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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine Systems Themselves 1

Related Articles: Marine Planning, Getting Started with a Marine Tank By Adam Blundell, MS, Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer 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 2, FOWLR Set-Ups 3, 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 PlumbingBiotopic 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

I have the answer for those wanting a FOWLR system in Hawaii  - 10/25/06 To the crew and the intelligent people that support this site, some info people may be interested in. I have seen many questions on the site concerning Hawaii State laws.  I have been laboring over the same predicament for months almost years.  I have the answer, it takes a long time but with patience you can LEGALLY have a FOWLR (live rock being the key) in the state of Hawaii.  The laws are very strict in Hawaii, the State has good intentions but unfortunately are a bit misguided in my opinion (I even wrote my thesis on the current laws concerning the harvesting of coral for profit).  Many "amateur" reef aquarists are better read and knowledgeable on the propagation of SPS and LPS than in my opinion than those working for the State.  Yes, that may sound a bit harsh, but true.   Anyway, enough of that, It is easy to go out and collect rock and corals and throw them in your tank in Hawaii, that is true, but illegal, and if you are like me. I still obey the law.  There (without a scientific permit and appropriate facility) is NO legal way of obtaining corals of any kind (save some "black, pink, and gold corals" with the appropriate permit).  Obtaining permits in the State for other than profit is next to impossible, yes a little hypocritical, but that's the way it is.  Now, here is how you do it. THIS WILL TAKE AN IMMENSE AMOUNT OF WORK, TIME, and PATIENCE.. It is legal to collect rock above the high tide water line, without ANY (not even algae) form of life.  A rock with algae could be a $1000 fine for the first offense.  Now you can see why this will take a while.  So, Collect your rock near the shore, but above the sand (waterline) most abundant on the Northwest side of the island of Oahu (sorry only know about Oahu, other localities/counties may enforce even more strict regulations).  For water use the public access at Sand Island (at the end of Sand Island Access Rd.) has been tested with almost all Salifert kits, and is an incredible source for free! A little high on the salinity side (around 1.029, but that's better than low I guess).  We are allowed, yes legally, to collect one gallon per day of sand and coral rubble seaward of the coastline.  This is how you will get your live sand (go to Bellows AFB or Lanikai beach). Normally sand collected on the beach isn't a good idea, but it's a little different here than Atlantic City.  Get out there a bit, and it hasn't been touched.  Collect sand first, then when your DSB is establish collect coral rubble, this is the only way to get the coralline to seed your rock. Be sure to collect the sand in the water, yes this is a lot of work, so the sand will seed the rock.  Six months later you WILL have beautiful live rock, and you did it completely legal, then discard the rubble is desired.  I have verified this exact plan through the DLNR and the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture, and I have done it!  In fact you may print my email if there are any questions concerning legal resources. Nodea717@yahoo.com Now, if you really want to push your luck, if I remember correctly Zoanthids aren't actually Corals right? Anyway, I am sure you see where I am going with this, you can capture your own inverts as well as fish.  Now go net your fish (as long as the net and arm together do not exceed three feet) and have a gorgeous, completely local FOWLR tank.  P.S. have your local fish store import anything off of the Conditionally accepted list or Restricted B list and have them sell it to you, they already have the permits (stonies and leathers are on the list but they still wont do it!) Cheers! Don Williams <Thanks much for this cogent detailed input Don. Will post/share. Bob Fenner>

New 125g Marine Tank  10/26/06 Hello Bob, I've been reading many questions about filtration and skimmers and so on, and was curious what you thought about my tank setup.  I have a 125G FOWLR with an Eheim 2250, <Mmm... am not much of a fan of canister filters for the majority of types of marine set-ups> and 2 emperor 400's.  I have one 1200 powerhead and unfortunately a SeaClone 150 skimmer.  Would a aqua c remora with a mag 3 be large enough to filter this tank? <Would be a great improvement>   I have 50lbs of cured live rock and will be purchasing another 50lbs in the next month or so.  I plan on having a niger trigger, valentini puffer, dogface puffer and that's about it. <These will outgrow this volume...>   Maybe a dwarf angel and a lawnmower blenny.  My tank is 1 month old.  Nitrates, ammonia, nitrites all at 0ppm.  PH at 8.1, temp at 76.  I'm thinking this will all be ok with a aqua c skimmer but thanks for the help!  And I know the blenny will be a risk.  But I'm not sure what else to do about the algae? <Read on my friend... All, well most all for now, will be covered by perusing WWM re. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Luke Woehler

Tank Upgrade After System Failure - 03/08/2006 Josh- I think you will be happy to hear that I have upgraded my tank size to 32 Gallons tall. It is now cycling and my fish are at the LFS in a holding tank while it does this. <Very glad to hear it.> It will be equipped with a ProClear 300 gph wet dry filter w/ overflow box & prefilter and will be skimmed by a modified, stripped, skilter250. <I would rather go with a standard skimmer, not bother with trying to modify this.> Lighting will be 2 150 watt SunPaq metal halide pendants (small) and circulation by 5 Rio 600's. <Powerheads a-plenty! And the return from the wet/dry?> There will be a 9 watt uv sterilizer, and there is 30 pounds of LR. Besides my high electric bills, how does it sound. <Much better.> It is going to be a reef but will start with just FOWLR and another anemone. <I would hold off on this. Very difficult to keep and not recommended to mix with corals.> John <Well John, I'm very sorry for your loss and glad to see the larger tank. I've been unavailable recently and apologize for the delay. Good luck with the new set-up. - Josh>

