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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 27

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Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus in an aquarium. A nice photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Stocking list... Hello all. Let me start by echoing everybody else's comments that you are collectively the most valuable resource on the Web for the budding to expert marine aquarist. It is appreciated. I am new to salt (long been in fresh) and this site has been huge. <Thank you for your kind acknowledgement> Now, I have a new 240 gallon tank with about 120 pounds of cured (WS Fiji) live rock, 2 Aqua-C Pro skimmers, Eheim 2260 canister filter (the big boy, will be cleaned out weekly), salinity measuring 1.023 at 79 degrees. I will be doing the same water change regime I use on my fresh tanks, i.e., about 15% to 25% once a week. Not a single fish in it, yet, but the live rock has been in there for a couple of weeks after being cured at my excellent LFS. I have a stock list in mind, and wanted to throw it by you. I will list in (rough) order of planned introduction over the next six months or year. My list is 1 clown fish (maroon), 7 green Chromis (dithers, basically), 1 Picasso trigger, <May well consume those dither damsels> 1 Yellow Tang, 1 (either porc. puffer or pantherfish), <This last, Chromileptis, definitely will eat the damsels in time> ...and, finally, 1 angelfish (either Queen or Emperor, bearing in mind the tank will have been up and running for six or more months at this point). Could I cram a dog-faced puffer or some kind of Toby in there, too? <Yes> I would love your thoughts about this list, but also (even though I know these things are SO subjective) something that may have occurred to you as a cool inhabitant or bunch for my tank. Be creative! Also, I think I may need some sort of in-between siphoning clean-up crew that won't get eaten by the foregoing (other than myself!) Thanks again... Simon. <What you have in mind should work out splendidly. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Stocking list... Thanks very much for the quick response. I admit it was something of a thrill to have Bob Fenner himself answer my query!  <Mmmm, him or somebody with the same name.> Perhaps not surprisingly, I have pulled back on my initial stocking plan. After sober reflection, I decided that a predatory tank is too limiting in respect of so many of the things that attracted me to saltwater in the first place: movement, colour, interaction... also, with live rock, I am looking forward to things like... bright shrimp and colourful little fish. <Ahh, you show wisdom beyond most expectation!> So, if you don't mind my throwing you this curve, my new plan is to start with say, 10 or 15 little (blue leg) hermit crabs, a blood shrimp and three cleaner shrimp. (Any worries about the shrimp duking it out?).  <In your size system (240 gallons) s/b fine> After a couple of weeks, I am thinking of adding a mated pair of ocellaris clowns, and 7 blue/green Chromis. After a few weeks, I would intend to add 7 fire gobies and one magenta Pseudochromis porphyreus (I know he is a little tough guy, but this is a big tank with lots of hiding places. A month or so later would be, all at once, 1 hippo tang, 1 yellow tang, and 1 Foxface (vulpinis). (I have not found anything to suggest it, but would the yellow tang and the Foxface take issue with each other?) <Should be fine again, due to size, shape of your system. There will be periodic "jousting" but very likely no real damage> Finally, once the tank is about 6 months to a year old, or longer if it takes me that long to find one, I would add a very carefully selected and perfect (emotionally and physically) angelfish, either Emperor or, if I could not find the perfect one, a Queen. About four inches long. I would likely add a dwarf Flame Angelfish and a few neon gobies at this point, too. <We should/will address the large/r angel issue at this later time... the rest of your plan sounds very nice indeed. Bob Fenner>

Do I have too much fish? Hey Bob, I have a 80 gal. mixed reef (mainly SPS) with a 30 gal DIY sump. I also have a 5" sand bed and about 110 lbs. of live rock. As for the fishes...... I currently have: 6 green Chromis 2 female squamipinnis Anthias 1 male " " Anthias 1 royal Gramma 1 Perc clown 1 mandarin goby 1 Sohal tang..... I know this one shouldn't be in a 80 gal. but he was free. I couldn't resist.. haha My question is "Do I have too much fish?" and which/ how many fishes should I keep. Thanks Bob,  Gabe <All is fine but the Sohal... I would trade that fish in. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking Plan for a 75 gallon I have a 75 gallon tank with one Longnose Butterfly. Filtration is 50lbs of live rock and a combination protein skimmer/wet/dry trickle filter. There is only a decorative 1/2 inch layer of sand right now.  Due to large losses in my main tank due to a power outage (a FO predator tank) I have decided to make this smaller tank my focus.  After reviewing my options, I think I have come up with a stocking plan: 1) Yellow Longnose Butterfly Forcipiger longirostris (already in tank) 2) Male Scribbled Boxfish Ostracion solorensis (hard to find, but will hold the space for such a beautiful fish) 3) Flame Angel  Centropyge loricula 4) Spotted Cardinalfish Sphaeramia nematoptera 5) Six Line Wrasse Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 6) Scissortail Dartfish Ptereleotris evides 7) Longnose Hawkfish Oxycirrhites typus I have a few questions: 1) Have I overlooked any compatibility, overstocking or competitive incompatibilities in my plan?<I think those fish should get along as long as there is enough hiding places.> 2)  Should I consider converting to a deep sand bed before adding fish to the tank?<I think you will be fine.>  Should I add more live rock?<I would suggest 25 lbs more live rock.> 3) I had planned a crew of Electric Blue Hermit crabs for color and clean up.  Will this work with the mix?  If so, how many should I have for a tank this size? <I think that you will be fine and 25 hermits should do.> 4) Currently, I simply thaw 2 cubes of Angel/Butterfly frozen food and provide a strip of Nori every day for the butterfly.  What feeding regimen would I follow with this group, since many of the fishes eat the same types of food? <I find a good variety of food will work best.  Marine angel and Nori will provide the all round your fish need.  Good Luck MikeB.> Thank you all so much! Frank

Bio-load for a 90 gallon Hello Crew,   I'd like to get your opinion on my plans to add fish to my 90 gallon reef tank.  The tank is about 7 months old and is progressing nicely.  I had an algae outbreak early on but that has subsided.  All my water quality parameters are excellent.  I do have an Aiptasia problem that I'm waiting for my copperband to deal with.  Its been about a week since it was added.  The tank is currently stocked with the following fish: 2 onyx percula clowns (hosting a rose anemone) 1 flame angel 1 copperband butterflyfish (there to deal with the Aiptasia) 1 mandarin 1 lawnmower blenny 4 Bartlett's Anthias The Anthias were just added in the last week.  Beautiful fish and eating right away, but the flame angel is chasing the Anthias.  I'm concerned about adding additional fish with the flame angel present.  I know I should have added the flame angel last but didn't.  What do you think about the adding the following fish given what I currently have: 3 Hawaiian flame wrasses (Cirrhilabrus jordani) 1 orchid Dottyback 1 Male Watanabei angel Too many fish bioload wise?  Incompatibilities?  Anything I can do about the flame angel - temporarily remove it?  Thanks Matt.  >Greetings Matt, 7 fish is about right for a 90 gallon reef tank, assuming they are on the small side. Certainly forget about adding another angel. My advice to you would be to get rid of the flame angel and leave things alone. If you absolutely cannot control yourself and MUST add "just one more fish" then add the orchid Dottyback as these are GREAT reef fish. Again though, I'd restrain myself if I were you. Good Luck Jim<< Dwarf lions, too small a tank Hello, I'm debating on getting a fu Manchu lion or a fuzzy dwarf lion.  I have a 55gal with a chain link eel. <This tank is not big enough for even just this eel. Bob Fenner> I need your help. Which are more fun to watch and aren't really that lazy?  I also heard that Fu Manchu lions are hard to wean. I really like those lions but I don't know what one to choose. Just give me some info on these guys. Thanks a bunch! Ben <See WWM re> Disaster and Opportunity Due to a power outage, I lost the bulk of my wet pets last week, including (heartbreak)<Sorry to hear that, Frank> my entire 280 gallon predator tank that included a successful (4 year old) ribbon eel.  The only one to survive was the single occupant of the 75 gallon tank I was getting ready to tear down, a Yellow Longnose Butterfly (can't believe he outlasted a Volitans lion, a Harlequin Tusk.. all the predatory bruisers!).  I don't have the finances to start from scratch with the 280 right now, so I was thinking of shifting my focus to the 75 gallon. Currently, the 75 gallon has 50 lbs of live rock and a wet/dry filter/protein skimmer combo.  As all my previous experience has been with larger predatory fishes, I was wondering if you guys could give some suggestions as to smaller, more colorful fishes compatible with my butterfly.  Fishes I have looked at this week include: a pair of Lineatus Fairy Wrasses, Flame or Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel, a Maroon Clown.. any other suggestions?  Would adding all of these tax my tank to the limit?  My main concerns here are hardiness, personality, and color.  I really feel like I am starting completely over in the hobby since I have always gone for the flashy big predators before!<Frank, I would omit the Maroon Clown. Any of the goby/blenny family would be safe.  Six line wrasses are colorful along with a Dragon Wrasse.  If you go to the Drs. Foster&Smith site, Live Aquaria, they have a compatibility chart you can review.  Also, do a search on the wetwebmedia for compatibility.  There are so many fish that would be compatible that I could not list all of them.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you all so much Frank

Stocking questions Hi Bob, and Anthony, and Mike, and... all.  I wanted to talk to the best, since my LFS can only tell me why I should sell my car to buy the new fish that I "absolutely must have."  I recently added a juvenile dwarf zebra lion to my 40? gallon (36x16x18) tank.  PH is 8.2, ammonia and nitrites are 0, and nitrates are 10 ppm.  Filtration is managed by an Aqua C remora (an excellent product), pulling 2+ cups of crud a week, and an Emperor 280 with carbon, which I change every three or four weeks.  Lighting is two 35 watt bulbs, which will be replaced with 95 watt VHO's when they burn out.<Hello Patrick.  Not when they burn out, but when they are a year old.>  The tank has 40 lbs of live sand, and 30 lbs of live rock, arranged in two equally sized piles at the ends of the tank, thus a large open sandy space in the middle.  Algae growth is up and down. Along with the lion, the tank is populated by several turbo and astrea snails, six scarlet hermits, a sand sifting star, and an emerald crab.  My questions: I want to add some soft corals, and/or anenomes (and a clownfish, I can get free maroons and perculas from a buddy of mine, would these work well with the lion?)<You will be adding too many fish for that size tank and with the lion, no small fish.  Also no corals till that lighting improves.  Two 35w tubes is not near enough to keep even soft corals.> to the tank.  I know that this mix is not recommended, but could it work if I put the anenomes<No anemones either, they require intense light.> on one rock and the corals on the other.  Incidentally, which group is more compatible with the lion, would anenomes pose a threat?  Oh, and are there any small, herbivorous fish that would help eat algae,<a sailfin (lawnmower) blenny would be best given its small size.> I would get a tang but cannot upgrade to a larger system for two or three years at the least.  Sorry to bother you and thank you very much for your help.<Go to www.wetwebmedia.com and search stocking levels and read this thoroughly.  James (Salty Dog)> Pat

Re: Eel of some sort Hi. I'm the girl with the eel of some sort.  I found out that its a snowflake eel, but I went ahead and returned it to the pet store. <Ah, good to read> Honestly, it's better off at a home without nearly a hundred teenagers staring at it day-in-day-out.  That and I'm no longer allowed to have my tank in isolation from the rest of the lab group.  As for my white-spotted puffer, he's going to a better home by the end of the week.  We've had someone purchase him from us.  So I believe the only creature we'll have is our starfish and the peppermint shrimp.  One of the other groups have a bunch of Spanish sardines that they're putting in our tank.   <Neat> Anyway, thank you for your help.  I wish I had thought of checking around before things got so bad for Hash.  I'll try to do better next time, if there is as next time. ~Jules <Thank you for your diligence, follow-up. Bob Fenner>

