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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine Systems Themselves 5

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 3, FOWLR Set-Ups 4, & 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 PlumbingBiotopic presentations

Best to set up in anticipation of possibly going reef

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

Upgrade / Migration - Salt Water Tank      9/23/18
Hello Bob -
I am consolidating/upgrading 3 smaller FOWLR tanks into a new 150 gallon FOWLR tank.
I'll be re-using the well established biological media from each of the sumps for these tanks (Matrix and Xport N03) and the live rock (maybe around 100 pounds total).
<Sounds good>
Also, each of these tanks has a live sand bed of maybe 2 inches, which I currently siphon clean 1x a month. It's obviously not a deep sand bed and is mostly for appearance, however I believe it has some established biological filtering capability and I'd like to re-use it.
<I do agree>
My thought is that I would remove the fish and live rock, then thoroughly siphon clean the live sand and re-use it in my new 150 gallon set-up. My LFS said this should probably be OK since it's not a deep sand bed and I'll siphon clean it really well before migrating and re-using it. Is that OK or would I be taking on any risks in re-using my live sand?
<Not much risk at all. I would do the same here>
Last question, any major advantages if I were to keep some of the remaining left over water from these tanks (after cleaning the live sand first and removing that dirty water) to re-use in my new 150 gallon set-up or should I start off with new water?
Thanks, John
<Lots of advantages; instant "break in", greatly reducing microbial establishment period. I would do this as well: Siphon off the cleaner/clearer top water and save, move to the 150. Bob Fenner>
Re: Upgrade / Migration - Salt Water Tank      9/23/18

Thanks, Bob!
<Thank you for sharing John. Have recently bought, resealed, moved some
large tanks m'self! BobF>

Old Aquarium Being 'Brought Back To Life'.... Re-us LR      7/11/15
<Ohm; oh wait/ that's the old unit for resistance. What's up?>
I have a rather odd question, it will likely turn into a string of questions over the next several weeks, but one has to start somewhere.
<Ah yes>
I have a 110 gal tank, with a canister filter and a protein skimmer. Ran great as a FOWLR for several years.
Due to some incidents several years ago I would rather not go into, all the fish eventually died (natural causes), but were never replaced. In essence, I have been running the filter for the past 3 years w/ no fish.
The (live?) rock is still in the tank.
<Not so live; but highly likely useful still... as base rock... I'd bleach, rinse (see the SOP on WWM) and use underneath some pounds of new LR>
I am now in a position to bring this thing back into operation. But, where do I start?
<Siting, cleaning, checking out all the gear...>
I assume with a major water change followed by a real good water chemistry test, but do you think the microorganisms in/on the rock & filter would even still be viable?
<Mmm; not much, no... but not to worry; can be restored via the above new LR>
How do you test that - run a test before the H2O change, or after, or both?
<Way after... all is cleaned, refilled>
Should I plan to add more rock?
Or get a few damsels to start the tank cycling, or both?
<The rock>
I also plan to switch to LED lighting - they have really come down in price over the last several years.
<Yes; tis so>
<Keep your biers in a cool, dark place>
<Bob Fenner>

setup (and stkg.) plan    11/28/13
Hello Crew
 I wish all of you an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I wanted to run my plan for my 180 FOWLR by you. I plan on a slow approach getting this up and running and stocked. Possibly a year or longer. My tank has two internal overflows, 1 1/2 inch drains and 1 inch returns. I have a 40 gallon sump underneath the display tank. The sump will house a Tunze DOC skimmer, two Tunze return pumps each pushing about 450 GPH after estimating head heights and turns in pipe, and an Emperor 400 filter for added filtration. The return lines will be downsized to 3/4 since the pumps only have 3/4 inch outputs.
<I'd run most of the circulation in-tank; not through the overflows/sump>
  The main tank will have approximately 125 lbs of live rock, two inches of live sand and three circulation pumps totaling about 2100 GPH. 
I am hoping this will be adequate to house the following fish: 3 zebra barred dart fish, a melanurus wrasse, a red headed solar fairy wrasse, a Heniochus banner fish, a raccoon butterfly fish, a magnificent Foxface, a tang ( either a blue hippo or blond Naso ) and an emperor angel.
<Yes; though the Emperor will need more room in a few years>
 I was also hoping to add a small army of hermits and snails.
 If I add the livestock at least a couple of months apart from each other after the tank has cycled will this be too much of a bio load?
<You should be fine here; given the gear, your related set up>
I plan on 10% water changes weekly and a 25% once a month. Thanks for your advice.
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

