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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 22

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 12, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQ 21, FAQs 23FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, FAQs 31, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

Is it getting a little bit nippy in here?

Stocking a 64 Gallon Your site is amazing. Just amazing. I'm about to inherit a 64 US gallon saltwater tank, and I've done some preliminary planning as to what I'd like to put into it (livestock, I mean.) It is going to be FOWLR, and I wanted to run my selections by you. What I want: 2x ocellaris clowns tank bred, one yellow tang (will be introduced later), blue regal tang, a longnose Hawkfish, a yellow watchman goby, a mandarin dragonet, a royal Gramma, and some snails/crabs. I did the math, and full-grown that works out to about 32" of fish. Is this way over stocking?  I DO NOT want to make life miserable for my fish. I'm flexible as to how much live rock I add. I'm not sure of the exact specifics of the tank components, but I know there's a new protein skimmer, sump and pump. Any help would be fantastic. Thanks for the awesome resource!! >>>Hey Lisa, Forget the Regal tang, that is a fish for advanced keepers. They are delicate, do not ship well and are prone to disease. If you want to minimize headaches while starting off, steer clear of this fish. Your tank is actually too small to be considering ANY tang long term, as even the smaller Zebrasoma species such as the Yellow Tang need AT LEAST a 72 gallon tank - this is even on the small side.  Also, Mandarin fish can be VERY difficult to keep as most specimens only eat pods, not prepared food. Success with this fish is easier in larger tanks, say 80 gallons and up where enough live rock can be kept to maintain the pod population. Otherwise, they starve to death. Try and select fish so that your charges have an environment to swim around in rather than a small jail cell. This means that for a tank that size - small fish. The other fish you mention are good choices, but consider also the Orchid Dottyback (P. fridmani) the Sixline or Fourline wrasse, Chromis damsels, the African Flameback angel (C. acanthops) and the various dwarf sea basses. Hope this helps Good luck! Jim<<< 

Dragon Wrasse and Cleaners Hey WWM Crew.... <i hope that this isn't a duplicate email, when sending the email I had received an error message, so I'm retyping it to be sure you get a response from us.> Hope you all are having a great weekend. I have yet another question for the aquarium gurus. I have a 4" Dragon Wrasse in my 75G FOWLR & DSB tank. I'm looking for something to serve as cleaner for my fish. Based on your FAQ's,  a cleaner  shrimp is out of the question (Snack for the wrasse). I know cleaner wrasses usually starve to death. The only other option I know of is a Neon Goby. However, this small fish looks like it also may be a meal for the wrasse. What are my other options? <Sadly there are very little options when dealing with a Dragon Wrasse (sometimes referred to as Rockmover Wrasse).  Juveniles are non-aggressive and compatible in a community tank, which really lures many people into a false sense of security.  As they mature they become  aggressive, and will snack on smaller fish. Keep only one to a tank, and preferably in an aquarium with other larger aggressive fish species, such as Eels, Hawkfishes, Triggers, Puffers and Groupers. It is best to avoid mixing with other larger Wrasses, because the Dragon and other similar species are extremely territorial and often will fight. This means that any small cleaner animal you get, might end up as a meal as your fish matures. the best thing to ensure that your Wrasse doesn't get any parasites is to be sure that you clean the substrate.  This fish will gain parasites and bacteria from unclean substrate.> Currently my Coral Beauty will pick parasites from my tang, but only if he's interested in helping out. I have not seen him pick them from any of the other fish. If you don't mind, I do have an unrelated question. What if any fish would you keep in a 5gallon Nano? <With such a small tank, it's hard to keep the water parameters in check. The tank has to be tended daily, evaporation can play a big part on such a small tank.  If you do feel that you can keep the tank healthy then I suggest clown Goby would work well. A Catalina goby would be viable if you kept the tank at a lower temperature.  If you have lots of money to spend on a single fish then you can look at a Griessingei Goby.  The Griessingei will cost you about $200 (which is why you don't see one in my tank).  I have found that small tanks like that work best as an invertebrate tank.  I have kept some amazing crabs and such in tanks as small as 3 gallons.  You might want to look into shrimps and invertebrates to fill this tank rather than a fish.> Thanks, Glenn <Good luck with the wrasse, I do hope that it doesn't become to aggressive as it ages.  And research on the nano, they can be quite a conversation piece.  -Magnus>

Tangling With Tangs? Thanks again Scott, appreciate so much of you help. I'm getting on track now. <Glad to hear it!> BTW, the Mural Sleeper that I mentioned previously was actually referring to Valenciennea muralis (Valenciennes 1837). <Thanks for clarifying! Scientific names are much easier!> Also, I plan to add more fish especially tangs/surgeon fish of Zebrasomas genus. Now the question is I already have 1 Sailfin tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii) in my current 90 gal FOWLR tank(30 gal refugium). Will it be any problem (compatibility) if I add the following tangs in sequence (all in equal size of 2 to 3 inches) : 1 Purple tang -> 1 Hippo Blue tang -> 1 Naso tang -> 1 yellow tang. I want to convert to a Tang's tank coz I really love Tangs (good looking and easy to maintain compare to angel & butterfly), will it be any problem to have a fully tang's tank (with a few damsels & gobies). <Well, it is certainly possible to have a tank with mixed tangs, but you need a HUGE system! Adding another Zebrasoma species to this sized tank is a recipe for disaster! The Hippo might be a reasonably safe choice, but, like all tangs, it needs a lot of room and achieves a substantial adult size. Same for the Naso. If it were me, I'd hold off on another tang in this tank, unless you are going to have a larger tank ready in the near future (like a year or less)> For above mentioned tangs (included Zebrasoma Desjardinii), can you pls help to rank them in term of "hardiness" from top down based on your experience. <Yellow, Purple, Hippo, Naso> I currently have 1 fire goby (Nemateleotris magnifica Fowler 1938) in my tank, do you foresee any problem if I add a shrimp goby (Ctenogobiops tangaroai, the Tangaroa Prawn Goby) ? <No- they well generally not even interact with each other. I have kept this combination of families many times without incident. I will qualify this statement by warning you to provide sufficient territory for the fishes to inhabit.> Once again thanks for your great help Best regards, PJ <My pleasure, PJ- just use some common sense and a dose of caution! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Revising A Stocking Plan Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Just got a new 150 gal. tank set up and was looking for advice on the best order to add the fish.  The set up includes a AquaClear Pro150 wet/dry filter with protein skimmer and I plan on adding about 125 lbs of live rock and letting it cycle.  I'd like to add the following fish: *  Powder Blue Tang *  Purple Tang *  Emperor Angel *  Possibly a Dogface Puffer? *  Clown Trigger <Whoaahh! A bit too many sizeable fishes in there! The Emperor alone can reach over 15 inches, and will need a much larger tank to live out anything close to a natural life span. This combination of large, waste-producing fishes is problematic for the long run. The puffer and the clown would really not be compatible with the other fishes on your list in this sized tank, IMO> Does this seem like the best order to introduce the fish, starting with the tangs?  Does this seem like a gang that will get along in this size tank? <Nope...> Any suggestions for other "smaller" fish that may work with the mix above?   <I'd go with smaller "versions" of these types of fishes, such as a nice Centropyge angel, either of the tangs that you mention, and maybe some fairy wrasses or other smaller, more peaceful fishes as tankmates...A much better, more viable long-term plan...> Thanks in advance for your expertise! <A pleasure! Just revisit your stocking plan, and things should work out fine. Regards, Scott F> Stocking questions for 75gal 2/17/04 Hello, I have a 75 gallon tank and would like to begin stocking it eventually....  It has been running now for 32 days.  Just recently got a larger ammonia spike 0.5 yesterday, 0.25 today, added some more live rock a week ago so I am waiting for the levels to go down. Ph 8.23, nitrite 0.05, alkalinity normal, specific gravity 1.023, nitrate 0, temp 79 degrees. <Sounds OK.  Adding Live Rock will re-initiate a cycle.  All rock should be added and cycled before adding live stock.  Please do find an alkalinity kit that gives a number measurement in dKH or mEq/L.  Those that give "low/normal/high" readings are inadequate for reef tank use.> I do have one mean little blue green Chromis, Larry, who killed his friends, Mo and Curly, he pecked them to death.  Something in my live rock ate half of one by the way.  Literally half the fish was eaten.  Creepy.  Anyways, <Many critters could be responsible for this.  Creepy, yes, but also a useful function.> But my question is I would like to have maybe 2 cleaner shrimp, some algae stuff like snails, two clownfish (same variety is advised correct?), a long nosed butterfly (possibly, what is your opinion on this one), some variety of tang (I like the hippo's but I hear my tank is too small, Sailfin?  Tank to small?), a flame angel, and I really like those Banggai cardinalfish (forgive the spelling, and I know they are nocturnal, is that a problem.)  What do you think of my list?  Too many fish, wrong kind?  Too hard for me?  Food types too different? <It is advised not to mix clowns, especially in a tank this small.  If not already paired, choose two with a large size mismatch to minimize aggression.  Long nose butterflies are much more delicate than oft reported.  I would hold off on this fish until you are more experienced.  If you choose a small tang, you will be able to maintain it for a while, but will have to give it up or upsize your tank in a year or so. Banggai cardinals will be active during the day, but sometimes have trouble competing with more aggressive fish (like tangs) for food.> I have only read two books, yours and another,  so forgive me if I sound uninformed.  Just recently found this site so please redirect me to how to ask questions if this is not the right way.  Thanks in advance, Pamela <If you mean "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", it is an excellent choice for general care.  "The Marine Aquarium" series by Delbeek and sprung are a more advanced set for reef aquaria.  "The Natural Marine Aquarium, Invertebrates" by Anthony Calfo is excellent for Invert care.  www.wetwebmedia.com is an outstanding source of info as well.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Three Is Definitely A Crowd! (Fish Compatibility) Hi guys, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Love the site, it has really helped me a lot as I start up in marines here in the UK. <Excellent! Glad we can be of assistance!> I have kept freshwater for years, ended up with a healthy tank of breeding Malawi Cichlids and am now in the process of building my first marine system. <Those skills from freshwater will definitely help you in your marine endeavors> I have a 90g US show tank with 15g US sump, D-Tec Protein skimmer, UV sterilizer and Eheim 2028 canister. I have long been fascinated by Lionfish and dive at least twice a year in the Indo-Pacific. <Awesome!> I often see Volitans, Picasso Triggers and Regal Tangs in very close quarters whilst on my dives, I would like to house one of each in my new tank but realize that the Volitans will most likely get too big for him to be comfortable. <You are correct in your assumption!> I have been looking at Pterois Antennata as an alternative to the Volitans because of their comparably smaller size and want to know your opinion on keeping: one Pterois, one Picasso and one Regal in my tank. Do you think the tank size is OK for this? Do you foresee any problems that would occur? <To be honest, I see a problem with this mix on several levels. First, I think that these fish require significant amounts of physical space, especially the Regal, which forages on a fairly wide range on the reef, as well as Picasso, which can get a bit "nippy" in the close quarters of an aquarium. The Pterois can be a bit reclusive at times, and there may be some occasional "spats" with the more aggressive and outgoing trigger. The other issue is the metabolic waste given off by the trigger and the lionfish, which require very aggressive husbandry techniques to keep water quality from getting out of hand. The 90 gallon tank is simply too small to support this population for the long term, IMO. Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least put in a bit of a caveat regarding the Regal, which is a notoriously difficult to keep fish (many generally do not feed well in captivity).> Is the Antennata as active a fish (swimming at all levels) as the Volitans or is it more sedentary like the Dwarfs? If it is sedentary would you recommend the Radiata instead? <Personally, I have found it to be more sedentary, but no two specimens are alike! I have found the P. radiata to be even more reclusive, and it does attain a larger size, as well...> My main priority is for the health and well-being of the fish. Many thanks for your help! Keep up the good work! Tony Carter <If it were me, Tony- I'd try to just keep one of the fishes that you are interested in, or perhaps consider "alternative" fishes, such as a dwarf lionfish, pygmy angel, etc.. Of course, you could always purchase a much larger tank- but... :) . Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

