Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Marine System Set-Up & Components 15

Related FAQs: Best Marine Set-Up FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Set-Up 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7FAQs 8, FAQs 9, FAQs 10FAQs 11, FAQs 12FAQs 13FAQs 14FAQs 16, FAQs 17FAQs 18FAQs 19FAQs 20FAQs 21FAQs 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FOWLR Set-Ups, Reef Tank Setups, Small Tank Setups, Moving Aquarium Systems

Related Articles: Marine Set-Up, Marine Planning, Getting Started with a Marine Tank By Adam Blundell, MS, Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer Reef Set-UpFish Only Systems, Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Small Marine Set-Ups, Large Marine Systems, Cold/Cool Water Marine Systems Moving Aquariums

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

Sand and Tank Setup Question 2/19/03 Hello Anthony, <cheers, mate> Once again another question.....  I just received two Iwaki MD40RXT pumps ( box says rated 1344 gph ) for my 90 gallon.   <wow.. lot of flow. Cool> One for my sump return, the other for closed loop circulation, so I should be good to go on flow.   <easily at/outside the 10X-20X tank volume rating. Be sure your bulkheads can handle the return pump> With 4 1.5" overflows drilled in back, 300 gph per overflow/bulkhead should be easy to achieve and fairly quiet from what I have been reading.   <agreed> I noticed that some of the response in the FAQ's mention over sizing the return pipe size.  The outlet for the 2 Iwaki's is 1".  Should I go with 1.5" instead, <I would not bother... 1" is very fine> up to the top of the tank then shrinking down to 1" or 3/4" connecting to my Sea Swirls ( once I buy them)?  Or do I just go with the 1" from outlet to tank.   <I see no trouble with 1" all the way> There are no manuals in the box, and the www.iwakiwalchem.com site shows a manual but does not mention anything about pipe size. <if you are really interested in the dynamics of engineering with aquaria... seek Escobal's "Aquatic Systems Engineering". Lots of numbers inthere> What about the small amount of pipe from sump to pump inlet, should that be 1" or upsized to 1.5" as well?  And for the circulation pump, I was considering 2 1.5" bulkheads/pipes in back of tank instead of just one, don't want that much suction from one hole, could be potential problem.   <agreed> But once again, do I upsize on the inlet and outlet, or stick with the 1"?   <not that much difference with 1.5 on the intakes... both will need guarded> I had asked about the pipe sizes before on a previous email, but I had asked the question, then made a statement about it and I was not sure if the response was answering the question, or agreeing with my statement, so forgive me for asking again, I just want to make sure I am clear.  I have spent the last month building a new stand that is big enough to be able to house the 30 gallon sump with the AquaC skimmer in it. <excellent> It had to have enough room to be able to pull the skimmer out for cleaning, etc.  Found out the first time around that it would not fit, curses!!!!   <bummer :) > So I had to rip bottom of the stand off and come up with a new plan.  Then there was staining the stand and making it look nice, buying all the plumbing, pumps, etc., so I want to make sure I don't get it all together then think "oh crap, I missed something". I know you have heard it a bunch of times from everyone, but you guys are life savers.   <its always redeeming/good to hear!> It is great to be able to have a source of GOOD information, not some salesperson at a fish store trying to make a buck! <most LFS are very good folks to be sure. But is nice to have independent consensus/verification> Evertime I am at the LFS, I hear people asking questions and cringe at the answers they are receiving.   <alas... it does occur. And we have to fault the ownership here... what good businessman hires inexperienced employees for $5-7 per hour and expects them to be able to sell aquarium systems costing thousands of dollars? That's insane. At least without training. Better shops actually have ongoing employee training programs> I am no expert, but I have come a long way, at least enough to know that the answers the salespeople are giving them are pretty crappy.  I thank you, and all the livestock out there thanks you! <best regards, Anthony>

Is Bigger Really Better? - 2/18/03 Good morning <Good morning, Phil answering some questions before he starts the day.> First, I like to thank you for a wonderful and informative web site u have made, for the last three weeks I been reading and educating my self on starting this new hobby, salt water aquarium.<Thank you, all of us try very hard to make this one of the best aquatic sites around.> Second I am going to apologize ahead about my open ended question.<No problem> I am trying to get a salt water aquarium for my house, I eventually like it to house some soft coral and salt water fish. I looked into 170 gal. or 300 gal. double bow front acrylic (the aquarium is going to be between two rooms). To note I am new into salt water and I had fresh water aquarium in the past.<Welcome to this wonderful hobby!!!> so questions what tank to get, is bigger the better? <IMO bigger is better.  But when the tanks get this big it really doesn't matter!> What filter? <Depends... If you go for a reef tank with lots of live rock no filter is needed.  If you go for a fish-only/fish-only with live rock (FOWLR) you will need a filter.> What light? MH or compact flash or combination <For a reef tank you should do a mix.  For fish only even standard fluorescent would be fine.> Basically I am trying to see what would u use if u are starting this system. Ii read so much that I think I confused myself on what to get. I have been asking the advice of many local aquatics. I like to get your advice on what to get knowing the space is going to be built when I decide on the tank size. Most likely the 170 gal tank again, thanks for all the help. Dr. Saiedy MD <Since you said you want the 170 you now need to pick reef or FOWLR.  I must say though that if you do place the tank between two rooms it will look amazing!  If you go FOWLR you could house most fish in the 170.  But of course there would be a couple of fish that would out grow the 170 and need a 300. e.g. a few Triggers, some angelfish.  If you end-up doing the 300 double-bow front tank it will be rather costly to have two bow fronts.  I saw it done once and it was a very nice setup.  Before you start this tank please pick up a few books on marine aquariums.  Here are a few of my favorites: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist-Robert Fenner, The New Marine Aquarium-Michael Paletta.  For a reef tank Anthony Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation is a must!  Hope this helps and best wishes with the new tank!  Phil>

AGA 75 Overflow Rate Regarding the reader who asked about the AGA reef ready overflow GPH, I wrote AGA and was advised that their single corner overflow will handle 1200GPH. I'm using a Mag 12 on a 75G AGA single overflow with Durso standpipe. Although it wasn't really necessary, I drilled out the overflow slots to 1/4" wide, and think it will handle more than the Mag 12. I have my 30G sump labeled in gallons, and when I shut the pump down and let everything drain down into the sump, upon startup it will move 1 gal every 3.5 seconds, which is about 1000GPH. Hope this helps. Scott <Thank you so much, Scott!  I'll forward this on.  Craig>

Fish Slipping Through Overflow Slots beginner...u all have been great..90 gal 90lbs kaelini rock...5wks new...1 coral beauty..2?percula clowns...mag350 with carbon...280 powerhead.. skimmer with quiet one return pump...this am found 1 percula in overflow box...through slots...up u-tube.. against sponge...he is back in tank (no where else to put him).. he looks very bad...i left the skimmer and the quiet one off for fear of 2nd percula meeting same fate.. now only 350 mag and powerhead running.. also heater is tied into sump so it is not circulating in main tank...I am in work ..wont be home till 4 pm est..i had my wife turn room temp up to 75 to hopefully help with tank cooling...will live clown and beauty be okay till then?.. also what can I do to cover the slots in overflow box to prevent this again?.. can i use nylon screening or net meshing and elastic bands to cover them?.. if you think this needs more immediate attention then I will have to leave early...thanks <Yes, use nylon window screen or pantyhose material. For future reference, all the dots and lack of capitalization make it very hard to read and follow your writing, Thanks. Don>

Managing A New Tank The 2- 34w are aqua ray fluorescents and the 40 w is I believe actinic- it's the blue light. Is there a good crab or snail to put in the tank to clean this algae up? <Sorry I'm picking up in the middle of a previous question, but it sounds like you're dealing with some problem algae? Controlling algae is mostly about nutrient control and export. Utilize a good skimmer, regular small water changes with quality source water, and general good husbandry, and you'll see those algae begin to fade...Get to the source of the problem...herbivorous crabs may help remove what's there, but the algae will keep coming back unless you create conditions that discourage it's growth. read all about nuisance algae control on the wetwebmedia.com site> Eventually I'd like to put corals and mushrooms in the tank along with maybe a scooter blennie and a few gentle fish. <The Scooter "blenny" (actually a Dragonette-similar to the Mandarins) can be tough to feed...many starve in captive systems...better to choose from among the many, many colorful true blennies available.> Right now, I have 4 damsels- 2 yellow-tailed, a domino and a striped black and white one. I know that eventually I'll have to get rid of the domino and the striped one but I've seen other tanks with the yellow tails in there. <The Dominos and 3 striped damsels can be rough customers, and don't usually take kindly to newcomers in "their" tank> Can I keep these with gentle fish? <A much better proposition with the Yellow Tail damsels, sure> What ever do I put in now to clean up the slime or what ever it is (it does have some hair in it)? <Right now- a combination of elbow grease (physically removing the stuff) and "midnight oil" (scanning the wetwebmedia.com faqs on nuisance algae control.. That will do the trick- trust me!> I'm being very selective as to what to put in the tank for the future. <Awesome! Your fish will thank you for it! That's the way to success!> I've gone over and over your site but end up with a headache and confused. <Tons of information here! The easiest way to start is at the home page, where you can click on topics of interest and narrow it down to more specific searches. Or, you can key in the topic that you're looking for on the Google search feature...easy as that!> I love your site and it has helped me so much. <So glad to hear that! Just keep reading and learning and sharing with others...and don't forget to have FUN along the way, okay? That's what this hobby is all about!> Thank you again and I hope I'm not being a pain. Misty <You certainly are not a pain! Hope I was able to help point you in the right direction. Feel free to contact us again any time! Good luck! You're doing just fine! Regards, Scott F>

