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Psychological as well as physiological space requirements need to be considered in putting together a stocking plan. RMF

Dream Aquarium Stocking     7/1/29
Greetings my friends @ the Crew! You have all, from Mister Fenner and
everyone else always given me spot on advice in the past, and as always I
thank you! It is invaluable to all of us aquarists! Well, my kids are grown
and my wife has given me the green light and approved the budget to have my
dream tank/fish room built!
It will be in a separate structure from my home, climate controlled, etc.
The dimensions will be 24 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 8 feet tall
(17,235.12 U.S. gallons). It will be constructed onsite by Professionals
and include all applicable skimmers, pumps, powerheads, sand, rock, as well
as surround seating around the entire tank. My dream stocking list would
include a Clown, Queen, Undulated, Crosshatch, Niger, Pink Tailed,
Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, and Durgon Triggerfish.
<Do start the Clown and Queen small, under four inches... these species can
become intolerable mean, attacking, eating their tankmates; even in a huge
system. Do be aware they may have to be removed in time... maybe with hook
and line fishing, perhaps with a pole spear>
A French, Queen, Passer, Gold Flake, Emperor, and Maculosus Angelfish. I
would also like to keep a wide variety of aggressive and non aggressive
Tangs, Butterflyfish, and Wrasses. If possible, I would like to have a
small Barracuda to grow out.
<Could be done>
Lastly I was wondering if the acrylic would be safe from teeth gouges if I
added one, or a couple Parrotfish, and a couple of large Pufferfish as
well? Thank you again for your time and advice.
<Yes; have seen large Scarids kept in public aquariums, eating good quality
dried foods like Hikari and Spectrum. Bob Fenner>

New England Aquarium Stocking density      8/9/18
Good Morning,
Just Visited the New England Aquarium. They had a marine tank that was incredibly heavily stocked with adult fish. Tank looked to be 20 feet long x 4 feet high x 4 feet deep. The fish all looked healthy but the stocking density was extremely high. How are public aquariums able to accomplish this?
<Ahh; the magic; well, science of a BUNCH of gear out of sight; often much more volume than is on display as well. Ask for or take an "e" virtual tour of a public aquarium, including a behind the scenes tour. See humongous protein skimmers, oversized mechanical and physical filtration. Some folks
adhere to the overstocking philosophy to reduce aggression and wow/zow the viewing public. I myself am more a fan of understocking... not as appealing perhaps to attendees, but much safer lest there be a power outage, overfeeding... other challenging incident>
This one side display tank was the most heavily stocked tank in the building . Among those that I can remember there was Large Emp Angel, Several Powder blue Tangs, Clown Fish, Sailfin Tangs, Majestic Angel, Purple Tang, Passer Angel, Lipstick Tangs, Picasso Tangs, Many Butterfly fish etc etc etc. The fish were un-naturally overactive IMO. Any Thoughts?
<Again, not my cuppa, but such over-stocking can be done... with lots of equipment and good maintenance.
Bob Fenner>
Re: New England Aquarium Stocking density       8/10/18

I understand completely.
<Ah, good>
I have a 220 gal display right now with 2 large adult fish . Emp Angel and Heniochus Butterfly . 2 damsels one percula . They are so much more laid back and natural in their demeanor .
Again thanks
Has taken me a lifetime to understand but understocking is my cuppa tea
<Am glad to find our values are confluent here. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility of adding a Harlequin tusk     6/27/18
I am trying to determine the compatibility of adding a Harlequin tusk to my aquarium. I have a 500 gallon tank with an Epaulette and coral cat shark with several large tangs, Foxface and Hawaiian trigger. Both sharks are at least 2 feet long and I have had them for several years. I do not put any small fish in my tanks or fish that hang out in the sand so they will not be eaten by the sharks. The tusk is large but do not know about his habits if they can stay in same tank.
Thanks for your assistance. Robert
<I give you very good odds of the Tusk getting along here. It will not bother your sharks, tangs, trigger, and being a smart species, it won't allow them to bother it. Bob Fenner>
Re: compatibility of adding a Harlequin tusk     6/27/18

Thank you

Mixing Acanthurus Tangs in Large Tank    4/21/17
Hi WMM Team,
<Greetings Brad>
So I'm just about to upgrade my current 300g reef to the new tank that I'm building which is a ~1100g tank, 16'x'3'x3 (plus the sump).
I'm super interested to get your input on if there's any chance of success mixing Acanthurus tangs such as Powder Blue, Brown, Black, and Achilles (there will be other tangs such as Naso, Regal, Convict, Scopas, Purple, Yellow, Sailfin &c) along with wrasse and Anthias, along with a decent amount of rockwork/coral.
<Yes; easily done in very large volumes... A "Just" here; Just make sure the system is stable and optimized, AND that the Tangs are healthy initially... Likely month-long quarantine/acclimation in a large-enough (a hundred gallons let's say) isolation system... for observation, possible bolstering of health before placement in this display tank. NO FUN having issues, or trying to net out specimens eh?>
I know that this would normally be a total no-no, but given such a large tank + introducing them at the same time, is this all but guaranteed to fail or is there any likelihood of success?
<A good likelihood of positive outcome. Friend Pablo Tepoot (of Spectrum pelleted foods, cichlid farming... marine import biz) has a similar huge tank... with most all these mixed in; successfully>
I know that these fish school in the wild, at least with their own genus.
<Species really>
My plan would be to quarantine them all separately, and then introduce the acan's together (with the other fish already in the established tank). I'd probably do it on a weekend so that I could monitor the situation and extract a fish if need be-but obviously if you just think this is a terrible idea then I wouldn't attempt it.
<It is a good idea. One I'd do myself>
At least from my experience, I've had a great deal of luck mixing large angels and wrasse from similar genus without much fuss in my 1500g tank, but not sure if this is a different animal (pun mildly intended.)
Appreciate any guidance you have to share!
Best Regards,
<Do please send along periodic reports of your observations, events. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing Acanthurus Tangs in Large Tank

Awesome, thanks Bob!
<Welcome Brad>
I was thinking that this approach would be somewhat similar to African cichlids where you distribute the aggression so it's not a 1:1 battle.
<I'd say/warrant that the situation is very similar>
Just wasn't sure if that was likely to work with these tangs. I'll definitely keep you guys updated and will provide some pictures!
<Ah, thank you. B>
Best Regards,

Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/13/17
<Hi Jen>
I appreciate your site and all you do for us and the creatures of the sea!
I'm a prior reefer who had to put it on hold due to a major career change and after 5 years am finally ready to resume the obsession.
<Ah; welcome back to the fold>
I'm planning a 748 gallon reef(120" x 48" x 30") with lots of live rock and mixed corals.
Would one Regal Angel (Pygoplites Diacanthus) and a pair(male and female) of Genicanthus Bellus tend to have enough space to avoid animosity in this setup?
<Oh yes>
I'll have a 100 gallon quarantine tank with established live rock and plan to quarantine each specimen alone and slowly in order of shyness prior to adding to the tank. My entire livestock list will be added this way. These will be the only Angels in the system and be fed several times per day.
I have a 200 gallon refugium/sump on an opposite lighting schedule. I want to grow Chaetomorpha mainly for filtering and secondarily for food but also would like to grow Red Gracilaria for the excellent nutrition(for the
Regal). I know you're not supposed to mix Algae, but I've heard of people having a veritable Macro algae garden of mixed types in large Refugiums.
Would I be able to do just these two in this system if I keep them on opposite ends of the refugium, lower lighting on the Red Macro and trimmed up?
<Yes to growing multiple types/species here. Really is more a matter of culture space>
Or any tips? I'll have a skimmer rated for a heavy bio load at 1,000 gallons. I haven't decided which brand yet. Thank you,
<Exciting! Please do periodically update us with your ideas, progress. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system; Now Ozone     4/13/17

Hi Bob,
Big fan of yours for many years. Every time I veer from your advice I wish I would've followed it. On this subject, I was pretty sure of the answer, but it's always nice to get a professional affirmation. I will keep you
updated. Thanks!
<Glad to share w/ you Jenny. BobF>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/13/17

What size ozone generator would you recommend for this system? I want to try to get to 400, but they say to undersize a little. You think a 360 would do it?
<400 mg/h is about right. See my writings on sizing such ( 0.3 to 0.5 mg/hour per gallon of aquarium water)... I'd get/use, run full output at this size, no worries. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/13/17

Great thank you!!

Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus bellus Compatibility in large system      4/20/17
Hi Bob and/or crew:
<Hey Jenny>
I am planning my livestock list. I've reduced the display tank dimensions slightly to avoid needing a double row of the Giesemann Aurora Hybrid lights I want. The width will now be 40" instead of 48", but I increased the refugium/sump size to 240 gallons. Refugium will have live rock rubble in one section, Chaetomorpha in one section and Red Gracilaria in another.
<Sounds good>
The display will have about 1200 lbs. of live rock
<Wowzah! Put in half and see how you like the look>
and a 4" Fiji pink DSB, Apex controller, ozone generator and reactor, uv sterilizer, NP biopellets in reactor, auto dosing, auto feeding, and 10% weekly water changes(automated daily). I'm looking at the Super Reef Octopus SRO XP-8000EXT or Bubble King with Red Dragon pump for skimming unless you recommend one that's better. Is it worth going up to the Super Reef Octopus 9000?
<All good choices>
I've attached a spreadsheet of my total livestock list less the corals, which will be mostly SPS and a few LPS. I'll also probably throw an Orchid Dottyback in the refugium. I don't care what anyone says on forums, they are nasty bullies albeit quite beautiful and happy to live alone in a refugium. hehe
<Tank bred ones, started smallish are generally not problematical>
Anyway, I deduct it's far better to add all your corals before you start adding the bulk of your fish to avoid your fish attacking the new corals.
What I was thinking of doing is adding the items that are listed as #1 of order entry after about 6 months of cycling, then every 30 days add a few corals until my desired corals have all been added and are doing well so
that will probably be at least a year's time. Then I would add the #2 entry items, 30 days later the next and so on and so forth. I am going to quarantine everything according to each's requirements for 30 days. For the Tangs I've read it's better to add them at once to avoid aggression issues, and they will be the last additions to the tank. How many of these tangs could be safely quarantined together in a 90 gallon quarantine tank at one time if most of them are on the smallish side?
<I'd process all together... with some PVC parts, what have you (chemically inert; or rock if not treating) to break up the physical environment>
Or if they could be but in a larger QT tank, how large would I need to go?
<The 90 should do it>
Lastly, can the three wrasses be quarantined together if I have a DSB QT tank solely for them?
<All together>
I'm going to set this up the same time as the display so it's ready to go when I am.
Do you see any issues with this plan/list?
<Maybe making sure you have sufficient food/forage for the Mandarin; as you intend to place it first>
Thank you for sharing your
knowledge and helping me avoid murder!
<Glad to share, aid your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Cycle tank for 60 days then add #1's before beginning gradual addition of all corals.
When corals are all in after 30 days begin adding #2 items and so on. 
Fish List   Qty order of entry  
Achilles Tang 1 6
Chevron Tang 1 6
Purple Tang 1 6
Yellow Tang 1 6
Desjardini (sailfin) Tang 1 6
Powder Brown Tang 1 6
Powder Blue Tang 1 6
Regal Tang(blue hippo) 1 6
Magnificent foxface 1 3
Regal Angelfish 1 4
Pair of Bellus 2 5
Picasso Percula Clown 1 3
Black and White Ocellaris Clown 1 3
Mandarin Dragonet 1 1
Pajama Cardinals(3) 3 1
Yellow Watchman Goby and Pistol Shrimp 1 1
Invertebrates Wish List Qty order of entry
red serpent starfish 1 1
Blue or purple linckia 1 2
scarlet shrimp 2 1
snails a few 1
rainbow bubble tip anemone 1 2
clams 2 1
sps a few lps

Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system      4/20/17
Thank you Bob! I will follow your advice on the amount of rock.
<This IS what I'd do... NO WALLS! A few well-placed/arranged bommies...>
Since I'm adding corals and livestock slowly, it won't be difficult to add if I want more. I had luck(was prepared) with a mandarin in the past. He ate the first food I offered him in quarantine a couple hours after being left
alone in the dark after acclimation (frozen blood worms thawed in aquarium water and soaked in Selcon/garlic) The vendor did say he was eating prepared foods already, but I had him shipped so you never know for sure
until you see it for yourself.
<Agreed; and some ARE finicky eaters>
I stocked my refugium with pods and fed them until I had a great population. I had to restock the pods a couple times once the mandarin was in the display, but eventually there was no need.
Since I have macro algae in the Refugium, they will multiply nicely. I will just make sure everyone is fed appropriately and happy.
For the quarantine of the tangs I plan to do a freshwater bath (buffered and same temp as QT) with Methylene blue prior to QT. Should I medicate the QT water for Cryptocaryon irritans right off the bat with the tangs since
there will be so many and they are prone to it?
<I would not for these tangs... notorious ones (A. leucosternon, A. nigricans/glaucopareius...) yes>
For the wrasses, I'm planning just the freshwater bath as above into non medicated QT tank unless something shows up. Correct?
I went to buy your book, *The Conscientious Marine Aquarist* but I didn't see it offered as an EBook. Is it offered digitally anywhere?
<Mmm; don't think so. If it were, t'would be on Amazon.com for sure.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/21/17
Thank you Bob for all the great advice! I'll be in touch!
<Okay Jen>
PS: My opinion for what it's worth is you should convert your writings to E-books on Amazon if you're able.
<All the twenty or so produced the last few years are (see Amazon.com); works by and with others I don't have control over. Have sent your note to James Lawrence, ed., publ. of Microcosm, urging him to consider their works>
They have software to do it for you.
<Ah yes; I use Kindle and CreateSpace.com's m'self>
There are lots of E-readers out there. I have a Kindle Fire HD myself.
Have a great day!
<Again, I thank you. B>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/21/17

I just realized one of the Tangs you mentioned as notorious that you would medicate for in QT is on my list of Tangs(Powder Blue).
<Oh! I do apologize... thought you only listed Ctenochaetus spp. I may have you confused w/ another querior>
So it's a little
contradictory. Would you medicate since they will all be in there together or wait until they show signs(if they do) and then medicate?
<The PBT I def. would keep a very careful eye on at the very least. There is a VERY fine line twixt "treating" a suspect specimen and harming it further. VERY important to pick out/gather an initially healthy specimen>
Which medicine
is best for Tangs for this plight?
<Posted/archived on WWM>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/21/17

Yes, I thought that might be the case. Good Luck!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Pygoplites Diacanthus/Genicanthus Bellus Compatibility in large system    4/21/17

Ok will do. Thanks again Bob
<W. B>

Stocking options for 600 gallon tank    3/27/17
Hello my name is Jason. You guys have a wonderful forum with plenty of information and I was able to learn a lot from reading them. I have a 600 gallon tank with measurements of 6ft length 5 ft width and 30in height. I am planning to keep a pair or trio of Scribbled angel (Chaetodontoplus duboulayi). The other fishes that I want to get are a trio of Golden Semilarvatus Butterfly, One Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula), Blue-stripped Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus septentrionalis), Blue-girdled Angelfish (Pomacanthus navarchus), Yellow-eyed Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus), Blonde Naso Tang (Naso elegans) and Desjardin's Sailfin (Zebrasoma desjardinii). I will also keep a few Bartlett's Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettourum) as a dither fish. Is it possible to keep a pair or trio of Scribbled angel in my tank with my other large angels and large tangs?
<Yes it is; given plenty of room, break up (bommies) of the environment.

Need to get/be out of eye-shot of each other a good percentage of the time>
What do you think of my stocking list?
<Should work. I'd introduce the Anthiines first; to allow them familiarity; feeding practice; the tangs next>
Thank you for your time for reading my e-mail.
Sincerely yours Jason
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking options for 600 gallon tank    3/27/17

Dear Mr. Fenner,
Thank you for your quick reply. I appreciate it very much.
<Certainly welcome Jason. BobF>
Sincerely yours,

Marine Fish Stocking; lg. sys.    2/9/17
<Hi there>
I've begun building a custom aquarium and had a few questions on fish selection and compatibility. The tank is "L" shaped and will be 9 feet long on one section and 5 feet long on the other. The whole tank will have a width of 3 feet and will be 30 inches tall. I know this gives a lot of space but, I figured it'd be smarter to ask your opinion rather than gamble with the lives of the fish.
My current stocking plan is rather large but, I'm sure many will be removed from the list after this email.
Not certain how well mixing Centropyge will go in a tank this size but, these are the ones I like so far.
<Can be done w/ space, as you state>
1 Centropyge bispinosa
1 Centropyge eibli
1 Centropyge nox
1 Centropyge bicolor
<Mmm; I'd go with one or two species... and have a 3-5 grouping/harem...
Much more interesting. Start all small... 2-3 inches
I tried to select species on your "Good Butterflyfish" section.
Butterflyfish seem to be my favorite group so I selected quite a few. I'd pick more if I could but, I have doubts I could keep the whole list below.
1 Chaetodon ephippium
1 Chaetodon collare
1 Chaetodon ocellatus
1 Chaetodon rafflesi
1 Chaetodon punctatofasciatus
1 Chelmon rostratus
1 Chaetodon lunula
<These could all go here>
1 Acanthurus coeruleus
1 Acanthurus triostegus
1 Paracanthurus hepatus
1 Zebrasoma flavescens
<Again; MUCH more fun, stable to keep Surgeons in numbers; not singles
I for sure want to have the first 3 listed here but, I liked the looks of the Dottybacks. I am aware they are aggressive so I hope that tank bred specimens will be more peaceful. What do you think?
1 Gramma loreto
1 Serranus tortugarum
1 Gramma melacara
1 Manonichthys splendens
1 Pseudochromis aldabraensis
1 Pseudochromis springeri
<... why solitary?>

I would like to keep a few species of Chromis (one of different species), gobies and blennies. However I haven't selected any yet. How would they do in this set-up?
<Fine if selected initially healthy and fed>
Flasher and fairy wrasses are also a favorite. I'm not sure which ones I'd like to add yet but, I wanted to ask how likely it is that I could keep one of several species together? How well would they do with the fish named so far?
<Good choices here>
How would hogfish fare in this tank? I am interested in Bodianus anthioides and Bodianus pulchellus. Would these fish be able to get along with the ones listed and/or each other? And lastly, what are your thoughts on Choerodon fasciatus in this set-up?
<Also good>
Sorry for all the questions and thank you for your time!
<Not a bother; "is" the reason we're here. Thank you for sharing, and please do send images, your input as your project progresses. Bob Fenner>

500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/1/17
<Hi Kathy, Earl here.>
Hello! First of all, let me say that I greatly appreciate your forum .... was able to learn a lot of things from reading through the different forums. Just a question about stocking up on a 500 gallon FOWLR . Tank dimensions are 72"x60"x30". My son and I have been contemplating on adding the following fishes and would love to hear your input as to whether this would work well.
Red Sea Emperor Angel
Majestic angel
Red Sea Regal Angel
<I would be very wary of 3 large angels in a single tank.
Depending on size, decor, individual personalities, you may be ok here but I would add them as small as possible, make sure there is a abundance of rock, decor, etc. because one of these fishes will be the "boss" sooner or later and there are territory issues involved. Also be aware that these guys can grow much faster than you'd think and to a very large size so bear that in mind. I myself am looking at an upgrade right now to keep a Queen satisfied because I simply did not expect her to grow so fast. Worth it in the end though! Another possible choice that's overlooked a lot are the mid-sized angels. Genicanthus, Swallowtails and such, often sold in sexually dimorphic pairs. They have a lot of the personality and beauty of the large guys like Holocanthus, but are too much for smaller tanks one would house things like Flame Angels/pygmies in. Just a thought but 1 large species like the Emperor as the "headliner" and a pair of middle-sizers might be a good compromise rather than 3 big guys.>
Golden semilarvatus (maybe 3-5 pc.s?)
Heniochus butterfly (5pcs?)
<These butterflies can be fragile although not necessarily so. I
'd choose less of them, certainly. You overall plan here is pretty heavy on fishes especially when you consider the size they will soon grow to, and the amount of aquascape real estate in the tank that will displace a lot of even a 500g tank's volume. Picture 10 butterflies at 6+ inches. If you love
large butterflies, maybe narrow things down carefully to a handful of those and go from there. Bob might jump in here, he has a few things to say about marine angelfishes!>
Desjardini tang
Kole tang

<Kole are outstanding and good "workers" that will nibble nonstop all day and are known to target nuisance algae that most won't touch...10/10 fish and good in most systems, a keeper. The other tang is a beauty but also will be over a foot long...can be a showstopper that catches eyes for sure.>
Cuban hogfish
Magnificent foxface

<Rabbitfish are one of those that I consider a no-brainer for any marine tank that can house one. Beautiful, nonstop grazers and far hardier and less choosy about what pest algae they target than tangs. I am a broken record here but just make sure you are aware that some of them stay reasonably sized, other species will rocket to a startling size inside a
year or two. Magnificent Foxfaces are just excellent all around.>
Will this combination of fishes work in your opinion? Would love to hear your thoughts.
<Your overall game plan here seems solid except for the running theme I have so subtly (or not!) driven at. You are setting up a pretty huge system and are planning to fill it with a bunch of equally huge fish. A potential problem, IME, is that can end up resulting in several of those big fish becoming territorial, feeling cramped, engaging in warfare, and quickly.
This seems contradictory but a 6 or 8' long tank is still small enough that a 9" fish is very unlikely to get along well with a dozen others saucer-sized mates. Also keeping the water butterfly fish-pristine is something to consider when you have a large bioload. Were it me, I would choose 1 or 2 angels, preferably the one with the most peaceful reputation or just the one that's a must-have for you. Then about half as many butterflies, definitely the Kole and the rabbit, and look into some smaller stuff. Other than the angels and (possibly) the tangs. Your tank is a pretty peaceful place IF not overcrowded or allowed to get to the point where territory or competition for food is an issue. I'm probably rambling but basically you have good choices and good matches, but too many of them ;) >
<Hope this helps!>
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/2/17

Hi Earl! Thank you so very much for your quick reply. Will try to decide between the Heniochus and goldens to lower down the bio load. And will definitely reconsider my options for the large angels. But it is so hard to choose! Hahahahaha! Again, I appreciate your inputs.
<Spoiled for choices definitely. I make it a hobby in itself to stock a tank. Once it's full up that part of the fun is more or less over. Take it slow and enjoy the browsing. Glad to help!>
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options; ref. /RS f'       2/2/17

Hi! It's me again ...... just a follow up question. Some websites list that The golden butterflies need to be kept at a slightly higher salinity to mimic their natural habitat. My question is, will keeping my salinity slightly higher at 1.026-28 be harmful to the other fishes that are not from the red sea?
<Like most things in aquariums, once you reach acceptable conditions stability is far more important than precision.
Salinity is a prime example of this. A fish can adjust to a relatively wide range, but cannot do it quickly. Obviously there are limits but you get the idea. Some compromise is possible but 1.026 is not what I'd want generally, let alone 1.028.
Personally I'd avoid this dilemma entirely by choosing a different species of butterfly. Or it could be interesting to go all-in and try a regional biotype with Red Sea fishes. They can be difficult to keep but some of my favorites are the "fancy Basslet" Anthias. To me they are unsurpassed as far as jaw-dropping beauty, they are very active and have personality. You'd have already hurdled two of the obstacles (space and salinity). Maybe check into those.
Also try a background check on specific fishes you're eyeballin'. I'm amazed this subject doesn't get mentioned more commonly but just ask the retailer where the fish is coming from, what they have been keeping it in and for how long, what it's been eating in the shop, etc.. If they have been keeping what you want to keep, in more typical salinity than Red Sea/elevated, you are good to go. At least find out how long the fish has been in the shop and if you can put down a deposit and pick them up in a week in non-elevated salinity, in captivity.
At any rate as always patience is your ally...you will need to slowly acclimate your choices to any big change in salinity in quarantine (a few weeks).>
Thank you very much!
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options     2/3/17

Hi Earl! Got it! Thank you very very much for all your advice.... will certainly take everything you suggested into consideration.
<No problem, please follow up with your outcome, down the line.>

Timing of When to Introduce Maculosus Angel to 265g Display    1/26/17
Hello Bob-
I purchased approximately a 6 inch Maculosus angelfish
<Oh, a fave! Likely wild-caught at this size>
from a very reputable online source who I've had great luck with in the past on many occasions. BTW, after reading several of your great write-up's and other reputable sources on the Maculosus, i.e.; it's wonderful personality and hardiness after the acclimation stage, I was heavily influenced to go with a Maculosus over other large angelfish options.
This beautiful angel has been in my quarantine tank (75 gallon) for two weeks now. It eats very well (Nori, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, Spirulina, and New Life Spectrum pellets) and did so within 24 hours of receiving it. There are zero signs of disease.
<I would move this fish to the main/display tank>
He's been in the QT with a 4 inch Scopas Tang and a 3 inch Flame Angel with zero issues. However, and I've read a lot of this as being normal (you referenced it in one of your past responses), it's quite shy right now. I have a large "Y" shaped PVC tube where he always hangs out except when it's time for a feeding. At feeding time, he blasts out of the PVC tube, scoops up food, then blasts back to his PVC retreat. Bob, when do these angel fish become less shy?
<Weeks usually>
Part of me wonders if maybe the bare glass bottom of the tank, where I've noticed he quarrels with his reflection nearly every time he sees it, is part of the problem?
<Could def. be a factor; plus the dearth of hiding spaces, small confines... lack of fishes to interact with. MOVE IT>
He also darts into his PVC whenever he sees me too. I do notice that he observes me though from his PVC. Thus, knowing that he looks good and eats very well, I am thinking that maybe I need to now transfer him to his new
permanent home which is a 265 gallon live rock set-up with live sand and that might help him adjust better?
<Oh yes>
Or maybe that's rash and a bad idea?
<... no; not a bad idea>
Note that he will be the largest fish in that set-up. All of the fish in that set-up get along very well with each other. Whenever I've added a new fish in the past there, as long as it wasn't a conspecific, a new fish is pretty much ignored. There's no other angel in the 265 and there's no bully or overly aggressive fish in the 265. I plan to get a new PVC tube to place behind the reef for him since he likes his PVC in the quarantine so much (smile). However, my concern is, do you think, based upon his shy behavior in the quarantine, that he's ready to be transferred to the 265 gallon?
Should I wait longer?
<One last time: I'd be moving this fish NOW>
The other option I was considering, although it goes against my protocol for a quarantine, was to add some live sand to the quarantine tank to cover up the reflection he sees, to determine if maybe that might help to loosen him up to where he can calmly swim around outside of his PVC hang-out.
It's also worth noting that my quarantine isn't in any sort of high traffic, noisy area, nor are my display tanks for that matter. Thoughts?
Thanks, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Timing of When to Introduce Maculosus Angel to 265g Display    1/26/17

Thanks Bob, I really appreciate your expert advice! I really wanted to do what was best for this fish and not be careless.
<A test that James Lawrence put me to in meeting in 95 was naming a show fish for his daughters H.S. 300 gal. tank at school... This is the choice I mentioned. Cheers, BobF>

Compatibility; fishes for a large FO SW       1/20/17
Please help! I am trying to decide what large fish I can put in my 385 gal tank with a 90 gal sump. Can you help me out? Right now it has 2 large zebra eels and a 14" snowflake eel with a 5" Greenbird and Lunare wrasses, along with and two 3" Foxfaces, and 6" Minatus, Spotted and Blue Line Groupers. I am getting in two tierra batfish. I would like to add a show fish or two to go in with the existing fish. Can a 5-7" French Angel go in here along with a 6" Volitans Lion,
<Yes to both of these... though the Lion may inhale the Siganids, and possibly poke the eels>
or a 7" Cortez Stingray,
<No; this is a coldwater species... mis-sold into the trade as a tropical>
or a Blue Girdled/Majestic Angel?
<No; too hard to keep in such mixed company>

Considering all will grow. Do you think the French may nip at the ray or the lion?
I understand that it is not a good idea to mix angels but with this size of tank do you think it would work with these two and if so should they be introduced together and at different sizes?
<I'd look into other large and more aquarium suitable Pomacanthids. See WWM Re>
What do you think would be the best mix, considering the existing fish, to add possibly two more show fish. I appreciate any advice. Thanks
<I'd hold off a month or so after introducing the Tieras. Bob Fenner>
Compatibility.... Lg. SW stkg.... not a reader       1/24/17

Thanks Bob for your previous reply on my last email on 1/20/17.I have already (2 M Fox Faces, Snowflake and 2 Zebra Eels all L, 3 groupers: Blue lined, Spotted and Miniata all 6", Green bird, Lunar and Dragon Wrasses all around 5", Raccoon Butterfly and a Sailfin Tang both M, 2 Volitans Lions around 5". In a 385 gal tank, I had asked about putting in two adult angels (French and a Blue Girdled). You didn't think the Blue Girdled would be a good mix based on the French and the others in the tank.
<Just period... the subgenus Euxiphipops are NOT aquarium hardy species.
JUST READ on WWM... ahead of writing us please>
What would
you recommend if it would be possible to put two adult angels in there?
<What I suggested before: THAT you READ on WWM re Pomacanthids... they are "gauged" re historical/likely survivability on the site, and in books I've penned>
I really like the French but I am not sure it would tolerate any other angels?
<.... read. B>
Thanks again for your info!
Re: Compatibility Wherein Gabe responds to a non-reader, Re stkg. large SW       1/25/17

<Good morning, Mark>
I am writing to you again for advice regarding my 385 gal tank with a 90 gal sump.
Right now it has 2 large zebra eels and a 14" snowflake eel with a 5" Greenbird and Lunare wrasses, along with and two 3" Foxfaces, and 6" Miniatus, Spotted and Blue Line Groupers and two 6" Tierra Batfish and currently a 6" Black Volitans Lion. I would like to finish the tank off with a sting ray or two adult angels if possible.
<Seems like you're getting close to maxing out on your bioload. Be careful about that>
1) If I went the angel route what two angels would possibly coexist? I am partial to the French but I don't know if any could be put with him in the "Large" size?
<Compatibility comes down to the individual fish in my experience. I have kept French, Blueface, and Queen in the same tank before without problems. I have also tried Emperor and Queen in a 400 gallon with plenty of rock and such, and I had to separate them. It is up to you in the end, so it may take some experimenting.>
2) If I went the ray route what would you recommend as staying on the small size and "tropical"? I like the Cortez but unfortunately they fall in the
cool water temps like the Round, Yellow and Calif. Ray.
<I would stay away from rays. The only one that is tropical in the sense that it prefers 72º F - 78º F is the Fiddler stingray, and those need a 500+ gallon tank.>
Please reply ASAP. Thank you again!
<If you're going to add anything, do the angels. It may take some experimenting, but hopefully you can land on something. See WetWeb re this topic. Thanks for writing. Cheers, Gabe>
Re: Compatibility    1/26/17

Thanks for the reply
<My pleasure, Mark. Feel free to write us any time>

Koran and Annularis in 265?     11/16/16
<Hi John, Earl here.>
Please advise on your thoughts of mixing a Koran Angel (about 4 1/2" and currently in the tank) with a Annularis Angel (about 5" to 6", considering a purchase of it) in a 265 gallon live rock set-up (maybe 125 pounds of rock, i.e.; wanted to keep more swimming room). I have a 40 gallon sump, over sized skimmer, lots of flow from oversized powerheads, and return pump). If not an Annularis, any large Angels you would feel might be more successfully mixed (and would be hardy) with the Koran in a 265? As always, thank you for your very wonderful advice.
<You didn't mention what if any other inhabitants are in this tank, which is a consideration. Bioload, social structure, how does the existing angel respond to current tankmates? That aside, that is a pretty hefty tank for a hefty fish. The Annularis, while a gorgeous species (now being captive-bred if memory serves) is still going to be a plate-sized 8-10 incher as a healthy adult. Which happens faster than you might like or expect! IF you plan on keeping just the two as a sort of large-angel tank, maybe with some very small "dither fish" like Chromis to give a little more movement and
visual diversity, it would be worth trying IMO. Also consider that these are customers who demand some sponge in their diet.
Your main concern here seems to be their interactions with each other.
Usually I would not suggest 2 large angels together but with space, a lot of grazing rock, broken-up eyelines, hiding places, etc. I would cautiously try it out if your heart is set on it. The Koran and large rowdy fish generally tend towards territoriality as they age and the Koran is a dinner plate sized animal when full grown. These guys (Pomacanthids) have a lot of personality and in my experience are smart and therefore hard to categorize like we might do with others. It's largely down to the individuals involved. Give it a try if you like and just have a game plan as to how you'll remove one if "negotiations do not go according to plan".
Hope this helps and please let us know how it goes. -Earl C.>
Re: Koran and Annularis in 265?      11/16/16

Thank you so much for the advice. All very good points on your part. I've decided that I need to dial back my enthusiasm (as far as adding any more to my tank) for large Angels and be satisfied with my Koran (who's been a
wonderful fish for about 2 years) and not push the envelope.
<You're preachin' to the choir about dialing back enthusiasm for angelfish...I have been eyeballing a bigger tank to keep more angels for year now! Playing it safe with 2 in the same tank is definitely the surest route.>
Like you said, beyond their beauty, the Pomacanthids have so much personality that I keep wanting to add another.
<If you have a second system, I love the smaller angels as well. Maybe look into those.>
Based upon the bio-load in the tank, I believe I can safely add another fish and might try a Caribbean Blue Tang. I've had really good luck with several types of tangs (Purple, Yellow, Hippo, Naso, Sailfin, ...etc.) in various tanks over the years. The Caribbean Blue Tang seems to be a sometimes overlooked tang, one I've never owned yet, but that appears to be a good aquarium specimen per Bob's write-up of it. Thanks again!
<My two cents here is that if you can find one you like, and that stays reasonably small, look into Rabbitfish (Siganidae family). They fulfill the same general role as far as grazers on algae, are far more hardy and have a very laid-back demeanor and are generally ignored by other fish. 10/10 fish. Check out scribbled, Foxface, magnificent and one-spot Foxface maybe.
Be sure to check that max size as they (and many tangs such as powder blues) get bigger than we'd like. Just an alternative suggestion.>

Advice please... Y Tang stkg., comp.      3/1/16
Greetings, Recently I set up a reef tank 265 gallon and I got the aquarium design from a book called “ Aquarium Model Designs” by John Tullock. In one of his designs, he called for 9 yellow tangs in a 180 gallon. This design is called “ Cheerful Yellow”. I am sure you know of this book.
<Yes; have a copy; know JohnT>
I have a 265 gallon fully cycled tank so I added 9 young, small Yellow tangs, a medium size purple tang and 20 azure damsels. After a day of calm, the YTs started fighting and 2 weeks in, all develop a severe case of Ich.
<Mmm; yes... and this picking is very likely to continue. Yellow Tangs need to be much more or less crowded than this... else you'll suffer slow attrition...>
However all YTs are eating like machines. The PT also had Ich but now no signs of Ich is seen now. I have had him for 7 years in my old 210 gallon and he had recovered from ich in the past w/o treatment. Please tell me if this plan is a good plan:
- Remove all the yellow tangs and treat them/sell them to LFS.
- Leave the azure damsels and PT in the tank if they do not show signs of Ich.
- Let the tank be for 6 weeks. If there is NO signs of Ich on the damsels and the PT, then add a school of true schooling fish such as Chromis and the nicer blue reef type.
I believe 9 tangs in a 265 is not doable as the author led me to believe.
<I do agree>
Please tell me if my anticipated plan is appropriate.
<It is one route to go... you will have a resident, residual Crypt infestation... most if not all systems do... With challenges like poor water quality, dips in nutrition... bringing on clinical signs>
I have few corals in the tank so treating the disease in the tank is not possible. Thank you and I look forward to your reply. Dai
<MUCH more could be stated; IS archived on WWM re. I'd spend some time reading... re Crypt; parasitized systems, Tangs and Protozoans.... Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please... Yellow Tang (in)comp., stocking lg. SW sys. f's      3/22/16