WetWebMedia, FOWLR, 55 gal. set up and stocking       4/29/13
Greetings WWM people!  Thanks for sharing your expertise. 
<Welcome Wes>
I have several questions that after much reading on your site are still questions.  If these are well answered already, please help me with the proper search terms as I am a beginner and they are often not obvious to me.
<Will do>
  I have a custom tank that was a hand me down from my sister after being in storage for 10 years and she doesn't remember how it was set up. I've tried to figure it out and set it up properly from reading here and other places.  It has a closed top which makes it well suited to housing my eel. I use rubber stoppers with slots to run cables and airline through the holes in the back but not allow the little fellow to escape.
<A good idea>
It is a 55 gallon tank. It has a built in box filter, in the main tank.  I have attached a picture with some labels. There is an overflow section (a) that drains to a section for the heater (b). Then the flow goes into an air powered limewood block
<Do test this block for blockage on a regular interval (weekly)... Needs to be switched out for dry ones  as it clogs>
 protein skimmer with a whisper 40 (c), and then on to a section with sponge pre filter, carbon bags, and poly floss before hitting a return pump (d).  I don't know what media was originally in it, but based on my experience with my freshwater tank canister filter for my Cichlids I have arranged the media this way.
<Is fine>
 The return pump output has a tap on it, and about 1/10 of the flow is diverted to the middle section of the filter that goes through a bubble trap (e) into the bottom of a column that contains 5 Liters of Seachem Matrix (f).   The connection between (c) and (d) goes under (f), and (f) has a standpipe that returns into (b). The return pump is small, I estimate it at 250gph. I have purchased a Tunze 1073.020 to try to increase the flow but haven't put it in yet.
<I'd use the Tunze (just) in the main tank for circulation itself... the filter pump is fine as it is>
 I've never seen anything like this filter and it seems to work well.  I placed two Koralia circulation pumps in the tank. One is a 425 on the back of the tank near the sand aimed at the front of the tank and one is a 1050 opposing the flow of the filter return near the top from the opposite side. 
Question: does this filtration and flow seem adequate?
<Yes; with the addition of the Tunze for in-tank circulation>
I cycled this tank with 10 lbs of live rock, another 10 lbs of live rock that had been dried out (dead rock?)<Sure>, a 25lb piece of Texas holey rock, 1" of fine aragonite sand and a few pieces of ornamental dead coral.  I set it up in late December 2012 and let it cycle for 6 weeks with a few live bait shrimp from the coast.  I haven't read of people doing this, hopefully it was not a mistake.
<Is fine>
 The shrimp were eventually food for the fish.  I believe they were brown shrimp.  They lived in the tank for a month until I was sure it had cycled and bought my fish.  I never saw a huge spike of anything, but did see minor fluctuations of ammonia, then nitrite, then nitrate rose.  I waited a few more weeks to make sure ammonia and nitrite stayed low, and they did.
·         Snowflake moray: 10" long and 1/2" diameter
·         Flame angel 
·         Orange back fairy wrasse 
·         Skunk cleaner shrimp -the Valentini and eel didn't eat him.
·         Foxface Lo (realizing from reading my tank is small for this guy, he is 5" long now and seems very happy. Preparing myself for trading him in if/when he appears stressed out.  I’d miss him though.  He also won’t be very easy to catch.  I’m aware that they are poisonous.)
<Ah yes>
Question: should I rehome the Foxface right away, or wait until he shows signs of stress.
<Is fine for now>
 He is bright and yellow and seems happy. He only shows distressed colors when I am moving things around in the tank or cleaning it.  I thought he was OK for my tank but must have confused him with a one spot or some other fish.  Everything I read says >100 gallons for these guys.
<Yes; larger is better>
·         Until a week ago, I also had a Valentini puffer. He had been eating well and seemed very happy.
I never noticed any lumps or wounds on him, but he started eating a little less and I noticed he wasn't fanning his pectoral fin as much on one side. I also noticed him spending more time resting in the corner on the tank wall where he normally sleeps. He was eating, though and I saw him pass waste a few times so I thought he would be fine. Two days later he was stuck to my Koralia 1050 pump and couldn't get off of it.  I immediately moved him to a 5 gallon tank by himself and added some Epsom salt and an air stone. He was able to swim somewhat erratically but it was too late and he quickly died.  I suspect internal parasites but really have no clue.
<Can't tell>
Question: do you suspect worms/parasites?  If so should I dose the rest of my fish with PraziPro or other meds?  I hate not knowing what happened.
<I would not treat w/ anything>
The tank water parameters good. I have stepped up water changes to 5-10 gallons a week to vacuum out sand and brush down rock as I am battling a Cyano outbreak.
<Mmm, search re the Texas holey rock... this can sometimes be problematical re soluble phosphate... You can take out, boil in some freshwater and measure for HPO4>
 I try to mechanically remove as much as possible from the tank.  After leaving the tank lights off for 3 days it is much less prolific. Gradually increasing light hours now.
Here's what the last 5 weeks of water tests have looked like:
Ph: 8.2
dKH ~8
Sg 1.022
<Low; take care changing with the shrimp>
Ammo 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5-10
Temp 78-79
Even before I started the aggressive water changing, the nitrate stayed below 10 with 10 gallon changes of LFS rodi mixed saltwater every 3-4 weeks. I took this to mean that my filter and feeding habits are ok.
Every other day I feed New Life Spectrum Thera +A 1mm marine pellets and hang one piece of brown and one piece of green Ocean Nutrition algae sheets on clips.  Everyone except the eel eats the pellets, and the Foxface gets most of the sheet algae.
On the alternate day I feed PE-Mysis thawed in a little tank water and 5-10 drops of Vita Chem marine vitamin supplement. Again, everyone but the eel eats this. The eel gets stick fed a quarter size shrimp cut in 5 pieces or 1-2 silversides, also thawed in vitamins and tank water.   He only gets fed every other day.  I also add 8 drops of Kent Marine iodide to the tank a few times a week.
I'd like to get a new valentini puffer but want to make absolutely sure my tank is free from parasites that might infect him first, and have a QT setup and procedure first.  I can take a bunch of matrix from my main tank filter and use that in the QT filter easily. 
Question: How long should I wait for species specific parasites to die off before trying to get a new puffer?
<Mmm... well, no waiting necessary; but a Sharpnose may nip your eel, eat the shrimp...>
 I'm really just guessing at cause of death here anyway.   How would I figure out if a fish has internal parasites if they seem healthy otherwise?  The puffer seemed in perfect health for more than 2 months.
<Only way to proceed (currently) re such fears is to prophylactically treat during isolation/quarantine, ahead of introduction to the main/display>
I was planning on a qt with the recommended cycle of PraziPro and 1.015 SG for a new puffer for 3 weeks before adding him to my main tank.
 I read about QT on WWM and although I haven’t before, I plan on QT for any new additions to this tank.  I’m not sure if I should  treat the main tank first though.
<Again; I wouldn't. More downside than it's worth>
 Since the puffer died I am worried. I didn't QT anybody originally because all went in together initially.   I only have a 5 gallon tank for QT.  Question: is that too small for one little Toby?
<Really, yes>
  If so I could get a 10 or bigger if needed.
I understand that Bob warns of massive worm die-off messing up water quality when Prazi dosing a tank with sand and live rock. I have a very shallow sand bed now due to the Cyano battles and vacuuming it out, and I could remove the live rock if needed, but this could cause issues with die-off too I would think if it was out of the tank for a long time submerged in a bucket. I would rather not add any treatments to the tank, as from what I've read on WWM there are always unintended consequences to their use. So far haven't used any treatments for Cyano, hopefully I can win by cleaning it up manually eventually. 
Question: should I wait and watch for signs of illness in the main tank or treat it with PraziPro?
<... last time, no trtmt.>
Thanks for your help!  Sorry this email was rather long.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: WetWebMedia, FOWLR, 55 gal. set up and stocking      5/1/13
Thanks for the fast reply Mr. Fenner.  I now realize that I did ask the same question three times, sorry.
<No worries Wes>
I'm still reading about QT on your site and I see that you advocate the same salinity in the QT tank as the main tank. I must say that would eliminate mistakes I might make with ph matching the water during frequent changes, as it allows just dumping the main tank water in the QT directly. 
I'll have to read more and decide since there are differing opinions on QT salinity among folks like you with much more experience than me.  I could freshwater dip the puffer instead. I've heard that netting may cause them to puff up. Perhaps I can scoop him in a small cup.
<Yes... or corral underwater in a net, and transfer there into another water-holding container>
I will buy a bigger tank for QT.  Would 10 gallons be adequate?
<Barely... a 15 would be much better>
 I'd also like to use a canister filter like a Fluval 105. I can easily move media into it from my main tank.
Per your advice I will just keep watch on my main tank inhabitants without treating.  I'm not sure why I wanted to treat unseen pests in the first place.
<"Madison Ave."... Folks in the west are conditioned to be consumers... to "buy things" to make them feel better. Not real>
What are your thoughts on prophylactic treatment of PraziPro in QT for this Valentini puffer I plan to acquire.
<Of worth...>
 My LFS said that many public aquariums do this on all new arrivals.
<This is so>
 I understand that internal parasites may be more common in Tobies than some other fish, but I don't want to subject him to unnecessary stress.
<Not that stressful; compared w/ all else>
Thanks for the tip on phosphate and Texas Holey rock. I acquired a phosphate test kit and it reads 2ppm.
 This seems very high since I have been doing weekly 10-15 gallon water changes.  This must be part of the reason I have Cyano trouble.
<Ah yes>
 I'm going to have to remove this Texas Holey rock ASAP.  I will try to find some new live or dry rock to replace it, or some black ABS pipes and elbows I've been thinking about for the eel to hide in.
<A good choice. That or PVC>
I bought some Phos-guard and then read on your site about leaching aluminum into the water. I should have read first...  Can I use this short term to lower my phosphate or should I get rid of it and get the recommended Rowa-Phos?
<You can use either... Lanthanum is even better>
On the protein skimmer limewood blocks, can I just buy a couple and let them dry out alternating the one in use, or do I need to discard and replace them as they clog up?
<They do become saturated w/ time/exposure>
 It seems to produce quite a bit of dark green nasty stuff.
Thanks for your advice.
<Welcome. BobF>