Inheriting A New Tank! Hello Bob and crew, <Scott F at the keyboard today!> Thanks for the wonderful web site- I've voraciously devoured most of the content and it has been a huge help to me! <Cool! Just don't devour too much or we'll have to put you on a diet..> I recently decided to get a saltwater aquarium and found a really nice used 50gal acrylic tank (clear for life brand, with built-in w/d filter) for a great price, so I picked it up.  The only problem is that it came with a horrible and unsustainable stock of fish: one blue damsel, two chromis damsels, two blue-fin damsels, four zebra damsels, one maroon clown, one mandarin, one psychedelic, a flame scallop, two sand sifting stars, and three flowerpots (goniopora sp). <Yep- that's a pretty awful mix, IMO!> It had an excellent lighting system (Helios with one 10K and one actinic) but not much LR. <No surprise, huh?> Realizing that the tank was very overstocked, I donated most of the damsels to a LFS and moved the four zebras and the LR into what was supposed to be my QT/HT (29 gal Eclipse). I bought 50lbs of cured Fiji LR, 50lbs of LS for a 5-6" DSB, and some macro-algae to try and sustain the dragonets, but the psychedelic refused to eat anything and soon died. <You gave it a good shot> I know that the LR will not build a colony of copepods fast enough for the mandarin, so I have been feeding him live brine shrimp daily.  He will not eat any frozen foods, and I have tried almost everything I could find.  I really want to keep him, but in reality, is there any way for me to feed him in such a small tank? <Well, if you can keep food "in front of his nose", you'll have a good chance at keeping him around for a while. The brine shrimp is really not that nutritious, but you could perhaps feed them with Selcon or Vita Chem prior to giving them to the mandarin. Try posting on the WetWebMedia Chat Forum to see if anyone can offer you some amphipods for sale, or you can order them from e-tailers like Indo-Pacific Sea Farms or Inland Aquatics, and start propagating your own> I could get a HOT refugium (like the CPR AquaFuge), but I don't want to spend the money if it won't help… <A refugium is always a good acquisition, if you populate and manage it correctly> The clown had some white patches on his sides (looked more like faded scales than what I've read of velvet) and I noticed that he was constantly rubbing against the flowerpots.  Assuming that the patches were from rubbing, I (somewhat stupidly) bought an LT anemone (this was one day before finding your site…). <Darn- too late...> The clown immediately fell in love with the LT, but after a few days his patches got worse, not better.  I then moved him into a new QT and began giving him Melafix (recommended by a good LFS), but this has not done much for him. <Well, if you're trying to treat a fungal infection, Melafix can work, but if you're dealing with something more sinister, like Amyloodinium, this is not the stuff to use. Also, treating in the display tank is a horrible idea...reconsider that "Hospital" Tank, okay?> I've been trying to give him freshwater dips, <A better treatment for potential parasitic maladies, IMO> but every time I put him in the freshwater he stops moving and lies on his side. <Not an uncommon effect from a freshwater dip> Of course, I pull him out after a minute of this, so I don't think that the dips are having any affect. <Well, to be effective at all, a freshwater dip should last at least 3 to 5 minutes or more> The water is dechlorinated bottled water that is ph and temperature adjusted, so what am I doing wrong? <Duration of the dip, for one thing. It's also important to correctly diagnose what you're dealing with here. Check the wetwebmedia.com FAQs for more possible descriptions of illnesses that might fit the description, and take correct action. If you're dealing with a parasitic illness, copper sulphate or other medication may be required, administered, of course, in a "hospital" tank> I know that the flowerpots have horrible records, so is there any advice you can give me on trying to keep them alive?  I've placed them close to the top of the tank to get the most light possible, added an extra powerhead for strong circulation, and feed them phytoplan and phytoplex every night.  I read that they are commonly found in lagoons with somewhat cloudy water, so I only run my protein skimmer during the daytime while I'm at work.  Know of any other tricks to help them? <Well, first, try to get your hands on a good book on corals, such as Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" to identify which species that you're dealing with. The next most important thing is proper lighting. Some species require the turbid water that you indicated, and others require high quality, intense lighting, such as halides. Keep the colony on the sand, and allow a flow of moderate current near the colony. Keep studying your coral and try to create conditions that favor it> Finally, is there anything I can do for the flame scallop beyond adding the phytoplex? <You might want to try even finer grades of food supplements, delivered directly "on target"> Oh yeah, water conditions are pretty good- no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, calcium 495, and phosphates off the scale (>1.0 ppm).   <You'll need to really work the protein skimmer and re-evaluate your feeding and source water to get those phosphates to near undetectable levels.> I've begun small daily water changes to bring down the phosphates and calcium, but I have no idea if it's helping since I lost the phosphate test kit… <I'd highly recommend getting a replacement. Also, do keep up the water changes with high-quality source water, but do them like twice a week. Be relentless, consistent, and hang in there.> Sorry for such a long email, but I'm really trying to salvage this loser tank and am desperate for more good advice. Thanks, David <Keep on learning and working hard here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Setup and rock usage - 2/11/03 Hello WWM crew. <Hello. Paul at your service> I think after reading so many books and the WWM site, still a direct answer from you will be the best one. <There are many resources and so called "answers". Knowledge is power, my friend.> At least I don't jump to wrong conclusion. My problem is confusion confusion confusion. Unfortunately the country I live in, live rock and sand are not available. <OK> But I found from a dealer rocks that have been on the shelf for a year and not a trace of life exists on them. <Well, if it is a salt tank you are setting up then you will want life on them. Some will come in time months to years. Can be added through various products.> I don't know if I can use them in the tank I have a 1000 liters empty tank that I will make, a TUNZE hang on skimmer, a UV sterilizer. My question is. If you were in my place what would you do i.e. what kind of filtration you use .wet/dry, plenum, <I like the plenum idea but a wet/dry is fine, too. Again, all this depends on you. What are your plans for inhabitants. Invertebrates? Fish only? Macroalgae? Look around for live rock and live sand. If a dealer can get you fish or corals can they or will they maybe import some rock and or live sand???>  etc. to make it short what is the best set up in my case. <Again make up a plan for what you would like to see go in your tank and this answer will become more clear...... Good luck, my friend>

New tank - 2/12/03 Hello Paul Thank you for your fast reply; sorry I didn't give you much info on my plans.<No worries> Until now I have a 1000 liters tank, <264 gallons for our American readers> a TUNZE hang on skimmer and the UV light. Nothing else. I want to make a FO marine system. <OK> With medium to larger fish. As I said before I bought dry dead rocks which have been on the shelf for a year know. <Oh...you did buy the dead rocks....got it.> Since live rocks are not available, <Can't get them from somewhere? Anywhere? Too bad> Can these rocks be of any help?? <Maybe over time....cannot say for sure. Not without some sort of inoculation from some live matter to introduce the needed beneficial bacteria, in my experience. But the biological processes will be mostly handled by your chosen filter setup> My question is what kind of filtration do you recommend? <Well.....not really sure my recommendation is really in order here. What kind of money do you have to put forth toward this effort? What is actually available to you?> And if you recommend a wet/dry filter how big should it be for the size of my tank.<Check this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm Follow the links to articles and FAQs here. Good information directly related to your situation. As for a wet/dry system you will want one rated for your tank volume. Usually the manufacturer will state this> Is it possible to make a plenum system under the bioballs in the same sump? <Well, I would not even use the bio balls. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm Again, too bad you can't get some live rock from somewhere. Put that in place of the bioballs. A plenum in sump hmmmmmm.....nah. In fact, I would not even put a plenum in the tank at all. A plenum in tank is probably not needed or recommended with a fish only tank, as sometime, in my experience, fish will move your substrate around. You would need to be very diligent on your fish research before purchasing (which you should be anyway) to ensure you are not going to be buying a fish that would destroy your plenum.> Thank you for your time <Thanks for your questions> Viken <Paul>

Live Rock Stocking question Dear WWM folks I have a couple of questions today, first just a system plan check to review our work so far, and secondly a specific stocking question that I couldn't find on your (terrific) website.<Tanks a lot!! Get it? Not that funny I know!> First the system, I am helping my father put together a reef tank with the goal of SPS, Clams, and a light fish load. The main tank will be a custom acrylic tank, 28" deep, 48" wide, and 24" front to back (apx. 140 gals I think) on the ground floor. We have a Aquastarlight with 2ea 250w 10,000k HQIs for the main tank. In the basement we have built a pretty substantial bench that holds three 55 gallon Rubbermaid Brute containers for the sump. They are plumbed together with 2" bulkheads and the last one drains into a large trashcan. The return pump is an Iwaki 70. I have figured that with the various elbows, valves, and 12' of head that apx. 750-1000 gph will flow through the sumps. The first sump has a Euroreef CS6-1 and the effluent from the Korallin CA reactor, the second sump has 6" of Aragonite, and the third sump will have 90 lbs of live rock. We have installed a valve and bypass to take some of the water from the first sump around to the trashcan to reduce the flow through the live sand and live rock. The last two sumps will be lit with a single Hamilton 175w 6500k MH pendant. The trashcan also contains a couple of Jali Ti heaters and the Lifereef float switch for the RO top off. For additional circulation the tank is being made with additional 1" outlets in the overflow boxes and these will feed into an Iwaki 40. The output from the Iwaki 40 is being fed through a pair of SQWDs and into 4ea 1" bulkheads in the back of the tank. Any glaring errors so far? <No, sounds very nice to me!> So, the specific question is what's the best way to stock this tank. The sand is in place and I'm sure we can get a couple of handfuls of live sand from a good LFS to seed it. We were planning on ordering a couple of 45 lb. boxes of live rock to start the system going in the sumps while the tank is being made. I expect the tank to be delivered in a couple of weeks. Do you see a problem with starting the cycle downstairs then adding the upstairs tank? I can see how this might prolong the cycle, but I could also see how it might reduce the severity of any ammonia spike.<I see no problem with this.> I was thinking about getting one box each of Fiji and Marshal Rock for the initial cycle, and then later a box of the Florida cultured stuff for the upstairs tank. How important do you think a diversity of rocks is?<If you mix rocks you will get different types of algaes etc.> When in this process would we add an Inland Aquatic (or similar) Detrivore Kit? <Wait a few months till the tank has cycled more.>  How about a Refugarium Kit and maybe some macros for the basement? <Ya, but again please wait till the water has reached stable levels.> Sorry this is so long, but after a lot of research we are getting close and would like to make sure the stocking goes as well as possible. Any timeline suggestions you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks Kenny <This tank sounds really planned out!  You guys did a great job!  Good luck!  Phil>

Question about Tank size ???? I purchase an acrylic 75 gal aquarium for salt water (fish tank only), but these type of tank (uniquarium-clear for life), has in the back of the tank chambers for the filters, skimmer (witch I have), heater, bio balls, and pump. My question is even if it is a 75 gal talk if a do these simple formula (deep x length x high / 231) it will be  15" x 48" x 24" / 231 =  75 gal tank.  (these is the entire tank, but if I remove the space from the chambers behind it will be 11" x 48" x 24" / 231 = 55 gal tank. So when I do research for the fish appropriate for my tank should I considered a 75 gal or a 55 gal tank thank you for replying. <After talking to Ananda about this, we came up with around 55-60 gallons.  It's always better to under-stock then to overstock.  Hope this helps! Phil>

