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FAQs about FOWLR Livestock Stocking by System Size 1

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

Miscellaneous (mainly marine stocking)  10 FI Bob, I wrote to you a while back for some advice, and your suggestions worked admirably; the downside of such quality is that I'm back to pester you again! <I do understand> I "inherited" a 10 gallon mini-reef with 12 pounds of LR, 10 lbs aragonite sand, a good sized piece of Tufa with some Caulerpa growing on it, and the following critters: 1 Percula clown 2 yellow tail blue damsels 1 Small blue damsel with odd grayish markings- thought maybe a juvenile? <Or simply "stress-marked" from being crowded... this is way too many Damsels in such a small system> 2 Green Chromis with yellow bars on the side About 12 snails (Astrea, I think) and about 8 blue e.g. hermits. Filtration, while a standard "hang on" type, seems to be doing an adequate job, as my last series of readings was all well within tolerable limits. I don't plan on keeping them in the current setup, as I have a 55g I plan to transfer them to when I have the funds available. <Ah, good> Sorry for the long intro, now to my questions. 1. Last night, after the white light went out but before the blue shut off, I noticed the clown swimming sideways to the top of the tank and laying motionless, before swimming down to the center in an erratic jerky manner (I thought he was a goner to be honest!). when I went to scoop him out into the quarantine tank, he thought it was feeding time and came right to the surface. I left him, and this morning he's fine. Is this normal? Most of my references don't describe normal/aberrant behavior. <Yes... normal enough. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshfa.htm  and beyond> 2. I recently noticed some small snails on the glass. I read your snail faq page, and you mention predation- I don't have any, nor do I have the capacity to add some of the fish you mentioned. My LFS doesn't take fish back, so I'd have to find someone willing to take the fish in the meantime. I don't want the snails to completely strip the rock, so I'm open to ideas. Could I put in lettuce or zucchini? <Worth trying... and often such anomalous population "outbreaks" are self-limiting... they may "go" as suddenly, mysteriously as the came> 3. There's a critter that looks like a cross between an anemone and a polyp. It's about an inch high, maybe1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter, a yellowish color, and has a fringe of 1/4 inch tentacles around the "head". It seems to use these to filter food. it used to live on one of the large rock chunks, and would move if the snails grazed too close; recently, it's "gone walkabout" and has worked its way to the front panel of the tank. I can't find ANYTHING that resembles this little thing, and I'd like to keep it happy. None of the anemones on the anemone page really resemble it. <Likely a member of the Glass Anemone family... go back and read about Aiptasia> 4. (Last question!) There's a 3 branched "thing" growing off of an old snail shell- maybe 1.5 inches in height, pale blue, topped with fringe or some kind of growth similar to small berries- these have a reddish tint to them. I tried moving it, and it ended up back where it started, so it seems capable of movement. It too appears to be a filter feeder. Sorry I can't be more descriptive, but it is a seriously strange looking organism. It looks similar to some of the soft corals I've seen, but smaller. Gerry <Probably one of the many species of "Feather Duster" worms (but could be a Hydrozoan...). You can see some photos, descriptions of such using the search feature on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Too much crammed into too small... Poor English  02-05-06  20 FI I have a 20 gallon SW tank with 2 clownfish 1 hippo tang. <Too small...> 1blenny and clean up crew I had one clownfish and recently added another ( from the same family- occelirious ) <Not a good idea... too small...> Now my original clown fish is twitching when he swims in midwater. It s like he's having spasms or a seizure he will go on his side and will start to just twitch into uncontrollable spasms Now the new clownfish is doing it also. I performed a 15% partial water change But I want to know  what is going on with these clowns Filter- Skilter 400 <... http://wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm Bob Fenner> Stocking and Sand for a 29 Gal. - 12/17/2005  FI Hey guys first time question, long time reader. First up thank you for running such a great site. <Glad that you enjoy it, though we'd probably be lost without the help from the ladies!> Okay I have 29 gallon with a magnum H.O.T filter, 20watt NO lighting, with 24lbs of live rock and about 20lbs of aragonite live sand. I've had the tank up for about two months now and just ordered the Orbit Lunar Lights PC (130watt), Maxijet 1200, and the Bak Pak 2. In my tank I have 2 Yellowtail Damsels, a large Green Brittle Star (about the size of a computer mouse) that hitched a ride on some liverock, <I'd recommend removing this. Well known for ambushing fishes at night.> a Feather Duster and 2 Peppermint Shrimp. Water checks out fine as well, I do a 5 gallon water change a week because of the lack of a skimmer. <Good but better to have the skimmer.> First question is I plan on getting rid of the Damsels for 2 Percula Clowns, a Flame Angel, <The Flame Angel needs more room.> a sixline wrasse <May not work out either.> and 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, not at all the same time of course. Is this a fair load of livestock or overkill? <Way over.> For corals I would like to do some striped mushrooms, button polyps, and xenia, I hope my new light would be powerful enough for these. <Should be fine but be careful mixing these in a small tank.> My last question is I would like to add more sand to my tank to create a deeper sand bed. Can I use the same live sand about 20lbs or would that cause an ammonia spike in my tank? <Can use the same, be careful not to bury the existing bed. You'll have to add small amounts at a time, in sections. Move a portion, add sand smooth back over.> Thanks <You're welcome. - Josh> 

Fish Selection for a 29  FI... I have a 29 gallon saltwater tank that is just about done cycling. I am pretty much a beginner, I have had one saltwater tank in the past. I have an AquaClear 300 filter, a heater, an air pump, and I will be buying a protein skimmer. I am thinking of buying 2 fish a rock beauty and a flame angel, and I currently have a 20 gallon tank in which I have a juv blue angel and a pork fish, from which I was going to move those 2 fish to my 29 gallon tank.  <Mmm, the Rock Beauty is not an easy fish to keep: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockbeautya.htm and the Flame Angel, a Blue Angel, even a Porkfish I wouldn't keep in a twenty or twenty nine gallon system> I am also interested in putting a fire shrimp and/or coral banded shrimp in there. (I have both of these in the 20 gallon tank with the blue angel and pork fish and their are no problems, I wanted to buy one of each for the 29 gallon tank). I have 4 pounds of Fiji live rock in the tank. Any advice you can give me on any equipment I could also buy that I have not mentioned? <Please read through the marine set-up sections.> Do you think any of the fish will fight with each other? Do you think the fish will fight with the inverts? Should I get more live rock? Thank you. <Yes to more live rock... the Porkfish will eat the shrimps... Please reconsider your stocking plan... or start saving, planning for a much larger system! Bob Fenner>

More on Fish Selection for a 29 So for the present time, the fish I included would be ok? I will be upgrading to a 50 or 55 in the future, but I just want to know if they would be ok for now. I have the pork fish in a 20 gallon tank right now with a male coral banded shrimp and a fire shrimp, and he hasn't eaten them, is that just because it is too small (It is like 2-3 inches long), and it will eat the shrimp when it gets bigger? <Yes to being okay now (as your fishes and other livestock are doing well according to your account), and yes to eating the shrimps... their food in the wild. Bob Fenner>

Re: Questions (on stocking, crowding) <<< JasonC here, filling in while Bob gets packed.>> So for the present time, the fish I included would be ok? I will be upgrading to a 50 or 55 in the future, but I just want to know if they would be ok for now. I have the pork fish in a 20 gallon tank right now with a male coral banded shrimp and a fire shrimp, and he hasn't eaten them, is that just because it is too small (It is like 2-3 inches long), and it will eat the shrimp when it gets bigger? <Yes to being okay now (as your fishes and other livestock are doing well according to your account), and yes to eating the shrimps... their food in the wild. Bob Fenner> >> I took the pork fish back to the fish store and returned him for store credit towards a flame angel which I have in my 20 gallon tank with my Juv Blue Angel, Fire Shrimp, and Coral Banded Shrimp. When the flame angel was in the tank, the blue angel and the flame angel where like rubbing their bodies against each other. Is this normal, or does this mean there will be conflict?  <<<this is normal behavior for two fishes that are sizing each other up, in preparation for a fight - yikes! I'm sure you already know the Juvenile Blue will exceeded the capacity of not only your current tank, but your plans for the 55g upgrade. These are full size angels and as such will need 100g+ once full grown. The flame angel is a great choice for your 20-cum-55 plans. You may want to think carefully about what to do with the Blue angel, or at least think about fish that won't force you to constantly upgrade you tanks. Good luck, J -- >>>

Re: Questions << <<this is normal behavior for two fishes that are sizing each other up, in preparation for a fight - yikes! I'm sure you already know the Juvenile Blue will exceed the capacity of not only your current tank, but your plans for the 55g upgrade. These are full size angels and as such will need 100g+ once full grown. The flame angel is a great choice for your 20-cum-55 plans. You may want to think carefully about what to do with the Blue angel, or at least think about fish that won't force you to constantly upgrade you tanks. Good luck, J -- >>> >> Would a rock beauty constantly need upgrades as well? <Yes... and this is a harder species to keep. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockbeautya.htm Bob Fenner>

Infected LFS? 7/29/05    30 FOWLR Hello - <Hi Ron, Ali here...> I've had a 30 gal FOWLR tank set up now and thriving for approximately 3 years. <Awesome> When I first got into the hobby, I started out at my LFS.  At first, I purchased all my livestock there, mostly hardy fish like clowns, damsels, etc.  I thought there were problems with my water, because all of these fish would die, with what looked like fin rot to me. <Can you hear it? I hear it coming. the Q-word...> I've tested the water numerous times, and never found any issues.  I started purchasing fish at TFP in Lancaster, and have not had a problem since.  My question is, do you think that the LFS' tanks are infected?  And, if they are... what could they possibly have?  The fish do not seem to have any problems at the store, until about 3 weeks after they are brought home. <...Here it comes! Quarantine! Ron, in all seriousness, regardless if the LFS is 'infected' or not, you should be QT'ing every single fish purchase for at least a full 4 weeks, 6 is even better. Please take the time to do a search here for QT tanks, methods, etc. These fish we keep can live for up to 20 years, so taking 4 to 6 weeks of that time span to QT and possibly treat them beforehand is the way to go. Additionally, if you are not comfortable with the quality of fish you are receiving from them, simply find another good vendor. Some online vendors do a phenomenal job of providing you with quality fish.> Thanks, Ron <Good luck Ron>

Marine Fish, Stocking  37 FOWLR <Cheryl, Lorenzo Gonzalez standing in for Bob, who's on Safari in Asia...> I have just recently set-up a salt water aquarium. It is 37 gal. with live sand and a live rock. I started with two damsels. My tank cycled really fast. then I got a yellow tang and a clown fish. Another fish guy said that my tank couldn't have gone through the cycles that fast (9 days).  <It is possible, if you started with a good bed of live sand, plus that (one?) live rock.> After I had the tang for three days. I checked again and all the levels were at 0. The tang got a fungus and I used dip-a-way on him, after two dips he seemed fine. After 1 1/2 weeks he started to turn light yellow and I noticed a few spots on him. I checked the water again, (ph 8.2 , ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates- at 0 level.. I put him in another tank (5 gal.) and he got worse ...then I dipped him again and he looked better. I'm getting copper to add today. I couldn't get it earlier) <Don't put that copper in your main tank! It'll destroy the live sand, and kill your rock! That's what quarantine/sick tanks are for, I'm glad to hear you already have one...> I just found the web site today and I read your articles-questions. (I loved all the information) I have decided to get a cleaner wrasse...all the cleaner shrimps are gone. After the store gets stocked again...can I get a couple cleaner shrimps...or do they work if you have a wrasse in a 37 gal. tank? <Yes, you can have the wrasse and the shrimp together in the same system. I sure wish you'd change your mind on the wrasse, have you read Bob's articles on these 'obligate cleaners'?> When you say to freshwater dip new fish, is that after you have acclimated it before you put it in your tank? <You can freshwater dip a fish almost anytime, but in between the transport bag and your quarantine tank is the most common/appropriate time. Read Bob's FAQ's on dips, for more info> I noticed that a lot of people in your questions/answers have a lot of fish even with a small tank.. I figured that I shouldn't get more then 8 fish?  <Bad idea, you're right. It can be quite hard to strike a good balanced bio-sphere with too many fish. The '8 fish' figure depends entirely on the size and eating habits of the fish you have in mind. The only way you're going to pack 8 fish into a 37 gallon system is if they're really tiny.> I also noticed that people have several tangs and angels. I thought you are only suppose to have one tang and one angel because they don't get along...is that true?? <Many varieties of tangs are great schooling fish, in a large enough system. But angels should generally not be mixed with other angels, and an angel and tangs are usually just fine together.> I haven't gotten a skimmer yet.....Is it important to get it within the next month? <Get a skimmer as soon as you reasonably can - it's the most important piece of hardware in a 'mostly fish' or 'FOWLR' (fish-only with live rock) system, in my opinion.> Thanks for all your information. Cheryl <Quite welcome, of course! -Lorenzo>

Stocking, SW, making a plan   2/14/06  FI I'm looking more for an opinion here than anything else. I have a 40g flatback hex, w/ SeaClone 100 skimmer, AquaClear 3000 powerhead, ~14lbs of live rock, and ~25 lbs of Tufa which is at least partially seeded after these past two months. I also have a whisper 40 power filter which I haven't decided whether I should use or not (for supplemental mechanical/chemical filtration). <I would if I had it laying about> Currently the tank has these crustaceans in it: 2 small scarlet hermit crabs, 1 larger blue-banded hermit crab, 2 emerald crabs, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 cleaner shrimp, <A Lysmata species I hope... not a Stenopid> 1 fire shrimp, 10 small snails (the name alludes me at the moment), 1 average sized snail, 1 horseshoe crab, and 2 queen conches. <Snails and conches aren't crustaceans> Currently all seem happy, I am concerned about the horseshoe and emerald crabs, but as of now they seem healthy. <Okay> In the way of fish, there is a Bicolor Blenny and a Coral Beauty Angelfish. <A forty is too small for...> I would like to add some small(ish) fish to add some more color. I've already created for myself one large stocking problem with a small yellow tang who had a certain love of genocide (he took out my previous coral beauty), I would like to avoid another. Suffice it to say, the tang is now back with his mates at my LFS. I'd like to have 2-3 of something small that lives in a shoal, like firefish, but wanted to get a more experienced opinion before I commit myself to anything. What are my possibilities? If I have none, what is posing the biggest impediment to the possibility? <the size limit of your system... please see WWM...> Calcium: 300, ph 8.2, dKH 14, ammonia 0.25, nitrites 0, nitrates 12.5. Currently waiting for the biological filter to adjust before adding any livestock, but wanted to have a plan first. James Tanis <Then develop one... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and the FAQs files linked above... your plan will gel... I assure you. Bob Fenner>

Overstocked or Over-rocked?  It's all About the "O"!  11/12/2005  40 gal FOWLR Hello, I've got a 40 gallon breeder tank and am currently curing 40 pounds of live rock in it. Once I cure it I'll put the rock I have from my 12 gallon aquarium that has gotten sort of overstocked. <... even less room after adding all this rock...> The aquarium has a carbon filter and protein skimmer. Anyhow, would you advise putting a male-female pair of Anthias, or a male and two females of possibly Lyretail Anthias, Bimaculatus Anthias, or Resplendent Anthias. They would be sharing the space with a ocellaris clownfish, blue tang, green mandarin, a pair of banded coral shrimp, and two peppermint shrimp. Brian <Mmm, nope... not enough room for "any of the above".... If you didn't have any fish here, you might fit a Fathead Anthias in... Bob Fenner> 

Help me with some "pretty" fish 11-29-05   40 FI Hi crew, <Hello> Great site, great info. It's appreciated. <Thanks> When I inherited my 40 gallon tall tank a few months back, I was "gifted" a maroon clown and two damsels. The damsels had to (as my 2 year-old son says) "hit the road" since they were very aggressive. I've since made some additions to the tank, but my wife has mentioned that she'd like to see some "pretty, colorful" fish, instead of the "creepy" things I have in the tank now. I've received very inconsistent advice from a couple local shops and would love your input as to some good additions (if you think the tank can handle more) that will keep me in good graces with my wife.  Currently I have: one maroon clown, two cardinal pajama, one firefish, two skunk cleaner shrimp, one engineer goby, a chocolate chip starfish, one decorator crab and about a half dozen hermit crabs. <It would be easier to get your wife to pick out a list and decide which ones were compatible. I like a small school of green Chromis. They are not the prettiest fish individually, but their schooling behavior, small bio-load, and low cost make them a great addition.  You may also get by with a flame angel. Your tank is a bit small for it, but with the right specimen it could be done. The other thing you could do is pair your clown and fire fish up. Not any new pretty fish, but it will definitely change the dynamics of the tank. Like I said before, get the wife to pick out a couple and then research them to see if they are compatible with your ideas and your tank.> Thanks in advance, Kevin <Travis> 

Marine: Newbie Stocking questions - 10/23/05   40-45 gal FOWLR Hi, <Hi Ed.> I have a fair bit of experience in freshwater fish and would like to get a marine tank.  <Very Fun, Very addicting.>  I was thinking of getting a 40/45 gal set up with fish an a few inverts, I would like to get a dwarf lion  <That's going to cause you to leave out most motile inverts.>  (Fu Manchu or Zebra) and I was wondering about tankmates. <While both of the fish you mention are indeed dwarfs of their genera, they are large dwarfs at an adult length of around 7', so you will not be able to keep on ling term in a 40/45 gallon tank. You can keep a juvenile but you would have to ensure it would have a home once it outgrew your tank.> Could I get away with a Mandarinfish or a Psychedelic Mandarinfish, <No please research the needs of this fish, most starve in captivity. They need very large and very mature reef type setting to thrive. A fish best left to those setting up a tank just for it or to veteran aquarists.> together with a couple of smaller clownfish, and a couple of larger hermits to be janitors? <Depending on the relative sizes all of these, they could fall prey to the lion.> Unfortunately if I get a tank of this size I would not be able to fit a sump or refugium of any kind in the space I have available, can you recommend a sensible method of filtration to go with the lots of live rock I'll have to keep the mandarin fed  <In a 40 your going to have to omit the Mandarin.>  and the lionfish sheltered? <Look into hang on Protein Skimmers such as the Aqua-C Remora and be sure to include lots of live rock and a deep sand bed.> Thanks for your time. Love the site, you guys rule. <You're welcome, and thanks for the compliments.> Ed <Keep reading WWM, Adam J.> 

Chainlink moray and pistol shrimp, Or, Fish Soup That's Not as Good as "Siete Mares" - 11/28/05  45 FI Hi. I have a 45G reef with a regal and purple tang, a maroon clown, a marine Betta, a longfin fairy wrasse, a pistol shrimp/goby combo  <Yikes! Would you like some water with your fish?>  and I just recently came across the cutest little chainlink eel. I couldn't help myself. He ate right out of my hand and he's really tiny, so I took him home. My question is, do you think my little ol' eel will take out my awesome pistol shrimp? If so, how much and what should I feed him to keep this from occurring? I'm hoping not to regret my decision in the near future. Please help. Thank you! -Ash <It is possible that it will consume the shrimp, but unfortunately you have much larger issues at hand here. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your tank is very heavily overstocked with inappropriate fish. Neither of those tangs, singly, should be in a tank of under 100 gallons, and some would argue that even this is too small. Fairy wrasses are highly active and would also benefit from a larger tank. The marine Betta will also outgrow your tank, and is also quite likely to mistake your shrimp for food. Even short-term, this crowded tank is an almost impossible proposition to maintain healthily. If I were you, I would focus on thinning down the fish population to something that you can support long-term. Many ideas for more appropriate stocking may be found on WetWebMedia. Best regards, John> 

Another stocking question...  45 FWLR Hi Robert, how is everything? <Seems okay> I'm putting together a 45G tank (I also have a 55 and 125 reef, and a 10G nano). The tank is 36" long x 12" deep x 24" tall. It is a Fish only with Live Rock tank. <Should be a breeze for you> It has a 5" sandbed, with a lot of rubble coral mixed on the top. The tank is viewable from both front and back, so I decided I wanted the rock in the middle of the tank. So I made 4 - 3/4" PVC piping going vertically up the tank attached to a base siliconed to the bottom of the tank. I then drilled holes in some LR and made the tank with the rock all climbing upwards almost to the top of the tank. <Only twelve inches wide? Must be a good job of stacking> It also has a few nice shelf pieces. Really interesting looking! Maybe you know what this type of tank is called? When I get pics I'll email you one. In short, their is a lot of swimming room in the tank, a fish could keep going in circles around the rocks like a race car swerving threw cones! <Okay> Anyways, back to the question. I am not using any skimmers or filters, just live rock, a DSB, and good water circulation. The tank is completely covered, so I don't have to worry about fish jumping out. This list isn't final, just looking for info so I can start crossing fish off the list. Will a Yellow headed Jawfish and a Pistol Shrimp/Watchman Goby live in this tank peacefully together? There's no worry of the rock falling because it's all up off the sand bed a half inch or so. Should I get a pair of shrimp gobies, or just one? I believe Jawfishes shouldn't be kept together correct? <In large-enough systems they are fine... one to this tank> I'm also curious to know if I could keep a longnose butterfly fish (juv), in this tank for a year or two? Or is it just too small? The only corals in this tank are xenia, polyps, and zoanthids. <Without filtration? I would leave out the Butterfly> Would a Sixline wrasse or a neon goby take a mate (friend) if I added one? I was thinking of trying to pair up the goby with a small friend. The 6-line I have no clue about. <Maybe the Neon> Would I be able to keep a flame angel and a coral beauty angel together in this tank if added together as juv.s? <No... too small a system for either> Do you think a small orchid Dottyback or longnose Hawkfish would chow down on my large cleaner shrimp?  Would they pose a threat to a coral banded shrimp? <The Hawk definitely... the Dottyback s/b fine> Would the coral banded shrimp pose a problem with a Jawfish or gobies? <No to the last> Any help, insight, opinions would be highly appreciated. Your opinions go a little farther than some IMO. <I would add a skimmer, other filtration. Bob Fenner> Thank you Robert, Happy Holidays! John Thompson

A special fish (stocking)  46 FOWLR Hello, <Hello> I just found the WetWebMedia site today. I have really enjoyed the information on it. I saw a link that said to direct aquarium questions to you, so here goes.... I have 46 gallon bow front saltwater aquarium. I have two canister filters on it. One is rated for 40 gallon aquariums, the other for 55 gallon aquariums. On the smaller filter I have a UV clarifier. I have about 40lbs of crushed coral on the bottom. The crushed coral is on top of a Under Gravel Filter. I have two power heads on each side of the under gravel filter. I have about 15lbs in live rock, and about 10lbs in "dead" coral (did not realize the negative environmental effects of the dead coral when I purchased it). I have an air pump with four air stones on it. I have five turbo snails, one cleaner shrimp, three green Chromis, one Percula clown, one Atlantic cherub pygmy angel. The aquarium has been running for about six months. The salinity stays around 1.022, pH around 8.0, ammonia at zero. Here is the question...... I would like to add one more fish to the aquarium. I would like to get something that would be a good show fish. I would like to avoid the blue and yellow colors. I would like it to get a bigger size fish, but one that wont outgrow my aquarium (though I plan to go to a 72 gallon in about a year). I really like the look of Tangs and Angels, but most are too big for the aquarium. I like the pygmy angels. Since I am fairly new I will need something that does well in captivity. Any suggestions? <Mmm, I have both the Angels and Tangs rated by historical survivability in articles posted on WWM... I would go back, review them by species, and pick out a #1 rated one for your system. Perhaps a Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus sp.. tang, or one of the handful of hardier Centropyge angels. Glad we have met up with each other. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Charlie Lisanti

Fish stocking plan/ning  46 FOWLR Bob, I have really enjoyed reading your book and looking over your web page. I am setting up a reef tank again. The first time I did not have much luck.  <Let us plan and make your next attempt what you seek> I have a 46 gal bow front with JBJ lighting, Bak pak filter and two power heads. Is there anything else I need? <Does the CPR Bak Pak you have incorporate a protein skimmer? You need one.> I have 50 lbs. of Fiji live rock and I am wanting to do soft corals for the most part. I am trying to plan what type of fish to put in the tank and how many.  <Good idea> I have talk to many people ( probably too many) <Hmm, as long as you "talk to yourself" first and foremost, no problem> and everyone has a different opinion. I do not want to over crowd the tank but I want as many hardy fish as possible. The only fish that I have to have is a Percula clown. I want fish that will be beneficial to my reef system. I like the looks of angels, tangs, Dottybacks, grammas, assessors/comet and fire fish. If you could give me some guidance as to how many and what kinds of fish would work for my system I would certainly appreciate it. Thank You for all your help. Jason <Well... you could have one dwarf angel in this system... if you chose such, I would look to the "dwarf" dwarf species... read over the genus Centropyge coverage on the WWM site here. You could have one tang... a smaller species of the genera Ctenochaetus or Zebrasoma... coverage, you know where. Likewise just one of the "nicer", if you can tank-bred and reared species of Pseudochromids (Dottyback) OR assessors/comets/roundheads (hardier, easier-going than wild collected) OR a pair of Firefish... do keep gathering information about these fishes temperaments, husbandry until you feel secure in your choices. Bob Fenner>   

Strange Brew   46 FI Greetings - I've been in the process of starting my new aquarium. <Cheers, Bill... Anthony Calfo in your service> Here are the stats : 46 gallon bowfront, started with live sand... been running for approx 2 months. All of my levels have stabilized, and I've gotten the water changes down. Current fish are 1 blue damsel (took 2 others out that were used to cycle the tank - they were getting very aggressive) <typical... may want to avoid damsels in the future> 3 percula clowns (tank raised), <hmmm...probably will work out, but don't be surprised if a pair forms and tries to kill the third in time> a psychedelic mandarin goby, <Arggghhhh!!! Somebody gave you awful advice or you need a good book my friend to help yourself. The Mandarinfish is one of the absolute most difficult animals for even some advanced aquarists to keep. Almost all starve slowly and die within six months. You need a large reef display, for example, that is mature with a healthy population of natural plankton to keep this fish alive. Please delve deeper into this subject to see if you want to make changes in your system (like setting up a refugium fast!) or just spare the animal's life by trading it to someone who has a better shot at keeping it alive. Even if your tank was mature enough for it... they are unlikely to survive with active aggressive feeders like clowns, tangs and damsels> 2 hermit crabs, and a chocolate chip star. <no complaints...hardy> this past weekend, we added 2 fish - a Purple Tang (from the size, most likely a baby), <a rough choice considering the passive clowns, cardinal and Mandarinfish> and a Banggai Cardinalfish. The cardinal fish has been hiding a lot - only peeking out momentarily, we've been reading that they are nocturnal - but at the pet store, he was out... not sure what ups with that. Any ideas? <may eventually come out... but if the tang and damsels remain active and aggressive like most... it may just be intimidated like the mandarin. Furthermore... was it in a group of cardinals at the store? They really shouldn't be kept singly... they are somewhat neurotic and stressed once isolated> The Purple tang seems to be scaring the crap out of the clownfish...  <no surprise... more bad advice on putting this tang with peaceful clowns and a mandarin> he isn't chasing them, I think they are freaked because he is a little larger than them. Will this subside? will they learn to get along? <not necessarily... if the aggressive posturing continues beyond three days towards a week... it is less likely to stop and the chased fish will eventually succumb to stress> Thanks for your thoughts...~bill <Bill... do research your fish before you buy them to save some money and lives... its always hard to get objective advice from people trying to sell you something. Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist could really put you in the right ballpark. Please consider it. Anthony>

More Strange Brew * Bill's follow up in stars * Anthony's follow up to, er... the follow up in double carrots Greetings - I've been in the process of starting my new aquarium. <Cheers, Bill... Anthony Calfo in your service> **** thank you very much for your time **** <<again my pleasure... pitching in my share to help aquarists and our dependents>> here are the stats : 46 gallon bowfront, started with live sand... been running for approx 2 months. All of my levels have stabilized, and I've gotten the water changes down. Current fish are 1 blue damsel (took 2 others out that were used to cycle the tank - they were getting very aggressive) <typical... may want to avoid damsels in the future> **** they were used to cycle the tank. the two that were removed were beating up the 3rd, I took those out - and took to the petstore for them to give to someone else to cycle - they were very hearty. I didn't take the 3rd because it has frayed fins - and I figured they would just flush it :)... it is now healthy - and will be taking that one back now too. this one isn't aggressive to any of my existing fish. **** 3 percula clowns (tank raised), <hmmm...probably will work out, but don't be surprised if a pair forms and tries to kill the third in time> a psychedelic goby, <Arggghhhh!!! Somebody gave you awful advice or you need a good book my friend to help yourself. The Mandarinfish is one of the absolute most difficult animals for even some advanced aquarists to keep. Almost all starve slowly and die within six months. You need a large reef display, for example, that is mature with a healthy population of natural plankton to keep this fish alive. Please delve deeper in this subject to see if you want to make changes in your system (like setting up a refugium fast!) or just spare the animals life by trading it to someone who has a better shot at keeping it alive. Even if your tank was mature enough for it... they cannot survive with active aggressive feeders like clowns and damsels> **** This was a major screw up on my part. When I saw the little guy in the store, I couldn't resist - since I've gotten him - I've added about 10 pounds of live rock to the tank - that's been in for like 2 weeks now. Levels are still good, and he appears to be eating - he doesn't hide much - we see him a lot. He also seems to grab frozen brine that I feed the others that drops to the bottom.... **** <<Please keep frozen brine shrimp feedings to a minimum (I personally wouldn't take the food for free or use it. It is extremely low-grade (mostly water) and your fish will starve on this staple if it comprises a significant part of the diet as it likely does for the mandarin. Use Pacifica plankton and especially for Mysid shrimp instead>> 2 hermit crabs, and a chocolate chip star. <no complaints...hardy> this past weekend, we added 2 fish - a Purple Tang (from the size, most likely a baby), <a rough choice considering the passive clowns, cardinal and Mandarinfish> and a Banggai Cardinalfish. The cardinal fish has been hiding a lot - only peeking out momentarily, we've been reading that they are nocturnal - but at the petstore, he was out... not sure what ups with that. Any ideas? <may eventually come out... but if the tang, damsels and clowns remain active and aggressive like most... it may just be intimidated like the mandarin. Furthermore... was it in a group at the store? They really shouldn't be kept singly... they are somewhat neurotic and stressed once isolated> **** Since I wrote the email - I saw the cardinal out this morning - just a side note - the cardinal and tang were added separately.. the cardinal on sat, and the tang on Sunday. At the store - he was one of two in his own tank, with mostly Tomatoe clowns in with him.**** << a good sign already... may work out just fine>> The Purple tang seems to be scaring the crap out of the clownfish... <no surprise... more bad advice on putting this tang with peaceful clowns and a mandarin> he isn't chasing them, I think they are freaked because he is a little larger than them. Will this subside? will they learn to get along? <not necessarily... if the aggressive posturing continues beyond three days towards a week... it is less likely to stop and the chased fish will eventually succumb to stress> **** This is what I hate about the aquarium stores. You'd think because I am going to a real saltwater store that someone where would know what they are talking about. <<yes... good and bad advice everywhere. Your best bet is to be an informed consumer before you walk into you fave LFS>> What are your thoughts on Mr. Purple Tang.... should I take him back, or see what happens over a few days. I haven't seem him go after any fish yet, << do give him a try for a while longer... may work out after all>> and the folks at the store said that "yes, they are semi-aggressive, but only towards the same species... <<mistaken or an outright fib... all Zebrasoma tangs are notoriously aggressive>> they said not to put more than one tang in my tank. <<an interesting and equally inaccurate piece of advice. Tangs are often and easily mixed if dissimilar genera (Like a blue regal with a purple tang). Nonetheless... they all need a lot of room to swim, so one per tank is fine for most>> We are wanting only one more fish in the tank - a Coral Beauty Angel - thoughts on that with the existing setup? ********** <<actually, most likely a great choice. Buy one feeding in the store and then quarantine at home>> Thanks for your thoughts...~bill <Bill... do research your fish before you buy them to save some money and lives... its always hard to get objective advice from people trying to sell you something. Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist could really put you in the right ballpark. Please consider it. Anthony> *********** THANK YOU VERY MUCH! *************** <<you are very welcome, good sir. Keep up the good work with your tank and education. Anthony>>

Set up   47 FI I have a forty-seven gallon, pentagon tank, about 35 pounds live rock, one power head, 15 watt U.V and a Fluval 304, will be adding a skimmer soon. We did not expect to go salt water on this and changed our minds after we got the fresh water set up, no fish.  <You're evolving in the hobby quick!> I have yellow and coral angel, two hippos and a unicorn that some one gave us (not expected).  <Yikes... all in a forty seven pent.? This is way too much...> I added a dozen snails, dozen blue leg, two scooters and two cleaner shrimp. I had a real problem with temp in the north east during the heat wave even with our ac on, all survived. My question I added the invert and scooters yesterday and 30 hours later amm. and nitrites are about .50 ppm should I wait and see if it goes down or not before any action is taken. <Unfortunately the real action you need to take is to either procure a much larger system (at least twice the size you presently have) or reduce the "bioload"... especially some of the particular fishes... one of the angels and the unicorn should go...> It seems I am one of the lucky ones that added the U.V.,  put the charcoal back in and supposedly do all correct things and all hell breaks loose on me. As far as the filter goes, I have not had anybody tell me to change it or not to anything else. Could you recommend a few types of skimmers, another opinion can't hurt. Thank You <Yes. Please read through the files on "Skimmer Selection" on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm  Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> 

Aggression, Ich and lessons learned   1/20/06   50 FI 50G tank 192 W PC lighting 1 3" Maroon Clown 1 3" Fuzzy Dwarf Lion 1 2" Six Line Wrasse 1 3" Pygmy Angel (white and black body with yellow stripe down face) 1 2" Compressed Toby/Blue Spotted Puffer 2 Emerald Crabs 1 Sally Light Foot Crab 1 Porcelain Crab 20 hermits if they are all still alive 4 Turbo Snails 55lbs or so of LR. Crushed Coral Substrate Macro in Sump Ammonia - 0; Nitrite - 0; Nitrate - 10-20. Temp - 76 All was fine with my tank.  Then I added a coral banded shrimp.  I then noticed the Angel acting a bit more aggressively, darting at a couple of fish and backing into shrimp, etc.  Regrettably I didn't think much of it and the situation seemed to improve. A couple of days later I added a 1" Yellow Tang. <Tiny!>   I have learned the hard way now why a QT tank is truly needed and a 4 week QT.   <Oooh... good> Immediately the Angel attacked the Tang in a voracious way.  I tried to train the Angel to not be making a noise on the tank glass or with my hand in the tank; I tried lights out, etc, etc.  I finally got a breeder box and placed the Tang in there, but too late. <Better the antagonist, the Angel> The Tang died last night.   I'm not certain what killed the Tang...sheer fright/stress, Ich or me doing a FW dip incorrectly (too cold). I did notice what I am quite sure was Ich on the Tang.  There was some white material on the side of the fish which I could rub off with my finger. What was most likely the cause of the Angel attacking the Yellow Tang? <Territoriality. This system is too small... among other things> Was it probably because the addition pushed the tank into being over populated or more likely because of similarity in body shape and that they both had Yellow color? <Mostly the former, some of the latter, yes> Was the Tang too small? <Yes... best "started" at three inches total length or so> If the tank is at max population now, then I may remove the coral banded shrimp if that will allow me to add another fish or I may exchange a fish for another.  If the body shape, color or size were factors, I would like to try a Purple Tang maybe. <You don't have the room> In regards to Ich...I think I saw what could MAYBE be Ich on the Clown. I can't tell with the Fuzzy dwarf Lion because I'm not sure if what I see as white specks on hi is Ich or the "fuzzy" natural part of his skin. <You'll know soon enough> Now that 1 fish in my tank has had Ich though, what is best/required? <Either to wait/see, or to move all... and treat... Covered over and over on WWM> I have raised my tank to 81 degrees.  I will continue to do weekly 20% water changes.  I'm considering getting QT tanks now and moving the fish into those for 4 weeks with a Methylene Blue dip before and after going into QT.  Is this necessary or is there a treatment I can do to the main tank?   <Posted> I have heard something about Jungle Juice or something along those lines. <A caustic material used for eliminating glass anemones...> From reading WetWebMedia, it sounds like there is no treatment that can kill Ich and not harm the LR/Reef.   <This is correct> It also sounds like Ich is a huge debate and whether it is ever truly gone versus always present. <Mmm, no... there are pathogen free systems> This is my first tank ever and I only have 3 months experience.  I'm trying to learn and do best by the creatures, but I am making some mistakes along the way.  Unfortunately those of those mistakes could have been averted.  Now I get it.  Much I have been told or learned from various LFS I have found has either been misleading or totally inaccurate. <Happens... what did our moms say? "Don't believe everything you hear/read"> My biggest concern now is why did the Angel attack the Tang so much so (went on for a few days and at times seemed to be subsiding) and what does that mean to what I add or subtract from the tank now and what about the Ich? Thanks for any feedback/comments David <Keep reading David... and observing closely... I would not add any more fish life to what you have here. Bob Fenner>

Marine Aggression, Crowding   1/22/06   FI 50 I have a 50G tank. <Okay.> In it was a 2.5" maroon clown, a 2.5" fuzzy lion, a 2 " 6 line wrasse, a 3" Pygmy Angel and a compressed Toby also about 2 ". <Heavy Load.> I added a Coral Banded Shrimp and that seemed to upset the Angel.  She showed some tail flapping signs that were new to a couple of the fish. I didn't really consider the shrimp the same as adding another shrimp in terms of waiting, which in retrospect was likely a mistake. <Usually invertebrates are more inconspicuous as far as territories but this isn't always the case.> Yesterday I added a 1" Yellow Tang. <Not the best idea.>   I don't have a QT tank, but I am getting one. <Should have waited, tangs are notorious for bringing in 'yucky' things like Cryptocaryon/marine ich.> I also plan on upgrading tank size one day when necessary.   <Will be soon, in like 6 months at the most.> As soon as I added the Tang, the Angel was all over it biting its tail, fins, etc very aggressively. < The result of physical/psychological crowding, not unexpected to say the least.> That continued while I tried to do what I could.  I hoped that things would be better the next morning, but it isn't. <May continue until a death results in one of the tank mates.> The Angle is still attacking the Tang.  At least thank Tang is acting defensively now, where as when the fish first was put in it just "sat" there and took it. probably shocked.   I had seen similar behavior when I had three damsels, but it settled over time. <I have a feeling this will not end so well.> Will the angel need to be removed? <Him or the tang, I would remove the tang though, surgeons of this size don't adapt well to captivity anyway. Furthermore your tank size is much more appropriate for the dwarf angel than the tang, which will outgrow rather quickly.>   Will adding any small Damsels take the "heat" off the Tang.   <That would not be a very good idea at all.> I have previously noticed the group dynamic can change with every removal or addition of any fish'¦strange. I know the tank is now fully stocked and potentially overstocked <The latter.> , but they are all tiny fish and I have a massive amount of Live Rock for this tank.  Will this resolve over time or have I created a war zone that will need me to intervene? <Some outside intervention needs to take place.> I thought the Angel was a harmless peaceful fish and has been.  I thought Tangs were the aggressors and able to defend or go on offensive.  The Angel has a black and white body with a yellow line on the face.  Do both fish having yellow color have anything to do with it or the similar body shape? <This is just the result of an established specimen offending it's territory from a new intruder.> The Angel has never treated any fish like this, including the damsels. What do you recommend?   <Remove the tang and start looking to upgrade.> Alas. and thanks <No trouble.> David <Adam J.>

Re: A 55 gallon tank  55 FI Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks so much for your quick response! I love, Love, LOVE your book! It has been so helpful. I am kind of into the odd ones like the puffer and wrasse, but I would never want to endanger a beautiful purple lobster. <Ah, good> If Santa does bring me another 55 gallon tank (to begin a new system which would include a purple lobster) what fish should be acquired to live in harmony with him? <Many choices here... the broad spectrum between animals that wouldn't try to eat it (larger basses, triggers, puffers) to ones that are too slow, not sharp enough to avoid being eaten by it...> Perhaps a yellow tang or mandarin goby? How about a panther grouper? <The Tang yes, the Mandarin and Panther Grouper no> I wish you and your family (and fish) a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sincerely, Kelli <And yours. Bob Fenner>

Proposed reef set-up, stocking  8/28/05  55g FOWLR WWM Crew, <Erik> I love your website!  A good friend recently convinced me to shed my fear of "high maintenance" saltwater aquariums and I've since kept myself busy (read: obsessed) over the past two months doing my research. The more I learn, the more I find I need to learn! <Ah, good> I've read many of the FAQ's and articles on WWM (in addition to other web, book, and periodical resources) and would like to share my planned setup with you and solicit your comments and suggestions.  I am still about 2-3 months for purchasing anything, but any feedback you (or the community!) could provide would be greatly appreciated! <Glad to> [I apologize in advance for such a long email.] My goal:  An attractive display of interesting guests with a minimum of maintenance, i.e., allows for occasional 3-4 day trips with no upkeep and 7-14 day trips out with minimal upkeep by house-sitters. Auto-dosers, top-off systems, etc. to be researched and incorporated as req'd. <Okay> My current plan for a 55g FOWLR setup: 80lb live rock 5-in. deep oolitic "sugar fine" sand, seeded with live sand 20g sump tank 250gph protein skimmer (with collection cup drain) Tank pump sized for no less than 450gph to main tank 10g refugium with 40gph flow, 6-in. oolitic DSB, possibly grow macro algae, but mostly for copepod production for main tank guests (esp. Mandarin) Tank guests (in order of introduction): Turban Snails [x10] (sp? Not cone-shaped Astrea tecta) <Many choices> Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) Brittle Star (NOT the predatory Green Brittle!) Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus randalli) Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) [x2] Green Mandarin (Pterosynchiropus splendidus) Longnose Butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus or f. longirostris) <Mmm... this is a bit small volume for a Longnose> The live rock formations will be solidly set on PVC pipe supports (raising it above the substrate).  These formations will have multiple levels and lots of hiding places on each level.  A handful or so of large crushed coral fragments will be sprinkled on the sand surface for the diggers to play with. Lighting details are TBD but 200W of 1/2 "full spectrum" and 1/2 actinic VHO's on sunrise/sunset timing. Other equip: Two 100W submersible heaters 300gph of powerhead circulation So, after all that intro, here are my questions, comments, concerns: Are the Pistol and Brittle Star suitable tankmates? <Yes, can work>   I didn't find anything in the FAQs that specifically says either way.  If not, can you suggest a replacement for the Brittle Star, or is the above guest list adequate without the spiky long-armed janitor? <Again, many choices, and not necessary...> I'd love to have a blenny, such as a Lawnmower, but I'm concerned about the compatibility with the Shrimp Goby.  What are your thoughts, opinions, and/or experience? <A small blenny could work out here... the Shrimp are smart, not pushovers... place it first> There are dissenting opinions on whether oolitic is acceptable for Pistol Shrimp/Goby pairs and whether the Shrimp/Goby pairs are detrimental to the nitrate reduction capability of a DSB.  Your thoughts, opinions, experience? <I like a mix of substrate sizes for such burrowers, but Alpheids will adapt, burrow under a bit of the LR. There is minimum disruption to DSB's, even plenums with adequate screening> There are also dissenting opinions on the difficulty of pairing separately acquired shrimp and shrimp gobies.  Your thoughts, opinions, experience? <If the species are known to associate in the wild, they almost invariably will pair up in captivity over time> Again, your time and responses are greatly appreciated! FYI, I'm looking to eventually turn this tank into a species tank (puffers, perhaps?) <No... too small a volume> and add a 180g reef tank with lots of inverts and a 30g tall hex tank for displaying seahorses.  But all in due time! Erik Pierce <Ah, yes... enjoy the journey. Bob Fenner>

Opinions on Marine Livestock E-tailers, 60 gal., FOWLR Hi Bob, Thanks so much for your advice; it really is very giving of you to donate your time like this. <A pleasure and honor my friend> One follow-up question to my tank-starting efforts (I have a 60 gallon, 90 lbs. LR). I've finished the cycling stage and have a tank that's beginning to get overgrown with algae (mostly brown on the LR, back of tank, and even sand). I keep reading that you're not the biggest fan of hermits and snails as cleanup. Given your reasoning, I'd tend to agree. My questions are: can I introduce a midas blenny and a tang (purple or Kole) already?  <A Salarias, Atrosalarias or other Blenny would be better than an Ecsenius spp.... and yes if the tank has completely cycled> will they be sufficient in cleaning the algae?  <Likely so> what about the algae on the back walls of the tank?  <I'd leave it be...> should I get a couple of snails for those? <If you'd like> what about the algae on the sand? can I get a sand-sifter starfish to get rid of the algae on the sand? A couple of Cerith snails perhaps? <Yes to all possibilities... you will find your fishes, regular maintenance and mainly just time going by, succession will "take care" of most of this.> Lastly, I checked out The Marine Center (linked from you WetWebMedia page). They seem to stress the fact that they have net caught fish (mostly). <Yes, a fine company, very high standards, ideals> Is FFExpress the same?  <Don't know about FFE's actual practices... they are mainly a "selection service", going out to other businesses (marine livestock wholesalers in LA) and shipping out what they gather from them> Would you say there's a difference in quality between the two?  <Don't know enough to say really. Both seem to get high marks from hobbyist/customers... judging from listserv et al. inputs... Marine Center does seem to focus more on the "upper end", rarer livestock.> I understand if you'd rather not answer such questions, but thought I'd ask anyway. <Don't mind answering any/all queries... with what little I either know or "have heard/read" second or more hand...> Thanks! Javier <You're welcome my friend. Thank you for your insightful questions. Bob Fenner>

More marine fishes in a crowded system  65 FOWLR Hey guys one more question for you. I have a 5" Humu trigger and a 4" dogface puffer. I wanted to get a small bright purple fish to flash in and out of my live rock, which I have 65lbs. in my 65 gal FOWLR. Can you recommend a fish that wouldn't get eaten and hold it's own up to these two fish? I was thinking of the royal Gramma, Pseudochromis Diadema, and Pseudochromis fridmani, will any of these work? Or which one is best? Couldn't find much about mixing these with triggers and puffers in the forums. Thanks guys <This tank is already too small for the fishes you list... Not to dampen your apparent enthusiasm, but I would trade in the trigger, puffer... Is there a chance for you to volunteer/work at a local public aquarium or LFS? You might well find the exposure to more gallons, other fish folks satisfying. Bob Fenner>

Fish Wish List!  72 FI Good morning Robert or Jason C, First I would like to thank you both for your input on my skimmer. It's in and working fine. Thanks to you both! Next I would like your input on my fish wish list. I know I can't have all these fish in my tank, this is what I have it narrowed down to and if you could give me your input on the best worse etc. I tried to do my homework on these fish and I believe they are all compatible with the current fish in my tank and with corals, currently I only have one leather coral but someday hoping to have more. Current occupants in Blacktail Dascyllus, (Dascyllus melanurus) (2) Green Chromis (Chromis atripectoralis) (1) Maroon Anemonefish, (Premnas biaculeatus) (1) Foxface Rabbitfish, (Siganus vulpinus) (1) Turbo Snails (5) Long Spined Urchin (1) Dancing Shrimp (1) Wish List Royal Gramma, (Gramma loreto) (1) Marine Betta, (Calloplesiops altivelis) (1) Banggai Cardinal, (Pterapogon kauderni) (3) Filamented Flasher Wrasse, (Paracheilinus filamentosus) (3) Sharknose goby (Gobiosoma evelynae) (1) Whitecheek Surgeon Fish, (Acanthurus nigricans) (1) <Actually A. japonicus... nigricans is the "Powder Brown".> Gold ring Bristletooth-Pacific form (Ctenochaetus strigosus) (1) Yellow Tang, (Zebrasoma flavescens) (1) Equipment 72 gallon bow with overflow Visi Thermo 250W heater Lifeguard Quiet One pump 1140 GPH-full flow, set on about 3/4 2-automatic self rotating power heads, (power sweep 228) Compact aquarium fluorescent reflector, (not sure on the bulbs, looked this am and said 700 on bulbs looks like they are bent in half) Nice lighting but would like more of a purple color in my aquarium. Aqua Clear Aquatics prefilter w/bio balls, & surface skim box. AquaC Urchin Pro Sump Skimmer. Thank you for your help both in the past and future. Sincerely, Lori <Mmm, lots of possibilities here... I'd limit the current wish list fulfillment to just one of the Zebrasoma tangs, and EITHER the White Cheek (or vastly preferred) Bristlemouth choice... Otherwise you could place all the rest... a couple of organisms in a month or so... your Rabbitfish may have, or come to have "other ideas"... and all would be better if you could magically make this system twice as large... Bob Fenner>

Can I add more fish?  72 FI Dear Mr. Fenner; I came across your site two weeks ago, it is great. Thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. <You would do the same, given a similar background my friend> I have had my 72-gal. bow tank up for three months now, I currently have two 4-stripe damsels, 1-green Chromis, 1-fox face, 1-maroon clown, (male) I lost the female the very next day. I also have 2-feather dusters, 1-peppermint shrimp and 1-long Spined urchin. I would like to get a female maroon clown, 3-banggai cardinal, and 1-lawnmower blenny for cleaning the bottom-has my tank been up long enough or should I wait?  <Hmm, from now? About a month should be fine for adding all these next> I am new to the trade and loving it! <Outstanding. After all these years me too.> Thank you so much! Lori <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Help me spend my gift certificate!!! -- stocking post-refugium set up   75 FI Dear crew, First of all, MANY, thanks to Steven Pro for his assistance in my recent refugium set up. I ended up bagging the idea of trying to convert the wet/dry (couldn't find the right drill bit...) and went with a 20g long into which I siliconed a 9.5 inch tall glass divider (this hobby is making me way more "handy" than I ever expected to be...). And may I say that if I can do it, ANYONE can, and I would highly recommend it -- my tank has never looked so good, my nitrates are much lower and my water quality has never been so stable. And it was fun! <Glad to hear it worked out so well for you. Perhaps your testimonial will inspire others.> Second (and more fun!), I am about to receive a gift certificate to the LFS from work for exceeding some sales goals. I already know that one of the fish (if he's still there!) is going to be a sunburst Anthias (based on research here and input from you guys). I will still have about half the gift certificate left if I buy him. Here are some of my thoughts.. good ideas or no?? First let me give you my "new and improved" specs: 55g w 20g refugium 4.5 inch DSB (90 lbs sugar and 15 lbs reef sand) and 50 lbs LR in the main system 2 (about) inches (15 lbs) reef sand and about 10 lbs LR in the refugium along w some Thalassia and various other macro algae ammonia =0 nitrate= <10 pH = 8.3 (should be a bit higher, I know) <No, sounds pretty good to me.> calcium (working on this, too) around 380 -400 mg/l alk=3 meq/l (just started testing for the last two and bumping up-SLOWLY-with 2 part additive, following directions) <All of these are in the right ballpark. You could be a little higher, but not much.> PC lighting -- 2x 65 watt 10K 50/50 full day/actinic bulbs current inhabitants: 2 pearly jaws O. aurifrons (both about 3.5 inches) 1 long nosed hawk O. typus (also about 3.5 inches) assorted turbo and Strombus snails (maybe 15 or so) How about a clownfish (or 2?) I like the a. melanopus (my store sells it as "cinnamon") and the p. biaculeatus ("maroon" -- but only the ones with the white stripes, not the yellow). I have been through the articles and FAQs on the site and CMA on the group. Would they be to "boisterous" as they mature for the Anthias? <These two species probably would be a little too aggressive for your Anthias. Percula or Ocellaris (tank-raised) would be better choices.> I also like the Kole tangs (c. strigosus), (and the store has 2 stunning ones at the moment - one 3.5 inch and one more like 4.25, but wonder if this is pushing my luck tank-size wise and given the tang's habit of cruising all over the place (read ALL the tang sections...) <I would get the smaller of the two. An excellent algae eater that is usually not too mean.> Any other suggestions on peaceful tankmates for the jaws (they are a riot to watch and have become my favorites) to create a peaceful community that I eventually want to add soft corals and leathers to? <The various Chromis damsels are a popular, peaceful addition. Also, look and see if any of the Cardinalfish interest you.> EVERYONE new will spend 2 to 4 weeks in quarantine (learned that lesson the hard way...) following purchase. <A lesson everyone should learn.> Thanks as always. Rebecca <You are quite welcome and congratulations on your sales goal accomplishment. -Steven Pro>

Fish Selection  12/14/05  75 FI Hi, I have been reading your website and I think it is great. <Many thanks, Rhett.> I have just purchased a new 75 gallon glass tank with a dual head protein skimmer, two power heads, and a VHO lighting set up with two 48" inch whites and two 48" actinic lights.  It also has 140lbs of live sand and 101 lbs of live Haitian rock.  I am going to let the tank cycle for a couple months with just snails and crabs in it <Good on you!>, but after that I am going to put the fish in it. <That'll give you time to get quarantine set up and running.>  I wanted to see if the fish I wanted would live well together or will a problem occur. I would like to put a Flame Angel <The tank's a little small for this fish, IMO, but not horrifically so.>, a Hippo Tang <Be sure you quarantine this fish for a good 4-6 weeks to be sure it's not harboring a massive ich infection>, two percula clowns <Excellent. Buy captive-reared from a store that will let you choose the exact specimens you like out of a bunch.>, a eight line wrasse <this guy can get aggressive, but is not a bad choice.>, and a mandarin goby in it. <Now THIS fish I strongly encourage you to RECONSIDER. Not only will it compete with the wrasse for food (and lose miserably) but they almost always starve in captivity, regardless of competition, especially in smaller aquariums. At the very least, this fish should be the last one in, after the system has been stable at least a year, preferably more. Plus that'll also give you time to re/consider this choice.> I would put each of these fish in periodically, not all at once. <Of course, and after quarantine.> If you could tell me if there would be any conflicts between these species, I would really appreciate it.  Thank you <Welcome, and best regards, Lorenzo>

New addition  75 FI Hi Bob, I have a 75 gallon with the following occupants, 1 Regal Tang, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Flame Angel, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Blue Damsel, 2 Feather Dusters, 3 Snails and 1 Cleaner Shrimp. I would like to add a new fish, perhaps a Falcula Butterfly or Foxface. I'm worried they may pick at my feather dusters though. <The Butterfly may well.> What do you think or do you have another suggestion for a fish that will be compatible with the rest of my tank mates?  <This is a long list... I encourage you to keep investigating your possibilities... Perhaps by perusing the "Livestock Selection" articles and "Stocking FAQs" posted on the WWM site, as well as the Marine Fishes survey pieces and FAQs (there are many)... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd6of6.htm> Anything smaller than the clowns and the damsel will beat up. Thanks for any suggestions you may have. Patty <Be reading my friend. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Plan for a 75g Tank 7/21/05  FOWLR Hi crew, <Tyler> First, thank you for running this great website. It really is a wonderful resource! <Welcome> I have a few compatibility questions about my 75 gallon tank. It's pretty much a FOWLR now, but will be a soft coral reef. This is the tentative stock list that I've been thinking about: - 2 (a pair) of captive-bred Blue-Line Cinnamon Clownfish (Amphiprion melanopus) - 1 Yashia Goby (Stonogobiops yashia) with a Randall's Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus randalli) - 1 Jawfish (probably Opistognathus aurifrons) - 1 (or maybe 2) captive-bred Yellow Assessor(s) (Assessor flavissimus) - A small or medium sized fish that will swim around in the open Do you think the clownfish will be too aggressive for these tank mates? <Mmm, I'd place it last... as a small/er specimen... but will likely work out fine> They are in the tank now, but could be moved to another tank while other things were added if they needed to be added last. The clowns could also be permanently moved to the other tank, but it wouldn't be my preference. Do you think that a Bubble-Tipped Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) would be likely to catch the goby, Jawfish, or assessor? <Mmm, no> According to most sources, BTAs are one of the anemones least likely to catch fish, but the Jawfish seems to be particularly high risk. Do you think that the shrimp/goby pair would be compatible with the Jawfish? <Should be enough room for all> In some ways it seems like they occupy a similar niche, but they are both pretty passive. Would there be a risk of the shrimp and Jawfish meeting underground and fighting? <Not much> The "prime real-estate" is an isosceles triangle that covers about 20% of the tank's bottom. <The shrimp and goby will go elsewhere... under a rock> Could I get a bonded pair of the yellow assessors (instead of just 1)? <Maybe> Though there are lots of little gaps in my rockwork, I think of my tank as having 2 caves (both reasonably large and have several entrances/exits each). The clownfish both go into one of the caves at night or when they are startled, so I think that that probably only leaves one cave for the Assessor(s). I'm still thinking about what the last fish should be. I've read that having a "dither fish" that will swim around all the time will help to bring the assessors out, but I've also read that large fast swimming fish can keep the goby in its burrow. I'm really not sure what I want this fish to be yet, so if you have any ideas, I would be happy to hear them. <Look into the genus Cirrhilabrus... I think you will be pleased> Finally, does this sound like an okay bioload? <Yes> Should I just leave off the last fish? <Mmm, no> I have an AquaC Remora Pro Skimmer and about 90 pounds of live rock, but no sump or refugium.   <Perhaps later. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tyler

Adding a bluehead wrasse and/or a Heniochus  12/15/05   75 FI Hello,  I currently have a 75 gallon  which has been running for 7 months, approx. 80lbs of live rock with attached clams/oysters.  Also have live sand, several brittle and serpent stars, many blue-leg hermits and various snails.  The only fish in the system are a velvet damsel, royal Gramma, maroon clown and a small psychedelic mandarin.  I had originally considered putting soft coral (Ricordea) in next, but have now decided that I would like to move toward a FOWLR.  I am considering adding a bluehead wrasse and or a Heniochus.  2  questions, will the wrasse eat the hermits, snails, or stars; <Possibly the first two yes> will the Heniochus strip the live rock of anything growing on it.   <Not appreciably> Any other suggestions for alternative choices would also be greatly appreciated. <... many choices... please peruse WWM re. Bob Fenner>

What next.. (stocking)  75 FOWLR Dear Mr. Fenner, For four months now I have worked on establishing the correct environment for my 75 gallon (48x18x22) saltwater aquarium. I know it is because of your web site and books that I am successful thus far. <No my friend, it is due to your efforts... we only provide ideas, opinions... "thoughts w/o action are worthless".> This letter is first off my way of conveying my most sincere appreciation and gratitude for sharing your knowledge with beginners of this hobby. It has done more for the well-fair of my tank, but most importantly for the gift of a aquarium that gives me peace in a crazy world, and a feeling of worth. <Ahh, thank you... no greater goal.> I have one question, or I should say a need for advice. I cannot promise that I will not have more in the future but this is the most important as of now. :) My set up = Delray wet/dry filter, Berlin counter-current skimmer, 80lbs live rock, 20lbs live sand as well as finely crushed coral (about 2" deep), all my water levels are perfect. I have no fish and three blue legged hermit crabs that had hitched a ride on my LR. When I set up my system I used uncured LR to start and it was just three weeks ago that my water tested right. A long time but I am sure it was well worth it. <Yes> Lots of coralline algae overtaking the rocks. I have 440watts power compact light on for 11 hours a day. Here is the kicker though. Fish. I have no bloody idea of what kind to get. I'm not picky, I do like the boxfish or puffers but I know the limitation<s> that come with them. What I hope for is at least two fish that draw the eye because of color, or striking appearance. Some bottom dwellers to stir some sand. Maybe some fish that can be kept as a small school to add some life and activity. I basically want a well balanced tank that gives the best overall show and variety. Could you possibly name a good size combination for my aquarium, taking in to account the above preferences? I know it is a lot to ask but I genuinely have no idea of what to do. Your suggestions would mean the world to me. Even if I do not hear back from you. I just want you to know that you have been the mentor that I needed, and still are. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Clair Bennet <Ah, please do re-read the "Livestock Selection" (marine in general and reef) posted on the WWM site... and at this time, take your time, look through fish books, visit fish stores, a public aquarium... to develop your stocking list... perhaps with a key species as a centerpiece to build around... There are many choices... and you will know when you have found them. Bob Fenner>

Marine (over) Stocking   90 FOWLR I have set-up a 90g FOWLR.  I had a 55g and changed to the 90g to keep a small blue face angel, Singapore angel, small Pearlscale butterflies, small tomato clown and a Scott's fairy wrasse.  Would all these fish get along and also am I overloading the tank or could I add another fish? I wanted to add a copperband butterfly.  Would the butterflies get along? I was told by my LFS that the copperband is a really hard butterfly to keep, is this true? From a scale of 1-10what would you give the copperband and the Pearlscale. Thank you for your help. <<Well... I think the 90g is too small for two angels that will each grow large enough to feel crowded on their own, let alone share the space with another angel. This is what I see as the prevailing issue - the fairy wrasse and tomato clown do add to the overall bio-load but that isn't the problem here. As for the Copperband butterfly - these have a fairly specialized diet, and are most often acquired to deal with Aiptasia problems... once the Aiptasia is gone, they often starve to death. They can be taught to eat other foods, but because you already have one butterfly, I can't really recommend a second one in this size system... too much of a chance that one will beat the crap out of the other one, same as the two angels. Cheers, J -- >>

Compatibility... fitting in more... considerations  9/8/05  90 FOWLR Morning gents... <David> I have a 90 gallon community fish/invert tank with 3"+ sand and 95lbs live rock.  My tank has about 20x water flow with a protein skimmer. My current tank inhabitants: 1 small Regal Tang 2 Percula Clowns Bi-Color Dotty Back (who learned the hard way to be nice to my Tang) Larger Yellow Watchman Goby Coral Banded Shrimp Feather Duster 2 Large Turban Snails A few surviving hermit crabs from my Pistol Shrimp feast (he is now back at store) 1 small sand sifting star 1 large brittle star <Not a Green/Ophiarachna I trust> 1 small banded serpent star My question is...  what else can I have in my tank that is colorful that would get along with my creatures? <Many thousands of possibilities> I have been reading through your website on the different types of fish and everything that is peaceful seems to be an invertebrate eater/taster. I wanted a Foxface but have read that they will sample my crabs/stars/feather duster... as would butterflyfish. <Mmm, not very likely> Can you recommend any favorites that I could add to my collection?  I'm wanting to add another specimen to my tank here shortly as my tank seems kinda vacant.  My Regal Tang hasn't tasted my feather duster and am wondering if a small yellow tang might fair well in my tank? <Would likely fit>   Anything else? What about a smaller batfish? <Mmm, not unless you intend on a much larger system... these species get big... quick!>   It was kind of hard to get a read on whether batfish were good or bad.  Beautiful yes... but very messy and grow rather large? <Yes> Thanks for any suggestions in advance! Dave Oh, of note... my larger percula clown is about 3.5" long now.  About half the time when my hands are in the tank she will lunge at me and turn away at last moment... or else she will jump right before my hand and splash water at me. <Might be trouble with newcomers> I thought it was rather comical... however, just this past weekend she actually lunged at me and connected.  It felt like a noticeable tap... but after withdrawing my hand from the tank in surprise... my wrist started to bleed from where she hit me.  NEMO bit me!!!  Never new they had teeth? <Oh yes> Didn't hurt or anything... but what a surprise! <You can imagine if you were many times smaller... couldn't remove yourself...> Other story...  when I first introduced my VERY small Regal Tang to the tank, it was very shy and didn't swim around much.  In the first 3 days my small Royal Dotty Back picked at her tail and I thought my $50 Tang was gonna be killed. 4th day... the morning, I noticed my Dottyback with a slash across it's side... it was at the sandy bottom of my tank at the front of the glass not swimming.  I scooped it up and put into my quarantine tank... kept the light off and did not feed...  Within a week the wound had healed and the Dottyback was back to normal.  The Dottyback doesn't go anywhere near the Tang anymore... I guess fish learn quickly? <Yes... Bob Fenner>
Re: Compatibility  9/8/05
Thanks for the comments.  Hopefully I am getting Bob Fenner again... <Yes> Ok, so a Foxface should be ok?  The yellow Tang should be ok?  What about both together... With the Regal Tang I have as well, no issues?   <Better to just choose one or the other... of good-size> Can you give me a suggestion of one other fish that I may not have thought of? That's what I was really lookin for off the original email. Thanks again ! Dave <I understand, but am hesitant/guarded to make such suggestions... far better for folks to investigate both what they might want and what's available. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Marine stocking order   1/22/06  90 FOWLR Hello to the WWM crew, <Hello Drew> I've read this site back to back for months <Good> (it's addictive!) but this is my first time writing in.  I just wanted to get an expert opinion on a couple things. I've kept fresh tanks for years, but slowly started a new marine tank this past summer while researching everything I could.   I'll get down to my current specs: 90 gal bowfront 100 lbs Walt Smith Fiji (good stuff!) 30 gal sump, mag-drive 12 return 3 MaxiJet 1200's 1-1.5" CaribSea Aragamax, sugar-sized AquaC Urchin Pro w/ MaxiJet 1200 PC lighting - 2x 65W @10,000k, 2x 65W @ 6700k The rock was cured in a bare tank back in November and has started to look really good. After curing I added substrate and 10 Mexican Turbos, which seem to be doing really well. In the last couple weeks, I've also started noticing a significant number of copepods on the tank walls. <Good> Current water: NH3 = 0 NO2 = 0 NO3 = approx 15-20 pH = fluctuates slightly between 8.1 - 8.2 SG = 1.022 temp = 78 I'm not an experienced marine aquarist, but I've done as much research as a person can do. <And, keep on doing my friend.> I'd also like to think that some of my freshwater husbandry skills can carry over nicely. <Yes> At this point, I am pretty confident that I'm ready to start adding some livestock.   I'd like a peaceful FOWLR tank and don't have any desire to migrate to a reef tank. <OK> My livestock selection has been narrowed down to: 1x Royal Gramma 1x Percula Clown 1x Yellow Tang (open for other suggestions here) <Sounds good.  Do search/read on tangs on the Wet Web, know what you are getting into, requirements/needs.> 1x Banggai or Pajama Cardinal <These do much better in groups of three or more.  Replace with another fish if you only want one.> 1x Longnose Butterfly <Again, search/read on this guy.  I wouldn't recommend it for someone starting out.> It's tough to find a definitive answer regarding compatibility, as everyone has a slightly different opinion. 1) Can I expect any unforeseen compatibility issues here?  <Looks good> 2) Is the Tang too aggressive for this crowd? <No>  Do you have any alternatives? <What you have with the exceptions noted, everything sounds good.> 3) Is there a preferred stocking order for this grouping? <I would put the cardinals in first if you decide to buy three or more.  I'd put the Gramma in last.> I appreciate your help!  I purchased the CMA book and learned an incredible amount. <Good book to have on hand.  Do read the daily FAQ's on our site, much to be learned there also.> You can never learn too much!<Amen> If you have any other suggestions or criticisms, please don't hesitate! <I think your Urchin Pro would be a little more efficient with a Rio 1400 or Mag Drive 3.> Thanks, <You're welcome and welcome to the hobby.  James (Salty Dog)> Drew

Who's First...And Second...And Third? (Stocking Order)   1/22/06  90 FOWLR Hello to the WWM crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I've read this site back to back for months (it's addictive!) but this is my first time writing in.  I just wanted to get an expert opinion on a couple things. <Sure, ask away!> I've kept fresh tanks for years, but slowly started a new marine tank this past summer while researching everything I could.   I'll get down to my current specs: -          90 gal bowfront -          100 lbs Walt Smith Fiji (good stuff!) -          30 gal sump, mag-drive 12 return -          3 Maxijet 1200's -          1-1.5" CaribSea Aragamax, sugar-sized -          AquaC Urchin Pro w/ Maxijet 1200 -          PC lighting - 2x 65W @10,000k, 2x 65W @ 6700k The rock was cured in a bare tank back in November and has started to look really good. <Good to hear!> After curing I added substrate and 10 Mexican Turbos, which seem to be doing really well. In the last couple weeks, I've also started noticing a significant number of copepods on  the tank walls.   <Nice!> Current water: NH3 = 0 NO2 = 0 NO3 = approx 15-20 pH = fluctuates slightly between 8.1 - 8.2 SG = 1.022 temp = 78 I'm not an experienced marine aquarist, but I've done as much research as a person can do. <Always a good thing- it will benefit you immensely!> I'd also like to think that some of my freshwater husbandry skills can carry over nicely. <They sure can!> At this point, I am pretty confident that I'm ready to start adding some livestock.   <Now the fun REALLY begins!> I'd like a peaceful FOWLR tank and don't have any desire to migrate to a reef tank. My livestock selection has been narrowed down to: 1x Royal Gramma 1x Percula Clown 1x Yellow Tang (open for other suggestions here) 1x Banggai or Pajama Cardinal   1x Longnose Butterfly <Nice stocking list! A good mix of colorful, interesting fishes.> It's tough to find a definitive answer regarding compatibility, as everyone has a slightly different opinion. 1)Can I expect any unforeseen compatibility issues here?   <The only real issues I could imagine would be the Cardinalfish getting bullied (by just about anyone). Also, I'd get the Butterflyfish established as soon as possible, so that it's settled in before the other guys.> 2)Is the Tang too aggressive for this crowd?  Do you have any alternatives? <I have never experienced any real aggression issues with the Yellow Tang; unless you are keeping other Yellow Tangs or Zebrasoma Tangs, I would just keep an eye on things. Yes, they can be a bit feisty in some situations, but in my opinion, your stocking situation sounds okay.> 3)Is there a preferred stocking order for this grouping? <I'd start with the Butterfly, then the Gramma, the Percula, and then the Tang. I'd probably pass on the Cardinal in this group, and maybe consider a Halichoeres species Wrasse instead! I think that the Cardinal may be a bit too timid for this bunch.> I appreciate your help!  I purchased the CMA book and learned an incredible amount. <It's a great book. Bob pretty much nailed it with that one!> You can never learn too much! <Agreed! We all learn, each and every day!> If you have any other suggestions or criticisms, please don't hesitate! Thanks, Drew <Well, Drew, you have my 2 cents worth! I hope that my suggestions are of use to you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Compatibility Question  1/22/06  FOWLR 90 Good Day,<And to you.> Would you rate the long-term success of the following combination in a FOWLR 90 gallon? 1 Splendid Dottyback 1 Maroon Clownfish 1 Lemonpeel Angel <I do not know your experience level but if you are new at this I'd shy away from the Lemon Peel.  They really require a well established tank.  Not one of the easiest pygmies to keep.  A Coral Beauty would be much better.  The maroon clown is another I'd replace.  Can/will be very aggressive with age.  Two perculas in its place would work much nicer.> I've read that there is at least some Alpha attitude with all of the above.  If you think it's workable, do you have a recommended order to introduce them?  I'm working with a clean slate and want to do it right.  They would all be introduced as juveniles. Thanks much  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>     

Fish compatibility  90 FOWLR I just got back from the fish store I go to, and they have a Semilarvatus butterfly that I really like and a saddle-back butterfly that is nice. They also have the blonde Naso tang, and the flame angel that I like. My tank is a 90 gallon FOWLR, the fish that are in it are: 4"Harlequin tusk, 4"Emperor Angel, 3"hippo tang, 5"Green Bird wrasse, and a 3-4"Black Volitans Lion. With the fish that are in the tank now, could I keep one of the two butterflies? I really like the Golden, but which would be the best? <This tank will be too full with what's in it in a year or two... Hazardous potentially to crowd more into it... But of the choices, the Semilarvatus is better> Both butterflies were about 3".Could my tank handle the 3"butterfly, the 4"blonde Naso, and the 2-3"flame angel? <Once again, too crowded to suit me. If it were mine I would not add any more fish life. As an alternative, you might consider trading in the Emperor in place of these fishes> My water parameters are always good, my nitrates rarely goes over 15ppm. If I can't keep all three, which ones would be the best with what is already in the tank?  <The B/F> My Emperor Angel was the last fish put in the tank and he is the most aggressive, would it bother the butterfly, he really only bothers the hippo. Would a Sohal tang do better with the hippo? <No, this tank is too small for both of these Surgeonfishes> Thanks for helping <Is there a larger system in your future? Perhaps a job at a retailers, your own service company, a public aquarium? You need SPACE my friend. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Plan 8/6/05   90 gal, reef Hi, I have a 90 gallon aquarium with live rock and corals in which I want to stock the following: 1 Mandarin Dragonet 1 Bicolor Blenny                                     1 Rainfordi Goby 1 Lawnmower Goby 1 Yasha Hashe Goby 1 Yellowhead Jawfish All of this with only one big partner, a Sohal Tang and maybe a Flameback Angel. Do you think I would have any problems in the mixture, I want it to be more of a goby community and blennies aquarium. If not what do you recommend, Thanks a lot for your help AJ <Well, AJ- your stocking preferences are similar to mine! I love Gobies and Blennies, which make up the majority of my fish population. I would recommend some modifications to your stocking plan, however. First, the Mandarin has a reputation for being a bit of a fussy eater; you will need a very well established system with lots of microfauna for him to forage among if you intend to keep this fish. The same goes for the Rainfordi Goby. If you don't have these conditions, consider a different couple of fishes. I like Halichoeres species Wrasses, myself. The Flameback Angel is a great aquarium fish, but I am less inclined to recommend the Sohal Tang. These Tangs have a well-deserved reputation for viciousness, and require large amounts of physical space to thrive in captivity. They can take an extreme dislike to a particular fish or fishes and can make life shorter and more miserable for their "mark". All-in-all, I just don't think that this is a fish for the casual aquarist who wants a Tang in his/her system. They really need special conditions to thrive. There are a lot of other far more suitable Tangs for use in a community fish tank like yours.>

Your choice of tank inhabitants  92 FOWLR Hello Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob please, no phid> I just wanted to know what you would house in one of my two auxiliary tanks, a.k.a. refugiums, if the choice was totally up to you. But first, some details of my system. The display tank is an AGA Corner 92 (curved triangle) set into a wild ---and I do mean WILD (I am a professional furniture maker) curved moldings and carvings stand.  <Neat! Hope you are documenting (taking good pix) of all your work!> This triangular tank will be set perpendicular to the wall, leaving room for a Hex 18 tank either side (these will be the refugiums). The whole setup resembles a giant "W" and is absolutely ultra-cool (I was commissioned to build one, so I built two instead--one for me! ) <Sounds good> It will eventually house a Gymnothorax miliaris, a Zebrasoma of some sort, a pair of Premnas biaculeatus w/ an Entacmaea quadricolor, a pair of Stenopus hispidus (if the eel doesn't eat them), <Yikes... the first moray will likely eat the clowns... maybe the shrimp> some Tridacnid sp., some Linckia sp., maybe a goby and shrimp combo, plus the usual brittle stars, hermits, snails, etc. One of the refugiums will probably contain a DSB, Caulerpa and Lysmata sp.. But the other...? I have considered seahorses, but they'd be as much maintenance as my FW Pipefish (3X feedings daily), and I want to set this SW system up so it could be left for a day or two without tending... <Good planning> So, if this were your tank, what would you house in the other Hex?  <Live rock, another type of macro-algae (maybe some reds), perhaps some "mud"... a low flow rate (1,2 X per hour)... a "different timed lighting schedule from the other tanks... and leave it at that with some opening for new livestock choices down the road, a separate tank to separate newcomers, bullies...> It will be illuminated by a JBJ 36w PC fixture, so high-lux needing creatures are out. I' like a Toby, but it would belong in the display, where it'd eat the Stenopus, so that's out. <Yes> Could you recommend an interesting species that would live comfortably in there? Thank you, Erik Nelson <As stated... I would (like to) leave my/your options open for now... suspect (I have been accused/assessed of having high intuition) that you will "come up" (awaken to your consciousness) "something" of interest. Bob Fenner>

Yet Another Reef Tank Stocking Question  95 FI Bob, My wife and I recently got into the marine aquarium hobby as an anniversary present to ourselves.  <Ah, how fitting... a celebration of life with a celebration of life> We purchased a 75 gallon tank that came complete with some established water, a wet/dry filter, some fish, a little live rock, and few corals. After reading your book we have upgraded our infrastructure to what I think will support a real reef environment including a 20 gallon sump, power compact lighting (110 watts 7100 Kelvin Actinic and 110 watts 10,000 Kelvin all frequency), a Red Sea Berlin Turbo protein skimmer, and three powerheads on a wavemaker/timer. We've also added a significant amount of live rock (I have no idea as to weight - we've added it in several purchases). <Quite an adventure.> We currently have the following livestock in the tank: 2 - Yellow Tail Damsel (1.5 inches) 1 - Royal Gramma (2 inches) 1 - Bicolor Angel (2.75 inches) 1 - Sailfin Tang (4 inches) 2 - Red Line Cleaner Shrimp (rather large and growing) The Sailfin came with the tank and we're flexible on whether we keep it (the person who sold us the tank is dying to buy it back). Now that we've completed our infrastructure upgrades we're looking at adding a few more animals to the tank. Our plan is to have several smaller, colorful fish rather than a few large fish. Our current "wish list" includes: 1 - "Cleaning Crew" of snails, hermit crabs, abalone,  <I'd skip the abalone... hard to keep alive> starfish, etc. 2 - Banggai Cardinal (we like the way they "hang out") 2 - Clarkii or Percula Clownfish with a compatible anemone (fascinating to watch) <Though tough to keep at times... not necessary. Please read this part of our principal site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clwnfshanefaqs.htm  and the links beyond as they interest you> 1 - Flame Hawk (my wife wants a red fish somewhere and likes the hawk's movements, but I'm concerned about it eating the invertebrates) <Yes... it will likely eat your Red Line Cleaner shrimp... during a molt> 1 - Six Line Wrasse (I'm also concerned about this one due to aggression, but we like the looks of the wrasses and the six line appears to be reef safe) <And not that aggressive by and large> I'm somewhat concerned that this is too many fish to keep our water quality high enough to support the corals. We don't want to constantly be fighting water quality issues, but want to keep the tank interesting with lots of color and movement. If we add the proposed fish would we have to lose the Sailfin? <Mmm, not in the "short" term (months)... but this fish will likely get too large, be traded in within a year or two> Are any of the proposed fish "bad ideas"? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. <No overt potential, real problems here. Looks like well-thought out, planned course of action, anticipation.> Thanks, Phil Rawles <Be chatting my friends. Bob Fenner>

Beginner's Stocking Questions - 10/16/05  95 gal. total FOWLR Sorry to bother you guys with a sort of mundane question, but I need a little advice on stocking my tanks. <<Nothing mundane here...glad you show the interest, though tis best to do the research "before" making the purchases...>> I have a 55g tank and a 20g tank with both connected through an approximately 20g sump. The water parameters are pretty stable with this linkage- T 86, pH 8.3, salinity 1.023-24, ammonia 0,nitrites 0, nitrates barely detectable. My sand beds are shallow < 1" (Sorry, I know I'm bucking your advice here) except in the sump/refugium where it is 5 in. <<No worries mate! While I do advocate deep sand beds in the display, if you (anyone) chooses not to go that route then a sub one-inch bed is the way to go...and kudos on the 5" DSB in the sump!>> I also have a 12" HOT refugium on each tank with miracle mud plus rubble, Caulerpa, and Chaetomorpha. <<Mmm...best to pick-and -stick to one specie of alga. These compete for space just a fiercely as any coral/fish does.>> There are at least 100 lbs LR in the system in total. <<A lot of rock...>> I'm running a CPR in sump skimmer but feel like the skimmate is a little wimpy, so I plan to upgrade shortly. <<Best to spend the money for a quality skimmer my friend.. will pay dividends down the road.>> Both tanks also have mechanical filtration. <<Cleaned "at least" weekly I hope.>> I also have a 20g quarantine tank and 10g treatment tank on standby. <<Excellent!>> I perform weekly 10% water changes (I have an auxiliary 20g tank to accept overflow in the event of a power outage, but can also divert water to a 5g waste buck. All I have to do is turn off the return pumps and presto, 5 gallons are removed for my water change. <<A gambler, eh? <G> >> Anyway, current stock is as follows: 55 gallon Yellow Tang  <<sigh>> Tomato Clown pair Magenta Dottyback Bicolor Blenny This is my feisty fish tank, but there is only the very rare, brief territorial squabble between the blenny and Dottyback. <<Yes...no "peaceful" fishes for this tank...>> There's a lot of branch rock in this tank with intricate channels and holes that all the fish enjoy except for the clowns who are at home in a bubble tip anemone  <<another "sigh">>  which occupies one back corner. I think with those two tucked away, and the blenny typically seen as only a goofy head sticking out of a hole in its choice LR, the tank appears less crowded than it may actually be. <<agreed>> 20 gallon Firefish pair Banggai Cardinal pair Yellow Goby <<Much better!>> These are my peaceful, non-competitive feeders in this tank, and they behave pretty much accordingly. I think I've reached my limits and just want to make sure I haven't overreached them. My only disappointment is that I would have liked a Flame Angel and/or Fairy Wrasse for the 55. <<Flame Angels are a fav fish of mine. The 55 is really too small for the tang in the long term, my suggestion would be to return the tang for credit on a Flame Angel...the better of the two choices (angel/wrasse) for this tank in my opinion.>> So to your eye, is there anything in excess or anything missing? <<As already stated...with comment on the need for anemones to be kept in specie-specific systems, by experienced aquarists.>> Since I only have very common fish with a common beginner tank size, this question might be relevant enough for beginners to justify the use of your time. <<Never feel because you are a beginner that your questions have no merit...and the "justification", comes from the fact you and others are out there asking the questions.>> Thanks, Jeff <<Kind Regards, EricR>>

Fish list  100 FOWLR Greetings Bob - hope this note finds you well. <Yes my friend, thank you> A quick question on fish compatibility/stocking. (I bet you get sick of these questions...). <No, at least, not yet...> I currently have housed in a 100 gallon FOWLR tank the following: * Imperator Angel (5 inches, still juvenile coloring, though looking very close to beginning to change). I've had him for 14 months. Definitely king of the tank. * Picasso Trigger (3 inches). Held 6 months * Powder Blue Tang (4 inches). Held 12 months * (true) Lemonpeel Angel (3 inches). held 6 months * Miniatus Grouper - gorgeous, stunning fish! (5 inches) Held 1 month * One uncatchable huge Four-Stripe Damsel that has cycled four tanks now. (He can ONLY be caught in an decor-less, half full tank.) <I'll bet... and further that s/he believes s/he is "king of the tank"> All the fish appear to get along fabulously. They all eat VERY well. In fact, I believe Mr. Grouper polished off two "Neon" Damsels that I also couldn't catch. I didn't think there was any way he could swallow those damsels, but they're gone, and he's got a fat tummy (and a lot bigger mouth than one would think). <Very likely so...> In your opinion, are these fish "compatible"? Obviously they can't be all that incompatible, given how long they've lived together, and they seem to be thriving. Was wondering though about when they get bigger? The trigger is pretty mild mannered as triggers go. A friend told me there was no way the grouper would fit in, but he seems to be doing fine, and gets bolder every day. <They are compatible... as species in general and as individuals... do wish they were in a much larger system... two hundred gallons or so now... three hundred or so for about average maximum size... There may be some troubles with growth, crowding... especially should food, oxygen, many other possibilities become limiting...> Was thinking of adding another fish, but am unsure how much to pack into the 100 gallon tank. It's got about 70 lbs live rock, well filtered, water is great, meticulously maintained. I'd like a clown trigger (I know, I know). Or I just saw my first Harlequin Tuskfish and it was beautiful--still reading up on that one. <Please, no more fish/es... start planning for the larger quarters...> Opinions seem mixed on adding a clown trigger to this already well established group. Your opinion would be appreciated. I was thinking of getting one bigger than the current resident trigger, but the fine LFS said smaller would be better. Now I'm confused. <Don't be confused, and don't add a Clown Trigger here... Please read over the 'Trigger' sections posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for a bunch of anecdotal accounts of what has/might happen/ed with such introductions in too-small, crowded systems... trouble> Once again, you can't be thanked enough, nor paid enough for all you provide to the hobby! Any hope of The Conscientious Reef Aquarist being published? <I am going to write and beg Glen Axelrod (and James Lawrence, again!) to consider this project... have much of the sections written, the images on hand... Thank you for your kind, encouraging words... and do keep goosing me re please. Bob Fenner> Regards, Jay T. Fishy Business Complete Aquarium Service Commercial & Residential

Last few questions... (set-up, stocking)  100 FOWLR You've been invaluable to me as a reference as I setup my new 100G FOWLR tank. I have a few remaining random questions if you don't mind. <Please> I have two lighting systems to choose from and will sell the other. They're almost identical... like the JBJ Venice Any preference between two 55W bulbs or four 36W bulbs? Since it's fish only I know it doesn't matter too much... but I can only fit one, so I thought I'd ask. <I'd choose the 55s just in case...> I read from your Faq's that a guy had a "difficult" time mating the Eheim 1060 to the TF1000. Your thoughts? Is this most easily done with flex tubing or hard plumbing? <Flexible> How big (Law) does the plenum in my Rubbermaid 40G container need to be to be effective? <... a one inch gap, three inches of substrate, 1 1/2" each would be nice> I have the TF1000 and a return pump in there now, so I can't use all the space as it is now. One thing I thought about was putting in the plenum across the entire Rubbermaid container... then place in the return pump and TF1000 on top of the plenum, suspended an inch over the plenum via egg crate and/or PVC. Your thoughts? <This is what I would do> You know how the order of introduction of fish into a tank is important... like putting in the most aggressive fish last. Does this make a difference when simply relocating fish to a new tank?  <No, negligible difference> I have a black spot angel that kinda chases the flame angel around here and there... would putting in the flame into the new tank first, like a week ahead make a difference, or do fish remember each other and old behavior takes over. <Better to just place all at once...> I'm thinking of either dropping the black spot angel or flame angel to get a juvenile emperor instead. Suggestions?  <This fish will eventually be too large for this system... Better not to unless you're planning on a bigger tank within a year> Other fish in the tank are a small Picasso Trigger, small Maroon clown and a medium Valentine Puffer. All fish get along great now, except for the mild angel rivalry. <Bob Fenner>

New Tank (marine livestock selection)  110 FI Hi, I've been reading a lot on your site and wanted to see if you could help me determine which fish I should put in first. The tank is 110 gallon tall and has been running for about a month now and contains 35 lbs of Live rock and 90 lbs of aragonite. We had the pump go bad in our TidePool II so we lost the dry wet for a week but now it's back up and running with a Rio 2500 compared to the 2100 it originally had but I feel because of this we are still seeing some ammonia .25 PPM we are cycling the tank with 5 Damsels at the moment and a Coral banded shrimp. I created a list of Fish that we would like to have in the tank and wanted to see if you could help us determining which should be put in first. (we do know that the Damsels must be removed after the cycling process to introduce the friendlier fish first) Fish we would like to have in the community: Flame Hawk <Can be added early, but have been known to kill shrimp and crabs, listed below.> Clown Fish True Percula, False Percula, Wide Band, Saddle Back, Maroon Gold Strip) <I would suggest you house only one pair of clownfish to prevent too much fighting). I would add the clownfish first.> Gobies (Mandarin Pterosynchiropus splendidus & Mandarin Psychedelic (Synchiropus picturatus) Scooter Blenny <I cannot recommend the Mandarins or the Scooter Blenny. If you search through the WWM site, you can find out why.> Tangs (Blue Hippo, Powder Blue, Yellow Tang) <Add the Hippo and then the Yellow and skip the Powder Blue.>  Shrimp (Coral Banded and Cleaner) <Both can be added early, but see the note of caution about the Hawkfish above. The longnose Hawkfish is a better choice to go with the inverts.> Crab (Scarlet Reef/Scarlet Hermit and Arrow Crab) <Can be added with your second or third group.> Thanks for your help. <Please be sure to quarantine all additions. -Steven Pro>

Yet Another Stocking Question   120 FI Hi, I have a 120 gallon fish + invert system. I had a 60 gallon reef for 2 years and then set this up last November by using my live rock and substrate from the 60 gallon. Here's what it contains right now: 150 lbs. live rock 110 lbs. aragonite substrate 1 5" Koran Angel 7 1" Green Chromis 1 2" Multicolor fairy wrasse 1 1" Bicolor Pseudochromis 1 3.5" Coral Beauty Angel (fine with the Koran, believe it or not!) 1 2.4" Yellow Tang 2 Cleaner Shrimp Assorted snails and hermits Assorted mushrooms Here's my setup: 380 watts VHO lighting (2 actinic, 2 50/50) Aggressor 250 Protein skimmer (rated up to 250 gallons) Acrylic creations wet/dry filter multiple powerheads Here's my question: I want to add more fish but am having a really hard time deciding what to add. I would love to add a Queen Angel but know they'll grow to large for the 120g and wouldn't get along with the Koran (it's a tough temptation to resist though!) I nearly bought a beautiful Achilles tang that my LFS had, but again resisted since they have such a poor survival record. I would like to add 1 more large fish and perhaps 2 more small fish. Any suggestions? Holly <I would stay away from any more angelfish or tangs. Think about a butterflyfish for the larger fish. There are many gobies and blennies that would blend in nicely with your other fish. -Steven Pro>

Friends for Aggressives   120 FI Hi Bob! <Steven Pro this evening.> I'm working on a plan for a nice 120 gallon environment for a bunch of aggressive species. I'm currently thinking about a Volitans (or maybe radiata) lion, a zebra (or maybe tesselata) eel, an imperator (or maybe annularis) angel, and a Picasso trigger. I was wondering: <The Annularis would be a far better choice of the two Angelfish.> 1) Any chance a flounder could survive in this scary environment? There's a certain poetry to the image of the flounder hiding on the bottom while the monsters circle above. <I do not know much about them. I did a quick search of WWM and not much there, either. My gut tells me they are not popular for a reason.> 2) Are there any crustaceans, invertebrates, or other critters that wouldn't get gobbled up? <No, the guys mentioned above would surely eat just about anything.> Best, Ari <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Re: long term planning  120-180 FOWLR Hi Bob, Thanks for getting back to me so fast! I appreciate it. 4 clown fish it is. If you don't mind, I'd like to run the fish I'd like to have in the tank by you and get your opinion: Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum) 3-5 Swiss guard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) 1 Blue Assessor (Assessor macneilli) 1 Yellowhead Jawfish Opistognathus whitehursti) 1 Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) 3 Orange striped Cardinalfish (Apogon Cyanosoma) 3-5 Red spotted Hawkfish (Amblycirrhitus pinos) 1 Black-Axil Chromis (Chromis atripectoralis) 4-6 Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) 4 Sharp finned Flasher Wrasse (Paracheilinus angulatus) 1 Red spotted Blenny (Istiblennius chyrsospilos) 1 Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) 3 Neon Goby (Gobiosoma oceanops) 3 Wheelers Watchman Goby (Amblyeleotris wheeleri) 1 (& attendant Pistol shrimp) (sorry if I butchered the Latin) <Socios miseris habuisse dolorem dicet: Cicero in the 2d century, (though lifted by Billy Shakespeare), "misery loves company")> I based the numbers of off the information I got from Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and from various web sources. <A worthy source (Mike.P) and a good list I'll warrant> The tank itself will be at minimum 120 , <I'd make this at least 180) 1/3-3/5 volume in live rock, 4-5 inches of substrate (for the Jawfish and watchman/pistol pair), a 55 for a refugium using an Ecosystem filtration setup & a 20 gallon for a quarantine tank. I was planning on MH and VHO for the lighting as I would like to keep corals also. I'm planning on setting up the refugium first to get the macroalgae going and stocking the mud with a piece or 2 of live rock from an LFS, and maybe a kit or 2 from a couple of different web companies. Let that cook for a while (3-5 weeks). Next was putting in the rock and sand, letting it sit for a while (3-8 weeks till everything tests ok), then gradually introducing everything over the course of roughly a year, starting with the less aggressive species first and ending with the most territorial. I plan on keeping a number of inverts also (besides the aforementioned corals). Cleaner shrimp, lettuce leaf sea hares, a pair of coral banded shrimp, a clam, sponges, and tunicates, in addition to detritivores/sand stirrers/ and cleanup crew (several varieties of snail and blue legged hermits). <Sounds like a good workable plan... and obvious you've been studying> I'm going to be searching for new LFS's, as I'm being relocated from Denver, CO to Eugene, OR. By any odd chance, would you be familiar with any high quality stores in the area? <Only through second-hand "experience"... I'd be getting out the phone books, making an itinerary, chatting with other hobbyists in the area... maybe joining a marine club.> Thanks again for your help and advice, I wish there were more people like you working at LFS's. Mike <There are my friend, and many more to help. Bob Fenner>

New 125gal Setup  FI My setup is a fish only 125gal 6'x18"x24". I am in the process of curing 90lbs of live rock and will be putting in substrate and live sand when that is finished. (ammonia came down after less than a week and now nitrites are up - halfway thru this process :-) . Other items are an Eheim 2217 filter, Tunze skimmer, 2 Maxijet 1200 powerheads and 2 NO Coralife bulbs. I have an idea of what fish I would like to put in my tank and wanted to see if you could give me some guidance. Here is my wish list: 3 Green Chromis, 3 Blue Chromis, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 dwarf angel (Flame or Coral Beauty), 1 Fairy Wrasse, 1 Hippo Tang, 1 Yellow Tang and 1 Wimplefish. Would it be possible to double up on either of the two later? <Yes, possible for the Heniochus.> Since some of these fish are more territorial than the others, which order would you suggest adding them? <Clowns first, then Chromis, Angel, Wrasse, Hippo, Heniochus, and finally the Yellow Tang.> I will probably also be putting in some assorted invertebrates -primarily Fromia starfish and hermit crabs, maybe some shrimp, but I will wait a couple of months before adding them. Thank you for your time. Susan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Fish Compatibility   125 FOWLR G'day Mates! I have a 125 gallon FOWLR with two occupants thus far, an Odonus Niger and a Rhinecanthus Aculeatus that have grown up together. Both triggers are about 5 inches body length. Soon I am going to be adding to the tank a few fish and wanted your recommendation on whether or not they'll be compatible and what order to introduce them as well. Here's my current wish list: 1. Queen Angel 2. Annularis Angel. I have read that it's possible to keep a Holacanthus with a Pomacanthus, and wanted your opinion on that, too. If recommended against, I'll probably replace the Annularis with some kind of Rabbitfish, more than likely a Foxface or bicolor Foxface. <I would not recommend mixing two large angels. I also would prefer to take out the Queen. I have seen many parasite problems when mixing Atlantic with Pacific species. If you do add the Queen, be sure to quarantine all new additions for one month minimum. A good rule of thumb anyway.> 3. Grouper, Clown or Miniatus or Panther <Miniatus would be my choice.> 4. Wrasse, either Lunare or Harlequin Tusk 5. Zebra Moray Over the years I have found it so much more appealing to get youngans and watch them mature <talking fish still> than adults. So, I'd like to introduce all these as juveniles. Any information is greatly appreciated. Love your site, books, and passion for the hobby. Thanks guys! ~Rob <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Am I overstocked? Can I get "one more"?   1/20/06   125 FOWLR I have the following: 125 FOWLR Setup 20 gal refugium/sump 165lbs LR DSB Filtration consists of an AquaC EV-120 Skimmer & Magnum 350 running carbon only. Livestock: 4" Yellow Tang 6" Naso 6" Damsel 4" Foxface 3" Flame Angel 2" Striped Damsel 2" YT Damsel 3" Maroon Clown 3" Flame Cardinal Fish 2x small Heniochus Butterfly fish 5x 1-2" Green Chromis 2x Cleaner Shrimp Big red Star fish (starfishus redus?) Misc crabs, snails and other cleaners Vitals are: Alk 12dkh PH 7.9 - 8.1 Ca 420 NO3 <10 PO4 1.0 (working on this) <I would> Any more room in this setup? <I wouldn't add any more fish life> Was looking at a Blue (hippo) Tang as the next addition? Also are there any soft corals that you can recommend in this setup? <Perhaps some of the hardier Alcyoniids, Selection FAQs. See WWM re> Thanks for maintaining this site and answering all these questions. <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Mordy Eisenberg 

Stocking Opinion - 09/04/05   125 FOWLR Hello, and thank you for you help in advance.  I currently have a Koran Angel, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Hepatus Tang, 1 Percula Clown, 2 Damsels, 1 Copperband Butterfly, 1 Flame Angel, 1 CBS<<?>>, and 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish in my 125 gallon marine aquarium with approx. 100lbs of live rock... <<Oh my!>> All tank mates are doing well and have not lost any since it was set up about 8 months ago.  My question to you is'¦is my tank overstocked or not... <<In my opinion it is.>> My pet store guy tells me I can put more in it but I don't think so. <<Neither do I>> What do you think? <<The Koran grows too large (18"), and the Hepatus is too large/robust and active/nervous/twitchy for this size tank.  You can argue that you will remove these as they get bigger, but this seldom happens before the fish's demise regardless of how true/good the intention.  This also doesn't stop the developmental retardation caused by keeping an ultimately large, active fish in too small a tank.>> My wet/dry is rated for a 250 gallon as well as my skimmer and UV. <<Has nothing to do with your filtration/skimmer in this instance...the tank dimensions are simply too confining I have been in the hobby for about 10 years...But I still get confused sometimes.  Too much information out there. <<No worries Mate...been at it for more than 30 years myself and I still have much to learn/discover.>> Thank You...Your site is Great!! <<Very welcome...EricR>>

125 Marine Tank Stocking - 09/04/05 Thanks, for your quick response. <<My pleasure>> So it is at its limit or currently overstocked. <<The latter...due to the Koran and the P. hepatus tang>> My cousin is getting a 180 gallon tank, I will set it up for him Tuesday.  So which of my piscine family will become an early Christmas gift to him? <<Mmm...possibly the P. hepatus, though I consider even the 180 too small for the long term.>> I would like to keep the Koran. <<Not if you want what is best for the fish in the long term.  This fish needs a tank with several hundred gallons of volume, as a minimum.>> Or better yet, what if anything do you think I should donate or return. <<Return the Koran for trade or credit, and get something more suitable for your tank.>> I also have a large mushroom colony growth across a few pieces of live rock. Thanks <<Welcome, EricR>>

Compatibility and order to stock 10/14/05  125g FOWLR First off thanks in advance you guys rock.  <You're welcome. Please, no more bolds and large fonts.> I've a 125g FOWLR with a wet/dry and a CPR Bakpak2 for filtration.  <Not enough skimmer for that size tank. Consider adding another or replacing.> I'm just resetting it up and am still in the cycling stage.  And I won't be doing anything until I'm sure the cycling is done. I've learned from past mistakes.  <Reading the WWM will help prevent that.> Right now I'm trying to get info so I don't stock anything that won't live together. I need input on these fish and if it will work, and what order I should put them in.  And if they won't work any suggestions would be greatly welcome. 1. Juvenile imperator angel (I'm moving him from another tank I have that he's been in for about 5mo) 2.Powder brown tang  <Difficult to keep for any length of time>. 3. Mandarin dragonet ( I figure he has to be last and after I've gotten a fuge setup for about a year)  <Yes> 4. Bannerfish  <Do better in threes or more> 5. 2 tomato clowns 6. 2 maroon with gold stripes  <Both these clowns can be aggressive with conspecifics unless they are a mated pair.> Lets read these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/heniochu.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  <My order of stocking would be: Bannerfish, Powder Brown if you insist, Imperator, and all clowns at once, and the dragonet wouldn't be my last choice but since you will have a delay in establishing your ref, he will have to be last. Please consider doing grammar/spell checks before sending as we just don't have the time to edit queries. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks  <You're welcome>

Moving too slow? (Marine set-up, livestocking)   130 FOWLR Thanks for the great website and all the information you make available to us newbies. It can become a little overwhelming but as I am reading and re-reading a little more sticks each time. However, I am finding that part of the fun of the hobby. <Yes, I feel the same> I have a question that I have not seen in your FAQ's. I have seen at every turn that patience is a requirement in setting up a new system. However, is it possible to progress too slowly when setting up a tank? <I have never experienced this, first or other hand. Practically, no> I have recently started up my 130g FOWLR and I purchased 100lbs of "un-cured" live rock that I am curing in the tank by itself. The rock has been in there for almost 3 weeks and I have seen very little change in ammonia and virtually nothing in either nitrates or nitrite. In fact, all are now zero with PH 8.1 and alkalinity 7. The alk. seems high but it has always (since I mixed in the salt) been that high and I've seen nothing saying too high is a problem. It appears that my rock may be already cured but I will give it a few more weeks to make sure. I am enjoying spotting all of the little critters and algae that are showing up. <Yes> So my question relates to the two things that are holding up the next steps to building my tank -money and a planned vacation in May. Money is almost always an issue with most people but I was also planning on going on vacation for a week or so in early May and thought it would be best to leave the tank requiring as little maintenance as possible from a tank sitter. With that in mind, I was planning on adding 160lbs of Caribbean Aragonite substrate in the next few weeks followed by some snails (Nassarius, Trochus turbo, Baja), crabs (Sally-L, Hermit) and possibly starfish (Brittle, Sandsifting) {specific suggestions/qty's welcomed here} and leave these in the tank by themselves until after May. Would these be able to fend for themselves while I was away and/or would it be a problem to have them in the tank for 2-3 months without fish to load the food chain? <No problem on both/either counts> I am building my plan/list of fish (non-aggressive community) to add later which I am sure I will be asking you about as I move forward. I could give you the list I've compiled so far but this Email is already getting a bit long. Let me know if you think I could be heading for a problem. I don't think so but I value your opinion and guidance. Thanks again for all your help you give both to me and others. Sandy <You are exactly the reason for our efforts here. Thank you for writing so lucidly. Bob Fenner>

Restructuring of tank inhabitants... (marine livestocking)  165 FOWLR Greetings to the WWM crew... <Greeting to you. Steven Pro this morning.> To recap... I have a 125G FOWLR and a 40G sump. 125lbs of LR and less than 1" of LS for aesthetics. The 40G sump contains the heater, a TF1000 skimmer and the return pump. Current family of fish include: Naso lituratus - Naso Tang - 5.5" Rhinecanthus aculeatus - Picasso Trigger - 3.5" Balistoides conspicillum - Clown Trigger - 3.5" Premnas biaculeatus - Maroon Clown - 1.5" Diodon holocanthus Linnaeus - Porcupine Puffer - 3.5" (soon to be returned to LFS) I've been emailing y'all the past couple weeks hoping for a cure to simpler natural nitrate reduction, but due to my liking of messy fish, NNR seemed difficult at best, so I've opted instead for a RO unit and frequent water changes. However, to somewhat help matters, I have decided to get rid of the biggest eater and mess maker, the porcupine puffer. Luckily I have a great LFS who takes back any unwanted fish for credit. Anyhow, I am contemplating between these following fish and would like your opinions on them, and how they'll interact with my current family. For what it's worth, the two triggers are very friendly, and I have yet to see any aggressive behavior from either of them. I know this may change as they grow, but I've got my fingers crossed. Also, please assume that I won't be adding any fish till I get my nitrates well under control... steadily below 20 ppm... no additions till I've made a perfect home for them. I'd appreciate some of your thoughts on compatibility/suitability for each of the species listed here. I'd only pick one or two of the following: Chaetodon auriga / Threadfin Butterflyfish - I thought they were hard to keep, but your articles state otherwise. <This is a relative thing. Hardy for a butterflyfish, but not a good choice with such rowdy tankmates.> Pomacanthus imperator / Imperator Angelfish - Always has been my "Dreamfish" to raise because of it's beauty. But in reality, I'll never have larger than a 125G tank, so if it's too small to keep once adult size, I guess it will have to remain a dream. <Will not get as large as your Naso, but again not a good choice with these guys.> Ctenochaetus strigosus / Kole Tang - Hoping he could help out with some minor hair algae in the tank. Love their swimming motions as well as they cruise the live rock looking for food. How will this species do with the Naso Tang? <Better choice. Should be ok with the Naso.> Paracanthurus hepatus / Blue Tang - If I could find a nice 3-4" healthy specimen, I'd be tempted, but this has been hard to do. Most of these tangs I see at the LFS are skinny and weak looking. How would this tang do with the Naso? <Same as Kole tang. Look for a Hawaiian one. These two tangs would probably squabble some though.> Or some dwarf angel like the Flame or Coral Beauty are some other favorites of mine. <I would like to see you chose something larger, better able to defend itself.> Thank you once again for all the help you guys provide. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Frenchman looking for a perfect tank - This is my ideas !   2/2/06   175 ish FI Hello from a Frenchman located in Kingston Ontario, <Howdy from a pet-fish boy in S. Cal.> I think I made my research in setting up my tank 72''w X 24''h X 18''d with a 50 gal sump and a protein skimmer. In addition to the overflow/pump circulation I have 3 intermittent pumps to complete the water movement. I have about 2 inches of rough sand and 90 pd.s of live rock distributed between the tank & the sump. It's currently inhabited by 2 red scarlet crabs, 40 blue legged hermit crabs, 2 Nassarius snails, 3 cleaner shrimps, 2 emerald crabs, 1 fire shrimp and 2 scooter blennies. (one of which will be transferred soon to the other smaller tank) <Okay> I also set up a quarantine tank of 10 gal with 1.5inch of sand and 5 pounds of live rock that I want to do as natural as possible. I will put 3 cleaner shrimps, 1 Neon goby, 1 scooter blenny, <Needs more room, food...> 35 blue legged crabs, 1 red scarlet crab, 2 Margarita snails, 3 Nassarius snails. All water, sand and live rock comes from my already cycled large tank. I want this tank to be the mandatory stop over for all new comers in the house, fishwise obviously ;-) After looking at all fish/critters available I wish for my large tank, when completed in 6-12 months depending on availability and adaptation of fishes, to be as follow; 90 Blue Legged hermit crab 2 Red Scarlet hermit crab 2 Sally Lightfoot crab 3 Cleaner shrimp 2 Fire shrimp 2 Bandit shrimp ( pair) 7 Nassarius snail 10 Bumble Bee snails 2 Nudibranch lettuce 1 Neon Goby 1 Coral Beauty dwarf angel 1 Bi-Color dwarf angel 1 Flame dwarf angel 1 Majestic angel 1 Anthias Lyretail male 3 Anthias Lyretail female 1 Scooter blenny 2 Pearlscale butterfly 2 Firefish gobies 3 Royal Gamma Basslet 1 Hippo Blue Tang 2 Mandarin Psychedelic (pair) 4 Clown fish Percula My questions are; Do you think my large tank would be overcrowded with crustaceans or fish? <Mmm, no. The above list should be fine... w/ the exception of the Majestic Angel... not an easily kept species, and will outgrow this tank (in 2/3 years, depending on whether it lives, what size it starts at...> Do you think my isolation/quarantine tank would be efficient for new fishes or treatment of old ones? <Mmm, needs to be larger... perhaps a twenty gallon... even two of these...> In which order do you think I should introduce the fish to limit new neighbors bickering? <The Majestic (if I can't talk you out of it) and the Tang last> I know about the dwarf angels territorial behavior, but is my tank large enough for the 3 of them, or at least 2? <Two would be best... the Centropyges> Any suggestion on my set-up or my choice of marine inhabitants will be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you in advance for your advice & help. BTW your site is a gem to which I referred to often in all my research. Yves Leduc <And there is a French/Belgium mirror of WWM... Bob Fenner>

Fish selection 8/9/05  180 gallon FOWLR Hello,  my name is Kevin and I am just in the planning stages of setting up a 180 gallon FOWLR.  I have had past experience with freshwater, but not saltwater tanks. My questions concerns the feeding schedule of saltwater fish.   My concern is that once a year we take a one week vacation and due to where I live, I may not always be able to count on having someone come by to feed the fish.   I am looking at one of the morays (zebra or snowflake) and a lionfish, both (from what I have read) of which can go a week without feeding.   <Yes. Easily... and a much better risk than having someone unqualified do this in your absence> Can you tell me of some other potential tankmates that would go with these two that can also get along without feeding for the week, preferably something interesting or colorful? <... could, but this would/could take hours... instead, please read... on WWM on the compatibility and selection FAQs files...>   I would like to add two other tankmates, something along the lines of a trigger, angelfish or panther grouper- if my tank is large enough.  Are the automatic feeders made these days reliable enough for this situation? <Some are>   I would try my best to get someone reliable to check in on the tank a time or two while gone, but I may not be able to count on it.  Thanks for any suggestions, I really enjoy your great website. Kevin     <Welcome to marine aquarium keeping! Bob Fenner>  

Compatibility and Stocking  9/29/05  240-gallon FOWLR Hello all at WWM!  You have a fantastic site! <Hello, I can't take credit but thanks.>   Thought I might run my fish list for a 240-gallon FOWLR by the experts.  I would rather learn from others experiences when it comes to the welfare of other animals and this Webster seems to have plenty of experts. <You may be using the term expert too loosely. Were still learning too, that never stops (Well I speak for myself at least).> I am planning on setting up a FOWLR 240 gallon (8'x 2'x 2') tank with about 150-200 pounds of live rock.  I have a preliminary list together.  I have researched the fish individually, but finding information about specific information about each one living together in a specific tank is challenging!  Here's the list: *Blue Girdled Angelfish <Generally not an easy fish, be sure to do lots of research and do not add this fish until the tank is nice and mature. Be sure to acquire a healthy specimen that is alert and eating.> *Spiny Box Puffer < A Caribbean species that is hardy once acclimated but it usually does not fare well from capture and shipment.  Definitely not as hardy s a porcupine puffer but the size of the spiny box would definitely be friendlier to your set-up.> *Humu Picasso Triggerfish <Hardy fish but each has its own personality. Could be a terror or could be very docile. It will be a calculated risk but I would add it last.> Volitans Lionfish <Consider a smaller species like the Radiata Lion, (Pterois radiata). Either way Lions are often the victims of aggression from Puffers and Triggers. So you may want to reconsider altogether.> Angler <Well its hard to comment since you didn't pick a specific species, just keep in mind these fish can swallow specimens that are nearly their own size.> One or two Tangs (Powder Blue and Purple Tang perhaps) <The powder blue is one of the most difficult to keep of the surgeon family (very prone to Cryptocaryon) and the purple can be quite aggressive. I would pick just one, and given your other 'wanted' fish I would choose the Purple.> 2 maroon Clownfish <Make sure to acquire these as a mated pair.> Perhaps one or both of the following Niger Triggerfish <I would not risk it with the other trigger.> Another Angel (been trying to see what I could place in a tank with Blue Girdled Angelfish with no luck, maybe a dwarf angelfish) <The odds are against you.> '*' Equals fish I really want (the others are just ideas right now) <I would continue your research, however I will say that the fish you are interested in are large and messy, so be sure to purchase a large and efficient skimmer.> Okay so those are my ideas right now.  What are you thoughts when you see this list?  Way too many fish? <I definitely would not have 2 triggers and 2 angels, that would be too much.>   Any immediately problems that come to mind? <Only the aggression toward the lion and possibly the angler as well.> Thanks! <Anytime, Adam J.>

Fish overcrowding   280 FOWLR Hello Bob, I have a 280 FOWLR tank (72x30x30) that consist of a 9' Golden Tail eel (about as thick as a pencil), 8' Vlamingi Tang, 6' Red Coris Wrasse, 5' Twin spot Coris Wrasse, and a 5' Pink Tail Trigger. I would like to add a Goatfish to help keep the tank clean but I don't know what genus that I should try to stay with-any suggestions? <Yes, posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm, and beyond in the FAQs section.> Australian Harlequin Tuskfish: I'm really not sure if adding even one or both of these guys would be overcrowding my system. Any of your input would be greatly appreciated. <Eventually, there may be trouble with the Trigger growing... and possibly the Eel proving difficult to feed with the other fishes> One other thing that I have been trying to find out was how big in diameter could I expect my Golden tail Eel to get? <An inch to an inch in a half likely> I have looked on www.wetwebmedia.com and fishbase.org and have not had any luck. <Really? Is it pictured here on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm ? Twenty eight inches long maximum, a tropical West Atlantic species, correct? Bob Fenner>  

Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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