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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 12

Related Articles: Stocking, Collecting Marines, Marine Livestock Selection, Reef Livestock SelectionQuarantine, Acclimation, Acclimating InvertebratesMarine Life Use in Ornamental Aquatics

Related FAQs: Best Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 8FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQs 21, FAQ 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis male pic by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Stocking Levels .... and types   4/18/06 Hello WWM Crew! <Jeremy> I wanted to know if I am overstocking my tank. <Mmm, not from what shown. Though the lobster will eventually consume about all here.> I tried to be as detailed as possible usually when I read peoples emails they lack specifics which you always ask for. I have read many articles on your web site and found many important changes and tweaks for my setup. Besides the stocking question how long have (who ever answers) been doing this and are any (all) of you marine biologists? <Mmm, my bio. is posted on WWM... am an old timer academically and industry-wise> Thanks for the help with the web site and information, I am an avid fan of your picture of the day and have been getting more people at my work that like fish to view it. Marine Tank Setup Mechanical Parts 75 Gallon Glass Tank ? Inch Lexan covering top 1 Red Sea Prizm skimmer on side of tank 2 20K VHO Fluorescents 40 watts 12 Hour cycle 2 Actinic 40 watts 6 Hour mid day cycle 1 Fluval 304 Canister Filter inline 5w TetraTec UV 1 AquaelUnimax Pro Rated 90 Gal Built-in 9w UV 2 Profile Powerhead 602 1 Coralife Digital Thermometer Quarantine Tank 10 Gallon Tank 1 inch Live Sand bed 1 Penguin with bio-wheel Filter (rated for 55 gal) 1 Heater 1 18inch 15watt 20k light 12 hour cycle Non-Livestock 2 ? inch Live Sand with crushed coral mix 40lbs Approx Live Rock (Fiji) 50lbs Approx Tufa/Lava Rock 15lbs Approx Rainbow Rock 1 Green Polyp Colony 4 inches from surface Fish Livestock 1 Yellow Tang 4-5 inches 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels 1 inch 1 Blue Damsel 1 ? inch 1 Lawnmower Blenny 1 inch 1 Yellow Clown Goby 1 inch 1 Sleeper Banded Goby 3 inches 3 Scooter Blennies 1 ? - 2 inches Invert Livestock 1 Spiny Blue Lobster <Keep your eye on this... predatory> 5 Turbo Snails 5 Astrea Snails 5 Checkerboard snails 5 Cerith snails 1 Electric Flame Scallop <Rarely live> 5 Oysters (Seafood variety for lobster) 5 Clams (Seafood variety for lobster) 5 Hermit Crabs (Variety) 2 Condylactis (small pink tips) 1 Feather Worms 1 Bubble Tip Brittle Fancy Sea Star 1 Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber 6-8 inches Water Stats Salinity: 1.025 PH: 8.3 Temp: 77-80 F Nitrate: 40ppm <Too high by about twice> Nitrite: 0ppm Ammonia: 0ppm Feeding Schedule Liquid Phytoplankton 5ml once every other day Frozen Mysid Shrimp twice daily one cube at a time Frozen Silverside fish 1"x2" inch chunks once every other day Water Changes 7 ?  Gallons every 2 weeks Instant Ocean salt mix brand Supplements Used (per directions on bottle) <Add these through the pre-mixed water changes> Marine Buff Calcium Iodine Trace Elements Strontium & Molybdenum <Bob Fenner> Compatibility/Stocking  - 4/11/2006 Your website is incredible.  <Thank you.> I have quite a few questions for you guys.  First I'll let you know what I'm working with.  I have a 55 gallon tank with an Emperor 400 filter, Berlin Airlift protein skimmer (for up to 60 gallon tanks), about 25 lbs of live rock.  <I'd go with more rock.> The tank has been up and running for about a month and a half now.  Things seem to be going well so far, as I have a temp of about 79, pH of 8.1-8.2, and no ammonia, nitrites or nitrates.  Currently I have 2 false percula clowns, a lawnmower blenny and a red general starfish.  The blenny has finally gotten completely used to us and the tank and is much more active in eating things.  The clowns are perfectly happy and very hungry.  I haven't seen the star eat yet, but he is very active and moves around my tank a lot, usually up near the water line.  I intend to only get 3 more fish.  I am thinking of getting a dwarf angel of some sort (coral beauty, eiblii, potters), <Go with the Coral Beauty, the other two are much more difficult to acclimate/keep.> a Kole tang and a yellow tang.  I know that tangs usually don't mix well but I know of a few people that have had no issues with a tank my size and mixed genus tangs.  <Your tank would be too small for keeping tangs.  Smaller ones will work for starters if you plan on upgrading to a larger tank in the future.> With that said, what would be the best order to introduce those two tangs?  I'm thinking that the Kole tang first since it is more peaceful and then the yellow.  <Introduce at the same time.> I won't be getting either tang for a few months anyway since I'll be going on vacation, so that will allow the tank to mature even more before I introduce either.  <Yes, tangs shouldn't be introduced into new systems and DO quarantine before placing in display tank.  Do search quarantine on our site.> I've also read on your site that I shouldn't be meticulous in cleaning the tank before you get a tang because tangs feed off of the growth.  I have a brownish-orange like substance (diatoms I'm thinking) that grows fairly quickly and my skimmer does remove a decent amount of waste.  How long should I let it grow before I introduce the Kole tang so that he has plenty to graze off of? <Tangs do not eat diatom growth.>  Also, how should I go about removing fish waste if I'm not syphoning the growth (for the benefit of the tang(s)?  Will the protein skimmer take care of all that for me?  <No, and the amount of algae growing will not sustain two tangs.  Also, considering my stocking plans, what would be the proper amount of live rock to add, if any, to keep an angel, blenny and two tangs happy since they all will graze on the growth?  <Lets get this "growth" out of your head.  All fish should be fed healthy diets and not rely what is growing in the tank, that is just supplementary food.> Should I introduce all the live rock, if any, that I need to add at the same time or stagger it in some way? <I'd add all at once.  Tim, do search tangs on our site, know their requirements/needs and systems to maintain them before you buy.> Thank you so much for your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog) Tim

Am I going crazy? SW stocking   4/9/06 Hi! I'm the owner of a 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. I cycle the tank with a 400 gph Bio-wheel, 100 protein skimmer, and a 190 gph power head. The aquarium is heated by a 150 watt heater and lighted with a 192 watt power compact. I also have 35 lbs live rock and 40 lbs live sand. <Sane thus far> I really never did any research on the fish I was going to put together (big mistake huh?) <A common one> but they're doing fine for now. I have 2 ocellaris clowns (about 1 inch each), 1 blue tang (about 2 inches), and 1 flame angelfish (about 2 inches). <These last two need more room...> My invertebrates include 1 bubble tip anemone (small), 2 feather dusters, and 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp. I never knew that it could be problem until I read some stuff on your website (it's great by the way). <A rational statement ;?> There hardly are any quarrels. They seem like there just playing tag (no damaged fins). Will this all work out? <Mmm, not likely in the long run> Can I wait until either the flame angelfish or the blue tang get to 4 inches and then I'll remove one of them and still have a peaceful aquarium?   Sincerely,   George R. <Only time/experience can/will tell. I'd be looking for that next larger system... using the 30 for back-up, a sump, quarantine... Bob Fenner> Not another question! Not another mis- over-mixed livestocking situation!   4/7/06 Since you guys are so fast at answering all my questions, I've got another one! I am planning to have 3 ocellaris clownfish (small), 1 yellow tang (small), 1 feather duster, 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, and 1 bubble tip anemone (small or medium) in my 30 gallon aquarium. <... not another mis- over-mixed livestocking situation! Too small for this, these...> To cycle this tank I'm going to have a 400 gph Bio-wheel, 190 gph power head, and a protein skimmer (worthy to cycle a 100 gallon aquarium). I'm going to heat it with a 150 watt heater and lighting it with a 192 watt power compact. There will be 35 lbs of Fiji live rock and 60 lbs of live sand. Please tell me if this is a good idea. <Which? This is too much LS, LR to fit here... and much livestock> I've seen yellow tangs in 30 gallon aquariums before and their still in good condition (that's the only reason why I wanted to have one in my aquarium). Can you also tell me if 1 maroon clown (small) and a coral beauty/flame angel (small) would do good in a 30 aquarium with the same invertebrates listed above. <Can tell you. No> All the fish and invertebrates are recommended to be in a 30 gallon aquarium (except the tang) so if you have any reason to tell me why the fish or invertebrates wouldn't do well in that aquarium please do so.   It's my third question in a row and still going,   Jeffrey Richardson      P.S. Have you, yourself, ever had experience mixing clownfish? Please tell me how long it took one clownfish to die! <... All the answers re the individual species of fishes you mention are posted on WWM... Go, read there... re Systems, Compatibility. What you propose won't work. Bob Fenner>

Stocking/Compatibility    4/6/06 Thank you guys and gals for answering my questions so fast, so here's another one! I really don't know what to put in my 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. Here's the line ups: either 4 ocellaris clownfish and one yellow tang, or 4 ocellaris and one blue tang, <No tangs, not enough room, small or not.> or 4 ocellaris 2 yellow head jawfish and 1 fire fish, or 1 maroon clownfish and 1 Foxface lo, or 2 ocellaris 1 royal Basslet and one yellow or blue tang, or 1 maroon clown and 1 coral beauty or flame angle. All will be small when added and removed when they get too big. Please tell me which one will be better! In every situation (as stated above) I will have 1 bubble tip anemone, <Tank too small for anemones.> 2 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 10 dwarf blue leg hermit crabs, 1 brittle star, and 3 feather dusters. Do I need to subtract any or completely take one out of the list. <You can take quite a few off the list.  If your system incorporates a wet/dry/sump, you can get by with four smaller fish such as the ocellaris or jawfish and firefish.  Foxface will not do well in this size tank.> For every situation I will have the proper equipment to take care of them. And could you also tell me where I could buy cured Fiji live rock for really cheap.  Who is "really cheap"?  Funny name.  Do a google search for prices just like I would have to.  James (Salty Dog)>   You guys rock,   Jeffrey Richardson