Starting Out Right! Hello, <Hey! Scott F. with you today!> I am about to purchase a 75 gallon tank that is 22 inches in height.  This is not the first tank I have owned; I have a 37 gallon eclipse tank that has been running for about 2 years (without corals, of course, since I learned the hard way that good lighting was not a viable option with this set-up). <Don't we all? LOL> I wish that I had found your website, or had done better research, before buying it in the first place.  This time, though, I'm going to do it right.  My questions for you gentlemen are as follows: 1. Should there be a cycle period in the new aquarium, since I am transferring substrate, water, live rock, & fish from the old tank? <In all likelihood, there will be a cycle...I'd hold off on adding the fishes and inverts until you've monitored ammonia and nitrite for a while to verify if they are at undetectable levels> 2.  Should I set up a powerhead-driven undergravel filter? <I'd pass on the UGF...Try something that offers better long-term potential for success, such as a simple sump set up...you can read about sumps on the wetwebmedia.com site...lots of ideas to easily utilize this type of system> 3.  Overflow filter with bio-balls, or convertible canister filter like the Marineland magnum? <I'd pass on this, too- the sump is so much easier and more efficient in the long run.. As John Tullock says, "More biology- less technology"> 4. Is the biowheel filter useful as advertised for ammonia breakdown?  Should I harvest the one from the eclipse tank (and utilize it in the new tank with one fo the larger filters)? <Biowheels are efficient, but again, if it were me, i'd go for a sump setup... The biowheel unit and tank be utilized for other things, like a quarantine setup...or the other tank can become...your sump! (are you getting a hint that I like sump setups here?) > 5. Is my prism 75 gallon skimmer adequate? <I'd consult the manufacturer as to the maximum tank size this skimmer can handle...Unfortunately, this skimmer seems to have a spotty reputation among hobbyists for performance, but if it's yanking out  a few cups of dark, yucky stuff per week- it's a champ in my book!> 6.  What substrate depth is best, definitively (in inches)? <I like "deep" sand beds (3-6 inches of fine, oolithic aragonite, such as CaribSea's "Aragamax Sugar Fine Sand"> 7.  Finally, and most importantly, lighting.  To sustain a reef, what are my best lighting options, given the dimensions of the tank?  Should I use metal halides in conjunction with actinic, and what wattage for each type of fixture? <Really depends on the animals you intend to keep, your ability to keep the tank cool, and, of course, your budget...I'd lean towards halides for maximum flexibility and adaptability, if you can, but power compacts and VHO fluorescents can also work well.. Do a little research as to what works for the animals you want to keep> Your help is greatly appreciated <Always a pleasure! Feel free to call on us any time! Regards, Scott F>

- Help - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Bob help my tank looks like a xmas tree. ok its a 55 gal and 3 mo.s old. I have done everything you told me to and everything was going great all my tests are fine and nitrates at 0. then I added different lights because of my living rock and purple coralline that was going away. Everything is living fine including the color in my tank. The lights i added are 2 fresh and salt water fluorescents 32 watts each and 1 actinic 40 watts. I went out and bought a strip light and put them in that and was told I would be fine (couldn't afford $400 for a new hood) and was leery about making my own that you told me to be careful of. I checked all I wanted to grow in the tank mushrooms and corals  and everything I chose all said it was fine for low light and beginners (he he guess who that is) I haven't bought anything for the tank yet just the things that came with my live rock: 4 polyps, feather duster, 2 small pink mushrooms  that have doubled in size, 2 carpet anemones, and a glass anemone. all which were not there when I bought the rock or I should say I didn't see them. I have 2 double BioWheels I forget the name of them but they are the best ones and 2 penguin 660 powerheads I do a water change 5-10 gal every 2 wks. my fish store told me to buy Kent marine liquid calcium and Kent marine superbuffer for the coralline and corals I want. I added them both twice since I bought them 4 wks ago. I also have 3 large dead coral for decor pieces that I was going to set things on later as my tank matured. (corals etc.) At first I thought this algae would be great because I wanted a cleanup crew but wanted stuff to grow first so I didn't starve them in a new tank but this is ridiculous. are there any cleanup crews that eat this stuff or what am I doing wrong. <Am I reading this correctly - now you have an algae problem? What is the problem exactly?> someone told me I didn't need to add the buffer because that is what my coral does is this true. <This is only partly true. The gravel and live rock both act as a source of buffer in your tank, but typically they are released very slowly. If you add the Kent calcium, that needs to be offset with a buffer additive. Honestly, I think you would be better off with a two-part solution like ESV B-ionic or the Kent A/B - these items need to be added daily.> also they said I didn't have to monitor my alkalinity as long as my ph was fine and not to worry about measuring the calcium because all it will do if I have too much is make a great coralline growth. <I disagree... first, alkalinity and pH do not go directly hand in hand - there is a relationship between the two, but if you are adding anything to the tank - buffer, calcium, iodine, etc. you should always test to make sure you are adding the right amount. It's very easy to add too much of something when you're not testing for it.> Please help. Thank you Misty PS don't know what I would do without you. Hugs <Cheers, J -- >

180 FOWLR TANK and Sump setups hi guys...<Don with you today, Scott> well I just about finished setting up the aquarium just a few questions...its a 180 gallon aq with a wet-dry filter cts-8 skimmer Sequence pump tons of water flow..3 175watt 10,000k MH, 2 40 watt actinics...<sound good!>may be a stupid question but here goes. after the aq cycles I will remove the bio balls and either put live rock in the sump or leave it empty. here's the stupid part if i convert the sump to a refugium how do i prevent the 4 to six inches of sand in the sump from being sucked into the pump? <Baffles> i have about 1/2" of coarse crushed coral in the main aq going to put about 200 to 300 lbs of live rock in the main tank should i leave the sump empty or do the refugium trip? <Either is appropriate> or no sand in the sump and just more live rock in the sump. or no live rock in the sump and maybe poly filters and some carbon? thanks for all your help....<See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm and follow the links at the top of the page to gather differing viewpoints and ideas, Don> Scott...

New fish only marine setup - 2/10/03 needing some info on setting up a new 30 gallon (fish only) with rock. what type of filter do you recommend. < Well, Scott, if possible, the only filter you may need is just about 2 lbs. per gallon of good quality live rock with a good quality skimmer> looking to hide it under cabinet wet/dry or canister filter <See above comments but many more are found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marmechf.htm also be sure to check out the FAQs for those links as well.> ..make and size would be helpful. also would like to put protein skimmer in. <Ah good to hear> what kind would do me the job <I like the CPR Bak Pak in this case. Ideally suited for a small setup. Also the AquaC skimmer offerings are superb as well. As usual, money usually is the issue. Check out their respective links in our website sponsors list>..and one other thing looking to get a R/O system can you recommend any. <Well, R/O is a good idea. Look here for some insight: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm I purchase mine at this point. (for various reasons) so I am not the best person to ask. Check out our forums and pose the same question and you will get plenty of answers to choose from. I have heard SpectraPure is a good one, and I believe Anthony Calfo has a favorite as well. All can be found in the link above or a search of our site under "R/O Units" or something to that effect.> thanks for the help Looking to get most products from foster and smith mail order <Not a bad company. I have used them and they seem reputable. There are many others as well, though. Do your homework in this area. No buyer's remorse allowed in this age of Internet empowerment, research is the key!!!!> .thanks again Scott <Thank you for your time and your question. Paul - out>

Using Skimmate To "Jump Start" a New Tank? Hello Crew!!! <Hey there! Scott F your crewmember today...> First I'd like to thank all of you for your hard work, and the job you've done with this web site.  I was on the internet long before much of the population even knew what it was, and grew VERY impatient waiting for some good marine aquarium resources.  Your site has so much information, I've never had a need to ask more before :) < Impressive!> Now, here's a crazy question:  I have read some of your past FAQ's on cycling a new tank and found some reader's ideas on how to speed it up, but they ranged from ridiculous to what sounds good but requires too much scientific knowledge to implement.  In the near future I will be assisting a couple of friends in setting up new reef systems (They are tired of staying at my house WAY too late waiting to see what crawls out next, and getting in trouble with their spouses.  Well, there's usually some beer involved too). <Generally makes the process easier!> This morning I emptied my skimmer before leaving for work, and a question just popped right into my head.  Could the effluent from my skimmer not be added to a new tank to assist in getting it partially cycled before anything, even live rock, is added? That may be as crazy as some other ideas I've heard, but since it seems to make some sense to me I thought I'd ask :) <Well, Scott, it's not entirely crazy, but...well- yeah- maybe it's crazy...Hmmm. The real hazard of this is that you are essentially dealing with a super concentrated brew of all kinds of potential poisonous and nasty organics, including ammonia and other bad stuff.. Unlike utilizing healthy live sand (which has beneficial bacteria) to "jump start" a system, skimmate is just pure waste product, and is not really the sort of thing that you'd want to be adding. Besides, not knowing the concentration of stuff in the skimmate would make determining how much to "administer" to the new tank a crapshoot (no pun intended!). Would be an interesting experiment, though, but I wouldn't recommend it! WWM legend has it that Bob has offered to admit that protein skimming is not needed in a tank if someone would dare drink the stuff removed by a skimmer after a few days...No takers yet, and I can imagine why!> Thanks again to the whole crew! Scott in Wisconsin <Any time, Scott! And it is an interesting thought...well...maybe...um... Regards, Scott F>

