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

Clownfish? Stocking a saltwater tank with a Crowbar   6 gal.  F Hello Robert, <friend, author and Malt Ball lover Anthony Calfo in your service> I was reading through some of your articles online and noticed the section that said a reader could email you with a question. Here is mine: I have a 6 gallon saltwater tank, which successfully held a clownfish.  It originally came with 2 cardinal fish, the clownfish, a Basslet, anemone, live coral and a featherduster (not sure what they are called)  <My heaven's... was it stocked with a crowbar? Hehe... that really is a dreadful bioload for 6 gallons and rather cruel of the previous owner> One by one these things died leaving the clownfish and the Basslet the longest. The tank had those tape worm looking things and just fell apart quickly. It was a gift and an unexpected one at that. I'm thinking there was far too much in there.  <excellent intuition...very well> I went away for a month and took that time to put the survivor - the clownfish - in a tank at a pet shop....he was all by himself. cleaned out the aquarium totally, put in shells and one large rock. conditioned the water and put survivor back with a new friend. This was in Sept. A couple of weeks ago the original died.  <the tank is beyond it's critical threshold with even two fish... if you must keep a 6 gallon, please keep only one small fish indeed> His mouth faded in color although I didn't see any white spots or threads that the articles refer to. His gills were sticking out and his lower "lip" was quivering all the time. he was lethargic and finally died about 2-3 weeks ago. <not indicative of any specific pathogenic symptom unfortunately> The remaining fish was fine until about 10 days ago. his gills aren't sticking out nor is he as faded around the mouth. He is extremely lethargic and always in the lower corner of the tank at a 45 degree angle. We think he is blind because he used to shoot to the top of the tank when we'd even walk by in hopes of being fed but now he moves but doesn't track our fingers anymore. we feed him in the a.m. and at night. I haven't seen him eat in days. <please test the water chemistry (pH, ammonia, salinity)... really bad things can happen so fast to water chemistry in such a small tank even if you test the parameters weekly. It really is a torture chamber as marine aquaria go by virtue of its size> The water temp was 86. I lowered it to 80-82. <yes, a must. The low dissolved O2 in that small tank was much lower still at such high temperature and could have easily killed the clownfish> Any other suggestions? <honestly... do consider a larger aquarium... and if not, just one fish and weekly maintenance and water testing please> Do you think he has the parasites? <not symptomatic... more likely water quality> Thanks, Christine <kind regards, Anthony>

Stocking Question  20 F Hey, <what?> I have been assembling my 20 gallon tank over the past 6 months and I feel that it is time to add some live stock. Right now I have a 20 gallon tank with a 6 in DSB, 25 Lbs of live rock, a Prizm protein skimmer, I also have a fluidized sand filter which includes a carbon and is returned via a hang on UV sterilizer. I have about 25 snails (baby Turbos and Strombus) and whatever else came with my live sand activator from IPSF. The tank has been running like this for about 4 months with 5% weekly water changes and weekly dosings of a 2 part calcium, Alk buffer. Since everything seems stable I would like to add my first fish. I plan to eventually have a cleaner shrimp, a pair of Percula clowns, a possibly a 4 line wrasse. Do you thing this would work considering I am going to add each piece of live stock monthly?  <yes...sounds very prudent although the wrasse could be feisty for a smaller tank> Also, I have seen some other wrasses like the lunar, Mexican Rainbow, and Paddle fin. Are these wrasses similar in size and behavior to a 4 line? <nope...they are more aggressive and get way larger. None of the latter could possibly go in a 20 gallon tank for long. Consider a small fairy wrasse instead to keep the perc company> Thank You, Jonathan Pac <always welcome, Anthony>

Fish Compatibility   20 FO <Anthony Calfo here in your service> Can you keep a Burrfish or porcupine fish in a twenty long <tank is too small for either one of these fish alone... Burrfish are not at all hardy anyway... please do avoid> with a fire goby, scissortail goby and a purple Firefish <in most parts of the world... the above listed fish are considered "bait" for pufferfish. Please consider a good marine aquarium reference book to help you through the wonderful maze of questions you have as a beginner. Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine aquarist, Dick Mills The Marine Aquarium and Mike Paletta's The new Marine Aquarium are all good choices to start with> some other like shrimp and crabs in a reef tank if so what species and any special requirements? <none of the fish you mentioned above are suitable beginner fish... I'd recommend you start with more durable fish at first like clownfish. Anthony>

Stuff in a Tank Should Be Fine, Right?! - 11/21/2005   25... FO Hi, <Hello, Josh here.> I recently bought a Snowflake Moray, and I have a giant Brittle Star with a huge Cleaner Shrimp at the moment. <At the moment is right! These probably won't last long.> I also have a couple hermit crabs and snails. <More trouble possible here as well.> My ? <<"question", please, don't do this for laziness.  MH>> is, I'm getting ready to buy a Lionfish and a Puffer. <Not a "?" (spelled "question" by the way). My advice, though you haven't mentioned tank size, is to leave these last two out. They don't belong together. All are heavy waste producers, and though they look beautiful in LFS tanks together (inappropriate as it is), they're probably much higher maintenance than you wish to undertake and would rather avoid each other.> It's going to be my predator tank. <Oh yes, it will be.> Do you think the Eel, Brittle Star, Lionfish, and Puffer will get along ok? <The Lionfish, Puffer and Moray will last the longest of your mix.> The fish store owner says it should be ok, but he didn't sound convincing. <Rightly so.> Just wondering. Thanks <Review the care of these animals. You'll see what it takes for one, let alone all of them. Your inverts. are likely to be snacks for any of them. Since you already have the Moray, just dedicate your system to it. Avoid the other mess in one tank. By the way, what size tank/filtration are we talking about? Also, please capitalize and spell check in the future - Josh>

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

Overstocking/Not Doing Proper Research/Disregarding Advice  Eric Tells it Like it is - 12/10/05   5, 26 FO Hey again, <<Hey>> and sorry for bothering you awesome people there, but I have another question. <<Alrighty>> Some websites where you shop online for live fish and corals give you some info on what the tank conditions should be like for corals and fish, and the size of the tank for every fish. <<Mmm, take with a "grain of salt" and do your own research. Maybe I'm jaded <G>, but I'm always skeptical about advice given by someone trying to sell me something. Best to do your own research before a purchase.>> The site says that for a damsel your tank should be at least 30-gallons or higher. <<Much to take in to consideration...tank mates (if any), filtration, adult size of the fish...typical activity (sedentary vs. hyper)...etc.>> So I was told that I could only keep one fish in my 5-gallon tank, <<Told by whom? Would "you" enjoy living in a closet?>> instead, I got two damsels and a clownfish <<(sigh)... so you overloaded the tank three times over the recommendation (not that I agree the tank was large enough for a "single" damsel in the first place).>> (but the clown died in a week or two maybe because it was not healthy, saw the shop with sick clowns the next day). <<Or maybe because it was shoehorned in to a 5 gallon tank!>> So my two damsels kept living for a few more months till one died because he stopped eating. <<You make it sound like it was the fish's fault.>> And then later on when I started my 26-gallon tank I decided to transfer what I had in the 5-gallon tank to the bigger one (I just had a damsel and three blue-leg hermit crabs). <<Please!...no tangs in this tank...>> So I was thinking, it did not matter the size of the damsels, which are an aggressive type, the size of the tank. <<???...what doesn't matter?...based on what?>> And my real question is, can I transfer my Lemonpeel Angel to the 5 gallon tank to keep it from harming my star polyps? <<No...if you can't properly care for this fish then you need to take it back to the store.>> I think it may matter for the Angel the size of the tank.  If I cannot house the angel there, I'm going to have to sell it. <<It matters to everything. You really should better educate yourself on the aspects of this hobby. Please do your own research (from more than one source) before buying anything, and then use the information wisely and with common sense. You owe this to the animals you wish to keep. EricR>>

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

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

Stocking question et al.  30 F Hi WWM Crew, I've got a few questions actually after re-reading a lot of the FAQs on the site (love how the content is always new!) 1. In my 30 gallon, I've got an ocellaris pair, 1 six-line wrasse, and 1 royal Gramma. All under 2 inches each. I'm quite happy with this mix so far, no aggression whatsoever from any of them to each other (except occasionally from the big ocellaris to the smaller male) and all healthy and active. If I wanted to get a butterfly or angel, which do you recommend? I'm leaning towards the Centropyge acanthops or eibli for the angels, or the threadfin butterfly...After reading the FAQs, it seems as though I'm either at the limit or could *maybe* fit one more small fish, not sure on that. <One more small fish, C. acanthops or argi would be ok.> 2. Tons of brown algae (very fine dots all over) after reading the FAQs, it seems my best option is to get a protein skimmer (I only have a big "bio-wheel" filter hanging now)...which do you recommend? I was going to get a Remora that hangs on the back, it's about 180 bucks, so I want to make sure that's a good one. I also want to upgrade to a 55 or 65 gallon tank in the near future, so the skimmer should support up to that amount (along with me getting a new wet/dry filter). <The Remora should serve you well, now in for the larger tank.> 3. One more question, should I get some snails to help with the algae? I had put two turbo snails before and they died fairly quickly (after eating some of the algae) and am scared that something is wrong with the water for invertebrates...is that possible? <More likely a problem with their acclimation. Snails in particular can be problematic. A slow drip is best. You can probably find more info with a search of WWM.> Thanks for any hints or suggestions, keep up the good work folks! -Jack <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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

Stocking a 30 F Hey Bob. Good job on the website. I have a question about my 30 gal. marine tank. I know there can't be too many fish in there, and I have the three damsels I started out with and added a Heniochus butterfly a couple of days ago. He's doing very well. My question is, would it be ok to add a longnose butterfly with him after a while or should I take out some of the damsels. I really would like to have more than one nice looking fish in there. <Actually, in my opinion, a 30 gallon tank is too small for the Heniochus or the Longnose. I would stick to fish with an adult size of 3" or less. -Steven Pro>

Overstocking a small marine system   30 FO I have 2 questions for you that hopefully you can answer. The first one is concerning a tang I have in my tank. I have a 30 gallon tank with 40 lbs of live Fiji rock, protein skimming and power compacts. This is my second tang, the first one I had was a Yellow tang which did not make it due to ICH problems.   <Likely added to by the stress of being in such a small system... a thirty is a "little world" for this species.> I have read that all tangs are very susceptible to ICK, <Mmm, some much more than others> the one I just purchased is a Sailfin tang.  <This is even a worse choice (in the same genus) of tangs... gets to be about half the length of your tank in the wild... I would trade it back in for more suitable livestock> I spoke to the shop where I bought the tang, and he told me to keep the salinity between 1.020 and 1.021, on the low side to stop the life cycle of the ich parasite.  <This won't "stop" it... only slow it> Is this a good method? Will any of my other fish suffer at this salinity level, I have 3 Chromis, a clown, Firefish, and a mandarin.  <If the spg is/was moved slowly enough (no more than a thousandth per day) and the fishes in initially good health, then probably not... many invertebrates suffer much more with these changes... And again, your system is more than "topped out" with the fishes you list BEFORE having placed the Sailfin... Please take a look through the "Stocking" and "Livestock Selection" (marine, reef) materials posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I don't want to go through the same experience I had with the yellow tang, I was constantly moving him to a hospital tank and doing freshwater dips on him to get rid of his ICK. I would do a treatment on him, he would be fine for like a week and then BOOM once again he would get the ICK. I guess the stress of freshwater dips and changing tanks got to him because he did not make it. Well, thanks in advance for all the help you can give on this matter. I almost forgot my second question, will a long nose butterfly be able to live in that tank with out any problems with the tang. Thanks for all your help once again. <Thank you for asking. You strike me as an intelligent, compassionate aquarist... who desires their livestock, system to do well... I would start planning for a (much) larger system, and/or decide on smaller fishes, perhaps some invertebrate and algae additions other than the larger fishes listed... Neither a Longnose or Zebrasoma Tang are appropriate for a thirty gallon> PS. How do you reply to all your email so quickly, you must get thousands of email a day? Alfredo Carrion <Generally just dozens, am fast keyed, passionate about helping, inspiring, setting an example if you will. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overstocking a small marine system  Thanks for your quick reply. The thought of the bigger tank has already crossed my mind quite a lot. <Ah, good> Its just the financial situation that is holding me back at this point (as well as not having any time).  <I do understand this... would like to trade my many dreams, aspirations for their actuality...> For the fish I have and the set up I am running what's an appropriate size tank. Once again thanks for your help, Bob. Alfredo <At least a sixty gallon for all including the Forcipiger. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question   38 FO Hello Mr. Fenner. I am a 14 year old hobbyist who has really enjoyed your book. I have been interested in marine fish for along time and know a lot about there needs. But I always have trouble knowing the minimum fish size I could add to my tank.  <Hmm, no minimum... you likely mean maximum, the most fish livestock you should keep, considering likely average ultimate size> Right now I have a 38 gallon live rock tank with a red lip blenny and a blue devil damsel. I am interested in adding a juvenile yellow tang or hardy butterfly species. If I did that, I'd probably have to trade in the fish when it gets too big. If I decide to do that, at what size do you think I would have to trade the fish in at? <Both (I would not try a Butterflyfish in this size system) at four or so inches> The other possibility would be to get 2 smaller fish, like a Sixline wrasse and a dwarf angel of some sort. Which way sounds better? <The latter... but please do read through the "Livestock Selection" pieces stored on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and the survey articles there on fish groups... to help you develop other stocking ideas> I really like this hobby so any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time! <A pleasure to meet you. Great to have intelligent, curious young minds joining this great interest. Bob Fenner>

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

Fish Selection  40 FO Hi Robert, I got a 40 gallon fish only tank and I've been wanting to get some fish but I just don't know which ones. I want a fish that is nice in color, active, hardy and isn't to expensive. I'm asking you for your advice. What specific kinds of fish would you recommend? Thanks. <Perhaps a pair of tank-bred and raised Clownfish here... Yes, a very good choice... for beauty, behavior, hardiness. Please read through the "Marine Livestock Selection" area on our website here (WetWebMedia.com) for a good introduction to what to select for and how to go about choosing. Bob Fenner>

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

Restocking tank  50 FO Mr. Fenner We lost 5 fish about 3 weeks ago. We have had one hippo tang all alone since then. We were wondering when we can get a new fish and which would be best to befriend the lonely hippo? We were hoping to get a mated pair of true perculas, will that be ok or is there something better? The tang has shown no signs of anything wrong with him in over two weeks. Thanks in advance <Mmm, a few concerns... you say you "lost" five fish... to a known parasitic problem? If so, what provisions have you made to eradicate the disease from the system? If there is no such concern, how large a system is this? A choice in tankmates rests upon this and other considerations... The true perculas should be fine with your Hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus for folks from elsewhere who know this fish by other common names)... but I encourage you to seek out tank bred, reared ones (versus wild-collected) as they are much hardier, less prone to disease. Please read over your many choices presented in articles, FAQs on stocking, the various groups of life, posted on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Restocking tank They all died from parasites. The blue tang had some, but we FW dipped him and got them off, and our cleaner shrimps worked non-stop to keep them off. He has had no signs in over two weeks. <The SYSTEM still has the parasites... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm > It is a 50 gallon. We want two true perculas and another tang. Which is a good, hardy tang?  <Please read over the coverage of the family, species... on the WetWebMedia.com site> We have had BAD luck with both the gold rimmed the one with a little on his face) and the achilles. We are looking for a colorful, hardy tang to not take dominance away from the hippo. Do you have any suggestions? <My opinions are posted re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Novice Choices, Marine Fish  12/2/05  50 FO Hi! <Hello.> I'm getting a new 50 gallon tank soon, I will cycle it with live rock. <O.K. there's a lot more to it than just that though. Be sure to research the tanks other needs, such as a protein skimmer and so on. Also have a test kit on call during this cycle process.> What kinds of fishes would you recommend me? I would like to make my marine tank very bright and interesting. Unique would be nice too. <Well your in the marine hobby so bright and interesting includes most of the fish that hang out on the reef and all fish have unique personalities'¦so you're already covered there. Of course what looks/personality is better than the other is up to you. When I think of easy fish of course damsels is the first one that pops into mind as they are nearly bulletproof care wise.  <<Except for the peaceful green and blue Chromis - they aren't handled well during collection/shipping, end up being problematic for many beginners.  Marina>> Of course there aggression level and general disdain for other fish makes them a poor choice in a tank most of the time, those labeled as Chromis are generally an exception to the rule but not always. The one fish that is great (in my opinion) for beginners is the neon goby (E. oceanops) very hardy and it's quite easy to find tank-raised specimens. Just to name a few more that I like for novices: Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor), Clown goby (Gobiodon sp.), Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) and the Banggai cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni). These are potentially good choices though I would only purchase tank raised specimens of the latter. Keep reading and researching and you will find many more good suggestions.> Thanks a Lot!!! (Your site is really helpful!) <Welcome and thank you, Adam J.> 

Stocking, over, SW - 2/21/2006   55 F Hi <Hello> I have a 55 gallon aquarium that's being going for 3 months. I have in it a sailfin tang, <... this system is too small...> 3 Chromis, a royal Dottyback, Rainford goby, pair of clowns, bi colour angel, coral beauty, <... too small for two Centropyge species...> blue tailed wrasse and a fairy wrasse. I also have about 25 kilos of live rock and a few pieces of coral. I realize this is a lot of fish for a tank of this size but it appears to be going well. <Appears... now> However, I have seen the bi colour angel and the sailfin tang act aggressively towards my coral beauty which I added in there just 2 days earlier. I have re arranged the rocks but it hasn't worked. Should I remove the coral beauty or would the aggression ease in time? <Remove it... make plans to remove the Sailfin> Thank you. Also do you foresee any of my fish causing problems if I add a pair of mated coral banded shrimp to my tank? A <Make plans to buy larger tanks... you've "got the bug". Bob Fenner>
More stocking nonsense   2/22/06
What would be incompatible? I've been keeping the three triggers and the two puffers for over a year in a 110 and my two lions in a 55. <Perhaps you were lucky... your livestock on the other hand...> In the 80's I was always successful keeping triggers together, a roomy rock structure with two openings for each and two empty structures. After a few days of chasing all has been fine with out a single nipped fin. I've read the dragon morays are aggressive yet every person I've talked to in the forums say they keep them with small to medium fish with no problems. I just want to replace all of my canisters and medium quality skimmers with current technology. I spent a lot of time in your forums and did not find any conclusive answers to my questions. I'll look again, if you have time maybe you could point me in the right direction as to where to find it on your site. Thank you for your time, Jason <... please... read. Don't write, read. Bob Fenner>

New addition (no room at the inn)   55 FO Hello Robert! I live in Greece and have been reading articles from your site since a few days now. Let me give you my congratulations for your great site. I really enjoy visiting it almost every night! <Thank you my friend> Well, O have a 55 gallon only-fish tank where I have put a complexity of corals (that makes nice places for the fishes to hide). Till a week ago I had : - one Damsel - 3 years in the aquarium - one Heniochus Acuminatus - 5 months - 2 1/2 inches - one Acanthurus Lineatus or Clown Tang - 4 months - 3 1/2 inches - one Paracanthurus Hepatus or Blue Tang- 3 months 2 1/2 inches - one Odonus Niger (Blue) 1 month 2 1/2 inches My aquarium is 10 years old, but in the last couple of years I had neglected it, so since last summer I started taking good care of it (water changes, took out the existing undergravel filter and put away a lot of sand while cleaning the gravel, etc). Now I have 0 Nitrite, 0 Ammonia, PH 8.3 and a lot of Nitrate (100!- even darker red than the 100 of the Tetra Nitrate Test Kit!). First I would like an advise about me fish selection, after I give you a short description of the situation in the aquarium: As you see I wrote the fishes I have in the term from te older to the newer. The Heniochus was the second fish to add, and he was well adjusted from the first day (as well as all the other fishes - they even ate leaf-food on the second date! this was something I was lucky about). After I introduced the Clown Tang nothing changed, in fact the three fishes in the aquarium ignored each other in a way, I mean they had no problems at all with each other. The first problems started when I introduced the Blue Tang. e is small, but very active, clever and happy fish. I really liked him a lot when I saw him at the dealer's shop. (He is the same until today). After the blue Tang found a coral to hide and started being not afraid (this took only a couple of days) he started confronting the Clown Tang , who is almost double than him.  <Not unusual for these two species... in such a small system> From this day they keep fighting each other when one finds the other near him. However the Clown has never harmed the Blue Tang. Their fights take only a few seconds and you can not tell who is the winner! When I introduced the Niger, the balance was lost for a few days. The Niger (even if I had the info that is a peaceful fish) was moving towards the damsel and the blue tang and ignored the Heniochus and the Clown. Then there was a relative "balance" with thee two clowns still fighting all the time and the Niger being sometimes aggressive, but not to the point that a fish would be afraid to swim near him. All of a sudden a morning I realize that the tail and upper fin of the Heniochus was cut (I was sure this was coming from a bite not from an illness) and the fish did not eat but instead he was staying near the bottom moving a little bit up and down. I made the mistake not to isolate it in a separate place in the tank and went to my work. In the afternoon , when I arrived home it was too late. The fish could not swim well. I took it in a separate place, but next morning it was dying. I still do not know who could be the responsible for this (the Niger ignored ir, so did the Clown and the Damsel). May be the Blue Tang, who knows. <I suspect the Niger> Now I have the 4 fishes left in the aquarium and getting along "well" (I do not really know what will happen in the future, there is an aggressiveness and a territorialism among all the fishes, but still there seems to e a balance). I would like to think however about my next tankmate: a new fish that would "fit" to this environment, so I have started making a research. I have been told about having an angelfish and I have started been informed about the several genus and members of this family. What would you suggest ?  <None actually... this system is topped out, full of fish life> I know everything is relevant and works different in every aquarium, but still an opinion like toys would have a weight. My other question concerns the Nitrate. I have been told that that I should turn my brown algae into green, in order to reduce my Nitrate. This can be done by increasing the lightning hours (to 14) and by letting the sun coming directly into the aquarium (I can do this, the sun can see my tank for 1 hour in the morning). What is your opinion? <A good idea to turn the algae to the Greens... with lighting as you mention> Thanks in advance for your response, Regards, Thanassis Papavassiliou Thessaloniki, Greece <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Fish Mix  55 FO Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this evening.> Just found your website and it has been a wealth of information as I am fairly new to the hobby. I had a question on fish mixing for my first aquarium and would appreciate your regarded opinion. First my setup: -55 gallon aquarium dual bulb hood with full spectrum and blue actinic -60lbs Marshall Island Live Rock (currently curing) -roughly 1 inch of Aragonite Substrate -Red Sea Berlin Turbo Hang-on Skimmer -Emperor 400 filter with additional sifting filter media -Ebo Jager 150 watt heater -2 Hagen 402 Powerheads I am currently interested in placing these fish into the aquarium over a specific amount of time to allow for bio buildup and will also add a "clean-up crew" prior to fish introduction: 1 -Foxface 2 -Ocellaris Clowns (tank reared) 1 -Flame Angel 1 -African Fireball or Flameback Angel 1 -FuManchu Lion 3 -Yellowtail or 3 Stripe Damsels Will the tank be overcrowded and can these species live in relative harmony? <No to the harmony part. The two angels will not tolerate one another in a 55 and the lionfish will end up eating the damsels.> I have read in many places to skip the Damsels as they are too aggressive and present stress in other fish merely by their presence (I can still recall being attacked near a reef as blue damsels nipped at my foot and leg hairs!) <The yellowtails are better than the 3-stripes, but both can be territorial.> Perhaps a colorful group of gobies would be better? <Still potential lionfish food.> Can any Trigger species be successfully housed in a tank of this size? <Some Triggers will harass the Lionfish and ones that don't may make the Lion so nervous they go off of feeding.> Is a Flame Hawk a viable substitution for any of the above fish? <A good substitute for either of the Angelfish.> I welcome any advice you might have and if there is a fish which is out of place, a replacement suggestion would be great. <Leave out the Lionfish and the Damsels and make the Hawkfish substitution. Maybe add a tang.> I thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter. I look forward to your response and am rushing back to your site to gorge on more information. Thanks Again! David Yurko Aspen, CO <Glad to hear you are reading on your own. -Steven Pro>

Stocking a Marine Tank Tetris Style (Disguising the Question Won't Work!)   12/1/05  55 FO Hello, <Hi.> I'm running a 55 gallon corner tank with a Mag 350 and CPR skimmer for about 4 years now!  I have a Niger 3 in <<That is spelled with only ONE "g", mate.  Marina>> Huma 3 in banner fish 3 in Pygmy angel 2 in Royal 3 in Yellow Tang 4 in And six line wrasse 2 1n I would LOVE to put in my last fish a Clown trigger! <...> <<The tank's four years old, and those fish are still that small...??  MH>> Do you think the clown would be to much? <Uhhh....Yeah. My friend not only would I not add that last specimen to the mix but I would strongly consider finding new homes or planning on finding new homes for these fish in the future. Not only will there be territorial/aggression problems in the future but there will be serious over crowding. Your first two triggers on the list reach at least a tank busting 12" the tang and the Bannerfish as well will get quite large. If you were to keep all of your current fish you would need a tank in excess of 200 gallons and that's if your triggers don't "snap".> Thanks <Keep reading, Adam J.> 

Stalking the Overstockers - 12/1/05  55 FO Hey John, <Hello again> Sorry, I have another question for you: I have Niger and Huma Huma Triggers, a Royal <?>, a Bannerfish, a Pygmy Angel, a Six-line Wrasse, and a Yellow Tang. I would love to buy a dwarf Zebra Lionfish for my 55g. Can I add this fish? <Nope. No way. Sorry. Your tank is already heavily overstocked with fish that get much too large for the tank. Time for a stocking re-think.> <<Not to mention that the wrasse and pygmy may very well become a tasty snack for that lionfish.  Marina>> Thank you for your time <You're welcome, John> 

Rethinking A Stocking Plan? Don't Buy the Naso Tang!!! 10/10/05  55 gal FOWLR Dear Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I appreciate that there is much relevant information on your website, but I would be most grateful if you could please spell it out for me - apologies in advance for taking up your time. I have a 55 gal FOWLR system, with 66lbs of live rock. I use a Fluval 304 for mechanical filtration, a Red Sea Prizm skimmer and two MaxiJet 600 powerheads for circulation. In the aquarium, I currently have 2 mated Percula Clownfish, 1 Mandarin Dragonet (who thankfully is happy to eat frozen food) and a Flameback Pygmy Angel. Unfortunately, the Pygmy Angel has become unsurprisingly territorial. I recently tried to add 2 Cardinal fish but these were chased by the Pygmy Angel until I had to return the surviving one to the LFS where I had bought him.  I subsequently tried introducing a Lemonpeel Pygmy Angel, taking in part the advice from your site to rearrange the rocks into two distinct piles and removed the Flameback for a couple of days into the QT tank to allow the lemon peel to establish himself but again he did not survive. <Unfortunately, the Lemonpeel was a really bad idea. First off, it's one of the largest of the Centropyge group, and needs a much larger aquarium. Placing it in the tank with an established, known "bully" Centropyge in residence sealed his fate. This was an unfortunate lesson that you had to learn the hard way (Don't feel bad, we've all learned that way). Unfortunately, the fish was the one who paid the price.  The breaking up of the territories is a recommended move when adding another Centropyge to an established system, but that assumes that the system is large enough to support more than one to begin with. My thinking is to allow at least 50 gallons per Angel, or at least two feet square for each. Even then, you could have problems, depending on the individuals involved. It's generally best to add all the Centropyge at once when attempting this, to allow them to establish their own territories and hierarchy. Adding them as juveniles is a better move still.> My question therefore, is whether there are any fish that you could recommend to me, in particular, fish that will be strong enough to not be affected by the behaviour of the Flameback, but at the same time gentle enough not to frighten my Dragonet (of whom I am incredibly fond!). I read on the saltwater.about.com website that a Yellow and a Naso tang might be possible contenders? <The Yellow Tang would be a possible candidate, but I think that the tank should be a bit larger for this fish. As far as the Naso - Please, NO! These Tangs require very large systems, and even then can be problematic due to their sheer size and requirements for swimming room. Possible candidates for your sized tank would be fishes like Gobies, Blennies, or small Wrasses, like the Sixline Wrasse, Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, or the mid-sized Canary Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus. Fishes like these inhabit different environmental niches, and may not arouse the "ire" of the feisty little Angel. Even then, there are no guarantees here. Do your homework on potential candidates, and make your decisions accordingly.> I appreciate that I will in a few years need to buy a larger aquarium to accommodate the Naso. <Less than a few years- more like less than a year, really. I will repeat the oft-stated recommendation that we use on WWM; Don't buy a potentially large fish on the basis of your plans to get a larger system "someday". Too often, something happens to derail our best laid plans, and the fish can suffer as a result.  When planning a fish population, make your plans on the system that you are running NOW, and assume that you will NOT be upgrading in the near future. This is the best way to plan a system, IMO.> Or do you recommend that I remove the Flameback and return him to the LFS (although he is all but impossible to catch without removing all the LR from the tank)? <If you are not happy with the fish, then I would certainly make efforts to remove him, and possibly trade him with another hobbyist. Otherwise, you may simply need to compromise and stock appropriate additional fishes, as discussed above. This little fish is one of the more aggressive of the Centropyge group, and is unlikely to change his behaviour.> Thank you so much for all your help and assistance! Kindest Regards, Tim Kroemer <My pleasure, Tim. I hope I don't come across as overly negative, but I wanted to use this opportunity to revisit our philosophy on stocking once again for the benefit of our other readers. Your heart is in the right place...it's just that the execution was a bit off.  Study a bit more, rethink your goals for the system, and think about which fish will be the "principal" in your "cast of characters". Derive your stocking list based on this fish, and you should be fine. Make use of the ample resources on WWM to research potential candidate fishes from the groups mentioned above. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

New Tank...Stock List - 12/07/05    72 FO Hi! <<Hello>> I am in the process of setting up a saltwater tank. <<An exciting time!>> I purchased 45 pounds of pre-cured live rock. It's been 2.5 weeks and my ammonia and nitrites are at 0ppm. <<What about nitrates?>> Should I wait for coralline algae to grow on rocks before adding fish? <<Not necessary...but do check the nitrate level first and make sure it is at "zero" as well.>> It is a 72 gallon and I want to add a yellow tang and a Heniochus black and white butterfly fish. <<Mmm...wish you hadn't said that.>> Also, since both fish will be large, would that be considered a full load for the 72 gallon tank? <<And then some... I would like to see you choose one or the other for this size tank, and then add a few smaller fishes to go with your choice. Regards, EricR>>

Big tank questions (stocking), 50's and 150 FO Hello Bob, <Hi there> It is me again. Thanks for your help with the xenia questions. I moved them and they are doing better. <Ah, good to hear/read> Now my next question is this. An office building in town is remodeling and is planning on installing several aquariums in the walls. I am not sure of the exact size at the moment but I am guessing 150 gal for the large one and 50 gal or so for two smaller ones. A friend who works there knows I love fish and they have asked for my advice on setting up the tanks. (Great fun, I get to design wonderful tanks using someone else's money)  <Yes, and a worthy task all the way around> Several of the office staff have requests for the large tank: a full size angel, a puffer (porcupine preferred), and a trigger (possibly a clown). Would this work? <For the 150 (or hopefully even larger), yes, could be made to work... given careful selection of the species and specimens. Some Angels and Triggers are unsuitable for such a volume on their own, so you will need to look for smaller, easier-going types> I know anything else in there is fair game for lunch but I am suggesting considerable live rock anyway for water quality help.  <Good idea> Is this going to max out this tank?  <Yes> The smaller tanks are going to be a seahorse tank (I know they are a pain in the rear but he really wants them) <Do look for the ones from Ocean Rider (link on the www.WetWebMedia.com site) from Hawai'i... tank bred, trained on dead Mysid shrimp... as wild-caught specimens are trouble here> and a clown fish with anemone tank. <The Seahorses in a separate tank I trust... lest the anemone consume them. This is my understanding from your statement that there are to be three systems.> These two I can handle, it is just the big one I was wondering about. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. Olivia <Keep good notes on what you will do. Bob Fenner>

Fish (stocking selection)  55 FO I am in the process of cycling my saltwater tank and preparing to stock with fish. I have a list of fish I would like you to look at and possibly make a recommendation as to which ones and how many of each. I have a 55 gallon tank The fish I am interested in are: Naso tang, yellow tang, Sailfin tang, clown triggerfish, black lion fish, Klein's butterfly, raccoon butterfly, Atlantic blue tang, queen angelfish, Korean angelfish, flame angelfish, and tomato clown fish.  I realize I cannot put all of them but I would like you to recommend the fish that will survive and how many of each. Thanks, Sal <Mmm, well... would rather suggest which of the above to consider further... I would leave off with a Naso in a 55, a four foot long tank won't be big enough for long enough for this species. Skip the Clown Trigger... too mean, big... Ditto with the large Angelfish species (Queen, Koran)... The others could get along together... but would limit your stocking to just three of them in a tank of this size, shape. Please read through the various survey pieces on these groups of fishes and general livestock selection pieces on our site (WetWebMedia.com) for much more. Bob Fenner, who has a brother in law named Salvatore).>

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

Question about butterflies, bag fish sales, and hello    55 F Hello! I have never asked you a question so far but I have been reading the articles on your site for quite some time. <Glad to finally be chatting> My question is this: what is the main difficulty in keeping copper band butterflies? <Adjustment through the rigors of capture, moving, holding mainly... vying with the trauma therein...> I have not been able o find a thorough straight answer. Also, I hear butterflies should not be added to a newly set up tank, but a long nose butterfly can?  <The genus Forcipigers dual species have proven more inherently tough for captive use> My set up is a 55g FWLR. I have about 50lbs. The fish are currently an ocellaris clown, a Christmas wrasse, and a red finned fairy wrasse. My inverts are two brittle stars, 7 hermits, a blue tuxedo urchin, 9 Nassarius snails and a couple Astreas. I will get more Nassarius in the future. Also this tank has a 6" in tank DSB, a prism protein skimmer that is doing a good job, and an emperor 400. My last question is a bout a bagged fish sale. You see, every Sunday my LFS has a sale where fish direct from the wholesaler are put for sale floated in the bags they came in. I think this is a good idea, do you think any fish should be avoided? <Mmm, a few stipulations here: IF one knows what one is looking for... IF one knows what one is looking at... IF one has the capacity (tanks, background, patience...) to properly acclimate, thoroughly quarantine such specimens... THEN such "in the bag" sales can be a good idea/practice. HOWEVER in actual practice, these are a source of more livestock and hobbyist loss (not dead hobbyists, thank goodness) to the trade than any store has ever generated net income or retained consumers... Caveat Emptor!> As I see it, it is almost the same as if you ordered fish online and got them at your doorstep. Please respond ASAP. Thank you. <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about butterflies, bag fish sales, and 
Thanks a lot Bob. I have a 20L with some LR and a DSB I am planning to use as quarantine. It used to have fish but I moved those to my 55g. Would a butterfly or dwarf angel in the range of 3"-4" be comfortable in this tank for the quarantine period? <Yes> Also about the sale, I know of fish to pass up because of fragility, but do you have any recommendations as to what fish to avoid?  <Many recommendations... these are posted all over WetWebMedia.com and specially in a few livestock selection articles... Please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm following the links where you lead yourself> I know of angels, butterflies, Anthias, etc, do you find this to be true if the fish in question is healthy in the bag? I know health can only be assessed so much by just appearance, but would one of those fragile fish be an unwise purchase? <Much to discuss my friend. See WWM for a while. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about butterflies, bag fish sales, and hello I have read through that part and saw some hardy examples. I have also gone through the fish articles and read the profiles. I am beginning to see the picture. So if it is a hardy fish, go for it, but be prepared for the worst if doing the wholesale from dealer thing.  <Yes, well stated> I see that the square spot Anthias is recommended as hardy. <Relatively> Also, it says one to a tank. So I am assuming one male will do fine in a tank by itself? <Better than two... or two of dissimilar sex in a too-small system> Also one link that I typed in for good and bad fishes did not work. Do you have an alternative one? <I don't understand the last paragraph. Which page/s? Bob Fenner>

What fish combination would work best?   55 FO Hi, I'm currently cycling a 55 gallon saltwater tank.  It will be fish only.  The tank has an undergravel filter, two powerheads, and a penguin BioWheel filter. <No skimmer? You want one.>   We obtain our saltwater at our city's aquarium and we use crushed coral for substrate.  We are now researching which types of fish would be best for our tank. Our three kids, of course, want a clownfish, Nemo and all.  We also like pajama cardinals, bowtie damsels, yellow-tailed blue damsels, Bannerfish, humbug damsels, blue doctors, and triggerfish.  We know that some are more aggressive than others, and unfortunately don't  feel that we can trust most of the people working at our local fish stores for some good advice. <Best to do ones own investigations> I would appreciate any suggestions on a good combo of fish in the tank. We know that we shouldn't put them all in at the same time and all that other new tank info.  We're just trying to get our plan in place so to speak. Thanks for your help, Katrina <Leave off with the trigger, tangs... even the butterfly... just try damsels for now... Keep studying... and add another fish or two per month as you know more. Bob Fenner>

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

Territory...Not Enough - 09/12/05 FO, 55 Hi guy's you helped me before I thought I'd try again. <<Alrighty>> I recently added 2 small blue tangs, and 1 small Koran to my tank. <<This doesn't sound good.>> My three striped damsel is very unhappy about it, he keeps ramming the tangs, and chasing the Koran, though when ever it comes close the Koran swims sideways and the damsel leaves it alone.  What do you recommend I do? <<Return the tangs and angelfish.>> Will the damsel get used to the newcomers? <<Probably not before it kills one or more.  Unless this system is more than 6 feet in length and of several hundred gallons in volume your newcomers are doomed to a life of developmental retardation...if the damsel doesn't kill them first... EricR>>

Tangs, Territory - 09/13/05 A bit of a history and a plea "LET ME KEEP THE TANGS" <<Mmm...>> The system is four feet in length, and is 55 gallons with 60lbs of live rock and live sand, the N02, N03, NH3, P04, all negative or minimal, pH 8.2, SG 1.015 <<Yikes!  This needs to come up... 1.024-1.025 please>>.  The tank is 8 months old, and gets 15 gallon water changes every 3 weeks, using Deionized water, and the only livestock I had in the tank before the tangs and the Koran were 2 small clowns (1.25inches) and a three stripped damsel (bout 2 inches).  I am getting vibes from the response that I got from you guys is that it was not a good idea to buy the tangs or the Koran, (BTW the tangs are about 1-1.5inches, and the Koran is about 2 .5 inches). <<The tangs can grow to more than 12 inches (and a very robust and active/nervous fish as well) and the angel to 18 inches.  I can only imagine the developmental retardation you will be subjecting these fish too in this size system.>> I am not sure if you mean to say get rid of the new guys because they are difficult to keep, or because the damsel will kill them? <<The damsels you have are VERY aggressive and quite capable of doing serious harm to the juvenile tangs and angel.  The difficulty in keeping the "new guys" comes from the fact they are entirely unsuitable for your tank.>> I would rather get rid of the damsel than the tangs or Koran. (Any ideas on how to catch a three stripped damsel?) <<a small barbless fish hook and 2 lb monofilament...seriously.>>, and if you don't think I should keep the tangs or Koran regardless of getting rid of the damsel <<That's what I think...>>, if I can, what species would you recommend? <<Your tank is really too small for any tang in my opinion...as for angels, one of the dwarf or pygmy angels (Centropyge sp.) would be a good candidate.>> Because the LFS said these would work just fine together. <<(Sigh!)  I have no doubt...>> Thanks for all your help. -josh- <<Josh, there are many beautiful fish in the trade that are more suitable for your system...enjoy the hunt... Regards, EricR>>

Questions about Stocking a 60 Hex  60 FO <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he is away diving.>> Hi Bob, I have a question I have a 60 gallon hex I have one 5" Huma Huma trigger that I got the other day and then the next day I bought a 3" white tail trigger I put him in the tank and the Huma Huma just would not stop trying to eat him. so I gave the fish back to the store. my question is can I go and get a 6" golden puffer and stick him in there and trust that everything would be safe?  <<I'm not sure this is a good plan for a hex tank, even if it is 60 gallons - not enough horizontal space to get away.>>  all I wanted was 2 triggers and a puffer now I am down to one trigger and should I get the puffer. Thanks <<One trigger and one puffer in 60 gallons is about all you could do, but again, I'm not sure the shape of the Hex Tank is working in your favor in this instance. In any case, it's probably worth trying a small puffer as the trigger will probably care less because the puffer doesn't look like a trigger [no competition]. Only time will tell and you are welcome. Cheers, J -- >> 

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

Fish List (Possible Overcrowding) - 02/14/06   65 F Hello again, <<Howdy>>    Before I get to my question I would just like to say thank you again for your quick response and all the useful information you gave me with my previous question. <<Not sure who that was...but I am sure you're quite welcome.>> Now, I am going back and forth trying to select the fish I want to be in my tank.  I have been researching for months and must have changed the list about fifty times. <<Oh but for the want of a larger tank <grin>.>> I'm pretty sure I have the final cut, but before I do anything I want your ideas/opinions on the list. <<Would be happy to oblige.>> Keep in mind I have a 65 gallon tank. <<Ok>> The fish include: (1)- Banggai Cardinal fish - Up to 3' (?)- Blue-Green Chromis - Up to 3' (1)- Flame Hawkfish - Up to 4' (1)- Fridmani Pseudochromis - Up to 3' (1)- Ocellaris Clownfish - Up to 4' (1)- Yellow Tang - Up to 8' <<Was looking pretty good up until the tang.>> The tang, Pseudochromis, and Hawkfish will be the last fish added to the tank for territorial reasons. <<Honestly, I feel your tank is too small for the tang.  These fish (tangs) really need quite a bit of space to roam/graze/prevent development issues.>> Can the Chromis be kept single or is it almost mandatory to keep in a group of at least three? <<Can be kept singly, though groups are preferred.>> If they have to be in a group I'm pretty sure that would crowd my tank right? <<Not if you forget about the tang.>> Or is my tank already going to be overloaded with just one Chromis and the rest of the list? <<Yes...with the tang.>> I tried to focus on compatible hardy fish that would stay relatively small. <<I think you did a pretty good job for the most part.>> Also I'm sure you have already noticed a variety of colors as well. <<Indeed>> Do you see any problems with my selections? <<As already stated.>> If so, what do you suggest would fix the problem?  Also if the problem is about one of the selections what are some similar fish to replace them? <<Were this a larger tank I would say "press forward" with your selections.  As it is, I would recommend replacing the tang with a trio of Chromis...and if you still want a "yellow" fish, a Lemonpeel Angel (Centropyge sp.) would about put you at your limit.>> Thanks, Chris <<Regards, EricR >>

Massive Fish Loss, 72 gal., FO Hi Bob, <That title is unsettling...> I have a 72 gal bow front marine aquarium started in Feb 2001. It is a fish only tank with sand and Tufa rock. I have a large Amiracle wet/dry, AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer, UV sterilizer and a 2 powerheads for circulation. Live Stock is: Panther Grouper, Snowflake Moray, Clown Trigger, Yellow Tang, Blueface Angel (juv), 4 Damsels and a FFExpress cleanup crew. I realize this is a significant load and every 4 or 5 days I measure a slight trace of ammonia & nitrites (.2 or less) - <Not good... as you know... very stressful to have to live in a veritable sewer... this system is way overloaded... physically and psychologically> it comes and goes, <So do we... let's make it later> and PH is at 8.2. This is been going on for a while (2 months or so) with no adverse affects - till now. <No deadly apparent ones...> About 5 days ago my Clown Trigger seemed to have this white powdery residue on him, and in spots it's pealed off similar to a pealing sunburn (that's the best way I can explain the pealing). His spirit is somewhat reduced but he is still eating. I did have a high Nitrate reading (100+ ppm) in the tank, and did a large water change (50%). I also noticed this on one of my large Domino Damsels, but not as severe. <This is too much water, too much waste, too much fish...> Well, things got significantly worse......I removed the trigger and put him in a quarantine tank and treated it with Maracyn (recommendation by a LFS). <Did they recommend a much larger system?> Well, the trigger didn't make it overnight. A day or so later I noticed the grouper has what seemed to look like pop-eye in one eye and the damsel getting worse. So I did another 50% water change and medicated the main tank with Maracyn. This was probably not the right thing to do, but I don't have sufficient equipment to individually hospitalize all of my fish. On Monday I lost my yellow tang - he looked pale, but was eating the day before it died. Tuesday I lost my angel and a damsel. Both were eating and looked okay the day before they died. Man, I feel helpless!!!!!! <You are not helpless... you are the one to make things right.> Today, the grouper is still hanging in there.....Still has pop-eye and nothing else visual. The eel I can honestly say shows no debilitating signs and is still eating. Ironically, the snails and hermit crabs seem totally unaffected by what's happening...Why? <They're scavengers for the most part... waiting and scavenging> I introduced about 30 lbs of live sand about a month ago. I feed them a variety of foods. Frozen krill, frozen silversides, brine shrimp cubes, frozen specialty jell-based foods (formula 1, trigger formula, etc.) frozen squid cubes, fresh chopped clam, fresh scallops and romaine lettuce. All of them soaked in Zoe. <You're just lacking space... perhaps more vigorous filtration for the larger space> I have also use supplements such as Zoe, Zoecon, and essential elements. I have twice fed the carnivores live shrimp (krill size and transparent in appearance) that the LFS says are caught locally (Long Island, NY). Do you think these could be a carrier of something, or something in the other foods? <Not likely a/the factor> Can certain types of algae growth do this? <What? Bring about livestock losses? Yes, but this is probably not a cause here> I have a tight glass top, due to the eel, so could there be a lack of oxygen present? <Maybe... can be tested for...> I know my water quality has been on occasions sub-par, but would that cause this massive fish loss, <Absolutely> or am I going through this "wipe out syndrome" I've only briefly read about? I read a lot on your site but obviously not enough. - Please Help Thanks, Ed <Keep reading, studying, thinking deeply on your situation my friend. You've placed a few thousand gallons worth of fishes in a seventy two gallon box of water... this is the primary reason for your losses. Start with fishes that are and stay smaller, or look to getting a much bigger system. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Stocking - 2/17/2006 75 FO Hi Lisa <<Hi Elise!>>, I need your advice once again.  My new 75 gallon FO saltwater is up and running fine, so far.  We cycled it with Bio-Spira, live sand and 5 damsels, which worked out great.  However, I took the damsels back to the LFS because they were aggressive little things and I feared for my future fish. <<Can be quite aggressive; more so with age.>> I replaced them with three percula clowns that seem very happy and we just adore them.  Do you have any suggestions for future stocking?  I've been researching and I am totally overwhelmed.  We had wanted a blue tang (Dory) but from what I've read my tank isn't big enough. <<Unfortunately, you're right.>> Basically, I just want fish that will get along and not get too big for my tank. I'd like to keep the tank somewhat under stocked; I want to avoid trouble as much as possible. <<Look at Basslets, gobies, cardinals, wrasses.>> Can I get an angel or something else bigger than the clowns? <<You could.  I would look into a Flame Angel, or another Centropyge.  Look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/ and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/loricula.htm.   Do keep in mind that these may or may not be reef-safe, should you decide to go that route later, and do MUCH better with live rock, as do most reef fish.  I highly recommend you add some.>> Are there small fish compatible with clowns that I could get 2 or 3 of? <<Some green or blue Chromis would be a great peaceful addition.>> I'm open to any suggestions; my only rule is I'm keeping the clowns! <<I don't blame you, I love mine Æ'º>> Thanks so much for your help! <<Anytime.  Lisa.>> Elise

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

Compatibility   75 F Hello, would I be able to have a Long-nosed Butterflyfish, 4 Firefish, a Blue Tang, Longnose Hawkfish, 3 Ocellaris Clownfish, and a Flame Angel live happily together in a 75 Gallon tank? And if they would, would they be ok with a Longspine Urchin, and a Chocolate Chip Starfish?  <Jason, the 75 is not going to be large enough for all those fish. I like to use a ratio of five gallons per one cubic inch of fish. Read this article on firefish before you buy them. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/wormfishesArt/wormfishes.htm. James (Salty Dog)>

First tank-species and capacity  75 FO Hi Bob - your "house" is incredible - thanks for this site. <You are welcomed to come into it> Plus the effort you make to educate both the beginner like myself and assistance for the experienced user. <An honor and pleasure my friend> I'm trying and do it right the first time and pick fish of interest first, then tank size, etc. Am looking at the following fish for FO tank. Porcupine Puffer (or Dogface) Dwarf Lionfish Picasso Trigger (or Sohal Tang) Bird Wrasse Zebra eel <Quite an assortment of potentially "medium aggressive fishes".> Am contemplating Oceanic 75 rect. (reef ready), wet/dry with either T1000 or AquaC EV90. Which skimmer will be the QUIETEST? <The Aquamedic product, Turboflotor T1000> And do you have a skimmer preference for a FO tank? (This tank will be in my bedroom). <This is a very good choice... for quiet, efficiency, workability> I wondered if an oversized wet/dry would be beneficial but suspect the sump wouldn't be that much bigger than one sized for the tank. Was thinking maybe it would give some extra breathing space in case of a mishap - even if no more fish capacity. Or is my reasoning way off here? <No, right on. But a bit more noise if can't be sequestered in a cabinet> I am concerned about the number of fish I have picked and have listed them in order of interest. Too much? <Ultimately yes... the Trigger may harass the Puffer and/or Lion, the Puffer might at least prevent the Lion from eating if not nibble on it itself... the Eel may be harassed too much as well... You'll have to keep an eye on all to make sure they're getting food, not being chewed> I know this is long winded. If you have time your opinion will be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks much for the wealth of information. It has helped me decide to take the step from freshwater to marine. Thank-you. <No worries. Take your time, enjoy the planning, anticipation. Bob Fenner>

Wondering (about stocking in anticipation of a huge system)  75 to much larger FO Hello, <Hi there> I have a 75 gallon aquarium set up. it has a Amiracle sl-150, two Fluval 404's for filtration and about 60-85 pounds of live rock and 3/4" of live sand. in the tank I have a 4" harlequin tusk, a 4" volitans lion fish, a 1" red emperor snapper, and a 1 1/2" Humu Humu trigger.  <Wow, surprised the Lion hasn't sucked the last two down!> is this too much for this size of tank for now? <Mmm, not yet> What if anything can I add to the tank, or should I remove any fish (I would get ride of the trigger) right now my wife and I are building a house and have AquArt (Dublin Ohio) building a 1200 gallon bow front acrylic tank (120" x 48" x 46" ) (roughly $6900) so I will be upgrading the above fish to this tank. <I'll say!> Right now we are looking for the tank to be set up and running for a little while by Christmas. Just wondering what your thoughts and concerns maybe at this time in regards to my 75 gallon tank. <All should be fine till then> Ohh yes, I also have a engineer goby who is hiding among the live rock and I am unable to catch him for the last 6 months and he is nearly 8 inches long and is eating flake as well as frozen meaty foods. <Sounds fine> Thank you for your time. Jeff Morningstar, Dayton Ohio <And you for your input. Bob Fenner>

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

One More Fish...But Which One?  9/22/05 75 gal. FO Hi! <Howzit? Scott F. with you tonight!> I have had my 75Gallon marine tank up and running well for 3 years.  I would like to thank you for the great guidance I have gotten from reading this site and from reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist and Bob and Anthony's Reef Invertebrates book.  I am now completely hooked on the hobby! <Awesome! Glad to hear it!> I am thinking of adding one or two more fish to my set-up and wondered if I could get your opinion. <Sure!> Current Set-up: 75 gallon tank with 30Gallon refugium with deep sand bed and live rock (no light) 70 lbs. live rock in display with 1 inch sand bed ETS Reef Devil Pro Skimmer 260 watts compact fluorescent lights - actinic and 10,000K Total circulation approx. 1200 Gal/hr Water parameters: Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 20 pH 8.2 Specific gravity 1.024 Temp. 76 degrees CA 420 Alk. 8dKH Livestock: 1 Bartlett's Anthias 1 Latticed Butterfly 2 Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse 2 Orange Spotted Sleeper Gobies 2 Cleaner Shrimp Assorted snails and hermit crabs <Nice mix...A bit tight, but nice nonetheless.> All have been peacefully co existing for two years or longer.  I would like to add one or more of the following: a Flame Angel, a Yellow Tang, and/or a Bannerfish (Heniochus sp.).  Before I went ahead I wanted to see if you thought this would be overstocking.  I avoided many pitfalls so far by following the advice in your books and would hate to disrupt my beautiful system. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Joy <Joy, it really seems to me like you're pretty close to the limits of sticking for this tank, as far as "mid-sized" fishes is concerned. In my opinion, the only fish on your list I'd even consider at this point would be the Flame Angel, and I think that is kind of pushing it. All of the fishes that you mention require significant amounts of space to "roam" in. Personally, if I were contemplating another fish for this tank, I'd be inclined to select a blenny of some sort. I think that smaller, less active, yet still interesting (and colorful!) blennies can help "fill in the blanks' in many stocking plans. Plus, in your case, these fishes offer the added attraction of filling an environmental niche (near-bottom dwellers) that you have available in your system. Think small! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Fish selection...  75 FO Greetings, Bob... I just finished reading (the very long) article on your website about fish selection. I think most of my favorites are on the "good" list, but I was unable to access the good/bad list link (even the revised link mentioned in the FAQ's). <Hmm, will have to check this... the one from the AMDA?> I'm still about 6-7 weeks from actually adding a fish, as we are going on vacation for 12 days at the end of August and I don't want to risk a fish in a new system to my house sitter (less stress for both of us). I'm actually about 1-2 weeks from adding a clean-up crew yet, but patience has never been my virtue. I want all of my research on selection done so that when the time is right, I can buy instead of research! <I applaud your patience with patience> Two days ago, my live rock (cycling the tank) hit the nitrite peak with no ammonia. Basic tank set-up is 75-gallon, Remora skimmer, Aquaclear filter (going to replace when fish are added) and a lovely 40-watt bulb that I'm sure is too old (bought the whole thing used)...the lighting will be upgraded as well...as soon as I can convince my husband to go along with shelling out $400 for some power compacts. I'm thinking about four 96-watt bulbs...does that sound good? <Yes, you both will be pleased> I'd like to have the whole reef thing, so I know I'll need great lighting. And I will add a refugium (hang on back of tank kind) by early next year. So, back to fish selection...these are the specimens to which I've taken a liking: False perc clowns...mated pair preferred Sleeper goby (golden head) Banggai or Pajama Cardinal...do best in pairs? groups? <Individuals to a couple in this size system> Six-line wrasse Mandarin (eventually) <So far, yes... wait on the Mandarin and Goby for a couple of months... as you likely know... for much in the way of "food" to become situated> Does this sound like a "good" list as far as temperaments, etc? Am I overstocking for the tank size?  Would the six-line, goby and mandarin all compete for the same food (and not have enough?).  <Should be fine> And finally, any particular order best for adding them to the tank (all I know is that the Mandarin comes last...like in a year). <Percs, Cardinals, Wrasse, the rest> My primary concern is with my fishes' happiness and well-being in my care (yes, I'm one of those who sometimes cries over dead fish), and I generally prefer tank-raised (no guilt trip about taking the fish away from his home). <Okay all the way around> Thanks for your great website and all of your personal attention. <You're welcome.> Kind regards, Misty Johnson PS. My LFS (which seems pretty good and caring) has a Catalina Goby in stock right now, so I e-mailed them the link to your paragraph about how they don't live well in warm tanks...not sure what they could do with him, but maybe it will keep them for ordering another one. If I had the cash, I'd rescue him and set up a cool water tank for him as he is a beautiful little dude. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Questions   75 FO Dear Bob, <You reached Steven Pro today. I am taking my turn answering some of the daily queries.> I have found your book and web site as invaluable pieces of info and I thank you for them. I am setting up a 75 gal DAS hex tank with LRWFO some hardy inverts. I would like your comments on 1) my system in general 2) fish compatibility 3) stocking plan System 75 Gal DAS flat back hex with built in filter and skimmer. Eheim 2215 canister, 2 100 w Ebo Jager heaters, (2) 160 gph power heads for circulation. air pump with stone for aeration, (2) 96 watt compact fluor. Tank will be stocked with 60 lbs of Florida aquacultured rock this Friday (2/15/02). <60 pounds of the aquacultured rock does not amount to a lot of rock for decoration purposes. The aquacultured rock is nice enough, but pretty dense stuff.> After tank is cycled my stocking plan is as follows: Clean up crew, Flame Angel, Purple Tang, Royal Gramma, Banggai Cardinal, O. Clownfish, Purple Fire fish, Lawnmower Blenny, Blue Banded Goby, (one of the colorful calm wrasses) Blue starfish, red starfish, feather duster, (2) blood shrimp. The question again is, is this a good mix? <I would leave out the Purple Tang. It can get large and aggressive with this group of other fairly peaceful fish.> If so in what order would you stock? <First to Last: Clown, Blenny, Cardinal, Firefish, Goby, Wrasse, Gramma, Flame> Finally if this work out O.K. Do I have enough lighting to try a few hardy coral? Which ones? <Maybe some mushroom anemones> Thanks in advance. -Rocco <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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

Ethics in Aquarium Service  75 FO Greetings Bob (or is it still Lorenzo manning the ship?): <Am back, but just barely> Here's a question that may be a bit different than most you get... I run an aquarium service business. It's in its infancy, but business is rapidly beginning to pick up. Already I've run into a little problem, and would appreciate your advice/thoughts. One of my commercial clients is pressuring me to *grossly* overstock his tank. I won't get into all the details, suffice it to say that what he wants is a tank *FULL* of fish. We're talking 30 or so fish in a 75g marine tank!! I of course, do not want to do this. Through education, I have been trying to discourage the client, and help him understand why this is such a bad idea. He seems to listen, but I still get the feeling that he's thinking "this is my tank, I pay you, you do what I want". <Really? Then let him overstock and kill the livestock.> Prior to working with this client, I did put together a contract that outlined my services, prices, blah blah blah. In that contract, I specified that I couldn't guarantee "livestock lifespan" (who can guarantee life?). <No one and everyone> I did NOT however, specify that I would be the ultimate decision-maker on exactly WHAT goes in the tank. We discussed his needs in length, and he NEVER brought up this idea to overstock his tank. In fact, we'd outlined several possible stocking plans, all of which he seemed excited about, and he's been pleased with the service so far. I suspect he saw a tank somewhere that had way too many fish in it and decided that was the look he wanted. I suppose that I could just cram this tank full of fish, and replace them as they die off (customer pays for livestock). But I have a fundamental problem with killing fish in such a pointless fashion. My client sees them as "just fish" and doesn't seem to care if his fish die and get replaced. He wants that flashy, overstocked tank (and he can afford it)! I will of course, continue to educate and persuade this person that overstocking is the wrong way to go. In your personal (and professional) opinion, should I just stuff the tank and replace the livestock as it dies off, or should I hold firm and refuse to stock the tank in this manner? (Which means I could/would lose the account) <There are grounds of "reasonableness" in such judgments ("how much overstocking is expedient")... I would shoot for some "middle-ground" here> I need customers. On the other hand, I also feel a strong need to do what is right for the captive fishes. Any opinion? Is there some way to write a better contract the next time so that I don't have to go through this scenario again? Am I "out of bounds" in refusing to do what this customer is asking? Regards, hope you had/are having a great trip to Asia! Jay T. Fishy Business Complete Aquarium Service Commercial & Residential Jay Thompson - Owner/Operator Phone: 602.614.7251 email: FishyBusiness@go.com <Thank you for writing so lucidly. "In the final synthesis each must decide for them self"... Above all be true to yourself. State (in writing and verbally) "I would do so and so, and wouldn't do so and so, and the reasons for it... and if indeed you come across situations that call for you to compromise your values (what you prize as important, valuable, ethical...) choose what you deem to be right... irrespective of apparent "needs" for customers. Don't cheat yourself, this is impossible. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish list Thanks for the thoughts. Will take your advice and add no more. And rest assured that a bigger tank is already in the plans. Have been eyeing a lovely ~350 gallon custom tank that someone commissioned and then bailed out on. Probably can't afford it for another year unless my service business does better than expected. <Perhaps we can devise, divine a new marketing campaign for you to add accounts...> Do you think my fishes listed will be OK for another year or so in the 100?  <Probably... but this is about it time frame wise> I definitely do not overfeed, and fish growth is intentionally held slow because in my experience, the fish seem to do better if not "pushed" to grow too quickly.  <Yes, assuredly... healthier, longer-lived.> (They are far from starved, just not pushed to grow quickly--I think you know what I mean). I could also move one fish to my 60g reef tank, but I'm thinking only the Lemonpeel would be appropriate for that. A customer is begging me to sell him the Imperator, but I just can't part with him as I'm pretty fond of the guy. <I understand> Could/would some sort of "grass-root movement" from your fans (and there are many) to your publishers help convince them of the benefits of printing "CRA"? I'd be happy to help organize such a thing if you think it would help. <Hmm, interesting possibility... will cc your note here along with my own to "the powers that be"...> Also, I've seen in several FAQs on WWM where you mentioned posting some of the policies/procedures and info from your old shop. But I can't seem to find anything. Is it there? <Oh yes... a bunch... but do need to place many images to go along with articles, action plans, contracts, releases... all on the "Aquatics Business" Index, parts of the WWM site... you will be happy, amused and inspired reading through someone's works who has been "there" as well. Bob Fenner> Regards, Jay

Could you help? (stocking questions for a marine system) 75 FO Mr. Fenner, <Hi Gussie, Lorenzo Gonzalez for Bob still...> I am nervous about writing to you. I have read your books and am looking forward to the next published. I recently discovered your web page and have spent hours reading everything I can. I have worn the spine of T.C.M.A. out, and your web page is for now my home page. I am a novice to this hobby and you have been a irreplaceable source of information. <<Deeply gratifying to read. Bob F>> <He'll be very glad to hear it. He's a pretty awesome guy. EXTREMELY friendly, amenable, even if his email replies seem 'short' sometimes, it's because he gets around 30-40 questions a day...> <<And this isn't the only e-addr. they come in on Zo-ster...>> If you could lend a bit of advice I will be in your debt. I have a 75gal. saltwater aquarium. A Wet/dry filter, red sea skimmer, a wave-maker on low, 78 degrees, Ph 8.2, S.G. 0.0023, 0 amm., 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 40lbs L.S., 65lbs L.R. 3 Sergeant damsels (laid back) 2 Domino damsels (1 fairly territorial, 1 laid back) 1 3" Clarks Clown (territorial and aggressive but not to the point of causing injury) I would like to eventually take the damsels away and have; my Clown, Flame Angle, Yellow Tang, and a Zebra Lionfish. This is my first stab at a grouping for my aquarium. I feel like, as far as size and compatibility, I might be close to the disaster line. I worry that my Clown will be too territorial and will harass my other fish into an early grave. In your opinion, do you think my fears are justified? I could really use some reassurance. <I think the mix you have proposed is possible, but is definitely the limit for your 75. In fact if you are successful, your selection will nearly outgrow your 75 within a few years, and will require at least 90g to be truly comfortable. Tangs are real cruisers, lions are messy, Angels are wanderers/explorers. For compatibility, a flame angel can usually learn to avoid a bully clown, yellow tangs are waaay faster than mean clowns, the lion fish should be the very last fish you add, and should be at least as big as the clown, but not much bigger.> I hope to hear from you, or the care takers of your web site while you are away, as soon you have a chance. :) Best wishes, Gussie <Best regards, good luck, and 'be chatting!' as Bob likes to say!-Lorenzo>

What do next? (livestocking)  75 FO Robert, We have a 75 gallon tank with 71 pounds of live rock, one 16 inch snowflake eel that is not shy at all, a Huma Huma triggerfish 3 inches long, a moon wrasse about 4 inches, and a dog faced puffer about 3 and 1/2 inches long (all of course are my favorites). I was thinking of adding (by order) one lionfish and one clown triggerfish to complete the tank. Is this going to be too many fish and do you think that they can all get along? <The lionfish might go along... make sure it gets enough to eat... am sure you're already doing this for the eel... and not being bullied by your present Trigger or Puffer... but would skip on the Clown Trigger... too much likelihood of real trouble here> Any other suggestions? Oh have you heard of the stuff called "Stop Parasite?" Any comments? <Many "new" as in novel medications promoted here and there (mainly by those who stand to profit from such)... my opinions, experiences re them are posted on our website... start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/med.htm  Bob Fenner> Thanks a bunch!! Angie

Tank Stocking   75 FO Hi Jason, Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I have revised my list and the order in which I wish to stock. Please make any changes necessary. I would like to add the Filament Flasher wrasses in a couple of weeks, how long should I wait between adding fish? Revised-Wish List and order I wish to stalk Filament Flasher Wrasse, (Paracheilinus filamentosus) (3) Royal Gramma, (Gramma loreto) (1) Marine Betta, (Calloplesiops altivelis) (1) Banggai Cardinal, (Pterapogon kauderni) (3) Sharknose goby (Gobiosoma evelynae) (1) Yellow Tang, (Zebrasoma flavescens) (1) Or, (which would be the best fish and more disease resistant for my tank)? Bristlemouth choice (1) <<Before I answer, I just want you to know that I have only four fish in my 75, and not a one of them is over 3". That being said, I would only add one more fish to my own tank, a Centropyge [pygmy angel]. These are great fun, smart and small, and many are quite flashy. With your vulpinis and maroon clown, your tank will become a boisterous place before long. You would be best served by picking either just the single tang, or the other list, and you might reduce the number of flasher wrasses to just one. You might also want to consider instead of all of those a pygmy angel of some type. Check the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/centropy.htm - I'm really a big fan of these. You'll get better long term results if you stock light, and give everyone room to not feel under threat. If your maroon clown is of any size, your really going to know when it's feeling crowded - <nip!> Will you be quarantining these new incomers?>> Thank you, and Happy Holidays! Lori <<Yourself as well. Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking The Conscientious Way 75 gal, FO Hello Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> Thanks in advance for your feedback, and as always great site and books! I currently have a 75 gallon tank with 75 lbs. of LR, a sump/fuge with a 5 in. deep sand bed, and macroalgae. The tank is currently stocked with 8 soft corals and the following fish/inverts: 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 pr. True Percula Clowns, 1 Blue Hippo Tang, 1 Passer Angel, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, and 1 Fire Shrimp. Yes, I know the passer and the tang will outgrow this tank which leads to my explanation and question. <Okay...you read my mind here!> I can't afford to have multiple tanks to create different types of systems, so I plan on changing my tank every 2 years. <That can be pricey, huh?> I want to add an Urchin Pro skimmer to my sump and more 40 lbs. more LR. <A great skimmer, but with the crowd that you're keeping and your plan to swap to (larger) systems, I'd get a skimmer that's a bit more capable.> After trading in all my current fish and corals, I want to restock with the following: 1 Harlequin Tusk, 1 Purple Tang, 1 Trigger (Humu Humu or Clown), 1 Angel (looking for a suggestion), and 1 Hawaiian Sharpnose Puffer. Can this work starting with all small specimens? What order would I stock these fish? Will this work for 2 years? And finally, if this plan is a disaster can you recommend some fish choices based on my taste in fish listed above? Regards, Greg <Ahh, Greg- now I understand what you meant by "changing the tank" every two years! The idea is to keep the fish for this period of time, then swap them out for new ones, right? Well, I have to be honest with you. In my humble opinion, this is an absolutely awful idea! I understand that you figure that you'd trade the fish after they outgrow your system. But this essentially "downgrades" the animals to the status of used cars or something.  Think about it. if, for example, you lived in an apartment and couldn't keep a full sized dog or cat, would you purchase a puppy or kitten and then trade it away after two years for a new one? I doubt it.  Please don't think about fishes like this! Who knows what kind of care they'll get after you "trade them in"? My most fervent wish is that we as hobbyists only purchase fishes that we intend to keep for the rest of their lives, and not even think about obtaining specimens that will outgrow our systems. Quite honestly, my rather terse opinion on stocking fishes is to simply not purchase ones that will outgrow your current tank.  All too often, the new tank that we plan to get 'next year" is tabled when the car breaks down, the roof needs repair, or some other unforeseen financial distraction occurs. I'm off the soapbox now! As far as specimens for your tank- try "miniature" versions of the fishes you're talking about. For example, a Halichoeres Wrasse instead of the Tuskfish, a Centropyge Angelfish, etc. In the end, you'll need to do your homework- but the results will benefit your chosen specimens for many years to come. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Trigger's Tank Mates, Fish and Invert Compatibility -- (Incredibly) Poor Livestock Choices 10/27/05  80 gal FO I have a 80 gal. tank with 10 gal refugium w/ deep sand bed and huge skimmer.  <Okay.>  I just purchased a 2" Picasso trigger. I have a large sailfin tang, a cleaner wrasse  <Mmm'¦are you aware of the reputation of these animal?  Best left in the ocean: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm .>  and two juvenile true percula clownfish.  <This is not a good mix long-term for this tank. The potential size of the trigger and sailfin (over 12' for both) alone warrants a 150 gallon tank, furthermore the Trigger could eventually make snacks of its tank mates, especially the clowns and definitely the shrimp.>  <<150 gallons AT MINIMUM.  Added for emphasis.  MH>> Also I have a giant clam that I am worried the trigger will find tasty, although so far he has not ventured a taste.  <Maybe not at his current size'¦just wait until he gets bigger.>  I am wondering what problems I will run into down the road,  <Yes see above.>  and also wondering if the true percs will become a mated pair or rivals, as they are exactly the same size.  <Unless they are both females already one will become dominant and during this process there could be aggression.>  Additionally, I have 3 cleaner and 1 fire shrimp that I am worried the trigger will eat.  <Yes eventually, seems as if you have a mixed invert tank, needless to say a Trigger is probably the worst choice for this type of set-up. In the future please research before purchasing livestock. In fact its completely possible that this trigger will not tolerate any tank mates at all as it ages.>  What do you think? <I think you need to make some choices about your current stocking scheme, Adam J.>  <<And we'll add to the usual admonition, "PLEASE!  Research first."  MH>>

Stocking Trade-Offs   2/10/06   90 FO Hey WWM! I just have to tell you guy's / girl's at WWM I learned a lot just by reading your website. It's AWESOME!! <Thanks for the kind words! Scott F. on call tonight!> Well, I'm doing some research {like you guy's say to do} on stocking my tank but need a little help. I have a 90 Gallon tank, and I'm kind of digging the Red Sea fish but don't know if these fish are compatible.   This is what I put together so far...Please let me know if not compatible. 1 Yellow Tang-Hawaii (Zebrasoma flavescens) 2 Purple-Red Sea Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) <In a 90- it's one or the other, IMO. Two Zebrasoma will be a constant battle in most cases...Choose your fave. I like the Yellow, myself. Smaller and a lot nicer, if you ask me!> 3  Yellow Mimic Tang (Acanthurus pyroferus)   <A nice fish, but at it's full size of almost 9-10 inches, too big for this tank!> 4  Sasi-Red Sea Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus assasi)  [definitely want a trigger, if there's a better compatible one please let me know] <Another tough call. It's a fish that can and will reach almost a foot in length. It needs tons of physical space and heavy duty filtration. Unless this is the only fish you'll be keeping, and even then for just a short time, I'd have to tell you to pass.> 5  Maroon Clown-Gold Stripe (Premnas biaculeatus) [ can I put 2 of them together?? ] <I'd only try this if you add them together as juveniles, or if you can find a mated pair.> 6  Red Scooter Blenny <A neat fish in an established tank with a functional refugium and a healthy population of small crustaceans.> 7 a couple of  Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata sp.) <Fine choices> 8   some snails <No problem here> These are just some I really like and want to give them the best possible environment possible so I need some expert advise Thanks for all that you do for us Newbie's John <Well, John, I like your choices, but several of them are entirely too large for a 90. I have always been a big fan of "smaller versions" or substitutions for some of the big guys. How about fishes like a Centropyge Angelfish, a Hawkfish, Halichoeres species wrasses, a Pseudochromis or Gramma, maybe a Marine Betta, or some assorted small Blennies. Just some ideas for fishes for this tank that may be more appropriate. Do a little reading here on the WWM site and see what you think! Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking Advice   90 FO Hi Bob. I wanted to thank you for the great website and ask you a question. I have an almost fully cycled 90 gallon fish only tank. Filtration is by wet/dry, protein skimmer and UV. I want to stock the following fish in the following order adding each approximately 2 weeks apart assuming water parameters permit it. Each would be small at introduction, approximately 2". Here it goes: Black/White Heniochus (sp.?), <Heniochus>  Hippo Tang, Yellow Tang, Australian Harlequin Tusk and Huma Trigger. Thanks for your time and dedication to this great hobby. <All should go... but the trigger may prove (about a fifty percent chance within the year) to be too pugnacious. Only time, experience will show. Bob Fenner>

Is this overstocking a 92G?  FO Dr. Fenner, <Please, just Bob, no phid> First things first...where around the world does this email find you? <Today, at home in sunny southern cal.> Interesting to see in the FAQ's where your travels take you. Thanks for indulging me on this one! <Thanks for sending it> I am on the brink of purchasing a 92G system w/ built-in overflows & sump to house a fish-only with live rock setup. I plan on heavy filtration, heavy skimming, heavy circulation for my messy eaters. I do not plan to ever upgrade in the future (my wife was gracious enough to allow this purchase...with the caveat that NO further systems would be approved, so at least for the next 5-10 years this is my constraint!). <Sign nothing!> My question is... Am I overstocking this life-long tank? I know this is not necessarily the 5" fish per gallon rule...but I believe my plan will address the bio-load that this tank will bear, so my only concern is whether or not I am giving these ladies & gentlemen enough space to grow & thrive in (particular, of course, to the requirements for space that each species needs for comfort). This is my stocking plan (as well as order of introduction...) 1) Volitans Lion 2) Snowflake Eel 3) Harlequin Tuskfish 4) Porcupine Puffer (D. Holocanthus) <Should be okay for a few years> 3 Further questions: a) If your response is 'most definitely overstocking for life & forget about it', then the next question is...Can I replace the Tusk with a smaller Goatfish? Species you recommend if yes?  <You could... and these are covered: http://wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm > And, would THIS plan be overstocking a 92G for life? <Whose? As stated, the size of this system, gear should work out for a few years... likely you'll be trading these organisms out, going on to other systems by then...> b) If even this option is still way too overstocked...can I go with ONLY the Lion, Eel and Puffer in a 92G for life? <Yes> c) Could I do JUST the lion, eel, and puffer in a 72G for life? Or would 92G be the minimum to support these 3 for life?? <The larger> THANKS to you for your assistance in helping me to provide a hospitable, stress-free environment to my aquatic friends!!  <Can we settle on "stress-minimized"?> Thanks too for past responses to my emails, which have helped me formulate the setup that I need to support a fish only w/ live rock aquarium. <You have helped yourself with my input my friend. Bob Fenner> Warm Regards, Dave

90 Gallon Centerpiece Fish - 02/18/06  90 F Hello, <<Howdy>> I'm wavering on my choice of a 'centerpiece' fish for my 90g setup (w/35g sump/refuge) and would like your opinion. <<Be glad to oblige.>> I want to keep it simple and plan to have a Four-line wrasse, Royal Gramma, Neon Goby, probably an Ocellaris Clown, maybe a Flame Angel, plus for a centerpiece: a) a pair of H. diphreutes, or b) a Yellow Tang, or c) a Foxface.  Of these, which is the best long-term fit for a 90g?  I hope the answer isn't d) none of the above! <<Well John, I think any of them would likely be "suitable."  But if I were to list them in order of suitability for this tank (only my opinion of course), I would place the Foxface as the best choice, The Yellow Tang as second best, and the pair of Heniochus as the least desirable choice for your tank.>> Thanks, John H. <<Welcome, EricR>>

Re: non-aggressive fish   90 FO I appreciate your quick response time. I was not expecting it. I read your information on the trigger and angels and I was still wondering, in your opinion, what is the least aggressive trigger and large angel? Can you give me two or three choices for each? Like I stated before, now that the domino is gone, the tangs and clown are hanging out a lot more. <with only a 90 gallon aquarium now, we couldn't fairly recommend any of the larger fishes. Especially with talk of a Tuskfish as well. The Tusk, Angel, Naso and Trigger together will amount to 48" or more as adults in just a few years. Your tank is honestly overstocked currently. Until you actually get a bigger tank, PLEASE do not add any more fishes. Again, with the four above reaching or exceeding 4 feet of total length in 3 to five years, you are literally going to need a tank 500 gallons or larger... or, like too many aquarists you will watch the fishes stunt and die prematurely (they look fine for a couple of years and then die "mysteriously"). With all of that said... if you actually do get a monster tank... Humu complex and Niger Odonus Triggers are generally well behaved and Annularis, Blue and Black Pomacentrid Angels top the list of big guns. Best regards, Anthony>

Wrasse And Gramma Compatibility - 08/04/2005   FO 90 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?   <Yes, highly likely.  I have a pal with a fourline and a royal Gramma in a 55g, and over the past year that he's had them, there have been no compatibility issues whatsoever.  There are, however, exceptions to every rule.> Thanks. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Fish Compatibility 8/4/05 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?  Thanks. <Hi Jon... Provided your fish load is low, you shouldn't run into any serious situations with these two particular fish. Both do have the potential to be somewhat aggressive, therefore it would be best if you add them as juveniles simultaneously. - Ali>

Serious Stocking Plan  92 FO Hi Bob, Hope I have given you enough time to settle back in the old fish race!! <Barely my friend... many exciting (and time-consuming) activities coming up... helping to cook for the Red Dress Run here in SD, a pitch and visit to the Sacto marine club and Steinhart, and getting my pitch together for the MACNA do!> I had told you I would be back with my wish list for my 92 gal. corner. I love tangs and would love nothing better than to have one of each,  <You'd need a much larger (MUCH) system... especially to keep many of them happy they would need to be kept in a group... some sizable> however, I know that is impossible. I have narrowed the tang list down to one yellow and one hippo.  <Good choices> I already have the two false perculas and a scooter blenny that I want to keep. In addition to the tangs, I would like to have 2 Banggai Cardinals, 2 neon gobies and a Foxface. Does this sound like too much?  <Right about the maximum I would try> I have a canister filter, a skimmer, 2 powerheads for circulation and a bunch of live rock with red and green Caulerpa growing on it. At the time I also have the dang damsel and 2 yellow tail damsels. I am definitely getting rid of the domino as soon as I have the time to take my live rock out to catch him. <Sshhh! Don't let that Dascyllus read our e-mails!> If you think I am crowding, I will remove the damsels also. Thanks for holding my hand, maybe someday I'll be brave enough to make these kind of decisions without your guidance (doubtful!!)!  <Ah, my friend. Only offering my scant opinions to aid you in judging what you consider> Thanks as always, I remain your faithful student......Joyce <And I, your humble servant. Bob Fenner>

Serious Stocking, continued Hi Bob, Joyce again. I have been thinking a little more about the wish list and I was wondering if I would be better off with either a coral beauty dwarf angel or a dwarf flame angel in place of the Foxface? I don't want any shy fish. However I don't think any of these three are shy.  <Actually... all three score relatively highly on a "shyness index"... would be out of sight most all the time> I was considering a little later having a few LPS corals and I might try an anemone so I'm not sure which would be the best.  <Keep studying till you do know> I also forgot to ask about order of entry for my list. Do all of these fish do fine in the blue dip? <All the ones listed, yes> I'll be California in December, by then I will owe you a bunch of brewskis!!! Thanks again as always....Joyce <Ew, oh, had a few too many last eve... preparing for the Red Dress Run... Badly ion-unbalanced, Bob Fenner>

Inches of fish per tank?  Fish-only marine tank, 90 or 110 gallons Dear Mr. Fenner: I just bought your book over the weekend after an exhaustive search to find someone who still carried a copy. Anyway, after perusing through several pages, I couldn't find any recommendation as to how many fish I might be able to keep in my future marine aquarium.  <Yes, a complex question... different formulae/rules of thumb offered by others at times... half an inch per gallon... not really workable, simple to state.> I have heard many different theories, such as 4" of fish per gallon for saltwater. <Yikes, way too much... even a ten inch specimen in a twenty gallon system at "half an inch" would likely be way too much e.g...........> I bought your book because I personally consider myself a conscientious person and would not do something that would risk the well-being of the rest of the population in my tank. <Good for you, us, the planet> My plan is to develop a Fish-only marine tank, 90 or 110 gallons, 100 lbs. of live rock and a deep sand bed. Maybe even a plenum. Is there any magic number? <Hmm, decidedly not... without developing a huge algorithm that would somehow take into consideration metabolism, instantaneous rates of agonistic effects, coefficients of variability per species/size/sex, dynamics likelihood between and amongst all possible mixes... Whew.> Thanks and your book is terrific! Fred Siegele <Thank you my new friend in fish. Suffice it to state/write that "less is better" and a mix of species, ultimate "average" maximum sizes at half an inch per real gallon is a good "maximum" stocking density... Please augment the CMA coverage with the surveys and referenced works on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com and feel free to contact me or chat over your particular proposed livestocking list on our chatforum. Bob Fenner>

Tank Set up Questions - 01/12/2006   100 FO Ryan here again, <Hello Ryan. I've combined your queries here.> OK so here's the scoop I got everything set up 100 gal 50+ pounds of rock in various starter fish (one died) but no other casualties. <Yet...Why not cycle fishless?> I have had them in the tank for roughly a week and everything's going great. <Except the dying part, right?> I've been putting this stuff in called SeaChem stability control. They said at the fish store it would help the tank gain the biological filter faster. Now the question is when the chemicals are stable for a couple of days in a row is it alright to put in the lion fish? <Once you've verified the completion of the cycle through proper testing, yes. You do know what you're looking for right?> Because that's what I asked them in the fish store and they said yes but check your sources. I also wanted to know when you would think its safe to add a ray (Cortez, or blue spotted). <I would not. Do you know the needs of these?> Is it OK and do you know of any good places to buy fish online and supplies. <Hmm...Try the links found on WWM.> The fish store I go to takes advantage of me a lot and ,since there a local business and I'm only 15 years of age, the lets just say multiply everything that doesn't have a price tag on it like 5 times what its worth <How's this? Age is only a factor if you let it be. Why continue to shop there?> OK, I need some info on the Cortes ray. Can they go in a relatively new tank after cycle? (meaning about a month after) how do you feed them and what (feeding stick, by hand, etc)? How messy are they in a 100 gallon will it take w/ a lion fish? <Now I really don't think you should get one. Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm and follow the links.> What have I gotten myself into.....Oh god. I have a job, school, homework, and fish tanks does my life suck? <Guess that depends on you.> I thinks its bad when you add stuff up I have spent 1900 dollars in this damn tank and the research sucks. <Hmm...This may not be the right hobby for you. Research is a must, and should be enjoyed. Without it, you will spend much more and your money will be wasted. - Josh>

Fish stocking  100 FO Hi again, will this be overstocking a 100 gal fish only aquarium? <Yes> I hope to have in tank eventually.. <If it were me, I would leave out the marked ones> 2 perculas 1 Picasso trigger <out> 1 wimple 1 flame angel 1 Emperor angel 1 Achilles tang <out> 1 powder blue <out> 1 regal tang 1 yellow tang 3 yellow tail damsels 1 porcupine puffer <out> 1 double saddle butterfly 2 bluer cheek gobies Thanks for the help, Craig brown <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa, Liverock, and Fish Compatibility  100 FO Hi, its the pest again. First question I wanna ask is would putting some Caulerpa prolifera algae help reduce nitrates in my tank its a 100 gal fish only tank <Yes, somewhat.> do I need strong lighting to grow it <Probably not MH's but stronger than whatever came with your tank. Maybe 3 watts per gallon.> and next question is on filtration again I've got Eheim 2217, Fluval 403, Amiracle sl-50 wet/dry filter, beast protein skimmer, 25 watt U.V and a fluidized bed sand filter would adding some live rock be of any benefit to me <Live rock is always good.> or would I be better getting larger sump as I want ultimate conditions for my tank <Liverock provides more than just filtration; natural food source, diversity of life, hiding spots, etc.> Also would I be able to keep flame angel, emperor angel and majestic angel together? <No> If not which am I best getting <Depends on what else you have, but the Flame is probably the hardiest of this group. Try to get a Hawaiian one.> Thanks for your help again ,,,,,Craig brown <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Done with the Goni., addressing overstocking - Holy Cow! 10/25/05   100 gal FO Hi Adam <Ignatio.> Again, I need to confess that seems I over stocking my fishes.  <Uh-Oh!>  In my 100 gallon (the age: 9 months), I have: 9 fishes + 4 Lysmata amboinensis 1 blue face 4" (2 months already) <This guy is a tank buster'¦needs a much larger tank as an adult.> 4 Flame angels 2" (3 months already) <Is that a typo?! Four flame angels'¦. honestly I'm surprised you haven't had more problems, as harsh as this may sound you really should consider ridding yourself a few of them.> 1 Regal angel 3" (2.5 months already) <That's another angel that needs a boat-load of room. WAY to many angels my friend. As well as not having enough physical room, there could'¦.there WILL be aggression later down the road. Seems like you want this tank to go in the direction of a reef so in that case all but maybe the flame (only one preferably) should be omitted. Even without considering the future reef these fish need new homes at earliest convenience, to avoid aggression and space restraints, especially the larger angels and at least 2 of the flame angels'¦preferably 3 out of 4 as mentioned above.> 1 Chaetodon lunulatus 1.5" (only eat open brain coral) (3 months already) <Careful now it could pick on other corals down the road, including your new Goni, best to omit this one to in a full blown reef.> 1 Yellow tang 2.5" (1 month) 1 Purple tang 2" (2 weeks) <Oh yes the warring Zebrasomas we have spoke of in our previous conversations, well as I said earlier their will be aggression especially as they both become adults, eventually you will be only able to keep one and that's IF your yellow decides to play nice for the time being, you may have to remove one sooner than later.> All of them are healthy and want to eat, some times I saw my biggest flame angel is chasing each other but not too aggressively because I put them in the same time. (the same case like yellow vs. purple tang).  <It will get worse as they get older, these animals weren't 'built' to live in this proximity. What seems like harmless nipping, chasing can be quite stressful>Fortunately my Blue face not bothering the others. So what do you think the longevity of my fishes for 9 of them <This array of 9 fish is not at all a wise long term assortment. The blue face and the regal alone need tanks upwards of 200 gallons (separately not together). I would seriously consider re-thinking your stocking list especially if you want a reef, look into gobies, clowns, blennies and cardinals to name a few (after you fix the current problem that is). Lots of enjoyment in these fish most are 'reef-friendly' and would make much better long term citizens.> Do you ever go to Indonesia? <<Di Fenner says Indonesia is one of her favorite places on earth to visit.  MH>> <No'¦farthest away from the mainland I have been is our tropical island chain State known as Hawaii.> Thank you Adam Best regards Ignatio <Good luck, and if you want some more ideas restocking your tank I would be happy to help, Adam J.>

Possible Additions to Marine Fish Only Display  - 01/03/2006   110 Hi, <Hello Chris.> I have a 110 gallon aquarium with an Aqua C EV 180  protein skimmer, Tidepool 2 sump, 18 coral life UV sterilizer, 60 pounds of cured live rock and 50 pounds of live sand.   <Sounds good.> I currently have one dwarf fuzzy lion fish, one small snowflake eel and a few damsel fish.  I am planning on getting a zebra moray for this tank. <Possibly okay short term, the dimensions of the 110 standard favor show height and not surface area. I also want a puffer. <Not a great tank mate for a lion.> I am stuck between three choices, maybe you can help, a dogfaced puffer, Diodon holocanthus porcupine puffer or a stars and stripes puffer. <All grow quite large for a 110, and all are very messy. Due to their possible curious behavior (which is often expressed by sampling tank mates) and their potential size I'm not really fond of any of these species for your current set-up. Why not look into a smaller more 'predictable' species such as a Toby; Canthigaster epilampra or even Canthigaster valentini.> I was leaning for the porcupine because of personality, <I admit they are very 'dog like.'> the dogface for its more docile nature, and the stars and stripes for its looks.  Which do you suggest, and do you think that the stars and stripes would bite the zebra moray or lion.   See above and to answer your question, yes.> Thank you for your time! <No worries.> Chris <Adam J.>

Fish   110 FO Hi, Bob. I think next week the rest of my equipment will be here and I can set up my tank. The inside measurements of my tank are: 59"x17x21=91 gal. It was sold to me as a 110 gal. <Hmm, yes... often called "styles", as in "110 gallon style"... Very rare that actual gallonage is what is stated... important to keep this and displacement by decor, substrates in mind when figuring stocking, treatments...> I want to cycle the tank with pieces of chopped clam <Just use the juice, and not much of this, for the purpose of establishing cycling... it takes very little. I have a good clam pasta dish for the real clams> and when ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrate is 40 or less then I will put in the first fish. My pet shop recommends putting 4 yellow tail damsels in first (they are the cheapest and he has those available) and later 3 maroon or ocellaris clowns. But I keep reading that once the damsels have established themselves they chase any other fish away. So, should I skip the damsels completely and start with 3 ocellaris?? <Yes, this would be fine.> Later I want to add a royal Gramma, a flame hawk, a six line wrasse or velvet wrasse, a orchid Dottyback, 2 fire fish gobies, a canary blenny, a citron goby, a flame angel, a yellow tang, a hippo tank and a butterfly fish from Your selection of "good butterflies" in one article I read. I know that all of this fish will not fit in my tank, but I also know that I will never be able to acquire all of them here. I don't want my fish to outgrow my tank. Is the selection I chose o.k.? <Yes, a very good set of choices> If one of them gets too big, I'd rather not buy it. What is a max size for my aquarium? 8"? <Temperament is also very important. A six inch fish would be better as an average maximum to allow> I read that fire fish gobies like to be in a group. Will 2-3 of them live in a tank of my size? <Yes> Together with a canary blenny or a citron goby? <Yes> I will see if I can get 10 Astrea snails to put in from the beginning. Is that good, even so there are no algae yet?  <Wait until there is algal growth evident on any livestock> So, enough for tonight. I will call on You again once I have all the equipment and start setting up the tank. Thanks for everything. Good night, Bernd <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Compatibility - 12/13/2005   110 FO Hi, great site! <Thanks Chris!>     I've looked through your site back and forth and really did not find the answer to my question.  I recently purchased a 110 gallon tank, 48 inches long. I have a large wet dry filter, and Aqua-C 180 protein skimmer, plus an old SeaClone Skimmer, 60 pounds of liverock and 50 pounds of live sand.  My question concerns the Picasso Triggerfish and its compatibility with the Zebra Moray and Volitans Lionfish . Is the Picasso Triggerfish compatible with the moray, Volitans Lionfish and possibly a puffer as well? <Well, this Triggerfish is of the more peaceful but there is still a risk that it will harass the Zebra Moray as well as the Volitans. There would also be significant risk of throwing a Pufferfish into this tank for the same reasons.> Not that big of a deal if it is not. If not, what other tank mates are compatible? <Is this a proposed stocking list or are you looking to add "just one more" to existing tankmates? Visit/revisit the Compatibility FAQs on these animals. I would prefer a bit more room for just these two. If you must make an addition (again, advised against) nothing smaller than the mouths of these for sure. Larger, docile, more indifferent than inquisitive tankmates are all that need apply. Keep in mind the effects of additions on filtration.> I know the Picasso Triggerfish are really intelligent, one of the reasons I like them. Thanks, Chris <Quite welcome. - Josh>

Re: Trigger Compatibility - 12/14/2005 Hi thanks for the info! <Gladly Chris!> What I sent you was a proposed stocking list. I really like Zebra Morays/Lionfish. <Me too! It's getting harder and harder to find any I don't.> For my 110 gallon tank, what would you propose as stock for my tank built around the zebra moray. I looked at site and dwarf lions and more passive fish seem to be the common denominator. I am trying to build a predator tank so I am unsure. <Well, I still would personally prefer a bit more room for the Zebra but the 110 would work for a while. I think a Dwarf Lionfish would be the best option (and a striking display with just the two), as the environment they both prefer is so similar. Lower level lighting, ample rock work for shelter and a "beefy" filtration system. Perhaps later, buy a larger system for other predators, that way they won't be in each others face (can find their own preferred areas) and behave naturally.> Thanks again <Sure. - Josh>

Re: Trigger Compatibility  12/15/05 Thanks you very much again! <Absolutely!> Last question for now, I want what's best for fish so I don't want to overstock or crowd.  The Zebra Moray and Dwarf Lion is what you recommended so I think all go with them as my tank inhabitants. <Should be a beautiful display. Do try to obtain a smaller/ish Moray and a larger/ish Lion. The Lion will frequent the bottom and you wouldn't want him mistaken for anything.> Would it be possible to have a Zebra moray, Dwarf lion, and maybe a FuManchu as well. <Is also a Dwarf Lion. I would resist putting in two just to leave a good amount of movement space and more stable water quality.> If so, how long could I keep them together in that tank, if not, well could I keep a maroon clown and a few damsels.   <Not really a long term (full life) arrangement. I would plan an upgrade in the future. A female Maroon Clown should be fine, but they prefer environments lacking high metabolites (exactly what the other two are known for producing). This will put the ball in your court (diligence in maintenance). A Damsel in the 3" inch range should also be fine, just remember, risk of ingestion will be coming from the Lion so size this mix accordingly.> I've had several reef tanks but am pretty new to predator tanks.  I am accustomed to few fish because of reef tanks which is one of the reasons I wanted to switch to predator. Your advice is appreciated very much, thank you! <Anytime Chris. - Josh>

The Trials of Impulse Buying/Stocking a Fresh Tank   112 FO Dear Mr. Fenner: <<Mr. Fenner is away diving - JasonC here helping out until his return.>> I started this marine hobby on 1 Sept, exactly 3 months ago and I am on my third aquarium which holds 112 gallons here in Hong Kong. Two weeks ago, I set up this aquarium and decided to start cycling it with live sand, one long tentacled anemone , one gigantean carpet anemone and one tiny Percula (which was always attached to it since five weeks ago) clown. Surprisingly, the Percula is very much alive up to now. <<Don't know that I would recommend using anemones to cycle a new tank.>> Five days after setting up the aquarium, I had an emergency 2 day business trip to the Philippines. Gosh, the fishes there cost only a fraction of what they would cost here in HK or through the internet.  <<Unfortunately, this is because very few people buy marine fish from the Philippines any more due to a history of cyanide use for collect. >>  With such irresistible temptation, I couldn't control myself and on impulse buying,( aware of my insufficient cycling), I chose some real hardies and I came back with:  <<impulse buying of marine organisms can be hazardous.>> 50 lbs of Live Rocks it was dry) 1 Peacock lionfish 1 bird mouth wrasse(green,5.5 inches) 1 Marble wrasse(4.5 inches) 1 Tomato Clown( 3.5 inches) 2 Honeycomb grouper ( 3.5 inches) 1 Blue spotted grouper or lapu-lapu(3 inches) 1 Dampiera grouper that was the name they gave me) 4 inches 1 Auriga Butterfly( 5 inches) I have installed 2 units of 1200 liter external filters, one unit of 15watt UV, one turbo protein skimmer, one airstone protein skimmer , two powerheads, one airstone. Recent checks showed 1.0205 spg, 26.5 deg C, 8.0 ph, but nitrite was at about 16mg/l. With much regret, some lesions/wounds appeared on the Auriga two days thereafter and it was immed. moved to another tank, but didn't survive after another 24 hour ordeal. I know it was probably due to insufficient cycling and stress. But my son urged me to consult you on the physical explanation for the death--- parasite attack? Internal virus? As the fish immune systems was weakened/induced by the stress?  <<Most likely the latter - this is a very common response as the fish goes into "high alert" mode, or often called fight-or-flight when the fish is in constant GO-mode. As a result, the immune system weakens and things quickly break down. An otherwise health fish can succumb surprisingly quick. The non-cycled tank only made things worse.>> All the other fishes had such a voracious appetite---rushing to live guppies and live 1-2 inch sized live shrimps with lightning speed and bulls eye precision. The Tomato clown also had a hearty appetite for the shrimps and UV worms. Most of the time, she was squeezing herself in between the tentacles of the carpet anemone.  <<if this tank still isn't cycled, you probably should not be feeding so aggressively.>> My worry is the bird mouth wrasse also has developed from one to three lesions on one side of her body. However, it has one of the most voracious appetite and always the first to catch the live feeders. Pls explain the lesion and what I would have to do with the wrasse.  <<lesion could be from any number of things, no way to know for certain. If anyone chasing, nipping at it? Water quality is certainly playing a major factor in this.>> All the other groupers were very active except that occasionally, they would scrape their bodies against the rock. Should I worry about this? Physically, they look fine. Please advise.  <<I fear, unless you have somewhere with good water quality to separate these fish and let this tank cycle, your problems are only beginning.>> Last question, due to some negligence, a 4 inch Regal Tang was transferred from a 75 gallon tank with spg 1.025, but 3mg /l nitrate, 8.2 ph to this 112 gal tank three days ago.  He would hide himself horizontally between the crevices of the rocks and would breathe slightly heavier than normal/ On her first two days, he ate, but today he did not swim to eat his favorite UV worms, brine shrimp meals. I am getting worried, what should I do?  <<cross your fingers, it really doesn't sound good.>>  Should I move him back to the 75 gallon tank which specific gravity is now 1.023, but being adjusted slowly to 1.022?  <<given the condition of your new 112, I would move it although it sounds like stress is beginning to take its toll - a move might likely put it over the edge.>> Or should I just leave him there in the 112 gal tank?  <<then again, leaving it in this tank isn't going to help either. You should reflect about what has happened/happening.>> What other measure should I do to help this Regal Tang? <<Think about how you might avoid such things with the next regal tang.>> In retrospect, after spending many nights taking a crash course by reading your website, I realize so many foolish mistakes I have committed. But I am learning.  <<I'm glad you've been reading. And I don't want to rub it in or drag you through the mud, your experience is not uncommon. Making mistakes is one of the great opportunities to learn. Perhaps you will take a slightly different approach in the future. Keep reading the site.>> My sincerest appreciation. <<Good luck. Cheers, J -- >>

Beginner's Fishes   120 FO Hi I am a beginner at this stuff and I was wondering if these following fishes would work. It is a 120gallon. Snowflake eel Queen Angel Porcupine puffer 2 Volitans lions flounder Naso tang yellow tang AND maybe a banded cat shark or nurse shark if that will work Thank you for all your help <Philip... you have a nice sized tank and some good choices on the list with a few notable exceptions. Put the sharks out of your mind forever... the nurse shark is inappropriate for most every aquarium you and I will ever see. They grow well over eight feet long and will outgrow your tank promptly or suffer and die prematurely to water quality issues. I personally, like many, have a very grave opinion about the integrity of any aquarium store that makes nurse sharks available to customers for impulse purchases. The banded cat shark gets three feet long and will need to be about the only specimen in the tank for proper stocking...no fun. The flounder is way too passive and specialized for a beginner... forget about it. And by the way... if you have seen flounder and nurse sharks available at a local store... take my advice and find another store... it's a bad sign. Cast your vote for responsible aquariology by spending your dollars elsewhere! Basically, Eels, Lions, and Puffers are generally quite hardy and suitable for beginners. They can make a wonderful tank. Although a bit risky, sturdy angels and tangs may also be able to live together... but wait until much later, after you've worked with the aforementioned hardier fish first. My biased opinion, however since you are a beginner, is to skip the Naso and Queen angel for at least a year. Best regards, Anthony>

Stocking a 120 Saltwater  FO Hi, My name is Andrew. I am 13 years old.  <greetings, young friend> About 5 months ago I got my 120 gallon fish only marine tank set up. It has been going very good so far. I just had a compatibility question. Right now I have in my tank: Foxface Pantherfish Small Huma Trigger Volitans Lionfish Black and White Heniochus I was wondering if the following fish would later be ok or if they will all fit in my tank. Harlequin Tusk Wrasse Powder Blue Tang Queen Angel And if it fits a Porcupine Puffer too. Thanks for all the help <alas, Andrew... none of the fish you seek will even fit in your tank. Although your fish are small now, you have picked species that grow very large. In fact... without new fish, you already have a problem with the species in your tank outgrowing their quarters in just a few years. You/we must be compassionate and considerate of the adult size of fishes. Else it is like buying a tiny puppy that grows into a great Dane but trying to keep it in a shoebox its whole life. Your lionfish approaches 2 feet long as an adult that is half the length of your tank!)... the Foxface, trigger and Heniochus approach 1 foot long and the panther grouper is well over a foot. Indeed, you are already overstocked. Please do not consider the new fishes until you get a much larger tank. At which time the Tuskfish and angel are good hardy choices and likely compatible. The powder blue is too delicate and disease prone for this tough crowd. And the puffer is too messy and fin nippy. Best regards in your endeavors, Anthony Calfo>

Stocking...not Stalking   120 FO I have a 100 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump, 100 lbs of live rock with a Turboflotor 1000 skimmer, a system pump turning 1200 gph with two 300 gph powerheads and 420 watts of VHO. I have a few questions about stocking. <sounds like a very nice setup> Currently the tank houses a colt coral, and a lawnmower blenny for the good old hair algae and lots of Caulerpa, Sargassum, Udotea, etc. Tank has been cycled since October 15. I'm just a little slow stocking. <all the better> A few days ago I made an impulse purchase. . .  <the phrase we hate to hear...arghhhh!> an Australian harlequin Tuskfish that's 6.5 '' long (head to tip of tail).  <very expensive taste...nice shot! If you are going to impulse purchase, do it right...eh?> I had a slight ammonia spike after feeding this guy for the first time (0.2) but today it seems to have disappeared. As I sit and watch this amazingly beautiful creature <indeed...magnificent...but does not belong in this tank leaning towards reef with a colt coral and bite sized blenny (not really...the tuck eats crustacea<smile>> swim by the front glass and pass through the live rock (he's eating well and is very active)  <feed shell-on food daily to keep up with his teeth...live crayfish periodically too please> the thought occurs to me, "I wonder if this guy is too big for my tank and how will this affect my stocking plan?" <FUBAR, my friend> Here's what I had in mind: Keep the Tuskfish Keep the blenny 1 Picasso trigger between 3-4 '' 1 lionfish maybe a radiata or possibly a dwarf species 1 longnose butterfly between 3-4 '' 1 purple tang 3-4 '' <really...I had no idea that you were a crack addict...hehe. Just kidding, but you are too ambitious as I'm sure you have suspected. The adult size of the Tuskfish and the lionfish alone are too much for the 100 gallon. Not mush to talk about here, bud. And the butterfly is way too passive for any of these fish even without their aggression (Strike one). The blenny is most likely safe from the Tusk, probably safe from the Humu trigger, and certainly lunch for the Lion (Strike two). The Zebrasoma tang has a good chance of growing up to be a mean son-of-a-gun! Could even nip the lion and will definitely beat the butterfly into submission. All told, its a lousy mix. Your best bet would be the Tusk, Tang and Trigger and hope for the best with the blenny too. The Lion and butterfly are too slow to compete.> 1) Bob, Anthony, Steve, will my tank sustain this much life? 2) If not, how can I modify this stocking plan so that it works? 3) Is there a standard inch-per-gallon kind of formula? (not in Bob's book...I checked.) <because it is a lousy rule... a 12" pooping Tuskfish and 12-1" gobies produce two very different amounts of waste... lousy rules of thumb> 4) I'm guessing the tank will suffice for a while but not really long term (many years). <please don't tempt fate anyway...under stock in the beginning (ironic to say "under stock" compared to the ocean they just came from...hehe) and just let them grow into their adult sized quarters> Assuming this is your answer, if I feed sparingly, any idea how long it will house this fish collection?  <less than one year for certain before something really bad happened> If I can keep the fish comfortably (no ridiculously large water changes) for a couple of years I'll eventually trade them in at the LFS. 4) Are there any upgrades I could do to make the tank more efficient? Canister, wet-dry, etc. <yep...you named it in the next line down> I already have my eye on a 200+ gallon!! Thanks for the help and keep up the good work gentlemen!! <thank you very kindly...take care of that beautiful fish...he is a masterpiece to build your tank around. Anthony> From the City of Lost Wages uhhh... Vegas, David D.

Stocking   124.9 FO I have recently acquired a 104 imp gallon tank with a trickle filter protein skimmer and U.V sterilizer.  The trickle filter is run by 2 Eheim pumps.  I also set up a Fluval 304 packed with carbon. I plan to add a 404 with another U.V sterilizer to it (both UVs are 25 watts). currently I have two tanks I am hoping to keep all my fish in the big tank but am unsure that they will all fit. The list is as follows: harlequin Tuskfish lipstick tang regal tang Porkfish saddleback clowns x2 tomato clowns x2 dogface puffer short spined puffer yellow tang pyjama tang cleaner wrasse If it is at all possible, could you tell me if they are compatible and if there is enough room for all the fish?  <Hmm, these fishes are all about the same compatible... but will be very crowded psychologically and in time physiologically in a 104 imperial gallon system> If not could you tell me what I should ask the fish shop to give a home to. If they are all compatible then I will be thrilled.  Thanks yet again for your time, Alex <Hmm, I would trade in either the Regal or Naso... and one of the Puffers... things will be tight, but all should learn to live together with these omissions. A comment/question, in the U.S. we call the Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus both the Pyjama Tang and the Regal Tang (as well as Clown Tang...). Are you listing this fish twice? Bob Fenner>

Yikes! Stocking  125 FO Gentlemen: The current inhabitants of my 125G FOw/oLR are as follows: 1 hogfish 1 blue hippo tang (about 6" long) 1 Foxface (about 6" long) 1 Kole tang 1 Percula clown 1 Banggai cardinal 1 crown squirrelfish 1 Arabian Pseudochromis Both tangs, the clown and the Foxface have been in the tank for over 2 years. I would like to introduce a few more fish. I am thinking about a Naso tang, a green bird wrasse and a small school (3 to 5) of green Chromis. I would appreciate your thoughts, especially regarding any possible aggression between the current tangs and the possible Naso.  <aggression is not the problem my friend... the adult sizes of the current fishes (two tangs, Foxface, hogfish and squirrel) are already more than enough (arguably overstocked to be merciful considering the adult size of the hog, squirrel and blue tang). The addition of the Naso and bird wrasse (12"+ as adults) would just be obscene. Truly it would break my heart to see it unless you are set up for significant weekly water changes. Even if you tried it... the bird wrasse would wreak havoc... I have had adults eating 3-4" feeder fishes!!! So your Banggai, pseudo and clown are gone in the 12 month picture> The Kole seems to act aggressively toward any new introductions, but the use of taping a mirror to the tank and letting him fight with his reflection has worked in the past. <a bit cruel to impose the stress in my opinion, but I won't call the ASPCA <wink>> Also, the squirrel developed exophthalmia in both eyes a few days ago. I adopted a wait-and-see approach. Well, the swelling in one eye has decreased noticeably. Perhaps my doing a 10% water change and adding a Poly Filter helped...any thoughts? <bigger water changes with the fish load you have. The addition of Epsom Salt (mag sulfate) at 1 Tbs. per ten gallons helps with pop=eye too.> As always, your expertise is extremely valued. Take care, Mitch <best regards, my friend. And take the money that you would have spent on the new fishes and add a 30 gallon refugium onto the display <wink> Anthony>

Hazy Water, 125 gal. FO Hello and I just wanted you to know that I have read a lot of your great advise. I will take my turn and ask for your advise.  <batter up...> I am new to this hobby. I have a 125gl fish only tank with a sump under it. I have a micron sock and a hanging fluidized sand bed (rated for up to 300gl) on it. I have about 20 pounds of live rock and 2 inches of crushed corals.  < a nutrient sink and dangerous problem in a medium to heavy-fed fish tank... thin this out to less than 1" (.5) otherwise it traps too much detritus> I also have a prism hang on skimmer.  <please do consider a second and more efficient model> My fish include a Yellow Head Eel and Jewel Eel both about 1 1/2ft long. A small snow flake Eel, 3ft Green Moray Eel (The Beast), A Panther Grouper, Big Eyed Soldier fish, Niger Trigger, 2 inch Damsel, Banded Shark And a Toad fish.  <Marty... it truly breaks my heart to hear this obscene amount of fish in your tank. You were done a great disservice by whoever sold all of these to you. Your tank spatially and biologically is not even humane as a home for just the green moray. You need help fast, my friend>  Every one gets along great except when the green beast goes to eat. Then they all hide. As I would too. Hahaha. My problem is this. I have always had a white haze in my tank.  <heavy bio-load, serious over-stocking> I can never seem to get the water crystal clear.  <above> Reading a lot of the advise I see on here I am beginning to thing I don't have the proper filtration.  <what you need is a 1000 gallon tank or to thin out your population drastically. That biological haze you are seeing is the last step before a meltdown. Might be days, weeks or even a couple of months away... but it is quite cruel and you will lose fish> I was thinking of putting bio balls in my sump. Would that help.  <saltwater rain above your tank would not help at this point...hehe> I have also read that I could put live sand and live rock in the sump. Can you please help me . And please don't tell me I am over crowded because I would then have to buy a new tank cause I would never want to get rid of any of my fish. They all have there own personalities. Thanks, Marty <Bless your soul! Thank you truly for allowing me to give you an excuse to buy a new tank!!! I am perhaps as passionate about aquariology as you are. Please get that new aquarium ASAP and conduct weekly water changes in the meantime. With kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

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

BIG FISH: Marine Stocking Levels 11/28/2005   125 FO Hi Bob, <Actually Adam J with you tonight.> I'd like your opinion on my 125 fish only tank, it has 2 Volitans, harlequin tusk, queen angel and a guinea fowl puffer. <This stocking dense is very, very heavy, the potential size of the pair of lions warrants a much larger tank as adults not to mention the angel.> It has an Amiracle SL 250 wet dry,G1X protein skimmer and a 25 watt UV.  I would like to add a miniatus grouper and a male crosshatch trigger, what do you think? <While this system is well planned out as far as equipment I would not advise the addition of any more livestock. Your current animals are all in the 'tank-busting' category. Furthermore the current puffer and the potential trigger are both prone to nipping the toxic but delicate fins of your lions and so for that reason alone are not good tankmates.> I am also thinking of adding a Red Sea 100 ozonator to the protein skimmer, what are you thoughts? <Have seen the benefits of VERY careful ozone addition however I do not personally use one.> thanks Dave <Welcome, Adam J.>

Stocking A Marine Tank: A "Downsizing Trend"? 7/22/05  125 gal, FO We're trying to finalize a fish list for our 125g (6ft).  I think we are mostly there, but have still been trying to decide on a couple things.  When we were at the LFS the other day, they had a Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis.  What an amazing fish! <It is a spectacular fish.> It was listed as an adult and only about 4 inches so I started doing some research.  We'd dismissed most of the non-pygmy angels, but WWM says that this fish only grows to 8 inches in the wild.  What do you think about the suitability of our tank for this fish? <Well, a 6 foot tank is definitely enough "physical space", IMO, but think again about water volume and it's ability to process dissolved metabolic wastes (which can be considerable in a tank of aggressive, heavy-feeding fishes). If this guy is the largest fish in the tank, and if there are not too many tankmates, it could work, with a few caveats regarding the tank's environment, rockwork, etc...> Secondly, this is our current proposed list of fish: Picasso Trigger <An excellent fish, but it can become "attitudinal", taking a particular dislike to a certain fish...They are unpredictable, and can produce large quantities of metabolic waste.> Thalassoma lucasanum (or similar) <Can get pretty good sized...I'd opt for one of the mid-sized Halichoeres species, if you are so inclined, such as H. marginatus, etc.> Valentini Puffer <Another one of those guys that can be unpredictable. Neat fishes, but potentially a problem...And when you have the dental work that one of these guys have, "problems" can be fatal to his tankmates...> Clown (underdetermined, something that will hold it's own) <If you are going with tough fishes, then a Maroon (Premnas sp.) is the way to go, IMO. They can be feisty!> One pugnacious Pseudochromis <Troublemakers at any size, but in a large tank with sufficient hiding spaces, he should be fine...depending on the species that you chose. Alternate- the not-so-sexy, but equally beautiful Royal Gramma...A Caribbean favorite, even among us "Pacific Snobs"!> How would this angel fit in this mix, and do you see any other problems?  Thanks a bunch! Ben <Well, Ben- because of the ultimate size, setup needs, and environmental parameters that this fish requires, I'd consider this angel the "centerpiece" of the tank, and develop a stocking plan around him. My thought is to eliminate the Trigger, Puffer, and go with smaller versions of the wrasse. I think that there are tons of cool blennies, gobies, small Hawkfishes, and other small-to-medium-sized fishes that will be a better, but still awesome-looking "supporting cast" for this spectacular angel. Compromise is everything in marine aquarium stocking, so set your priorities and plan around them. Remember, if you DO elect to go with the Trigger and Puffer, think about the potential for aggressiveness, and the very real havoc that their dental work can wreak on tankmates and decor (I can vouch for the Trigger's teeth- I've caught them fishing with a bamboo pole many times out on the Big Island, and these choppers are not pleasant to deal with!). I am a big fan of "downsizing" stocking plans- choosing smaller versions or similar types of fishes to the big guys...Often a better recipe for success for hobbyists with medium-to-moderately large tanks. Remember- this is just my opinion, and should not be taken as the "last word", but I've made plenty of stocking mistakes over the years, so I think I'm pretty well qualified to comment :) . Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Hazy Water   125 FO Hello and I just wanted you to know that I have read a lot of your great advise. I will take my turn and ask for your advise.  <batter up...> I am new to this hobby. I have a 125gl fish only tank with a sump under it. I have a micron sock and a hanging fluidized sand bed (rated for up to 300gl) on it. I have about 20 pounds of live rock and 2 inches of crushed corals.  < a nutrient sink and dangerous problem in a medium to heavy-fed fish tank... thin this out to less than 1" (.5) otherwise it traps too much detritus> I also have a prism hang on skimmer.  <please do consider a second and more efficient model> My fish include a Yellow Head Eel and Jewel Eel both about 1 1/2ft long. A small snow flake Eel, 3ft Green Moray Eel (The Beast), A Panther Grouper, Big Eyed Soldier fish, Niger Trigger, 2 inch Damsel, Banded Shark And a Toad fish.  <Marty... it truly breaks my heart to hear this obscene amount of fish in your tank. You were done a great disservice by whoever sold all of these to you. Your tank spatially and biologically is not even humane as a home for just the green moray. You need help fast, my friend>  Every one gets along great except when the green beast goes to eat. Then they all hide. As I would too. Hahaha. My problem is this. I have always had a white haze in my tank.  <heavy bio-load, serious over-stocking> I can never seem to get the water crystal clear.  <above> Reading a lot of the advise I see on here I am beginning to thing I don't have the proper filtration.  <what you need is a 1000 gallon tank or to thin out your population drastically. That biological haze you are seeing is the last step before a meltdown. Might be days, weeks or even a couple of months away... but it is quite cruel and you will lose fish> I was thinking of putting bio balls in my sump. Would that help.  <saltwater rain above your tank would not help at this point...hehe> I have also read that I could put live sand and live rock in the sump. Can you please help me . And please don't tell me I am over crowded because I would then have to buy a new tank cause I would never want to get rid of any of my fish. They all have there own personalities. Thanks, Marty <Bless your soul! Thank you truly for allowing me to give you an excuse to buy a new tank!!! I am perhaps as passionate about aquariology as you are. Please get that new aquarium ASAP and conduct weekly water changes in the meantime. With kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Fish introduction   125 FO Mr. Fenner, Your answers to questions help me a great deal. <I as well> I enjoy reading other peoples questions and your answers, it saves me from writing you on a regular basis. <Thank goodness... we have over 3,000 unique ISP sessions per day... Yikes!> My question is the on the introduction of the fish I wish to keep. I have a 125 gallon fish only with live rock. I would like to know the order I should introduce the following- harlequin tusk, majestic angle, checkerboard wrasse, and 2 threadfin butterfly.. What do you think? <Mmm the Checkerboard first (to test the waters so to speak), a week or more later the Harlequin (looks mean, is not), a few months into the system the Butterflies, and the Angel last. Bob Fenner> Thanks ahead of time, I value your opinion. Spencer

Stocking level  135 FO Hi Bob, I have a 6 months old 135 Gal tank with 100lbs live rock, live sand, wet/dry filter, Little Giant pump 4-MD-SC, and additional circulation Rio 1100 pump. I have a green bird wrasse 4", a Foxface Rabbitfish 3.5", a maroon clownfish 3", 5 damsels 1 to 1 1/4 " each, a dogface puffer 4", an eel about 1" diameter, a yellow tang 2.5" and a red Coris wrasse 8". I am having trouble staying ammonia free. My wet dry filter used to be filled only 1/3 by bioballs, so I added more bioballs so that it is now about 3/4 full. Do you think I am overstocked? Do I have room to add a Naso tang and a Lyretail Hogfish? Thank you, Thierry <Possible on the overstocking... you shouldn't have any, as in zip ammonia. Do read through our site, including: http://wetwebmedia.com/biofiltr.htm , http://wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs.htm  And the sections on Marine Livestock/Reef Selection, Stocking... Bob Fenner>

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

Compatibility of saltwater fish  12/12/05  140 FO Hi guys <Hello Norm & Robin> We would like to set up a 140 gallon tank for a Snowflake Eel (Echidna nebulosa) and was wondering if a Humu Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) along with one or two of the larger angel fish say the Imperator Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) and /or Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) would do ok together. What do you think? <Triggers have been known to take bites out of eels, I wouldn't recommend it.  The angels should be OK.  Keep in mind these angels do like very good water conditions, something the eel isn't going to contribute to as they are messy eaters and do create plenty of waste.  A very efficient filtering system is recommended here along with weekly 10% water changes.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Norm & Robin <You're welcome>

Compatibility & Algae Questions   150 FO Dear guys, <Steven Pro in this afternoon.> Thank you in advance. I have a 150 gallon F/O with 65lbs of liverock. ammonia-0 nitrite-0 nitrate-0 pH-8.2 phosphates-1.0 equipped w/Eheim professional 2228 and a lee's skimmer (saving for a better one). It has been up for 2 years with a Picasso trigger, niger trigger and a regal tang. Two questions: #1) I would like to add a flame angel, coral beauty angel, Kole tang, 2 percula clowns, 5-6 either green Chromis, yellowtail damsels or chalk bass. I would also like to add a clean-up crew from FFExpress. My LFS guy said I would be ok as long as I removed the Picasso trigger. I value your opinion more. <Your LFS guy is right. Also, pick one of the dwarf angelfish and I would recommend the Chromis over the other choices.> #2) Hair/brown algae has taken over the tank. I have tried phosphate sponges several times to no avail. I have a double ballast light with 2-50/50 bulbs and 2-10000k bulbs which I recently changed w/advice from LFS. <Your answer awaits you here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and in the subsequent FAQ files.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Big Bad Fish! - 7-26-05   150 FO What are some of the most aggressive, ferocious fish you can get for the home saltwater aquarium?  I have a 150 gallon saltwater tank, and I am tired of always having inactive fish.   In my old tank, I had some triggers that were pretty aggressive, but I was wondering if there was any other fish that you would suggest? <Triggerfish are always fun, as well as pufferfish (porcupine, dogface, stars-n-stripes), wrasses (lunar, etc) large angels, and damselfish.  Take a look around your LFS, or an online dealer to get an idea of possible species> Thanks <Anytime - M. Maddox>

Compatibility Question From an "Old-timer"  12/1/05   150 FO Dear WWM crew, Greetings! I've got a compatibility question for you. In my 16 years of marine fishkeeping, I've never tried keeping triggerfish (except a Niger), simply because of how mean they can get. At this point, however, my 150G FO seems to have become a pretty aggressive tank! Due to two recent losses (a wonderful honeycomb moray to the carpet, and a sailfin tang possibly to old age?),  <<Could possibly live to a decade, maybe more.  Marina>> I am down to five fish: an 8" Maculosus Angel, a 6" Queen Angel, a 8" Foxface, a 8" volitans lion, and a 4" dogface puffer. Most of those fish have been in the tank for 5+ years (the maculosus started out at less than an inch!). In fact, the lion was the most recent addition at almost three years!  In trying to decide what to add, I've come up with several ideas and wanted to run them past you guys. First, I my LFS has a 4" clown trigger at a reasonable price. I've read the article on clown triggers, which says that they can get LARGE and MEAN, but I also read the FAQ and saw that other people are keeping their clown triggers with angels, tangs, and other semi-aggressive fish. What do you think the likelihood of adding a 4" clown trigger without serious incident (in either direction) would be?  Second, I am ordering some fish from a diver in Hawaii, and was thinking of adding a large Green Bird Wrasse, a large Raccoon Butterfly, and a large Achilles Tang. Do you think they would be able to fend for themselves against the five I already have? How about with the trigger? I know predictions can be hard to make, as each fish is different, but what is your opinion? Thanks.  Jim Jensen  <Jim, with the size of your present fish, your tank is overloaded right now. I wouldn't add any more fish. But to answer your question, yes clown triggers do get large and can be mean. If the tank is large enough it helps quell aggression. James (Salty Dog)> <<Also, the lionfish specifically could become a target of this clown, some species of triggerfishes are known to nip off the venomous spines.  Marina>>

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

How many fish   1/10/06   150  FO First off I love the site, great information. <Thank you> I searched and couldn't find an answer to my question thus why I'm emailing. I have a 150 saltwater tank with  60lbs of live sand, 140lbs of live rock and plenty of filtration. I have 8 fish  in it now. Dogface Puffer, Red Coris Wrasse, Dragon Wrasse, Blue Hippo Tang,  Yellow Tang, 2- sailfin Tangs and a Snowflake eel. <With the tangs and the eel you're pretty much at your limit now.  All the fish you have do get quite large.> They all get along great and  seem to be happy. They are all average size, none are full grown. My question is  how many more fish can I add and still be ok? <Wouldn't add anymore.> I'm not looking to add 10 ten more  or anything but would like to be sure. Oh I almost forgot. I have a Pink Square  Anthias in quarantine waiting to go in. <That should do it.  James (Salty Dog)>

Queen Angel, Niger Trigger & Tesselata Moray Eel 8/18/05  150 gal FO Hello- First off, I absolutely love your site.  You offer such a wonderful service to all of us marine enthusiasts. I have looked at the forums and could not find an answer to my specific question; so, if it's there, I apologize in advance. I have a 150-gallon aquarium that I realize I will have to upgrade to a larger size in the near future.  It's a fish only tank with a rather large Niger Trigger (7-8" head to fin tips), a Tesselata (or Honeycomb) Morey Eel (close to 3 feet) and a Queen Angel (about 6").  I don't plan to get any more fish for this aquarium. They all seem to get along fine and there have been no serious disputes amongst them; however, the angel is a relatively new addition to the tank. Do you see any concerns with the compatibility of these fish and, further, any immediate needs to upgrade tank size. <Eric, the eel alone is pushing the limits of your tank.  They are high waste producers.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks so much! Eric Fossum

New tang, big-fish-mix (marine livestocking)  160 FO Wow, what a strange week in fish world! (That deathly sick show queen.) I did a 80gal water change, the damn fish was pigging out within a day! On the other side of the spectrum, I lost a large crosshatch and Naso tang due to a 2 in gap at the back of the tank! My question is one of suitability: I have:  a show queen angel Australian tusk 6in blue face (boy has he grown) and a clown I would like to add ultimately, a large Hawaiian Durgeon (from what I have read they are non aggressive) red sea green bird wrasse lunar wrasse Formosa wrasse another Naso perhaps another tang (ACHILLES), or are there any interesting fish that you might recommend? <Oh, I see this tank is larger than the eighty you mention above...> The tank is a 160, from what I have read on your site and in your book, the Durgeon should work, along with the wrasses, I just wanted to make sure before I start acquiring. Clearly, however, I will be purchasing glass first to cover that (demonic?), gap at the back of the tank!! <Ah, yes. A more peaceful, not quite so huge trigger species.> Always learning, Tom <And therefore living. Bob Fenner>

Marine Livestocking Plan Concerns  165 FO Mr. Fenner: Sounds like you had a pleasant time diving. Thank Jason C for us when you see him for answering all the questions while you were away.  <Yes, a good job, and well done. Perhaps you will come forward in time?> I have a stocking question for you. I have a 165gal with approx. 90lbs of live rock and about 30lbs of base rock that hopefully will be seeding by the other rock.  <It will be> Inhabiting this tank are three yellow tailed blue damsels and one south sea devil. I would like to maintain one clown trigger, one Picasso trigger, and one harlequin Tuskfish along with a tang or surgeonfish as algae control. * Will this mix thrive along with the damsels? <Mmm, only temporarily... Akin to me and a roomful of pizzas... eventually I and the triggers will get to the comestibles...> * The order of introduction is important correct? I figured tang, Picasso, tusk, clown will that work? <Yes... this is the sequence I'd have chosen> * In regards to the tang or surgeon which would be better, a Rabbitfish or a Sohal? (The Sohal is a beautiful fish) <The Sohal is my "druther"> * Could a Sohal work as the surgeon in this mix? I've read that the Sohal is the last fish to introduce but my LFS has had a Sohal for some time (at least a month) and he has told me that he treats his holding tanks with low doses of copper. I've also read that the tangs and surgeons have organisms in their digestive systems that are negatively affected by copper. <This is so. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm and the many FAQs on Tangs archived on WWM> * Am I way off base in this plan or could I place the Sohal first and get it out of the copper and then proceed with my stocking plan? <The Sohal is best placed right before the Clown Trigger... potential aggression/territoriality the reason... and a keen eye kept on the Clown Trigger ("El Rey" henceforth) for overt behavior problems> Thank you again for all your knowledge and wisdom (applied knowledge) and your willingness to share. Steve <And you for yours. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Triggers, Tusk, Sohal and Pizzas  165 FO Mr. Fenner: Thank you for your quick reply ...amazing. - If the damsels are like pepperoni <Yum, my fave topping> what other fish could I maintain in the 165g? Or will these four fish (clown trigger, Picasso trigger, harlequin Tuskfish, and Sohal tang) be enough? <Enough... in time, perhaps a year or two, too much...> - Is a week in-between each introduction enough or is that dependant on tested water parameters? <Mmm, this size/volume system... you could place the Picasso and Wrasse simultaneously... a week otherwise is fine... shouldn't show any anomalies with/out testing> - Also, if the Sohal is to be placed next to last what should I tell my LFS about removing the Sohal from the copper treated water until I am ready? <Yes, I would> Thank you again, Steve <Bob Fenner>

New Tank Stocking  12/2/05  170 FO I've been reading a lot on your website, it is very good.  <Thank you and keep reading>  Almost too much to take in and remember, excellent job. I'm just getting started in the hobby and I purchased a 150 gallon saltwater tank. I am planning on 100lbs of live rock (more if you advise it), <Depends on the porosity/weight of the rock, 100lbs being the minimum if that will be your means of biological filtration.>  and 100lbs of live sand. It has a 36x12x16 sump with about a 20 gallon reservoir tub. I have a protein skimmer, VHO lighting (1 white and two blue bulbs 60s), and three moon lights. I don't have a Refugium, but didn't think I needed one since I'm only doing a fish tank.  <Refugiums are excellent for both FOWL and reef as they help control nuisance algae. Do read on refugiums on our Wet Web site.> I originally planned on putting dwarf angels in the tank but have done a lot of reading on your site and realize this is a not a good idea.  What I'm trying to figure out is how many are too many in this size tank.  <A large tank such as yours certainly helps quell aggression in dwarf angels. Best not to add two of the same kind. With plenty of rockwork/hiding spots, aggression should be minimal.> I've seen you answer this for tanks about 100 gallons and say two is plenty if they will get along (big if). I'm really wanting to do something like this: 2 yellow strip maroon perculas, a Coral Beauty, and maybe two more dwarf angels (all are Centropyges). I also wanted to mix with this a couple Watchman Gobies and an equal number of pistol shrimp.  <Good choices.>  Then 2-3 Cardinal Fish (I'm not familiar on the variety yet, I think Banggai). <Best choice but keep at least three and try for only one male in the group.>  At this point I'm not sure of several things. First have I mixed too many Angel fish and will I likely have problems with compatibility in this size tank with the fish I've selected?  <Don't think so.>  I am not wanting to put coral in at this time, I may do this on my next tank but really want more of a fish tank to start and learn. Can I put more then this in without over crowding and if so what other fish would be best with the mix I have (or have left if you advise me that I have a likely dangerous mix)?  <As a rule of thumb, I use one cubic inch <not length> of fish per five gallons.>  I've seen other fish I like but I have so many mixed ideas about what to add. Royal Grammas, Green Wolf Eel, <I'd forget the wolf eel.>  Mandarin Fish  <A healthy stock of copepods need to be present for the mandarin to survive as they rarely eat prepared foods.>  and any others you'd suggest. All have their own appeal to me, but I think the Eel may be too large and I am unsure about aggression and size. The Mandarins are not for a new tank and are probably not for a beginner like me. What would you suggest and how many if any more would you suggest adding?  <With my rule of thumb in mind, flasher wrasses offer a nice splash of color. Females should be introduced first, then some time later the males. The females cause the males to "flash" exhibiting beautiful color patterns. Females are easily identified as they do not have the large dorsal and anal fins. If considering these, insure that they are eating in the dealers tank as they can, at times, be apprehensive about eating prepared food. Once eating, they are not a difficult fish to keep.> Am I on the right track with this or am I way off base.  <Sounds like you are on the right track to me.>  I've been trying to lean toward easy fish to keep right now but would also like colorful fish to make the tank stand out and fish with "personality". I know I'm leaving out a lot of other necessary specimens I probably need to keep my tank clean like hermits and such, but I've tried including as much as I can so you can give me the best advice. And I will keep reading your site before I get too far ahead of myself on stocking.  <Sounds great, keep reading.>  I've spent that last two months researching all this, <excellent idea>  and I am anxious and nervous about getting started. My tank is supposed to be setup in the next two weeks so I have a lot of decisions to make and still have time to fix anything glaring I've overlooked.  <Do research fish you are considering before buying. Will save you headaches down the line.> Thanks for your expertise and response, I am heading back out to your site to keep reading. You have a lot of great information.  It also sounds like I need a QT which I don't have right now, I need to go ahead and just put a small tank system in for this given what I've been reading. Sounds like very good advice, I'm sure it will pay for itself in time.  <You have the patience and are gaining knowledge to make this venture very successful. James (Salty Dog)> 

SWF COMPATIBILITY  175 FO Hello Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this evening.> Thank you for your time. I would like your recommendations regarding fish compatibility. Also which species, size and order would be best. Equipment: 175g Oceanic bow-front, 400g W/D, lg. protein skimmer, 125w UV sterilizer, lots of coral skeletons, and some LR Existing fish (in order of addition): 4" Blue Hippo Tang, 3" Kole Tang, 4" Dogface Puffer, 3" Sailfin Tang, 2" Maroon Clown, 2.5" Pink Skunk Clown, 2" Arc Eye Hawkfish, 2" Saddleback Clown, 4" Heniochus acuminatus, two 1.5" true Percula Clown, 4" Parrot Princess, 3" adult Red Coris Wrasse, 3" Potters Angel <You have a pretty strange mix already. The clownfish should not like one another and the puffer should not like anyone.> Potential Additions: small eel, a Map and Queen Angel, a trigger (possibly Clown), a dwarf lion, a Harlequin Tusk, a Blonde Naso, a Six-Line or Fairy wrasse, a Lemonpeel and Flame Angel <Of these choices, the only one I would consider adding is the Naso.> Thanks again for any insight. I've enjoyed reading your books. Sincerely, Robert Keller

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

Stocking a 180gal. F Hi Bob, I have a 180 gal FOWLR tank which has been set up for about 6 months. I currently have a small lunare wrasse (Thalassoma lunare), 1 bicolor Dottyback, 4 black Axil Chromis, 1 brown Sailfin Tang, 1 Double Barr Spine foot (Siganus virgatus), and 1 Fine lined Surgeonfish (Acanthurus grammoptilus. My question is whether it would be ok to add a Regal/ Hippo tang, <Not a good idea to mix Surgeonfish.> pair False Perculas, coral beauty <The Clowns and Dwarf Angel are fine.> and maybe in a year a mandarin <Far too many voracious eaters for a Mandarin to survive.> or Blue Girdled Angel. <Ok> I am stocked with 180 pounds live rock and 100 pounds LS mixed with 150 pounds of fine sand and also with a skimmer, Skilter 400 with a sump which contains a number of mangroves. Would this be overstocking? Thank you. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Last Fish...I promise!   180 F Hi Robert, <<Hello - JasonC here...>> I was thinking about picking up a Flame Angel today and adding him to my 180 as the 'final fish'. I currently have the following... 2" Bi-Color Angel, 1" Velvet Damsel, a 1" Green Chromis, a 3" X-mas wrasse, a 7" Hippo Tang, a 6 1/2" Imperator, 3/4" Percula clown, a 6" Auriga Butterfly, 3/4" Neon Goby and a 1" bi-color Pseudo. That's 10 fish all living nicely with each other... (except once in a while the Imperator Angel chases & nips the Auriga Butterfly to keep him out of his area especially during feeding time), but for the most part the tank is pretty much stress free and with no parasites present for a month now... the neon goby and UV sterilizer seem to have done their job in cleaning the tank! I have always wanted a Flame Angel but I am concerned about adding this fish with the Bi-color Angel.  <<That would be my concern too.>>  I have read about the Pygmy Angel compatibility issues and know that I should not put 2 small angels in the same tank together.  <<But this is a pretty large tank. How much live rock [read as hiding places] do you have?>>  I asked a few LFS guy about this and he keeps telling me there will be no problems in having them together in my size tank.  <<Famous last words from a local fish store.>>  Will the bi-color angel accept the flame angel if introduced properly?  <<You mean with formal introductions? "Mr. Bicolor, meet Mr. Flame." No, there's no easy way or 'proper' way to introduce this fish. It will work or not.>>  If I get a much smaller Flame Angel is that better?  <<Hard to say, but certainly a smaller fish will be more likely to suffer from the stress of being hassled by the bi-color.>>  After quarantine, I intend on using a sheet of glass to separate a section of the tank where they can look at each other for a while to get used to each other. <<Uhh... this comment makes me think you don't have enough decor in your aquarium. I couldn't put a sheet of glass in my 180 without hours of breakdown. You'd be much better off with more live rock, which equals more cover.>>  Will any other fish pick on the Flame Angel?  <<Not on a normal day, but if it becomes weak or distressed everyone may pick on it...>>  Any ideas or should I not add the Flame Angel? Thanks! <<I would hold off. If I've misread, and you actually have #180-plus of live rock, then things will likely turn out fine. If you don't have a lot of places for a pygmy angel to hide, things aren't going to end well for the newcomer. Cheers, J -- >>

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I add "X" and "Y" to "ABC"? - potential eel and shark additions   12/28/05  180 FO Hi, <Hello.> I have a 180 gallon tank, currently stocked with a Humu Humu trigger, volitans lion, porcupine puffer, Foxface, sailfin tang, and Pearlscale butterfly.  All of the current occupants are small.  The largest being the trigger at about 5".  I've been considering purchasing either a small shark and/or moray eel.  I was wondering... is this a terrible idea?   <With your current bio-load yes.> Would a banded or horned shark fit in this tank and get along with the current fish? <Both get too large and the second is a temperate species.> As far as eel's go, I like the golden tail moray and the tessellated.  Would any of these fit in my current set up? <No, sorry.> The online fish stores of course say my 180 would provide more than enough room, but I remember when my LFS told me that my first 29 gallon tank would be big enough for a pair of lions.... As always, thanks for the help! <Quite welcome, if you ever scale back your current stocking list a smaller eel like the Snowflake or Zebra Moray could be acceptable but as for now I recommend against even these options.> mike <Adam J.>

Compatibility and stocking order  180 FO Mr. Fenner, Thanks for your reply on the pc lighting question for the 180. You've made up my mind to go with the pc's. I bought your book about a month and a half ago and have read it cover to cover many times. It's very inspirational and it has become my main reference book.  <A tremendous compliment, thank you> Now to the question. This is the livestock I plan to put in a 180. Could you please tell me what you think, and what stocking order do you recommend. Yellow longnose butterfly, Hippo Tang, 2 Percula clowns, flame angel, royal Gramma, yellow headed Jawfish, 1 Firefish, 2 neon gobies. Thanks for all the advice. <Sounds like a very nice assortment. Should go together fine. Bob Fenner>

Marine Stocking: Aggressive Tank-Busters! 11/30/2005  180 FO I'm about to re-stock a 180g marine. <Okay.> I would like to keep 7-8 *SMALL* semi-aggressive/ aggressives in it to start, and pare those down to 3 or 4 a couple of few years from now as they max out in size. <Well I see below you have given fish away in the past to a good home so I will have to hope you can do so again.> I am only interested in fish that have a max. wild size of 12 inches or less (or eels 2 ft. or less), so that even an adult could be relatively comfortable in this size tank someday. <Okay but 12' to 24' is not my idea of small, 7 to 8 fish of this size would be a bit much in this tank but as you say'¦.only a few will be kept long term.> I just gave up a Balistoides conspicillum (clown trigger) and an Arothron meleagris (golden puffer) because they were outgrowing the tank, and it broke my heart. I don't want to go through that again. :( They went to a 450g though, so they'll be happy.  <With your stocking plan chances are you will have to go through it again'¦.parting with some of your specimens I mean due to there adult lengths and temperaments.> The only "must have" for the new setup:  Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Picasso) or Assasi. trigger. <Well triggers aren't great tank mates to say the least but if you have to go with one I would add a small specimen last and keep in mind that this choice will limit your others'¦.in fact it may eventually turn out that this choice is not compatible with any other choices. An adult trigger may not be tolerant of any other fish in this tank.> I am also contemplating: grammistes sexlineatus (six stripe/ golden stripe) Soapfish - I had one for 5 years, great fish but a HUGE!!! Appetite <'¦Also a HUGE waist  <<Um.. "waste", as in garbage, feces, trash.  Not "waist", as in "How many sit-ups do I need to do to make my waist smaller?  Marina>>   maker'¦as all the fish on your list are, be sure to have an efficient protein skimmer and ample water flow.> 1-2 eel-types: Congrogadus subduscens (wolf "eel" Dottyback)/ echidna nebulosa (snowflake moray)/ Muraena lentiginosa (jewel/ Mexican dragon moray) - I owned all of the above before in different tanks and liked them - Arothron diadematus (masked puffer) <The first two eels would be okay choices, the latter eel gets quite large and aggressive. The puffer could be a good tank mate but as I'm sure you know they to can have nasty temperaments and all puffers have been known to be fin-nippers.> Again, I'm not planning on keeping all of these long-term, only a few. I just don't want the tank to look completely empty with 3 or 4 three-inch fish in it to start. I'll definitely get rid of some as they grow. Any suggestions on other fish? I'm avoiding lions because of the trigger,  <That's a good move.> and I 'm hesitant about the mid-size wrasses, tangs, angels because of their possible passivity with these type of bruisers. (A. Ctenochaetus strigosus/ Kole tang for algae control???) <I would look into a larger Rabbitfish instead of a tang for a grazer.> And damsels/ clowns would be great temperament-wise to start, but I can see the Soapfish or moray already licking their lips 6 months from now <The puffer and trigger would make snacks of them as well.> <<Have either of you seen the size the simple domino damsel reaches in the wild?  Don't tell me you don't think this "pugnacious" character can't hold its own with these others, either.  Marina>> after they have gained some size. Perhaps you have some experience with fish that would fit the proper profile and stand a decent chance of not eventually getting eaten/ bullied??? If you were in my shoes, what 7-8 small fish would you choose?  <See above. Honestly the fish you have chosen may get along and they may not, it's especially hard to comment on choosing tank mates for puffers and triggers, both of which can be down right nasty and not accept any tank mates at all. Depends on the individual.> <<Try Emperor snappers, even worse.. er.. I mean better!  This fish WILL bite YOU if it gets a chance.  Marina>> Thanks! <Adam J.>

New Tank Stock Recommendations  200 F Here is info you requested on my selections. I want to add the following to my tank: 2- Blue Hippo Tang 1- Naso Blonde Tang 2- Kole/yellow eye Tang <the tang pairs are likely to fight and three species of tang together are already a tall order. Need a big tank especially for the Naso (over 200 gallons in the 5 year picture for the foot+ long monster). Be sure to quarantine any new tangs especially in a very strict 4 week QT tank. They are notoriously sensitive to temperature fluctuations (two heaters in tank is strongly recommended for stability). The blue hippo tangs are outright Ich magnets. The yellow eye is the best choice of the three for algae grazing and hardiness. If you are a new aquarist... avoid the Naso for a year or more...sensitive in many ways>> 1- Black Ribbon Eel <although this would be the ribbon eel to get if any were to be kept... I would advise against keeping any ribbon eels for most aquarists and certainly not in a mixed community tank. They are very difficult to keep alive, passive feeders, notorious escape artists and carpet food. Best for advanced aquarists in species specific displays. Do read through the WWM archives here for articles and FAQ's on this species. For other fish selections, consider many of the beautiful and hardy wrasses, Basslets or even predatory groupers and triggers.. very durable and beautiful. Kindly, Anthony>

Even A 200 Gallon Tank Has Limits - 12/15/05 200 FO I have a 200gal with 250lbs+ of LR along the back and it's all open in the front. It houses a 7" Sailfin Tang, 4" Regal Tang, 4" Blue Throat Trigger, 4" Flame Angel, 3" Foxface and a 6" Sergeant Major Damsel (plus I have a 6  2" Yellow Tail Damsels).  Last month I tried to add a 4" Coral Beauty and it turned in to a real nightmare.  I had the lights turned off when I added him and he went right in the back and hide in the LR.  The next morning I turned the lights on and all my fish came out to be fed and so did the Coral Beauty, but when I opened the top, he took off into the Blue Throat's cave and after I fed him the Blue Throat went down to his cave and just went nuts on the poor Coral Beauty (he took a big bite of it's side) for being in his cave. <<Not surprising>> Then the Sergeant Major started chasing him around like he wanted to kill him and the others started also (the Regal and Flame) so I pretty much had to take over half the LR out to catch him and it took 3 weeks in my little 10gal quarantine tank just to get him better before I gave back to the LFS. <<Kudos to you for that...>> Today I saw a real pretty Pinktail Trigger that was about the same size as my Blue Throat but I'm worried about adding another fish since that happened. <<Mmm...I'm more concerned with over stocking your tank.  The Regal Tang is very robust and can reach a foot in length, and the Sailfin can get even bigger... the Blue Throat and the Foxface will grow to 8-9 inches each...add in the 6" Sergeant Major, the Flame, and four smaller fish and you have a tank full my friend.>> The last fish I added was awhile ago, it was the Flame Angel, and adding him was like no problem.  Right away he was one of the group. <<I think the Pinktail will be a different matter.>> The Sailfin rules the tank but the Regal and the Sergeant Major are the biggest jerks in the tank, those two will start sizing up everyone in the tank but the Sailfin. Thanks Matt O. <<Regards, EricR>>

Fish Selection And Stocking Order 2/18/06   220 F Hi again Bob! <<EricR here Heather...Not sure what happened but it looks like your query has been floating around for a while...sorry for the delay.>> Your book arrived and I have been reading it faithfully.  I am really enjoying it.  It's a great book.  The only thing I can't find of course is my wish list for fish and a stocking order. <<Ha!  Forgot to add that magic formula...>> I was hoping you could help me. <<I shall try.>> I have a 220 gallon, 72X24X30" inch new set up. <<Yippee!>> It has 220 pounds of cured Tonga live rock as well as 120 pounds of live aragonite sand.  It has a powerful protein skimmer, pump, 36W UV sterilizer and wet/dry.  Also, 4, 36 inch 96W dual sun power compact lamps retrofitted into the canopy.  I even bought the water from the store premixed as I live on a well and was afraid to use that water. <<Do look in to an RO/DI system.>> Now, I am finally ready to think of fish.  This will be a FOWLR system. <<Alrighty>> My wish list is below but I have no problem changing it.  I am also wondering about order of introduction. <<Ok>> Blue faced angel French angel Flame angel Purple tang Powder blue tang Chevron tang( I know I probably can't have all these tangs) Clown trigger Pair of Percula clowns 1 Maroon clown Comet wrasse Christmas wrasse Twin spot wrasse Mandarin goby 3 Heniochus or another schooling butterfly fish (Do you know of any others that would work in a school?) The two large angels listed first will be my center piece fish that I will work the others around. I would buy one around 3 inches and one around 5. <<Okay Heather, I have a few recommendations.  You've listed A LOT of fish...even for a 220.  Some will get quite large...some will get quite mean...some will just not survive.  My recommendations are as follows...  Drop the Powder Blue Tang, the Clown trigger, the Mandarin Goby, and the Twin-Spot Wrasse.  The tang is an "ich magnet" and will likely be a source of frustration/aggravation...the trigger is a known bully (read "monster"), this specie is well known to "sooner or later" kill all its tankmates...the goby is too delicate a feeder and requires a "mature" system of more than a year, preferably supported by a refugium...and the wrasse will grow to be a leviathan of more than 4 feet in length.  Exclude these I've listed, and I think the rest of your selections can do fine.  As for order of introduction...you can pretty much go from bottom to top in the order you have them listed.>> I was also wondering about a cleanup crew and if any would survive in this setup? <<If you follow my stocking recommendations, yes.>> Thanks so much for this great site and helping people have successful tanks.  You are doing a wonderful service. Heather <<Thank you for the kind words.  Regards, EricR >>

Big Fish- Big Tank? 10/12/05  220 gallon  FO Hi Crew! <Heya! Scott F. at your service!> I did look at your FAQ's to make sure the question I have was not previously asked/answered and did not find specific answers to my question. <No problem...> Basics: 220 gallon Oceanic 72" long tank with Tonga Supreme live rock, live sand substrate, 40 watt UV sterilizer, Aqua Medics protein skimmer, Seio power heads, large wet/dry with filter, refugium, etc... Currently have a beautiful 30" Zebra Moray, 2.5" Volitans Lionfish, 5.5" Bicolor Fiji Rabbitfish, with several Turbo Snails and Hermit Crabs. Question: I am adding this week a Chevron Tang and wanted to know if I added a Desjardini Red Sea Sailfin and Prionurus laticlavius (Yellowtail Sawtail Tang) if you thought they would get along??? This mix is a divergence from the more popular Purple, Yellow, and PB (Blue Hippo) Tangs that most people buy. I know some folks indicate that tangs should be introduced together; however I will be adding them individually. <Well, my best advice is to consider the "end game' here. The Desjardini can hit 15" plus, and the Prionurus gets even larger. I think the issue here is more the size of the fish than their possible compatibility. I'm sure that they could get along socially, but not in this sized aquarium. Even a 220 is too small to house both of these guys together for anything close to a natural life span, IMO. I'm looking at my 225 right now, and I cannot imagine these two guys living together comfortably in my tank for an extended period. Perhaps in a 400 or 500 gallon plus tank, yes.> My last fish after the tangs will either be a Majestic or Emperor Angel, which will make 7 fish. Do you think this is a good mix and fine with the tank size I have? <To be honest, no. My personal philosophy has always been, "Why keep large fish just because you have a large tank?". Granted, that's my kooky world view, but it warrants consideration. You're talking about fishes that can and do reach well over a foot in length. Placing them in even a 6-foot plus tank is questionable. Kind of like you and I living the rest of our lives in our living rooms. Sort of comfortable, but after a while, you'd go nuts! Why not consider stocking fishes that hit a maximum length of say, 6"-8"? There are plenty of neat fishes that are in that range, and they'll be a lot happier in your tank. One more fact to consider: A study I read indicated that the adult Emperor Angel typically ranges over an area about half the size of a football field! Obviously, you can take this argument to absurd lengths, but the point is - think small!> One last question: my Lionfish will absolutely not eat frozen, only live feeders. I can only get ghost shrimp, prawn shrimp, and feeder guppies in which I place Zoe drops into the bag they are in and let them set in there until they are fed to the Lion. Would this be okay long term if he just won't eat the frozen? <It can work, but you really want to wean him to prepared foods, ideally foods of marine origin, as they have the proper nutritional profile for this fish. Keep trying> I have gone a long time in between feedings to hope to entice him with frozen food on a clear feeding stick (wiggling it) but he hides in the rocks every time. Your thoughts? <My advice is to keep doing what you're doing...Don't give up. He will eventually come around-could take a long time, but it will happen eventually.> Thanks for your help and outstanding dedication to this hobby and I look forward to your comments. Steven <Best of luck, Steven. Regards, Scott F.>  

Advice, 240 FO Hello Mr. Fenner <Howdy> I have had my 240 up with the same fish in it for almost a year now. I keep a 6" Blueface angel, 5" Yellow Tang, 5"Regal Tang, 9" Naso Tang, 3 Evans Anthias, 5 1.5"-2 " yellow tail damsels, 1" 3 stripe damsel, 1 6 line wrasse, pair of tomato clowns, black Sailfin blenny, flame angel, a yellow watchman goby, a clown goby, and a long nosed Hawkfish. All of my fish currently get along great and are very healthy (the clowns are even breeding). All fish w/o sizes listed are full size adults. <Okay> I would like to add a magnificent Rabbitfish, a pair of flame wrasses, and a splendid Dottyback. In your opinion would this overstock my tank? Do you foresee any problems with compatibility. I would like to add these fish but I do not want to upset the balance in my tank too much. <Hmm, the mix is more or less compatible, and the choices excellent in terms of aquarium suitability... probably fine, though more crowded with the growth of the Blue Face. I give you good odds here of all doing fine. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Everett

Timing of additions 10/10/05  300gal. FO Thanks for your help!  <You're welcome>  I have had my 300gal. set up cycling for 3 months. The cycling is long since done, but I haven't had the time to begin stocking.  <What animals did you have in the tank to produce waste for cycling? Any of the ones mentioned below?>  I have kept several systems over the years and am pretty up-to-speed. This set up will be FOWLR. I have my stocking list ready and would appreciate your advise on order of introduction over the next year. I am aware that some issues of compatibility exist, but am hoping that proper introduction can mitigate some of this.  If I've made an out & out boo-boo on compatibility, please advise.  1-Queen Angel 1-Blue Girdle Angel 1-Flame Angel 3-Regal Tang 1-Clown Tang 2-Maroon Clowns 1-Salon Fairy Wrasse 1-Banana Wrasse 1-Scott's Velvet Wrasse 1-Straberry Gramma 1-Black finned Trigger 12-15 Green Chromis.  <I would introduce the large angels together and at a later date both tangs together. The remainder wouldn't matter except I would replace the trigger with something else. Just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the guys. James (Salty Dog)>

New Tank   675 F WOW... where to begin? Hello, I am purchasing a new tank and I was wanting to know about how many fish can I have to be able to be full grown in this tank.  <I am very glad to hear you make the distinction "full grown"... an admirable necessary!! consideration> the dimensions are going to be 7-8 feet long 4 feet deep and about 4ft tall it will be about 675 gallons <the tank almost certainly will be acrylic?> with the sump and refugium. the sump is going to be 125 gallons and the refugium is 55. I'm going to run miracle mud in the sump with a euro reef protein skimmer the one rated for 200-600 gallons does this filtration setup sound okay? <very nice skimmer... but undersized BY FAR. Any tank this size (let alone with the fish you propose) would need two appropriately sized skimmer to protect your investment. One undersized model will be asking for trouble. If you are counting on the miracle mud "miracle" of a skimmer less method for a fish load that will deliver shovels full of crap daily...GOOD LUCK...heehee. Did I mention that I do not concur with skimmer less husbandry on high fish load systems particularly? <G>> and also about 600 pounds of live rock.  <a very wise investment> The fish I am thinking of are 2 puffers probably stars and stripes and another type.  <with so many other beautiful fish to pick from, please choose only one puffer. They can be so aggressive sometimes... and since I haven't heard you mention a quarantine tank (You really need it for every tank and new fish to be added to a display (4 week QT)... I'm saying only one puffer. Besides they get so LARGE!!!> I also want 3 golden butter flies ,  <few if any butterflies will be compatible with large angels, triggers, puffers, and big tangs as you propose. If they are not harassed/attacked then they will be out competed daily for optimum food. They will suffer a slow death to attrition over many months most likely> 1 nice show angel,  <the only fish from this list I can agree with because it is unlikely to exceed one foot long? a Sohal tang <I don't feel this fish is appropriate for most any tank... even your proposed one. They get 2 feet long and it is being asked to live in a tank triple its adult size. That's like you or me living in a 15 foot by 7 foot room for our whole lives. Not cool at all and at the very least it will take up a lot of the potential bio-load for many other smaller fishes on display> and maybe 1-2 other 6-12 inch long fish  Small to medium wrasses and Soldierfish are good hardy choices for example> what sounds alright to you maybe a trigger  <not many "community ones... Niger Odonus is usually nice though> not sure which would get along with the butte flies have you seen any tanks with triggers and butterflies.  <it is a rather unnatural and irresponsible mix IMO. Please do not mix them at all.> Thanks for answering my questions in advance. Harry Reinsmith <my friend... you REALLY need to buy or read (or reread!) Bob Fenner's, Conscientious Marine Aquarist (follow link on WWM page for Di's Aquatics or some of the others... this book will give you much needed guidance on responsible husbandry that you seem to need, my friend. Best of luck with this beautiful display. I hope the captives that you take into your charge will live comfortable lives and give you and your guests great pleasure, intrigue and education. Kindly, Anthony>

Central System (going over on acclimation, quarantine procedures)  680 gal. FO Hi Bob, I think the selling point that Consistent sea, Inc. had was that they hand picked nice healthy fish and offered them for resell to stores that can't drive to the wholesalers (such as myself).  <Yes... "selection services" have been around for as long as there has been livestock distribution. My friend Walt Smith ran his for decades out of Phil Shane's Quality Marine...> He said he started his business by moving to LA to hand pick fish for a store in NY. He then started offering it to other stores. Anyway, I was just wondering of you knew of this company. I'm kind of leery of businesses that I can't find much info about. <I am not familiar with the company, its agents. I would do as you are... check with others who have used their services> I know that you are a busy man, but if I could give you the specs of the central and quarantine systems that I installed this summer, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you may have. <Sure> Central System 12 - forty gallon long aquariums - drilled - with different coral substrates in each 2 - 100 gallon sumps plumbed together Aerofoamer 848 skimmer - pump rated 2000 gph (Works wonderfully) Water pumped through biomedia at 2400 gph 2 - Mag 2400 return pumps each pumping about 1200 gph - Seems to have about 200 gph through each aquarium 2 - Aqua UV 57 watt sterilizers (Doesn't seem to have much contact time - short tubes) <And not many watts for this size system, flow rate... but worthwhile nonetheless> Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water <Nice feature> pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 - (I think an employee was overfeeding) Salt 1.023 Fish seem to do OK in the central system except for an outbreak of ick from a shipment that was rerouted and got cold. (The quarantine system was dismantled and was being rebuilt when this shipment came in so they had to go in the CS.) (Did you know saltwater and metal shelving doesn't mix?) <Umm, ah, yes> I fought this for 2 months until I got a copper test kit and raised the copper to the right level. (Coral must have been absorbing it). <More likely calcareous rock, substrate... this happens> It doesn't seem like the UV does much in preventing the spread of ick. <You have to have many watts, long contact times to get close to 100% kill rate... realistically, UV's will not prevent, let alone treat parasitic problems> I didn't want to put copper in the CS, but I felt I had no choice. I was also told that UV can't be used while medicating with copper.  <No. Only certain types of chelated coppers are affected by UVs> Should I keep copper in the CS at the recommended level or should I remove it, turn the UVs back on, and possibly add 200mg/hr of ozone? <Are you using non-chelated copper? I would keep it up till your quarantine system, procedures are in place fully> Quarantine Systems There are two separate identical systems. Each has: 6 - twenty gallon aquariums - drilled - painted bare bottoms 29 gallon sump with biomedia Red Sea Berlin Skimmer Mag 1800 return pump - returning about 600 gph - 100 gph per tank Aqua UV 40 watt sterilizer Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 Salt - 1.023 Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> The QSs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable?  <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation. I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums. I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem Paraguard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> Or is there a better system? <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> I guess I just want to know if the equipment seems to be sized right. Then if, when, where, and how to use copper in these systems. Any other things that I am overlooking? <A seeming lifetimes worth... but you are on the right tracks, path> Thank you very much for any info you can give. I just want to have the best quality for my customers to keep them happy and in the hobby. <I'm totally with you here. If you have troubles with suppliers or finding same... do contact me. Bob Fenner> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

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

Lots of Fish, REALLY BIG Tank  10/19/05   1000 gal. FO Dear WetWebMedia, <Hello Robertino.> You guys have been instrumental in successfully keeping my current aquarium and researching for my next one. <Glad we have helped.>  LFS tend to be too unreliable and only by showing that I know what I'm talking about (giving scientific names for fish hehe) do they give me real information, be it the real answer or a 'I don't know, let me get you someone else'. However, I have a question regarding what would be an appropriate size tank for a FOWLR tank that I'm planning on constructing. The fish that I wish to keep are the following: (1) Brazilian Flameback angelfish Centropyge aurantonotus <Hardy fish when collected properly but as with nay angel should never be added to a new tank.> (2) 1 male and 2 female Squareback Anthias Pseudanthias pleurotaenia <Quite Finicky around feeding time, I find that mysis usually works.> (3) Flame Angelfish Centropyge loricula <Same information as the Centropyge above.> (4) Royal Gramma Basslet Gramma loreto <Very hardy and comical.> (5) Tomato Clownfish Amphiprion frenatus (6) Cinnamon Clownfish Amphiprion melanopus <Pick one clown species or the other do not mix.> (7) Foxface Lo Siganus vulpinus -- Do they need to be kept singly or could I keep a pair? <Keeping a single specimen is more than okay.> (8) 3 Blue Tangs Paracanthurus hepatus <Well this is the first indication that you will be needing quite a large tank.> (9) Desjardin Sailfin Tang Zebrasoma desjardini (10) Harlequin Tusk Choerodon fasciatus (11) I'm not sure which type of angelfish would be better for this tank. I was considering: Asfur Angelfish Pomacanthus asfur, Regal angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus, Emperor angelfish Pomacanthus imperator, Queen Angelfish Holocanthus ciliaris. I'm inclined toward the Queen angelfish basically because I can collect my own specimen, but I also know of their non-optimal behavior. Also, I'm not 100% sure if in a large system, a large angelfish would pose a threat to the Centropyge angels. <The Regal is probably your worst choice here due to it survival record. To avoid aggression between these larger angels the Centropyge angels you are going to need a BIG tank.> (12) Purple tang Zebrasoma xanthurum <Quite aggressive towards other durgeons.> (13) Sargassum Triggerfish Xanthichthys ringens or Crosshatch triggerfish Xanthichthys mento <Both are pricey but hardy and slightly more predictable in behavior as far as triggers go.> (14) Spotted drum Equetus punctatus. I will collect my own specimen. I understand that they are very docile and I'm concerned whether they would be able to compete for food. Any input? <You may have to target feed either with a feeding stick or turkey baster as far as collection your own please look into the legality.> (15) 1 male and a couple of females of Thalassoma bifasciatum (I'll be collecting these) <Same as above, look into legality.> (16) Goldbar wrasse Thalassoma hebraicum (17) Heniochus butterflyfish Heniochus acuminatus (18) Australian Copperband Butterfly Chelmon rostratus. I'm not sure if it would be safe to house to morphologically dissimilar butterflies in a large tank. <In a very large tank maybe but it is not without risks.> (19) 2-3 Flame Cardinals Apogon spp. <Likely to be outcompeted for food or succumb to aggression with the tankmates you have listed.> (20) 5 Blue chromis Chromis cyanea -- again, I will collect them. <Once gain look into legality.> (21) 1 or a mated pair of Sleeper Gold head goby Valenciennea strigata <Should only be added to a tank with a large mature Deep Sand Bed.> (22) Vlamingi Tang Naso vlamingi <Very large species that needs lots of room to roam.> (23) Cuban hogfish Bodianus pulchellus (24) Marine Betta Calloplesiops altivelis. I know they can eat small fish, but I'm not sure whether it would prove a threat to the Flameback angelfish, flame cardinals and blue chromis. If it is, I'll take it off the list. <Possibly a threat to the chromis but as for the Betta itself, they are quite reclusive and in a tank of this magnitude feeding may be difficult.> (25) Sharptail Snake Eel Myrichthys breviceps. I know you guys think it has a dismal survival rate, but I collected one and it did excellent until I decided that I wanted to add shrimps to my current aquarium and released it after having it for 2 years. <Bad idea to release animals back in the wild, please do not do this again.>I will be able to entice it with some live shrimps which will be collected with this individual, before training it on frozen food. <Make sure you quarantine everything before addition to your display.> (Note: I was keeping only fish collected from the same beach. Thus, by releasing it, I did not introduce any foreign pathogens.) <Not true.> I know this is a huge list of potentially large fish. I want to build the tank around the species that I want to keep in the long run. I was thinking a 300 gallon tank might work <Far to small for the species listed.>, but I'm not sure because of the species potentially large size and activity levels. <You have picked some fish with high activity levels, apart from physical space you could also run into psychological crowding. If you plan on a 300-gallon I would revise your list into 'must-have' species as you are currently looking at a tank of well over 1000-US gallons. Furthermore most of the fish you picked are mass waste producers look into a large probably custom protein skimmer for this application.> Thank you very much, <Wishing you luck.> Robertino
<Adam J.>

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