Undulate Triggerfish and Gymnothorax tile, using WWM Hey,                I am  sorry to ask so many questions. I have just one more.   Will an undulate triggerfish live with a Gymnothorax  tile. If so can you tell me what he eats and how aggressive he is towards other  fish.                                                         Best regards,                                                          Miles <Please use the search tool (Google) on the homepage of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com with the names of the animals you list above. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Angels- A Good Idea? HI Bob, <Scott F. in today> Great site. I am in the process of restocking my 75 gal  system. I currently have one fish, a 4" Flagfin angel, which is healthy and eating nicely. <A nice fish with a somewhat spotty survival reputation...Glad yours is doing well!>   I would like to add a pair of Saddleback clowns and  possibly an African Flameback angel.  Would the Flameback and the Flagfin  cohabit?   <Tough call. Generally speaking, it is possible to mix some different genera of Angelfish together in an appropriately-sized system. The African Flameback is one of the smaller Centropyge, and may work with the Flagfin, which is in the genus Apolemichthys. However, your tank is sort of "on the border", in terms of acceptable size for mixing angels, IMO. I guess the bottom line is that it is a potential risk. Even though it's a feisty little fish, the Centropyge may still have some challenges when being introduced into a tank with an established angelfish. I would probably err on the side of caution and not mix multiple angels of any genus in any tank of less than 6' in length, simply because of the well-studied territorial needs of these fishes.> If this is not appropriate I would then like to add a 3-4" Powder  Brown Tang (Japonicus). <This is also a potentially problematic fish...Often offered as the "Powder Brown Tang", Acanthurus nigricans is a fish that generally does not do well in captive systems. The "White Faced Tang", Acanthurus japonicus (often mistakenly labeled the "Powder Brown Tang"!) is a better choice. Do check the Surgeonfish FAQs here on the WWM site for pictures on more information on each. That being said, I would hesitate once again to add this fish; I am not a big fan of Acanthurus or Paracanthurus tangs in any tank less than 6 feet in length. They range over large territories in the wild, and do better with roam to "roam" in captivity. I think that the smaller Zebrasoma flavescens (Yellow Tang) is a much more adaptable choice for this sized aquarium.> This would total 4 fish in a system with 2-4" of  live sand and 20lbs of live rock.  I will be adding more rock in the future  since the holidays($$$) are over. Would this be too big of a  bio-load?  My current water parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates  20, Ph 8.2, Salinity 1.21, temp 78F.  I am running Marineland Bio wheels  off of an Eheim canister 2215 along with a Sea clone 150 skimmer( it works for  me) and power heads for circulation. I also conduct 10% water changes  weekly.  Any suggestions or info will be appreciated. Thanks. <Your maintenance practices sound great! I would recommend that you stick to adding some smaller fishes instead. Perhaps a Pseudochromis species (careful- some can be rough!) or a Halichoeres species wrasse. Colorful fishes that stay relatively small...Good choices for a medium sized tank like yours. You could probably add two, possibly three smaller fishes to this tank, IMO. Have fun researching the possibilities! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> HPD 1st Tank - Clean up crew for my 40 gallon (UK) Hi, <How goes it? I've been advised by my LFS to buy his 'critter pack', what a surprise! It consists of: 6 blue legged hermits 6 turbo snails a choice of a brittle starfish or emerald crab. Would this be sufficient to for my tank or too much?? <Probably not enough, and not much variety in species, either.  Check out the clean up packs at www.garf.org or www.liveaquaria.com> I am going to stock 2 percula clowns at the same time. <Don't add any fish until your tank is completely cycled!> Cycling should finish in about 2 weeks time. <Wait until then> Thanks Dave <Anytime - M. Maddox>

Overstocked? Hello!      I just received a new 20 gal aquarium and filters, and I was hoping you could aid me on the fish choices I am hoping for.  I already have a well established 20gal with lots of LR, but it has always been understocked, so water quality has never been an issue.  That aquarium has 1 anemone of unknown species (couldn't find a match on your site, I found the looks, but the habitat preference was totally opposite), 1 fake Acropora coral, 2 snails, and 2 cardinals (my tomato clown and another cardinal recently died) It has good lights, and an eclipse filter/hood.  I wish to add to it 3 additional snails, 2 crabs, 1 clown goby (black or citrinus), 1 purple Pseudochromis, and 2 greenbanded gobies.<For that size aquarium you're pretty limited to about three small fish.?  For the other aquarium, I wish to filter it by running the water to a sump with a large AquaClear filter doing carbon, and a small AquaClear completely filled with biomedia, the intake to the sump would have 2 large sponges, and the overflow would have a screen to prevent any "fish inhalation."  For that aquarium I wish to have 1 valentini puffer, 1 Fu Manchu lionfish, possibly a bicolor or flame angel, and 1 chalk bass, also 5 snails and 3 crabs for maintenance.  Is this OK? <How big is the "other" aquarium?> I plan to cycle the fish with damsels, introduce some fish from the other aquarium (probably the cardinals) put in he puffer and bass (to replace the cardinals) then get the lion and maybe an angel for it.  For the damsels, they would end up as food for either the lion or my friend's huge Volitans or Wobbegong.  Also, what sort of decorations should be provided <Live rock is the best decoration> for the new tank? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance,<I suggest you read this article. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm> James (Salty Dog) Robert - Livestock Selection - Hi Crew, How are you all, I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Years. <I can only speak for myself, I am well, thanks for asking.> It's been a while since my last question and you guys would be happy that to hear (since your site was partially responsible for leading me down this path) that my 'hobby' has now become a full-time job. I am in the process of starting a marine breeding business and my 80 gallon reef tank has now been joined by around ten other tanks of around 550 gallons (not including the 600 gallons of grow-out tubs I am setting up). I currently have breeding pairs of A. melanopus, brown A. clarkii, gold-banded P. biaculeatus, A. latezonatus (I don't suppose there is any info on these guys breeding habits?) <Not in my archive but perhaps a reader of this FAQ will respond.>, a mixed Solomon and N.T A. percula pair, a mixed species pair of A. akindynos and what appears to be a brown A. clarkii (I have heaps wanted to send pics for positive I.D but have not had much luck with sending pics to WWM), two l. californica, and a pair of Ptereleotris zebra. You also might be interested to hear that I am in the process of requisitioning a couple of pairs of A. mccullochi, my fingers are crossed and my breath is bated, I don't suppose you know where you can get a nice pair of A. leucokranos from :) . At the moment the P. zebra's have spawned (now to find a small enough first food) and the Percs and akindynos/clarkii pair are brooding, they are a couple of fat pot-bellied clowns. The last time I wrote I was inquiring about appropriate food for a Moorish Idol, I have now had him for around seven months and he is fat, healthy and eats more then I can get to him. It has not been easy though, apart from the bouts of itch, Lymphocystis, pop-eye, a possible case of Oodinium and hunger strikes in the first few months he appears unique in many of his behavioral habits, which usually are seen in his eating habits, ( he seems to punish me for any lack of copious amounts of tasty food by randomly attacking corals, clams and even starfish) I have tried many different things with varied success but he is almost a job in himself, he eats more food then nearly half my fish put together and takes up more time then, say filter maintenance. I have kept a journal but will likely not do anything with it (If you guys were interested in reading it but not distributing it to the public I could send you a copy), the journal was supposed to maybe (if the Moorish Idol survived) help in their captive care but after spending some 'quality' time with only one Moorish Idol I would never encourage any one to keep one, even if they could be kept alive, and I should say that seven months isn't any real success and again I have only kept one, and if it is of importance, me and my Moorish Idol are Australian and after hearing of other Australian aquarist who have achieved some success with their captive care, I start to suspect like some other hardier regional species (like the Aussie Harlequin Tusk) that the Australian or Indo-pacific Moorish Idol could possible be hardier then it's Hawaiian counterparts. <Actually, I think it's more due to the fact that they don't get enough proper food. Observation of these fish in the wild shows that they eat constantly... most that I've seen in captivity get fed once a day, maybe twice... which just isn't enough to keep these fish alive. They require much more work than average fish and it's just not right to recommend a fish that will produce a 98+% mortality rate.> I should probably get to the question at hand, I purchased a 4 inch Zebrasoma desjardinii about two months ago, the last month I have been organizing a more suitable home then the 55 gallon tank she is currently 'staying' in. I got an old 200 gallon 'tall' tank, it is around 4 foot long, 3 foot high, and 2 feet deep, I originally thought it would do for a year or so until I can upgrade to something like a 10 by 2 foot tank but I have been thinking that the 200 tall may be suitable, what do you think? <I think you'll have fun cleaning this tank, unless your arms are three feet long. I'm sure the fish will be fine.> I am just waiting for the special wet/dry I am getting made to come (the tank has been cycling with LR and canister filters), so I have been planning suitable tank-mates for my sailfin tang and have read a lot on your site in regards to compatibility, so I think my 'list' is suitable, but I wanted to just to run it by you guys and ask your opinion on what order I should add what. So far I have the Sailfin Tang, and a 4 inch Luna Wrasse (he is beginning to 'grow-up' in my display tank), I was thinking of also putting in a Diodon Holocanthus, a Odonus niger or Rhinecanthus aculeatus if the niger is too mean <Likely to be the other way around.> and a large angel like a P. navarchus (he is top on that list, would a juvenile be suitable, that is if it will grow quickly enough to keep up with the rest of the fish) P. diacanthus, P. annularis or P. xanthometapon. <None of these Angels are quick growers so pick one, and purchase it about the same size as your other fish.> If it's possible could you give me your opinion on the suitability of these tank-mates, and what order to stock them, it would be great to get your opinion on any alternative tank-mates for unsuitable ones or just an alternative group of tank-mates for a Sailfin Tang. <List seems fine to me given the size of the system. I would stock the angel last, otherwise I think any order will do.> Also, can you see any problems in regards to the depth of the tank in regards to filtration etc. <The height of the tank will make it difficult to get the lower part of the tank clean. Likewise, you will need circulation pumps/powerheads at many levels in the tank to insure there are no dead spots, otherwise you'll find yourself fighting problem algae.> Sorry about the length of this e-mail, I have been having a hard time restraining my self in the last few months with all the excitement, so there was a bit more then just the question. <I noticed.> If you are interested in seeing pics of any thing I have mentioned I would be happy to send some, if not I will try and send a few pics with my next e-mail. Thanks for all your help and keep up the fishy business Ryan Christopher Dwyer Ryan's Reef. p.s. I used to sign Chris to e-mails, hence the Christopher above, I thought seeing this is my business now I should use my proper name, you never know, you guys may be interested in some of my A. mccullochi babies :). <Cheers, J -- >

Marine mix Hello, I would like ask two fast questions: Will a snowflake and a round stingray get along?<Shouldn't be a problem there> and also will a Naso and a hippo tang get along.<Might be a problem there depending on the size of the tank.  Two tangs will need at least 75 gallons and if the snowflake and stingray are in the same tank then you will be overcrowding.  Both the eel and the stingray are excellent waste factories.   Kind Regards, Christo - Compatibility Question - I have a 20 gal high tank.  Fish only.  No live rock but plenty of filtration and aeration.  Had a salt water tank years ago and couldn't stand the little creepy crawly things that come with live rock.  They freaked me out too much!!! <Ahh... too bad, live rock and the accompanying fauna would really help you in a tank of this type.> Anyway, the tank has cycled (fishless cycle).  I need to do a water change before adding my fish to bring the nitrates down to the minimum level. Here is my question... Would a false perc clown, royal Gramma and 6 line wrasse be compatible???? <Yes, but due to the size of this tank I would recommend that you pick two of the three and perhaps substitute something smaller like a neon goby for the third.> Those would be the only fish in the tank due to the tank size.  Thanks Jen <Cheers, J -- >

Bio -Load for 75 gallon Hello, <Gut morgen> I just want to see what you think about this bio load. I have a 75 gallon RR with a 20 gallon long sump.  I have about a 10-12 times turnover with ammonia and nitrites reading 0 and nitrates between 20-30ppm.  I keep the salinity between 1.025 and 1.026.  I'm trying to get the nitrates down.  My tank has a 5 inch DSB and about 130 pounds of live rock 60 gulf/70 Kaelini. In addition to about 6 soft corals and 2 LPS's I have: 1 gold rimmed tang (A. nigricans) 2.5 inches 1 Yellow Eye Tang (Hawaii) 2.5 inches 2 Maroon clowns (3 inches/1 inch) 1 Green spot Mandarin 4 Blue-Green Reef Chromis (1.5 to 3/4 inch) 1 Six Line Wrasse (3/4 inch) 1 Forktail Blenny (1 Inch) 1 Bi-color Pseudo (1 inch) 1 Jawfish (1.5 Inch) 1 Flamehawk Fish (1.5 inch) 1 large Bubble tip ( about 9 inches across) 3 peppermint shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp 1 serpent star 1 red brittle star about 20 turbo and cerith snails. <Sounds okay... now and for the foreseeable future (growth)> Everything looks healthy.  No problem with ich or any other diseases and everything is eating well.  I just don't want to overload the tank.  If I had to I would get rid of the Chromis first (easier said than done). Let me know what you think.  Also let me know if you see any potential problems.  I am getting a larger tank 210 plus, but will not be moving into my new house for about a year and a half.  Thank you for your time and any suggestions Aaron <Mmm, I'd add a light, some macroalgae to your sump, now a refugium, watch what, how much you feed and dang the torpedoes. Bob Fenner>