Clarification, please, for the saltwater-challenged.... <Not a problem!> I took your advice on the thermometer.  A supremely stupid question, but I am unsure where to put it in the tank for most accurate results (intake tube on left of tank, water exits in middle of tank, heater on right of tank, Berlin Air Lift in-tank skimmer on right side in front of heater.) <In a convenient to see place furthest away from the heater.> Upon second reading, I was unclear on a couple things.  I had planned to lower my s.g. by draining tank water and replacing with fresh, but I am confused as to what s.g. I should shoot for in my FOWLR 29 gal.  Currently 23-25. <1.023 -1.025 is acceptable. Some run slightly lower on fish only tanks, down to 1.021.  With live rock I would go with 1.023-1.025. It won't take much to lower or raise it.> Also, I know that DSB are considered the best alternative, but given the size of this tank, a 3-4 inch bed would greatly restrict space.  According to some of the FAQs, it states that 1" is also acceptable.  Still true? <Yes, but will require a little care (stirring with a powerhead, vacuuming) and a good clean-up crew to keep in top order, no worries.> And I was unclear about my concern about mixing 3 parts sugar-sized Fiji pink sand with a very fine white (same company).  Is this mix tolerable? <Yes.> I was checking out three LFS for LR, and I think I found some good stuff - pacific rock, teeming with life.  It is very porous though, and when he weighed a piece, I could not possibly imagine fitting 25-30 pounds in a 29 gal tank.  Since it is more porous, would a lesser weight be acceptable (your FAQs even list a density differential between, say, Fiji and Marshall Island).  If the wife knew I needed 25 pounds at 8 bucks a pound, my threat level color would be red for sure ;) <It is possible to get good rock for less ($5-$6 per lbs), but if this rock is *well cured* (tests zero for ammonia and nitrite, and a low level of nitrates) and is, as you say, "teeming with life", then it is probably worth the price for the start it will give your tank. It is possible to use less rock in the case of Marshall Island or Kaelini rock, but I would push the limit if I were you. A 29 could actually use up to 45 lbs Fiji rock, or perhaps 30-35 Marshall Island. I don't have any suggestions for thwarting homeland security personnel (wives) other than to get the best deal possible (try dickering a bit with your LFS) or ordering on-line from a supplier that will send you digital photos of the rock they will ship to you, so you can see it first. Don't forget to factor in shipping. DO introduce this rock well before fish (treat it just like a QT while you QT your new fish), so it will be free of parasites or very nearly so when you introduce your fish.>   Last question:  thoughts on a royal gramma to accompany a pair of tank raised clowns.  If this is acceptable, add it first or last? Bless you all for your magnanimous munificence  :) <Hmm, tend to be buggers...look them up at WetWebMedia.com before taking any leap. I probably wouldn't with this small a tank. Perhaps one of the Gobies, Blennies, etc.? Less of a behavioral issue.  Craig>

Re: (and still yet more) setup questions... <Whoo hoo!  Good job! Planning ahead is the way!> After installing the GFI (with all the lights out -- long story), the tank is finally up and running!  The water has cleared from the (not washed enough - Doh!) inch deep bed of sand, and the Red Sea Berlin airlift 90 is producing prodigious amounts of bubbles, completely hidden from view (in the tank) thanks to my Dremel.  Tested water yesterday, 8.2 ph, temp 76-78, sg 1.023-5 - still working on that one. <No need to rinse sand. SG should NOT vary once the salt is completely dissolved.  The pH may wander depending on CO2/oxygen content, that's why we heat and aerate new water for 12-24 hours, re-test it, adjust pH if needed, then use.> Questions: * I have two external stick-on thermometers - one on each side.  One says 76, the other 78, both stable.  Are the different temps due to the currents in the tank, and should I worry? <Get one, good quality thermometer and use the stick-on as a back-up. They are not accurate.> * Due to a purchasing 'oops', I accidentally purchased one bag of Fiji pink and one bag of very fine white sand from the same company.  I was planning on mixing them, but when I saw the fineness of the white - after opening the damn bag, of course, I mixed only about a quarter of the white bag with the entire bag of Fiji.  Is this a problem? <No, add all the sand, you need a deep bed, at least 3".> * I am getting ready to purchase - once my gravity gets down a bit - about 25 pounds of LR.  Your subjective opinion - I read the FAQs, - but which type (Fiji, Tonga, Marshall Island) would be best in this teeny tank for appearance and/or function?  Can I/should I add all at once? <The SG should not go lower, it should only rise with evaporation. To lower SG you must add more fresh water. You should also have a SG meter and maintain a constant SG. I suggest 1.025.  The choice of rock is purely personal as long as the rock is porous, somewhere in the 1.5 lbs per gallon area. Get the rock that you like the looks of and has the most life on it. Add it all at once to cycle/cure in your tank. Run the bio-wheel, skimmer and do big water changes to maintain life and reduce wastes from curing rock.> * I get decent flow from the Eclipse 3 pump.  Should I ditch the bio-wheel after the LR has established itself? <You can. You will likely need a powerhead or two for water flow, the Eclipse will not be sufficient. You can continue to use the carbon inserts (they can be cut apart and rebuilt) and remove the bio-wheel when the rock is well established.> * Future stock will be a pair of tank-raised perculas and (hopefully) one more fish.  I could use another opinion on the third, as well as your opinion on the order of introduction (pair first?).  And thanks to your site, NO anenome :) <A Blenny of some variety, perhaps a Sailfin/lawnmower/Rockskipper to eat Algae.> * After reading about the dangers of s.g. fluctuation, I am a bit worried - if I premix the seawater in the big Rubbermaid container, won't the s.g. fluctuate enough that I would have to add more water, requiring more aeration, etc. etc.  I see a vicious circle forming.  How to prevent too much evaporation during storage? <No. Simply cover the Rubbermaid container to prevent evaporation.> Thanks a billion for your patience.  Just wanted to say  - and I am not alone - that I appreciate your site not only offering top notch advice, but forcing us to make moral decisions about our little fishy charges.  After hours and hours on your site, I feel like the proverbial rocket scientist compared to a many of the LFS personnel around here.  You guys didn't get me started in this hobby, but you'll be the ones who keep me from leaving! (And if you get a frightening email from my wife, just ignore it.  Trust me, she really doesn't know where you live.) JPM <Uh oh, another wife Jihad.....I'm still in hiding with my friend Rushdie for my part in the Satanic Aquarist!   Keep reading, that's why we're here! Thank You again for the kind words.  Craig>

- Preparing to prepare - Bob, Anthony, et al., <I'm part of the et al. group - JasonC here...> Long time reader, first time poster. <Welcome!> Technically, I'm not even a newbie yet as I still don't have any h2o in my tank. I've been running various freshwater tanks, and was wanting to make the switch to marine. I've spent the last couple months reading everything I can get my eyes on, and still kind of confused on a few items.  I'm sure that I've read the answers on your site, but it's just too darn big.  I get lost or sidetracked every time I look for specifics (which only creates more questions). Eventually, I plan to keep a percula clown, a coral beauty, a snail or two, and possibly a cleaner shrimp or goby in a 20 gallon with a 1/2 inch oolithic sand bed. (Is this too ambitious?  Too heavy a bioload in this system?) <Well, honestly, it's a good mix of animals, but the tank itself is too small. Many people start out with tanks of this size, but you will be swept into a whirlwind... the smaller the tank, the more difficult it is to keep the 'system' in balance. You'd be much better off starting with something in the 55 gallon range, with 40 being about as small as is practical. Don't get me wrong, people do keep successful 20 gallon systems, but they typically have a good deal of experience behind them when they do it. Starting off with a smaller tank is not guaranteed failure, but it is certainly an invitation to angst.> 1. When I need to top off the water level, do I need to adjust the ph in the freshwater (chloramine/ammonia treated and aerated) before adding? <Depends on the pH of the top-off water. If you are using straight tap water, you can either use a bottled treatment to eliminate the chloramine or allow the water to circulate in a bucket for a day or two before you add it.> What if ph is too high? <I think you should tackle this problem 'if' it occurs. Typically tap water has a lower pH than seawater so you would actually need to bring the pH back up - and by the way, baking soda is really good for this.> 2. I was planning on keeping a powerhead attached to a sponge filter (in the display tank) for use in the quarantine / hospital when necessary. <Not a bad plan, but I will advise that if/when you need to treat the quarantine with something harsh you will nuke the biological filter. It is always wise to keep some saltwater mixed and ready to go so that you can do large, frequent water changes on the quarantine system.> Question: will the removal of the sponge filter from the main tank create a void in terms of biological filtration? (note: it will be a FOWLR with 1 pound Fiji per gallon - I'd like more, but hard to justify to the Mrs.. - "yes it's expensive, but it's LIVE rock...no, I'm not smoking crack") <As long as it's not the only item running as a biological filter - and yes the live rock will act as such - then you will likely be fine.> 3. Related to 2. I have a cpr BakPak 2r skimmer on the tank (just got it yesterday). Should I still use my Whisper filter with carbon and webbing (the webbing holds the carbon)? <Oh... can you return the Bak Pak? As much as I like CPR as a company, these skimmers really aren't very efficient. I would recommend something like the AquaC Remora. In the interim, yes, I would keep the floss and carbon in the whisper filter.> Will the webbing eventually become part of the biological filter? <That is the idea.> My fear is that when I change the webbing and carbon, I will be removing too much biological filter, causing stress to inhabitants. <Better to have a skimmer that is 'just' a skimmer.> Or, with the whisper is there a way to run carbon without the webbing? <You can put raw carbon in a mesh back and put that in the filtration compartment.> Thanks everyone! Much to learn. Head spinning. Need an aquarium to relax. Wait...now I'm back where I started. Jose <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Flow-through centralized system Hi, I would like to get more understanding on how to set up a flow-through centralized system.  There is a lot of information on the site.  Could you please point me to the easy way that shows me how to set it up from scratch?  In addition, is there a dictionary on the site that explains technical terms? <Umm, the brief pieces posted on the WWM business index and the lengthy FAQs sections on marine plumbing, circulation, filtration en toto are about all we have. A dictionary or glossary is a very good idea, but we don't have one currently. Bob Fenner> Thanks a million! Tony

- New Saltwater Tank - <Greetings, JasonC here...> We will be setting up a 55g FO soon. Plans are to use crushed coral as substrate and 3 to 4 corals/shells for decoration. Filtration will consist of 2 rotating powerheads, power filter (probably an AC500), and adding a skimmer in the near future. This will be our first salt tank (we currently are successfully raising discus) and we want to keep it simple and do it right. <Good plan.> Should a yellow tang (centerpiece fish) successfully coexist with 2 ocellaris clowns and 5 Chromis? <Yes, I think so.> Also, will the tang be effective in controlling algae or do we need to plan on some janitors? <There are other ways to combat problem algae - don't overfeed, etc. But yes, the tang will help quite a bit.> As we gain experience and confidence we hope to add live rock. <Mmmm... do consider the live rock as part of your "starter package" as it will make for a more stable system and very little to no experience is necessary.> Thanks, Todd <Cheers, J -- >