A Tough Crowd (Stocking A Tank With Large, Aggressive Fishes) 7/13/05 I was wanting to get your opinion on the following for an aggressive tank: Asfur Angel, Yellow Tang, Picasso or Niger Trigger, Harlequin Tusk and Miniatus or Red Flag Grouper.  The tank will be a 220 gallon with liverock.  I will have a Turboflotor 1000 and a wet/dry filter which I could convert to a sump only.  Is this too many fish for that size tank?  If so, what should I leave out? Thanks, Chris <Hi, Chris- I think that this is a bit too many large fish for this system. I'd probably leave out the Grouper and the trigger. These fishes become very large, can be aggressive, and produce copious amounts of metabolic waste, which can overwhelm even a capable skimmer like yours. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Chromis Fish The Chromis always hung out in the upper third of the water free-swimming and the clown stayed lower in her "nest" so they did not interact much. <Normal behavior.> I would recognize the Chromis bubbling behavior now, of course, so if any of the fish do it, I can catch it sooner. But the Chromis was dead when I found him on top of the tank. Had he not flipped out he might have been sick a much longer time. I heard him do it a couple of weeks ago, intermittently, then he just seemed to go berserk the other night. <Strange behavior for a Chromis> We will be checking the tank today--my daughter (it's her tank) was out of town, so now we'll check the parameters. Our trouble now is that the yellow tang is getting territorial, and is harassing the maroon clown. The dragon wrasse is now about 8 inches long and getting more heft. The wrasse does not harass the clown or the tang, but chases the dart fish away if they come out to eat, so we make sure they get fed at least when the wrasse is sleeping. The yellow tang loves the wrasse and follows him around and they hideout in their cave together. I think this has something to do with why the tang is bothering the clown fish. The tang backs up to the clown swishing her tail with fins raised and tries to run the clown off. Do you think there is some danger to the clown fish and is there something we should do sooner than later? <Nothing to worry about here, no danger to the clown.> The little pygmy flame angel just swims around sort of aloof to it all. Amy says this fish really thinks the whole tank is his own. <A peaceful fish.> We are preparing to split the group and put the tang and the wrasse in one large tank together, and leave the smaller fish together in the smaller tank. Does this sound reasonable? <As long as there is no bloodshed, you are just observing normal behavior in the close confines  of a marine tank.> We got custody of the baby dragon wrasse when the ex-boyfriend left town. Now he is a regular grownup and capable of moving some heavy rocks! Any advice would be appreciated! <Kathy, if you don't want your rocks moved, then I'd say find a home for the dragon wrasse. Other than that, you are just observing pecking orders taking place.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome> Kathy

Stocking Hello Again, <Hello Stan> Please excuse this long message, but I could really use another opinion.  At least one that is not based on making a sale.  But first here is my setup.  140gal Oceanic RR tank, 160lb LR, 120lb LS, 2 x 1.5" standpipes going to sump with filter bag, Euro Reef 8-2 skimmer, Aqua 25w UV, Outer Orbit 2x150W HQI-MH + 2 x 110W PC Actinic + moonlights, 2 x 250W heaters, 2 x 2500 Rio pumps for return and Wavemaster Pro running two Maxi jet 1200s and two Maxi jet 400s. The tank has been setup now for a while, and everything seems to be running as expected.  Thus far, I have a cleaning crew busy at work keeping the tank tidy, and presentable for the new inhabitants to be. Which brings me to my dilemma, who should I pick as the new residents of my tank.  Below is a list of possibilities, and what I'm looking for is a heads up on possible non-compatible combinations and in which order to introduce them into the tank.  In addition, I do plan on adding a variety of soft corals, polyps, anemones and maybe a clam or two. Bicolor Angel - Centropyge bicolor Coral Beauty Angel - Centropyge bispinosus Flame Angel - Centropyge loriculus Black Cap Basslet - Gramma melacara Royal Gramma - Gramma loreto Bicolor Blenny - Ecsenius bicolor Sailfin Blenny, Lawnmower Blenny - Salarias fasciatus Percula Clown, True Pair- Amphiprion percula Green Chromis - Chromis viridis x 5 Firefish Goby - Nemateleotris magnifica x 3 Firefish, Purple - Nemateleotris decora x 3 Diadema, Purple Stripe Pseudochromis - Pseudochromis diadema Springeri Pseudochromis - Pseudochromis springeri Fridmani Pseudochromis - Pseudochromis fridmani Strawberry, Purple Pseudochromis - Pseudochromis porphyreus Fire Shrimp - Lysmata debelius x 2 Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis x 2 Peppermint Shrimp - Lysmata wurdemanni x 2 Purple Tang - Zebrasoma xanthurus <Stan, please read here on stocking order/levels.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marstk10.htm Some specific questions I have off the top of my head are: 1a) Can you house more then one firefish or does always "one" come out as the lone survivor ? <They do best in groups of three or more> 1b) Can you mix and match firefish (magnifica and decora) ? <Google search, keyword, firefish, on the Wet Web> 2) Will the Pseudochromis (spelling ?) pick on the shrimp ? <Shouldn't> 3) Will the two blennies get along? <Shouldn't be a problem in your tank.> I guess with any of these, I'm more or less looking for tried and true "DON'T DO IT's as opposed to "they might work, just keep an eye on them". <Stan, do the reading I suggested.  We really can't take the time required to put together a "package" for you and still answer the amount of queries we receive daily.  Do google searches on the fish you are interested in, and you will find your answers.  There was a lot of time spent putting the Wet Web together to help people just like yourself.  Enjoy, and read.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again, Stan Proper lighting and filtration for a small mis-stocked marine system Hello there. I am a little confused as to which type of lighting and filtration would be best for my tank. It is a 30 gallon,  30" wide, 12.5" deep and 20" high. I have 30 pounds live sand and 23 pounds live rock. I have two domino damsels, two clowns, <Trouble a' brewing with these fishes mixed here> a  Christmas tree coral and a bubble tipped anemone that is shown much attention by one of the clowns and one of the dominos. The tank came with an Eclipse hood which is lacking in all regards. I am considering a Orbit power compact 2x65 for lighting and a Fluval 204 canister filter along with a Seaclone 100 skimmer. <A good switch for the lighting... the skimmer? Puny, but serviceable here... though not worthy of putting on a larger system> I would like to eventually include a rose bubble tipped and blue carpet anemones. Your opinion and recommendations greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. <A very poor idea... anemones are not easily kept period... I would NOT mix them, especially in such a small volume. Please do yourself and your livestock the great aid of reading on WWM re their care, selection, systems. Bob Fenner> Refugiums, and Stocking a Reef Tank Hello- Sorry to bother you again! I decided that I want a refugium for my 55 gallon tank, and was wondering if the large Aquafuge external HOT refugium would be enough to filter my whole reef tank, or do you recommend the use of a sump/refugium? <Either work fine... you may want more mechanical filtration> If I used the hang on tank refugium how often, and how much would I need to do water changes, keeping in mind that I want to do few water changes a month? <About the same... see WWM re> Also I was wondering if I would be able to keep 1 percula clown, 1 mandarin goby, 1 firefish, and 5 green Chromis in this tank setup? <Should be fine> If not how many fish could I keep? If so could I also keep a hippo tang in there too, Keeping in mind I want to do as little water changes as possible. Thanks so much for your help, I greatly appreciate all the help. Will <I would study, set your mind on about what this system is going to take in the way of your time, before committing to the hobby. Bob Fenner>  

Yellow tang vs. the shrooms, using WWM Hey, Aquaman here. I am just wondering if a yellow tang would bother a species of mushrooms or if there is any...none tastier species. Fill me in on this please. Thanks for your time. -Aaron <Hey, help yourself... Use the Google search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ or the indices... to learn about the compatibility of these (and other) species. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking a 29g reef Thank you for the helpful reply, <you're welcome!> I think I may modify my stocking plan a bit and would like to get your feedback. Maroon clowns are hard to come by in my area, and the ones I'm seeing just don't look fit enough to take a chance on. <Then avoid them. Maroons, while beautiful, tend to be very  aggressive> How about a pair of false Percs and the angel? <Good> Also are some dwarf angels more reef safe then others? <Yes. Much more so> I would consider the Coral Beauty and the Half Black as well. <I really like the Coral Beauty> Any info on those would be great if you thought there would be better choices in a 29g reef. <I think you are on the right track. Just realize, that most fish are a gamble in a reef especially Angels. Some specimens like the dwarf varieties, are a much better bet than others> Thanks, Ehren <You're welcome! David Dowless>

- Cold Ship - Hi crew. <Good morning, JasonC here...> We are newbies to the saltwater world and did a mail order of a feather duster from LA. We live in Minnesota. When it arrived, the temp of the water was 45 degrees. Followed the acclimation procedure to-the-letter. Its been 3 days and no plume, and actually looks dead. Tonight, however, (day 4)  we have noticed a long segmented "worm"  that follows the exterior of the tube. Is it rebuilding its tube? <I doubt it, that was probably something else you saw. 45 degrees is much too cold for a delicate tropical invertebrate like a feather duster. I'm sorry to say that it was likely DOA. You might want to mention this to the company that shipped it you, and likewise don't have anything shipped more than over night during this time of year. Packages end up sitting around in unheated warehouses.> Thanks for any insight. <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking a 29g reef Hello, I am a fairly experienced marine aquarist who has had a 37g FO and a 55g reef in the past. I haven't had a tank for 3 years, but have just set up a 29g reef to get back into the game. Here is the setup-29g tank, aqua c remora HO skimmer, 30lbs completely cured live rock (bought it from my LFS which is quite good and always has full cured live rock). 4-5" DSB consisting of 3 different types of sand one of which being the new live sand in a bag stuff (who knows if it was even worth it). Lighting is 2 24"VHOs in a custom hood. 2 RIO 400 PHs and 1 Power sweep for circulation. I am about to purchase a dosing pump for top off and Kalk (if I decide to use it). <Sounds like good choices so far!> I plan on keeping hardy soft corals like mushrooms and polyps, maybe some leathers. I would love to keep open brains but am not sure how they would do with the softies. <Would most likely work. Be sure that you keep all corals placed away from each other and running carbon would help with the chemical warfare> Do soft corals need constant calcium supplements? (it seems as if some go overkill in this area, I've always found water changes to be very effective). <Yes softies also need reasonable levels of calcium...certainly not as much as hard corals> So that is the setup, but here is the real question about the fish I wish to keep in order that I would add: 1 tank raised Gold stripe maroon clown, 1 scooter blenny, 1 flame angel. Will the angel work? <Introduce it last. It will work depending upon the personality of the clown AND angel> I've kept them before, and I've seen them in tanks my size, they are my favorite fish. I would consider any of the other dwarf angels if size could be a consideration. But if the dwarf angels are out of the question altogether, then I would substitute with a small 3 spot damsel (don't ask why but I love these fish. Would it be ok if added last even though it is aggressive?) <This critter is gorgeous but grows to 5.5 inches and is very territorial. I like the angel in your scenario better than the three spot. The tanks just not large enough to accommodate this fish in the long term> I would take any suggestions on my setup and livestock I wish to keep. <You got 'em! David Dowless> Ehren Crumpler

