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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine Systems 2

Related Articles: Fishes and Invertebrates Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Plumbing Marine SystemsRefugiumsMarine Biotope, Marine LandscapingFishwatcher's Guides

Related FAQs: FOWLR 1, FOWLR 3, FOWLR Set-Ups, FOWLR Lighting, FOWLR Filtration, FOWLR Skimmers, FOWLR Livestocking, FOWLR Maintenance, FOWLR Disease, LR Lighting, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Marine System PlumbingBiotopic presentations

Paracheilinus lineopunctatus, the Spot-Lined Flasher Wrasse. Aquarium photo of a male by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

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

Lighting for Fish Only With Live Rock Tank Dear WetWebMedia crew, <Gary> Thank you once again for putting together and consistently maintaining such a wonderful site. I greatly appreciate all the help you have offered me in the past. Before I ask any questions I also want to wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season. <Glad to share> My question is regarding what kind of lighting system you would recommend for my system. My tank is a 175 Gallon (72x28x18) with the following inhabitants: 7" Volitans Lionfish 5" Clown Trigger 6" Imperator Angel 5" Passer Angel 4" Yellow Tang 4" Humu Trigger well grown snowflake eel <Quite a collection> I also have about 45lbs of Fiji Live Rock (I will be getting some more to replace the bioballs in my sump shortly) <Good> I would like to purchase a new light that would best serve the following 2 goals: 1. Bring out the natural beauty of my fish, while keeping them healthy. 2. Encourage as much growth on the live rock as possible. <I see> What do you recommend? <A "boosted" format of fluorescents... either T-5's or VHO's... with a mix of 6,500 to 10,000 K whites, perhaps one actinic> Thank you in advance for your help and I look forward to hearing back from you. Best regards, Gary Belyalovsky <Bob Fenner>

Skimmer for a FOWLR I am trying to set up a 80 gallon FISH ONLY tank. I have read a crap load of things on skimmers and my head is spinning so fast and I'm so confused. What would you guys recommend be the best filter and best skimmer to use in my case. << As big as you can afford. >> I am so lost on what to buy and need a little direction. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you much' << Well I think the best thing to do is to go to a local store, and see what they are using and how it is working.  You can't have too big of a skimmer.  Also, try looking at tanks in your area in a local club.  That way you can see many sizes and varieties in action. >>     DAN <<  Blundell  >>

Setting Up A New System Dear Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> Thank you for the previous response. Just to refresh you memory, I'm setting up a 55 gal FOWLR tank (eventually switching to reef); here is the list of equipment that I am planning to get (any comments appreciated): AquaC Remora protein skimmer <A great choice!> AquaClear 70 Power filter or Fluval 304 (please help to choose between these two) <If you're going to use mechanical filtration, I'd use the Fluval, and clean prefilters and replace media VERY frequently, or detritus can accumulate and gradually degrade water quality. Part of the reason why I favor a sump-based system, as it places less emphasis on mechanical filtration media that do trap detritus...Just my 2 cents worth> 2 Maxi Jet 1200 Powerheads for water movement (think it's enough for 55g ?) <All depends upon the animals that you intend to keep. High current-loving SPS may need more; some LPS or soft corals maybe not appreciate the movement. Make sure that the powerheads are positioned in such a way as to converge the flow into each other for chaotic water movement> 2 200W heaters (am I better off with 2X150W ?) <I'd go for 2 150 watters, myself> I'm going to have 4 inches DSB and was going to put 45-55 pounds of live rock in the tank, but figured that I cannot afford MH or VHO lights at this time and will go with the simplest lights (read 60W desktop lamp) just to keep the tank illuminated somewhat (obviously I'm not going to put any corals in until I get sufficient lighting). <Very responsible and noble on your part!> My question is: will the live rock survive with such low light or am I going to kill everything "live" on that rock and better off just doing FO tank and add the live rock later when I get the lights going? <Not really. Sure, some high light-loving animals that are attached to the rock may decline, but the majority of the micro and macrofauna will probably do okay. eventually, you'd want more light, of course.> The second question is: If I have to get by without the live rock for now, will the DSB have any positive effect on the tank? <Sure- live rock can provide biodiversity, nutrient export capabilities, and supplemental food for your tank animals. The rock helps perform many of the same functions; the two act in concert to benefit the tank. However, you certainly can have one without the other!> What's the minimum lighting that you recommend for the live rock without corals? <Again- no real rule here. It's all about the animals and plants on the rock. If you have small SPS colonies or macroalgae attached, then lighting is a good idea! However, the majority of life on most live rock can get by with minimal lighting. In fact, you might get development of different types of life forms under minimal lighting than you will under higher light intensity...Interesting!> Thank you kindly for you response and for maintaining such a useful website. Peter <Our pleasure, Peter! Best of luck with your new system! Regards, Scott F>

FW to FOWLR Hi guys at WWM, this site is always a big help. <Glad you find it so> I currently have a 55 gallon tank with a south American cichlid setup. I just purchased a Eheim pro II 2026 which is running on the FW without the biological media (which I'm saving for SW). With in the last week I bought 3 bags(60 lbs total) of water packed Arago-alive Bahamas oolite for a substrate (I hope this is enough). <You will soon know... better to either have just a bit (a half inch or so) or a few to several inches... you can read about this on WWM> I plan on adding LR over a time period as I get money for it (I'm only 16 but work at a fish store). <Ahh, a few of us here had similar paths> I was reading on your site that aqua c remora, Tunze, and CPR bakpak2 are good skimmers. which is the best one for a 55 FOWLR in your opinion for a manageable price. <Most appropriate is the Aqua C line... the Tunze is very nice but expensive and the CPR may not allow you to easily upgrade to a larger system (which will likely occur in the not-too-distant future) for lighting I have two 15 watt fixtures that came with the tank. I was wondering what kind of bulbs to go with and if it would be sufficient for live rock and maybe some hardy mushrooms if placed close enough to the light. <Please read re on WWM> What steps should I follow when setting up this tank. should I fill the tank wit SW then add the substrate since its alive or add it first? anything else to continue the setup would help also! thanks, Joe <Set all up with just water, and let run for a week... Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Halides for a FOWLR I've read probably every one of your FAQ pages and articles on metal halide, lighting for a FOWLR tank, but still have a few questions. Do I definitely need a 72"hood for a 72" tank (180 gal, 24" deep)? << No way.  You don't need a hood at all.  In fact I kind of like the new trend of no canopy tanks. >> Is the fire/heat hazard situation, with adequate ventilation, enough to forego the use of metal halides? << I think halides are fantastic.  Yes there is a risk, but still think they are fantastic. >> Do the good characteristics of VHO and compact fluorescent preclude the use of MH for this application ;cost considerations aside? << For fish only, I'd probably use a bunch of VHO bulbs.  As you said you really don't need the halide lights if you don't plan to grow coral.  I think it would be better to invest that extra money into a refugium or something along those lines. >> Thanks, Scooter <<  Blundell  >>

Small FOWLR Set-up I am setting up a 29gal FOWLR again, I have 20lbs of live rock curing in a lg trashcan. I am going to use 20lb of Arag-alive special grade to cycle the tank and then add the live rock in 2 weeks. (rock will have cured for 4 weeks) When can I add my first fish, cleanup crew? <I usually wait 6-8 weeks, or when nitrates hit zero.  This only goes for hardy fish that will readily eat prepared foods.  Stock slowly...> I have a Emperor 280 /PolyFilter pad,3 Rio water pumps and a Red Sea Prizm skimmer, which worked great for me before. I get conflicting info about when to start using the skimmer. When should I turn it on? <I always turn on my skimmer right at the outset.  In fact, I would put it on your trash can right now.  The more die off byproducts you can remove from your water now, the better.  More life will survive the curing process this way.>

Lighting For A FOWLR Tank About how many watts of light does a 135 gallon tank need? the ballast I'm looking to purchase is a H4 electronic ballast from J&L Aquatics. It can run either 4-96W PC Bulbs 4-75W VHO Bulbs 4-95W VHO Bulbs or 4-110W VHO Bulbs <Well, there really is no "correct" number for "watts per gallon". What you need to do is get sufficient light of the proper spectrum for the animals that you intend to keep. PC and VHO bulbs are excellent, economical lighting methods for many animals.> What would be the best to get for a FOWLR tank. There will be no corals. <For a FOWLR tank, either configuration that you are considering would be just fine. I'd go for a mix of daylight and actinic bulbs or nice coloration, myself- but it's your call.> Thanks again. <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting a 55 gal FOWLR Hi I have not written to you guys for about two years, since all my problems w/ my baby morays. Anyways I feel I have come a long way, and am past the point of no return :). Anyways, I'm nearing completion of my tank setup, and was really hoping you could give me your views on how it is going, and I also have a few specific questions as well. Well, here's the setup: 55 gallon tank, FOWLR, inhabitants are 1 medium purple mouth moray (Gymnothorax vicinus - what a pain it was identifying this guy! I know this cannot be his final tank, he will be moved in about a year's time to his final home which will be over double this size), 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp ( they have homes on opposing sides of tank, and haven't killed each other yet), 1 starfish, maybe 15 snails.  1 hang on tank mechanical/biological filter, with some ceramic beads I'm slowly removing because they are a detritus factory, and the unit has 2 carbon holding sponges, of which I change one side every other week.  1 aqua C remora skimmer, with maxi 1200 upgrade, constantly cleaned 2 maxi jet 1200s on the ends of tank for circulation, thinking of throwing in a Rio I have sitting around, don't even know if it's necessary in the tank though. << You can't have too much flow. >> 1 pc lighting unit, w/ a 36 watt 50/50 bulb << That is very little light. >> also I'm very good about water changes / top offs etc.. okay, any criticisms / ideas would be greatly appreciated, now on to my questions. as far as biological filtration, I have a 1.5 '' aragonite bed ( probably doesn't' do much at all), and only about 20 lb of live rock. << I'd double that. >> here's question 1: instead of purchasing live rock, which turned out to be a disaster (I used to have more than 20lb, but any piece that wasn't large the eel would bang into the glass when he played w/ them), I decided to make 2 large structures w/ the Aragocrete method. the first, which should be done curing in about a month, is 30 lb, and is composed of 20 lb dry Tufa base rock and the rest an Aragocrete mixture. the second structure is 30 lb, but is a mixture of maybe 4 cement : 1 crushed oyster shells, and the exterior is totally covered in oyster shell. << I've heard, and personally seen, really bad results with oyster shell. I'd be hesitant to use it ever again. >> I know adding aragonite helps with porosity, but I painstakingly made this structure day by day for weeks, adding layer by layer of pebbles of cement/oyster shells, so I'm pretty sure water can get through the entire structure. << I just saw a fantastic presentation the other day on Aragocrete construction. This guy (who is amazing) said the key was to use as little water as possible when mixing up your cement. That was the key to increasing porosity. >> this is actually a multiple part question. will coralline develop quicker on concrete, especially if it is covered in oyster shell? << Hmmm, no. I'll say light is more important than the material. But darker colors help. >> can I count the second structure pound for pound in my LR: gallons ration if it is a very loose structure? << I don't like that measurement anyway. I'd say just fill your tank so there is plenty of rock. Whatever weight it is what it is. >> will 80 lb of rock in the tank be too much? << Impossible. Don't worry that won't happen. >> the second structure weighs 30lb, and only has 3 points of contact with the tank. << That is cool. >> my next question is about lighting. I had been told by some people that 1watt no= 1 watt pc, but in re reading all the lighting faq's I see you're saying 1 watt pc is 2-3 times brighter than 1 watt no. << Absolutely. >> all I plan on doing in my tank is keeping it looking nice aesthetically, keeping it feeling natural enough to the inhabitants, and making coralline grow like crazy. (side note - just turned around and saw cleaner shrimp - just got him yesterday - cleaning eel for first time!!!) like I said I have 1 36watt pc 50/50 over the tank. I also just ordered 4 moonlight led bulbs (matching the moon's spectrum). now, my plan was to purchase another lighting unit, and a new 50/50 bulb (mine's like 2 years old, making the Cyano come in!!), and then run a timer system like moon: dusk: day: dawn: moon, with the dawn/dusk being the new lighting fixture which would be 100% actinic, and daylight being the 50/50 plus the actinic, so during the day it would have a bluer effect. like I said I am concerned with coralline to grow as well as possible, and I want to have a blue effect even during the day. << This should be fine for what you're looking for. Still very little light, but that is what you want for coralline. >> what type / wattage lighting fixture would you suggest for the actinic one? << Well I'd probably run two VHO tubes, but if you already have one pc, then I'd just rig up another 55 watt pc. >> I was thinking of getting a NO fluorescent strip, which would be 40 watts, but actinic doesn't' look very bright, and the 36 I have is pc, so if I add 40watts actinic NO I feel like it won't seem that I've done very much. so maybe VHO 48''? << That would be great. >> I don't want to get a multiple bulb pc system, and the 1 bulb, I believe 96 watts, wouldn't really cover the length of the tank, and since my pc is only 24'', I want something that will provide better lighting. oh my bro goes to trade school and does carpentry/cabinet stuff, so he's coming down to my school in the next few days to get measurements, going to build me a custom hood, super deep so I can feed the eel by hand w/o worrying of him diving out of the tank (I feed him off a fork now w/ the tank cracked 1/4'', he's too crazy to open the top when he smells food! the hood will have a fan on both sides, creating a decent current over the lights, so I think they will be fine as far as heat goes, although I don't' have experience with this so I could be wrong.) Oh, if I wanted to add to the blue effect during the day, could I just leave the moonlights on always? << Yes, but they are very dim. I don't think you could see them during the day. >> if you would even be able to see them once the other lights are on *doubtful*. Well, sorry for such a long email. I've been shopping these questions around reef central and other places, but am getting mixed / insufficient responses. I just read through your LR lighting faq, and answered some of my q's, those faq pages are the greatest. thanks again, I think once I get these issues taken care of this tank should be quite nice, but I'll wait on your response before getting too comfortable << Good luck. >> << Blundell >>