- Marine Setup Questions - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank.  It has 80 pds of Aragalive sand and about 60-70 pds live rock.  I have 2 canister filters A Fluval 404 and 304.  I just added a 802 powerhead yesterday.  How many powerheads should I use in this size tank? <As many as you can afford - I would think at least three.> I am also in the process of adding a ten gallon tank underneath the stand with a classic Red Sea Berlin Skimmer with the turbo upgrade.  I purchased the CPR 100 ( I believe that's the number) over flow box to get the water down to it.  I just added a Ice-Cap 660 with four 110 watt bulbs two being the actinic 03's  and the other two white(?). I am thinking of changing them out to a 175 watt M/H system from Champion Lighting. <What is it that you want to keep that requires this lighting?> It is a hood that also has two VHO actinic bulbs with the smaller Ice-Cap Ballasts.  It is a Blueline e-ballast hood system for a round a thousand dollars.  I like the way the halides make the water shimmer, the VHO's don't seem to so that. I would like to get into coral hard and soft eventually. <The metal halide lighting might be too intense for the majority of soft corals.> Would one system be better than the other. <Really depends on what you want to keep.> With my canopy I only have about 5-6 inches of clearance for the hood though.  Would this be a problem with the Halide/VHO hood and fan assembly I was looking at Champion lighting? <That would likely be too close, and too intense for most occupants.> Champion Lighting & Supply - Lighting - Blueline E-Ballast .. 48 " model.  I am also getting a haze like substance on the top of the water, will this go away when I start using the overflow and Berlin Skimmer? <More circulation within the tank would help also.> I believe the haze is from food I feed the fish.  (oily/haze). <That is a good assumption.> I also just bought a UV sterilizer.  I read that if you want to use it as a sterilizer you run a slower pump.  If you want to use it as a clarifier you run a faster pump.  Can you find one (pump) in between (speed wise, GPH) to do a little of both. (Sterilizing and clarifying)? <With a slower flow rate through the sterilizer, everything will be both sterilized and clarified, but in the long run, UV isn't really your best ally in keeping a good system. Better husbandry and quarantine practice will get you farther.> Will this kill the copepods in my tank as I am thinking and want a Mandarin fish pretty bad. <No, UV won't kill copepods.> Don't want the guy to starve though.  I have a million copepods on the tank walls in the mornings until I turn on my lights.  My bubble tip anenome keeps moving around, why do you think that is? <Can't find a place that it likes.> Sorry things just keep popping into my mind, I want to learn and do well. <Then my advice to you is to read as much of our site and the FAQs we have stored there. Your questions are very common, and the answers are all archived there.> Thanks for your help love your site...... <Cheers, J -- >        

Starting Right! Marine set-up Good Afternoon Mr. Fenner, <Scott F here for you> I am about to start a new reef aquarium, my first, and would appreciate some advice. I want to do this responsibly, as I really love the creatures more than the technology; I intend to start slow and only include creatures that do well in this size system, with the equipment that I can afford (the only piece of equipment I have gathered, besides the aquarium, stand, and sump, is a Euroreef skimmer (model ES 5-2): <What a great start!> I do not wish to have a plenum in my main tank (I have a 30L to use as a sump), but have heard this method can be beneficial for the long term stability of a closed system. Is this true? Would a plenum half the size of the main tank work well, or is it a waste of time (perhaps another use of the sump would net a greater benefit. . .?) <Plenums, if constructed correctly, are an incredibly useful method of fostering natural denitrification. On the other hand, I tend to favor the simple, easy, deep sand bed without a plenum. Both work well- it's really a matter of personal preference as to which route you take> The reading I have done here on your site seems to favor pc's over VHO. My intention is to install 4 bulbs (96w ea.); Since I must work within a budget and am pretty handy, I would like to construct my own system. Do the various brands of electronic ballasts really differ all that much in terms of energy use and light intensity? I know the common phrase out there is "you pay for what you get", but this is not always necessarily true. . . Please shed some light on this subject for me. <I like PC's- they offer good intensity, a variety of spectrums, and a lot of "bang for the buck". There are now several brands of ballasts and lamps out there, and yes- some are better than others. I have always had good experience with Custom Sea Life PC's, but Coralife, Ice Cap, and others make good ballasts and/or components for PC's. Do check some of our sponsors for all the options and products> OK, this is the last question: What size return pump is optimal for this system? I have been told the standard 5 to 10 times the volume rate, but does it make a difference if a stronger return pump is used with multiple outflows vs. a lower flow rate main supplemented with a powerhead or two inside the main tank? <I'd shoot for the 10 times an hour as a minimum. Maybe 750 gallons per hour to start? More if you're an SPS nerd! I hate powerheads, myself: They are often unreliable, add heat to the system, and are just plain ugly! I'd rather use an external pump plumbed to a well-thought-out return system! I like Sea Swirls as a rotating return device...they work well for me> I really appreciate advice coming from an author whose writing and opinions really seem to make sense to me. <Even though you're not getting this from Bob, all of us at WWM share similar values and philosophies, even though we might utilize different techniques and equipment> I especially like the fact that you have advocated and campaigned for responsible use of our natural resources through conscientious husbandry and selection methods. <Amen, bruddah! Think of how great the world would be if we all take that approach!> I can't wait to get started on this project! <You're getting me stoked here! Time for me to set up another tank...Yikes!> Thank you very much for your help here, as well as your work in the past that I have really benefited from. Sincerely, Gordon Ray <Well, Gordon, we'll sure pass on the "props" to Bob...Keep up the good work- good luck with this new tank! Have a blast; learn and share with others! Regards, Scott F>

Re: tank setup Many thanks for your help thus far.  I can only imagine how many creatures I would have killed (also resulting in my untimely death from the wife for wasting money) by finding your site.   I have still not set up the tank, since I am installing a GFI <awesome> per your recommendation and I'm modifying my Eclipse3 hood for a skimmer.  First question is regarding the stand.  It's a solid wood (pine) commercial model with no bottom (sits on the edges only). Is this usable, given the weight of the water, live rock and sand? <If it was sold as an aquarium stand and rated for the size tank that you are going to put on it, it will be fine> Assuming I make sure I shim it to be very level, would putting some rubber molding/edging on the edge where the aquarium contacts the stand be advisable? <as long as the tank has even contact with the stand all the way around.> Should I make a "bottom" for it?   I'm stressing over this in a big way. <I would not worry about it, I am no engineer, so I am sure there is a better way to put this, but the strength of the stand comes from the vertical supports, a bottom would add strength to prevent side to side motion.  If your tank is rockin from side to side you've got bigger problems.> I also looked at the lights on the hood.  It states that I can use standard bulbs (there are two) up to (if I remember correctly) 18w.  So you recommend switching bulbs at the outset? (FOWLR)  If so, would you suggest the mix of the blue actinic (?) and daylight bulbs? <That would be a good mix, I would replace the bulbs from the beginning to provide consistency for the livestock, but in a FOWLR system the light is not as crucial as in a reef setup.  So it is up to you.> Many many thanks again.  I've steered a few others to your site, and they too rave about your hospitality and knowledge. Cheers! <wonderful.  Best Regards, Gage> JPM

Large Aquariums Hi guys. <cheers, Bud> I am in the beginning stages of planning for an 800-1000 gallon fish only tank.  I won't actually be getting the tank for another 2-3 years (when I'm able to buy a house).   <good to hear> But since planning ahead is a good thing, and I enjoy doing it, I decided to get started with diagrams and equipment pricing/estimates.   <even better to hear <G>> I was hoping you could point me in the direction of some good resources (books, internet, or otherwise), that would help me do this project correctly the first time. Thanks, Adam <absolutely... get the fundamentals on the hardware first in Pablo Escobar's "Aquatic Systems Engineering". Kindly, Anthony>

New tank with old equipment I am currently running a 55 gallon saltwater fish only tank. I have an Eheim 2213 plus a Amiracle SL15 (protein skimmer) and a skilter (protein skimmer). I know that's a lot but it is just how things worked out:-)(why throw anything away:-) >> A look in my closet quickly tells you I agree ;)<< Anyway everything is great with water quality and fish but now I am thinking of going to a 125 gallon tank. None of the above is rated for a tank that large but with the combination do you think I will need to buy a larger filter or will those combined be sufficient. Stop laughing:-) <<Odd, a number of messages I have written to the crew here have had that same comment at the end (tee hee) If it were me, I would buy a new skimmer designed for the new tank (a lot of expense but worth every penny and more) for the new tank. Then use the older equipment to supplement. When you clean one skimmer or one breaks the other will still be doing the job. Look under Marine/Setup and beyond for info on skimmers>> Thanks << Your welcome, Don>>

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

New Tank- New Questions! Hello & Good Day, <Greetings to you! Scott F. with you tonight!> First off I love your site.  The forum I joined at Yahoo! recommended it and I've found myself spending hours reading the FAQ's. <I still do, myself! It's great to learn from everyone's experiences!> On to my reason for writing. I'm in the process of setting up a 50gal Marine Tank.  This is what I have in/on the tank so far; Magnum 350 Bio-Pro = 350gl/hr 300w Heater Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer MaxiJet 1200 = 295gl/hr Maxijet 900 = 230gl/hr Fiji Pink Reef Sand ( Sugar ) 60lbs CaribSea Aragalive Seed Sand 20lbs I'll also be ordering 50lbs of Fiji Rock this week.  I'm wanting to keep LR, Soft Corals and a few fish in the tank.  After reading a lot of the FAQs I'm concerned that my Protein Skimmer may not be adequate and I cannot make a decision on my lighting.  This is what I'd like to order; 48" 4x 65w Coralife Aqualite Hood, 2x Actinic and 2x 10k.  All bulbs are Powercompacts.  The hood has two separate on/off switches so this will aid me in simulating sunrise, full sun, and sunset by putting the bulbs on timers. <Yeah- go for the timers...saves a lot of work, and really gets your fish on a regular "day/night" cycle. Power compacts a great light source, especially for an aquarium of this size! There are more and more different bulbs being added all the time. I agree that the 10000k and true actinic are great combinations to use, in terms of both functionality and aesthetics> Will my current setup and/or plans suffice or does it need some work? Many Thanks! Scott <Your setup will certainly work! You just need to work with it... Since you are using a mechanical filter system (the Magnum), be sure to keep it clean...Change the filter media regularly, to avoid it becoming an organic accumulator! Yes, the protein skimmer that you are using has a reputation for being slightly inefficient. However, if you are getting it to produce a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate a week, that's good enough for me! Keep tweaking it to get this kind of production...If it doesn't do the job- replace it with one that will, like the Aqua C Remora Pro (a great hang-on-the-tank skimmer with a fantastic track record!). Other ideas: Try to get the sand bed up to about 3-4 inches or so...deep sand beds have been proven to assist greatly in denitrification. Conduct regular (twice weekly would make you a hero to me!), small (like 5% of the tank volume) water changes. Utilize activated carbon and/or other media, such as Poly Filter, to assist in organic removal, and replace them regularly. Stock lightly, and feed carefully. For the loner-term, consider utilizing a sump setup, which will essentially become a processing center for your water, helping the live rock and sand to do their jobs, creating less reliance on mechanical filtration to do the work. In fact, a sump setup will make things much easier for you. But, by all means, don't be discouraged by the system that you have assembled now. With the minor adjustments and suggestions I touched on here, I think that you'll enjoy a wonderful and exciting system for many years to come! Good luck, take it slow, and have fun! Feel free to contact us again any time! Regards, Scott F>