<Salud. Have re-read our correspondence. Thank you for including>
Let me update you on my tang situation. Now I have 6 remaining yellow tangs and they all are eating and very active, No signs of ich anywhere but I lost 4 due to ich. (40% loss). Now all the damsels (20 +), the purple Tang and 6 YTs are doing well. Some days they fight with each other but no fish seems to be bullied/sulk into a corner and some days they don't mind each other at all. Now I have 2 questions:
1. I would like to add medium sized hippo and a medium Naso. I had them with the PT in my previous 210 without any issues. However they did not make it in the dealer tank (too small tank) when I was getting my new tank cycled. When would be a good time to add them?
<Mmm; any time; however; there is a good chance of bringing back (clinically) the Crypt/Ich on at least the new Tangs; due to stress...>
I understand there are still active ich but they cannot infect the current fish because these are healthy and not stressed. Should I wait 3 months or add now?
<Later would be better>
2. Is it a bad idea to add 2 more same size YTs?
<Likely so; yes. I would NOT add more>
I am concern about disrupting the equilibrium now that may bring back onset of ich. I believe it is a bad idea but I thought I run through it with you.
Thank you Mr. Fenner for all you do! Thanks again Dai
<Glad to share Dai. Bob Fenner>

Infrequent Feeding for Fish (and mar. stkg. Earl's go?)       11/24/15
<Hi Edwin>
I have a predatory setup of Morays, Lionfish, Groupers and Scorpionfish.
My question is what other fish can go with a feeding once a week?
<Predatory nature is not the issue so much as metabolism. A moray can and will naturally go awhile without feeding, a lionfish or similar ambush predator will catch, say, one damsel-sized fish every few days. To a certain point, it's far better for these types of slow, languid fish with slow (but large!) metabolic processes to eat too little than too much.
Lionfish often eat themselves to death. I also have to ask what your setup is like. That combination of fishes seems ok assuming low/short period lighting, a lot of overhangs and cover, and extremely aggressive skimming.
But see below: >
Cowfish / Hawkfish / Squirrelfish / Cardinals ? seeing that they are semi-predatory.
<Squirrels/Bigeyes/Cardinals are also big eaters but more active perhaps and would like a little more food. Cowfish (I am assuming here that you are speaking of the hobby-standard boxfish type) not in the same kind of category...they are regular eaters that are constantly on the hunt for morsels and would suffer for being fed one large, infrequent meal. This goes toward one of my favorite maxims about animals...that you can tell what it does based on what kind of mouth it has. Obviously a sharp-toothed fish has those teeth to catch hold of fast or slippery prey (other fish, squid etc.) and a fish with blunt teeth is a crusher (snowflake eels cracking open molluscs). A cowfish has a small "beaky" mouth and is not going to survive well without small, regular food. If you watch one, they are always moving, prowling, nibbling. Once a week won't cut it. They are also likely to be outcompeted by faster more agile fish. Hawkfish would be a better match depending on size and species (bear in mind fish such as groupers can and will try to consume fish 1/3 their own size when making these choices hehe). If you are looking for more color, variety, denizens generally for that tank but not necessarily predators as such, you could look into "mean" assertive fish that can take care of themselves to some degree and subsist largely on grazing such as the meaner tangs...but limiting your feeding to once a week really does kill your options.
Frogfish maybe? The real question I'd ask is why the limit on feeding to begin with? Hope this helps!>
Re: Infrequent Feeding for Fish; and large SW stkg. Bob's evidently follow-up try        11/24/15

<Hello Edwin>
I have a 180 Gallon (i think it could be more) with heaps of overhang, cover, strong nitrate reactor, huge sump (1/3 of main tank) and an oversized skimmer.
Bob Fenner (are you bob?)
<I am>
and myself had a discussion on how my combination is not feasible but I have always prided myself on achieving hard-to-establish tanks.
For example I had a 5x2x2 feet tank previously with almost 10 bichirs, an Arowana, a green terror, FW stingray, tiger fish etc. On paper it sounds like overcrowding but frequent water changes and quality oversized equipment compensated, the tank lasted for more than 2 years till I made a mistake.
But I digress - current tank has :
6 morays - Blue Ribbon, White Margined (commonly labeled white ribbon), zebra, snowflake, estuarine (g.tile) and labyrinth (not sure if Marco identified correctly).
<Mmm; at least the Rhinomuraena will prove difficult to keep with these others; hard to feed, compete w/ other Muraenids>
All are juveniles and except for the white margined are on frozen food right now.
2 Lions - 1 fuzzy and 1 dwarf zebra
1 Scorpionfish - a yellow leaf scorpion
<And these above; will "accidentally" sting the Morays in time; not compatible>
2 x groupers - so proud of this - i separated a Variola Louti and a Polleni for weeks, they got so used to staring at each other they are now buddies ! (I have pics)
I have been running the above supposedly impossible setup for 3 months and showing no problems at all.
<Good thus far>
As for the infrequent feeding - long office hours plus heavy traveling means I only get to enjoy feeding them on weekends.
<Ah, good>
Hence the once a week - and being a predatory fish keeper I enjoy feeding live - gut fed FW ghost shrimp and green Chromis (cheap in Singapore).
The polleni and Variola grouper add a fair amount of color so was just wondering if any other fish would fit.
A bit too late to add a Comet Grouper so the last fish will be a radiata lion (those things just like starving to death).
<I'd go w/ the Comet over another Scorpaenid>
Hawkfish .. hmm .. I was thinking of a large flame hawk.
<Could fit; until the basses get large enough to swallow it>
What about puffers ? Don’t think they make a good addition - a bad tempered one will really wreck the eels.
I am worried about Frogfish as from experience they will attack massively oversized fish (had a painted choke on a zebra lion) and don’t want them injuring my eels - thoughts?
<A Frogfish would present feeding problems now; but it appears you have good "hand" feeding technique/s here... As you state; if/when it gets bigger, esp. a large species, the Frog might try to consume a smaller fish (Lion)...>
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Infrequent Feeding for Fish.... Lg. SW stkg.       11/25/15

Yes agreed the Blue Ribbon is harder to feed than the rest. Its a matter of immense patience - feed groupers, then larger eels and finally the ribbon (only one that doesn’t eat from my hand).
Only problem now is the snowflake cannot seem to stop eating …
Will the lions/scorpions sting the Morays?
<Yes; please see WWM re... Muraenids are clumsy, have poor vision; Pteroines sit about on the bottom a great deal of the time>
thanks for advice i didn’t think they would do that unless in serious self defence.
A comet added at this point would likely see it bullied by the Variola and Polleni - but point taken on not another Scorpaenid.
Flame hawks get really cheap sometimes here - as low as USD 10.
<Crazy; diver pay for them in Fiji is US 9>
may get the largest one possible and give it a shot.
Concur with the frogfish analysis - I reckon they belong to a species tank, only success i have seen is a large Rhinopias with even larger tank mates (large morays and lions).
<Neat! BobF>

Suggestions for Additions to my Tank      8/28/15
Hello Wet Web Crew, I am looking to add some additions to my tank. My tank is 200 gallons with a 75 gallon refugium. It is a FOWLR tank. Water chemistry is in check. 0 nitrates and nitrites (I have a nitrate filter) 0 ammonia, ph 8.3 salinity 1.023 temp 79 degrees F. I also have a PhosBan reactor,
<? Why the use of the chemical filtrants here? For what purpose/s?>
large skimmer. I have upgraded since last I wrote to you requesting advice. I unfortunately lost a few fish in the move. My 9 year old Siganus Doliatus unfortunately died along with a bicolor angel due to a heater malfunction in their temporary accommodations. My new set up has 5 yellow tailed damsels, a long nosed Hawkfish, Purple tang, a Melanarus Wrasse, a One Spot Fox Face Rabbit and a 5 inch Pink Tailed Trigger. In my old tank I had a Dardanus Megistos crab,
since my previous puffer and the pink tail trigger could not make a meal out of him. The crab was in a 9 inch triton shell and died at 5 years of age. I am guessing he died of old age. Although I enjoyed caring for this amazing critter. He became quite the hulk and could move rather large rocks looking for tasty morsels.
I am looking for your advice as to what to add to my tank for a clean up crew.
<Ahh! My/our opinions re such are posted/archived on WWM. Do read there>
And or additional fish. I have some small crabs which are all still surprisingly alive. I also have a black long spine urchin. I know eventually that they could become food for the Trigger. Also have two skunk cleaner shrimp that the Trigger has lived with successfully for a year as has the Hawkfish. I also know they could become food for many of my inhabitants if the mood strikes them.
Would a goat fish work in my set up to clean the substrate?
Any suggestions that you would have as far adding a critter that will turn over the substrate as well and as effectively as the Dardanus Crab did?
<The goat/s will do it/this>
Are there any smaller hermits that perhaps only reach 5 inches?
<Many; see WWM re the preferred available species>
The Dardanus Crab was nearly 1 foot long when I removed his corpse from his 9 inch triton shell.
Also the Pink Tailed Trigger is the most shy fish I have ever had. His/her personality is more like that of a marine Betta then the triggers I have read about. Will that change as this fish gets larger?
<Mmm; maybe... depends really on what else is placed here... other Tetraodontiform fish/es might prompt a change in behavior/outgoingness>
Will his tail get a darker shade of pink?
<Again; depends... on nutrition mostly>
It is the palest pink right now. They get a variety of chopped meaty sea food soaked in vitamins.
They get spectrum pellets and flake food. And Nori for the herbivores.
I have always found you're advice sound so any suggestions would be helpful.
Regards, Kellylynn
<Do keep perusing WWM re stocking various "kinds" of systems, then the pertinent family coverage re compatibility and selection/stocking. Oh, and write back w/ specific questions, concerns as you reveal them. Bob Fenner>
re: Suggestions for Additions to my Tank; lg. SW stkg.       8/29/15
What species of goat fish would you recommend?

<See my family and our selection FAQs re on WWM>
I have pretty much read your site regarding ,triggers, rabbits tangs, a couple times over. I have also read on reef central as well. I have also read your site regarding comparability and knew some of my choices could result in a meal for another inhabitant. So much information so hard to make the right choice.
<Ah yes>
You asked why the PhosBan reactor, I use it because I do not use RO/DI water often and took care of my red slime issues in my old tank.
<I see>
What also helped that problem was switching salt mix to Fluval salt mix. That was recommended by a LFS I frequent.
Do you see a problem as my trigger gets bigger that I may have to remove the Melanarus Wrasse to another tank? I have another tank to remove him to if need be.
<The Trigger, this species, should be able to stay here indefinitely>
What hermit crabs other then Dardanus could you recommend to put with this mix of fish?
<None really. I would be/come the clean up crew>
Or aren't there any that won't eventually become food for the Pink Tailed Trigger one it reaches its full size?
<Yes; that and the Wrasse>
Or should I just go with buying a goat fish and skip the other crustaceans all together since the wrasse is a substrate sleeper?
Could the wrasse be in danger from a goat fish if it was sleeping?
<It will not be>
Thanks again. You run an amazing site here.
<Welcome. BobF>

New 200gal setup; SW, stkg.       8/22/15
Hello all ^_^
I am in the planning stages for a new 200 gallon reef tank (truly, the research never ends! New information every day ^_^)
<Ah yes>
This will be my first saltwater setup so I am opting for a large aquarium (larger water volume, more forgiving of fluctuations is what I’ve consistently read) with plenty of live rock in an open arrangement with bridges and caves between rock groupings and a shallow sand bed. It will also have a sump with integrated refugium and additional live rock. And of course a separate quarantine tank.
I plan to start very lightly stocked and add slowly over the course of months and years, both to allow for the close monitoring of water parameters and interactions with each addition, and also to give the nitrifying bacteria in the live rock time to propagate in accordance with the new bioload each time. I’ve been told I’m overly cautious but I've really developed a love of these animals during my research and time observing them in the wild.
<Patience is a HUGE virtue in our hobby>
I’d rather have a tank that takes a while to get up to full potential than one that crashes and kills everything after a few months.
There are a few animals that I just have my heart set on and I am trying to build a decent stocking list from there. The ones I adore the most and really want to include are as follows:
2 black and white ocellaris clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris var.)
2 Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
5+ Kaudern's Cardinalfish(Pterapogon kauderni) (I have read that a larger group like this helps reduce the problem of them killing each other off until only one remains that so often occurs in groups of 3 or 4. From what I have found, it seems either a single specimen or a big(ish) group works best)
1 crocea clam
<All these will be fine in your 200>
All of these animals are available at my LFS and they are truly wonderful people there. Happy to let me come monitor the health and eating habits of the animals before bringing them home.
The other addition I would really like to bring in eventually (certainly not before the 6mo-1year point, if that soon) is a Bubble Tip Anemone. I know anemones are not for beginners and I won't be getting one until I am comfortable doing so. I have spent a good deal of time at my LFS learning about how they house and care for their BTAs and other animals. They've been very informative and helpful and their nems all seem to be in consistently good condition. They won't stock wild caught nems so the only ones they have are the BTAs in a few colors. (They also won't stock wild Banggais or Clowns or several others, they're pretty particular about that kind of thing.)
<All right>
Okay, gosh I didn't mean for all the background to go on so long, my apologies. I have three main questions. First, I am having a lot of trouble settling on which larger showpiece fish(es?) I should add to my tank. I really like both the Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon) and the One Spot Foxface (Siganus unimaculatus). Would it be acceptable to have one of each?
<Yes; but DO read re the PBT; Isolate it a good two weeks; consider the value in dips/baths>
Or are there alternate large fish you’d recommend?
<Many.... better for you to take your time; read books, through WWM... >
(Except Angels because I fear for the clam lol). I have a wide variety of other fish I like and I can choose from among them based on compatibility with the larger fish. Despite my love of them I’m assuming a Saddle Valentini Puffer (Canthigaster valentini) is out of the question with the clam :/
<Might nip; perhaps not>
Second, in a 200gal tank would it be okay to keep PJ Cardinals with the Banggais? With that much space will they be okay with each other?
<They'll likely go to either corner and ignore each other>
I'm having trouble finding info from anyone who's tried it.
<Have seen a few times>
And finally, would it be okay to keep some Zoanthids on their own bottom-of-the-tank rock cluster on the opposite end from the anemone?
<Could be done>
According to your article on BTAs and other information I have read, the nems don't typically move a whole lot after they’ve settled (as long as they aren’t unsettled by changes in their environment), though I know that’s always a risk. I am wondering if keeping Zoas with lower light requirements down where the nem likely wouldn't like it anyway would minimize the risk to tolerable levels in your opinion. In the end I’d rather pass on the Zoas or other corals rather than the BTA so if there aren’t coral options you'd consider acceptable for my tank size I’ll pass on them.
<There are several "less noxious" choices that will/can go in a system of your size with a BTA>
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and for all the excellent information you’ve provided on your site!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 
Re: New 200gal setup       8/23/15

Thank you for your feedback ^_^
<Welcome LJ>
I have plenty of time to read more about the potential additions I could make to the tank and will continue to research as you recommend. Thanks for the answers and recommendations! I hope you're all having a great day :)
<Ah yes; thank you. BobF>

New 200gal setup; SW, stkg.       8/22/15
Hello all ^_^
I am in the planning stages for a new 200 gallon reef tank (truly, the research never ends! New information every day ^_^)
<Ah yes>
This will be my first saltwater setup so I am opting for a large aquarium (larger water volume, more forgiving of fluctuations is what I’ve consistently read) with plenty of live rock in an open arrangement with bridges and caves between rock groupings and a shallow sand bed. It will also have a sump with integrated refugium and additional live rock. And of course a separate quarantine tank.
I plan to start very lightly stocked and add slowly over the course of months and years, both to allow for the close monitoring of water parameters and interactions with each addition, and also to give the nitrifying bacteria in the live rock time to propagate in accordance with the new bioload each time. I’ve been told I’m overly cautious but I've really developed a love of these animals during my research and time observing them in the wild.
<Patience is a HUGE virtue in our hobby>
I’d rather have a tank that takes a while to get up to full potential than one that crashes and kills everything after a few months.
There are a few animals that I just have my heart set on and I am trying to build a decent stocking list from there. The ones I adore the most and really want to include are as follows:
2 black and white ocellaris clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris var.)
2 Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)
5+ Kaudern's Cardinalfish(Pterapogon kauderni) (I have read that a larger group like this helps reduce the problem of them killing each other off until only one remains that so often occurs in groups of 3 or 4. From what I have found, it seems either a single specimen or a big(ish) group works best)
1 crocea clam
<All these will be fine in your 200>
All of these animals are available at my LFS and they are truly wonderful people there. Happy to let me come monitor the health and eating habits of the animals before bringing them home.
The other addition I would really like to bring in eventually (certainly not before the 6mo-1year point, if that soon) is a Bubble Tip Anemone. I know anemones are not for beginners and I won't be getting one until I am comfortable doing so. I have spent a good deal of time at my LFS learning about how they house and care for their BTAs and other animals. They've been very informative and helpful and their nems all seem to be in consistently good condition. They won't stock wild caught nems so the only ones they have are the BTAs in a few colors. (They also won't stock wild Banggais or Clowns or several others, they're pretty particular about that kind of thing.)
<All right>
Okay, gosh I didn't mean for all the background to go on so long, my apologies. I have three main questions. First, I am having a lot of trouble settling on which larger showpiece fish(es?) I should add to my tank. I really like both the Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon) and the One Spot Foxface (Siganus unimaculatus). Would it be acceptable to have one of each?
<Yes; but DO read re the PBT; Isolate it a good two weeks; consider the value in dips/baths>
Or are there alternate large fish you’d recommend?
<Many.... better for you to take your time; read books, through WWM... >
(Except Angels because I fear for the clam lol). I have a wide variety of other fish I like and I can choose from among them based on compatibility with the larger fish. Despite my love of them I’m assuming a Saddle Valentini Puffer (Canthigaster valentini) is out of the question with the clam :/
<Might nip; perhaps not>
Second, in a 200gal tank would it be okay to keep PJ Cardinals with the Banggais? With that much space will they be okay with each other?
<They'll likely go to either corner and ignore each other>
I'm having trouble finding info from anyone who's tried it.
<Have seen a few times>
And finally, would it be okay to keep some Zoanthids on their own bottom-of-the-tank rock cluster on the opposite end from the anemone?
<Could be done>
According to your article on BTAs and other information I have read, the nems don't typically move a whole lot after they’ve settled (as long as they aren’t unsettled by changes in their environment), though I know that’s always a risk. I am wondering if keeping Zoas with lower light requirements down where the nem likely wouldn't like it anyway would minimize the risk to tolerable levels in your opinion. In the end I’d rather pass on the Zoas or other corals rather than the BTA so if there aren’t coral options you'd consider acceptable for my tank size I’ll pass on them.
<There are several "less noxious" choices that will/can go in a system of your size with a BTA>
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this and for all the excellent information you’ve provided on your site!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

300 gallon fish only SW; stkg....         3/3/15
I am new to this and am using a professional but he hasn't told me no yet so... Need some advice:
300 gallon saltwater
Fish only with 75lbs of live rock
Current fish:
Yellow tang - alpha (8-9 months in tank)
Malinaris wrasse (8-9 months in tank)
Cleaner wrasse (8-9 months in tank)
Flame angel (5-6 months in tank)
Humu-humu (5-6 months in tank)
Juvenile emperor angel - (3-4 weeks in tank)
Two darker orange clowns (6-7 months in tank)
We are looking to add a dwarf lion - we just traded in a HUGE lion that kept "rubbing up" on other fish.
<Could add>
We are also looking to replace our one spot foxface and Toby puffer. I was also considering 3 tangs (sail, Kole and a new yellow since the current one is super aggressive.)
<Any of these would fit here>
Any tips on order for introduction?
<The Lion first, the Zebrasoma/s last>
Can we add all these fish?
<See above; yes>
We have 8-9 snails, 5 starfish, a protein skimmer and do weekly 10-15% water changes. I clean the filters 2 times a week and the skimmer (whether it's full or not) every other day.
Thank you!
The tank before we traded in the lion and before the puffer and foxface died....
Thank you again!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: 300 gallon fish only SW        3/3/15

What is a Zebrasoma?
<The genus of Sailfin Tangs... try your search tool>
Could we add a porcupine puffer AND the Toby? My husband and I are split in which we get :-)
<Tobies are puffers...>
Thanks so much for such a fast response! That's awesome
<Mmm; do you have time to read... perhaps a good general marine aquarium book? You'd greatly benefit; and enjoy it.
Bob Fenner>
Re: 300 gallon fish only SW        3/3/15

Tangs - got it. :-)
Erin Trujillo
Re: 300 gallon fish only SW        3/3/15

Is there a book you recommend?
Erin Trujillo
<Ah yes; not to be too self-serving: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.
Bob Fenner>

Re: 300 gallon fish only SW      3/4/15
Thanks! I appreciate it
Erin Trujillo
<You're welcome. BobF>

new fish addition/s; large SW      4/17/14
Hello Mr. F.
<Hey Andrei>
How are you?
<Fine; thank you>
My tank is progressing especially due to your direct advice and the huge resources found on your website. For that I thank you.
One new question: I attached a photo of the tank so you can see the aquascape and it`s dimensions because I want to ask, considering the fishes I already have, including a Acanthurus Japonicus ( in the tank for more than a year ) , could I add a Acanthurus Achilles?
<Mmm; well the tank is large enough... and am sure you're aware of how "touchy" the species is; and its reputation for being a "Crypt magnet">
The well-being of my fishes is a priority, I don`t want to stress them.
Besides what you see in the pictures I have in there a Pomacanthus Imperator ( juv) and some wrasses, a pair of percula clowns living in the huge Catalaphyllia in the back, and a pair of mandarins ( 1,5 years in there ). All the fishes are eating well, 6 times a day are fed with different foods and the last one was introduced 9 months ago. Despite the fact that I have the Zanclus Cornutus and the Imperator none of them are touching the corals,
I even have a large xenia colony that I thought it was doomed but it is unharmed. I also plan to introduce a Pygoplites Diacanthus , a Zebrasoma Flavescens or two and some more wrasses and Anthias. But slowly, after quarantine and over a long period of time.
The DT measures 2.1 meters /0.7/0.7
Thank you,
Andrei from Romania
<With care to avoid introducing parasites; starting with smaller new specimens; you should be able to fit all this in here.
Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

New tank build... Large marine fish stocking/systems     4/14/14
Hi guys hope all's good, I upgraded my tank to 150 or so UK gallons or to you guys across the pond 187 US gallon's (60"x 30"x 24") about a year and a half a go but I have a few fish that I know will need a bigger tank in time, they being my Stars and Stripes puffer 7" and my emperor angel 5",
<Oh yes>
I'm planning on upgrading my tank hopefully by the end of the year to a 96"x26"x24" or 96"x30"x24" and was wondering would this size of tank be suitable for both these fish when they reach adult size?
<Yes; likely so... to some degree; though not as much as for most freshwater organisms; marine fishes can be stunted size-wise to their environmental limitations>
I was also looking to add some other bigger fish like the sailfin tang and maybe 1 other large angel but if that's not possible then no worries my main concern is that the tank I'm upgrading to would be able to house my two current fish for their entire life, I would greatly appreciate your expert advice on this.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Diamond Goby 1st, Pair of O. Clowns 2nd, Sixline Wrasse <comp.> 3rd, Now What?! (Indeed) - 04/08/14
<<Hey Melissa!>>
I am wondering... I started my reef tank off with a diamond goby; a few months later added a pair of ocellaris clowns and have now added a six line wrasse. I am wondering if I have messed myself up by added the wrasse so soon??
<<Quite possibly…depending on your future piscine selections for this tank.>>
I have a 215g tank so I am hoping that the size will make up for such a rash decision to buy the little guy....
<<…Have seen them cause trouble in even larger systems.>>
Is it too late to add anything else?
<<Not “anything else,” no…but small fishes with similar body shape, habits, environment preferences et al will have a hard time of it…in my experience.>>
In the future my plan was to add a fairy or Christmas wrasse,
<<Likely an issue…>>
a couple pajama cardinals,
<<Probably fine…>>
a Firefish or gramma
(not sure which one or if they will be replaced with something else around the same size!), a mandarin goby,
<<A Dragonet, actually…and a hit-or-miss re the wrasse…feeding issues aside (do acquire a captive bred specimen). It likely will go ‘mostly unnoticed’ by the wrasse IME…but no guarantee>>
fox face, coral beauty angel, lemon peel angel, and/or a couple to a few tangs
<<All likely to co-exist fine with the Sixline>>
..... Not planning to add ALL of these, but this is what’s on my faves list. Open to suggestions on which ones to narrow it down to also!!
<<From your list…my preference would be the Foxface and one of the angels; likely the CB…though my fave for reef systems and “eye appeal” is the Flame (Centropyge loricula). If you still feel the “need” for a Tang then perhaps a Kole (Ctenochaetus strigosus) and/or the ubiquitous Yellow (Zebrasoma flavescens)…nothing getting too large.>>
Thank you so very much for your help in advance,
Melissa Nelson
<<Happy to share… Eric Russell>>
Re: Diamond Goby 1st, Pair of O. Clowns 2nd, Sixline Wrasse 3rd, Now What?! (Indeed) - 04/09/14

Thank you for responding!
<<Quite welcome>>
Does it matter how soon I add the smaller fish?
<<If the Sixline has been in the system more than a few days…is likely a moot point>>
I understand that if I wait an extended period of time the 6-line will become more comfortable, territorial and aggressive.
<<It likely already is all of these>>
So if I were to get the smaller fish added within the next few - 6 month period will that help?
<<Refer to my first comment>>
Also, what about Anthias?
<<A small group (5-7) of Anthias could do well here…though I would then limit adding any large and boisterous fishes if you should go this route. Do research/read up first>>
And are there any other small, medium, and large fish that you would recommend versus what I listed before?
<<Many possibilities (Cardinals, Wrasses, maybe even a Butterfly…more)…research and decide what you would like and then we can discuss>>
<<Welcome… Eric Russell>>

Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang      1/20/14
Hi Crew – hope all is well.
<Some of this; some of that. Thank you for your expressed concern/courtesy acknowledgement>
I welcome your thoughts on adding a Regal Tang
<Paracanthurus hepatus I'll take it>
to my 96x30x30 (375 gallon) tank ... The BIG players in the tank are 5" Majestic Angel, 6" Regal Angel (Angels get along fine), 7" Blonde Naso and the most recent addition (about a 6 months ago) a 5" purple tang. As suspected, the purple tang has become the most dominate fish, not attacking/harassing, he just makes sure everyone knows he's the boss. I initially thought the purple tang would be the last addition to the tank but I’m thinking a Regal tang could work. If so, would a small +/- 2.5” Juvenile have a better chance of being ignored by the big players, or should he be much bigger to compete with the BIG players (after QT of course).
Welcome your wisdom as always.
Rick Campbell
<I do give you good odds of this fish doing well here; given the small size start and large tank. Bob Fenner>
Re: Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang - AND Golden Butterfly... 375 gal. FOWLR f'     1/31/14

Am I asking for trouble by considering a couple/few of the gorgeous Chaetodon semilarvatus to this same group?
<A fave; and these should do fine in such a volume; given they fit in... mostly with the established Zebrasoma... which they should at their present size relatively. I WOULD keep an eye on the alpha tang and be ready to net/trap it out, place it in a floating plastic colander (spag. strainer) in the tank IF there are signs of overt aggression>
  There are currently 4 in QT at the LFS, approximately 2.5" in length.
<And you; Bob Fenner> 
Re: Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang - AND Golden Butterfly... 375 gal. FOWLR f'     1/31/14

Am I asking for trouble by considering a couple/few of the gorgeous Chaetodon semilarvatus to this same group?
<A fave; and these should do fine in such a volume; given they fit in... mostly with the established Zebrasoma... which they should at their present size relatively. I WOULD keep an eye on the alpha tang and be ready to net/trap it out, place it in a floating plastic colander (spag. strainer) in the tank IF there are signs of overt aggression>
  There are currently 4 in QT at the LFS, approximately 2.5" in length.
<And you; Bob Fenner> 
Re: Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang - AND Golden Butterfly: latter, stkg./sel.    2/2/14

Paracanthurus hepatus (after 11 days in QT - gobbling up NLS pellets from day one)
<Ah, good>
 went into the display about an hour before lights out last night and had to deal with Mr. Zebrasoma on occasion, both frontal and caudal posturing. Displaying a few scraps this morning from wedging within the rocks overnight I suspect - didn't appear to be scalpel wounds . Here we are 24 hours after introduction and I just witnessed them swim within 2" of each other as if neither existed. I've seen a few quick bolting lunges from Mr. Z today, but they have continued to minimize as the day went on. I'll continue to observe closely over the next couple days, but I'm hoping the worse is behind me.
In regards to introducing one or more Chaetodon semilarvatus, I've typically seen them singly or in pairs.
<Almost always encountered as pairs in the wild/Red Sea>
Would 3 or 4 coexist/group together considering the 375 gallon volume. Does strength in numbers also improve their chances with Mr. Alpha Zebrasoma xanthurum?
<I would go with two for sure here... And... look for a Red Sea angel to go with... I fully suspect that you would greatly enjoy an Asfur or Maculosus... perfect for this size system, setting. Intelligent, beautiful>
In closing, I remember asking my first question through this forum over 10 years ago in regards to a sump design on my first (90 gallon) aquarium.
 I had just finished "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" soft cover for the first time (of many). I was completely surprised (and so grateful) when I received a response from yourself! I'm now the owner of a well used, updated hardcopy version and would just like to say Thank You for all your work towards a hobby that I love so dearly.
Rick Campbell
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang - AND Golden Butterfly. Stkg 375 f'    2/2/14
I've considered an Asfur angelfish in the past but was unsure of how he'd fit in with the existing 5" Majestic and more so (my pride and joy) a beautiful yellow-bellied (and assumed Red Sea) 6" Pygoplites diacanthus (attached).
<IS a RS specimen and a beaut>
 Do I have good odds of success by adding an Asfur at this point, along with the Golden B/F pair, and if so in the 3"-4" range?
<I say yes to both/all... The Asfur will likely be tank bred/reared, smallish... and get along fine here; ultimately vie with the Xanthurum as alpha fish; but undoubtedly will become your fave>
You may find in a couple years time that you're wanting even a larger display for your (biotope) tank>
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Regal Tang Introduction with Purple Tang - AND Golden Butterfly. Adding an Asfur     2/4/14
A 6" Asfur currently available at LFS (attached pic shown with a Zebrasoma Xanthurum hiding in the back - he's been there for almost 2 months). 
<A very nice specimen>
At this size, the sparks might fly immediately with my resident 5" Mr. Z. - welcome your thoughts.
<I would go ahead and try this mix/match... WITH having a large plastic colander on hand to catch out, float the Zebrasoma in case there is trouble>
In regard to quarantine (my QT tank is 30 gallons), I'm tempted to just do a freshwater dip on the Pomacanthus asfur and get him in the display (knowing he's been 2 months at LFS and a fine looking specimen).
<Yes; this is what I'd do as well>
Simultaneously I'd get the pair of Chaetodon semilarvatus into QT. Or could I QT all 3 together?
<Just the BFs. Thirty gal.s is too small for all; or even just this Angel>
For interest ... my (intended RS biotype) currently includes the Regal Angel and Purple Tang as discussed, but also a Midas Blenny, 3 Female Lyretail Anthias, (with the largest starting to transition to male), a Blonde Naso Tang, 6 blue green Chromis and an Orchid Dottyback. My 100% biotype plan went out the window with the addition of the Majestic Angel.
<The Pomacanthus imperator I take it>
Additional non Red Sea specimens now include a Coral Beauty, a Flame Angel, Copperbanded B/F, a Twinspot Hogfish, 3 Royal Grammas, a diamond goby and the most recent Palette Surgeonfish that thankfully has been totally ignored by the Purple Tang for the last 24 hours.
Took me years to convince my wife to have 8' x 2.5' x 2.5' tank "built" into a wall as we were designing our new house ... I dare not mention a "larger display tank".
<Heeeee! B>

Damselfish Stocking     7/24/13
Hi WWM Team!
I wanted to reach out because I am considering adding fish to my existing reef tank and would like to create a "reef effect" with many damselfish but am not sure it is possible / practical.
<Well; some species can exist in a shoal in a large volume... a few can be mixed with other species>

 Hence, before making such a permanent decision I thought I would research WWM and reach out for a recommendation. The reef is 130''L x 36''W x 32'' H roughly 650G with quite a bit of Acropora and live rock. It is stocked with a very established Achilles, Yellow, and Purple Tang, Two Clownfish
<Which species? Will consider that these are more easygoing here>
and a Copperband Butterfly. The challenge is that the tangs and butterfly seem to have decided that they will swim together as a group... all the time! So the aquarium basically looks empty because the fish are all localized in one area (with the clowns never leaving their toadstool leather coral). After reading Bob's article on the Talbot's damselfish, and seeing them live, I was considering adding a number of them (or mixing 50/50 with Talbot's and Azure Damsels) to the aquarium with the *theory* that they will provide striking color like Anthias, while being smaller / less delicate.
<I would add these, AND some Anthias here... My choice? A nice mix of color and behavior in Pseudanthias squamipinnis... either just a few males, or all females and allow some to develop into males>
The challenge I am facing is that most of the information / advice online seems to focus on individual or small group behavior when discussing the viability of damsels.
<For aquariums, aquarists, yes; these all assume small system volumes; which, thankfully, you're not constrained by>

Are there any special considerations to keeping a larger group of a single species?
<Mmm, yes; many are far better stocked all at once, in the same size (small to start) range... Chromis and a few other genera of schooling species>
Will they hunt in packs and kill off all the livestock or will the large numbers basically temper the territorial behavior?
<Much more the latter; Pomacentrids don't hunt in packs>
 Assuming adequate filtration for about 15-20 damsels, does the size of the aquarium support this number of fish socially?
<It does; and I strongly agree w/ your choices here>
Best Regards,
<And you; Bob Fenner> 
Re: Damselfish Stocking     7/24/13

Thank you again Bob for your insight! As always its invaluable.
<Ahh, welcome Dan>
On a separate note... I moonlight on the Aquarium Council at the Shedd Aquarium and spent some time last week with folks from SECORE and the Coral Restoration Foundation. At dinner I was sharing the insights I received from you over the years and your reputation and writing really precedes you!! :-) Not sure if they knew you personally but many heads nodding
regarding your legend!
<Ah yes; have been around quite a while, trying to do my best in and for the field>
(Sexual coral reproduction is a special interest of mine so I learn/work with the Shedd on their projects in this area... WWM actually helped me recognize my first spawning event back in 2008 with GSP, proudly displayed at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypreprofaqs.htm at the top of the page.
:-) Now spawning is a yearly event in my aquarium around the end of October.)
Take Care Bob!
<And you, BobF>

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri) compatibility    6/28/13
I would like to keep the following in a 220 gallon tank.
The tank will have lots of live rock, hiding places and broken sight lines.
1 Flame Angel
1 Coral Beauty
1 Heralds Yellow Angel
<Can be quite boisterous.>
7 Blue Sapphire Damsels (Chrysiptera springeri)
A few Blennies
The Blennies would be introduced first, the Damsels second and the Dwarf Angels last.
<I would add the Damsels last. Allowing the Centropyge to establish territory unharassed would be my primary concern.>
The question I have is;  How aggressive will the Chrysiptera springeri be in this setup?
<Large enough system that they should not be of notice. I would be more concerned with a Centropyge death match.>
I have read conflicting reports about this damsel's peacefulness or aggression.
Does anyone have direct experience with a small group of these damsels kept in a larger aquarium?
<I have kept groups of three to five with similar stocking and the Springer's just squabble amongst themselves for the most part. Mild harassment but nothing of concern.>
  Will they become super territorial and kill everything in the tank
when they mature?
<They will not grow large enough to pose a serious threat to your current stock list.>
Thanks for your help,