Just starting out... Hi there... <Hello> I'm a newbie and have been wandering through your site, and the web trying to find what fish would be best for my tank. <I see> It's a 29 gallon tank.  Right now there's about 9 pounds of live rock (I plan to get more) and a substrate (1/2-1") of crushed coral.  I have a single 50-50 light bulb in the hood. So far, I have a yellow-tailed damsel and a blue devil damsel.  (I didn't want either one of them... but that's what I got.  I asked for blue Chromis and was given these instead.  When I questioned the guy, he insisted that they were both blue Chromis. <Likely of the genus Chrysiptera... not Chromis as you state>   Since I trusted him to know better than I, I bought them but have since done the research and discovered what they really are.) <Not likely a big deal to "trade them in"... and they may well prove to be too pugnacious in this size system...> Anyway, yesterday I added 2 percula clownfish (the reason I started the tank) and all seem to be quite happy. <Mmm, are you aware of quarantine, dipping procedures to exclude biological disease...?> Can you recommend some fish that would be suitable tankmates for these? <Actually, this small system is about "filled up" fish-wise with what you have. You might try some hardy small marine invertebrates> I would really like to get rid of the blue devil damsel because she annoys me.  She keeps darting at the yellow-tail, and hides a lot in a little cave that she has claimed. <Then do so> I would like to get a royal Gramma and a cleaner shrimp, but have no great opinions beyond that. <These might be good replacements for the two feisty damsels>   I like the bright colours of the fish that I have so far.  Do you have any recommendations?  I know you probably can't say, but how many fish could I successfully raise in a tank of this size? <Not a matter of number, unless you stated the referent conditions... an example, what is the maximum number of given species... that could survive/grow to X size... in what time... Small volumes can not safely house many fishes of any given mix of species> I have been told 1" per 5 gallons, but that it depends on the filtration and such things. <Ah, yes> I have read 1/2" per gallon on your site.  I'd like to get several cleaner shrimp when I can save the money, because I've read that they do better in groups, but I don't want to overload the system. <Mmm... good... most cleaners are better not mixed, definitely not crowded... they do/can eat each other... if stressed, hungry... molting> By the way, my husband and I would like to upgrade to at least a 100 gallon tank within the next several years, once we become proficient with this tank. <Yay! Now you're talking! I assure you, the larger tank is not only much easier to stock, but immensely more facile to maintain> Thanks for your help, Amy Skipper <Bob Fenner>

Mis-stocking marines     Hi this is Jonathan I have just a few questions. I have 125gal tank and I have 1) small blue damsel 2) Clarks anemonefish 1) glass goby 1) firefish I have just started putting coral in, I have (4) flame scallops, button polyps, and a Carpet anemone. I Thinking of getting some soft corals and maybe some Euphyllia. My question is will a comet, regal tang,    and trigger do okay. <Uhh, no... Jonathan, the scallops are hard to keep in most types of aquariums (mostly starve), Regal Tangs (if you're referring to Acanthurus lineatus, not Paracanthurus hepatus) are amongst the most difficult of acanthurids for marine aquarium use... and triggers will chew up most all your invertebrates...> Can you suggest a fairly docile reef safe trigger. <Read WWM re> The only one that fit my description was a Blue chin trigger. I was also somewhat worried that the Comet might try to eat my docile fish. Could that be avoided by keeping it well feed, and could the Comet also be feed enriched live Brine shrimp. I use Vita-chem to enrich the brine shrimp. Is feeding my Carpet Anemone two times a week with scallop enough Thanks for our help. Without you guys I'd be a lost Teen. <Read on my young friend. Your questions are answered and the ones beyond them on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Marine livestock recommendations Hello those of WWM! <Hi there Tamara> I just wanted to first let you know that I love all the information I have been able to find on your site so far, very helpful.  I'm writing because we have been unfortunately losing fish one at a time for different reasons for a couple of months and it some of them have been due to poor choices of fish (i.e. the fish are difficult to keep).  When we purchase a fish from the LFS we always ask a lot of questions, but perhaps not always the right ones.  My question for you is what you would recommend to round out our tank.  I don't want to overstock or put in those who would be incompatible with our current inhabitants.  We have a 46 gal bowfront with about a 1" of live sand, 15-20 lbs. of live rock, a 3" blue tang, a 1.5" percula clown, a cleaner shrimp, and a handful of blue-leg crabs.  Any recommendations for other fish would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance. Tamara <Perhaps a Gramma or one of the more peaceful Dottyback species would add color, another point of interest. Your choices are actually in the thousands. Bob Fenner>

Adding fish Hi there, <Hey, MacL here with you tonight.> Wish all of you a happy new year & hope you had a merry Christmas as well. <Very kind and thank you so much.> I am deeply concerned with the major earthquake just happened in Indonesia that would have devastated the marine life around there. Lets hope that it is not as bad....<Such a tragic toll on human life as well. The scenes of devastation are so sad.> Well, I need to consult you gentlemen on the issues confronting me again, as usual, it is great comfort to know that you experienced & knowledgeable guys can be counted on for such valuable services to us, the hobbyist. <You are very kind, once again thank you.> 1. I have run "fallow" my 90 gal main display for seven weeks ( with only 2 cleaner shrimps happily roaming about)& I intend to put my fish back in the display. Currently, each of my five fish is housed in separate Q tanks & has been under treatment & they all seem well & ready to go back to main tank now. <I bet you are excited! Just be aware that your shrimps could possibly have held on to the parasite if that's why you went fallow. Not that it did happen but that it could happen.> 2. I have Emperor angel( 6") , Majestic Angel (4"), Sohal Tang (4"), Cleaner Wrasse(2") & Picasso Trigger(2").   3. The question I have is: In what order I should put the fish back in the main display with proper consideration of their affinity for territorial fight & desirability of dominating the tank? <You are going to have to add the angels at the same time in my opinion. They are too close together in size and territoriality.> Some local folks here advise me to put all in together & let them re-establish their own turfs without any one assuming the prior dominance. I can see the advantage of such suggestion but  concerned with the surge of bio-loading causing "new tank syndrome". <I do think you'd be causing a lot of stress by adding them all at once.> On the other hand, if I have to resort to putting them back one by one in 1-2 weeks interval, then which one should go first, second, third & fourth & fifth  (By the way: Can the Picasso trigger go in the main tank ...I would like to do that BUT fearful of it taking my cleaner shrimps as tempura prawns... Can you advise me on this too? <The trigger might not eat them immediately but he will eventually eat them.> My current guess is Cleaner Wrasse, being small, will go in first. My struggle is which order is good among the emperor (6") , Sohal Tang (4") & Majestic angel( 4")? OR EVEN possibly Trigger?  I provide the  additional info below. 4. Display tank was originally stocked with Majestic in April this year, followed by Cleaner Wrasse. Than a Sohal Tang was added in. This Sohal quickly established its arrogance & preventing the Majestic from getting out of its cave at night. Then Sohal was found to have velvet. We removed it to Q tank. Than we added an Emperor (after quarantine for 2 weeks). It was aggressive at first, chasing the majestic away from the food feeding corner. But that didn't last long. Majestic fought back. Some times later, we could see the emperor lying low & scared in its hole. Then it developed fin rot & velvet. We removed it. Then we found the majestic fell prey to that same disease again. We decided to take it out & ran the main tank "fallow". ---- I hope this helps to paint a better picture to you.<It does help quite a bit. I really do think that you will need to add them both at the same time in order to let them establish their territories at the proper time. The other fish I would add after a week or perhaps two.> The Sohal never met the Emperor. If they do, I wonder which one will dominate? <Generally tangs and angels don't have problems unless they  are too crowded. You might end up having to consider a larger tank for these fish all get fairly large when full grown.>  Do you have prior experience? I think that can be crucial to the order of sequence? 5. by the way, I have booked an alert & vibrant Bicolour Dwarf angel for my newly established reef tank. May I consult your opinion on Cu treatment for Quarantine of this fish. I heard that they are sensitive to CU, what other alternative I have? Please advise... <There is the option of freshwater dipping, You can find directions on the site and just keeping him isolated for four weeks to see if there are any problems that arise from him.> Thanks in advance for your ever helpful response. <Hope that helps. MacL> Best regards. Stocking an aggressive tank Hi, thanks for all your helpful info on your website.  I am setting up an aggressive fish only tank.  It is a 140 gal tank with bio balls, skimmer, and a 25 w UV sterilizer.  I plan on buying a Picasso Triggerfish, a Harlequin Tuskfish, and a Lionfish.  What is your recommendation on type of Lionfish and some potential tankmates. << I love Fu Man Chu lions.  But all lions are great.  Make sure to have lots of live rock and a refugium on that system. >>  Also, in what order do these fish go in the tank? << I would add the Tuskfish last.  Other great tank mates would be large wrasse and large damsels (which I would add first). >> <<  Blundell  >> Royal Gramma or Bicolor Pseudochromis I've always wanted a Royal Gramma in my saltwater system.  I do have a 90 gallon rectangular tank with 90lbs live rock.  I've constructed two rock clusters with ample tunnels and hiding spots.  I figured that I was simply looking for a half purple and half yellow fish.  Went to Big Al's Aquarium and saw a sign for a Royal Dottyback.  I asked if it was a Royal Gramma... the staff member said "Dottyback, Gramma... same fish".  I was satisfied and proceeded with my purchase. << Hmmm, not sure about that one. >> I also have in my tank: 1 smaller Orange Spotted Goby 1 fairly thick 4" Yellow Watchman goby 2 Percula Clowns Coral Banded Shrimp Pistol Shrimp I also purchased an Algae Blenny that is of a fair size, about same size as my yellow watchman goby.  I do have a # of blue legged hermits and would like to add one cleaner shrimp and some more crabs, brittle star, maybe a feather duster. Should I be concerned of my mistaken purchase??  I've read that the Royal Dottyback is territorial but would most likely only pose problems to another Dottyback or wrasse in confined spaces.  Are they ok with feather dusters, stars, and crabs? << Regardless of whether your fish is a Gramma or a Dottyback it is a safe purchase.  Both fish are suitable for your aquarium. >> I noticed the Dottyback disappeared in my rockwork for a day, but finally came out the second day when my timed tank light went on.  He was interesting to watch and I learned how porous some of my liverock was when he disappeared into the rock and came out the other end.  Beside the point... he swam up to and investigated my smaller goby.  He left him alone, but it almost looked as though he was 'sizing him up'... either that or he was curious.  I've also read on another website that Pseudochromis and blennies should be kept together with caution.  My algae blenny at the moment seems the most territorial (even though he's new) and I don't think I am concerned because he's probably 3 times as thick as the Dottyback... but then again, I've heard Dottybacks taking on fish 3 times their size. << They should be fine.  Especially in a tank as large as your tank. >> In short, do you think I should be ok, should I catch him and return him? I guess in nature anything can happen... heck my cute little Yellow Watchman Goby caught and more or less swallowed by Cleaner Shrimp a month ago. They'd been living together for over a year without any problems.  The shrimp was fairly big too.  Weird. << Now that is odd. >> One last thing, my two Clowns (they are the bigger fish in the aquarium) usually hangout at the back when lights are off.  Today they were almost frantically pacing the front of my tank bumping against the tank walls.  I did rearrange the rock work and the fish were out of the system for two days.  Think they are just disoriented?  Or do you think they want out of the tank because of a mean Dottyback? << Disoriented.  I wouldn't stress any of the fish by removing them at this point. >> Kinda pi$$e$ me off that a place like Big Al's would be so uneducated on what appears to be two very common yet different fish?  << They may have sold you a Gramma, I'm not sure without seeing a picture.  But a quick internet search could tell you that as I'm sure there are lots of pictures of grammas on the internet. >> I had no interest in a Pseudochromis and never had read anything about them... therefore had no knowledge of the Bi-color Pseudochromis.  Perhaps on your website under the Royal Gramma you could post a warning not to confuse with a Bi-color Pseudochromis??? Thanks guys... your site continually saves me (sometimes after the fact). Note:  Last year when I was concerned that there was a bomb in my tank (because it was ticking...)  yep, it was a pistol shrimp (thank god not a mantis) that somehow made it's way into my liverock I guess? << Good luck. >> Merry Christmas to ya! << And to you as well. >> Dave <<  Blundell  >>