New Neighbors-New Lighting-Old Dilemma! Helllooo again, <Heeeeey! Scott F. here today!> I just recently wrote you guys about some clownfish questions, particularly a mix of a Sumatra clown with a pair of true Percs.  Which I've decided against. <Not a bad decision, IMO!> Unfortunately, I now have to remove my two damsels which are causing too much trouble for the two Percs.  This brings up my newest questions.  What can I replace these guys with?...I have a 70g tall tank that is going to be stocked heavily with soft corals and GRUNGE from Garf.org.  I was thinking about adding a red mandarin (Pterosynchiropus splendidus var.),  perhaps a mystery wrasse (Pseudocheilinus ocellatus),  and lastly I'd like to add a Copperbanded butterfly.  The first two I can't really see a problem with.  The mandarin would a have good supply of natural food from my sandbed and GRUNGE.  The wrasse I've found to be reef safe as long as well fed. <Well, you seem to have answered your own question on these guys. I agree- if you have the food supply and environmental "infrastructure" for these fishes to settle in, they could be fine. The Mystery Wrasse is quite expensive; do make sure that you're up to the challenge!> The butterfly I don't know about and have heard mixed stories. <That's exactly my experience/opinion. Some thrive and some simply waste away. One thought: Copperbands do feed on some of the same dietary items as your Mystery Wrasse and Mandarin would. Having three micro predators in the same small environment could devastate your population of benthic creatures in no time...However, if you are inclined to try the Butterfly, do get one that was collected and handled well. A good source for quality fishes of known origin is Marine Center.> All of these fish don't sound too aggressive so I think they'd get along well.   <As above, I don't think aggression is really gonna be the issue here> My Percs seem pretty  mild tempered, and for a precautionary step I could rearrange the rockscape if you feel it necessary to add any of the fish. <Well, it's never "necessary" to add fish! Just fun! And rearranging the rockscape cannot hurt...> This next question is not so much related, but I thought I'd ask.  I'd like to upgrade my lights from 3 VHOs to 1 250w MH.  Is this enough light for a tall tank like this,  and would 20k's dispel too much blue light for what I'd like to keep? <I think you'd see nice results with the halides, particularly if you are leaning towards corals and other photosynthetic inverts in the future. As far as "too much blue light"- it all depends on the animals you intend to keep, and their specific requirements> If so what about some of the lesser colored lights (14k, 12k, etc.). <Actually, I think that you mean "whiter" lights, like 10000k or even 6500k (which is actually yellow in appearance). I find 12000k, 14000k, and even 20000k ranging from aesthetically stunning to extremely blue. Again, choose a bulb that suits the needs of your animals, and satisfies your sense of aesthetics (although that should be a secondary concern, IMO!)> I hope I'm not asking too much, but you guys have never steered me wrong and it seems you're one of the only places that has answers without a dollar sign hanging on it (damn LFS)!!  Either way thanks once again for the info. - Chris <Hey- that's why we are here! Glad to be of assistance!> P.S. last email someone told me to support your guys endeavors as much as possible.  What ways can I help you guys out? <You already have! Just enjoy the site, share with others, and tell your friends about WWM and our resources! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking Questions Hello there! <Howdy! Sorry for the delayed reply.> Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about stocking my tank. I currently have a 44 gallon pentagon tank with around 60-70 lbs. of live rock and a 4-5 inch DSB...lots of neat caves for fish that might want to hide out. I would like to have some of the hardier corals i.e. leathers, zoos, xenia etc...however I would like to eventually house a cherub angel...it's a must for my wife and since she allows me to partake in this madness which we call a "hobby" I will oblige...I realize that these might nip at the corals...will this setup be a problem? <You should be ok with most of the more toxic such as leathers, colts, zoos...>I would also like to have a sea star, preferably orange marble, or blue Linckia. Any problems there either with size or appetite? <Just make sure they are ok upon purchase, they usually don't ship very well.> I also have a list of other fishes I would like to house. I do not want to include all of them in my tank...that would be shear overload...however I do want to have a nice diverse stock of fish within my tank size parameters...here is the list: Cherub Pygmy Angel Banggai or Pajama Cardinal Fairy or Flasher Wrasse Chromis (only if I can have a small group...like 3) Royal Gramma Neon Goby Jawfish (could you recommend one?) Maybe a Clownfish...not sure which species are peaceful Cleaner Shrimp I would really like to have the angel, the cardinal, the Gramma, the goby and the Jawfish...is this too much for my puny tank? Out of the list above, are there any combinations you could recommend...thank you for your time.<That sounds fine.  A good Jawfish is the pearly jaw or the blue spot although most are pretty hardy.  Cody> Regards, Bill Paterno

So Many Fishes, So Little Time? >Hello, I've recently purchased a 125G tank I am setting up as a fish only saltwater tank. >>Hi, should be lots of fun! >I have had a 46 gallon freshwater for a couple years and want to upgrade to saltwater. I have done as much research as I think I can (your web site has been a great help by the way! It is amazing.) but still have a couple questions. I have a Eheim canister, a protein skimmer, and a Bio-Wheel 330, hoping to get enough filtration and aeration out of them for the fish I want. I also plan on having several rocks in the tank to provide cover and hiding places. >>Not knowing the capacity of these devices I cannot speak one way or the other.  However, with the exception of the skimmer, most devices will show appropriate ratings in regard to freshwater applications.  I've found that, generally, it's helpful to cut by one third the rating when applying to a salt situation.  So, for instance, let's say your canister filter is rated for a 125 gallon freshwater tank.  For saltwater, I would cut that by one third, or 33%,  which would mean that it's better applied to a 75 or 80 gallon setup.   >I have decided on what fish I would like to have in the tank, but I want to make sure that they will all get along and that there is going to be enough room in the tank for when they get bigger. The fish that I really want are (one of each): Regal Tang Huma Trigger Snowflake Eel Stars and Stripes Puffer >>They should get along alright, but do watch the filtration!  All "dirty" fish (meaning they'll generate a good amount of waste).  Also, know that of the group, the trigger will likely be the slowest growing, the tang the quickest.   >Will those fish get along? I plan on purchasing them at the same time and all around the same size so they can grow together.  They should, but do watch them for aggression, in other words, get them all SMALL, smallest sizes possible.  Know that, of the group, the tang has the most potential for really tearing up the others to shreds, the puffer and trigger have the most potential for nipping the others, and the eel has the most potential for making midnight snacks of any of them.   >I would like to add a couple others though if the tank will support them. Which of the following would work with the fish above? Or is the tank not big enough for more fish? And if not all of these will work, which would you suggest over the others? (again, one of each) Harlequin Tusk Yellow Tang Cuban Hogfish Lyretail Wrasse >>I would leave out the tang, this leaves three that are relatively closely related.  I know of a Tuskfish that pups around with a Picasso trigger like its shadow, they're both funny and frightening because they'll stalk YOU for food.  You could actually add just about any wrasse of the Thalassoma genus would be appropriate.  However!  Know that another nick for this wrasse is "dickhead wrasse" (I swear I did not make this up), and it IS well-earned.  Make a fish like this your LAST addition, as they are fast and known to harass mercilessly.  The tusk and hog fishes would be least likely to behave this way.  A clown or dragon wrasse might be more appropriate, but the dragon gets rather large. >If those fish will not work with the first list, what are some good additions that would work and are attractive to look at? I would prefer to have a few impressive fish instead of crowding it too much and harming the future health of the fish.  And finally, do I need a scavenger type fish? I know Scooter Blennies can do the job, but am worried that they would eventually get eaten. Thank you in advance for your help, Joe Wallace >>Joe, there really isn't any scavenger that I could safely recommend with your mix of fish, not even starfish.  Of the second list, only add ONE fish from that list.  I would not make it the tang because I would expect the Regal to shred it.  Otherwise, one additional would work, but no more.  Glad to be of help, Marina

- Livestock Issues, Follow-up - Thanks a lot for the super quick response to the long mail. <My pleasure.> Since the Mishaps, I am very careful not to use any soap for cleaning anything related to aquarium. <Good deal.> I let the corals dry out for a week or so after bleaching. Haven't kept in sun though. Will do that from now on. And I add Dechlor in a separate bucket and soak the coral for a day in it before I add it back to the aquarium. Regarding Quarantine tank. Do I have to keep it up and running all the time or do I start it with the display tank water before I actually buy the fish... <That would work fine, yes. Best to dispose of quarantine water and clean the tank between occupants.> also what all do I need to have in the quarantine tank... <Some things for the fish to hide in, perhaps some PVC pipe... things that won't react or absorb the various therapeutic agents one might use.> with regards to filtration etc. should I have any livestock in the quarantine tank? <Not sure I follow... filtration, I wouldn't do much more than a simple sponge filter or perhaps a hang-on unit.> I wish the LFS warned me about adding too many fish at a time. What can I do now that I have added 4 more fish this week... <Don't add any more, that will be a good start.> I already lost the neon wrasse within 3 days of introducing it into the aquarium. It had no external spots or torn fins etc... Also I am worried about the Chalk Bass. This morning when I checked on them it looks like its tail fin has been bitten off partially?? Do you think one of the other inhabitants has done this. <Most likely.> The Chalk Bass looks very sluggish and is very much inactive and sits on one of the silk plants in the corner and hasn't eaten anything. Please let me know if I can help it survive in any way. <Do check your water for ammonia, nitrite - if either are reading above the lowest mark on your test, then you need to begin some large water changes.> The Scooter Blenny and the Coral Beauty seem to be moving around actively. <That's good.> Is there anything I can do to offset the stress on the system resulting from adding excessive livestock. <Frequent water changes.> I added 8 snails the day before (2 red legs and 6 blue legs) do you think i should do something like a alternate day 5% water change. <Yes... that would be wise.> also how long do I need to keep the lights turned on (I do it for about 12h a day). <I'd got for eight.> is that excessive? <No, that's about as long as is healthy for the fish, but it will be more likely to promote problem algae.> Do I need to use a protein skimmer in my display tank? <I would/do.> One last thing. Can I add any more fish to the tank after 2-3 months (hoping all of the current inhabitants survive and thrive) or the number of fish I have already test the limit. <Let's see how things are going in two to three months.> Thanks a lot.  -  Raj. <Cheers, J -- >