Marine livestock questions Hey guys... <Howdy!> 90 gallon saltwater system 90lbs live rock 2 Percula Clowns 1 Pearlscale Butterfly 1 Watchman Goby 1 Fire Goby 1 Pistol Shrimp 1 Coral Banded Shrimp 1 Red White-Striped Shrimp 1 large red emerald crab 1 small green emerald crab (potentially missing in action) <These guys can hide really well> 1 small black brittle star 25 Turbo's 45 down to 20 hermit crabs Temp 77f Salinity 1.021 pH 8.2 No traces of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites <So far so good. For the sake of the inverts, you might consider getting the salinity closer to sea water levels. Take your time and go slowly on this one> Questions: 1.  I hadn't seen my small emerald crab for about two-three weeks and then I saw him over two days around Christmas... haven't seen him since. Could/would something eat him?  Or would you think he is perhaps just hanging out at the back of the tank??  If he did perish, would a dead emerald crab deteriorate my water? <Probably hiding. I had two that hid for months. No they aren't large enough to pollute your water> 2.  My Brittle Star was half eaten (3 out of 5 legs) but seemed to be doing ok when he was at the front of the tank.  Haven't seen him in almost three weeks.  Should I be worried, or do you think he also might be hanging out somewhere that isn't visible?  If he did perish, would he pollute my tank enough to be worried about??  I kinda like the Stars... based on my current livestock, is there anything that i have that is known to eat them?  Was wanting to get another two or three... but don't want to waste $10 a pop on critter lunches. <I suspect that you should have seen a brittle by now. Unless it is really big, it shouldn't pollute your water too bad. However, I would want to find it if it's dead. The hermits will assist in getting rid of the body if your search continues to be unsuccessful. You already stated that something ate the legs off this animal. Based on that statement, if I were you , I would not get another star. The butterfly is the only possibility that I can see IMO> 3.  Pistol Shrimp is eating my hermit crabs... potentially 7 or 8 a month (estimate)...  I know I shouldn't have too many Emerald Crabs... are there other crabs that would be ok with current livestock that the Pistol wouldn't eat?  Halloween Crabs perhaps (look like little red peppers)... Porcelain Crabs? etc??  Any possibility that my Pistol ate my small green Emerald Crab? <My opinion? If this shrimp has a taste for crabs it won't matter what kind you add. it will eventually become a meal. Are you sure the pistol is the one doing the damage?> 4.  I saw a small sea slug at an aquarium here... are they safe for my tank?  Positives? Negatives? <You mean nudibranchs? They are truly some of the most beautiful creatures I have ever encountered BUT they do not survive very long in captivity. They have a dismal survival rate. The eating habits of most nudibranchs are very mysterious and as yet unknown. Since it isn't known what they eat...what would you feed it? Save money and heartbreak, skip this animal.>   5.  I have read that my Pearlscale Butterfly is supposed to eat small invertebrates?? <Yes> Is that correct???  I haven't seen him bother any of my snails or crabs, but I do notice him picking at my liverock.  I have read through your liverock section and am no biologist.  In simple terms, what is it that I want to grow on my liverock to produce food?? <Copepods, various types of algae. All grow naturally but will proliferate without the presence of fishes> How can I get more growth on my liverock?   <There's lots of life there already.  That's why the animals pick at it. No worries in this department> I bought 90lbs of cycled liverock when I setup my tank... Is there anything else I need to do to it? <No> It was fully cured, etc...   It has green and purple algae growing on it and even some grass-like stuff that my crabs were eating... (grass is gone now - eaten)...   It seems much easier to read and understand about fish/shrimp/crabs... as opposed to liverock, micro-organisms, etc... <Agreed> Thanks guys, you're awesome...  Everyone that has a saltwater tank or is thinking about it... I have forwarded your site to them and they can't believe how valuable you guys are!!! <We at WWM do appreciate the kind gesture> Of note, my Cleaner Shrimp and my Coral Banded are surviving quite well together.  Are CB Shrimps blind?? <No. But they are/tend-to-be aggressive. It's making a mad dash for whatever comes close. Typical behavior> Just curious, because I have seen him lunge a few times at creatures and he has terrible aim! <Ha!> Dave <David Dowless answering this evening>

Adding To The Mix! Hi WWM crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Thank you very much for providing the site and as a constant source of help to us. <Glad to be here! We all learn together!> I have a 100G tank with the following inhabitant: 6" Powder Blue Tang, eating like a pig and is currently the king of the tank. 2 X 3" Gold Head Goby, also very healthy and swimming around, 3" Banggai Cardinalfish. I also have a few soft corals, sea fans, one feather duster and one Tridacna maxima. <Sounds nice!> I'm not fond of fish having sizes that are too small, so basically I'm not interested in keeping fishes like goby and damselfish. <Darn! LOL> I'm considering the following fish: Coral beauty or frame angel but afraid they will eat my corals.  If I keep them in Q tank for a long time, say 2 months and feed them with Mysis shrimp and home made food, after they became accustomed to my food, will they ignore my corals? <Interesting thought, but the fishes are so individualistic, that a given Coral Beauty (which I think is the "safest" of the pygmy angels for a reef tank) will still munch on the corals, while another individual of the same species might ignore them completely! It's a gamble!> Longnose butterfly but afraid my feather duster and Tridacna maxima will be in danger.  Is this fear real? <I'd worry more about the feather duster than the clam...> 4" purple tang but I afraid it may be attacked by the PB tang. <Yep-very likely- I'd avoid this fish> If I introduce it to the tank with other fishes (such 3 fishes) at the same time, will this reduce this threat since the PB tang will suddenly find the tank got 3 more occupants and maybe too busy to chase all of them? <Interesting idea/theory, but I'd avoid adding this fish to your tank...too many potential problems, IMO> Any other way to reduce this threat? <Get a much larger tank! Seriously!> For butterfly and angelfish, are there any other suggestion which may suit my tank? <I'd try the Coral Beauty, myself!> For tang, is purple tank a good choice or there are other better tang suggestion? <Honestly, I'd avoid adding another tang to this tank. You know that I'm going to suggest adding some gobies, blennies, maybe a Pseudochromis, or a couple of small wrasses! Not big fishes, but interesting and colorful, and much more compatible, in my opinion! Do check them out!> Thank you very much for your help and support. Regards, Manus <And thank you for stopping by again, Manus! Good luck!>

Fish Compatibility MEGA chart? bob is their info or a link on what fish can go together and what can't or is it trial by fire! <Nothing that is complete, universal as far as I know... too many variables, exceptions within groups. Bob Fenner>

Re: Copper Dear WWM crew:   Greetings & ongoing thanks for your superb site! <You're welcome> I recently learned that my LFS continuously runs copper in his FO tanks to cut down on parasites. Is this common practice in the industry? <Yes, common... even in public aquariums> Is this a good idea? <No, not really. Would be fine if this were a part of "step 2" in a strict ongoing quarantine process for all incoming fishes... part 1 being just holding fishes in a separate system and going to pt. 2 should they show evidence of parasitic infestation...> Should I be concerned about its affect on the fish? I have not changed my quarantine practices. Thanks, Steve Allen <Mmm, well, I am inclined to encourage you to purchase "short term" exposure fishes (a few weeks) and avoid longer-exposure (month or more) ones. This "middle ground", not too new, not too over-exposed will serve you best> P.S. I was at my local Petco last night & noticed that they had two tanks (shared filtration) full of clowns with white spots all over them and fins rotting off. They were not that way the other day. The young woman working there hadn't noticed and doesn't know jack about saltwater, so I told her she'd better let whoever is in charge know that they have a serious problem in those tanks and the ones connected to them. I guess I won't buy saltwater there any more. <Don't give up proffering your knowledge, advice... for all's sakes. Bob Fenner>

Re: stocking rates Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> Do you have a general rule-of-thumb for SW stocking rates?   I have heard several suggestions, such as 1 fish per 10 gallons, or 1 cm of fish per 120 cm^2 of surface area. <Well, there are many different approaches, as you correctly point out. I advocate highly conservative stocking levels that take into account a number of factors. There are a lot of variables...A 6 inch  Clown Trigger or Lionfish, for example, would give off a substantially larger amount of waste than say, 3 two-inch  Chromis. Also, keep in mind the ultimate size that some of the fishes you want to keep can reach, as well as their "psychological" needs for space...Fishes like large angels and tangs range over huge territories in the wild, and have dramatically greater needs for space than fishes like Clownfishes, which rarely venture more than a couple of feet from their host anemone. Conventional "inches per gallon" approaches simply do not apply here. Another important variable is the filtration capacity of your system...Very efficient skimmers and aggressive husbandry allow the hobbyist a bit more of a "cushion" when stocking a tank. I'm not advising pushing it- I'm just saying that you will have a greater margin for error in a well-maintained, highly filtered system. Everyone has a different approach, as you have realized. Mine is based upon my own philosophy, and certainly is not the only, or even the best, method. Sorry for the lecture- but it just goes to show you that there are lots of ways to approach this aspect of aquarium keeping.>   I currently have a Longnose Butterfly, Royal Gramma, Halichoeres chrysus wrasse, and Neon Goby in my 75 gal. setup (with about 100 lbs of live rock and a few soft corals).  I'd like to add a Flame Angel and am wondering if I should stop at that. <I'd agree that you should stop it after adding the Flame. You'll enjoy the population that you have for some time!> Thanks very much, John.H <And thank you for writing, John. For more on stocking marine aquariums, check out this link:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm Enjoy! Regards, Scott F>

Stocking A New Tank! Hi Crew, <Scott F. with you today> I have a 220 g FOWLR system that has completed cycling.  Just bought my first two fish, a purple tang and a tomato clown.  I was wondering if I wanted to add any further clowns to this aquarium would it be best to add another tomato or is it ok to add a maroon or a percula (could all 3 work in this size tank - about 100 lbs. of live rock). <Hard to say. The clowns will generally get along together; however, keeping the same species together could ultimately resulting a pair, which would be pretty interesting to watch, IMO!> My next two fish after this I'm hoping for is a queen angel and maybe a "peaceful" trigger such as a Humu-Humu.  Will this work. <The Queen Angel is a wonderful fish. If you add this fish, do take into account its ultimate size, which can be over 15 inches. Best to get a small specimen to start with. A Humu Humu trigger is a great fish, one of my favorites! Should do fine in this setup. They do get somewhat more belligerent as they get older...Triggers have very distinct individual "personalities", so you'll just have to see how yours matures. You also may want to consider the Blue Chin or Crosshatch Triggerfishes. Both are more expensive (and more rare) than the Humu, but are planktivores, and generally are regarded as more peaceful than the Humu.> By the way, I've read that tangs like "Nori" where can a person by this. Thanks. Joe <You can get Nori (which is used for sushi, among other things) at many Asian markets, particularly those which specialize in Japanese foods. Even better for your tang would be fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria parvispora (we call it "Ogo"). You can also get this at many Asian markets in "fresh" form, or, you could get live Gracilaria from Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kailua-Kona. It's probably the best tang food that you can get, in my opinion. Tangs go crazy over this stuff. Give it a try! Hope you enjoy your new tank! Regards, Scott F>

Stocking a 29g reef Hello, I am a fairly experienced marine aquarist who has had a 37g FO and a 55g reef in the past. I haven't had a tank for 3 years, but have just set up a 29g reef to get back into the game. Here is the setup-29g tank, aqua c remora HO skimmer, 30lbs completely cured live rock (bought it from my LFS which is quite good and always has full cured live rock). 4-5" DSB consisting of 3 different types of sand one of which being the new live sand in a bag stuff (who knows if it was even worth it). Lighting is 2 24"VHOs in a custom hood. 2 RIO 400 PHs and 1 Power sweep for circulation. I am about to purchase a dosing pump for top off and Kalk (if I decide to use it). <I would recommend Kalkwasser, dosed at night/early AM to accommodate calcium usage/pH. I give the PowerSweep two weeks, a month max. before it stops "sweeping". Sorry....> I plan on keeping hardy soft corals like mushrooms and polyps, maybe some leathers. I would love to keep open brains but am not sure how they would do with the softies. Do soft corals need constant calcium supplements? (it seems as if some go overkill in this area, I've always found water changes to be very effective). <This depends.  With Kalk use you can dose according to tests/actual usage. They don't have the calcium demands of LPS/SPS/Clams. I would still test alk/calcium/pH/phosphates, etc.> So that is the setup, but here is the real question about the fish I wish to keep in order that I would add: 1 tank raised Gold stripe maroon clown, 1 scooter blenny, 1 flame angel. Will the angel work? I've kept them before, and I've seen them in tanks my size, they are my favorite fish. I would consider any of the other dwarf angels if size could be a consideration. But if the dwarf angels are out of the question altogether, then I would substitute with a small 3 spot damsel (don't ask why but I love these fish. Would it be ok if added last even though it is aggressive?) I would take any suggestions on my setup and livestock I wish to keep. Ehren Crumpler <I'm not a big fan of the Centropyge Angels for their temperaments and sometimes polyp nipping.  They are beautiful fish (I have a Flame Angel) but they *can* be a problem with other fish and with corals.  This is individual and if this is your favorite fish I would probably go for it, but be forewarned, they don't all work out. Mine hassles the Clown and Blenny all day and nips at some polyps on occasion. If I had it to do over, or he was easy to catch, I would put him in his own big vat of rock. I would avoid Damsels as well. If you decide against the Flame Angel, check out the stocking section of WetWebMedia.com.  Hope this helps! Craig>