300 gal. FO, stkg. list     6/11/13
Hello again. I am getting my ducks or fish in a row now. I am getting a 300 gallon tank. 96x24x30. It will have a 55 gallon sump/ refugium. It will be a fish only system. Right now I have about 100 pounds of live rock that I will transfer into that tank as well as 100 pounds of sand and large store bought ornaments for the fish to hide in. The tank will have two HOB protein skimmers and three hang on the back Emperor 400 filters with four power heads and four 300 watt heaters. I plan on a 6 inch DSB in the sump as well as algae grown in it.  These are items I already have on my other tanks that is why I am wanting to use them. If you think these items are not good enough for what I am trying to put together please advise because I have never had a system this large. I am upgrading from a 125g and a 90g.
<Should be fine>
My fish list is a Majestic Angel, Blue Tang, Foxface Lo, Purple Tang, Coris (Gaimard) Wrasse. Would also like to add a Harlequin Tusk and Picasso Trigger.  Would it be possible to add any smaller fish to this mix like 5 Anthias, 2 Clowns or 5 Chromis. Or would this tank be better with just the large fish. The one fish that I am worried most about is the Trigger attacking the smaller fish if I have them.
I was planning on 20% water changes per month.  Any thoughts on what I am putting together? Will this work.
<All should be fine together if started small and kept fed>
Anything I am missing or things I should replace? Thanks for your help as you guys have helped me in the past. Signed Gary
<I'd be moving forward... starting with the Damsels, Clowns... Bob Fenner>

Future Tank Compatibility      6/5/13
Dear WWM Crew:
I would like to start by thanking you for putting together a truly spectacular resource for home aquarists. I have been poring over your site nonstop since I found it, but I still have a couple of questions. I plan on building a tank that is 12 ft. By 10 ft. By 1. Ft.
<A single foot deep?>
In said tank, I would like to house the following:
X2 Chiloscyllium plagiosum
X1 Echidna nebulosa
X1 Gymnothorax favagineus
<Too big and mean, and will leave this shallow depth onto the floor>
X1 Pterois volitans
<Too likely to sting the shark, Morays and be eaten, harassed by the
puffer, angel>
X1 Diodon holocanthus
<Too likely to bite all but the Emperor>
X1 Pomacanthus imperator
From what I have read, these species should be compatible

 in the size of tank I am planning, but I wish to reaffirm this with an expert on the subject. Lastly, is there any species of ray you would recommend for my setup and species list?
<... I'd redesign this system to be a foot or more deeper; start over w/ the stocking list. You might consider raising/breeding Bamboo, Epaulette sharks... Or FW rays>
 I would only keep one if it is compatible with the other fish.
Connor Sullivan
<Keep dreaming, planning. Bob Fenner>

Stocking help      4/23/13
Hello! I am writing to verify I have my facts straight before I move forward with my current plan for my 50gal and setting up of my 265gal. I have written you a few times, and I just want to make sure I have interpreted your advice 100% correct.
I have a 50gal tank that has been set up for around five years. It has been through a few changes over this time.
Currently it has a refugium (about 10gal) which has seven Mangroves and Chaeto.
<The Mangroves need MUCH more room>
My first batch of Chaeto died. I wrote you and was told I probably needed more nutrients for it. I got two Anthias causing me to increase my feedings to three times a day, and now my walnut size Chaeto (came with a batch of Pods) is the size of a baseball in a three month time.
<Ah, good>
 I do not know where the Pods in my refugium have gone though.
<Flushed through, consumed by the Fancy Bass>
I don’t have any substrate in it: just a chunk of LR.
<I'd add>
My skimmer is a Berlin Airlift (it doesn’t sound like a favorite, but seems similar to the DIY types),
<Likely a bit undersized>
and a return pump of 660GPH. I put in the refugium initially in the hope to eliminate a hair algae problem that popped up a year ago, but now I think it has more to do with being near a window.
<Could well be>
 The tank has some Xenia, Zoanthids, and a Frogspawn. The lighting is Current Truelumen Dual LEDs. I dose Ca+ and pH. I have an Ocellaris Clownfish, Black & White Ocellaris Clownfish, Diamond Goby, and a Stocky Anthias.  The Anthias was purchased as a longtime pair from the store, but her friend never seemed to adjust and died earlier this week. The survivor is eating well and very colorful. I feed them Omega One pellets and Prime Reef flakes. I am taking your advice and choosing to make my 50gal house my future Lionfish instead of putting them in the larger tank to avoid feeding issues. I thought a Dwarf Fuzzy, Fu Manchu, and somewhere down the line adding a Sphex if I can ever find one. I would have liked to add a Snowflake eel, but after reading about mixing Lions and Eels it sounds too risky. This means all my other fish go into the 265gal.
Now onto my 265 gallon. It came with a (40gal?) refugium, and I plan on adding a 39 gal tank down there too for something. I’m not sure what yet but something useful. The return pump is a Little Giant that from my search appears to be 700GPH, and I assume that is not enough.
<Is fine flow rate wise for the sump/refugium... I would add water moving pumps to the main tank above...>
It came with some metal halides, compact fluorescents, and I’ll add my two Orphek PAR-38 blubs that I removed from the other tank.  I have read about plenums. From my reading it sounds like your opinion is they aren’t necessary, so I’ll skip that. From much reading and your advice, here is my list of additions: two Stocky Anthias (total of three), a pair of Cinnamon Clownfish (theory is there is enough space to have different species in the same tank), a
group of Halichoeres melanurus (one male, four females), and a Yellow Tang. If all is well after a year, I’d look into one of these three: a Heniochus diphreutes (hoping it will leave coral
alone, if not another Chaetodontids), a Red Sea Purple Tang, or a Flame Angel. I’d finish off with five Blue Reef Chromis, and a school of Banggai Cardinals (four?).
I hope this isn’t overstocked!
<Mmm, no>
I’m still having trouble imagining filling this tank. I am happy to take things VERY slow.
<Ahh! A good trait>
 I just want a sort of master plan so I don’t get the wrong animals along the way.
I truly apologize for the length of this. I just thought all facts make it easier for advice. I’ve been reading your site like a crazy person. I wish I could answer these questions by myself, but the best I’ve been able to do is narrow things
down. All advice will be heeded.
<As often welcome. Bob Fenner>

Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30) – Multiple Centropyge Individuals? …Species? …Both?– 04/10/13
<<Hiya Rick>>
Tank is up and running with a few residents calling it home. In fact, I thought I would have no problem with a Flame Angel (2") and a Coral Beauty (2.5") sharing the 96" x 30" footprint (considering the Coral Beauty is larger and both Dwarfs introduced simultaneously, about a week ago)
<<I would agree…in fact I have had success adding two Flames simultaneously to such a volume>>
, but Mr. Flame is being a bit of a bully (chasing and nipping - not attacking, Coral Beauty's tail is split/torn).
<<The aggression will likely diminish…though there are those exceptions>>
4" Majestic Angel ignores them both.
What are your thoughts on the following?
Adding 2 more Coral Beauty's. Will the Flame feel outnumbered / overwhelmed and leave all three of them alone?
<<Not likely, at least not right away…but it will certainly “spread the love” assuming the CBs get along>>
Will the resident Coral Beauty also feel outnumbered by the 2 new C.B.'s and all 4 live happily ever after ... or am I in for WWIII?
<<Is anybody’s guess really, but I do think there is a “chance” of it working. A better option IMO would have been to introduce a pair of each species (sized one smaller/larger within each species) as this would have given good odds of each becoming a “pairing”>>
Welcome your feedback and Thanks in Advance.
<<Always happy to share mate! EricR>>
R2: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30)…Fish Compatibility – 06/24/13

Good morning Eric,
<<Hi Rick…sorry about the late reply…been up to my neck in work and haven’t kept up here like I should>>
One last question in regards to overall tank compatibility. The BIG players in the tank are 4" Majestic Angel, 6" Regal Angel (Angels get along fine), 6" Blonde Naso and the most recent addition (about a month ago) a 4" purple tang. As suspected, the purple tang is starting to become the most dominate fish, not harassing, he just makes sure everyone knows he's the boss, especially the Majestic Angel. I initially thought the purple tang would be the last addition to the tank, but there is so much room in there I'm thinking either a 6"+ Powder blue tang or I do have access to a male/female pair of blue-throat triggers (approx 5").
<<I had a pair of these some years’ back…nice fish>>
Welcome your wisdom on this ...
<<I think either selection “can” work here…though I feel the triggers will bring less issues re compatibility with the ‘other’ fishes>>
and as you predicted, the Flame & Coral Beauty confrontations have subsided to few and far between.
<<Ah good>>
<<Be chatting…  EricR>>
R3: Larger Sized Aquarium (96x30x30)…Fish Compatibility – 07/01/13

<<Hey Rick!>>
Sorry for being a pest (I'm worse than a parasite).
<<No worries, mate…is my pleasure to provide my input>>
I' m getting gun-shy in regards to the Powder blue and Blue Throat triggers as I have quite a few passive fish in the tank.
<<I honestly believe the Triggers would not be an issue re…based on my own experience with these fish>>
I'm kicking myself for not introducing 3 hippo tangs a while back
<<Mmm…a heavy load even for “this” tank>>
... looking for your wisdom again here in regards to getting one (or preferably 2 or 3) hippo tangs introduced at this stage ... 3 little juveniles maybe or potentially one (or more) larger guys.
<<I’m hesitant to recommend this.  These fish get large (a much as 12” in the wild) and are “very” robust requiring a good bit more space than you might think in the long term>>
<<Do keep thinking about what you want…I’m happy to discuss it with you.  Eric Russell>>

stocking 265 gallon, SW    4/8/13
Dear Wet Web Media,
I find your site the most informative out there, and I read it often. I currently have a 50gallon reef tank and just purchased a 265gallon (7'x18"x30")
<Ahh! Quite "an upgrade">
to be set up and hopefully be up and running within four months. I am still in the planning stages and am at a loss for stocking something this size. I have a few fish I absolutely have to have, but would like some suggestions as to others. I may make this a reef tank also, but it isn’t currently a priority since I plan to frag from my other tank and see how it goes.
I want 2-3 Dwarf Lionfish. I was thinking Sphex, Dwarf Zebra, and Dwarf Fuzzy. I also want a Snowflake Eel. I realize these choices set a size standard in the tank and caution when choosing a clean-up crew, but they appear docile enough to work around those issues with creativity.  I thought the Blue Cheek Goby might get big enough to avoid death (7 inches?), because I love how my sand sifting Goby cleans up in my other tank. It would be nice to have a pair of Clowns, so I
thought of Maroon because of size but also heard they can be mean.
<Premnas can. You may be deciding on the alpha fish (the one female) here for your system>
 After this, I become very open to suggestion. What are your thoughts on Pygmy Angels, Butterfly fish (Copper banded, Pyramid), or a Tang (I’m afraid of Ich here, though).
<Look into the genera Ctenochaetus and Zebrasoma... these are generally guide sturdy and more disease-resistant>
What do you think would be an ideal 265 gallon fish assortment?
<Ahh, best to take your time here; this is indeed not a race, but a process to be savored, enjoyed over time. I would likely have two, perhaps three schooling groups here (though they may be inhaled over time by your dwarf Lions)... Anthiines, Apogonids, the genus Cirrhilabrus...>
Most tank mate suggestions end at about 150gallons or move to aggressive choices. I figure any thoughts of a school would be out since the size of those fish would be too small.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: stocking 265 gallon 4/8/13

Yes, I am SUPER excited about my upgrade! I am amazed at the options I have now. And yes, going slow here to fill it up is not only wise but financially necessary.
<Ahh, yes>
You said the Premnas may become the B----in the tank.  Would the Cinnamon Clownfish (Amphiprion melanopus) be any better?
<Yes; about half as aggressive by and large>
 They get pretty big too. Maybe any larger Clown has an attitude, and I’m just going to have to accept that fact (I guess better that then lunch for a lionfish)?
<Will still be a risk... Even small Lion species, specimens have capacious maws; with appetites to match>
I started researching Cirrhilabrus. From what I
gather, some can get to be five inches and do best in groups of one male to three females.
<Yes; even more females to the ratio>
I can also house different Cirrhilabrus groups in the same tank as long as each group has only one male. Would you agree with that?
 I have it narrowed to; Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura (six inches), Cirrhilabrus exquisitus (five inches), Paracheilinus filamentosus (six inches), Halichoeres melanurus (five inches). This was based on size (trying to go larger) and price (didn’t want to spend $100+ each for four fish). Do any of these stand out to be a better choice? Perhaps I left out a better option?
<Mmm, well, the Halichoeres is nominally the more hardy... Paracheilinus least...>
I agree with the idea of using such a large tank (large to me at least) to show off schools. I think Cardinals would be eaten (I do like the Banggai).
<Well, most Apogonids used in the trade (there are hundreds of species) tend to inhabit the mid to upper water area... w/ the Lions usually ensconced just over the substrate...>
 The Cirrhilabrus sound good because I could potentially house different species. I currently have two happy Anthias in my 50gallon, so if they get too large this tank would be their new home.  My local fish store guy suggested moving my fish out of my current tank and putting my (future) Dwarf Lionfish in it leaving my new larger tank to be more flexible until he remembered it is a reef tank. He feels a Lionfish in ANY reef tank is bad because of the bio-load.
Would you agree?
<Mmm, well; I do also encourage this arrangement, but not for this reason. Mainly the fact that any dwarf Lion is going to "get lost" in such a sized volume... and be hard to feed...>
One more question; are Butterfly fish that horrible to care for?
<Ahh, not all, no. There are some stand-outs... Take the time to read on WWM, elsewhere re Chaetodontids. BobF>

230 gallon stock list    7/18/12
How are you today?
<Hi Brent, Bobby Here>
I finally purchased my big tank! 230 gallons. Although I am sure that once I have had it for a few years I may want a bigger one! Since I am able to accommodate larger fish I just need to double check my stock list.  It is real easy to get greedy and think of my viewing pleasure and not the welfare of the aquatic inhabitants. I have poured through you FAQ's and ReefCentral.  I know that a lot of compatibility issues are all based on individual fish personalities and tank size. If you could kindly read through my fish list and give me your thoughts that would be greatly appreciated.
Here goes.....Mixed Reef (Mostly softies)Emperor angel (must have, show piece) x 1Naso Tang x 1
<The Naso Tang may ultimately be a concern.  Although  a 230g tank sounds big, this genus of Tangs get very large>
 Moorish Idol x 1Long Nose butterfly x 1Yellow Watchmen Goby and Shrimp x 1Sunburst Anthias x 1 Flame Hawkfish x 1Neon Goby x 2Percula Clownfish x 2Green Chromis x 5I would like a Blue Throat Trigger but I feel like this
addition would be pushing the limits.
<if you did away with the Naso, the Trigger might fit in much better>
Thanks for your time and have a good day. Brent
<You as well>

Help regarding adding livestock, FOWLR     5/21/12
I live in India and have an 300 gallon marine FOWLR system which has been running successfully for almost 2 years now with the following parameters:
Display tank size: 225 gallons
Sump size: 75 gallons
Live rock: 200 pounds
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0
<How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered thus (zero)?>
Calcium: 450ppm
Salinity: 35ppt
Temperature: 27 degrees Celsius
I did a 20% every month for the initial 6 months and ever since then I haven't changed the water.
<Mmm, how do you intend to replenish alkalinity, alkaline earth materials, dilute accumulating metabolites?>
 I do add saltwater from time to time in order to keep the salinity stable, apart from this I dose calcium, iodide, strontium and magnesium once a week.
<I see; there is much more>
The following is the present livestock:
Yellow Tang (2.5 inch each) - 2
<A long way from home>
Regal Tang (2.5 inch) - 1
Purple Tang (2 inch) - 1
Clarkii Clown (3 inch) - 1
Humbug Damsel (1 inch) - 1
<Can become aggressive.>
The above fish were added to the tank in a span of 1 year and all have been staying happy together with no fights whatsoever. Since the tank has been stable and all the parameters are within range, I decided to add some more fish and the following are the ones I have in mind:
Firefish Goby - 2
Foxface - 1
Royal Gramma - 1
Lawnmower Blenny - 1
Lyretail Anthias - 10
Flame Angel - 1
<All good choices, temperament, compatibility wise>
I was planning to add the Anthias second last and the flame angel to be the last fish. Do you think this would a lot of fish for my kind of system?
<I think you'll be fine here>
 I am planning to add them in a span of 6 months. I did read your forum about Anthias and saw that there was a mix opinion on the lyretail Anthias. I went to my LFS and he has been keeping some 20 of them together for almost an year now and they all are happy with no fights or compatibility issues, so thought should give it a shot.
What are your thoughts on the livestock options I have in mind?
<Look good>
Also, can I keep shrimps with the above livestock or will that be a problem?
<If there's room to hide during molts, no worries>
I was thinking upon keeping a pair of skunk shrimp and a pair of fire shrimp, if they can be accommodated.
Also, since the livestock will increase, would you advice on keeping some clean up crew as I don't have any as of now. I can easily get Nassarius snails and turbo or trochus snails, if you feel they might be required.
I fully understand that nothing can be guaranteed regarding the compatibility of these fish when added into the tank, but this is the final list of fish I thought would best suit my tank and I am all ears to what the experts have to say.
Apologies for the lengthy email, I tried to cover as much data as I could.
<Thank you for sharing your system, plans. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Hello Bob,
Thank you so much for the replies, a lot of my doubts stand clear. As for your queries, here are the answers:
> <How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered thus (zero)?>
For PO4 I used Seachem Phosguard and by studying the pattern of when to change it, I was successfully able to calculate the right interval and am able to keep it at zero. As for NO3, I used a product called AZNO3 initially when my dad overfed the fish due to sheer excitement when I was away. I was successful in weaning the system off it and now its taken care by the 5 inch DSB I have in the sump plus the live rocks.
<I see; good>
> <[Mg]?>
My magnesium is a bit low about 1000 (approx) and I have started
dosing Seachem magnesium to reach the optimum levels which I should hopefully achieve in about a month or so.
<Good... needs to be in proportion (3:1 thereabouts) w/ Ca>
Although a little more clarification on the below points please:
> I did a 20% every month for the initial 6 months and ever since then I
> haven't changed the water.
> <Mmm, how do you intend to replenish alkalinity, alkaline earth materials,
> dilute accumulating metabolites?>
I did not understand this, could you please elaborate on this or provide me with a link where I can study about it?
<You had answered a bit later by explaining you supplement some major items... I would still do partial water changes (10-20%) every month>
>  I do add saltwater from time to time in
> order to keep the salinity stable, apart from this I dose calcium,
> iodide, strontium and magnesium once a week.
> <I see; there is much more>
By much more, do you mean trace elements? I asked cos I do add trace elements offered by Seachem from time to time but not very often.
<Understand that no one is able to prevent "drift" in the make up of their water in this fashion... hence the partial water change outs>
Another thing, just curious, mine is a FOWLR, so do magnesium or any other additives like calcium strontium impact the health of the fish in the tank?
<Mostly the Magnesium; not so much Sr>
I know PH alkalinity magnesium and calcium have a relation and if one is less the others get impacted, but other than that...do they affect the fish or are they just for inverts and corals?
<Actually all life>
<And you, BobF>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Dear Bob,
Thanks a lot for all the help, I appreciate it!
I shall start with a 10% water change each month and will increase the % if necessary.
Take care,
<Ahh, if you'd like to see more of the reasoning for this, please do search/read on WWM re the topic. Cheers, B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock     5/21/12

Will certainly do so Bob, the more I read, the more I realize how less I know :)
<Ahh! As has been my realization all these years>
Thanks a ton!
<As much mass in welcomes. B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, 300 gal. FOWLR      5/29/12

Dear Bob,
I was reading more about the lyretail Anthias and stumbled upon the page with referred to dips/baths as the best way to acclimate these fish. I have never done this and avoid experimenting as I don't like to hurt the fish in any way, call me emotional towards them :)
<Understandable... but we have to gauge/measure one type of apparent harm against its probable gains>
I always drip acclimate the livestock for 4-5 hours and it has always worked for me. Do you suggest I should continue to do so in case of the Anthias or should I take a risk of trying the dip method?
<Up to you... I/we, our businesses used to dip/bath most all incoming>
A reply would be appreciated.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock      5/29/12

Dear Bob,
<Hey Andy>
Thank you for the reply. I would like to explain something here.
<Please do>
The fish are packed real nice and the LFS keeps all the parameters intact, in fact I should not address him as a LFS, instead he likes to keep a lot of tanks and he doesn't sell the fish to anyone, in short, he doesn't keep the fish to sell, unless someone like me pushes him real hard. All his tanks are top notch and maintained really well. And I have had all my fishes from him only since the beginning and I haven't faced any problems so far with a single specimen.
Another thing, I have read this a lot of times that Anthias require multiple feedings in order to curb the aggression and to keep them happy.
<This can be so; particularly if they're (too) crowded>
 I feed my fish NLS food and as per them, they strictly advise us to feed no more than 2 times in a day, so will this regime work for the Anthias?
<Can, could... if they start in a good index of fitness (not thin)>
 I do offer the fish Nori sheets by two little fishes every other day or so, but that's all. Any suggestions?
<I encourage you to add an automatic feeder for the NLS pellets... have it come on a few times per (during lights-on) day>
One last thing, 10 lyretail is a satisfactory number for a 225 gallon tank or should I add or subtract from that count?
<I'd go w/ 5 or 7...>
<And you, BobF>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock... Anthiines      5/29/12

Hey Bob,
The problem with the autofeeder is that the pellets don't sink fully and they float away into the overflow,
<Ah yes>
 I had 2 autofeeders and I faced the same issue with them. NLS pellets need to be a little wet and then they easily sink..any idea how to go about that?
<Mmm, can't really be wetted... turn to mush, decompose>
> One last thing, 10 lyretail is a satisfactory number for a 225 gallon > tank or should I add or subtract from that count?
> <I'd go w/ 5 or 7...>
Thank you for the clarification, the first time I emailed you with the intended livestock, you didn't object to adding 10 of them, but after reading a lot about them, I was a bit skeptical upon adding so many.
<Ahh, better to allow space for interaction, the addition of other motile livestock. B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock, 300 gal., FOWLR      6/1/12

Dear Bob,
Sorry for not replying before, wasn't well.
<Ahh, do guard your health>
I was thinking since am going to go with 7 Anthias, would it be possible to add a pair of Banggai and pajama cardinals?? If yes, then:
<Is possible>
Are they compatible with each other?
Would they harm shrimps?
<Would not harm shrimp of any stocking size>
Another option I had was to have a pair of Bannerfish, but again I have heard they aren't compatible with shrimps. What are your thoughts about them?
<See WWM re Heniochus spp.... Should be fine. B>
Re: Help regarding adding livestock      6/3/12

Dear Bob,
Thanks a lot for your help, I shall send you a picture of the tank as soon as I have my completed my stock as desired.
Take care and wish me luck!
<Thanks and will do Andy. B>

227g Stocking    4/15/12
WetWeb Crew! Matt here.
First off, thank you so much for your contributions to our hobby! :-)
On to my question.  I'm in the planning stage of my 227g (72x27x27 inches) Mixed Reef.  It will be an SPS dominant system with a few polyps, acans, clams and a BTA island.
Stocking plans thus far:
Powder Blue Tang (Acanthurus leucosternon)
Caribbean Blue Tang ( Acanthurus coeruleus)
4 or 5 Australian Stripey (Microcanthus strigatus)
Pair of Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus)
Clownfish Pair (Amphiprion ocellaris)
Royal Gramma Pair (Gramma loreto)
Kaudern's Cardinal Pair (Pterapogon kauderni)
Your thoughts on adding another Bellus Angelfish female? Cut them altogether?
<Could all go in... start them small-ish>
Do I have space to add another "peaceful" Tang?
<Mmm, yes; of another genus>
Thoughts on adding a wrasse for pest control?
<Yes I would>
I've searched threw faqs and articles, but there's very little information,
even on this vast site, about Microcanthus strigatus.
<Not a very popular species, though one of my faves... very hardy, active...>
If you see any issues or have suggestions please inform me!
Thanks crew!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

tankmates. Diminishing aggression through castration, adding fishes to a large occupied system 1/15/12
I would appreciate your advice on two problems before I will do another avoidable mistake (I have less than 2 years of experience). I haven't finished stocking my tanks yet.
1. I would like to ask you for some thoughts on one issue I couldn't find any information about - fish castration.
<Chemical, or via physics I take it>
I wander if this could help to solve the problem of aggression some fish like triggers or angels develop with age?
<In what way/s?>
I am hoping that castration would cause the same behavioural changes like in dogs and cats but I am not sure if this would be case as I couldn't find any record.
My local reptile vet performed recently surgery on the puffer to remove tumour so I assume that everything could be medically possible (????) J
Please, let me know if others also had similar thoughts/experience as it would let me plan forward stocking in my both tanks with peace and harmony and fish more relaxed.
<I don't think castration has the same effects on fishes... As a hopefully pertinent example, I'll state what I know re Oscars, Astonotus ocellatus... Since the late 1960's "sport mutations" (red, tiger red, albino, longer-finned varieties... though the same species, ala domestic dogs and cats) have been produced commercially, initially w/ very few reproducing other than in the Asian countries of their origins. The individuals sold were expressly sterilized (reportedly by exposure to high temperature and some chemicals), to prevent their drop in price. These fishes are no less rambunctious, pugilistic than wild-type individuals>
2. I have two systems. The second one is a new upgrade running for less than 3 months.
- First 470L reef with no problem of aggression.
All fish in this tank are small and reef compatible apart from tiny long horned cowfish (about 1.5 '). Eventually it will join FO tank once is slightly larger.
- Second 6 'x 4' x
2.5' FO -holding approx. 1600L + two sumps (300- 400L total volume).
The reason I bought such a wide tank is because it's been always my ambition to keep a stingray although I don't think I am still ready for it. If blue spotted ray is almost impossible
<There are other, even similar species that are historically more aquarium suitable. See WWM re>
to keep in captivity I would consider lemon or other in the future.
<Lemon... as in a lemon shark? Not recommended>
Tank stocks currently
6 fish + large 4' hermit crab.
-dogface puffer (Daisy) 6'
-porcupine puffer ( E.T.) 5''
-snowflake (String) 8'
-tasseled filefish (Marley) 3.5'
-blue throat trigger (Romeo) 5'
-Emperor angel ( Julius) 5.5' - Julius 'owns' the tank. Has lots of personality and likes to chase every single fish from time to time (particularly Romeo). He is the main reason why I am afraid to transfer cowfish from another tank just yet and I am worried about it. For obvious reasons I can't have cowfish being chased.
Would it help if I removed Julius from the tank for few days, introduce cowfish and then reintroduce Julius back. Would this change his attitude?
<Mmm, I don't have enough confidence that it would. Likely not>
I was also thinking of adding either female blue throat trigger or very young clown trigger but I am afraid of potential conflicts and won't probably do it unless castration was an option.
<The female Xanthichthys addn. should be fine here. Not the Clown>
Not sure what's the best thing to do and where to compromise.
<Keep reading, searching then>
I am happy to compromise on every single fish apart from my beloved puffers, cowfish and stingray.
I will greatly appreciate your advice.
All the best
<And you, Bob Fenner>

stocking reef 1/10/11
Thanks as always for the great website and endless advice!
<Heeee! Seemingly endless perhaps! We're definitely finite, human>
I wanted to run a stocking list past someone. We have always prided ourselves on being understocked, but I think we are about to swing the pendulum way too far in the other direction! We have a 250 gallon SPS/LPS reef.
Total water volume with support tanks is about 600 gallons. Rock is arranged in two islands to allow lots of hiding spots as well as open water column for swimming. Current inhabitants for past four years are Double Barred Rabbitfish, Yellow Tang, and pair of Ocellaris Clowns.
Recently we added a Vlamingii Tang (rehome from someone else's WAY too small tank)
<A beauty, but get QUITE large>
and an "Aiptasia eating Filefish" which we now call a "Non-Aiptasia eating Filefish" to help with Aiptasia.
<Mmm, likely Acreichthys... tomentosus... see my comments on WWM (use the search tool w/ the scientific name) re this Monacanthid... is more an opportunistic corallivore than many folks wish>
We are going to be adding a Tahitian Butterflyfish in the near future to try and help with the Aiptasia
<Chaetodon trichrous? I'd use another species... the lunula, auriga... this too is posted:
(We've tried Aiptasia X until we felt like we were having water quality issues secondary to it).
Now we are getting sucked into the "just spend $40 more and get free shipping" ploy so we are considering adding another fish. I know, BAD reason to add another fish. So...would we be woefully overstocked if we also added seven Green Chromis?
<This system would not be>
What about a Flame Angel instead?
<You could... even in addition>
I know we may already be overstocked because of the Vlamingii, but then I read other's stocking lists and start thinking we might be okay.
<This Naso Tang will have to be moved to a larger system in time...>
We also have a 90 gallon (not part of 600 gallons above) with a Yellow Tang and pair of Clarkii Clowns. Any room here for another fish?
<Mmm, yes>
Perhaps the Flame Angel in this tank?
Your opinion will be most appreciated!
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Livestock Compatibility, and much more 12/6/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 210 gallon FOWLR tank with a 125 gallon sump/refugium
containing a EV-400 Skimmer and Mag 18 return pump. I have filter pads in between some baffles that are rinsed out at least once a week and replaced once a month.
<Mmm, much nitrate accumulation?>
Activated carbon is also used and replaced monthly. The majority of the 125 gallon is a DSB with Chaeto growing on an opposite light cycle to the tank lights.
I have a 216 watt power compact light fixture with actinics and 10k's. Inside the tank I have 2 Koralia 3's and 2 Koralia 4's helping in the circulation of water as well. There is approximately 150-200 of live rock
in the tank with supporting PVC pipe structures to make lots of caves and overhangs. The substrate is about a half inch of sugar sized sand. I used to have a Bamboo Shark in the tank and have now decided to go in another direction because he was attaining a large size and I was not ready to upgrade to a larger tank at this juncture. A month ago I bought a 4-5" Scribbled Angelfish and quarantined in a 55 gallon tank until today, so she is the first fish in the tank. Currently being fed Ocean Nutrition 1 and 2, Spirulina Flakes, Nori, Ocean Nutrition Angel Formula, Mysis Shrimp, and a homemade meaty mix (shrimp, oyster, squid, and scallops). Haven't been able to get her to accept Spectrum pellets yet, though they are pretty small pellets. Will larger ones help?
<Yes; likely so. Keep mixing in a larger percentage with the other foods>
Ideas on encouraging eating them?
<The above>
She is fed small portions 3 times per day. I soak whatever foods I feed her at least every other day in Zoe and Marine C. I am ordering Selcon as well. Tank is stable at ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0, nitrates:~ 0(maybe 1-2, test kits aren't easy to read precisely), SG:1.025, Temp:78. The other fish I would ultimately like to add to this tank over time to join the Scribbled are....
1 Juvenile Emperor Angel
<Mmm, will eventually outgrow this volume... a few years>
1 Harlequin Tusk
1 Tang (leaning towards Atlantic/Caribbean Blue Tang)
<Not easily kept in general. Make sure and secure an initially-healthy specimen>
Maybe a school/group of small fish (chromis, damsels, or something along those lines)
<Sounds good>
I have 2 questions for you to help me with if you could.
1. Will my intended stocking plan work with my setup?
Any issues you see arising with my intended plan?
<None overt>
The only one I can see with an issue may be the Emperor and Scribbled when the Emperor grows up. That is why I placed the Scribbled in first as they are not overly aggressive and am putting in a juvenile Emperor so they grow together thus increasing the chance of them getting along. Does that sound like a good plan or a flawed one?
<A good plan>
2. I recently received a Red Sea 100 mg/hr ozonizer from a friend. I do not have a controller for my tank at this time and know that it is strongly recommended when using ozone.
<Mmm, I'd hook this one up... the size/output will not prove problematical.
See my comments here:
and in the linked files above if you'd like>
I have done some research and am wondering if I only run the ozonizer at 25 mg or 50 mg/hr for 2 hours a day for the purpose of keeping my water very clean, would this be alright?
<Yes... even full out should be fine>
Are the benefits of this worth any risk I am occurring in your opinion?
<Oh yes>
If this is alright, would the ozone reduce or eliminate the need for activated carbon?
Or should I use both?
<Can use both.>
I greatly appreciate your knowledge and insights in the underwater world and would truly appreciate your input on my plan and what you feel could be done to increase my odds of success. Thank you so much in advance!
<Very happy to share with you Dustin. Happy holidays. Bob Fenner>
Re: Livestock Compatibility... and more, sans directed reading... 12/7/10
Hi Bob,
Thanks for all of your help! I am very glad that my setup and fish choices are aligned for success. I do understand that Emperor Angels do grow quite large and my intentions are to be able to upgrade my tank by that time. I would like to clarify a few things that I am not sure if I fully understand pertaining to your responses as well as a few other questions.
1. When you talk about using the ozonizer and say, "Even full out should be fine." Do you mean full out for 2 hours as I suggested?
<... did you read where you were referred?>
Or always on at the lower level?
<... a 100 mg/h unit can be run full out on this volume w/o a controller>
Also, do you think 2 hours would be the right amount of time at full throttle? More time or less time? I read some of the FAQ's on RedOx and the link you provided but couldn't seem to find answers or a scenario like mine.
2. I have not had much, if any, nitrate accumulation from the filter pads at this point.
<Actually you doubtless have. The other denitrifying operations and take up of NO3 in your system has negated its accumulation>
I don't have any other filtration that would catch big particles and thought these would be helpful. I may be missing something or this may just be unnecessary? Do you think I should remove the filter pads?
3. With the Atlantic Tang, I have read they are pretty hardy fish and well suited for keeping in an aquarium.
<Inaccurate. The majority die w/in a month>
Not getting too large and such.
<How large is that?>
What size would you recommend for the best chance at success?
<Search WWM re Acanthurus coeruleus...>
Otherwise, if they really are quite difficult to keep I may pick a different tang. I actually would prefer a Sohal Tang, but know they can get quite aggressive.
<This is so>
I know you are a big fan of keeping Sohal's and I really like them, but I have been cautious because I wasn't sure if it would be alright in my setup even if it was the last fish introduced. Your thoughts?
<Are posted... 30-40k folks use WWM every day... we're not a bulletin board, but we do have one if you'd care to chat>
4. Lastly, and completely unrelated, I recently noticed a yellow patch under some mushrooms in my 75 gallon softie reef tank. I bought the rock only a couple months ago and didn't notice this spot until now because it is covered in mushrooms. After much searching, I found what I believe to be a yellow Nudibranch, as per
In that case he was eating some corals that I don't believe I have (Sorry, I am not very good or for that matter interested in learning all the scientific names. At least not yet!) and you suggested he remove it/them. I don't see any areas that are damaged on any of my corals (button polyps, Zoanthids, colt coral, lots of Ricordea, trumpet coral, and lots of blue mushrooms that he is under). Should I remove him immediately or will he be fine in my tank?
<I'd hold off>
Again, I thank you greatly for your time and wisdom in helping me do the best I can to enjoy and properly care for my aquatic friends. After all of your help a donation is definitely in order to help continue this great
Happy Holidays to you as well,
<Thank you, BobF>
Re: Livestock Compatibility, Chromis stkg.... 12/7/10
One last question I forgot to add to the list. My apologies.
I have decided to get a bunch of Green Chromis for my school of small fish.
How many would you suggest to create a moving scene in my tank without overdoing it? My initial thoughts were 9, too many or too few?
<A good number. B>

Suggestions required- Stocking options 11/30/10
Hi Bob
Need suggestions in stocking my tank.
I currently have a 200 gallon (72"(l) x 24"(w) x 30"(h)) Aquarium with a 50 Gallon sump (with skimmer and DSB only as of now).
It had about 70 Kgs of live rock and 72 Kgs live sand approx.
I intend to turn this to a reef tank in about a years time (with some experience in hand by then).
I currently have the following fishes:
1 Ocellaris Clown
1 Regal Tang
1 Koran Angel
1 Tomato clown
1 Yellow tang (recently purchased)
2 Green Chromis
1 hermit crab
Am interested in the following :
1) Tentacle anemone
<What species?>
2) Flame Angel fish
3) Diamond goby
4) Copperband butterfly
5) pink skunk fish (anemone fish)
PLs suggest what all can be housed.
<These should be able to fit... w/ knowing which anemone species this is.