Creating a Cool Mix (Compatibility) Howdy Wet ones! <Hey there! Scott F. with you tonight!> I have a question on fish compatibility and stocking order.  I have a 90G reef (SPS and clams), been running for many years now.  I am planning to re-stock it completely, so I was wondering about my choices, thought I would bounce it off you nice folks. <Sure...Just remember, the answers here are just my opinions.> I would like to have a Yellow Tang and a Blue (Paracanthurus hepatus) Tang.  Wondering about the size of the tank housing both though...might be a tad small. <Agreed. I wouldn't put two tangs together in any tank less than 6 feet in length, and I'd avoid the P. hepatus in a tank smaller than this, too.> If not the two, than at least one, but which one? <Yellow Tang. Hands down!> Also, a small group (how many??) of Anthias, Bartlett's perhaps, or a better choice of Anthias?? <Bartlett's are nice; one of the easiest of the Anthias to keep, too. I wouldn't keep more than 3 in a tank of this size, though> A "reef safe" wrasse (Fairy, Mystery...), which one would you recommend based on the previous choice of fish.  Maybe a Bodianus bimaculatus??   <I love almost all of the Halichoeres species Wrasses. They are not as "sexy" as the pricier Fairy Wrasses, but they are hardy, colorful, and have wonderful personalities. Most are a lot less skittish than the Fairy Wrasses, too!> I do have an open top though, could prove to be a problem for the wrasses. <Although they are less skittish than the Fairy Wrasses, they still can, and do- jump. An egg crate barrier might help keep them in.> What other recommendations would you have for the above mentioned mix? <I like Blennies and Gobies, myself. Some of the more passive (that's a relative term, though!) Pseudochromids, like P. flavivertex or P. fridmani work nicely.> As for stocking order, I imagine the Yellow Tang would be the last to add? <If it's the only tang, yes. Otherwise, you could put it in at any time, IMO> What if I get the Regal and Yellow Tang, what order would they be added. <I'd add the (touchier) Regal first. But then again, I would not mix these Tangs in this tank!> Thanks a lot, your opinions are greatly appreciated! Paul <Glad to be of service, Paul! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Stocking question :) As usual I would like to start by giving props on such an awesome site.  All of you and your never-ending knowledge are a great help to my non-existent knowledge.  I currently have a 54 gal. corner fish only with about 25 lbs. live rock and crushed shell for the bottom.  I have a 2215 Eheim and a prism pro skimmer.. (very soon upgrading!!) and a UV sterilizer. (forgot the wattage but LFS said it's good enough.. I hope)!  Around March or April I'll be upgrading to a 100-140gallon. okay, first question.  Would it be advisable to add live sand to the bottom to help with filtration and if so what kind and how much??<I would recommend sand for a fish only tank.  It doesn't matter what kind.  I prefer sand but some prefer crushed coral.  Make sure it is aragonite and use 1lb per gal.> second question: I currently have 2 percula clowns, one coral beauty, one regal tang, one really sweet damsel fish, (yes I know hard to believe but she is)<No, it is not.  I have one too.!>, and a yellow tang. the tangs and the angel are about 1.5 - 2 inches. I was wondering if you could help me on my next and last fish because I'm totally lost and confused. <Well I think that is enough fish for a 54 gallon tank.  I wouldn't recommend another fish for that set up.  But if you are talking about the upgrade then O.K.> first of all... can I add another angel and if so what kind.<Anything that is a different color from the coral beauty.> I was also thinking of a butterfly and if I can do that then what kind.<I always like the long nose butterfly or the copperband.>  Any other suggestions please share them, but also pretty please be specific since I'm pretty clueless.  Thanks again all of you.<Not a problem, MikeB> -heather Marine stocking ideas Afternoon guys... <Howdy Dave, MacL here with you today.> I have had a 90 gallon saltwater tank for two years now.  I have left my tank pretty empty with only 4 fish and a couple of shrimp. <BRAVO!!!> I have been reading through your website as well as some others for some ideas on populating my tank.  I will not add too much all at once of course and will be careful to quarantine all new arrivals.  I do like a mix of crab/shrimp/fish/stars/plants? <You can have such a lovely tank like that.> Do you have any recommendations or favorites that you would add to a community tank? <Well my favorites are tangs but depending on the amount of plants they will chow down on them.> I have pretty basic lighting which I understand won't be suitable for most corals; however I do think it would be neat to have some sort of live plant/worm life. <Caulerpas and some Halimeda might work.> I also do seem to have continuous minor algae problems. <Before you add additional fish I heartily recommend that you figure out what is causing it.> 2 Percula Clowns (the larger one is quite nippy) 1 Yellow Watchman Goby (very territorial) 1 Orange Spotted Goby Coral Banded Shrimp Pistol Shrimp 90lbs of Live Rock Will have about a 3" + live sand bottom Minor green hair algae issues I do have a protein skimmer I would really like to coordinate my livestock around one larger feature fish.  I was thinking the Blue Tang might be a good choice? <They are a lovely fish>  Would you advise against a Zebra Moray Eel or Snowflake Eel? <I love zebra morays but they will eat shrimps and other invertebrates.> From what I have read, the Zebra would be pretty good, but perhaps my tank is a little too small?  Would the Snowflake feast on my shrimp and crabs? <Unfortunately they all would.>  Are any of the dwarf lionfish suitable? <I like the fu man chu's but they can be difficult to get eating.>  What about nice looking colorful plants or worms? <I kept a red and green cuke for 6 years so I love them but your tank parameters would need to be totally stable.> Was thinking of a lawnmower blenny... would a blenny and the two gobies be crowding the bottom of my tank? <Lawnmower blenny's won't stay on the bottom. My personal favorite blenny is the "bicolor blenny"> What is a suitable cleanup crew and variety of tank life (some of your favorites) that you think would work well? <Great mixes of snails, and I really recommend fighting conchs.> Thanks for the input guys! <There are so many ways to go with this tank Dave, you could have such fun with it. > Dave

Tank compatibility 12/6/04 My current 125 FOWLR has the following tenants: yellow tang juvenile blue angel purple firefish sixline wrasse royal Gramma chalk bass green Chromis Three compatibility questions:  First, any problems adding a Foxface? <I recently added a Foxface to my tank. The tangs went wild chasing him for several days but things calmed down and now he's fine.>  WWM says the Foxface generally leaves everyone alone except their own kind, but LFS says he may attack the firefish.  <Mine is just terribly peaceful towards the other fish.> Second, what about a Desjardin sailfin tang?  LFS says my yellow tang may attack him, but if I add two more tangs I'll be ok. <They are different types of fish and different colors so most thought is that you can add them together but tangs are territorial fish and they can and will fight for their territory with all different kinds of fish.> If so, what about a sailfin and either a Kole or Goldrim (japonicus)? <I would say that three tangs will eventually outgrow your tank so if you add another or two others be prepared that eventually they will need to be put in a larger tank.> Finally, can I add an eibli angel? LFS says he won't get along with my blue angel. <Usually as a dwarf Eibl's will get along with the full sized angels>  They are different genus, shape, size, and color, so I'm not sure if there's a real problem there.  They also said that, like the tangs, if I add two more angels I should be ok. <I wouldn't suggest adding more angels.>  Any truth to this "threesome is ok" rule, or are they just trying to sell me another fish? <Sometimes three fish will school but you have to be VERY careful about their size and what you add. Also, I have never seen any kind of angelfish school.>  Any other livestock recommendations would be greatly appreciated. <I'd add the Foxface and the eibli angel if it was me. I think that would be a lovely tank. Although instead of a Foxface you might look at some of the other Rabbitfish for a different coloration. MacL> Questions from a beginner. Angel, Butterfly et al. stocking Hello WWM Crew. <Hi there> I'm a beginner in this hobby with very limited experience.  My only experience is with freshwater fish (African cichlids).  I've decided to move on and get a 150-gallon marine tank.  I'm primarily interested in large angels and butterflies. (1)  With full adult sizes in mind, how many large angels can I keep in this tank? <One or even less> (2)  If I can only keep 1 because of the size of the tank and/or compatibility between large angels, how many butterflies can I have with 1 large angel?  Can I add tangs/surgeons, too?  How many? <Possibly... depends on species...> (3)  Will this be the maximum bioload for this system? <Could be> Any help you can offer will be much appreciated. Thanks. Arnel <Best help... take your time... enjoy the journey/process of educating yourself, ferreting through your choices, options. READ over the materials on Stocking, these groups of fishes posted on www.WetWebMedia.com Haste makes waste my friend. Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility + eel and ray Hello, <Hi there> I would like to know if eels (snowflake or zebra) will be compatible with a juv. California Sting Ray appx. 5" in Diameter. If yes what size, and will they still be compatible once they grow larger. Also I would like to know for the same tank if all these fish would be compatible with each other and the Stingray, and maybe the eel, if he is fine with the ray. A juv. Naso 4", Regal Hippo tang 2", Sailfin Tang 3", Auriga Butterfly 3" Coral Beauty Pygmy Angel 3", juv Passer Angel 2"-3" and a Lo Foxface 3". Thanks for the input Chris <Nope... likely Urolophus halleri, but all CA rays are too coldwater to go with tropical Morays... and too likely they'd get stuck by a stingray to boot. Bob Fenner>> Re: Fish Compatibility + eel and ray How about the fish, will they do good together with the ray ? I really appreciate everything! I bought a yellow tang for my reef yesterday  ( a different tank). I am feeding him Nori, he eats it but not a lot. He's about an inch w/o the fin. What else will be a good food source? Red Nori, freeze-dried brine? Thank You Chris  <My young friend... you have not even stated the size of this system... Take your time... and read over the materials archived for your purpose on www.WetWebMedia.com re Selection, Feeding... even issues of set-up. All is revealed there. Bob Fenner> Skimmer and Fish Selection HI... You have a fantastic resource.  I was lost and frustrated with the answers I was getting from my LFS.  That leads to my 2 questions.  At their recommendation I bought a 65G tank, Penguin 400 BioWheel, medium crushed coral, 10 lbs Fiji LR and 25 lbs. of base rock.  I set up the tank and let it run for a few days until it was clear and the temp. and salinity was stable ( 79 deg & 1.022). <Good> Then I put in 6 damsels, <Yikes... this is too many... scrappy fishes> like I was told, to start cycling the tank. (I'm 1 month in now and everything is on track they say)  One died in the first week and they said it was "normal." <Glad they're not responsible for your dog... children!> This worried me and that was how I found your site.  I was looking for more answers than "normal."  Now they are recommending that I get a CPR BakPakII skimmer.  They say that the bio bale is what makes it better.   <Yes, not a bad choice> From what I've read here it's too small for my tank to work effectively.  Is that true? <Mmm, no... "good enough" depending on what and how much life you intend to keep> I've seen a lot of talk about the AquaC Remora skimmer.  Would it be a better choice? <In general, yes> Should I add more LR to help with the Biofiltration? <Sure> I know it's more than 2 questions but my 2nd topic is fish selection.  I'm trying to plan ahead.  I tried to read as much as I can and it all seems a bit like guessing.  I want "happy" fish to watch.  What I'm considering are: Foxface Rabbitfish Picasso Trigger Valentini Puffer Dwarf Lionfish Snowflake eel I plan on adding them in 2 week intervals. <Good idea> I'm afraid that either they'd eat each other or outgrow the tank. <They will do this... and the Trigger is likely to cause at least the Lion trouble... competing for food, perhaps biting the Lion... and possibly the Eel...>   The Foxface and the Picasso are the definites.  What are some suggestions to what would go with them. <I suggest going back to the "drawing table" here... and re-investigating your choices... Other than the Valentini Puffer, which can be a nuisance biting other livestock, all the fishes listed have some serious drawbacks for your size system... I would seek more suitable choices> I just want something that's different and colorful. Thank you for your help. Your FAQ's work better than Ativan for my nerves. :) Mike <Glad to present a more suitable alternate. Study a bit longer my friend. Important to get your assortment right... to avoid troubles later. Bob Fenner>