Throwing Some More Fish Into The Mix! Hello crew,  Quite a webpage you have here.  Lots of good information. <Glad that you find it useful! Scott F. with you today> >I have a stocking question for you, but first, here's the information on my system: 45 gallon breeder tank w/ approx. 15 gal sump; Remora in-sump skimmer with large powerhead; CAP 1800 return pump pushing about 400-450 gph.  Two powerheads in the main tank for additional circulation.  Temperature 78-80 F.; Calcium 450; pH 8.2; Ammonia 0; Nitrates <10 mg/l; Nitrites < 0.2 mg/l. <Make sure those nitrite readings are undetectable, okay?> I'm running a single 10,000K 175w MH in a pendant so that it hangs horizontally about 12-14 inches above the tank.  I have approx. 3 - 4 inches DSB; and about 20 lbs of live rock with a good growth of coralline algae, polyps, some kind of soft coral; a colony of mushrooms; etc. <Wow! Sounds like a really well-thought-out system you have there!> The tank was set up in Jan, 02, cycled with the live rock, and the first animals added in early Feb, 02. Livestock:  2 small (1-1/4 inches or so) ocellaris clowns; 1 royal Gramma (about 2 inches long); 2 peppermint shrimp; 2 Astrea snails; 1 small pulsing xenia (~2 inches tall); various pods worms, etc. <A nice mix of animals!> I'm just recovering from a hair algae problem caused, I'm told by my water quality (treated tap instead of RO/DI), and will be adding some more snails and small blue-legged hermits to hopefully finish off the algae or at least most of it.  Pesky stuff, that hair algae. <Yep- keep up the good regular water changes with high quality source water, aggressive protein skimming, and careful feeding, and it will stay away!> Now for my question:  I know, from reading, that my tank is probably too small for a tang, but I'd like to have some kind of larger, more active, flashier fish in there.  Could you make any recommendations? <Well- there are a lot of neat fishes that would "fit the bill" here. How about a few (like 3) Fairy or Flasher wrasses? There are a number of different species; all stay relatively small, are colorful, interesting, and totally reef safe. Also, you may want to consider some neat blennies, like the Meiacanthus group. These are active, colorful, mid-water fishes with tons of personality, and they stay relatively small. Another idea would be a few cardinalfishes. Again- they stay small, are available in a number of colorful varieties, and are reef safe. You may want to consider a smaller Centropyge angelfish, such as the Cherub Angelfish (C. argi); they are small, but can be a bit feisty. And, as angelfishes, they cannot be counted on to be 100% reef safe! Of course, I just scratched the surface of possible fishes for this tank. Check the wetwebmedia.com FAQs for many other possibilities!> BTW, I've just joined a local reef group, and will probably be adding some small coral frags in the not too distant future. <Ahh! All the more reason that "reef-safe" (if there is such a thing) is an important consideration for any new fishes!> Thanks for your time and patience, Dow Mathis Kerrville, Texas <A pleasure, Dow! Your tank sounds great! Have fun, and feel free to contact us again any time! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Marine Aquarium Stocking Plan Hello, <Hi> First, thanks to Mr. Dowless for his quick response to my question about live rock in a beginner's aquarium. It was very well written and quite a quick response. I truly appreciate the service you are providing to a new marine aquarist, such as myself. <I'm glad to be of help> >My question today is around a stocking plan. I am about to set up a 55 gallon tank, with 50 lbs of live rock, sand substrate, and an Ecosystem brand refugium filtration system. <Sounds good so far> After proper cycling takes place, and the water quality is where I (and my helpful dealer) think it should be, I would like to slowly begin to add fish. <Slowly is the key> I am currently doing research, on the internet and by reading Mr. Fenner's book, on the subject of stocking. I really want to avoid overstocking and placing the livestock in a cruel and dangerous situation. My research seems to indicate that I can safely add (over time) about 12 inches of fish. <Most of us at WWM hate these inches per gallon type of judgments. Think about this: Will one fish that is 12" produce the same amount of waste as 6 small fishes that are each 2" long?> I assume this means the sum of the potential lengths of the fish. <If this is the type of measurement you choose to use, you are correct> May I please have your opinion on the following stocking plan? <Yep> First, 2 or 3 tank raised clownfish. (2 inches each?) <Remember that "potential length" issue? Depending on what type of clown you want (I assume ocellaris or percula since you said tank raised), these two species grow from 3.2" to 3"5. You're already near 12" if you have 3 of these> After about a month or so, a flame angel. (3 inches?) <Grows to almost 4"> After a number of months, a small yellow tang. (3 inches?) <Grows to almost 8"! I think two of the smaller clowns and the angel would be better than the tang. You could add other fishes that will stay small. I know you probably don't want to hear this but a 55 is pushing it with a tang. These guys need room to forage and swim> Also, after many months to a year of learning and experience, I would like to convert to a reef tank by upgrading the lighting and adding live rock. Given the stock of fish above, would I be able to add some hardy inverts as well? <Absolutely> Thanks for your time. I am beginning to understand all of the variables that comprise the proper stocking of a given tank.  I would like to err on the side of caution. <You are very wise and will go far in this hobby. Keep reading and learning from others mistakes. David Dowless>

- Livestock Selection - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> I have a 55 gal tank with 65lbs dead rock (I used the same live rock from my tank 3yrs ago.  I did "re-cure" it for 8 wks before putting in the tank" 40lbs live sand.  The water temp is 77 degrees, ph 8.1, tests for no nitrates or nitrites.  I started the tank on Nov. 18th of 2002.  I added my first specimen a six line wrasse on Dec. 13th along with 25 Margarita snails, 25 red leg crabs. <Zoinks! Why so many snails and hermit crabs?> So far everything is doing real well. I would like to add either a fish, crab, shrimp, or star fish to turn over the sand.  I have read many things and I'm still confused.  I'm not sure whether my sand active with copepods now can support a Fromia star fish, or if I would be better with a goby. <I prefer Nassarius snails for cleaning the sand, but something like a neon goby would be a good fish for this tank if you are leaning towards a fish.> I would like to find something to be active in turning the sand over so maybe I wouldn't have to stir it myself so frequently. <Once your population of hermits and margarita snails reduces itself, do try the Nassarius snails.> If I do get a fish I would like to find something medium to small.  Since I would like to still add a Flame Angel, and a Yellow Tang. <Do try to wait for the flame angel, at least six months if you can. They need excellent water quality, and a mature system. Likewise, a 55 is really on the small side for any type of tang. Think about that neon goby.> Please let me know what way I should lean towards..... Thanks for all your help, Rick    <Cheers, J -- >