SETTING UP A 125 FOWLR/Plumbing/Substrate 4/23/12
Good Morning All
<Hello Rasheed>
I tried to use the Google search but still could not find the info I was looking for.
Here is my plan to have a fowlr consisting of : trigger, puffer, angel, tang and wrasse (or fu Manchu).
My tank is not drilled so I will get this overflow (the overflow comes w/ 2 one inch outlets I believe since they "claim" its rated for a 400 gallon tank , what should my gph on return be?)
<Rated for and flow rate are two different things.  This overflow at best will flow around 600gph.  This is fine providing you have additional powerheads in the tank to boost total flow rate at least 10 times the volume of your tank.  With this type of overflow you may be cursing your mother for being born.  They always collect bubbles at the top of the U tubes thereby reducing flow rate and/or lose the siphon altogether.  A better option would be this type of overflow with the Aqualifter pump.
And see here for actual flow rates through various pipe sizes.
For filtration I will use a set-up like this.
My plan is doing a wet/dry and skimmer (reef dynamics 180) in one tote, return pump in middle tote, refugium w/ DSB in last tote that is feed from the return pump via tee.
Would this set up be beneficial do to such a heavy bio-load or should I cancel the wet/dry and just load the refuge with live rock (as I do not want to have my display to cluttered w/ rock)?
<I'd go with plan one and you did not state your tank size anywhere in this message.  You need to ensure that the totes are large enough to contain the water that will be dumped in them in the event of a power failure or faulty pump. You will need rock in your tank as fish like Tangs and Angelfish feel much more comfortable if a safe refuge is present.>
As for substrate I decided against crushed coral but leaning toward this sakrete sand  @ home depot (product description says its safe for fish bowls) which I will seed with lr and ls.
<????  Sakrete sand is a mix of sand and concrete!  James (Salty Dog)>
Re SETTING UP A 125 FOWLR/Plumbing/Substrate 4/23/12

Thanks for the info.
<You're welcome.>
My tank size 125 gallon.  Here are the sands they have at home depot
SEARCH+ALL do you recommend any of these?
<I really do not have the time to view all those different sands.  What you do not want is silica based sand as it likely will cause diatom blooms in your system.  I looked at two of them and the specs do not indicate what type of sand it is. I might add that none of these sand mixes will do anything to help maintain alkalinity.  There are no carbonates present as in crushed coral sand.> 
Tote size 18 gallons
<The three 18 gallon totes should be enough to handle the overflow should a power outage occur.  James (Salty Dog)>

Live rock, use... in FOWLR  11/9/10
Hi there again! Quick question... If I have a FOWLR system do I actually need to have live rock even if my sump has bio balls? One store is saying absolutely yes and another is saying absolutely no if I have bio balls... I think he wants to sell me his corals. I know pH is a factor here, and the fish hide and graze upon it, but is it absolutely necessary in my situation?
<Live rock is certainly desirable; unlike an aerobic biological filter the anaerobic pores inside live rock contain bacteria that reduce nitrate to nitrogen gas, so live rock makes water quality management easier. But no, it isn't essential, and people have been maintaining fish-only tanks using just aerobic biological filters for decades, often using tufa rock and/or coral sand as a source of alkalinity. That people don't use this approach isn't so much anymore isn't because biological filters don't work, but that they work *better* combined with live rock, relegating the biological filter to a secondary role that makes its maintenance dramatically easier, e.g., media can be cleaned or replaced without worrying that'll kill the filtration process.>
Just FYI, in the end I wound up buying and curing my own live rock (7 months ago) and the 2nd guy laughed at me when I told him last week, telling me I wasted my money... Can you shed some truth to this whole thing?
<Depends what you're after. The bacteria species that perform aerobic and anaerobic filtration will colonise your live rock whether it's cured by the retailer or cured at home. But live rock that has been cured properly by professionals who know what they're doing in terms of lighting, water quality, salinity, etc. is more likely to remain colonised with small sea creatures; the copepods, isopods, Brittlestars, starfish, etc. we all know and love. If you're sticking the live rock in a tank with a triggerfish, that won't matter much because most such animals will end up as food. But if you're using live rock as the heart of a reef tank, or want it to supply food for gobies, Butterflyfish or whatever, then it's worth paying a premium for fauna-rich live rock you know has been cured using the best possible methods.>
As always, much appreciated ;)
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Question: Aquascaping FOWLR Tank    9/13/10
Bob, thank you for your help in the past.
<Simon here today>
Alas, I have another question.
<Or three I see!>
I am finally upgrading my 120 gallon FOWLR to a 300 gallon FOWLR (my Tangs will thank me for it).
<Wahey! This is good news!>
I would like your opinion regarding the optimal layout of the live rock. I am designing a PVC rack to support the live rock.
My tank is 96x24x30. I am debating as to whether make the rock structures low and leave the upper half of the tank purely for swimming (the Tangs and perhaps a future Emperor Angel will like that) or to stack rocks up higher instead. I am not making a wall, but rather 2 rock structures with swimming space in between. My question to you is should the structure be tall (might like nicer) or shorter (leave more room for swimming and better flow).
<In a tank of 30 inches depth you have plenty of room to compromise here I WOULD leave a good amount of space over the majority of the rock structure at least, but there is no harm in having some variables in height. Have you considered creating a cave between these two or other structures? Some tangs will appreciate being able to swim over the rocks for sure, but large and small Angels prefer to swim amongst them, hanging out under ledges, in caves, hugging the rock structures>
Another question I have is with respect to the substrate. I would much prefer to leave the tank bare bottom (for ease of cleaning), but I need something to cover the PVC structure that I am building.
<I would attach rocks to these, with cable ties or whatever>
I am also planning on getting a wrasse and heard they are fond of sand.
<Some species, yes>
I have several problems with sand. First, my fish like to move it around and thus, will reveal the PVC structure
and perhaps the eggcrate (see next question). Second, with sand, I cannot put a powerhead close to the bottom of the tank as the sand gets blown away.
<For a tank this size you really should be doing away with powerheads and moving to propeller pumps, Tunze or better Vortech.. these, sited in the upper half of the tank will drag flow up from the sand and push it out over the rock structure, thus creating flow but leaving the sand in place>
Finally, I will need about 2" - 2.5" of sand to cover the PVC structure completely. I guess my questions are whether I can get away without sand for a wrasse (let's say banana wrasse)
<No.. read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/halicsysfaqs.htm>
and whether a 2.5" sand bed will create an anaerobic environment (something I do not want for the fish will disturb the sandbed and release the toxins).
<I would stick to a 1 inch layer, if you include a wrasse that requires more you can place a container somewhere full of sand to house a deeper amount>
My final question is with respect to eggcrate. Should I put eggcrate under the PVC stand or that is not necessary?
<If you need it to support the rocks then yes, if not then no.>
Thank you in advance for your help.
<No problem>
- Yevgeny