Saltwater Tank That is so cool. I really want to put a tank in my room. I think it would be a relaxing, educational experience for my children. I wish our PTA would fund something like that! I work in Inglewood CA, in the inner city. <I've taught in the inner city before. It is challenging and rewarding> Imagine, a 1500 gallon tank in an elementary school. That is awesome. <That's tanks. Several 150 gallon tanks, a 240 gallon tidepool tank (hands-on for the kids), for a total of 1500 gallons. It is a lot of work for the teacher. Believe me...this lady is dedicated to the kids and the tanks. I interviewed and took pictures of the tanks from 4-7 PM and she said that normally she couldn't leave until at least 7:30! FYI Keep reading FAMA magazine. I have an article about this elementary school that will be coming out in the next couple of months. I suggest that you think small to start with. Have a few simple fund raisers to get this thing going. Create a plan that outlines the purpose of your aquarium setup, what you plan to keep in the aquariums, equipment needed, how the tanks will benefit the children, etc.,  and present it to the PTA, administrators etc. Once this thing gets going, lots of people will get on the wagon. You might even consider talking to one of the low level superintendents for the district. Once you have a few tanks up and running, schools can and will take field trips from all over the district to see your tanks. The Clark County School District has even created a curriculum for teaching about this "marine science lab." I'm getting long-winded...If I can be of further assistance don't hesitate to write. I'll help in any way that I can. David Dowless>  

Re: Saltwater Tank Thank you Mr. Dowless! I am so into the idea of a tide pool tank. Inglewood is experiencing some horrendous budget problems.....laying off teachers, on a hiring freeze, so I doubt I could convince anyone to finance anything not essential right now. For now, I think I might just put a small (10-30) freshwater aquarium in my room. They'd still love it. <Sounds like a good idea. I would shoot for the largest aquarium size that you can afford. A 10 gallon would be a bit small and restrictive...20+ gallons is better. It will be easier to maintain than a small tank and will allow lots of flexibility with equipment and inhabitants. Fortunately, freshwater tanks, fish, and equipment are inexpensive. However the old adage "learn what you're doing before you start spending" still applies. Decide what you want to keep in the tank (cichlids, neons, barbs, etc), and the equipment you want to use. A fish only tank could be easily upgraded in the near future to a planted tank (lighting would be the biggest issue). Learn about the critters on your stocking list. In the interim, why not a field trip to the Long Beach aquarium? By the way...In the case of the aquarium in Las Vegas, everything is funded by the PTA through fundraisers! If we at WWM may be of assistance, don't hesitate to write. David Dowless>

- New Setup Questions - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I am new to marine tanks but I am almost done setting up my tank I think.  I was hoping y'all would be able to tell me if it sufficient to work as a soft coral and fish tank.  The specs are:  75 gal all glass tank, 100 lbs live rock, 80 lbs sand, whisper 300 hang on power filter, undergravel filter, 3 220 gph powerheads, RedSea Prizm skimmer, 300 watt heater, sticky thermometer, air pump for a 90 gal tank, 48" 40 watt AquaGlo light, 260 watts of power compacts ( 2 65 watt blue actinic and 2 65 watt 10,000k daylight), timers for all the lights.  Specific gravity is 1.023, ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrites are 0.  The only inhabitants are two mullet I caught that are about 6 inches that are about to be released and a black edged moray that is 12 inches that's going to my friends 220 gal ruff n tumble tank.  If there is anything else I should get or if there is anything I should get rid of please let me know. <Well, I don't want to be too picky, but you did ask... the undergravel filter is probably a bit out-dated. Undergravel filters do work, but you have other, better options. Also, the Whisper 300 is probably a under-sized for this system, you might consider a larger model. Lastly, that skimmer is probably not going to do it for you long term... you might want to consider an AquaC Remora... especially once you begin to stock the tank.> I only wish I found y'alls site sooner, I could have probably saved some cash. <Well, now that you've found us, do yourself a favor and read through the many articles on the site and the attached FAQs - you will find many of these questions to be very common and all the answers have been archived there.> Thanks in advanced Donnie Justin <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Saltwater Tank Advice Thank you for replying so quickly! I definitely will be doing the majority of my shopping online, and I will continue to research marine biology before I set anything up. Your advice was just what I needed. Thank you so much. <You'll love this: Here in Las Vegas there is an elementary school that has 1500 gallons of saltwater fish and corals on display. I just visited this place last week. These children are responsible for everything except water changes! In addition to the standard tanks that one would expect to see, they have a cold water anemone tank (they use a pricey chiller) where the water stays 58F, 24/7. These kids have kept these anemones alive for over 10 years!!! The anemones are the most gorgeous hot pink and mint green...and they are huge! They even spawn regularly in these tanks. The funding for these tanks was raised in 1989 by the PTA. Just goes to show what a dynamic faculty can do. Amazing...huh?>

- Reef Setup in the UK - Hi guys, <Good morning, JasonC here...> Let me just say first of all what a great website you have. I live in Cardiff, UK, and although there are a handful of excellent shops around here I am learning far more by reading your impartial and advice and freely given information. <I'm glad you find it useful, and even more glad that you read... seems so often that many people don't.> I've always been fascinated by the marine environment and coral reefs in particular and have taken the plunge and I am setting up my own mini-reef in my home office. I am at the "experimental plumbing in the garage stage" having progressed from "Google searching and nonsense filtration" through "wall measuring and spouse convincing" and "aquarium stand carpentry for (complete) beginners". I'd really appreciate it if you could give me some advice with the initial set up. <will certainly give it a go.> Here's my proposed system (please forgive mixed units but I'm very mid-Atlantic in that respect!) 48x15x15 tank (about 190 litres) which is the largest I can get away avoiding a visit to the divorce courts... sitting on my DIY stand containing a 36x12x12 sump / refugium (about 90 litres) Initially, I don't want to be too ambitious in stocking the tank but I would eventually like to have a variety of different kinds of coral, a fish or three and maybe a clam later. I intend to start with about 20kg of live rock in the main tank, with more in the refugium. Could you suggest some hardy corals for a beginner, with a limited lighting budget? <Hmm... my favorite would probably be a Sarcophyton species - one of the leather corals.> I've already acquired some hardware as well as the tanks from a closing down sale: two Eheim pumps (a 1250 and a 1260) and a Schuran skimmer. I know the Eheim units have a good reputation but I don't know much about the skimmer except that the manufacturer rates it for tanks up to 600 litres. To my untrained eye it looks to be well engineered and constructed but I haven't run it yet. Do you know this brand? <I do not... let's hope your instincts are good.> As the display tank is small I want to avoid cluttering it with powerheads and instead use pumps in the sump to deliver water to various parts of the display tank via an ingenious and elaborate (i.e. not working properly yet!) system of pipes. Does this sound reasonable, in principle? <Sure.> Experimentation shows that the two pumps can push a total of about 2200 litres per hour up from the sump into the main tank. I have drilled and plumbed three overflows in the main tank which can easily handle this volume. Is this a high enough turnover of water? <Yes, it's more than adequate - a little more than 10 times the tank volume per hour is what it sounds like to me.> My intention is to partition up the 36" tank into two areas with acrylic or glass panels to provide a sand or mud refugium area with live rock and / or macro algae as well as a sump for the skimmer and pumps. Does this sound reasonable? <It 'sounds' reasonable.> Should I make the refugium as large as possible or limit it to say half of the 36" tank? <Just make sure you have room for the pumps - what about the skimmer?> Should I send all of the water through the refugium, or would 2200 litres and hour be too much? <It might be, but you could perhaps add some baffles to quiet the storm, so to speak.> Have I asked too many question? <Ooops... that was the last one in your allotment ;-) > Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. Be warned that I'll be back with more questions in the future! <Just do the reading first and I won't mind at all.> John Kellett <Cheers, J -- >

Reef System Set-Up Hello Wet Web Media Crew,   I am a 13 year old boy and for Christmas I received a 200 gallon aquarium. <Wow! What a present!>   I would like to set up a reef aquarium but have no clue as to how to do it.  Could you tell me what kind of filtration to use?  I know that I need a list of my corals and inhabitants before I decide on the lighting so I'll wait to ask on that one.  Also, can you give me a list of any mechanical equipment I need to buy.  For example powerheads or UV sterilizers, stuff like that. Thank you so much, Ben <Wish I could... there are too many possible variations that "will work" depending on your livestock choices, tastes, budget, how much time you want to put into keeping this set-up going. As you are familiar with WetWebMedia.com, I encourage you to read over the Reef Set-Up sections: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reef1.htm the linked files, and keep good notes on what your possibilities are... do you want to run a sump/refugium? Will this require drilling your tank? Where will you place it, how to move the water about...? Figuring all this out, searching for and installing the components is a huge part of the fun of aquarium keeping. Feel free to ask us specific questions, or voice concerns if you have them. Bob Fenner>