New Tank, Setup Query Hello, <Hi! Ryan with you today.> I first would really like to thank you for this site. <Great to hear!  Many people contribute.> I have been working for a couple of months on building my first saltwater system. I really wanted to get an expert opinion about my set up first. <No problem.> So here is what I have so far. I have a 110 gallon tank. It was not reef ready so I bought the CPR 102 (GPH 1200). it has two 1" bulkheads draining into my Rubbermaid sumps. The first sump is for my Turboflotor 1000 (20 gallon) sump. I have one of the 1" tubes going down into a tee and splitting half into my large sump (55 gallons) the other half going into my Turboflotor. Each tube has a ball valve. I have set the sump with my Turboflotor above my other sump so that I could maintain the water level. Gravity was the best way from what I had read to keep the level correct. <I'd agree.> The bulkhead drain is at about 5" high to keep the water level at about 5" constantly. <Make sure there is room to play...Noise my friend> The other 1" bulkhead simply drains into my sump. I have two emperor 400s in my sump. <OK> I had bought them for my fresh water and could not bare to part with them. <I'd ditch them.  Set up another freshwater...They'll only create nitrate issues in time.> I have a Mag Drive 1200 as my return pump. I also have an inline UV sterilizer on the way back up to the return. I currently have about 80lbs of Agra-Alive. I am planning on ordering about 120lbs of live rock after the holidays. <That's a good time to ditch the Power filters.> I also have two power heads and a 500watt heater. I also built in a bulkhead at the very top of my large sump just in case something happened and I had to much water coming into my sump I would have extra room. <Automatic water change in your future?> This would drain into a 20 gallon Rubbermaid. I only want a Lion Fish and maybe a tank mate if I can find anything that would go with him. <I'd suggest a wrasse of sorts...Just not bite sized!> I just really want to do this correct. My lighting is a simple dual 48" hood. Will this be enough for the live rock? <Yes, but you'll need to add calcium and alkalinity to ensure good colors.> I really hope this is correct. Currently I only have sand and water in my tank. I do not plan on doing anything until I have the live rock and everything completely cycled and ready. <I too was cautious in the beginning...You'll be gluing sessile animals to rock soon!> I have spent several months pouring over the information on this site and truly hope I am not wasting your time. <Ah, shucks> I am only nervous about my first tank and do not want to make any major mistakes. <The only major mistake I see in your setup was waiting so long!  Enjoy it, don't be hesitant if you've got questions down the road.  Good luck! Ryan> So how does this sound? <Sounds like you've got the bug to me.>

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

-Advice for new FOWLR- Hi folks - I'm setting up a FOWLR system. I already have a very small reef system with a pair of common clowns and a few stony corals but there's no room in there for any more fish so it has to be a new tank... <Sweet!> Here is the proposed setup: 4' x 15" x 15" display tank (max. water volume about 40 gal) <Ahhh, nice and shallow. A bit narrow no? Reminds me of a 55, but a little wider.> 3' x 12" x 12" sump (max. water volume about 24 gal) Circulation: I have drilled the display tank with three 1.5" bulkheads and will have an Eheim 1260 returning water from the sump at about 500 gph via a manifold at the top of the display tank. I will probably supplement this with powerheads lower in the tank, perhaps behind the rockwork. <Good idea. Get as much flow in there as you can.> Filtration: I propose to put 40 lb of live rock on 0.5" of sand in the display tank. <Although the tank is relatively shallow already, I would still encourage you to install a 3.5" minimum deep live sand bed to benefit from all the goodies that they have to offer.> I would like to divide the sump into three chambers: skimmer (Turboflotor 1000), deep sand bed and return. If I do this, the area for the DSB will be about 18" x 12". Do you think this combination of skimmer, LR in the display and DSB in the sump will provide adequate filtration? <I would go with a different skimmer, I've used the Turboflotor and now you couldn't pay me to take one. Precision Marine and AquaC make some pretty incredible skimmers for reasonable prices, you should look into them.> Should I add LR to the DSB chamber in the sump as well? <That is up to you. It's a good idea to have this DSB chamber, an even better one to have a DSB in the main tank as well. Sorry, I just really love DSB's!> I would also like some advice about stocking this tank. I would like three or four interesting, colourful, and hardy fish. I would love your opinion on the suitability of the following fish/wish list for my setup: scarlet Hawkfish - Neocirrhites armatus long nosed butterfly - Forcipiger flavissimus <Will be fine for a while, but they do max out just under 8" long> flame angel - Centropyge loricula tomato clown - Amphiprion frenatus orchid Dottyback - Pseudochromis fridmani sixline wrasse - Pseudocheilinus hexataenia <Everything sounds good, I wish you great success! -Kevin> Many thanks John Kellett
-FOWLR follow-up-
Thanks a lot Kevin AND Scott for your helpful replies to my FOWLR questions. <You're very welcome, we're happy to help!> I watched a juvenile scarlet Hawkfish in a holding tank for about 20 minutes in the LFS. He watched me right back! I've also observed one in a full blown reef setup and they're fascinating fish. <That they are, got to love the independent eye motion!> I did wonder whether the long nosed butterfly might get too big - thanks for confirming this. I'll wait for a bigger system before trying one of these guys. <Excellent idea, I wish you much luck with this setup. -Kevin> John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FO to FOWLR Conversion question I have a 120 that I am slowly converting from a wet/dry setup to a live rock setup. I've put in about 60 lbs of live rock at this point. How much rock is necessary ? <Please read here: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/lrfaqs.htm> When in this process do I start removing the bioballs in the sump of the wet-dry ? Do I remove them in steps ? (50% now, 50% later) <Better to do the latter. Please read here: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm> In addition I have a raccoon butterfly in the tank. What sort of inverts can I put in the tank with this guy swimming around ? <Please read about this B/F, the marine invertebrates by perusing our principal site. www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks !

Fish/invertebrate tank Hi, I have never kept a marine fish/invertebrate tank before, even though I have had fish only fresh cold water, fish only tropical freshwater and fish only marine tanks. I have also kept a small invertebrate only tank but have never mixed fish and invertebrates. I have done some research and have a plan as to which fish and invertebrates I wish to keep and would like you to tell me whether it is suitable or not, if not which fish/invertebrates would be, which filter to use, and how much the setup and fish would cost. <Okay> The tank will be 72inx24inx24in (180cmx60cmx60cm) - 149.52 gals (648 litres) 3x Heteractis Malu - Malu Anemone 4x Lysmata Amboinensis - Cleaner Shrimp 1x Pseudoclolochinis axiologus - Sea Apple <I would omit any large sea cucumber. Please read:  http://WetWebMedia.Com/seacukes.htm http://WetWebMedia.Com/seacukes1.htm> 1x Fromia Monilis - Orange Starfish 1x Dascyllus Trimaculatus - Domino Damsel <There are better choices of Damsels... this species can be "a handful"... I would choose another species. Please see our site re your choices: www.WetWebMedia.com> 1x Gramma Loreto - Royal Gramma 1x Centropyge bispinosus - Coral Beauty 4x Anthias Squamipinnis - Wretchfish <One male only> 3x Amphiprion Ocellaris - Common Clownfish Also, I have never kept a sea apple before. I have heard it is difficult to keep due to it's eating habits. Would feeding it when I got up, releasing live food (which one?) when I left for work, feeding it when I got home, and then before I went to bed suffice? And could I keep more than the one starfish together? Different species? <Stars of aquarium use are easily mixed... again, I would only place small species of sea cucumbers. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Thank You Alison

Tank without a Sump tank. Hello Mr. Fenner. My name is Alan, we have e-mailed before, the last time was about a week or so ago, to let you know that I have just got your book CMA and I think it is great, anyway what I would like to ask you is I want to set up a tank for fish/reef one day but I would like to go fish/inverts first to get the feel for it <A good plan> ,I have read a lot of book's and mag's+b.board's. <All good sources of information, opinions to mull over> if I tell you what I would like to do Would you please tell me if I am going wrong! First my Tank Size. I am going to have it around 48x24x24 or 48x20x24wide. not sure what one yet! I would like to run it with out a Sump tank, don't get me wrong I know that would be the best way to go, but I don't like the sound that the overflow makes. <These can be quieted down in a number of ways...> I am looking at a large external/can for the use of (carbon and floss), witch <which> I will clean out each week so that I do not get any Biological build up, as I want to use Live rock and live sand. and I want that for the biological side of things, I will have inside Powerheads to move the water around so that I do not get any dead spots, 2 150w heaters, lights, don't know what one's yet! Well Mr. Fenner , that is all for know please let Me know what you think ,Can I do it this way?  <Sure> DSB? will it work? <Likely so, yes> Thank you and all the best from England Alan. <Be chatting my ambitious friend. Bob Fenner>

Switching to a larger reef tank question Hi Bob. I wrote to you about a year and a half ago concerning a Blue-faced Angel that I acquired. Just to update, he/she's doing great and thriving in my 135 FOWLR. About 4.5" and what an appetite. Anyway, I recently had a custom 300 gal built. It's set up with a powerful Bullet 3 skimmer, 80 gal w/d sump, VHO lighting (880 watts), turning over 3000 gal p/hr via Dolphin 1/3HP pump. It rocks. I added a 3 to 4" aragonite SB, and 180 lbs. of newly purchased Fiji. <Sounds very nice indeed> It just recently finished cycling with the new rock. Now, the big question is how to make the switch with the fish, inverts, 130 lbs of LR that's in the 135 tank. The new tank is in another room, and I have all the time I need to make the switch. I'm concerned with stress for the fish on a newly set up tank and moving them. Also, I will add more livestock to the new tank, so that is a concern since the Angel is the boss right now. I'm looking into a school of green Chromis (9-12), White-faced tang, Kole tang, Fairy wrasse, and maybe a pair of masked butterflies so far. Right now I have The Blue-face, Red Sea purple tang, 6-line wrasse, purple Firefish, flame angel, coral beauty angel, and a Raccoon Bfly. <Moving all at once should be fine... but do make a couple of water changes with moving the "old tank" water to the new tank (for conditioning as well as "acclimating" the new livestock to the old...> Once everything is out of the old system, it will be broken down. I'm trying to match the tank parameters exactly; pH, temp, SG. How should I go about this move to the larger system? Thank you. Thomas P. <This really is about all there is to "it"... if your livestock's in good condition (which it sounds like), there should be little "getting used to" problems. Bob Fenner>

FOWLR vs. Reef setups Hi Bob, How are you? Your website is looking better and better! <Fine and thanks... yes, the process continues... unabated> I have had a 60G reef for nearly a year now and am thinking of setting up a 120G FOWLR tank for the lovely (and EXPENSIVE) Chaetodon Semilarvatus Butterflies. I am wondering if you could share your experience with running FOWLR in terms of how well the livestock stay up when compared to a reef, efforts with maintenance, costs, assuming good skimming, filtration and water movement; it appears livestock usually do really well in reef, not so well in dead coral setups, but how about FOWLR? <This is a great species, and FOWLR systems are better, easier to take care of than no LR or Reefs...> Ideally I am planning to get 3 Chaetodon Semilarvatus, 1 Asfur Angel and 1 Flame Angel. Would this be an good setup without an algae eating Tang? Also would the inhabitants bother hard corals like Sun Polyps? <Hmm, well this tank is going to be too small... sooner rather than later... The B/F's get plate size, the Asfur a chunky foot and a half... You'll need a three hundred gallon before you're through. Very hardy corals should be fine> Finally for a FOWLR tank, what is your experience with setting up without any substrate? My current 60G (acrylic) is all scratched up since the sand always gets in the way when I try to clean the view glasses, any suggestions to avoid/reduce scratching would be greatly appreciated. <I understand, but still like the looks of having a substrate...> Thanks again ;) Brian <Bob Fenner>
Re: FOWLR vs. Reef setups
Oh wow .. so what size tank would you recommend for Chaetodon Semilarvatus? I take that a Long vs. Tall would be better? Thanks. Brian <Longer, and this tank is/will be fine for just the three Semilarvatus... no other large fishes... for a year or two. Bob Fenner>

I love your book, I have a few questions about marine set-up!  Hello Bob, I recently purchased your text The Conscientious Marine Aquarist to help me in my attempt to set up my first Marine Aquarium. I have read about 30-40% of the text thus far, and have found it to be the best reference yet. <Thank you. Or should I write, "Of course"!> I am determined to do as much reading as I can before making any purchases; however, in some ways the more I read I am becoming more perplexed by two major questions. One, What is the best type of mechanical filtration ( canister, wet-dry, etc.) to use to accomplish my specific goal. Two, How many fish can my system hold practically. I am getting a range of opinions on that question from 5 to 49 (an article by Mike Patella, detailing an Eco System tank he has set up. <There are "many roads" that work, and many adherents to each ramp and byway... Different approaches to filtration will do... and of course, under-stocking is the rule...> I would like to set up a 90 Gallon tank with life rock as a biological filter, and would like to house a small amount of photosynthetic invertebrates (possibly, one or two corals, a couple sponges, a clam, a couple feather dusters and a anemone), but I am intent keeping as many fish as I can maintain in a healthy environment free of large quantities of microalgae. I would like to have the following fish in my system: 2-Tangs, 2-Angels, 2-Clowns, 2-Butterflies, 2-4 Damsels,1-Longnose Hawkfish,1-Small Lyon. <Dwarf Angels I take it...> Could you recommend a specific tank set up ( mechanical filtration, protein skimmer, powerheads, lighting, UV)?  <Will have to refer you to the (remember, you said above you intended to study ahead of buying... my website www.WetWebMedia.com for more FAQ's then may seem prudent to reply to... only joking here... but a ever-widening range of input re these "set-up" issues> Is my bio-load realistic? <It's a bit high, but not terrible... You'll need bright lighting in the shape, size system you're doing for the Clam, anemone... but all should work out...> What are your thoughts on systems such as The Ecosystem or Algae scrubber systems? <They're okay... most algae scrubbing systems are more trouble than they're worth, and their ads stink... but if you're willing to change water, use a bunch of activated carbon periodically to reduce their toxic side effects and water-yellowing tendencies... these can work out... I would hold off on buying such "technology" for now... and focus on the live rock, skimming as filtration as you're tending... If/when you want to venture into store-bought algae scrubbing products you will know> Also could you recommend any other text you have written. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and respond to my e-mail. <Hmm, only have "The Fishwatcher's Guide to Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes..." otherwise in print (available through the website or Amazon.com... A bunch more on the way... but all take time, $, expertise/help I can't as yet spur along> Adam Simon Commercial Real Estate Broker and soon to be Marine Aquarist Cincinnati, Ohio <Bob Fenner, one of every nine adult Californians with a RE resale license!>

questions re: FO tank upgrade thanks in advance for answering these questions...really  appreciate you taking the time to do this for so many  people. <Part of my daily penance...> First, love the Conscientious Aquarist. Used it the  learn from and to manage my fish only tank. I have a 55  gal tank (standard fish store setup typical glass tank  with wood grain frame and hood). Lighting provided by 2  24" fluorescent tubes. Filtration provided by a  wet/dry. Water supply is from the tap. After about 15 months of ownership, I am now interested  in upgrading the marine environment. I have a series of  questions regarding a successful systematic process to  upgrading the tank equipment and setup to include live  rock, invertebrates, and one day have a full blown reef  setup. Can I do it all in the existing tank while  maintaining the fish I currently have? <Very possibly... only some types that get too big, rambunctious, likely to munch of invertebrates, that can't make the transition.> Could you provide a step by step approach to adding new  equipment (skimmer, lights, anything else), adding live  rock, improving/maintaining water quality, adding  invertebrates/corals? <Hmm, good question... Don't know that I actually can, or that there is such a "tools, materials, steps to completion" sort of plan... I would change out the mechanicals ahead of the live rock and non-vertebrate additions... Sort of in the order you list... and maybe suggest removing your plastic bio-media from the wet-dry...>  Can't seem to find much info on changing an existing  tank setup, except that from the fish stores. I have  learned to be cautious with their advice. Again thanks  for help. Don >> <Hmm, let's proceed "in smaller bites" if you will. Maybe some smaller chomps of questions/discussion of particulars that you're interested in. Have you given a cursory read of the materials stored on our site? Home Page . Our "conversations" are soon to be part of it. Bob Fenner>

A Semi Reef Setup  > After reading your book, I was all set to establish a fish and  > invertebrate  > system. > My LFS argues that I will be very disappointed, once I introduce  > invertebrates into the tank. > Warning me that in all probability, the fish will develop a disease and  > there  > will be no way to treat them, without killing the invertebrates. > Can you please explain the proper way to do this. > Thanks. Hmm, of all things... thought/think this is the reason folks avail themselves of "full-length" "explanations" like books... rather than "hasty" responses afforded by these sorts of forums... Well, I disagree with the apparent point of view of the person(s) who told you the above.  Though it is/would be better to start off/practice with a fish only (FO) system... there is little chance of introducing diseases through the use of non-fish livestock... or diseases (parasitic, infectious) through the application of proper selection, dip/bath and quarantine procedure... Keep reading and discussing such issues till you feel comfortable with how to proceed. For me, I'd try the route of FO then in a few months, introducing a few hardy invertebrates... Bob Fenner

Fish Only w/ Live Rock Question Hi-  I have a 55 gallon fish only tank and I was wondering if it would be possible  to add live rock to the system. My tank houses a trigger and a wrasse, would  these kill off the rock? What kind of lighting would I need to sustain the  LR, and how much should I get? Thanks, - Dillon >> Yes to getting the live rock... the more the merrier, but ten, twenty or more pounds would be great. The Trigger and Wrasse will have a good time eating and rearranging the rock... but this is a "good thing"... and some, most of the life on it will be sustained with simple full spectrum fluorescent lighting... What sort of lamp(s) do you use? Bob Fenner, who thanks you for writing.

