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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 25

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 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, FAQs 31, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection,  Definitely a group of fishes to avoid for aquarium use: Fang- or Sabretooth Blennies

Fish Stores in San Francisco Hi, <Hello there> It sounds like you guys are from the bay area. I live in San Francisco. I get most of my livestock and supplies from 6th Ave aquarium but am starting to feel skeptical. Their prices are great but some of their advice resulted in minor catastrophe. What are your favorite stores in the bay area? <Will have to ask Chuck Rambo re... or Sabrina... or Paul Mansur... they are all from the general area, not me> I have a SERIOUS problem with Calcium (level is at 720, pH is at 8.0 but I see no precip when adding buffer). I just read that Oceanic salt can cause this so I am off to Nippon to get some water. They use sea water and I have a 12-gal tank. Do you think this is wise? Thanks a bunch! <... something is off here... first, I would "check the checker"... this test kit/device is likely off... I would be very careful with such a tiny system in terms of matching well-seasoned, pre-mixed water of similar quality...> Annie San Francisco <Bob Fenner>

Fish Stores - again. Hi, It sounds like you guys are from the bay area. I live in San Francisco. I get most of my livestock and supplies from 6th Ave aquarium but am starting to feel skeptical. Their prices are great but some of their advice resulted in minor catastrophe. What are your favorite stores in the bay area? >>>Since I live in the area, I'm going to throw my 2 cents in here as well. I personally have purchased a TON of livestock for Aquarium Concepts, and have had no problems whatsoever. They have just set up a new SPS tank, so selection has improved as well. The employees don't know a whole lot honestly, but go in armed with knowledge and you can actually score a good deal here and there. Aquatic Gallery is an EXCELLENT store, although prices are very, VERY high. I like looking, but have yet to purchase anything there because I know I can get it 30% cheaper somewhere else. Employee advice is probably most solid at Tropical Paradise and Aquatic Gallery. (I test them now and then) At Tropical Paradise, you will run into the frustrating "I don't know how much that piece is, the owner will be back later" or "it's not for sale" routine as well. If you're an SPS nut, check out Arron's Aquatics just down and across the street from Aquarium Concepts (same building as Reptile Room). He is literally a closet sized room within the reptile store, but has some NICE pieces, and I mean NICE! That's all, hope this helps. Jim<<<

MORE Fish Stores! Hi Annie, Paul here from WetWebMedia. As far as stores go in the SF Bay Area; it largely depends on what you are looking for. I like Dolphin Pet Village http://www.dolphinpetvillage.com/ for all around selection in all things aquatic. Their prices are high but their advice is pretty solid. For pure reef items I love Aquatic Gallery http://www.aquatic-gallery.com/. A beautifully set up store with unbelievable selection and great prices. Their advice could be better but overall one of the best reef stores if not THE best in the Bay Area. A classy store with classy ownership. Have fun.

Final Fish for a 75 - 04/01/2005 Dear WWM Crew, <Crewmember Sabrina with you this afternoon!> I have a 6 foot, 75 gallon FOWLR tank which currently houses a pair of gold-stripe maroon clowns and a single Kupang damsel (C. hemicyanea). I am looking for a HARDY, medium sized fish for the final addition to the tank. I have been doing a lot of research on possible candidates on WWM and other sites and don't want to tempt fate (ich) by trying a tang. <Proper quarantine procedures should eliminate the possibility of introducing ich to your system, but all the same, a tang in a 75 is akin to a jaguar in a dog kennel - just not enough space.> I have a very bad track record with angels even though they are my favourites (100% death rate)... <Yikes!> ...so I am thinking about either a Foxface, <A truly excellent choice.> ...reef Bannerfish, <Not an excellent choice, due to dietary requirements, and not exactly "hardy".> ...Picasso trigger <I'm thinking "jaguar in a kennel" on this one, too.> ...or some type of wrasse (moon, bird-nose etc..). <Of these, the moon (Thalassoma lunare) is the better choice, as it stays a bit smaller. You might look into other smaller Thalassoma wrasses, as well.> Which one of these would you recommend? <Absolutely, hands-down, the Foxface.> Do you have any other suggested species that would fit the bill? <To be honest, I think the Foxface is really an excellent choice. Just do be aware that it is somewhat venomous, so don't plan on cuddling it!> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <Only further advice is to be sure to observe proper quarantining procedures, and enjoy that wonderful tank of yours!> Adam <Wishing you and your fish well, -Sabrina>

New to the hobby  Hello <Hello Mark> I am new to the hobby of saltwater aquariums<welcome aboard> and would like to ask a couple of questions. I have setup up a 120 gallon reef ready tank with 100 lbs of live rock, protein skimmer, U.V sterilizer, wet dry, and a heater. I have a list of fish that I would like to put in the tank and would like to know if they are compatible? If they are compatible in what order should the fish be added? Here is my list: Maroon Clown Fish, Snow Flake eel, Dwarf Lion fish, Spiny Box Porcupine, Humu Humu Trigger, and a Juvenile Emperor Angel (or maybe another type angel would be better). <I would do the dwarf lion first, maroon clown second, porcupine third and then the trigger. For the time being I would stay away from the eel and the emperor. Angels require a seasoned tank, at least four to six months in development. The eel is a waste maker and wouldn't add him until the bio system is fully developed. You kind of have a dukes mixture there that may or may not get along. If it were me, I would eliminate the porcupine and trigger and replace with something that would fit into the scene, maybe a dwarf angel, a Dottyback and/or a couple of small wrasses. Good luck, James (Salty Dog)>

New Fish selections Hey I was wondering if you could help me out with some new fish selections.   I am open to any suggestions. Right now I have a 30 gallon tank with a Yellow Tang (I know I know he's got to go. I'm working on it) a ocellaris clown... and a black and white Dascyllus... two turbo snails... and a black serpent star... and a blue legged hermit crab. Amy suggestions? Thanks <maybe a small royal Gramma, or a more expensive black cap Basslet? I would search the internet...your LFS and books, Good luck, IanB>

75 gallon stocking question Hello...love your website and your FAQ section.  It's been invaluable to me as a first time marine aquarist. <thanks> I've got a 75 gallon fish-only marine aquarium.  I'm running it with a Emperor 400, and a Seaclone 150 skimmer.  (I've since read some not so good reviews about the Seaclone, but I've already got it, and it seems to be skimming some nasty stuff, so for now it stays.)<lol> So far, I've got 2 Sebae Clowns, which I got about a month ago after cycling my tank.<good> Since they appear happy and healthy, and my H2O params are right where they should be, I'm getting ready to add another specimen.  I think eventually I'd like to add an angel (Flame angel, perhaps), as well as a Yellow tang.  Other's I've considered would be some Chromis, and/or some species of wrasse.<maybe a fairy wrasse or a wrasse from the genus Pseudocheilinus (ocellatus being my fave!).> If I want to get the Flame, and a Yellow tang, would I likely still have room for any others, like the Chromis?  I would think that I should.  Should I add them in any particular order?<not especially...the tang should be QT'd because of the potential of ich> Are these likely to be compatible?  Any other specimens I could be considering?<they should all be compatible> thank you very much. <IanB>

C.M.A. Question and livestocking Mr. Fenner, <Aaron> I was flipping through my Conscientious Marine Aquarist book today, and I had noticed that the picture showing the two 55 gallon tanks (I think it was page 37?) looked very overstocked. <I see it... a Fish and Invert. system... Mmm, not my pic, nor caption (these are often done by editors), but not overly overcrowded... two apparent larger fishes, a Flame Angel and Auriga Butterfly. Would be better off in larger quarters.> If I recall correctly there were a few ocellaris, a purple tang, a butterfly, magenta Dottyback, PJ cardinal, flame angel, and a yellow damsel, yet there was no mention in the caption saying that this many fish was reasonable. <Oh, I do see the Purple Tang, under a rock cave on the left> Was this intentional?  Meaning that you were simply showing that with increased/superior filtration that you could have 'much' more fish, or am I just hoping that I can overstock my 55g? <Think you may be hinting at what the editor had in mind likely, to illustrate with more livestock the need for better circulation and filtration.> Which brings me to my next intertwined question  ^__^ I would like to keep a Pinktail Trigger (for as long as he doesn't harass tankmates), 3" Atlantic Blue Tang , Lamarck's Angel, Midas Blenny, and a Fire Clown in my 55g Reef. <Mmm, I wouldn't do this... the Trigger is too much period here... as is the Lamarck's Genicanthus> I currently have 3 powerheads (total gph= 900), a hang on the back refugium with macroalgae on a reverse light cycle, an Eheim classic canister filter, an Aqua C Remora skimmer, and a Whisper filter with Poly-Filter. The clown, blenny, and the angel would be my only long-term fish, whereas with the trigger and tang, I would just like to keep long enough before their behavior and/or tank space needs become a problem. Any advice you can spare will be much appreciated and heeded. -Aaron <I would either keep looking, making plans for livestocking or secure larger quarters for the mix listed. Too much likelihood of behavioral/health problems in the 55 with this assortment. Bob Fenner>

Re: C.M.A. Question and livestocking Mr. Fenner: <Aaron> Wow, I was expecting that I would receive a response sometime next week, hehe!  I take it you are an internet junkie as well? <Hee hee! And fearful of dangerous backlogs should I become less diligent!> I know that a trigger in a 55 might not be a good idea, so what would be your stance on a Bluejaw trigger (he would be 3-4" at the time of purchase)? <Again, no... and a big offer! Come out and see this species in the wild... in Hawai'i! A bunch of us are hauling over for most of August and October... This fish and the (was it a Pinktail?) live in mid-water in a very large piece of water... would be psychologically "very unhappy" in such a small volume as a 55> He has been at my LFS for about a week now (my girlfriend works there, and she's been keeping an eye on his behaviour), he hasn't attacked nor shown interest in the smaller fish he's being housed with ,and his maximum is about 8-9" whereas the Pinktail is about 12"+, correct? <Ahh, see you've been doing your homework... bring that girlfriend and come on over!> If you tell me that the Bluejaw wouldn't be suitable either, I guess I'm going to have to hang up my trigger idea until I upgrade my tank, what minimum tank size would you recommend for a specimen of the Bluejaw's size? <Not in the way of balistids... I have a very special place in my heart for these fishes... thought that I might make their systematics my life work, at least a PhD... so do "watch out for them" especially> Hypothethetically speaking ;o) If I DID get the 3-4" Bluejaw (and added him last with the blenny, clown, and angel) and he didn't not bother the other fish, nor look to be unhappy with the swimming space, no territory issues, and my parameters were all zero or very close to it, would there be any problem with this, assuming that the only cause for concern that it would eventually get to be ~8"? <I would not do this> About the Lamarck's angel, can you tell me why you are against it?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not questioning your judgment,  I've just read that it's maximum adult size is 5-7" and I have an established tank, with enough live rock and pods for him to pick at, with lots of current for him to play around in too, so I'm just curious as to why it wouldn't be suitable for my tank. <Similar to the trigger, swallowtail angels need real space to be comfortable> Are there any other Genicanthus angels that would be better suited, Watanabei perhaps? , and if not, should I just stick with a Coral Beauty? <I would go with a/the Centropyge here> Thank you so much again for the honest reply, I also apologize for assuming the picture in your book was selected and commented by yourself. <No worries. A worthwhile question, good chance for explaining to others as well> Your site is very addictive, I'm definitely going to refer newbies to your site, it's probably the next best thing to a marine encyclopedia. -Newly converted wetwebmedia fan,   Aaron <Ahh, glad you find the site useful, interesting. Thank you for adding to it. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Question Dear Mr. Fenner!  I'd like to start by thanking you for all the help you, your site and your associates have provided me with over the last year since I got back into the aquarium hobby after a 7 year break. Now I've reached a point where I'm not happy with my tank anymore and am in the process of tearing it down and redoing it. <Adam here today.  Thanks for the kind words.  You are in a very common position!> You see, I read CMA and the articles on your site after my initial tank setup. I'd like to start from scratch and rectify all my mistakes I've lived with or tried to patch up over the last year. My tank contains a mixture of 10 lbs live rock, 40 lbs dead non-calcareous rock and tons of (13 pieces) artificial coral. I also have a 3 inch sand bed of sugar sized sand. BTW, the tank is a 72G with a remora skimmer, Eheim wet/dry, H.O.T magnum canister. I have 65 watts of daylight and 65 watts of actinic for lighting. <All sounds good, but I am not a fan of using power filters or canister filters for marine tanks.  They tend to encourage the accumulation of nitrate, even when they are properly maintained (weekly cleaning!)> The current inhabitants are 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 fire shrimp, 1 Banggai cardinal, 1 false Percula clown, 1 orchid Dottyback and 1 small hermit crab. Most of my hair algae for some reason wants to grow on my live rock!  <Stocking sounds very reasonable for the size tank, but you don't list any herbivores.  A couple (not too many!) snails and perhaps a herbivorous fish might be very helpful.> I'm in the process of curing 45lbs of live rock to add to the current 10lbs. I want to get either 45lbs more or 20lbs more -not sure. for a total of 75lbs or 100lbs.  <If you get good quality live rock - Kaelini and Marshall Islands are my favorites, you can use much less and get the same effect since it is more porous and light weight.  With good quality rock, 1lb/gal is plenty.  Please do try and add all of the rock you plan on adding all at once.  Introducing rock (even well cured) is quite a disruption and IMO, is best done all at once.> I'd like to add another inch to the sandbed (about 30lbs to the current 100lbs) and eventually remove 66% of the media from my wet/dry. Please tell me I'm not obsessing here? My friends and family have had enough of me already. You guys are my only support group!  <We ALL obsess!  It is part of having an addiction!  Adding to your sand bed may be helpful, but probably not necessary.  I would remove all of the media from the wet/dry once you have added more rock.  Do so in small increments over a couple of weeks.> As for stocking, 'Plan A' involves retaining the 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, 2 fire shrimp, the clown and the orchid Dottyback, and eventually adding a flame angel and two neon cleaner gobies, for a total of 4 shrimp, 3 fish that will eventually attain 4" and two that will be more like 2". <All sounds very reasonable.> 'Plan B' involves stocking the 72G with 1 harlequin tusk and 1 marine Betta only. <Sounds reasonable too, although a full adult tusk will be a bit cramped in a 72.  The choice between the options is mostly a matter of taste and preference.> Mr. Fenner, in your opinion, will stocking plan A or B result in a more peaceful and lower maintenance system where the occupants will be as 'happy' as they can be given the amount of room in my tank? I live in an apartment and the weight of the tank is an issue and I really don't want to go much heavier than my current 72G.  <Both options sound reasonable, but the results of combining fish is very unpredictable.  Individuals have very different temperaments and personalities.  It is always wise to observe your charges for undue aggression.  The biggest consideration, IMO is the size of the full grown tusk...  It will eventually need a bigger tank.> I know I won't be able to eliminate all the hair algae, but I'm planning to add some phosphate removers, feed less and increase pH and calcium to favor the growth of coralline algae over the hair algae. Will 65 watts of actinic and 65 watts of daylight plus being 8 feet away and facing a north-facing window provide enough light?  Thank you, Narayan <Enough light for what?  Coralline algae don't require much light at all, and you did not list any photosynthetic animals.  If you find that your light is adequate and aesthetically pleasing for the viewing of your fish, I would not change it.  If anything, leaving the tank in the dark for a few days may help you get ahead of the hair algae.  In the mean time, manual removal and the addition of some herbivores will help.  Phosphate removers may also help, but they are expensive.  If you do choose to use them, seek out those that are iron oxide hydroxide based (red) rather than alumina based (white).  Best Regards!  AdamC.> Case of the Missing Yellow Wrasse...last seen in an uncycled newly set up tank (7-25-04) We just started our salt water tank yesterday and everything seems to be going well.  We left for a little while and when we returned our yellow wrasse was gone. < Am I understanding this correctly....you started a Marine Aquarium yesterday and placed a yellow wrasse in the tank the same day? I hope I have misunderstood something here. If this is so someone gave you some very bad advice. > I heard that they burry themselves under the gravel, but how long do they usually stay there? Yes they do, they also hide in rock work and jump. That fish could be anywhere. > How long is it before it is unsafe?  In terms of hiding I have seen wrasses disappear for a week to emerge just fine. However in an unicycle tank the fish is not safe at all.  If the tank has not been cycled as I am understanding from what you have written you should find the fish remove it from the tank and return it to the shop that sold it to you as soon as possible.  It will not survive the cycling process. > What should I do?  <Biological filtration needs to be established prior to the addition of fish. This is accomplished by what we call cycling your tank. Please read the following articles ... Biological Filtration http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm Establishing Biological Cycling,  Filtration in Marine Systems http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm and the related FAQs > I appreciate any information that you can give me.  Thank you. < Your welcome, best of luck with your new tank, Leslie > Stocking Plan For A Large Tank I'm looking for your advice & input.  I'm looking at setting up a 240gal marine tank (96" x 24" x24").  I'm trying to plan out what I want to put into it.  I've spent a lot of time surfing the web & looking into different fishes (and I'm sure I'm not done yet).   <Good that you research! Never a dull process!> This is what I was thinking about getting: 1- Snowflake Eel, 1- Harlequin Tusk, 1-Clown Trigger, 1-Humu Humu Trigger, 1-puffer of some sort, & 1-Macleay's Shark (Atelomycterus macleayi).  Would they all get along?  Is 240gal big enough?   <Even though it's a large tank, I think that you're looking at a large number of potentially huge, messy-feeding animals. And a shark in anything but a large dedicated system is ill-advised, IMO. Do re-think this stocking scheme. One trigger would be great, and one puffer of some sort might work. The Eel can work in the mix if care is taken to see that it gets its share of food. But try fewer large fish- or more smaller ones (My recommendation!) Do you have a suggestion on what type of puffer?     P.S. ---- You have a very helpful & informative web site.  Thanks ------ Corey <Glad to hear that you're thinking things through before moving, Corey! I don't want to put a damper in your plans, but I think a large tank is a great opportunity to keep a larger number of small fishes (or even a small number of small fishes!)- letting them really enjoy the large tank and the ability to display more natural behaviors...Just a thought! Keep hitting the books! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking a 240 gal aggressive fish tank? I'm looking for your advice & input.  I'm looking at setting up a 240gal marine tank (96" x 24" x24").  I'm trying to plan out what I want to put into it.  I've spent a lot of time surfing the web & looking into different fishes (and I'm sure I'm not done yet).  This is what I was thinking about getting: 1- snowflake eel, 1- harlequin tusk, 1- clown trigger, 1- humu humu trigger, 1- puffer of some sort, & 1- Macleay's shark (Atelomycterus macleayi). << Well definitely not a reef tank huh?  Okay so for an aggressive fish tank, I like this list, but worry a little.  Too often the trouble with these tanks is that they are highly carnivorous and often accumulate nitrate problems.  I would plan on having 100 pounds of live rock and a lot of live sand.  Also, I would stock this very slowly. >> Would they all get along? << Given areas to hide and rockwork, I think they would get along, but space is an issue. >> Is 240gal big enough? << The best thing to do, is to slowly add the fish, and judge it as you go along.  Don't make that decision now, but wait and see how it looks.  I would think you will be okay, but I don't like keeping sharks in tanks that small. >> Do you have a suggestion on what type of puffer? << I like spiny puffers, but that is just me.  I think any puffer would be fine. >>     P.S. ---- You have a very helpful & informative web site.  Thanks ------ Corey <<  Blundell  >>