Bioload question Hey crew, <Mickey> I'd like to tap into your vast collective knowledge again!  My tank is a 175g bowfront with a sizable sump (100g capacity), contains around 250lbs of Haitian live rock, and is aggressively skimmed.   Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate are kept at undetectable levels.  Calcium ~400.   PH 8.3.  1.026 specific gravity.  Current stock includes: Motile: 5 Azure Damsels  (I wish there were less, but can't catch 'em!) 2 Banggai Cardinals 1 Firefish Goby 1 Blackcap Basslet 1 Purple Tang 1 Powder Brown Tang (A. nigricans according to Scott Michael ... there's some confusion with A. japonicus?) <Yes, I believe Scotter, editors has this fish mis-identified in the "handbook"> 1 baby Hippo/Regal Tang 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp 3 Peppermint Shrimp 3 Emerald Crabs 1 Rose BTA 1 Orange Linckia 1 Blue Tuxedo Urchin Assorted snails / hermits Sessile: Sarcophyton trocheliophorum Leather Euphyllia divisa Frogspawn Euphyllia ancora Anchor Plerogyra sinuosa Bubble Plerogyra sinuosa Octobubble or Pearl Favites flexuosa Closed Brain Platygyra daedalea Maze Brain Caulastrea furcata Trumpet Galaxea paucisepta 3 Trachyphyllia geoffroyi Open Brains Cynarina lachrymalis Button Various Zoanthus sociatus polyps Various Ricordea Various Discosoma mushrooms Now to the question!  How close to maximum bioload do suppose the system is? <If all at are maximum size, especially the sessile invert.s, then pretty full-up> We would like to add a few more fish, perhaps Anthias (Threadfin or Bartlett's) or Fairy Wrasses (Cirrhilabrus) but I don't want to tax the system and risk losing any inhabitants. <Mmm, these could go in... and likely be very nice additions> I always want to keep overall aggression to a low thunder.  (For the record, the Damsels rarely pick on anyone but each other ... and even the supposedly timid Firefish is normally front and center picking tidbits out of the current.) Thanks! Mickey <Sounds like a very nice system, arrangement... I would go forward with your planned additions. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer and Fish Selection HI... You have a fantastic resource.  I was lost and frustrated with the answers I was getting from my LFS.  That leads to my 2 questions.  At their recommendation I bought a 65G tank, Penguin 400 BioWheel, medium crushed coral, 10 lbs Fiji LR and 25 lbs. of base rock.  I set up the tank and let it run for a few days until it was clear and the temp and salinity was stable ( 79 deg & 1.022).  Then I put in 6 damsels ,like I was told, to start cycling the tank. <A very common and unnecessary mistake.> (I'm 1 month in now and everything is on track they say)  One died in the first week and they said it was "normal." <Run away from this LFS!>  This worried me and that was how I found your site.  I was looking for more answers than "normal." <Well it probably died from ammonia in the water.  Definitely not "normal" in a reef tank.>  Now they are recommending that I get a CPR BakPakII skimmer.  They say that the bio bale is what makes it better.  From what I've read here it's too small for my tank to work effectively.  Is that true? <Yes, IMO>   I've seen a lot of talk about the AquaC Remora skimmer.  Would it be a better choice? <Great skimmer, and yes, probably.>   Should I add more LR to help with the Biofiltration? <A good rule of thumb is between 1-2 lbs per gallon total.>  I know it's more than 2 questions but my 2nd topic is fish selection.  I'm trying to plan ahead.  I tried to read as much as I can and it all seems a bit like guessing.  I want "happy" fish to watch.  What I'm considering are: Foxface Rabbitfish <Great fish.> Picasso Trigger <Will eventually outgrow your tank, and will make short work of any shrimp or small fish you'd like to keep.  Will also eat all the neat little creatures on your live rock that you paid so much for!> Valentini Puffer <Stays small, but same as above.> Dwarf Lionfish <A good choice if you don't intend on keeping any small fish or shrimp.> Snowflake eel <Same as the lion.> I plan on adding them in 2 week intervals <Might want to lengthen that to one per month.  And please quarantine!>.  I'm afraid that either they'd eat each other or outgrow the tank.  The Foxface and the Picasso are the definites.  What are some suggestions to what would go with them. I just want something that's different and colorful. <A few small colorful choices: Sixline wrasse Orchid Dottyback Clownfish, of course Flame angel Fairy wrasses Firefish Hawkfish Hope this helps!> Thank you for your help. Your FAQ's work better than Ativan for my nerves. :) Mike

Stocking a 135 Hello thanks for answering all of my questions which have helped me a lot. We have just set up our tank. Its 135 gallon reef tank with a 40 gallon sump and refugium. Here is our stocking list 3-5 chalk bass 1 orchid Dottyback 1 royal Gramma 1 coral beauty pair of pink skunk clowns pair of perculas 1 scarlet wrasse 1 Midas blenny 3 cleaner gobies 1 yellow watchman goby 1 Atlantic blue tang 1 scopas tang <Look like good choices> How's does this look. The two things I am worried about are the tangs and the Gramma and Dottyback. Will there be any problems do you think? <Should be no problem... these should get along fine... due to the system size, differences in body shape, habitat use> and If the Atlantic blue wont go with the scopas what other tang can you recommend? Also what order should I stock these guys in? And what is the best macro algae for a refugium? <For macroalgae, please read over the various opinions archived on WWM> thanks a lot Tristan <I would place the Clownfishes last... and the dwarf angel toward the end... to allow for more growth of food items in situ. Bob Fenner>

Pinktail and Kole tang? I have a 75 gallon aquarium with a 20 inch zebra moray eel and a 3 inch coral beauty angelfish.  I would love to add a Kole (yellow eye) tang and a pink tail triggerfish. Do I have enough room for a small Pinktail to grow for a couple of years or is it too small. Thanks for the GREAT website!!! Julie Bryant, Marquette MI. <If the Trigger starts small (a few inches) and is fed sparingly these animals should get along fine for a few years... do keep an eye on water quality (of course) as there is sure to be occasional challenges to pH, alkaline reserve. Bob Fenner> Fish Selection Hello!  I came upon your website a few weeks ago, and have subsequently spent many hours combing for research on various topics.  This is my first saltwater tank.  I have a 75 gallon currently.  My problem is this, there are several species of fish that I want to have, but they all seem to be territorial. <The world's reefs are vast...> I want a tank that is happy and don't want to put incompatible fish together.  So, I would like to solicit your help in selection.  Currently, I have 3 green Chromis, a six line wrasse, bicolor blenny, cleaner shrimp, and 4 turbo snails.  Please give me your input on the following additions: sailfin tang, yellow tang, ocellaris clown pair, flame angel, coral beauty angel, scooter blenny, and green mandarin (later). <In order of likely aggressiveness: the Sailfin Tang (which species?), Clowns... add only one of the Centropyge angels... the rest. The Yellow Tang, Scooter and Mandarin you can add at any time.> I will not get all of these fish, but what are your thoughts on any of these (together or not) with my existing fish.  What can go together and what should not be placed in the tank.  Also, could I have invertebrates (starfish, anemones, etc.)?   Thanks so much! Jennifer <Leave off on invertebrates till you understand a bit more... read over the practical husbandry of these groups, animals on WetWebMedia Bob Fenner> Compatibility in 60 gal FOWLR Greetings WWM CREW, I am getting a 60 gal (4 feet) fish only with about 15lbs of liverock in the tank and about 20 in the sump. Is this enough for biological filtration? <Yes> I am also using a Via Aqua canister filter 650, a Jebo protein skimmer and a 9 watt ultra violet. Is this filtration pretty ok for a fish only? <With the sump it should be> How much live sand will be good? Can I mix some play sand (the ones made form Caribbean sand) and some Florida live sand? How much of Each? <Please read over these subjects on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com If you want you can use the Google Search tool, or peruse the indices on the Marine root web> Now about the stocking, I always make many lists of different fish etc. (I have a reef tank as well, and another fish only). First of all I'm thinking of putting some large synthetic coral skeletons (white, about 2 with the 15lbs live rock) for decorations and to allow for hiding places, but still a lot of swimming room. For the fish I will start out after the cycling with a yellow tang (which will later be put into my reef) to make sure all is well. <I would NOT cycle the system with a tang> Then for the fish that will stay- a blue hippo, (small one at my LFS probably 2") a yellow lo Foxface (pretty small again 3") then a juv. Naso tang( I know they need large tanks, but my friend has kept on in his 60 for about a year and a half with no problems, probably 4") or can I go even smaller? <Yes... a sturdy fish even at small sizes> I've read on WWM that buying smaller than 4" is not a good idea. Then a threadfin butterfly (3") and a Pakistani (3") (will they get along? what other butterflies will get along better with a threadfin?). <Please read this over on WWM> These will be added over a period of a year, except probably the hippo and Naso- close to the same time for territorial purposes (do they need to be added at the same time or is it ok for different times?). Then my last fish after probably a year I want juv Passer angel (3"-4") I've read they're probably one of the easiest large angels...should I buy juv, or adult? <Neither the Passer or Naso will be happy in a sixty gallon> Well these are my hopes for this tank, If it is too overstocked then please let me know which ones will be best to let go (the only fish I really want strongly in this tank is the Naso and threadfin, I can work around the others) This is a total of 18" and in about a year will be 21". That is about 1 inch per 3 gallons. How does this sound? Is they're anyway I can add a another butterfly or pygmy angel if there is space? there is never enough space right? ha-ha) if any other fish then what kind (raccoon, banner....coral beauty, flame???) Oh, an about the Naso ( I really like the distinct coloring of the lips etc....)is the Darker Naso or blonde Naso best for the bright colors and size?) <Again, a four foot long tank is too small for this genus, any N. lituratus. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much Chris Tank Compatibility Questions I have a 6 inch clown trigger, a 7 inch Picasso trigger, a porcupine puffer, green wrasse, miniatus grouper and 12 other fish in a 350 gallon tank. <The other twelve we'll assume all are compatible, similar in temperament> I love puffer and would like to add a 6 inch stars and stripes and I love lions and was going to add a 6 inch Volitans lion.  I also would like to add a second fox face lo. The first lion (antennata) lasted 12 hours.   Any chance that the lion can hold it's own?  How about the second fox face or second puffer?? <The puffer would likely be fine... as long as you can get it (I'd train it while in quarantine) to accept food from a "feeding stick" (to assure it's getting fed), and the Lo/Siganus should also be able to be added... but Lionfishes in with triggers are a bad match... too likely to get eaten by them if not starved by competition. I would get/use another system for your Lions. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Cara

New tank first inhabitants Hello to whomever reads this,<Hello, MikeB here.> I have a 59 gallon saltwater reef tank that I have set up (live rock, inverts, one polyp) and has cycled and been devoid of any fish up until now (aprox 4 months).  I was looking for good hardy starter fish.  I want to add an anemone (red bubble) and decided to add it with a clown before any more corals (to allow it time to find a good place to situate since I have heard they don't usually move once they find a happy spot).<This is true.>  As the tank is sitting the inverts (cleaner shrimp x2, coral banded, blood red fire, zebra hermits, scarlet hermits, emerald crab x3) all of the algae has been taken care of and I supplement the inverts with frozen food. The only algae I have left is some green fuzzy hair like algae (lawnmower blenny or Foxface?)<I would go with the blenny.> What would be good fish to add for the first months or so to help finish this cycling this system out? I was thinking of getting a Foxface, but the idea of getting stung has me hesitant. I love the way the fish look and their hardiness, but what is the protocol for when I have to put my hands in the tank and best way to keep from hurting him while still being able to place corals etc. Your advice is appreciated. Kenneth <Hello, Kenneth.  I would suggest the blenny for the algae and if you would like to add a Foxface I don't think that would be a problem.  The  fish will hide in the rock and coral when you put your hand in the tank to place the coral.  As long as you keep an eye on it you should not be stung.  If you are that concerned then DO NOT get the fish and add something else.  Some suggestions would be Fairy Wrasses or maybe a small tang.  The tang will outgrow that tank as will the Foxface so you would want to take that into consideration.  Good Luck.  MikeB>

