,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Powerheads, sm. reef   1/10/11
Hi crew,
I'm planning a trip to the LFS within the month for a coral (Last time I checked they had Montipora, "Chalice - possibly Oxypora", and Heliopora which I am interested in) but first I was wondering what your opinion is as far as a powerhead goes.
The tank is a 150 watt MH 28g nanocube (Cycled, lightly stocked) but as of yet has no water movement other than what comes from the filter return pump.
<Ahh, "not enough">
That being said, I was wondering if it would even be worth getting a fixed powerhead if, as I have read, unilateral water flow can be damaging. If I can get an oscillating one for a deal then of course I'll jump on it, but they (at least to me) seem unreasonably expensive for what amounts to a self contained desk fan oscillator.
<Heeee! I agree>
The powerheads I have looked at from the $25-45 range have quite varied flow rates (from ~200 to ~500) and all said they were appropriate for marine tanks in the range of 30 gallons. That said, which would be most appropriate for one of these stonies?
<A good brand... will give you a citation presently... Set/placed in a back corner near the surface, jetting the water in a gyre/vortex along one edge... Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/pwrhdselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
I don't want to end up blasting them from their foundation before they even have a chance to begin calcifying.
Any input you could give would be greatly appreciated. I am leaning towards A Tunze or Koralia just based on their quality, but my question is whether they are "too" good.
<These are fine brands/manufacturers. A smaller unit of your choice>
Many thanks as always,
Sam Sutonovski
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Re: setting up a quite <quiet> 30 gallon saltwater tank   6/23/10
Thanks for the feedback.
Now I am second guessing going with any aquarium that is not drilled.
<I personally will never own one that is not. You can do this yourself too. See Glass-Holes.com.>
I am very concerned with flooding if siphon breaks on overflow boxes.
<Me too! These should always be run with a second, redundant overflow as backup.>
Should I consider a canister filter instead?
<I would not, canister filters tend to accumulate detritus just as the bioballs mentioned in the previous email. Add to that it is way too easy to have the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality when it comes to cleaning them and many aquarists run into trouble.>
What are your feelings about the Rena XP2 or XP3 models?
<I love these for the price if one needs a canister.>
Any other canisters you might recommend if I go that route?
Also, I have never done live rock.
<Oh I would with just about any marine tank.>
If I go with live rock how many pounds would you recommend (30 gallon tank)?
<Anywhere from 20-30 pounds depending on how dense you want the aquascaping to be.>
What type of lighting would I need to provide?
<Minimal for just the rock, a few fluorescent bulbs will do.>
With the volume of rock displacing water, will I still be OK with a 30 gallon tank, now probably less than 30 gallons?
<Again depends on what you want to keep in the tank.>
If I use live rock, what is the purpose of the sump(wet/dry with no bio ball media)?
<Nothing but a crap trap.>
It will just have a protein skimmer and heater now, both of which I can hang on the back of the tank.
<Yes, but you lose extra volume in the system and some aeration to an extent.>
Thanks again.
<Welcome, I do recommend some more reading here before you proceed. Get the "basics" down before you plunge into this project. WWM has all the answers to these question and many others. Look for Robert (Bob) Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", this book will serve you well here. Scott V.> 

Questions On Base Rock (Dry Rock), Decorations, Microbes, And Carbon Filters - 6/12/10
<Hello Camron>
I have some questions about base(dry) rock, plastic decorations, microbes, and carbon filters?
First the Dry Rock.
I hear you can get dry/base rock instead of live rock. I hear you can seed it with a piece of live rock or substrate from an established tank.
<You are correct.>
I have some questions about dry rock though.
Can you use marine bacterial additives (such as Instant Ocean's BioSpira) to seed the dry rock?
<To seed with denitrifying bacteria, yes.>
Can you use commercial live sand to seed dry rock?
<Will work also, but I'd prefer using the rock with the BioSpira.>
How long will it take to prepare and cycle dry rock compared to live rock?
<With a source of ammonia/waste, anywhere from 21 to 28 days.>
Can dry rock stay dry indefinitely, or do you need to get it into saltwater by a certain amount of time?
<Can stay dry forever.>
About the Microbes
Also, there is a product called "Reef Bugs." Marc Weiss makes them.
Petsolutions sells them. The product supposedly recreates marine snow. The product is actually tiny microbes. The product states this food is good for live rock, sponges, gorgonians, Zoanthids, clams, scallops, corals, xenia,
and star polyps. It is evidently safe for fish. Would this be okay to add to the dry rock as a food source for fish that eat small foods? Would a Tailspot blenny eat such microbes? Would such microbes aid in the filtration process like nitrifying marine bacteria do?
<Don't waste your money.>
About Plastic Decorations
Also I have some rock-like decorations made from plastic resin. Could I use this to culture nitrifying bacteria instead of live door dry rock?
<Would be far from efficient compared to live rock which is porous thus providing a much greater area for denitrifying bacteria to grow.>
Final Question on Carbon Filters
Also I have carbon filters. They say these act like biological filters after a while. Could I culture enough nitrifying bacteria for a 12 gal. tank containing 1 Tailspot blenny, just using a carbon filter?
<They can/will act as biological filters but will also promote nitrates if not changed on a regular basis. Best to read here and linked articles in the header.
 James (Salty Dog)>

First Time Saltwater Tank Questions/Marine Set-Up 3/23/10
<Hello Camron>
I have written to you before on freshwater aquarium and fish related questions. You gave me excellent and helpful advice and help on all my questions. For that I and my fish are very grateful.
<You're welcome, and glad we could be of service.>
However, now I plan on starting a small saltwater tank.
The tank itself is 10 to 12 gallons.
<I'd prefer to see a newbie get into something a little bigger, not too much room here for error.>
It has a bio-wheel filter with a carbon filter insert. I have a few fresh water Platies in there currently. I will be moving them to a larger tank when I am ready to start setting up my saltwater tank. I am trying to take my time setting up the saltwater system. But so far I have a tank I plan to use.
<OK, and yes, do take your time/plan.>
I have also done some research on small saltwater fish (sometimes called Nano fish) for small tanks. I saw several species such as pygmy angelfish,
<Not suitable for the volume of water you have.>
pygmy puffers,
<Ditto here also.>
very small Chromis and damsels, red fire fish, and gobies. I chose to go with some of the smaller gobies.
So I have a tank and decided on what fish species I would like to keep.
I did some research and found what requirements I would need to keep a goby. Both large and small breeds.
<Stay with the smaller species.>
After my research I decided on small gobies ( 2 inches or under).
I got substrate that was suitable for most of the species I was looking at (clown gobies, pygmy gobies, greenband gobies, redhead gobies, etc. .) The substrate I got is 10 lbs. of reef sand. Enough (I think) to make the deeper sand beds gobies seem to favor). The substrate contains aragonite and live bacteria that supposedly help cycle the tank.
<Marketing ploy.>
The substrate is Nature's Ocean brand. I believe it is their "Australian Reef Sand". I think that is what their company calls it. Upon examination, the substrate appears to be fine but gravely, just how the gobies I plan to get like it.
<Aren't you going to share your choices with us?>
I also got marine salt. "Instant Ocean" brand I believe. Then I got some Essential Trace Elements (A.P.I. brand). I did the best I could to be sure I got Trace Elements suitable for marine aquariums. I also Got some Bio-Spira (Instant Ocean Brand) to help keep the beneficial bacterial going. I also got Reef Accelerator (again Instant Ocean Brand) that contains iodine, calcium, magnesium, and strontium to keep these important elements going. I also already have Amquel+, Stress Coat+, and Tetra Aqua Safe (with bio extract) that I already use for my freshwater aquarium.
<These products used with your below mentioned protein skimmer will cause the skimmer to go bananas, do not use, isn't necessary.>
I checked to be sure these products will work with saltwater aquariums too.
Apparently they do. I also got a small protein <protein> skimmer with a wood airstone (wood airstones are supposedly good to use with protein skimmers and saltwater tanks).
<Yes, the Limewood type works best.>
I got test kits for calcium , iodine, and magnesium. I do not plan on keeping live corals, so strontium is not exactly necessary. (Or so I have been led to believe.) And I already have test kits that test, pH, water hardness, nitrate, nitrite, phosphates, and ammonia that work in freshwater and saltwater. I got a hydrometer to test the salinity and gravity in my future saltwater tank. I already have a floating thermometer in the 10 to 12 gal. tank I will be using. The lighting is already in place (it is a florescent daylight type). This should be okay to use because I will not have any corals (which require different lighting than what I already have).
<Will depend on the wattage of your present lighting.>
The tank has a built in pump and has fairly good circulation as it is.
<What is fairly good?>
I also have a separate pump I plan to use for the protein skimmer. And I got a replacement bio-wheel and carbon filter cartridges for when I start up my saltwater tank. I also got a few ornaments that offer some cover and small caves for the fish to hide in.
<Live rock would be much better.>
I also got a marine safe substrate cleaner, to help clean the substrate when it gets too full of sludge.
<Do not use this, much better to vacuum the substrate during water changes.>
I also already have a gravel vacuum I can use on the substrate with no problems.
I have decided for the most part what species I plan to add to the tank. My first two choices are both carnivores. They both require small foods. They are both around two inches. And they are both peaceful with other fish, expect <except> for their own kind or similar species. So I got my footer
fish a vitamin supplement for saltwater or freshwater systems, a Vitamin C supplement (which I use with my freshwater fish as well),
<Much better to use a product such as Selcon.>
micro food for saltwater fish (whish I already had for baby fish and brine shrimp in the past), a granule type food called "Red Tiny Bits" (the super fine type), PhytoPlan Advanced Plankton Diet (a plankton food for filter feeders), Instant Ocean Cyclop-Eeze (a soft gel food), myis <Mysis> shrimp, and brine shrimp eggs.
<How do you plan on using the shrimp eggs?>
The species I plan on getting are :
1 Green Clown Goby (Gobiodon artangulatus species, not the Gobiodon histrio species. Yes, there are apparently two different species of green clown goby. Ah, But you probably already know this.)
1 Red Head Goby
<If you are referring to Elacatinus puncticulatus, they are a little more difficult to keep than the Clown Goby.>
and perhaps 1 Nassarius snail ( the type from the Sea of Cortez, not the Tongan species. The ones from the Sea of Cortez can grow to be as large as Tongan species. However, the Cortez ones seem to be a little cheaper to buy.) I plan to get the snail as an additional helper to keep the substrate clean.
<Also consider a few Blue Leg Hermit Crabs for your clean up crew.>
I have some Spirulina I can add to the tank if the snail needs any vegetable matter it its diet.
I know the snail would work with both goby species I have chosen. Neither species is reputed to harm invertebrates as large as the 1 to 2 inch snail I plan to get. However, my concern is with the gobies themselves. Most gobies are territorial. And the two species I chose are no exception to this rule.
<They are rather peaceful, should get along fine.>
The exception apparently being mated pairs, or small groups being introduce to the tank at the same time. They both require a 10 gallon tank minimum.
They have the same specific gravity, temperature, and dietary requirements. They are both 2 inches maximum. They both seem to fight for territory with their own kind, or species that look similar. And they both seem to leave species that are completely different than themselves alone.
My question is, if I introduce these two goby species to the tank at the same time, will they get along?
Or will they still feel too close (both in terms of space and looks) to each other and fight?
<Providing ample safety zones in the form of live rock will have a calming effect.>
Also, if the gobies will both get along in the same tank, can I also include the snail?
<Sure, and the hermits I mentioned above.>
Or would the two gobies and the snail overload the system and cause a spike in ammonia, nitrates, etc..? If all three would cause problems, would just one goby and the snail work?
<Should be fine here.>
Also do you know how long Red Head Gobies, Clown Gobies, and any of the pygmy goby species tend to live? (If not, that's okay. No one else seems to know either.
<The life span of a fish in a closed system will be largely determined by environmental conditions and diet.>
At least not that I was able to find anyway.) I did find differing information that the pygmy gobies (depending on the species) can live anywhere from 59 days to 20 months. And Clown Gobies can live 3 to 5 years.
Yet most of the information I found on the lifespan of these two species was scanty and not the most accurate in the world. And I found nothing on how long Red Head Gobies live. I think the snail species I looked at tends to live 2 years or so. If you find better (and especially more species specific) information on how long the life spans of the three mentioned goby species are, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for you time.
<You're welcome, and I will provide you a link to our Marine Index.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re First Time Saltwater Tank Questions/Marine Set-Up, SM  3/23/10-3/24/10