Chalk Basslet Compatibility Question Hi, <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> I've been looking for information on the compatibility of a royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) and a chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum). <OK> Currently I have a royal Gramma in my 90 gallon tank, along with a Scopas tang, Foxface, Tailspot wrasse, sharknose gobies, redhead gobies, Banggai cardinal, Firefish, lined blenny and bicolor blenny.  All of these fish are fairly small (less than 2 inches) except for the first three which are about 3-4 inches long. Jeez, looking at this list I wonder if I should even be adding another fish. ;) <Just what I was thinking! It's possible, but would require lots of attention.  You may want to trade in a few of your current residents for a small group of the Basslets.  Doing something to this effect will take the stress off a single individual if aggression is a problem.  Whenever you're unsure, have a QT tank on hand to be safe.> Anyway, I haven't had any problems with the royal Gramma so far. I mean other than the usual flaring of the operculum and fin shows when the Firefish gets too close to whichever hiding spot he has chosen for the day.   Everyone pretty much gets along.  However with both the royal Gramma and the chalk Basslets being from the same family (or at least related), I am wondering about aggression.  Any thoughts? <Could be a pricey mistake. Would be a stunning display of color if you pull it off.  Ryan> TIA, Christy Falkenberg :) Lions, Triggers and Clowns <Hello, Ryan Bowen with you today> I searched your website to make sure I didn't miss an answer...<Thank You!> I just got a medium-sized Volitans Lion and would like to put him in my 58g tank with: 2 black and white perculas, a Chromis that has been with me through thick and thin, and a 2inch Humu. I read that both Humu and lion should hold their own, but my concern lies in them. Will the lion eat the Humu if he can catch him? <Likely no, but there is always a chance> Is that normal? Will the Humu break spines on the lion? <Yes, he will nip away at the long appendages, and the breaks in his skin will become infected in time.  Not a good combo in such small quarters.> Should I just return the lion to the store for credit? <Or the rest of your fish.  You've done the responsible thing.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks for any help! Ian

Stocking a New Tank Hi,      Sorry if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find a general question that answered my specific question. I was wondering, with a 60 gallon tank (with a Fluval 404 and a Red Sea Prizm Pro Skimmer-the big one-I found out too late that a weir and a trickle filter would have been better)<yes it would have> how many relatively small (4 inch average) fish could I safely support in a FO system (with live rock), and would it make a difference if I change the water more regularly?<I would say around 3-5 fish to be on the safe side> Also, how would I go about ordering your book (I live in Australia), if it is anything like your site it, I'm sure it would be better then my current (limited) book?<I would check out Amazon.com to purchase Robert Fenner's book, IanB> Thanks for the brilliant site - Ryan

- Livestock Questions - Hello gang! First let me start by thanking you all for the advice and lessons you give us (especially that it's free =^D).  I have been a fresh water enthusiast for a few years (~12 years) and recently decided to switch over to saltwater.  I am doing as much research as I can, to try to minimize the screw-ups and deaths… Let me start with what I have and will get to the questions at the end. 55 gallon bow front tank 45 pounds of Fiji live rock 55 pounds of aragonite 1 Coralife 50/50 light bulb Penguin Bio-wheel 330 1 Aquaclear powerfilter (runs along side the Penguin, but will be mainly used for QT) 2 power heads Red Sea Prizm protein skimmer 1 300W Heater 1 Air Pump I intend on having a fish/invert tank with LR only (no corals) I set up the tank a week and a half ago without the live rock.  I bought the cured live rock over the weekend (so it's been in there for ~4 days).   Salinity is at 1.022, pH is between 8.0 and 8.2.  I added 2.5 cap fulls of Kent Liquid Calcium, 2.5 cap fulls of Kent Iodine and 2.5 cap fulls of essential elements. Since I have no fish or inverts in there right now, can I add some more calcium?  (I need to measure what I got in there, but can you have more than the 400ppm you recommend when no fish or inverts are in there?) <Indeed, I wouldn't add things without testing for them first - do obtain a calcium test kit and let that be your guide as to how much and how often you should add calcium.> When I set up my QT, can I add some Melafix while my fish are getting quarantined? (to ease the stress and fight off any parasites present?) <You could - MelaFix won't help much with the parasites though - check the bottle, says nothing about parasites, just bacterial infections.> Still researching combos of fish and invertebrates I can add, but how does this sound: 1 Yellow eye tang 1 Yellow tang 1 Maroon clown 1 Lawn mower blenny 1 (or 2) Urchin (long spine) 2 Cleaner shrimps 3-4 Hermits & snails 1 Chocolate Chip star Feather Duster (still pondering a bulb anemone, light might be too weak) Let me know what you think about that combo (too much for a 55 gallon?), who should go in first? <I wouldn't put two tangs in a tank of this size, and even one will outgrow this system. The other selections seem fine, although you should really avoid the anemone until you have the lighting to keep it alive. Likewise, a long-spined sea urchin will likely leave little room for other items - the name long-spine is there for a reason... and there's a strong chance you'll end up with one or more of those long spines in your hand. I'd skip that selection.> I appreciate your time and advice! Thank you Bassem PS: I forgot to mention I am thinking of adding a coral beauty to that list too... Let me know how that will work. <If you drop one of the tangs off the list, you would be able to keep this fish. Do consider stocking it last... work your way up the list, one item a month, from least aggressive to most. Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Question - Hello, I just got a 72G bowfront along with a 3-4" porcupine puffer.  I realize the tank is way to small but I plan on going to at least a 150-180 this summer.  I would also like to purchase a clown trigger about 2" and a harlequin tusk which is about 4-5".  Would they be okay in this tank for a little while? <They would, but I would caution you that we get questions like this very frequently - folks who want the fish now, and will upgrade later. The unfortunate part comes when they never upgrade. Please make sure you follow through with this plan or skip the additional large fish.> What size tank do you recommend for a clown trigger, I find conflicting information. <The 150/180 would be fine.> Thanks Chris <Cheers, J -- > Adding Inverts or Anemone with puffer/tangs Hi, I was wondering if I can put any type of invert, cleaner or maybe an anemone in my 75 gallon tank. I have a stars and stripes puffer, a black and white striped percula clown, a yellow tang, a ocellaris percula clown and 5 damsels in my tank. <First off, some of the fish in your tank will be needing a larger one as they become older.  A Yellow Tang should be in a 90 gallon tank when they are adults. Even the puffer will get fairly large when it becomes an adult. The problem is that you really will not be able to add many types of invertebrates to your tank because of the Stars and Stripes puffer.  Puffers natural diet in the wild is snails/crustaceans/and other invertebrates.  The only inverts I have managed to keep with my puffers are red and blue legged hermit crabs.  Even then I have found empty shells and a puffer with a fat belly. If you did not have the puffer in the tank then you would be able to keep some inverts.  Though in my experience some damsels pester ornate shrimp, so they might pick at a cleaner shrimp to death. You have quite mix of fish in this middle sized tank, which is why it would be hard to add almost anything.> I know I would need to upgrade my lighting and all in order to house a anemone but I would like to know if it would work out in my tank first. <Anemones really don't have that great of track records in the home aquarium.  Some experts say that 90% of anemones imported in die within the first 5-6 months of being kept in aquariums.  These animals really should be kept by the experienced hobbyists.  The problem is that your tank really wouldn't be suited for such a sensitive creature such as an anemone.  They need the right water conditions, primo lighting and tankmates that won't bother it.  And I'm afraid that the puffer might bother it.  Also, you have to take into consideration that an Anemone stings (depending on which species, some can be quite powerful). A tank such as yours the other fish like the tang, and puffer might come in contact with the anemone quite frequently and become stung, which will really stress the fish!  In short, I would not put an Anemone in your tank.  If you wish to learn more about Anemones species and how to care for them I suggest you check out some of our marine articles here on WetWebMedia, or you can also look at purchasing some of the reef books on the market today.  "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Fenner is rather nice.  As there are also books specifically written that explain the care needs for Anemones.  Visit you local bookstore and you are bound to find many that will help.  After you learn more about them, you might wish to set up a reef tank just designed for an anemone it's hosting fish!  Good luck with the tank.  Not a lot can be added to you tank safely.  If you do feel that you want to add some clean up crew then I suggest you look at protected hard shelled critters.  Red Legged Hermits worked quite well for me, spread around some empty shells so that the crabs can move to new ones when older and act as decoy's for the puffer.  Good luck.-Magnus>

Over stock Good morning crew,<good morning :)>   I have a 45g tank, and I'm running a magnum 350 and CPR skimmer. My fish load is about 22-24 inches. My fish are not fully grown yet but in thinking ahead of time.  Do you think I should buy an extra filter like the  Penguin 400  to help with my stock level???<you should not add anything, you should either purchase a new aquarium for these fish or find a large enough aquarium for them. The filter might help temporarily, IanB>   Thanx

Compatibility Hey, <Howdy!> I'm about to start restocking my 220g FOWLR and right now I have two q-tines set up, a 30g and a 10g. the 30g has a harlequin tusk, a juv. Mac angel and a black back butterfly in it (two weeks).<I would bump that up to a full month to b safe.> my future stock plan includes two more butterflies (double saddle and Auriga) and a flame angel. But my concerns has to do with future territory problems in my 220g if I add my current fish and then add fish that are similar later on. I was thinking of putting my black back in my 10g q-tine and leaving it there until I have more room to q-tine the Auriga and the double saddle, and then I planned to add all at once. Would this reduce fighting or should I even be worried to begin with?<The 10 gal would be pretty small to house that butterfly in.  I would just go ahead and add the black then rearrange some of his territory when you add the 2 new guys.>   Also if I add a flame angel a couple months after I add the juv. Mac angel, will there be a major territory problem? Or should I also add them all at once?<The Maculosus will eventually get much bigger than the flame and bully him so I would probably skip the flame altogether.  But if you do get the flame I would try to add them at the same time.  Cody>   thanks, Brandon

The Full Scopas Hello all.  I'd like to get a recommendation on what may be feasible for my system.  <Sure.>  I have a 20g (tall) tank with a custom sea life power compact containing one 32 watt 10k bulb, and one 32 watt 7100k blue actinic bulb. I also have a 20g (standard) tank with a custom sea life power compact containing one 65 watt 10k bulb, and one 65 watt 7100k blue actinic bulb. The tall tank has a CPR BakPak 2 skimmer, and the standard tank has Red Sea Prizm hang on skimmer. I've been using the standard tank as a refugium with about a 5" live sand base and some scattered live rock. It is stocked with a flora kit from Inland Aquatics. I am using an Iwaki WMD RLT external pump to move the water to the tall tank, and a 1" diameter PVC siphon to go back to the refugium. The tall tank had about 3" of live sand substrate and somewhere around 40 lbs of Marshall Island live rock. For livestock in the tall tank I have 2 Three Stripe Damsels, one Scopas Tang, about 7 various hermit crabs, 4 turbo snails, and one yellow polyp (the polyp has completely  covered the rock I bought it on, and has subsequently spread to two more pieces of rock). I recently added 4 scarlet hermit crabs, 6 turbo snails, 6 Nassarius snails, and one Black Sailfin Blenny to the refugium because of a hair algae problem. My phosphates and nitrates are nil and spg is 1.023. I feed the livestock in the tall tank with Mysis frozen shrimp and Sweetwater zooplankton. The refugium is self sufficient. Additives are SeaChem Reef Complete, Reef Plus and Calcium.  Sorry about being long winded, I just wanted to give you all the facts.  I was wondering if I should consider adding a new fish to the refugium.  <Your tank(s), biologically, are fine. Although when it comes to space, you're going to be limited in the future. I would recommend to find a larger home for your Scopas tang for the fact that it will not fair well in such a small aquarium. In the short run, you'll most likely be fine. In the long run, the tang will most likely be stressed and prone to disease. If you wanted to add more fish, I would recommend fish that get no larger than 2 1/2" fully grown. Basslets make great aquarium residents, as do Cardinals. Other larger fish shouldn't be added until you get a larger aquarium.>  Take Care,  Graham Stephan  Wetwebmedia.com Crew