Newbie livestock question ... Hi, <Hello there> I have been researching for the past week or so and it seems for every successful story there is a horror story. <Likely more folks write in with problems...> This site has been a great resource, yet all the information can be overwhelming at times.  I have a customized 350-gallon tank 74x30x36 (built into a wall with the ability to see through the tank into the other rooms).   <Neat> I am going for a marine/fish only set up (with a lot more experience, maybe I'll try corals someday).  The tank has been running for 2 months now and the water quality is good to go. What I have in the tank now: - 170 lbs showroom Fiji live rock - 170 lbs Tonga Branch Rock The lighting I have: - 4 x 384 Watt (4x96) Coral life light fixtures Before I mistakenly turn my tank into a war zone I would like to get some feedback on my livestock "wish" list (this is my first tank so go easy on me ;-) ): <Okay> Fish: - 4 clownfish (2 ocellaris and 2 clarkii or Saddleback, or would it be better to get 4 of the same species) - 1 lawnmower blenny - 1 bi-color blenny - 1 Black sailfin blenny - ??? any (colorful) suggestions ??? <There are MANY! I would look into maybe a small "school" (3, 5) of Yellow Tangs... good, hardy, interesting behaviorally... for your size system> Anemones: - ??? <Ah, no... hard to keep alive, may pollute your system... wait on these> Crabs: - 50 scarlet hermit crabs - 60 Mexican red leg hermits -  4 emerald Mithrax crabs -  1 Arrow crab <I'd leave off with the Stenorhynchus/Arrow... a fish-eater as it gets larger... and not fun to remove in your size, type set-up> Snails: -  2 Red Foot - 40 Astrea -  4 Abalone - 20 Nassarius - 12 Mexican turbo -  6 conch - 12 margarita Star fish: - 1 purple Linckia - 2 green brittle - 1 black banded serpent <Mmm, no to the first two choices. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and on to the Related FAQs (at top, in blue)> Shrimp: - 1 Cleaner shrimp - 1 Coral Banded Shrimp - 5 peppermint Shrimp - 1 skunk cleaner Shrimp Plants: - ??? Thanks for all your help and for this great site, J <Hold off on all other choices till the "clean up crew" and these few fishes have been placed... best to take ones time, place livestock at intervals... AFTER quarantine. Please see WWM re this issue. Bob Fenner> For marine fish, how many fish should be added into a tank a time? <Hi John, this is Jorie.  Really, it depends on several factors, such as how old the tank is, how well-established, what sort of filtration you have (including whether or not you have live rock), etc.  It's definitely better to remain on the more-cautious side, in my opinion.  What type of fish are currently in your tank and what do you want to introduce? Also, of course, this is assuming you've already quarantined the new specimen(s) for a month or so, right? You certainly don't want to risk introducing a nasty disease or parasite into your main tank...> How long should each introduction be spaced out? For the first introduction for a new tank can I add 2 fish the wait a couple of weeks add 2 more so on and so forth? <Again, it really depends on the criteria set forth above.  If you could provide me with a little bit more information about your specific tank setup, experience with the hobby, and other pertinent details, I'd be much better able to help you out! Feel free to e-mail me back and I'll respond as soon as I can (sorry for the delay this time...Thanksgiving holidays, hope you understand...)> Thank You, John <You are welcome.  Talk to you soon.  Jorie>

Livestock selection Hi. I'm starting a 30 gallon salt water tank. I was wondering if you can tell me some fishes I can have in my tank that are beautiful and easy to care for. so if u have any suggestions please tell me. <Please take a long read through the fish group articles and FAQs posted on www.WetWebMedia.com and make a list of animals that stay small (enough), and seem to be of easygoing temperament... and then write back with what you find interesting. Bob Fenner> Set Up and Stocking Questions 11/24/04 Whomever is answering questions--thanks. <Adam Here.  My pleasure!> These may seem repetitive. I have The Conscientious Marine Aquarist in my lap, and I've looked at your set up and stocking pages but am still confused. <Sounds like you are looking in good places for info!> Background: I started keeping freshwater about 3 years ago and last  November started a 12-gallon nano-reef, which was set up at the local fish store for me. It had a tomato clown, a bubble-tip anemone, 1  firefish, umbrella and leather soft corals, live rock and live sand, and later three tiny gobies (they called them red-cheeked at the store, but  I've never seen them in a fish book) as well as many snails, a peppermint  shrimp, and some macroalgae. <Sounds like a lot of animals for such a small tank.  The tomato clown in particular will be a little cramped as it grows.> I had no problems. Changed 2 gallons of water a  week and changed out carbon once a month. I gave that set up and all my freshwater set ups away when I moved in September. <Hmm... Giving away tanks and animals is always a heartbreak.> Am now trying to set up a 46-gallon tank as a mini-reef tank.  Found a very helpful LFS but they insisted that I buy uncured live rock (which  is nice rock, but uncured) and base rock (total of 55 pounds) and put it in the tank above not live sand. So I now have that set up and the  ammonia is off the charts. What should I do now?  <"Raw" rock definitely leaves you with the most life, but the cycle is pretty rough.  Water changes under these circumstances can be dangerous since they will raise the pH.  As soon as the ammonia starts coming down, I would institute water changes (20% a week or so). Also, I need to keep a clown fish and an anemone. With that  information, the LFS had me buy a 110 36 inch watt 9325K light. Is that enough light? (I need the clown fish and anemone because their relationship is the only thing my husband likes.) If it's not enough light, I'll buy what is.  <That is probably not enough light for any anemone.  Bubble tips can do fine under about double that amount if they are fed regularly.  Anemones are difficult to care for and I would suggest re-evaluating your "need" to keep one.> Here's what I'd like to keep in the tank, in addition to the clownfish. It seems too much, but some answers seemed to suggest it'd be o.k., others not. 1 Jawfish, 1 symbiotic goby and shrimp, 2 cardinalfishes (pajama or Banggai), 1  firefish, and 1 (or 2) Bannerfish, whichever is the smallest hardy breed. I am planning on adding macroalgae to the system.  <The quantity sounds OK, but a watchman goby and Jawfish are probably a bad idea together.> Cleaner crews: should I buy a pre-established set? Some of them seem to  have things like sea cucumbers in them which don't make sense from what I've read, as well as scarlet hermit crabs. That's confusing, suggesting that the aquarium stores are wrong. Also, when should I add it?  <I detest "clean up crew" packages.  IMO, crabs (including hermits) have little or no place in reef tanks and in general, the recommendations are for far too many animals.  One Turbo snail or three Astrea snails per 20 gallons is plenty.  A couple of serpent stars and a sea cucumber (if you have fine sand) makes a fine clean up crew.  You can add these animals right after the cycle is complete.> I really appreciate your help, and think that the Conscientious Marine Aquarist is a wonderful book.  All the Best, Margaret Cooter <Glad to help, and glad you enjoy and benefit from Bob's book!  AdamC.>

Set Up and Stocking Questions Whomever is answering questions--thanks. <Welcome> These may seem repetitive. I have The Conscientious Marine Aquarist in my   lap, and I've looked at your set up and stocking pages but am still confused.   Background: I started keeping freshwater about 3 years ago and last  November started a 12-gallon nano-reef, which was set up at the local fish store  for me. It had a tomato clown, a bubble-tip anemone, 1  firefish, umbrella and leather soft corals, <These get much bigger than this tank... can be disastrous chemically if "upset"> live rock and live sand, and  later three tiny gobies (they called them red-cheeked at the store, but  I've never seen them in a fish book) <Likely Elacatinus puncticulatus: http://wetwebmedia.com/neongobies.htm Do you see this fish here? as well as many snails, a peppermint  shrimp, and some macroalgae. I had no problems. Changed 2 gallons of water a  week and changed out carbon once a month. I gave that set up and all my  freshwater set ups away when I moved in September.   Am now trying to set up a 46-gallon tank as a mini-reef tank.   <Ah, much better> Found a very helpful LFS but they insisted that I buy uncured live rock (which  is nice rock, but uncured) and base rock (total of 55 pounds) and put  it in the tank above not live sand. So I now have that set up and the  ammonia is off the charts. What should I do now? <Off the charts as in more than 1 ppm? I would change a good part of the water out with some pre-made... keep the skimmer clean, running at peak efficiency... maybe dose the system with a Kalk product...> Also, I need to keep a clown fish and an anemone. <Need?> With that information,  the LFS had me buy a 110 36 inch watt 9325K light. Is that enough light? <Not likely... unless it is a specimen, species that can/does derive a good deal of its nutrition from eating vs. photosynthesis... you will soon see... as it will move about...> (I need   the clown fish and anemone because their relationship is the only thing my   husband likes.) If it's not enough light, I'll buy what is. <I see> Here's what I'd like to keep in the tank, in addition to the clownfish. It   seems too much, but some answers seemed to suggest it'd be o.k., others not. 1   Jawfish, 1 symbiotic goby and shrimp, 2 cardinalfishes (pajama or Banggai), 1  firefish, and 1 (or 2) Bannerfish, whichever is the smallest hardy breed. <Heniochus acuminatus> I am  planning on adding macroalgae to the system. <Do consider adding a refugium... locating at least some of the macroalgae there> Cleaner crews: should I buy a pre-established set? <Maybe... but like securities, stock picking, you could do as well putting your own assortment together as by purchasing a "mutual fund"> Some of them seem to  have things like sea cucumbers in them which don't make sense from what I've   read, as well as scarlet hermit crabs. That's confusing, suggesting that the   aquarium stores are wrong. Also, when should I add it? <After the system is completely cured, ahead of the fishes> I really appreciate your help, and think that the Conscientious Marine   Aquarist is a wonderful book. All the Best, Margaret Cooter <Thank you for your kind words. Bob Fenner>

Re: Set Up and Stocking Questions Bob, <Margaret> Thanks for your answers. Don't know who's answering now, but I appreciate   your kindness. <And your patience with us> Yes, off the scale means it's green on my test scale within 2 minutes   (supposed to be 20 minutes) and green is as dark as it gets. Not good. <No, not good> The skimmer's running (the fish store suggested I didn't need one, but   re-reading your book, figured out I needed one and went and bought one). Will  get the additive suggested. Thanks. <Welcome> Suppose I didn't ask the question I should have asked. Will the fish I'm   hoping to get go in the tank or will it be a bio-overload? <Close to maximum> I'd really like the   banner fish--your book suggests one per 20 gallons, which suggests I could get   2, unless that means that the 20 gallons means no other fish in that 20 gallons.  Would give up some of the others if necessary, as you dictate/suggest/recommend.  (Except the clownfish and anemone. Feel guilty getting an anemone, <Seek one that is tank-bred... likely a Bubble-Tip, E. quadricolor... aka Rose...> but did have success with it in the too small tank--and knew I'd have to upgrade soon, but  the lady I gave everything to put my saltwater fish and various invertebrates in  a 55 gallon, so I felt good about it.) Will pick and choose my cleaner crew based on your statement. Not   comfortable with some of the critters in the recommendations. <Me neither> Thanks for your assistance. I feel humble talking to the author of  that fabulously written and insightful book and will try to purchase tank raised   animals whenever possible. <A wise choice> All the Best, Margaret <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Pt 2: Set up and Stocking Questions 11/27/04 Adam, Thanks for your answers. Received earlier answers from Bob (feel as if I should call him Dr. Fenner, but recognize his dislike for that title--and suspect you have similar high credentials) but yours added "grist to the mill."   <I think Bob and I would both take exception to "Dr." since neither of us is!  Most of us are just experienced aquarists with a shared love of the hobby and strong belief in the conscientious pursuit of our love.> Bob suggested I add an additive, which I did, and the ammonia has come down tremendously (from more than 5 ppm to 1.5 ppm); is that the time to start changing the water? Am beginning to get an algae bloom--brown--which I never had in my overcrowded nano tank. <I generally reserve the use of such additives for emergencies, but there is nothing wrong with their use.  Yes...  I would start water changes.> (And I knew the life in it would get too large after I bought Dr. Fenner's book, which of course was after I  bought the tank--the lady I gave it to put it all in a 55 gallon tank, which  relieved my concerns.)<Kudos on letting your animals go to someone with a bigger tank rather than letting them suffer overcrowding!> Should I be concerned? Or just let the tank cleaners get the algae when I add them? <I would probably scrape the glass and remove what algae I could and then siphon out the remnants during a water change.> Is it really o.k. to add brittlestar for that  purpose? I think they're cool, but have been a bit afraid of starfish,  since they eat crustaceans. <Some brittle stars are risky... choose a serpent star.  See this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/echinoderms/echinoderms.htm > Also, regarding the fish stocking scheme, are you stating that if I get rid of the planned shrimp/goby combo (love Jawfish, so pick it above the symbiotic  relationship), <Keep in mind that Jawfish require at least 4" of sand of mixed size (sugar size up to small rubble) to build a suitable burrow.> then I could successfully keep two of the banner butterfly fish?  Would make me very happy to do so, but wouldn't want to put them in an unacceptable environment. Any advice would be appreciated.  <I would suggest a bare minimum of a 75 gallon tank for Bannerfish.  They grow fast and get large and are active swimmers.> Forgot to state that the light is a "compact fluorescent." If I doubled it, do you think it would be sufficient for a bubble tip? Best regards and many thanks for your assistance. Margaret <You would need quite a bit of light for a BTA.  Please write back and remind me of your tank size and current lighting to specifically address this issue.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Stocking Question that hasn't been given a response in a while Sorry to bother but I have heard many opinions on my questions both good and bad and I would like to know your insights. I am thinking of getting a tang and I would like to know which one is a most PEACEFUL  community fish for a 65 Gallon FOWLR tank: Blue Hippo Tang Purple Tang <The Blue Hippo> If I would to get a hippo (about 3"-4") would it do good in the tank because I have know people to keep this fish in a 65 Gallon FOWLR with a very long term success. <Yes... though this fish/species would be happier in a larger world/tank> also a I need to know what order to add these fish in...I am thinking: 1st- Ocellaris Clownfish 2nd- Royal Gramma 3rd- Kaudern's Cardinalfish 4th- Firefish 5th- Flame Angelfish 6th- any 1 of the tangs listed above 7th- Humbug Damselfish Is this a good introduction order? what do you recommend? Thank You Very Much,                          John <Better to add the more easygoing species first: the Firefish, Banggai... then Gramma, Clown, Tang... lastly the Humbug and Flame Angel. Bob Fenner> New Tank, Compatibility Hi   I am new to marine aquariums and have been having a few probs.  I have a beautiful porcupinefish about 4.5” long.  A scooter blenny a blue trigger a mandarin fish and a maroon clownfish.  My surprise is the blenny the trigger and porcupine are getting on just fine.  The mandarin hides in rocks and pops out now and then has a little swim around the bottom and pops back behind some nice living rock.  The clown however was fine when first introduced but has spent his second 24 hours behind a rock and hasn’t come out.  Any idea’s. We are thinking of getting a flame angelfish and yellow tang also.  What do you think.  My wife would also like a couple more scooters then we where planning to let everything grow up.  The tank is 100 gallons with more filtering than you can shake a stick at and has run for about 8 weeks.  All fish are small 2-3” apart from porcupine who appears to be the least of our problems apart from  eating his first tank mates a couple of purple firefish. (oooppps and #######)   Any advice would be great the shops around here seem to all give different advise which means muppets like me make the wrong decision and give a porcupine a ?40 meal!!! Cheers Matt >>>Greetings Matt, Let's jump right in. You've stocked this tank much too quickly, and I feel you are on the verge of disaster. First of all, the tank requires a period of time to cycle before it's ready for the first fish, and only over time is it able accommodate the bioload of more fish. Stocking needs to be done *SLOWLY* All fish MUST be quarantined in order to prevent disease organisms from entering the display. There is no way you could have done all of this, with that many fish in 8 weeks. Any number of things could be happening with the clown, from shipping/acclimation stress to a disease outbreak. I can't say without further info. Now, what do you mean "blue trigger?" I hope you're not speaking of The blue-line trigger, Pseudobalistes fuscus. These are VERY large, very destructive triggers, and grow quickly. They also grow too large for your 100 gallon tank. Scooter blennies are benthic micro-carnivores that seldom eat prepared foods in enough quantity to survive long term in captivity. I'd advise against purchasing more. Your tank would be fully stocked with the porcupine puffer, yellow tang (good choice), flame angel, trigger (what species?), maroon clown and scooter. I say this assuming you have a species of trigger that gets rather large, Odonus niger perhaps? "Blue Trigger" is not a commonly used name for any trigger species I'm aware of. Again, I'll be very surprised if the one scooter you have lives to the 8 month mark. There are exceptions however. Good Luck Jim<<<

New Tank, Compatibility - part 2 Hi Jim Thanks for comments.  Have taken the trigger back as it was obvious he was not going to be suitable.  I believe he may have been known as black trigger even though he looks bluish.  We are now left with porcupine, blenny, mandarinfish and clownfish.  The clownfish now appears to be happy although some of his fins are nibbled. (trigger happy I feel).  I appear to have found a shop who has some kind of sense.  They reckon with the porcupine being small the blenny the mandarin and clown I should think of the yellow tang in a month or so then the flame angel a month or so after that then see if I can keep them alive for a while.  Seems more sense.  The trigger did appear to be aggressive.  All our levels nitrite ammonia and nitrate are zero zero and somewhere less than 12.5mg/l.  This all seems to be a happy tank.   What do you think of latest plan. Matt >>>Sounds good Matt!!<<<

New Fish Hello wetweb, <Hello back at you!> It's Jonathan I am 15teen now, and I have a 125gal long tank that I have had up and running since August.  I am going to transfer my fish from my 46gal to my 125gal tank. I have a 3 VHO ice cap lighting system, 420 watts all together.  The fish I have now are (1)Firefish , (2) percula clowns, (1) glass goby, and (1)Blue damsel. I have been looking atv(1or2) Filamented Flasher Wrasse (1)Yellow headed sleeper goby or a Orangespotted Sleeper goby (1) Atlantic Blue Tang, a whitecheck Surgeonfish or a (1)Bluespotted Jawfish.  When my tank is acclimated for a good with plenty of live Rock I was thinking of adding a comet, or Longnose butterfly. I was wondering if there was any way that I could place a pink leaf scorpionfish in the tank. I was also looking at a Niger or a blue throated trigger. My tank has a lot of hiding places, but there is plenty of swimming room. Thanks, FOR ALL Your Help!!! <Jonathan, It sounds like they would all get along.  I have just one mode of caution for you.  That is a lot of fish for your 125.  the scorpion fish will eat anything that will fit into its mouth which includes the flasher wrasse or jawfish.  Make sure you have enough filtration to cover the bioload the fish will put on the tank.  Good Luck!!! MikeB>

Fish Suitability Hi All. <Hello there Patrick> Once again, I need some of your great advice.  I'm looking for some new fish to add to my reef tank.  I currently have a 75 gallon tank with a small Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) and a mated pair of False Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris).  I also have a BTA, various SPS, LPS and soft corals, several peppermint shrimp, a brittle star, and assorted snails and hermit crabs.  I need to find a fish or two that will get along with my current fish and will not bother my corals and inverts. <Change that "need" to want and we'll agree!> My clownfish are very territorial, but they stay in their "nest" under a giant clam shell with the BTA in a remote corner of the tank.  In the past, my Tang has been known to harass very small fish, like firefish, but he's always been good with fish that are closer to his size.  I used to a have a Scott's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus scottorum) that he got along great with.   Unfortunately, he jumped out. <Very common unfortunately> My first choice would be a so-called reef-safe butterflyfish.  Of course, I know there is always a risk that they could start nipping at my corals, but it might be worth trying. <I have listed which species are general zooplanktivores... the better species to try, on WWM... maybe a Forcipiger would do well...> My second choice would be an Anthias, like a single male Pseudanthias squamipinnis. <There are other species... the Sunset, Pleurotaenia that do better as singles/individuals...>   My third choice would be a couple of wrasses like Paracheilinus carpenteri, Wetmorella, and/or Halichoeres iridis.  What do you think? <On these, the Neon/Rainbow (iridis) is the largest, most-outgoing, best choice> Also, I've had my tang for over two years, and he's always been very small.   Will he continue to grow throughout his life or is there an age when he will hit his peak size? <Should continue to grow for several years> I need to account for that when I'm selecting what type and how many additional fish to get. Thanks! <Your note/message shows considerable knowledge, experience, good judgment... continue your search my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine stocking Hi Crew I have a 200 gal FOWLR work in progress I am stocking. Right now there is a Kole Tang, Hippo Tang, 5 x-lg green Chromis. and a big algae blenny. From my wish list below, what fish are not good Ideas. Flame angel <Good community fish.  Unlikely to bother anything, but might get pestered by the tangs at first.> banana Wrasse and or lunare wrasse <Hmm, not quite sure what a banana wrasse is.  Lunare wrasses can be quite boisterous and might consider your Chromis as food.> , OR a half dozen fairy wrasses or so. I have also considered a school of Anthias <Both Cirrhilabrus and Pseudanthias spp. make great community fish, although they might tend to pick on your Chromis, especially some of the more belligerent Anthias.  Personally I find the fairy wrasses a bit prettier.  All the fairy wrasses are fairly easy to keep with frequent feedings and peaceful tankmates.  Some of the Anthias are notoriously difficult.  Make sure you research your potential additions carefully.  Scott Michael's book "Reef Fishes" has a great section on each species of Anthias--hardiness, aggressiveness, etc.> or even a large Angel. <Some can be bullies, in particular Holacanthus spp.  The Genicanthus spp. make great additions, as do some Pomacanthus spp.  Again, research the individual species carefully.  This should be the last fish added in any case.  There might be some issues with the tangs and the angel, so be cautious.> what would work with what is in there now. Everyone in there now is very happy, I don't want to put a bully in there Fish for a 180 gal Hello Bob great site. I have a 75 gallon reef. Its been set up for 3 years.  I want to get a 180 aquarium for fish and LR only. I'm selling my 75 gallon to   get 180. I'm going to use the water from 75. Do I still need to let the water   cycle? << There will be a cycle, but certainly not like when first starting out a tank. >> The LFS guy told me it would be ok. I need a second opinion. The fish I   have are 1 clown,1 coral beauty, and a hippo tang. I been reading on the site   about angels. I'm interested in a emperor angel. I've read that he would rule the   tank and so on. Considering that I already have fish, should I put the emperor in  last? << Yes, but they are not highly recommend as they are difficult to keep. >> What other fish would be considered with fish I have? << Oh lots of options.  For one, I'd look at lots of different wrasse options. >> About roughly how  many fish could you put in a 180? << 15 or so??? >> I'm on the site all the time and great   information. Thanks <<  Blundell  >>

Marine mix I would like to know the order someone should add these fish into a tank. The fish are: Ocellaris Clownfish, Firefish, Kaudern's  Cardinalfish, Royal Gramma, Blue Hippo Tang, Humbug, Damselfish, Flame Angelfish, In what order would you guys introduce these fish? help me my science project is on any group of animals you choose...it is due before thanksgiving...Thanks Jahner <None of these fish are extremely aggressive or territorial, as long as the tank size is sufficient the order in which you introduce these fish does not matter.  Good Luck, LinearChaos>