Thank you for your help with my saltwater tank setup.
<You're welcome.>
I will be getting all three species. The green clown goby, the redhead goby, and the snail.
And I think Stress Coat + has a marine version of its product that they claim was developed to work with protein skimmers.
<Yes, I was not aware of this product at the time I responded.>
It is very important for me to watch the chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metal content in the water I plan to use for my tank. I have a way to filter the water. So that will help with chlorine, Chloramines, and heavy metals. Yet I live in the desert.
We have very hard water with a high mineral content. The hardness is good for most marine fish. However, there is still the concern of chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metal content. The heavy metal content in our water is quite high as well. And Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are also things I have to worry about. So naturally I need something that will work to reduce phosphates, and remove chlorine, chloramines, heavy metals, Ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate. It would be nice to find a single product that can do all this and help replace slime coats on fish as well as add new good bacteria to the water to help biological filtration.
<There is no chemical product that can do all this that I'm aware of, but the use of a RO/DI purification system should produce 99% pure water.>
I cannot find a product that specifies specifically if it does what I described previously. In your previous reply you said the 3 products I listed (Amquel+, Stress Coat +, Aqua Safe) were not necessary. Would the Marine Version of Stress Coat + be good to use on its own? Should I use it at all?
<I've been in the saltwater hobby for 30+ years and I've never used any of the products you mention, never found a need to use. Healthy fish will have a protective slime coat. Chlorine can easily be removed from make-up water by aerating for 24 hours.>
And you said to add live rock. I agree live rock has its benefits.
Unfortunately, I am on a rather tight budget, and live rock can get expensive. Live rock also tends to take up quite a lot of space in the tank.
Unfortunately, I have limited space in the tank as it is. And the care and cleaning of live rock would make it harder for me to maintain my tank.
<Should not have to clean live rock.>
Not to mention the possibility of harmful parasites and other small harmful creatures hitching a ride on the rocks. I do not want these hitchhikers hurting anything I put in my tank. These are some of the reasons why I chose
not to include live rock. I plan on a fish only system. Well, except for the snail. And the reef sand I am placing in my aquarium is "live sand." Or so the company that sold the reef sand claims. And during my research on goby
species, I discovered no live rock is fine. You just have to feed the gobies more often.
<They will require security zones/hiding nooks and crannies.>
I will follow your advice on the gravel cleaner and just use my gravel vacuum.
And the phrase "footer fish" that appeared in my 1st letter was a typing mistake. I meant "future fish" not "footer fish." My computer put footer in the letter instead of the word I was really looking for. Darn finicky spell-check! Anyway . . . back to our previous discussion.
I also plan to follow your advice on the Selcon.
And in answer to your question about the brine shrimp eggs . . . I plan to use them as part of the food I will be providing for the gobies. The gobies like to eat microscopic crustations <crustaceans> and copepods. I figure if
the eggs hatch in the tank, the newly hatched brine shrimp would make a tasty supplement.
<Much better nutritionally to feed the Cyclop-eeze rather than brine shrimp.
There is always the danger of the fish ingesting/eating the egg shells which can cause digestive problems.>
And I have heard gobies except <accept> brine shrimp as a food source. I figure if they won't eat the eggs, maybe they would eat the hatched shrimp. I also have some freeze dried brine shrimp I can moisten and offer to them as
<Again, not a very nutritious food source.>
And if they do not eat the eggs, or the eggs never hatch, I am sure the snail would not mind enjoying them. And saturated eggs or baby shrimp can burrow into the substrate.
<Will not happen, brine shrimp are attracted to light.>
The snail and the gobies like to poke at and sift through substrate. If the eggs are not eaten on the current, they can
eat what gets in the substrate then (if they prefer eating that way).
And yes, in regards to goby species the Redhead Goby species I am referring to is Elacatinus puncticulatus. I have made arrangements to see to the Redhead Goby's needs as far as food goes. Will this species of Redhead Goby
still get along with the Green Clown Goby species I mentioned in my last letter?
<Why are you asking this again? We've gone through this in the first thread.>
Is the snail still safe around this species of redhead goby?
And I did consider hermit crabs. However, due to the small size of the snail and fish, I am very reluctant to include crabs that will be almost as large as my fish.
<Blue Leg Hermits are not that large.>
Some crab species will also eat fish. Also the hermit crab might get a little peeved and snap at the fish with its tiny claws. And also, more importantly, I have not had much luck caring for crustations like crabs and shrimp in the past. I have tried land based hermit crabs before. Sadly they died. And I tried three or so freshwater shrimp before. Sadly they too perished. I do not want another crab or shrimp to suffer because of my poor management of them. and a saltwater species is even more vulnerable than land based hermit crabs and freshwater shrimp. Thank you for the suggestion,
but I just can't stand the thought of making (even if it is unintentionally) the little critters suffer because of me. So I think it is probably best if I just stick with two little gobies and a snail.
<I think you need to do a little more learning/reading and less writing before attempting this venture.
A good place to start is here, and do read related articles/FAQ's.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful help and advice.
<You're welcome, James (Salty Dog)>