- Stocking a 135 - HI I have just bought a 135 gallon tank L 72x h 24 x 18 w about how many fish can I get in here? <Well... theoretically you could pack it full until there was no room to swim, but this won't be healthy for the fish... best to try and stock lightly and allow the fish some room to grow.> these are a few of my hopes Harlequin tusk bird wrasse 3 blue hippo tangs 1 Scopas tang 1 Auriga butterfly 2-3 Bannerfish 1 flame angel 1 goat fish (don't know what type) and some sort of blenny thanks a lot <Hmm... you can choose some from this list but not all. I wouldn't mix the Tusk and the Bird wrasse. I wouldn't put in three Regal/Hippo tangs, but rather I would choose only one of the tangs you list. Likewise, I probably wouldn't stock more than two Bannerfish. Be cautious about how many fish you put in this tank and try to put yourself in their situation. If you had to live in a closet with some of your friends, how many would you choose? Probably not more than one and that would likely become a strain... fish feel the same way and even though a 135 is a nice sized tank, you can still crowd it.> Tristan <Cheers, J -- >

Compatibility Issues Hi, <Hello, Ryan with you today> I have a couple of questions, please. <Surely.> I have a 75 gallon F/O NLR community tank with 2 Percula clowns, 1 flame hawkfish, and 1 coral beauty angel.  Up until recently I had a royal Gramma which was the first fish I added to my tank over a year ago.  He died last week (don't know why, other fish are fine and he had plenty of places to hide).  I know fish should be added in the order of their aggressiveness and would like to know if I could add another royal Gramma now.  Didn't know how the coral beauty and hawk would respond to it. <I'd imagine that it would be fine mix of animals.> I would also like to know if a Foxface lo would be a good addition to my tank.  <No, I think that you levels of livestock are appropriate now, but that the Foxface is pushing it.  Could present some nutrient issues.  Good luck, Ryan> thank you for your time.  James Aggressive Tank Compatibility Hi! <Hello, Ryan with you today> I'm planning to get my first saltwater tank and would like to get aggressive species to put in it. <Ah, yes.  Have fun cleaning the glass.> Could a purple reef lobster, clown trigger, black edge moray eel, & a radiated lionfish all live together? <No, the trigger and the lion aren't a great mix because the long, trailing appendages of a lion are just too tempting.  Skip/replace the trigger, and yes.>  I've researched the needs of these fish for months but can't find anything on compatibility. <I hope you're looking towards the 200+ gallon tank size with these messy, large brutes.  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks, guys.

Fishy Business (Fish Selection) Hi, I hope things are going well for you there. <Hey, Scott F. with you tonight.  Yeah, things are going pretty well.> I have a couple of questions for you.  I have a 75 gallon F/O NLR tank with 2 False Perculas, 1 Flame Hawk, 1 Royal Gramma, and a Coral Beauty Angel.  I was thinking of adding either a Yellow Deepwater Damsel or a Yellow Candy Hogfish.   <Those are very interesting choices. The Canary Damsel tends to be more peaceful than other more commonly available damsels.  The Candy Hog is an awesome fish, but being a deeper water fish, they do tend to be more expensive and need to be carefully acclimated to your aquarium.> Would the damsel be too aggressive?  Would the hogfish be too passive?   <It is hard to make a generalization, but I would bet that either fish would mix well with your current population.  I have a Peppermint Hog which has become not only quite sociable, but quite peaceful.  The Candy Hog should be similar in behavior. Either one of these would make a fine choice, IMO.> I have read that the hogfish likes sand to hide in sometimes and I have crushed coral bottom.  I don't know how much difference that would make.  Your opinion would be appreciated.  James <Again James, based on my experience with my Peppermint Hog, I do not feel that a soft sand bottom is necessary.  If you have good rock work, the fish can find someplace to hide.  I have never seen my Peppermint dig in.  Hope this helps!  Regards, Scott F.>

Recovering From Bad Advice (7/22/04) Boy am I glad I found this site. I am in desperate need of some help, for the simple fact that the people at my LFS are more interested in my money rather than my experience with this hobby. <Sadly, such people are out there.> Ok, I have a few questions but first let me start off with my background. About three months ago I purchased a 30 gallon Uniquarium (ready to run system). Which is great for me as a beginner. Anyways, I added about 25 lbs of LR and 2" of live sand. I let the tank cycle and then went back to my LFS to get my first 2 fish. Here is where the massacre begins. First off, I wanted to start off with hardy fish, which is what I told my LFS owner. So, he started me out with a marine Betta and a Leaf Fish. I was very happy with these 2 fish. <Although you would eventually need a larger tank for them.> Two weeks later I went back to get 2 more fish, which should have been my last 2 for this tiny tank...anyways, again I spoke with my LFS owner and he prompted me to get a 3" CLOWN TRIGGER (I know I know...I should have done my research) and a small Dot Puffer. You probably already know what happened next <shuddering at the thought> , the "timid", as my LFS Guy stated, Clown Trigger.... destroyed my Leaf Fish overnight and within a week has ripped my Marine Betta and Puffer a new *&^% hole. I am furious with my LFS owner, but I think I have learned a very good lesson. <Lesson #1--don't shop there any more.> Ok, now for the questions. I am planning on getting a 125 gallon Uniquarium (60x18x24), with the built in Skimmer. <I had not heard of this brand before. Seems to be well-built from what I've read tonight.> 1. First off I want to know if this is a good system for FOWLR? I am sure there is better systems, but for my situation (tight on space in my apt) I think it's my best bet. <I see it utilizes bioballs, which are fine for FOWLR, but do tend to increase nitrates, which are a problem for reefs. I am uncertain as to the quality of the skimmer.> 2. Secondly, I wanted know if I could keep these fish listed below? -Clown Trigger (can' get rid of him...he's a blast to watch) <They do tend to get very mean and they grow. Also, you need a bigger tank as clown triggers grow up to 18+ inches in length. There are better choices.> -Snowflake Eel <Love mine.> -Spiny Box Puffer <Could be a problem with the Trigger> -Marine Betta <Beautiful fish, but too timid to be with the Trigger> -Midnight Dwarf Angel <Not the hardiest of this genus.> I appreciate all the help you can offer. <I suggest more research.> Thanks A lot!! <Hope this helps.>

Puffer Room Mates <Hi, MikeD here> Hi.  I have a 40 gallon saltwater tank with 25 lbs. of live rock and a 1.5 inch stars and stripes puffer.<He will definitely outgrow this within a year or so>  I have the opportunity to add a sailfin tang, Scopas tang, and pacific blue tang all between .5 and 1 inch long.<Bad, bad, bad. First off, one tang per tank as tangs are famous for not liking each other, and since they are all packing weapons, that's doubly dangerous, with each tang having a switchblade at the base of its tail and usually a willingness to use it. Second, the smallest minimum recommended tank for a tang is 75 gal, usually 100 gal.> Knowing that I will be upgrading to a larger tank in a couple of years<You won't have a couple of year with JUST your puffer, and even less if you add another fish. Stars & Stripes puffers commonly grow to at least 10" and can reach 1 1/2 feet>, is this a good combination of fish or are there other species that you recommend to go with my puffer.  And how large a tank should I eventually get?<I'd suggest a minimum of a 125 gal. tank, 72" long. A single tang would make a good friend, as well as possibly a wrasse and/or a hogfish. Squirrelfish also make good additions>  Thank you for your assistance<Good luck. I've got one myself that I've had just a few months and it's already doubled in size. By the way, shrimp from your supermarket would be a better basic food than anything from your LFS and will keep your tank and water quality better> Pat

Aggressive Tank Hi!<Hi! MikeD here> I'm planning on getting my first saltwater fish tank. I would like to get aggressive species for it.<Just keep in mind that once you've had aggressive species it's often hard to go back to a "peaceful" tank where fish just swim!> Would a large purple reef lobster, a black edge moray eel, radiated lionfish, an angelfish, and a puffer coexist together?<Actually, yes, but you'd need at least a 125 gal. tank for this to work> I've been researching these fish for months and can't find anything on compatibility.<The only problems I see are that the lobster might (will) end up prey for the eel or puffer unless it has a refuge they can't get to. As to the lionfish, I've found the Radiata to be slightly more delicate than some of the others and would add it last or substitute it fir a P. russellii> Thanks.<You're welcome>

Rebuilding from Ash Hi, this is a great service ya'll provide. <Price is right anyhow! Ryan Bowen with you today> I have really enjoyed reading the stories of other like-minded saltwater addicts!  I have (empty) a 60 gal. aquarium and (empty) a 125 gal aquarium. We have a 37 gal. we are setting up as a mini-reef and a 12 gal. eclipse we will use for our quarantine/hospital tank. My husband and I had a house fire a year ago and lost all of our fishes/corals and are now starting to re-enter the hobby. <Phoenix-Style reefing!> We previously had only the 60 set up as a reef/fish system and were doing quite well - ph around 8.0 - 8.1, nitrate/nitrite/ammonia all at 0; calcium between 350-400, some problems with phosphorus (didn't understand this because all water was filtered through RO/DI unit), specific gravity 1.0215, all fishes/ invertebrates/ corals did well, but none survived the fire. :( <Sorry to hear that> This will be our first foray into a fish only system and I know there are some obvious differences.  I am trying to do as much research as possible before I buy...  I see from reading that the larger aquarium will be better suited to a F/O tank, and I am interested in purchasing a clown trigger.  I have read that the porcupine fish is a good tank mate but I don't want to crowd either fish since they both get rather large.  Is 125 gal large enough to support both fishes? <Skip the porcupine, he's going to outgrow this by himself.  They get HUGE> I plan on adding about 60# of live rock (enough?) and using the Turboflotor 1000 multi protein skimmer in the sump. <Add some base rock as well if you're only intending on purchasing 60 lbs.> Are refugiums recommended for fish only systems? <Any system, in my opinion.> If so, how many gals. would you recommend for it? <Bigger is better.> Also, I have read that the juvenile clowns have a higher mortality rate.  Any ideas on why or how to keep this from happening? <Pretty extensive question.  Search the FAQs for clown health.  Providing the proper diet and keeping water quality high are the basics.> This seems to be the only size the LFS ever gets in (around 1 1/2" - 2"). <Buy tank bred clown only, and you should have far less mortality.> I think it looks as if the porcupine fish should go in first? but how long to wait before introducing the clown trigger? <Last, and try to get a younger specimen.> I appreciate your time, knowledge, and effort in helping all of us who aspire to create a little piece of 'saltwater heaven' and maintain a healthy environment for some of the most interesting and beautiful creatures on the planet. <Lisa, instead of an over-sized puffer, I'd recommend a mid-sized wrasse.  They're the most energetic, colorful fish on the reef, and many are only suited for FOWLR applications.  Good luck, Ryan> Many thanks, Lisa

Stocking a 26 Gal? Reading the professional replies from the WWM crew instills a strong sense of trust as to the experience and knowledge of those involved with WWM. << well then I guess the pressure is on my now. >> I am only moderately experienced with maintaining aquariums (hence the question to the WWM Crew). The aquarium I'm setting up is a 26 gallon bowfront with 65 watts of CF lighting. << For a reef tank, this seems very underlit. >> The substrate is ~3" of aragonite (sp.) and will include about 30lbs of live rock, with plans for some beginner corals down the road.  Filtration includes a Sea Clone 100 PS, a TetraTec 150 hang on filter (basically for use of it's heater capsule), and a Fluval "250" canister filter, and a Marineland 550 powerhead for water movement.  This setup is brand new, and is cycling.  I am not rushing to add fish, but that's where my question resides. A fairly straightforward tank stocking question: In your professional opinion, what advice can you provide (or recommendations too!) as to the interaction between these species, and if my idea is overstocked.  This is my list, meeting my scavenged idea of adult size, temperament, and ease of care. 2 - Amphiprion ocellaris 1 - Gamma Loreto 1 - Nemateleotris magnifica 1 - Cleaner Shrimp 10-15 Astraea Conehead Snails << No problem.  I would add the Gramma loreto last. >> What other stocking options do I have when this small ecosystem of mine is based on the Clownfish.  I understand that they are vast, but basically, what would you choose for display in this 26g tank?  Please send replies to XXXX.com. << Wow, I have lots of ideas.  I think many gobies and blennies do great in tanks that size.  I also like jawfish.  Try looking into some firefish I guess.  Or, maybe some other damsels besides the clownfish. >> <<  Blundell  >> Much obliged, Ross Speral

Tank Compatibility Issue <Hi, MikeD here> hey> I have a snowflake eel in my saltwater tank.  And I am thinking about getting a dragon Moray eel.<Not a good idea, depending on tank size and eel size> I will also include these  fish in the tank with the snowflake and the dragon moray eel= UNDULATED  TRIGGERFISH-and a LIONFISH. I was wondering if the DRAGON MORAY EEL would live  with these three fish?<NO. For that matter, these fish won't live together at all. I'm hoping you are posting this as a joke.> I would appreciate any<My only suggestion is to research your choices more carefully. This combination is a recipe for disaster bordering on animal cruelty>  help. More Stocking Questions Hi Crew<Hi, MikeD here> I just stumbled upon a 200 gal reef ready oceanic tank I am preparing to make FOWLR.<Sounds like a beautiful size> I currently have a 90 gal reef with a Kole and blue tang that are growing rapidly and would be happier in the 200 I'm sure.<Assuredly> What I would like to know is which of the fish I would like to add are compatible??<OK> lion fish<Yes, if too small to eat the tangs>, clown trigger<NO, will eventually kill everything. These are wonderful animals but need to be in a tank of their own>, miniatus grouper<Possible, but groupers have two major drawbacks, 1) they tend to hide a lot, and 2) they can get quite aggressive about guarding their territory.>. maybe another blue tang or two.<Not a good idea. You're lucky with two tangs getting along now, and adding more increases the likelihood of conflict> of course I'm leaning toward predator but I don't want to endanger the Kole and the Blue tang.<Wise choice> They are my "first bought" and are special to me.<You might want to try a Foxface and carefully research predators such as Foster's Hawkfish that would do better with your existing fish> Thanks<You're welcome> Cleaning substrate and fish compatibility Hi there. <Steve Allen tonight.> I have a 55 gallon fish only tank and about 100 pounds of live rock. I've been trying to figure out how to vacuum the substrate. Do you hook the hose on to your air pump or what? <No> I tried this but all that happened was it blew air into the water. <Not unexpected. There are a number of ways to vacuum substrate. The cheapest/simplest is with a gravel-cleaning siphon available at any pet store. Just vacuum with water changes. Personally, I use a Magnum 350 canister filter with the micron filter insert. The water goes back into the tank, so I can vacuum to my heart's content without fear of taking out too much water. There are also motorized gravel vacs you can buy that are hand-held and self-contained, but they seem rather wimpy and flimsy to me.> Currently I have 5 fish in my aquarium, 1 Scopas tang <Needs at least a 75G tank to thrive.> ,1 false Percula, 1 orange lined Chromis (he's lost his orange line and is turning brown) <Could be a sign of stress, malnutrition or disease.><<Or just this species developmental change. RMF>> a sixline wrasse and a dwarf hawkfish. I was wondering what else to put in with these guys. <Nothing at this point. You need to figure out what, if anything, is wrong with your Chromis. Any other fish that go in there should not be ones that can/will outgrow the tank.> I was planning on a mated pair of coral beauties <almost impossible to achieve in captivity> ,a valentini puffer <too big> another false Percula <you might be able to get it to pair up with the one you have. Read the clownfish FAQs about this. Do not add some other species of clown.> and a mimic eibli surgeon <I'm guessing you mean  Acanthurus  pyroferus, which grows way too big for your tank and will not get along with your Scopas.>  are these good choices? <Maybe the clown, and/or a single Coral Beauty.> thanks a lot. <Hope this helps.>


HOW MUCH BIOLOAD FOR A 75 GAL Hi guys/gals, << Hi there, Blundell here. >> First I would like to say this is the best website ever!!! I read from it every day.  Now for a quick question.  I have a four month old 75 gallon with a Eheim Pro II, SeaClone 100 skimmer (plan to buy a better one when I finish building a 20 gallon sump) approximately 70 lbs of live rock and a 4 inch live sand bed.  This tank presently houses the following: One 3 inch yellow tang, 2 small false perculas, three green Chromis, one green brittle star, sand sifting star, about two dozen various hermits, several varieties of snails, two cleaner shrimp, one fire shrimp, one sexy shrimp, some hitchhiker crabs, a three inch branching hammer coral, a six inch frilly mushroom, some striped mushrooms, a clove colony and a medium Kenya tree coral.  I plan for this to  primarily be a reef tank but do enjoy some fish as well.  Would I be over stocking to add about four more green Chromis? << No, I think you are okay. Four of a different type, and I'd be concerned.  But four more Chromis in a 75 sounds good. >> I would like to see them school in the tank.  I don't think I will add any other fish although I do really like the orange shoulder tang.  So far I have not had any problems with water quality - pH 8.3, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20 (I think it is because of the Eheim) alk 220 and calcium is kept at 460.  Thanks for your help...Heather Leneave << Go ahead and add the Chromis.  Wait a few months, and I wouldn't be surprised to see an Orange Shoulder do well.  Good Luck >> << Blundell >>

Lionfish/Porcupine Fish Capacity Question <Hi, MikeD here> I am confused by some conflicting advice about stocking levels.<That's not surprising> I was told that in a fully cycled 90 gallon with appropriate filtration, skimming, etc. I could have 2 Russell's Lionfish and a Foxface Lo but only 1 Porcupine Puffer, is this true?<Well, yes, no and maybe. Pterois russellii often only grow to 10", with a Lo Foxface reaching 7".  As adults, these three would be pushing the upper limits, but with a good skimmer and extra water changes, it can be done.  Porcupine puffers, on the other hand, can reach 12"-18" depending upon which source you choose or believe. The primary difference is that large puffers are about 1/3  as wide and high as they are long.  In other words a porcupine that's 12" long may be 4" high and 5" across, almost like a football. When you consider this massive body size with the amount of oxygen it requires and the amount of solid waste if produces, then factor in a feeding technique that produces copious amounts of oils from the chewing process and it becomes much more understandable.>   I am also going to put some live rock in.<every little bit helps...good idea.> Thanks!! <You're welcome>

55 Stocking List Love your site! <thanks! Ryan Bowen with you today> It's been very helpful with my first tank.  I have a 55 gallon reef tank with a 100 lbs sand/ 60-70 lbs LR. <Beautiful> The tank has been up and running since Feb. o4.  It currently has an Open Brain, Rose Anemone, a frag of Pulsing Xenia, Zoos, Star Polyps, 10-15 shrooms, Colt Coral, a Sinularia, Toadstool Leather, 3 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Sand Sifting Sea Star, a few sprigs of Halimeda Chaetomorpha, some Stomatella that are beginning to reproduce, a few Mexican Turbos, Astreas, hermits, 1 Emerald, a Maroon Scooter Blenny and a Flame Hawkfish.   </DIV> I have a Fluval 304, CPR Bak Pak 2 with skimmer cup, heater and a Maxi-Jet 1200 (295USg/h) and VHO lighting. I plan to add a Yellow Goby, 2 Firefish, a Six Line Wrasse, a Blue Damselfish, a pair of True Percs and lastly and at the same time a Flame Angel & Coral Beauty together. <Hmm...I like it all but the pair of angels.> Was also considering some Green Chromis or small schooling fish.  Decided against a Yellow Hawaiian Tang that I really liked. <Too small of a tang anyhow.> I want the tank to have motion but not turmoil.  Hate to see one fish harassing another.  Also plan to add more snails, cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp and a Serpent Star of some variety. <If you're into the look of marine angels, you could add a pair of Cherub Angelfish, C. argi.  They're appropriate in your conditions.  The pair of firefish may fight, so try and purchase them from the same group of fish.> How long should I quarantine new stock in my 10 gallon hospital tank before heading to the 55?  Quarantine just the fish or other stuff as well? <I do all of it.  6 weeks.> Too much? <yes, a bit.  See above notes.> Please let me know if I am choosing wisely.  Knock off anything that should go and feel free to substitute.  Wow, this is the first time I have actually written it all out!  Sounds like I may be overdoing it.<The planning is wonderful, and it's going to save you money by ironing out the kinks now.  The angels simply won't mesh in your tank, and they're going to nip at your polyps.  The cherubs are a much more ideal choice for a reef.  I'd skip the damselfish, it's too aggressive.  Let the wrasse be top dog, and he'll be a great tankmate.>  Feedback is much appreciated.  Thanks - Steve <Enjoy your tank Steve! Ryan>

Fish Capacity and Selection Hi guys, <Hi, Mike D here> I have just set up a 300 gallon tank with a 132 gallon sump.<That's a beautiful sized tank.>  I currently have a Purple<9">, Yellow<7"> and Regal Tang<10">, a Niger trigger<up to 20", expect at least 14">,  and a Queen Coris wrasse<Up to 24", expect at least 16">.<IMO this is mistake number one>  They are all around 3 to 4 inches. I do not keep corals but I do have around 80 kg.s of live rock (180 lbs).<I've got close to twice that in mine in the tank proper> What I want to know is how many fish I can keep happy and have plenty of growth in this tank?<That's a very difficult question, and one that each person has to answer for themselves. The vast majority of people acknowledge that once many tangs approach adulthood they can and often do get extremely hostile with each other. While mixing them on a dither principle MAY work in some cases, in most it does not and is not recommended.> I was thinking of adding some of these, Koran Angel<15"> and often the tank bully>, Raccoon<7">, black backed<6"> & Madagascar Butterflyfish< I'm not familiar with this trade name> , sailfin Tang<15" and often VERY aggressive, particularly towards other related tangs>, Could I add all of these or if not, which ones do you recommend?<Again, MY recommendation would be to definitely NOT add the Sailfin Tang. While mixing the other three tangs isn't a good idea, adding this one would almost certainly eliminate even a remote chance of success with the tangs, even taking the tank size into consideration.  I would see no problem with either a school of small yellows, added all at once or else any one of the first grouping with a Naso tang (genus, not the species), the wrasse (a beautiful choice, by the way), the Niger trigger, and an angelfish.  Larger angels often have a tendency to brutally bully some of the butterflies, by the way. While this sounds and even looks empty at this stage, these are fish that will get some serious size, something that's hard to visualize but very likely in a bigger tank.> Thanks again,<You're welcome> James.

Playing the Stock Game (Stocking Plan) <Scott F. here with you tonight.> I am planning to put in the following fish in a 65 gallon tank: Percula Clownfish Kaudern's  Cardinal Flame Angelfish Yellow Tang Royal Gramma Humbug (3-stripe) Damselfish Do you recommend adding any more fish or is this enough?  Can I add in more?  What do you suggest? Jahner <In my opinion, I feel that the fish load that you are planning to get is good for your 65 gallon tank.  I wouldn't add any more fishes once you complete your stocking.  As you may know, the damselfish may cause some problems as damsels tend to be a bit ornery, so I suggest you add it last to your tank.  The Cardinal is the only one I worry about in your mix.  They can be a bit timid and may not get their share of food in a community set up. You have a great diversity of fishes.  I suggest maybe a blenny of some sort, instead of the damsel, to keep some activity on towards the bottom of your tank. Good luck with your tank.  Regards, Scott F.>

BASIC TANK SETUP QUESTIONS (CYCLING, TANK INHABITANTS) Hello WWM crew! Your website is the best resource hands down.  << Thanks, we work hard at it, so I'm glad someone likes it. >> I have 10 years experience w/ freshwater, and finally decided to give saltwater a try.  Your site has been tremendously helpful in getting me started in my endeavor.  I recently purchased a Via Aqua 620 aquarium system (28-gallon, glass, curved edges, about 16" tall, fully enclosed top w/ light+ filtration system with bio media and filter pads built in) very similar to the Eclipse II systems.  The lights are pretty standard - 2 fluorescent bulbs, 20 watts each..  I have included a powerhead, 1.5 inches of "live" sand from day one, and about 16-18 lbs of live rock a couple of days later.  I also had 2 damsels which were suggested by my LFS as good cycling fish.  Unfortunately, they died, and I regret using them to cycle the tank.  Won't make that mistake again!    Question 1 (Cycling):  I've only had the tank running for 8 days now.  I started testing the water around day 3.  Ammonia was around .5 at first, then eventually dropped to .25, now for the past 2/3 days ammonia has been zero.  Same w/ my nitrites, they are also currently zero.  My nitrates are around 5-10.  SG is 1.023.  Is it possible for my tank to have already cycled? << Yes, kind of.  The real key is to slowly add new things.  A tank never really "cycles" and finishes.  Basically it matures, so you just want to slowly add livestock, because a heavy load will overload the filtration ability. >>  Or should I expect to see another ammonia spike or re-cycling soon.  << Unless you add something, I wouldn't expect another spike. >> The hitchhikers on my live rock are really thriving recently.  The mushrooms look fuller and larger now, the tiny brown anemone stuck on the live rock now looks fully inflated and active, copepods swimming about, and tiny fan/feather worms and bristle worms GALORE!  I've even seen a tiny white starfish climbing up the rocks at a pretty fast pace.  When do you think I can add 1 fish to the tank? << I would say wait a few days, then add a small fish.  If you are planning to keep coral as well, then add them first. >> Question 2 (Skimmers):  After reading your site, I definitely plan to get a skimmer.  But I can't imagine being able to hang one onto my system because it is fully enclosed.  And unlike what I've read about the eclipse systems on your FAQ, the way the filter is arranged in my Via Aqua makes it seem impossible to cut a piece of plastic out to fit one.  Do you know of any fully submersible in-tank protein skimmers? << I don't, sorry. >> I've seen the AquaC Urchin w/ Rio 800 in-sump skimmer for a reasonable price, do you have any input about this model for my 28 gallon?  Any other suggestions (my tentative list of livestock is below if that factors into your assessment)? It may be easier to have a hang on filter, but instead of hanging it on, have it off to the side. >> Question 3 (Temperature):  When I first installed my heater, I set it to 82 degrees.  The temperature in my tank was at 84, however.  I even bought another submersible thermometer to confirm.  At one point, the temperature even increased to 86 degrees!  I think that contributed to killing my damsels since they died soon after the temp increase.  So I tried lowering the setting to 76.  The temp stayed the same at around 86.  I even took the heater out of the tank and left the feeding lid open for ventilation.  That helped to reduce it to 84.  I then turned off the lights for a day, and the tank is now back to 82.  Do you think it could be my lights? << Oh most certainly.  I think lighting is a huge tank heater.  In fact I haven't used heaters in my tanks for years.  I have a difficult time keeping the tanks cool.  I would shoot for 76 degrees, and you may need a fan to keep it that cool (or cool down your house). >> I just have 40 watts total, but the hood is fully enclosed and there's no ventilation space for the top of the tank. << This is not good.  I would look for ways to cut open the back of the lid, or some way to ventilate the tank. >> But my LFS said this is highly unlikely.  My room ambient temperature stays around 72-74 degrees, and it never gets hot in my apt.  I am scared to turn the lights back on or keep the lid closed (which I prefer! ), but I know I will need 12 hours of the lights on.  Any ideas? << An opening of any type will really help, also a fan would help. >> Question 4 (So sorry for the length of this email): Your site convinced me that keeping anemones would be too impossible and inhumane in my small tank.  So I've convinced myself not to keep them even though I initially wanted a bubble tip.  So now, I've decided to only have corals for my inverts...Can you suggest any hardy corals that my lighting and tank could sustain? << Mushroom rocks, Gorgonia (filter feeding types), button polyps. >> I like the mushroom anemones, button polyps, and xenia. << Oh yes, and xenia, thanks for mentioning that one.  Don't know how I forgot it. >> Could I keep those together safely in my tank?  Any other compatible, low lighting, hardy inverts would be appreciated. << They would all do well together, stay with that first. >> Question 5 (I promise this is the last one!): Here's my list of non-coral livestock: 1 ocellaris clown, 1 firefish goby (2 if possible) OR 1 Pseudochromis fridmani (orchid), banded shrimp OR cleaner shrimp.  What would be the best combo of the above livestock list factoring in maybe having corals in the tank w/ them? << They would all do fine together. No worries. >> Could I keep 1 ocellaris clown and 2 firefish gobies?  or what about 1 ocellaris clown, 1 firefish, and 1 orchid (I heard these are the most peaceful of the Pseudochromis)?  Can ocellaris clowns be kept in pairs? << Yes to all those questions, no worries. >> Can sand-sifting gobies be kept w/ banded shrimp?  Which of these species is best introduced first to minimize territorial aggression? << I would add the Pseudochromis last. >> Okay, I cheated, I said this would be my last question, but it's more like 5 mini-questions.  Sorry!   Thanks for the help!  I really appreciate your patience and dedication to helping us newbies get started! << Hope it all works out. >> -Dennis << Adam B. >>

MIDAS BLENNY & AGGRESSIVE TANK MATE Hi Crew- <Hi Jill, MacL here to try to help.> Thanks for your help in the past! I am about to move, and because that will mean an upheaval, I am thinking of how to solve an incompatibility in my tank. <Smart move.> I have a 30 ("breeder") reef over a year old housing, aside from the inverts (including a large skunk cleaner shrimp), Centropyge argi, a Midas blenny, and a Sailfin molly acclimated to marine. My Midas is my beloved. <I'm not surprised, such excellent personalities and truly great fish.> The argi has become aggressive. <I've understood this happens on occasion.> As time goes on, the Midas spends less time out in the open, with a darker face, and every time he comes out, the argi seems to bully him back to his nook or cranny. <Not good, one of the joys of Midas are that they will often swim out in the open.> I think I will remove the argi when I break down the tank for the move. <Probably a wise move.> If you think it inadvisable to keep the molly at the sustained higher salinity of the reef, I can remove him as well. (I introduced him to see if he found a particular algae palatable; he didn't.) <I've had friends who have keep them for a long time in totally salt water with no problems.> Once the tank is set up and stable again, I would like to add tankmates that would complement the Midas blenny well. Is there any particular fish you'd add that might share his food and let the blenny come out in the open, maybe bring out his good behaviors? <Sometimes found in association with the Basslet Pseudanthias squamipinnis, which it resembles, feeding on zooplankton. That's from the WWM Website. Sounds like that's the perfect companion for your blenny.> I am thinking of one or two of the following. Could you please comment on them, particularly in their relation to the blenny?  My tank is not well-covered, but there are some adjustments I can make. <You will probably need to based on what you'd like to have.> 1.  Black-cap Gramma (Gramma melacara)<Little aggressive> 2.  Black ocellaris clown <Little aggressive> 3.  Twin-spot hogfish (Bodianus bimaculatus) or Halichoeres chrysus <Not a good mix> 4.  Banggai Cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni) or other cardinal <Should work well> 5.  Clown Goby (Gobiodon sp.) <Your blenny might nip at him> 6.  Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) <Your blenny might nip at him> 5.  I still love Centropyges, if there are any with which I'd be better off, and I love other goby/blennioids if you think any would be particularly good. <I'm very much afraid most of the Centropyges will get aggressive although I have a friend who is successfully keeping a Lemonpeel with a Midas.> I would love a smaller flasher wrasse, but they are not often available. <You might try www.themarinecenter.com.> Thank you so much for your advice, helping me put the pieces of what I know about each fish to fit with the blenny. <Its a pleasure to help someone seeking to do things the right way. -Jill  <Good luck Jill>

Stocking Plan I am preparing to stock a 90gal salt tank. Assuming good filtration with skimming, etc.. would 2 of the smaller lions (Antennata and Dwarf Zebra) and a Picasso trigger be too much for the tank? <I would be concerned with this bioload, quite frankly. These are carnivores, and are rather messy eaters, which could potentially overwhelm a system. Also, the fish have decidedly different eating patterns, which could be potentially problematic for the Lions> Would they most likely get along? <That's my other concern. The Picasso could become a real attitude problem at some point, which can spell trouble for the lionfishes. I would not try such a combination, myself, unless you have a much larger tank> If not,  could I substitute a Yellow Tang in the Triggers place? Thanks again for the great site!!!!!!!! <A Yellow Tang might be a better choice, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

New Tank- New Decisions (Marine Tank Stocking) Hi--we're newcomers to marine tanks, although we do have a 150 gal cichlid tank and a smaller tropical tank and a koi pond. <Ahh- then your skills in the freshwater arena will serve you well! This will be fun for you!> I'm sorry that I'll no doubt be asking a lot of basic questions, but I feel very intimidated by this new tank. <No problem with questions...And don't feel intimidated!> We have a 175 gallon tank, having bought the contents of someone's 110 gal tank. Every fish died in the move, so we decided to take that opportunity to add a lot of live rock. We currently have about 350lbs live rock. The rock we purchased had plants, small corals and sponges growing on it, and I'm still waiting to see if any surprises emerge. The only fish we have are a pair of tank-bred clownfish we bought a week ago. There are some emerald crabs in the tank that I purchased, in addition to some brown crabs that seem to have come courtesy of the live rock. We also have a 3" hermit crab and some small hermits. I bought some shrimp, but don't see them frequently. All the snails died when we arranged the rock--don't know why. <Snails can be sensitive to rapid changes in water chemistry, etc., so that's a possibility right there. If you have not already, I'd invest in some basic test kits (ammonia, nitrite, pH, alkalinity, nitrate, phosphate) to get a handle on your water conditions.> After we put the rock in, we had a break-out of a gold-brown algae. The fish store said it's normal to have this after adding live rock--true?? If not, how do we get rid of it? <Yep- it is quite common (and annoying) when setting up  new system, with abundant nutrients and "immature" nutrient export processes. Here's a link to an article I wrote on this very subject. Hopefully, it will give you a few ideas on tackling this problem: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm > We are also having difficulties in keeping the water temperature below 82F. The fish seem OK--active and eating, but everything I've read says keep water no warmer than 78F. <Well, you can push it to 80F, but I wouldn't let it get much higher, at least on a regular basis> Since we are planning on having corals, we bought the bright lights and I don't if the mega-wattage is causing the heat problem. The house is air conditioned, so it's not a problem with ambient air temperature. How do I cool the tank? <Well, there are a few techniques, such as blowing fans across the water surface, which can definitely make an impact for relatively little expense. Or, you can go the high tech (and expensive!) route and get a chiller. I know, I know- it seems like a lot of the solutions I have proposed involve the purchase of more gear...Again, the fans will make a big difference for many systems, so try that first> Are there chemicals I should be adding regularly? Every store I go to gives me a different opinion and makes me unsure what to do. <My personal opinion on this subject is that you should not add anything to the system that you cannot test for, and that you should really ask yourself "Why am I adding this__________?" With the exception of things like calcium in the form of Kalkwasser, and possibly a very few other compounds, the majority of trace elements, etc. can easily be replenished (and in the correct proportions!) with frequent small water changes using good source water and a quality salt mix. Adding "a little bit of this" and "a pinch of that" often results in nothing more than a depleted bank account and more algae/water chemistry problems! As author John Tullock so eloquently put it when talking about additives and environmental adjustments, "Test- then tweak"> We would like to add some other fish and plan to keep a reef tank (my husband's idea--I like the fish!). The water quality is good, but I don't know if it's better to add slowly or buy the fish we know want to have and add them at once. <Slow is always better. There is no rush. More important is the sequence that you add fish. For example, let the more timid fishes get established first, before adding the aggressive ones. Your common sense developed in your freshwater "career" will serve you well here> I don't want to overpopulate the tank, in any case. With my freshwater tanks, I've added fish slowly, but with the aggressiveness of marine fish, I thought maybe it is better to buy juveniles and add them together. <Not all are aggressive...Many marine fishes a re secretive and very timid. It can vary. My best recommendation is to get a good basic book on marine fishes and do some research before deciding on your fishes> Could you recommend a mix? <It would be way too hard- and not fun for you- if I pick your fishes! As mentioned above, I'd get a good book or two, such as Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Michael Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium", or Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes" to help you choose appropriate specimens. And, of course- we have a HUGE amount of information on this topic right here on the WWM site, for free!> I know I want to have a Blue Tang (my kids insist, having seen "Finding Nemo" that we get "Dory") and my husband wants a Yellow Tang. Will these two be OK together? <They could be, but both fishes require very clean, stable water conditions, lots of room, and in the case of the Yellow Tang, a lot of supplemental vegetable matter...Do the research and see if you're up to the challenge before purchasing.> I read your articles and FAQs on angel fish and would like to try a Flame Angel or Coral Beauty. <Good choices, once the tank is more stabilized and established. Also, if you plan on having corals, these fishes can nibble on them, so plan accordingly once again.> Other than that, I'd like a few small colorful fish, like a Gramma or blenny. <Always good choices, IMO!> If you have any suggestions for a happy and colorful mix, I'd appreciate it. <Gosh- so many possibilities- and everyone's taste is different. I wouldn't want to take away the fun for you! Do some reading and make a list of the fish that you want, then check on their compatibility with each other and the invertebrates that you plan to keep. That's the best way!> Thanks in advance for your help. We've been reading and talking to aquarists, but get a lot of conflicting advice. R/Janet <Yep- there is a lot of confusing advice out there. MY best advice is to do solid research on sites like WWM, spend some time visiting other people's tanks, and then making decisions based upon your own gut instincts. we'll be happy to offer our opinions down the line. Feel free to run your stock list by us when it's finalized! Good luck, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Marine stocking Q <MikeD here again> Ok, I think my 90 gallon salt tank has cycled, ammonia and nitrite are 0, and nitrates are present.<How long has it been up now? Be careful, as new tanks can get back into a "mini-cycle" VERY easily> I am running 2 temp 400's, a Eheim 2217 can, and have a AquaC remora pro on the way! I would like to put the following fish in the tank...1-yellow tang, 1-russels lion and 1-antennata lion. When these fish mature to adulthood, will this be too much of a bioload? <Should be just fine. The P. russelli will grow VERY fast, so don't skimp on the feeding, with a heavy preference for shrimp. I believe this is, arguably, the hardiest of all the Lionfish. The antennata's are a little more delicate, and may need some babying, but they should get along just fine. The tang is actually the toughest of the three, but watch for ick. Of course, if possible, quarantine all three before adding them to your main tank and remember NEVER medicate your main tank itself. Best of luck to you!>

Stocking 33 Gallons (6/29/04) Hi <Steve Allen here. For future reference, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences. Also, please use apostrophes. We post all queries and replies on our site permanently and want them as readable as possible. Our volunteer crew will have a lot more time to answer queries if they don't have to proofread them. Not only that, some of us older presbyopics have a hard time reading unpunctuated text. Thanks.> I'm just starting a 33 gallon reef. I was hoping that I could put these fish in: 2 false percula 1 cherub angel 1 royal Gramma Is this too many fish? can I get anymore in? <It's pretty full with this. Perhaps a small shrimp goby could be added as well.> Thanks a lot also what would you recommend to be some goods starter corals? <That depends on how much light you can afford. Soft corals and mushrooms are generally considered good beginner corals.>

Marine livestocking Hi, <Hi Jake, Nice to meet you, MacL here> I have a 120 gallon tank, 5 feet long.<Nice!> Before I put any fish in it, I was going to create a stocking list so I know exactly whets going in and when. <Very smart to do your research in advance.> My idea was to get a wide variety of colors and species, and I asked my LFS about the list, he said they would work out. I was going to put in there a Passer Angel, Flame Angel, Arc-eye Hawk, either a Lunare Wrasse or a Harlequin Tusk, and either a White-cheek or Purple Tang. <Actually I like that mix a lot.> Is this alright. Should I put them in the tank in any certain order or all at once. <Its always best to add fish slowly and let them acclimate. But I would recommend that you add the passer and possibly the tang last. They will get the biggest and be the most aggressive. My personal opinion would be to add the wrasse or tusk first. Then the Flame. As for adding, you definitely want to add them one fish at a time and I would highly recommend that you quarantine your tank so you don't put anything. I usually try to space my fish out at least three weeks apart after their quarantine time. And I really try not to quarantine fish together.> By the way the tank is a FOWLR, about 180 pounds of live rock for the Flame to run to when any of the others get too territorial. Any input would be appreciated. <Slow and sure Jake, that's the way. Trust me on this. I know the temptation is to put several in at once (been there done that and dealt with the consequences) but if you do it one at a time then you KNOW how that new fish is doing and you have time between fish to know what they are like. Then if you start having problems you'll be familiar enough with your new fish to know what they should be acting like.> Thanks, Jake

Large FOWLR Stocking Question Hello fellow marine keepers at WWM! Hope all is well? <All is great my friend! Ryan Bowen with you today.> O.K here goes... I am putting the final touches to the design my dream aquarium, which will hopefully soon become a reality. <Wonderful> The aquarium will be 14 Feet X 4 Feet X 4 Feet (LxWxD). <Awesome> I haven't finalized the filtration details yet, but it will be VERY heavy duty, with powerful circulation. I plan to stock the system with; 1 Honeycomb Moray Eel (Gymnothorax favagineus), 24" 1 Green Moray Eel (Gymnothorax funebris), 24" 1 Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum), 8" Would these species co - exist throughout the entirety of their lives, in this size aquarium? <Absolutely, there will be room to fill.> Would the aquarium be too small? <Fourteen feet?  No, I think it'll be awesome.> Is it wise to mix Indo - Pacific with Tropical Atlantic species? <Can lead to certain problems, but with proper quarantine methods, and careful stocking, all should be fine.> Do I run the risk of introducing non indigenous pathogens to the different species? <Highly unlikely if you quarantine.  Take it slow, you'll be fine.>  Could this be detrimental to their well being? <The levels of aggression aren't as easy to predict.  This said, it sounds perfectly safe, as you have entertained most possible future problems.  Great luck, and we'd love to see a few pictures once it's a reality!  Good luck, Ryan> Your expert advice is eagerly awaited. Thanks in advance, kind regards. Chris Naylor, U.K

Re-stocking Questions (6/27/04)   Yo, Crew... <Howdy. Steve Allen here tonight.> Love the site and really appreciate all the help you provide to others in the hobby. <A pleasure to play a small part.> I'll get to my questions so you can move on with your day!:)   I have a 37-gallon aquarium and recently lost 3 of my 5 fish within about a week...A Coral Beauty that I have had for almost 10 months, a Lawnmower Blenny who was only in the tank for about a month, and a Foxface Rabbitfish that I had for about 7-8 months (in hindsight, I realized the Foxface needed more room than I had - beginners mistake).  All fish seemed perfectly happy and normal until I would wake up in the morning to find each dead in the back corner of the tank (several days apart) being consumed by my hermit crabs.  <Sorry to hear.> My blood shrimp, Ocellaris clown and Blackcap Basslet seem to be just fine.  I also have a brittle star that I never see (always ender a rock somewhere) that hitchhiked on my liverock - he appeared healthy and active when I removed liverock for cleaning. I took a water sample into my local aquarium dealer (who I have come to trust) and everything checked out fine.   I removed my liverock and vacuumed the tank and have performed regular 5-gallon water changes for the past three weeks and everything still seems to be OK.  Ultimately, the fish that perished showed no signs of disease and all had lived peacefully for some time together.  I really don't know what caused this event. <Perhaps they died of malnutrition. Lawnmower Blennies often starve to death of there is no hair algae to eat. The Angel and the Rabbitfish also need algae. Just guessing here.> So here is question #1 - Is there anything else I should watch for or do to make sure the tank is healthy? <Adequate filtration, quality salt, stable water conditions, regular water changes--the usual success factors. I'd also suggest you wait at least a month, better  two, since the last death before adding new fish to make certain that the remaining fish are still healthy. Quarantine new additions for 4 weeks prior to introduction.>   Question #2 - When can I consider restocking this tank (slowly)? <as above>   And Question #3 - Would a second Ocellaris clown get along with the one I currently have in the tank, assuming both are tank-raised? <Can do, but could be problems getting them to pair up in a small tank. Besides, wouldn't you rather have a nice variety of fish. There's room for a lot of fish in this size of tank. Look at flasher wrasses, Firefishes, Dartfishes, gobies as options.> Thanks for your insight.  I am just one of many, many readers that value your thoughts. Bob <Hope this helps.>

Bio-Load Question, Among Others I swear if you weren't here to bounce my questions off of I don't know what I'd do! <Hi! Ryan here for you today> I've had a 120 gallon salt water tank for a  little over 6 month.  I swear I thought I'd done a lot of research before but it seems like daily I'm online looking for an answer to some question or another. <Very good> You have been a Godsend to me!  I have numerous questions but will try to limit myself! <Ha!>       1) Once you've used copper in your QT tank, how should you dispose of the water?  It can't be good to pour in your yard, which is what I've been doing with my regular salt water, pouring it over an area of river rock by the driveway.  So do you know the ramifications of putting copper in soil?  Or is it such a small amount that it doesn't effect anything? <It's a very small amount, but I certainly wouldn't want it in my garden.  Put it down the drain of your shower or such if you're on city supply.  Treatment plants treat the water for this type of thing (just imagine how much heavy metals go down the drain from anti-dandruff shampoo)!>        2) Would a Klunzinger's Wrasse possibly eat an Orangespotted Sleeper Goby? <Not eat, could harass.> If so do they actually eat it whole? <Only if we're talking about a serious size difference here.> We tried out the wrasse, we put it in a couple days ago and it ate a couple snails & hermit crabs, which was to be expected.  However, our sleeper Goby (my favorite in the tank) has gone missing.  We've moved rock and moved a bit of sand but NO sign of our little entertainer anywhere.  This is my first experience with this sort of thing, can they hide for days? <Yes, they can.  It's certainly not a good sign, however.> When should I begin to worry? (I'm way ahead of you, I've already started!) And when does one lose hope?  <Never lose hope!  I'd say a week or so without seeing a fish is a bad sign.>        3)My final question here is on stocking.  The LFS tells me I'm ok but I fear my tank is overstocked. <Sounds fishy ;)> I am happy with the tank as it is now and am done adding fish.  Current residents: Paddlefin Wrasse (trade in for the Klunzinger's), Naso Tang, Convict Tang, Bicolor Angel, Yellowtail Damsel, Allen's Damsel, Neon Goby, Cleaner Goby, Brazilian Gramma, & hopefully I still have the Orangespotted Goby.  What do the experts think? <I think you're full.>  If you were going to remove someone, or someone's who would you take out of the tank? <Naso tang.  He'll become more and more dominant as time goes on.> The LFS thinks I still have room for more, but in planning for the future as my fish grow up I think they may run out of room.  I hope to upgrade to a larger tank someday, in a year or so.  <Then perhaps keep the Naso- It's suitable for a few years in this tank.  But please, don't add anything else!>       Thanks so much for letting me hassle you so often! <Labor of love, my friend.  Cheers, Ryan>

Marine livestocking Hi, <Hello. Graham at your service.> Hope things are going well there.  I have several questions.  I have a 75 gallon F/O no live rock aquarium.  Inhabitants are a pair of false perculas, flame hawkfish, royal Gramma and a coral beauty angel.  Could I possibly add two more fish, or is one more the limit? <It really depends what fish you plan to add. You can add two more fish, but it really depends which ones. You may be able to get a pair of smaller sized fish compared to one large fish. It would also help if you could give me a list of your filtration.>   Also, I have considered adding either a black and white butterflyfish or a purple Dottyback.  Would either of these be good choices to be adding last to the tank?   <Neither would be a good choice. The butterflyfish is sensitive and it will often refuse to feed. I would highly recommend this fish to be put in an aquarium will ample amounts of liverock; this means various food sources for the butterfly. The purple Dottyback would not be a good fish to be housed with the royal Gramma.> I know more aggressive fish should be added last and neither of these are.  Do you think the other fish would pick on he long fin of the black and white butterfly? <If you do decide to buy the angel, there is a chance that the angelfish you have will be aggressive towards the newly introduced butterflyfish. Although, it's hard to say. If you're looking for more colorful fish to add to your setup, I would highly recommend a small tang (such as a Yellow tang, which is colorful and easy to care for, or gobies, blennies, etc.> .  As always, thanks for your help.   <Take Care, Graham.> James

A good mix ??? Hello wise ones,   I was wondering if i can intro a copperband into a 45 gallon tank.....with  1 six line, 1 pygmy angel, 1 royal Gramma and 2 clowns??? <You could try this, the aquarium is a bit small for this many fish....but after all of these fish are 1"-2" in length. I would say you could get away with this. IanB> THANX <<RMF differs in opinion here... not a good idea to add a Copperband... time to look into a larger tank period.>>

Dissipation of aggression & jealousy! Hi Guys! Things have been mostly stable over here. Thanks for being there..  A couple of things happened over the past few weeks. First, I had a full grown blue legged hermit crab that could no longer right itself nor had the strength to hold on to rock and decorations. I was righting him about twice a day and finally decided to let nature take its course -right or wrong. I have one more left. Second, my Pseudochromis fridmani has stepped up his aggression level towards my Amphiprion ocellaris. The only other tank mates are one hermit crab, 3 pairs of misc. Lysmata shrimp and a Banggai Cardinal in a 72 gallon. He is afraid of the cardinal and ignores the inverts. A few weeks ago, whenever the clown got too close to the Dottyback, the Dottyback would literally swim two or three circles around him to display his aggression/frustration. Lately, while that behavior continues, whenever I'm in front of the tank AND staring at the clown, the Dottyback comes from nowhere and rams the clown, nipping at the clown's body with his mouth. This only happens when my eyes are focused on the clown, not when I look at the tank in general or at the other inhabitants. Only happens on the second and third feedings of the day. They are usually too hungry at the first feeding to worry about each other. << Wow that is one crazy fish.  I'm surprised there is an aggression problem in a tank that large.  I'm not sure how much live rock you have, but maybe more hiding spaces are needed. >> I'd like to address my lack of herbivores and having the Dottyback as the dominant fish in my tank with one addition -either a Centropyge loricula or a Centropyge aurantonotus. I figure a 72G is too small for a rabbit fish or tang, plus I don't want any armed fish in my tank! Would the angel eat some hair algae and also dominate/break up the clown vs. Dottyback aggression. << I would see a rabbit fish as the best option for algae control.  Also, at 70 gallons many tangs would do well.  I don't think of any angels as really thriving on algae. >> Is this necessary? I love my algal growth (I really don't have much) and don't feel the need to remove it, except for little bits breaking up and floating around in the water column. << Oh in that case, don't worry about it.  Additional fish may break up the aggression, but that isn't really reason to buy more fish.  If you tank is healthy and can support more fish, then that is reason.  I wouldn't worry about algae controlling fish, if you don't care to remove algae.  Personally I love watching my algae grow out of control. >> And, the clown doesn't seem to be fazed by anything, since he swims right up to the Dottyback with his mouth open and has no nipped fins -knock on wood! Thanks for your help! Narayan <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Re: Dissipation of aggression & jealousy! Thanks Adam! I'll stick with the three fish I already have. While overcrowded tanks look pretty, I don't want to deal with that level of maintenance. << Admirable.  Good to see people not pushing the limits. >> Narayan <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Fish Selection Hi Crew!! <Hi Richard, MacL here to help you today.>Thanks for your prompt answer. I'm considering one of your suggestions.  Nonetheless, I still would like to see if I can add one of the big fishes with unusual shapes (before I had a fresh water aquarium, and got tired of the little torpedo shapes of those guys)<Research is always good.> So, I'm going crazy and bouncing against from page to page in my book (The Cons... Aquarist.. by Bob) trying to figure out which one is going to be my next/last fish. Again, the Paracanthurus hepatus or a (my new inquire) Heniochus acuminatus. - This Hippo tang is delicate, but so is the Yellow Tang which I keep for 5 months without no problem at all. <A healthy one is a very very nice addition.> - The Banner above seems to be hardy and OK, except that I can put only one specimen in my 50 gallon tank, and I read in the WWM that they do best in 3 o 5 numbers. <Really do better kept as more than one fish.> Which is your suggestion ?? Thanks a lot Richard

Planning A Sustainable Population I am getting ready to set up a 75 or 90 gallon fish only tank and have some questions about livestock.  My family and I have picked out five fish we would like to have, consisting of a Bluethroat Trigger or Humu Humu Trigger, Passer Angel, Raccoon Butterfly, Powder Blue Tang, and some type of Lionfish. <Wow! Quite a bunch!> I'm sure all of these will not be compatible, <No, they aren't!> but I would like your opinion of what we could expect to keep?  I would say the trigger and angel are the top two choices. <Well, if you are determined to have both of these, I'd consider juveniles of each, and I'd start with a larger tank (like a 150). Both of these fishes get pretty large, can be aggressive, require a lot of physical space, and give off a lot of metabolic waste, which necessitates a larger tank to keep them for anything approaching a natural life span. Perhaps a compromise with "dwarf" versions of some of your choices might be a better choice, like a dwarf lionfish, a Centropyge angelfish, a Longnosed Butterfly, etc. Think about the ultimate sizes and needs of the fishes that you intend to keep here. Then you could use the 90 gallon tank! The WWM site has great information about all of these families to help you make good decisions> I was thinking of setting the tank up with 90lbs of live rock, AquaC Remora pro w/Mag 3 and overflow box, and power compact lighting (2 x 65w).  Does this setup sound o.k.?  I currently have a 58g reef tank that I am using a live rock and skimmer setup and would like to do the same sort of "Berlin" setup.  What are your thoughts? <I like the "Berlin" concept for a FOWLR tank. However, with the kinds of eaters that you intend to keep, you may want a larger Aqua C skimmer. Aggressive protein skimming and water changes are vital in a tank like this.> Thanks, Chris <My pleasure, Chris! Have fun planning this population. It is a bit of a compromise, as you are already aware. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Fish And Shrimp Compatibility hi <Hi Sharon> Do you think 2 coral beauties will get along with my pixy hawkfish and my scopas tang? <I think you might want to consider two different fish instead of two of the same kind. Often they will fight. Something other than two pygmy angels.> I have 1 55 gallon tank will lots of crevices and hiding spots. Also will my hawkfish eat any pistol shrimp i get? <More than likely yes. Good luck, MacL.>

Stocking Question hi <Hi Sharon, MacL here> I have a question about stocking my 55 gallon tank. i have 40 pounds of live rock and hope to get these fish 1 coral beauty, 1 valentini puffer, 2 pistol shrimp, 1 Hifin red banded goby, and 2 false percula. I already have a pixy hawkfish, a scopas tang and an orange lined Chromis is this too many fish? i might bring my Chromis back.<I'm a tad concerned about the hawk fish and the hi-fin goby.  I'm concerned that the goby might just disappear. A lot about stocking these fish is to make sure you realize and accommodate for their full size.  And plenty of swimming room.> thanks a lot Stocking Levels Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Jim> I want to compliment you on your site. <All compliments gratefully accepted.> I have been keeping freshwater fish off and on for over 30 years <Wow> and have decided to try marine animals! <Wonderful> I have read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist (an excellent read that I have recommended to interested friends) <I will pass that along> and The Book of the Marine Aquarium by Nick Dakin. Your site has filled in many blanks as well as raised additional questions which, of course, were answered. This is an addicting hobby and I am looking forward to the adventure. <Great!> I just ordered a 129 gallon tank with 125 pounds of live rock for a fish only system. The LFS designed a system including a Little Giant 4-MDQ-SC circulating water through a Nuclear canister filter, a Maxi-Jet 900 circulating water through a UV sterilizer, and another Maxi-Jet 900 for additional circulation through the tank. They did not include a skimmer in the set up. I know that you guys recommend skimmers so I asked them about it and they said that this system didn't need it!! I am thinking of adding a Tunze or a Aqua C Remora Pro. <Depending on the creatures you plan to put in your tank I would suggest adding a canister.  Although many successful tanks are run without one.  Just a note on the canister, depending on what you have in your canister you might need to watch it carefully for nitrates.> To my question: I have come up with a possible list of animals and I just wanted your opinion as to compatibility for this system: Yellowtail Damsels, two Hermit crabs (Clibanarius tricolor), fifty Fire Cleaner (L. Debelius, two Fire Gobies, two Naso Tang, one Cleaner Shrimp (L. Amboinensis), two Long Fin Bannerfish (H. acuminatus) (10"), two Clown Fish, two Royal Gramma, one Flame Angel, one Orange Marble Starfish (Fromia monilis), one I have tried to put them in an approximate order of introduction once the tank has cycled. <The only fish that concern me is the Naso and not for the size problem.  What worries me is that as they grow they can get a tad aggressive with shrimps and small gobies. Something you might want to be cautioned about. Possibly switch your tang to a less aggressive one.> I also plan to use a QT and FW dip protocol as recommended by you and many others I have come across during my research. I appreciate your help and will support your site in any way I can. Thank you very much! Jim <Thank you Jim and I wish you the best.  Sounds like you have a very solid plan in effect here.>

Maxed Out? (Stocking Question) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I would like your suggestion as to what fish (or fishes) would make a good addition to my fish-only system.  I have a 65 gallon tank with one Percula Clown, one Hawkfish, one Threadfin Butterfly and one Eibl's Angel. Thank you for your website and your anticipated answer.  Frank <Well, Frank- it may not be the answer that you were expecting, but I'd have to say that your 65 gallon is well-stocked at this point! The Threadfin Butterfly (Chaetodon auriga) can hit 8 or 9 inches, and the C. eibli can hit almost 6 inches in length. In order for these fishes to be happy and thrive, you'd really want to keep the stocking where it is. A larger tank might even be required in the future; then you could safely add more fish. Other than that, I'd enjoy the fine grouping of fish that you currently have! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Big, "Reef-Safe" Fish (6/17/04) Hi <Howdy, Steve Allen here.> I am upgrading to a 120 gallon reef aquarium. (I did briefly consider  having a FO and reef aquarium - but too much maintenance I think). <Well, tow tanks are certainly more maintenance than one. I plumbed my FOWLR and reef together with a shared sump so that all top-offs and water changes maintain both tanks.>  I  currently have a yellow tang, blue cheek goby, mandarin fish (which seems to  feeding well for the last 2 months) <good to hear; hope it remains the case long-term.>, a percula clown, 2 cleaner shrimp and a few  other bits and pieces as well as 3 pieces of coral and a clam to go into the new tank. My question is what large fish could I look at that would be reef safe. <Well, that Yellow Tang will get to be 7+ inches.>  It's a fair size tank (4ft*2ft*2ft - with large refugium/sump) and it will look empty with smaller fish. <Not if you have a bunch of them, such as a harem of fairy wrasses or Anthias. Either option will get a bit costly, but quite colorful and active. Fairy Wrasses are quite hardy, but ar jumpers--cover the tank. Anthias are much more challenging to keep, but some species are hardier than others. Mine have been thriving for over a year now. Do research these options.> The tang is still pretty small <for now!>, as is the  percula. I am considering risking a niger trigger as I am mad about them - hopefully he won't take out too many of the cleaner crew or the clam. <Most crustaceans and gastropods will become tasty Trigger Treats. And you can expect triggers to nip just about anything.> I've been warned off powder blue surgeons as they are too delicate?? <Yes, others are better choices, but at this size, a single Tang is best/safest.> Could I go for a small shoal of tangs of some sort? <Not really a good idea in this size tank. There's just not enough swimming room for them to tolerate on another. Did I mention Fairy Wrasses? Anthias?>   I recently saw an article in a aquarist magazine here in the UK saying that a lot of angelfish were actually reef safe contrary to popular belief as long as  they are well fed (but I didn't get around to buying the mag and I can't find it  in the shops now). <A recent issue of "Practical Fishkeeping" I believe. You can subscribe here in the USA via there website. Remember that "reef-safe" is a relative term. Any fish may nip your corals, but Angels are more likely to than many others. It is difficult to keep them "well-fed" enough to entirely prevent nipping, since they are constant grazers by nature and never really become satiated. You would end-up over-nourishing your system.>   Anyway - that's basically my question - I am looking for a few large spectacular fish to "fill" up the tank. (obviously I may have to wait for them  to grow :) ) <Well, you could consider one of the hardier more "reef-safe" butterflies or a hardy angel that stays fairly small (no Queen or Emperor). But again, a harem of 3-4 colorful fairy wrasses (1 male) would be spectacular indeed, and it would be much easier on your corals.>   Cheers, Meirion Jones <Hope this helps.>

Lionfish? Can I put 1 Antennata Lion, 1 Radiata Lion and 1 Foxface Rabbitfish in a 90 gallon tank with an Eheim 2217 and 2 Emperor 400 filters? Will they be happy when fully grown in there? Thanks!! <This combination, along with regular maintenance of course, should work out fine... not too crowded, nor incompatible tankmates. Bob Fenner>

75g or 90g fish only tank I am getting ready to set up a 75 or 90 gallon fish only tank and have some questions about livestock.  My family and I have picked out five fish we would like to have consisting of a Bluethroat trigger or Huma trigger, passer angel, raccoon butterfly, powder blue tang, and some type of lionfish.  I'm sure all of these will not be compatible, but I would like your opinion of what we could expect to keep. <I would choose three of them....the three that I would choose out of sheer hardiness would be the trigger, lionfish, and the passer aka king angelfish> I would say the trigger and angel are the top two choices. <Yea me too> I was thinking of setting the tank up with 90lbs of live rock, AquaC remora pro w/Mag 3 and overflow box, and power compact lighting (2 x 65w).  Does this setup sound o.k.<It sounds GREAT>  I currently have a 58g reef tank that I am using a live rock and skimmer setup and would like to do the same sort of "Berlin" setup.  What are your thoughts? <Berlin setups work well, I like the idea of refugiums as well. Good luck, IanB> Thanks, Chris

Choosing The Final Fish! Dear Scott, <Hi there!> Thanks for your reply and advice on choosing tankmates for my fish. <You're quite welcome!> I have kept two Halichoeres wrasses before, they were H. melanochir and H. nigrescens (both wild caught). I ended up giving them away to a friend because I only ever saw them once in a blue moon as they spent the vast majority of their time buried under the substrate. <An unfortunate habit of many wrasse species. However, many of them will be out in the open at all times. In fact, I'm looking right now at my Macropharyngodon meleagris (Leopard Wrasse) swimming casually all over my reef tank with full lights up. It all depends on the individual, I suppose> I was looking at the yellow Halichoeres but I have since read that they are a somewhat touchy species in aquaria. <If you are talking about H. chrysus, I'd strongly disagree with that! I've found them to be some of the most hardy, easy-going wrasses you can get. I love 'em> What is the maximum sized fish (in terms of adult length) that you would recommend adding to my 6', 75 gallon tank? I was considering purchasing a butterfly (either a reef bannerfish or a double saddled), will these get too big for this sized tank? <In my humble opinion, either of these two fishes would be pushing it, even in a 6' tank. I just think that these butterflies need so much room to range that even a 6 footer is too small. If we're talking about an 8 or 10 foot tank, I'd feel better. This is just my opinion, but I think it makes sense.> Also do wrasses really need a sand substrate in the aquarium? <For optimum comfort and to foster more natural behavior, I'd say yes> I was considering a Rockmover Wrasse or a Coris, but I read that they need a deep sand bed, also will these species grow too large for a 75? <I think that the Rockmover will, as will many Coris species. Perhaps a different family would work better> What about the bird wrasse, are they a more suitable candidate? Once again thank you for all your help Yours Sincerely Adam Harbeck <Well, I think that they are also a bit too big and a bit too "high strung" for this sized system. As before, I'd look into one of the Halichoeres species. There are quite a few to choose from, and they are pretty cool, too! Please let me know if I can help you choose one! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Stock List Question Hey Crew, <Hi Greg, Mac here>   My 70 gallon FOWLR tank( first s/w tank) is finally finished and ready for some fish. <YEAH!!!!> It has an Aqua Remora Pro Hang-On Protein Skimmer, an Aquaclear 500, and a Powerhead. I was just wondering if you could look at my stock list and see if the fish I plan on getting are easy to take care of and compatible with each other. <Glad to try but please note all fish have individual personalities so no guarantee.> My Stocking List: 1 Dwarf Flame Angelfish 1 Ocellaris Clownfish( tank-raised ) 1 Royal Gramma 1 Scissor-Tail Goby 1 Flame Hawkfish Also, does the Scissortail Goby need a deep sand bed because mine is only 2-2 1/2" deep?  <The hard thing with common names is that it could be several different fish.  The ones I know of as scissortail gobies would be just fine because they stay at or near the top of the water.> And if list is understocked, can I add another Ocellaris Clownfish or Another small 3"-5" fish?  <I think a pair of clowns would be nice but in my experience they get very territorial when paired.  As for stocking, I would suggest you let your tank tell you what you can do.  Watch the fish, check for stress, and let the water parameters show you.  Don't forget the fish need room to grow. Good luck, you are on the right track. Mac>   Thank you,                    Greg~

Choosing The Last Fish! Dear Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> Last week, I made up my mind and bought the Azoo PSkimmer, instead of the second hand Top Fathom 1100 I was evaluating (was leaking and as Anthony said, it is troublesome to adjust). Now, and regarding my fish selection, I have the doubt again regarding which fish to choose.  You told me to go for the Paracanthurus Hepatus instead of the Flame Angel, since there were the best candidates available.  Now after some weeks, and after delaying my fish decision because of the PS evaluation I was conducting, I am  having trouble following some reading I did in the WWM (23 pages!) concerning the Blue Tang. <We have a LOT of information on this fish, huh?> I got the idea that: It easily gets sick (ich magnet!); it GROWS....; it is a problem to catch if sometimes I need to move it for QT... <Yes, yes, and yes. They are great fish, but quarantine and handling is very important.> So, and considering that my LFS is offering me the possibility to tell him which fish I would like to buy (he has a new option in Fla.) and he gets it for me, I'm considering: * a very low price (50% off), * he won't do the quarantine for me! * pay in advance * if it gets dead/sick, I lose! <Unfortunately, you cannot depend on the LFS to do quarantine for you. It's an important task that you'll have to perform yourself. Well worth the effort.> Then, I wonder if I better get a more suitable/less troublesome fish. <I'm a big fan of blennies, gobies, and wrasses!> Which one would it be, considering that for the size of my tank it would be the last one. I hope not to trouble you, and look forward for your help. Thanks a lot. Richard <Well, Richard, I'd still consider a potentially more hardy fish, such as a Halichoeres species wrasse, or one of the many hardy, colorful and interesting blennies, or even a Gramma or Pseudochromis species. Do a bit more research and see what catches your fancy. Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Marine fish selection Hi, I'm Kevin, <Hi Kevin, I'm Mac.>     I was wondering if you can help me select marine fish for my fish only aquarium. My aquarium is a 30 gallon tank, with 2 inches of live sand, and lots of decorations and caves for my fish, but no live rock in it. <Kevin what kind of filtration system are you using? That makes a big difference in the fish you can keep.> So please can u tell me kinds of marine fish that are hardy, beautiful, attractive, and easy to find (like my local dealer would probably have it). Thank you for your time. <Kevin, if you don't mind, I'd like to make a suggestion to you.  There are lots of wonderful books where you can see the different types of fish and to some degree determine their hardiness.  I can't pick out your fish for you because then it would become my tank and not yours but I can try to guide you somewhat.  One of my personal favorites is written by the owner of this website and is called "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist".  I use that book as a reference myself all the time.  One thing I'd like you to watch out for when you get your fish is to remember that all fish grow in size and you want to try to get or keep small fish.  Oh and Kevin one of the most wonderful tanks I ever saw was one with lovely Chromis in it.  Good luck, Mac>

Invert Compatibility What's going on? << You tell me. I'm just sitting in the lab. >>   I am thinking about adding the following to my FOWLR setup: Blue tuxedo pincushion urchin Fancy serpent sea star (tiger striped) Sand sifting sea star Tiger tail sea cucumber Turbo snails And my tank already contains: Cleaner shrimp Electric orange hermit crab Scarlet reef hermit crabs One question is, are all of the above (when placed together)  compatible? << Yes that wouldn't worry me. >> My second question is, will any of these species (especially the urchin)  eat all of the beautifully colored, and desirable algae off my live rock? << Yes they may.  Urchins are notorious for eating coralline algae.  However, urchins are way cool looking, so you have to make the call on what you would prefer to have. >> Would   it be wise to add all of these critters to a tank which contains colorful   live rock? << I love live rock in addition to inverts in any tank.  However, the one item of caution I have is to add them one at a time.  If you add all those suggested animals at once, it may be too much of a bio load, and too little available food, for them all to thrive.  It is best to gauge how much detritus and food there is, and then slowly add the inverts as needed. >> Sean F. <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Tankmates compatibility Good evening crew: My question tonight is regarding a probable new tankmate that just arrived at my LFS it's a very healthy and active looking 2" Pomacanthus semicirculatus (Koran Angelfish)  I have described my system before so I'll do it quickly: 95 GAL, sal 1.023, ammonia & nitrite 0, nitrate < 10, temp 27-30? Celsius (it's starting to get very hot in Monterrey) but the AC helps keeping temp stable if not fresher, skimmer, liverock +- 80lbs, 1.5" substrate, wet/dry bio media 20 gal sump.  Current tank inhabitants: two Amphiprion clarkii 2.5 & 1.5" (almost mated), one  3.5" Zebrasoma veliferum , one 2" Chaetodon auriga, one 1.5" Premnas biaculeatus plus several hermit crabs on coral banded shrimp, two chocolate chip starfish and a 5" diam LTA..  I know what you're thinking....  95 gal... nah, way to small for all this fast growing "big-to be fish", but let me run my plan by you and see what you think. First of all I'm going to leave the Koran in the LFS for at least two weeks (with an already paid deposit of course) to see how he establishes, after bringing him home and after a 4 week q-period, and if everything goes well, in goes to the main tank.  In a 5 month time I'll divide my livestock in two systems the 95 will be slowly transformed in to a reef system where the two Clarkiis (hoping for them to spawn in the future) and Zebrasoma will be kept and a 180 gal new system FOWLR for the maroon, Threadfin Butterflyfish and the (hopefully) Koran.  The basic idea is to have the Sailfin as well as the Koran as "central pieces" in both aquariums.  I really take seriously your advice, so any comments will be appreciated, I've learned more in the last 3 months reading the Faq's in your site than in two years of blindly trusting the LFS around home.  Thanks in advance. Alfonso PS  I usually run my mails to you guys through the spell and grammar check on Word, but can't seem to start it tonight so sorry if any mis spells, don't mean to give you extra work. << Wow, that sounds like you did your homework.  Here is my only concern.  Why buy a fish, when you know you will be remodeling and messing with your tanks???  A big part of me wants to say "just wait until you get your second tank thriving".  But another part of me is very impressed with your preparedness for paying ahead, waiting several weeks, quarantine time, concern for tank size; so I want to say "with all your preparation, go for it".   I'll conclude with saying that I wish everyone put as much foresight into their systems as you have done.  It's risky buying a fish that will go into an unstable tank, but you seem ready for the adventure. >> << Adam Blundell >>

Too Crowded (6/2/04) I have a 75 gal. fish only tank. I have a Koran Angel, Blue-Girdled Angel, Pajama Cardinal, Pacific blue tang, Mandarin Green Goby,  <Mandarin Dragonet??> Royal Gramma Basslet, 2 shrimp. I traded my two Sailfin tangs (Desjardini- they grew faster than I was told they would) I got a yellow band maroon Clownfish. <A very mean fish as it grows.> I would like to get one more clownfish so later they can mate....but I have been told to only have one in a tank.....if that is true , how can one ever have babies? <You will never get any babies in a community tank. They will be eaten before you ever see them. Clowns must be bred in separate tanks. If you want to pursue this, get Joyce Wilkerson's Clownfish book.>  I have had the clownfish for about two weeks. The other fish are 6 months - 3 years old. I thought it would help to get another clown and a host anemones at the same time...what are your thoughts? Cheryl <Your tank is way too small for the fish you have now. Neither angel should be housed in anything less than 125 gallons, preferably 180, and that's singly. Read Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes." If you want both, you need 240+. The Pacific Blue Tang needs at least 120G. How long have you had your Mandarin? I'm surprised it survives in this mix of fish--hope it stays that way as the vast majority starve within a few months. You will come to regret keeping a Maroon Clown in this tank with other fish. They have a very bad reputation for severe aggression as they grow to 5+ inches. I'd suggest getting a nice big tank for your other fishes and using the 75 to breed the clowns if that's what you want to do. I'm not sure how successful people are at breeding this species--read the book for answers. As for anemones, the general consensus here is that they should be left in the ocean. Read the articles/FAQs on WWM. I'm sure this is not the answer you hoped for, but these statements are well-substantiated by the experiences cited on this site and in the hobby literature. Steve Allen.>

Overstocked tank Hello there.  I love your site and must say that I find it one of the most informative sites around.. Here is my problem.  I have a 75 Gallon Reef Tank with a 30 Gallon sump and a 5 inch DSB. The tank is well established and except for a recent hair algae outbreak that I got under control, has had no real problems. I have 2 Mated Ocellaris clowns 3 Rainford Gobies (One seems to be missing thought) 1 Orange Firefish who likes to disappear for a month at a time or more. 1 Banggai Cardinal 1 Royal Gramma 1 Pygmy Angel 1 Six Line Wrasse 1 Green Spotted Mandarin Dragonette The Royal Gramma, Banggai and clowns are about 2 inches or very slightly over.  All others are smaller than this. Now I think the problem has become obvious. This problem developed due to a few slightly amusing mishaps.  My Dartfish and his mate disappeared for about 4 weeks.  I found one that had jumped and I figured the other jumped and got eaten by my cats.  So I replace them with a trio of Rainford's, only to have the one Firefish reappear a couple days later. The Firefish then played his disappearing act again about 2 months later.  This time he was gone a good 7 weeks and I decided he was truly in that great ocean in the sky and replaced him with the Six Line Wrasse.  Of course a week later I find the Firefish in my sump happy and healthy. Finally I was forced to tear down my 55 gallon tank in an emergency and the inhabitants from that got transferred to my 46 gallon FOWLR except for the two incompatible species which were the Royal Gramma and the .   This added the RG and the Pygmy Angel. Now I am faced with a problem.  I am obviously overstocked.  However this has been in holding for about 2 months now with no obvious problems. << If there isn't a problem don't fix it.  Somewhat joking, somewhat serious.  I just don't like providing advice in areas that need not advice.>> As an intermediate reefer would it be safe to keep my stock at this level or am I going to run into problems down the road?   << I don't see this as overstocked, and I would think that an established 75 gal reef could easily support this.>> How many,. if any fish should I remove?   << Personally I don't advise people to remove fish from their tanks.  This seems to add more stress and more problems.  So for me, I would keep the tank as is.>> Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. << My only other thought is that your fish selection contains many opportunistic omnivores.   In the future, I would suggest a rabbit fish or tang as the next inhabitant.>> Sorry for being so verbose.  I just wanted to give the whole story if possible.   << It sure helps me to have the whole picture.>> Not to mention that most people really get a kick out of my Firefish's antics.    << Adam >>

CSL Sterilizer and marine stocking Hi.  I sent this message earlier but didn't get a reply or see it in the daily FAQs. I suspect it didn't make it to you.  Sorry if you end up with two very similar sounding emails! Hello WWM crew, I have a CSL 18W Double Helix UV that has gone bad.  I have been happy with its performance and would like to repair it.  Problem is, since the company has gone under, I have no source for parts or info.  Apparently some water got into the ballast assembly and corroded the leads off.  An easy enough repair job.  However, there is a small component which looks like a type of bi-metallic over temp protector (but unlike any I have ever seen) built into a small bulb.  I have done several searches using everything I can think of and have come up with nothing.  There is no part number or *any* marking of any kind on the device.  Do you know of someone I could contact, possibly an ex-employee of CSL or someone who has ran into the same problem for information on this part? <Mmm, is still here... being re/circulated amongst folks in hopes that someone will have a more definitive answer. I would contact Perry Tishgart of Champion Lighting re... as he has boldly stated his company's former CSL inventory and intent to service their customers.> Also, I have recently set up a 72 gal Oceanic bow front that is the home of a porcupine puffer and a red Volitans.  I later learned from FAQs on your site (AWESOME!) that this tank is too small for the puffer and possibly even for the lion.  I am curious as to why since although both will get quite large, neither do a lot of swimming.  They are both lazy and are either hanging out in their caves, begging for food, or fluttering aimlessly around.  Is it a question of filtration or merely confinement? <A bit of both... physiologically and psychological> It seems like the bowfront would give a more open feeling  and allow them to turn around comfortably, etc.  If it is impossible to keep them, at what point (in inches) should I start thinking about relocation? Thanks for the great site and information. Kirk <At a year to three likely... but by then I strongly suspect you'll have "graduated" to more reef type interests! Bob Fenner>

Feeding and Tank size follow up 5/30/04 What is a good size tank for a yellow tang? <I generally consider about 75gal as a minimum, but as they get larger a 6' long tank is really ideal to provide them with adequate swimming room.> I always thought fish would stop growing once they reached a suitable size for the tank. How big do tangs get? <This is one of the most widespread and unfortunate misconceptions in the hobby.  All fish will grow to their maximum size as long as they are provided with enough food and good water quality.  Yellow tangs will quickly grow to 5-6" and can reach 8"!> Thanks! <Always a pleasure!  Adam>

Overstocking???? Hey WWM Crew, I made a BIG mistake, I bought on impulse. <Wish we had a buck for each of these incidents!> Tank: I've got a 3ft, 100 Litre(24gallons <I think>), I'm running 1 filter big enough for 300 litres and 1 filter for 200 litres, in It I got 1 Salarias Blenny, 1 Sand Goby, 2 Yellow-tailed (Impulse bought) <2 yellow-tailed what's? Oh, I see below, damsels> , 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 dancing shrimp, bunch O' mushrooms, some tube worms, 2 unknown anemones (Small), 1 Bubble Tip Anemone (Very Small), about 10kgs of sand stone, 2kgs of live rock, 2 little unknown starfish. Ever since I put the damsels in my mushrooms have been shrinking and 2 have dropped off. This weekend I'm gonna swap in my damsels for a little black Percula and going to buy a nice anemone for it (My others are TINY), then I'm going to give away my little goby, I thought of giving away my little blenny but it's soooo cute and when I stick my hand in the tank it'll come sit in my palm. <Very nice> Will my stocking levels be okay with my new stocking plan? <Mmm, there is likely trouble with adding an anemone here... I would not do so... the tank is "full" plus as it is, and these animals are problematic in even larger, better equipped settings> And how many inverts can I still put in? <... I would add none under the present circumstances... for instance, what is the root cause of your mushroom losses?> I've now turfed the idea of having more than 2 fish in my "mini" reef. Could I put soft corals in my tank? <You could...> I've also got this sludge like algae growing on my rocks, it traps air under it. It's a green-browny colour. Will this go away if I get my stocking levels down into acceptable territory. Thanks Steven <Not likely related very positively with stocking issues. Steven, do you have a skimmer? Any water quality tests/parameters that you can relate? Not a good idea to mix anemone species in such a small volume... or mix them with other stinging-celled life. I would invest your time in researching here rather than mute experimentation. Take the time to read over the set-up and corresponding livestock sections on www.WetWebMedia.com . Bob Fenner>

A lot of fish in that there tank! TOO MUCH + A Moray Question >I just recently acquired a chainlink moray eel, and I have a couple of questions about him. First, I was told to expect him to go on a hunger strike for 2-3 weeks, but he started eating the night I brought him home. >>Up to a month, expect this to occur at any time, without warning. >Now, I find he comes out looking for food whenever I feed my other guys which includes: >1 Volitans Lionfish >>Pterois volitans.  Adult size 15"+ >1 Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish >>If Dendrochirus brachypterus, gets to 6.75". >1 Bursa Trigger >>Either Sufflamen bursa, or Rhinecanthus verrucosus.  Could be 9"-10, depending on what species it actually is. >1 Niger Trigger >>Melichthys niger.  Bruiser topping out at 20"-21", far too big for a 100 gallon tank >1 Blue Spotted Puffer >>Arothron caeruleopunctatus.  Even BIGGER than the Niger at OVER 30"!!! >1 Naso Tang. >>Naso lituratus.  18" alone here, my friend.  Even without the addition of the moray, you've grossly overstocked this system.  Let's add the chainlink here: >Chainlink moray >>Echidna catenata; This fish will grow LONGER than I am tall, at 64"!  This kind of stocking is not feasible on any kind of time scale that could be called "long term", nor can it be considered conscientious. >All of theses guys are in 100 gallon tank, and have exhibited no aggression towards each other whatsoever. >>No, but that's a lot of fish (bioload) for a tank that size.  Have you looked up ultimate adult sizes attained by these fish (Edit: I've gone back and added all BUT the moray)?  I'd cut those numbers in half in the near future, or triple or (even better) quadruple the size of this tank.  In the meantime, LOTS of large water changing will be in order, *especially* given the species you've chosen.  Do watch the lionfishes for injuries, or to be eaten, as some triggers are known to bite off spines, and  some moray eels are definitely known for being deft enough to deliver a fatal bite. >My other question is, is it ok to feed him every day? >>I would definitely NOT feed any of these predatory fish every day, as this is not at all natural for them.  Every other day to every three days is in order, a good mix of fresh seafoods, and soaking in Selcon is also definitely in order for all the fish. >I give him 2-3 salad shrimps, or 2-3 strips of clam meat. I also feed him some krill, and silversides. >>The only "salad shrimps" I'm familiar with are cooked, and you do NOT want to feed any of your fish cooked seafoods as a regular part of their diets.  You can definitely add squid and octopus to that mix and he'll greatly enjoy those as well.   >So far he is acting like he loves it here, and I have arranged the rocks around to accommodate him with caves and crevices and such. >>Sounds terrific!  Alas, this would be more suited to a much smaller species of moray, or one housed alone. >I have no live rock in the tank, just some volcanic rock. >>I hope it is not ferrous rock.  In saltwater applications I generally discourage volcanic rock OTHER than obsidian (volcanic glass) because of its questionable mineral content and the propensity for mineral dissolution in saltwater.  Also, live rock will go a long way towards helping to keep both nitrification and denitrification going well in the system.   >My water filtration is as follows: A 350 Magnum on the floor 2-Whisper filters on the tank 1-powerhead in the tank 1-150 gallon protein skimmer. I appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have. >>I'm afraid this is definitely inadequate filtration for these types of fish.  If you plan on keeping that selection of fish for any length of time (beyond a few months is my best guess), I strongly suggest adding a large sump (50 gallons or better), both for the additional water volume, and as a place for adding live rock. As it stands, it is my opinion that you are soon headed for disease, mysterious deaths, or a complete lack of vigor and growth with these animals (or a combination of such) at the current stocking levels.  Another issue that must be given strong consideration is how they will be able to swim about in what are sure to become cramped quarters.  You can expect the triggers to grow more slowly, and all the fish will grow more slowly if you go easy on feeding, but this still puts them all at a disadvantage.  There is also the very real risk of aggression and/or predatory behavior once a certain critical mass is met.  Please search fishbase.org on all these fish, only you know for certain whether or not I've hit the species correctly. With respect... Dan S. >>I strongly advise you to not only *not* add any more fish to this system, but to please make plans for future housing in the near future.  This selection, quite honestly (and now that I've crunched these numbers in my head) would be suitable in a system *ten times* the size of what they're in at the moment.  I would feel more comfortable, and come to think of it, so would they, in a system of 1,500-2,000 gallons.  With each and every fish I've given you the scientific nomenclature so that you, too, may search the definitive resource for adult sizes and other tasty information, that being fishbase.org.  Please consider the information I've given you when making your decision.  I'm not going to worry about the quarantine bit for the moment, as you have some decisions to make.  I know this isn't exactly what you were looking for, but I would be remiss if I didn't inform you fully of the situation.  If you'd like some advice regarding thinning the numbers, I will love to help you maintain a beautiful selection, but ensure success.  Marina

-Time to stock and roll!-      Hello Crew.  I am in the process of setting up and stocking my recently finished 240 gallon. It will be a  FOWLR system. This is what I've came up with for my stocking list. I would like to get your opinion on the order of introduction. The fish I have selected should be pretty compatible if I've read right.  Hopefully I'll have enough space to cram them in.. LOL.   Ok, here goes...          1 Royal Gramma          2 Percula Clowns (2)          3 Threadfin Butterfly          4 Flame Angel or Cherub (one or the other, not both)          5 Yellow Tang          6 Queen Angel or Emperor Angel <Looks good! I'm glad to see you haven't been taken over by the spirit of "BIG TANK, LETS CRAM IN A WHOLE CRAP LOAD OF FISH!!!".> ( Leaning more towards the Queen) <A tough choice indeed, after seeing the Queen in her natural habitat many times I'd really love to set up a FO to house one.> This is the order I was thinking of introducing. (After Quarantine Of Course). I will let the tank mature a few months before placement of the angels and tang. These guys or girls will be added very slowly over a good 6 months to a 1 years time. <You rock!>   Thanks for your time and effort. I brag to everybody about this wonderful website.  So many great and honest opinions!  Send a Reply if ya'll aren't to covered up. LOL. I realize ya'll get thousands of Emails monthly, or heck, maybe even weekly. <(Glances longingly at his full inbox) Yep... Enjoy! -Kevin> Thanks Again, Jeff

Needs Help Getting Started (5/25/04) Hi, I'm sort of new to the whole marine fish hobby. <Welcome to the hobby! Steve Allen with you tonight.> I have two freshwater tanks set up and I'm ready to move on to saltwater. I had a couple of questions though. Could you tell me the basic equipment I would need to start my tank up? <The first thing you should do is buy and read every word of "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta. Consider doing the same with Robert Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." You'll get far more out of that than I can give you in a few minutes.> I'm setting it up as a fish only with some live rock and after a few months I want to add some anemones? Is that a wise choice for a novice? <I strongly advise beginners to skip the anemones. They are difficult to keep and require expensive lighting.> Also is live sand good to use? <Yes, but don't buy the expensive bagged live sand. You add life to your sand by seeding it with a small portion of sand from a well-established tank and/or with live rock. There is a product known as Bio-Spira Marine that provides excellent live bacteria as well.> Also, the tank I have is a 55 gallon so with some anemones, and live rock, how many fish can I keep ion the tank? (in inches). <A truly useless way to measure. It's fish volume and metabolic rate that governs this. As an example from the FW world, a half dozen 1" Neon Tetras provide a much smaller bioload than a 6" Oscar! 55G is the smallest size to start with. Why not go with an 80? It's the same length at 48 inches. As for the total number of fish, it really does depend on which ones you choose. A 55 is too small for all Tangs & Butterflyfishes as well as Triggers, larger Angelfishes and bigger Wrasses. Consider genus Centropyge Angels (one), Royal Grammas, smaller Hawkfishes, Firefishes, Dartfishes, Shrimp Gobies, Percula/Ocellaris Clownfishes, and Flasher (or small Fairy) Wrasses. Read the books.> Thanks a lot for taking time to answer my questions. <No problem. Here's a few more tips: Be patient. Let your tank establish for a few months before adding any fish. Be more patient. Quarantine all new additions for 4 weeks. Continue being patient. Add fish one at a time over many months. Don't skimp on the skimmer. Consider having a refugium (read about this on WWM). Do frequent water changes. I could go on, but I've got to be able to get up tomorrow.> 

Tank Size Issues (5/23/04) Hi Steve, <Greetings> Many thanks for your reply - although I'm sad to hear you don't think I should put a Regal Tang and/or Long-nosed butterfly in my tank. I really like them :( <I understand the disappointment. I've felt it too. However, I really do think that the best course of action is to choose fish that can stay where they are for a lifetime. There are a number of wonderful options, some of which I mentioned previously. Eventually, you may choose to get a bigger tank that will be suitable for these fish.> Oh well! <C'est la vie> And yes, the UK does at least have good magazines, if not good weather! :) <Guess I got luck. The weather was perfect during the week I spent in London a few years ago. I'd love to go back & see more of the UK someday. London is a fun city, but I'd love to visit the countryside too.> Regards, Mark <To you as well.> 

Stocking Wisely (5/19/04) Hi Steve (or who ever is on call at the moment)- <Me again> Thanks so much for your prompt and thorough reply. <You're welcome.> As you obviously noticed, we are in the novice category of this hobby and we found your input helpful. We removed the CBS and hope get a second Fire Shrimp, per your suggestion. The clown pair are quite friendly toward one another and thus far keep to themselves. <Good. Hopefully they'll pair up.> (By the way, I know what you mean about the ""cute little Nemo" thing, and I assure you, we did not fall for that. It reminds me of the "101 Dalmatians"... suddenly everyone had to have a cute little Dalmatian puppy, not realizing that this particular breed is not the easiest to deal with.<Gotta love Disney.> That drove me nuts, being a dog owner/trainer/friend for ages.) Having done what we thought was enough research and advice from our LFS, we were assured that a 30g tank would be large enough for the reef tank that my husband wanted to create. <With a few small fish.> We were also told that the baby tang would be fine and that we could add a VERY small bubble tip anemone for the clowns <Not needed. Requires considerable expertise.> (The LFS's thinking was that when livestock gets too big, we can return it.) <Yeah, and give you maybe 1/2 price for it and charge you full price for a replacement. A great way to make $.> Apparently, there were holes in our research and we will have to readjust our plans. <This would be a good idea. The return it later plan has several flaws. The LFS could be gone, catching it could require a total take down of your reef, etc. Not worth it.> We won't be able to have a larger tank at this time, so we will simply have to re-think the existing tank. <Do consider the lovely, smaller reef-safe fish I mentioned, e.g. the Purple Firefish.> Frankly, I myself have a pretty good time watching the hermit crabs and the tiny feather duster who came along with the live rock. <Me too. Consider a Fromia Star and a couple of smaller Serpent Stars.> As far as fish/coelenterates/crustaceans go, we will have to tone it down and recite our mantra: "less is more". <Wise.> Thanks again for your advice. The WWM site has been a great addition to our new saltwater hobby resources. <'Tis an honor to play a small part.> Betsy 

Vanished Sailfin (5/16/04) We have just finished setting up our first salt water tank... 30 gallons, live rock and all properly cycled. <Good. Be aware that this is a small tank for saltwater. It will require a great deal of care to remain stable.> Our livestock inventory is tiny: 2 very young clown fish (ocellaris) , a banded coral shrimp, a fire shrimp (aka blood or scarlet shrimp, I think), a Royal Gramma and until today, a baby Sailfin Tang. <This tang does not belong in your system unless you are 100% certain that you can provide it with a tank of at least 180 gallons within 12 to 18 months. Your tank is less than half of the recommended minimum size for any Tang. Sorry.> The Tang and Gramma were added day before yesterday <You need to quarantine new fish for 4 weeks before adding them to your display.>, and we noticed that when the Tang swam near the coral shrimp (who is ALWAYS hiding out), we saw both of the shrimp's arms try to catch the little Tang. Well, we were out of town last night, and upon our arrival home, the wee Tang was nowhere to be seen. Not a trace. Seems pretty clear that the CBS managed to catch the Tang and gobble it up... right? <Quite possible, but it also may have died and then been eaten.> If so, is this CBS particularly aggressive (or hungry)? <No. They eat anything they can grab.> We are tempted to send him packing. <In your size tank, your expensive Fire Shrimp is in constant danger from the CBS.> But if the clowns, the fire shrimp or the Gramma might have done it, we would reconsider that. <Why not trade him back as partial payment on a second Fire Shrimp. A pair should do fine in your tank and will mate, thereby providing lots of live food.> We were hoping to create a small, PEACEFUL environment. Is that even possible?? <Nature is all about eating and being eaten. If you have any predators in your tank, it is not truly "peaceful," is it? BTW, did you know that Clownfish are not cute little nemos? They can be very aggressive. Hopefully, yours will pair up rather than one killing the other in this small tank. I know it's hard to accept that 30 gallons is small in a society inundated with ten-dollar ten-gallon tanks and Mini-Bows and such, but it is nonetheless true. Most experts consider 55G to be the minimum starting size, If you truly want peace, I'd suggest getting rid of one of the clowns and the CBS. Replace with another Fire Shrimp and some peaceful fish. Consider Gobies, Firefish, or small Fairy Wrasses for instance. I'd limit this tank to 3-5 small, peaceful fish. Oh, and steer clear of Damsels and Dottybacks. Steve Allen.> 

The Limitations of a Small Tank (5/16/04) Hi Graham, <Steve Allen this time.> You may remember I was talking to you about Yellow Tangs, and their suitability in my 35 gallon tank, a little while ago. <Is that UK gallons?> Well, I'm now limiting myself to 4 fish - an Ocellaris clown (in there at the moment), a Banggai Cardinal (next to go in), and I'm also wanting your advice on the following:- A Regal Tang, and a Long-nosed butterfly. How suitable would these be in my 35 gallon (40" wide) tank? <Not. Citing Scott Michael's excellent handbook, "Marine Fishes," the Regal needs a minimum of 100 US gallons and the Long-nose needs 75.>  I've got a lot of good filtration (Eheim external canister wet/dry) and 2 powerheads, good lighting, and water parameters are spot on and haven't changed one bit since my tank finished cycling a month ago. There's a lot of swimming space in my tank, from left to right, but also a lot of hiding places behind plants/false corals etc., and a couple of nice big pieces of algae-inhibited rock with lots of nooks and crevices in it. <Still not enough room for these large fish.> If I buy them both fairly small, how do you think a Regal Tang and a Long-nosed Butterfly would get on in my tank? <Poorly long-term.> I plan to give them a supplement of a fresh piece of Broccoli everyday for them to nibble at <Land food for land animals and marine food for marine animals is best.>, as well as a choice of brine shrimp/Nori seaweed etc every day. FYI, I also have 3 cleaner (2 skunk and 1 fire) shrimp in the tank. <Nice> Or, do you think it would be cruel to put those 2 fish in my tank? <Ultimately, yes.> They happen to be my favourite fish by far, and at the moment (unless you say it would be cruel to the fish, and/or that they could cause problems with the other 2 fish in the tank, i.e.. that they'll abuse or eat them!) I'm considering trying them out in my tank, after a couple of weeks quarantine <4 weeks>, and seeing how it goes. If they're not doing too well because of the tank size, or they just get too big, then my local fish store does a good part-exchange - I would never let them stay in there if it was really degrading them, just for my entertainment, so it's nice to have that option there. I'll be keeping a VERY close eye on them, as I have been on everything since day one.  So, what do you think? I'd be very interested to hear your views on this! <Why not get fish that can fit in there their whole lives? Trying to remove them later will require a total takedown and removal of your tank decor. Been there, done that. Why not a dwarf angel of the genus Centropyge and some sort of cool goby or perhaps a purple Firefish? Or a fairy wrasse? Or a Royal Gramma? I highly recommend sticking to fish that fit.>

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