Lighting for a 180 FOWLR If I run 2 48" T-12's (one being actinic and the other white, 80 watts total) in the rear of my 180 FOWLR tank over a pile of live rock, will that allow coralline algae to grow without blinding my Lionfish? << Yes, but that isn't much light. >> or do I need to double that? << I would >> I just don't want blind lionfish!!! << Don't worry you could have a ton more light on there and be fine. Blundell >> 

How much light do I need for a 45 gal tank? Hello. << Hi >> I was running a FOWLR 135G tank for several years and looked to your sight for assistance from time to time. You were always helpful to guide me in overcoming any issues that I may have had and it has always been  appreciated. I am setting up a reef tank and have a very generalized question about my lighting and what I may be able to keep in this setup with the lighting that I have readily available. I am currently reading several books on the subject of corals and reef setups and, as always, am looking to Bob's book for some of the usual helpful info.<< Best thing I could have advised. >> Sorry for rambling and here is my question: The tank I will be setting up is a DAS 45G show tank (prefer non show tank but might work better with my lighting anyway- besides, it's free) with dimensions of approx. 33Lx16Dx26H. I have a PFO hood setup with 1x175 10000K m/h and 2X URI super actinic VHO which I intend on using with this setup. << Great lighting. >> Temps in tank will be resolved with a chiller so I don't need to worry about potential overheating. Again, I understand that this is a very broad question that will result in a vague answer but I would appreciate any info you can give me about what could be successfully put in a tank such as this. << Just about everything.  I would put stonies and clams towards the top, and everything else just spread around.  You could have two halides, or go with a 250 watt, and that would be better, but I don't think you'll have any problems. >> Thank you very much for your time and all the help that you have given to me in the past. << Good luck. >> Chris <<  Blundell  >> FOWLR defined Hello WWMCrew, Just a real quick question, what does FOWLR mean. Thank you Chris <Ahh, and acronym for Fish Only With Live Rock, a step up if you will from Fish Only (FO), and back from full blown reef set-ups that include more and larger invertebrate life. Bob Fenner>

Stocking at 125 FOWLR tank. Hi!  << Blundell here. >> I am trying to get some information about stocking/aquascaping a 125g. FOWLR tank.  We are still setting up, researching, etc. - don't want to have to solve problems later - and need some advice on what to put together.  The tank has a little giant in-line pump which turns the tank 9x-10x an hour, a 40 gal. sump, a Turboflotor 1000 multi protein skimmer in its own 10 gal. tub (fed by its own overflow directly from the tank).  We will have around 150# of live rock and about a 2"-3" sand bed (live sand recommended?).  Right now we are still fine-tuning the plumbing, so we decided to also zone in on what kind of fish to add.  We have a 2" Juv. clown trigger doing fine in a 40 gal. set up right now, and he will be the 'star' of the 125 gal when it is up and running.  In trying to decide who would make a good tankmate, as opposed to dinner, (keeping in mind that bioload for aggressive, meat-eating fish will limit # in a 125 gal.) for 'Spike'.  I am going to throw out some of what I hope are possibilities (from most to least desired) and see how it goes. :)  Sohal tang, Dragon Moray, Harlequin Tuskfish... I'm afraid the trigger and the moray alone might overpower the system. << If you don't fall victim to the "I need to feed my fish" syndrome you should be fine.  Too often hobbyists with aggressive fish tanks over-feed those systems and that is where they have problems.  Otherwise, this sounds okay. >>  Also - I have been looking over the FAQ's about aquascaping and should I be able to have the moray, I am concerned about the stability of the live rock (since triggers love to re-arrange). << Yes that is a concern. >> I would hate to lose such interesting (and expensive) creatures due to lack of foresight. << I would recommend using a long drill bit and drilling holes through all of your live rock.  Then you can make live rock shish ka bobs by skewering them with acrylic rods.  It allows for a lot design abilities, and also prevents (or at least helps prevent) rocks from falling. >> Another question - I have read in a couple of places about the great Fiji live rock from Walt Smith International - any clue as to how to find a retailer in my area? << Wow, I thought every store sold Walt Smith rock.  I would just ask any LFS to get his rock for you.  It is great stuff.  If none of them do so, well then I guess I would order online. >> Most seem to deal only in Tonga branch and Caribbean... Last question (I promise) - I have a 55 gal. I can also set up - one of the good LFS in my area has a lacy scorpionfish (Rhinopias aphanes?) that is absolutely beautiful (sm. - only about 1 1/2 - 2 in.)!  I have read that although rare they tend to be moderately easy to keep.  Should I call and have them hold it?  I have heard that Rhinopias normally don't last long in the shop (bought quickly) and once gone are rarely seen again... << I would put it on hold.  I would want to wait a couple weeks before buying one, and I'd make sure it is eating before I purchased it. >> Thanks for all of your wonderful help and information!  I really enjoy reading the experiences of others and I have learned so much! Lisa <<  Blundell  >>

Picking the Proper Power Filter Is the Tetratec 500 a good filter? I have a FOWLR 135 gallon tank.  I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Tetratec 500? If this isn't a good one could you steer me towards another brand? <I happen to like that filter myself.  It is well made and very efficient.  However, I would not use it for the sole means of filtration for a 135.  I would either supplement it with another mechanical filter, or (and this is my best recommendation) I would use a very simple sump system.  Be sure to include a protein skimmer in your system as this is your first line of defense of unwanted organics.  BTW, for a nice review of power filters including this model see Steven Pro's article in the latest issue of Conscientious Aquarist Online Magazine right here on the WWM site!  Hope this helps.  Regards, Scott F.>

More Flow In A FOWLR Tank 7/28/04  Thanks Scott F. <My pleasure!> BTW, this is a fish only tank for now. I want to try my hand at mushrooms or leathers by next summer though. But first I need to reset-up my tank with more live rock, less hair algae and more lighting! Narayan <Sounds great, Narayan...And there is certainly nothing wrong with a lot of flow for a FOWLR tank...Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting a 40 gallon FOWLR Hello Bob, I have been using this site ever since Christmas Day when I first set up my tank.  Anyways,  I have a question about my lighting.  I have a 40 gallon breeder tank, with a cardinal fish and a sergeant major, about 35 pounds of Fiji / gulf live rock, and I was wondering, what would be a good amount of light to have to keep the coralline algae and Caulerpa growing well?<< More blue light for coralline, and more red light for Caulerpa.  So, I guess a good balance is needed here. >> I'm pretty sure about the fish not needing much light, but I'm still not sure about the algae and plants, any help would be appreciated, << Well, I like lots of light, and I don't think you can ever have too much.  I would go with 4 VHO tubes.  Two actinic and two whites.  I think you will be very pleased with that.  Best of luck. >> Anthony <<  Blundell  >>

FOWLR Stocking Plan Hello <Hello, Ryan with you today> almost 3 weeks ago I set up my tank, I have a Pro Clear Aquatics skimmer and a same brand Wet Dry. <Cool> I am using the hood that came with the tank and a fluorescent bulb of 6000K, 40 watts. The tank is a Oceanic, I have put live rock and the tank has been cycling for these weeks without any fish. Today I bought 0ne damsel to see if it survived and it did so I am going to buy 3 more to do the cycle. But how do I  know when the cycle is completed I have the test kits, <cycle is completed when there are no more traces of ammonia or nitrite.> but after adding the fish what do I  do? Wait for a month and a half? <About right> to add another fish. I want to add later on lion fish, puffers, a shrimp, parrot, trigger and angels and a tang. <Whoa.  OK, this is unrealistic.  Parrots aren't even an option in 75 gallons.  Puffers eat shrimp like popcorn.  Triggers are far too rambunctious for a 75 gallon tank unless he's kept alone- And even then it's dependant upon the species.  Angels require highly established tanks- At least 6 months old.  There may be some dwarf angels that would work for you.  One Yellow Tang would be acceptable in a 75 gallon tank.> Would these fish be able to live together and with the live rock?, <See above> I have been reading about the quarantine tank I would like to know more about this?. <What would you like to know? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> When I have more knowledge I want to upgrade to a Reef Tank what things should I do right now so in a future I can do this?. <Learn how to keep water quality high, get a part time job ;)  (Reefer humor.) > I am not using a chiller should I have one? <Only if the water in your tank is getting over 85 degrees during summer months.  If things stay under 85, you can use a fan to keep things under control.>  I have no powerheads just a pump in the sump with one jet in the tank. Is this enough current for these fish I want to add later on? <No, you're going to need more.  See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm> Thank you very much I would like to here some replies soon. <Thanks for writing in! Ryan>

FOWLR Setup Dear Crew: <Hi there, Scott F. with you tonight.> Would really appreciate some advice. <I'll do my best to help you!> Aquarium store has provided me a quote for a new setup (BTW - live in NYC): Recommended: 48" x 18" x 27.5" Oceanic glass tank w/ 2 side overflows for $2500 W/D Filter for $400 Return Pump for $270 Protein Skimmer for $500 UV Sterilizer for $300 Chiller $1100 <WOW!  Some of those prices might be a bit high.  Do shop around, or check the Internet.  Some forums may have boards where fellow reefers sell their used items.  You may want to look into buying used items as well.> Questions: 1.  Is W/D Filter appropriate for this type of setup? <Well, it all depends on what you want to keep.  W/D filters with plastic filtration media are very efficient with fish only aquariums, but may not be as effective for a reef tank.> 2.  Is UV Sterilizer necessary? <There are many varying opinions on this.  I personally do not use one, but many successful hobbyists do.  There are not considered a mandatory piece of equipment, in my opinion.> 3.  The dimensions of the tank were provided to fit into existing aquarium cabinetry.  The quote is for a custom tank.  Would you recommend going to a stock 24" tank - to 1) save $ and 2) b/c the setup is for smart retro lights? Even for a custom, pricing seems ridiculous - you agree? <The pricing does seem a bit high to me.  However, prices do vary from region to region and from manufacturer to manufacturer.  As far as going to a stock 24" tank, it's really your call.  It all depends on your goals for your system.>   4.  The Chiller seems unnecessary to me - what do you think? <Depends on your region and ambient temperature produced by light prompts, etc.  I would consider a chiller more essential than a UV stabilizer.> I have read a lot of materials but still trying to piece it all together. <There is a lot of information out there, and before purchasing anything, research carefully and ask around.  Perhaps you have a local reef club with members that can guide you in selecting your equipment, etc.  It's an expensive hobby to start up, so visit other people's aquariums, talk to different hobbyists, etc., before spending the big bucks.> If I haven't provided enough color for you to opine, please let me know.  Your sage counsel would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance. SPL <You have provided enough information, but do ask yourself what are your goals in this hobby and with your system before having others tell you what to purchase with your hard earned money.  There is no rush, so take your time!  Good luck!  Regards, Scott F.>

Substrate in a FOWLR Hi all, <Hi....MikeD here> I am one of those strange folks who is going back to a fish only system from a reef.<Welcome partner, I did that long ago>  I have used DSB for a few years with success but would like to get back to crushed coral or crushed shells.  Of course, DSB is all the rage and pretty much the predominant advice you get these days from the discussion boards, but is crushed coral still a good idea?<CC or aragonite now comes in different grades an option we didn't have in the past. I prefer the finer, sand grade myself and use it in my tanks>  My goal is to have a clean look at the bottom of the tank but not bare.  Will I be disappointed with my future nitrate count?<Possibly, depending on feeding, clean up crew and such. Again, you're now seeing many more options that make it much easier, such as small conchs, pistol shrimp, sea cucumbers and sifting sea star species. IMO the more variety you have in your DSB the better the odds of success>  Are there other pitfalls I am not thinking about?<Just make sure your tank is arranged so that you can't get gas pockets forming under the LR, which can be a very real danger> Thanks for any input you can provide. <You're welcome. Hope this helped at least a little and don't forget to enjoy.> Paul D. DiGiorgio

Substrate in a FOWLR MikeD, <at your service> Thanks for the response.  Can I ask a couple of more questions?<Sure, fire away.> Can I do away with the DSB entirely and just have CC on the bottom for looks?<Sure. Many people do just this, relying on filters ,LR, bioballs, etc. There's almost always more than just one way, with the best one being the one that works best for you and your fish.>  In a fish only tank, wouldn't the clean up critters just get eaten by the fish?<Sometimes, but that depends on what you're using for a clean up crew and what type fish you're attempting to keep.  The mix has to be tailored to each individual combination of species.  There are currently more types of "clean up crews" available than ever before in the hobby, and it seems to be getting better and better all the time, but collectors, wholesalers and retailers are often slow to try something new.  By living by the sea, I have many creatures available that are great, but simply not readily available to most folks.  I've actually talked to some wholesalers who often answer," There's no market for those!" Without ever realizing that of course there isn't...they've never been offered for sale and no-one knows just how good they work.> Thanks again.<You're very welcome>

75 gallon fish only tank <Hi Chris, MacL here.> I currently have a 58g reef ready tank with 70lbs live rock, 40lbs live sand, 250w 10k metal halide light, and Euroreef CS 6-1 skimmer.  I have two Acros, one brain, one finger leather, and one toadstool leather. Everything seems to be thriving and I like the “skimmer only” system. <Sounds very nice indeed.> OK, to my real question.  I have a 75 gallon tank that I would like to set up as a fish only tank.  I would like to use the same type of Berlin system on this tank if possible.  I’m thinking of using an AquaC Remora Pro w/overflow box, 90lbs of live rock, 60lbs of live sand and 4x65w power compacts for lighting.  This would keep me from having to set up anything under the tank. How does this sound and would you recommend different filtration or lighting for a fish only tank? <My only caution would be to investigate the fish that you wish to buy and set it up based on their needs and requirements.  For instance, say you wanted a lion fish, they need to have a place to hide or they can become stressed.  And some of the deep sea fish need less lighting.>  If there is a better way to set up a fish only tank please advise.  <I really think you are on the right track.> I’m trying to not spend too much money, but I’m not willing to sacrificing quality. I also have some questions about livestock for this tank.  I would like to keep one trigger, one medium size angelfish, and some other smaller fish. <My only caution here is that some triggers become very big and very very aggressive.  A lot of setting up your tank is going to depend on the "one fish" that you really want to have.> Do you have any recommendations and how many fish can I expect to keep?  <That depends on the size of what you choose.> Thanks, Chris

Uupgrading 90 FO to 180 FO 6/14/04 I was hoping that you could give me some advice on upgrading my tank.  I currently have a 90 gallon FOWLR.  I will soon be moving and see it as a chance to upgrade.  I have had my eye on a 180-gallon tank, and would like your input on what I would need to add/change.  First, livestock includes: algae blenny, coral beauty angel, black and white Heniochus, yellow tang, dogface puffer, snowflake moray, and a Volitans.  As for hardware, I have a CPR 900 wet/dry with Rio 2100, Cascade 1000 canister, 36W UV sterilizer, 48" single fluorescent light, 48" single power compact strip, and the SeaClown 100 (which I have learned to despise). <I have to disclose a bias...  Except in the case of heavily stocked predator tanks, I generally recommend that even fish only tanks be managed like reef tanks (no intense lighting needed, of course).  I generally suggest relying on live rock and a good skimmer for the lion's share of filtration and maintaining normal-high calcium and alkalinity so that coralline algae predominates over nuisance varieties.  Live rock is perfectly capable of handling the biological filtration and wet/dry's lead to nitrate accumulation.> If I move up to a 180, would there be room for any additional fish, say a blue regal tang or more? <Absolutely.> I traded in my old blue tang after she began nipping at the fins of the puffer but I would like to have one again.  I have also thought about a large angel. <You definitely have the space, but you must consider such unpleasant interactions when adding new fish.  Also, you may have to be prepared to give up a newly added fish or one of your old friends, depending on your priorities.> I have only about 50 lbs of live rock and would like to purchase more for a 180, maybe another 50-100 lbs. <Great idea!  Good quality rock (like Marshall Islands or Kaelini) is more porous and you get more for your dollar, and fill more space with less pounds.  It also has more surface area for biological filtration.  If you aim for an aesthetically pleasing amount of rock, you should be in a reasonable range for good function as well.> Would I need to bump up the lighting for the live rock? <Probably not, unless you want to encourage the growth of any hitch hiking corals or macro algae> Might it be okay if I kept the SeaClone and add an AquaC Remora Pro or Urchin Pro?  The sump of the wet/dry is about 9x9.5"... not really enough space for the EV series. <I would forget about the sea-clone.  Even with modifications, it is only good for up to about a 20-30 gallon tank.  An urchin or Remora are way too small for a 180 with the stocking levels you are aiming for.  More evidence of my bias...  I would use some simple, central mechanical filtration in place of the wet/dry (micron bags or blue filter pad for example).  I would also probably consider a larger, basic sump (a 40 gal breeder would be a great choice).  This would give you plenty of room for a bigger skimmer (like an EV-180 or EV-240).> Also, would I want to add another filter?  I thought about another CPR 900, but maybe I need a canister for more mechanical instead?  With all of these factors, what would you say is the order of importance for changing/adding?  Thank you for your help and time. <I would eliminate all power filters/mechanical filter in favor of one simple central mechanical filter a described above.  Power/canister filters are maintenance hassles and along with wet/dries promote the accumulation of nitrate.  Any mechanical filter should be thoroughly cleaned every few days, and you are far more likely to actually do so with one easily accessible central filter. Additional recommendations would be to get a "reef ready" tank, or better yet, have the tank drilled with several holes along the upper back edge for drainage and return to and from your sump.  Brisk water movement (at least 5-10x the tank volume per hour) will help keep wastes in suspension and moving toward your central mechanical filter.  Hope this all helps!  Adam>

New FOWLR Set Up (6/8/04) Hi, and thanks so much for being here. <Hi there, Leslie here and it is my pleasure. .>I started my first marine tank about 9 months ago. I started with clownfish, damsels, grammas, and other smaller fish. < A very nice place to start. > I feel that I have been successful with them. I have traded in my reef system in order to change to more aggressive fish. I currently have a 55 gallon tank, but I will be upgrading to a 125 in October. <How exciting. I love setting up newer bigger tanks. > I have about 60+- pounds of live rock. <Sounds good> I have a Cascade canister filter, <I am not a big fan of canister filters and most here do not recommend them, especially for a tank with such messy eaters and big waste producers.....Triggers and Eels.  Canisters accumulate quite a bit of waste and are not easily cleaned, as a result IME most do not clean them as frequently as required. Most recommend a sump with redundant, vigorous and over-sized filtration... especially mechanical, these are large, active, messy fishes. > 1 power head, and a SeaClone/SeaClown protein skimmer (I've discovered a simple modification that makes it work much better, so I can deal with it until I can get an Aqua C Remora--which I will get in October, as well) You want to be sure to get a skimmer rated for more than your tank size.   On this new set-up my plan for inhabitants are: 1 Niger Trigger , 1 Humu Humu Trigger,  1 Volitans Lionfish  1 Snowflake Moray Eel  and various crabs and snails. I've read many articles on compatibility and find that there are many different views on the compatibility of these fish. <Ah my favorite part of this hobby the varying opinions. It makes life so much more interesting and confusing **BIG grin**>  .Could you please give me your opinion of this? < Sure here goes.....the Niger Trigger and Humu Humu Trigger may possibly work out, depending on the personalities of the individual fish but it may be risky. I personally would not do it, but I then tend to error on the side of caution, one to many hard learned lessons. The 2 Triggers should be added to the bigger tank simultaneously, if you decide to give it a try  and you should have a back up  plan if the mix is less than friendly. Please do have a look at the following articles, if you have not already seen them....... Family Balistidae http://www.wetwebmedia.com/triggers2.htm Rating Triggerfishes of the Red Sea http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/redsea_triggers.htm Triggerfishes of the Hawaiian Islands   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/hawaii_triggers.htm > The Volitans Lionfish  with the Triggers would not be recommended. The Triggers will nip at the Lion's long appendages which will place the Lionfish at risk for infection over time......Check out Triggerfish Compatibility http://www.wetwebmedia.com/triggercompfaqs.htm The Snowflake Moray Eel should be fine but you will need to keep the lid tightly closed and I do mean tight.....they can and will find their way out of the smallest holes as well as push through or past what you think may be secure enough. > The various snails and crabs will end up as a pricey dinner for the Triggers. Unfortunately clean up critters are difficult to keep in these tanks.> The fish will all be small, to start--only about 3 inches on the Triggers and Lion and probably about 5 on the moray. <Ideally it would be best to plan and stock the tank based on the adult size of the fish.> I already have the Niger Trigger. <Utto, this could present a bit of a problem.  Triggers should be the last in the sequence when adding fish > It has been properly quarantined and acclimatized < That's great!! > and is now in the main tank. So if there are any problems with my fish selection could you give me an alternative considering that the Niger is already there?   <  Sure.... I am a bit prejudice here. So, that said,  a few of my personal favorites include some combination of  the following fish......the Australian Harlequin Tuskfish,  the Puffers, perhaps one of the Dogface Puffers, a boisterous wrasse like one of the Thalassoma species, a pair of  Hawkfish and one of the Hamlets. There is an excellent thread on the very under rated Hamlets here.... http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=376451 In addition, since you already have the Niger and it is recommended to add these fish last, you may have to at least rearrange the rock work when new fish are added and possibly remove it to another tank for a few weeks remove.  It would be best to add the new fish after the Niger has been well fed and with the lights out. Thank you so much. Wet Web Media is one site that I completely trust for reliable answers. Thanks so much that is wonderful to hear and we are glad to be of service.> Again, Thank You, Leah  <Your most welcome,  I hope this was helpful and best of luck with your new tank, Leslie >

FOWLR at 3 months >Dear Marina, >>Hello Gary! Are you ready for everyone to get back? I sure am! >Thanks for your reply and I appreciate you taking the time to help me. >>No problem, my pleasure, it's just taking me a bit more time than usual. >I am happy to report that the situation has gotten much better. :) >>Very good. >I have had no more livestock loss and the fish all seem to be being fairly well as they are all eating fine and do not show any signs of distress. I have been doing 20% water changes every two weeks (is this enough in terms of water changes?) and have set up my hospital tank. >>The frequency of w/c's at this point is going to be dictated by water parameters more than anything. The tank isn't exactly well-established, so there will be periods of flux. Just be sure to have enough water on hand for a 100% water change. If you find nitrate climbing, then up the frequency to 25% per week and see how that goes. >It is only a 10gallon setup, do you think this is too small for a hospital/quarantine tank? >>That depends more on the fish you put in there than anything else. If they're no more than 2"-3" long it should be fine, however, it WILL need much more frequent water changes, and likely larger, than the display. >The SeaClone skimmer turned out to be pretty useless so I have since purchased a Turboflotor 1000 but I am having some difficulty assembling it as the instructions are non-existent. >>I am SO not surprised about the SeaClone. Adjusting/building the Turboflotor would be the realm of one of the other crewmembers here, Scott, Anthony, Jason, Kevin, Adam all, I believe, can help with that.  >The UV light is all set up and running. The live rock is in its second week of being cured and can hopefully be introduced this week. Is it a good idea to wash the live rock with freshwater in between water changes to get all the dead matter off it? >>No, not freshwater as in water we drink or bathe in. Fresh (or even the old) saltwater is what you want to use. A turkey baster or some such with which you can force water into a jet to blow off debris is the goal. >I have since acquired a 5" Passer Angel and he has settled in quite well. >>Great, I'm sure you'll love this fish! TONS of personality! >Regards the Lionfish and his interaction with the other fish it has been very interesting. >>Ah, yes.. you ever see that one James Bond movie? The title's lost on me right now. >The triggers and angels all swim together but the Lion is a pure loner, nobody every comes near him except during feeding. >>Not surprising, though they will swim about with each other in a sufficiently dimly lit system. >Can his venomous spines damage the other fish in the tank as they all seem afraid of him? >>Oh yes, they can sting, just like a bee.. well, maybe not exactly like a bee. They also know that he'll try to put anything in his mouth he thinks will fit (whether or not it's actually true). >Once again thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions and I hope to hear back from you soon.  Best Regards, Gary Bell  >>My pleasure, Gary. I'm glad to hear everything's going so well, and best of luck. Enjoy your fishes! Marina 

General Questions for Fish Only w/Live Rock setup >Dear WetWebMedia Crew: >>Hello Gary. >First of all, I would like to thank you for putting together such a comprehensive website. Your site has been an invaluable resource as I set up my first marine tank. >>Glad it's been of help to you, sorry for the late reply. It seems your query had been in someone's inbox for a little while, I'll help as best I can tonight. >The tank has been up for about 3 months. My current setup is as follows: 175 gallon "reef-ready" system (Wet/Dry with overflow box and sump underneath) SeaClone 150 Skimmer >>I hope the SeaClone has been performing properly for you. It has proved to be, frankly, among the worst of skimmers available on the market. >Angstrom 2537 UV Sterilizer (15W)- not yet connected >I have started to create a FOWLR (fish only with live rock) system and currently have the following inhabitants: 5-6" Clown Trigger 4" Humu Trigger 4" Yellow Tang 4" Volitans Lionfish 6" Emperor Angel (beginning to change from Juvenile to Adult) Currently I do not have any live rock but will adding some very shortly (45lb of Fiji pre-cured LR) >>Mm.. you've done it a bit backwards, mate. Usually, we get the live rock cured and established, *then* stock the system. You should know that some triggers are known to bite the spines off of Lionfishes, do watch for this behavior. >My readings are as follow: Temp: 78, SG: 1.018, Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, pH: 8.1/8.2 >>Sounds good so far, especially for a new system. >I feed a variety of frozen food including Krill, Prawns, Brine Shrimp, Silversides, and Formula 2. >>Great, you can add Selcon soaking to those foods a few times a week and be doing quite well. Also consider clam, squid, and octopus. Personally, I would leave out the brine entirely. >Also some fresh seaweed periodically for the yellow tang mostly.  >>The other fish will appreciate it, and I'd offer it daily. You can switch off with that and dark greens like romaine lettuce and Nori. >A few weeks ago the Humu started acting very unusually, he refused to eat, was breathing very rapidly, and would sit in coral he usually sleeps in all day and night. He began to lose some color and I suspected Velvet so I started a copper treatment using SeaCure Coppersafe for the entire system (I did not yet have a hospital tank). >>Oh jeez! Velvet is nasty and virulent. I have to be blunt, this is the WORST possible manner in which to treat. It's now been ten days, so I'll wait to hear what's happened during the interim, as velvet kills VERY quickly. >After about a week he began to show signs of recovery and seemed to get back to normal. At that exact time the Clown Trigger started showing the exact same signs so I continued the copper treatment (generally keeping the level at around .15ppm for fear of stressing the angel). The clown has since made a full recovery just as the Humu, in about the same amount of time. During this whole mess, my blue-spot grouper (about 7") who always seemed like the healthiest fish and ate voraciously simply died on day. >>You neglected to list this fish, because it died? You must not treat the display in this manner anymore. >Showed no signs of stress and was alive at noon, dead at 3pm (he looked very bloated). I suspect parasites because I have noticed the Angel nip at the bodies of all the other fish (the other fish actually seem to enjoy it as they do not swim away as he does it, they just patiently wait). >>Parasites while you're treating at prophylactic levels of copper? Know that the low levels, had you actually had velvet, would have done little to stop it. You may not have had velvet. Also, you should know that if you Google this stuff, it's a potent insecticide! >I was feeding live feeders in the very beginning (I have since stopped), simply because the lion and grouper would eat nothing else and I was tempted to see some purely predatory behavior :( I am hoping the UV light will end these concerns. >>Doubtful, the U.V. can only deal with what's in the water column at the time. Please search our site as well as a general Google on marine parasitic diseases, Amyloodinium, Oodinium, Cryptocaryon irritans in order to better understand the lifecycles and treatments for these parasites (obligate protozoans). >Please advise as to the best way for me to proceed as I really want this tank to be a success. I have grown very attached to all the fish, even though the clown seems to love biting me whenever my hand is in the tank. I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks in advance. Best regards, Gary Bell >>Gary, you MUST have a hospital tank. At this time, assuming no fish show no signs of disease, MANY large water changes are in order. Actually, considering your chosen residents, this will be the permanent order of things. If they show disease, it's best to be certain before treating, as you'll soon learn, each one requires a different treating protocol. The ONLY treatment I can recommend in the display is hyposalinity (1.007-1.010). You must have either a top notch lab grade float hydrometer or a refractometer properly calibrated to ensure you're actually at those therapeutic levels. Let me know how things are going at this late date. Marina

FOWLR Lighting Hi crew.<Howdy!> I've been reading you site for the past few months and its very informative. I'm in the planning stage of setting up a 100G FOWLR (no corals for me). My question is about lighting. You recommend getting around 2-3 watts per gallon. Why is that? Any special reason? Is it for the algae (coralline algae growth?) or for the fish?  Thanks and more power.<It is a very good idea to have upgraded lighting with live rock as it keeps many of the photosynthetic creatures from dying and there for less pollution. I think it also looks much better.> Jeto PS. I intend to follow what you preach in fishkeeping.<We try no to preach but thank you for the complement. And as Bob always says take any advice like a grain of salt and make sure you get as many different opinions as possible, or some thing to that extent. Cody>

- Moving from 30 to a 55 - I have a 30g FOWLR undergravel filter tank with a bio wheel that has been set up for a year. It has been doing great and so far no problems. I started as a FO tank but over time have added 40lb.s of LR. Now I feel I am ready for a 55g FOWLR tank. I do not want to use an undergravel filter in my new tank after reading you articles and I hate moving the LR when cleaning the crushed coral. I want to set up the 55g with; Live sand (how deep) <Either two inches or less OR four inches or more.> Live water LR PS 2 power heads (in the tank, no place else) 1 bio wheel. Will this work? <Should do fine - would like to see a protein skimmer in the mix.> My problem is that the existing tank has to go when the new tank comes in. Would putting some of the crushed coral under the LS help the cycling process in the new tank? <Yes, but the live rock will likely be doing most of the work.> Should I set up the Power heads with a sponge in the existing tank for a couple of weeks to help? <You can if you want - every little bit helps.> Thanks in advance for your help. Mike <Cheers, J -- > 

FOWLR - How much More Fowl Can it Get? (sans any punctuation to speak of) hello crew ! got one for you. I have a 25gal euro-Fil sump with a micron bag at the drain and an ev-180 skimmer and a foam block before going to my inline Iwaki return pump. I want to go with live rock in the 120 gal tank. can I get away without the inverts, sifters etc....? if so what would be the best substrate? and at what depth? <I would use crushed coral...or aragonite. And use about 1" of the substrate>after gaining experience with the live rock only I plan on later just adding a few snails and a few soft corals. thanks for any input.<Sounds good, IanB>

Inverting a FOWLR  Hello all, <Just one man today! Ryan with you>  I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with a protein skimmer ( SeaClown), Emperor 400 , 2 MaxiJet 900 powerheads and about 40lbs live rock.<Okay> The water parameters are as follows as of yesterday and since it cycled 6 months ago,. amm=0 nitrites = 0 nitrates=10 ppm, salinity=1.023, pH= 8.2 I have recently just started getting into inverts as I have had fish for years and wanted to go the next step. <Great> Right now this tank has no fish, 1 cleaner shrimp, some snails,2 large feather dusters, hermits and a few live rock hitchhikers including a small (1/2 inch across) sea urchin ( who may take a ride back to the LFS when he is not so cute and tiny). <Not a bad idea, he'll also eat coralline> I have been slowly buying polyps and inverts over the last month. I have some button polyps with a small Blastomussa on the rock and these polyps are doing fine and very reactive to motion and touch (from the shrimp). <OK>so have some fluorescent orange polyps that seem to be doing well also, not all are open, but the ones that are, are pretty big and intense looking. I also have a Ricordea that seems to be doing fine as it  shrinks a little each night and then reopens in the morning to it's full size. <Normal behavior> My 2 questions are this:  I have some rocks with yellow polyps on them, approx. 30-40 on each rock. the first few days I had them ( I bought them last week), they were fully opened but then most of them closed with the exception of 2-3 on each rock and have not opened since. The opened ones seem fine and are even sprouting little buds on the sides of their stalks, but overall most are closed up tight and don't seem to be in any hurry to open. Is this normal? <Would need to know the Latin name of this specific animal to be certain> Also I should mention that I have a Coralife 260 watt pc and all the above mention inverts are about 1/2 to 2/3rd the way up the tank and get slight to moderate current ( except for the Ricordea which is in a low current area 2/3rd the way up). <I would say that some of the colony has been damaged; New growth will be stronger and even more beautiful in time.>  The other question is this: I noticed the brown polyp rock I have had for a few weeks and seems to look fine was doing something strange yesterday. each polyp seemed to be ejecting long, stringy brown material from the center of each poly. It  lasted for about 20 minutes then they stopped. Is this their symbiotic algae being ejected and if so why do they do that? <The amount of available light is less than their previous environment, therefore creating an excess of zooxanthellae. Must be expelled, or it will die inside the animal's tissues, causing major problems.> The only changes to the tank since my last 10%water change 2 weeks ago ( I change 10% every 2 weeks at least if not more) was in that I changed a filter cartridge in my Emperor the day before and I feed the "tank" some Cyclop-eeze for the first time on the advice of my LFS ( who are very good and trustworthy, IMO, as they won't sell Nudibranchs or other impossible to keep creatures just to make a buck, and who give honest advice even if it means loss of a sale). <It's in the best interest of all saltwater shops to conduct business in this fashion- repeat business is what pays the rent.>   I also added Reef complete from Seachem as the LFS said it would help the tank overall especially when and if I eventually get into "true" corals. <It's pretty good stuff> I should also mention that all the inverts I bought were originally in a tank with a metal halide light. <That explains the expulsion of zooxanthellae.>  Anyways, I was just wanting to find out if I should be concerned about anything in my tank at this point and if so , what to do about it. <Leave it alone, allow things to adapt>  Overall I get the impression that everything is fine in the tank and I don't get that feeling we have all had that something is just not right ( every aquarist's 6th sense), but I am new at the invert level and just don't know enough to feel confident in my ability and knowledge, though I have spent many hours on this website learning and researching. Great website, keep up the good work and sorry for the long E-mail, but I know it helps you guys to have as much detail as possible. Thanks <You're on your way to a great reef- just take it slow, and let the natural processes work their magic. About 20 pounds of live rock could help give your filtration a little extra kick. Good luck, Ryan>  Jean

Help w/ FOWLR tank Hey Guys, <Michael here, catching up on emails now that I have a day off!>  Was wondering if I could get some advice out here in LA. I have a 125G tank (48x24x24) currently in the process of being made. I intend on it being fish only (Angels, Triggers, Puffer, Eel). <Well, it would be suitable for certain angels or a trigger or some species of pufferfish, but most definitely not all 3>  I am torn on:  1) Filtration - do I need bioballs? Or can I just get a Euro-Fil 2 filter and expect there to be enough bio filtration from the live rock (how much would I need in this case?). If you recommend bioballs, I was thinking Amiracle SL-400? <I recommend using a wet dry filter and a heavy duty skimmer. Did you mean the Amiracle MR-400? If so, that's an excellent wet\dry filter, and coupled with a good skimmer, would be perfect for your tank>  2) Skimming - will the ASM G1x be sufficient? Or would you go with G2 for a larger fish load? <If you wanted to go with that brand of skimmers, and seeing the G2x only costs about 10 dollars more, I would go with the larger one. I also recommend the AquaC Remora skimmers if you are looking for recommendations>  Thx so much for your help, <Anytime>  Tom  <M. Maddox>

New Tank Setup Hello Bob (or whoever is kind enough to be helping today), <Ryan here, hello!> I am going to set up a 90 gal. FOWLR aquarium, and being that I am new to the marine world have been reading a couple books, and going over your FAQs to try to gather information before getting started.  I was just hoping you could help me with a quick check to see if I am on the right path. <Surely> The fish I am looking into are neon gobies, clowns, royal Gramma, six-line wrasse, flame or coral beauty angel, and/or a Heniochus. <I am in support of all selections as wonderful beginner's fish.  Please wait 6 or more months before introducing the angelfish> But my question at this time pertains more to the overall setup.  I will let you know my plan and if you would be so kind as to let me know if it is workable or requires any adjustments. <No problem> I intend to get a drilled 90 gal tank, and use a 30 gal aquarium as the sump that is fed through a filter bag. <Very nice>  In the sump would be a Turboflotor 1000 in a first section. <If you haven't purchased it yet, perhaps look towards Euro-Reef or Aqua-C?  I have found these to be my favorite in-sump skimmers.>  A second section that could contain some sand and live rock, and the heaters. <You may want to skip the sand altogether- Sand wears down pumps very quickly.>  This would be followed by some baffles where I could use a sponge for polishing, and/or activated carbon and then a Eheim 1262 for the return pump. <Great> I intend to use 2-65w PC lighting, and place at least 45 pounds, more if I can afford it, of live rock in the main tank.  I guess my main question at this time is would I require more circulation than the one pump could provide? <I would recommend an additional form of circulation- Anything from a pair of maxi-jet 1200's will work> IYO would I be better off curing the live rock in the new tank with sand, or curing it in a separate container, and then moving it to the display tank? <Curing in a separate container is ideal, because you have the opportunity to remove unwanted specimens on the way to the display.  Make sure to take a clean toothbrush, and remove all Valonia, Aiptasia, dead sponge, etc.> Finally, if I intend to store pre-mixed water in a garbage can, for water changes, how big of a power head do I need in there for circulation? <Not too large at all- Just powerful enough that the surface does not become stagnant.> Thank you very much for your time, you folks offer a wonderful service. <Price is sure right! Good luck, Ryan> Dan Kohne

Filtration in a FOWLR setup - 3/2/04 In regards to your wonderful insights. <My/our pleasure>  This will be a fish only tank. <Very well>  I understand that the live rock acts as natural biological filtration. <You bet. The best filtration>  What about mechanical and chemical? Are they not important? <Well, yes. As long as a watchful eye is kept to them. Read about them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marmechf.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm> Or will the protein skimmer take care of the mechanical part of it. <To some degree yes but doesn't hurt to have additional measures for handling bioload> I'm also nervous about live rock, since my last batch contained a 5 inch bristleworm (talk about panic mode). <Not really something to panic about. Most bristleworms prove to be useful overall>  I got no sleep the night I found that. <I wouldn't worry much about it.> I ripped that tank apart and totally flipped out.  What can I say, I'm a girl, and it was scary looking. <They are scary and they are made out to be threatening to inhabitants but I assure you that only the very largest of bristleworms are a real threat> So are you saying that if I get more live rock, I won't need the Fluval 404 at all? <Well, in some ways yes. Read the sites above and the FAQ links and judge for yourself. The answers are there with some will on your part> I hate to ask, what must seem like basic questions, but I want to make sure I do this right. <Noooo.....I totally understand! I found this site way too late in my setup. That is why I help here.>  Also, what exactly does a protein skimmer do? < http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/proteinskimmers/a/aa052200.htm> Any help would be much appreciated.  Thanks again. <The pleasure is all mine, Cathy. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Cathy

Live rock only tank? Hello, <Hi there> I have had moderate success in the past with a fish only 10 gal......It lasted 3 years with a Skilter filter modified with a wooden airstone and regular 1 gallon per week water changes before I had to move.   Rather than dismantling, transporting and re-setting up, I gave the fish to a local reef store.  Anyways, that was 7 years ago. I haven't had a tank since. <Can be done> Now here I am in a new place in life, and wanting back "in".  I have bought a 20 gallon tank and a Seaclone skimmer (I know, I know....I wish I had found this website before I bought that one! No matter...read on)  I also bought a Coralife light strip.  It has 1 daylight and 1 actinic Compact Flour each with dedicated power and 4 built in fans. It's neat for a small setup like this.  So far, I put in the saltwater, 1 bag of Aragalive substrate (about 1" deep.) and one 7" diameter live rock to cycle the tank. Now, 1 month old, it is cycled.  I tested way too much, driving my wife crazy, but I saw the ammonia go up and down, and the Nitrate go up and down. The nitrite cycle must have been quick, because I never got anything other than 0. <Happens>   All three are currently zero.  I fed the tank 1 capful of DTs to help fuel the bacteria.  I got a short diatom outbreak which subsided, and now it looks great.  The SeaClone produces about 2 ounces of watery green and brown smelly (needs more tweaking). Now I have ordered 25 more lbs. of live rock.  It should be here today.  My ultimate goal is to have only live rock with lots of coralline, a cleaning crew of snails and crabs, a clone BTA (captive propagated), and a pair of ocellaris clowns (not the natural clown pair for a BTA, but I have read that they will accept a BTA as home). <Most of the time, yes> To some this may sound boring, but I'm thrilled and excited, and I am sure not ready to go deeper into the hobby (reef) with this equipment, IMO. <Okay> The BTA and clowns will not be purchased for several months.  I really want to get my live rock and cleaners in check.  I really want to understand the needs of a "live rock only" setup. <Sounds good> Now, since there are no animals to speak of, can I support the rock system with only water changes, trigluconate calcium, and Reef Builder? <Yes>   I have read practically all of the posts on WWM, and they tend to dance around this question. I don't want to use anything that will add the chloride. It seems crazy to have to get into Kalkwasser or calc reactors for such a small, no coral setup. <Not necessary> Also, with no fish, do I need to feed the tank occasionally to keep the bacteria bed alive (like the DT's phytoplankton)? <Adding just a "bit" of food occasionally would be beneficial... the equivalent of a few flakes or such per week> I was disturbed at the post below.  It insinuates that my live rock will die in a FOWLR setup. I hope not.  My goal is coralline algae. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fowlrfaqs.htm >>Lighting for FOWLR >>hello, I just got 7lbs or live rock for my 55gal (I'm going slow), and I am using 1 PowerGlo and 1 marine Glo. is this >>enough lighting for my FOWLR tank?<it should be> or should I replace the 1 Marineglo with another PowerGlo?<you >>could> do the live rocks need actinic lighting?<they look better, most of the LR will die anyways w/out reef >>chemistry>  I like the look of 2 PowerGlo better.<me too>also, I have a remote 5 gal tank with 4 inches of DSB in it. >>will this give me denitrification if run slow water to it thru my system? if so, how much water turnover? <you could make >>this into a small refugium and then upgrade to say a 20gal aquarium later, It will be very beneficial for your fish-do read >>about refugiums on the WWM site http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> >>what plants do u suggest I add to that refugium to help with water quality? I was thinking of Chaetomorpha or tang >>heaven.<yeah these two sp. have proven to work well> I heard of staying away from Caulerpa.<agreed> also, what >>supplements do I need to add now that I have live rock? calcium or Kalkwasser? and how about if I add macro algae? >><you really don't need to add any supplements in a FOWLR system, good luck with everything, it sounds like you are >>on the right track, IanB> Thanks for your help, and great website! Mike M. <Mmm, I think/consider that you should do just fine with your plans. Bob Fenner>

More FOWLR Questions... Thanks a lot Scott, I just come back to office from a long holiday, really appreciated your quick and sharp answers that relief me a lots. <Glad to be of help!> As I am new to this hobby, forgive me to ask a few more questions : <Sure! That's why we're here!> I plan to install a fan (6 inch exhaust fans, is it ok?) to my main tank (with no canopy) to reduce the temperature, may I know what is the best way to place it ? <You may have to experiment. Some people like to direct the fan's flow across the water surface at the top of the tank, lengthwise. Other hobbyists advocate blowing the fans directly into the water...Try them both and see which works best for you> I plan to place it somewhere at the center of the main tank (but a bit to real side and hiding behind the lighting stand) and blow it direct to the surface of water (right angle at 90 degree). Is it ok? <Sounds like a logical arrangement...Give it a try!> However, I have been told that it would be best to adjust it at certain angle (says about 45 degree) to increase its efficiency. Is it true ? (but the installation job would be harder.) <Try the easiest way first! That way, you won't have had to go to all of the effort if it doesn't work well!> As mentioned before, I placed some feather-like Caulerpa to my refugium. I heard that this kind of long feather Caulerpa will release toxic substances into the water when tangs have eaten it and release the toxin together with its waste, is the statement true ? <Well, to a certain extent, it is true. Damaged Caulerpa fronds do leach out substances into the water which can have adverse effects on corals. When the algae goes into its reproductive phase and releases sex products into the water, serious environmental degradation can potentially occur...I'm not saying that you are guaranteed to have a disaster if you use Caulerpa, but it's something to consider. That's what I like to use macroalgae that have less potential for problems, such as Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria, just to mention a few> Just purchased a 2 inch Moral Goby (sleeper/shifter goby) with very cheap price (about USD3.50 after Rringgit to USD conversion). Will Moral Goby burrow under gravel? Will it be harmful/destructive to my 4 inch DSB with plenum? How do you rate this fish in term of easy keeping ? (easy, easy to medium, medium, medium to difficult and difficult ?). I plan to add few more gobies to my tank (fire goby & LG goby), will they be fighting each other? <Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the common name that you're using for this fish. If you can provide a scientific name or a picture, I might be able to help out. Gobies that dig in the sand bed are definitely a potential problem with a plenum-equipped system. Although the top screen in the plenum design may alleviate some potential problems caused by "diggers", I'd avoid using fishes that carry this potential> I checked the specific gravity of my tank yesterday, it has been raised to about 1.030 without my knowledge (may be due to too many live rock I added and water evaporation). Will it be too high for my FOWLR system? <Well, it will not be good for the long run...You should get it down to a "normal" level...> What is the max allowable gravity the marine fish can stand? <Well, many fishes can handle horrific s.g. levels, but you're best keeping them at 1.022-1.025, IMO> Really appreciated your expertise. Thanks you very much !!! Best regards, PJ <Glad to help, PJ! Good luck!>

FOWLR Questions Hello crew, first of all, thanks for valuable info available in your website which is very resourceful & helpful. I have a few questions to ask, which I have summarized into a point form: <Sure> 1. I have a 90 gal FOWLR tank (with 30 gal refugium) fill up with 50 lbs of live rocks, 4 tube worms, 4 inches DSB, 6 fishes of average 3 inches of size, about 2 months old. I have installed 2 auto-timer for my lighting, 1 for main tank and another 1 for refugium. The timer for main tank is set to on at : 6am to 10am and 5pm to 11pm. The timer for refugium is set to on at : reverse/opposite to main tank. Will that be okay ? <Sure! A great way to help stabilize system pH. The reason I set different on-period for main tank is because I wake up and work on 6:15am and return home at 5:30pm. I don't want to on the light for too long as I don't have a chiller and don't want to overheat my tank (I have 2 30W full spectrum + 1 actinic blue install in main tank). 2. Will 50 lbs of LR be sufficient for my FOWLR tank. My LFS suggest that fishes need more swimming space, so I have taken out 20lbs of LR and put into the refugium <I am of the "less rock is okay" school. I think that 50lbs is just fine for a FOWLR tank> 3. Is the calculation of gal for a aquarium tank including the non water portion of the tank, or just water portion ? <The gallons calculation is the total water capacity of the aquarium. Obviously, when you put in the rock, sand, etc., the water capacity is diminished somewhat. So, your 90 gallon tank might hold 50 gallons of water after you account for these items.> 4. I have bought a 2.5 inches Singapore Angel 2 days ago, it looks quite healthy and never stop picking at my LR, however I have a problem to feed it, looks like it refuse to take any kind of flake foods that I current offer to my fishes (damsels, crowns, tangs). I can't get any details info about Singapore Angel fish in your website, so can you help to advise if anyway (or anything) I can feed it ? <This is a fish that has a reputation for being a bit touchy, in terms of feeding. You may need to try different frozen foods, such as Mysis, etc. The live rock will provide ample foraging for a while, but keep trying different foods> 5. My tank temperature is quite consistent at 30degree Celsius (or lowest is 29degree). Is it ok ? (the fish looks quite happy with good appetite except the Singapore). <I like a slightly lower temperature (like 25-26 degrees C).> 6. I know that the optimum temperature should be around 25 degree Celsius, does it applies to tropical marine fishes also ? <Yep!> I have been to a few marine park in East coast Malaysia that the water is warmer in day time. <Yes, but I think it's easier to maintain smaller closed systems at lower temperatures, as the water holds more oxygen, and things (both good and bad) happen a bit slower!> 7.The return water from main tank flows very strong in my refugium that creates a lot of bubbles, will it be causing any trouble with the green plants and live rock in it ? <Not in my opinion. There is some thought that microbubbles may irritate corals, but this should not be a problem in your tank. Mainly an aesthetic consideration> 8. I heard that the LR with sponges (half transparent in white colour) will create problem to the tank, is that true ? <Only if there is a massive die-off of sponges during cycling, as they can foul the water rather quickly. Otherwise, they will be an interesting part of your aquarium> Sorry to bother you with too much questions but you are the best ones that I know who can help to answer my questions accurately. Thanks. Best regards, PJ <Glad to be of assistance, PJ! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tank With A Vision I've been reading a ton again! <Excellent habit to have!> I love this site.  It's now my homepage. <Mine, too. LOL> I have a decided I want to have a fish only/live rock tank community tank. I purchased 250 lbs of live rock to be added on Tuesday. I have 200 lbs of fine aragonite sand (about 2-3inches deep) I also am adding a calcium reactor.  Don't think I need it for live rock, but I have it for when I decide to step up to full reef. <Good move...The "itch" will likely strike, particularly if you hang out with SPS geeks, like I do...You can't resist these people! They are generous to a fault, and soon your tank will be filled with "fuzzy sticks", and you'll be obsessed with seeing purple tips on your Acropora! Ahhrrghhh!> My question involves bio bale.  Do I live it in or take it out?  I read to take it out for reek but leave it for fish.  I also read to take out the prefilter and sponges in overflow box. <I personally like to remove all plastic media. You can use the sponge, but clean it really frequently (like daily), or it will become a "nutrient trap" of sorts.> If I do take them out do I need any mechanical filters? <Well, you can use "micron filter socks" or other media, as long as you change them or clean them very frequently> Should I just fill the sump with live rock too? <I would> Does the live rock in a sump have to be full submerged? <For the most part.> Does my sand need to be deeper? <I subscribe to the "1/2" or less or 3" or more" philosophy. Although, I just read an article in a magazine by accomplished aquarist/author Richard Harker which seems to imply that a 2-3 inch bed is acceptable. It all goes to show you that there are so many viewpoints on this. I'd follow generally accepted techniques, and go with what works best for you.> Thanks Again.....I value your opinion and take you advice immediately....Anxiously awaiting, Dave Boswell <Glad that things are going well, Dave. It's important to have a vision and plan. Just avoid people hawking those "fuzzy sticks", and you'll be okay for a while! LOL! Regards, Scott F.>

-Lighting for FOWLR- I am considering purchasing better lighting for my 72g bowfront w/the canopy. The lighting that came with the setup is a typical Twin tube strip light that accommodates 2 48" inch bulbs.  I will eventually end up w/90lbs of live rock, assorted peaceful fish and hardy invertebrates.  From what I have been reading in 'CMA', this type of lighting may not be sufficient for the live rock and invertebrates. Before I go spending the money, is this the case? If so, what type of lighting setup could I go with that would also fit in well with the canopy I purchased (not too hot or bulky)? I currently have one 10,000K daylight bulk and one 50/50 Actinic/Daylight. <This question has been answered plenty of times here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm Try to use our search feature more often, as this site is spilling over with information. Hope this helps! -Kevin> Thank you, Brian

- New Tank Setup - I am going from a 30 gal FOWLR to a 58 gal reef ready FOWLR tank. I have a Merlin sand filter a Prizm protein skimmer w/surface skimmer an Ebo Jager 200 watt heater an AquaClear 200 filter a couple of sweeping powerheads for water movement about 10 lbs of live rock (getting more every week) all of this is in my 30 gal what else do I need to get or upgrade for the 58 gal. The tank will be drilled (I guess no kidding if it is reef ready) what do I need under the tank where it is drilled and so on I appreciate everything you guys do, your the best, the most wonderful, intelligent, (if I keep going will you also come over and set it all up for me) <No.> witty, knowledgeable........lol........ thanks again.  Steve <Steve, sounds to me like you've got some work to do. A good place to start would be reading the various articles and FAQs in our marine setup section:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm  Most of the equipment you describe is built to hang on the back of the tank, and the nature of drilled tanks is such that the typical set-up involves some type of sump and all equipment is kept below the tank. Likewise, you should invest in a larger quantity of live rock - try to get to about one pound per gallon. As for what goes under the overflow... it's time to work with PVC pipe. If you are decidedly not comfortable with this, consider working with the store where you've bought all this stuff and have the tank installed for you. Cheers, J -- >

- FOWLR Lighting - I wrote earlier this week about a problem, but I'm not sure if the email went through or if you have been backed up and unable to respond. Anyhow, the question I had was about the lighting for my 72g Oceanic (23" height).  The lighting I currently have is the typical Twin tube strip light that accommodates 2 48" bulbs with a polished aluminum reflector (AGA light, Oceanic tank).  The bulbs I am using are a 50/50 Actinic/Daylight 6000k and a 10000k daylight. I will eventually have a FOWLR tank w/90 lbs of live rock, assorted hardy inverts, and 5-6 small, peaceful fish. From what I have been reading in 'CMA' and other sources, the lighting I currently have may not be strong enough to sustain some of the life that may grow on the live rock. Is this the case? <I don't think so... do believe this will be plenty of light for a FOWLR tank. The live rock will do fine.> If so, what type of lighting would I be able to use along with the canopy I purchased w/the tank (Space/heat concerns)? <You could upgrade to Power Compacts or VHO if you wanted more lighting intensity, but I don't think it's necessary.> If not possible to use w/the canopy, then possibly something that will rest safely upon the glass top? Any recommendations are more than welcome. Thank you very much. -Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Coral in the FOWLR, and More -  Hi,  Thanks for all the information you provide on the website. I am a newbie and have two questions. My first question is is it possible to add some type of coral to a fish only system? <Sure.> I currently have regular lighting that came with the tank. I would like to add something other than live rock and fish. <Well, then start by improving that lighting just a tad - perhaps up to power compact fluorescents... then consider some Gorgonians - very nice, and very bad tasting so your fish won't bug them.> My second question is I am building a refugium and should I put the skimmer (Euro-reef CS6-1) before the refugium or after? <I'd go before.> I currently have a 90gl system.  Thanks again for your website, it is a dictionary of information. <Glad you find it useful.>  Jose  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Coral in the FOWLR, Follow-up - Hi and thanks for the quick response on my questions, I really appreciate it. <My pleasure.> In regards to my sump/refugium, the order of water flow will be the following: <??? Nothing followed.> Do you have any recommendations that I should consider. <Without knowing your plan, no...> I am planning on buying the PC's as you recommended and I will have a couple of reef safe fish (1-Fairy wrasse, 2-percula clowns, 1-royal gamma).  I was also planning on purchasing some saraxanthiums (Sorry for the spelling). <Not sure at all what coral you might be misspelling... do look around on the invertebrate section of our site and see if you can identify it a bit more specifically. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm > I currently have a 90 gal with Live Rock.  If there is additional info you might need, please let me know and I will reply. <None that I can think of.> Thanks again for all your hard work and assistance, Jose <Cheers, J -- >

Live rock first or fish first? Hi ,       I am setting up a saltwater tank and I'm almost finished putting all the live rock in. Can you tell me if I can put in a fish before all my live rock is in.<you can but make sure to add the liverock slowly...around 5lbs at a time, you don't want your aquarium to cycle again> My tank is all done cycled I  just need some more live rock and fish. I am just adding 2 more pieces. Would this be ok. <yea you should be fine, good luck, IanB>     Thanks

I know You must be sick of answering  Fish/Reef Q's, but.... over 20 yrs experience with F/water....and now converting a 85G f/water tank using existing equipment to a Marine tank using the following a modified UGF with a Maxi-jet 1200 w/approx:4.5" substrate (crushed coral) AquaClear 500 w/surface Skimmer and BioStars <I would not use this setup....I would go with a sump/refugium setup which will prove to be more beneficial than the route that you seem to be going> I would like to have a Fish/Live Rock/Invertebrate environment Max Bioload: 15 small fish , i.e. Yellowtail Damsels, Invertebrates. still TBD<The refugium will help both your small fish and inverts> Is this going to be ok (as far as filtration/water flow/etc).<It might work out. but don't you want to do what's best for your fish? I would go with the sump/refugium> I don't want to have top invest in anymore equipment...<Well I would invest both your money and time in setting up a refugium for this aquarium, Good luck with your decision making, IanB> Thanks for any advice

Lighting for a 15 gallon salty - 10/10/03 Hi guys, <Hiya> You have the best, most comprehensive site on the web for marine aquarists. <Well......I agree>  I have a question regarding a 15 gallon FOWLR system. <OK. Shoot> I currently have only a single florescent bulb, a Rio powerhead, and an AquaClear 150 running on my tank. <On a 15 gallon? Is this enough? Heheheh>  I'm thinking about moving up to a power compact lighting of some sort and possibly a Prizm skimmer. <The Prizm skimmer is fairly loud and not exactly getting rave review from aquarists. Please, check through the many reef forums out there for some opinion. (make the best decision possible the more you know) I like the CPR Bak Pak or the Aqua C line of skimmers. It doesn't hurt to have skimmer rated a bit higher than your system. Lighting is always a nice upgrade if it can be afforded and in most reef cases, even very necessary>  I have a pair of ocellaris clowns, <In such a small space....hmmm......> jaw fish, <Deep sand bed?> a royal Gramma, a star fish, one cleaner shrimp and a few snails.  Do you have any suggestions as to what types of lighting would be good? <Well a power compact will likely be fine here. Again, only to bring out colors of the fish as you didn't mention any corals. Lighting in a Fish Only With Love Rock tank is less necessary than if you were to say....plan coral additions or macro algae, in my opinion> I am thinking about the new custom Sealife PC/moonlight systems (are they worth the $$$?) <Well, I use them. Have for years. Good quality for the money, in my opinion> or a Coralife PC (or anything you suggest, hehe). <All good choices here>  Also would it be OK to add some corals or should I get some kind of sump going before I do that? <Get the sump going for the fishes sake not the coral. It is up to you, but be sure to find the corals you are interested in and then research their needs for lighting, compatibility with your current inhabitants, water quality needs, feeding, flow, etc. and then purchase your items around that information. This is an often overlooked and very important step in my experience>  THANKS!!!  Mike Chang <Thank for asking. -Paul>

Lighting for FOWLR hello, I just got 7lbs or live rock for my 55gal (I'm going slow), and I am using 1 PowerGlo and 1 marine Glo. is this enough lighting for my FOWLR tank?<it should be> or should I replace the 1 Marineglo with another PowerGlo?<you could> do the live rocks need actinic lighting?<they look better, most of the LR will die anyways w/out reef chemistry>  I like the look of 2 PowerGlos better.<me too>also, I have a remote 5 gal tank with 4 inches of DSB in it. will this give me denitrification if run slow water to it thru my system? if so, how much water turnover? <you could make this into a small refugium and then upgrade to say a 20gal aquarium later, It will be very beneficial for your fish-do read about refugiums on the WWM site http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> what plants do u suggest I add to that refugium to help with water quality? I was thinking of Chaetomorpha or tang heaven.<yeah these two sp. have proven to work well> I heard of staying away from Caulerpa.<agreed> also, what supplements do I need to add now that I have live rock? calcium or Kalkwasser? and how about if I add macro algae?<you really don't need to add any supplements in a FOWLR system, good luck with everything, it sounds like you are on the right track, IanB>

-Lighting a 'FOWLR'- Hi Guys, Am setting up a 125 gal. reef set-up with anemones, fish live rock, live sand, shrimp, crabs, etc. (no coral). <Keep in mind that you should only have one anemone per tank (unless it's a cloning BTA), and that, generally speaking, it's best to get your feet wet in keeping coral (you'll find that many species are much easier to keep than anemones)> The tank is 72 Lx18Wx22H. I would like to hang 2or3   Aqualine 175 ,10,000k pendants 12" over  top. How does this sound? <Sounds great!> Also, should I cover the tank with a glass hinged cover, egg crate type ceiling light cover, or just leave open. <If fish jumping is not an issue, I'd leave it open. The egg crate is pretty blinding when you walk up to the tank, and glass can trap beaucoup heat, along with adding a potentially significant light reduction.> How long should I leave on every day and should I put on a timer to go on and off during the day e.g. on at  7am for 4hrs, off at 11 for 4 hrs., on at 3 for 5 hrs.??? <I'd put them all on timers for 8-10 hours straight per day.> I figure I could probably get away with Fluorescents but I like the look of metal halide light and the open top style of tank. <I hear ya, I'm a halide user for life. -Kevin> Thanks in advance. Louie

-Advice for new FOWLR- Hi folks - I'm setting up a FOWLR system. I already have a very small reef system with a pair of common clowns and a few stony corals but there's no room in there for any more fish so it has to be a new tank... <Sweet!> Here is the proposed setup: 4' x 15" x 15" display tank (max. water volume about 40 gal) <Ahhh, nice and shallow. A bit narrow no? Reminds me of a 55, but a little wider.> 3' x 12" x 12" sump (max. water volume about 24 gal) Circulation: I have drilled the display tank with three 1.5" bulkheads and will have an Eheim 1260 returning water from the sump at about 500 gph via a manifold at the top of the display tank. I will probably supplement this with powerheads lower in the tank, perhaps behind the rockwork. <Good idea. Get as much flow in there as you can.> Filtration: I propose to put 40 lb of live rock on 0.5" of sand in the display tank. <Although the tank is relatively shallow already, I would still encourage you to install a 3.5" minimum deep live sand bed to benefit from all the goodies that they have to offer.> I would like to divide the sump into three chambers: skimmer (Turboflotor 1000), deep sand bed and return. If I do this, the area for the DSB will be about 18" x 12". Do you think this combination of skimmer, LR in the display and DSB in the sump will provide adequate filtration? <I would go with a different skimmer, I've used the Turboflotor and now you couldn't pay me to take one. Precision Marine and AquaC make some pretty incredible skimmers for reasonable prices, you should look into them.> Should I add LR to the DSB chamber in the sump as well? <That is up to you. It's a good idea to have this DSB chamber, an even better one to have a DSB in the main tank as well. Sorry, I just really love DSB's!> I would also like some advice about stocking this tank. I would like three or four interesting, colourful, and hardy fish. I would love your opinion on the suitability of the following fish/wish list for my setup: scarlet Hawkfish - Neocirrhites armatus long nosed butterfly - Forcipiger flavissimus <Will be fine for a while, but they do max out just under 8" long> flame angel - Centropyge loricula tomato clown - Amphiprion frenatus orchid Dottyback - Pseudochromis fridmani sixline wrasse - Pseudocheilinus hexataenia <Everything sounds good, I wish you great success! -Kevin> Many thanks John Kellett

-FOWLR follow-up- Thanks a lot Kevin AND Scott for your helpful replies to my FOWLR questions. <You're very welcome, we're happy to help!> I watched a juvenile scarlet Hawkfish in a holding tank for about 20 minutes in the LFS. He watched me right back! I've also observed one in a full blown reef setup and they're fascinating fish. <That they are, got to love the independent eye motion!> I did wonder whether the long nosed butterfly might get too big - thanks for confirming this. I'll wait for a bigger system before trying one of these guys. <Excellent idea, I wish you much luck with this setup. -Kevin> John

Ideal 45gal FOWLR setup? Hey guys, Thanks for the most informative site on the web! No need to say more! <thanks kindly :) > I am about to setup my first FOWLR tank after 10 years. I have been reading your site for months in prep and I have a few final questions.  Thank you for taking the time to assist me in a hopefully successful setup. Sorry my questions are bouncing all over. -Here's my setup: 45 Gal (36x12x22) All glass compact fluor. w/ 2 55W bulbs Deciding on a Aqua C Remora or Remora Pro (for future larger tank) <yes... the latter if possible> Emperor 400 w/o bio wheels-for basic mech and carbon filtering 40 lbs live rock added 20lbs at a time for $$$ reasons 40 lbs of live aragonite <you do not need anywhere near this much live sand... just a couple pounds literally to seed a dry bed. Take this money saved and buy more live rock please> 1 or 2 powerheads -I would like to have: 1 tang-not sure which type, possible yellow eye or similar less aggressive <a 45 gallon tank is not big enough for any tang species really... but a Yellow Eye/Kole tang is a very good choice. They are excellent brown algae grazers> 3 tank raised O clowns 2 green Chromis 1 fox face-small 1 pajama cardinal and a goby or 2 also a few turbo snails, blue legs and scarlet reefs and cleaner shrimp -Would all get along or should 1 or 2 be deleted? <all good except for the tang... and do seek the smallest Foxface species for the same reason (slow growing fortunately)> -Will any fish or cleaners work against the growth of my live rock? <no serious problems here> -My live rock will be from my LFS and will be added in 2 or 3 parts, if the LR is cured should it be added after my cycle or during? <as early as possible to ensure a better start> -Will there be any danger to my fish to add any cured rock at a later date? <its a good habit to refresh/add live rock periodically> -Will the 2 55W C-Fluorescents be enough for coralline algae, mushroom, leather and polyps in a tank this deep and what type bulb combo do you recommend? <it can work... but keep corals in the top 10" of water here under weaker lamps> -Will the 40 lbs of live rock be enough to not need a wet/dry even if added 15 lbs at a time <yes... without the tang and Foxface> -I am getting the impression that the Aqua C Remora is one of the best, are there any advantages or disad. of getting a HOT or setting up a sump, I am fearful on a leak problem with the sump and have never dealt with a sump before. <sumps do not overflow with proper planning. I find them highly advantageous and would not discourage you from one> -How necessary will RO water be for this setup, I have a city well that is treated but I'm sure it's high in phosphates, will this affect my LR growth? <more a problem with possibly causing problematic nuisance algae growth. Seek DI or RO water if possible> -Where should my powerheads be located? <opposing each other to converge and create random turbulent water flow> -And last what chemicals do you recommend for nice coralline algae growth on the LR with my existing lighting setup? <Seachem's Reef Calcium is a nice supplement to Kalkwasser (calcium hydroxide), SeaBuffer and regular water changes> Thank You once again for the great service you provide to our hobby!!  Randy-Chicago <very welcome, my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

-Invert bio-load?- I have had a 100gl marine tank for about three months now and want to  start stocking with fish.  My question is, if I already have 30 blue legged hermits 3 emerald crabs and 30 turbo snails, will this bio-load of inverts effect how many fish I will be able to stock? <If you have ample liverock, and some sort of substrate on the bottom of the tank, and it's efficiently filtered, you probably couldn't crash the tank if you tried (ok, well maybe you could, but the answer is no, they don't count unless they require much additional food).> If yes, how much? Is there a general rule of thumb like there is for fish,1/2" per gallon", on stocking? <Ew, as far as I'm concerned there is no 1/2" of fish per gallon rule. If that was true, does that mean you can toss in 50 1" green Chromis?>  If so what is it? <I'm sure somebody has come up with a X grams of hermit crab biomass per gallon, but it has much more to do with available food and crab-crab aggression that decides how many crabs the tank can support (same deal w/ snails).> I have not been successful in finding any information on this topic from the books I have been reading. <Glad to hear it. Basically, at this point, you'll only need to add any snails or hermits if they're not keeping up with algae growth (which would mean that you are having a nutrient control issue as well). Stocking the tank with fish is more about making sure everybody gets along and that nobody's cramped. The way we set up tanks (come to think of it, I don't know how your tank is set-up...) these days with plenty of live rock, sand, and a good protein skimmer, bio-load is really not an issue if nutrients are properly controlled. The tank finds its max "bio-load" by personality conflicts :) > I really enjoy this site for all the information it has to offer and the expertise/experience you guys share.  Whenever I get stuck I can always find an answer here, even if it's not the one I want to hear," see ICH Cures". <Hehe, excellent! Good luck, Kevin>  Thanks again

-Stocking a 30 FOWLR- Hi,  am in the process of setting up a 30 Gallon marine tank (this is the largest tank we can have unfortunately). I have read many articles and believe that as a fish only setup I can have about 15" fish in total. <Ew, toss that cheesy 1" of fish per 2 gallon rule right out the window. Your final stocking level will necessarily be much lower than that.> I will be using liverock, skimmer and an external canister for filtration. I would like a pair of clownfish, but I am stuck as too what other fish would be suitable for my system. I'd rather have more smaller fish than one or two large fish <Not the tank for large fish, keep them under 3" full grown.> , your recommendations would be very much appreciated. <I'd suggest picking up Scott Michaels Pocket Guide to Marine Fishes, it has some pretty good minimum tank size recommendations for most of the common fish you'll see in the trade. I'd look into neon gobies, shrimp gobies w/ pistol shrimp, Pseudochromis, and Cardinalfish for starters. If you'd like some sort of guide as to how many fish should be in this tank, I'd say 4-5 small, peaceful, lil buggers. If there is any question of particular fish being too large for the tank, please don't hesitate to ask. Good luck! -Kevin> Regards, Ian Barnett

FOWLR filtration 09/01/03 <Good morning, PF with you> I've got a question for you. New tank, several messy eaters in a 90 gallon (not set up yet). Porcupine know about the size) <Unless you want a tank about 4 or 5 times that size, I'd say no> Trigger of some kind looked at a Pinktail but the size) Pinkface wrasse yellow tang maybe some others Thought about two triggers) <I would stop right there, you're already getting close the limit> Anyway, I've already bought 50 lbs of base rock that I plan to seed with about 45 lbs of live rock. My skimmer is a Berlin with a mag5. Would I benefit from wet dry technology with the bioload I could be face with? I so, would the live rock help control nitrates? Please help, I'm ready to set up, but I read so many conflicting opinions. <Well, A DSB wouldn't hurt www.WetWebMedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm. A refugium would also be a very good idea, not only pulling nutrients out through macro algae, but also by providing food items for your fish. www.WetWebMedia.com/refugium.htm. A wet/dry will remove ammonia, but it will also breed nitrates. While fish are less susceptible to nitrates, they're still not good for them. Hope this helps, PF>

FOWLR tank stocking Hi guys, my name is Clay Smith and I have a 55 gallon tank that has been up and running for a year and a half already. <Hi Clay, and welcome!> It has a 35 gallon sump, 15 gallon refugium that has an opposite photo period , 600 gph pump running the overflows, canister filter, and 3 VHO fixtures.45 pounds LR and a 2 inch sand bed. <Sounds good> Up until now this ahs been strictly a predator tank with a few corals to add some color.  I would like to remove the predatory fish and have a more peaceful tank. I was thinking     1 pair clownfish( either maroon or blue stripe)     1 mandarin dragonette     1 royal Gramma     1 Blueband goby 3 purple Firefish. I am wondering if this would be a likely set up. Any info would be great. Thanks guys. <The only potential problem I see is the mandarin. Many, many of these fish simply starve to death in captivity. You need to have a very high population of pods and such in your tank to support these guys. Good luck with your new setup, Don> Clay Smith

FOWLR Hey guys, great site, very informative.  I find my self all over your site and I am looking for some tank size specific info. I've have African cichlids for 12 years and am starting a 45 gal FOWLR with a All Glass 36" compact florescent (w 2-55W bulbs). Space limits my width to 36".  My filters are as follows: 25lbs live rock, emperor 400(for mechanical and adding carbon-I am going to try this without a wet/dry, small tank and fear of Infamous WET/DRY TIME BOMB), Aqua C Remora PRO HOT.<sounds pretty good>   Could you suggest the optimum fish setup for this tank size.<as long as you keep up with water changes this setup should be fine>  I would like reef friendly, hardy, colorful fish without having to have all blennies and gobies. <ok>  I like the color of the yellow tang but I am afraid of the ick issue. <if you qt him for 4wks he should be fine> I want a pair of clowns for sure. <ok> Could a lemon peel work for this size?<it could, but they are not as hardy as some Centropyge angels>   Also, what would be a complementary reef invert. setup? <well if I had a 45 gal aquarium- I would have a Pseudocheilinus ocellatus (mystery wrasse), golden pygmy angelfish, blood shrimp, and some scarlet cleaner shrimp along with like 50lbs of LR, etc> Will the 2-55W bulbs work with the 22" depth of the 45 gal on mushroom corals and others?<you could do this. but you should research before you purchase them>  As I am prepared for the additional maint. of a salt setup I would like all to play well together and not eat or destroy and of the costly reef inverts. <agreed, do read more about corals on the WWM site>I am looking to increase my success by compatibility on all levels.  Thanks for any info you can provide.   Randy-Chicago <good luck, IanB>

Re: Lighting for FOWLR If I went with 3 250W MH will that be too much light for any fish?  Do you recommend one manufacturer of MH bulbs over others (maybe better quality/value/etc.)? <Well, D'Wayne, that will certainly provide ample light for a FOWLR <G>. Should not cause a problem. The Aqualine/Buschke seems to get high marks around here. Don> D'Wayne

RE: Lighting for FOWLR Will any of the suggestions you made require the use of a chiller given the following (My biggest concern are the metal halides): <That will depend on a number of variables. If heat becomes a problem, many have been successful using evaporative cooling by putting small fans directed across an open sump.> - The tank is in a basement that stays between 72&75 degrees F - I will use an inline pump so that should not add to much heat - In addition to the custom hood the tank will be covered by a full glass canopy <I would not use a glass canopy but egg crate instead> - I will have 2 4" fans (105CFM each) one to force air into the hood and one to pull air out of the hood (I plan on placing them on the sides in the center of the hood unless you suggest something different) <Lots of work and experimentation documented here on the issue of fans and hoods. Use the search engine at the bottom of the WetWebMedia home page to search the archives. Or use a search engine (like google) to find DIY plans on the web.> Is there a big difference in the heat generated by 3 175w as opposed to 3 250w halides? <Yes as 3 250s are the same as 4.28 175s. The type of ballast and the location of the ballast will make a difference too.> Thanks again, D'Wayne

New FOWLR Hey again... since you're obviously up late anyway, I was hoping you could answer some grander questions about the fish world for me.  I've poured through the Site quite a bit, and it seems answers must be tailored to circumstance rather than formula.  So here's my circumstance:  I've successfully (for the most part) kept fish for about 10 years with very few bells and whistles.  I felt like an "old hand" at it.  Sold my big tank a while ago (DUMB) and now have a 29er that I don't know why I even bothered.  So I want to get big again.  Well, due to space limitations, I may have to get medium, but whatever.  So I get online looking for used tanks and hit upon your site, and others, and now find that my old ways are not very stylish.  I figure if I'm going to get a new tank I want to do it right.  I'm honestly overwhelmed.  Here's my style and my intentions:  I like aggressive, messy tanks.  Puffers, triggers, maybe eels, stuff like that.  Never done the reef thing, but am not averse to it.  Maybe way down the line.  Would it be a good idea to get set up (minus lighting) for a reef even though it would be fish only for now?  I don't want to have to replace stuff again. What I have is an undergravel filter w/one powerhead over crushed coral, a Fluval 304, and a hang-on dual filter.  I plan on getting a skimmer, but don't know what kind or how big (say, for a 100 gallon?).  I'd like to lose the UG.  Do I need a wet/dry deal?  Sump?  What would you suggest for me?  Thanks. <Hi Deb, Don here today. I would recommend a fish only with live rock (FOWLR) with a sump and an oversized skimmer. The EuroReef and AquaC get good marks from many here. Do not skimp on the skimmer. The skimmer will go into the sump. In the sump you can use a DSB for NNR if you want. Less than 1" of fine sand or more than 4" in the main tank. I agree on losing the UG (although some here would disagree). I would stay away from the wet/dry (again with some disagreement) and if you use the Fluval you will need to clean it weekly or more. Look for FOWLR on this site for more. Be careful with the fish you choose as many aggressive fish will eat corals, or setup another tank for reef. Good luck, Don> Deb

Lighting for FOWLR I am setting up a 180g oceanic reef ready tank (72" * 24" * 24") and would like to know your recommendations for lighting.  I plan on housing primarily fish and live rock.  I have read through many of your FAQs and when I think I have got it a wrench is thrown in.  You seem to favor PC lighting but every once in a while you throw some metal halide in there and even a VHO bulb or two.  What is your suggestion (type of lighting, quantity, spectra, etc.) for what I should use.  Whatever you suggest is going in a custom wood hood 12 inches in height. Thank you for your time, Dwayne <Well, Dwayne, if this is FOWLR then enough to see the fish is what you need. In that case maybe 4x96w pc with 4 10,000K or 2 10,000K and 2 actinics. Combinations like this look very different to different people. The best bet is to find other tanks in your area that have different lighting so you can see for yourself. If you would think that corals are 'down the line' then at least 3 175W MH for low to medium needs or 3 250W for medium to high lighting. Good luck, Don>

A picture of my 75 gallon reef I think this needs a award LOL I have 5 fish one yellow tang one Kole tang one yellow tail damsel one engineer goby and a watchman. Like the mushrooms man they really grew just thought id like to show ya what wet web has been helping me with for the past 5 months :) <Very nice. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Small Marine Aquariums
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ook 2: Fishes
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