Here FISHY FISHY FISHY! >Hi love your site!!, I've been asking your help on fish for when I upgrade to a 125gal tank. I've herd from you and a marine fish book (by; Scott W. Michael) that Anthias like to live in a group. >>Yes, but also know that they require horizontal territory. >I was also wondering if I put a pair of Anthias in the new tank and if they will be safe with the following fish in the tank (one leaf Scorpionfish, one golden Bristletooth tang, one marine Betta, one yellowhead Jawfish, one matted pair of Blackray gobies, hopefully a mated pair of Firefish). >>I see no problem with compatibility with these other fishes. Watch the scorpion fish, as with others in their family if they think for one second it might fit, they WILL give it a try. I don't recollect any species that get large enough to pose a problem to the tang, marine Betta, or Anthias, but the other fish and shrimp might be in danger. >I may change my mind on the leaf Scorpionfish ,first I'm going to get the Scorpionfish fish first in the tank and keep him by himself for a little while I try to train him to eat frozen shrimp from a net. I'm hoping this will help the fish from taking advantage of the smaller fish in the tank. >>You can't untrain what is ingrained/instinct. It WILL try. >I was wondering if a banded coral shrimp would bother anemones or coral. >>Generally, no. Do expect them to bother other shrimps, and occasionally some fishes. Marina 

Stocking/compatibility questions 2/5/04  Hi--I have a couple of stocking questions. 1) One of the fish I would like to have is a yellow longnose butterfly. I've heard that they are not invert compatible, but I haven't seen anything specific about this. can you tell me what type of inverts would be at risk from this butterfly?  <Mostly worms, especially feather dusters. Possibly some corals, particularly open brains and other fleshy stonies. Maybe xenia or other not-so-noxious softies. Maybe Clams.>  2) I've been having a hard time deciding between the Midas blenny and the Red Sea Mimic blenny. I was wondering if it's possible to have both in a 125 gallon tank? or is that asking for trouble?  <This is probably a bit risky, but their feeding habits and behavior are different enough so that it is not out of the question.>  Thanks as always for your help! Beth  <Glad to! Adam>

Can I, Daddy, Please??  Let me Have More Fish! Hi, I have a 75 gallon tank with live rock and sand. 1 stars and stripes puffer, 1 yellow tang, 1 black and white banded percula, 1 ocellaris clown and 4 blue damsels. I was wondering what type or kind of fish would you suggest I can add in my tank to finalize it. All of the fish I have thought about adding were not compatible. Thanks  <You seem to have a good sized fish load as it is. I would hesitate to add anymore fish to your tank, unless you plan to upgrade your aquarium to over 150 gallons. To answer your original question, If you were to add one last fish, I would recommend a healthy Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus). The flame angel will add great coloration to your aquarium. Unfortunately, this fish is sensitive to water quality and often can get diseases. I would recommend you have excellent water quality and a mature aquarium (preferably over 7 months of age) before adding this fish. >  Graham

Stocking Suggestions Hello. <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> I find both your website and your Conscientious Marine Aquarist to be very helpful. <I'll pass along your kind words> Thanks so much for providing this service. <Glad you find it useful> I've done a great deal of reading up on livestock in preparation for stocking our new 75 gallon tank.  So far it has 80 gallons <Pounds?> of cured Fiji live rock and a few snails and hermit crabs.  We're ready to put our first fish into a 10 gallon quarantine tank and begin stocking.  Here's what we have in mind long term, realizing that it will be a very slow process since we plan to quarantine each fish for 3 weeks. <Relieved to hear.> Please comment on our choices/sequence of stocking.  1 royal Gramma <Mid-way> 2 Banggai cardinals <After damsels> 5 blue green Chromis <Start here, very hardy.> Some sort of blenny <More research to be done here> Flame angelfish <6 months after setup minimum> Percula clown <After Gramma Loreto> Hippo Tang (possibly)<Skip it.  Needs a larger system to flourish> Yellow tang <About the same time frame as Flame Angel- Allow time for your rock to establish some algae growth before adding the king of vegetarians ;)  Be aware: Only 1 Tang will fit in your 75!  > <Please don't use the damsels to cycle the tank!  The live rock will do this for you, and there's no need to risk the livestock.  See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm> Also, any recommendations on quarantining the group of Chromis in a 10 gallon tank? <yes, lots of water changes!> It seems like we might be constantly fighting ammonia with the high number of fish in a small tank. <Yes> Do they all need to be added as a group?  Or should they be added as 2 smaller groups? <Any chance of setting up a 20 gallon quarantine?  I have found that levels stay much more tolerable in this range.  Otherwise, you should find the Quarantine FAQs very helpful.  Make sure to use pH adjusted freshwater dips- they will help considerably in parasite control.  Good luck! Ryan> Many thanks, Suzanne

- Compatibility - Hi, Once again thanks for all the information you disperse on a daily basis, it's fantastic! <Glad you find the tank useful.> I have two FO tanks a 75 and a 125 that are up and established with no problems, going on about three years.  I want a 3rd tank to consist of a Volitans Lion, an Emperor Angel, a Clown Trigger and a Harlequin Tusk.  What are your thoughts about compatibility and what would the tank size have to be? <Think they would all coexist - the larger the tank the better, I'd say a minimum of 150, at least a 100 gallons larger would be best.> Thanks so much. Howard <Cheers, J -- >

It's All a Question of Where It's At! Two Turntables and a Microphone! >I currently have 2 tanks - 75 gal (1) Coral Beauty (4) Royal Grammas (1) Maroon clown 55 gal (1) Purple Tang (1) Percula clown (1) Flame Angel My (1) hippo tang was in the 55 gal with the purple tang. >>Oh my, far too small for either fish, a recipe for disaster with two. I would expect that purple to be rather intolerant of fish from which it perceives competition. >The flame angel was added. The purple tang is showing aggression toward the hippo tang. >>Not surprising. >Prior to adding the flame angel, they appeared to get along just fine. >>Until the balance was upset, it seems. >Last night while feeding, the purple tang was very aggressive. I moved the hippo to the 75 gal. >>Good move. >This morning, the coral beauty is chasing the hippo. Any suggestions? Thank you. >>I would let them be. A 75 gallon is enough room (unless rather bare) for the hippo to find relief and the Coral Beauty to get tired out rather quickly, but if it continues, then I would remove the CB to a hospital/qt tank for a week or two "time out". Rearranging of the decorations/aquastructure will be helpful in confusing the CB as to whose territory is whose. Marina 

Tank Upgrade! Hi <Howdy!>I'm fourteen and I am upgrading to a 125gal tank I've emailed you a few time about fish .I have narrowed it down to 1) leaf Scorpionfish ,Marine Betta, gold ring bristle tooth, arch eye hawkfish , big longnose butterflyfish ,and maybe a Anthias. What I was wondering is if I could put a yellow headed sleeper goby in the tank with the Hawkfish being there. I was also wondering if there are a few Anthias you could recommend to me. <I would pass on the Anthias here, they tend to be pretty delicate and should usually be kept in groups.> Just to let you know I am not having a dimly lit tank. I am going to have fairly bright tank because I am going to have coral. If the Goby wouldn't work out could a Yellowheaded Jawfish work out in the tank. <I would pass on the goby but the Jawfish should be fine.> I have been researching on the big longnose butterflyfish and it says it can be housed with a reef tank. I was wondering if that was true.<You should fine, the biggest concern would be worms, so any feather dusters or the like would be out of the picture.> I was also wondering if the butterfly fish would be alright with the fish tank mates that I have chosen.<You should be fine. Cody>  Feeding and stocking questions 2/2/04  Have a few questions for you. I have a 105 gal. reef tank with the following 14 fish: Kole tang, yellow tang, hippo  tang, (3)antheis, cardinal, Clarkii clown, golden head goby, scissor tail goby, (2) green Chromis, yellow tail damsel, bi-color Pseudo, (2) cleaner shrimp, (2) peppermint shrimp and a fire shrimp. I feed them only once a day in the evening with 3 frozen cubes mixing them up daily with different food types and also throw in some dry food a few times a week. Most of my fish are medium in size. My question: Am I feeding them enough food? and is once a day enough? My fish buddies think I should feed them twice a day using 2 cubes at each feeding. I am starting to feel bad for my fish; I am beginning to think I am not feeding them enough and not frequent enough. What would you suggest?  <Two small feedings a day is probably better than one large on, but once a day is fine for most fish. The exception is certain highly active fish that only feed from the water column like Anthias, which do much better on multiple feedings, but even hardier Anthias like P. squamipinnis can get by on one. The ultimate judge of weather your feedings are adequate is how the fish look. If they aren't getting thin (look head on particularly along the back and the head just in front of the eyes), they are fine.>  Also, I would like to get a few more (colorful) fish for the tank. However, each time I visit a fish store, they tell me I have capped out my supply of more fish because anything left is either not reef safe or not compatible with my other fish. Any suggestions of what I can buy that has color and compatibility? I want a fairy wrasse, would this be okay? Some tell me the dwarf red angel would be okay, what do you  think in a reef tank?  <From that list, you have certainly indulged your addiction! With aggressive feeders like tangs and clowns, you will have to be careful that some of the other fish are getting their share of the food, particularly the cardinal and Anthias. Fairy wrasses are notoriously shy and would probably starve or rarely be seen in your tank if it wasn't outright beat to death. There are certainly plenty of other fish you could add, but I wouldn't recommend doing so in addition to your current fish. If you find other fish you really like, please consider giving up some of you current ones, paying special attention to choose fish that will hold their own at feeding time.> Thanks!!!!!!!! Rob <Best regards. Adam>

Tangs and clams? 2/2/04 hi everyone, (Anthony and Bob, I just bought reef inverts.- IT IS GREAT) <Hi Johanna.  Adam Here.  I will pass along your sentiments to Bob and Anthony.  Both are very appreciative of such compliments.> I have a 125 reef with a plenum and 4 inches of CaribSea aragonite, ETSS skimmer, calcium reactor, sump, (I am planning on adding at least a 75 refugium) with mainly softies a few LPS, 5 clams, and a red bubble tip anemone that has split. for fish I have: 4 green Chromis 2 yellow clown gobies 3 green clown gobies 1 purple Firefish 1 African Flameback dwarf angel 1 royal Gramma 1 bumblebee goby 1 golden dwarf angel 1 double whip tail bream (3.5") 1 tricolor fairy wrasse 1 Rainford goby 2 maroon clowns, who never leave their BTA's 2 gold neon gobies 2 sandsifting starfish 2 tuxedo urchins 1 orange Linckia 4 fighting conchs 2 sexy shrimp 3 cleaner shrimp 2 fire shrimp 1 tiger tail cuke I realize that the bream will get too big for my tank but plan to give him to a friend with a much bigger tank when he starts outgrowing me. <This is a good plan, but you probably will have quite a while longer to enjoy this fish.  Do beware that your fighting conchs will grow quickly along with their appetites and your tank may only be able to provide enough food for two or so.> I am having a bubble algae problem. aaaagggghhhh. I would like to add some tangs? am I nuts? well, yes, actually I am that has been confirmed by friends and family alike. I guess my question is would it be bad for the fish.  I really like the chevron tang. and the yellow tang, what do you think? for bubble algae, I tried Mithrax crabs, they really didn't seem to do anything. <Mithrax are not reliable for this purpose, but do work occasionally.  Chevron tangs don't have the mouth parts to be able to eat any but the tiniest Valonia and yellow tangs tend to ignore them.  IME, the very best control is the same as for other algae.  Good nutrient control combined with maintaining high alkalinity, Ca and pH will help coralline algae dominate.> is there a particular fish you would recommend: the Naso? <The most reliable fish for this purpose are rabbit fishes and Foxface (try to seek out *the* Foxface S. vulpinus with a black spot near it's tail).  Naso tangs and "red sea" Sailfin tangs (Z. Desjardinii) are hit or miss and will probably only consume the smallest bubbles.  All of these fish will live happily in your tank for quite a while before requiring larger quarters.> I wouldn't have a problem giving fish that grow too big for my tank back to the pet store or to friends with much larger tanks, after they wreak havoc and destruction on the bane of my existence: bubble algae.  also, I did a lot of research and soul searching ( I decided I was more of a fish person than a coral person) before I added the dwarf angels, they are getting along famously, I have never seen either bother the other, they nip at corals, but I never see chunks missing and have not lost a coral. the clams have only been in a week, so I could have just put in some very expensive angelfish food. or would they become tang food?  I am wondering if I am nuts to try to put in another dwarf, say an eiblii, rusty, vroliki or a coral beauty, what do you think? how much stuff should I take out if I really want the tang or extra angel?  thanks,  john <Even if your current angels aren't taking chunks out of your corals they may irritate them to the point that they won't open.  Adding more angels will only increase this irritation, the chance of aggression between them and the chance of getting one that will remove chunks....  Seems ill-advised to me, particularly with a very expensive and prized golden dwarf angel present.  Protecting this fish would be enough reason for me to resist adding more.  Best of luck with your Valonia problem!  Adam.

Firefish Hi I emailed you about upgrading my tank to a 129 0r 125gal tank and I asked about keeping my Firefish and black ray goby. I was wondering if you could recommend  a few fire fish to me that have a reasonable compatibility in a tank.  There are lots of choices, you can find tons of info on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

No More Fish Please Good morning crew,<Howdy!> How many inches of fish should I have in my 45g tank??? <You can't tell with inches, that is not a very accurate at all.> So far I have 45 to 50lb of LR 2 clowns (OCELLARIS), small 1 cardinal (Kauderni), full grown 1 jaw fish (full grown) 1 pygmy angel (small) 1 6 line wrasse  (full grown) 1 sea horse (KUDA) full grown And I'm thinking of adding 1 purple fire fish (small) Do you think I'll be ok???<You tank is full to the brim already, I would not add any more fish to your tank.  Also that sea horse should ideally be in a tank of his own.  Make sure he is getting his share food.> Thanx for all you guys do!!!<You can also find tons of info at our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Aftermath of Moving a Tank (1/30/04) I have 29 gal. tank. It was up and running at my house for about 4 months. I have recently moved the tank. Prior to the move I had a blue star fish that died. I also had a deep green algae, and a scooter blenny that stopped eating 1-2 days before the move. When we moved the tank we vacuumed as much of algae we could. Was this bad? <No> and did a 20% water change <good>. After this water change the pH dropped to about 7.8 and we had the water checked at a local fish store and the nitrates were at about 20ppm, the water was also really cloudy white. <Has the cloudiness gone away yet?> This was the first time anything besides ph and salt were checked. Since I have performed 2 five gallon water changes with RO water <good>, and checked all parts of the water. my new readings are salt 1.022, ph 8.3, ammonia .5 <still to high>, nitrites 0, nitrates 5. Is there a way to drop the ammonia or should I wait, can I add something to help? <It just needs to cycle again after the biofilter was disturbed by the move. You might be able to speed this along considerably with Bio-Spira Marine if you can get it from an LFS.> Also I moved all my fish to a buddies tank so they are safe I have 1 maroon clown, 1 tomato clown, 1 4 striped damsel, 1 domino. <A very aggressive mix> Is it safe to put them back? <I wouldn't do this until ammonia is zero. It would also be preferable to not add back all of them at once.>Is this too many fish? <Not so much too many as a bad mix of mean fish. I would expect the Maroon Clown to kill the Tomato eventually, although perhaps the Tomato will prevail. Maroons get meaner as they grow and get up to 5 inches or longer. The Damsels are quite mean as well. Very likely to quarrel.> Also just a question about a yellow tang, they say 50 gal min <That resource is wrong. Minimum 75--more is better. You should snorkel in Hawai'i sometime. It will transform your entire perspective on this hobby.> Would it die in a small tank? <Would you die if confined to your bedroom for the rest of your life? Likely not, but you would not thrive either.> Can I get one and move it to a larger tank later on? <Bad idea. How do you know you'll ever get a bigger tank? Circumstances change. Always buy only fish that will fit into your current tank. Get fish that get bigger only after you get a bigger tank. Hope the info helps, Steve Allen.>

Wants Advice on Compatibility - But Really Needs Advice on Stocking Levels! >Hello crew, >>Hi! >I have some fish compatibility questions. First off I'll tell you my current set up 55G standard tank, Fluval 3, Red Sea Prizm skimmer (yes I want a better one).  110W power compact, 20lbs if live rock and 60lbs of base rock.  1 Porcupine puffer - 4" 1 yellow tang - 3" (newly acquired and healthy) 2 damsels - 2" 1 chocolate star 3 turbo snails A few hermit crabs >>Ok. Umm.. you have FAR too many fish that will VERY soon outgrow this tank. Even just the yellow tang alone will soon outgrow this tank, adding the porky on top of that may likely ensure problems in the near future. Consideration for adult sizes really must be given when sorting fish selection for any system.  I am hoping that you also make/made use of quarantine, especially considering the propensity tangs show for susceptibility to ich. >The fish that I would like to add is a hippo tang. My concerns are that there will be too much biomass and that the two tangs will not get along together and totally stress out.  >>Both SUCH valid concerns (along with what's been previously mentioned) that I would nix the idea altogether. >I have read that the tangs might be ok if the are purchased about the same time, they are both juvenile, and if there is enough space for them to share.  >>There are other factors, such as mixing of genera, ensuring sufficient size disparity, taking particular species' aggression into note (there are some that are notably more aggressive than others - and let me tell you, watching one literally SHRED another is not a pretty sight, nor is it easy prevented once it gets going). All of this is moot when your actual set up is taken into consideration. The fish that you currently have should be in a 75 gallon minimum. >If the hippo seems like too much of a mismatch what other fish would you suggest to add, I would like to see more color and movement in the tank, also I fear that if the fish is too small that the puffer will have a little expensive snack (the damsels are currently seeking a new home). Also the tang and puffer seem to get along fine, I have seem them both in a cave at the same time and seemingly at peace. >>I strongly suggest you make a decision within the next few months, either new digs for the fish you have (which would allow you what you want - and can be had in the form of other species of fishes BESIDES tangs), or rethink your fish stock, specifically in regards to the tang and puffer. Do *not* add any other fish at this time. The only fish I could suggest to you with anything resembling good conscience would be neon or clown gobies (Neons are my personal fave, especially for their propensity to act as cleaners). They flit about the rocks, but mostly set upon them. >Best regards. Ryan King >>I'm sorry I can't tell you what you'd likely prefer to hear, but know that if you replace the tang and puffer with other species, you CAN have the color and movement you'd like in that 55 and know that you won't be overcrowding or being cruel to these fish once they begin to attain adult sizes. Marina 

LR, Clowns as first fish, Anemone introduction Hi Tinydove, 1) how much LR is required to set up a 55 g tank? <The amount of live rock chosen is based upon personal preference. There's really no correct amount of live rock to have in an aquarium. I would estimate around 60lbs of live rock would be perfectly fine for a 55 gallon aquarium. More or less live rock will also be fine.> 2) and would clown fish be a suitable fish for a novas to start out with? ( I find them to be quite interesting lil' critters...lol ) If not could you give me a few ideas as to what type of fish would be good? <Clownfish make great aquarium fish to the novice aquarist. For your tank size, Percula clownfish would make an excellent addition. Percula clownfish do not get very large and are relatively peaceful aquarium fish.> 3) If one decides to put an anemone such as a bubble tip in the tank, should they be introduced at the same time or should one be introduced before the other? <Anemones are often difficult to care for and can be challenging to keep. With that said, I would hesitate to add an anemone unless you have good amounts of lighting, a mature aquarium (preferably over 6 months of age), and stable water conditions. Strong amounts of lighting are recommended. If you were to get a bubble tip anemone for your clownfish, consider adding the anemone before you add the fish. Anemones will need time to adapt to their new surroundings. Having a clownfish swimming in and out of the tentacles doesn't make things easier. About a week after the anemone has been added, you may add the clownfish to the aquarium. You may want to consider getting a Sinularia sp. (or otherwise known as a Toadstool, which is a species of leather coral) for your clown(s) to host in. Leathers will often host clownfish and these corals are much hardier than anemones. I hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email one of us at WetWebMedia.> Take Care, Graham Stephan

Choosing Reef Fish Bob or Crewmate,<IanB here today> I would like some schooling fish in my reef aquarium.  Anthias are pretty but tend to be fragile and I'm not crazy about Chromis.<me either>  I also read that tangs will inhibit the schooling of Chromis and I want a tang.<then purchase the tang and forget about the Chromis>  Do Canary blennies or Midas blennies school in an aquarium?<Midas blennies are not beginner fish but I do believe they will school in aquariums>  If so, how many are needed to exhibit schooling?<a handful 3-5>  Would three or more Canary blennies tend to swim together in a 150 gallon aquarium? Are there other saltwater fish species that form actively swimming groups in a reef aquarium and at the same time are relatively hardy, peaceful and attractive?<blue Chromis, some species of damselfish, squirrelfish, P. leucotaenia school together, Thank you, Joseph Rouse<good luck, IanB>

Where to buy tank-raised - 1/26/04 Hello,    Please give me some ideas. <Sure. First it is always cool to encourage your local fish store to buy from the various wholesalers (Mangrove Tropicals and ORA to name two of many) but there are etailers who are now doing this as well. Here are but a few: http://www.liveaquaria.com/ http:/ and /www.premiumaquatics.com/ and of course http://www.inlandaquatics.com These are but a few but, I have heard many good things about them. There are others as well.> I have searched all over today and literally can not find tank-raised fish for sale. <C'mon. Took me a few minutes>  The LFSs have some clowns, but I have an ocellaris, and that covers that. <Are you only looking local? If that is the case you probably will have a hard time. Local Fish Stores look to move stock and tank raised fish usually cost more and are not in demand. Your best bet is to encourage them to buy these fish for you or take your business to an online site> I am looking for a Royal Gramma first, and later a Flame Angel. <Check the links above> I know the Angel is rare and expensive, but I am a staunch supporter of tank-raised fish and will take one for the team. :-) <Me too. My corals, inverts, and fish are all tank propagated> The main online retailers I know seem to have no T.R. at all--including ones on your links page. <Uhhhhh....not true at all. Look again.> Any ideas at all? <See above>     Thank so much! <You bet, and thank you for being a conscientious marine aquarist! ~Paul> Lance Stocking List for New Reef >Hello WWM Crew, >>Hello. >I am setting up a 125 gallon reef tank with 40 gallon sump. >>Let the coolness ensue! >I am running a Mag 2400 pump wit a SCWD and 2 other returns make certain I have no dead areas in the tank. I have 2 250W metal Halides and 2 160W VHO (1 daylight and 1 actinic). I am converting my 30 gallon reef to my quarantine tank. >>Music to my ears, my friend. >I am looking for some advice on my live stock. I am going all soft corals and have not completely decided what I want but this is the list I have so far. Any advice on overstocking, compatibility and especially on order of introducing to the tank. >>I'll do my best to help here. >Fish Stock List: 1 Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) 1 Maroon Clown (Premnas biaculeatus) 1 (percula) Clown (Amphiprion percula) 1 Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) 1 Flame Angel (Centropyge loriculus) 2 Yellowtail Damsel (Chrysiptera hemicyanea) 6 Chromis, Green (Chromis viridis) 2 Banggai Cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni) 1 Christmas Wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissimus) 2 Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica) 2 Firefish, Purple (Nemateleotris decora) 2 Gold Neon Goby (Gobiosoma randalli) 1 Mandarin, Green (Pterosynchiropus splendidus)(will let copepods and other food build up and will raise in sump as well for food and hunting. will introduce last) >>Alright.  You mention this as being primarily a softie tank (although with that lighting I think you can stock clams, large polyp stony corals, and maybe even small polyp stony corals (mid and top tank areas).  That being said; watch the angel!  Also, I have read on several occasions of con-specific aggression with Banggai cardinals - they just don't seem to tolerate each other once mature.  I suggest more research before you actually add them.  I would likely count on the Maroon clown beating the hell out of the A. percula, unless you establish the percula first, and make SURE the Maroon is smaller than the percula when you add it.  Even still, expect interspecific aggression.  As for order, I would stock the Firefishes and gobies first (in a tank that size you can add them all at the same time post-quarantine).  Christmas wrasse and damsels next.  Cardinals after that, then the clowns (as per above), then the tangs - blue first, then yellow (again, ensuring size disparity), then angel last.  Remember, the clowns and tangs are the biggest risk as far as aggression. >Cleaners 25 Blue legged hermit crabs 25 Scarlet hermit crabs 25 Zebra Hermit crabs 10 Green emerald Crabs >>I would honestly leave out the emeralds.  Too many horror stories!  Also, be certain to provide PLENTY of extra "flats" (shells) for these different hermit crabs to prevent losses due to eviction. >2 Sally Lightfoot Crab  (Percnon planissimum) >>Again, I'd leave these out. >50 Astrea snails 25 Mexican Turbo Snails 10 Bumble Bee Snails 3 Abalone  (Haliotis species) >>Don't add these until you have copious micro-algal growth. >1 Red Serpent Star  (Ophiomyxa species) >>Ophioderma, perchance?  For instance, the gorgeous Ophioderma squamosissimum? >1 Tiger Brittle Star  (Ophiomyxa species) >>DO be careful NOT to add Ophiarachna incrassata - these things set all-too-efficient traps for fish! >1 Banded Coral Shrimp Gold  (Stenopus scutellatus) 1 Cleaner Shrimp >>I would watch ALL other shrimp with the coral banded shrimp.  You may decide to leave out the CB shrimp so you have more flexibility in the future in regards to other shrimp additions. >2 Tuxedo Urchin  (Mespilia globules) Soft Corals Xenias Tree corals Star Polyps Varity of Leathers Colt Corals I have spent many hours at your site. Very enjoyable and helpful. Thank you for you help. >>What.. no mushrooms (Corallimorphs)?  Again, I think you could add at least hardy stonies to this mix, at least once you get comfortable with the whole thing.  Sounds like an excellent stocking list, not overstocked for fish numbers and adult sizes, just some concerns with particular mixes.  Otherwise, I think it's pretty good!  Marina  

New Young Reefer >Hi I'm 14 years old, and I have a 46 gal tank. >>Hello, nice to meet you, Ward. >I talk to Rob the other day about upgrading anywhere from a 90 to a 180gal tank.   >>Sick!  The peeps must think you're pretty good at what you're doing with the fishes, yeah? >I've  narrowed  it down to a 125gal or a 135gal (reef tank) tank I've decided to look away from a grouper and bamboo shark. >>Grouper's ok, but a shark is more difficult. >I was wondering if you would give me your Idea of the group of fish that I've picked out. >>Yes, sir, I sure can. 1)Two Leaf Scorpionfish 2) Comet (Marine Betta) >>Know that these are VERY shy fish, and often have to be "target fed" - that means that you have to use a feeding stick or tongs and make sure that he gets food, or the others will take it away from him. >3) Atlantic Blue Tang   4) Hawkfish >>What species of hawkfish?  This is important to know. 5) Anglerfish >>I love those fish, but know that they cannot tolerate medications with copper, so you have to be very careful with quarantine procedures.   >I'm not real sure on a Hawkfish because I'm afraid it may nip at the leaf Scorpionfish and the other fish. >>This is not so much a worry.  However, you mentioned "reef tank", this implies that you plan on stocking with soft and/or hard corals and other invertebrates.  This would change/limit your fish list somewhat. >I was wondering  if there was a Hawkfish that you would recommend one that you think could live among the fish that I have chosen. >>Sure, I would look at arc-eye and flame, or maybe a spotted.  You've got a group that will likely all try to eat whichever animal fits in its mouth (with the exception of the tang, and maybe the comet).  You really need to watch sizing, as the angler/frogfish will GROW, mad fast, and it could likely try to take one of the leaf fishes (or really anything that it thinks will fit in its mouth).  I'm not kidding when I tell you that these animals are seriously voracious, they can and WILL give animals their own size and BIGGER a go. >I always like to try something a little challenging and I've was wondering if you could tell me what you thing of the anglerfish.    >>I love these fish, but physiologically delicate if disease becomes an issue, especially parasitic diseases.  If you get one, DO be sure to get a juvenile that has been fed frozen feed and takes it readily.  Be careful with the feeding stick, they've been known to injure themselves fatally, as the manner of feeding is.. well.. EXPLOSIVE.  Marina

Stocking a reef Hello there, I hope it's warm wherever you are.  Thank you for answering so many great questions on a daily basis. <Hi!  Adam here, and it's FREEZING!  But, like the mail man, come rain, sleet, snow or hail, we are here!> My question regards stocking.  We have experience with salt water aquaria for over a year now and are venturing onto a 12 gallon Eclipse System tank (11 pounds live rock and 9 pounds live sand, standard cleanup crew of a variety of snails, a serpent star and blue leg hermit crabs) dedicated to two seahorses. <I would consider removing the hermits and serpent star just to eliminate any (admittedly small) chance of them harming or killing any sea horses.> The tank is still in the cycling stages.  In this tank I would like to add some Caulerpa for the seahorses to hold onto with their tails.  Would this be a mistake or would it be beneficial and assist with nitrate control. <With live rock and at least 3" sand, nitrate should not be an issue.  Caulerpa will assist with the export of phosphate though.  Beware that it can quickly grow out of control.> I also plan to add xenia and green star polyps (Pachyclavularia), and a few mushroom polyps.  The lighting is upgraded to 32 watt compact fluorescent. <Sounds more than reasonable.> Would I also be able to add a pair of red head gobies for disease control (I would like to get a male and female pair if possible.)  If these are not a good choice, what would be a better small fish to help clean up the excess food?  Thanks so much for your help, it is a pleasure to read you on a daily basis. <I am not sure of the utility of biological cleaners with seahorses.  I would guess that they would do more harm than good.  Please do rely on good husbandry and appropriate quarantine for disease prevention.  A small sea cucumber will help keep the sand bed clean, but will quickly out grow such a small tank.  HTH.  Adam>

Stocking Questions (1/2/04) Hey crew,<Steve Allen today>    I have an established (2 years) reef tank (40 gal breeder tank with 15 gal sump, moving approx. 400+ gal/hr.).  I have somewhere near 40 lbs LR, a 4-5" DSB, some polyps, purple mushrooms, a couple of finger leathers, gobs of little brown feather dusters (clumps of a couple dozen here and there, and a whole herd of what I believe to be  Anemonia majano (REALLY need to find a way to get rid of these guys). <You may find some ideas by searching WWM.>  I also have blue-leg hermits, assorted clean-up crew critters, turbo snails, a scopas tang <needs a bigger tank as it grows--absolute minimum 75G> and an ocellaris clown.     The clown has been in there since the beginning, and the scopas for about 10 months.  I'm thinking about adding a fish, and wanted your opinion of the suitability of  a Copperband butterfly. <Tank too small. This fish grows to 7 inches or so. The fish is not very hardy and a picky eater. Adding this fish to you tank would be a mistake. I speak from experience.> the LFS got one in last night, that looks healthy and acts healthy.  If you believe that this is an unsuitable addition for this tank, then what would you recommend? <Smaller things like a Royal Gramma, a Firefish, or a Shrimp Goby.> Thanks <You're welcome. Hope this helps. Steve Allen. Dow Mathis - Kerrville, TX - Schooling Fish - I posted this question on the forums but had limited response. I'm looking for ideas for small (say 3" max) fish that school for my 90 gallon reef. <Hmm... even with proper schooling fish, they may not truly school in a tank of this size, or if they do it will be 'loose'.> I have been told about Green Chromis, Cardinal fish (do all of them school, or just the Banggai), Chalk Basses and filefish.  Are there any other major groups I'm missing? <Not that stay small - perhaps certain Anthias.> Do the Blue Chromis also school? <Yes.> How about the Yellow-tail Damsel? <Not so much.> How about the Citron and Rippled Coral Goby (I know the okinawae does, but it doesn't say anything specific about the other two species of Clown Gobies on the WWM). <Don't believe these do - in any case, what seems to happen in small captive systems is that the fish realize they aren't as threatened as they once were, and tend to school less - you need a tank of several hundred gallons to get genuine schooling behavior.> Thanks in advance, Jeremy <Cheers, J -- >

Anemone for a thirty gallon tank - 1/23/04 hello, I have a thirty gal that has been established for about 4 months. I have a percula clown, 1 French angel fish, <You're kidding right?? This fish is going to be much too big for this tank very quickly> 1 striped damsel, and a fire fish and a couple of small hermit crabs. I wanted to fit an anemone in the tank to top it off and complete it. <Not so sure if I would do one. Could be very dangerous for the other fish in such small confines although, I am aware that this is a very typical setup for many> However I do not know what type of lighting I would need to make it livable for an anemone and the fish at the same time. <Depends on the anemone, but in most cases lighting with a T-5 or Power Compacts is a best bet at the minimum but feeding is way more important than lighting in most cases. Do your research here and on other sites. Talk in the forums and get as many views as you can> what should I do, or is it even a good idea to get something that fragile in my tank? <Do some research and make that determination for yourself. I think, though, that it could be a detriment to your other animals in the long run. ~Paul> - Mixing a Couple of Eels and a Shark - We have a small spotted moray eel (5-6 in) and a extra small zebra eels (4-5 in), would we be able to temporarily put any of these together in a 55 gallon tank for a few months with a brown banded bamboo shark that is only 6-7 in long and tank raised? <Sounds like trouble... someone is going to lose.> Would we even be able to put the 2 eels together? <Wouldn't trust the results.> Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. <I wouldn't mix any of these in anything but the largest of tanks - 250g-plus.> Thanks, Melissa  & Carlos P.S.  We love your website! <Cheers, J -- >

It's a Little Late.. Is It, Really? >It's a little late to be asking this question but I was wondering what if there is a "rule of thumb" to determine the amount of fish that can safely be added to a reef tank.  I know that there are a lot of variables that need to be considered besides the amount of fish when it comes to the amount of bioload so I'm sure that I need to give you more information regarding my set up to answer.   >>Indeed, and discounting the life processes of the fish in question themselves are the variables concerning your particular setup.  But let's try to address your situation here. >Here goes: Tank:  105G RR with 105 lbs LR and DSB w/plenum. 520W PC lighting.   >>I'm going to assume that your 520W of PC lighting is also properly Kelvin rated (oh.. at least 5,000K to mimic spectrum of sunlight, yes?) >40G Sump with sponge filter only and large Protein Skimmer.   Two 1200 MaxiJet powerheads for additional circulation.   >>The plenum is in situ (in the tank), yes? >Without glass canopy I get significant evaporation (and I am assuming gas exchange). >>:nod: >Fish: Hippo Tang (3"), two A. perculas (1.5"), lawnmower blenny (2.5"), red scooter blenny (1.5"), flame hawk (1"), long nosed hawk (2") Coral: frog spawn, Galaxea, green hammer, bubble, green star polyp, yellow polyps, Favia, Sinularia Inverts: LTA (hosts with f. perculas), green brittle star, serpent star, sand sifting star, 2 emerald crabs, scarlet skunk shrimp, assorted hermits and snails >>Watch that flame hawk for attacks on shrimps.  The scooter blenny and longnose may likely compete for microfauna - it's likely the scooter may be the loser in this competition.  If it appears thin, then I think a refugium would be a *fantastic* addition here for its ability to handle addition nutrient export AND add microfaunal life. >In my QT are a royal Gramma (1"), yellow candy hog (1.5"), and two green clown gobies (.5").   >>I'd say you could add all those easily (consider two or three neon gobies for their propensity to act as cleaners for the larger fish!). >They are not scheduled to be added to main tank for 4 weeks.  My water parameters are all consistently good.  In addition to top-off every day, I do 5% water changes weekly and that keeps ammonia at zero and nitrates to almost nothing (so far!).   >>This is an odd statement, ammonia should always be at zero, my friend.  Once your system is cycled the cultures of nitrifying bacteria are consuming all but nitrate.  Something is amiss.  Also, a 5% w/c isn't much, honestly.  However, not knowing how long this system has been set up I can't offer much in the way of suggestions why.. then again, you haven't mentioned exact test readings (yet).   >That's my worry.  Do you think with the new additions in a month I am over my limit, at the limit, or under? >>The tang and hog are going to be the most taxing on the system for their constant movement, and the tang especially for its ability to be a poop machine. >I recognize that all of these fish will continue to grow (especially the hippo).  I wanted to add just a few more coral but have no plans for additional fish.   >>Inverts such as corals do not place anywhere nearly the same bioload demands upon a system as vertebrate life.  Consider a clam, such as T. derasa, as well (I had great luck with this species under normal output fluoros!). >Thanks in advance for your advise, I truly enjoy reading your FAQ's and have learned a great deal from them.   >>You're welcome, I think you are fine and have demonstrated excellent restraint!  Also, KUDOS to you for the 30 quarantine!  Music to my ears, my friend, music to all our ears.  (Do consider a future addition of a 'fuge, we have lots written up about them onsite.)  Marina Pushing the Envelope     Hi my name is Jonathan I'm fourteen And I have 46 gallon and a 30 gal saltwater tank. <Hello, welcome! Ryan with you today> I have been thinking of up grading to anything from a 90 to a 180gallon tank. <Great!> and my pet store has had a spotted grouper  and its been there for more than a year my guess is that the temperament that groupers are known for.  And if I got a bigger tank I was thinking of getting him. So I was wondering if you could suggest some other fish that could live with the grouper. If I do get a bigger tank I don't want anything that will eat coral or anemones (such as an Angelfish). <Groupers are big producers...filtration will be your biggest challenge.  I note that you don't want anything that will eat coral or anemones...does this mean that you plan on keeping a reef?  If so, the grouper isn't a good choice.>     If I were to get  a bigger tank I was wondering if a bamboo Shark  would be alright  with the grouper, and your suggestions of fish for the grouper. Know this shark at the pet store is a baby and was born blind in both eyes... the shark can still smell out its food. <Sharks require a lot of work!  Daily feedings minimally, and lots of waste to filter.  I don't want to rain on your parade, but I think you'd be much happier with some easier choices.  In a 180 gallon tank, I would recommend a member of the wrasse family.  Very active, fun and colorful.  If you're into brutes (sounds like you are!) consider the puffer family.  They're much easier to maintain than a shark, and with good care a puffer will be a great pet.  Note: Puffers are also not reef safe.>     Jeff from the pet store said that the bamboo shark could live in a 180 gallon tank I was wondering if that was true. <It could live, but will present you with far more problems than other selections> I would also like to know if there are any crustaceans that could be put in the tank with the grouper and the bamboo shark. <Wouldn't last long...> at what tank size should a person start to use chiller. <Hmm...a chiller is used when you fear overheating.  If you live in a hot area, or use a metal halide heating system, you may want to consider using a chiller.  They're pricey!  Many aquarists use chillers on large tanks as a way of insuring their investment.  It's not a requirement, just a little added insurance.>     I would just  like to say that I like what you do with your web site and I like the bamboo and clownfish shirt.  <thank you for the kind words!  Thanks for writing in, and good luck with the upgrade!  Ryan>     

Filtering And Stocking Hi. Just a quick question: I'm setting up another marine tank. 75 gallons. Remora hang on skimmer. Power filter. Live Rock, Deep sand bed. What I need to know is which Eheim filter do you recommend? There are so many choices! Really can't afford to put out $400.00 for top of the line, so what are your suggestions? <Well, if I were going the Eheim mechanical filter route, I'd probably use an Eheim 2028, which you can get for around $216.00. Personally, I like sump systems, myself.> Right now it will be Fish only, but would like to someday make this a reef. <Then do consider constructing or buying a sump- much more flexibility in the long run> Fish in this tank will be: Yellow tang, maroon clown, 2 leopard puffers, hippo tang, 2 blue damsels. Also any other items you suggest. Thank-you. Judy <If it were me, I'd pass on the puffers, and only get one tang- the Yellow Tang. Smaller potential adult size, which is important in this sized tank. Consider as substitutes for the Hippo a Royal Gramma, Pseudochromis, or Fairy Wrasse of some sort. Much smaller, great colors, and just as alluring, IMO! Have fun! regards, Scott F.>  

Thanks for the reply and lighting and coral questions.  1/20/04 I thank you for your info on the red bubble algae.  I have enjoyed watching the live rock grow over the last year. I have  added 2 tank raised Amphiprion Percula I also have some mushrooms and a couple  of Euphyllia (1 glabrescens and 1 divisa or paradivisa?) not sure on the  second one. <E. divisa is non-branching, paradivisa is branching.> Tank is a 120 gal with 130 lbs of rock. metal halides on 10hrs and actinic blue on 24hrs. Here are a few questions. Thanks for your time!!! 1 Are my lighting times ok? <I would recommend reducing the actinics to no more than 16 hours.  All animals (except some polar animals) require normal day/night cycles.> 2 What does a healthy Euphyllia Look like? Mine will be full of water and arms out when light as are on but when just blue lights are on they close up mostly . they have been in the tank about 3 months for one and 3 weeks for the  other. <What you describes sounds totally normal.> 3 Here is a list of fish I would like to put in my tank over a 2 year period at least all species will be in there but spread over time. Any input you could give me on my selections would greatly be appreciated!! These will be in the  order I am going to try and follow. I do have 2 Percula clown already in the  tank first salt water fish I have ever had Yippee!! 2 perculas 1-2 Pterosynchiropus splendidus (mandarin) 2-3 Nemateleotris decora (fire fish) 1 Either a long nose butterfly fish or a copper banded would rather have the latter but have heard they are not very hardy? 1 Halichoeres chrysus (Yellow Coris wrasse) even though its not a Coris 1-2 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (six lined wrasse) 1 Oxycirrhites typus (Long nosed  Hawkfish) 1 Centropyge either bispinosus or loriculus (Coral Beauty/ Flame) I think these can all go together but am I over stocking my tank? <Beware that multiple wrasses may not tolerate each other and that they may drive the fire fish to jump.  Also the wrasses and mandarins are all 'pod specialists and will compete for available food.  This will affect the mandarins more since they will not likely accept prepared foods.> If I am not over stocking it I would also like to put in one or some of these bigger fish; 1 Pomacanthus either Annularis, Paru, Imperator or  1 Chaetodon not sure what kind or 2 or more Paracanthurus hepatus (regal blue tang) <Any angel or butterfly is a risk with corals.  Research any choice carefully and be prepared to observe them for destructive behavior.  Regal tangs are great choices, but very ich prone.  Quarantine is strongly advised.> Any comments or advice on my list would be great. should I put any crabs or shrimp in there I would like some but I do not want to over stock my tank. <Crabs are frequently trouble makers, even the supposedly "reef safe" ones.  In any case, shrimp or crabs will not contribute very much to bioload.> Thanks again for your time!!!!!!!!!! <Glad to!  Best regards.  Adam>

Big Tank With Big Ideas! Hey there, <Hi! Scott F. with you today!> I just received two new fish yesterday: a Black-Back Butterfly and a juvenile Maculosus Angel. I'm going to quarantine them in a 30g tank for about 4-6 weeks before going into my 220g. <Excellent!> I planned to house 3 butterflies total; the ones I've had before always seemed rather passive enough, but I've found a couple sources that say black backs are more aggressive and shouldn't be housed with other butterflies. I is this true? <It's really hard to generalize...Some individuals are easygoing, others find it impossible to get along with other butterflies. In a sufficiently-sized tank, such as yours- the odds will certainly be better, particularly if you arrange the aquascape to provide territories for the fish. However, nothing is guaranteed!> I definitely do not want to have a stressful environment for any of my fish, so should I skip on any others? or is it ok if added at the same time, any advice? <If you are going to try- I'd recommend adding both at the same time> Also, I'm going to not crowd my tank, but I'd like to have a huge school of green Chromis. What's the most I should have? I was thinking like 20+. <Pretty close to my thoughts.. I was thinking about 12-15 specimens> my future stock list looks like this: Maculosus Angel Flame Angel One tang Flame Hawk Harlequin Tusk <Careful, here. Usually peaceful, but some individuals can be problematic> 3 butterflies 20+ Chromis <12-15, IMO!> I'd like to have a full system as everyone would, but I'd like to not have any problems with fighting. But if I don't keep 2-3 butterflies or a lot of Chromis, I think I'd be not be putting a 220g to good use. <Well, I'd rather see less fish, but healthy and happy. You'll be surprised how pretty those little fish can be when given optimum conditions and space.> Any ideas for other fish? Or does my stock list look adequate?  Thanks. Brandon <Well Brandon, sounds fine to me. Just think about numbers here. Enjoy! Regards, Scott F>

- Quarantine and Livestocking - Morning Guys- I trust all is well. <So far, so good...> Got a couple of questions for you all today. First off, the tank is a 6' long 125 with about 100 pounds of live and almost-live rock (dead rock that has been sharing the tank since I started it a year ago.)  I test for Calcium, alkalinity, nitrite, ammonia, and pH. Aside from the occasional snafu between calcium and alkalinity, all goes well.  (i.e., no ammonia or nitrites in about 10 months, pH between 8.2 and 8.4, calcium 380-450, and alkalinity 10-12 dKH) I have a mid-range protein skimmer, ten gallons of Bio balls, 900 gph flow through on the wet-dry and a 500 gph powerhead in the main tank, so I've got some nice, fun, flow. I recently moved to the 125 from an 80, but imported everything, including filter and bio balls.  My assumption is that between the substrate, live rock, water, and bio balls, the new tank should cycle nearly immediately. (a few weeks at most) It has been two weeks since I did the big switch.  The current inhabitants are one peppermint shrimp, one skunk shrimp, two emerald crabs, and a steadily growing black urchin, which crawled out of some live rock six months ago so small its spines wouldn't have reached past the edge of a dime, but now is a good three inches across.  No fish have been in the tank since I lost two tangs to ich about three months ago. (more likely to Formalin).  And I'm heavily on guard against any new diseases coming into what must by now be a completely ich-free tank.  My plan for this tank is to slowly construct a reef tank for a beginner.  The only corals I am interested in are pumping Xenia and maybe other polyps, with a possibility for mushrooms; nothing really advanced.  The lights for the coral will be a question to be addressed in a couple months.... To this end, I have planned on (hopefully) coral-friendly fish.  I especially like A few of the Fairy wrasses (Scott's and the Solar headed), the small angels, Kole and Powder- Brown Tangs (or whatever they are calling japonicus) and would love to have a Hippo tang, but I am leery about the size they reach.  Even in my 125 I know my bioload will be getting up there when everybody matures, so it is very unlikely that I'll ever get one. Also, I'm thinking of a pair of tank-raised Percs (hoping they host the Xenia- too many horror stories on anemones), tank-raised neon gobies, and maybe a couple Chromis, though I could do without them.  Further, in the Arthropod realm, I would like to have more shrimp.  This will probably include more peppermints and skunks, one Caribbean blood shrimp, plus, my girlfriend would really like for me to have a marble (Saron) shrimp.  This sound good so far? <So far, but I would caution you against mixing same-species fish - two different Cirrhilabrus or two different Acanthurus... could very likely leave you with just one of the two you chose. You have better results by choosing just one of each.> Nobody going to take out Xenia? <Don't think so.> In hopes of maintaining the healthy tank, I have yet to plum or add substrate to my new refugium, a 30 gallon tank (36" long), and am using it for my temporary quarantine tank.  I have a dedicated one, but it is only a 20 gallon, 24" long tank, and I felt the new guys would be more comfortable in the longer tank.  (more room to play) I have as yet made three purchases, and only broken two major fish-buying rules that I know of.  Last week I picked up two small angels (mistake one)- a 3.5" bicolor and a 2" Flame angel.  The Flame had been at the store for a week, but the bicolor had come in more recently (mistake two).  I went ahead and bought the bicolor because it looked healthy and both were eating readily, plus I knew that if I was going to pull this off, I'd need to introduce both at the same time.  I had them do a freshwater dip in the store and bag them in water I brought from my quarantine tank.  I took them home and put them both into quarantine where they have remained happily, eating a mixture of dried seaweed and minced squid. Territoriality has yet to be a problem- there are eight mugs in two stacks of four, but they usually hang out together, and often hide in the same mug.  I hope that I guessed the size difference these two need. <Time will tell.> I hope that I made up for the two indiscretions with stringent quarantine procedures, but I am worried.  I've heard of these fish mysteriously dying without live rock...  Every now and then, I drop a few copepods in, but should I take a piece of live rock from the main tank and drop it down? <I'd wait just a little longer until you are sure they are disease free... in case you need to treat with something. So you know... it's not the copepods that Centropyge nip at, it's algae... these fish are omnivores, but do require the green portion of their diet to remain healthy.> If there's a problem I could just move it to the normal QT for a month or so. Regardless, there's not much algae left after the clear-cutting emerald crabs took care of my bubble algae problem (and my Caulerpa, and my maidens hair, and......).  I'm trying to get hold of some fresh algae, but that's turning out to be a problem.  Any suggestions? <The real trick is to keep some portion of rock in a tank away from anything else... letting it stew so to speak. Once the rock in the main tank is well picked over, swap out with the rock that's been stewing and continue the cycle.> Next, I committed another slight indiscretion returning to my fish store yesterday.  For the first time since I started this hobby, I had the opportunity to buy a solar headed Fairy Wrasse.  (I adore these fish).  And long story short is I bought the little sucker (2.5-3")- I arranged to pick it up on Monday.  The unfortunate part is that the two angels are only a week into the QT and by adding the wrasse, everything will move back.  Will the angels and the wrasse be content in a 36" tank for another 4 weeks? <Probably.> Right now, I am running two HOT filters, one with carbon, the other with ceramic media (both cycled on the main tank for weeks before moving over, plus I've added an airstone and a carbon sponge filter (overkill is my middle name) - would it help to add a small (200 gph) powerhead, or should I wait and see? <Is probably fine as is.> I am already cycling another cartridge in my main tank, and planning on changing carbon every week.  So my rambling question is - Should I put the wrasse in with the angels, throw in live rock and a powerhead, and leave everybody for another four weeks, or do I need to set up yet another QT? <Throw in the wrasse, skip the live rock... leave them for another week or two.> Right now, the QT tank is testing well; no ammonia, and maybe the slightest trace of Nitrite.  Certainly no more than 0.1 mg/l, but I am going to take it to the store and get a second opinion. Next, should I be doing any freshwater dips on these guys if they remain healthy looking? <I would perhaps do one just before you place them in the main tank.> Should I slowly yo-yo the salinity down for two weeks and then back up for two weeks? <No.> I hope that the initial dip and separation from the store water was enough to make them loose most, if not all parasites, but with Tangs in the future, I would very much like an ich-free tank.  That's about it- thanks for your help, and I look forward to hearing from you. -Brendan <Cheers, J -- >

- New Tank Concerns from Worried Novice, Follow-up - J Thanks so much for your help and assurance!! <My pleasure.> It is tremendous relief to me to know that I don't have to remove all of the live rock from my tank.  I have moved the anemone's base rock to a higher spot in the tank and will reduce his feedings.  Also glad to know that my clown's weird behavior is not all that weird since I am quickly becoming very fond of him and his tank mates.  I will take you advice on future fish additions and will check with the LFS on their stock of simple inverts.   It is very encouraging to take up a hobby that is filled with such knowledgeable and caring people! <Cheers, J -- >

Tank Yikes! >Yikes!   >>Yiks?  Not yaks?  How about YIKES? >I was told three years ago to figure on 2 gal. per inch of fish. >>Bad rule, BAD rule!  Shame on rule (go easy on your thumb, it had no idea).  Rules like these simply can NOT take into account body type, activity level, all sorts of factors that must be taken into account when considering potential bioload by a given fish on a given system. >I have a 75 gal. fish only tank with live rock and sand. I have a canister filter and a protein skimmer. So ....I have a hippo tang, Sailfin tang, Koran angel, blue-girdled angel, 5 Chromis, 2 shrimp, and a green mandarin. >>Oh my GOODNESS!  That's a bit overstocked, my friend.  YIKES!  SUPERYIKES!  (sorry, it's not the worst I've seen) >Yesterday I was told and then read up on the subject that you should have 5 gal. per inch. >>Again, BAD to try to apply any rule of thumb like this.  For instance, let's take your mandarin (at 4") and Sailfin tang (at 4") for comparison. (This would allow 20 gallons for a 4" tang of any species.)  The mandarin does his little helicopter thing on the rocks and substrate.  Swim a bit, then rest.  Pick at the rocks, then rest.  The tang, on the other hand, is CONSTANTLY SWIMMING, CONSTANTLY pooping (these fish are like horses, eat and crap CONSTANTLY) - they're poop machines!  Now, which fish is going to place the higher demand on the system, and which fish is going to help degrade water quality faster?  (Yes, mandarins can get 4" and *larger*.)  Also, take a look at body types, compare a tang or an angel to, say, a marine Betta.  Same thing.  See where these "rules" leave you with your behind hanging in the wind? >When the fish get bigger, I don't know if a could get a bigger tank. I worry about the weight of the tank and what the floor can support. How can one figure out the largest size of tank you can use, without putting stress on your floor? >>There's no way I can answer that for you.  You MUST talk to a contractor, and know that saltwater (as opposed to fresh) weighs 8.5lbs./gallon.  Your other alternative (which I would consider now) is to sell some of the fish. >If my Sailfin tang got to big, where would I find a place for him? >>LFS, join a club, join a discussion board (reef/marine fish related) and offer him there.  People do it all the time.  I, personally, wouldn't go eBay, though. >Is it easy to find buyers for large fish if you aren't asking for a lot? >>Yes, it is.  LFS should give you (assuming they have room for him) about 1/3 his selling price at their shop.  Be choosey about what shop you take him to. >I was also told yesterday that the fish grow pretty fast, originally I was told that they grow slowly. >>That REALLY depends on the fish, tank conditions, nutrition - many variables, though the strongest one is species.  For instance, some trigger species grow PAINFULLY slow, whereas frogfish species can grow UNGODLY fast. >Do I just wait until they (especially the Sailfin tang ) get too large for the tank?  Two months ago I had two Sailfin tangs that where together for 5 months. I finally decided to give one to a fish store because I knew they would be too much in  a year. I'm not getting anymore fish, but, it is hard because they are so beautiful. >>Yes, it is hard.  Striking the balance of the timing of the thing is difficult, but I think that you will know when it gets to be too big.  The choice is between acting reactively, or proactively.  Then I would consider a remote refugium to add water volume without adding weight all in one place (unless you REALLY want that bigger tank ;) ). >Thanks, Cheryl

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