The Ocean Is Where You Make It! Hi, <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I am a marine enthusiast and wish to set up a marine aquarium at Bangalore, India. This is a place far from the coast. How will I be able to successfully set up a good aquarium? <Please don't let your distance from the ocean dissuade you from starting and maintaining a marine aquarium! With great resources such as the wetwebmedia.com site just a few keystrokes away via the internet, you've already taken your first steps!> I have been trying to get to such a website like yours for some information. Now that I have found yours, I will be very grateful if you can help me. Thanks, Ganesh. <Well, Ganesh- start by utilizing the resources available on this site. There are literally thousands of pages of information here! You should also obtain some good basic books on marine aquariums, such as Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium", and Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarium". Feel free to contact us with any specific questions that you may have. We're here for you as you start your journey! Enjoy yourself...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- New Setup Question - Greetings O' Wise Ones: <Good morning, JasonC here...> I received a 29 gal SW Eclipse3 setups for Christmas.  I had been reading voraciously before embarking on preparing and stocking my tank.  I recently stumbled upon your site by chance, and have read all of the FAQs, and I intend to purchase your book this month.  Please tell me your opinion of this proposed FOWLR (Hey! I/m gettin good at this abbreviation thing!) setup (nothing put together as of yet) Assemble system, mix water (RO from LFS) and run for a few days Add 30 pounds live rock Add 30 pounds sand (it getting the live-sand-in-a-bag a bad thing?) <Live sand in a bag is a hoax. Better to just get regular sand and use the live rock to seed it.> After running the system for.. well, as long as it takes, and all readings are within the proper parameters, I would like to add a (mated?) pair of true clowns. (my kids love em) <Well... while you are waiting you might also assemble a quarantine system that you can place these fish in first. Make sure they are parasite and disease free before you add them to the main system.> When these become acclimated to the system, I would love to add perhaps one more small fish.  Recommendations? <How about a neon goby - these are one of my favorites.> (And yes, I have given up the lionfish/clown trigger/shark combo a LOOOONG time ago!)  I did read the cleanup crew FAQ, but any to avoid in this setup would be good <I would skip the hermit crabs - I think they are overrated. Instead use some Nassarius snails and perhaps a small [not green] brittle star.> I also read the anenome section, but maybe one more time for the terminally dumb, will it ever be possible to have a single anenome? (assuming I can get the Eclipse to take the proper bulbs). <Not in this system.>  Again, I don't want to unnecessarily kill something! <Thanks for asking first.> Two more quick items: an employee at one LFS said that in his small tank like mine, he does not run a skimmer full-time, but perhaps once per week. Is this wise? <Depends on what is in the tank. I once ran a 2.5 gallon tank and ran the skimmer all the time because it was the only non-natural filter on the tank.> Wouldn't this be more of a shock to the fish than the gradual use? <I think using it all the time is better, and if the skimmer doesn't produce anything, then perhaps switch to alternating days.>  Can I get away with not using one? <I wouldn't.> In any event, would 4 gal (in a 29 gal) every two weeks be good with or without a skimmer? (Whew!  That's it!) <Yeah, sure.> I would like to thank you guys for providing an invaluable service to us beginners, and by forcing us to think long and hard before making such an investment.  Thanks for your patience with suck a long email.  In the event you are ever in Michigan (why you would WANT to, I have no idea), look me up and I'll show you some fine Michigan beers (beer brewer/snob, in addition to budding marine enthusiast) ;) <Sounds good.> John Moeller <Cheers, J -- > - New System Questions - Hi! <Hi, JasonC here at your service...> I've been reading through your site for the last couple days and it's just been amazingly informative.  I've had a hard time understanding filtration setups in other materials, but the explanation on your site was just what I needed. I'm early in the process of considering starting a marine system.  My plan is to buy a tank just before Christmas after some more extensive reading. <Wow... that's a long time before now and then.> I want to get a 72 gallon corner tank system with live rock. Corners are the only spaces in my house that aren't near windows or vents and I'd really like to have the larger surface area that a corner tank will offer me, in the more limited space. <And the newer bow-front models look fabulous.> I have a small list of types of fish that I would like to keep and I was wondering if I could run this list by you and maybe get some advice on reference books for these species and also if you could tell me weather this tank would be overcrowded with the specimens and number of fish that I am wanting to keep in it. 2 yellow tail damsels. <Damsels are really not the best choice - they tend to turn into little ogres and beat up on everything else.> 2 false percula clownfish (the ones at the LFS here are tank bred) <Good stuff.> 1 yellow tang <Hmm... you could add this fish, but do consider carefully how you stack your live rock and decor so this fish has some running room.> 2 dragonet gobies (to be added later once I've had the system running for about a year) <I rarely recommend one, two would be too many for this size system. One would likely do well after the year wait.> This is what I think I could safely fit in this tank... though I would like to have more fish... I have no clue what I would have, and I have no idea if it would be safe.  If this tank would support more smaller specimens (most of the larger fish, tangs, angels and etc seem to be too delicate for a starter system. <You could probably add a pygmy angel after six months or so.> I figured I would be safe adding a single yellow tang after the damsels and the clowns have settled, but I'm not interested in adding more unless I go to a much larger tank) could you make some suggestions of what would work well? <I would skip the damsels and cycle the tank with live rock. Then... a neon goby, or if you can a matched [male/female] pair. I just love these fish and they are much more durable than their size might make you think.> One final question:  My LFS suggested that an ecosystem setup might be the way I want to go for my first tank because of the low maintenance and increased stability potential.  I plan to eventually add a second tank and have seen lots of arguments going either direction for ecosystems vs. traditional filtration methods. <The Ecosystem is perfectly viable.> Which would you go with for a first system? <Hmm... probably the Ecosystem. The people who use these love them and I think if you follow their directions to the letter, it will work out well for you too.> I realize that no matter what, I am going to be laying out a lot of money... I just want to go into this with a good idea of what is going to work best for me (the beginner) and for the fish in the long run. <I understand completely.> Thanks! Stacy <Cheers, J -- >

Many basic marine aquarium questions My tank is a 125 and I was wondering how much live rock I would need to start up a tank as my biological filter? What is a good protein skimmer? What type of biological filtration do you recommend? why do you recommend staying away from fluidized bed filters? how bad are they? are they better than under gravel filters? also once you have a saltwater tank can you ever switch the same tank over to fresh water?? thanks for your help. <All these questions, and much more related to them that you'll want to know are posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Please go there, use either the Google Search tool at the bottom or the Marine Index to find your answers. Bob Fenner>

Using real saltwater I would like to know the pros and cons of using real saltwater from the ocean?  I know of people that have used it without any problems and it is very easy for me to collect.   Is there anything that should be added or is filtering for a few days before adding livestock enough.    Thank you Matt <A long-standing question, debate. My opinions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm and our opinions archived on the FAQs files (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

- Reef Setup - Hi Jason! <Howdy.> Hope you're doing well tonight. <As far as I can tell...> No questions this time.  Just wanted to respond, and thank you.  You made my night. <Glad to hear it.> I've been stressing over the fact that I just found out that the tank I purchased, Oceanic's 75G "Reef Ready" (Yeah right), <Do you know what "reef ready" means? I don't.> has an overflow that will only accept 750 G an hour.  Since I can make up for this to a certain extent with power heads, I feel better. <Honestly, there isn't an overflow that I know of that will handle more.> I guess I could find a way to use both the return and overflow pipes for return, and then rig my own return, but If I can get by without, I think that's what I'll do. <It's still a limitation of the holes/slots in the overflow box inside the tank...> A slight rant: It really makes me mad that the "Cadillac" of tank makers pull this kind of crap. <?> It's bad enough that they insist on selling a wonderful 80W light fixture with the tank (unless you special order the tank), which by the way takes up pretty much the whole area and leaves no room for extra lights. Please, 80W, for reef ready?! <Depends on what you want to put in the reef... you expected metal halide perhaps?> And get this.  The light is about 1/4" too big to fit in under their canopy!!!!  The nerve. <Let them [Oceanic] know.> I'm going to stick with it, but I'm pretty disappointed that this is what I got for $300.00 for more than the "lesser"  brands. <Dude, relax and breathe deep for a minute or two. Just compare the thickness of the glass in an Oceanic tank to any other on the market... you'll see where the majority of that extra $300 went. I've owned Oceanic tanks in the past, and I've always been very satisfied with them, I think you will be too... lighting is another matter, and one that you can easily fix.> Thanks again for the advice, and thank you for letting me vent.  Have a wonderful night! <You too.> Thanks, Eric N. <Cheers, J -- >

- Saltwater Setup - Hi Guys T.J. here, <Hi, T.J., JasonC over here...> I'm thinking of starting a SW, I have 4 Fw tanks now. I've been reading your site trying to acquire info, its great and enjoy the personality in your replys. Here's my plan would you let me know if I'm headed in the right direction. 38 gal.(36l x 12w x 19h), fil.-aquaclear aquatics 75 w/d (w/ LR not bio-balls) and a protein skimmer in the sump. 2-75w heaters, canister filter with just carbon. <I'm not sure it's worth running a canister just for carbon. Typically the carbon's usefulness is past in only a couple of days - would end up becoming part of your biological filter and electric bill. Much better to just put a bag in the flow path in that sump you are planning.> Lighting? 2strip flo. (1full spec./1 actinic 03) or PC 110w (please some input) <It's your money - fish care very little about the quality of light in their tank.> Can I put the light on eggcrate or should I get glass canopies. <You don't want the fixtures resting directly on the tank... salt spray has a way of working its way into these things and gradually destroying most metals that it contacts.> Livesand on the bottom - 1/2" to 1" mixed with some crushed coral. I plan to have some clowns, a yellow tang, lawnmower blenny some crabs, snails and 1 or 2 cleaner shrimp. <I would forego the tang, your tank just isn't large enough.> Maybe 1 or 2 other fish depending on compatibility. <As long as they are on the small side.> One other quest. for now should the prot. skim go in the sump or should I get a hang on? <Doesn't really matter... this is more a matter of personal taste and the requirements of the tank - if you have room in the sump, I would put it there just because I [personally] don't like the look of things hanging off the back of the tank.> Thanks in advance T.J. Fitzgerald <Cheers, J -- >

Re: New Setup A Perfect "10"! Just Keep It That Way! Hi again! <Hi there. Scott F. here today!> I have a follow-up question and a question for myself too. <Okay..!> What skimmer would you recommend for my friend's small tank?  What about the Tunze skimmers?  I've seen in some of your FAQ's that you guys really like them.  Which model would you recommend for her tank? <Sorry- I don't recall the initial question, so I'm guessing that when you refer to your friend's tank as "small", we're talking under 50 gallons. As far as the Tunze skimmers are concerned, your friend could use the "Universal Automatic" 210/3 skimmer, which will handle up to about a 50gal tank. This skimmer cranks! Also, Tunze makes "vertical" skimmers, such as the "Comline" series. There is also the CPR "BakPak", which has been around for some time, and is a great HOT skimmer for smaller tanks. Frankly, for the money, I think that you'd be hard-pressed to find a more reliable, well-built small tank skimmer than the Aqua C "Remora Pro". It's such a good package, at an affordable price, and so easy to use (not to mention the fact that it is very productive). Aqua C also makes the "Urchin Pro", which is a sump-installed variation of the "Remora Pro". Here's some info on my tank:  120G FOWLR tank, built in overflow, 40G sump approximately 1/2 full,  with approximately 170 lbs live rock (excellent coralline coverage!).  Hamilton VHO lighting (4 3' bulbs:  2 50/50, 2 actinic).  I have a wet/dry in the sump (nitrates hover between 10 and 20 so no issue there).  I'm running an Aggressor 250 Protein Skimmer.  The tank has been up for over a year.  Here are the inhabitants: Powder Blue Tang - 5", only had for about 3.5 weeks but doing great Coral Beauty Angel - 3.5", had this guy for about 2 years (used to live in my 60G reef) Yellow Tang - 3", had about 1 year Neon Dottyback - 2.5", only had about 2 weeks but doing great Sargassum Trigger - 3", had for about 3 months (I realize he will probably outgrow the tank) <You knew I was gonna say that, huh? :) > 6 Line Wrasse - 1.5" Bicolor pseudochromis - 1.5", had for nearly a year Green Chromis - 2", had for a year, used to have a school but he's the only one left blue Linckia star - had for about 2 years cleaner shrimp - had for about a year blood shrimp - had for about a year Here's my quandary:  I really want a large angel.  I had a beautiful Koran (about 5") for nearly a year but when I got the Powder Blue, he was just to mean so I traded him in.  Then I bought a juvenile Passer (about 2.5") who just died 2 days ago after having him for a week. <Hey- you gotta use a quarantine tank for those new fishes, okay? read about them in the wetwebmedia.com faqs! Believe me- you'll be glad that you use one..> He was eating great and in perfect health so I think someone killed him.  What angel would you recommend?  I hope that a medium size, closer in size to the powder blue, would have a fighting chance?  I have considered:  a larger passer, a maculosus, a majestic (I realize they aren't the hardiest but they're beautiful), an emperor (too large for the tank?).  Any other suggestions? <well, to be quite frank, I'd pass on pretty much any large angelfish in this tank. You're right about where you'd want to stop adding any more fishes to this tank, especially when you take into account the ultimate size and space requirements of the tangs, not to mention that trigger. You have some wonderful fish there that can live many happy years if you continue to provide them with good care. Please don't ruin the good work that you're doing by giving in to the temptation to add "just one more fish"! I know it's kind of hard-you have a nice sized tank, but please let these guys grow comfortably in this system and live long, healthy lives!> Are you saying no way, too many fish already? <'Fraid so! It took me a few dozen words to say it- but that's what I'm thinking!> Of course, it you say no way, I could go back to a reef tank...I've been considering it since my passer died. <Well- there is nothing wrong with a reef tank, of course! What a great excuse to get another aquarium, huh?> Thanks in advance! By the way, here's the tank.  There is much more live rock in it now as these pictures are very old: http://www.fueltechgraphics.com/marinesite/120Pictures.html Holly <Looks nice, Holly! Keep up the good work and you'll this beautiful tank for many years to come. Regards, Scott F>

Saltwater Aquarium Help Hi, thanks so dearly for wetwebmedia.  Without this website, I would of never become so intrigued with this hobby. <Our pleasure> I recently set up a 180 gallon fish only tank with two corner overflow box with a Sealife Pro 200 wet dry w/ built in protein skimmer.  I am having strong doubts with my built in protein skimmer because I've heard a lot of negative comments about it. <IMO all experiences are unique. Many people love Euro-Reef skimmers...I've had mine for more than two months and I can't get it to produce anything worth mentioning> So I am considering using live rocks to do the filtering and add another in sump skimmer where the bio balls once were. <That would work. You could use both skimmers> The Sealife Pro 200 is a 15 gallon sump <This concerns me greatly. A 15 gallon sump is way too small for your tank and you are destined for problems. A 50 gallon sump is the absolute minimum for a tank your size. The potential for this sump to overflow is huge. You need a sump that will hold at least 30% the capacity of the display tank...more, much more is even better> and has three sections to it, first being the protein skimmer, <Good placement> then the bio balls, the third section consists of a small sump to return water.  Is it productive to remove the bio balls and replace it with another in sump protein skimmer? <You could...If this is a fish only tank, I night leave the bioballs in the sump as they are. If they become a problem later on, remove them. No hurry to make a decision at this time> If so, what brand would you recommend? <If I gotta name a bra?...okay...Tunze> Also, currently my 180 gallon tank has 100 pound of live sand, and 50 pounds of Fiji live rocks. Is that enough to replace the wet dry filter media? <More live rock would be better. I would add more live rock and leave the bioballs for now> Or would I need more live rock? <If you want> And how much more would I need? <1-2 lbs per gallon. Although two pounds would be an awful lot for your tank> Do I need to buy any calcium supplement or any other product to sustain the life of live rocks? <For coralline growth try Seachem's Reef Calcium> Lastly, I am having problem with brown algae.  My tank has been cycling for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and within the past four days, brown algae has spawned rapidly all over my sand bed and it is beginning to reach to decorations as well as the glass itself.  Is that a major problem? <Natural occurrence in new aquariums (these algae are called diatoms) Get that skimmer going> I currently have 14 damsels cycling the tank and water tests show ammonia level to be .25, nitrate 5 ppm, ph = 8.2. <I really wish you would have let the live rock cycle the tank and spared the lives/health of the damsels. I assure you, they are under a lot of stress. Consider taking the poor guys back to the store in exchange for store credit and let the live rock finish the cycling. It will work I promise and you'll save the fishes lives as a bonus!> Thank You for your time and patience <Thank you for these well-thought-out questions. David Dowless>

- System Setup - <Hi, JasonC here...> Am currently redoing a 55 salt water tank.  I am receiving a shipment of live rock tomorrow for curing.  I have a couple of questions. <Ok.> After the rock is cured again I will be adding the new Remora skimmer to my main tank along with the new live rock. <Consider using that skimmer during the curing process... the skimmer will help.> I currently have a hang on wet/dry filter. As the bioballs need to be removed a little at a time I will have both the new skimmer and the wet/dry running for a while. In order to do this I will have to remove the U.V. as there is not enough room on my tank for all three. Is that a problem? <Not at all, you don't really need the UV and it would be best saved for a separate quarantine tank... which you should also consider using before you actually put fish in the tank. You can read up on those here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > Also, once the conversion is made and the tank now has a DSB and live rock plus the skimmer how do I use anything such as PolyFilters since there is no filter path to put them in? <Why would you 'need' polyfilters. Careful husbandry could eliminate the need for these.> Again, I don't have enough room to have the option of leaving the wet/dry on the tank. I also would like to keep a sponge from a corner filter seeded for use in the quarantine tank. Is there something I am missing here as to how to do this? <If bail on the UV you could keep the wet/dry around for putting activated carbon in or the filter sponge. Or you could even dump the wet dry for another type of hang-on power filter like an aquaclear or similar... mostly just to 'process' water, either with carbon, or just store that sponge.> Really appreciate your help. <Cheers, J -- >

New Setup Hi Crew! <Hello!> I have been successfully keeping saltwater for about 3 years now.  (Here's my website if you're interested: www.fueltechgraphics.com/marinesite/marinefish.html ) I have a friend that would like to enter the hobby very inexpensively. <That is difficult...and I don't care what the LFS says> While I'm still trying to convince her to spend a bit more money, here's what I thought she could try.  Please let me know your opinions, good and bad, and the setup, equipment, etc.   <I'll do what I can> The good news is, she only wants to keep small, hardy fish like damsels, pseudochromis, etc with live rock and a clean-up crew. <That is good news and it certainly simplifies things> 29 gallon glass tank (If she'll spend more money I'd recommend a 50 gallon) <Okay> Fluorescent strip lighting (Will this sustain live rock?  My LFS says yes but I have doubts. <Low lights won't grow green algae but corallines will love it!> Any recommendations for brands?) <Any strip lights that will provide full-spectrum lighting will be fine> SeaClone 100 Protein Skimmer (Not sure of the reputation of these, but the price is right. <Reputation is terrible> I'd prefer a BakPak <Much better!> if we could find a used one cheap. <Try Ebay> AquaClear Filter (Size appropriate, more for water movement that strict filtering) Aragonite substrate (with an inoculation from my tank) <Use a very thin layer...less than an inch> 45 lbs live rock (or however much we can reasonably fit in the tank) Red Sea Test Kit <Great!> Anything you would change/recommend? Thanks! <No problem! You're on the right track! Proceed to the nearest book store and get your friend a good book on aquarium husbandry. David Dowless> Holly LaClair-Bogedain

A Great Start! I am preparing (for over a month now) to set up a 150 gal fish-only saltwater tank. <Cool! Sounds like fun!> I also purchased a 25 gal Eclipse tank to use for quarantine. <An excellent move- I commend you for that! It will pay dividends for years!> I have bought and read several books (including the Conscientious Marine Aquarist) and have been reading WWM for the last few days. I will most likely purchase all my fish locally for a store I trust. <Two more great moves!> I am struggling over the procedure to start up the tanks and introduce/acclimate the first fishes. 1.)  Since neither tank is established yet I am not sure what is the best way to get started.  I am planning to cycle the main tank using 8-10 damsels. <Frankly, I'd skip using damsels to cycle the tank. If you're using live sand or live rock, you could simply add these items, maybe a bit of food, and start monitoring the cycle> Would you recommend I cycle the q-tank first and quarantine the fish PRIOR to moving them to the main tank and starting to cycle it (I'm not sure the q-tank will handle 8 damsels while it cycles) <A good protocol- but I'd avoid the damsels, as indicated above> 2.) I have read (almost) everything in this website about dips and quarantine and I am still unclear on part of the procedure.  Should I acclimate the fish to the q-tank and then dip them after they have had 24 hours or so to adjust?  (It seems contradictory to me to spend an hour acclimating fish to new tank conditions and then running them through a dip on their way to the tank.) <Right. Dip them first, then place them in the QT tank> 3.) Do you advise using the same acclimation procedure when moving fish from the q-tank to the main tank? <Well, it can't hurt. However, if you're using the same water in the QT as you are in the main system, and the temperature is the same, the process of adding the new fishes to your system is really easy> 4.) I would probably want to perform a last dip prior to moving the fish to the main tank - again would I acclimate the fish to the main tank - dip them and then place them directly into the main tank? <As above- a dip can't hurt...It's your call on this one. Yep-if all parameters are the same, you generally don't need to go through a lengthy acclimation procedure. However, if you're introducing a new fish into your tank's "social order", some strategy is needed to keep the established fishes from "attacking" the newbie upon introduction> Thanks - the web site is great and has been a huge help for me to get comfortable with how to get started. Michael

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: