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FAQs on Marine System Set-Up & Components 8

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 9, FAQs 10FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13FAQs 14FAQs 15FAQs 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
Re: Reducing Algae, improving UV and skimmer Anthony, I never thought I'd see this as an answer to one of my questions- "<yes... dirty balls...very bad>"!!! <Ha! Certain things are just expected of me around here... arcane and quirky humor is just one of them <G>> Thanks again for the advice.  <always welcome indeed> When I re-plumbed my sump for the new position of the protein skimmer I also plumbed a line so I could bleed the UV filter because I had a feeling that you were going to tell me to slow the rate. So the transformation won't take long... <excellent> What rate do you suggest for a 40 watt? <really depends on what you are targeting or expect... if just for algae (green water) and gross ectoparasites... you can approach the 1000GPH. If you want more comprehensive kill rates/coverage... cut that about in half (400-600gph) and do clean (rinse, flush even bleach) the chamber regularly for a UV to keep working (mulm built up inside reduces or stops UV efficacy. At least 4 times yearly... at such times you'll appreciate good plumbing with easy shot-offs and quick disconnects> Where should I drop that water, next to the return or should it go back through the whole filter? <your call... on return back up to tank or cycling in sump. I'd send it up top if you have the pressure to do it> Prior to building my system I did a great deal of research, but it seems that a combination of a poor sales person and personal inexperience has cost me...  <no worries at all... experience is always a part of the learning curve. But I always say you best info is at aquarium society meetings and regional/national conferences like MACNA, MMC, WMC where you can talk to real aquarists and industry professionals (jobbers, wholesalers, etc) who are in the trenches and have nothing to sell you. The problem with advice from salespeople is pretty obvious. And the problem with web advice is that to many people profess to be ga-roos (gurus) and can be taken as experts just because of their charm and friendliness. People like me... just sitting here nekid, eating cheese flavored corn snacks and giving out random advice... half of this stuff I just make up <wink>!>. But seriously, interacting with real people locally and seeing their hardware/systems in action is a great benefit> When replacing the Grundfos pump... What brand of return pump would you recommend (or not recommend)? I've seen many Gen-X among those? <hmmm... lot of good choices. Depends on your long-term goals. If you may upgrade or move this tank in the short term (2-3 year picture) or just need/want to save money... I'm OK with Supreme (EG Danner) MAG drive pumps... used submersible or inline (if heat is a concern). For a long-term quality pump, I have sworn by Iwakis. And for absolute top-shelf (longevity, extremely low power consumption and just plain sexiness...Ha!) the stainless steel Oase pumps. Magnificent but expensive> I'm not even going to get into why I purchased the Zoomed for fear of personal embarrassment. <no worries... I'll run the gamut of jokes I would have used in my own head <G>> To a question about pre-filtering you answered- "<in fact no... do read the other post put up today on this subject from a fellow with two messy puffers... I have detailed a simple mechanical solution...>" I could not find that message, it's possible wasn't posted yet; I checked only 15 min after you wrote me... I'll try again tomorrow. <Ahhh... just checked for you...not up yet. Likely later today or will make it tomorrow for sure... here's the gist of it: <<<"Should I also remove the fiber pre-filter at the top of my biotower so that the raw water simply goes through the bioballs to the skimmer without any pre-filter?">>>  <<absolutely not... this prefilter is necessary as long as you run bio media. Media clotted with organic material performs very poorly. A great prefilter is necessary for bio-balls. Unfortunately, this definitely means that the downstream skimmer will be compromised>> <<<"I guess my ultimate question is this: What is the ideal set up for a tank with a heavier bioload? Is there any way a tank with a heavier bioload could do without the bioballs?">>> <honestly... you have it very easy if you are more disciplined than I am <smile>. You can have an insanely successful aquarium with small frequent maintenance events. If you can do it... almost daily rinsing of the most convenient downstream prefilter (likely the one over the bioballs). To make it better/easier have an extra bonded filter pad to rotate between cleanings. Daily faithful rinsing of a good prefilter and a small weekly water change are priceless for water quality and tried and true. If this is possible with your lifestyle, preference or work schedule... then there's not much else to talk about. This incredibly simple methodology (with simple foam block filtration!) has produced results for the likes of the Nancy Aquarium in France with a long list of marine fishes aged to well over 20 years captive and many over 30 years captive!! That's good enough for me. Strict prevention of accumulated particulates and dissolves organics handles by water changes... yes, "Dilution is the Solution to Pollution">> One last question (for today...) I now have extra space in my sump (ANOTHER diagram, let me know if this bugs you).  <actually when you/folks send concise diagrams it is very much appreciated and helps us to help you. Thank you> I am considering building a refugium into the sump but it will require that I add Plexiglas to the inside. Before I take this idea and run, I was wondering if you know whether it is possible to glue inserts into an existing tank?  <as in...running with water? No... no safely or conveniently for living ecosystems> I guess my question revolves around gluing Plexiglas, which I know nothing about... can glue be applied and then the piece slid into place, etc...  <needs dry environment and very precisely machined edges... nothing like siliconing glass which can be done while drunk and stupid experience here).> I guess I'm assuming you're a god and know everything now... heehee <thanks for the nice thought... but no, not a god. Although I have been known to dress up like an archangel and dance around to Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" like John Travolta in the film, "Michael". Thanks for asking> Thank you, Mark
<my pleasure, Anthony>

Lighting Decision A very close friend of mine has become a major saltwater fish fan. He has a 29 gallon saltwater tank with 2 clowns, a blue tang, <A little small for the Tang.> long-nose hawk, a hermit crab, and about 20 lbs of liverock. He has had the tank up for 5 months now and the fish are doing fine. He knows everything about the water levels and tests everything several times a week. My friend wants to put coral and plant life in the tank but neither one of us know anything about lighting. I wanted to get him the necessary lighting for his birthday, but I don't know where to begin. I have read the info on your website about the 3-5 watts per gallon and the different lighting types (PC, VHO, Halide). I also know that I need to decide on what types of coral and plants I'm going to get first. <Correct> My question is: Since this is all supposed to be a surprise, what kind of light fixture/bulb/wattage do I need for a 29 gallon tank just to get him started. Something that will be OK for most coral's and plants until he makes a decision on exactly what kind of coral he wants in there. <This is a difficult question. I hate to recommend lighting for no particular organism. A middle of the road option would be one normal output double bulb fixture with two 20 watt actinics and one power compact 55 watt full spectrum lamp.> Thanks, Kenneth <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

First Marine Setup Hiya Bob A friend of mine sent me the url for your site, and can I just say that it's an eye opener. I have been browsing your site now for about 3 hours and I'm still finding new articles. <Much there> I currently have two main tanks, the first one being a 100ltr cichlid tank (with a Sailfin plec and a couple of tiger barbs and 3 Clown loaches) which has been setup for about 3 months now. Tank two being a 160ltr tank which is sitting on my landing gathering dust. I have been keeping tropical fish now for about 6 months, with a fair bit of success, and it has now got to the point where I want to try my hand at Marine fish. <Ahh, a rapid pace!> Ok so this is the proposed setup, 160ltr tank with a Fluval 404 ext filter (400ltrs an hour) Berlin protein skimmer and possibly a Vecton U.V sterilizer, should I add anything or should I change any of the kit. <Lighting... perhaps a powerhead> Will I be able to use playing sand (if not what should I be looking for) instead of Live sand? I intend on "seeding" the sand with substrate from my LFS and a friends tank, but the question is how much will I need... <Do read through the WetWebMedia.com site re Marine Substrates... avoid "playing sand" that is silica based... not necessary to buy LS> I will be leaving the tank to mature for about 2-3 months, <A very good, sound approach> and I will be monitoring the nitrate etc etc very closely. If I went down the path of just fish and live rock will I need halide lighting, as I am planning to use 2 light strips in the tank hood (one blue and one 4,200k strip). <Do look for a bit "warmer" Kelvin rated lamp... more than 5,000 K> Sorry about the questions but I wanted to get things straight in my head (so to speak), before I go and make a stupid mistake. <No worries... enjoy the journey, its remembrance/reflection. The anticipation of these adventures, their planning is a huge source of enjoyment.> Thanks again Bob, Antony Stevens (Hampshire, England) <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Up and running Hi all, I finally filled my tank on Tuesday and all has been up and running since then.  <congratulations!> Today is Thursday July 4th and a couple of questions have risen to which I would like help of where to find answers. my tank set up is a 75gal with 2 Hagen 802 powerheads and a Eheim 2235 canister filter 2 250watt Visitherm heaters, 45lbs = 1in of CaribSea aragonite grade crushed coral for substrate. <hmm... do get some live rock too... a very wise investment> My questions 1. there are a zillion tiny bubbles (not tiny Tim singing) in my tank  <well he's singing in my head now, thanks> I know they originate from the powerheads but should they remain on the inside walls of my tank? they are also all over the heaters and all the other tubes in the tank. is it just because there is literally nothing else in the tank? <exactly... fish/snail, invert activity will actively dissipate these in time. No worries> 2. when I take readings with the hydrometer I can get 6 different readings just from where I get the water in the tank. from 1.021-1.030 (top of the meter) is there a reason or a specific place I should be getting the water for this?  <the salinity is the same throughout the tank... its those piece of crap plastic hydrometers that are the problem. Any bubbles at all in the test sample can throw the reading. I prefer floating glass hydrometers> I want to get some live rock but want to make sure everything else is ideal first. an empty tank is no fun. <live rock could and should be added as early as possible. It will help your cycle too if it is fully cured> Thanks in advance as always you guys are great. Colleen Pittsburgh, PA <did you visit us/Bob in Pittsburgh last weekend? He gave a talk at Elmer's Aquarium who graciously sponsored him. Bob visits Pittsburgh annually for a PMASI meeting as well for all those interested in the road trip and Pittsburgh hospitality tour. Best regards, Anthony from Pittsburgh. Home of the glorious Pittsburgh Steelers <G>>

New tank filter questions I just purchased a 120 gal. tank with 4 holes drilled in the bottom 2 at each rear corner. Tank size is 48x24x24.What would be a good quality filter system that would serve me well <that will depend entirely on your intended livestock and stocking level. Without overfeeding, very large fish or overstocking... a natural system with a lot of live rock (1-2 lbs per gallon), a protein skimmer and a carbon/canister filter would be very fine> and is there a place to buy a complete ready to go system. <many places including the folks here on the WWM site. Custom Aquatic, Marine Center, etc> After talking to the two stores in my area (which I consider reputable) my head is spinning like Linda Blair's. I understand that you are not a true fan of the wet/dry filter system. <they are good at what they are designed for (nitrification) but produce too much nitrate. Only recommended with very heavy fish loads where nitrate will be a lesser evil> What if any are my options.  <live rock is the very best filter by far> I love this new tank and plan to piece it together slowly. <excellent... you will succeed with such patience> Thanks for any help you can give, oh by the way my wife is slowly warming up to this new tank and she is the one who found this wonderful web site, gotta love that. Thanks again Lenny <our best regards to you in your endeavors. Anthony Calfo>

Setting Up a New Marine Aquarium Bob, <Steven Pro answering a few questions before going off to work.> I am just getting started setting up a new 90 gallon saltwater tank to house the growing fish in my 29 gallon. I have a small wet/dry sump (about the equivalent of one you would use for a 55 gallon) with an 1800 pump. I have also opted for a Quicksand QSA-1 fluidized bed filter to help take up the slack of the wet/dry. <The only brand of fluidized bed filter I like, but this is the smallest one. Not much help for the undersized W/D.> I also plan to use live sand and some live rock. I also plan to put on a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer. <Not a good choice.> Cost is an important factor and though I've heard some bad I've also heard some good about this skimmer. Do you think that this arrangement is workable for my system? <Not really.> Also what would be your recommendations for switching the fish from my present aquarium? <I would move them all at once. Livesand, liverock, filters, fish, water, and top-off with new water that has been well mixed.> I had planned to cycle the new tank with damselfish. Once cycled and salinity and temperature are the same I had planned to swap water between tanks for a week or so before I transfer the fish. Is this a recommended practice or can you think of a better way for the fish to adjust to the chemistry of the new tank? <Like I said above, I would make the new tank the exact same as their old tank and then just top-off with new. In that way, it will be like a large water change. The fish stay in their water the whole time.> I currently have a banded shark hatchling (hatched in my 29 gallon) and a fu Manchu lionfish. <You really need a tank much, much, much larger (3' x 3' x 9') for the shark. I hope the person that sold you the shark egg for a 29 gallon tank gets trapped in a broken elevator at a refried bean festival. -Steven Pro>

Transitioning to a New Tank Greetings WWM Crew (especially those in the 'burgh) <Why hello! Steven Pro in today.> First set of question's) concerns transitioning my 30 gal FOWLR to my soon-to-be 55 gal reef. In my 30 gal, I currently have about 20-25 lbs of live rock, seemingly in good shape - a lot of nice bright pink and purple coralline - small growths of other live stuff - and it doesn't smell like my 16 y.o. son's room :->. I also have a live sand bed, bottom inch or so is crushed coral (I did this before I found WWM - won't do it again) and the top three inches is fine sugar size aragonite, <Really doesn't sound too bad to me. Sort of a plenum like system. I would not replicate, but would not worry too much about it either.> seeded with spaghetti worms and a whole bunch of other goodies from ILFS. The sand bed has been up and running for about 3 years. Crabs and sand stars keep the SB in good shape. <All good.> My current, tentative transition plan (looking for your input) is: 1. Purchase 50-60 lbs of live rock 2. Cycle live rock in the new tank (water changes etc.) After the tank cycles, place about 3-4 inches of dry sand into the new tank 3. Scrape the top two inches or so of the current tanks sand bed and place on top of the dry sand in the new tank 4. Possible purchase of additional live sand? 5. Move the LR from the current tank to the new. 6. Monitor all levels and move livestock (Achilles Tang, crabs, stars, etc) after all levels are proper. <Sounds good.> I'm thinking this process should take 6-8 weeks? <Perhaps less.> Thoughts? Ideas? Other suggestions? Prayers for success? <Sounds like a solid plan. Good luck with it.> Second part concerns the Sultan of Saltwater's (Mr. Fenner of course) upcoming trip to the 'burgh. I mistakenly deleted the e-mail with the link to the site that has the details. I know it's in Monroeville at the Palace Inn, 6/29 I believe. If you could provide the link again, I would greatly appreciate it. And yes, I would like to take the 'burgh dudes up on their offer for some possible tours. <The Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society, Inc. is hosting Bob. The webpage is www.pmas.org I am the President, Anthony the Treasurer, and we would gladly welcome anyone that wanted to come check it out. Your first meeting is free. After that, if you like it, we ask you to join.> Keep up the great work folks!!! ~David in Kittanning, PA <Hope to see you there. -Steven Pro>

New Tank Set-Up Mr. Fenner and faithful crew <faithful Antoine in your service <G>> I was hoping to get just a little input on the setup I'm hoping to get up in the next few weeks. It is a 75gal rectangle tank eventually to house a Volitans and a snowflake eel,  <good hardy choices... although the lionfish is likely to outgrow the tank in the long run. You'll be OK in the 2-3 year picture... but the 5 year picture is a little squeaky with an 18-24 eel and a beefy lion that can easily sail past 12" long> we are deciding on all the other inhabitants with this in mind.  <hmmm... other fish for the tank? Some Volitans can actually approach 2 feet long. You need/should want to plan for adult sizes. They mature and grow quickly if you care for them well. If a bigger tank is certain in the near future...OK. Else, do enjoy these tow fish for 2-3 years sans company> question is mainly regarding the setup. 75 gal tank with a Eheim 2235, 2 zoomed 228 powerheads,  <hmmm... if you bought the powerheads already... I'll be interested to hear what you think of them after some use. Else, do consider larger powerheads or a water pump. Not enough flow here with these pumps and the Eheim alone (detritus accumulation, algae problems, etc)> protein skimmer (brand undetermined),  <what is your budget for this piece... looking for a size or style recommendation?> 25-50lbs of live rock to start <the more the better.. a wise investment> eventually 75+, a 3-4 inch sand bed hopefully seeded with some live sand, a 300watt Visitherm submersible heater,  <2- 150 watt or 200 watt heaters would be better/safer than one 300 watt (all seem to fail/stick in time and you would be less likely to cook a tank)> Instant Ocean for the salt.  <my fave!> Question here is does this seem ok is there other recommendations that you would have.  <as above... mostly stronger flow and more live rock. And a quality skimmer is priceless... please don't skimp here. I like Euroreef, Tunze and Aqua C brands at the top of my list> Thanks for all your help and such a WONDERFUL BOOK and all the time that you spend answering questions. <indeed, CMA is a treasure trove! Do pass along what you learn to others in kind> Colleen <kindly, Anthony>

New Tank Hi all, <Steven Pro in today.> I am new to the hobby and love your site. My new 72 gallon, bowed front, All-Glass aquarium tank with pre-drilled holes will be arriving this week. I also ordered the SeaLife Systems Pro 150 gallon wet/dry filter with built in protein skimmer that skims the water before passing through the wet/dry . The lighting that I ordered with the tank consists of 2 55 watt (total of 110w), 9325? Kelvin, power compact lights. I want to populate the tank with fish, Fiji live rock, a few sea anemones (for my future clownfish), and a few hermit crabs. First question: Have you heard anything regarding the efficiency of the SeaLife Systems Pro wet/dry filter's built in protein skimmer? <No, not particularly, but generally all in one units are not the best.> Second question: Is it true that it is advantageous to skim the water before passing it through the wet/dry so the bio-balls don't get coated with dissolved organics? <Yes true, but for a different reason. It is best to remove those dissolved organics with the skimmer before the W/D reduces them into nitrate.> Third question: Will the lighting I have be sufficient for the Fiji live rock and sea anemones? <Rock yes, anemones no. Please read this article before purchasing any anemones, http://www.reefs.org/library/article/r_toonen8.html> Fourth question: I read the importance of providing full spectrum lighting: Is this lighting considered full spectrum? <Sounds like it.> Fifth question: Can I add the anemones as soon as the tank is cycled? <No> Sixth question: I read on your site all I need is approx. 1 lb of live rock/10 gallons to start the cycle. Is this really all I need to get things going? <To start the cycle, sure, but not enough for me to aquascape to my satisfaction nor to provide enough hiding spots/cover for the fish.> Seventh question: I do not plan on purchasing a quarantine tank yet. <Very bad plan.> I have heard the benefits of giving all new fish a fresh water dip before introducing them to the main tank. Should the dip be given as soon as I get the fish home and then placed in the main tank? Or should I acclimate the fish first to the new tank water conditions (i.e float the bag in the tank, slowly add tank water into the bag) and then give the fish a dip and release him into the new tank? <The later scenario.> Sorry for all the questions. I greatly appreciate your time. Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stainless Steel Corroding I'm confused about something. I have a submersible pump that has four stainless steel screws in the housing. I thought nothing of it until I read a WWM FAQ that said stainless steel will corrode in saltwater.  <absolutely true... some steel lasts longer than others, but all will corrode in time> I posted in the WWM forum section and the people there recommended watching for corrosion or possibly replacing the pump. Then I read another FAQ where a top-of-the-line pump was mentioned that was made out of stainless steel!  <eh...sort of. German Oase's are one top of the line pump made of stainless but they are ideally employed as external pumps. Even surgical steel will corrode in time. Years for many of the pump screws, but still inevitable.> So, is stainless steel in saltwater okay or not? Does it depend on the grade? <I wouldn't worry much about a few screws on a pump in a big display, but still keep an eye on it. I suspect you are referring to a Supreme Mag drive pump which you should know is also designed to run as an external pump (as most with stainless are) Anthony>

Filtration <Anthony Calfo with the follow up> Steve, your right the ammonia was up and then the Caulerpa went bad. I will have to check it again and see if the ammonia went down. I have a question about water evaporation. Everyday I have to add fresh water to my tank about 1/2 gallon(45 gallon bow front). The fresh water has been treated,  <treated how?> however I add the suggested amount of Kalk to keep up with my corals needs. Is this a good method?  <likely no... the suggested amount is only that: "suggested". The real amount necessary is to be determined and periodically tuned by testing for your daily net deficit of calcium. Run a day or two without calcium additions and test how much the calcium drops. Then calculate how much kalkwasser or like additive is necessary to replace the drop. Add gradually more in time with growth> Is SeaChem Phosguard a good product to use to get rid of or control unwanted green algae? <algae may grow from a number of different nutrients and/or causative effects including low Redox and higher water temperature... although high nutrients such as phosphate are more commonly the root of the cause. Do examine all possible sources of nutrients to know if such products can help you. Start with a phosphate test... then consider if you are overfeeding or overstocked, also if you are using nutrient rich tap water (not RO or DI reconstituted which might be better). Best regards, Anthony>

Filtration Issues Bob, <Steven pro in this morning.> I had a couple of questions. I have a bow front tank and I have a Aqua Clear 302 Power head on one side and a Aqua Clear 402 on the other side. Are these pumps good enough for water movement? <Depends on the size of the tank, return pump, and animals kept. Generally 10 to 20 times the tank volume per hour is sufficient.> I have an Eco System that I am not to happy about. My ammonia went up to 0.50 from 0 and my Caulerpa started to get white. <In that order or the other way around. Caulerpa got white and then the presence of ammonia.> Nitrite 0 Ph 8.2 Alk 2.7dkh/meq/l Nitrate 10 Calcium 350 ppm Phosphate 0 I did a water change to keep the ammonia down. Nothing has been effected. I have been running the Eco for a year now and this is a first. In your opinion is this type of filtration system the best way to go. <Many different methodologies and they all work, no one best for all people. Some individuals seem to like and do better with one over another.> In my tank I have 40 lb substrate and LR, <Is this 40 pounds each of sand and liverock?> also have 1 blue Linckia, 2 turbo snails, 1 clown fish, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 bubble coral, 1 xenias). I don't think my tank is over stocked and I feed every other day. It has to be small amount do to the lack of fish. Thanks <I am not sure where your ammonia is coming from or what the general problem is. Perhaps if you follow-up with some more information, we could be of more assistance. -Steven Pro>

30 Gallon Setup Hi Bob, <Bob is out of the country right now. Steven Pro is now attempting to fill his rather large shoes.> Thank you for all of your help in the past. I enjoy your website on a daily basis. I have some questions and was hoping you could provide some guidance. I'm looking to upgrade the lighting on my 30 gallon tank (new lighting is power compact fluorescents 1-55w SmartLamp 23" x 3" x 2.2"). I'm fairly certain that with this lighting set up that I can now have anemones (sebae or carpet), <Not really enough lighting or large enough of a tank.> unless you think otherwise, but can I now host corals? <Some mushrooms anemones and polyps would be a fine choice.> If so, are there any types of coral that you know of that would not require me incurring the extra expense of having to buy a protein skimmer? <IMO, any marine tank should have a skimmer.> I'm interested in things like yellow leather corals, pulsing xenias, hammer corals... <The first two need very bright light and will quickly outgrow a 30. Probably at least twice what you have, 2-55 watt PC's. The second could use a little less light, but still more than 55 watts of PC, 1-55 watt full spectrum PC with 2-30 NO actinics.> Unrelated question: Ever hear of a Jawfish (mine is a Opistognathus aurifrons, or yellowhead Jawfish) pairing up with a pistol shrimp? <No, not really, but stranger things happen in the confines of aquariums.> I plan on buying some (hopefully) watchman wheeler gobies for my pistol shrimp to pair up with - are they OK with the Jawfish? <Yes, if given enough space. The 30 maybe a little cramped for floor space.> Do you know of any internet companies that ship livestock to Canada? <I would look around at the links page and ask the various e-tailers. I am sure someone can fill your needs.> Thanks for the help Bob. You rule. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Even More Learning the Ropes The tank is fully cycled. The ammonia and nitrites are both at zero as of this mornings tests. When the nitrites were high and the two fish died, they showed clear signs of nitrite poisoning (gasping at the surface, cloudy swollen eyes). The reason that happened is because of the antibiotic. The funny thing is it only killed the nitrite bacteria, the ammonia levels stayed at zero. Anyway, that happened in early March. I waited a month after the levels returned back to zero before adding the coral beauty. I just can't figure out why this parasite came back with copper still in the tank. <A whole host of reasons. Parasites are almost always present and usually are brought out by a trigger of some sort.> Before the tang died today, he has had problems with his color and no one could help me. He lost all of his black and his face became translucent. Other than that he was perfectly healthy. I tried vitamins, algae, spirulina pellets, but nothing brought his color back. Up until this morning he ate anything I fed him. I never understood what the problem was. <Could be a reaction to one of the meds. Quite possible the antibiotics and/or copper had a negative effect on his intestinal infauna compromising his ability to absorb the proper vitamins. Copper in particular has been implicated in problems with Tangs. This brings up another point. All meds should be administered in a separate hospital/quarantine tank, never the main display.> One last question. Should I turn my skimmer off with the copper in the tank? Matt <No need to. -Steven Pro>

More Learning the Ropes I need Help! I went out and bought a quarantine tank like you suggested. It is a small ten gallon tank. I have my live rock in there and I know I shouldn't have but since my tank was looking better, I went out and bought a bi color pseudo. <I went back through your previous emails. You seem to be learning some lessons the hard way or in this case maybe learning is the wrong word.> I had to take my two striped damsel out of the tank because they would leave the pseudo alone. They were in the quarantine tank with the live rock. The main tank still has copper in it from the ich. This morning I woke up and the tang and the pseudo were covered in white spots. I did the freshwater dip as you suggested and the tang was hyper stressed. I put him back in the tank and he died shortly after. <If a fish dies because of freshwater dip it is likely it was not going to survive the infection anyhow.> The pseudo did well in the dip and the white spots are gone. He is just sitting on the bottom of the tank breathing heavy. What am I doing wrong. I checked the copper levels and they were down to 0.10 so I added more to bring it back up. HELP! Matt <I am still not sure your tank is fully cycled. You have had problems with nitrites in particular, from your past emails. You should resist all urges to add anything to your tank for at least one month minimum. At that point, come up with a plan of additions. Your tank is only 45 gallons and will hold a limited number of fish. Then quarantine all new stock for 2-4 weeks before addition to the main tank. Please take the mean time to read up as much as possible. -Steven Pro>

New Setup Follow-up Thanks for the quick and helpful response! I will try to find plastic/pvc replacement parts and eliminate the brass. <Yes, you should be able to find the parts you need at most hardware stores. Also, you may want to add some Chemi-Pure and/or Polyfilter to absorb any possible contaminants.> My Setup: 180gal. FOWLR system, DAS BX1 in sump skimmer, 30watt UV sterilizer, Amiracle WET/DRY w/ 12 gallons BIO BALLS. One last question, hope you don't mind, I do appreciate your help! The first sump contains the large bio ball tower and skimmer and the second sump has an area with space and I was wondering if it would be wise to add a thick layer of premium cured live rock to contribute in the nitrate reduction, especially in the long run after I add large fish NASO, EMPEROR to this system. <Probably better uses for this space like a refugium/Caulerpa scrubber.> My nitrates are very low now almost to 0 but I suspect will go up. If I add the cured live rock will there be a recycle? <Not if fully cured from a LFS. Otherwise, cure in a separate vessel.> Will the live rock defeat the purpose of the BIO MEDIA to a point where it has to be removed? <Possibly if there is enough between the main display and sump.> I have some small fish in the 180 now, bi-color angel and Chromis. Is my filtration sufficient as is without adding the live rock? <Not sure. I am not familiar with the skimmer brand and you did not mention the return pump. Several times weekly production from the skimmer and 10X the tank volume or more from the pump.> Thanks again! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Setup Hi Guys! I have 2 concerns...I had to install a 1-1/2" brass female adapter to my submersible Iwaki sump pump in or order to attach 5/8 " id hose. Are brass parts/fittings safe in a 180 gallon fish only salt water aquarium? <No> Will the brass eventually corrode and cause harm to the fish? <Yes> How about a Stainless Steel adapter... same thing? <Yes> The other is air. The tank, a 180 gallon with 2 large connecting Amiracle sumps, one having about 14 gallons of bio ball media. The water returns back to the tank by means of a long pvc pipe spray bar that runs along the back end of the tank. I would think there will be sufficient air distributed along the entire tank from the bio media. Is this a sufficient amount of air or should I pump more air into the tank using air stones in two or three places to achieve optimal air to water quality for the fishes health. <I do not like airstones, too much salt spray, but an oxygen test will tell you if other corrective measures are needed.> I am fairly new to this hobby, 1 year, and I really want to do what's best for this new setup. I will be keeping large fish, Naso Tangs and Emperor Angel. Thanks. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Help! (marine set-up, maintenance) Good evening Robert, Lorenzo, Steve et al. I have been chatting with you over the last few months and I hope this missive finds you well. <Yes my friend> Here is the latest from the tank. I am still being plagued by algae and a brown scum over everything. I am attaching some pics that may be of some use. All of my water tests come back within the parameters that they are supposed to. There seems to be nothing wrong with the fish, 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 Scopas Tang, 1 scooter blenny, 2 Firefish, and a Banggai Cardinal. The only things that seem affected by the algae problem are the feather dusters, all of which have blown their mouths, and the anemones, 1 Condylactis and 1 long tentacled anemone, which I found chewed apart at the bottom of the tank this morning. I am presuming that the Peppermint Shrimps may have had something to do with that. As said before I am using a Seaclone Skimmer on a 100 Gallon Tank, 1 Eheim Pro and an Emperor Filter with Bio Wheel. <You would do well to look into more, better filtration> Both the anemones were fine for the last 7 months and recently since the Algae problem they have not been remaining anchored in the substrate. The LTA actually kept shrinking in size until it became a hard ball on the gravel. I am also running 4 65watt power compacts with daylight and actinic, and am wondering if I need to upgrade. I have also had a Goniopora and my Xenia. Both of which have now died. The Goniopora was a gift from someone and was doing okay for a few months until all of a sudden one day it started to be suffering from what appeared to be necrosis of the tissue and within 2 days had completely disintegrated. I still have on tiny bud left on the Xenia. But it seems to be going downhill as well. I am at a loss as to what may be wrong. <... at a loss... You could/would do well with more intense lighting, more "vigorous" filtration with the livestock listed... What is it that leaves you at a loss?>  If you can provide any assistance I would greatly appreciate it, or if I need to further explain things I would be happy to do so. I am considering taking a sample of water to the LFS and seeing if they can determine something that I am missing. <A good idea... take the sample and a description of your system to at least two people for input. Perhaps here: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> Look forward to chatting soon <Scarce can I name salvation but fearful thunder echoes in mine ears. Actually not. Bob Fenner> Julian Hunt

Re: Help! Thank you as usual for your prompt reply. I am off to scour your book for more info. Be chatting.:) <Indeed! And our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Julian

Reef Set-up Question..., Sand Making Tank Cloudy Follow-up Thanks Steven, It's starting to clear up nicely. I turned on the heater and the other two maxi-jets. That actually seems to clear it faster. Thanks again, I'm sure I'll be writing back soon with more questions. Dan Wallace <Glad to hear it is getting better. When you have more questions, feel free to fire away. One of us is usually around. -Steven Pro>

Re: Sand Making Tank Cloudy To Steven Pro All Glass tanks with built in over flows the lower vents can move sand all over the tank. a cover 9 in high in front of vent as to make return water go over and down will help stop this. Cover should be 1/2 in away from vent. RGibson <Thank you for the info, reminder, and tip. -Steven Pro>

Tank Design, Marine, Sump/Refugium arrangement Hi, Bob and experts,  Can you please assist me to vet whether will my tank work ? the diagram are as attach. <Nicely done> * On the top is the tank with a undergravel filter, trickle filter and a wavemaker. * below the tank is the sump. It consist of 3 compartment.  1st is the refugium - live rock, sand, some janitors, and a protein skimmer 2nd is the sponge filter. 3rd is place some algae to consume excess nutrient. Can give your advice and comment, any improvement ? What I am concern is will the sump shown work effectively ? <Mmm, need clarification. Is it your intention to "feed" the overflow/bio-ball area with only the undergravel discharge? I would not do this if so... I would get rid of the undergravel filter as such (perhaps retain the plate as a plenum device), and have gravity service the sump/refugium below). I would likewise dispense with the bioballs period and place more live rock in the area they're placed in now, or not have this area at all... In the sump below, it would be better to partition the sump on the in-flow side and place the live macro-algae and part of the live rock in a low flow setting (with only a few turns of water going through their part of the compartment per hour) diverting the rest of the flow through the/a constant level area with the skimmer. I would arrange the sponge filter separating the two present sump areas to have an overflow spill into the last compartment should the sponge become clogged... to avoid overfilling the first compartment and burning up your pump. Bob Fenner> Thanks 

Marine System Set-Up <Cheers, Russ! > I very much look forward to reading your book!  I'm hoping it will help me select specifically which species I'd like to house in the 75 gallon that  I'm just now setting up, allow me to provide a proper environment for them to prosper in, and understand coral propagation in general. <Yes, my friend... I have faith that you will not be disappointed. The text is very comprehensive after all. And it is very wise of you to consider that stocking requires due thought and information gathering. It is a common flaw (that leads to great problems in the long run) for aquarists to fill a tank randomly with all types of coral from all parts of the reef (LPS, SPS, 'shrooms, Buttons, etc). It seems to work for a year or two but ends up being rather difficult to succeed with in the long run.>  I've been  involved with keeping small freshwater tanks for years.  However, I've caught the "reef bug" and I think I've really always had salt water circulating in my veins!  <Heehee... agreed, my friend.>  I've built a DIY stand, gotten a Euro reef skimmer (oversized for the system... a good thing), <Outstanding!!! Top of the line brand and performance as far as I'm concerned!>  gotten the return pump (Mag 7), have the RR Oceanic 75 on-order from LFS,  <Heads up... the Oceanic (and most mfg tanks) are notorious for undersized overflow holes. Don't be too surprised to hook up your mag drove and hear an awful gurgling sound... undersized overflow holes. Case in point... I have four 1" drains for my mag 9 and they are running at scary high capacity.>  and am building a refugium modeled after the one shown at Carlo's barrier reef  ( http://www.carlosreef.com). Okay, so I'm acquiring things slowly and probably a  little bit backwards... but I'm having fun!  Still have to figure out additional circulation,  <If you can afford it... I like top-mounted Gemini pumps or Tunze Turbelles... they are discreet, strong and very lob lasting. I know folks with Turbelles 15 years old! DSB >  (probably 5") composition, livestock/species > selection, and so on.  <Yes... 5" or deeper. >   One of the biggest decisions I'm wrestling with, before I build a DIY canopy, is lighting! (No big surprise).  I'm 99.5%  sure I'm going the SPS  route, and I'd rather not have to "upgrade" later. It looks like a MH/PC combo for me --> PC only for aesthetics <admittedly cool to have blue actinics... all reef halide bulbs have enough or too much blue wave in them> Probably PFO ballasts driving two Iwasaki 65K 250watt-ers,  <The very best all-purpose bulb IMO >  and an Ice-cap on two or more 110watt VHO URI's -- housed in PFO reflectors:  Would that be "too much"? <You really need to go hardcore SPS to need 250 watts MH even in the 3 year plan.>  Actually, I mean would  it be "unnecessarily expensive," due to ongoing electrical costs, for  most SPS?  <Hmm...  Do they  really require this much light to prosper? Definitely not... many sps and most sps will fare fine or better under 175 watt halides (10K Ushios or AB then) >  Would I be better off with a pair of 150 or 175 watt > MH's?  I'm afraid I'd  be "under-powering" some SPS in this size/depth tank.  <Not much of a concern... many 250 watt and even 400 watt MH reef tanks are wasting electricity/light by not cleaning glass canopies weekly of dust/salt creep etc or by not using chemical filtration media weekly or full time to reduce yellowing agents which temper clarity and light penetration.> If better off with 150/175, would you recommend bulb/ballast brands and wattage combinations? I'm hoping your book will help me understand the corals better, and their  individual lighting requirements.  I guess I was just wondering what your  "gut feeling" tells you about a pair of the Iwasakis  vs. other pairs of MH's  you might suggest?  <Honestly... as much as I favor creatures that enjoy the lower end MH light, most people want sps and clams for more than half the tank. If this is you and you are going to minimize LPS (bubbles, hammers, elegance, octopus, fox) and corallimorph/mushrooms... then I would say do the 250 watt Iwasakis after all.>  Oh, and thank you, Bob Fenner, Steve Pro, and  everyone else at WWM, for already answering many of hobbyist's and my questions.  You guys are really great at helping hobbyists reach decisions when  Internet research leaves many of us otherwise confused. -Russ <It is indeed our great honor and pleasure. Kind regards, Anthony> 

New Octagonal Tank Setup Hi Bob Just stumbled onto your website doing some research for my tank that I am about to pick up from my LFS. Of all the reading I have done it would appear that I have probably picked the worse type of tank one can purchase??  <No. A bit harder to landscape, perhaps to maintain, but an interesting shape, sufficient surface area... given appropriate circulation, filtration provisions.> Anyhow, I have ordered it and due to my room constraints this is the most practical type of tank I can have. The dimensions of my octagonal tank is 52cm in diameter and 130cm tall - I have calculated this to be approximately 65g. I have only bought the tank so far, nothing else. I am hoping to start a salt water tank with fish only using live sand and live rock. Could you please advise me on the possible best type(s) of filtration, lighting and substrate for this type of setup? <Mmm, this is all posted and gone over on WWM. Please take the route of reviewing, making notes of what is there; writing back if you have questions, concerns, suggestions.> I am in no hurry to have everything in place - I will wait for as long as necessary to ensure that everything is stabilized before actually acquiring any fish. Thx in anticipation. Jeff from Brisbane, Australia <Of all places, was just down in Toowong a few weeks back, and visiting with a friend and his parents in northern Brisbane. Bob Fenner>

New Tank I have just recently set up a tank and am currently just cycling the water and about to add my first fish. I have three main questions: To mature the water, the people at my pet shop have suggested putting in a couple of mollies or damsels. If I do this and they die, should I remove them immediately or leave them in to create some bacteria. <Better not to do this at all. You can cycle your tank just with liverock. Start here and work your way out through the various linked files for more info http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm> Secondly, if they live, at what point can I add more fish? <Generally, about one month between additions. Test kits for ammonia and nitrite can confirm the cycles.> Thirdly, can you give me a list of a good community to put into my tank. It is 48" x 24" x 24". I want to make sure I don't put in too many aggressive and territorial fish. Also if you could suggest the order to add these in, I would greatly appreciate it. <There are far too many great fish for me to recommend your entire tank. Best for you to educate yourself and start with a wish list of sorts and we could help you whittle it down.> Thank you for your time and your excellent web site. Scott <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Skilters  Hi Bob <Hello> I was told today that I would need a skilter for my saltwater tank. I haven't a clue what this is, what it does or where to find it. Can you help?? <This is a brand name for a line of combination outside power filters and skimmers. A protein skimmer, aka foam fractionator is an important tool for improving water quality in captive marine systems. Please use the Google Search tool on the bottom of: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ and/or read through the article on Marine Physical Filtration: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm and the many FAQs beyond on Skimmer Selection. I encourage you to delve into the hobby, reading a good general book or two, chatting on line or browsing the hobby bulletin boards if you have time/interest. Bob Fenner> Dianne
Re: Skilters, Confusion
Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> Thanks for the info. I have been reading and asking questions, but everyone has their own opinion and of course, these all differ. <Different methodologies, but many have the same roots and desired outcomes.> Very confusing for a newbie. Some of the reading also only leaves me on the confused side. <I would highly recommend Bob's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". It is incredibly informative, in an easy to read format. You can get a copy on-line at Di's Aquatics, www.disaquatics.com> I have had freshwater tanks for many years. These sure seem a lot easier to understand and setup. <Many of the same principals; mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. Just different ways of accomplishing some of them. -Steven Pro>

Opinion on Setup Hi my question of the day? In my 50 gallon reef tank I have 53 pounds of live rock, 2 true percs clowns, one small sea horse, one purple tang, one powder brown tang, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 2 star fish, 20 or so hermit crabs with 12 Turbo snails, 3 big coral ex long tentacle plate coral, 3 small coral, one Maxima clams, 2 MAXI-JET 1200 POWER HEAD 295 GPH, one over flow filter, one canister filter with a sea storm attached to it, for lighting I have 175 watt MH 5500K with 2x30 watts fluorescent actinic lamps. Is this tank ok? <The seahorse and fluidized sand filter seem inappropriate. Other than that, I do not see anything else that jumps out. But, you did not include species of starfish, hermit crabs, powder brown tang, or corals and no water quality parameters. Talk to you later. -Steven Pro>

Canister & Sand Advise Steven, Following up on your recommendations on a filter. I decided to take the plunge and get the canister filter instead of a hang on. It'll be here tomorrow!! I went with the Fluval 404. I looked at the Eheim which had a flow rate of 250 gph and cost $148.99. I shopped around and found the Fluval for $89.99, and it has a flow rate of 340 gph! While I respect your advise, a buck is a buck! <Fluval are a fine enough product. Eheims are better, but there are far worse choices out there.> The unit comes with all the media, which I don't necessarily intend to use. I was going to use the foam that comes with it. Instead of the Fluval Carbon, I'll use Chemi-pure. I don't intend to use the ceramic rings. On your advise, I ordered some Poly Filters and intend to use those. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated. <Sounds like a good plan.> Shortly after writing the below, I awoke to find my Purple Tang on the dining room floor. Apparently he jumped. Considering the problems I have been having, I am sure it was probably because of an ammonia or nitrite spike, though I have not ruled out suicide! In the future I'll stay away from the Tangs for this tank (80 gallons) as in hindsight I feel they require more room. <Double check your hood for large gaps. Tangs are not notorious for jumping like wrasses. It may have been a water quality issue, or fighting, or something else that caused your Tang to "seek" new accommodations.> The way I have decided to approach the problem with the accumulated detritus in my aragamite bed is to continue to vacuum it during 10-15% water changes every few days. What I am doing though is to remove the wide diameter end of the hose. In this way I'm sucking up much of the sand along with the detritus, but I really don't care at this point, I just want it out. <Ok> One thing I am finding is that there is a lot of larger material in the bed that I believe has been retaining the detritus. When I first started the tank, I had placed crush coral on the bottom. Just prior to placing the rock in, while the aquarium was already filled with water, I decided to remove the coral and go with aragomite. I took much of the coral out, but I didn't make a point of getting it all. Then, when my live rock arrived, I found that some pieces had been damaged in shipment. I had taken some of the rubble, and just mixed it in with the bed. Another bad idea! Thus my fine aragomite was studded with detritus magnets! I hope, using the above method, in the next few weeks I will have removed all the detritus. I will need to replace the sand lost in the vacuuming process I have decided to stay with a shallow bed). I know you suggest 'fine' aragomite sand. Could you define 'fine'? <Grain size like sugar, example CaribSea Aragamax.> As always, your guidance is much appreciated. <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Emperor Aquatics Skimmer I was just wondering if anyone can help me set my skimmer. Here's a link for the pic http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03045.jpg It's made by Emperor Aquatics (have no idea what the model is). I've have visited Emperor Aquatics but could not find the model I have. I have left them an e-mail several times but no reply. It is a Venturi skimmer currently I have a 250 gallon/hour water pump. But it seems not to be working? Do I need a higher pump? If so what would the recommended pressure? Thanks, Steve <The best option I can give you is go to the Emperor Aquatics page and find the model closest to yours in dimensions. They give exact measurements for all their skimmers and recommended pumps here http://www.emperoraquatics.com/aquafoam.html -Steven Pro>

Emperor Aquatics Skimmer II & Tank Setup Questions I just wanted some advice! <Which I gave you. I cannot divine the dimensions of your skimmer from a picture. You should measure it, match it up to the graph at the bottom of the linked web page, and use the recommended pump.> I'm currently redoing my whole tank. I've been out of the hobby for about two years now and want to get back. I have a 180 Gallon tank (not reef ready), with a wet/dry filter rated for 300 gallon made by Amiracle, Magnum 350, and an Emperor Aquatic skimmer Venturi style. The tank has been cycled for three months now with a Kole tang. Alkalinity level is at 1020. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate are near zero. I'm not sure what my substrate is. I was advice to either remove my current substrate and replace with fine sand or add sand to it. <Your substrate appears to be a crushed coral aggregate.> I've always had FO tank but now I would like to add more life to the tank. I was given an advice to stop using the wet/dry and buy some LR. For now I would just like to have a moderate reef or fish with some inverts. I want to see some crabs, shrimp, feather duster, polyps, and mushroom among the fish community. (not sure if possible) I like the mandarin goby and some wrasses as well. <Mandarins are challenging, but possible in a 180 gallon tank if suitable tank mates are chosen. You can find much more about their particular demands under their FAQ file on WWM.> What would be the best setup? <My list for a reef tank is a follows: Purified Source Water Appropriate Lighting System DSB - around 6" of sugar grain size sand Liverock - visually filing 1/3 to 1/2 of the tank when stacked/arranged properly High Quality Protein Skimmer Sump And most importantly, a good library of books> The following links are my tank and it's setup 180 gallon tank http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03039.jpg Wet/dry http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03043.jpg http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03049.jpg Skimmer/Magnum/water pump http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03045.jpg Substrate http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03038.jpg http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03054.jpg http://nissannx.info/images/dsc03055.jpg I hope this helps out with giving me a sound advice! Thank you sooo much for all your help, Steve Lotho <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Tank Setup Hi guys, First I want to let you know I love your web site! I have found the answers to a lot of questions. My husband and I are upsizing our 55g reef to a 125g. In the new tank we have used only R.O. water with Instant Ocean. We have approx. 2-2.5" of .5-1.5 mm "new" aragonite sand and plan on moving the "live sand" from our existing tank which should bring the depth up to about 3". We also have a 20g sump which will also contain live sand, some undecorative pieces of live rock and Caulerpa. (The sump will have its own separate lighting system and will be lit when the tank is not) Our lighting system for the tank is 4 96 watt pc bulbs- two ultra actinics and 2 10000k daylights (a retro fit kit we are building the canopy for). <Seems a little low, but depends on what you wish to keep, what you currently house in your 55, and what the 55's lighting is.> We are running a 15 watt UV sterilizer in-line and have built "The ugliest protein skimmer ever" from a DIY web site which says the foam production is incredible. <Many DIY, ugly skimmers are very productive.> (Obviously we are trying to cut a few of the costs by doing things ourselves) Our water analysis right now (without anything in the tank) is 0-ammonia, 0-nitrite, 0-nitrate, pH-8.4, Alk-4. I don't have test kits yet for calcium, oxygen, or phosphates. <I would purchase in that order, calcium first and so on.> I am assuming that they would all be in a normal range at this point. I am afraid that if we begin to transfer items from the established tank we will damage the biological filtration going on there and we will have a potentially toxic ammonia bloom in the new tank. <Not if you do not shock your animals, liverock, and sand. Match temperature and salinity and you should be fine. You can just cover the rock and sand. All the fish and inverts should be slowly reacclimated as if you just brought them home.> We have several varieties of mushroom corals, green star polyps, and yellow polyps in the established tank with a few feather duster worms.  <All fairly low light demand animals and your PC's should be ok for them.> We only have two fish, a gold striped maroon clown, and a barber pole goby (I rescued him from a store before he was another fish's dinner). We have a generous clean up crew including, 4 Mithrax crabs, 1 sally lightfoot crab, a huge coral banded shrimp, 1 large red foot snail, several turbo snails, bumble bees, conchs, and hermit crabs. What do you think the next logical step would be for our transfer? My husband likes the idea of buying some "new" live rock either cured or uncured and allowing it to help establish the biological filtration in the new tank. <I would do this first. Then move everything else over in one days work.> I realize that we will need more live rock because we only have about 80 pounds in the 55g. <No need for too much more. 125 pounds total of Fijian or similar density rock should suffice.> I am tentative to the point of paranoia about this new tank and could really use some advice.  Thanks, Susan <Good luck and enjoy, Steven Pro>

New Tank Setup II Hi Steve, I just wrote about our new 125g tank and you said that the lighting for our new tank seemed a little low. (4 72" 96 watt PC bulbs, 2-ultra blue actinics and 2-10,000 K daylights) How can we improve upon this? We were hoping to bring some clams, stony corals, other soft corals, and anemones into the tank. <For SPS and clams you will need about 500-700 watts. My preference would have been to use three 175 watt MH's, but since you already have the PC's, adding two 175 MH's or four more 96 watt PC's should give you the light they need.> In our current 55g we have 1 power-glo and 1 marine-glo (actinic). All of our mushrooms and polyps are arranged near the top of the aquarium and seem to be thriving. <Are they actually multiplying or merely appear larger. Many corals are able to swell to increase their surface area and thereby capture more of the available light. I have a 55 with fairly low light corals and I use four 40 watt lamps.> When they are transferred we hope to place them lower in the aquarium. Will this be okay? Thanks a bunch, Susan <I would look to increase your light or focus on lower light corals in the upper half of the tank. -Steven Pro>

A New 92 Gallon Tank Hey Bob or Whom it may concern, :) I bought a 92 Gallon "All-Glass" Corner Aquarium about 4 weeks ago. I filled it up with water and dead sand 2 weeks ago. Of course it got cloudy, but cleared up in two days. I now have the Fluval 404 filter, a Sea Clone Protein Skimmer (Even though it's not collecting anything yet), (2) 150W Submersible heaters, and a 902 Hagen Powerhead (Question about that a little later) all running for about 3 1/2 weeks. 1 week ago I bought 20lbs of Live Sand and it looks great at about 2 1/2 inches. 2 days ago, my water started getting cloudy, but not too much, It's just foggy. Is this something I should worry about, or is it just going through some sort of small cycling process? <Probably free floating bacteria consuming some of the die off from the lives and. Nothing to worry about now, as you have no fish.> My levels for Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrate have slightly fluctuated from .25 to .50 never zero, never more than .50. From my testing results, I can't really determine any kind of Nitrogen process either, is this because I don't have anything creating Ammonia yet? <You have some things creating ammonia from the live sand, but not a lot. It does not sound like you have developed the typical nitrogen cycle/pattern.> My main question is: I have 90 pounds of Live Rock and a cleaning crew (35 Astrea , 5 Trochus, 15 Scarlet Hermits, 20 Mexican Blue leg Hermits, 4 emerald crabs) coming on Saturday. Is it safe to put it in the tank already? <The rock yes, the inverts no.> Next Question: Do you think it would be better to trade in my 901 Powerhead for two smaller ones? The 901 Powerhead could move a small rowboat! :) <Maybe. If you are handy, you could attach PVC pipe the output and T that off in various directions.> Thanks, I value your input greatly. Brian Zimmerman <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
A New 92 Gallon Tank
Thank you for your response about the powerhead, I will do that! :) Also a follow-up. When do you think I would be able to put the cleaning crew in, after the cycling? <Depending on the condition of your rock, it could take up to two months to completely cycle.> Should have the company hold the inverts or can I do something else with them for the time being? <Far better for the store to care for them until your tank is ready. -Steven Pro>

Tiny Bubbles... Bob, <Steven Pro here this evening as Bob is off in Australia and Anthony is refinishing his hardwood floors.> Love the your site!!! Lots of great info!! I have a problem with my system that I can't seen to solve, hoping you can help. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!!!! I cant seem to get rid of them??? I have a 75 gallon (Corner Over-flow) fish only system. Equipment: SeaLife Systems Wet-Dry 60, Seaclone Protein Skimmer, Supreme Mag-Drive Model 5 Pump, 2 Ebo-Jager 125 watt heaters and 2 Maxi-Jet power heads for in tank circulation. I ran this system in a 55 Gallon system for years with few problems (less the extra heater and protein skimmer). Unfortunately I had to shut it down because I lived in three different apartments in three years. I finally bought a house and time to set it up again. I cracked my 55 gal standard tank (no corner overflow, I just used the overflow box that came with the wet-dry) during my final move, so what an opportunity to go bigger!!!!. I also have a 48 x 12 inch classic oak stand which I didn't want to give up. But it worked out nicely because the 6 inches of overhang that the 75 gallon tank affords, I actually sunk into a wall for the "see-through" effect. In my old system I did not have the Protein Skimmer and just kept to hardy fish. Now with this show piece in my home there was no fooling around. I purchased the Seaclone and upgraded my old double strip 40 watt light to a High Output 110 watt light. With the old system I also could afford to keep the mag drive directly in the sump, unfortunately with the added heater, and skimmer pump, cost me some space in the sump. I connected the mag-drive outside the sump and everything fit great including the protein skimmer itself hanging on the outside of the sump. For the protein skimmer out-flow I built a "bridge" out of plastic so it would flow directly on to the foam filter next to the bio-tower to help stop gurgle and hopefully diffuse bubbles. All connections are tight, no runs, no drips, no errors. I just finished cycling but here is the problem: My return is constantly pushing a steady stream of fine bubbles into the system??? Every 10-20 seconds a larger plume of bubbles is emitted as well. The bubbles are beginning to become encrusted all over my decor as green and red algae begin to develop as well. At first I though it might be the protein skimmer so I shut it down but the problem seems to persist. I have played with the water level in my sump as well with no luck???? The corner over-flow return plumbing also has a anti-siphon hole on the "J" fitting at the top of the overflow. Could this be the problem??? Additionally the immersed power heads are also pushing out bubbles. Were they always there in my old system and I just couldn't see them because now I have a "see-through" set-up and better lighting?? It's not a major issue to me but it does seen to take away from the overall look of the tank. In fact a few friends have commented "What's with all the small bubbles??. Also are there any other issues in regards to the health of my marine fish that these bubbles might effect?? I hopping it turns out to be a quick fix!!! Any suggestions?? <The bubbles are coming from one of two places. Either the Mag-Drive in drawing in air prior to the impellor or your return line has a pin hole leak which is acting like a Venturi. Try placing a sponge over the intake of the Mag-Drive (they come with one usually) and see if that makes a difference. If not, look at all the connections in the return line.> Thanks for all your help. John Carrara <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> P.S. For those readers who are thinking of buying a corner overflow tank as well as a Snowflake Moray Eel (I'm sure you know where I'm going with this) make sure you seal that overflow up tight. Trying to remove an eel, that you can't see by the way, from your corner overflow that's sunk into a wall is a 3 hour living nightmare!!! <A good point.>

From brackish to marine Hey there.  <Howdy partner> Had a brackish water tank running successfully for a couple of years, slowly added salt 'till I reached 1.021, added a protein skimmer...old residents have come along fine, (Monos, knight gobies)...new additions (damselfish) have been doing well since arriving a month ago...question: the substrate is regular, freshwater-aquarium gravel. Does it need to be changed to something coral-based? Is it harmful to the water?  <not harmful generally... just not helpful as a buffer for the alkalinity of the water. You'll just want to pay closer attention to the pH and alkalinity of the system than most people. test twice monthly and correct as necessary> Did a water test with an at-home kit, all seems well.  <pH of 8.5-8.5 by day, no lower than 8.3 in dark night?> Also wondering what the next step should be in terms of completely making the change to a marine tank (or if I am there already).... <already there> What livestock is hardy, can I try to introduce... thanks for all the wisdom <do read the beginner FAQs and articles in the WWM archives. For fish, though... wrasses are generally colorful and hardy. Clowns, Pseudochromis are great too. Really a lot to choose from... your preference. Kind regards, Anthony>

Lighting Hi Bob and experts, Getting a new tank soon (4x 2 x 2-1/2 ft). I need to know whether a metal halide or a VHO Fluorescents is preferable if I'm intending to make a reef tank with hard and soft corals. Danny <without trying to skirt this controversial issue... there are seemingly as many ways to light a reef aquarium as there are various invertebrates needs. Your best success will be realized best if you narrow your focus and make a short list of invertebrates then determine their needs. Much has been written on this topic in the WWM FAQ archives and beyond. Please do ponder all of the many options with various invertebrates (high light SPS and clams, low to medium light LPS corals and corallimorphs, etc). To give you something to chew on though... for an all-purpose reef light... you couldn't go to far astray with 2 175-watt Ushio or Aqualine 10,000K bulbs. Aesthetically and spectrally they don't even need supplemental blue light! That's it... just two sexy halides. Halides also are the most economical when considering the things that matter...PAR, bulb life and intensity/penetration. Best regards, Anthony>

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