Crazy Fish Ideas... Reef, FOWLR set up, marine plants use    9/11/10
Hey WWM! Thanks for helping me out with trying to bring my aquarium ideas a reality. Over the summer I got a free 135 gallon fish tank from my teacher at Marine Biology and since I've gotten it I've wanted to turn it into a
reef. At the moment my only problem is my current fish. I have a 90 gallon tank FOWLR tank with a porcupine puffer, bird wrasse, zebra moray, and juvenile chainlink moray (I know, I know I have WAY too much in one tank, especially for it's size. It was my first time setting up a tank, which consisted of getting whatever fish I liked without thinking twice.) Since I love these fish too much to get rid of them, my plan is to have the 135 gallon become a reef and move the bird wrasse since they're semi-"reef compatible"
<Mmm... won't eat Cnidarians, but will eat crustaceans, worms...>
and the zebra moray
<Messy and clumsy>
over and having beginner, hardy corals, a crustacean-less cleaning crew with inverts such as snails and brittle stars, and two surgeonfish like the orange shouldered surgeon and a yellow or Kole tang to help algae control. The other part of my plan is connect the reef to my 90 gallon tank, which will be come a seagrass/lagoon tank where the puffer could live peacefully with the chainlink moray eventually (the chainlink is living in my Nano-reef alone very temporarily until he gets large enough to live with the others, then he's moving) and I can grow mangroves and seagrass.
<Neat plan>
I've read about how seagrass is an excellent nutrient remover
<Mmm, not so much really... Takes a good long while to become established, grows/metabolizes slowly, and takes a "high nutrient" substrate itself in point of fact>
and since I have some heavy duty fish, I'm going to need it. Of course these tanks would have a large protein skimmer attached along with mechanical and chemical filtration like poly-filters and carbon in a twenty gallon sump underneath.
<Larger gallonage if at all possible>
My main question is do you see anything wrong with this plan, have any suggestions on ways to make it better (or
<Look around for a larger sump container... maybe a plastic tote of some sort>
or is this idea really not going to work? Since this will be a HUGE project I'm trying to research as much as possible and getting as much advice as possible. Again, thanks for your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: setting up a quiet 58 <not 30> gallon saltwater tank   6/29/10
OK, I decided to pass on getting the 30 gallon tank with no drilled hole.
<I would too.>
I have a 58 gallon oceanic reef ready tank that I ran for two years as a fish only saltwater tank (with wet/dry and bio balls).
I tore it down about two years ago after the little grouper I got grew up and ate everything in the tank.
<Oh, a great example of looking before you leap with livestock!>
I returned the HUGE grouper to the LFS for some credit and then stored the tank in my garage for about two years. Now I am ready to set it back up again as a FOWLR setup. Although I have never done live rock.
<It is great, you will love it.>
The Iwaki external pump I used before seems a little rusty on the outside and was a little noisy.
<Great reliable pumps, but not quiet by any means!>
I want to replace it with an internal pump.
Will the Eheim 1250 be fine as a return sump (it will have to pump to about
4-5 feet of head)? I plan on using 1-2 powerheads in the tank.
<Perfect, my personal choice on this size tank.>
How much flow should be flowing through the sump?
<A few hundred GPH will do the trick here, do keep in mind the overflow rates link you were referred to earlier. You do not want to outrun the overflow!>
I will not have any bio balls in my sump since I plan on using live rock.
<One of the life changing advantages.>
How much live rock should I get? (a friend of mine is giving me dead live rock - is this "base" rock?)
<I would have 30 lbs min, more if you want a look of a complete wall in your tank. Dead LR is just base rock, nothing live.>
I also want to have a bed of live sand, how deep should that be?
<1" or 4"+, not much in between. See WWM re sandbeds, there is much info there.>
I am upgrading my SeaClone skimmer to an AquaC remora skimmer (w/MaxiJet 1200) that I will put in the sump.
<A great skimmer for this size tank. If you intend to use this in the sump do look at the Urchin. It is the same skimmer set up to use in the sump.>
For the return line from the sump to the tank, does it matter (flow rates) if I use tubing or pvc piping?
<It is negligible here, the overflow will end up being the limiting factor.
This pump will about "break even" with the overflow here. This is fine, do keep in mind this leaves no redundancy in overflow capacity.>
Thanks for all your help.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

A few clarifications, CP use, much more re FIOWLR set up, op.   3/13/10
Hi Bob and Crew and to whomever replying to this mail.
<Hi Blesson, howsit?>
Thanks to Bob's precious advice I am able to successfully keep Cleaner shrimp in my tank. But instead of adjusting ph using vinegar or a weak acid to drip acclimate the specimens and then to acclimate them to the tank; I used a product called Ammo lock to detoxify the accumulated metabolic waste products. Worked out great and thanks a ton Bob.
Well I also found the Yellow Tang a bigger good home and he looks really happy. And your treatment protocol for the Crypt and Amyloodinium using CP worked wonders !
<Ah, good. I will accrue your comments here in that FAQ f'>
The survivors being the Tang, a Bicolour Blenny, Chromis and a Goby would thank you if they could. Well I had to shift my dorm and hence did an overhaul of the tank. Removed the coarse crushed coral gravel and added a bed of LS about one to two inches. New occupants include 2 True Perculas, 1 Red Fire Goby, 1 Electric Blue Hermit,1 cleaner shrimp and 2 unidentified snails which you will have to help me ID later when I can get hold of a decent snap, along with the old Blenny, Chromis and the Goby. Tank has been up and running for over two months now. I couldn't QT the new guys on arrival as my QT tank broke in a freak accident ! I really couldn't help it :( Anyways the clowns were tank raised and look very healthy and have already noticed a slight growth spurt in one. They 're about an inch and a half in length. My first question is ... Can an infection appear after two months of no symptoms ?
I have plans for a lot of corals. Is my tank too crowded ?
<What is the volume, shape?>
My Alk is 7dkh. Is tat alright cos the test kit manual says 8-12dkh is the normal level.
<Is likely fine; a bit low... but unless you have more sensitive biomineralising life, no worries>
According to my judgment of colour from the reagent test kit from API Phosphates are around 0.5. Is that a bit too high ?
How do I get it to zero other than water changes and feeding less ?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm
and the linked files above>
Nitrates are around 5-10. I run a decently working Skimmer. I am using Poly Filter and Carbon, also Denitrator chips or granules from SeaChem in my Canister filter, the bottom trays of the canister hold Ceramic rings and Bio-media for Bacterial colonisation. No measurable Ammonia or Nitrites.
Calcium is at 440 ppm. I dont test for Magnesium but do dose it in small quantities.
<My usual urging/admonition here to not "use" anything w/o testing for it... You MUST test for [Mg] if you're adjusting it>
Got a slight Diatom problem.
Should I remove the filter floss from the canister ?
<Maybe. I/'d use summat like Eheim's "Flocken" (one time purchase, polyethylene product) myself>
My thoughts were this would trap detritus and cause problems with the nitrate.
<Evidently not too much eh?>
Making plans for a DIY Sump and an overflow system to be added soon. Your advice is highly appreciated !
<And is posted>
Have been reading the daily FAQs for the past two months and frankly I am kind of hooked on to it and the site ! Thanks you so much ! :)
Blesson from Bangalore, India.
p.s. Bob might remember me as the medical student with fish problems ...
<Ah yes. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Re: A few clarifications, more re FIOWLR set up, op. & stkg.  3/14/10
Bob and crew,
Everything's just dandy thanks for asking :)
Well the display is essentially the same old one, 30 gal long.
<Oh! Then this IS way overcrowded... behaviorally and physiologically>
And re: the latent infection, after how long can I be sure that the fish are safe ?
<Perhaps never in the current crowded condition>
Should I just quarantine them now or leave them be and take care of things as they progress ?
<Up to you... both approaches might prove efficacious. However, to be clear(er), you need to remove the Tang, perhaps more here>
Tank bio load re: fish sums up to around 12 inches of fish.
<Only now... will be much more if they continue to live, grow>
I completely concur with your admonishing to never dose something that you are not able to test. Well when I was picking up supplies for the tank Mg test kit included, the LFS owner laughed saying I didn't really need it.
Plus dosed only once so will stop it at that until I get the test kit.
Been having problems getting the coralline algae to grow. And is it true that Poly filters can be kinda recharged so to speak by soaking in freshwater for marine use ?
<Have never seen where this was done successfully>
One last thing ... after reading the daily FAQs for the last couple of months, I really pity the people who send u hate mails after misunderstanding the advice or due to their ego problems !
<Happens... best not to take "this world too personally"... What we offer is done in a human, though professional manner... Some folks do take offense... But of the 30-40k people who use the site/resource daily, they are in/of the vast minority>
Want you to know that this is just a minority compared to the vast numbers of people who feel immensely thankful (myself included) to this service you provide for us hobbyists worldwide ! Just a word of encouragement to you
and the crew :)
<Ah yes>
Thanks and take care,
<And you my friend. Bob Fenner>

120 and 90 gallon questions, FOWLR set up, stkg.  2/2/2010
Hello all,
<Hello, Josh here.>
I have a 120 gallon that I am now converting over to saltwater from a previous freshwater African cichlid tank. I would like to make it a FOWLR tank, due to the fact that I have already started a 90g mixed reef and don't want to upgrade my lights at this time (I currently have a triple-tube t8 fixture on the 120 = total 120 watts).
<Fine for a fish only.>
I am currently running a Fluval fx5 canister filter (no chemical media) and am considering buying a HOB octopus skimmer. The tank is not drilled and I do not plan on having a sump. Since this tank sits in my living room, I really do NOT want a skimmer of any kind, but I have read that I should have a skimmer even on a fowlr tank? I will buy it if I can't do without it, but I would rather not have a skimmer.
<A skimmer would be preferable, but good husbandry practices and frequent water changes can certainly be an alternative option.>
Off topic, but is it recommended to run chemical media in a canister filter on saltwater? I'm pretty new at this.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm >
The tank is not cycled yet and I am planning on adding some more live rock to it (have about 100lbs so far, thinking about adding another 70lbs?). I am not going to add any fish any time soon! But I like to plan ahead and research stuff before I add anything so I am already brainstorming ideas.
<Excellent.>I really like tangs, and I think they are probably my favorite type of fish -- specifically, I would like to add a yellow tang and either a blue hippo OR powder blue.
<I am assuming that your 120Gallon tank is a 4ft long tank. If so I am afraid I would not recommend either the powder blue or the blue hippo due to their size.>
My next love is clowns. I haven't decided which species, which I think may depend on my next additions... I was thinking about a black back butterfly and I was also considering a niger trigger. Now here is my conflict --- I
love inverts as well (a purple lobster, a couple of emerald crabs, a strawberry crab, maybe some other reef-cautious or non-reef-safe inverts, and 2 cleaner shrimp and couple of peppermint shrimp) and I know that I cannot have those with a trigger. If I eliminated the trigger, could I have inverts with the butterfly? I have read mixed
information on butterflies as a family and was curious if anybody had any experience here?
<Frankly the butterflies are iffy, they can go either way. I would suggest sticking with the butterfly and Trigger and skipping the inverts, or going for the inverts and neither of these fish.>
And, would 2 tangs, a butterfly, trigger, and 2 clowns (maroon in the presence of the trigger, probably ocellaris
otherwise) overload this aquarium?
<The Trigger is a large fish, but I don't imagine a tang, a trigger, a butterfly and two clowns will overload this tank... but with no protein skimmer some aggressive water changes would likely be necessary.>
And lastly, would a skimmer be required with this bioload or would my canister filter + water changes be sufficient?
I have another question completely off topic. I have started a 90g mixed reef, which currently has some polyps and a Duncan coral, and 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 peppermint shrimp, and blue leg hermits and snails. I have no other livestock in this aquarium. I am also thinking about a potential stocking list for this tank and was wondering if I
could safely have a marine Betta with the inverts?
<The marine Betta will be iffy with the shrimp, I would avoid the Betta if you would like to continue with these delicate inverts. However I might suggest moving the marine Betta to the 120, and keeping the inverts you wanted for your 120 in the 90.
I was also wanting to add a royal gramma and a sand-sifting goby (eventually, definitely not all of these at once). Could I add any other smaller reef-safe fish?
<Those sound like fine additions.>
I want a very peaceful tank, and would like to stay away from wrasses and damsels. The tank has been up for a little over 2 months, and I added the clowns about 3 weeks ago (and they seem to be doing well).
Thank you so much for your help!
<You're welcome, and good luck.
Josh Solomon>

30 Gallon FOWLR Advice -- 12/16/2009
<Hello Gary, JustinN here!>
I am setting up an 30 Gallon FOWLR tank and was wondering if the equipment listed
would sustain such a tank.
<Lets take a look!>
20 LB Live Rock
2-3 inch Substrate
Boyu Hang on Protein Skimmer
<I am unfamiliar with this brand>
For tanks up to 1000 Litres
Pump flow rate: 1850 L/H
Power: 35w
Dimensions: 211x186x600mm1850
L/H needle wheel venturi pump
Wave Maker 6000L/H / Powerhead
Ceramic Axles
Power, 12w
Output, 6000 Liters an hour
Rainbow Lifegard FB-300 Fluidized Bed Filter
And a canister filter with carbon and maybe some crushed live rock, mainly just to keep the tank circulating.
<May I suggest replacing these with a powerhead, or better yet, one of the many propeller/wide flow design pumps that are available now -- the canister carries the potential to become a nitrate farm over time, without heavy maintenance.>
I have had about 15 years experience in fish keeping mostly tropicals but I have also had a marine set up before with decent results, time was more of an issue then but I have read and learnt a lot from the experience.
<Excellent -- this should be a rewarding venture then -- it does seem that you have a good game plan to start.>
Also what tank companions would you advise and the max amount.
<Entirely subjective, and based on what you choose to stock... I suggest thorough reading to determine this.>
Thanks in advance
<Glad to help! -JustinN>

Tank Relocation and Reconstruction 10/26/09
Hi there,
<<Hey there Liana>>
thank you again for your tremendous resource!
<<We are happy you like it>>
I would very much appreciate some guidance on the following:
I have a 150 gallon FOWLR tank that I maintain where I work (family business..nursing home..tank falls
under "and other duties as assigned!")
It has been running for approximately 10 years, although not without mishap here and there.
<<Not uncommon Im not saying this is the case here, but I am not a fan of office tanks as they all too often suffer massive neglect>>
The stand and base are badly deteriorating, and we wanted to relocate it to the first floor of the building, so I have a few issues. Setup for this reef ready tank includes approximately 200lbs live rock, an Aqua-C 180 protein skimmer in a 30gallon sump with an Iwaki MD-70 pump for the return.
<<If this is the only source of water movement, the tank would likely benefit from the addition of a few powerheads to supplement re>>
I use only RO water. Very light fish load of a small blue chromis, a large Sailfin tang, and a large
hippo tang,
<<This tank is marginal in size, for the Hippo Tang>>
a medium percula clown, two pencil urchins and a small anthias squamipinnis.
<<Though this species can be kept singly, the tank is big enough I think (especially if you remove the Hippo Tang) that the lone Anthiine would benefit here from the addition of a couple female conspecifics>>
I have had an ongoing issue with nitrates which substantial water changes have not corrected and that I believe is being caused by the sand bed, which is 2-3 inches deep.
<<A possibility, but do also check the effluent from your RO unit (perhaps the membrane needs changing of the addition of a DI cartridge is warranted). Also, are the residents of the home allowed to feed this tank? Not a good ideaa real likelihood of overfeeding if so>>
Upon relocation, I hope to increase the bioload.
<<Mmm, I would keep this tank lightly stockedconsidering>>
I have already temporarily relocated the fish and live rock to tanks in my basement until I can get the new setup going. I plan to convert the 30 gallon sump into a refugium and connect to a separate smaller sump for the protein skimmer.
<<Excellentboth the refugium and the extra system volume will be of benefit>>
I don't know if I already messed this up by scooping out the sand bed, which appears to be teaming with life and which I hate to lose, but if it is causing my nitrate problem, how do I salvage it?
<<You could try giving the substrate a rinse in some saltwater from the system, but to be thorough you will also wash away much of the biota you wish to keep. A better solution may be to seed the new substrate in the refugium with a just few cups of the old substrate (and ideally, let this mature for a few months before restocking the system)and then rinse and reuse, or simply discard, the rest of it.
Thanks for your help!
Liana Reynolds
<<Happy to share Eric Russell>>
Sorry, forgot to add I was thinking that I would have a DSB in the refugium and keep a shallow bed in the main tank. Does this sound right? Thanks
<<Will be fine I suggest a sugar-fine Aragonite of 4 or more depth for the DSBand a sub-1 substrate depth in the display of something a bit more coarse. EricR>>

Saltwater tank: Clownfish color changes... new FOWLR set up, op.    7/2/09
Hi Crew,
First, you have a great website and I like the way you answer questions and I hope you can answer a few of mine.
Here are all the details.*
I am new to saltwater aquariums so please pardon my use of descriptions in place of the correct technical term. We recently inherited a ~35-40 gallon
tank (guy walks into a bar and says hey I am looking for someone to adopt my aquarium... and it wasn't a joke!).
I has been running for 10 years so the biologicals are well established - there appear to be "tube worms" (white and stringy), bristle worms, small red anemones and slightly larger brown anemones, 40+(?) lbs of live rock,
<Do look up the word: Aiptasia>
~3 inches of sand, copepods, appears to be some red carpet-like algae on the sand, a branching filamentous algae on the coral, and a green carpet-like algae on the live rock.
<Likely almost all BGA/Cyanobacteria>
It has a closed top with two natural light fluorescents (one needs to be replaced but it is still working).
<Depending on what you want to keep, do with this system, these lamps are likely non-functional... Light up, but don't produce the kinds of light you need... I'd look into switching them out>
It is hooked up to a ~100gal Eheim filter, there is a secondary "blower" to increase the current, and there is a biological filter (spinning paper cartridge that has to be kept wet?)
<Yes... Likely a Marineland (manufacturer) BioWheel... spins...>
up in the light apparatus/tank cover. That was the basic setup when we inherited it.
When we moved it the live rock went into buckets were covered with the tank water, sediments were kept just covered with water. The tank had been in a dark room but we installed it next to a large window where it gets some sunlight. The sunlight is not direct except for an hour or so in the early morning.
<Probably okay... do look for overheating during the summer...>
After reinstalling it, the tank was cloudy and cleared up, the anemones showed some signs of damage, but they bounced back. We basically let the tank sit for 2 weeks to make sure everything was still going right.
I threw in some pelletized fist food for the anemones every other day or so, they took it in (it was neat you could see the pellet inside of them) and didn't die so I assume this was ok.... this could be a wrong assumption.
<After reading, you may decide you don't want these>
Because the donor told us the tank was good to go we went and got 2 Percula
(sp?) Clownfish, 1 Lawnmower Blenny,
<Mmm, this volume is really too small for this animal>
5 Cerith Snail, 5 Nassarius Snails, and 5 Blue leg crabs. Before putting them in I tested the pH and the salinity.
I am rather lucky to work in and have the tank in a water quality lab so we can test the parameters and know ~exactly what they are. pH was 8.3 and the salinity (I have forgotten the exact number, really sorry) was correct insofar as my Google research could tell me. The troubling thing is that we tested soluble reactive phosphorous (orthophosphate) and it came through at 512 ppm which is way too high as far as I know (250ppm seems to be what is suggested.).
<Mmm, am hoping the units are off here... even if ppb (billions) this is too much soluble HPO4>
Nitrate and ammonia will be tested tomorrow and I can send those along if it will help you diagnose the problem.
*The problem(s) *
1) The two clownfish we purchased seem to have darkened significantly since I put them in yesterday (at this time it has been 24 hrs). Is the high phosphate causing this color change?
<Mmm, this and/or other water quality aspects, yes>
Where is it coming from?
<Old substrates, trapped detritus moved along with..>
(the food I have been putting in is maybe 2-3 tsp pelletized fish food a day). There is another question like this in your website, but it seemed to be different circumstances.
2) Also, I am not sure the Clowns are eating, they don't really seem to like the pelletized fish food I have (the food indicates it is for clownfish among others), they take it in and spit it out. Some sites said this was due to the size of the food. I tried preparing it by letting it soak in some tank water then crushing it up a little bit. They seem to like this more, but they still move around the tank like they are looking for food.
<Could be the food and/or just water quality>
3) Today we noticed today that some of the anemones had retracted, which is new for them in the last 2 weeks. Is this normal?
<Mmm, is normal for reacting to deleterious conditions...>
The all-knowing internet said this was normal... or it was a result of water quality issues...
or it was because of the biota. Well we didn't see any of the biota targeting the anemones (one that had retracted was way up the side of the tank away from anything except the water).
4) Let us assume that nitrate or ammonia is too high. What should I do to eliminate this - just change the water?.
<Is one approach... See our site re:
the linked files above... there is a "whole bunch" one needs to know... all at once!>
5) given my setup is there a resource you can direct me to that will indicate what my water quality parameters should be?
<Yes... any good general marine aquarium reference work... or an involved peregrination front to back of our site>
The Blenny, well he seems to absolutely love the algae in the tank (there isn't a lot but there is some growth on the sides and on the pumps) and I am not too worried about him.
<Until this becomes limiting... See WWM re Salarias, Atrosalarias spp.>
Sorry for the irksome newbie questions and epic email, but I have done some research and now need help with the putting two and two together to know how to fix the problems.
<Ahh, no worries. We are glad to help all earnest individuals...>
I really don't want to lose the two clownfish... I picked them because they were advertised as "hardy" and therefore, I hoped, a good starter fish.
<Do keep reading, accumulating your questions, concerns for our discussion.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Proposed (240gal display + 160gal sump) FOWLR 4/19/09
Good Day WWM Crew/Scott V,
<Hello Adriel, sorry about the previous email. A cat ran across the keyboard, typing an interesting response and sending the thing!>
Thanks your advice!
<Very welcome.>
In any case, I think I'll go with a 84l"x20w"12h" sump+refugium with a DSB.
Should reduce about 80gal weight right there. The LFS here has mentioned that they've installed 260gal tanks in similar apartments. My building is just 2 years old, newly constructed, but nevertheless I will be contacting the construction company for their opinion.
I would like your opinion on skimmers for the setup. I have an Octopus 200NW and a Deltec APF 600. Was thinking about using these together in the sump. Would this be enough? Could they be placed side by side?
<I think this will be fine for skimming, sure place them together.>
I currently have the following to be shifted to the proposed tank, Blue girdle angel 4" Blue Face angel 3" (but they aren't fighting at all:-)
Moon beam dwarf angel 1 1/2Anthias (dunno which one) Leopard Ornate Wrasse 2"Anampses Lineatus 2"False Percula 2"
I plan to add a Flame Angel, Orange Shoulder Tang, Orchid Dottyback, and not much else, maybe a few gobies.
<Sounds fine, but will put you at or near your stocking limit.>
Would like to keep smaller fish in this one. Really want to keep a Regal Angel too. (I know, I have the book :-) ......)
<Highly dependent on collection, how/where.>
Any further suggestions that you may have for the setup would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks again, and I really appreciate the effort you've taken!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Proposed (240gal display + 160gal sump) FOWLR 4/26/09
Good day WWM Crew/ Scott V,
<Hello Adriel!>
Thanks Scott for all the help!!
<Very welcome!>
I "think" I've more or less got it down...
I have couple of questions regarding water circulation. (I've used only power heads thus far, and am now entering into the expensive side of the hobby :-)
Is it worth going with a wave maker in a FOWLR???
<It can function just fine, worth it? Not for me.>
The power heads don't seem to keep detritus in suspension and was hoping that these would do the trick. I can't seem to make up my mind between the following,
1) Tunze Turbelle Stream 6125 x22) Tunze Turbelle Stream 6105 x2 with Multicontroller3) Tunze Wavebox 6212 x1
These are pretty pricey, so a good decision would be invaluable.
<Both can work, but option #1 is an amazing setup. If you have the funds and want to spend it you can't go wrong.>
Would any of the above configurations would be enough to be the sole source of circulation in the tank, apart from the main pump (which isn't too powerful) ?
<Oh yes.>
Thanks for your time!!!!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Flow Question And Stocking Level, 20 gal. FOWLR  2/16/09 > Good evening crew! <Hello Keith> > I have a 20 gal long tank. It has been a FOWLR tank for over a  year. It has 30 lbs. of Aragamax sand and 20 lbs. of Fiji LR. > Current flow/filtration is a 200GPH Penguin BioWheel with an extra  media basket with LR rubble (which is actually better than a  basket as it separates the rubble into "grids" for better circulation/flow) and the standard pad/carbon cartridge for the Penguin models. I also have a SeaClone protein skimmer with a Maxijet 1200. >> So I have 3 questions: I recently added a pulsing Xenia stalk and a small button mushroom. The Xenia is towards the top and the mushroom towards the bottom. Both look great, but it has only been a day or two. With a tank as shallow as a 20 gal long (12") do I have adequate flow already? <Very close as the Penguin has a guaranteed flow rate of 200gph.> I have my LR set up in a way that is at least 2 inches away from any of the tank sides and have it split into two cavernous islands with lots of ways in and out even for my 2 False Percula Clownfish. The HOB and the HOB skimmer are on opposite sides of the tank and the feather dusters seem to get quite a bit of movement at the bottom of the tank. I experimented with a Koralia nano and then again with a Aquaclear 201 powerhead (not at the same time) in the skimmer corner but it seemed the flow was a bit of a whirlpool even with the Powerhead adjusted very low. ><How to things look with just using the Penguin for water movement?> > 2nd question: Would you recommend continuing the use of the stock filter cartridge or would a second media basket be better for just running carbon? ><In smaller tanks such as yours, I'd opt to use Purigen, Chemi Pure, or Chem Sorb in the media basket and just use the stock cartridge as a mechanical filter. Will be much better at nutrient removal than carbon alone. I do not know how large the media basket is, so you will need to see what would fit in there.> > And last but not least: I have the 2 False Perculas, but I also have a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, 3 Nassarius snails, 4 Astrea snails and a Emerald Crab that actually came with the LR. > Is there anything else I should have (more snails of some kind for example). <I'd put 5 or 6 more Blue Leg Hermit Crabs in there. Keep that Emerald Crab well fed or your shrimp may become a meal.> Can a Neon Goby or a Dottyback be added or would you stick to just the 2 Percs? <A Neon Goby or similar small size fish could be added. I would go with nothing larger.> I do plan on adding other corals slowly as I watch how the tank matures even more. <Do research here before adding as there are not too many corals that will do well with your lighting.> > I am sorry if all of this info is already available. I did search quite awhile...I am here for days before I add/change anything in any of my tanks LOL. ><Good, reading will be your best teacher.> > Oh and tank param.s are ph 8.2, calc 400, Alk 9, temp 77F, 65 watt PC 50/50 bulb, ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate less than .5, and SG is 1.023. ><Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)> > Keith  

Equipment choices on a new system. 2/15/09 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Corey.> I'm setting up a new FOWLR and Hardy Inverts tank. I haven't kept aquaria in almost 20 years and I know the hobby has changed a lot in the meantime. <Indeed!> So I'm doing as much research as possible (Fenner, Michael, Paletta, misc. forums). I think I've got my equipment list and livestock desires together and wondered if you could give any suggestions on it. Picked up a used 65G (used for freshwater) that I've cleaned (vinegar) and disinfected (peroxide). I'll be adding approximately 50 lbs. of Fiji live rock and about 2" of live sand. An Eheim Pro II 2026 or 2028 (running with carbon, and anything else you'd recommend.) Two Hydor Koralia 1 powerheads on a simple wavemaker, and an Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer. For the lighting I was initially going to get a Current USA Sundial 156 watt T5 fixture (love the integrated timers and moon lights), but am now leaning towards the 36" 234 watt Nova Extreme Pro as I want to shoot for a BTA at some point (is this enough light?). <Should be. The anemone should settle higher up in the tank with this lighting.> As for livestock I plan to have (over time of course) an Ocellaris Clown, a Yellow Tang, some sort of dwarf angel, and a couple of Flasher Wrasse (undecided), a Cleaner Shrimp, and a BTA for the clown (this is the whole point of my system actually and I know lighting is crucial). I'd love to add a refugium at some point so that I can support copepods for a Mandarin, and macroalgae. Is this too much of a bioload? <Not from a bioload perspective, but I must say I am not a fan of keeping any tang in a 36" long tank. These fish appreciate and thrive with space to swim.> Thanks for all the information you folks have shared already. Corey <Welcome Corey, one more point of input on this. With your skimmer and live rock the only benefit the canister will give you is running carbon. If you feel the need to do so, you can do this far cheaper for now with a little power filter. Later, when you set up the refugium you can incorporate a little filtration area in which to run the carbon. Scott V.>

FOWLR "miniatures tank" FOWLR Questions/Set-Up 2/8/09 Guys; Lots of terrific info on your site. What a great resource! <Thank you.> Here's my question, which is more of a "Hey, what should I be watching out for?" than a specific problem. I have a nice 125 that I used to have set up as a community tank with the typical coral skeletons and lumps of rock, using an undergravel filter. It did fine for a few years, then started developing problems. I finally found homes for my fishies, tore it down, and found the UGF was disgusting, hence my failure. <Yes, UGF's can be very problematic.> This time, I want to do it right with a FOWLR tank. The slightly unusual thing about my plans is that I like to do what I call a "miniatures" tank. Last time, the largest fish I had was a coral beauty and a few other Centropyges. I had lots of gobies of various descriptions, leaning toward the truly tiny, like the Catalina goby. I had Firefish, some small Hawkfish, some blennies, etc., and lots of shrimp <The Hawkfish must have been well fed or too small to devour the shrimp.> and tiny crabs. As for a bio-load, all the critters (50-75 or more) in my tank probably weighed less than a couple of large tangs. <Mmmmm.> Although the total waste in the water is small for this size of tank, I know I have to be concerned with overcrowding from a "stress" basis. I'll be using a LOT of live rock with lots of little niches and dens and mini-habitats. I also intend to have a 4-5 inch substrate because I'm very fond of Pearly Jawfish and their comical ways, and they need depth for their tunneling. I'm planning on using a high-quality protein skimmer, but at this point I have no plans for any other filtration. <Will the skimmer be in a sump?> Are there any problems you can foresee, or any tips you might have? The tank is now in storage, so I'm starting practically from zero, and have a lot of flexibility. I'd appreciate any wisdom you might have for me. <Yes, I'd research all fish in regards to compatibility and care level issues. Even though the fish are small, do watch your stocking level as territorial/behavioral issues can develop here. Do invest in a quality skimmer, do not skimp, it will be your most important investment in the well being of your inhabitants. There are many quality units out there, Euro-Reef, Aqua C, and Vertex to name a few. In my experience/opinion, the Aqua C and Vertex offer the most bang for the buck. Cheers. James (Salty Dog)> Bill Harrison

FO tank or FOWLR?, Stocking/Set-up 2/2/09 Good evening. <Hello> I have a 20 gallon Long aquarium that is home to a pair of false Perculas, a royal gramma and a scooter blenny, as well as a few snails, 2 blue leg hermits and a peppermint shrimp. <The blenny will most likely starve in this sized tank, it needs a new home.> Currently I have a SeaClone 100 skimmer (which actually has been pretty good even though I have read mostly bad) and a BioWheel 200 with an extra media basket containing live rock rubble. The tank has 5 lbs of live rock and 5 lbs of coral base rock. The substrate is Aragamax. <Ok> I have a few questions: 1) Am I over stocked? Not that I want to add anything, but I am afraid I might be over. <The blenny will not be able to be sustained in this sized tank for long, it needs a larger tank.> 2) Do I need more live rock if I keep the current filtration, and if I do, do I need to be in the 1 lb per gallon area or is that for reef tanks mostly? <1 to 1.5 pounds per gallon is ideal, but you will most likely be ok at your current levels.> 3) If I wanted a few easy corals with a lighting upgrade, would I need more live rock or lower fish stocking or a combination of both? <More rock may help you control nitrates easier, which is important for corals, and definitely no more fish.> 4) Does the 5 lbs of base rock count as lbs when mentioning lbs of LR? <Mostly yes, it becomes live with time and exposure to standard live rock.> System has been up for 12 months or so with no problems or ammonia present, Nitrate below 10. Doing 1% WCs weekly. It was a gradual process that started as a brackish tank, then high brackish, then skimmer then LR then marine animals. <Nice> <Chris>
Re: FO tank or FOWLR?, Stocking/Set-up 2/5/09
Thanks for the reply. <Welcome> Originally when I bought the scooter I was told he would be ok in a 20 long, and he does accept frozen brine and bloodworms, but I too thought he was looking a bit thin so I took him to a very good LFS (Something Fishy) who have some rather large reef tanks for display (250 Gallon) where I am sure he will be happier. <I'm sure he will do much better there.> I do have a couple of questions about my false Percs though. <Ok> First off, they are very active and eat well, no signs of excess mucus, spots, labored respiration...nothing that would look like a problem, but at times they will flash off the glass in the day in the places where they sleep at night. <A fairly common behavior.> No other flashing on other rocks, sand, decor...just in their corners they hang out in at night. sometimes they will go all the way from one side of the tank to do it too. There really isn't anything special about the places where they do it, one uses the bare glass in the back corner about midway up with a bit of algae on it and the other on the cleaner magnet it "hosts". <I would not worry about it unless you see more signs of illness.> Wouldn't there be a sign of heavy breathing or something if it was an unseen gill fluke or parasite. <Could be.> I tried the flashlight at night trick and have seen no signs of a dusting or anything either. <Good> The water parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, less than~5 nitrates, SG 1.023, ph 8.2 temp 77F. This has been ongoing since I placed them out of QT and it has been several weeks now. <I would not be overly concerned at this point, most likely just normal clown antics.> Secondly, is it normal for clowns to sleep sideways at the top of the aquarium treading water? <Normal and clowns generally do not go together, but one of mine does the same thing, no worries here.> Is their respiration usually the same at night or is it a bit heavier? <May be a little heavier at night.> <Chris>
120 FOWLR Set-Up 12/16/08
Dear Crew, <Hello Gordon.> I have purchased the following used equipment: 120 RR AGA Tank Euro-Reef RS 180 Protein Skimmer Little Giant External Pump 3 mdqx Pondmaster 950gph Mag drive internal pump Modified 72 x 24 Classic Mission AGA Stand to fit 48" tank My question is which pump and what sized sump. My choices are as follows: 1) I can use the 55 gallon tank I presently have the fish in as the sump with the internal pump. The skimmer will be very tight and it may be difficult to fit the 55 inside the stand. <If not impossible to fit. May make the choice for you.> 2) I can purchase a 36 x 18 ( ie 50 gallon) tank and use the external pump. I will have to buy a tank and have it drilled. Option 2 is easier in a sense because I can leave the fish until the 120 is better established. However it will cost more $. <Or drill it yourself, see: http://reefercentral.com/Videos.html. In the end it may come down to whatever fits in your stand, nothing wrong with the 55 if you can coax it in.> Also, can I put a 90 degree elbow at the external pump outlet? ( turn the pump perpendicular to the sump) <Yes, no problem.> Thanks!!! Gordon McLeer <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: 120 FOWLR Setup 12/16/08 Thanks Scott V. !!! <My pleasure Gordon.> Between the two pumps is one much better than the other. <Either or, neither my personal first or even second choice.> If I went with the internal, I may one day get an Eheim, they seem to have an excellent reputation. <My fave, quiet and long-lasting.> Thanks Again, Gordon <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: 120 FOWLR Setup 12/16/08
Thanks, <Welcome.> Do you think a bubble trap is necessary? <Generally yes. Microbubbles can be persistent in marine aquaria.> I have a euro reef rs-180 that i will aim the outlet away from the next section. I am also considering getting auto top off so I can reduce the size of the return section, therefore increase the refuge size. <A good move, check out http://reefercentral.com/articles/tunzeato.html for my personal take on the best setup around.> Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I really appreciate your time! Gordon <Happy to help, Scott V.>
Re: 120 FOWLR Setup 12/16/08
I picked up a 40 breeder <A good tank to turn sump!> and will place the return in the center (internal pump) with the skimmer on one side and a refugium on the other. One overflow will enter the refug with a "t" (ball valve below it) then run to the other side connecting to the other overflow. This way I can control the amount of water entering the refug. Any thing I'm missing? <This is a good way to do things, but I would not connect the two overflows unless you intend to increase the pipe diameter. Combining them, even for a short run, will limit you to the flow of one.> Once everything is running I may pick up an Eheim. <I highly recommend it, great pump.> Thanks again!!! Gordon
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Small Marine Aquariums
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