Converting to FOWLR Hi Bob. I currently have a 110 FO tank with crushed coral as a substrate and a magnum canister filter with BioWheel for filtration. I would like to switch to a sump, skimmer, live rock/sand setup. My question is what can I do with the coral currently in my tank? Can I use some or all of it under the sand I add or do you recommend removing all of it from the tank before adding sand? <I would remove/replace it all with sand.> Thank you in advance for you input. Also I picked your book up the other day and have to say I find it very informative and entertaining. Have you written any other books? <Currently, Bob also has released "A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Saltwater Aquarium Fishes of the World" and watch for Anthony, Bob, and I releasing a new work tentatively titled "The Natural Marine Aquarium Series: Reef Invertebrates." This is to be followed by Reef Fishes and Reef Corals. -Steven Pro>

RE: Fish only to fish/reef Jason, <<Greets... > Thanks again! One quick follow up ...... If everything I read during my search for vita-Lite bulbs is true, the company that created and makes these bulbs is closing down <<I would make that 'has closed', sadly>> (which would explain the vita-Lite replacement bulbs I keep seeing) and the most comparable bulbs I have seen are para-lite bulbs at http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com/CompareLights.htm . This website is one of the few bulb selling sites that I have seen with lumens output listed in their bulb information. It is very hard to do a serious on line bulb comparison with very little information given about various other bulbs output in lumens. Maybe the lack of info is all the info I need.<<Perhaps... time will tell.>> Rich <<Cheers, J -- >>
RE: Fish only to fish/reef
Jason, The more I travel around your website the better. I've learned a lot today. The links you advised were seriously informative. <<Ahh good, glad to hear it, although I can't bask in all that credit, WetWebMedia is the result of work from many people, most prominently, Robert Fenner>> Thanks! I will never look at ANY light fixture the same way again and I followed up on the vita-Lite bulbs mentioned on one page and they are definitely a lot more for less. I also found some impressive looking ballasts while looking at the vita-Lite info and I will follow up on them too. I definitely see your point with the Angelfish and coral. It's so hard to have everything in life! In one tank anyway. <<Well, that and a Rolling Stones tune comes to mind.>> I have a few other quick questions if you don't mind and I'll stop bothering you (for a while). I have read a lot about substrate options. I notice that in the last few years, as I have just enough crushed coral to cover the bottom glass in front of the live rock structures and bare glass on the unseen bottom behind the rock, I never encounter fish diseases and I was wondering if the minimal substrate is relevant to that. <<Uncertain, but my guess would be, no - no effect.>> When I upgrade the tank, I was thinking of using a deep sand bed and was wondering if that would relate to any disease issues. <<no.>> With the sand bed, I was interested in getting a small army of Scarlet reef and Blue leg Hermit crabs, some Emerald crabs and bumble bee and Cerith snails. Are any of these guys on the menu for large Angelfish and Tangs (possibly fairy wrasses too)? <<All safe from angels and tangs.>> Is there compatibility here? How big to these bottom cleaners get? <<Not much larger than they are already.>> Do they require additional shells to move into as they grow? <<That or they'll take one by force, and sometimes even with spares around, this will still happen.>> One last question please .... For a few years, I have had tiny little shrimp like creatures in the rock and crushed coral. They are dark in color and don't grow beyond 1/4 inch and always seemed more friend than foe eating up what ever settles on the bottom. They prefer to stay out of sight, but occasionally go for a mid tank swim right past the fish and are very rarely eaten. Can you tell me what they are and if they belong on the guest list? <<These are likely amphipods and/or copepods which could just as easily be called "sea bugs" These are most definitely desirable and are a sign of a well-cycled system. Many fish make a meal out of these, even though you might not have the opportunity to see it.>> Thanks, Rich <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>
RE: Fish only to fish/reef
Bob, <<Uhh... I'm not Bob, but I play one on TV. JasonC here at your service.>> Thanks for the info. I was aware of the VHO, HO and compact bulbs. I was just amazed at the price difference on standard output ballasts from Home Depot/Loews etc. and the local Fish Stores. A 40 watt standard output ballast at a hardware store costs around 15 bucks and a 40 watt standard output ballast from a local fish store or internet aquarium supply company costs around 160 bucks. Quite the difference! <<That really doesn't sound right. The only $160 ballasts I've seen anywhere are electronic-style for VHO fluorescent. Some of these are also dimmable.>> My best bet would probably be to contact an aquarium light ballast vendor and ask what makes their product worth so much more. Whenever possible, I prefer the Do It Yourself system. It saves a lot of money that can be used for tank inhabitants and I enjoy the projects. Lighting is not very complicated, but I wouldn't advise everyone to run out and start doing electrical wiring for their water filled containers if they are uncomfortable with do it yourself projects. It's not really a good place to start. I was also aware of the Angelfish having a taste for some corals, but my hope was to use parts of the aquarium and creative rock placement to place a few corals in places unreachable to the large Angelfish. <<That's not really practical in the long term.>> I am putting in a great deal of thought (maybe too much) before I have an empty tank and the temptation to stock it with attractive creatures without advanced information on their needs. I don't shop blindly now, but it is better to be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible in advance and you seem to be a serious source of information. This is a great place to learn. I have recently read 3 different posts on various aquarium website message boards (with photos) of medium sized adult Regal, Asfur and Emperor angels doing well in small reef tanks with no aggressive snacking from the fish or corals. <<And you also know then that a photo and a web page are only snapshots in time. You should also try and contact some of these hobbyists and make sure they are having continued success. If they tell you the Regal Angel has been there a week or even a month, that's not really a measure of success. I can tell you from my own personal experience, I have seen Regal Angels in the wild, and they constantly nip at Xenia and other corals - constantly.>> Of course, other peoples experiences and situations don't guarantee the same success for everyone, so the people with greater overall knowledge and experience and constant contact with numerous aquarium people carry opinions of greater substance, which is why I decided to read and learn as much as possible from the wet web media website. I'll check out the links you advised and look into that book as well. Thanks for your help. Rich <<Yes, please read those links and beyond. Cheers, J -- >>