Stocking Question... red fish, blue... 11/23/10
Hello Crew!
As always many thanks for your loyalty, time, and knowledge. Hobbyist are very fortunate to have your knowledge and dedication.
Here is my "situation". I have a large (300 gal.) FOWLR tank with an additional 50 gal. sump. Currently I have the following fish: (1) 30" Zebra Moray, (1) 5" Orange Shoulder tang, (1) 3" Chevron Tang, (1) 7"
Golden Puffer, (1) 11" Imperator Angel. I was looking at adding one more fish. With the Eel mainly hanging out in the rockwork, and just showing himself every now and then, I have the three other fish swimming around, and it seems there is still lots of empty space. Also the Chevron is now past its juvenile stage, and mainly an olive / brown fish...still interesting, but not much color. The Imperator, and Puffer are extremely nice fish, with the angel from the Red Sea, and the puffer an extremely vivid yellow with a few black dots. I was wanting to get some "red or blue" in the tank, and after reading up quite a bit, added (after Qt) a 7" Australian Harlequin tusk. Very impressive fish, with nice blue / orange markings, and very healthy. After reading Bob's write-up where he states that "Most everything leaves a harlequin tusk alone and vice versa. Though I've seen incorrigible triggers and angels make passing forays at a Tuskfish, they rarely do damage or continue." Well I must have the one angel that won't stop harassing. I have read that large angels may be best added last, and I am worried that may be the case for me, although the Golden puffer was added after the angel, and neither give the other the time of day, with the exception of a "grunt" or two from the angel during feeding.
<You have good hearing>
The tusk ate in QT for the full 4 weeks, although with the angel not allowing the tusk to come out of the rockwork, he is stuck in one place now for 5 days without coming out at all, and not eating either, he is very stressed. I am thinking I am going to have to remove the tusk. Do you agree this would be the only choice at this point?
<I'd take the Angel out for a week or so>
BIG expense to have to have this not work, but such is life in this hobby I guess. I don't want the tusk to die, and at this point I think removal / re-location is the only option.
With all of the above stated, I am still wanting to add some color, preferably "red / orange". Any thoughts of choices that may make it past the angel?
<Perhaps a Rabbitfish, Beryciform (Squirrel, Soldado...), Big-Eye>
I was wondering if maybe going the smaller route, say 3-4 small damsels might work?
I have large, and medium sized fish, and maybe some smaller fish would complete the tank.
<Worth trying... would add motion, interest here>
I have plenty of rockwork for the damsels or smaller fish to hang out in, and maybe they would be too small to be bothered with by the large angel.
I would guess since the Golden Puffer is more of a crustacean eater, that the small fish would not be food for him, is that correct?
<Unless they were very slow, no>
I doubt the Puffer would even come close to catching a small fish, he is quite the slow lumbering around the tank kind of fish.....spectacular fish to watch with lots of personality, but not built for speed for sure. If
you think the small fish route may be feasible, do you have any suggestions, damsels, a few Clowns, or?
<Larger clown species, specimens might go as well... even sturdier Anthiines in a shoal>
Your suggestions and comments are very much appreciated.
Best regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking Question, 300 gal. FOWLR, Emperor A comp. 11/23/10

Hello Bob,
<Hey Steven>
Thank you for your reply.
<Certainly welcome>
I read your article on the "Fancy Seabass", and prompted a few more questions. IN the write-up, it states they can be difficult to keep, and "The absence of aggressive fellow tankmates is re-emphasized".. Do you think the mix I have would work with these?
<Some species yes; principally due to the size of your established system.
I would look to Pseudanthias squamipinnis... an exceptional species in a few regards, usually available in the trade... and the most common fish species in the Red Sea. Good co. for that RS Emperor>
I am guessing they will be too small for the Angel or Tangs to bother with?
<Even considered as ditherfish>
Also you state to be careful when stocking more than one individual, and do I need to be careful with male vs. female, or how many would you suggest?
<One determinate male... the rest not...>
Can you clarify what "sturdier Anthiines in a shoal" means? Is there a specific genus that is "sturdier"?
<Mmm, in reference to tougher members of the subfamily Anthiinae in a group>
Sorry for all the questions. Your help / clarification, and guidance is greatly appreciated.
<Clarity is pleasurable. Thank you for helping me be more clear, complete. BobF>
Re: Stocking Question 11/23/10
Hi again Bob.
Should have formed all my questions before I hit send on my last email.
What are some of the larger Clowns you would recommend, Tomato, Maroon, or?
<These, A. chrysopterus, others listed here:
Ones that get over 3-4" in length. B>
Thanks again,

300 FOWLR, stkg. - 10/09/10
Hello, I am in the process of cycling my 300 gallon FOWLR tank,(96x24x30) with 400 pounds of live rock, and am currently deciding what fish I should put in there. My ideas were: 1) Emperor Angel 2) Queen Angel
<I'd choose between these two... just one>
3) Blue Tang 4) Volitans Lionfish 5) Harlequin Tuskfish 6)Yellow tang. I was wondering what your opinion was on this stocking list. Are the fish compatible, if not what would you suggest adding or removing?
<Mmm... these fishes could all go in this size/shape volume...>
Furthermore, is this aquarium large enough to house these fish in the long term?
Finally, in what order should I add these fish to the aquarium?
<The Angel last; the blue tang ahead of the yellow>
Thank You very much
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 375 Gallon Soft Coral Reef Tank/Stocking Level/Compatibility 9/20/10
Hi Crew,
<Hello Rick>
In the process of planning a 96x96x30
<Yowsah, James is jealous again.>
Soft Coral (noxious variety) Reef Tank (currently have a 90 gallon reef tank that I've been able to
learn/experience/make a few mistakes with/but most importantly enjoy).
My DREAM occupants of the proposed 375 gallon tank would include a Majestic Angelfish - Euxiphipops Navarchus and a Regal Angelfish - Pygoplites diacanthus ... but honestly (and after literally hundreds and hundreds of "hours of reading / research") I'm probably more confused (or afraid of attempting) now than 2 years ago when I started planning the bigger tank. My research simply tells me, "if" you look long enough, someone will give you the answer/info you are hoping for ... albeit not often correct or accurate. Here's my wish-list, in order of introduction into the tank ... please provide your wisdom in regards to my chances of success within a soft coral tank.
<I'll give you my input, see below.>
Greatly, greatly appreciated,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
20 Yellowtail Damselfishes - Chrysiptera parasema
<Good choice, one of the least aggressive Damselfish and a great splash of color.>
1 Coral Beauty Angel - Centropyge
bispinosus (could I house a harem of Coral Beauties - say 5?)
<They are usually found in small groups of 3-7 in the wild so in a 375 gallon tank with those dimensions, it should work out.
If you are looking for a fish that will always be in full view during the day, this is not the one to choose.
Have one myself and I'd say it is in and among the rock more than it is out and about in full view.>
1 Flame Angelfish - Centropyge loriculus
<If you choose to have 5 Coral Beauties, then I would omit this guy.
Problems likely to arise.
One of each would be a better way to go.>
2 Golden Butterflies - Chaetodon semilarvatus
<Caution here as these fish will feed on benthic invertebrates, Zoanthids, and some soft corals.>
1 Regal Angel (Red Sea) - Pygoplites diacanthus
<It's a dice roll with these fish. Most rarely live more than a month in captivity. With your size tank, the odds may be a little more in your favor, but still no guarantee. And if you decide to roll the dice, do
wait until your tank has aged at least 6 months. They are pricey, so the choice is yours to make.>
1 Majestic Angel - Pomacanthus Navarchus
<This fish is much easier to keep than the Regal but is prone to nip at stony and soft corals (sessile invertebrates)
and clam mantles. It generally will not harm small-polyped stony corals and somewhat noxious soft corals.>
5 Blue Hippo Tangs -Paracanthurus hepatus
<A good choice, very colorful indeed, but five may be a bit too much for your tank as they can grow up to
a foot in length, captive systems likely to 10 inches.>
1 Purple Tang - Zebrasoma xanthurum
<Another attractive species that should fit in well with the previous choices/selections.>

Angel comparability, please need answer by Sunday. 8/28/10
Dear WWM Crew,
My tank is 300 gallons, 42" circular tank with a 125 refug and a 100 sump.
<Interesting shape>
Right now I have a pair of 7" Crosshatch triggers in the tank, they have been in the tank for 3 weeks. Decided to put them in 1st since I read that they are quite shy at 1st. Yes, they were QTed for 3 weeks.
They look great and quite healthy.
<Ah, good>
I now have a pair of Blueline angelfish (3.5" and 4.5")
<Let's call them two, not a pair at this size>
ready to go in the tank next week. I already bought an 6" Emperor angelfish but I can cancel the order by Sunday night if you think it's too risky to add him with the Bluelines.
<I do>
Will QT him for 4 weeks and also adding a pair of 2.5-3.5" Flame angelfish to be QTed in a 30 gallon tank at the same time as the Emperor. Planning to add them together into the display tank.
<I'd leave out the imperator>
After that I plan to add a 4-6" Regal tang and a 4-5" Yellow tang. They will go in my 55gallon QT together.
<Should be fine>
That will be it for that 300 tank.... maybe a Banana wrasse as a last fish.
<Mmm, I'd add some smaller, fast-moving fishes for interest here myself>
What do you think about my stocking list? My biggest worry is the Emperor and the Blueline pair, will they be compatible?
<Not likely, no>
They are from different genus but have the same yellow tail, same lines kind of and even shape kind of shape. I don't know if I want to chance it since I love my Blueline pair and the Blueline male is somewhat aggressive towards the female in the 55QT tank. He doesn't constantly chases her but he always like " get out of my way" kind of thing and when he is eating, he chases her out of his way big time.
<This might prove to be problematical in time>
Thank you for your time,
You guys are great!!
<Thanks, BobF>
Re: Angel comparability, please need answer by Sunday. 8/28/10

On your advice, I'm canceling the Emperor.... thanks for your quick reply.
You mention adding smaller fast moving fishes..... can you elaborate what species would
you recommend?
Thanks again,
<Perhaps a shoal of Anthiines. B>
Re: Angel comparability, please need answer by Sunday. 8/29/10
Dear Bob,
After reading part 1 and 2 on Anthiines on your site, I don't think I want to tackle such a difficult and demanding species.....
<Some are not "very much" so... Or shall I better state, not much more than what you have planned already>
That been said, which Anthiines genus is the hardiest of them all?
Bartlett's, Bicolor or the Redbar?
<These are all of the same genus... and all amongst the hardier species>
How many would I keep in my system?
<3-5 or so; one male...>
How many can I put all together in my 55 QT?
<The same number>
Or should I bypass QT all together?
<If there's a question as to their hardiness...>
Crosshatches already in the tank, next to be added are the Bluelines angels and then the Anthias. Would that be ok?
<Likely so, but Bill, these are not the only choices (the subfamily Anthiinae)... I encourage you to look/read a bit further... Perhaps here:
the Stocking FAQs files... take your time. BobF>

Help with biotope stocking dilemmas; stkg. large SW sys. and rel. 8/18/10
Hi Bob, I was hoping you could you run your eye over my animal stocking list for my new system?
There is no immediate rush for answers here, just when you have the time.
Dimensions are just over 7ft long x 5ft wide, 2.5 ft high. The display is to be an Indo-pacific reef biotope, of the classic 'plating coral' landscape with connected seagrass (6 x 2ft) and mangrove (3 x 3ft) aquariums, but the primary function of these last is as refugiums, so predators here need to be limited.
Do the animals 'fit' in your eyes? Do you have any comments/recommendations/ suggestions at all?
Fish - display
1 x Pygoplites Diacanthus (Already owned)
2 x Paracanthurus Hepatus
1 x Odonus Niger (Already owned)
1 x Siganus doliatus (Already owned)
1 x Pterois radiata (Already owned)
1 x Echidna nebulosa (Already owned)
1 or a pair of Ctenochaetus binotatus
2 x Chelmon rostratus
Perhaps a Zanclus cornutus in the future
<Mmm, a real challenge... do start with one with a "high index of fitness" (i.e. not skinny), eating, curious>
Corals - display
I own all the corals listed except the Acropora. I have off-loaded a lot of coral already in the attempt to get some corals that fit here:
Green & red plating Montiporas. These will dominate the landscape with a few colonies of the corals below. For the others I have tried to pick/ keep 'brownish' corals in order to make the scene more natural-looking.
4 or more species of Porites, one cylindrica, one massive, the rest are encrusting
Pachyseris rugosa
Turbinara reniformis
Favia sp.
Later on some plating Acropora will be added -- brown ones!
I also own:
3 x Alveopora sp.
Xenia elongata
<Keep this isolated... in a defined area; harvesting occasionally lest it become overly invasive>
Duncanopsammia axifugia
1 x Goniopora sp.
<Again, an "equivalent" to Zanclus in terms of husbandry, probable success>
I am not sure what to do with these, I've had them all for over two years, the Goniopora for nearly 3 and the Duncans for 5. I may place the Goniopora and /or the Alveopora in the seagrass aquarium on the DSB, but my thoughts are that it/ they will decimate the populations of plankton. What are your thoughts?
<Should continue to do well in your care... do place the last one/two genera in the dirtiest, slow/er water movement area/corner/s>
It would be a shame to give these away because they don't 'fit', but I can't find any references that show whether they all occur together or not, and since I've just bought a house, a trip to Indonesia is not on the immediate cards (although it is for the future).
<Can, will "go together" in this size, type system>
The Duncans are also listed as being deep water whereas all the rest could be shallow. The Duncans are my wife's favourite coral, which has it's own implications! Do you see/ understand my dilemmas here and can you help?
<Not really problematical, I assure you and your wife indirectly>
My last queries are regarding the seagrass and mangroves. Are there any animals/ fishes that would fit here without being a major threat to the planktonic life?
<Mmm, all sorts. Do see the Net (likely scuba diving) books re what is naturally found in these environments... A big chance to have a very nice sub-niche display... perhaps Monos, Toxotids, small Lutjanids...>
I am considering housing the Echidna with the seagrasses instead of the main display.
<Okay, but do provide some out of light cover there>
I am also considering one of the ideas in yours & Anthony's book, a 'land/sea' interface in the mangrove aquarium. I think this would be interesting, which animals could go?
<Once more, a matter of looking/seeing what naturally occurs... these environments are macroscopically depauperate species wise (not a lot of apparent diversity), but still, VERY interesting>
My thoughts are a fiddler crab/s, is there anything else/ better for this bearing in mind the primary function of the refugium?
<Not likely that you can buy outright, but might well "occur", come-in-with other life, end up t/here>
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>
Re: Help with biotope stocking dilemmas, Forcipiger f' as well 8/20/10

Thanks for this Bob,
<Thank you for sharing your dream tank/plans Simon>
One other thing... In your article about the Forcipiger/s you hint a couple of times that these do not get along together, which is why we have opted for a pair of Chelmons. We would prefer two F. flavissimus, is this possible in this size system, or are we better off sticking with the two C.
rostratus here?
Simon (and Kim!)
<Should be fine in this volume. Cheers, BobF, solo unfortunately>

540 gallon stock list, Red Sea Fishes comp. 7/22/10
Hi y'all!! Great site you have!!!! Hope everyone is good.
<And you>
I'll cut straight to the point.
I recently bought a 540 (96x36x36) acrylic aquarium. It's going to be a FOWLR. I already have 500lbs of rock (give or take).
My dilemma is this.....
Their are so many wonderful fish in the ocean, I would like them all!
Now, I have read over your FAQ's and I really would love to house a Red Sea emperor angel, Red Sea Odonus niger, Red Sea Naso lituratus, Red Sea Naso unicornis, Red Sea Zebrasoma xanthurum, two Red Sea chaetodon semilarvatus and two Red Sea chaetodon auriga. I've read that all these fish should get along.
My main concern is the well being of the fish. Do I have enough room for the fish to thrive from tiny to full grown?
I do not
want to overstock and I know that water quality is going to have to be well maintained with weekly water changes, brisk circulation and an oversized skimmer with lots of open water to swim and lots of hiding spots.
I do not want to get greedy and make the fish suffer for my visual enjoyment.
Thanks for reading.
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner, who has traveled to the Red Sea many times>

Stocking/Compatibility question, FO 220 5/30/2010
Hello Crew, Shea here! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday weekend! Here's the scoop, I have a 220 gallon tank with a 45 gallon trickle filter. I run a 36 watt UV sterilizer and a protein skimmer is coming in another month or so. In the tank I have:
-150 LBS of live rock
-3" Emperor Angel
-4" Volition Loin
-2.5" Panther Grouper
-3" Long Nosed Butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus)
-2.5" Palette Tang
I want to add a 3" Purple Tang and a 2" Picasso Trigger as the last two fish for this system. I believe I would be at the maximum capacity with these last two,
<More so in time, with growth>
if I'm not already there. My angel is the boss of the tank and all of the other fish know it. Do you think there would be a lot of aggression between the Purple Tang and the angel or any of the other inhabitants?
<With sufficient break in the habitat (solid decor), likely all will get along.>
Is the addition of these last two fish too much for this system?
<As stated, psychologically, metabolically, in a year or three, all will feel, act crowded>
Thank You for the advice!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

What Fish Swims In The Upper Water Column? 5/17/10
Dear WWM crew,
<Hello Bill>
How are you?
<Just fine.>
I Have a 300 gallon circular tank, 42" in diameter, 42" high with a 125 gallon refuge and a 100 gallon sump ( I sent pics to you before).
The current habitants are: 6" Emperor Angel, 5" Powder Blue Tang, 4" Purple Tang, (3) 4" Yellow Tangs, 6" Midas Blenny, 2.5" Percula Clown, (4) Flame Angels, 5" Pinkface Wrasse and I have (5) Royal Grammas coming
this Tuesday.
See YouTube video below:
<Have seen, nice.>
My problem is that I need some fish that is <are> compatible to my current <in>habitants and that these fish actually swim the top 1/2 of the tank.
It's always very empty towards the 2nd top 1/2 of the tank, most of the fish are all on the bottom swimming between the LR even the wrasse, which I added just because I thought it would swim all over the place but he is not.
On the video, it looks like they are all over the place but you are only seeing the bottom 1/2 of the tank.
Like to add another "big" Angel or maybe a Sohal Tang.... what do you think?
<Mmm, I don't believe I would. Am surprised you have no issues with all the Zebrasoma present. Adding another
fish from the Pomacanthus family may also present some territorial issues as most are semi-aggressive. Do read
the compatibility FAQ's on Pomacanthus here.
What other fish can I add if any? No Butterflies and No Triggers since they move rock work and I can't have that in there.
<Chromis generally hang around the upper part of the tank but will visit other levels. A few of them would animate the upper half.>
BTW, those two white PVC tubes that you see in the tank, I use them to tie a bunch of red Gracilaria algae to it and the Tangs and the Emperor go nuts on it.
They won't touch Nori on a clip, so I'm doing this just so they can graze on some kind of algae.
Thanks a lot,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog) who is now wishing he had a 300 gallon tank.

Red Sea FOWLR livestocking in large system 5/15/10
To whom it may concern,
A big hello and thank you to everyone at wetwebmedia.com!
I have 470 gallon FOWLR aquarium (84x36x36) that has been up and running for about 4 months with 500lbs of live rock. I've only added 21 chromis viridis and three cleaner shrimp to the aquarium since it cycled.
My dream has always been house an Emperor Angel along with a school Chaetodon semilarvatus,
<Just two>
a single Zebrasoma Xanthurum and a single Naso Lituratus all hailing from the Red Sea.
<Sounds good!>
Now for my questions.
After reading over the FAQs about systems for Emperor Angels and Naso Tangs I came across, more than once, that an Emperor Angel and a Naso Tang should be housed in an 8ft aquarium (or larger) when adult. My aquarium is 7ft but I was hoping with the added width and height that this tank should give the Emperor Angel and Naso Tang more than enough room to live a full and healthy life in captivity?
<S/b fine here>
The Emperor and the Naso will be added after the six to nine month mark. My system has 4 marine vortech mp40w ES power heads and an over sized skimmer rated for a 1000 gallons. So I'm doing my best to keep the water parameters up and brisk water movement along with weekly water changes.
Thanks for the service you provide for everyone!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner, out w/ friends at the Interzoo show in Germany, having just come back from diving at the Red Sea ahead of time as usual>

Re: Red Sea FOWLR livestocking in large system 5/15/10
Thanks for your quick response! Since you recommend only two Chaetodon semilarvatus would I be able to add two Chaetodon aurigas from the red sea as well?
Sorry for the poor grammar I'm replying on my cell phone. Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Stocking a 450 gallon tank 4/15/10
I recently upgraded to a 450 gallon tank from a 125. Needless to say, it looks empty!
My filtration is great and my protein skimmer is rated for 600 GPH.I have a 7-8" Emperor Angel, 6" Naso Tang, 6" Hippo Tang, 5" Yellow Tang, 4" Maroon Clownfish, 5" Orbiculate Batfish,
<This fish will get massive here>
2" Blue Damsel, and a trio of Green Chromises. I just picked up a 3" Koran Angel, and 3" Starry Blenny that are drip acclimated as I type.
<You REALLY should isolate/quarantine incoming fish livestock...>
I really like the Passer's Angel, Navarchus Angel, Blue Face Angel, and the Maculosus Angel. How many more angels can I add to my tank.
<Best to not add any more actually. Read here:
scroll down to Angelfish Sel/Stkg, the various articles and FAQs files on the species you list. Bob Fenner>
Which, of the one's
previously mentioned, can/should I add? I also would like to add a butterfly or two as well. I look to you for your wisdom and advice!
Thanks in advance,
Jim Daniels
Selkirk, New York

Several Questions for Planned Saltwater System: Marine Aquarium Setup\Stocking, Lg. FOWLR 3/29/2010
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hi Andy.>
First let me begin by praising your site and all your collective efforts!
I have spent much time looking things over, and feel that I have gained a wealth of knowledge already.
Now, on to the areas where I still have questions and can't seem to find definitive answers.
<Fire away.>
I have kept several freshwater systems in the past, and things have gone relatively well for me. I have always wanted to "make the move" over to saltwater at some point though, and the moment may finally be approaching.
<Congratulations. I'm sure you will find it rewarding (and at times frustrating.) >
I will probably not be able to proceed for several months if not even a year, as what I hope to do will be part of a planned basement renovation.
<Let me caution you there - A basement setup is fine, but do realize that a marine tank can evaporate a few gallons of water per day, so do plan for adequate ventilation to prevent excessive moisture buildup>
I am just hoping that spending as much time as I can researching ahead of time will lead to better success down the road.
<I can assure you it will.>
First, I hope to do a FOWLR system, and am hopeful I can do one that is relatively large (I am thinking perhaps around 300 gallons or so).
<In my experience, if you have the means to do so, the larger the better.>
I have spent much time falling in love with and then talking myself out of many species in terms of stocking (due to size, temperament, ease of care, etc.), as I'm sure many others have.
<Your stocking plan will probably change from what you propose now as well...:) >
What I am now really hoping to do is have a
Queen Angel (Holacanthus ciliaris), <As long as your 300 gallon is long, this shouldn't be a problem.>
a Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), <See below>
a Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus),
either a Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) or Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), <I'm a fan of the purple myself.>
and a Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula).
I would be potentially interested in something like a Flame Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) as well,
but think its relatively small size may cause a problem.
Which leads me to my first actual set of questions. Would a 300 gallon system be large enough for the particular fish I have mentioned here, and would it be a serious gamble to try these species together?
<In a word, yes. That said, I'm always leery of triggers Some remain peaceful, others become incredible bullies.>
I have come across numerous sites (here, as well as elsewhere) that list general "minimum tank sizes" for a larger fish like the Queen Angel for example, but what I can't seem to find specifically is how much bigger it needs to be
if more than just the one fish are housed together?
<There are several variables. Maximum size of the fish, typical personality, etc. As a general rule you would want a tank that is 2 or 3 times longer than the fish, and wider than the fish's maximum length>
I feel like from what I have researched that a 300 gallon should suffice, but it is hard to say for sure.
<A 300 gallon 8' long, 2' wide, and 30 " deep will be adequate.>
My hope is to have a system that the fish can all start small in and grow comfortably without needing to leave years later due to overcrowding.
<A sound plan, and it is rewarding to watch them 'grow up'>
In terms of the compatibility question, I feel fairly confident that these choices would probably be ok together at least initially, but do wonder a bit if it would become a problem later as the Queen Angel and Picasso Trigger got larger than the Flame Angel, for example.
<I'm more concerned about the trigger. My personal preference, but I feel they do best in a species setup.>
My other main inquiry stems from something I have unfortunately been unable to find much information on at all. I mentioned earlier that this will be my first saltwater system, and am very interested in possibly acquiring professional assistance in terms of at least the initial set-up, and possibly even some maintenance as well. Ideally, I'd like to find a service that allows me to gain experience by observing and learning from them to allow myself to achieve a point where I feel confident enough to do it all on my own. I have been to all of the local fish shops in my area that I
am aware of, and while one or two have mentioned that this may be something they could assist with, I have nothing whatsoever to go on in terms of how reliable they might be. Obviously some offices and other places that have large aquariums must have some type of professional service assisting them with their display tanks, and I live in a relatively large metropolitan area (just outside Washington, DC), so I would like to think that there should
be something like this somewhere nearby. Is there any type of resource you are aware of that may be helpful to me in terms of finding well-reputed places that offer this service?
<Beyond personal recommendations, unfortunately, I can't>
Thanks so much for your help, and for all your efforts with the site. It truly is a great one!
<Thank you for the kind words. You are on the right track.>

Refugium Question'¦And System Stocking Too! Lg... SW -- 03/29/10
Dear WWM Crew,
<<Hello Steven>>
First, thank you for the site.
<<Quite welcome'¦is quite the collaborative effort>>
I've spent literally hundreds of hours reading your articles, and really enjoy the resource.
<<We are pleased to know this>>
I have for many years had a system with about 100g of water in it, and have done fine within the parameters of what one can do with this sort of system.
<<Ah yes'¦just recognizing/acknowledging the limitations makes a huge difference>>
Recently, I've upgraded to a system with about 350g of water.
I've built a mechanical room in the basement and plumbed everything down there. It's cost a small fortune but is ultimately worth it.
<<Mmm, I can certainly agree on both counts'¦my own system is some 500g en toto>>
I've gone through about 3 months of cycling, plumbing and setup, and still have no livestock. All in good time.
<<Indeed'¦and the longer the better to allow much of the biota to attain sustainable populations before the introduction of macro predators>>
Anyhow, I have a 90g refugium. It currently has about 4 inches of medium grain sand, ~60lbs of live rock, and some Chaetomorpha. It's lit by T5's @ 12 hours off cycle from the display. I've seeded it with bottled copepods.
Most of the info I've been able to glean off the net is about small, under tank or hang-on 'fuges, and I don't know what I can do to take this system to its full potential.
<<As far as the refugium is concerned'¦just some time to let things 'develop'>>
In your opinion, what is the best setup for this sort of system livestock wise, macroalgae wise, etc.?
<<Many possibilities... Do some research and formulate a plan or two and then feel free to bring them back her for discussion. Please do also include a bit more detail about your system at that time (e.g. -- dimensions of the display, ancillary filtration, flow types, etc.)>>
I plan to run a display with a few tangs and smaller schooling fish; I think lyretail Anthias, and a fair amount of SPS.
<<Okay'¦assuming the display is large enough this could work quite well. And although you have listed an excellent species for captive care, Anthiines can often be quite challenging'¦another option might be Cardinals. I also suggest a biotope display where animals from the same niche on the reef (and of course the same ocean) are selected and placed in an environment simulating same>>
The water exiting the display T's into 2 lines, one into the refugium and another into a sump that is filtered first by 100 micron filter bags
<<Remember to clean/exchange these a couple times a week>>
and then a large protein skimmer, and I dose for alkalinity, calcium and magnesium. I do 10% water changes weekly.
Total specs:
350g water
pH: 8.1
salinity: 1.023
<<Should be NSW value (1.025/1.026)>>
calc: 450
mg: 1100
<<A bit low considering the Calcium level'¦should be about 3-times such>>
live rock: ~ 300lbs
<<Mmm'¦I hope there's room for the fish to swim, corals to grow>>
Thank you very much for any insight you can provide.
<<Will be chatting, Steven. EricR>>

Tank Stocking
Stocking a larger reef tank. 3/2/2010

Hey there I have been reading the great advice you guys give out and thought I owed it to my livestock (current and potential) to ask for your help at the planning stage rather than leave it until I get into trouble.
<Hi Sean, welcome.>
I have a tank that is 3.3 m long by 0.6 metres deep and 0.5 metres wide. I estimate its volume at just under a gigalitre.
<I figured it to about 990 liters or 261 US gallons for those challenged by the metric system.>
20 cm at one end is separated by an overflow. Currently, I have a wet/dry trickle filter and protein skimmer in that space. In the long term I will install a sump, remove the wet/dry trickle filter and relocate the protein skimmer to the sump. I will also establish a refugium.
The display tank has a DSB averaging 4-5 inches deep throughout and I am gradually adding more live rock - currently only about 40kg in there.
The tank is lit by 6 x 54 watt 4ft T5 HO tubes, 4 x white and 2 x actinic.
I know this will need to be upgraded in order to keep corals especially SPS.
I have four Wavemakers: 2 x 12,000 lph and 2 x 3,000 lph. The stronger ones are at each end and the smaller ones providing counter/cross flow and turbulence at intervals down the length of the tank.
Current water parameters (which have been stable for about 2 months) are ph 8.4, ammonia between 0 and 0.25, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, phosphates between 0 and 0.25, calcium 500, carbonate hardness 12 degrees.
<The ammonia reading is troubling. Will need to add some more rock and or allow the tank more time to cycle.>
There are lots of pods of both kinds in the tank, and I have placed some large shells with coral skeleton fragments in the openings to give the pods a place to breed.
Current livestock:
Fish: 7 x green Chromis, a mated pair of maroon clownfish, a bicolour blenny
Corals: 7 various Zoanthid fragments, Duncan frag (3 polyps, two more forming), assorted brain coral, Candycane coral and Acans which came on the live rock, unknown single polyp on live rock.
Inverts: 5 peppermint shrimp, 3 Trochus snails, 1 cowry, about 40 random snails, 10 dwarf blue-legged hermit crabs, a couple of sundry hitchhiker crabs
Other: bubble tipped anemone (host to the maroon clownfish pair), lots of feather dusters, various rock anemones (no Aiptasia, I nuked them).
My questions are, whether you can give me an idea of how much stock I can keep in a tank of this size?
<You have a nice large tank. Ideally, you will want to select fish that stay smaller that 50cm, which is the width of your tank, so they have adequate space to turn around.>
Any suggestions you might have as to stock?
And finally, I would quite like to add a sohal tang as the last fish in the tank. However, there seems to be some conflicting advice. Some say it can be kept in a large aquarium (such as mine), while others say don't bother.
Any thoughts? And would it bother my current livestock?
<A Sohal will become the undisputed boss of the tank, but it should work well in this setting, as they rarely get much bigger than 30cm in captivity. With a Sohal, I would discourage adding any large angels or triggerfish. You should plan accordingly, focusing on smaller fish and add the Sohal last. I would recommend that for the time being, you add more rock and give the system more time to 'age' before adding any other fish. Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm >

Stocking A 240g Aggressive Reef Tank 2/16/10
Hey guys, <and gals.
Hello Joe>
I've recently decided to take the next steps from FOWLR and try my hand at keeping an aggressive reef tank. I've started converting my existing 240g FOWLR to a 240g Reef tank. I've upgraded my lights from 8x65w PC's to 16x54w Ice Cap 6600 VHO T5's. My tank is 96x24x24 and is turning the water over about 10-11 times per hour and I also have Qty 2 - Koralia 7's and Qty 2 - Koralia 3's powerheads on it. I am also running a Aqua C EV-240 skimmer driven by a Mag 18.
Planned Corals:
I thought I'd start with some of the easier soft corals (Green Star Polyps, Kenya, Colt, Mushrooms, Zoos, Hammer, Toadstool, Frogspawn, etc). I would love to eventually add a few Montipora Capricornis up top, but I'll take my time at that.
Planned Livestock:
I will be moving my 30" Japanese Dragon Moray and his 15 various Damsels into this tank from their current 75g. He doesn't seem to be able to catch any and gives up pretty quickly.
I plan to add 1-2 Doz Atlantic Blue Reef Chromis, and 1-2 Doz Indo Pacific Blue Green Chromis and 1 main fish (I'm leaning towards a Clown Tang). I know the Blue Reef Chromis & Clown Tang are sensitive to water quality as are the corals. I will be using my existing 75g as a QT tank as I add fish until the 240g is stocked.
<You are not planning adding all these fish on top of the 15 damsels, are you?
The Clown Tang is very difficult fish to keep and I would suggest removing from your list.>
So my question is this:
At what point will the livestock start to degrade the water Quality for corals and sensitive fish? Do you have any advice stocking #'s or recommendations?
<Is not so much the number of fish, but the body size of the fish which is relative to the amount of waste they can produce. Adding all the fish you list above would only give each fish about 5 gallons of water to pollute, and obviously the eel and a tang are going to require more volume than this to keep water quality in check.>
Would 5-6 doz small fish, 1 clown Tang, and the Moray make keeping even the hardier soft corals unmanageable?
<Very likely. Most corals require pristine water quality that includes very low nitrate levels which will be difficult to control with 60+ fish and a 30" eel.>
Need guidance before I start stocking, because once a Damsel/Chromis is in an 8' long tank they will be very hard to get out.
<Oh I know that road. I also would suggest not adding a moray eel to a reef system, because of their size, they are capable of toppling over corals during their nightly patrols which can/will cause damage to the corals. The other downside is that no shrimp or crabs can be employed for clean up as they will be quickly eaten by the eel.>
Thanks for the advanced advise as always. I find it better to plan ahead than regret stupid mistakes when it comes to SW tanks.
<Keep reading/planning Joe. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking Levels/Compatibility/Advice, Lg. SW 1/26/10
<Hello Brent>
Thanks for everything that all of you do here on WetWebMedia!
<You're welcome and is appreciated.>
I pick up my 470 (84x36x36) gallon tank in about two weeks. I already have 500lbs of live rock.
<You are making me very jealous at this point, Brent. I will force myself to go on.>
I wanted to stock the tank with:
19 Chromis viridis
<I like the Vanderbilt Chromis (Chromis vanderbilti) myself, much more striking in appearance and
grows no larger than the Viridis.>
and an Odonus niger after the tank has cycled.
<If it were mine, I would not add the Niger Triggerfish to this group, they are aggressive in nature and have a tendency to move rock looking for crustaceans to munch on.>
Then, after about a minimum of 6 months I would like to introduce the following:
Chaetodon semilarvatus x1
<Generally accepts prepared foods, and they do better in pairs/groups.>
Chaetodon auriga x1
<A good choice.>
Paracanthurus hepatus x1
<Should fare well with the other tangs in this system.>
Naso lituratus x1
<Mmm, I think you would fair better with a Acanthurus japonicus in this group.
The Naso Tang can be aggressive toward other tangs.>
Acanthurus achilles x1
<Unless you have plenty of experience under your belt, I would stay away from this fish,
difficult to keep.>
Pomacanthus imperator x1
The Acanthurus achilles and Pomacanthus imperator will be added last and together. All fish will go through 4-6 week quarantine. I have listed the fish in the order I will be introducing them to the aquarium.
Just wanted your thoughts on the order of introduction and the timing of the introductions.
<Other than my suggestions, the stocking order seems fine.>
This is going to be a FOWLR system with 1" sea swirls on the return lines and 2 mp40w Vortechs to start off for water circulation.
<Now you are really making me jealous. Mmmm, you've got me thinking now.
Why is there no problem in buying my wife a 5,000.00 diamond ring, but I would have to have a trial by jury to purchase a similar marine system such as yours :-)
Mmm, maybe hire a moderator, seems like a fair trade off to me.>
I am also adding living color corals, secured to the live rock, to add color and to make it look more like a reef. I have received some of their corals already and they look great! Close to the real thing.
<Yes, they do a fine job on these products.>
Thanks for everything,
<You're welcome, I will now go cry in my beer. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Stocking Levels/Compatibility/Advice, Lg. sys. SW 1/26/10
Thanks for your quick response!
<You're welcome.>
It has taken me five grueling years to pursuade <persuade> my wife. I had to promise her a lot in return.
<I won't go there.>
It will definately <definitely> be worth it.
<That may be a debatable topic, Hee.>
I have found most of my equipment used and have made small purchases through out the years to avoid a large one time payment on everything.
<Good move on your part.>
I took a look a the Vanderbilt Chromis. You were right, much more visually appealing.
As far as the Odonus niger is concerned I just wanted another fish in the tank that was hardy and could swim around while the tank matures. I really like the way the triggerfish swim and loved the lyre tail of the Niger. Is
their another trigger you could recommend aside from the blue throat or crosshatch?
<I'd likely go with the blue throat in this system. Males tend to be more colorful than the females also.>
About the semilarvatus. I have read on WWM many accounts of them attacking each other in groups until their is only one left. I originally wanted 3-5 of them. What number would you recommend? Would the Chaetodon Auriga get along with a school of semilarvatus?
<Mmm, you may want to read here (all four parts) and related articles/FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goodchaetodon.htm>
I am not a fan of the Acanthurus japonicus. Would their be another Naso family fish you could recommend?
<May want to read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/naso.htm>
I really like the coloring and the lyre tail of the Naso lituratus.
My skill level as an aquarist is very basic. I've been researching the Acanthurus Achilles. I know they are difficult to keep. I have read that it's all in acquiring a healthy specimen. This was the only fish I was iffy about do to their health in captivity. I really like the Acanthurus sohal but I know the temperament of this fish is really aggressive and territorial.
<Very true.>
I would really like to have 3 tangs in my aquarium but am unsure of the other two. The Paracanthurus hepatus is the only one I am sure on for now.
Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
<With your skill level, take a look at the Zebrasoma. The Purple Tang is a looker and would be a better choice for your experience level than any of the Naso fishes.>
I pore over your website everyday to try and find a good mix of fish that I want, but sometimes I stare at the screen to long that I overlook certain fish.
<Understandable. Time and patience will pay off here.>
Sorry for the long winded response.
Thanks once again for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Tank and stocking questions, NO3, and lg. SW sys. stkg. f's 9/6/09
Hello. Here is the info I sent to Mr. Fenner last week. I thought it might be helpful:
<Morning John>
Hey Mister Fenner thanks so much for your help. It is most appreciated as always. I have another question for you, or whomever is there if you have the time. I read all your sites posts on Nitrates but I am still confused at why I keep having this problem. My 450 is stocked with about 500 pounds of liverock. 300 pounds originally and another 200 of lace rock <Very often a source of too much ortho phosphate... See Marco's article:
added gradually to be seeded by the live rock. about 5 to 6" of live sand, added more as time passed. I am running a dual refugium 2 twenty gallon ones connected in the sump one with crushed live rock rubble and the other with green algae. I run a timed florescent light at night and natural sunlight during the day. The tank takes up the entire wall between 2 windows of my den and has great sunlight from all sides of the room. I have a top of the line skimmer rated for my system and electronic heating system. I run 8 powerheads front, side and back to create cross currents.
I do a 20% water change faithfully every 2 weeks. The system is terminally stocked and holds one 8" queen angel, one 8" clown trigger ( I watch him closely as advised by you years ago), one 8" niger trigger, one 6" Bluechin trigger, one 6" Aussie harlequin tusk, one 12" Atlantic blue tang, one 7" princess parrot, one 10" orange toadfish (fed once a week), one 8" lunare wrasse, and two golden morays, 15" each (fed once a week or once every 2 weeks). I feed the fish sushi Nori in the a.m., a small amount of spectrum large fish formula at noon and a small amount of chopped frozen octopus, squid, clam, shrimp, crab, scallop, (one of these) at night. My entire home is run on a r/o system and their are zero nitrates present in the water. I
use instant ocean as my mix and arm and hammer baking soda for the ph. My main issue is that after 4 years I just can't get my nitrates down to anywhere near zero. They normally run in the 40 to 80 range and are as high as 160. I am extremely frustrated as I put a lot of love, time and money into this hobby. I treat my fish like a dog or a cat. I read about a DIY coil denitrator as a possible help and have asked my LFS for advice but I seem to only get mixed opinions, none of which have worked. They did tell me I am overfeeding the fish so I am going to cut that back if you advise me to do so. I am exhausted spending 10 hours the last 2 days trying to lower the nitrates with massive water changes and cleanings. I would greatly appreciate anything you could do to help me. Not much saltwater help here in Michigan. Thanks again Mister Fenner or whomever answers this.
<We're glad to share>
My new questions are as follows: I am converting the other half of my refugium to algae as well so I will have 40 gallons of it for nitrate reduction.
the live rock rubble (40 pounds or so) is left now. I was wondering if it would be ok to put it into the holding tank for return water.
This is the only place in the sump i have room. Please advise me on this.
My high nitrates have been going on for 4 years now. I work so hard through big water changes once every 2 weeks and cleaning of the tank/aggressive skimming, but I cant keep them below 80 to 100. I started dosing with vodka with a formula I found on reefkepers.com last week. I just lost my 4 year old queen angel due to a mouth infection caused by the nitrates. When the tank gets where I want it through water changes, vodka dosing and the algae I want to replace the queen with another queen or other large angel.
<Start with whatever species at about 4 inches in length here>
With the fish I have listed i would appreciate any advice you have as to which would be the best fit.
<See WWM re large/r Pomacanthids...>
if not a large angel I would like to add a good sized Indian ocean Sailfin if you think the Atlantic blue would not kill it.
<Start with one about half the length of the Acanthurus coeruleus>
Lastly my aiptasia are out of control and I want to add a large raccoon butterfly to get them under control.
There is one at my LFS that they will save for me for up to a month. I witnessed him tearing up aiptasia and any foods they added. I would like any advice you have as far as adding him to the tank and his safety.
<During a day when you can be present, early in the AM so the lights are on... should be able to be introduced directly with what you list, have and the fact that the LFS has had on hand for a while>
I have heard they usually get along with other fish and vise versa.
<This is so>
I know this is a lot of questions but I am majorly stressed out about this entire thing. I treat my fish like dogs and cats and have had them and this 450 acrylic for 4 years now. As always i appreciate any help you guys give me. you have been a great resource for me for years now. Thank you.
<Mmm, I do want to say a bit more re the NO3 issue... is there space in your main display or room elsewhere to add another sump, tied in, to run a large DSB? Bob Fenner>

A little help from my friends. Prologue to and Stocking a fab 240 reef 9/5/09
I think WWM is the greatest service ever provided to Reef Tank owners like me. The wealth of information here is incredible. I feel like a kid in a candy store, with a pocket full of dollar bills. I am on your site so much, my wife says I am addicted and has even hinted to an obsession with "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist".
<Could be worse!>
About five years ago, my son had a 55 gallon reef tank, while at college. A member of ROTC, summers were spent training and OBC beckoned. He left for military training and service. I inherited a scruffy reef tank. At first my wife and I laughed and thought, who would ever buy one of those dumb corals. We have a 6 year old grandson. THC obligatory Nemo, Marlin, Dory and Bubbles appeared. Yes that's right, a Zebrasoma flavescens and a Paracanthurus hepatus in a 55. Even worse about 6 months later I added a
Zebrasoma veliferum. Amazingly enough, even though they seemed to be thriving under my expertise of fish keeping, over a two year period, all died. Of course, I had to replace the blue and yellow, Dory nor Bubbles could just die. Funny thing, the LFS would keep suggesting and selling, if I kept buying.
<None of this surprising>
The hobby became a burden, due to my ignorance. Then the holy grail of aquarist information found me, WWM. I read and consumed like a sponge, Bookmarked and reread. I brought the 55 back to life. I was determined to do the right things for my livestock. The beauty and benefits they provide dictate I respond in-kind. After getting the 55 in reasonable shape, I decided to go bigger. I researched and now have the following set-up.
DT - 240 Acrylic
Sump - ADHI Refugia model 60
Protein Skimmer - RE/Vertex Alpha 250 Cone
Lighting - AquaticLife 72" HID fixture (3-150W HID, 4-36" 39W 420/460 T5 HO's, 6 1w Lunar's)
Pump - Reeflo Dart God
Powerheads - EcoTech MP40W
*Water test history attached
<Dang! Can't figure out how to open>
The following live stock inhabit the tank.
Amphiprion ocellaris-2, Pterapogon kauderni-1, Nemateleotris decora-3,
Moved from the 55
Actinodiscus sp, colony blue and watermelon, Rhodactis sp Fluorescent Green, Rhodactis indosinensis, Sinularia dura, Clavularia viridis, Capnella sp., Goniopora lobata, Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata, purple ribbon Gorgonia,
The aquarium was filled with water on 5/3 and the cycle process started. I have been religious of checking water quality, for the most part it maintains steady. A little difficult to keep CA and MG at appropriate
levels. Now, I think it is ironed out.
I am now starting to want to slowly add fish. The ultimate and last fish in the tank I want to be an Acanthurus sohal. In addition to the 5 above and the sohal, I am leaning towards the Reef safe Wrasses. I very much like the following and think some or all would work; Cirrhilabrus naokoae, Cirrhilabrus tonozukai, Cirrhilabrus jordani, Cirrhilabrus Rhomboidalis, Paracheilinus carpenteri and once the tank is mature (1-2years) a Macropharyngodon negrosensis.
Do you see a red flag with any of these? Can all co-exist?
<Can here, yes>
My research shows I can mix the Wrasses, generally speaking. However, I thought I would ask the experts. I am also looking for suggestions for any fish you think might work here, wrasse or not. I do not want the fish you see at every LFS, or every aquarium, i.e., yellow tang, lunare wrasse, etc.
I want more rare species with a little bit of a wow factor.
<Understood... I'd pare the list down to two, three species, and have a few more females in each harem myself...>
I also welcome any suggestions or criticism to what I am doing now.
Thank you in advance for your attention and education to me.
Greg Mason
<Thank you for sharing Greg. Bob Fenner>

240 Gallons Of Decisions, Decisions -- 08/18/09
Hello all,
<<Greetings Shawn>>
I hope everyone is well, and finding their summer or winter (for those of you of the southern hemisphere) to be an enjoyable one.
<<So far so good'¦thanks!>>
I'm currently facing a dilemma that I hope someone can lend some experience to.
I want to build my dream reef system
<<Ah'¦a nice dilemma to have>>
and I want to combine my 2 current reef tanks (120 gallon 48X24X24, and 75 gallon 48X18X21) into a single 240 gallon system.
<<Okay'¦assuming the two systems are compatible>>
With that being said, I can't decide on what would be a better tank layout for the inhabitants that I want to combine. I'm concerned about some compatibility issues and would like to give enough space to minimize the need to exclude some of my beloved pets.
<<I see>>
I'm in a debate over whether a 48X48X24 tank or a 72X30X24 would be a better choice.
<<Mmm, yes'¦ Both are excellent designs (I do like how you have made the depth greater than the height on the 6ft tank'¦as opposed to a 'standard' build). I think maybe the location of or viewing vantage points of the system, type livestock, and/or type of reef 'niche' you wish to replicate will determine the final choice>>
My thought for the 48 inch tank is to use a center overflow to create an island with various caves and overhangs that the fish can swim around.
<<And a perfect concept if this tank is to be viewed from ALL sides>>
I'd like to use powerheads to create a circulating current around the island and would use (2) 4 ft. fixtures, with 175 watt halide and T5 lighting.
The 72 inch setup would most likely be a standard dual rear overflow design with more traditional aquascaping
<<I hope 'traditional' doesn't mean the ubiquitous 'rock wall.' There's no reason not to be (and many reasons to be) more creative, even with the 'traditional' rectangular tank>>
providing multiple small islands of rock with plenty of hiding spots. I'd need to buy a 72 inch light fixture with (3) 175 watt halides and PC lighting.
My current stock:
120 gallon - 4 inch purple tang, a male / female pair of tomato clowns, a male / female pair of Laboute's wrasses,
5 resplendent anthias (all female so far). There are various SPS and LPS corals including Acropora, Montipora, Xenia, hammer and torch corals, brain coral, and zoos of all kinds. Kind of a mixed bag of everything.
<<Ah yes'¦the typical 'mixed garden' reef [grin]>>
Two Crocea clams and a cleaner shrimp also live here. I've been blessed with little problems.
75 gallon - This tank is only 8 months old and houses a 3 inch yellow tang, a 3 inch regal tang,
<<The Regal is inappropriate for this size tank'¦glad you are upsizing>>
a male / female pair of percula clowns,
<<You may have issues combining the Clowns between the two systems>>
a male / female pair of flame wrasses,
<<Neat again!>>
and a scooter blenny. The tangs here are a big reason for the upgrade.
There is a Maxima clam and some zoos in this tank as well. I'm obviously concerned about the wrasse pairs and the clown pairs being combined.
<<Less of a problem with the Wrasses than the Clowns, in my opinion. Even should you add multiple Anemone specimens (which I DO NOT advocate here), the Maroons would and will likely claim the whole tank against another Clown species>>
My hope is that space will be my friend and theirs as well.
<<There's always exceptions'¦but I think you need another 100g or so here>>
I plan on adding the purple and yellow tangs together and if peace can't be found I'll part with a beloved pet.
<<Can be done'¦ I have five tangs from four genera in my 375g reef display>>
I'm optimistic because it worked in my LFS with a yellow, purple and sailfin tang introduced at the same time.
<<The manner of introduction can play a big part, yes>>
I know that this is somewhat open to experience, and differs from fish to fish, but any thoughts on my system design, introduction order, and ANYTHING of note would be greatly appreciated.
<<Ultimately you have to decide which appeals most to you'¦ The 4-foot square display would prove unique over most and provide for some interesting aquascaping options. The 6-foot display would prove better for the 'patrolling' fishes you have. But'¦ If you were to return the Regal Tang, I think you could get by with either option>>
Thanks to all of you for the service you provide.
<<Is our pleasure to assist>>
I'm sure you've saved many a hobbyist and many a fish with your help.
<<As are we'¦ Thank you>>
Shawn Green,
Baltimore, MD
<<Eric Russell'¦in a hot and muggy Columbia, SC>>

Stocking List for 300g 6/4/09
Hey Crew. Quick question. I'm getting a 300g in a couple weeks and want to get as much feedback as possible on the stocking list I have planned for it.
Emperor Angel
Naso Tang
<I'd have more than one... perhaps two>
Spotted or Dogface Puffer
Picasso Trigger
Clown Trigger (juvenile added last)
<Nope... ultimately trouble>
What does everyone think?
<Time for me to post the dailies, warm my coffee>
Ryan Mullinax
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

300 Gallon fish stocking and selection: 6/1/2009
<Hi Francisco.>
I currently have a 300 gallon aquarium with a 4" fine sand with about 250
pounds LR. The sump is a 140 gallon Rubbermaid bin with a modded ASM 4X+ and a DIY algae scrubber. Connected to the sump is another 140 gallon bin refugium with a 4" sand bed.
<Sounds like a nice setup.>
My current fish are a 4 1/2 " Powder Blue Tang, 3" Yellow Tang, 3 1/2 " Kole tang, a 4" Hippo, a 4" Majestic Angelfish,
<Pomacanthus (Euxiphipops) navarchus - a dismal survival record in captivity. Do read here:
If you do have success with this fish,. please do share your techniques.>
a 4" Coral Beauty, 4 1/2 Melanurus Wrasse,
<Melanurus Wrasses historically do not do well in captivity, do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/anampses/index.htm >
two black Saddleback Clownfish, and a 2 1/2" Ocellaris clown.
Fish are all plump and graze on a sheet of Nori all day along with a cube of food of either krill, mysis, ocean plankton, formula 1 and 2, mega marine angel, prime reef, or spectrum food rotated daily. Since I put the clip on the right side of the tank, all the fish stay within the right side of the tank.
<Had a similar problem, take the clip out when you are not using it, or move it more towards the center. Center rear works best if you can reach it.>
The tank seems a bit empty
<For now....>
so I was wondering if the tank is overcrowded or can I add a few smaller fish or another tang like a tennenti tang.
<I would not.>
I know I already have an Acanthurus in the powder blue tang, but a Naso gets to big in the long run. Am I pushing my luck with the current tang list which at the moment show no aggression.
<You have a big enough system that you may not have any aggression with your current stocking list, but adding anything else big would be pushing it.>
I also wouldn't mind adding a few smaller fish but the black saddle back who is about 4" tends to harass smaller new fish more than the tangs do,
<Typical for Clownfish.>
that's the reason I'm asking about another tang? My LFS got a 3" tennenti but I know impulse buys aren't any good, so I would rather wait and get advise from this great website as I have in the past.
<Perhaps some small bottom dwelling fish such a "scooter" blenny, but you are at the limit for big fish.>
<My pleasure>

Stocking List/Introduction for 750 Gallon System -- 02/16/09 Hey guys, <<Adam>> I've been talking with Eric Russell over the past few months about my new system and I'll have it up and running with skimmer and lights within the next month. <<Ah yes, excellent'¦and tis I again, mate>> Going to give it a few months before stocking it with anything major <<The longer the better>> (I may move a few of my gobies from my 120 when I break it down.) I have a list of things I had thought about including, the list needs to be trimmed down and I made it knowing that. <<Very good>> I have read through Bob's book several times, as well as many other books trying to get a grasp on what can go with the fish/inverts that I would like most to include in the system and widdle it down from that. Still have a lot to go and I'm looking for some advice. <<Okay>> I ran a prelim list by Eric a while back and it's been added and taken from since but this is the last revision. *grin* No I'm serious! <<Uh-huh [grin]>> I would like to see the Anthiines and the flasher/fairy wrasses (I know I'll have to trim the species down to a few,...hence the advice for the best for this system) stay in the system as I have taken to these guys seeing them in the LFS and would like to see them in my dream tank. <<Then I very much suggest you make these fishes your central theme, and base any other decisions/choices on this fact>> I really like Nigers and I know this is not the system for one but I left it on the list in hopes someone would think differently (HAHAHA). <<Mmm'¦that 'someone' won't be me'¦>> There is a "key" at the bottom as I have made some notes because I currently have some of the fish in the list in my 120 gallon set up. The main display tank will focus on SPS/Clams and Inverts (Fromia stars, pistol shrimp, cleaner shrimp maybe a Linckia) <<I suggest you pass on any Linckia species'¦for all the known reasons>> I listed the fish in what I thought would be from most aggressive (Introduced last? at the top) Without further ado, Here it is: SPS Display - 400 Gallon - ~300 - 380 lbs live rock Niger Trigger* Flame Angel~** Blue Hippo Tang Naso Tang* Yellow Tang~ Purple Tang~ Powder Blue Tang* Blue Lined Rabbit Fish* Big Long Nosed Butterfly* or Copper Band Butterfly* Lyretail Anthias (1 M & 4 F) Schooling Bannerfish (3) Bicolor Blenny Orangespot lawnmower Blenny Sixline wrasse~ Melanurus Wrasse Potters Leopard Wrasse Leopard Wrasse Filamented Wrasse (1 M 2F) Carpenters Flasher Wrasse (1M 2 F) Australian Lineatus Wrasse Longfin Fairy Wrasse (1 M 1F) Scott's Fairy Wrasse Solar Fairy Wrasse Yellow Assessor Blue Assessor Black Cap Basslet~ Royal Gramma Pink and Blue Prawn Goby~ Yasha Hase Goby Flaming Prawn Goby Neon Goby (3 - 4) Gecko Goby Randall's Goby Rainford's Goby Red Head goby (2) Twinspot Goby Engineer goby (3) Banggai Cardinal (2 - 3) Purple Firefish Bar goby scissortail goby Green Mandarin Feathered Dragonette Dragon Moth <<That's some listing of fishes'¦ You've stated you really like Anthiines and Flasher/Fairy Wrasses'¦ With that in mind'¦ The Lyretail species is an excellent choice'¦and these along with a moderately sized grouping (5-7) of 'one or the other' of the Flasher Wrasse species listed'¦as well as a single specimens from a 'couple' of the Fairy Wrasses listed would make for a good central theme for the display. Further additions would need to take in to account the 'central fishes' tendencies for being easily spooked (and consequently hiding or jumping) by aggressive and/or rambunctious fishes. Tangs are a gamble in my opinion (though I think the Rabbitfish would be fine), as are the Basslets. The Sixline is also iffy due to its often nasty nature'¦and the Leopard Wrasses, though unlikely to be a bother to anything but each other, should only be introduced to a 'mature' system (this also applies to the Dragonettes). The Gobies would also need to be pared down to reduce territorial disputes (even in this big tank)'¦and the Dragon Moth is certainly a no-no with all the smallish species listed>> 125 Macro Algae Tank - ~100- 150 Lbs live rock - 6 inch sand bed Blue spot Jawfish Pearly Jawfish (2 - 3) Dragonface Pipe Fish (2) Kudu Seahorse (2) 40 Gallon Anemone Tank 2 true percula clowns 1 - 2 BTA Flame Angel~** <<The forty is really too small for the Angel>> Grow out Tank (Approx. 40 gallons) Longnosed Hawk fish~ <<Also needs a bigger tank>> Bicolor Dottyback~ ~ I have this fish on hand in my 120 now * Could be excluded due to issues with tankmates without hurting my feelings **Flame Angel may be the culprit of Zoanthid disappearances and I have not decided where he will be located. I would like to see in the main display but not at the expense of my corals. <<This specimen may need to go back t the LFS then>> Again I know I have listed a lot of fairy wrasse and flasher wrasse and will have to trim it down <<Indeed>> which is why I am researching and looking for other opinions on behavior and longevity to pick the ones best suited for the tank. Even thought of having fewer species with bigger harems. <<This is how I would go>> There will also be a 110 gallon fuge hooked into this tank with a 6-8inch sand bed and Chaeto. <<All good'¦but it all needs time to mature and establish self-sustaining populations of micro and macro food organisms before introducing some of the more delicate fishes on your list (e.g. -- Leopard Wrasses'¦Dragonets)>> Thanks again for all your advice over the past few years, Adam <<Happy to share Adam'¦ Consider my comments and trim your lists to something a bit more 'manageable''¦then come back to discuss further, if you wish. Cheers mate, Eric Russell>>

Re: Stocking List/Introduction for 750 Gallon System -- 02/17/09 Eric, <<Adam>> I had already begun trimming before I got your reply and subsequently I trimmed even further with the help of my wife and daughter last night from about 65 fish down to about 45 or less (in the total system). <<Okay>> The tangs being a gamble is something I was afraid of as we are all attached to the purple and yellow tang we have now, and we all wanted a blue hippo in the big tank. <<The Hippo is certainly a no-no in my opinion. These fish are easily spooked themselves, and having a large Tang 'zooming around the tank' won't do the stress levels of you Anthiines and Flasher/Fairy Wrasses any good. Either the Yellow or Purple Tang on its own would likely be fine, but together you are going to get the occasional chasing/sparring (and will probably increase in frequency as they mature) that can send their nervous neighbors dashing for cover'¦or the carpet. But none of this is guaranteed to occur'¦the decision to include or omit is yours>> How do you think the angel and the long nose Hawkfish would fare with its piscine tank mates in the SPS display? <<Would be fine I think. Neither are pushovers, but I don't think they will go out of their way to bother your central species>> I can live with no Zoanthids, as I like my angel. <<Centropyge species have been known to sample many species of coral/invert'¦but many have also been known to coexist just fine'¦>> I also have a problem taking things back to the LFS knowing that someone who doesn't care as much could get a hold of my fish (hence the multiple tanks, I'm trying to accommodate) and let it perish or put it in an environment that it REALLY doesn't belong in. <<Mmm'¦I see>> Also how about the schooling Bannerfish? <<A trio of Heniochus diphreutes would probably be fine'¦and though considered 'reef safe' by many, these too will probably pose a hazard to your Zoanthids and maybe more>> Can't find a ton of info on them other than that if you end up with one of the other Bannerfish species it could be detrimental to your reef, no lengthy compatibility profiles. <<Heniochus acuminatus is certainly considered to be more of a Cnidarian-muncher than H. diphreutes, and discerning the two can be problematic but is not impossible. I suggest you search the web re the scientific names and learn to tell them apart so as not to rely on the fish store to do it for you. A good place to begin looking is fishbase.org>> I read that having schooling species helps out with the more timid fish and gives them a sense of security? <<Can do, yes>> I was told and read to avoid chromis though, as they would be a risk with the flasher wrasse. <<Any smallish and potentially nasty species like Damsels, Pseudochromids, and wrasses from the genus Pseudocheilinus should be avoided (ideally) in my opinion when trying to keep Anthiines and/or Flasher and Fairy Wrasses>> Any suggestions or comments for schooling species and their effect on the other tank inhabitants? <<Mmm, yes'¦ The smaller schooling Cardinalfishes would be excellent tankmates here, in my opinion. A grouping of either Sphaeramia nematoptera or Apogon leptacanthus would make for an attractive and peaceful display>> I also ditched the leopard wrasses. <<This is usually for the best>> I'd like to give two dragonets their best jump at things and the leopards were always lower on my priorities. <<And prime competitors for the same foodstuffs'¦ And again, do give the system time to mature before introducing them>> (The wife likes them, so there still may be one added....) <<Mmm'¦>> Also how do you feel about the melanurus wrasse? <<I give this species an even smaller chance for survival'¦best to skip>> Was your comment on the Basslets being a gamble in reference to the Anthiines/fairy wrasse? <<Indeed'¦may chase them about>> (I could ditch all but the blackcap and not twitch an eye, as he/she is part of my current display.) <<Perhaps the display will prove large enough for this single specimen'¦but do keep watch>> Also I have decided to go with a 65 gallon anemone display in my upstairs away from the big system. It would house a couple BTA and a couple clowns, would it be a gamble to place my Hawkfish and bi color in this tank with the BTA's? <<Would probably be fine'¦>> Here's the trimmed version: (I like to have things planned out best as possible before executing, things never go along as planned, so sorry for the constant stream of emails ;) ) <<No worries>> Flame Angel (pending) Blue Hippo Tang Yellow Tang Purple Tang Blue Lined Rabbit Fish <<You have my thoughts on these>> Lyretail Anthias (1 M 4 - 5F) Schooling Bannerfish (3 - 5) (Pending) <<I would probably keep this to three, considering your anticipated stocking levels>> Bicolor Blenny Orangespot Lawnmower Blenny Long nose Hawkfish (Pending/or anemone tank?) <<Your choice>> Six Line Wrasse Melanurus Wrasse <<I suggest you pass on both of these'¦ The Sixline can be a terror'¦and the Melanurus is much too delicate>> Carpenters Flasher Wrasse (1M 3 - 4 females) McCosker's Fairy Wrasse (1M) Longfin Fair Wrasse (1M) Scott's Fair Wrasse (1M) Yellow Assessor (Pending) Blue Assessor (Pending) Black Cap Basslet <<A potential problem'¦as stated earlier>> Pink and Blue Prawn Goby Yasha Hase Goby ~or~ Flaming Prawn Goby Neon Goby (3) Gecko Goby Rainford's Goby Banggai Cardinal (Pair) <<Unless you obtain a true pair I predict you will soon only have one. Do consider the much more 'social' species I mentioned>> Purple Firefish (2) Bar Goby (1) Green Mandarin Fish Fingered Dragonet Seahorse Tank (125 Gallon) 3 Pearly Jawfish <<Ah, a wiser choice than mixing species as you earlier indicated>> 2 Kuda Seahorse 2 Pipefish (Dragonface or Banded) I have emptied the grow out tank of fish.....and moved the anemone system away from the big system to be placed up stairs, <<Will likely fare better on its own'¦away from the influences of the other systems>> (it also grew in size from a 40 to a 65... might go with the New BIG (66G) Red Sea Max or set up something with HOB/canister filters) one Bi-color Dottyback with no place (anemone tank?)..... :( <<Sure'¦ Be chatting, EricR>>

R2: Stocking List/Introduction for 750 Gallon System -- 02/18/09 Eric, <<Hi Adam>> One reason I have been hesitant to add cardinals is because the cleaner and pistols I want to include. <<The species I listed should not pose much, if any, threat re>> I had the pair of Banggais on the list but wasn't completely set on the decision. I have 2 large skunk cleaners, one Alpheid, with plans of adding one more Alpheid and a fire shrimp to the big tank. <<I see no problems here re the Cardinals>> How well can the cardinals be trusted with larger sized cleaners and the goby guarded Alpheids? <<In my experience this has not been a problem with the smaller species I listed>> A friend of mine had bad luck with a pair of Banggais (the male was the culprit, female remained in the tank innocent), the male was caught with one of the smaller cleaners in its mouth after a long time of peaceful coexistence. <<Happens>> Cardinals occupy the shrimp eating niche in the wild don't they? <<Mmm, many of our aquarium fishes will devour shrimp of the right 'size' if/when encountered. The Cardinals are planktonic feeders primarily, watching for and plucking morsels from the water column, but will also feed on small crustaceans, worms, etc., when opportunity presents>> Any thoughts on this? <<I think either Cardinal species I recommended poses small risk to the ornamental shrimps (just don't drop the shrimp in to the tank like food when introducing new specimens), with the smaller Apogon leptacanthus posing the less of the two. Cheers, EricR>>

R3: Stocking List/Introduction for 750 Gallon System -- 06/23/09
<<Hiya Adam>>
As you suspected my list has been hacked to death and reassembled several times and even now after introducing the first 8 fish and having 1 in QT I think I have hacked it up and assembled a new Frankenstein.
<<Not at all unusual mate>>
I have left the idea of a big group of anthias and some flasher/fairy's.
I have had bad luck with the anthias.
<<Mmm, I see'¦ They can be difficult, especially the less a system has matured>>
I bought 8 "Bartlett's" after much research and looking around.
<<Generally a very good selection re Anthiines for captive keeping'¦in fact, probably 'the best' for first-time Anthias owners. But there is also much to be said for the manner of collection and handling when it comes to a fish's survivability>>
Upon getting them home and being able to get a better look at them I think I received 2 or 3 Dispar and the rest Bartlett's.
<<Mixed shipments of similar looking species is not uncommon in my experience'¦unfortunately>>
Unfortunately I lost half of them within the first 2 - 3 days, and spotted a salt size white speck on one of the Bartlett's tails the second night I had them. All has been well and no more white specs, my cleaners have shacked up with them and I have been feeding nothing but Selcon and garlic soaked mysis to them, mixed in with some New Life Spectrum they are a little hesitant to eat but have been more and more.
<<Keep it up with the Spectrum pellets>>
I now have 2 Dispar and 2 Bartlett's that seem to be doing relatively well,
<<Mmm, if these two species are comingling (have seen such before) then you may be fine'¦else you may need to acquire a few more (maybe from a different source?) of each to keep aggressions spread>>
aside from one of the Dispar having a white patch next to his dorsal,
I believe this was due to an abrasion as it looks as though the skin/scales are missing (a thin chunk taken out).
<<Ah yes'¦a physical injury likely obtained during collection/shipping>>
Aside from the Anthiines, there is a Filamented Flasher Wrasse, 2 Banggai Cardinals and a Bicolor Blenny. I also have a Mystery Wrasse in QT; he's been in there for 2 weeks now and looks relatively well,
eating NLS as well.
<<Very good'¦but if this fish is stressed in any way by the QT it should be moved to the display (unless a disease/pathogen is obvious). Quarantine procedure is not a 'black and white' process>>
I wanted to pass you by the new list and see what you think.....
<<Okey dokey>>
2 Bellus Angel or Zebra Angel Pair (Genicanthus Sp.)
1 Purple Tang
1 Yellow Tang
1 Regal Tang
2 Pyramid Butterflyfish
3 Schooling Banner fish
2 Percula Clown (Onyx or Picasso)
1 Black Cap Basslet
1 Chalk Bass
1 Yellow "Coris" Wrasse
1 Christmas Wrasse
1 Zebra Goby
1 Green Mandarin Fish (Male)
1 Pistol/Prawn Pair
5 Blue Ring Cardinals
2 Purple Firefish
1 Mystery Wrasse
1 Filamented Flasher Wrasse
2 Dispar Anthias
2 Bartlett's Anthias
1 Bicolor Blenny
2 Banggai Cardinal (Pair)
That's a total of 35 fish in a 84" X 36" X 30" display,
<<Ah yes, nearly 400g'¦a nice size and dimension. But'¦ I do think you are maybe pushing the envelope 'just a bit.'>>
100 gallon sump (with Chaetomorpha and live rock) and a 120 gallon fuge with 5" DSB soon to be online with the new system.
(Don't know if you remember this set up or not)
<<Is coming back'¦>>
If I had to lose one of the fish, I think I'd rather lose the blue ring cardinals which would bring me down to 30 fish... my target number. What do you think?
<<Honestly'¦ I would drop the Regal Tang in this instance'¦ This large (to 12'), beefy, and VERY active fish would contribute the most over any other single choice here re success of the system by its exclusion'¦in my opinion. You will still need to keep on top of maintenance/husbandry. The five Butterflies are a push as well'¦ I would choose one or the other species for now and see how things go. Even with these omissions, you have to be sure to allow plenty of open swimming space, as well as adequate hiding/resting places for all'¦a difficult balance as the number of fishes increases'¦especially those of size>>
Also given what is currently in the tank, and the mystery wrasse coming out of QT in 2 more weeks...
<<Or maybe sooner>>
who do you think should be added next....I tried to put them in order bottom to top.
<<I agree/would stick with this>>
I know the tangs should go in last, I have the two Zebrasomas in a Rubbermaid sump (they were in my 120) along with the blackcap, zebra goby and several other fishes that I have not decided where they are going (friend's tanks or back to the LFS). I hate looking at them in there, given the list should they be the last additions or should/could they be bumped down a couple spots?
<<I would stick with your plan to add the Tangs last'¦is best I think for the Butterflies/Angels you have selected. Good luck, and keep me posted on your/the fishes progress. EricR>>

R4: Stocking List/Introduction for 750 Gallon System -- 06/25/09
Yes, I know the system may have needed a bit more time to mature I left it without fish and only inverts for almost 5 months and couldn't wait to add fish any longer (I had planned for 6 months)
<<Still quite commendable'¦most can't/won't wait 5 weeks>>
I saw a good population of "bugs" at night and figured a flasher wouldn't pickoff an entire population.
<<Agreed'¦not with the inline refugium in place anyway>>
The Bartlett's seem to be taking the NLS pellets well
<<This will go far towards their/any fish's continued good health and vigor. I am a huge fan of this food product>>
but the Dispars seem to eat only the frozen mysis...but still have fingers crossed.
<<Me too'¦hopefully they will 'learn' from the Bartlett's>>
The two species are co-mingling for the most part, every once in a while the smaller Dispar is distant from the group....
The mystery wrasse in QT will have been in QT for 2 weeks this Friday, relatively well probably wasn't the best way to describe it.
He is VERY shy and at first wasn't eating well but he has started to come to the front of the tank and out of the crevices more and eats well when fed.
<<Like many of the Anthiine species, I feel many wrasse species (particularly those species that 'burrow' at night) suffer much in quarantine for the small risk they pose re direct introduction to the display>>
No signs of any pathogens though. You mentioned letting him out sooner?
I am wrestling with this idea because of the white speck I spotted on one of the Bartlett's tails. The spot was noticed on day 2 or 3 of them being in the display and was gone by end of weekend (Fish introduced on Friday, spot noticed on Sat). I almost would say I was trying to QT my display for fear of introducing any more fish to whatever the Bartlett may have had? (What do you think?)
<<Crypt is present in most any system'¦ As long as you aren't experiencing an outbreak of symptoms I would go ahead and introduce the wrasse to the display>>
The anthias have been in the display the same amount of time as the Mystery Wrasse in QT. With the stocking list I figured I was pushing the envelope, was hoping you would give some feedback on the two butterfly species.
<<Both are risky re housing with corals/inverts>>
I like the Heni's a lot more than the Pyramids (as does my wife), but given the difficulty in telling them apart from H. acuminatus, (As I have heard and read that acuminatus can be a destroyer of reefs) I was teetering on their selection.
<<H. acuminatus is more risky than H. diphreutes, but the latter still tends to nip at Zoanthid colonies in most all situations that I have been aware'¦though in a large system with large populations of Zoanthids this may be tolerated'¦depends much on the individual fishes. As for identification between the two, this becomes much easier/more apparent if you have the opportunity to view the two species at the same time>>
Any reputable places to order them from that you know of?
<<I generally prefer to order through a LFS, but on occasion do turn to the Internet. I've had very good experiences with both Drs. Foster & Smith/Live Aquaria and Pet Solutions>>
After the mix up with the anthias and the mix up trying to get some female filamented flashers for my male filamented (He got the completely wrong species from his distributer), I don't trust my LFS with anything that can be mixed up species wise.
<<I see>>
I have also attached a couple images of the display/anthias. (or you can see updated pics/info on my RC thread (http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=15215400#post15215400).
<<I see these'¦an in-wall display eh'¦very nice. I may have mentioned to you before that I have a 500g in-wall reef system (375g display/75g sump/55g refugium)>>
There is a full shot that was taken during setup when I first started moving coral over, it's not very good quality but the best full tank shot that shows the "openness" of the tank...
<<Ah yes'¦ Very important to provide such 'room' for the livestock'¦in my opinion>>
I don't like the whole rock wall look.
<<Its time has passed>>
From the picture you can see that I am obviously having trouble keeping the Tunze's from blowing sand out of the middle of the tank...still trying to work on this, as far as positioning etc. ... nothing seems to work, except taking them down a few notches from full blast...
<<I have the same issue (I have six Tunze Stream pumps in my display)'¦but I wouldn't worry too much about the sand movement. You can try adding a bit of coarser material to those low spots, but it too will shift'¦and going 'too coarse' will only trap detritus'¦best to live with it>>
Thanks for all your help,
<<A pleasure to assist'¦ Eric Russell>>

Plans For New 340 Gallon Tank -- 11/23/08 Hey guys, <<Hey there Adam>> I have rushed every reef I have had because it was previously a friends system or someone who was getting out of the hobby etc. Due to this everything has always been a rush and issues have always ensued. <<I see>> I am now in the planning/purchasing phase of the first system solely designed and started by myself. <<Cool! Much fun and learning to be had during the planning stages>> I have been brainstorming different ideas for nearly 6 - 10 months and have settled on a 350 gallon display, 100 gallon sump, 100 gallon dry sump (in case of over flow issues), a 180 gallon refugium and a 45 gallon grow-out tank. <<Very nice'¦ I have a 500g system (375g display, 75 sump, 55g refugium) that I built from the ground up, so I have a an idea of what is ahead for you>> The display will focus on invertebrates and fish so I wanted to run a possible stocking list (fish) by you guys. <<I'm happy to give you my opinion>> I've researched a lot of the fish and their temperament but some of them I am not so comfortable with. Other inhabitants will be a focus on SPS, Clams and shrimp (pistols and cleaners). <<Okay>> The stocking list is as follows: 1 Hippo Tang 1 Sixline Wrasse 1 Bar Goby 1 Pink and Blue Prawn Goby 1 Bicolor Blenny 1 Ember Blenny (Saw it at a LFS guessing from looks it is a color morph of the Lawnmower blenny) 2 Firefish 2 Purple Firefish <<I don't recommend these Dartfishes (Nemateleotris spp.) in this type of setting. These shy little fish (conspecifics aside) tend to get bullied and or just stressed to the point that they simply 'disappear' when housed with more boisterous fishes, as you have listed. They're really best suited to a species specific system'¦or at least one with 'their' requirements as the focal point>> 1 Bicolor Pseudochromis 1 Fridmani Pseudochromis <<Mmm, not sure these will cohabitate even in this size tank>> 1 Yasha Hase Goby 1 Flaming Prawn Goby 1 Flame Wrasse 1 Filamented Wrasse 1 Carpenters Flasher Wrasse 1 Australian Lineatus Wrasse 3 Dispar Anthias (2 F, 1 M) 1 Fathead Anthias <<Ah yes'¦this is one Anthiine species that I've 'not' seen do well in captivity as a group (results much like those when trying to keep a 'school' of damsels)>> 3 Ventralis Anthias (2F, 1 M) 1 Blackcap Basslet <<This Gramma may also become a target of the Pseudochromis>> 1 - 2 Green Mandarin Fish (depends on availability of a pair) <<Even with the refugium, I suggest you let this system mature for at least a year before attempting these fish>> 3 Neon Gobies 2 Yellow Headed Jawfish 1 Sea of Cortez Jawfish <<And a suitable substrate for these'¦>> 1 Yellow Tang 1 Purple Tang 1 Flame Angel 2 Percula Clowns This being my third and final reef tank I scoured the internet and books to try to include everything I could and then make adjustments given their husbandry requirements. I know I have read that the Anthias if housed with even semi-aggressive tankmates can go belly up, would this be an issue with the tangs and angel with this big of a tank? (I already have the purple, and yellow tang as well as the angel housed in my 120 gallon reef and don't want to part with them.... and absolutely cannot stand something dying under my care. :( ) <<There is a possibility the Anthiines will be intimidated to the point of decline, yes. Some species seem to fare better with aggressive tankmates in my experience (e.g. -- Lyretail and Bicolor)'¦maybe partly due to their larger size but also 'their' more aggressive nature. Anthiines also seem to do better in my estimation when they are the major population species in a tank'¦not the case in yours>> The tank will be set up over the next year, and I don't have plans of stocking it with fish until around six months of cycling to give planktors and algae their first go at life and it will be a slow addition later that with the fish in my current tank being introduced last (except some of the gobies). <<Excellent! Kudos to you for your patience here'¦ Your system will be so much the better for it>> Second question, due to circumstances in the past, like the recent demonstration of Murphy's Law while I was on vacation, I want everything to have a "back- up" plan. <<Redundancy is good'¦ I could share my own tragic and costly events re>> I want to go with a single pump circulating the display and Fuge, as well as feeding the Aqua C EV-1000 I plan to employ, and of course, keep a backup of that pump at all times. <<Mmmm'¦ Some considerations to share here'¦ Trying to regulate flow to multiple devices is a constant battle. Small changes in resistance to the flow within the plumbing lines, the skimmer, etc., will require your continuous attention to regulate for maximum efficiency of the skimmer. And of course, if the pump goes down, everything goes down. And with that in mind, why not 'two' sump return pumps? You stated you wanted a backup system. Well mate, short of an auto-start generator in the event of a total loss of power, running two smaller sump return pumps (for sump return/circulation only) on separate electrical circuits is the way to go. If one pump fails, or if something on one of the circuits trips a GFCI, you still have one pump that, even at half the total flow, will be able to keep your tank 'alive' until you can affect repairs. Even the auto-start generator won't help for a simple surge/circuit breaker tripping'¦but running two return pumps on two different circuits could be a lifesaver>> I was thinking of using the Reeflo Hammerhead Gold due to its 5555GPH output and low watt draw (~275 watts). <<Do also consider the pumps location/noise in the living space'¦if a consideration>> Would running this pumps output into a 3-way manifold with ball valves ruin its high flow rate? <<In my opinion, yes'¦ High flow pumps with very low wattage draws typically do not do well against much head pressure>> Even if it doesn't would it depreciate it enough that it wouldn't be worth doing? <<That depends on what the end flow rate needs to be>> I plan to have ~3000 GPH going to the display, ~1500GPH to the skimmer and the rest of the flow directed to the Fuge. <<I doubt you will get this much total flow from this pump with the manifold and other head-loss issues. And a note'¦ This is a LOT of flow to process through a sump'¦some noise and flow issues ahead of you for sure>> Or would it be a better idea to run two Darts (3600 GPH) into a manifold and have them feed the three tanks/device? <<These too are high-flow low-wattage pumps'¦not much of an improvement in my opinion. But I also don't think you need as much flow as you are striving for so these or your original pump/plan will probably be fine'¦though I suggest a separate 'dedicated ' pump for the skimmer>> On the display end I plan to use a manifold much the way that Anthony Calfo describes in the WWM article so that obviously would have its own effect on the total system head. <<Indeed it will>> (Other circulation will be provided by 4 EcoTech Vortechs ~3000GPH apiece, hopefully creating a surging effect in the tank) <<A much better way to create flow within the tank versus trying to flush thousands of gph through the sump, in my opinion>> Lastly I am trying to make a decision on Lighting and wouldn't mind a little input from someone with loads more experience than I. I had planned to place 3 400 Watt MH 12K as well as 4 48" T5 Actinics and 3 36" Actinics. My local Fish store said that the 400W would be overkill and a big power hog (I knew the power hog part). So do you guys think that going with 3 250W would be adequate? <<250w MH is perfectly adequate in my experience for a tank of this height. And considering the depth front-to-back, have a look at full-size quality reflectors like Lumenarc and LumenMax>> The tank dimensions are 84" X 36" X 26" H. with a 1 - 2 inch sand bed. <<Ah, well then'¦either consider passing on the Jawfishes or deepen the substrate to at least 4-inches of sand with some mixed rubble>> Thanks AGAIN, Adam <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Re: Plans For New 340 Gallon Tank -- 10/24/08 Eric, <<Adam>> Couple follow up questions/comments on your reply: <<Okay>> My biggest stocking question was with the fairy/carpenter wrasses that I selected as well as the Anthias, as I have no experience with either of them. <<Wonderful fishes'¦ Some species much harder to keep than others, especially among the Anthiines'¦be reading all you can>> I have always used chromis to give the tank a schooling fish/ bit of a flash and want to try something more colorful with the bigger tank. <<Ah, if I only had the money back that I've squandered on such ventures'¦ What you wish for here is not uncommon and the attraction is quite understandable. Unfortunately, creating an eye-pleasing school of fish in the unnatural confines of an aquarium is often difficult and usually requires some special considerations such as 'species-specific' setups. Both the small Flasher and Fairy wrasses and the Anthiines as we previously discussed, can be easily intimidated by the larger and/or more boisterous fishes in the tank. This intimidation doesn't have to come from direct attack, but is most often just a result of all the 'activity' in the tank. At worst this leads to their decline and eventual death'¦at best it disrupts any natural schooling behavior (though they may 'hide' as a group'¦not exactly what you're after). One exception in my experience has been groupings of small Cardinalfish species. These fishes tend to take the hustle and bustle of a mixed community better the aforementioned fishes. I have a 'school' of a dozen Pajama Cardinals (Sphaeramia nematoptera) in my large reef tank, and while not particularly colorful, this 'display' of fish is very attractive all the same'¦and quite interesting to observe>> The Jawfish are teetering on whether I include a DSB in the display. <<Not an option'¦a must for these fishes>> I'm leaning to keeping with a DSB in the fuge so that no issues arise in the display down the road so the Jawfish would be taken off the list. <<Okay>> Unfortunately I have had bad success with Dartfish in the past (lost 2 in my previous 55 gallon reef) and was leery of trying them again, but my wife adores them. <<Mmm'¦ Then perhaps a separate 'species tank' with a few of these fish should be on your shortlist of Christmas gifts for her>> Would it be better for the fish if I chose 1 Anthiine Species instead of a mix? <<I think so, yes'¦ The increase in numbers may provide some extra sense of security'¦but will certainly help with conspecific aggression>> I've head of 5 as the magic number with some species? <<Depends on the size of the tank'¦other stocking densities, etc. With the foregoing of the two Jawfish species, I think you could do 7 if you wish. And something I didn't mention before'¦ If you go with the Flasher Wrasses or Anthiines, consider omitting the Clownfish. It's not always, but I've often seen Damsel species chase these timid and already nervous fishes to the point where they jump from the tank'¦just something else for you to consider if you want to be successful here in the long term>> You mentioned Lyretails and Bicolors? <<Yes, both very hardy once acclimated>> Would you expect much better success with one of these two species in this setting? <<I would'¦especially the Lyretail species. In my opinion their larger size and pugnacious attitude (for an Anthiine) make them better suited to a system such as you propose>> Stocking numbers for these guys? <<Five'¦of these larger beauties>> I am more concerned with the success of my husbandry than having that fish my wife or I just has to have, if it's a long shot I would rather stick with something that I won't have to face seeing perish at my care. <<Much to research and consider then'¦>> As far as the circulation goes the 100 gallon Rubbermaid sump was to built on a platform so that it would only require the pump to move water 1' - 2' plus the height of the tanks... no more than a 5' static head from upward flow. I know with the manifolds it will increase this number quickly. <<Maybe as much as doubling it>> I have decided to go with a dedicated pump for the skimmer, <<Ah! A much better approach>> and most likely go with two pumps for the fuge/display circulation. <<Excellent!>> You mentioned using the Hammerhead or two Darts would be overkill on the flow? <<Mmm, more specifically'¦more than you need to process through the sump, along with the associated plumbing (surge/flushing/air entrainment) and noise hassles>> Noise is not going to be a huge issue as the tank will be in the basement underneath the laundry/kitchen in its own room, though if it is a monsoon like sound it could be an issue... <<I see>> What would an appropriate flow rate be for a tank this size/stocking? <<A 1000gph through the sump would be quite adequate (could even be a bit less if wanted)'¦utilizing other methods (powerheads/closed-loop) to boost water movement within the display tank>> Construction starts on the tank next Monday, and I still haven't specified drain/supply hole sizes for the overflows, because it is dependent on the pump/flow I will be using. Do you have any insight on this? <<Yes'¦ For optimum results with gravity drains, figure no more than 300gph per 1' drain, 700gph per 1.5' drain, or 1200gph per 2' drain. Some of the online flow calculators will lead you to believe these numbers to be ultra conservative, but experience, along with some purposeful testing done by WetWebMedia's own ScottV, has proven the value of these figures>> Originally I had planned to circulate as much as economically/physically possible but you brought up some good points and I am again rethinking some of my plans. Mucho Gracias, Adam <<Muy bienvenida. EricR>>

500 Gallon stock list, SW FO, not mixing rays, sharks... 8/29/08 I'm looking into getting a 500 gallon tank Dims are 96"Lx 48"Wx 25"H, <Ahh, a very nice "shape" indeed> and I'm doing some pre-leg work. This is the fish list that I have in mind. The compatibility is based off of Blue zoo Aquatics quick facts chart <A worthwhile endeavour/project... though such charts/lists should not be considered/held as sacrosanct> and some of the FAQ's section from your site about Shark compatibility. Can you give me your opinion of what will and won't work together. I'm also going to try and get these fish in a smaller size. I already know filtration is going to be key, so what type of filtration or protein skimmer would you suggest for a system this size with a stock list of this level? 1 White spotted Bamboo Shark or a male and female pair 1 Blue spot stingray or Cortez which ever works better <Mmm... I would not place this ray here... nor really mix most any Batoid with Elasmobranchs... not really compatible... Sharks eat rays... they are their principal predators in the wild> A mix of about 20 Chromes: 10 Bicolor, 5 Green, 5 Blue <Food for the sharks> A mix of about 12 Altheas: 3 Square, 3 Lyre tail, 3 Disbar, 3 Resplendent <... Mmm, also food... And I would not mix such small numbers of any but the Pleurotaenia... see WWM re> 1 Bicolor Fox face Rabbit fish 2 Indigo Hamlet 1 Blue Tang 1 Blonde Nash 1 Spotted Unicorn 1 Horseshoe Filefish 4 Blue streak cleaner wrasse <Mmm, no... see WWM...> 1 Yellow head wrasse 1 Checkerboard wrasse 4 Pork fish 1 Zebra eel I know it may be a bit over crowded but that is why I came to the experts, thanks for all your answers. <Mmm, not really answers, but a request that you start over... what you list won't work. Either the sharks, and possibly some of the larger (start and finish size) fishes toward the end of your list... scratching off the Hypoplectrus, the Gymnomuraena... Take your time at this stage... I assure you, better time now than real troubles (induced) later. Bob Fenner>

Big Tanks Have Limitations Too'¦ Stocking And Equipping A New 300g -- 08/28/08 Thank you for your time in reading this email. <<No worries mate'¦that is what we do>> I know you are busy so I will be brief. <<Ah yes, that honey-do list ya know'¦>> It has been a long time but I finally received my 300 gallon (96Lx30Wx24T) tank. <<Congrats'¦ After finally getting a 375g display for myself after more than 30 years in the hobby, I do know the 'joy' of getting/having a big tank. Though friend and fellow Crew-mate Scott Fellman doesn't seem to think big tanks are such a big deal (dude'¦what up with that article?! [big grin]>> I have been planning this for about three years now. <<Planning is wise>> Every day since I started dreaming of this tank the stock list has changed a million times along with the tank dimensions. <<Been there>> Thanks to your website I now believe that I have the knowledge to provide my fish friends with the proper care to keep them happy and healthy! <<Yay! But'¦then why are you here now? [grin]>> All fish will go through a 4 week minimum quarantine. <<Very good>> The fish list includes 3 Chaetodon semilarvatus, <<A spectacular Butterfly species'¦I do hope they 'get along' for you in this volume (I have found that 300g+ is not 'all that big' sometimes)>> 1 Paracanthurus hepatus, <<I'm really glad this tank is as big as it is. This is a very robust and active (and nervous) species that requires a large volume for its long term health>> 13 Chromis viridis, Naso lituratus (male red sea), Moorish Idol <<Do obtain/train this fish to feed on New Line Spectrum pelleted food'¦will be a big benefit to all your fishes as well. See WWM re'¦>> and finally an Emperor Angel (red sea). I would add the angel about 6 months to a year after the tank is set up so he won't suffer from new tank syndrome. <<Mmm'¦actually mate, this wait period would benefit ALL your fishes, and the system in general>> I will be employing the use of an ATI Bubble Master 300 (would the ATI 250 be better for my setup?). <<Ah yes, a good friend of mine (Scott Groseclose at Aquarium Specialty) sells these. And yes, I think the '250' would be plenty of skimmer for your system>> ReeFlo Dart for return. 2 Wavy Seas attached to a closed-loop run on another ReeFlo dart. <<Very nice>> A Tunze Wave Box. <<<Do consider the 'space' these require as well as the restrictions re close placement of rock/coral (yes, even in a 300g tank) and maybe reconsider for some of the electronic Tunze Stream pumps w/controller (just a suggestion)>> 1 wave box to start then, when I get more money, I will purchase another one. Lighting will be 2 48" 65 watt Coralife Lunar Aqualights. <<Mmm, okay'¦so a total of '8' 65w bulbs over the tank>> I was going to make the tank a FOWLR but maybe down the road I would like to add a few softies. <<Your fish choices may say otherwise>> Do you think that I could keep the lighting I currently have or would I have to upgrade? <<This depends on the specific species of corals you choose. Stick to Corallimorphs and you will likely be fine'¦otherwise you may need a few more bulbs/a different methodology>> I will have a 100 gallon sump that will house the protein skimmer, a large refugium and the heaters. Sincerely, Brent <<Good luck, and enjoy that new BIG tank. Regards, EricR>>

New (large) tank... gen. stkg. order for large SW 7/29/08 Hello Bob and crew. I am just starting my new 650 gallon tank and needed your advice. Unfortunately in my country many people are not interested in the fish so there are only a few stores and they can only import certain fish. So I am getting these fish for my new tank. Can you please go through the list and tell me if these are ok! Angels 1 emperor 6-7 inches 1 Koran 8-9 inches (unfortunately my LFS only gets big ones) 1 Blueface 6-7 inches 1 asfur 5-6 inches 1 navarchus 5-6 inches butterflies a pair of falcula 3-4 inches omato a pair of raccoon 3-4 inches a pair of saddlebacks 4-5 inches a pair of teardrop 3-4 inches tangs 3 regal tangs ~3 inches 1 powder blue ~4 inches 3 yellow ~4 inches 2 purple ~4 inches 1 Naso ~7 inches 1 dussumieri ~8 inches 1 Desjardin sailfin ~5 inches triggerfish 1 niger trigger ~4 inches 1 black ~5 inches misc 1 zebra eel 30 inches + 1 Foxface ~5 inches a pair of tomato clowns 1 golden puffer ~6 inches In what order should I add these fish. <The misc. first... a month or so later, the Butterflies... a month or so after that the triggers, a month or so after all the angels at once... lastly the surgeons> I assure you they will all be quarantined because I have 2 75 gallon quarantine tanks and there will be a minimum of 2 weeks between each group of animals. <Good> Thank you! <Welcome. BobF>

Re: New (large) tank... gen. stkg. order for large SW -- 7/30/08 Thank you so much for the reply but I am a little confused with your answer. Do you recommend I add the angels before the smaller surgeons? <Yes> And also do you think that the golden puffer is peaceful enough to not disturb other arrivals after him. And are all my fish absolutely safe with the zebra or should I drop it? <Should be fine... is too slow, the system large enough... to do much damage. B>

Re: Large SW stkg. 8/2/08 Hey Bob. I know in am becoming a nuisance but I am confused between all the possibilities and I decided on keeping anthias. You already agreed on my previous list for my 650 but here is a new one. Angels 1 emperor 6-7 inches 1 Koran 8-9 inches (unfortunately my LFS only gets big ones) 1 Blueface 6-7 inches butterflies a pair of falcula 3-4 inchesomato a pair of raccoon 3-4 inches a pair of saddlebacks 4-5 inches tangs 2 regal tangs ~3 inches 1 powder blue ~4 inches 2 yellow ~4 inches 2 purple ~4 inches 1 Naso ~7 inches 1 dussumieri ~8 inches 1 Desjardin sailfin ~5 inches misc 1 Foxface ~5 inches a pair of tomato clowns 5-6 cleaner shrimps And now for the anthias. I am wanting to keep a large group. around 14 individuals. Do you think it is safe to house this many. Also which species do you think is best in these? Pseudanthias squamipinnis <This, the above, by far> Pseudanthias ignitus Pseudanthias pulcherrimus Also how many males do you think should I keep? <One or two> In what order should I add these fish. I assure you they will all be quarantined because I have 2 75 gallon quarantine tanks and there will be a minimum of 2 weeks between each group of animals. <Can go near the front. B>

clean tank... More lg. SW stkg... 8/2/08 Hey Bob and crew. I have a question for you. I have a new 650 gallon tank which will be housing 3 large angels, some butterflies, Foxface, some anthias, and some tangs. Well I wanted some invertebrates like hermits, sandsifting stars and cleaner shrimps for the tangs and anthias. I want to know if these are safe with the butterflies. <Yes> Now in a system this big they are all bound to get lost and how will I know if anything dies because they would all be in the live rock and all around. Also in this system how many cleaners, hermits and sandsifting stars should I get? And also do anthias require cleaner shrimps? <I'd undershoot the stkg. of such... In large systems especially, the equipment employed should be decided on to provide most such "clean up"... The Anthias can/will use suitable cleaners... I'd avoid too many Stenopids... Bob Fenner>

new tank. Same nonsense 8/03/08 Hello bob. <...> Ok this is my final stocking list. 650 gallons 80 gallon sump 40 gallon refugium. <Too small for the volume of this main/display> Angels 1 emperor 6-7 inches 1 Koran 8-9 inches (unfortunately my LFS only gets big ones) 1 Blueface 6-7 inches 1 annularis 5-6 inches butterflies a pair of falcula 3-4 inchesomato a pair of raccoon 3-4 inches a pair of saddlebacks 4-5 inches tangs 3 regal tangs ~3 inches 1 powder blue ~4 inches 3 yellow ~4 inches 2 purple ~4 inches 1 Naso ~7 inches 1 dussumieri ~8 inches 1 Desjardin sailfin ~5 inches 1 vlamingi ~8inches triggerfish 1 niger trigger ~4 inches 1 black ~5 inches misc 1 zebra eel 30 inches + 1 Foxface ~5 inches a pair of clarkii clowns ~3 inches 1 golden puffer ~6 inches 2 miniatus groupers ~5 inches All fish will be respectively quarantined in 2 75 gallon systems. Thank you! <So? RMF>

Right combinations or not... 15 foot tall cylindrical tank... tiny fish choices 7/24/08 Hello My wife and I are having a steel framed house built <Wave of the future... strike that, the present> and in the center of the house will be the showcase of the house. It is a 10ft diameter X 15ft tall cylinder marine aquarium. <... is this a mis-print? A fifteen foot high system? Wow!> The house is a two floor structure. The walls on the house are 10 ft high and then there is a gap for the build up of the second floor to go around the aquarium and then there is about 3ft of the aquarium showing on the second floor. I will have it age about 8 months before I add any fish or invertebrates. I was wondering what your feelings are for an aquarium with Cardinalfishes, Dwarf Angels, and Damselfish. <... in such a volume? I'd likely have/keep larger species...> The species that I plan on keeping are Apogon cyanosoma, Apogon novemfasciatus, Centropyge nox, Centropyge aurantia, Centropyge heraldi, Centropyge vroliki, Chrysiptera talboti, and Chrysiptera tricinta. I was wondering if this good. I know that the dwarf angels will bully each other in smaller aquariums but with one this big I doubt it since it will have plenty of hiding places. I plan on having 10 each of the cardinals and at least 6 each of the damsels. Is that too many or not enough? <... You likely won't "be able to find them" in this volume, shape system... the curvature of the sides...> What invertebrates could go with such a set-up? <The list here is huge...> Your help is greatly appreciated. Are clownfish, in particular Ocellaris Clowns (both orange and black varieties) good tank mates and how many of each? <... could be quite a few...> Thank You David De Veny <Might I ask, have you looked into the cost of the tank itself? If not, I think you will be surprised at how much the cost "jumps" per every foot or so of increase in height... I suggest you do a bit more reading period, before going further... Chat with fabricators, your general contractor... re what is involved here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Right combinations or not... 15' tall cylinder... stkg... 7/25/08 Quoting WetWebMedia Crew <crew@wetwebmedia.com>: > I have talked with the contractor and the fabricators. My wife and I know how much it will cost. You suggested to go with larger fish. What suggestions do you have? Do you think larger Angelfish and Butterflies? I want a setup that will be pleasing to the eye (lots of color) and peaceful. Thank You. David <... for the hundreds of thousands of dollars this is going to cost I advise you to do a bit of reading... Some Pomacanthids and Chaetodontids would indeed be amongst my choices for such a show piece. RMF>

Sharks, rays, tangs, lionfish, and tangs... stkg. a large SW pond - 07/19/08 hi WWM, I am in the process of building a circular indoor pond and would be interested in putting some saltwater fish. my question is : would I be able to have a black banded cat shark (the "not true" cat shark), a lion fish radiata or Volitans?), <Umm, no... too likely the Shark will consume any Lion species> a sohal tang and a ray or eagle bat ray. <...?> How big would the pond need to be? would 6,000+ gallons be enough (because of the bat ray) and would I be able to keep a bat ray at all with the rest of the tank being more tropical?. <... What species? There are tropical Myliobatids: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_ray> I am planning on making the pond about 18 feet across by about 52" deep (again circular). would the tang nip at the fins of the bat ray? <Doubtful in a volume of this size> Have you guys had success at keeping bat rays? <Not in residential settings, but in "public aquarium ones", yes> and if I cannot keep a bat ray (I would really love to have one), what other ray/fish would you recommend. <? Are you joking?> I am in the middle of researching the fish I plan to put in the pond and want to get all the info I can. <...?> There will be live rock. (I don't know how much yet), but no corals. Also are bat rays even legal to own? <As far as I'm aware, yes... at least in the U.S.> The only reason I ask this is they have one for sale at this LFS on 6Th and clement in San Fransisco CA and some of my fish friends say they like the place because they have some nice illegal corals. I am not a coral person but if they have illegal corals they could have illegal fish. thank you for all your help and info!!! sincerely, will <Keep studying and planning Will... Bob Fenner>

compatibility... too much, too soon? 6/26/08 hello. I am cycling my 800 gallon tank(12x3x3) right now. It has a 140 gallon sump. I am going to add my first fish in about 2 weeks. Can u tell me if these fish are compatible? angels Blueface 6-7 in emperor 5-6 in majestic 4-5 inches Koran 7-8 in scribbled ~5 inches butterflies 2 falcula ~3 inches 2 golden ~4 inches 2 saddleback ~4 inches tangs sohal ~4 inches powder blue ~3 inches 2 yellow ~ 3 inches 2 purple ~3 inches 3 regal ~3 inches triggers black ~5 inches niger ~4 inches misc magnificent Foxface ~5 inches 2 tomato clowns ~3 inches 2 cleaner wrasse 2 sand sifting gobies ~4 inches 2 squirrel fish i really like your website and i want your opinion. My supplier is very good and can order specimens specifically for me and would hold them for 3 weeks. In what order should i add the fish? thank you. TOMMY <....> <... could all get along in this volume... Angels semi-last, Sohal absolutely last, the rest of the tangs in six months or so. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility -SW/stocking 5/25/08 Big Aquarium With Big Plans! (Stocking Critique) Ok, I think you guys are the most experienced people I can find, so please read my stocking list, and tell me what I should add or delete. OK! 1 Blueface Angel 5-6 in (sorry but I'm disobeying, but I just love this species to much) <I understand your love for the fish, and I know that you are building a very large aquarium. I still can't say I'm a fan of keeping it in captivity, though!> 3 Golden Pygmy Angels <Nice fish...tend to hide a lot, but may become emboldened over time. Keeping them in a trio, added at the same time, is a good idea if you want to keep more than one specimen.> 2 Threadfin Butterflies 2-3 in <Definitely add them at the same time to avoid potential aggression issues. They do get pretty large (like almost 1)"),and aggressive (for a Butterfly, at least) so keep this in mind.> 3 Black and White Heniochus 2-3 in <Can be nice fish for a large system.> 2 Falcula Butterflies 2-3 in <Personally, I have found them to do better than the Threadfin Butterfly. I'd choose this species over the Threadfin; perhaps a trio of these instead.> 2 Pakistani Butterflies 2-2 in <In my experience, these fishes can be really poor adaptors to captive life. I'd pass on them, myself-particularly in a system with a number of other Butterfly species. They tend to be timid.> 1 Magnificent Foxface 3-4 in <Will add a lot of personality to your aquarium. Add when small for optimum adaption capacity.> 4 Regal Tang 2-3 in <Everyone hates me for this, but I really don't think that you should keep more than one of them. They become quite large, need lots of space, and keeping a group of these active, gluttonous feeders will tax your filtration system. In the wild, they get huge, and I tend to think of them like large Angelfishes- better of in the wild.> 1 Desjardin Sailfin tang 3-4 in <Wow- you MUST hate me by now. I love this fish, but it simply gets enormous, and, once again, like the large Angels, requires a lot of room to roam. I am not a fan of keeping this one in captivity.> 1 Powder Blue Tang 3-4 in <In my opinion, if you are going to try to keep this fish, it should be the only Tang in your system. They tend to have a rough time adapting to captive life, get quite large, and are rather "touchy" (ie; susceptible to illness).> 2 Purple Tangs 3-4 in 2 Yellow Tangs 3-4 in <I'd advise you to only keep one species of Zebrasoma in this system, particularly in a group. Besides, it would be really interesting to see a larger group of the Yellow Tangs, IMO.> 1 Lipstick Tang 4-5 in <Ok..just beat me senseless! This is a popular fish, but it can and does reach almost 20 inches in length! It's just another fish that I cannot personally recommend for captivity.> 2 Niger Triggers 2-3 in <Whew...! Another fish that simply gets huge. If you've ever seen these guys in the wild (I have), you'll see them in groups of several individuals. Nonetheless, they can be a bit aggressive, and once again, I'd be inclined to pass on these fish, particularly in a community situation. I'd rather you consider a somewhat more peaceful Xanthicthys species, such as the Blue Chin, X. auromarginatus, or the Crosshatch, X. mento, both of which are smaller and better behaved than the Niger. That being said, they are REALLY pricy fishes, and that may be a factor. But you asked, and I'm giving you my best advice!> That's all. And I don't like tanks cramped full of live rock <You wouldn't want a lot of live rock with the size/number/types of fishes you are considering for this system!> I will keep live rock at the back of my tank, mostly and leave large gaps so big fish can get around. <I'm not a big fan of "rock walls", but I do like your idea of leaving spaces for the fishes to swim. In fact, why don't you create an aquascape that consists of several smaller aggregations of rock? This will help avoid the "wall" look, and will break up territories and help curb aggression among some of the fishes.> BTW, my tank is 12x3x3. do you think I can add Cleaner Wrasse and Sandsifting Starfish. <I would not ever condone the purchase of a Cleaner Wrasse, as they are of prime importance on the wild reefs. Removing them from the reef creates a gap in "coverage" from these valuable fishes, leaving wild reef inhabitants without their cleaning services. A sand-sifting Starfish is okay, assuming you have an acceptable population of microcrustaceans for it to fee upon. I'd be inclined to wait until the aquarium is well established before purchasing one.> In what order should I stock my tank and how many specimens at a time. <Start slowly, adding only a few fishes at a time, after proper quarantine has been completed on each fish (read up on this process right here on WWM). I would start with the Butterflies, then the Pygmy Angelfishes, followed by the Tang(s) and/or Rabbitfish. If you're going to add the Blueface Angelfish, I'd add him/her last. Once again, I hope that you understand the spirit in which my critique was intended. Although I recommend against keeping a number of the fishes you have selected, there is literally an ocean full of adaptable, appropriate fishes out there from which to choose. Please keep at the research here on WWM and other places. I am taking a very conservative stocking approach, based on my personal experience and opinions. Others may have different thoughts on the approach. Take anyone's advise with a "grain of salt", and reach your own conclusions from your research. In the end, please consider the long-term needs of your fishes and the implications of your selections. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F. > New 750 gallon aquarium, stkg SW 4/27/08 hello bob.....i am so happy to see that many of you try to help people that you don't even know... i love your website and i need some answer from you please... my tank is currently cycling and in 2-3 weeks it will be ready for my first few fish.. i just want to ask you the compatibility of these fish... 1) Annularis angel 5-6 in 2) Blue face angel 5-6 in 3) Koran angel 7-8 in 4) Majestic angel 5-6 in 5) French angel 7-8 in 6) Cream angelfish 3-4 in 7) Asfur angel 5-6 in 8) Queen angel 5.5-6.5 in 9) Emperor angel 5-6 in <I'd start all these Angels at the 3-4 inch length to start... much more likely to be healthy, get along> 10) 3 Heniochus butterfly 3-4 in 11) 2 falcula butterfly 3-4 in 12) 4 pacific blue tang 2.5-3.5 in 13) desjardinii Sailfin tang 4-5 in 14) Naso tang 5-6 in 15) powder blue tang 3-4 in 16) 2 Scopas tang 3-4 in 17) 2 purple tang 3-4 in 18) 2 yellow tang 3-4 in 19) magnificent foxface4.5-5.5 in 20) blue throat trigger 3.5-4.5 in 21) Humu Humu trigger 3-4 in 22) black trigger 3-4 in 23) niger trigger 3-4 in 24) rectangle trigger 3.5-4.5 in 25)2 tomato clownfish 2-3 in 26) 2 Pakistani butterflyfish 2-3 in 27) 2 auriga butterfly 2-3 in 28) 6 cleaner wrasse 1-2 in <Either skip these or just two> please tell me your opinion and if you think i shouldn't add some fish.....i really appreciate your opinion...i know cleaner wrasse are hard but someone told me that they very important and with a fish population this big. they'll have a lot of food.. <All should be carefully acclimated, quarantined (per WWM) before introducing. Bob Fenner>