Re First Time Saltwater Tank Questions/Marine Set-Up... more chatting re issues gone over and over on WWM. Now Cl/Chloramine, Artemia... just sm. SW sys. f'   3/23/10-3/24/10-3/25/10  3/26/10
Thank you for your reply.
And I agree that chlorine can be removed by letting water sit for 24 hours.
However, Chloramine supposedly cannot be aired out like chlorine. And cities will sometimes add Chloramine to their water. This is because Chloramine is more stable than chlorine. And both chlorine and Chloramine are used to
keep the water clean of algae, most parasites, and other disease and illness causing organisms. Chlorine can be dleat <dealt> with easily enough. Yet Chloramine is stronger than chlorine.
<Chloramine is a combination of ammonia and chlorine which makes it more stable in solution and makes it easier to attain the legal level of chlorine in the water.>
A water conditioner that removes Chloramine must be used, therefore. I know of no other way to remove Chloramine safely from city water sources. If you happen to know how to remove Chloramine in a better manner, feel free to let me know.
<Have you tested your tap water, was any ammonia detected, likely indicating that Chloramine is used in treating your water supply. If so, than you have to deal with it with one of the products you mentioned.>
And in regard to the "Stress Coat Marine" probuct <product> I meantioned <mentioned> in my last
letter to you . . . This product is relatively new. It is possible they only released it to the public a few months ago. That Fish Place store and website has the Stress Coat Marine protuct <product>. The API company produces it. I
have used some of API's other products before. Their products, when used in corect <correct> proportions as per their instructions, usually work like they are suposed <supposed> to. At least for the purpose the products were desinged <designed> for. If you wish to test out Stress Coat Marine you can try That Fish Place's website.
Or you could also try API's website.
<No reason for me to do such.>
And thank you for the information on the shrip <shrimp> eggs. I shall hatch the shrimp in another tank or container and feed the baby shrimp to the gobies.
Not the eggs. And I also got the gobies Instant Ocean Cyclop-Eeze. A soft gel food with Cyclops in it.
<Am aware of the product, have used it myself occasionally.>
I also got some freeze-dried Mysis shrimp for them.
I plan to soak the Mysis shrimp in some aquarium water for a few minutes before feeding them to the gobies. To make the Mysis shrimp easier for them to eat.
And I have made sure the decorations I am adding also provide places for the gobies and snail to hide.
And I am also getting a book on saltwater aquariums that offers help on setting up saltwater tanks. Thank you for you links to the helpful websites.
Again, thank you very much for your help. My future saltwater inhabitants and I are extremely grateful to have the help.
<You're welcome. In future queries, please run your message through a spell/grammar checker before sending. Saves me time if I don't have to correct. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking question, Nanos 3/16/10
I have a 15 gallon Nano reef tank that has been established for about 4 months now. I have lost many fish and finally discovered the problem was a VERY aggressive Arrowhead Crab (I discovered this thanks to your FAQ
Arrowhead Crab section).
<Can be problematic.>
I am now looking to restock my tank after this expensive feeding that I gave the arrowhead and removing him. I have a Percula Clown, a Pom Pom crab, 6 snails (not sure of the type but they are very small), 6 blue legged
hermits and about 15lbs of live rock. I would really like to have as much going on in my tank as possible (which I know isn't much). My first question is, how many more fish would you keep in this small of a tank assuming the fish are all as small as a Percula Clown or smaller?
<None in my opinion, at most perhaps another Perc, but even then I think you are really pushing it.>
My second question is I was thinking of adding an Anemone Crab (I have a white Sebae Anemone in there as well) and maybe an emerald crab as well.
<No such thing as a white Sebae anemone, is bleached and housed in far too small of a tank See here for more
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/heteraccrispa.htm . Crabs are opportunistic omnivores, and will eat anything they can catch or find.>
Will the two of them have any problems together? Will either of them have a problem with the Pom Pom crab?
Bud Harrison

40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10
Hello Crew,
<<Hi Gary.>>
First of all I must compliment you all on this first rate site, you are all very speedy with your answers and obviously very committed.
<<Thank you.>>
The knowledge here is absolutely astounding.
<Bob has certainly built an impressive database.>><Mmm, not alone by a long shot. RMF>
I have a question about my short list of possible tank companions, after I have added my clean up crew.
2 x common clowns
<<I'll assume you are referring to A. Ocellaris or A. Percula?>>
1 x royal gramma
1 x dwarf angel
<<Which one? Some may be appropriate choices for your system (40 gallons is right on the cusp of being acceptable for a dwarf angel, depending on the dimensions)'¦however, others certainly wouldn't be.>>
1 x watchman goby
1 x pistol shrimp
Is this short list viable in the system I have, if so all is well. If not can you tell me why and what you would change.
<<Just what I have noted above.>>
If all is well, what order would you put them in and would you put the 2 clowns in at the same time.
<<I would attain an established/mated pair if at all possible or two viable juveniles.>>
My Tank stats are below.
40 Gallon Juwel Vision 180 with internal filter removed.
24 Pounds of Live Rock.
20 Pounds Coral Reef Live Sand.
Lifeguard FB 300 Fluidized bed filter.
<<I personally find these to be quite antiquated as far as filtration for marine systems go. In my experience they end up being more trouble than they are biologically worth, becoming detritus traps and thus causing dissolved organic/nutrient issues. I would much rather see a macro algae refugium or just the protein skimmer and liverock with weekly water changes. With the liverock, I really think this extra biological filtration would be redundant.>>
Protein Skimmer with a needle wheel venturi pump flow rate: 1850 L/H.
Wave Maker 6000L/H Powerhead.
Wave Maker 3000L/H Powerhead.
MaxiJet 600L/H Powerhead.
Thanks in advance
<<Gary note what I have written above, if you have any questions feel free to continue the correspondence. Good luck.>>
<<Adam Jackson>>
Re: 40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10
Thanks for the answer, OK what dwarf angel do you suggest, I am open to suggestions and if not a dwarf angel what other fish would you replace it with. I know you don't want to make my choices but I want to get balance right from the start.
So if that's OK with you if you could point me in the right direction.
<<Hey Gary good to here from you again, I will direct you to our page on dwarf angels and I will also make some suggestions myself if you don't mind;
I would look at these;
Centropyge acanthops
Centropyge argi (Probably your best bet)
Centropyge aurantonotus
Centropyge fisheri
.....and of your list I would add this fish last after the tank has sufficiently matured a few months at the least.>>
<<Anytime, good luck! - Adam Jackson>>
Re: 40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10

<<Welcome back Gary.>>
Cheers and just one more question I forgot to include, about my fluidized bed filter you say these are a bit antiquated.
<<In my experience/opinion'¦yes.>>
I'm fine with that comment the only reason I included it was because I haven't got a large amount of live rock in 24 pounds. Is 24 pounds of live rock sufficient in a 40 gallon tank with no other biological filtration.
<<Depends on how porous the rock is, for example; a 1 pound piece of rock could take up 4 square <<Cubic?>> inches or 10 square inches depending on how dense the rock is'¦so the answer is yes if you have very porous rock this could be enough.>>
Now I will look on the link at those dwarf angels you suggested.
<<That's the fun part.>>
Thanks again.
<<Adam Jackson.>>

What should I put in my extra 15g tank? Ala BobF    11/27/09
Hey! I've been on your website multiple times and I love it, its very helpful. Well here's my question. I have a empty 15g tank ( the standard AGA one ) and im now sure what I should fish ( fresh or saltwater ) I should
use for it. Ill give you some background info on myself, im 16 right now I have two tanks set-up, a 40g long reef ( upgraded from the 15g) and a 6.6g planted tank, I've had fish tanks for about 6-8 years, so I know what's going on, I just need some suggestions on 1 fish, that's cool that I could put in the 15g.
<Mmm, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm
and the linked files above for marine input and here:
and the linked files at the bottom for fresh>
I was think maybe a pair of clowns, but I already have 2 clowns in my 40g.
I want just 1 interesting fish to have, I think a leaf scorpion fish is too big for 15 gallons so that's out, I really don't know what to do.
Thanks, Rob =
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Request for graphics... Do you have useful Nano PIX RMF might use?  9/30/09
Hello there, am working on an article series that I intend to publish later this year in a book title:
Pico, Nano, Mini-Reefs; Small Marine Aquariums: Design, Set-Up, Stocking & Maintenance
Subtitle: Successfully Keeping Under 40 Gallon Saltwater Systems
Would like to include image-work of your systems. Can you secure permission for my use and send them along?
Bob Fenner

University of small SW systems, design 101  8/30/2009
Howdy Crew!
I have written in to this amazing website before and was hoping that I could receive yet again some of your wisdom. I am planning on setting up a new 20 gallon reef setup to house softies as well as maybe some LPS such as an open brain of some species.
<Whoa! This is a good deal of disparate life for such a small volume... care should be taken to develop a stocking plan... less toxic/stinging to more... go slowly/ploddingly, introduce small, stable specimens...>
I had an inquiry as to see if you could give me some of your input on my proposed tank, I honestly don't know how well it is going to work out due to the fact that I just came up with it randomly about 20 minutes ago.
<Ah, the "youth of today" (or any age for that matter). Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm
and the linked files above>
Well anyways I would
start out with just a bare 20 gallon long tank (it is all my university allows me to have in my dorm room.) I would then add in two walls of ¼ inch Plexiglas using the method outlined in the do it yourself pressure-locking sump baffles. Each wall would be on either end of the aquarium 3 inches from the outside walls, one with an underflow and the other having an overflow with small cut-outs so as to have better surface skimming of DOCs. The end in which the overflow is would be the mechanical and chemical filters, I plan on employing carbon and Phoszorb or Chemi pure, as well as a potential protein skimmer (if I can find one to fit great if not it will be another do it myself skimmer, which I might prefer.) On the opposing side with the under flow would be a deep sand bed of 4 inches, I am debating on whether to put this atop crushed coral
and or a under gravel filter plate. Above this would be some possible live rock rubble and Chaetomorpha and then the overflow back into the main display. The light would be a T.A.A.M. rio mini sun on an alternating day/night cycle from the main display.
There would be about 20 pounds of live sand bed in the display along with 20 or so pounds of porous live rock, some of which I might take from my 29 BioCube set-up. As for lighting I was planning on using a Hagen High Output T5 Glo ballast and 1 24w marine Glo and 1 24w life Glo or power Glo. I am unsure as to whether or not I will get a second set of bulbs or not.
<You should... with this life...>
As far as flow in the tank which is of utmost importance
<Along with other factors>
I plan on using a ¾ inch SCWD with Hydor flo's placed on each output somewhere around the top 1/3 of the tank with a 150-200 gph pump. I might also put a Hydor Koralia Nano to blow the overflow from the refugium across the live rock and corals. Also I would have a 120 gph pump set into the bottom back part of the wall for the refugium so that water would be forced into the refugium. It would be angled such that the output be horizontal and there be a 'baffle' of sorts so that the water is not blasting up through the DSB. I really don't like the idea of this being the way that the refugium gets water flow so if there are any other ideas please20give me your input.
<Read on WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
"The green dome" (sorry, just finished watching the 60's Prisoner series); The second tray down>
The only other
idea that I have is to move the baffle closer the to side by a ½ inch and place in an overflow baffle that leads to the underflow. However, I am concerned that this would cause two problems those being creating noise and also that I would be required to lower my water level to do this properly. Also is there much structural support gained from the upper trim of the tank, if not I would like to remove it.
<Can be removed in most brands>
I plan on building a 'frame' of sorts so as to cover both sections of the filter and then be a housing for the lights but with about 2 or so inches of open space from the top of the tank to the bottom of the canopy. As far as livestock there wouldn't be much in the way of fish due to the volume of the tank, I was thinking something along the line of a bicolor Pseudochromis or royal gramma and 3 green chromis.
<Not the Chromis>
If you have any questions as to clarify my unusual plan just ask,
also any and all inputs would be graciously accepted and like all other advice I have gotten from your site, adhered to.
Thank you very much,
<Keep reading, cogitating furiously Esteban. You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: University of small SW systems, design 101 8/30/09
Good morning,
Thank you for your quick response to my question. When it comes to the coral compatibility I was thinking mostly Zoanthids and mushrooms, maybe a leather or an open brain but if those are incompatible I will
not pursue this endeavor.
<... see WWM re>
I need to stick to the fairly hardy coral and fish because I will have to break the tank down and transport it 2 1/2 hours worth of driving twice a year. The brand of tank that I plan on removing the trim from would be an AGA/Aqueon 20 gallon long. Do you think that this filtration setup would be successful so long as I kept
it well maintained?
This would be done by 10% partials every two weeks or more often if dictated by water tests, cleaning out sponges once a week, not overstocking or overfeeding. My overall goal is to get this tank setup like my 29 BioCube in which I keep my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate undetectable, pH at 8.2, and calcium at 420. As far as your response to the refugium I am unsure as to what you meant by the second tray down,
<Self explanatory... go to the link, scroll down to the next tray>
I will keep reading these articles of course, just because I have become addicted to saltwater aquarium. In place of the chromis do you think that a royal gramma, a clown goby, and a 6 line wrasse would be compatible in this setup?
<I think you should search, read on WWM re>
Thank you again for your amazing website with great advice and dedicating your time and effort to help out the common hobbyist.
<Please use it. BobF>

Marine Aquarium: Setup Reading, Lots of reading. 7/21/2009
Hi WWM Crew!
<Hi Richard.>
I was pondering about my saltwater aquarium. It is a 29 gallon FOWLR with a 20 watt 5000 k. light, Sea Clone 100 protein skimmer (do you know about any problems with that skimmer? I haven't tried mine yet.),
<A Sea Clone is not a good skimmer.>
and a Marineland 150 filter( no bio-wheel just two filter pads). My fish are one spotted Hawkfish one coral beauty two ocellaris clownfish and one fire fish. my <question> was do I need a sump? Because I can not build one and I can not afford one.
<Then I guess you will not have a sump.>
Oh, I have one other <question>, :} could I keep an anemone in that light?
<No, a 20 watt light with a color temperature of only 5k is not even close>
<All of these questions, and many more that I'm sure you have not thought to ask yet can be found here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm >

From FW to SW 29 gallon\Reading 6/27/2009
<Hi Nick>
I was wondering if I have a 29 gallon freshwater aquarium can I switch it to a saltwater?
I am going to take everything out except the water and add the sand, live rock, and let it cycle.
<I would change out the water as well and mix it up in advance.>
I was planning on setting up a FOWLR aquarium. If I have a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer, a fountain pump, and an Eclipse 3 5000k fluorescent light would that be all I need to set it up?
<That will get you started. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fw2mar.htm >
I was hoping on having 2 tomato Clowns, a Coral Beauty, a Firefish, a Spotted Hawkfish, and a Peppermint Shrimp.. (do you know how many snails I need and what they do?)
<Too many fish for a 29 gallon. Do review here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/small.htm >

Replacement Pump For Solano Nano Tank 6/7/09
Hey Guys,
<Hello Samantha>
my husband and I both have Solano 34g Nano tanks. Set up as reef tanks we've had great success with them but recently both our pumps have gone out, mine being the latest. And we've had to rig replacements since I can't seem to find a true replacement from Solano or anywhere else. Do you'll suggest anything else I should or could do to continue to have optimal skimmer performance. I appreciate any input.
<Have you contacted Current USA on this? Forward this to info@current-usa.com.>
<Your welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Samantha Serie

30 Gallon Saltwater... not using WWM, or mistaking it/us for a bb   4/19/09
Hello, I have emailed you before and have gotten great advice in return. My issue now is that I have a 35 gallon tank that use to be inhabited by a Tiger Oscar who out grew his temporary tank and is now in a larger system.
My girlfriend would like to use the 35 gallon to start our first saltwater aquarium. I plan to filter the tank with a canister filter that is able to filter a tank up to 55 gallons in size. The tank will be sand bottom of
course and also have live rock. My first question is approximately how much live rock should I place in this aquarium to give sufficient hiding places and to assure that the fish will live happily in this environment?
My second question is about the livestock. My girlfriend has FINALLY chosen her desired livestock and it consist of the following fish who are all relatively small in size; 1 Saddle Valentini Puffer
<A biter>
, 1 Ocellaris Clownfish, 1 Blue Sapphire Damselfish, 1 Royal Gramma Basslet and 1 Six Line Wrasse.
Will this work?
<Could, but there is going to be too much antagonism with this mix in this volume to suit me>
And if not could you please send me something in return about what fish to put in this tank or something you would stock it with yourself.
She is into bright, colorful and flashy types of fish. Also any other tips or facts would be helpful and appreciated. Thanks.
<Have her peruse WWM's many stocking files, articles... Maybe start here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Upgrading from 25g to 40g reef, 2/24/09 Hello everyone, <Hi> I currently have an Aquapod 24 gallon tank with 30LBS of live rock. I also have a 20 gallon refugium with sand, Chaeto and skimmer upstream. I am looking at purchasing a tank around 40 gallons with a stand that I would be able to fit my existing refugium underneath. <Ok> My question is when I do get the other tank can I just move everything out of the Aquapod water, rock, sand, fish into the new tank hook up the refugium and turn it on or is that going to cause a crash because it is a new aquarium and not cycled? <You will probably be ok, but will need to monitor the water quality very closely for ammonia spikes that may occur. Feed lightly and be prepared for water changes.> My current tank is 9 months new and the refugium is 4 months with lots of pods. I have a few corals and 3 Nano fish. I don't want to jeopardize the life I have in the tank in anyway. If this is a bad idea could you give me a better recommendation please. Thanks Steve <Welcome> <Chris>

New tank, Small SW, var.   2/3/09 Hi Crew, I just finished my move from my 5 year old 10 gallon to an Aquapod 24 gallon. My spotted cardinal, clown goby and neon goby took one night to be brave enough to come out. It has all new sand and rock (cured) and the Aquapod ran for a week before I made the switch (after testing water). I did have one old rock plus carbon in a sock from the old tank just to help with the bacteria population. <Good> I have a couple Astrea snails and Ceriths. Are they going to find enough to keep themselves alive? <Likely so, yes> I do not see any algae. When I removed my old rock from the old tank I did not notice that the neon goby was in his hole in the rock, After I placed the rock in a pail I noticed something out of the corner of my eye and there he was at the bottom of the pail. So I put him back in the tank. Afterwards I noticed that the end of his tail is a bit shredded. Would this have been caused by him thrashing to get out of the rock when it was out of the water. <Sure> He seems fine otherwise and is swimming and eating and he found a new home in the new tank between the bottom of a rock and the sand. Another issue I am having is with the sand which is very fine. The water flow in this tank is fairly strong and it is blowing the sand quite a bit so that after a few hours there are some places with sand dunes and others with a bare bottom. I have the nozzles (there are two) pointed horizontally so that they make waves at the top but it still is causing a strong current below. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sam <Direct them more toward the back, toward the rock-work... to dissipate, complex the currents. Bob Fenner>