Remote Equipment Room Planning Hi everyone-I am hoping you can clear my head a bit (again). I am setting up a 125gal AGA with 2 overflows. Fish and 120lbs live rock. I have read of something people call Home Depot sand. It is the Southdown brand sand that is not silica based. And cost is 10x less. I was planning on 3-4 inches of that in the tank. Are you familiar with it? <Yes> Would it be too fine? <No> There will be a 20 gallon tank as a sump (heater, skimmer, pump, water top off and mechanical filtration, when needed) and a 20 gallon tank as a refugium (4 inches of sand and some sort of Caulerpa that my tangs would enjoy). I was planning on four 1 1/2" bulkheads (2 in and 2 out) in the sump and two 1 1/2" bulkhead (1 in and 1 out) in the refugium. Is that adequate or overkill? <Slight overkill, but if you have access to the drill, no reason to not use the larger diameter holes.> I also purchased a Berlin Turbo skimmer and a Mag 12 for moving everything. I am upgrading from a 55 that the Tangs are outgrowing after 4 years. I am planning on putting the equipment in a closet in another room via plumbing under the floor. Would it be best if I had the tank, sump, and refugium all at the same height? <No, you have to use gravity to drain from one to the next and pump back up. Far easier to do at various heights.> I was thinking that the water level would not rise or fall in the sump or refugium when power goes out if I set it up this way. Is this correct? <You still have water moving from one to the other and would still have to account for back siphoning and such.> The PVC pipes from the sump and refugium would drop five feet (thru the closet floor), go over 10 feet (under the floor) and back up five feet behind the tank) in the other room. I am thinking that this does not constitute "head pressure" and that the pump should operate at its 0 head pressure capacity (1200 gph). Is this correct? <No, you still have basically friction to deal with.> If so, is one Mag-12 enough circulation? <Depends on fish wanted.> I bought two Mag-12 pumps because I was originally planning on having equipment under tank and flow would have dropped with the 5ft head. Now I am thinking I have an extra pump (if my assumption is correct about 0 head pressure when all is on same level). If I used both of the pumps, would it be too much circulation? <No> And could all of that flow go thru the sump, with a little bit diverted to the refugium? <Sure> Your book, TCMA, showed up with my live rock from FFE. It is a great read! You have saved my bacon (and fish) in the past. Thank you in advance! Have a happy/safe holiday Den <And you too. -Steven Pro>

Upgrading from 46 gallon to ? III So a sump with ~50 pounds of LR + Skimmer and flow-pump is enough filtration? <Yes, this will run similar to a reef tank. It is often referred to as FOWLR, which stands for Fish-Only With Live Rock.> Do you have any pictures of this setup - I couldn't find detail on the filter portion of your site... <Envision a reef tank without the corals and super intense lighting.> It is amazing how all the ad's out there brain wash into all these funky devices. ~Bill <Yes, especially when the simple, natural way works well. -Steven Pro>

FO with how much LR? Hey guys <Hello> I have just discovered your site its great <I'm pretty hooked on it as well, welcome to the party>. I have a 65g reef tank and rely on the120lb of l/r and skimmer for filtration and is working fine, my question is I'm setting up a 120g f/o tank and don't want all of the l/r in the tank so is a w/d a good choice <kind of> or how much l/r would I need <the more the merrier> in the sump for proper filtration? What sort of light should I use if I were making a refugium/sump? Thanks a bunch. Josh <The possibilities here are pretty much limitless. If it were me, I would have a sump filled with live rock lit by some power compacts, and possibly a refugium. I would read over the information we have on sumps and refugiums and decide what will work best in your situation. http://WetWebMedia.Com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm http://WetWebMedia.Com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm http://WetWebMedia.Com/refugium.htm Good luck my friend and please let us know if anything else comes up. Best Regards, Gage>

FOWLR Questions Good day, Let me introduce myself, Frank from Malaysia I would like to setup a FOWLR tank. <Greetings, Frank, nice of you to stop by! Scott F. here with you.> I will maintain my temperature with fans as in my country the water temperature should be 30 Celsius. I think with fan at least I can maintain 28-29 Celsius, since this is not a reef tank. <Keep the water well-oxygenated and the temperature as stable as possible> I have a 5' X 2' X 2' tank with no overflow sump but a top filter with the length of 5 ' X 7" X 6", The top filter I will only place skimmer. The tank with LR only. Not sure whether plan to put fine coral sand or not? >I would use fine coral sand (instead of more coarse materials which can trap detritus and debris), kept either 1/2" or less, or 3 inches or more. The reason is that less than 3 inches does not usually allow natural nitrification processes to occur in the sandbed. The 1/2" depth would be a nice cover to keep from having to look at a bare bottom, but won't be a detritus trap> Any advise on this. Is UV needed as I don't plan to have one. For the lighting is I plan to use arcadia ( 4 feet 2 white lamps and 2 actinic lamp) <U/V is very helpful if employed at the correct wattage, and if water flow through the unit is slow enough to create a good "kill rate". Do consult manufacturers/retailers for sizing and wattage if you are going to purchase a U/V unit. However, many successful FOWLR tanks are kept without any U/V units.> I plan to have a dwarf angel (e.g. - coral beauty, flame) and full size angel (Koran, Emperor, queen, majestic) and butterfly . I would like to know if it is possible to setup such a tank any how many fish is the limit and do this type of fish get along. <Well, I would advise against keeping more than one angelfish in this size aquarium. It's always a risk to put two angelfish in an aquarium, even if they each belong to a different genus. Angelfish, particularly the large ones, generally are at the top of the hierarchy within a captive system, and one may definitely harass the other. I have seen people mix Centropyge angels and full-size Pomacanthus angels together in large tanks with success, but it really is not the smartest move, IMO> Can I put cleaner shrimp or coral banded? <Either would be fine. The cleaner shrimp might provide a more beneficial service to your fishes as a "biological cleaner", creating a first line of defense against parasitic infections> For food advice, what type of food do you use for those angel.....I plan on Nori, fish pellet, Mysis shrimp, is such food enough to grow and maintain the color. <All of the above foods are accepted by most angelfish. The key is variety and quantity. You should provide a variety of both meaty and vegetable foods, and encourage the growth of some green algae in your tank to provide a natural dietary supplement, particularly if you are going to keep a dwarf angelfish> I heard that lack of food nutrient will cause color fade of fish. <Among other problems, that is correct> I hope this is not too much question.......need help. Thank you for your incoming advice. <Not too many questions at all. Please feel free to contact us again if we can be of further assistance! And, do make use of the fine resources on the WetWebMedia.Com web site. Good luck!>

Starting over Fish Only with Live Rock Dear WWM Crew, What an incredible discovery your website was last year!  Thank you so much. Only problem, INFORMATION OVERLOAD!  I could use some advice and guidance.   Be prepared as I am describing the past year in order to give you a clear picture and save me from bailing out. I have been trying my hand at this hobby for quite a few years now with a 5 year hiatus between the start and now.  I have yet to be “successful” and after countless attempts and reevaluations I am now at a crossroad and utterly confused.  Nothing I do ever seems to work, and I continue to make what seems like bad or wrong decisions.  I read and read and read and sometimes due to monetary limitations I guess I make bad decisions on all fronts.  I am constantly ridiculed by friends and family with statements like “why don’t you just pack it in” or “save your  money” or “when are you gonna give up”.  As a devout lover of the ocean and fellow diver (though not nearly often enough) it is my goal to prove them wrong and conquer this damn hobby if it is the last thing I do!!  So here goes with my current situation, and I shall ask your patience and thank you in advance for your attention and assistance: <Do not strive to conquer, learn to co-exist> I have and All Glass Aquarium standard 55 gallon tank, about .75 inch of crushed coral substrate, a bunch of natural (but dead) corals for decoration, 300 watt titanium heater (brand new and very nice), Amiracle 100 gallon wet/dry filer with Bio Balls and a RIO 2100 600+ g/ph return pump with one return spout, new Seaclone style 100 gallon protein skimmer, lighting currently is simply two f40t8 lamps (at this moment I couldn’t even begin to tell you where they stood on the lighting scale), I have been running some sponge filters in my sump in preparation for my quarantine tank and restocking of my display tank.  I have no specific chemical readings for you at the moment for reasons you shall soon understand just from reading, but do know that based upon your info I will no doubt get the water quality where it should be before I move forward to save/restock my tank. The tank as it currently is described (less the protein skimmer) was set up last April of 2002.  The tank went through what appeared to be a normal cycling with 5 inhabitants at the time.  As many before me I was not aware of the importance of quarantine and placed into the tank directly from Petco, 4 Blue Devil Damsels and one (1)  Humbug.  As stated the cycling appeared to start and be normal with the brown diatom algae bloom first, followed by the red slime algae bloom, and then to what I thought was nice green algae.  At this point all chemical levels (ammonias, nitrates, nitrites, ph) were stabilized and doing beautifully.  Book perfect.  I hit my peaks, then valleys, then stabilization as expected.  I felt “WOW” guess I am ready to add some more  neighbors to the mix, and without the proper research (before I found you) I went out, purchased, and immediately introduced a Yellow Tang and a Boxfish.  All seemed hunky dory for about two weeks then it hit……I think it was Ich.  They all had it.  Everyone of them.   The Tang even had black specks compounded by the white.  I panicked and rushed to try and repair the damage via quarantine recommendations from WWM) and removal from the main tank into a hospital tank so as to let the main tank lay fallow and try to break the cycle.  So awesome to see the Humbug clean the Tang of his spots.  No need for further details on this situation as it ended dismally.  Everyone perished, for reasons I could list but the dead are not my focus here.  The only two survivors?  One Blue Damsel (extremely evil and aggressive) and the Humbug.  After about 60 days of being uninhabited and laying fallow I reintroduced the two survivors back into the display tank.  From August 2002 to just last week, Feb. 2003, the tank remained with only these guys and eventually just the damsel who died last week.  Now my tank is empty except for what I can only guess is a real bad case of Cyano (blue green) which covers everything.  This is the algae I thought was a good thing in the beginning of this story but have since learned what it is.  After reading countless articles on WWM I accepted the Cyano diagnosis and proceeded to purchase a Seaclone style protein skimmer to start the combat of the Cyano.  Since then I have had another hit to the ego to learn that the Seaclone style skimmer is amongst the least desirable on the market and that most enthusiasts recommend to stay away.  OUCH!!!    Another blow to the head, the ego,, and the pocketbook.  So the skimmer has been running now for about a week.  Lots of bubbles and the cyclone effect actually does not look like what they picture in all the ads.  My cyclone is actually pretty low in the reaction tube, only about a third the way up.   The rest is a “bubble storm”.  I believe this is good and what would be created if I modified the skimmer according to all the recommended modifications   offered by others.  The modifications I have received and read about all claim to increase efficiency of the skimmer.  I don’t think I have to modify, yet after one week I still have no foam.  Is this possible?  I sort of want to think so since I don’t currently have anything really creating organics , nor was there ever a real long period of time where  a heavy biological burden was placed on the system from the inhabitants.  Do you think I need to worry yet about the skimmer? <The Seaclone takes a lot of tinkering, (have you tried changing the pump intake depth? A very small change (1/8") can be the difference between some foam and no foam) If you want consistent results with little 'tuning' and 'tweaking' then another skimmer would be in order.> Ok, so this is where we stand at this point.  In a nutshell.  I now have a 55 gal tank that was inhabited for about 3 months before it became infected by parasites about 8 months ago.  It has since become completely uninhabited and seems to be overcome by Blue Green Cyano.  Please read this part carefully I REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS WORK, DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START OR WHAT TO DO, BUT I DO KNOW WHAT I WANT…..PLEASE HELP!!!  After reading and combing through the countless pages on WWM I have become completely confused and overwhelmed, but I at least know a couple things now: 1) I needed to purchase, and did purchase Mr. Fenner’s book.  YEAH!!   Waiting on delivery. <Very good indeed. Enjoy the read> 2) I think that I need to and want to add live rock (45 lbs. Fiji for the time being, is there a max amount I should consider?) to the picture to aid my success and am willing to spend the money and make the investment.  I will also incorporate my current existing dead coral d?or if that’s ok?    <Live rock is a good 'natural' filtration system. 40-60# for the 55 I think. Using the old stuff should be OK> Since my tank is empty at the moment I am thinking of the following scenarios for curing the rock: a. Leave the tank in its current state of being uninhabited and covered in Cyano, but continuing to run the filter system until I can purchase the lighting system described below in question #4 and the live rock.  This may take a month or two because of finances.  I will then cure the rock in the main tank and once ready begin a proper stocking scenario. <Cleaning as much of the Cyano from the existing landscape will help as well. As you have learned, proper 4 week minimum QT for all new additions> b. Buy a couple of new Damsels to throw in the tank to keep the biological filter going until I can purchase and begin scenario (a).  Should I quarantine them before I introduce them into the display?  I will then purchase the rock and the new lighting system.  Should/can I cure rock in the main tank with the Damsels?  Once cured, per all the info on WWM I will then begin the proper stocking procedures. <I would never use ANY fish to cycle a tank. Barbaric and simply unnecessary IMO. The live rock will more than take care of that process> c. Stock the main tank temporarily with Damsels and cure rock outside of tank using my old 2 bulb lighting system for the cure period.  Once the rock is cured and placed, then begin the restock main tank.  Of course with the new lighting system and proper procedures. <Again, I would not use the damsels. Since your tank is empty and will cycle with the new rock, I would progress that way. It will take at least 4 weeks to cycle/cure the rock and you can introduce your first fish to QT at the same time.> d. Empty the entire tank.  Clean it all down and start fresh and new.  I am actually trying to avoid this last option, but will if you suggest.  If so, I guess per your recommendations than I could then cure the rock in the main tank once all is reassembled. <Nah, don't think this is necessary. Water changes during the rock curing process will help> 3) I would like the tank to be inhabited by fish and simple inverts (to be determined and researched).  No corals or others that would require MH lighting.  To difficult as I have yet to conquer the simple and I also am not able to accommodate spatially or financially. 4) I am willing to redesign and spend the $$ on a new lighting system to achieve all of this.  After more research I think a Compact fluorescent system shall do the trick.  I am looking at the four (4) x 65 watt Coralife unit which consists of 2 – 10,000K bulbs and 2 – Actinic bulbs.  Because I have the All Glass Aquarium  tank stand and hood that is specifically designed by All Glass for this tank, I am limited in space and dimensions as far as lighting is concerned.  No to mention functionality and ease of access to the top of the tank through the canopy door on top.  I think this one will fit and will work for what I would like to keep.    260watts is almost 5 watts per gallon.  Fits your suggestions for tank lighting.  What do you think? <I think that your original lighting would suffice. As long as it is bright enough to see the fish. If you want the additional illumination then by all means go ahead. BTW lighting should be designed for inhabitants and there is no one way (or rule, like 5 watts/gal) for this> 5) Do I need to change my substrate?  Add to it? <Less than 1" or more than 4" of sugar fine aragonite sand is recommended> 6) Do you think I need to plumb additional returns from the RIO pump in the wet/dry sump to create more movement  in the tank?  I would really hate to start adding power heads to the mixture.  So ugly!!  What do you suggest here? <More water movement will help keep the BGA at bay. Maybe a second pump?> I think this about covers it for today.  Unless of course I come up with more.  Please know that I plan I also buying your NEW book on inverts hopefully this week.  Funds a bit tight but I will try and squeeze it.  Keep an eye out for my order. <Well, I have nothing to do with the new book directly and am impatiently awaiting my own copy! But I will pass your kind words along. Take care, Don> Thanks so much for being you, Louis Rizzo

- FOWLR Setup - Hi Gents, <Greetings, JasonC here...> I am currently in the process of setting up a FOWLR tank with the following equipment (as recommended by my LFS): 285 Litre tank (115cm x 55cm x 45cm) Eheim Pro II 2026 Canister, UG Filter driven by 2 x 950L/H Powerheads, 5 - 10cm cover of Crushed Marble substrate, 10-15kg of Live Rock (not yet added, should come this week) I have a few questions as I am new to the scene: I plan on keeping 2 x ocellaris clown fish, a yellow tang or royal blue Tang, a damsel or two, and possibly a gamma.   1) Would the filtration be sufficient for this amount of fish given that they will be introduced slowly?? <Hmm... a loaded question... first, under-gravel filters are rather outdated. They do work, but there are better, more efficient means for establishing biological filtration. Live rock would be one of the better options. Likewise, crushed marble is a terrible choice for substrate in a marine aquarium - you would be better off with crushed coral and/or coral sand. The Eheim canister will work as advertised.>   2) What sort of skimmer would you recommend for a tank this size?? <I would go for an AquaC Remora if you can get them in your area.> 3) Due to my very limits experience (reading for last 3 months & currently setting up the tank), would I be best not to cycle the tank with LR, and do it another way, and then add the LR at a later stage?? <I would cycle the tank with live rock and skip the damsels - your own experience can only benefit.> 4) Any other suggestion you could make to keep this type of setup as self sustainable as possible. <Keep reading.> Cheers Glen Stewart <And cheers to you, J -- >

125 gallon fish and invertebrate tank Hi, my name is Dave,  I was wondering what I should use for a 125 gallon tank.  Right now it is set up for fresh water.  I plan on changing over in the next month or so. I will be using about 150 lbs of live rock and live sand.  I wish to use some corals and other small animals.  the lighting I am using is power-compact at 390 watts. I was wondering on what kind of filtration I should use.  I have a Fluval 404 running right now with two aqua clear powerheads model number 802.  I was looking at the tidepool and was wondering if that would be enough.  If so what type of skimmer and UV light should be purchased with that.  Oh yeah which pump should be run the tidepool <Dave, if it were me I would buy the best skimmer I could and use a basic sump. You want to turn over 10-20x the tank capacity in water flow each hour. Hope this helps, Don> thanks a million

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
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