Go Fish! Good day to the crew, hope your New Year is the best ever. <Thanks! The same to you and your family! Scott F. with you tonight> I have a question about compatibility. I have a tank full of coral and I am looking to add a few fish. I have a 75 with two refugiums for a total of around 100 gallons of water. I have a 3" Yellow Tang, 1.5" O. Clown, 1.75" Blue Devil, two Cleaner Shrimp, Fire Shrimp, Serpent Star, six Hermit Crabs and various Snails and hitchhikers. I have Xenia, Green Star Polyps, Yellow Polyps, Cup Coral, several Zoanthus species, and several different varieties of mushrooms. I also intend to add a clam to my second refugium with MH lighting. The clam will not be with the fish. My water parameters are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and silicate undetectable. KH is 5.5 meg/L, calcium 380. I know the KH is high I had a problem with my source RO water that is now resolved and things are coming back into line. <Good to hear that!> By the time fish are out of QT this will be back to normal. I also have a good skimmer running on the tank. I would like to add a Royal Gamma. Would it be possible to add two in a 4' tank? <I think that it certainly is possible, given enough hiding places and rockwork for the fishes to establish territories. My experience, and the experience of other hobbyists who have kept these fishes in groups, seems to indicate that keeping them in trios or small groups as opposed to pairs. Do make sure that all of the fishes are introduced at once, as well, so that they can establish a social order and territories simultaneously> Another O. Clown, Coral Beauty or Flame Angel if you think its worth trusting them to be "reef safe." <Wow- you're gonna put me on the spot here with that one! Personally, I have maintained Flame Angels and Coral Beauties in reef tanks with good results. Of the two, I'd give the slight edge to the Coral Beauty for being more reliably "reef safe". The only problem I have experienced with a Flame was one that tended to nip at a Trachyphyllia. It left everything else alone, however. I'm not saying that you're guaranteed to have great results with these fishes in a reef, but they worked for me.> I would not add all these fish at once of course. Is this too much of a fish load? <I would certainly stop after the Centropyge angelfish and maybe one Royal Gramma. In fact, if you want to keep a group of Grammas, I'd pass on the angel. Given the fact that the tank can hit almost 8 inches, I'd say that you'd really be ill advised to add any more fish than this> My wife also likes Green Chromis and I could substitute several of these if you see a compatibility problem? <They are great fishes, but you still want to take into account the bioload issue here> I have also looked at the Blennies and Dotty backs but I am afraid the Blennies may dig into my plenum and the Dotty backs may be too aggressive. I do not want to overstock or stress my current animals. I'm happy with what I have, but the wife wants more colorful fish. What are your thoughts? <I like the idea of a Royal Gramma grouping, but I'd pass on the idea in this tank. I think with damsels, a tang, and possibly a Centropyge angel, the Grammas would not settle in quite like you'd want them to. I think it would be cool to try a Centropyge and maybe a Meiacanthus Blenny, such as the Canary Blenny (M. ovaluanensis) or Striped Blenny (M. grammistes). Both of these guys are "reef-safe", swim in mid water, stay small, are colorful, and will not dig. Another colorful fish that you may want to try is the so-called "Yellow Coris Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus), which is colorful and active, too (although it gets to about 4 inches). I suppose that I've now sent you "back to the books" again! Check out all of these cool little fishes on the wetwebmedia.com site. Small fishes are cool! Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Nothing Fishy Here! Re: Blenny, Angel, Butterfly My main LFS is having its winter sale (40% off livestock) in a couple weeks so I'm obviously exited and planning. <Time to break that piggy bank open! Scott F here- hoping to help you spend your money wisely> I am looking for one more fish for my 40g FOWLR (at 40% off it's hard to only buy one, but I am determined to remain disciplined) and maybe an addition to my 10g FOWLR. My 40 has about 30 lbs of LR, and I'll slowly be adding another 20 lbs or so as my wallet permits. Fish include a small  maroon clown, a small flame hawk, and a small dwarf lion. I initially wanted a bicolor or midas blenny for my 40g as a last addition. After reviewing your site, the bicolor seemed the better way to go. Can it hold it's own against the hawk and clown - as far as food competition and getting picked on? <I personally would try either one of these guys. I have generally been impressed with the quality and health of most of the Midas Blennies that I've seen, as opposed to the bicolors. Both of them can certainly "hold their own", and then some!> The hawk is especially an aggressive eater as you can imagine. I am hoping it can/will help out a little with algae as well. Another possibility I was thinking of is a dwarf angel that may be better for picking at algae. I have always had a liking for the flame, but I already have an abundance of the red shades of fish and wanted to go in another color direction - maybe a centropyge eibli or vroliki. <Well, of the two, the C. vroliki is definitely the better choice (if for no other reason than it attains a smaller size than the  C. eibli. Frankly, I'd avoid either of these Centropyge species in this sized system, with your current animal population> Concerned about food, I did read over most of the site, but still have some questions. Would a dwarf angel get sufficient nutrition from formula II flakes in addition to the variety of "meaty" foods I have been feeding my other fish (trigger formula, krill, tetra marine flakes). I do have some freeze dried Nori as well, would it eat some off a clip? <Centropyge angels tend to eat a lot of vegetable matter; in fact, the bulk of their diet in the wild is algae. However, a varied diet works just fine. I'd use the Formula II frozen and flake foods, as well as Ocean Nutrition's Prime Reef with these guys.> In yet another direction, my LFS also often has long-nose yellow butterflies and chevron butterflies - attractive, plus closer to the same foods as current inhabitants. Would my 40g be too small for one of these species? <I'm afraid so. Do try the blennies in this case> So many possibilities . . <Yep- just make them small ones, okay...?> For my 10g, I currently have about 10-15 lbs or so of LR, sand substrate, and a small false percula as the sole inhabitant (with a couple hermits). I would like to add another small fish to this tank and I like the Centropyge argi (cherub?). Would the clown be too aggressive for this possible little new friend after being the only one for a year? <I think so. I'm pretty sure that you'll have difficulties adding just about any fish to this tank with the clown this well established> He doesn't really have a "territory" per se, since he swims all over the tank constantly, but then again, with only 10g, the entire tank is probably his territory. <Yep!> What are your thoughts about a small bicolor in the 10g instead? More likely to hold his own, but too small a system? If no to both of the above, I am fairly confident that a citron goby could coexist and will go that route (had one for 2 years in my other tank and enjoyed him very much). <Well, I'm more concerned about the territorial issue than I am about the suitability of any of the fishes that you mentioned. If you want to go for another fish, I guess that a small, bottom- dwelling goby would work better than a mid-water-dwelling fish that will constantly "encroach" on the clown's territory> Sorry for the length but you've helped in the past and I value the opinion of all of you greatly. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. CHRIS <Well, Chris- I love the fact that you are really researching your potential new purchases carefully! That's certainly one of the keys to success! Just use that will power and make good decisions! Good luck! regards, Scott F.> Plants and/or fish for a small marine tank Hey, <Hey yourself. Ananda here tonight answering questions about small marine tanks...> I happen to be an idiot so I started up a saltwater tank without doing much research beforehand. <You are not the first, won't be the last to do this...> Since then I've read a ton of stuff that I should have read before. <Better late than not at all!> Anyway, I have a 35 gallon tank (small, I know but all I can really fit at my place) with about 4 pounds of live rock and a couple of healthy looking black damsels - young ones, so they're not black yet. <"Black" damsels? Have not heard of that type before...the "common" names used by fish stores tend to make things more confusing than need be. Do you know the species name?> Originally I had planned to add a few more fish and see what happens. This, of course, is not a great plan. <Very true!> Having read a bunch of stuff on your site and in some good books, I'm now thinking that a better idea may be to only add one or two more fish <I would hold off on fish for a bit...you do have a quarantine tank, yes?> and instead try adding a few plants to the tank (some of the easier ones to care for). <See here for information on marine plants aka macro algae: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm> Depending on how things go, I would probably add some more live rock as well. <You really should have more live rock if you are going to rely on live rock for filtration. I would suggest about 30 pounds or more, depending on the rock source (Florida live rock is denser than Pacific rock, so you will want 1.5-2x as much Florida rock as Pacific rock).> All this would likely cause me to hold off on buying more fish for quite a while. <You will find plenty of interesting stuff on/in good live rock.> Do you have any recommendations for plants that would do well in a tank this size? I have two fluorescent lights (Life Glow and Marine Glow) <What wattage are the bulbs? That and the size (surface area as well as volume) will have some affect on what macro algae do well in your tank.> and about 1 inch of gravel, although I have more that I could add. <Please consider using live sand, rather than gravel. It will help with the filtration. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm> And one last thing - can you suggest a couple of kinds of fish that could live with a couple of black damsels in a 35 gallon tank? At my LFS they mentioned a yellow tang and a few others, but after doing my research it seems my tank is too small for the ones they suggested. <Your tank is definitely too small for a tang...kudos to you for doing the research on that. Almost all damsels are very territorial and aggressive, so you will want to go with other smallish fish with similar temperaments. Some that might work include the more aggressive clownfish and Dottybacks.>   Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Do seriously consider a good skimmer for this setup. Check http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestskmrSelfaqs.htm and the WetWebFotos discussion boards for opinions on which skimmer would be best for you. There are also numerous discussion threads about fish compatibility.> Derek <Your fish thank you for writing. --Ananda>

Stocking 12 gallon nano Thank you for all your help, but what would you recommend as some good starter reef fish? (I have a 12 gal. tank and I'm looking to fit the most fish possible into it.) <A 12 gallon is very small, this will limit your choices because of size and stability. Please check out marine stocking at WetWebMedia.com.  Make sure you under stock your small reef. Also be mindful of the fish' habits and the corals you wish to keep.  Have fun!  Craig>

Small Marine Aquarium [question sent in two parts] {part1} I was wondering if i could fit a few sea anenomes and a few Percula clown fish in a 12 gal. tank? <if you are an experienced aquarist and can provide a stable environment, two hardy A. ocellaris clowns in a 12 gallon tank with live rock would likely work. The anemone will not be possible (or at least responsible) in there under almost any circumstance (lighting, water quality issues, etc)> {Part 2} ......along with some other reef fish. <Hmmm... this follow-up to your first question makes be wonder if you are inexperienced and new, or just joking with us. It would not be possible to add 2 clowns, and anemone and "some other" fishes to a 12 gallon tank for the size of the vessel (barely big enough for 2 clowns and a few invertebrate shrimps, polyps, etc. Assuming that you fit the former category, let me suggest that you please get a good reference book before buying a single thing. Start with Mike Paletta's New Marine Aquarium book and then follow that by reading Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Also, look for a local marine society in your area. They are wonderful places to network for great fellowship and information. Best regards, Anthony>

- Starter Reef Fish - thank you for all your help, but what would you recommend as some good starter reef fish? (I have a 12 gal. tank and I'm looking to fit the most fish possible into it.) Thanks <Greetings, JasonC here. I must say, you don't really have a lot of options with a tank of this size. Likewise, your stated desire to "fit the most fish possible" will lead you to more frustration that you may want. If you want to enjoy this tank for any amount of time, please consider stocking it with only one or two fish or perhaps one fish and one cleaner shrimp. I would consider a Royal Gramma or perhaps a Neon Goby but not much more than that. Marine system don't need to be complicated, but the smaller they are, the quicker things can spin out of control. Likewise, if you haven't already, please read through the WetWebMedia site as there are many, many articles on the various fish you would want to keep and how to keep them. Cheers, J -- >

Cleaner crew Thanks again for the advice.  I hate to keep "beating a dead horse", so to speak, but I've realized that my main concern here is finding an animal that will help scavenge and keep my detritus clean.  I had a cleaner shrimp for about two years who did a really good job of gobbling up fallen food and such at the bottom of the tank and I was thinking that getting another one would help.  Since his departure, I've noticed that none of my other tank inhabitants really hang out at the bottom of the tank and it seems that the top layer of sand is getting dirtier more quickly.  Also since the cleaner shrimp's death, I got 2 peppermint shrimp because I wanted them to eat some Aiptasia off of my live rock and I wrongly assumed that they would scavenge like the cleaner shrimp.  They are very tiny, under one inch long, so I don't really know if that means they would be less of a threat to a cleaner shrimp.  Also, my peppermint shrimp stay up inside the rocks and are barely ever seen, even at feeding time.  My old cleaner shrimp used to always perch himself on rocks right out in the open or would walk along the bottom of the tank searching for food.  Would this make a difference in whether or not their territories crossed?  If you still don't think the cleaner and the peppermints would get along, do you have another suggestion for a scavenger that would help keep the detritus clean?  To recap, these are the current inhabitants:  maroon clown (Premnas biaculeatus), green brittle star (Ophiarachna incrassata), purple pseudo (Pseudochromis porphyreus), x-mas wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus), striped damsel (Dascyllus aruanus), pink and green cucumber (Pentacta anceps), pincushion urchin (Tripneustes ventricosus???), red starfish (Fromia milleporella), two peppermint shrimp, a handful of turbo and Astrea snails and lots of live rock (maybe 75 lbs). Thanks again for putting up with all of the questions.  You guys are a tremendous help! <Shrimp species will eat each other unless you have a large enough area and specifically feed your shrimp. Even then there are times, like upon molting, where shrimp are vulnerable.  Your peppermint shrimp should get out and scavenge food and detritus, probably at night when you don't see them getting around.  The same is true of cleaners. Mine station themselves on a key rock during the day and travel all over at night. I would think your current crew would do fine on your sand, esp. with an urchin and brittle star. Perhaps hand feed the shrimp to embolden them to come out more.  It is helpful at times to go through the tank with a powerhead to stir up detritus and filter/vacuum it out.  Craig>

Livestock Selection; gauging invertebrate metabolism contributions Hi Bob, I've been reading through your articles and FAQs about selecting and stocking aquariums.  I've come up with a question that others have asked, but I'm not exactly sure of your answer.  I've read that you believe in adding the "clean up crew" first.  I have no problem with this, I'm actually starting to like shrimp and crabs a lot.  Based on the articles on your site, in my 125 gallon tank, I can put 25 - 50 inches (depended on who was answering the email questions) of fish in the tank.  I've already added 4 scarlet reef hermit crabs (.5" - .75" each), 10 turbo/Astrea (mixture) snails, and one coral banded shrimp (~ 2 ").  I originally planned this to be a fish only tank, so I have no live rock, but did add some so-called Living Sand to help with cycling.  I had several Damsels in the tank for cycling, but have lost all of them.  Do you factor in the size of the inverts the same as the fish, or does it not matter as much.   <I do figure it in, but at a fraction of the metabolic load, consequence of fishes... like half> I really wanted a porcupinefish, and given that they can grow to a good size, I don't want that to be the only fish in the tank ( along with the inverts).  I also wanted a couple of Black Percula Clowns (mated pair at LFS), a blue or yellow tang or both, and a yellow tailed Damsel.  I know I need to keep the tank under-stocked, I'm just worried that the inverts will take up all of the space.  Any help would be appreciated, and thanks for all the good info on your website! <I would leave the puffer out here... too large, likely to eat much of your invertebrate, and fish life... and consider adding at least some (a few pounds) of live rock. This really helps to keep systems stable, animals fed and happy. Bob Fenner> Vince