Large Aquarium- Large Fish? -- 03/18/08 Hi there to whom may reply to this, and thank you for your time in doing so. <You're quite welcome! Scott F. in tonight.> I am planning to amalgamate 2 existing systems that I have into 1 large and would like some advice on stocking plans. My first system is a 180 litre reef that is home to a 2" Centropyge loricula, a 3" Ecsenius bicolor, a 4" Cryptocentrus cinctus and an Alpheus soror pair, a 1.5"Pseudochromis Springeri 2" Priolepis nocturnus pair of 1.5" tank bred Amphiprion percula,2 x Catalaphyllia Jardinei Protula Bispiralis and a handful of Superman spotted Discosoma all of which I would really like to keep as they were some of my first fish nearly 3 years ago. <Nice variety!> That was my wife's tank and now mine which is a 6ftx2ftx2ft main display, a 2ft sq. refugium and a 4ftx18"x18" sump and is a full on reef garden and has the following inhabitants: 6" Calloplesiops altivelis 5" Zebrasoma xanthurum 4" Zebrasoma veliferum 3"Paracanthus hepatus 1.5" Acanthurus coeruleus 3" Pomacanthus imperator 1.5"Holocanthus bermudensis 5" Siganus lo Vulpinus 6 x 2.5" Pseudanthias squamipinnis (1 Male,5 Female) 3" Chrysiptera cyanea 4.5" Amphiprion melanopus (hosting with a 22" dia.Sarcophyton leather) 2.5" Synchiropus picturatus (now nearly 3yrs old) 3" Paracheilinus mccoskeri 3" Bodianus bimaculatus In the refugium there is a single Lysmata Amboinensis and a 1" Stonogobiops nematodes and in the sump somewhere there is a Belonepterygion fasciolatum. <You have some wonderful fishes in there, but you'll have to make some concessions, particularly in regards to the Tangs and the Angelfish. Yes, as I read below, the new aquarium is spacious, but you're still dealing with some fishes that reach large sizes, need lots of physical space, and give off large amounts of metabolic waste. I'd re-think the long-term implications of this plan and narrow down you choices to one or two of the Tangs.> The new system is a 96"x30"x36"tall with a 48"x24"x24" sump and a 2ft cubed refugium. Existing rock which is approx 145 kilos combined from the 2 systems to which I am going to add another 120 kilos. There is an existing 4" sand bed of sugar fine Aragamax in both systems to which I am going to transfer along with more fresh sand to make a 4" bed in the new system. All existing filtration will be transferred (live rock rubble approx 20kilos,Chaetomorpha)into the new sump and am thinking of adding a 6-8"bed of mud/or DSB what are your thoughts? <Sounds really good! The DSB can be an additional source of nutrient processing. Perhaps you might get adventurous and light it in reverse of the display system and grow some Seagrasses in there. Just a thought!> Obviously I have my doubts regarding a few of the inhabitants mainly the Tangs and Angels and also the predatory nature of the Marine Betta in respect of smaller fish and shrimp. <I appreciate your concern regarding these fishes and their potential predatory habits. Is a true concern.> Firstly I would like to ask would my new system sustain (size wise) all the inhabitants for years to come or am I pushing the boat a bit too far, <You are; please see my comments above. Reviewing your animals' needs and ultimate sizes will give you a good idea of what to do. Concessions must be made.> and if yes would I be able to add more smaller fish like a small shoal of Serranus tortugarum,another shoal of Anthias, Halichoeres ornatissimus/ Iridis?. <I love the idea of small fishes in a large aquarium. I am a huge fan of the genus Halichoeres, too! Consider stocking this large aquarium with small fishes!> In respect of the Tangs and Angels do you think I have my work cut out in trying to keep these fish in harmony together and if so what would you recommend I change? <I'd eliminate most of the Tangs, quite honestly. Stick with one that you like, preferably the Z. xanthurum. I would tend to go with a smaller Angelfish, like a Centropyge species.> These have all been together for around 11 months apart from my last addition was the Blue angel which was about 10 weeks ago. Initially there was a little chasing between the Emperor and the Blue Angel but the Emperor (Henry) has long since given up as he can't fit in the same nooks and crannies. <Not sure how long this behavior will go on. Could be a long-term problem. In fact, it could proof fatal for someone. I'd think seriously about this stocking plan for the long run. Really, give some thought to the large aquarium/small fish philosophy.> Thanks again for the valuable time and effort you may take in reading and replying to this your efforts are most appreciated. Kind regards Jason, Wales UK <My pleasure, Jason. You sound like you have the basis for an excellent system there. Just refine your stocking list and make the necessary concessions. Think long term when stocking, and you won't go wrong! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Large, SW, new tank set up... stkg. 2/1/08 I have owned a 105 gallon reef aquarium for about 4 years now and it has done very well. All the fish are happy and celebrating their 4th year in the tank this February. I am wanting to get a fish only tank and my budget and space would allow for a 580 gallon aquarium. It would be 144" long x 30" wide x 31.5" tall. I have spoken to my LFS person (the owner of the store) and he has come up with a setup using two large protein skimmers, about 500 lbs of live rock, a 120 gallon sump tank below, about four pumps (for redundancy), <Mmm, you'd be better off with just two good ones...> two heaters (for redundancy). I feel confident in the tank setup he has come up with. I will also set the tank up to its own 2 electrical breakers with a home generator that will come on automatically if the power goes out (I have discussed all this with an electrician, and based on the required power needs for the tank it should pose no problem). <Good idea> The tank would be glass (rectangular) and have steel reinforcements at all seams and 3 two inch steel supports across the top as well. <How will you coat, prevent these from rusting, poisoning the water?> It would be built by Oceanic with a 7 year warranty. <... am surprised that Oceanic would provide a steel frame...> I thought about acrylic, but I was afraid about the scratches and removing them when they occur. Everyone seems to be going to acrylic but I am willing to pay for glass and the place I am putting it will support the weight. <Mmm, weight not important re the tank... when you consider the rest...> I plan on keeping this tank for many years. My question is the livestock. Here is what I would like to put in the tank, all starting at around 4 inches (with the eel appropriately sized for the fish): Panther Grouper Lunare Wrasse Queen Angel Snowflake Eel Harlequin Tusk Wrasse Porcupine Puffer Naso "Lipstick" Tang Pink Tail Trigger Blue Chin Trigger Volitans Lion <May have a hard time getting to the food...> maybe a Clown Trigger (may be too mean) <Not suitable> maybe a Blue Line Trigger I would like to get these fish at a relatively small size and try to keep them to full size in this tank. I realize the grouper does and will get 20-24 inches and I may just have to remove him at some point. <Many years hence> The others would get around 10-15 inches or so. Maybe 16-18 inches for the Angel. Do you think this tank is too small for that? <Not in time. And you will very likely "graduate" to other organisms, a reef of sorts...> I guess I could transfer the fish to an even larger tank in several years and use this one for something else, perhaps a reef. Is there any other problem you see with this set of fish for this tank? <Mmm, no. But I would like to suggest you start them off early on an exclusive diet... of Spectrum pelleted foods... for all the reasons stated here: http://wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt1.htm> Also not sure as to the order to add them to the tank. I know the triggers would need to come last. <Probably best... though not much of an issue in a system of this size, starting with smaller specimens period> Thank you for your time and information (great website, by the way. Very informative) Steve <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: new tank set up... large SW f' 2/1/08 Bob, <Steve> Thank you for the info. What did you mean below when you said "weight not important regarding the tank....when you consider the rest". <Simply that the weight of the tank itself, fashioned of whatever matter is not relatively important, compared with the contents mass> Do you think I should go with acrylic instead of glass? <Mmm, no my friend; not necessarily. I might well opt for glass here myself. You can read here re the principal pro/con argument: http://wetwebmedia.com/tkmats.htm> Oceanic is covering all the metal seams and the cross supports themselves with some kind of black sealant. <Ah, good> The guys that own the aquarium store here said that they see so many acrylic tanks around town that they service and all of them are badly scratched over the years. Scratches occur so easily it is hard to keep on top of it and remove them all the time. <As stated... there are benefits, drawbacks to all materials...> So you don't think the clown trigger is a good idea. I understand, my fish store guy told me the same thing. What about the blue chin and the blue line triggers? <Please read on WWM re Balistids... these issues are covered...> As for the food, I feed my current reef fish in the 105 gallon tank Spectrum pelleted food and they love it. <Is an amazing product line... the owner/manufacturer, Pablo Tepoot is a good friend> And it is very clean as there is none really left over when the fish eat. <Ahh!> I was just worried about the eel, angel, and lion. They need squid and more protein based stuff, don't they? <Actually no... the Spectrum product is akin to the best lines of commercial dogfoods (Science Diet, Nutro, Eukanuba...) it is completely nutritious to all food consuming groups of fishes...> My panther grouper is currently in my reef (he is the smallest fish at 3.5 inches in length), and he will only really eat the freeze dried krill. He won't eat the pellets. Any thoughts? Steve <Mix some of the pellets in with the krill, keep decreasing the amount of Euphausiid... the Chromileptis will eat the Spectrum... B>

Stocking 300 gallon tank The "Chromis Factor" (Keeping a Large School of Chromis with Aggressive Fish?) 11/26/07 Dear WWM crew, <Scott F. at the keyboard today!> Just set up my 300 gallon circular tank (see attached pic), it has a 72x20x20 refugium attached to it (about 150lbs of live rocks with live sand) plus a closed mechanical filtration system (a Jacuzzi filter).<<Will need more... RMF>> <Nice configuration.> I have a Hippo tang 4"-5", Clown trigger 3", Pink Tail trigger 4", Tomato clown 3" and a Lunare wrasse 4"-5" which I'll be transferring to this tank but First. I would like to add a school of Chromis viridis. I actually would like the school of Chromis to be the focal point of the tank, so how many should I add?? Twenty or so? <Well, I'd be inclined to go with a smaller number, like 12-15, but that's just my gut feeling. Your aquarium could probably support 20 if well maintained. I'm not a huge fan keeping large schools of these types of fishes, as you will see shortly.> Will they be compatible with all those aggressive tankmates? <To be honest, you might see some attrition among the Chromis. The Clown Trigger and the Lunare Wrasse are of particular concern to me, not to mention the possible hierarchical issues that can occur among the Chromis themselves. It's really your call here, but I would not be fulfilling my promise to you as a fellow hobbyist if I didn't warn you of possible problems. Large groupings of Chromis always seem to work better on paper than in practice, in my experience! There always seems to be some factor (disease, possible predators, interspecific aggression, etc.) that arises when keeping multiple damselfishes. Believe me, I've lost quite a few in various attempts over the years! Throw some aggressive tankmates into the mix, and the odds for success decrease further, IMO.> Would also like to add a Harlequin Tusk after the Chromis and before the transfer too. Will the Tusk get along with my Lunare? <Man, this isn't really helping me feel better about the Chromis! As mentioned above, there will no doubt be some "issues" with the Chromis. As far as getting along with the Lunare, it really depends on the specific individuals involved. In a sufficiently large aquarium, your odds of success are far greater than they would be in a smaller system. Supplying ample territory for each fish is important.> I'm also going to add an Kole tang to take care of algae so will that be ok with the Hippo tang? Thanks a lot, Bill <I don't think that you'll have much trouble with the Kole and the Hippo. They inhabit different ecological niches, and should not have an real difficulties. In the end, though-I'd rethink the Chromis issue. With some interesting larger fishes, why "clutter" the system with these fish, or risk them becoming someone's appetizer? Just my opinion. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Stocking 300 gallon tank Alternatives to Schooling Fishes- Aquarium Stocking 11/28/2007 Dear Scott, <Hey there!> Thank you so much for your quick & honest response. <My pleasure!> Ok, so if I scrap the Chromis schooling idea as a main focal point of the tank, what other fish would you recommend taking consideration of the fish I already mentioned?? <I'd look into some Wrasses, myself. Perhaps some Fairy or Flasher Wrasses, or even Halichoeres species. They are colorful and interesting in groups, especially n a large aquarium.> You see, I like to stay away from Angel fishes and Butterfly fishes since I think they are too hard to keep healthy. Any other schooling fish suitable for this tank? Thanks again, Bill <Well, Bill- as above, I'd look into s Wrasses for interest and beauty. Hope this helps! Check 'em out! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Stocking 300 gallon tank New Aquarium and Cloudy Water 11/28/07 Dear Scott, <Hi there!> Thanks on the advice about schooling fishes, I'll definitely check out the Fairy or Flasher wrasses. I plan to transfer my Lunare wrasse to this tank and I plan to buy a Harlequin Tusk too so will they be ok with the wrasses you mentioned? <I'm a bit leery about both of them, really. I mean- if you start with small specimens of these two, you'll probably be okay...but it could be a problem over time if these fishes develop aggressive tendencies.> One more thing, about a week about I filled my 300 gallon circular tank with RO water, added crushed coral for substrate. My refugium (100 gallons) is also filled with RO water and it has a 4" sand bed. I'm also using a close loop Jacuzzi filtration system with a 1/3 hp Sequence pump on the tank. The tank has that faux coral in the middle (like Living color) and that is why I have such a huge refugium. I want to put as many lbs of live rock as I can to make up for the lack of it in the tank. <Understandable.> It took a day or so to clear up after adding the substrate but it did, it looked super clear but the very next day it was cloudy. The tank have some micro bubbles but not a lot and it's definitely not the dust from the substrate. It just looks hazy.... foggy like. Why did that happened? What caused it? Bacteria? If it is bacteria, then where did it come from since I have not added any livestock. <Hard to say. Could be bacteria from the sand itself, could be simple fine silt from the substrate, or just about anything else that is suspended in the water.> Yesterday, I added a bag full of carbon and some 10 lbs of live sand and today I'm going to add about 100 lbs or more of live rock. Will the cloudiness go away? Thanks again, Bill <Well, Bill- in time, the cloudiness should go away. If it is suspended particles, they will ultimately settle or be removed by the filter system. If it is bacterial, the bloom will probably subside over time when conditions correct themselves. Small water changes, regular use and replacement of chemical and mechanical filter media, and the passage of time will help. Keep doing what you're doing, and all should work out in time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Stocking 300 gallon tank Stocking a Refugium 12/1/2007 Dear Scott, <Hey there!> Yesterday I changed 60 gallons and today the tank looks a little clearer..... I think it will clear up like you said in time. I'm adding 100 lbs or so of live rocks today (fully cured) and that should help as well (I hope). <Well, if nothing else- the addition of the extra rock will add some biological "filtration"> As I mentioned before, my refugium is 72 x 20 x 20 and it has a 4" sandbed. I don't know much about algae so I was going leave that alone for now and just really add loads of live rock to help filter the water. <Not a bad idea. But do look into growing and harvesting "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Caulerpa, to assist in nutrient control and export.> Do the live rocks need very strong lighting on their own? Like 2-65w compacts or 2-96w ones? Sorry for these dumb questions but I've never done a refugium before. <Not dumb at all! Lighting is important if there are photosynthetic organisms on the rock that require light (which there are, no doubt). If you're not growing high-light-demanding corals in there, your PC lighting should suffice, IMO.> When should I add a cleaning crew to the refugium? And what do you suggest? Do I need any critters that might help move the sand a little? Detritus eating ones too? <Well, I'd probably stick to some small snails, such as Turbo, Nassarius, or Trochus. Maybe a brittle star. Add them at the outset.> There will be only a few pieces of live rock in the main tank and no cleaning crew since most of the fish I intend to put in, are not invert friendly. <Smart strategy.> Any other suggestions are welcome and very appreciated..... thank you so much for all your help. Bill <Well, Bill- you sound like you put a lot of thought into the system. Do stock your refugium to take advantage of its valuable nutrient-processing/food production capacity. There is a ton of information on refugia right here on the WWM site! Check it out! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Nice! But maint.?!

Stocking/Compatibility...Even Big Tanks Have Limits -- 10/08/07 Hi to all at WWM, <<Hello Ann>> I have a 350 gallon tank which has been up and running for approx 1 year. <<Cool...love big tanks...>> I currently have a juvenile clown trigger, <<Mmm...this 'Triggerus reallymeanus' is likely to eventually kill all its tankmates...even in this size tank. Best kept in a specimen tank, in my opinion>> 1 big-eyed soldierfish 2 black and white clownfish <<These may end up as a meal for the Soldierfish...depending on size disparity>> 1 coral grouper 1 dog-faced puffer and 1 file fish (unfortunately I'm not sure which species of file fish it is) my LFS called it a combat19 as he couldn't remember the name. <<Hmm...I wonder if the 'combat' is indicative of something they failed to mention to you?...>> What I would like to know please is if it would be okay to introduce either an emperor or queen angelfish into this community? <<You don't make mention of your filtration or any ancillary systems (e.g. -- refugium), but even so, you already have some large (or will be) and heavy/messy feeders here. And with the presence of the Clown Trigger I'm doubly hesitant to recommend adding any more 'chew toys' for this mighty alpha-bruiser of a fish>> I have been given conflicting advice and am therefore confused please can you help? <<And likely my advice will only cause you more conflict [grin]>> I would also like to eventually get a blue lined snapper as well if possible. <<Find another home for the Trigger and the addition of a beautiful and relatively hardy Queen Angel (do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/holacanthus/ciliaris.htm) should be fine...foregoing any further additions to allow the fishes you have room to grow and mature without the stress and retardation of overcrowding>> Thank you in advance, Ann <<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

Stocking (And Overstocking!) A 300-Gallon Marine Display -- 07/18/07 Hello WWM Crew! <<Hiya Bryan!>> I am currently cycling a 300-gallon reef tank, and I am working on my stocking list. <<Congrats! I do love big tanks...have a 375g reef tank myself>> I want to get a solid plan laid out before I start stocking, and I am going to stick to it (no exceptions for fish that were "just too good to pass up"). <<Always good to have a 'plan'>> I bought the tank from a mortgage company that had it in their office. I don't have all of the info on all of the parts, but from what I've gathered the system is pretty overkill, the tank was maintained by a LFS that my friends and I have decided is a pretty shady outfit... <<Oh?>> They won't take payments to hold livestock, will try to sell you anything you show any interest in, even if it would be a terror in your system (they told me a Picasso trigger would be a fine addition to a 50-gallon community reef tank, <<Yikes! Shady indeed...>> I only asked to see if they were trustworthy enough to buy from...) anyway, the tank was set up as a fish-only system and has a 70 gallon sump, a really bulky protein skimmer, <<But is it a 'good' really bulky protein skimmer?>> a 1/2 hp chiller (which was totally unnecessary in! So-Cal) <<Mmm, was there just a couple weeks ago...can see where a chiller might be handy/needed...depending on the system>> and two BEEFY canister filters (the bigger one is an Eheim, can't tell the model though) and a UV sterilizer. I will have 3 X 150 watt halides, <<I don't know what Cnidarian/invertebrate livestock you are planning, but I doubt this lighting will be sufficient on this size tank...but then, maybe you have a plan for this also...>> not sure what brand or intensity yet, I am currently negotiating a trade with a maintenance company I am familiar with for the chiller. <<You mention in your first sentence this will be a reef tank, yes? You really should decide on the livestock/niche you want replicate and then tailor the lighting to fit>> The people I bought it from said everything was three years old or less, and they were getting rid of it because it was too expensive. They said every time the maintenance company came out they were told they needed to spend hundreds on new equipment. Which I figure is pretty par for the course with this particular LFS... <<Sound like crooks...>> Anyway, their loss is my gain... <<Indeed...and better in the end for the livestock that was likely mal-tended in the 'company' tank>> I will be setting up the system as a community reef tank, with a mostly Pacific flavor (with one or two exceptions). It will be a reef, but the focus will not be on the corals, I have access to just about as many free frags of most common species as I could want, so I will be stocking the coral around what is compatible with the fish I will be stocking, and not the other way around. <<Ah, I see'¦then with this in mind, the lighting may indeed be sufficient>> I have pretty much made up my mind on the stocking list, but I would like your input on a few things that I am unsure of, <<Okay sure, but if your mind is made up...>> so first let me start with the stocking list (this is not in the order in which they will be stocked): 1 Acanthurus sohal (this one is not negotiable, if you think anything below will not fare well with the Sohal let me know and they will be out) <<Okay, so you will build the system around 'this' fish. I would suggest obtaining a small (3'- 4') specimen and letting it 'grow up' in your system. Even so...it will likely get mean...it 'will' rule this tank...and sooner or later, it will probably even 'bite' the hand that feeds it (or is working in the tank). But other than this, these are indeed a beautiful fish...and quite 'aquarium' hardy>> 1 Paracanthurus hepatus <<A big/beefy fish. Requires much open space like the Sohal but with plenty of suitable 'hidey-holes' as I consider this species to be more 'twitchy' than normal...as Tangs go>> 1 Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis 1 Ctenochaetus strigosus 1 Zebrasoma flavescens 1 Zebrasoma xanthurum 1 Zebrasoma gemmatum <<The tank is big, but I don't think it is 'this' big'¦ I think you should limit your selections to a 'single' species of each Genus>> Let me pause here and ask one of my biggest questions: The first two tangs are the two fish that I absolutely HAVE to have in my tank, the second is the fish that first attracted me to the hobby as a child, and the first is what drew me back as an adult. <<I understand, both are magnificent animals'¦and both can be terrors in 'too small' systems>> I want these two no matter what, and as I understand a large group of tangs is preferable to only two, but the other 5 tangs listed are only in the mix to keep the aggression down amongst the tangs, but I think I will be overstocked with 7 tangs. <<Me too>> If I can get away with 3 or 5 let me know. <<Four seems like a good figure...as already stated>> Or if you think the passive Hippo will be ok with the aggressive Sohal by themselves let me know, and I won't stock the others. <<I've never considered Hippo Tangs as 'passive''¦can be quite aggressive in their own right. I've even heard of this species killing 'non-Tang' tankmates'¦though I think these extreme behaviors are often due to behavioral development/retardation issues from being kept in an improper (too small!) environment. Even so, I think a couple more Tangs as stated will be fine/may indeed prove helpful in this instance>> Continuing on: I would like to keep at least one pair of the following: (more than one pair if you think I am able to keep them peacefully) 2 Genicanthus watanabei (another that I really, really, want to have, unless there are serious objections to it, do you think the males look close enough to the Sohal Tang to maybe garner aggression from the Sohal?) <<Will probably be fine'¦but your challenge here is to provide enough escape-routes and hiding places among the live rock while leaving plenty of swimming room within the tank>> 2 Genicanthus lamarck 2 Centropyge interruptus 2 Centropyge bispinosa <<Again'¦pick one species from each Genus. Finding a pair of angels in of the Genicanthus genus won't be too difficult as they often seem to be collected/come to the LFS in this manner...finding a pair of angels of the Centropyge genus may prove more problematic and may take 'special ordering' of such. Though I must say, the number of fishes/species selections I saw at a couple stores in San Diego was much better than anything I'd seen before...including some very nice shops I frequented/visited while in the UK. This is an obvious advantage to being located on the West Coast (can only imagine what the wholesale facilities are like...[sigh] maybe next time...)>> I would like to have at least one mated pair of angelfish, more if it is possible without putting any undue stress on the rest of the community. Shoaling fish have always held a big fascination for me, and I would like to keep a few small shoals of a few different species, here are some of the species I am considering: 40-60 Chromis viridis (another that I just have to have, I don't see any conflicts besides the obvious bioload considerations, I may consider going with less, but I do want a swarm of 'em) <<Mmm, methinks you muchly overestimate the capacity of this system. If you want to keep any other fishes at all, let's shoot for about 12 of these guys. If that's not acceptable then we (you) need to start rethinking this stocking plan. Even at 300-gallons, the capacity of this system is not infinite>> 5-15 Pseudanthias bicolor (do you have any other suggestions for a shoal off Basslets that would be community friendly?) <<There are several good choices in my opinion. But with 'bio-load' in mind, maybe something on the 'small' side (comparatively) like Pseudanthias bartlettorum. These are gorgeous little fishes and if added first/allowed to settle in will not be so likely to 'jump'...about seven should do>> 7-12 Serranus tortugarum (would I be ok with more?) <<I love these little guys...but let's keep the number at five...again, in the interest of long-term sustainability of this system>> 7-15 Pterapogon kaudneri 7-15 Apogon leptacanthus (will the two species of cardinal be ok together and with the rest of the tank? Can I stock a little more of them, particularly the leptacanthus? There will be a large section of the tank devoted to the cave/under shelf region of the reef.) <<Choose one or the other (my vote is for A. leptacanthus)...you are quickly running out of room>> And then there are these two species, I find conflicting reports as to whether they are ok in groups or not, I'd like to know if they would be ok if I stocked 15 or more, or if I should stock only one or two: 2-15 Nemateleotris magnifica or helfrichi (one species or the other, not a mix of both) <<Not an appropriate Genus for this tank in my opinion. These shy fishes are very easily intimidated, very often to the point of starvation...not to mention the effects of continual stress. Most will die/disappear within weeks to months...all will eventually 'go.' They are best kept in systems 'designed for them'>> 1-15 Ptereleotris evides (are these a bad idea with tangs?) <<Another one I would skip...>> The rest are misc. bottom feeders, cleaners, etc... 1 Salarias ceramensis 1 Synchiropus splendidus <<No... Too many competing species already>> 4 Elacatinus puncticulatus <<Let's leave these out too>> 8 Gobiosoma oceanops (could I stock more, should I stock less, or is this a good number?) <<May prove beneficial, assuming they can find enough to eat/sustain themselves...maybe a trio>> 4 Amblyeleotris guttata & accompanying shrimp <<I wouldn't, likely to be some territoriality issues...and besides, there's going to be more than enough fish flesh in this system>> 1 Valenciennea strigata 4 Opistognathus aurifrons <<Another 'not so good' choice...best in a species-specific system>> This group will be stocked over a period of 1-2 years, and I do not want to introduce anything that will be put under a lot of stress or harassed, and I certainly don't want to be murdering livestock by putting them into a system that they will not do well in. <<Is good to know...do look over and rethink your stock list/stocking levels. To recap (using 'my' numbers) for my own edification, and maybe put this a bit more in perspective for all... We're looking at 1-Sohal Tang, 1-Hippo Tang, 1-Ctenochaetus spp Tang, 1-Zebrasoma spp Tang, 1 Pair-Genicanthus spp Angels, 1 Pair-Centropyge spp Angels, 12-Chromis viridis, 7-Pseudanthias bartlettorum,, 5-Serranus tortugarum, 7-Apogon leptacanthus, 1-Salarias ceramensis, 3-Gobiosoma oceanops, 1-Valenciennea strigata. Luckily many of these species are on the 'small' side (2'- 3'), even so I think you will find this to be a pretty good 'load' for your 300-gallon display tank. If you employ a large 'quality' skimmer w/ozone and can plumb in a large-as-possible in-line refugium...you could probably get away with adding a 'few' more of the smaller shoaling species>> Please let me know if any of the above species stand out as obvious mismatches in this system. (or if I should lower/raise the density of any particular species) and I would love to hear any suggestions you may have that would fit well with this system (of course I will thoroughly investigate any suggestions you make before adding them, so please feel free to give me several suggestions). I won't just be throwing everything in just because someone suggested them, but I'd like to look at a few more species that might fit into my setup. <<I think you've got about all you can handle as it is. But honestly, I would rather see you research/set up a more 'biotopic' display... Not that you can't be successful with this 'mix' (many hobbyists are), but choosing fishes from the same region is more natural...to those 'in the know' and to the fishes themselves, and also precludes introduction of diseases/parasites they may have never encountered/built immunities against>> Thanks a ton! ~Bryan in San Diego <<My visit to Aquatic Warehouse was awesome!... Bryan, please do consider my input, and let's discuss this system setup as well. Regards, Eric Russell...back in hot and very humid Columbia, SC>> Re: Stocking (And Overstocking!) A 300-Gallon Marine Display -- 07/20/07 Eric, <<Bryan>> Thank you for the quick and detailed reply! <<Most welcome>> That was exactly what I needed. <<Glad I could serve>> I had a feeling what I wanted was going to end up being overstocked... <<And then some'¦indeed>> But sometimes ya just need someone who knows more than you to slap your hand and say "No more fish!" <<Mmm, more like a 'big stick' needed with you'¦[grin]>> Anyway, I've been meaning to research the skimmer and filters, but I've been way overloaded at work for the past two months and have barely had time to set the thing up... but I will try to make that a project for this weekend. <<No worries'¦but do let's chat re this setup before you begin stocking>> As far as the lighting goes, I don't really feel the urge to have an electrical bill bigger than a car payment, <<Understandable>> and it took a few weeks of convincing on my roommate's part to even get me to make the jump into putting in some kind of halide... <<Best bang/look for the buck'¦in my opinion>> And as far as a refugium goes, the sump and canister filters are very big... they take up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the space under the tank, so I don't have a ton of room to work with, and I had planned on a 20gallon QT, and 3 10 gallon tanks for phyto/zoo plankton and 'Pod production. And that pretty much takes up all of the room I have under the tank. <<Hmm, I see'¦ Do let me impress upon you that an in-line refugium will be exponentially more beneficial than these large canister filters under your circumstances. The canister filters have their place/uses'¦but can be nightmares if not kept up with/maintained diligent and maybe even counter-productive in your case depending on how they are configured and considering the number of planktivorous feeding fishes you want to add to your system. The refugium would also supplant the need for the three 10-gallon tanks you mention. You do understand what a refugium is, yes? (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm)>> Although the tank is very close to a large window leading to the backyard and my roommate has spent the better part of a week suggesting we cut a hole in the screen and plumb in one of those big 4'X4'X3' plastic refugiums that you see in wholesalers, outside of the window. Though I don't know if it would make that big of an impact with the current plumbing situation (single 3" overflow, one 2" return bulkhead in the back of the tank, and 3 1.5" exhaust bulkheads) I am not too crazy about the idea of drilling more holes in the tank, and I think that without at least a second overflow box the 'fuge will be a bit overkill and unnecessary... <<Doesn't have to be this complicated>> As far as the livestock goes, I had wanted to set up a Hawaiian biotope, but I am finding that a biotope is going to exclude a large number of specimens that I want to have, <<Mmm, well'¦is what makes it a biotope>> and more than one tank is just not practical in my current place (square footage is at a premium in So-Cal) <<Indeed>> so I figured if I can't have 4 100-gallon biotopes then I'd get the biggest tank I possibly could and if I couldn't replicate a specific location I would at least like to replicate a few different zones of the reef within the tank. <<Okay, but'¦the issue here isn't multiple reef 'zones' but rather pooling organisms from completely different oceans. As I mentioned before, what you propose is what the majority of hobbyists 'do''¦ Just using my bully pulpit here to voice my opinions'¦>> Basically I am going to have the left 1/3 of the tank aquascaped to replicate the under-shelf/cave/low light regions (going to be reinforcing the rockwork with PVC and building a pretty large shelf) that is going to give way to a branch-rock/rubble zone with a large (about 4 square feet) open bottom free swim area in the center of the tank. On the other side of that will be a wedge-shaped slope with a straight drop-off towards the right corner of the tank about 4'-6" from another pillar, to try and simulate a small gorge. I am hoping that by simulating a few different habitats as opposed to just putting in a "pile of rocks" I will be able to alleviate some stress and try to provide many suitable territories for all of the inhabitants. <<Sounds like a good plan'¦places to hide/disappear from view while leaving room to swim>> As far as the tangs go, I thought it was best to keep odd groupings of as many as possible (the reason I picked the arbitrary number 7), <<Mmm'¦this really applies more to when keeping a single species'¦and our own (human) sense of aesthetics I think>> but if 4 will be ok together than I will be stocking the A. sohal, P. hepatus, and most likely C. strigosus and Z. xanthurum or Z. gemmatum (do you think either one of these two are more or less aggressive? is one better suited to my mix?). <<A 'toss up' I think'¦perhaps economics will decide as Z. xanthurum will be decidedly less expensive than the rare Z. gemmatum ($3,500 at Marine Center'¦if you can even get one!)>> I would even be fine with stocking three and leaving the Zebrasoma out all together, unless I am likely to see more aggression with three rather than four... <<This would be fine'¦and would create some 'room' for a few more individuals of the shoaling species you covet>> I had pretty much figured that I would only be able to keep one pair of each genus of angels, but wasn't sure if I would be able to keep one pair of each genus or only one pair total!... G. watanabei is in, and I still can't decide between C. interruptus and C. bispinosa (I'm leaning towards interruptus, but will probably ultimately go with whichever one is better suited to the system. Suggestions?) <<Mmm'¦C. bispinosa can be difficult to keep'¦C. interruptus is sexually dichromatic making it easier to sex, but also much more scarce in the trade on 'this' Continent. Might I suggest a third choice?...C. loricula'¦ This is a hardy, readily available, and in my opinion, very beautiful dwarf angel that 'can' be paired up in the home aquarium (I have done so). Though doing this takes a bit of luck and somewhat of a 'trained' eye for the species/its behaviors>> As for the shoals... I really do want a swarm of the C. viridis, I was really hoping to have about 24-30 at the absolute minimum... I am willing to sacrifice somewhere else to accommodate a larger group... maybe instead of 5-15 P. bicolor I could go with 7-9 P. bartlettorum, and maybe 5 S. tortugarum (or maybe just leave them out altogether, I do really like these guys, but I like a lot of other species I want to stock too...). <<I do understand your attraction to shoaling species'¦a large group of small shoaling fishes in a large aquarium is attractive to many hobbyists, myself included. I started to bring this up in my earlier response'¦but if I may take a moment to comment a bit more in detail on your chosen species'¦ It has been my experience and the experience of others' with whom I've discussed this genus that Chromis have a hierarchal structure that like some other shoaling species seems to 'self destruct' in the confines of an aquarium. By this I mean that two or three dominant individuals will develop, and by whatever means, whether it be damage from direct physical aggression or the stress of constant harassment, the other members of the shoal slowly decline/disappear until only the few most dominant individuals remain. If you really want a 'swarm' of small shoaling fishes I recommend Pseudanthias bartlettorum or Apogon leptacanthus. You could possibly try other species within the Families/Genera of each, but these are two species I feel work well for creating schools/shoals within the confines of home aquaria>> As for P. kaudneri & A. leptacanthus I would really like to have a few of both... As I mentioned before there is going to be a large area of the tank dedicated to under-shelf/cave, could I get away with 5 kaudneri and 9 leptacanthus? <<Possibly'¦though I find groups of P. kaudneri to often display similar issues as the Chromis>> Will they be too competitive with each other? <<P. kaudneri will be the more aggressive of the two for sure'¦but I can only speculate as to whether they will cohabitate'¦>> (if I were to stock only one species how many would be the max with the current mix?) <<If you drop the Zebrasoma species Tang and the Chromis'¦I think a school of 20 or so A. leptacanthus is feasible>> Also do you have any other suggestions for species that would thrive in the under-shelf region? <<Not that can/should be added to this already heavy fish load>> I don't think squirrel/Soldierfish would be a good fit, what about assessors? (Of course at this point if I add any other species I will subtract from somewhere else...) <<With this last in mind'¦Assessors might be a viable option>> I will probably round it off with the following (based on your suggestions): 1 Salarias ceramensis, 1 Valenciennea strigata , could I have 1 Elacatinus puncticulatus? (will leave it out if you think it is likely to starve, but I do really like the little guys...), <<Mmm'¦upon reflection, will probably be fine'¦perhaps a trio of these as well'¦>> 3-4 Gobiosoma oceanops (mostly I want them for cleaning purposes, the tank has mostly a Pacific feel, and I'd love to have a Labroides dimidiatus or Labroides phthirophagus (was lucky enough to spot quite a few of the latter snorkeling off of Lanai last May, that has got to be the most intense violet I have ever seen). <<I have been diving off the Big Island a few times (Bob is over there now). I don't recall seeing these, though they must have surely been about. Perhaps I was just overwhelmed at the profusion of fishes/bio-diversity that abounds there'¦>> But in my book "Loving" a species of fish does not equate to "Starving & Torturing" (talk about loving your pets to death!) <<Indeed>> So I figure even though the captive bred G. oceanops isn't even from the same ocean as most of the rest of the tank mates, it would serve the same purpose, and would not be detrimental to the wild environment. (I can't tell you how livid I'd be if I found out any of the little beauties I saw last may had been taken from their home only to die in a bag somewhere halfway around the world). <<Numbers in the thousands'¦>> Do you have any better suggestions for cleaners? And how many will I really need? <<A handful of 'cleaner shrimp' (Lysmata amboinensis) would be an interesting and beneficial addition>> As for the Amblyeleotris guttata & shrimp and the Opistognathus aurifrons, I really like these guys, there is going to be a rather large open sandy area, could I get away with one to a few O. aurifrons and/or one or two shrimp/goby tandems (I'd be open to looking at a different goby species than A. guttata, any suggestions?) <<I'm going to stand by my earlier comments re these fishes>> So to clarify I am now looking at: 1-Sohal Tang, 1-Hippo Tang, 1-Kole Tang, 1-Purple or Gem Tang, 1 Pair-Watanabe's Angelfish, 1 Pair-Japanese Pigmy Angelfish or Coral Beauty Angelfish, 24-30-Chromis viridis, 7-9-Pseudanthias bartlettorum,, 5-Serranus tortugarum, 5-Pterapogan kaudneri 9-Apogon leptacanthus, 1-Salarias ceramensis, 3-4-Gobiosoma oceanops, 1-Valenciennea strigata, 1 Elacatinus puncticulatus, and maybe one/some red-headed gobies and 1-2 shrimp gobies & shrimp. Does this still look too overcrowded? <<A bit, yes'¦per my earlier statements>> I really don't want to take any more out, guess I should have gotten a 400 gallon tank...lol. <<Mmm, more like 600 [grin]>> Maybe it will help once I figure out what the exact spec is on all of my equipment... <<Not really'¦the 'specifics' of the gear without the changes I suggested will have little impact in 'my' opinion>> Please do let me know if you think this mix is still too volatile, I really want a large mix (hence the reason I bought a 300) but I want it to be stable, and I for sure do not want to be torturing/killing any of my pets, that's not fair to them or my wallet! ~Bryan <<Have attempted to be concise with my suggestions/explanations'¦but the final decisions rest with you, mate. Regards, Eric Russell>> Thinking Big- Stocking Small! (Stocking A Large System) -- 07/18/07 Planning a 200 gallon saltwater tank, what do you think of the following fish: Clown Surgeonfish (Acanthurus Lineatus) Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides Conspicillum) Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon Fasciatus) Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus Imperator) Maroon Anemonefish (Premnas Biaculeatus) Harlequin Hind (Cephalopholis Polleni) Blood Red Hawkfish (Cirrhitops Fasciatus) and either a Coral Hind (Cephalopholis Miniata) or Metallic Blue Grouper (Anyperodon sp.) <Yikes! A neat mix of fishes, but I foresee all sorts of possible aggression issues, not to mention the seriously overcrowded result and its devastating effect on the fishes in the long term. You'll definitely have to make some concessions here! I would not even consider the Clown Surgeon in anything less than several hundred gallons of size, if only for the fact that it's an extremely aggressive, large and intolerant fish! The Clown Trigger is another very large fish, which will give off copious amounts of metabolic waste. It could work as the sole large fish in this aquarium, but it's definitely not going to be a good choice in this aquarium with the stocking plan that you have. The Emperor Angel is a beautiful, popular fish, but it can and will reach 12 to 15 inches in the wild-and in the aquarium, and it needs a very, very large aquarium to live anything resembling a normal life span.> How badly would I be overstocking and how would they get along? <It would be REALLY badly overstocking. It's a mix of large, high-metabolic-waste-producing fishes that demand tremendous physical space. The potential for aggression is great. Personally, I'd compromise. I do like some of the selections in the latter half of your stocking list: The Anemonefish and Hawkfish, perhaps with the Harlequin Tuskfish as the "alpha" fish, would be a possibility. Really, I'd go with smaller fishes: A Centropyge or smaller Chaetodontoplus species of Angelfish would be a nice start, along with smaller fishes like Pseudochromids, Halichoeres species Wrasses, etc. These smaller, less space-demanding fishes are equally as colorful, interesting, and (in my humble opinion) sexy as the big guys! However, they adapt better to captivity, require dramatically less room, and will live long, healthy lives in a well-maintained system of this size.> Would also like to add a Green Mandarin ( I read somewhere that other fish leave it alone) <Just say "no" to the Mandarin! Although it might be ignored as a food items by some of the fishes that you're talking about, it will be intimidated into starvation by the activity of the other tankmates. These fishes are really best in quiet, lightly stocked aquariums with very peaceful species. They eat slowly and are often quite shy. They'd do really well in a species aquarium designed just for them! Wow- could you imagine how cool a 200 gallon Mandarin biotope system would be, with seagrasses, some Fungiids ("Plate Corals"), Goniopora, and some other peaceful fishes? You'd have a huge tank with a meadow of seagrasses, populated with some unique, interesting fishes and corals...That would be different- and inspiring to other hobbyists! Wow- listen to me- going off the deep end again! Well, think about trying something different. Remember, just because you have a large aquarium doesn't mean that you have to keep large fishes!> What would you take out, change, what size tank would hold these fish, Nick <Well, Nick- my comments are above...If you were dead set on keeping this mix of fishes, I'd literally suggest a system of 800 gallons or more (preferably more). Anything less is sentencing these large fishes to a life of misery. Kind of like you or I being forced to spend the rest of our lives in our living rooms.. Comfortably initially (especially if you have Satellite TV!), but maddening over time. My philosophy has always been "Think Big-Stock Small". Hope this provides some insight. Regards, Scott F.>