Nano Reef question 1/27/09 Hi. <Hello Jeff.> I am an experienced reef keeper, I had a 130 gal reef tank that's flourished for years, unfortunately I had to move and sell of it off a few years ago. <Sorry to hear that.> Well, I knew it would happen but I got that itch back but just want to keep a Nano reef. <I know the feeling!> I've been looking at 2 models and want to know your opinion on them. One is the new 28gallon JBJ Nano Cube with 150 HQI lighting and all in one filtration. The other system is the 34gallon Red Sea Max 130D tank. I only plan on keeping some leather corals and polyps, no Acropora corals!! I'm worried about the HQI lights on a small tank. It says it has 4 cooling fans and some people in articles have complained about overheating, but I don't think they would make a tank that would have such a problem with overheating, do you?? <Well, the argument is that it will not overheat in certain environments. These tanks are fairly common in my neck of the woods, all the successful tanks with the HQIs have chillers. The short of it is these systems do not necessarily have everything you could possibly need, if they did Ca reactors would be standard too!> Just wondering if you know of or have heard of anyone who has had these tanks and what you think or have heard is a better choice. <I have seen both in action over a period of months (well, years now I suppose) and both are nice units if you are looking for an all in one. If you are into the lower light intensive corals and do not want to run a chiller the Red Sea model does get a bit of an advantage. Although there is never any guarantee you will not need a chiller.> Thanks. Jeff. <Do also price out/consider building your own system piece by piece. It may cost a bit more initially, but I have found that most end up replacing components on these all in ones with something "better". Many end up spending more on these in the long run, but not everyone! Welcome, Scott V.>

Need your EXPERT advice on heaters for Nano reefs :-) 01/11/09 Are there any new heaters out there that will really keep a 6 gallon reef at a consistent decent temp? I was into reefs for about 12 years - got out of it for a while - recently got back into it with a friends 6 gal Nano cube. The heater she gave me will not keep a consistent temp and goes anywhere from 78 - 84 plus degrees. Your EXPERT advice on heaters would be appreciated :-) thank you! <I've always been a fan of the Hydor products. They make this mini-heater that I've used myself. I don't know if it would work for you, but it worked for me and I like it. http://www.petco.com/product/102429/Hydor-Mini-Aquarium-Heater.aspx They also make other heaters that haven't disappointed me. Best, Sara M.>
Re: Need your EXPERT advice on heaters for nana reefs :-) 01/12/09
:-( That's the one I have.... the temp is swinging really bad... will check my thermometer... <Hmm... strange... have you tried a second thermometer? Thermometers are notoriously inaccurate.... try 2 other thermometers. They don't have to be for aquariums necessarily... can be the cheapo outdoor ones from Home Depot even. Just anything you can dip in water will work... Sara M.>

Critter Biotope  12/2/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam, Mich with you tonight.> I currently have a 10 gallon saltwater tank that is 6 years old with some coral and fish. The fish are over 4 years old <Congrats to you!> and WWM is what made this successful. <Nice to hear.> Anyway, I am toying with the idea of a critter tank, no fish or coral. <What a cool idea! A really different biotope. Scott Fellman will enjoy reading this.> Hermits, crabs, shrimp etc. Whatever I think can coexist. <May be some learning here.> Will probably not have snails since my experience is that the hermits will eventually take their shell. <You are wise here.> It will be a 10 gallon with sand and live rock. <OK.> What do I need as far as filtering and water movement. Will a foam filter be enough? <I think the tank would benefit from some carbon filtration.> Do I need a cover? <Mmm, not a bad idea, if it we're me/mine I would, because I don't like finding "carpet jerky" if you will.> Standard fluorescent light strip. <Likely will be sufficient.> Any algae needed like Caulerpa or Chaeto? <Need is a strong word. I would add some Chaeto myself and would avoid Caulerpa like the plague. Caulerpa just causes too many headaches in my experience, some like it, but not worth the risks in my opinion and is illegal in California.> If yes how much light will I need to keep it growing. <Chaeto appreciates light, but in my experience can survive with surprisingly little.> Anything else to consider? <You will just have to be careful with which critters you mix. As you know, hermit crabs and crabs in general can be rather predatory. Even shrimp can behave aggressively towards each other. I've generally had positive experiences with a single or pairs of shrimp, but in my experience odd numbers tend to become even numbers.> I assume I can feed them the same as my fish. <Yes, just be cautious not to overfeed, especially without a protein skimmer to help you out.> Thanks <Welcome and good luck, it is an interesting system and think you'll enjoy it!> Sam

29 gallon bio-cube marine tank, 10/8/08 Hello to all. <Hi> I work at a pet store and saw a 29 gallon bio-cube tank. My husband and I have been wanting to start keeping marine tanks. We live in an apartment so space is limited. We want a fish only tank with a starfish. <I would suggest at least investigating live rock, it makes maintaining a marine tank much easier. As far as starfish go, stick with serpent stars for this sized tank.> I have talked to several people about the bio-cube and have heard several opinions on weather it is good for a small reef tank. <It is ok, but I prefer a more normal shaped tank with more surface area and ala-carte equipment which tends to be of better quality than what you get in all-in-one packages. If memory serves this setup also lacks a protein skimmer which I personally would not run a tank without.> I have always gotten great advise from you guys when it come to my fresh water tank so I was wondering what your thoughts were on this tank. Thanks again for all the great advise.. Virginia Hulse <My personal opinion is to get a regular 29G, a quality skimmer, LR, and a couple powerheads. I think you could probably do this cheaper than with a Bio-Cube.> <Chris>

29g Reef Question, set up  9/30/08 Hello!  Love the site and have been educating myself in anticipation of the jump from FW to SW for 3 years!! <Wow, great!> I'm just getting ready to move into my new house and will be setting my 26g bowfront back up, but as a SW reef this time.  Was hoping to layout my plan, looking for input, along with some questions along the way.  Also, keep in mind that this is my test with the hopes of upgrading to a 120 display in the future and the 26g switching to QT duty.  With this in mind, some of the filtration I will be building with a larger tank in mind. <Okay.> Stocking plans for the 26g will be to start with plenty of LR, LS, 2-3 small fish (Perc clown, few gobies), a few inverts (1 shrimp and some snails) and then some SPS and LPS (possibly a clam?). I will be purchasing an overflow from glass-holes, with the recommendation from them of the 2 hole, 1.5' bulkhead, 1500gph model.  I understand the recommendation with the thoughts of using it on the future, larger system and 2 drains is better than one, but is this too much for a 26???? <If you were to actually flow 1500 gph through it would be too much. You can run less flow by choosing a smaller pump or throttling your pump back with a ball valve.> From there, the 2 drains will drop, pass through the back wall and gravity feed a 55 gallon sump/fuge on the floor in another room.  The 1st drain will drop into a skimmer chamber on one side and the 2nd drain will drop into a refugium chamber on the other side.  There will be baffles to separate each of those from the center return section, which brings me to my first question, what would be your recommendation on a return pump or GPH rating?  <About 500-600 gph will take care of your flow needs in the display.> There shouldn't be much of a return run as the sump will be just on the other side of the wall resting on the floor.  I was also thinking of splitting the return into 2 lines and having it release into the display on each of the back corners of the tank.  What would your recommendation be for return line sizes?  <A single ½' per corner.> I will be adding at least 1 Tunze Nanostream depending on the additional flow I feel needed, so the return(s) will not need to be the only flow.  <I would wait and see if you even need the powerhead, I doubt it.> Do you think purchasing a Skimmer rated high enough for the future 120 would be silly or even bad for the small system (over-skimming?) and should just go with a smaller in sump model (Coralife Superskimmer 65)? <If you have the funds and room I would just go for the larger skimmer now.> Lastly, I'm torn on lighting.  I would like to go with either a 24' MH fixture (1X150w or 250w?)/2X65w Actinic and 2 moon lights, or a T5HO fixture with 96w (2X24w 10K Daylight/2X24W -- 460nm Actinic) if it would be enough'¦especially at 1/3 the cost.  Dimension on the tank are 24'w x 21'tall by 15' deep. <For the cost and depth of the tank I would likely choose the T5 fixture, swapping on of the actinics for another daylight.> Any input would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks. <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Nano reef & natural water movement, 8/4/08 Hello guys and gals! <Hello> I have a small 10G Nano reef tank, close to 1000 G/Hr water movement/circulation. The temperature is between 78-80 F without using any chiller. It has been set up bout a year now. I have a very healthy and good lookin' livestock. So here I come with the question of the century:-) I was always wondering how many Gallons of water exchanges in an hour in the natural seawater? Is there any estimate on this? I'd love to know that! <From diving I can tell you lots, even in relatively calm areas you are still talking about a complete change of water every few minutes at most, every minute or less in areas of stronger current. This is why many people say you cannot have too much flow.> The other thing I was wondering about if you accept any kind of donation, or anything like that. I'd love to appreciate all the efforts you guys put in this website. It is like a library for me. <I believe we have a "begging box" on the front page.> Thank you for your time and answers, have a salty day! Sonny <Thanks for the note.> <Chris>