- The meaning of life - <Greetings, JasonC here...> what are the types of fish you can mix that won't fight or eat each other and some that are breeders <That is a pretty broad question. Did you have a preference for fresh, brackish, or salt water? Do you already have a tank? The answers might help me answer your question a little better. Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Selection - Hello Crew (since I don't know who will actually answer my question(s), <It's JasonC today...> I am cycling a 125g with live rock system, BIG Eheim Canister filter and an AquaC skimmer.  I want to add to this tank 1 Niger Trigger, 1 Huma, and an eel (any recommendations on the eel, if appropriate?). <A snowflake eel perhaps, but do consider carefully your ability to keep it in the tank. Most all eels are aquatic Houdini's that can escape through the smallest of gaps.> I also have a six inch V-Tail Grouper in another tank that really must be moved to larger quarters.  Can I fit all four in the 125g? <I think so, but you might want to increase the filtration, especially if the Eheim is all you've got for filtration and circulation. The grouper, eel, and triggers are messy eaters.> If so, what size Triggers should i look for and in what order should I add the four fish proposed here? <Large enough that they won't fit into the grouper's mouth.> If not, what are my options? I am particularly fond of the Triggers. <I think two triggers will be fine, it's your filtration that has me concerned.> This site has been a great help to me in setting up my brackish system, but in this new one I think I need some individual attention so that I minimize potential problems.  BTW, Mr. Fenner, great book!  I'm on my second copy as the first one had finally succumbed to constant use! <He'll be pleased to read this.> Thanks, Michael <Cheers, J -- >

A True Conscientious Aquarist! New Year's Greetings! <And Happy New Year to you, too! Scott F. here today> I apologize in advance for the length of this inquiry, but I feel that I have reached a vitally important decision point in my early "career" as a newbie marine aquarist (after 30 years of freshwater). I truly appreciate the help and wisdom I have gotten from your site & crew as I have dived into saltwater over the past couple of months. <Glad that you've found the site useful!> I currently have the following set-up: 80G FOWLR (LR is 60# mix of  Marshall Islands & Kupang Island--with attached Caulerpa). Filtration: Remora Pro, Emperor 400, 2 X Fluval 404. Upstream refugium consisting of a 10G with LS (fed from the main tank with a 1" line from a Rio 1400) that drains down into an 18G tall with LS & LR (20# Kupang Island with Caulerpa--lighted opposite 12 hrs from main tank with 3X 13W compact fluorescents) and then drains back down into the main tank. Will be adding ozone (Aquazone 100) this weekend once I figure out how to run it into the 10G upper refugium). <Sounds well thought out! Of course, we all have our own opinions on Caulerpa...LOL> System is fully cycled. All parameters currently nominal. Stocked as follows: 2" Ocellaris Clown 5" Cuban Hogfish, 2" Royal Gramma and 3" Yellow-headed Jawfish. All four fish are active and feeding/behaving well. <Nice mix of fish!> I would like to add (over next few months) some or all of the following: a Butterflyfish, a Yellow Tang (partly to control the Caulerpa in the main tank, partly because they're beautiful), a Flame Angel , and perhaps a Yellow-Tailed Blue Damsel, and possibly some sort of sand-sifting Goby. <Let's keep it at "some" of these fish! You're doing so well- don't let up now by succumbing to the temptation to over-crowd!> I just had a real downer this week. I fell for a 2" Copper-Banded Butterflyfish at the LFS this past weekend. I bought him partly against my better judgment (I know they're hard to deal with) because he at so well at the LFS. I had intended to buy a Long-nosed Butterflyfish they'd had there for several weeks, but it was swimming on its side and looking rather pale. The owner tried to convince me that he was just looking down into the tank below, but it would not eat, so I passed. <That was an awesome move-David Dowless would be proud! As Dave stresses, always observe potential purchases VERY carefully, and pass if you have even the slightest doubt as to their health!> The Copper-band did well and ate voraciously in my 10G QT. (All parameters fine). Last night it didn't eat but seemed OK otherwise. This AM it was dead. Sigh! Needless to say, I feel rotten about it, because I hate killing fish and I hate wasting money. <Please don't blame yourself-sometimes fish just die regardless of our high level of care. The fact that you use quarantine is cause enough to call that a "successful failure". Why? Because if the fish was carrying an infectious disease, you kept it out of your main tank.> Ironically, that Long-nosed Butterflyfish is still alive, though I still considered its behavior odd at the LFS tonight. <Keep watching this fish...and don't buy it unless you're 100% convinced that it's healthy> The LFS now have some beautiful 2" Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica). LFS employee tells me they like to sell these in schools of 3 or more. They're "on sale" for $10 each. Everything I've read says only keep 1 or 2. The certainly are attractive fish. <They are great fish, and would make a nice addition to your tank. I agree that they should be kept singly, however> I guess my question is where do you suggest I go from here?  Would a couple of Firefish make a nice addition? <I'd stick to one, myself> Would they be OK with the hogfish and ultimately a Yellow Tang and a Flame Angel? Would they be OK with the Jawfish? <Should be okay with all of the above. However, I'm a bit conservative-I'd choose either the Flame or the Yellow Tang in this size aquarium> (It's my favorite because it has quite a perky little personality and an expressive face. I call Jawfish the prairie dogs of the sea) <Great analogy!> Does it make sense to try a Long-Nosed Butterfly (or perhaps even another Copper-band)? <I'd choose a Long Nose (but probably not the one you have doubts about) over the Copperband any day> (The LFS is offering beautiful Chaetodon semilarvatus butterflyfish for $100, but that seems a lot for one fish and I am guessing they get too big for my tank anyway.) <Good hunch-they are beautiful and worth the money- but they get quite large> Does a Goby or a Yellow-Tailed Damselfish make any sense? <I like the goby- I'd pass on the damselfish...they get a bit feisty!> I realize that I must be the one to decide how to stock and that I am ultimately responsible for the welfare of my fish. <Well said!> I'd really like to avoid killing any more (I used to have 2 Jawfish that got along great, but one jumped tank the second night out of QT--now rendered impossible.) Your opinion will be of great value to me and will weigh heavily in my decision because I trust your years of experience and the fact that you aren't trying to sell me any fish. Sincere Thanks, Steve. <Well, Steve- I'd entertain adding the Firefish, EITHER the Tang or the Flame Angel (I'd go for the Flame, myself!), a goby, and MAYBE, just maybe- the Long Nose Butterfly, but I think that the Butterfly might be pushing it a bit...Butterflies usually need to be in the tank first in order to establish themselves and feel comfortable. I commend you on your research and careful consideration- that will really pay dividends down the line! Keep up the good work, and feel free to write us again any time!> P.S. Could I eventually put a couple of inverts (e.g. seastar) in the 20G refugium? <Kind of 50/50 here...One hand, they are useful as detritivores-on the other hand, they may decimate some of the desirable infauna residing in the refugium's substrate. Remember, a refugium is designed to provide a safe place for otherwise delicate creatures to thrive, and introducing a potential predator is counter-productive, IMO>

Fish compatibility chart I'm wondering if I could get the saltwater fish compatibility chart link from you guys I cant find it anywhere but I know that I have seen it on ABOUT.com or WWM some where ??? Thanks <There is a fine one in the Tetra Marine Encyclopedia by Dick Mills (and oldie but goodie). Best regards, Anthony>

Compatibility Question Hello Crew, and Happy New Year! <and a Texas-sized Happy New Year to you!> I have a question regarding a new fish or two. Currently, in a 140 tall (with refugium) and about 155 in purple / green LR, I have the following: 2" Maroon (gold bar) clown, 1" blue/yellow tail damsel, 5 1/2" engineer goby, a 2 1/2" bi-color blenny, 3" Rabbitfish (common variety), and a 2" juvenile Blue Face Angel. I know that the last two will get big.  I also have coral (Acropora), mushrooms, and a Xenia, so any fish would need to be reef-safe. I'd like to add more fish, and I would like something with personality. I love the more colorful fish! What type of fish would you recommend, and how many more would be safe? <for some reason, the Sunburst Anthias (AKA Fathead Anthias) comes to my mind. The only fault is its fairly gentle nature. Else gorgeous, uncommon and peaceful fish. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/serranocirrhitus.htm > I know the general opinion about Harlequin Sweetlips, but I have seen one in a LFS that has been there for a couple of weeks - eats just fine. <the purchase of this fish would be tragic and disappointing. It is shameful that they are even carrying this fish. None of us here disagree that this species can't be imported and live in a dealers tank for several weeks or even a few months. Most will eat fine too. The problem (beyond the shameful rates of mortality on import) is that this fish gets enormous! And that it will die of dietary deficiency most likely no matter how well you feed it. The fish you saw won't see 2004 and I'll win money on that bet> HOWEVER, it has been eating live goldfish! Oh man! This national pet store should know better! I know you will tell me to leave the cutie there, but he needs rescuing! <not only should you leave that fish there and kick the owner in the jimmy... but, you need to understand that even joking about "rescuing" a fish is actually supporting the industry and killing more Sweetlips. Guess what happens when you "rescue" that fish by giving the idiot LFS money for it... he orders more Sweetlips to be sold/rescued... same thing. Let this fish die in that tank with the hope that economically (if not ethically) your LFS will stop importing that species> Anyway, any other fish you could suggest would be wonderful! THANK YOU!!!-Cathy in Texas <>< <Hmmm... there are so many wonderful fish to pick from :) Tell you true, dear... we could talk for hours about "best fishes", but we are simply buried in e-mail and WWM writing. Could I ask you please to browse through some favorite books and online sources and make a list of types of fishes that interest you at face value... then e-mail it over and I'll whittle it for you with the best and worst of "whys"? Thanks kindly :) Anthony>

Marine fish livestocking I just bought a 30 Gal Hex that I plan to make a FOWLR. I just wanted to ask about a fish combo, dwarf zebra lion flame angel 2 gold stripe clowns Do you think they would live together?  Too many fish?  Order of introduction? <Well...these fish will eventually outgrow the tank. For sure I would not have but one clown. These guys grow large and are aggressive. The dwarf will eat any inverts. The angel needs really high quality water. Take your time stocking please. How about a Firefish and one or two other fish that stay really small? Then you could have a shrimp or two and a chocolate chip starfish. David Dowless>

Compatibility and QT Procedures Hello to the Crew today <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> And .... many thanks to Bob Fenner and all contributors to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" for a truly excellent book.  The CMA is a truly informative book that effectively communicates the technical details to the novice in a way that can be comprehended.  More importantly the material is presented in a manner that us novices can implement to improve the quality of our aquariums.  The Crew at WWM and CMA have provided me a wealth of advice and continue to contribute to my marine self-education.  Thank you all.  (sorry to hear of Steve Pro's departure, but am happy for his new addition and glad to see his priorities, please wish him well,  ;-) <We sure will! And thanks for the "props"-we really enjoy interacting with our fellow hobbyists, and learn something new each day ourselves!> First Question: Livestock compatibility.... 1 percula clown 1 skunk cleaner shrimp 1 royal Gramma 1 flame angel turbo snails feather duster brittle star live rock shallow aragonite bed (Southdown sand) Eheim canister bakpak2 standard fluorescent light Does anyone see a compatibility issue? <If the tank is of sufficient size, this sounds like a very nice mix of fishes! Lots of color and interesting behaviour!> Second Question:  QT Maintenance.... Make up water in a rubber maid tote aerated 24/7. QT Southdown sand substrate, <I'd avoid a substrate in the QT for a variety of reasons...absorption of medication, potential harbor for disease, etc. remember- the QT is really supposed to be a temporary fixture, utilized when you need it, and broken down when you're done. Just place the intended filter media in the main system when the QT is not in use, so that it's ready to go when the need arises> heated to main tank temp, filtered with hot power filter with bio wheel (not aerated). <Sounds fine> Main tank filtered with bakpak2 and Eheim canister. <Just keep the media in the Eheim clean and change it regularly> Water change procedure will be a) remove 10% of water from main tank, b) refill main tank with water from QT (copper free), c) refill QT with 90% new make up water and 10% old water from main tank, d) replenish make up water with synthetic salt and tap water. Will this water change procedure maintain live aerobic/anaerobic bacteria in my QT so that is always ready to support a bio load?  and if I ever use copper in the QT will I be able to break it down and clean it to a point that copper would not migrate to the main tank? <I understand what you're trying to do with this technique. It is well thought out, but I think that you need to make a few procedural adjustments. The quarantine tank, its water, and its components should be completely separate from your main system. You could use water from the main system as the source for your QT, but I would not do this in reverse, even if you don't have fish in the QT tank! What I would do is prepare source water in the Rubbermaid container just before you need it (like 24-48 hours), then add it to your main aquarium. In my opinion, any water from a quarantine tank should be disposed of after use. All it takes is one "resting" parasite from a previous QT inhabitant to get into your main system, and you'll understand what I mean! And, if you follow my hunch about leaving the filter media in the sump of your main system at all times, you'll be "ready to go" whenever the QT is required. As far as cleaning the QT, I use lots of hot water, a small amount of Clorox bleach, followed by a very thorough rinse, then another refill, along with a commercial "de-chlor" product. Then I drain and rinse again. Paranoid- yes...but I don't like to take any chances! If you used copper in the QT. you could run PolyFilter in the tank- it's an excellent absorber of copper, and will change color to let you know that it's working! Rex.merrill <Keep up the good work and techniques, Rex. You're doing great! regards, Scott F>

- Livestock Choices - Hi. <And hello to you. JasonC here...> We've just purchased an 110 gallon Oceanic System, soon to have a fully equipped sump below it. We currently have a 39 gallon Eclipse 3 system we inherited from friends. It contains about 15 lbs of live rock, one yellow-tailed blue damsel, one common clownfish, one turbo snail, one hermit crab, and a zillion other rock residents. Ultimately, we'd like to transfer everything from the smaller tank to the larger tank, add some more fish (various sizes), probably more live rock, and possibly more invertebrates. <Might I suggest that you 'definitely' want more live rock.> What kind of fish do you recommend? <The list is long enough and varied enough that it's difficult to cover in one day and one email.> Since it'll be a nice size tank, we'd like to have some larger fish, but the compatibility charts I've reviewed indicate that only gobies, blennies, Pseudochromis, and maybe tangs (with caution due to the live rock) would work. <You have other options.> I've seen tanks with several 6-8 inch long fish in with a damsel like ours, so there must be some large fish that don't feel the need to eat smaller fish. <Well, that kind of stuff is hard to predict. I would suggest that you spend some time reading through the myriad pages of WetWebMedia.Com as there are many descriptions/accounts of the various fish and their suitability to your existing mix.> Thanks in advance for your advice! Sincerely, Barb Millman <Cheers, J -- >

Mis-stocked mini-reef Hi, Mr. Fenner.  I need some advice, or direction.  I have a small 10 gallon reef setup. About 7 lbs of live rock, one flower pot coral, <Not a good choice> 2 anemones, <Ditto> 2 peppermint shrimp <Good> and a flame scallop <Another poor choice> I cannot keep any fish alive in it for the life of me, but the corals and inverts are flourishing. I don't know what the problem is.  I love clownfish. I recently put two small perculas in it. They were healthy for about 3 days, swimming in the carpet anemone, then suddenly they start losing color, and dead. <Clowns need more space> That happened the last time I put fish in it.  I do frequent water changes, and add this chem clean stuff that helps against bacteria, <I'd leave that stuff out> and my salinity is good.  It is just making me crazy that I cant keep any fish alive, and everything else is doing just fine.  I don't think I am going to put in anymore fish <Good choice> but I was thinking about a seahorse or two, w/ more corals. <Order the Ocean Rider seahorses. They are tank spawned and tank raised. This will tremendously increase your chance of success without damaging wild populations> <<A note. Do first remove the anemones if you're going to try the seahorses. RMF>> Any suggestions. <Skip the fish. The tank isn't large enough> Thanks in advance for your help. Doughy <You're more than welcome! David Dowless>

8 Is Enough (More Than Enough, Actually!) Hello guy, how are you? <Scott F, your guy tonight! Doin' fine.> I currently have an empty 120gal tank. I just wanted to give you a run-down of the system I'm planning to see if you noticed any flaws that I might have overlooked. Filter: Wet Dry trickle filter Protein Skimmer: Aqua Medic Turboflotor (Rio 2500 pumps) Lighting: JBJ 4 x 65watt pc fixture Live Rock: 100lbs Tampa Bay Saltwater Live Rock "the package" Substrate: 3in Live Sand Bed Livestock: Radiata Lionfish Flame Angel, Coral Beauty and Lemonpeel Angel (all introduced at the same time) <Make sure that there are plenty of "nooks and crannies" for the angels to hide in and establish territories. In my experience, the Lemonpeel angel is a rather aggressive fish, particularly with other pygmy angelfishes. Do consider that you may have to remove one of the two at some point if things get out of hand, and one will be harassed continuously> Cleaner Wrasse Convict Tang <These are among the most peaceful of tangs, but they can reach up to 10 inches in length. Do consider the "end game" when contemplating keeping a fish like this. You need to realize that the fish needs plenty of space to swim, if you expect to keep it for anything close to a natural lifespan.> 2 Heniochus acuminatus (poor man's Moorish Idol) <Great fishes, but again capable of reaching 8-10 inches in captivity.> Large Coral Banded and Large Cleaner Shrimp. and cleanup crew.  This will be over the course of 6  months with the lionfish being added last.  Do you see any area that may need adjusting. Thanks in advance. Demetrius <Well, you have selected an interesting community of fishes; I think they will basically get along well (with the possible exception of the two pygmy angels). However, I think that you may need to consider some fishes that attain smaller sizes and require somewhat less space. As large as it seems, a 120 gallon tank, when filled with rock and sand, holds quite a bit less than 120 gallons! And, with fishes that eat a lot and reach larger sizes, you really need to think about maintaining very high water quality. This can be tough with a heavy bioload. I'd reconsider some of your choices, possibly substituting some smaller fishes for the tang, and maybe a dwarf lion instead of the radiata (which can also reach over 8 inches). Read up, do some thinking about the long-term maintenance of the fishes that you are considering. Good luck! regards, Scott F>

Knowing When To Say "When!" I have a 75 gallon reef ready tank that's been in use for about 2 years. At this time, I have a Bursa Trigger (Rhinecanthus verrucosa), 4 Green Chromis, a Gold Stripped Maroon Clown and a springeri Damsel in the tank,  plus a couple of anemones. I'm interested in putting in a Long Nose Hawkfish. Do I have a compatibility problem with the Trigger? Thanks. Larry Breit <Well, Larry, I think that from a pure compatibility standpoint, the hawkfish should be okay, although the activities of the damselfishes might be a bit intimidating to the hawk at first. Quite honestly, I'd look at the "end game" with these fishes, and stop adding to this tank. It's going to become rather crowded when the trigger starts to reach adult size (this fish tops out at almost 10 inches). The hawkfish can reach 5 inches easily, too. On the other hand, this trigger might start snacking on the damsels at some point, too! If you had a slightly larger tank (say 100gals plus), I'd be more inclined to say "go for it!", but I think this is a good time to enjoy the existing fishes in your tank, and start planning for a larger one! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- More on Livestock Selection - Thank you for your advice. <My pleasure.> Getting a larger tank at this point is a no-go, this one is brand new and was a Christmas gift, as well as the equipment, stand, live rock, etc. I'll drop the idea of getting a Tang (although I really wanted one...), but keep the idea 3 Chromis or Damsels and Cinnamon Clownfish. What about adding a Royal Gramma and a Yellow Head Jawfish? <The Gramma would be perfect... the Jawfish has some specialized needs which will be hard to meet in this system.> With these, I should have a diverse, peaceful, well-stocked, not-too-crowded tank, right? <Minus the Jawfish, yes.> I'd thought of a Hawkfish, but I think the cleaner shrimp I mentioned getting would be a better choice. <I agree.> Thank you once again for your great help! - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- >

- Stocking a small FOWLR+ - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Hi! First off, your site has been an invaluable resource to me so far! <Ahh good. Glad to hear that the site is helpful.> Thank you for that! I just have a few questions on stocking our aquarium. Here's the parameters:   37 gallon tank (30 in long x 12 in deep x 22.5 in tall, it might be 38 gallons) Marineland Emperor 280 powerfilter (using the cartridges and bio-wheel, no media added yet) Penguin power sponge filter (170 GPH) Rena Cal Submersible 200W heater 18 lbs. Fiji live rock 40 lbs. live sand. It was half-and-half... I assume it's all live by now! My stocking plan is tentatively this, introduced in order: 3 Blue-Green Chromis or 3 Yellow-Tail Damsels 1 Cinnamon Clown 1 Yellow Tang (small) I will add around 20 lbs. of live rock, probably 5 or 10 lbs. at a time. Also I'll add 1 or 2 cleaner shrimp, some blue-legged hermit crabs or an Emerald Crab. My burning question is this: Will I be able to adequately house the tang in the years to come? <Not really in the present year... this tank is really to small for a tang. the other fish would probably do quite well, but anything less than 55 gallons will be a big challenge to keep the water quality suitable for the tang.> I've read examples in FAQs on this site of people having Yellow Tangs in tanks smaller than mine, but I also know that they will get large. <Just because someone writes in and says they've done it, doesn't mean the fish lived much longer than that. I think if you read into those FAQs a little deeper, you will see a pretty strong consensus that these fish need space and excellent water quality to thrive.> I'm torn. Also, will the Cinnamon Clown get pretty big? <Not as big as the tang, but as clowns go... yes.> Would I be better off with a different type of clownfish in this case? <How about a larger tank? If I could convince you of anything, that would be it.> If you have any good ideas on how I could alternatively stock my tank, I would LOVE to hear them, as I'm getting frustrated by this planning process. <Nothing wrong with the fish list per se, just the size of the tank you want to put them all in.> Thanks once again! - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- >

Expanding The Community Hey fellas, have a great Christmas!! <And same to you and yours! Scott F. with you here today> Questions about finding a new addition to my tank. 90gallon fish/invertebrate protein skimmer canister filter Salinity:  1.022 Temp:  77f Inhabitants:  1 Orange-Spotted Shrimp Goby, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Pistol Shrimp, 1 Coral Banded-Shrimp, 1 White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Black Brittle Star, 2 Emerald Crabs, 35 hermits, 20 snails... From what I have read, I am guessing that ANY type of Trigger Fish would have my crustaceans for lunch?  Is this also true with the Rhinecanthus Triggers??? <I'd have to say yes! You will see a marked downturn in the size of your crustacean population after the introduction of a trigger. Yes,  I'm sure that there is one individual trigger out there that doesn't munch crustaceans, but on the whole- you'd want to avoid triggers if you like your crustaceans!> I had a small yellow boxfish in my tank that suffered from some ammonia - problem has been resolved- but now I have read that these boxfish can release toxic poison into my tank killing everything? <It's quite possible, but rather rare. In a tank with large water volume and efficient chemical filtration (i.e; carbon or poly filters), the likelihood of a total system wipeout due to a puffer releasing its toxin is greatly reduced> Is that small yellow boxfish something I SHOULDN'T HAVE in my tank? <Well, that small yellow boxfish can become a 20 inch boxfish that can mess up even the largest tank in a short amount of time with it's messy eating habits. That's a major issue with these guys that most hobbyists overlook, IMO.> I had Auriga Butterflies before... I suspect that the Auriga was chowing down on my Black Brittle Star who is currently regenerating a few limbs... is this common that Butterflies would eat a star? <It seems unusual, but certainly not out of the question. They do like to sample various worms, snails, and crustaceans, however> Or do you think it might be that particular specimen who liked the taste of my star? <Yep- that's my take on it...> If I can't have Brittle Stars in my system, would a good # of snails, hermit crabs, and my shrimp & emerald crabs do a good job of cleaning up?  Any recommendations here? <I think that these guys should do a good job. The object is to feed carefully, so that there is not an excessive amount of uneaten food to begin with! Remember, if you're gonna keep a trigger, you're likely to lose the snails and possibly the shrimp as well, so...> Any good picks of some nice friendly colorful fish who would make my tank complete??? <I really like blennies and gobies. There are dozens of varieties available, in all different colors and patterns. They generally stay small, and are mostly reef-compatible. Many swim in mid water, and almost all have great personalities. The Royal Gramma is another beautiful, colorful fish with a great personality and small (3 to 4 inch) maximum size. You may also want to look into some pygmy angelfish (Centropyge). Now, the verdict is still out as to whether or not they are reef safe, so you'll have to research the species that your interested in and make your own decision.> What's your opinion on a  Yellow-Tail Blue Tang? <Generally, these are very desirable fishes, but they do need very high water quality, extreme environmental stability, and plenty of room to swim. They are capable of reaching 8-10 inches, so you have to think about that if electing to purchase one of these fish> Thanks again guys! Dave <And thanks to you, Dave, for stopping by! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Marine Stocking I have a 55 gal. fish only tank with a harlequin tusk (about 7"), a Flame Angel (about 3"), and a Bicolor Angel (about 4"). I know that Queen Angels should only be in large tanks but how long could a juvenile or small adult (about 3-4") be in my 55 gal? <You know my answer but I sense that you don't want to hear it. The answer is...no amount of time. Queens need lots of room to swim to be physically and mentally happy. Your tank is only large enough for one show fish and the Tuskfish more than meets the bill. In fact, IMO, you're already pushing your luck!> Which do you think is better, a juvenile or small adult? <Neither for your tank. The fish won't be happy and likely won't survive to adult size. What would you say to having a little poodle in a fence that was 3'x3' 24/7? I mean the dog is small right? It's best to leave this fish at the store> I am planning on getting a much larger tank but that will not happen for a couple of years. I also thought about a Imperator Angel instead. <Same problems. Please don't doom these fish to an unhappy life with a slow and premature death. Accept the limitations of your tank and you will be happier with the results and the fish will lead happier, healthier lives> Which would be better with the other fish, and time in the tank. My harlequin tusk is a very good eater so what is a good way to make sure that the Queen Angel gets some food, if I get one? <Don't get one at this time please. Wait until you actually have that new tank!> Also I had some brown algae that was replaced by some green algae but now I am seeing a little bit of red algae starting to grow. Should I clean the red algae off my coral or just leave it? <Siphon it out, feed less, and tune-up your skimmer!> Thank you very much, Andy <You're very welcome...I hope that you don't mind the bluntness of my response. David Dowless>

- Overcrowding - Guys, <Hi, JasonC here...> I want to start by thanking you for sharing your knowledge.  I have enjoyed reading the FAQs, and have learned a great deal.  First the background.  Aquarium:  30 gallon with 35 pounds of live rock. Inhabitants:  2 ocellaris clowns (2 and 1.5 inches), 1 six line wrasse (1.5 inches), 1 scooter dragonet (2.5 inches), and 1 lemon peel angel (3 inches).  The lemon peel is the most recent addition to the tank by about a week, and was going to be the last fish I added. No problems the first day, but now the lemon peel is really giving my scooter a hard time (lots of chasing around the tank, and nipping). I thought the pygmy angels were fairly peaceful except with other angels. <Your tank is too small for the angel... not enough territory, so it has claimed the whole tank as it's own.> I am concerned for "Skeeter".  There are plenty of places to hide in the rocks, but the scooter just stays out on the sand. <Did you try explaining this to the fish? By your description, they see it differently.> Is this normal for the angel as he establishes himself in the tank? <Well... depends on what you use as your standard for "normal". If you use the ocean as your standard, then no... this is not normal. For a 30 gallon tank with 35lbs of live rock, I'd say this is normal.> Or, am I going to need to get rid of one or the other? <I would lose the angel before it loses itself for you.> Thanks for your help. Chris <Cheers, J -- >

- Overcrowding - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have another 55 gallon tank at my work. It is a hex though so the surface area is less, would I be able to put the Queen Angel in that all alone or with some damsels? <Just the damsels, please... this tank is much to small for a Queen angel - they grow to the size of a tennis racquet.> The only bad thing about that tank is that it gets to be about 82* for about 3 months? <I've dived with these fish in Cozumel and the water there was 85... this is the least of your potential problems.> I think this is a little too hot, but I don't feel like buying a super expensive chiller. I am in the process of thinking up what I could put in a bigger tank. What size tank would I have to get if I wanted to have a Queen and a Imperator together? I am thinking of a 350 gal with a 100 gal. sump. <That would do it, sure.> If the 350 was a reef tank how much would I have to worry about the angels and the harlequin eating the coral? <You'd have to worry a lot about the angels eating the coral. Tuskfish don't pick at things like Angels do... wouldn't be the same type of problem.> What else could I put in the 55 gal. with the harlequin? <This is a 7" tusk, correct? The answer is nothing... the tank is too small for this fish already. Any additional life in this tank would be too much of a bioload.> You said it was full put I though I could fit in at least a few damsels or a couple clowns. <Please... consider living in a closet with a couple of friends and the bathroom built in. How long do you think it would take before you went over the edge? This system is too small.> Also what kind of littles do you recommend for a 55 hex? <If that was all you were considering... you have many options much better than damsels. Do peruse the pages of WWM for suggestions.> I put some live rock in it (about 15 pounds) and I looked really bad when I got it but now it looks ok but there isn't much growing on it? <Give it time.> I thought about one actinic and one 10,000K. It is an acrylic with a custom light fixture that fits in the small cut out. I'm not putting in coral just keeping the live rock. Thank you very much for all your time, and I don't think I will get the queen to put in the harlequin's 55. <Consider something 100 gallons or larger for that tusk before it jumps out!> Thanks again, Andy <Cheers, J -- >

Stocking a 100 Imp gallon tank Dear Bob & Crew, <Hello, Bob Crew-member JasonC here...> Your site keeps getting better and better. It is surely the best site around. <Glad you find it helpful.> I will be shortly getting a new 100 Imp gallon tank (I live in England) with a 30''x 20''x 20'' sump with aragonite, live rock, a large skimmer, Tunze osmolator, Arcadia 3 2x250 TC. I want to make it a reef system and I am trying to make up my mind about the fish, which I will add over a period of 3-4 months, as I have decided to start with soft corals, hermits and turbo snails. Fishwise the last thing I want to do is overstock the system, as I would like to keep whatever I put in for as long as possible. As centerpiece I would like a tang. I know Ctenochaetus are great, but I was thinking of a Paracanthurus. Would that eventually grow too big? <Typically, these only top out at about 6" in captivity which should be fine in this tank.> Also I would like a couple of clowns maybe of the more quiet variety and maybe one, or if possible two, flame angels. Does that seem ok to you? <Clowns would be no problem, and a pair of flame angles would also likely be fine in a tank of this size.> Or too many fish eventually when they grow? <Neither of these get all that large.> If I am totally honest I would like to try a powder blue or a blue-girdled Euxiphipops instead of the Paracanthurus. <Ok.> I know how you feel about these fish -hard, nipping- but I have seen a fantastic reef tank at Berlin Zoo where they were doing brilliantly. <Unless you stayed there and observed it for weeks, you probably missed some of those interactions, which are bound to happen.> If I let the set up mature properly, are there any chances that one of these will succeed instead of the Paracanthurus? <Or even in addition to - myself, I am partial to the Euxiphipops, and as full-sized angels go they don't get all that large. Both fish are similar though, in the fact that you need to do your best to procure an excellent specimen. The Majestic angel in particular is a poster-child for cyanide capture. The powder blues tend to get beat up in shipping. Do double-check  your sources. Additionally, for both these fish you need to let the tank mature at least six months.> Also I read that Chaetodon Lunula does not eat SPS. What do you think? <I think that just because coral polyps aren't part of any butterfly's diet doesn't mean they won't sample them in captivity.> and what about soft corals? <Same thing... in a captive system, corals will likely get sampled to death.> I know fish are to some extent individuals, but is there any anecdotal evidence that supports any butterflies in reef tanks apart from longnose and Chelmon? <Only to the negative aspect, that they will eat what they please.> What about Heniochus? <Same deal.> Thanks, Massimo <Cheers, J -- >

- Does this seem crowded to you? - Hi, <Hi, JasonC here...> I have setup and cycled a 60g marine aquarium with oceanic and live rock built up to make many small caves and hiding places, I did lots of research on compatibility between fishes and only plan on keeping four fish in this setup. The first fish I put in was a 4" Lionfish, a week later I put in a 4" Yellow tang and two weeks after that I put in a 3.5" threadfin butterfly fish. I have just put in a 2" Picasso Trigger and all seems very well, the fish have plenty of places hide and seem to hang around together apart from the Lionfish that just does its own thing. Is this setup in your opinion a good combination, <Well, Ged, I was initially impressed with your desire to keep only four fish in a 60g tank. Understocking is the best way to enjoy a system for a long time, but then when you listed the fish and the sizes... well, this tank is too small for these choices, even in the short term. The lion and the trigger will outgrow this tank very quickly, and even before you move to a larger system, you will be well challenged to keep the water quality in line with this mix of fish. Consider either four smaller fish, or losing at least one of the four you have now - I would pick the lion first and perhaps the trigger. Additionally, you might want to check the dimensions on this tank, but if it is a "model 60", it actually only holds about 43 gallons of water before you start putting stuff in the tank.> Regards, Ged. <Cheers, J -- >

- Avoiding the Crowd - Thanks, <Hello, JasonC again...> I will be returning a few of the fish when they get larger, i have seen so many tanks full of fish, and really you don't need it with marines with the fabulous colours and of course the water quality problems when keeping too many. <Fair enough.> The aquarium i have is a Juwel Vision 260 with the bow fronted glass, apart from the filter system I have fitted a second biological filter and a protein skimmer, i have been doing bi-weekly 15% water changes and don't overfeed, I will keep in mind losing the Trigger or Lionfish when it becomes to challenging, at the moment though it's a very peaceful setup which is very pleasant to watch, especially the little Trigger, "if only they kept at under 2 inches",   Thanks again, Ged Casserley...

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