- A Large Tank Inquiry 6/23/06 - Hello WWM Crew. First off I must say how much I appreciate such an incredible website from so many excellent aquarists, you have answered most of my questions, and helped me along with this wonderful hobby where information is sometimes scarce. I've had a 120G (48in x 24in x 24in) reef tank set up and running nicely for about a year now, and I've been researching/looking into setting up a larger predator type tank (220G 72in x 30in x 24in). I've had quite a few sources of information, but it seems difficult to find the exact answer to my question. The fish that I am interested in keeping in this tank are as follows: 1 Goldentail Moray (Gymnothorax miliaris) 1 Blue-ring Angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus) 1 Palette Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) AND/OR 1 Naso Tang (Naso lituratus) 1 Clown Trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) 1 Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) 1 Porcupine Pufferfish (Diodon holocanthus) I am fully aware of the potential size of each and every on of these specimens, and I am open to any worries/suggestions/changes that you have to offer. <Really, my main concern would be the clown trigger. These fish often become absolute terrors as they get larger and could easily kill everyone in the tank. I'd drop this one fish off the list or consider keeping it by itself in the 120 if you're going to keep that tank running.> I'm much more accustom to working with smaller reef fish which are much cleaner eaters and much less vicious. If anyone could let me know if that list is too much for that size of tank, or if there is room for anything else, I would be very thankful. <These fish will fill this tank so I'd just remove the clown trigger from the list and go for it.> So I hope someone can give me some input, and help me in my decision. Thanks for your time. Alex C. <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking a Large Marine Tank...Sequence of Introduction/Compatibility Issues -- 01/15/07 Dear distinguished Wet Web Media Crew: <<Greetings!>> Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year, <<Thank you...and may I wish you the same>> and thank you for the benefit of your experience and wisdom. <<Tis a pleasure to share>> My wife and I spent nearly a year reading the information on your site and in your books before purchasing a 70-gallon marine system some eight months ago. <<Most excellent to read this! I love it when budding (and not so budding) hobbyists take to heart our pleads to read/research/learn what they can; and yes, ask questions, 'beforehand' >> All is going very well with the tank, set up as follows: -oversized wet/dry filter with bio-balls -Euro-Reef RS 135 protein skimmer -Eheim 1262 recirculating pump -50 lbs. Fiji live rock, 25 lbs. coral skeletons -50 lbs. live sand -3 fish: Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris), Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurus), Clown Trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) - now all 3"-4" <Mmm...you need a bigger tank mate>> When we purchased these fish, we did so with the understanding that a larger tank would be needed in the future. <<Sooner than later...>> Thus, we have purchased an 8 foot, 450 gallon tank. <<Ah! Outstanding!>> It will be recirculated by two Dolphin pumps at approximately 15x/hour, filtered through course, 100 micron and 50 micron filter pads, run through two protein skimmers with a combined capacity of 1,000 gallons and passed through Chemi-Pure before returning to the tank. <<This sounds very good...and hopefully your research has made you aware of the importance of cleaning those micron pads 'at least' weekly>> The tank will contain 3/4" live sand, 500 lbs. of live rock and 100 lbs. of coral skeletons. <<A word of caution/opinion here... Don't get caught up in the 'pounds per gallon' adage for including live rock. Instead, consider what you will need to provide an aesthetically pleasing display while also providing hiding/sleeping places for the fish but also leaving 'plenty of room' for the fish to swim/move about. Even in reef systems it is my opinion that hobbyists tend to cram way too much rock in to the tank...often fueled by the belief that 'more is better' or because someone told them they needed 'X' number of pounds per gallon of volume. I have found in my systems that I have been able to get by with as little as half, and even less, the 'recommended' quantity of live rock (most often pushed by those who 'sell' the rock) and still maintain adequate bio-filtration (which in your case, a FOWLR system, can be easily and effectively augmented through the use of supplemental fluidized-bed filtration). My suggestion to you would be to start with about half what you list of good quality porous live rock (do be cautious of dense/heavy limestone 'cultured' rock), and nix the coral skeletons altogether>> We would like to stock the tank in the following manner. Initially, one mated pair of Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus) and one Mappa Puffer (Arothron mappa) would go into the large tank (after cycling) in order to acclimate, grow and establish territories. <<I would add the clownfish last...due to the very reasons you state. Once these fish become established/grow large they can be surprisingly aggressive to the point of doing physical harm making it difficult to introduce more timid/gentle species later>> After several months, the three existing fish (angel, tang and trigger) would be added to the large tank to join the clownfish and puffer. <<A month between group additions should be sufficient>> Three additional fish, a Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciata) , Red Sea Bird Wrasse (Gomphosus caeruleus) and a Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) would be placed in the 70 gallon tank for 6-12 months before moving to the large system. <<I don't understand this...why not just place in the larger tank as acquired? Also worth mentioning in my opinion...despite their sometimes fierce appearance, the Tuskfish is relatively peaceful, sometimes even timid, (with regards to fishes...shrimp/crabs/snails are another matter) and should be one of the first fishes placed in this larger system>> No other fish are planned given the concern for bioload in the future, as the fish grow. <<Very good>> Your thoughts, comments and suggestions (e.g., alternate or additional species, equipment recommendations, husbandry ideas, etc.) will be greatly appreciated. <<Ah yes, one more thing... Do read up some more on the Clown Trigger. These fish are REAL BRUISERS...as this fish grows/matures it will very likely kill everything else in the tank along the way. A better/alternate species in my mind is one from the genus Rhinecanthus. Since you appear to have a penchant for Red Sea fishes, perhaps Rhinecanthus assasi would appeal to you>> Sincerely, Don and Jill <<Regards, Eric Russell>> Stocking/Compatibility, Lg. SW 12/18/06 Hi Crew, I'm saving up for a 265G tank and have developed my stocking 'wish' list. I wrote a few weeks back, but my wife has reviewed and thus the list has changed. <Heeee!> It will be a FOWLR with some ornamental shrimps. My concern lies with the compatibility of the angels below (2 pairs of the same genus) and whether the overall tank size for this list is appropriate. Are there any other concerns that you see with this? Scribbled Angel Chaetodontoplus dubolayi Blue Spotted Angelfish Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus Flame Angel Centropyge loriculus Golden Pygmy Angel Centropyge aurantia Powder Blue Tang Acanthurus leucosternon Fridmani Pseudochromis (2)Pseudochromis fridmani Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavescens Golden Butterfly Chaetodon semilarvatus False Percula Clownfish (2)Amphiprion ocellaris Helfrichi Firefish (2)Nemateleotris helfrichi Your thoughts/inputs are greatly appreciated! Thanks, Ian <In a tank this size... starting with "mid-size" or smaller individuals, you should be okay here. Once these fishes are grown a bit, established... it may prove difficult to introduce much in the way of others in their niches. Bob Fenner>

Large SW Aquarium Stocking - 1/25/07 Mr. Fenner: <Hey Dennis, JustinN with you today.> I would very much like your input as to a salt water aquarium that I am setting up. <Ok> The dimensions are as follows: 6' long, 2' tall and 30" wide. <2 foot deep? I hope you've got some long arms, my friend! *grin*> I want to purchase a young salt water angelfish that will be the star attraction of the aquarium. <Ok> I want an angel fish that will be hardy, but the main thing is to have a personality much like a fresh water Oscar or a salt water bat fish. Would you please give me a list of some of the angels that are noted for their personality. <To my knowledge, all larger angelfish are noted for their personality. We cannot make this choice for you, Dennis, as it is not our aquarium. In an aquarium the size you describe, any aquarium-suitable species should do wonderfully. See here for more info on the species available: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm and the files linked in blue above.> Also, there will be live rock in the aquarium. I would also like a school of Chromis, either the green or blue variety. I do not want to overstock the aquarium. <Not a whole lot of chance of that with your aquarium size, and current intended stocklist... you will do fine.> How many Chromis would you suggest? <7 to 9> And would you also give me a list of some other small fish that I could add to the aquarium that would be 4" and under. Many thanks for your help. Dennis. <The list of smaller fish here is innumerable, Dennis. We really cannot make the choices here for you, and all this information you request is available, both here at WetWebMedia, and at many other locations around the net. Perhaps a thorough browsing through our species selection sections is in your future? Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm and follow the indices to the information you seek. -JustinN>

Preparation, SW, large sys... still not ready 3/21/07 Hello all! I have emailed your site for over a month now. The advice I have received and the knowledge I have gained is immeasurable! Thank you. I will be setting up a 240g (96x24x24) in the near future. I am going to forgo the clown trigger due to what I have read on this site and references for other local fish store owners. I am deeply intrigued by the Hawaiian dragon eel. I have read up on it and asked several questions before. Thank you once again for your help. The Hawaiian dragon eel is going to be the center piece of my aquarium. As for the tank mates I would really appreciate your advice. I was thinking of adding a Pinktail trigger, Naso tang, emperor angel (I was told that the emperor angel will get to <too> big for the dimensions of this aquarium. <Yes> If so, what other large angel could suggest?) <Mmmm, for having the Moray as your center piece... none> and a volitans lionfish. For filtration I will be using a Euro-reef RC250 with and ozonizer. <Mmm... need more... biological, mechanical...> I will be employing a closed loop system for added water movement. As per Anthony Calfo's diagram. I will have two overflows and was wondering how to make it a closed loop with not being able to put pvc in front of the overflow? <Mmm... could loop around, truncate on either side, even drill through...> My questions are as follows. Are these fish compatible with the Hawaiian dragon eel? <All are potential prey> Is this too many fish for the system? <Mmm... not initially> If the fishes are not compatible, what fishes would you recommend? <Heeeee! You're not joking? To go with what? The Moray... see WWM re the "Compatibility" and "Systems" of what you list, are interested in...> Do I have adequate filtration and water movement? <No> I would really like a trigger and a lionfish but know that this may not be possible. Thank you once again for your patience and time. It is greatly appreciated! Brent <You're getting closer... but I'd still be reading, studying, dreaming and scheming at this planning stage. Bob Fenner>

Livestock Choices for Large Fish Only -- 05/03/07 Guys, <Hello Adam...this is Adam with you this morning.> Right now in my 240 g saltwater, I have 20 blue Chromis, 2 yellow tail damsels, a dogface puffer, a Sweetlips, a lawnmower blenny and 4 large hermit crabs. <So the puffer and the Sweetlips are either too small to eat the damsels/Chromis or too slow.> I'd like to add an assortment of angels, butterflyfish and tangs but want to add the right number and right kinds so that the tank remains--it's doing great now--a peaceful community. <Well; what specific animals out of the families you mentioned are you interested in? Some angels, even in a tank of this size, will not do well with co-geners or conspecifics; same with the surgeons.> Also, if there other fish to recommend please do so. <This is a matter of personal preference of course and I don't know what your set-up is like. You have some compatibility issues already...the puffer can/will become "nippy" as he ages and if the Sweetlips lives to adulthood (most don't in aquaria) he will eventually begin hunting your smaller specimens. So before I recommend livestock choices, I'd like you to divulge a little more on your preferences and what the direction of the tank is.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Adam <Adam J.>

Re: Stocking a 240g saltwater tank -- 5/5/07 Adam, <Adam.> Thanks for this info. Give me a few days to read up on the links and names you provided and I'll get back to you with some more questions. <Ten-Four.> Thanks, <Welcome.> APH <AJ.>

Re: Stocking a 240g saltwater tank -- 5/4/07 Adam, <Adam.> Thanks for getting back to me. <No problem, anytime...usually I'm quicker.> The Sweetlips is about 7 inches long and I've had him for about a year. <Good, that's longer than most folks have them.> He loves feeder goldfish <Mmm...do read this; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm .> but I mostly feed him frozen shrimp, squid, octopus, etc. <All good.> He's yet to chase the Chromis or damsels. <Interesting for him to recognize the goldfish as food yet not chase fish of similar size.> Dog face puffer is the same size and is slower than the Sweetlips but a bigger eater <As most puffers are.> --eats same food as above. <Cool.> So, I'd like to have as many angels/tangs/butterflyfish in the 240 g with as much color variation as possible. <As far as angels I'm a huge fan of Genicanthus angels; they are planktivores and they can be kept in harems (one male, multiple female groups). I'm also a fan of the three amigos (though only two are attainable really; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/zonipectus.htm). As far as butterflies; a duo of Heniochus could suit you. Surgeons, well I'd stay away from most of those in the Acanthurus genus...they get pretty big, though a few may suit you, same goes for those in the Naso genus. Check out the Zebrasoma genus first. Much more detailed info is posted on WWM.> If moving the Sweetlips and/or puffer down the road is needed I do have room for another (4th) tank. <Awesome.> Right now I have a very peaceful 130g tank (5' x 30" tall x 18" deep) and an aggressive tank 6x2x18" that has a clown trigger, niger trigger, Foxface lo and snowflake eel. <The eel and the Foxface might actually be more suited to the peaceful tank; I'd consider swapping them out with the Sweetlips or the puffer...or even both.> Basically what I need to know is the exact different types of tangs that can live together (if introduced together) plus the same with butterflies and angels. <There's really no hard and true rules, too many variables among species and individuals for that matter. How about if you come up with a stocking list I'll look over it and/or modify it for you.> And also what's the most fish I can add at once to a 240g without upsetting any chemical/waste issues for the water. <Well obviously you need to quarantine them first, and it depends on the size temperament of the fish but generally I prefer no more than one or two at a time. Of course there are exceptions...likely with the surgeons/tangs if you choose to get more than one.> I care for the fish daily but I also have a pro come in twice a month for water changes, salinity checks etc. <Cool.> Also, I know these fish can be costly but give me advice as if cost were no object--I can always work down from there. <Use the WWM search engine on the home page and enter the animals I talked about above...there are pictures as well...see if you like any of those.> I appreciate your advice and really enjoy the site. Please let me know if there is anything else you need to know about my set-up that can help you in your counsel. From one Adam to another, APH <Adam J.>

The Big Picture (Big Fish- Big Tanks!> I've read though all your FAQs about lionfish. I found them very interesting and informative. I wanted to ask your opinion about the number of fish in our tank. I'm concerned after reading all the FAQs that we have too many fish. <Definitely worth looking at...> We started out with George and Lenny. George is a black Volitans lion. He's now about 5 inches long. Lenny is a panther grouper. They were tank mates at the pet store for a long time before my husband fell in love with George, so we bought them both. They were in a 55 gallon tank with live rock only. But we have since moved them into a 72 gallon bowfront, with the live rock. And since the move we have also added Leo and Cleo, 3 inch black Volitans lions. And Frank, a green wolf eel, who is about 8 inches long. Just today, he brought home Frick and Frack, two yellow tangs. They are about 2 inches a piece. <Okay- no need to go further- it's seriously crowded, and you'll definitely need to move up to a MUCH larger tank for the long-term benefit of these fishes. They are small now, but they will get bigger- soon. And, there will be a lot of metabolic waste production with these fishes. Lon-term environmental stability is a concern here> We do have good filtration and a skimmer. I can't give you specifics without asking, but can provide them if its important. I do check the water and its doing very good. We have too many fish don't we? <I'm afraid so. On the brighter side- your husbandry techniques have been good so far- imagine what they would do in a much larger tank!> Our goal is to get another 125 gallon tank, but we haven't decided what to put in it. My husband has dreams of an Hawaiian Dragon Eel...insert sigh here... <Yep- major sigh...Insert custom order for 70 gallon acrylic tank with 300 gallon refugium here...> we have one 125 gallon already, its full of clowns, dwarf angels and a lot of other cool fish that George and Company would scarf down in a second. I'm thinking if we do get another 125 gallon tank that we should keep George (the big one and my baby), the two tangs and the eel. Is that too much even? <Better, but I'd honestly look at two 240 gallon tanks! I know that is a conservative stocking approach, but with big-time eaters and big-time waste producers, such as the ones that you have- the old adage about "dilution being the solution to pollution" holds true. More water, higher flow rates, major skimming, and lots of water changes will all benefit your animals.> My husband could keep his dragon eel in the 72 gallon. Alone. <I think it would be better in a 125 plus- alone. Or, consider a "Golden Dwarf Moray". Pricey, but it has lots of the "features" of the big guys in an 8-10 inch package!> Any advice or opinions you could share with me would be greatly appreciated. I love my lion. I don't want to hurt him unintentionally just because my husband has a fish fetish. LOL Thanks, Teri <Understood, Teri! I'd just think about expanding to either one much larger tank, or a few smaller ones (by "small", I mean 100 gallons plus). It seems kinda frustrating, but the big fishes do need big tanks for long-term success...Best of luck! Think BIG! Regards, Scott F>

- Large Tank, Large Fish - hi! really, really love the sight! I have these fish now in many lg tanks but I'm wanting to put them together! I know some fish wont do well together but if I had a lg enough tank would it work? tank size - 120x48x30 and fish are as follows: blonde Naso, BlueLine trigger, shoal tang, powder blue tang, Emp. angel, Mac angel, Moorish idol, zebra eel, Epaul. shark, Aussie tusk fish, blue dot grouper, Mappa puffer thank you Bart <Well, Bart, even with a tank of this size, there are still bound to be some problems. The Tangs and Angels would likely be fine. The Grouper would probably get large enough in such a system to make a meal of your other specimens, in spite of their size. Likewise, I would probably leave the shark in a species specific system - but otherwise, if you put together a tank of this size and have sufficient places for all the fish to hide, then it should work out. Cheers, J -- > Big Tank- Big Plans! Hi Crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> First off, thanks for all of your ongoing help to us marine enthusiasts. I do spend hours reading through articles and letters while enjoying and learning. <We're glad that you enjoy it! We sure get a kick out of bringing it to you!> I have an established 55 gallon marine aquarium with crushed coral substrate, live rock, some mushrooms, polyps, and a Ritteri anemone which house two Perculas. My other inhabitants are the usual cleaning crew of Blue Legged Hermits, Turbo snails, a Sally Lightfoot crab and a Serpent Star, a Green Wrasse, a Royal Gramma, a Mandarin and the boss of the tank, a Flame Angel. All in all, they seem to cohabitate fine together. In a few months I will upgrade my to a 180-200 gallon system. <Cool!> Of course, I will let the new system cycle properly (I hope to give it a head start with some water from my existing set-up), and I have all the proper skimming equipment, powerheads, mechanical filters etc. Will the following new additions be good members of this community system? A small eel of some kind (any specific suggestions ?)... <Well, there are a number of small Moray species that may be interesting. However, Morays do require significant water volume and great attention to husbandry. I've never though of them as "community fishes", to be quite honest with you. I think a dedicated display would prove to be a better route!> 2-3 Banggai Cardinals, possibly a smaller Lion fish (again any recommended species?) a few tangs i.e.: a Hippo, a Naso, and Yellow (or Kole) hoping these are different enough from each other to discourage fighting, <I'd avoid the Naso, as these guys get huge, requiring a really large tank (like 8 feet long and over 300 gals) to be truly happy, IMO. The other tangs seem like they could work, if introduced as young, smaller specimens.> ...and lastly as the showpiece some type of larger angel (French or Queen maybe?). <Again- the size issue is foremost with these angels. They can reach up to 18 inches in length, and require really large quarters. I'd go for a smaller variety. Perhaps, with enough cover (and if they are all introduced together), you could try another two Centropyge angelfish. It's still a calculated risk, but it could prove interesting if it works.> Please comment on the type that might be best for my system. I do realize that each of these must be added slowly over time. <Agreed! Slow and steady does the trick.> I don't want this new set up to become a predator tank so I am wondering about the Lion and the Eel. <Well, the Lion and Eel will give you an instant predator tank! if you want to be truly different, I'd shoot for a neat community of smaller blennies and gobies, and maybe some other interesting fishes, like Pseudochromids and the like. Big tank with small fish-a bold concept that I wish more hobbyists would try!> I don't want stressed fish so I am asking your opinion on these selections. Sorry for the long letter but I value your opinion. <Happy to be of service! I wish you luck with your new tank! Regards, Scott F.>

Tank Recommendations - 06/20/05 WWM Crew, How's it going? <<Well, thank you.>> I'm sure you get a lot of these types of "Is this right?" questions so I appreciate anyone who can take the time to reply. <<Just glad you're asking the questions now <G>.>> I'm currently planning (I over plan everything. From substrate to filtration to livestock to daily/monthly routines) a 375 gallon reef tank. <<SWEET! That happens to be what I have too!>> It will be 96x30x30 with a sump of around 80 gallons. <<Hey man!...you been peekin' in my window?>> That is unless I can get it plumbed into the closet in which case I want to go bigger. <<There ya go!>> As well, it will have a 100 gallon refugium that will be on a stand next to it. <<Excellent!>> My goal is to actually make the refugium interesting and not something hidden away. <<Is just as fascinating as the main display, yes.>> With mainly Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria Parvispora for occasional tang feeding. <<Both great algae for a vegetable refugium...but I would recommend picking just one to go with. Just like corals, the algae will compete for space/dominance in the refugium.>> The refugium will have a 6-8" sand bed, 150-175 pounds of Fiji live rock, and will be where I can finally put my 3-stripe damsel. <<Dude...I was right there with ya up to this point! With the sand bed (which I applaud) and the live rock, you won't have much room for macroalgae growth. I would suggest choosing one method or the other (rock 'fuge or veggie 'fuge). And whatever you do...DON'T put that damsel in the refugium, it will quickly deplete your pod population (read: defeat the purpose of the refugium).>> As well, I'm planning on keeping a mated pair of coral banded shrimp, and a flame hawk in this tank as well. <<All good. But do be aware hawk fish are neither peaceful nor particularly reef-safe.>> Moving on, the main display will have over 500 lbs of live rock (mainly Fiji, but some Tonga branch), a 3-4" sand bed. <<Way too much rock, in my opinion. Think about going for a more "open" seascape. Open space/rockwork looks fantastic in a large tank like this, gives corals/fish space to grow "big", not to mention the ease on the pocket book. You really don't need to "fill" the tank with rock for effective bio-filtration, specially with the DSB (I'd bump that to 5-6 inches, by the way.) The skimming will be done with a Euro-Reef CS12-3 and I'll also be using a KNOP Calcium Reactor S-IV. This is the only brand that I've found for this size at a reasonable price. Any recommendations would be great. <<No problems here with either product. I have the same skimmer on my 375, though I went with the PM-CR622 for my calcium reactor.>> As well as Maxi-jet's, Tunze Turbelle Streams, and such for water movement. <<Love those Streams! I'm pushing around about 11,000 gph...would recommend same (or more) for you.>> My first question is about lighting. <<Uh oh...shoulda been pacing myself.>> My goal is to primarily keep LPS with some Zoanthids and a couple of Montipora SPS species. Would you recommend 4 400W MH or 4 250w MH? <<Wouldn't recommend 400w even of you were keeping "high light" acros...go with the 250w... or better yet 150w (DE), considering what you want to keep.>> Also, do you think PC actinics or VHO actinics would work better? <<Moot point...use 10,000k halide bulbs and the actinics will be for your pleasure, not the corals.>> Would 1 watt blue LED's reach the bottom of the tank for moon lighting? <<Yes. But again...this is for you.>> Also, what do you recommend for Kelvin rating? I've seen really good tanks with 10,000k and 14,000k, but have also heard recommendations for mixing different ratings. <<Maybe...tis up to you. My recommendation is all 10K.>> I know much of this is opinion questions, but I really do like getting honest opinion. <<No prob! Opinions I have in abundance <G>.>> As far as livestock, I'd like to know if you foresee any problems with this livestock list (attained over a very long period, 2+ years). All quantities are 1 unless stated otherwise: Opistognathus aurifrons, <<Hold off on the mandarin for at least a year (good advice for all fish if you can do it!) until the refugium can provide a sustainable food supply.>> 6 Chromis viridis, Centropyge Aurantius, Centropyge Multispinis, Ecsenius Midas, Salarias Fasciatus, <<I don't really consider ANY blenny to be "reef-safe.">> 2 Amphiprion Ocellaris, 2 Black Amphiprion Percula, 2 Elacatinus Oceanops, 2 Pterapogon Kauderni, 1 Stonogobiops Nematodes, Gobiodon strangulatus, 1 Gobiodon Okinawae, 2 Nemateleotris Decora, <<The gobies will be great in this tank.>> Paracheilinus Filamentous, Wetmorella nigropinnata, Cirrhilabrus, Laboutei, Pseudanthias Dispar, Oxycirrhites Typus, <<Longnose hawks are fascinating, curious fish...but you'd be surprised at the size shrimp they can get in their mouths...you are forewarned.>> Centropyge Loriculus, Centropyge Bispinosus, Tank Bred Pseudochromis Fridmani, Tank Bred Pseudochromis Springeri, Acanthurus Achilles, <<I can't endorse the Achilles Tang...needs more flow/more space than even this tank can supply.>> Ctenochaetus Hawaiiensis, Paracanthurus hepatus , Zebrasoma Flavescens, <<Honestly...not a tang person when it comes to reef tanks...but these last three should be fine in this size system...if you must <G>.>> 2 Blue Synchiropus Splendidus. <<Again with the mandarins? Please do wait on these.>> As well as various snails, hermits, and cleaner shrimp. <<Other than noted...a fine selection...do keep an eye on the pygmies though...can be risky to mix so many, even in a big tank, as well as a risk to corals.>> Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated. I'm just looking to make sure I have the best possible start that I can provide for my underwater friends. Also, one last question, I want to use a 55 gallon tank just for holding live rock to culture algae on it so I can put it into the main display for the tangs and angels and then remove it and continually replace it with other pieces in the algae tank about once a week. My question, what lighting would you recommend for growing algae on the rock and would I have to use any supplements on this tank as well to encourage growth? <<No supplements...and a couple or three 65w 6500K PC lights will serve you well.>> Thank you again for your help. Nick <<Is a pleasure, Eric R.>> Large System - 08/16/05 I recently acquired a 600 gallon tank that I am planning some upgrades for. <<cool>> The tank came with 2 - 6' VHO's. It's a 4' tall tank, and I just want it to look REALLY nice, not necessarily try to grow anything in it (aside from healthy fish). <<ok>> I haven't gotten it filled yet, or the lights hooked up so I'm not sure how bright it's going to be, but I'm curious if VHOs can hack it or would it be recommended to bump it up to halides even though its a FOWLR. <<The VHOs will work fine for the fish (may want to add a couple more tubes), but I wouldn't expect any life to "flourish" on the live rock in the bottom third of the tank. I prefer the look of a single-point light source myself...and considering the depth of this tank, would likely opt for the halides.>> I want to mount my 125 above the 600 if that is possible and use it as a refugium/invert display to complement my FOWLR, so it would be nice if I could avoid the heating issues that would inevitably arise with halides. <<A valid concern...but don't be fooled in to believing VHOs won't be hot. The use of cooling/exhaust fans will likely be required for either application.>> That leads to my next question and that is...are there any nifty tricks aside from drilling (glass tank), and overflow boxes (the devil) to getting a top mounted tank to overflow to a tank below? <<Not that I'm aware/would trust. Drilling really is you're best option.>> Third question - The tank came with two Oceanclear canisters (which I am scraping for this project), and two 1200 gph external pumps. There are four drilled holes and bulkheads in the bottom of the tank from this, and two pumps I have no great use for. Would it be hazardous at all to just run two small closed-loops right out the bottom - provided that I elevated the drains above the substrate? <<Employ "true" closed-loops and you have no worries.>> And would that be worthwhile? <<Absolutely!>> I'm going to plumb a Dolphin AquaSea in for a closed loop on the back so if I had to plumb them any other way it probably wouldn't be worth the hassle. <<More flow the better...whether a reef or a FOWLR.>> Lastly - just before my dreams get out of control - assuming I have top notch water quality, and 600+ lbs of live rock how many "stocking rules" can I break in a tank this size? <<Every tank has it's own set of rules...>> Can I keep a school of Yellow or Blue Tangs...or multiple Pomacanthus angels...or keep a Sohal with other types of tangs...or....you get the picture :) <<Unfortunately yes, I do <G>... You don't give the tank dimensions, but at 4 feet in height I'm guessing it's no longer than 8 feet (96"x48"x30" ?). The Sohal gets too big even for this tank to be happy/well adjusted for its lifetime...the blue tangs (Hippo?), though not quite as large as the Sohal at maturity, are so robust, active, and high strung/twitchy as to (in my opinion) require more swimming room, more flow, and more "hidey holes", than most casual hobbyist can provide...especially if more than one. As for the yellow tangs, I might be tempted to try a trio (all same size introduced together) in this tank. Careful selection of a Pomacanthus might prove interesting as well (two might be trouble)...tho be warned, these can/will become bruisers at maturity...choose tank mates well. At least research your selections (fishbase.org provides good info on adult size, gut content (food), etc.) and seriously consider their requirements/needs before purchase.>> Muchas Gracias, I always appreciate your input. Scott <<Happy to be here to assist/give opinion. Regards, EricR>> Big Fish- Big Tank? 10/12/05 Hi Crew! <Heya! Scott F. at your service!> I did look at your FAQ's to make sure the question I have was not previously asked/answered and did not find specific answers to my question. <No problem...> Basics: 220 gallon Oceanic 72" long tank with Tonga Supreme live rock, live sand substrate, 40 watt UV sterilizer, Aqua Medics protein skimmer, Seio power heads, large wet/dry with filter, refugium, etc... Currently have a beautiful 30" Zebra Moray, 2.5" Volitans Lionfish, 5.5" Bicolor Fiji Rabbitfish, with several Turbo Snails and Hermit Crabs. Question: I am adding this week a Chevron Tang and wanted to know if I added a Desjardini Red Sea Sailfin and Prionurus laticlavius (Yellowtail Sawtail Tang) if you thought they would get along??? This mix is a divergence from the more popular Purple, Yellow, and PB (Blue Hippo) Tangs that most people buy. I know some folks indicate that tangs should be introduced together; however I will be adding them individually. <Well, my best advice is to consider the "end game' here. The Desjardini can hit 15" plus, and the Prionurus gets even larger. I think the issue here is more the size of the fish than their possible compatibility. I'm sure that they could get along socially, but not in this sized aquarium. Even a 220 is too small to house both of these guys together for anything close to a natural life span, IMO. I'm looking at my 225 right now, and I cannot imagine these two guys living together comfortably in my tank for an extended period. Perhaps in a 400 or 500 gallon plus tank, yes.> My last fish after the tangs will either be a Majestic or Emperor Angel, which will make 7 fish. Do you think this is a good mix and fine with the tank size I have? <To be honest, no. My personal philosophy has always been, "Why keep large fish just because you have a large tank?". Granted, that's my kooky world view, but it warrants consideration. You're talking about fishes that can and do reach well over a foot in length. Placing them in even a 6-foot plus tank is questionable. Kind of like you and I living the rest of our lives in our living rooms. Sort of comfortable, but after a while, you'd go nuts! Why not consider stocking fishes that hit a maximum length of say, 6"-8"? There are plenty of neat fishes that are in that range, and they'll be a lot happier in your tank. One more fact to consider: A study I read indicated that the adult Emperor Angel typically ranges over an area about half the size of a football field! Obviously, you can take this argument to absurd lengths, but the point is - think small!> One last question: my Lionfish will absolutely not eat frozen, only live feeders. I can only get ghost shrimp, prawn shrimp, and feeder guppies in which I place Zoe drops into the bag they are in and let them set in there until they are fed to the Lion. Would this be okay long term if he just won't eat the frozen? <It can work, but you really want to wean him to prepared foods, ideally foods of marine origin, as they have the proper nutritional profile for this fish. Keep trying> I have gone a long time in between feedings to hope to entice him with frozen food on a clear feeding stick (wiggling it) but he hides in the rocks every time. Your thoughts? <My advice is to keep doing what you're doing...Don't give up. He will eventually come around-could take a long time, but it will happen eventually.> Thanks for your help and outstanding dedication to this hobby and I look forward to your comments. Steven <Best of luck, Steven. Regards, Scott F.>

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