New Nano reef, total > 100 gal.s, overall set-up!    7/24/08 Hi, <Hello there> Please could you have a look at some questions I have for a NANO tank plan. <Sure> I was looking at the various NANO tanks people have and how nice they look (better than my 120 gal). <Can> So I was thinking of creating one myself (I already have a 120 gal from the last 2 years). I am still in the design phase. <Good> However, I designed for a RDSB and sump of almost the same size as the display tank. <All right> The tank size is 50 G The RDSB (below the tank) is 23 gal Sump is 35 gal My tank, sump and RDSB specs Inches RDSB (12") sump Display Length 24 18 28 Width 18 24 24 Depth. 12 18 18 Vol in gal 22.4 34 52 108 Vol in liter 85 127 198 411 Questions 1. Is this big DSB going to give me a super advantage or should I reduce the RDSB? <I'd leave as is... really, the bigger the better> 2. Is it good to take a direct feed from the RDSB to the return pump location? <Is fine> 3. Will the return pump (standard powerhead) kill all the plankton? <No. Most all "passes through" alive> 4. I plan to use one Hydor koralia-3 propeller pump on one side and the sump return on the other side facing the Koralia and a siphon that fires OUT of the tank (down to the sump)? <Mmm... a siphon? Not a drain?> The siphon should fire in around every 10 seconds for 2-5 seconds duration taking approx 10-15 liters with it. Will this work for circulation? <Mmm... I would NOT do this. What if the siphon should fail? Where will all the water in play go? On the floor?> 5. Plan to go bare bottom as I have a RDSB. Will use egg-crate or acrylic boxes drilled for water flow to lay the foundation for the live rock. Will this have problems? <Can be done... depending on the needs, desires of your main system livestock...> Plan to use 60 pounds in the display. 6. Sump will have carbon and skimmer. 7. Will a 1/4th HP chiller be too much for this volume? (I have one in spare and can use it) <Likely will provide sufficient draw-down here> 8. Lights I plan will be Compact Florescent for 12-14 hours and MH will be only for 2-4 hours. Something like this (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+12779&pcatid=12779) 9. Tank theme is Zoanthid / Palythoa garden with LOTS of feather duster worms and SPRINKLING of mushrooms and ONE cup coral "Turbinaria peltata <http://www.google.com/custom?hl=en&client=pub-4522959445250520&cof=FORI D:1%3BGL:1%3BLBGC:336699%3BBGC:%2399c9ff%3BLC:%230000ff%3BVLC:%23663399% 3BGFNT:%230000ff%3BGIMP:%230000ff%3BDIV:%23336699%3B&domains=www.WetWebM edia.com&sitesearch=www.WetWebMedia.com&oe=ISO-8859-1&sa=X&oi=spell&resn um=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=Turbinaria+peltata&spell=1> ". 10. Fish would be a shoal (5-7) of blue or green Chromis, 1 Purple Fire fish, 1 Psychedelic Mandarin. 11. Inverts would be 2 skunk cleaner shrimps, 1 Pom-Pom Crab, Snails, Blue Linckia (don't ask why but this works for me rather than a Fromia or any other sea star) have had this Linckia almost a year now. <Might I ask: What do you attribute your success to with this genus/species?> Cheers Ranjith <Other than the "siphon" this set-up sounds fine. I would read on WWM re overflows: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Peruse the first few trays... Bob Fenner>

Re: New Nano reef... plumbing/circ., and Linckia fdg.    7/25/08 Hi Bob, I had planned the siphon to try and give some bit of a wave effect. <Ahh! I see...> I presume, if a surge in is good due to moving water, a surge out should also be good as it moves water out. <Agreed... but/and a further cautionary remark... such devices are fraught with inherent dangers... at the very least one should plan on overflows.... where the water might actually end up... Better to do a bunch of reading re various "Surge Systems"... Perhaps a beginning read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/surgesysf.htm and the linked files above... Or better, a search on the Net with the term: "Bruce Carlson Surge System" to start with> Would it be fine if I have an emergency overflow hole above the siphon pipe? <This would definitely set my mind to greater ease> The sump will be deep enough to take the load incase the pump fails and all the water till the siphon pipe opening flows down. <Good!> The advantage being no salt crepe near the lights and electrical. The sump does not need light and will be covered and can be cleaned at intervals to maintain salinity. <Very good to understand that you are aware of all this> Would I be totally off my mind if I tried to run the skimmer from the output of the tank surge?? <Mmm, I would NOT do this... Best to situate the skimmer in a part of the sump that will be constant volume, have its own pump...> At a very basic level, would it provide enough flow to be able to skim? <No> Could you tell me what plumbing part I can use to siphon from the display? <Mmmm.... I'd rather not. Please understand, what "we" discuss here is posted, viewed by many folks going forward... I do not want to either encourage you or be seen to be encouraging siphoning as such a mechanism... IS fraught with danger, again, I assure you. Most easy example... what happens if the "higher" safety overflow becomes occluded, the sump overfills the tank?> A bulkhead would not be helpful as the inside part does not have a facility to attach a tube or the 90 degree elbow. <Again... I would fashion or buy the parts to make one of a few types of proven surge systems instead. Though these too often include a siphon mechanism/trigger, they are more reliable> Regarding the Linckia, I feed it fresh minced fish (marine origin) or prepared food (dried krill, minced fish, Cyclops eeze, Nori, shelled prawns, ocean nutrition (Nano coral food) blended and frozen in small cubes. Feeding method is to wedge the food in a flat rock structure and then actually pick him up and put him on the food so his mouth cavity is directly on it. He does not find food if it is near him sometimes so I put him on the food. <Thank you for this> Surprisingly I have seen Fromia stars waste away and not accept food. <Me too. There are other important sources of mortality than nutrition> Ps: Initially he demolished my population of small squirts (that's what they looked like) Cheers Ranjith <Ahh! You likely have very healthy systems if you're able to sustain Ascidians. Cheers! BobF>

Tom Walsh, nana tanks  7/18/08 Dear sir I have just read your article about your friends Nano marine tanks and I would just like to say thank you, it has put my mind at rest as to whether I should start my own. I have a 68l tank and to be honest was worried about whether the tank would be big enough or not, <Small systems, marine and otherwise "can be done"... just with more care, attention than larger, more stable, flexible systems of size> I have a Fluval 303 filter and will fill that with living rock to filter the tank. As I am on a tight budget to say the least the article has given me the confidence to try and set up a reef tank, I have had tropical fish for a long time and am looking forward to getting my little reef tank up and running, once again thank you David <Ahh! Do consider a small skimmer as well... even a modified Skilter as Tom used. Bob Fenner>

Starting in Saltwater Aquarium - Cycling and More, 6/27/08 Hello- <Hi> I just started to get into saltwater aquariums and bought a JBJ 24 gal Nano. I know a lot of people say anything less than 60gal is not good, but I also know that staying on top of everything is key. <Yes, but it is much harder to do in a small tank.> I have 24lbs of Tonga live rock, plus 12 lbs of live Sand. One of the issues I have is Cycling with the live rock, do I turn my lights on or off during this process? I have heard both, which one is it? <I would run them normal hours.> Also, I plan on only adding up to 6-8 fishes. <Too many, 2-3 for this sized tank.> 2 Clown, 1 goby, 1 Bi color blenny, 1 bubble Anemone, <Skip the anemone, way to difficult to keep in this sized tank and not for beginners.> several blue hermit crabs, 1 brittle starfish, <Careful with these, some are fish eaters.> 2 peppermint shrimps. Does this sound okay? <See above comments.> Do you suggest anything else or is this too much? <Take it slow and stock lightly.> I would like to add some coral to this as well, what do you suggest if any? <Mushrooms and zoos are pretty hardy and not too demanding, I would not go for anything demanding at this time.> Also, do you suggest any plants (Halymenia, Pink Galaxy)? <Would skip unless you have a refugium to place them in.> Also, the pump that came with the tank says it pumps 240 gph, should I add another? <I would add a couple of powerheads.> I was thinking of putting 2 Hydro Koralia 240 gph powerheads in as well. Too much? <Should be fine.> Should I get a wave maker? <I would not.> Do I need a skimmer? <I won't run a tank without a quality skimmer.> What do you suggest? <get a good one.> And do I need to get a R.O Filter? <Depends on the quality of your tap water.> If so what do you suggest , I would like something I can attach/detach to a faucet? <Most have this adapter, I like www.airwaterice.com if you decide you need one.> One last thing, the tank also came, with 6 bioballs and ceramic biomedia, I have heard I could run with out these, what do you suggest? <I would remove these.> Sorry for all the questions, but I'd appreciate your help. Thanks again. Marc P. Carbotte <Please see here for more on new tank setups. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm .> <Chris>

Setting Up a Small Species Specific Marine Tank -- 05/31/08 Dear Crew, <<Andy>> Although my wife doesn't know it yet, I am thinking of converting the empty 30 gallon (long) tank I use as a quarantine tank into either a species specific goby/shrimp combination or a collection of a Jawfish and a couple other small fish (so many decisions in this hobby!). <<Ah yes'¦but kudos to you on planning such a tank (species-specific). Biotopic/species-specific systems have a much higher rate of success over 'garden-style' systems, in my opinion'¦and they look nice too!>> I'm sure you know the dark powers of an empty, unused tank'¦ <<Indeed>> My questions relate to how best to set this tank up. If possible, I would like to make this tank as low-maintenance as possible. I've read the articles/FAQs on goby/shrimp pairs so I have a general idea of what they require. 1. In either case, how would you suggest filtering this tank assuming a pretty small bioload? <<A small refugium and a skimmer>> I think it's too small to warrant an overflow/drilled tank with a sump. <<Not 'too small''¦but can be done without'¦if you keep the stocking level down and are diligent about other maintenance/husbandry aspects (performing timely water changes, not over-feeding, etc.)>> I could use a small 10 gallon tank as a sump and fit that under the cabinet, but I would like to avoid the extra pieces of equipment if possible. <<I see>> I was thinking that I could simply use 20-25lbs of live rock for filtration and some strong power heads for circulation. Would this be okay (will this provide sufficient aeration/oxygenation)? <<It would be best, in my opinion, to add some type of surface extraction (perhaps a small hang-on skimmer with such a device) to remove the accumulated surface film, as this film will inhibit gas exchange>> I have a spare (and crappy) skimmer sitting around, but (a) I'm not sure whether it would be needed for this setup and (b) it's kind of big for a 10 gallon sump--I really don't want to spend a hundred+ dollars on an AquaC urchin if I really don't need a skimmer. <<Perhaps their 'Nano' skimmer would be right up your alley re this tank>> 2. I've read that the goby/shrimp combo would need 2-3" course substrate and rock rubble. <<A 4' depth would be better>> Of the following, what would be the best "course" substrate: CaribSea Aragamax Select (0.5mm-1.5mm), Seaflor Special Grade (1mm-2mm), Super Reef (0.5mm-2mm) or Bermuda Pink (2mm-5.5mm)? <<The latter'¦mixed at a 1-3 ratio with fine Aragonite sand>> Also, regarding the rock rubble requirement, does that mean that I shouldn't include larger pieces of live rock, or just that I need to make sure that I have enough rubble to keep them happy? <<You can have the larger pieces'¦just be sure to leave a good deal of 'open' sand bed>> I think using larger pieces of live rock for the bulk of the rockwork would be more efficient/cheaper in the long run. <<Maybe'¦but you don't want to 'fill-up' the tank with large pieces of rock>> If I used larger pieces, I would set them on the glass bottom before I added the substrate to ensure stability/safety of the animals. <<Okay>> Is it possible to mix more than one goby/shrimp combo in this small volume? <<Maybe'¦but I wouldn't>> 3. I've read that Jawfish need 3+" of substrate--three quarters fine substrate and one quarter course. <<Mmm'¦pretty much the same as the Goby/Shrimp combo, yes>> For the fine, would you suggest sugar fine sand, or something a little larger like the Aragamax Select (0.5mm-1.5mm)? <<I prefer the sugar-fine'¦along with a mix of larger bits as discussed previously>> Do you mix the fine with course, or layer the fine on top of the course? <<I would 'mix' the courser material in to the top inch or so of sand>> 4. I don't plan on keeping any corals or light-craving inverts in this tank, so I assume a standard NO fluorescent light would be sufficient? <<Yup!>> I appreciate all your help. Andy <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: Setting Up a Small Species Specific Marine Tank - 05/31/08
Thanks Eric! <<You are quite welcome, Andy>> Do you know anything about the Finnex brand of tank? <<Afraid I don't'¦but I do use their Titanium heaters>> My LFS is selling a 30g complete setup (tank, fuge, skimmer, T5 lighting, PC fuge light, pumps, and cabinet stand) for $599. When I add up all the things I would need to make my current 30g doable for a species tank (skimmer, stand, small fuge, etc.) I am not too far off of that price. <<Maybe a bargain then>> I'm sure the component I would add would be better than the Finnex, but'¦ Andy <<Ah yes, I do know what you mean. It is my preference to 'build my own' systems for this very reason. Cheers, Eric Russell>>
R2: Setting Up a Small Species Specific Marine Tank - 06/02/08
Dear Eric, <<Hello Andy>> Just a note to tell you that I went ahead and purchased the Finnex 30g cube. <<Cool>> It had a small scratch on the side, so the LFS owner gave me a slight discount. <<Always nice>> It is a slick little tank in theory--we'll see how well it actually works. <<Indeed>> It has a built in skimmer, wet-dry filter (whatever that means . . .), <<Really? Are also known as 'trickle' filters'¦see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/trickle_filters.htm >> a compartment for a heater, a small built-in refugium with a PC light, a return pump, 4x24W T5 HO, 2 actinics and 2 10,000K (although it can also come with a 150W HQI), and a cabinet stand. It was very easy to setup. <<All-in-one for sure but'¦these units are generally lacking (filter size/capacity, water flow, et al) in my opinion'¦though they can be utilized with thought to their shortcomings'¦or modifications of'¦>> I took your advice and set it up with 4" of mixed aragonite sand/course substrate, with about 15lbs of cured live rock and some clam shells. <<Very good>> I seeded it with a cup of substrate and a few pieces of LR rubble from my 110g, and then threw in some Chaetomorpha from my fuge into the fuge. <<Excellent>> It is a very neat setup. Once I am sure the water is stable, I'm going to purchase a Yellow Watchman Goby and Pistol Shrimp. <<Do keep an eye out for/request a 'collected pair' if possible as the animals do not 'automatically' pair up just because you place them together in your aquarium>> I may add the mushroom rocks that are currently in my 110g reef, which is SPS dominated. I figure the lighting is adequate for these Corallimorphs and getting them out of my SPS tank would be beneficial to the SPS. <<If in great quantity or in physically encroaching, yes, probably so>> Cheers, Andy <<Be chatting mate. EricR>>
R3: Setting Up a Small Species Specific Marine Tank - 06/03/08
Eric, <<Andy>> I do know what a wet-dry is--just skeptical of this particular one. <<Ah, okay'¦(and 'whew!' [grin])>> It is basically a box with a piece of foam in it. <<Hmm'¦maybe replace this with a bag of chemical media'¦or a piece of Poly-Filter pad>> The water is supposed to flow from the skimmer, up and over the lip on the filter box, down through the filter, under the fuge compartment, out to the return pump, through the fuge, and into the display. <<This sounds fine/good>> I removed the foam and replaced it with a bag of activated carbon. <<Ah well, great minds'¦>> My return pump (475 gph) was dead, so my LFS swapped out a Rio 800 (how do they even sell the Rio??--it's basically a bubble maker) <<Is cheap'¦and easy to push on to the uninitiated>> until he can get me a replacement pump tomorrow. <<Excellent>> For now, the filter box is completely submerged--maybe that will change when I get the right pump. <<Yes, probably so>> The one thing I will say about this tank is that the manual is totally inadequate/basic and very hard to use in reality. I contacted the manufacturer, and it was responsive but not very insightful. <<A shame'¦considering these are assumedly 'plug-and-play' units>> Take care. Andy <<And you my friend. EricR>>

What do you think about my tank, Marine Setup 5/2/08 Hello my name is Sony Onatte and I am a newbie in terms of saltwater tanks, although I have had a freshwater tank for about 2 years. <Hello> I started my saltwater tank around mid January 2008. I have a 30 gal long Aqueon (all glass) tank, 20lbs of live sand, at least 40lbs of live rock and an extra 4 lbs of live rock rubble in an AquaClear 110 that only has the rubble and ceramic holes in it. Although they said it couldn't be done; my filtration system is made up of (2) AquaClear 110's (500gph)one with just rubble and ceramic and the other with one foam pad ceramic hole and a Chemi pure pad with a prefilter pad on the entrance to both intakes. I have an AquaC remora with a MaxiJet pump 1200 (295gph) with prefilter box, and have modified it by connecting a tube to the cup and draining it so the skim never falls back into the tank due to overflow. 1 AquaClear 70 (400gph) and a Hydor Koralia 2 (600gph) power heads. My lighting system is a Current USA power compact with Dual Daylight Lamp (6700K & 10,000K), 1 Dual Actinic Lamp (420nm/460nm) and 3 Lunar Lights. Which the actinic turn on at 8am -- 10pm and the daylight 12pm -- 8pm then the lunar's turn on. <Ok> I have 2 small black Amphiprion ocellaris and 2 small orange Amphiprion ocellaris, <Chances are one pair will kill off the other in this sized tank. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfishart2.htm > 1 small flame angel, <Needs a larger tank http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/Centropyge/loricula.htm > 2 small engineer goby's, < Pholidichthys leucotaenia? They get huge. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pholodichthyidae.htm > and 1 green spotted dragonet. <Also needs a much larger and mature tank, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm .> 20 -- 25 scarlet crabs and zebra's. 15 snails, 1 lettuce slug, 2 scarlet shrimp, 1 camel and 1 peppermint shrimp, <the camel has been known to get aggressive.> 1 two in maxima clam and a 3 in crocea clam, 1 sand sifting starfish <the star needs a larger tank and will clean out your live sand bed, making it not so live.> and at least 2500 cope and other pods. As for corals I have a 3in Mycedium sp, 3 in encrusting purple Montipora nodosa, 4in Trachyphyllia radiate, 3in Turbinaria peltata, 4 stalks of pulsating xenia, 3in hammer coral pink, 3in green frogspawn, 3 stalk grey frogspawn, orange and pink Zoo's and green Zoo's, 2 different species of trumpet corals and tiny Actinodiscus sp. <You have a lot of life in a new tank, need to slow down here.> I supplement the tank with Kent marine: ZooPlex, iodine, Xtreme garlic, and marine C. Brightwell aquatics: zooplanktos S, zooplanktos m, zooplanktos L, alkaline 8.3m and liquid reef. I also feed marine S and new life spectrum, brine shrimp, mysis, and squid. My nitrate, nitrite, ammonia are all at 0. My ph is at 8.2, DKH 11, and calcium 470. I started to add fish in Feb because my tank cycled fast since I used live water, live sand and live rocks. <Cycling is not all that happens, new tanks are prone to rapid shift is water parameters, not all of which are measure/tested.> Everything was at zero and ph was stable before I added fish though. All my corals are doing fine and have been for a while and some have actually grown in these few months. Now that this is all been said I just wanted to know if my lighting is insufficient for my inhabitants and what you thought of my set up. I know this might be a little crowded even though everything is very small now. I'm planning to upgrade to a bigger tank in a year or so. Also if you had any tips or recommendations for a beginner like me let me know. Sony M. Onatte <I would think about removing all the fish except 1 pair of clowns, the others are not appropriate for this sized tank. Also, while you have chosen generally hardy corals you will most likely run into problems with allelopathy with so many corals in such a small tank. Frequent water changes will be necessary to keep these chemicals in check.> <Chris>

Aquapod Pump/Water flow 4/11/08 Hi there, <Hi Alex.> I have one simple (hopefully simple) question. <OK> I currently have a Hydor Koralia 1 providing the majority of water flow in my 12 gallon AquaPod as well as the output from the filter that came with the tank. What I am looking for is something that will change direction and not constantly flow water in the same pattern. Is there something out there that perhaps toggles it's direction continuously so as to minimize the "dead spots" for grunge and build up? <Hmm, yes. SeaSwirls, Ocean Motions, SCWD, and WavySea are a few that work well. They are also large and expensive for a 12 gal (except maybe the SCWD). For your output on the pump look at the Hydor Flo Deflector. It is not the best, but it is cheap and works. You just need to clean it as part of your regular maintenance. You can achieve about the same results by directing the powerhead and pump flow at each other. This will give you a varied flow.> Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Alex <Welcome, Scott V.>

Tank upgrade 03/27/2008 Hello to the Crew! <<Afternoon, Andrew today>> You have been a great help in the past so here it goes - <<Thanks>> I have a few questions concerning upgrading tank sizes. I currently have a 29 gallon marine aquarium with the following: About 25 pounds of live rock 2" of substrate Protein skimmer Large hang-on filter 2 30" Coral Life T-5 fixtures each with 1-10,000k and 1-actinic 1-Scopus Tang <<Yikes!!!!>> 1- Ocellaris Clown 3-Chromis 1-Cleaner Shrimp Clean-up Crew - Snails, Crabs Etc. Several Soft Corals and a couple LPS I am contemplating upgrading to a 46 Gallon an am looking for the best advise on the transition: 1 - I would like to change substrate (to a smaller particle size) Is this possible and what is the best way?. I may keep the original tank and substrate as a coral propagation tank and quarantine. <<Aragonite sugar grade reef sand, made by Caribsea is a good choice>> 2 - What is the best sequence for the change i.e.. all at once or in phases? <<As long as your taking all the filtration over to the new tank and you have enough containers, then do it all in one go>> 3 - How much Live Rock do you recommend for a 46 Gallon Tank. <<Min 46lbs>> 4 - I am also looking into upgrading some of the equipment i.e.. lighting and filter, sump or refugium <<Sounds good and will benefit the system in the long run>> Side issue - I seem to have a major outbreak of limpets. Is there a way to control or rid the tank of these little guys? <<Just simply remove by hand, leave a couple in there afterwards if you like>> Any help would be appreciated. <<A side note on the above stocking. The tank is neither suitable for the current tank, nor the suggested upgrade, I would suggest a minimum of 100 gallons for this SP. of tang, preferably more. Please do fine a bigger home>> <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>
Re: Tank upgrade 03/30/2008
Thanks for the info <<nopro For my clarification, you think is would be ok to provide all new substrate in the larger tank and move everything else at once including water. Will there be any establishment period using all new substrate? <<Yes, I would actually prefer to use a new sandbed. Yes, it will take time to re-establish. Maybe take a couple of cups from the top few centimetre's of an established reef to give it a boost>> Also should I fill the remaining 17 gallons of water using newly mixed water or water from an established tank from my trusted LFS? <<You may as well go ahead and use new mixed saltwater, it wont harm anything>> Lance <<Thanks for the follow up Lance, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Tank upgrade - additional question regarding pump 04/05/2008
With my new 46 gallon bowfront now in place I am trying to determine the best way to get the water circulation that is desired for fish and coral. I am thinking of placing two Koralia 1 (400 GPH) pump in each upper back corner. In addition to that I my also place a Mag 900 with a rotating diffuser in the upper middle on a timer. I also will have the return for the skimmer and filters entering the tank as well. Ultimately the question is do I use Koralia 1's (400 GPH) or 2's (600 GPH) <<I would go with 2 Koralia #2, this will give you a good amount of flow for a reef. I feel the #1 are a little under rated for this tank>> What are your thoughts? <<Thanks for the follow-up. A Nixon>>

29 Gallon Marine Set-Up...Not much detail...or proper grammar [3-23-08] Hi there <<.>> <Hello Gene.> im <<I'm>> thinking about getting a 29 gal. oceanic tank and going salt water with it. <<Okay.>> what <<What>> do you think about the set up on the tank, <<I'm not sure I understand what you mean'¦I don't see a described set-up, just the proposed tank. I can tell you that if this is your first marine system I would much rather you go with something in the 40 gallon range with more surface area (perhaps a 'breeder' variation). While not necessarily qualifying as a Nano aquarium you will run into many of the same challenges. Please read this; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm . Without knowing what the targeted livestock will be it is difficult to go into any more detail. As far as the oceanic brand, it is reputable/reliable as far as glass tanks go.>> thanks <<Thanks>> for your time Gene<<.>> <<You are welcome --Adam J.>>

Starting an AquaPod reef...  3/14/08 Hey Crew! Quick question...I've got a 12 gallon Nano reef, up and running for 2 months now with one small clown, blood shrimp and 4 blue legged hermit crabs occupying this tank. Prior to putting the shrimp and clown in the tank I did my water tests and everything was perfect. Since putting in the shrimp and the clown and eventually the 4 crabs (who were supposed to be a clean up crew but as far as I'm concerned they make more mess than they clean - I'll be getting rid of them tomorrow and replacing them with smaller blue or red hermit crabs) my ammonia has shot through the roof to 2.0. <How much did you suddenly start feeding the tank when you added the livestock? The combination of the added livestock and food might have been too much too soon.> I know the obvious way to bring the ammonia down is to do more aggressive water changes or perhaps more frequently, but as I experienced last week; when pouring in the salt due to it's small nature of the Nano the corals get burned from the contact with the salt (mental note....pre-mix)...can you recommend any piece of equipment that can help me with keeping the ammonia down? If it was a normal setup I would immediately purchase a protein skimmer but as I am now realizing, these Nano tanks aren't all they're cracked up to be <Bingo. They're often without adequate filtration.> as there is NO space for a skimmer or at least not one that I can find. Any of the Nano skimmers I have found involve me altering the hood which I am not confident in doing. Is there a Nano skimmer out there that will help me, perhaps if I threw in a mangrove plant? <A mangrove won't help. It wouldn't do well in such a tank anyway. Honestly, there's not a whole lot you could do that wouldn't involve altering the hood to add filtration or drilling the tank to add a sump. This is the trouble with Nano tanks systems. If you don't want to alter the tank, you'll have to find a way to do the heavy, frequent water changes (i.e. pre-mix your water, etc.).> HELP ME PLEASE!! Thanks so much! I've been a reader for over 5 years now and have enjoyed every minute of it! <De nada and good luck, Sara M.>

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: