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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine Systems Themselves 3

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

Related FAQs: FOWLR Set-Ups 1, FOWLR Set-Ups 2, FOWLR Set-Ups 4, FOWLR Set-Ups 5, & FOWLR 1, FOWLR 2, FOWLR 3, FOWLR Lighting, FOWLR Filtration, FOWLR Skimmers, FOWLR Livestocking, FOWLR Maintenance, FOWLR Disease, LR Lighting, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Marine System Plumbing Biotopic presentations


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

Setting up a new 75 gallon FOWLR    1/17/06 I am setting up a 75 gallon tank with a 20 gallon refugium and a 20 gallon sump.<congratulations>   I was wanting to stock a Humu Humu Trigger, a Volitans Lion, a large Angelfish, and either a Spiny Box Puffer or a Porcupine Puffer. <I feel that this may be too many fish for that sized tank as well as the fish that your inquiring about are better off in a larger tank to start>   Since I have no experience with any of these fish, I was wanting to make sure that these fish, if comparably sized, would be able to co-exist? <Aggressive fish, like the one's mentioned tend to get along fine; as long as they are fed properly> I was planning on purchasing these fish in the 4-6 inch range <if you are set on these fish, I would go for the smallest you can find> and removing them when they inevitably outgrow their environment.<4-6in is already too large>  Additionally, I would like to have a Maroon Clownfish hosted with an anemone, a small school of Yellowtail Blue Damsels, and possibly a small Green Wolf Eel. <Now your talking...I would actually start with them!> I was wondering if the addition of the smaller damsels might help focus the aggression of the larger fish and help eliminate any stress on the weaker of the larger fish? <hard to tell, each fish acts differently in each environment> How often should the larger fish be fed? <most fish do well with 2-3x's per day> Lastly, what size pump would you recommend for a tank of this size and bio-load? For a FOWLR, (fish only with live rock) I would say a turn over about 10x's per hour would be sufficient. Look for a pump that can handle between 700-800gph> Thank you very much for the time you all spend helping enhance and improve our hobby.<your more than welcome and I hope I was able to answer your questions, Rich K.>

Split tank, Reef and FO or FOWLER in one box?   12/16/06 <Greetings!  Mich with you tonight.> I would like to start up a marine tank and as I consider  FO vs. FOWLR vs. Reef  it appears that one trade-off with a reef tank is that it limits the type of fish it can support...fish that might be very hard on invertebrates or corals. <Yes, a reef will limit your fish stocking options.  I would encourage you to incorporate live rock into your system regardless.> My question is, can you split a tank...say, a 125 gallon tank... down the middle with  a piece of glass/acrylic that would allow  for half to be Reef and half to be FO or FOWLR?   <In theory, I guess it is possible.  I have never seen it done.  I think it becomes a matter of function.  A reef system requires strong and expensive lighting.  If you are ready to make a financial commitment to a reef, you will most likely also make a commitment to keeping reef appropriate livestock.  The reef system will also require excellent water flow.  A divider would present a challenge as for as water movement is concerned.  A fish only tank would allow you to use certain medications within the display tank that you would not be able to use in a reef tank.  Though a hospital/QT tank is still highly recommended.>   System would have common sump/filtration/refugium/circulation but  a barrier to keep more aggressive fish from reef. <I understand the thought, I'm just not sure it's practical. But then again, we all do things that are impractical at times.  -Mich> Russell Furst   

Tank Upgrade/Adding New Live Rock - 11/14/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have a question regarding a somewhat unique situation. <<Okey-dokey>> I currently have a 20L FOWLR.  It has about 30 lbs of LR.  I am upgrading to a 29 Gal.  The rock I have now is actually Base Rock that has been in this tank for about a year.  I have what I think is the max fish load (1 False Perc, I BW Damsel and 1 Royal Gramma) and this setup seems to be very stable. <<I would agree on the "fish load", especially considering the potential for disaster with the BW damsel in this size tank>> I never have any measurable amounts of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. <<Excellent>> I want to upgrade for 2 reasons.  First, I have ordered 16 lbs of real, coralline encrusted, live rock. <<Exciting>> Second, I would like to add a 3rd fish. <<...?>> I have the 29 gal tank, but nowhere to set it up until the 20 gal is down and will be using the existing filtration, lighting and stand for the new setup.  I also have a dry 10-gallon that I can setup with 20W of CF lighting, a power filter and a protein skimmer.  I do not currently have a skimmer on the existing 20 gal. <<A worthwhile addition>> The way I see it, I have 2 options.  The first would be to cure my new rock in the 10 gal (with a bare bottom to easily siphon out wastes) and after that, pull down the 20 gallon, use the 10 gallon as a temp setup for my livestock, and bring up the 29 gal with a combination of some of my existing base rock and the newly cured live rock.  I would let this run with full lighting (20w actinic and 20w 9325k from my existing setup), filter and skimmer for a week or so and monitor, and then add back my livestock.  I would be saving my existing filter media from the 20 gal as well as keeping the existing bio-filter from the existing base rock.  My second option would be to move my fish into the 10 gallon along with 1/4 to 1/3 of my existing base rock and some of my existing filter media.  I would then pull down the 20 gal and set up the 29 with the remaining existing base rock and the new, uncured LR and in essence, cycle this as a new setup entirely. <<I think (considering the livestock you have) that you could probably get away with either scenario>> My main concern here is that I have never cured real LR. <<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm>> I am not sure which would be better, curing the new rock in an isolated system and then moving the newly cycled rock AND the existing base rock into one new system, OR getting the new system set up immediately and dealing with the curing process of the new LR in what will eventually be my primary display tank. <<You can do it either way...but I would suggest curing the new rock in a separate vessel.  That way the ensuing algal blooms/pest hitchhikers are easier to deal with>> Would the second option have the advantage of populating my existing base rock with new life more quickly or would it actually be harmful to the existing biological life that has developed on the base rock over the past year? <<Probably not harmful, but for the reasons already stated I would cure this new rock separately...the new rock will still benefit the old rock once it is cured>> John Arenz <<Regards, EricR>>

Need A Little Advice...  substrates for a FOWLR   11/7/06 I love your site!! I've been reading and learning quite a bit. < Awesome! > I have a couple questions for you, hope you'll give a little advice. < But of course > I have 1/2" shell substrate and want to add some live sand, good idea? Maybe 1/2". < Crushed shell can become a detritus trap leading to problems. If you can afford to do so then swap all the current substrate for less than 1' of fine/sugar sized sand. Tons of info on WWM regarding this topic. > Do you know the difference between CaribSea live Aragonite Reef Sand and Bio-Active live Aragonite? < Hehe, besides marketing claims'¦.no > I have FOWLR, skimmer and 2 canisters. My Amm., NitrIte are 0, PH 8.3, and Phos., NitrAte are high. < Crushed shell can be an issue with high nitrates and phosphates. Check out the sections on sandbeds. > For better water quality I want to add a sump. The 1st chamber being for the skimmer and heater, the 2nd (I'm not sure what to put in here) ideas: LR, carbon media, the 3rd being for the return pump. Is this correct? Would you leave the canisters or remove them? (I know you don't recommend them at all!) Would you suggest addition of any other device to help with the large bio-load for an over populated tank? < You didn't give specifics on tank size, live rock, skimmer, stocking etc, but your last sentence gave it all away! :) If your tank is overstocked then take some fish back to your LFS or give to friends in the hobby. If you have close to 1lbs per gallon of LR then remove canisters, but keep some form of frequently maintained mechanical filter. Water changes and an oversized skimmer are also a good trick for FOWLR tanks. > Thank You for your time and valued advice.. < Most welcome! I wager you would have good results with removing your current substrate and placing in <1' of fine sand (doesn't matter if its 'live' or not as will become 'live' over time from your LR) as a replacement. Best of luck -- Emerson >

Questions on a FOWLR Configuration - 11/04/06 I have been reading your Q&As on FOWLR & inverts and would like your input. <<Alrighty>> I am currently using 2 Eheim canister filters and have shell substrate (approx.1/2").  To have a good system I need: 1) a sump/refugium (take out canisters or leave on for chemical media?). <<I would keep the canister filters for chemical media>> I'm not sure about making my own so what's your take on a Titan Pro 150 or Mega Pro Refugium Sump? Any others? <<I'm not familiar with these particular products you list, and, I'm not a fan at all of the "manufactured" sumps/refugiums available today.  I find them to be horribly expensive for what you get, and usually over-engineered with a multitude of unnecessary and too-small compartments to be useful...the combination "sump and refugium" units being offered are the worst offenders in my opinion.  For less than half what most of these units will cost, you can purchase a "plain" tank and install a baffle or two (or even pay someone to do it) and have a very adequate sump or refugium (if you need the tank drilled, many fish stores provide this service for about $30 a hole)>> 2) A skimmer (any AquaC) <<A fine choice, yes>> 3) A fluidized-bed filter (will this help with a heavy bio-load?) <<Yes...these filters respond quickly to changes in bio-load and are a better choice over wet/dry style filters, in my opinion>> Ammonia+Nitrite=0, Nitrate+Phosphate=High. <<...?  While these last two don't have to be "zero" in a FOWLR system, I would strive to keep nitrate below 20ppm and phosphate below 0.05ppm Would you recommend this set-up and which first (due to $$)? <<Will likely serve fine...the canister filters can be easily/quickly converted...I'm guessing the other gear will be installed in the sump so this would need to be next...and then the sooner you add the skimmer the better...followed by the fluidized-bed filter>> Would I benefit any to add LS to the existing shell substrate and adding a couple powerheads? <<The addition of another half-inch of live sand would fine...and in just about every instance, adding more flow is always beneficial>> Am I at least in the right current? <<Headed in the right direction, yes>> Thanks for your input. <<Happy to help.  EricR>>
Re: Questions on a FOWLR Configuration - 11/05/06
Thank you for your quick response. <<Very welcome>> By converting the canisters you mean taking out the filter pads and ceramic media? <<Yes...replacing with carbon/Poly-Filter...and changed/rinsed bi-weekly>> If I were to only keep the two canisters and skimmer, my water quality would deteriorate slowly over time correct? <<The degree/speed of deterioration will depend on many things (bio-load, feeding habits, husbandry, maintenance, etc).  If you find the right "balance" you can be successful without the addition of a sump>> One last question, I had an outbreak of Ich.  My LFS sold me a product "Kick-Ich", and said no need to QT, it's "reef-safe". <<This is "bunk" in my opinion.  I'm not convinced there is a compound effective against undesirable pathogens yet won't harm "other organisms" in the system>> After treatment fish do not have any visible spots. <<I have no personal experience with this product but have read anecdotal accounts of its "uselessness" as an ich remedy...and the fact that it appears to "not" be a copper-based medicant would also seem to support this opinion.  Likely the cysts have dropped off the fish as part of the normal life cycle.  By selling you this product your LFS has wasted your money as well as valuable time>> BUT'¦after reading your Ich info, this is wrong... <<Indeed>> Should I QT my fish anyway and let the tank run fallow for a month? <<Yes...treating the QT with an ionized-copper medicant if needed (see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm)>> Most likely the parasites are on the bottom? <<Still in the system, yes>> Waiting for a new host? <<Already have them if fish are still in the system>> Do you think the LR will house the Ich? <<Most anything can harbor/transfer the parasite, but they will complete their life cycle and die without a "living" host>> Thank you again for your time and input. <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>
R2: Questions on a FOWLR Configuration   11/6/06
Eric, I am taking your advice on the QT (as per my LFS). <<Ah good>> I don't have a sponge filter and to go buy one and seed it would be more time. <<True>> Can I use a spare Fluval with some ceramic media from an existing canister?  Then add new to the existing until $ allows for a sump? <<Sure...do monitor ammonia/nitrite/nitrate daily and perform water changes as needed to keep all at acceptable levels>> Thank You Again <<You're very welcome.  EricR>>

R3: Questions on a FOWLR Configuration - 11/08/06
Eric, <<Good Morning>> You mention: "the right balance", apparently I don't have it, only Nitrite & Ammonia =0.  I was trying to maybe not add a sump, but I'm baffled on the Nitrates & Phosphates. <<Baffled how?  Start reading here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm) and here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/po4faqs.htm), following/reading the associated links at the top of the pages>> Would the sump WLR help with Nitrates & Phosphates? <<The additional water volume/live rock could be some benefit, yes>> Can I put a cover over the sump and put light over LR? <<Not needed>> Would one canister for carbon and PolyFilter be ok or would an Emperor 280 w/bio-wheel be sufficient? <<The canister filter would be my preference>> What's your opinion on a Catalina Vortex skimmer? <<Mmm, no practical knowledge about this skimmer.  I would like to recommend an AquaC skimmer as an excellent addition to your system>> In a 75-gallon how many powerheads would you recommend? <<Hmm, well...like figuring "how many watts per gallon" of lighting you need, there is no cut and dry formula.  But saying that, I would start out with enough to move about 10x the tank volume and make adjustments from there>> Being on top or bottom? <<Place to provide a random turbulent flow pattern (intersecting streams) but be careful not to blast any corals directly as this can be harmful (can blast flesh right off the skeleton) as well.  It will take some experimentation on your part to find the best configuration>> I was told Lions like water flow. <<Mmm...but will also need a "refuge" in which to rest/get away from the bright aquarium lights.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm>> Fish are in a QT and I'm trying to modify main tank before they are ready. <<Very good>> Thanks <<Regards, EricR>>
R4: Questions on a FOWLR Configuration - 11/10/06
Sorry about the questions- <<No problem>> I read the link and came upon something.  One quote stated below: "<Sumps are always nice, but not if you have to use a siphon overflow.  Only drilled overflows are safe from floods.  You use a floss bag on the pipe leading to the sump for mechanical filtration and can put bags of carbon of phosphate remover into that bag.>" My tank is not predrilled, would you not advise a sump w/siphon (U-tube) overflow? <<These are not the "best" way to get water to the sump (drilled bulkheads definitely being better) but can be/are utilized by many hobbyists.  If you do go with siphon overflows, consider using two for the added safety (redundancy)>> How to prevent flooding? <<By utilizing two units as mentioned, keeping a close "eye" on things, daily checks, etc.>> Or stay w/canisters? <<High maintenance>> Would a fluidized-bed filter then be beneficial? <<These units can be very beneficial to FOWLR systems.  Regards, EricR>>

Questions About FOWLR Setup - 10/22/06
Hi Bob, <<Eric here...Bob is out dogpaddling half-way-round the globe>> After 8 months (!!!) reading websites, books (already 6 different-and yes "marine invertebrates" too:)) and talking to different people I am going to set up marine aquarium (fish only system). <<Cool!  Do carefully research your selected livestock "before" purchase for compatibility, husbandry requirements, et al>>>> I am gonna move from Chicago to England in few years (long story why), so I decided that I will get experienced with marine aquarium, then in England I will set up reef tank. <<Mmm, okay...I lived in East Anglia (Ipswich) for a time in the late 80s/early 90s.  I set up my first reef tank while there...the hobby was quite popular/growing>> My question is, what do you think about that system: -tank 120 gal (60*18*26) -HOB skimmer Aqua C remora pro -Eheim 2229 professional wet/dry canister filter for every kind of filtration (listed for 158 gallons) <<This will need to be serviced at least bi-monthly...and will serve better as a "chemical" filter only...add a fluidized-bed filter if you need more bio-filtration capacity>> -no live rock only 1/2 inch of sand and "fake" corals <<The sand is fine but I don't care for the "fake" coral.  Live rock is so much better in all respects (bio-filtration, food/grazing sources, etc.) and will certainly contribute more to the success of this tank>> -some light (probably something about 130 watts, 1x65 actinic, 1x65watt daylight) -fishes I am gonna keep, very important, let me know if that is going to work: -Auriga butterflyfish -one large angel (imperator or majestic for example) -regal tang (hepatus) -yellow tang -Bluejaw triggerfish 5 not so small fishes... so? <<The angel might be pushing things, and should also be added last.  You also definitely need live rock in this tank for the long-term health of these fish.  All but the trigger need the rock for grazing, with all needing the rock for security/hiding>> Last question, what about cleaning crew?  Should I purchase any snails, or other invertebrates? <<You can...is up to you>> I don't even think they are going to survive in that tank, once with that trigger, twice with nitrite level (hob equipment, few messy fishes). What should I do with that cleaning crew? <<My Blue-Throat doesn't touch my snails...I don't have hermits so I can't say for sure about them but I think a few in this system may be worth a try>> Probably tangs will take care with algae, but... <<...Not always the case>> Regards, Daniel <<Be chatting, EricR>>

120 Gallon FOWLR Setup - 10/18/06 Background: I have been keeping a 30 gallon FOWLR system for the last two years. It has been great fun and I have moved slowly. < Good to hear! > Today: I was given a 120 gallon acrylic tank. I would like to set up a FOW(some)LR system. Here is what I have for filtration: Fluval 403 canister filter, CPR Bak-pak 2 Reef Ready protein skimmer, Two Emperor Power Filters 280, Penguin 660 Powerhead, 30 pounds of live rock from the old tank, Aragonite bottom from the old tank. My plan is to dismantle the old 30 gallon and move the live rock, aragonite, saddleback clown, and yellowtail damsel to the 120 gallon system. < Alrighty > Question: Will I be OK if I simply put everything listed above for filtration in the 120 gallon tank? < Yes, but see below regarding some specifics. > My goal is to have a trigger (pink-tail) as the focal point. I would think some small angels/tangs would be nice additions to the trigger for color and activity.   < The Pink tail can get rather large, and some would consider a 120 to small for the lifespan of the fish. This trigger (start with a 3-4" specimen) with a smaller species tang and dwarf angel would probably do fine for a couple of years in a 120. As long as you don't get a Pink tail with an attitude problem. > My thinking is that the skimming should be upgraded. Please advise. < By all means, especially if you plan on keeping large fish. It would be a great idea to add more live rock. In addition to giving your fish a place to hide, explore, and feed upon, it will add greatly to the tank biological filtration. With 80 or more lbs of live rock you could remove all the power filters. I strongly suggest adding more flow to the tank via powerheads etc. An upgraded heater is also a good idea. > Also, would you get rid of the power filters? It wouldn't hurt to have them running instead of sitting in a closet, would it? < The canister filter can be a disaster waiting to happen. A few hours with no power can turn a canister filter into a toxic waste-ground waiting for the power to come back on and spew its bad news into your tank. Keep the 280s running as these will be your major source of nitrogen conversion until you get more live rock. > Finally, with some live rock in the tank, and I have some versatility with the Fluval 403, what would you recommend for media in the three canister filter compartments? < Sell it! :) > Many thanks! Scott < You're most welcome, and best of luck! - Emerson >

Moving In To A Larger System - 10/14/06 Hello gurus of all things wet'¦ <<Mmm, hardly consider myself a "Guru"...but I am here to help if I can>> Your website has proved to be an interregnal part of my newly acquired hobby and I am most grateful. <<We're pleased you find it useful>> Your answers to questions have allowed me to answer a lot of questions that I have had in the initial set-up of my 55 gal FOWLR system. <<Indeed...much can be learned by simply spending some time reading>> Well, as we all know the bug has really hit and my wife (must make her happy); <<Well aren't you the lucky one!  I know a lot of guys in the hobby that would like to be in your situation <grin> >> wants a bigger tank and I am doing the research now and going to start collecting the needed items a little at a time.  My timeline is to have the new 150-gallon FOWLR tank up and operating by Christmas. <<Cool!>> I have some questions that I would like the gurus' insight on. <<I'll do my best>> I have bought three products on your recommendations in response to other questions and they have been awesome products. <<(whew!)>> 1.  I have an Eheim 2026 (Set up in the following manner from bottom to top of filter: 1L Ehfimech, Blue coarse filter pad, Carbon Filter Pad, 1L of Ehfisubstrat, Carbon Pad, and white fine filter pad) on the 55-gallon tank. <<I hope you are cleaning this regularly...>> I know that this is rated to a 92-gallon tank, but I am also looking at putting an Eheim 2229 wet/dry in the new tank with 6L of Ehfisubstrat.  I have read the argument that the wet/dry could counteract the positive benefits of the LR. <<Mmm, no...not so much "counteract," but will likely produce more nitrate than the live rock can quickly/efficiently convert to N2>> Should I just keep the money and spend it on the LR instead of buying the new Filter and then just use my 2026 the same as it is set-up in the 55-gallon? <<Here's what I would do in your case on a FOWLR system...  Add some additional live rock to provide security/hiding places and grazing opportunities while leaving enough open space for the fish to swim freely...convert the Eheim 2026 to a "chemical" filter (carbon and/or Poly-Filter)...and add on a fluidized-bed filter to help with the bio-load as/if needed>> 2.  I have crushed coral bed, but I am going to replace it with live sand. How deep of a bed do I need? <<I am a fan of DSBs (4"-6" of sugar-fine aragonite), but if you don't like the look a bed of 1" or less would be fine too>> I have read about the deep beds, but could these become a nitrogen trap? <<On overrated concern if properly installed/maintained (fine grain of adequate depth, vigorous water flow), in my opinion>> What type of sand do you recommend and what depth do you recommend?  What size of sand would you also recommend? <<All just stated>> 3.  I have an AquaC Remora Pro with a Mag3 drive for skimming.  Do I need to get another one for a better buffer and increase the turnover rate of the tank? <<Either adding another of the same or replacing with a larger skimmer is recommended, yes>> 4.  I have two Maxi-jet 1200's and two ZooMed 228 power sweeps. Should I put in more power heads in for more circulation and which ones and how many do you recommend? <<I would add more flow, yes...will be much appreciated by the fish.  Perhaps you can replace all these powerheads with a couple Tunze 6060 Stream pumps?  Else just add enough Maxi-Jet pumps to prevent any stagnant/low flow areas in the tank>> 5.  Do I need to put a UV sterilizer on this tank? <<You can, but not needed in my opinion...of little utility unless kept VERY clean>> Is there anything else that you would recommend for this tank? <<Hmm...already stated I think>> I do not want to just go about this in a haphazard manner and shorten the life of fish unnecessarily. <<Do continue reading/researching>> The fish that we have are: 2 - Ocellaris Clownfish TANK RAISED (Amphiprion Ocellaris) 1' 1 - Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis1) 3' 1 - Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) 1.5' (Biggest Bully) <<Much to do with being kept in a too small system>> 1 - Huma Huma (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) 1.25' (Wife's fish and reason why we need a bigger tank.) <<Indeed...along with the Hippo tang>> I have 75lbs of Fiji LR, but plan on getting another 50-70lbs. <<I wouldn't overdue this...the object is to provide some hiding/resting places while still keeping most of the tank "open">> When I am going to switch the tanks, I was planning on putting the water from the 55 in a bucket with the fish and some of the live rock. <<Mmm...a very BIG bucket I hope>> I was also going to put the AquaC in the bucket for the transfer. The reason why I need to do this is the new tank is going to be located at the same spot as the old tank. <<I see>> I also have some questions about this also that I hope you can answer for me. <<Okay>> 1.  Should I also put the Eheim into the bucket for more of a buffer on the filtration of the bucket? <<Can't hurt...will also provide water movement>> 2.  Do I need to put a light on the bucket or will it not be needed. <<Not needed>> 3.  If I use the LR from my tank, live sand and 1/2 the old water from the tank, could this shorten/eliminate the cycling process of the new tank? <<It could...I would use as much water from the old system as possible>> I just have a HUGE fear of making a mistake and losing my livestock and would like to take all the precautions that are needed to have no loss. <<Please read through our articles/FAQs re moving tanks...same principles will apply>> Would it be better to remove the LR and 1/2 the water into the bucket and then move the old tank enough to slip the new tank behind it? Then refill the new tank with the old tanks water and then put in the live sand and 60 - 90 lbs of LR? Again, I would hope that this could shorten/eliminate the cycling process. <<Is one approach, yes>> This would also allow me extra leeway in regards to the larger tank and any spikes that it could produce. <<Agreed>> Again, thank you for your insightful website. <<Quite welcome>> You are the gold standard for others to emulate.  I spend hours just reading to make my tank is the best that it can be and I will forever be grateful for the energy and knowledge that you all put into each person's question. <<Thank you for the kind words...gratifying to hear>> Scot <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Black ray shrimp goby... hlth? and FOWLR set-up   04/17/2008 Greetings and salutations - <<Hi Angela, Andrew today>> Just wanted to update you on Spike. Unfortunately, he did not make it through this. <<Awww.. very unfortunate. A good lesson learned perhaps? No matter how time is spent in the hobby, were always learning new lessons, new information. Our quest for knowledge is always thirsty>> I can't help but think it was nutritional or some type of toxin released from the digging in the sand done by his pistol shrimp companion. Anyway, thanks again so much for your help and advise. All others in that tank continue to do well. <<Glad to hear everyone else is just great>> On a different note, I just want to re-iterate what you and the "crew" say over and over again...a quarantine and/or hospital tank is so important to have in this hobby!! People should absolutely take this advise from you guys. I have a 6 gallon Eclipse tank going at all time. This also serves to keep my salt water that I have moving and up to temperature for my weekly water changes, or if I need an emergency change. I will probably go back to making my own salt water eventually, but for now I continue to get it from the LFS and adjust it to fit the tank. <<Ahhhhh yes. A small, but very essential system, which is so many times overlooked, or thought of as " Blah, my fish will be fine, i don't need anything like a quarantine or hospital. And when the times arrives that one is needed, they then start to kick themselves, and the words arise "If only i had listened / accepted that i need one". Again, a lesson for people to learn>> Andrew - No rush on an answer and you don't have to post this unless you feel it is important, but, I really would like to pick your brain a bit on a good set-up for a larger tank. <<Will answer while were together here and will post as always>> If I am interested in getting a 75-90 gallon FOWLR, how would you outfit it (i.e.-how would you set it up for yourself)? <<Well, lets take 75 as an example...For me, i would go with 1 - 1.5lbs of live rock per gallon of tank water, 2 - 3 inch sandbed, a good skimmer like AquaC urchin or Deltec, 30 - 40 gallon sump with refugium, 2 Hydor Koralia #4 powerheads, and lighting would all depend on if corals would be had further down the line, probably a mid-range 200w T5 unit with individual reflectors>> <<That's about the sump of a 75 if i was to put one together>> With all the choices, I really do not know who else to turn to. I assume that part of this answer will depend on the type of fish that I would be interested in stocking in the tank. <<Fish wise, the tank setup does not really make that much difference in my opinion, as its the fish compatibility with each other is the determining factor>> I must say that I really enjoy a peaceful set-up and do not care as much for the higher maintenance fish. Any and all of your sage advise is welcome! Thanks again for all the good work you guys do for us 'aqua heads'! Angela <<Thanks for the nice mail/comments. I hope the above helps to lead you down the path of success, and by all means, if you want to press further down setting a new system up and want more advise, I'm always an email away. Good day and regards, A Nixon>>

FOWLR setup planning...need some insight and guidance 02/13/2008 Hello! <<Hello, Andrew here>> Firstly, THANK YOU (/ahem.. sorry bout the caps there) for this wonderful website. With the books I have and all the other places I've gone in my research, this is such a wonderful tool you have made available. <<Thanks for the kind words>> The brackish section is invaluable (but that's a different project, and the husband's. this tank is all mine and I don't have to share anything but the fish watching part) And now to what will most likely end up being an essay by the time I'm done. I am in the planning and development stage of a 55gal FOWLR project, and I think I've tried to process so much information that my brain has just gone "What." and taken a vacation without taking me along. Other places I have been and asked questions have given me not so helpful information, which most things were answered as soon as I got to this site and couldn't stop reading. Right now I am to the point of having most of the equipment figured out and picked out, along with the desired fish, but I do need some help to see if I am actually on the right track with my plans or not, as this is my first ever SW adventure, and I want to make sure I'm not an idiot and will eventually kill the lovely fish I would like to have. <<Lets all try and make it a smooth and enjoyable adventure for you then>> Bear in mind I've tried to figure out what I need for flow rates. but this is one area that still has me completely confused no matter what all I read up on. so I may have things listed that simply won't work with my planned setup. (so don't hesitate to smack me and set me straight) <<Flow rate - You need to have about 25 times the amount of water volume in your aquarium circulating every hour. All water movement devices are rated in GPH (Gallons Per Hour). So, lets do some maths..55 (your tank size) x 25 (amount of circulation) = 1375GPH water circulation required. TO achieve this, you could go with a couple of Hydor Koralia 3 power head pumps. These are very good indeed as they provide a nice wide dispersed flow>> My pictures were too large to attach. so I did the next best thing and started a page up on my website to show my concepts thus far. http://www.realmofsavage.com/FOWLR_setup.htm (if you can't access it right away, there may have been a server hiccup on our end, all our money goes to fish and electronics..and the power company) <<Seen image fine>> Planned along with the 55gal DT is a 20gal QT, and of course other essentials such as a proper testing kit, refractometer and other such things. Figure I don't need to list all the little details cause I'm fine on that end of things. I will also be doing the equipment a little at a time rather than blowing more than my monthly salary all at once. Less chance of cardiac arrest that way. Can't enjoy the fish if I'm not around. <<Quite agree, and have done the same myself...he he he>> I will be building my own custom stand along with my own sump/fuge system to live inside. It will have an AquaC EV-120 skimmer with Mag5 pump, live rock frags instead of bio-balls, 2 150w submersible heaters.. and as of yet I haven't made my mind up if I need/want to have a refugium area or not. The only thing I'm totally lost on in this area is exactly what I need for a return pump. I found a Sequence 3200-SW water pump (3,200 US gph) that sounds really nice. but at $400 seems just a little too much to me and my slightly limited budget. Not that I'm trying to avoid quality equipment, but if I don't need to spend that much on a pump, I could conceivably upgrade and go for the 75 gal tank I've been drooling over at the LFS instead. (at which point you'll probably tell me. yes, you would need the snazzier pump then. and welcome to catch-22).have I forgotten anything for this part? (outside of the PVC pipe, hoses, fittings and all that. I'm fine on that part) <<When considering return pump, you also need to consider overflow, or method of. If this tank is drilled, then the bulkhead fitments are rated at an amount of flow. For example, a 1 inch internal diameter bulkhead has a flow rating of 600 gallons per hour. So, for example, you have two over flows, 1200GPH in total. You would then need to buy a return pump which matches this value of flow, so, something like a 1150gh return pump would be fine. If choosing the overflow box method, then whatever rated overflow box you purchase, you buy a pump to match that flow>> For the tank itself, I'm planning on 3-4" deep of Seachem Meridian Gray Coast Substrate (I'd like something other than your typical light colored stuff) and 45-50 lbs of Fiji live rock, with a small amount of base rock for the foundation that will end up under the substrate (why waste live underneath?). With 2-3 powerheads (haven't decided on a brand just yet) and a CS100 Siphon Overflow HOB box (800gph flow rate, there are other models higher and lower) that will feed the sump/fuge because I don't feel comfortable yet with drilling the tank just for LR and fish.. unless such is absolutely necessary. So far I've gotten mixed info on this area. and for me starting out, I figured the HOB box was a better (slightly easier) option. <<Ahhhhhh Overflow it is then. As this chosen overflow box is rated at 800GPH, then your return pump needs to be about 750 - 800 GPH>> Lighting plans are for a T5 48 inch setup suspended over the tank from the ceiling beam above, which may be a future upgrade and not happen right away. going with T5 based on longer bulb life over other options (full thoughts on this on the page I linked earlier. just to save some space in here). Planning on screen cover inserts for the top of the tank so fish don't go carpet surfing, and to keep large foreign things out of the tank. Unless the open sump/fuge will give enough air exchange and then I could do Plexiglas inserts for the top to cover it? <<Covering the tank in this way is fine>> Now this is the part where things get even more fun, and I was told elsewhere that my planned one month quarantine for everything was overly excessive, and the times between adding livestock way too over-protective. That could very well be (on the between times. I'm standing firm on my quarantine times), but honestly I figure that being over-protective in this hobby is better than the other end of the spectrum. (I can shorten the time table I've planned out, but I thought going slowly and cautiously was better than rushing everything and not letting the tank & sump bioload adjust as needed between introductions) <<No, not at all. 4 weeks in quarantine is perfectly fine and should never be less than this>> After the tank has cycled with the live rock (cured outside of DT upon arrival if I have to order it to get enough, though I'm hoping the LFS can supply it all) and substrate and test levels show everything stable for at least two weeks, I figured I'd start with a small clean-up crew consisting of the following: 5 Halloween hermits 10 Jade hermits 10 Turbo/Astrea snails (Do I need more, and do I need to quarantine the cleaners for a month also before adding to DT?...I've not found a great deal on this subject yet, everything seems to focus more on the fish that I've come across) <<The cleaners are fine. No, no need to quarantine these, just acclimate>> 2-3 months after cleaners introduced to DT, and after one month quarantine (so more like 3-4 months) 2 Pink Skunk Clowns (my husband thinks they're ugly, but how can you not like a fish called a pink skunk? While nothing is wrong with Percs and other clowns, they're attractive fish. I'm just not into the whole Nemo fetish thing still going around and I'd like to have something different) <<Amphiprion perideraion is a very nice fish, can be a little aggressive though>> 3-4 months after clowns, with one month quarantine (4-5 months total) 1 Firefish goby (since I have no way of getting a guaranteed mated pair and they don't really like to share space all that much with other gobies including others of the same. unless my info is totally wrong here. I've read so many things lately it is very likely I have things all scattered and confused in my little brain) Or can the firefish go first? They carry them more often at the LFS (pink skunks not at all), and I'm more inclined to "rescue" those fish on a regular basis. (there just isn't enough tank space or budget unfortunately) <<Will be fine to add first>> And that's all I have planned for this tank so far. If it could handle one or two more fish, I'd think about putting some in, but I have no other ideas right now on what would work with the three fish I do want. I certainly don't want to over-do it, and the only other fish I've ever wanted (which will be my reward someday if I'm successful with this first tank) is a Pomacanthus imperator. But right now we don't have room for a big enough tank for one because we have a monster tank planned to go up here really soon for our Columbian catfish. So after inundating you with all of the above, just a couple last questions to finish things up. (course, I don't really think I actually asked many questions up there.) I have fallen in love with the Macrodactyla doreensis anemones and would love to add one to this tank eventually, but I am assuming that a 55gal tank is too small, and my planned substrate (which they don't carry locally unfortunately so I have no idea on grain size or roundness factor) will not work with one. I would only think of adding one if it would be happy in this home. (and no, I don't want it simply because of the planned clowns. I'd just really love to have one, but I can wait for a future tank) <<Would not add one of these to your tank, a far larger tank is needed with open substrate>> If the anemone is a no go, could I conceivably add in a long spine sea urchin instead? (I'm not sure of the exact species as it was gone by the time I went back to the LFS for a closer look, but it was a dark purple cutie, not real big. not that their signage is the greatest all the time. unfortunately it's the only one we will give money too without having to go out of town because the other one sells "tattooed" and dyed fish and I refuse to give them my money period) <<Would wait until tank is well established before thinking of one of these, maybe even go for a pencil urchin, rather than the long spine? you decide>> Think I better stop now, as I tend to ramble (as if it wasn't apparent). Thank you very much for taking the time (or should I say putting up with me?) to offer your help! Rachel Savage <<Thank you very much for the questions Rachel, hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Re: FOWLR setup planning...need some insight and guidance 02/13/2008 Thank you very much for the help Andrew! <<No problem at all Rachel, glad to be of service>> Makes me feel better about things that I'm on the right track and can finalize my plans and hopefully start putting things together here soon. Flow rate doesn't scare me anymore, and my in/out issues with the sump are gone. Feeling confident that I'll be able to give some fish a happy home in the future. I'll try and remember to share some pictures when things are up and running, because I doubt I'd have managed to fully figure things out on my own. (and then who knows where I'd be with all this). <<I wish you good luck in the new system, always remember the basic ingredients of marine keeping....Patience, research and WetWebMedia.com ;O) >> Again, thank you! Rachel <<Thanks for the follow-up email, glad I could help to re-assure you. Good day. A Nixon>>

New 125g Set-up  1/29/08 WWM Crew, <Brian.> I am converting a 125g AGA to be used for my FOWLR tank. I'm new to this hobby and I would like to get your opinions / suggestions before I start filling it up with water (although I'm getting really excited to move forward!). I've attached a picture of the back of the tank which shows 2 x 1.5' bulkheads feeding a 40g sump in the stand beneath the tank (a little cramped but there is enough room to access the protein skimmer and return pump as needed). The sump is divided into 3 sections as discussed often on WWM. You can also see the ¾' return line going to a manifold with 3 x 0.5' nozzles. My plan is to keep this tank FOWLR for at least a year or two; however, I realize that at some point I will likely want to try some easy to maintain reef species which don't require excessive lighting or expert attention. Therefore I want to have my tank set-up now for this possibility (inevitability?). I will have <1' aragonite substrate in the display and ~175 pounds of LR for the display and sump combined and plan to stock with reef-friendly species culminating with a Flame Angel. I have a Euroreef RS-100 protein skimmer and I will have added water flow with a Tunze Nanostream 6045. <OK.> Now for my questions: 1. I supported the 1.5' PVC by drilling through the stand and attaching a zip tie with some foam on either side. Do you feel this is enough support to keep undue stress from the back of the glass? <They will help until they break, zip ties just don't last long carrying a load. Look for the plastic PVC pipe mounts found in electrical departments. They are used for mounting PVC conduit.> 2. My return pump is a Mag Drive 9.5 - with all of the bends in my return plus ~4ft to the top of the tank, do you feel that 3 x ½' outputs is too many? I've read that meaningful flow would be about 350g/h for each output (I think I just answered my own question. I should probably cap one of them until I choose to get a bigger pump). <Two will be fine for the flow you will have. That is the beauty of PVC, the flexiblility.> 3. Lighting ? I am considering a 72? Current Orbit (4 x 96 Watt) PC lighting fixture (will switch-out the actinic with another 10K). Considering the plan for my tank and a ~$500 lighting budget, do you feel this is an appropriate choice? <Yes, for the lower light requiring corals.> 4. Considering the size of my sump (40g long with 11? high dividers) and ~600g/h or so flow would it be wise to have a DSB or simply stick with LR in the center section? <You could have a DSB here. 600gph it not too much for a sump this size. Also, it is about controlling and diffusing the flow here.> Many thanks for your comments and suggestions (this will be a good indication of my reading comprehension since I've been studying this amazing website for a few months now!). Regards, Brian <You are well on your way to a nice system. Good luck, Scott V.>

Transferring to a new FOWLR Tank 1/25/08 Crew, <Hello Scott.> This site has been a godsend. I'd been heavily involved in the hobby twenty years ago, but as a conservationist, couldn't justify the unsustainable way much of it was conducted. Discovering "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist," and later this website, has made it possible to enjoy the hobby with a much quieter conscience. To Bob Fenner and the rest of the WWM crew, thanks. <Thank you, it is great to hear from a fellow aquarist that looks at the big picture.> We got into marine aquariums again really by accident - four years ago my then-fiancée, who ran a large Audubon center on the Chesapeake Bay and kept marine natives, was given two tanks full of tropical marine fish and inverts by someone being transferred out of the region. Two years later, after we were married, we moved both tanks here to Pennsylvania without the loss of a critter. <Common for a gift to start the bug.> The smaller tank is a 30g FO with a royal Gramma and blue damsel, along with inverts including hermits, urchins and a banded coral shrimp. The other is a 55g FOWLR with an Amiracle wet/dry, stocked with a purple tang and A. melanopus clown, each about 4 inches long, an enormous anemone (uncertain ID; it, like everything else, came with the setup), some leather coral and a few urchins, along with about 50 pounds of live rock that has become completely engulfed in hundreds of red mushrooms, despite my ruthless efforts at control. We do 20 percent R/O water changes every other week. No skimmer, but nitrates consistently test out at zero. <Sounds nice.> Our plan is to start fresh with a 75g FOWLR setup, get it well established, then move the fish and inverts - but not the old live rock or mushrooms! - from the other tanks. We'll keep the 30g with the damsel as a quarantine tank, and the mushrooms will go to our LFS for store credit. <OK> What I'd like to do is give you an overview of our intended setup, walk through our plans for making the transition, and see if you have any suggestions or concerns. <OK> The new setup will consist of a 75g tank; Nova Extreme Pro 4x54 T5HO lights; Eshopps 20g sump with a Tunze skimmer, 100 lbs of cultured Fiji rock and 40 lbs. of live sand. We'll set up the tank, make sure everything's running smoothly, then install the live rock/sand and give it about a month to settle in and cure. (I'm skeptical of mail-order dealer claims that their rock comes fully cured.) <Yes, some curing time after you receive it should be planned for .> Then I'll move the Gramma, give it a chance to get comfortable, then the tang and clown? I'd prefer to wait on the anemone and the other inverts until the fish have been in a few weeks and I'm sure the water quality is OK, though I'm uncertain whether I should move the anemone with the clown. I hate to separate them, since they're symbionts, but I also hate to risk the anemone. Suggestions? <I would wait a bit to move the inverts, anemone in particular. They need an established, stable system. The clown will do fine without it for a while.> We don't plan to add much livestock to the new tank, beyond a couple dozen small hermits and more snails for algae control (the tang does a good job grazing). Once the new tank is well established, though, I'd like to add a Hawaiian-caught Auriga or raccoon butterfly, but worry that might be crowding things. <Likely it would in a 75G.> I'm on the fence about the skimmer, since we've managed for years with a wet/dry and live rock, no skimmer and zero nitrates, even though wet/dries are supposed to cause nitrate problems. <They do, your nitrate is possibly being used up by the algae mentioned above as it is produced.> This project is a huge investment for us, and a good skimmer like the Tunze isn't cheap. <Consider a skimmer from AquaC, ASM or EuroReef also. You can find some good deals out there and will likely find your water quality situation degrade as the fish grow.> Finally, any thoughts regarding an auto-top off system? I'm thinking about a Tunze Osmolator, and would welcome your input. <Auto top offs are a must in my opinion. The Tunze Osmolator is the best of the best for this. There are many safeties built in.> Thanks in advance for your help, Scott <Welcome, best wishes, Scott V.>
Transferring to a new FOWLR Tank 1/26/08
Scott, Many thanks for the quick reply and sage advice, which we'll follow. Scott <Great! Congratulations on the new tank, Scott V.>

Large Tank Filtration Switch 1/19/08 I really hate doing this after the fact but here we go. I am running a 500 gallon acrylic FOWLR that's been up for 4 years now. it is lightly stocked with appropriate fish purchased as babies who will grow into it with plenty of space. <OK> I woke up this morning to nitrate readings off the charts. <Not good.> Everything else is fine. I have 500 pounds of live rock and 3" of live sand. Heavy filtration that turns the tank over 12 times an hour and very aggressive protein skimming in the sump. The only person I knew to talk to was my LFS guy who after coming to my house told me the trickle filter is so loaded with muck that it is the nitrate issue. <They very often are detritus traps/nitrate producers.> Part of this is my fault as I am a disabled veteran who can get distracted and my fish have been doing marvelously and the ammonia, nitrites, ph and spec grav have been right on. <I'll have to take your word on that.> I haven't tested the nitrate in a while. <That raises the question of whether something caused a spike in nitrate or if it has accumulated over time.> Anyhow the guy told me to ditch the bioballs immediately and fill the 55 gallon sump with cured liverock and algae. <This will be a superior setup. Do consider at least a section of this (the more the better) with a deep sand bed for nitrate reduction. One thing to be cautious of is that the rock may go through another curing process. If it was truly cured rock you may possibly avoid this altogether.> He said this is the way to go and is replacing the old trickle filters. He also told me to do a 20% h20 change and another in 48 hours as well as reducing fish feeding and siphoning any detritus found. I was then told to look you guys up on the web, which I did, and found your section on trickle filters and found you recommend slowly removing bioballs. <Generally safer, it gives the rest of the system time to account for the removal of the bioballs.> I asked the LFS guy this and he said I was in a dire emergency and needed to get the nitrates down or I was in for disaster. <It is a problem that needs to be addressed.> I hope I haven't brought disaster on myself by doing this drastic change. <Assuming that your tank is indeed properly stocked and the new rock does not go through another curing phase after being moved to your tank, all will be well. Just keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrite levels, if you read any more water changes will be in order. > I fine tuned my skimmer and am getting as much skimmate as I can and hoping for the best. <Good.> The fish show no signs of stress which I find amazing due to the unreal levels read today. <Good sign.> 8 hours after the change they were down to between 80 and 160 on the strip (yikes) but half what they were earlier. <Heading in the right direction.> I prize my fish and feel horrible I failed to do my job on checking nitrates and feel plain sick. My prize is a huge red Coris wrasse whom I dearly love and would be heartbroken if he didn't make it due to my stupidity. I am not going to get much/any sleep tonight and would really appreciate any advice you can give me including whether or not the advice the LFS guy gave me as far as h20 changes and feeding are good ideas. <It is sound advice.> Thank you very much in advance. <Keep doing water changes to lower your nitrate levels. Feeding sparingly and the changes you made to the filtration system will definitely help. Do consider the DSB in at least the refugium area. Sleep easy, Scott V>

FOWLR Setup for Messy Eaters 12/3/07 Hi all! <Hello Brian.> Previous question was answered quickly and wonderfully! Thanks! (Just ordered that book too, Conscientious Aquarist). <Wonderful to hear, I'll pass it on. You will love the book!> Now that I've buttered you VERY helpful folks up, here's my question. <Any popcorn?> I have an empty 125gal (72x18x22 external dimension) that I'm thinking about turning into a Fish Only tank. It is not drilled. I've gotten different ideas on how to set it up for optimal fish happiness. One guy tells me he's had good success using non-live rocks and UGF's with a protein skimmer. <This does work, my first marine tank was setup like this many years ago.> Another person I talked to says to skip the UGF and get LR and a protein skimmer. <The way to go, maybe even with a deep sand bed to help with nitrate.> Both tell me the other is blowing gas, especially if I want to keep messy eaters. <Both can work, the later just works better.> Either way, would it be best to get an overflow box and a sump? <If you can, yes.> Would canisters filled with LR work in place of a sump? <There is very little to be gained doing this. A canister can be used for mechanical/chemical filtration if cleaned frequently. Your biological filtration will take place mainly with the live rock in the display. A sump gives you the advantage of the possibility of a better protein skimmer, more water volume, and keeping equipment out of the display. Do consider either drilling the tank or having it drilled for the overflow if you go the sump route.> If I can, I would prefer LR, after reading about how beneficial it is. But if it is not enough for messy feeders, I'm not averse to weekly or even bi-weekly maintenance of the UGF. <The live rock is very beneficial. It will provide just as effective biofiltration as the UGF, and will allow you to provide the mechanical filtration through a means that is easier to clean (usually a filter sock).> Please advise and thanks again! Brian lost between two opinions. <Very often the way in the world of aquaria, now you have a third! Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: FOWLR Setup for Messy Eaters 1/4/07
Thanks Scott for the response! <Happy to help Brian.> I was looking at drilling tanks and found that drilling tempered tanks (by me) may not be the best idea. I'd rather not have a glass "sculpture" in my living room. (Maybe I can sell it off for millions as contemporary art?). <The bottom is likely tempered. Do check with the tank manufacturer if your back is tempered, chances are it is not. You can overflow through the back too. If you find a buyer for such art, please let me know, I have many old tanks I can bust up!> I was looking at hang-on overflow boxes. Would these work in conjunction with the LR to keep the water clean with messy eaters in it? <It would work fine.> I understand these work by suction, so it would be prudent to have 2. <Highly recommended to have redundancy with these and any overflows.> Do overflow boxes come with a GPH rating? <They should, but the bulkhead the box uses on the backside is usually the true limiting flow factor with these boxes.> How should I match it up with the return pump GPH rating? <If you have two boxes, there will be nothing wrong with matching the pump's flow at the head height you have to the full flow capacity a box/bulkhead. This will leave you with each box being able to handle the pump's flow should the other box fail.> For example, should one be higher than the other? <If anything, have the pump flow less than the box/bulkhead can handle.> Or should I just use a variable ball valve to balance everything out myself? <If you get a larger pump than needed, you will need to. Don't try to balance the flow right on the verge of what the box/bulkhead can handle. Leave yourself some margin of safety for things getting partially plugged.> Scott also mentioned a filter sock. Is this just like what it sounds? A sock placed somewhere where water gets forced through it trapping particulates? <Yes, usually the overflow line is dumped into the sock hung on the inside of your sump.>Thanks again guys! You've been very helpful! Brian learning a little bit. <Welcome, keep reading and learning, have fun, Scott V.>

Setup Advice regarding FOWLR AND Macroalgae in the Main Display 10/31/07 Hello Crew! <Hi> I have enjoyed browsing through the many articles and FAQ's on your website for the last 2 years or so. I have to say what I admire most about your site is that you always give your honest opinions (humorous and enlightening), <A little sugar helps the medicine go down> and you are quick to correct those heading in the wrong direction. Thank you! <A hearty welcome from all of us.> Now, I am about to embark in another direction with my tank, and in setting it up, I hope you will be willing to advise me. Below is a list of what I currently have available to use, and, yes, I understand that additional/replacement equipment is necessary. 1) Tank: * 90 gallons or so (96" L x 12" W x 18" D) 2) Lighting: * NO Standard Fluorescents (2 x 48" 40watt 8500K) 3) Skimmer: * AquaC Remora HOB <This may be underpowered here, the Pro version would probably work better for you.> 4) Powerheads: * 2 x SEIO 2600 5) Heaters: * 2 x 250watt Stealth <Ok> Okay, what I would like to do is setup a more natural setting that includes: Live rock (90 lbs?) for my biological filtration, Red macroalgae (in the main display) for additional nutrient transport, Live sand (I have read that either ½"-1" or 3"-6" are recommended), <Yes although I would not buy much if any live sand, buy the dead stuff and the rock will seed it with life, save some money that way.> and either one robust tang or another fish that swims more than it hovers (please advise, as I want to keep the stocking and bio-load very low). <A yellow tang could work here, although you are towards the minimum the fish needs. Perhaps a nice angel of the Centropyge variety.> One thing that I just cannot figure out, even after reading through so many FAQ's is: Do I need any means of mechanical filtration besides the frequent partial water changes? If so (and you don't mind), please address this concern as well. <You don't need it, but it is nice to have something to run carbon or poly-filters in if you need too.> Additionally, I do have my eyes on the Nova Extreme T5 lighting (Two 48" fixtures/108 watts each fixture) thinking they would be sufficient for coralline/macroalgae growth and for lower operating temperature. <Should work for this, and some low light mushrooms or undemanding corals. However the coralline and algae will probably be ok under the NO too.> I hope I haven't left out any important details needed by you to analyze. <Don't think so.> I am aware of the fact that I will need supplements for coralline growth, and hopefully you will briefly address this as well. <Not really, a standard 2 part solution would probably be enough, but with proper water changes this may even be unnecessary.> Warmest Regards, Jason <Happy Halloween.> <Chris>

Re: Setup Advice regarding FOWLR AND Macroalgae in the Main Display 10/31/07 Chris, <Hello> Thanks so much for your reply! Sounds silly, but I couldn't wait to hear from you (any valuable crew member that is). <If you knew me personally you would be dreading every time I open my mouth I assure you, I have a girlfriend who will attest to that.> I'm glad you are part of the WWM Crew. <Me too, is a great experience.> I just knew that you were going to say to go with a Dwarf Angel (must be all the FAQ reading I've been doing), <Ha> and it does make much sense since the more robust tangs would be better suited to a larger volume of water for long-term health and comfort. <The yellows are fairly robust as far as tangs go, but you have more wiggle room with a smaller (and I think prettier) angel.> Probably will look at Flame Angel to match the Red Macro :D. <Lovely fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/loricula.htm > Okay I've lost it now. I was a little stunned when you said the NO's could possibly work for growing Coralline and Macro? <I had NO for a long time and had very nice coralline growth and the algae did well enough. The coralline in particular seemed more limited by calcium and Alk than lighting.> I've honestly never been told this (by LFS--hey, they said they liked me, hehe), <Lights are big ticket items with the added bonus of being able to sell you expensive bulbs two times a year, kinda of like printer ink cartridges.> but would You actually give the NO's a chance at 12 hours a day, or go with a little stronger T5 lighting? <It really depends on what you want to do in the future. If you think you are going to get into corals heavily stick with the cheap lights now and then do just one big upgrade. If you think you are going to stick with what you have then get the T5s if you like. You can still change your mind of course, but then you will have to pay for 2 upgrades.> It's Very confusing with all the options. About the skimmer--will look into the Pro Model, and that's the one I should have picked up from the get-go. Awesome skimmer though (purchased because of your WWM crew recommendations...as with most all purchases)! <I've used my Remora for a while now and love it.> In fact, it's the only skimmer that I have not had to adjust every time I turned around. And, now, about the "2 part solution," what were you referring to...calcium, magnesium, etc.? <A Calcium/Alk additives, something like this http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_AquariumPage.aspx?PageAlias=additives_esv_b-ionic > Maybe if I am conducting bi-weekly or monthly 10% water changes with the salt I have (IO Reef Crystals), as you said, "...this (2 part solution) may even be unnecessary." Well Chris...Thank You. Happy Halloween :) Jason. <I think bi-weekly is the minimum here. I do a water change weekly, and it takes less than 20 minutes if I really get into it, cleaning everything. Takes even less if I just change the water and leave the sponges/poly-filters and whatever for next time. The results to me as far as algae control and livestock health are really worth the time. But then again my tank is close to the TV so during Monday Night Football the water change gets done and I still get to see the game.> <Chris>

Re: Setup Advice regarding FOWLR AND Macroalgae in the Main Display 10/31/07 Hahaha all over! Yeah, my wife thinks the same of me..."think your soo smart...." <Universal truth I think.> Thanks for clarification regarding the "2 part" solution. Didn't think of the protein skimmer as possibly throwing off the Calcium/Alk in addition to them being used by organisms! <Can pull out some stuff you want to keep, but the good outweighs the bad.> Ahh, will definitely stick to the 10% bi-weekly vice 10% monthly (like I was doing with FO), and will use the Polyfilter in a small HOB filter as well. <That's what I do, although I only run the poly-filter when I have some reason too.> You're the man Chris, let your girlfriend know that other people besides yourself think this as well :). <She won't believe me.> Really though, I sincerely appreciate you offering your highly regarded advice, and in such a timely manner!! Take it easy! <You too> <Chris>

Starting a 55 gal FOWLR...    8/30/07 Hi everybody, love this site. <Glad you find yourself in it...> First off you guys have helped me out a lot already, <Chris... it's disrespectful to send along such poor grammar writing... makes it very hard to read, correct before posting...> since this is my first salt set up have had fresh for many years). Just some simple little questions I was having trouble looking up.Im using a wet/dry for up 125 gal w/overflow( for when i up grade),2 maxi jet 1200`s for movement,approx 40 lbs live rock (got this from a 2-3 year old tank,lots of coralline on it), and 2-3 inch sand bed not live). Tank has been cycling for 4 days now. My questions are. One ,my pre filter and filter pads are getting really dirty is there a prob cleaning or changing these if not what to clean them with)Don`t want to disrupt the cycling process. <Likely not, though as you will read, I am not a fan of wet-dry filtration by and large period> Second I want to add a skimmer under tank out of the way no more room in back), but I have read here that it should go before it enters the wet dry, but also they shouldn't be used with the pre filter from the over flow, and not to place it in the sump/return part(wont create good skim here).So where should it be placed and how do I set it up(pics would be good) What kind do you recommend. <This is posted...> Third and last. Is it norm for the tank water to have an odder to it the past day or so pardon the pun, but fishy).Ive been testing the water and so far I have SPGR @ 1.022 <I would raise this...> PH @ 8.2 AMMONIA 0.2 NITRITE 0.0 NITRATE 0.0 Thanks in advance...Chris <Keep reading... and using your spellchecker. BobF>

Quarantine Question 7/29/07, FOWLR set-up...    7/30/07 Hello there crew, <Hello> I'm a newbie in the marine aquarium hobby. After reading two books (including Bob's) and looking through your awesome website, I have bought my equipment slowly over the last few months and finally started my FOWLR system. I have a 65 gallon tank with around 70 pounds of Vanuatu and Indonesian Live Rock which I put in three weeks ago. I am using the Remora Pro as a skimmer. I'm also running an Eheim canister filter for the water circulation (without the media) and to store the Chemi-Pure units. In addition, I am using two Maxi-Jet 1200 powerheads for extra circulation. Since the rocks were fully cured, it cycled very quickly with no spikes in ammonia and nitrites. I added 10 Turbo Snails and Hermits last week to start cleaning some of the algae. Does this sound O.K. so far? <So far so good.> How long shall I wait for the aquarium to mature before I do my first water change? <I would start now.> I plan on doing everything by the textbook, therefore I just bought a 20 gallon Marineland aquarium kit with bio-wheel as a quarantine tank. I just put the bio-wheel in the canister today in order to populate it with bacteria. Is this the correct way to go about it? <It should work.> If so, how long should it be in there now that the main aquarium is fully cycled? <Couple of weeks ideally.> Once I put the bio-wheel back in, I will use tank water from weekly water changes to put in the QT as suggested in Bob's book and on this website. <Good.> I appreciate all the help from this website. it really helps to break down myths and barriers that novices like me might have about the hobby:-) Joe <Welcome to hobby.> <Chris> Setting up a 75 Gallon FOWLR system 7/26/07 I am returning to SW aquariums after being away from it for 20 years. <Welcome back> Since things have changed a bit, I would like a bit of advice so I get off to a good start. I'm setting up a 75 Gallon FOWLR system and here is what I have acquired so far: 75 Gallon Aquarium (All-Glass) Tank Cover (All-Glass) Aquarium Stand Wood Shims to Level Aquarium Stand Dark Blue Paint for Back of Aquarium 15 Amp Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Plug Strips Jager 250 watt heater Nova Extreme T-5 w Lunar Lights 48" Aquarium Light (4 bulbs, 216 watts) 2 Timers for the lights 3 Maxi-Jet Powerhead 1200 (295 gph) with Pre filter sponges for circulation 3 Sure Grip 50 Magnetic Powerhead Holders Instant Ocean Salt (160 gal mix) Instant Ocean Box type Hydrometer <Get a refractometer, much better than hydrometers.> Stick on Thermometer <Get a stand alone variety, the stick-ons are notoriously inaccurate.> I still need to Purchase the following items: Live Rock Gravel or Sand (to be seeded from the live rock) <Sand> Non- Live rock (to be seeded from the live rock) Test Kits Protein Skimmer - Aqua C Remora Pro (Mag drive 3 pump) with Drain Fitting. <Nice> I do not plan on using a sump under the tank. Questions? Should I cover the Tank or not? <Up to you, may help save the lights.> A: if it is covered will it prevent proper gas transfer? <As long as it is not sealed it will be fine.> B: if Not covered if there a mesh material to keep the fish from jumping out and still allow for gas transfer? <Many use lighting eggcrate.> Do I need to add a canister filter or does the protein skimmer take the place of it? (I have never used a protein skimmer before, so this is new to me) <The rock and skimmer combine to do the functions of the canister, not necessary in my opinion unless you are very heavily stocked.> Is crushed coral good to use as gravel, and should I add a bag of pre-packaged live sand to it or just let it seed from the live rock? <Skip the crushed coral and just use aragonite sand, the LR will seed it given a little time.> Where is a good place to purchase live rock online? <Any of the major retailers, Drs. Foster Smith, Marine Depot to name a couple.> Where is a good place to purchase non-live rock online? <Same, or google search and see what you can find.> What am I missing? <Nothing major, just make sure you have buckets, hoses, etc for water changes.> Thank you, Harry <Welcome> <Chris>

Time to do it right.... SW FOWLR set-up, reading  -- 07/24/07 I have had aquariums for a long time. For the last two years I've been 'successful' with my experiences with saltwater. I have just purchased a 265 gallon pre-drilled aquarium. I obviously intend to use a wet/dry, <Might I ask... why this adverb?> but am unsure about what size sump to use. I'm going to make my own wet/dry as it seems relatively easy to do. In a 110 right now I have a Volitans Lion, <Mis-mixed here...> Humu Humu, Niger, Rectangulatus, Miniata grouper, Lunare Wrasse, Stripped Dog Face puffer, and a snowflake eel. I have about 80 lbs. of live rock, an undergravel filter w/ two 802's and two emperor 400's. My protein skimmer is on the tank but rarely am I satisfied with it's performance (probably through fault of my own). <Seek out a better make/model...> My dilemma... I've been overstocked and been short on proper filtration all of my days in the hobby. With such a nice tank coming I want to finally have a legit set up. How big should my sump be... <... posted> I thought about a 75 gallon aquarium with a 5 gallon bucket of bio-balls? Should the liverock be in the tank or in the sump? <Nah> Could I hang Aqua Clear 110's on the side of the sump for extra filtration?? <Could you???> Any help would be great. I've read a lot of articles on the site, it's great. I just would love a more 'personal' reply. Thanks a million!!! Ryan <Welcome in number, kind... Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Setting up a New 30 Gallon FOWLR - Looking for Assurance 7/16/07 Hello Crew, <Hi> Your site is has an incredible amount of information on it. I've been digesting what I can over the past month or so. <Great> I've just acquired a 30 Gallon tank (30x12x18), and I've made my first equipment purchases. <OK> I would just like to go over briefly what I plan to do, I do not have a lot of overflow budget, so I would like to try and avoid any unexpected expenses and stress in the environment I have planned to create. Perhaps you have alternative suggestions to my setup - I don't know anyone around me that has a SW tank right now. <Lets take a look.> I have purchased: - AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer (Hang-On) w/Maxi-Jet 1200 - AquaC Remora Skimmer Attachment - 30" Coralife PC Lights 65w (1xActinic, 1x10k) - 2 Maxi-Jet 1200 Powerheads - 1 Maxi-Jet 900 Powerhead - 2 150w Aquarium Systems Heaters - Instant Ocean Salt Mix - A few other testing, and cleaning supplies My next phase involves purchasing: - 40-50 lbs of Live Sand (CaribSea) <Does not have to be live, will be seeded by the LR, can save money here.> - 40-50 lbs of Live Rock (Most likely Tonga, seems to be most readily available) <Might be more than you will need, might want to start with closer to 30 lbs and see how it fills up the tank.> - What is a good testing kit that you would recommend? <Most of the name brands are adequate, check out here for all of our thoughts on this, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mtestbrands.htm .> I will then: 0. Treat water with Prime, let sit for a week with Powerhead, and 1 heater (All water from this point on) <At some point you may wish to look into an RO/DI unit depending on the quality of your source water.> 1. Set up water (1.024), run skimmer and powerheads, and 1 heater for a week 2. Disconnect power, remove about 50% water, place live rock and live sand 3. Top up with newly mixed water, test to 1.024, startup equipment again 4. Test and wait until Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are at 0 6. Perform water changes once a week (15%-25%) 7. Add some snails and small crabs (For cleaning, from what I understand, algae will begin to develop) <Yep> 8. A few weeks later, I would like to add 1 or 2 clowns (Not sure what kind) <One of the small ones, Amphiprion ocellaris, Amphiprion percula, maybe one of the skunks.> That's about as far as I've gotten. I would plan on maybe adding at most 1 or 2 more smaller fish. I would also like to add 2 or 3 easy-to-keep corals to "beautify" the landscape. <Lots of choices here, should be workable.> I would like to keep maintenance to a minimum - I will be cleaning skimmer, stirring sand, and doing water changes, testing once a week. It is currently placed directly beside my couch, so you can sit and watch the tank right beside you at eye level (I built the stand, it's quite a nice location) so the visual aspect of the tank is most important. <Will be tough to hide problems here. Sounds close to my maintenance regiment, takes me 20 minutes or so once a week now, little more when I got started.> Concerns: - At what stage do I turn the lights on? I would like to encourage growth on the live rocks as early as possible. <Whenever you want, can be from day 1.> - Is there anything else to do to encourage growth on live rock in the initial setup stage? <Not really, just don't add predators (fish) and give them time to establish.> - Is mechanical filtration necessary? I understand it would be good to invest in a hang-on for the purpose of putting in carbon filtration once in a while, but is that it? <I run a very small, very cheap powerfilter to place poly-filters or carbon in from time to time, otherwise just adds water movement.> - How much should I be concerned about shifting the sand around? I don't mind stirring it around every time I do a water change. I've heard that brittle stars are a good choice here. <I rarely if ever really touch my sand, a serpent star could help some here, otherwise some of the burrowing snails are probably a better choice.> - Are there any medications/additives that I should have on hand in case anything happens? My LFS is pretty far away, and I'm not able to just get up and go on a whim. <Yes, and a cheap QT tank will serve you well, check out here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm .> - Water flow. From above, you can see I will have a Maxi1200 coming from Protein skimmer, and 3 extra pumps to play with. Ideally, I would like to use one of those for mixing around the water in the garbage bin while it is sitting for a week. Both 1200's in the tank? The 1200 and the 900? And what about pump positioning? This is one topic I have not seen a lot on, except "Create optimal flow for it's inhabitants". Initially, I will place pumps pointing at the live rock to wash away detritus. Otherwise - one at each end, facing each other? Near the top of the tank? Middle? Any insight here would be great. <I would really prefer a few smaller pumps to 1 or 2 large one. What you are going for here is turbulent flow, often done by aiming them at each other, limits dead spots, keeps stuff suspended for removal by the skimmer.> - Light spectrum. I've noticed Actinic (6500k) and White 10k are "standard fare" what results do you get moving up or down the light spectrum? <Different spectrums bring out different colors in some livestock, but I would recommend sticking with "daylight" bulbs.> Otherwise - I've been reading, reading, reading. I haven't even received my lights yet, so I'm not in any rush - But I would just like to do it right the first time! Any suggestions or comments would be GREATLY appreciated. I will continue to read your site with avid pleasure! I'll be sure to write back when I have my tank setup as well :) <Please do.> Thank you so much for your input. I will always continue to read here! Adam <QT QT QT, that's my big push, otherwise seems like you are on the right path.> <Chris>

Starting a New FOWLR or Possibly a Reef 7/3/07 I have a 46 gallon bowfront that I have broken down after an unsuccessful attempt at a predator tank thanks to a killer Niger Trigger, <Much to small for this fish, probably made this aggressive fish even more aggressive.> Now I am wanting to try a more peaceful tank. I currently have two emperor 400s and I am about to purchase a CoraLife protein skimmer to satisfy filtration needs. <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllfeskmrfaqs.htm > I am looking at Fiji Premium Live rock online and I was wondering if 45 lbs will be enough. <Should be, although I probably have closer to 55 or 60 lbs now in my 46.> Is it more beneficial to have all premium live rock or should I save money and buy base rock? <If you are patient base rock will become live rock with time and lack of predators (fish).> Also, I need advice on powerheads because excessive water flow was an issue in my predator tank because the Power heads were to big. <I run 5 Maxijet 900s in mine.> If I am adding 40 lbs of live sand plus the rock, how long do you expect it to take for my tank to cycle so I can add livestock? Thanks, Brian <Probably take around a month to cycle, then up to 6 months to really stabilize, stock very lightly initially.> <Chris>

Get it right the 1st time advice needed!!  FOWLR Set-up   5/31/07 Thanks for having a web site like yours. <You got it, buddy!> I'm looking to set up a 55 gal marine aquarium. <FOWLR or Reef?> I'm at the stage of the process to buy electrical components. ie skimmer, powerheads, lights, etc... <Fun times...> My question is, what brands of manufacturers make the lowest power consuming products? <Hmm, not sure there is such a thing, exactly. The choices will definitely depend on which way you go with your livestock selections.> I will go with a VHO setup for lights since I can always upgrade if I want to try stonies. <Ahh, so you *do* plan to keep corals?> Mainly, I'm concerned with the powerheads and heater. <Ahh, I personally have a few preferences in the heater department, but not necessarily in the powerhead department. I love the (formerly EBO) Jager line of heaters. They were the first dependable, quality heaters on the market as far as I'm concerned. For powerheads, I like MaxiJet, but I haven't had a lot of experience with all the others except the old mainstays (Rio and Hagen). > Filters and skimmers would be great as well. <You can find some recommendations here if you look... I'll leave it up to you.> Thanks in advance!! <You're welcome! ...To the hobby, too! -GrahamT>

Tank planning ahoy, FOWLR tank    5/3/07 Hi from Brisbane, Australia.  What a website!  Your indefatigable helpfulness and politeness is a real breath of fresh air in an often unhelpful and sometimes impolite world. <Thank you... and Welcome> I have bought an 6x2x2 drilled glass tank for which I am planning my filtration.  It will be a FOWLR tank.  I plan a 3' sump with live rock on top of a 6" DSB with 24x7 lit macro-algae.  I am considering a second 2' sump for extra water capacity and flexibility, it will house 2 heaters, TBD skimmer, maybe a DIY FSB and the return pump. <Sounds good thus far> I have read many of your FAQ digests, and they are a wonderful source of info.  I have a couple more Qs though. 1. Where is the best place to put some cured live rock to seed the BSD with critters, in the display tank or in the first or second sump? <The first sump... the refugium...> 2. WRT plumbing the second sump to the first, I think I may prop up the first sump 3" higher than the second and drill and bulkhead the top of the end pane, to allow a gravity overflow into the second sump?  Have you seen any such plumbing work or fail in the past? <Many times have seen this done... either a difference in elevation, and/or a large diameter connection (maybe two 2" ID lines)> 3. Won't ANY dead sand or substrate become 'live' after some time, even if you don't buy live sand from the LFS? <Yes... See WWM re... most "LS" commercially is made... by such exposure to LR> 4. If I have a 1" dusting of CC in the display tank, how do you stop high circulation blowing it everywhere and exposing the glass bottom in places? <Becomes less "free" in time... rinse initially, avoid too much close circulation in the first few weeks...> 5. (Cringe) Can I collect beach sand (either wet, dry, rinsed or unrinsed) to use for the DSB?  I am patient to wait for it to colonize from the live rock. <Can, could... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lsseldiyfaqs.htm and the linked files above> 6. MUD - Is it feasible to get mud from a local mangrove to use as the DSB instead of CC or aragonite? <Can, could...> From my readings, I suspect that the magic mud is just fine silt/mud particles that are brimming with diverse biological life. <Along with possible pests, pollution...> 7. We are in the worst drought conditions ever recorded here in Brisbane.  Do you think that the salt from water changes onto my yard grass kill it definitely? <Too likely so> I can't quite bare the thought of running 10% water changes down the drain with our current restrictions!  The cichlid water always did so well on the grass! <I'd avoid placing seawater on your landscape period> My most gracious thanks to you all. Glen <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Designing\building new saltwater setup, Yahhoooo, were going "BIG"  - 04/23/07 Hi, WWM crew ! <Greetings! GrahamT with you today (Sorry for the huge delay).>       First, lets get this out of the way, I have become a marine junky having all of your knowledge at my disposal. THANK YOU !!! <Welcome! Very good to have positive feedback.> You have my brain thirsting for more information to the point that I am up all hours reading about how to set up my ultimate aquarium and take care of its inhabitants. <Our ultimate goal.>       I have already made the mistake of going too small with two marine 12 gallon tanks.  I wish I read first and bought later. <Happens, and mistakes are best learned from.> Thanks to "THE CREW"  I  was able to turn things around and keep the two 2" tomato clowns alive and also watch the male to female change in the one clown that looks promising for little ones!  But anyway, I have decided to go BIG!!!  At least big for my home\situation. I am so excited, I feel like a kid again.  The whole family is excited ! A piece of the ocean in our living room, imagine that.   <I love your enthusiasm!>      The tank will contain mostly fish and live rock with a few inverts.   <Sessile or motile?> It is 44x24x24 (110 gallon acrylic Tru vu) with two overflows (back corners) with 1.5" drains and a 1" return (back center,1" below water level).  I plan on reducing the one inch return inside the tank for a 3\4"  T spray bar  with four 3\4" outlets.  I will have a swing check-valve and a gate valve on the return close to tank for flow control\safety.  It will be returned by a submersible MAG-18  pump that should move close to 1300 gph with the 3'6" rise from the sump.  The sump is 30x16x16 acrylic with twin micron socks for the overflow drains on the left and a refugium on the right side, mostly to grow Calurpia <Caulerpa.> and Copepods.  In the middle is where the Aqua-C EV 180 will sit powered by the MAG-7 pump.  I also have purchased two 200 watt Jager HD heaters that I would like to use in the sump?   <?> Inside the tank I am going to use two JBJ Submariner clarifier\powerheads(132gph each) on all the time and the internal 7 watt UV lights just in case or occasional use.   <Ok, I guess it won't hurt... but help, not likely either.> I already have these and want to use them at least to move water around to clear up any dead zones in tank,  one on each side mounted on the overflow housings. <Good plan. Was worried you hoped they would keep your system "clean.">     I plan on having a six inch bed of medium sand that  will be seeded  by my existing 40 pounds of live sand and 30 pounds of live rock and 24 gallons or so of water  from my two other 12g tanks.   <Good plan. Should be up in short order.> I have two 20" 40 watt  SmartPaq CF Satellite fixtures with moon led that I will be using to get  the tank started.  I would like to cycle for a couple months with the two clownfish I have to adequately raise the bacteria level.   <I agree with the couple of months, but not the use of the clowns.> I am hoping two small fish would not spike the levels during the first month with the new water volume?   <They will be stressed by a spike, and this is why we (at WWM) discourage their use in cycling your setup. The setup will do it's job without the livestock. Keep one of your small systems up instead, and monitor the water conditions until the spike stabilizes instead.>    Please give me any advice\criticism that may continue to lead me in the right direction.  I need to bounce my particular info off of people I admire/respect such as yourselves in this time of uncertainty.  My custom tank order will be finalized sometime later today.  I am very open to suggestions, etc. as I really want to succeed at saltwater. I can't afford not to.    <I apologize again for the lag on my end. Perhaps I should have left this post to others with more time. Hopefully you are still on track and aren't stressing out the clowns. If you are, you are right in thinking they will live through it in all likelihood. Your system should be safe in a few weeks, but I still like the months or more wait. The longer you wait, the more stability you invite.> Thanks again,  Mark.      <You are welcome, Mark -GrahamT>

New FOWLR Set-Up; Plumbing  4/17/04 Hello WWM Crew -- <Hi Brian.> I am converting my 125 gallon All-Glass aquarium to a FOWLR and your site is an invaluable guide'¦thank you! <Thank you for the compliments.> I will have basic full-spectrum lighting and would like the set-up to be as quiet and easy maintenance as possible.  I'd like to give you a run-down of my plans and get your input/suggestions.   <Okay.> I drilled holes for two 1.5' bulkheads for overflow (will use a 'T' from each bulkhead open at the top) into a 29 gallon sump <Could work, but a little small for a 125 gallon tank for my tastes...personal preference with water volume/adding things down the road.> which will be divided by baffles into 3 sections as described on WWM with LR in the center section. <A small refugium, very cool.>   BTW, to drill the bulkhead holes I purchased a drill bit from Diamond Drill & Tool and would highly recommend them.   Other equipment includes: -          Euro-reef RS100 protein skimmer (RS135 is too tall) -          Mag Drive 9 for the sump return with 4' head to feed a            'closed loop' manifold with 4 x ½' nozzles <If you can work it out; I prefer not to split the return so much. If you want a closed loop manifold, I recommend a dedicated pump to this.  That's not to say this won't work just not what I would do.> -          Tunze Nano Stream 6045 for extra flow -          Jager 150 watt heater (x2) -          1' aragonite substrate -          150 pounds of LR -          20 gallon QT <Sounds like it's well planned.> Unfortunately we have not decided on the inhabitants but will carefully choose for proper compatibility. <Very good.> Am I on the right track with this tank?   > what you have told me; appears that way.> Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much for all the effort you put into WWM! Freezing in Pittsburgh, <Windy in SoCal.> Brian <Adam J.>

Starting a FOWLR & Invertebrates 4/16/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello> Let me start out by saying your site is a great help. <Thanks.> I am currently cycling a 29gal tank (30x12x18) for my first saltwater tank that I hope to one-day make a FOWLR & inverts. I am not sure what would be a good mix with in my tanks limits and don't trust a LFS to give me the best advice. Here is my plan can you please advise me of any pit falls you may see. I do not wish to cause any undo harm to the marine life I want to keep. <Good attitude to start with.> -Fish- 2 Percula Clownfish 1 Royal Gamma <Nice, although Amphiprion ocellaris may be easier to start with than the Perculas and look almost identical.> -Invertebrates- 2 Emerald Crabs 2 Nassarius Snails 2 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs 1 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Sand Sifting Starfish <Drop this one, will starve in this sized tank.> -Lighting- 24" VHO bulb 75Watt  (plan on purchasing before any rock) -Filtration- Penguin 200 bio-wheel  (currently own) <Unnecessary with the skimmer and LR, but can be useful for running carbon.  Clean often.> 30lb live rock 20lb live sand (also currently in the tank) -Skimmer- AquaC Remora (plan on purchasing before any rock) <Love mine.> -Power head -- Aquarium Systems Maxi-Jet PH Power Head 1200, 295 GPH (plan on purchasing before any rock) <I would prefer 2 smaller ones to 1 large, but will work fine.> I am going to add the clownfish first then the royal gamma. After I get my feet wet I will start adding the live rock then finally the inverts (one species every two weeks). <LR before the fish, will most likely cause a cycle and the basis for your filtration.> Thank you for your time, Rob. <Good luck with the new tank.> <Chris>

Re: LR Growth of some kind  -- 04/11/07 Mich thanks. <Pete, you are most welcome!> Some more questions if you don't mind. <Certainly> I have the new 75 gal tank setup.   <Yes, thank you for the reminder.> 80 lbs live sand, 70 lbs fully cured Pukani, Remora Pro with Mag 3, 2 ZooMed powerheads at opposite sides of the tank, and (don't laugh) a Whisper 60 filter just for some additional water movement and filtration.   <Ok, not laughing, though amused.> Lighting is currently a 50/50 fluorescent.  The LR went in the tank yesterday.  Salinity 33 gravity 1.024 Ca 340 Po 3-4 <High!> Ph 7.8 Nh3 0 No2 0 No3 5.  I know that the Ph is a little low - so I added some buffering agent.  Question:  Since I have so much live sand and live rock in the tank - will it cycle or need to cycle before I can put some of my 29 gal inhabitants in the tank ? <It may not cycle per se, but I would wait a couple of days to see if you have any detectable ammonia or nitrites.> I want to upgrade my lighting to the Current USA Outer Orbit (150W).  This seems to be a great light - thoughts? <Definitely better than what you have currently.  Is a metal halide pendant, correct?  Other than that, I am not familiar with this specific brand/light.> Also, based on the current setup of the 75 with NEW lighting could I place a few corals in the tank successfully and a "janitor crew" of snails and shrimp? <Yes, you should be able to successfully grow many types of corals.  Just, do some research before assuming care for any living creature.> Thanks in advance, <You're very welcome!> you guys (and gals) are the best! <As one of the gals, I thank you for the inclusion!  -Mich> --Pete PS - I tried snapping a pic of the growth - batteries were dead in the cam - I'll try again once they have recharged and then forward. <Sounds good, I'll be on the look out!>

Small FOWLR for a newbie...read, read, read   4/1/07 Hi Guys! <Hello Bob.> I am new to the wonderful hobby of exotic fish. <Awesome.> But, I am completely confused with regard to filtration systems. <Their are a multitude of choices.> I am about to begin a 30 gallon set up in a Fish with Live Rock tank . <Plan carefully and be patient, read, read and when you are done read some more!> My question is regarding the sump. <Okay.> How large would you recommend? <Well actually Bob, most people with tanks in this size category often forego the sump for hang on equipment. Having said that if you can add in the sump I recommend it, if just for the added water volume. Larger tanks are more stable...chemically speaking.  There is no fixed rule as to what size they should be (however there is such thing as too small), with a 30 gallon tank I would think a standard 10 gallon tank a sump would work out great...but the bigger the better.> Should I use sand and live rock? <I would use fine aquarium sand (aragonite based) and seed it with a handful of livesand from a dealer or friends tank.  As far as the live rock, get some with as much diversity as possible and hopefully some that is not too dense.> What intensity light should I use with it? <For just fish? It's up to you, normal output fluorescents are fine for this application.> Thank you for your assistance, <Of course and do keep reading.> -Bob <Adam J.>

New tank setup, poor English, not using WWM   3/29/07 Hello Web crew ,   I have a question regarding the setup of a 210 gallon All Glass with 2 built in overflows. <What's wrong with the spacing, punctuation here?> The overflows have a 1" drain and a 3/4" return .I am using a Megaflow model <Close to worthless size, number of through-puts...> 4 sump (rated for up to 240 gallon tank). My question is regarding the return pump. Please note that I will also be installing into 1 of the return lines a uv sterilizer. Would I be better off using 2 return pumps instead of splitting the flow of 1? <No> And if so, would I be able to use pumps with different flow rates to gain the most benefit from the uv?Any suggestions you may have regarding setup and pump strength would be greatly appreciated.This is going to be a fowlr tank.   Thanks,   Kevin <Please... use the search tool/indices on WWM... These questions and much, MUCH more necessary information re these and related issues is archived there... the holes in this tank are inadequate... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The sections (articles and FAQs) in the first tray re Plumbing, Bulk-heads, Pump Selection... Bob Fenner>

Equipping A New System  3/5/07 Hey guys, <Hi there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> What else do I need for my reef setup? I have an Oceanic 55g. reef ready tank, Hamilton retro/custom hood with 175 MH 10000k and 2 compact fluorescents, Light Wave controller, Aqua C EV 180 skimmer, Iwaki MD-20RT for the skimmer, Iwaki MD30 for the main pump. I want to build my sump Berlin style. What else do I need? <Well, so much depends on the needs of the animals that you intend to keep. You have a nice array of basic equipment already assembled. You might want to consider some additional circulation within the aquarium, either from Powerheads or a "closed loop". If your stocking plan is leaning towards stony corals, you may want to consider the addition of a calcium reactor if your needs dictate. All in all, it sounds like you have a nice array of equipment; you just need to work on a good stocking plan and execute your plan accordingly. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: FOWLR, Aquarium Version 2.0 (cont'd.)  3/5/07 Hey, <Hi there! Scott F. back with you.> Ok the Live rock is going to go up to 200lbs, Tank gets a refugiums instead of sump, with macroalgae in it, along with 50 lbs of live rock and mechanical filtration. No bio balls in the whole system. Sponge will be cleaned according to the need. <Good. Do make cleaning the sponge a frequent and regular priority.> As for the corals Acropora goes out of the list, in comes a Bubble Tip anemone with a pair of Tomato clowns in the refugium. <I'm still hesitant to recommend mixing stinging cnidarians and stony corals in the same system (i.e.; tank or refugium), but do exercise great care and use chemical filtration media ((Poly Filter and/or activated carbon) to help absorb the potential by products of allelopathy.> Would hermit crabs be fine in the main tank, and if not, can I put an Odonus Niger? <Well, if you're concerned about Hermit Crabs causing problems for your invertebrates, I'd be equally concerned about a Triggerfish, myself!> Also would the crabs eat up the macro algae? <There are herbivorous Hermit Crabs, yet in my experience, they seem to limit their grazing activities to microalgae. If you don't have too large a population, the impact of herbivorous Hermit Crabs on your macroalgae population should be negligible, IMO. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Fish Only, Marine Set-Up...  2/28/07 I have went blind looking at you web site. <Hmmm...you'll have to speak to our lawyer about that.> Great job. <Thanks.> I am convinced that you guys are at the top of the game <Wow, thank you again.> and would like to get some help. <Of course.> Right now I have the aquarium in shipment with no accessories.   <Neat.> Would it be possible for you to outline exactly what I would need to set up a top of the line FOWLR aquarium. <Well I would prefer the use of live rock as a surface for the breeding of nitrifying bacteria, if you don't wish to clutter the display with live rock, refugia is always an option.  Although this is a fish only tank and not a reef tank I am still not a fan of plastic-biological media employment and the "bleached" coral look in fish only tanks is soooooo 1980's. Second a VERY, VERY large efficient protein skimmer is a must for what you wish to keep. I also impore to use lots of water flow (see our section on closed loop systems and as I mentioned above refugia is great, specifically a large macro-algae based refugia would be nice. And of course be patient quarantine and research all livestock. Much, much more detail is posted on WWM and the net in general.>   Some of the livestock that I want is a snowflake eel and lion fish. <I would research specifically what lion you wish to keep, there are multiple species and some get quite large.> I am open to what other fish that would work well in the  type tank. <From the two you have listed, slower ambush predators seem to be the theme, a nice herbivorous fish addition would be a Rabbitfish though.> I have been confused weather to have bio ball filtration with live rock, <Some do...I would not.> or just live rock/sand with a top of the line skimmer. <Add a refugium to that combination and you are on the right path.> Basically I have read so much that I have went brain dead <Yes as with any semi-complicated hobby/endeavour you will have to re-read these a few times before they "click" and do not be frustrated by varying opinions they are rampant in this hobby, sometimes both can be right and you must decide which is best for you and your livestock......other times some opinion are downright factually illogical.> and would love for someone to tell me what the best setup <I believe that using phrases/key words that I have provided you will set you on the right track, if you have any specific questions (On brands/livestock/plumbing...etc. .) I will be more than happy to clarify but all the general "stuff" is posted on WWM.> would be or direct me to an article that would draw me a picture. <The info I am not on a major budget, but do not want to spend money that is not necessary. <Understood.> I appreciate any help you could give me. <Quite Welcome.> Sincerely, Lanny

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