Columbian sharks and other large fishes for display 11/9/04 Hi Bob. <Anthony Calfo in his stead> Two questions for ya. First, I was wondering if I could put two Groupers a Lionfish and a Puffer in a 125 gal? <assuming you are looking at the popular varieties (porcupine/dogface puffers, volitans lion, large groupers like panther, etc), then no... this is way too much regardless of filtration. The sheer adult size (or not if they stunt and die prematurely for being crowded) of these fishes makes all in this one tank inappropriate, if even possible. Do look through our archives and on databases like fishbase.org to see and consider the adult sizes of the fishes you with to keep. Now... if you are willing to go for "dwarf" varieties of the above mentioned, there are indeed species of small adult length at maturity that will work here> Second, could I put two Columbian sharks with them? <one would not even fit... these fishes start life as fresh/brackish and may end up at sea (coastal) but get quite large (2 foot range) and yet are no match for the toothy predators - they will get mauled. Above all... this tank is too small for so many large fishes to he kept healthy/humanely> Brandon Zimmerman <do research some more, my friend... there are species to appeal and suit you here to be found. Anthony> Marine livestocking Hi, <Mmm, Graham seems to be out...> I'm  John (a fish lover big time) planning to start up a 65g. tank for saltwater fish and I want your opinion on the fish I am choosing: 1. Ocellaris Clownfish 2. Humbug Damselfish 3.Flame Angelfish 4.Firefish 5.Bangaii Cardinalfish 6.Royal Gramma 7.( I am thinking of Paracanthurus hepatus or any Zebrasoma tang) Help me pick between the 2 genera. <Both would go... but this 65 is going to be a bit crowded... if a Sailfin Tang is chosen, look for a smaller species...> What do you guys think of my choices? Too much? When should I upgrade? is it just perfect? <Will be tight psychologically to start with... would place the Clown first, the Humbug last... and upgrade ASAP> help me out in every aspect you can please. I asked many people at your site this question and each one had a different answer being either good or bad responses of my questions and I would like to ask you for your opinions because I know many people how had the same set up as I am suggesting and their tanks were successful for up to 15 years with these fish with an upgrade every 5 years. no offense but the crew is confusing me with too many different opinions. Help Me! Thank You Graham, John <Keep gathering opinions John... with specifics re the actual "why" folks have their positions... till you are not confused... And remember, these are only (qualified) opinions at any length. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Bernd-from-Honduras' Wish List >Hi crew from reef heaven. I'm Bernd from Honduras. >>Yes, hello Bernd!  You're with Marina in Lake Tahoe today.   >I have contacted You about reef tanks all too often already. >>Hardly. >Also bought some books from Your authors. >>Excellent. >Question: For a 300 gal reef tank mostly furnished with LR and SPS and LPS and mushrooms, anemones all from the Caribbean, is the following wish list of fish o.k.? Already in the tank: 4 Ocellaris clowns 1 Clarks clown 1 Yellow tang 1 Atlantic blue tang 1 Royal Gramma 3 firefish gobies >On the wish list: 7 Blue green Chromis >>Check. >2 Flame angels >>Not sure, but in such a large tank I think, "Yeah, why not give it a try?" >6 Chalk bass >>Check. >1 Flame hawkfish >>Oh yes! >1 yellow assessor >>Definitely!  Lovely little fish, appropriate even for seahorse systems it's so mild-mannered. >3 Orchid Dottyback or strawberry Dottyback >>Umm.. I'd leave these fish for last, and I'd only get one or two, they can really tear up fish like the chalk bass and those lovely little Firefishes. >3 Banggai cardinals >>I'm not so sure about these fish.  It seems that they're anomalous among cardinals in that they can become quite aggressive with their own kind.  Maybe a larger group in order to ensure displacement of aggression, starting with juveniles would be best.  I know of a fellow who posts on reefs.org occasionally from Brazil who's breeding these fish successfully, but I can't remember his 'nick'. >1 Fairy or Flasher wrasse >>Lovely. >3 Sixline wrasses 10 neon gobies >>Oh, these would be SO much fun to watch.  As ever, one of my favorite fish. >3 Clown gobies 1 Midas Blenny 1 Bicolor blenny 10 scarlet cleaner shrimp (amboinensis/wurdemanni) >>L. wurdemanni, as you may already be aware, would be helpful in keeping potential Aiptasia infestations at bay.  However, their utility as cleaner shrimps is questionable.  Most small fish don't accept something as large as L. amboinensis or L. wurdemanni for cleaning anyway, though.  Also, don't forget the neon gobies are known to perform services as well. >If the wish list seems long, it is that we seldom get here what we order. That's why we have to make the list long, in order to get maybe some of it. >>Oh.. and here I thought it was because this is a 300 gallon tank filled with small fishes already.  Just kidding, I remember, your supply can be limited. >Are all those fish pretty common in the stores in the US of A?? >>Last time I even walked into an aquarium shop, yes, they are, with the exception of the flasher/fairy wrasses. >Thank You as always. Anthony, the "Mangowitz" is waiting and ready to drink! Bernd Losert >>Hm, more invitations for Anthony to imbibe, eh?  What a life!  Strongest you'll get me to drink is maybe Malta, or mavi'.  Best of luck, your list appears to be well thought-out and I think should work well.  Marina - Livestock Questions - hello. I have 75 gallon tank and a 40 gallon tall . it was  stocked  but we just  had hurricane Ivan hit here and  due  to  a 3 week power outage and no generator I lost everything. I want to restock my  tanks. have bought  100 lbs  of live rock  and  have  the  water all  testing  fine. my question is that I rally loved  my  Naso tang and I want another one .however I just found  a purple tang on sale  for an unreal $39 and I want to get it  the bad  thing is  they also have a powder blue  and a hippo tang on sale:) I want  a few  other misc.  fish and shrimp.  is there any way  between  the two  tanks  I could  get those  fish  while  they  are  small size  and  have the  tangs  I want  in the  2  tanks  split  up  2 in  each . <I wouldn't put any of these fish in a 40 gallon tank - and for the 75 I would chose only one of these tangs, preferably not the Naso or the Powder Blue. The Hippo tang will absolutely out-grow the 75.> also within  1 yr  I will have a 250 gallon   tank to put the   fish in  but for now  they have to  use  the  75 and  the  40 gallon tank.   do you think it  will be ok? <I would prefer to see you wait until you have the 250 up and running, and stick with fish with smaller space requirements for now.> I hear of  others  doing  it  but then  I also  read don't  put even 2 tangs  together. another question   I got  some  rock from  someone  else's  set up  but now  there hair algae  which was on the rock   that I thought  I cleaned  off  has  begun  an  ugly out break in my tank. how  do I get  rid  of  it. ? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm > when  they say  an  animal eats  algae  does that mean coralline  algae too! <Not usually, but does depend on exactly which animal we are talking about.>      do have  any suggestions   for online  fish store? <I like working with The Marine Center, but I've also had good experiences with Marine Depot Live.> I was  going  to buy from Aquacon  because they have a sale  and  free shipping. I had  planned  to buy from pet solutions  but  as  soon as  I got  the money to buy  the contents of  my basket they  needed  free shipping!  saltwaterfish.com  has  great prices  and  free shipping only thing  they don't have  half  of  what they list . thanks  for your help....lol  one more ok............ I herd  about  Southdown  sand   being  as  good as  the  sand  in the fish store  . well home depot  didn't have  so I bought some  play sand that they said  was  sand and  sterilized.  come to find  out  after I put in the tank it is  silica  sand. I read some  people did this and it worked   and no problems  and others  say ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh no way . I don't want to disturb the tank  because it is cycled  ........so you think I  can  use  this  with no problems . <It is possible that this is one of the causes of your hair algae break out - also, because this is silica sand, it will not contribute to your alkaline reserve so you may have problems keeping the pH in range in the future - if it were my tank, I'd remove it.> there's is  live rock  as filtration and a protein skimmer. I was  thinking of  adding some live sand ion top   so I don't disrupt  everything,.  well thanks  I know  I had  a lot of questions.   man...........I will get  a generator  for next hurricane....I lost  a Naso tang  a bi color  angel   a fir fish  a mandarin goby 2 clams . tons of  mushrooms and  zoos..... a huge huge  slfin   2 huge engineer goby  and lots of cleaner  stuff and  dragon goby  and what ever else  was in the two tanks....... ii was sick  literally about it . :(  poor  fishies:( <Yes, a generator is a must have in hurricane-prone states. Cheers, J -- > Asfur Angel Stocking Concern Dear Mike D.: Thanks for your response.<Back again, and you're welcome>  The pygmy angelfish I'm referring to is the cherub angelfish, and I introduced him at the same time as the flameback with both of equal size.  This method usually works well in larger tanks, and the two of them are truly best buddies in this tank.<Since they've settled in so well, they may end up being far closer than you ever dreamed.  Keep an eye peeled for spawning activity>  My question is in regards to the Heniochus.  I've never kept one in the past.  Would you recommend a single specimen, or a small shoal of say four members?<Although they usually do fine alone, there are some real advantages with a shoal, particularly with the Schooling Bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes)>  Would a Bannerfish be able to hold its ground against an angel such as this one?<At full size, very little can hold it's own against a large Asfur, and again, here's where a small shoal might work well. It's difficult to do much damage to one fish if they all look alike, the old "dither" principle>  And, within the Heniochus group is there one particular type that stands out regarding durability, etc.?<I suppose you'd think you were being set up if I told you that the diphreutes was both the most common and the hardiest, eh?>  Finally, the larger gobies you are referring to I'll assume are types like the brown barred goby and so forth.  Aren't most of these sand sifters?<Many are, but the gobies that are large enough to handle regular aquarium fare usually do quite well. I have a spawning trio (species unknown) in my 100 gal. tank at the moment that all shoot to the top and "stick to the glass", waiting for food when I approach, thus being among the best fed fish in the tank>  I guess I'm concerned that they'll not be able to find adequate amounts of food in the substrate since I already have two white sand stars in this tank.  Is this a valid concern?<Possibly, but here my concern would be more for the sea stars than for the gobies.  My sand sifting stars showed me that they could climb the glass for food as well, and now are individually spot fed on small pieces of meaty food and are up to almost 5" across each and still growing.>  Thanks again!<You're welcome and best of luck> Sam Mancini  

The Secret Is In The Selection (Choosing New Fishes) Bob & Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight> I guess if you're in this hobby long enough... <I can imagine the next line....LOL> I've been running a rock solid healthy 175g FOWLR tank for about 5 years now. I've kept the same inmates for most of that time. About a year ago, when doing some routine maintenance, I ran into a snag and the filtration system was completely down for several hours. Anyway, the kids got ich. Lost a bunch, saved some. Moved the survivors to a hospital tank and let the main system run fallow for 3 months. <That should have done the trick...> It's been about 6 months since reintroducing livestock, and I assume the main tank is basically ich free now. While the main system was running fallow, I kept a pretty good dose of copper in the hospital tank, so I'm pretty sure I killed off the ick on my surviving livestock. <I'd bet!> The survivors are back in the main tank and doing well. I want to add a few fish back to the main system, some of which are prone to parasites (butterflies and an angel). I want to quarantine them thoroughly and make absolutely sure any parasites are toast. <Excellent procedure!> Have read and reread dip and quarantine procedures on WetWebMedia.com. Would like to know if you have any specific product recommendations on medication I can run in the quarantine tank to kill off parasites. I'm leery of copper. It's tough to keep the concentration exactly correct with frequent water changes. With copper in the quarantine tank, I've had several casualties. <I agree...I do not run medications "prophylactically" in my quarantine tanks. I would only utilize copper (or any medication, for that matter) if I were treating some specific illness. By leaving the new fish in a quarantine tank with good water quality, stress is minimized.> Thought about running lean on salt, but you guys don't recommend that. <Some people do like hyposalinity, but I am not a big fan of it. I'd rather utilize normal specific gravity and let the quarantine period allow any diseases, if present, to manifest themselves.> Not sure if it was the medication or fighting, but I've tried to add about a dozen green Chromis, which are supposed to be peaceful, over the last month, but I've only successfully acclimated 4 to the main tank. <Sometimes, these fish are not that durable. A lot of it depends upon the source, collection techniques, and shipping practices involved.> Wanted your thoughts before trying to add anything else. My casualty rate in the past has been pretty much nonexistent, but since I've been so paranoid about ich and have been using medication, I've lost many more than usual. I'd like to eliminate as many potential problems as possible. As always, very best regards, J.D. Hill <Well, J.D.- it really sounds like you are doing things right! Perhaps the extra "edge" that you might need can be gained by improving your selection skills to source and purchase only the healthiest fishes possible. If you are picky, patient, dedicated, and don't ever buy fishes from a dealer's tank with sick or doubtful specimens, you'll improve your chances of success manifold! Keep at it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 65-gallon stocking Question Hi, <How goes it, Michael here answering a few before class> I'm  John (a fish lover big time) <and a good thing too!> planning to start up a 65g. tank for saltwater fish and I want your opinion on the fish I am choosing: 1. Ocellaris Clownfish 2. Humbug Damselfish <Either get a few (~3) damsels, or a few ocellaris clowns, but one of each isn't natural and they're likely to pick on each other> 3.Flame Angelfish 4.Firefish <I wouldn't get him, for two reasons: they're very timid, and you have a lot of semi aggressive fish you're looking at.  Also, they require specific food, which they're unlikely to receive with all of your other fish nabbing it > 5.Bangaii Cardinalfish <get more than one, they're schooling fish> 6.Royal Gramma 7.( I am thinking of Paracanthurus hepatus or a Zebrasoma tang) Help me pick between the 2 genera. <No tangs in a 65 gallon, too small, not enough swimming room.  Tangs are open water fish> What do you guys think of my choices?  Too much?  When should I upgrade?  Is it just perfect? <As long as you don't go with any tangs and skip out on the Firefish you should be good>  Help me out in every aspect you can please. Thank You All, John <No problem.  M. Maddox>

Aggressive Fish Tank Questions Hi, <Hi, MikeD here> When my 200 gallon tank gets fixed I am planning on starting an aggressive fish tank.<That's a good sized tank for your plan.> I have a wet dry filter and a skimmer and a large Rio powerhead. Here's what I plan on having Volitans Lionfish Harlequin Tusk Clown Trigger Niger Trigger Koran Angel Puffer (maybe) Would this be too crowded? <Initially, no, but as the fish grow, yes.> Are these fish all compatible?<In my opinion, no. I usually strongly suggest only Crosshatch, Bluechin or Sargassum triggerfish in tanks to contain Lionfish or other slow ambush predators.> Should I get a Puffer instead of the Clown Trigger? <I would strongly recommend this course of action. While small clown Triggers are often quite delicate, once they begin to grow and mature most end up killing EVERYTHING in the tank with them eventually. The brilliant and beautiful coloration of a Clown Triggerfish is an excellent example of "warning coloration" advising other creatures to beware.  While the Niger Trigger is often far less aggressive, they too can change overnight and can grow to 19" and the poison fins of a lionfish are no defense at all against an irate trigger.> Also what order should I get them in?<With the other fish that you've listed, order is relatively unimportant except for the Angel, which should be added last if it has any size to it. This has an added advantage in that many Angels do poorly in newly set up tanks, with one year often being the magic number, at least in my own experience.> Any other info you could give me would be appreciated.<My only other suggestions would be to utilize natural foods cut to appropriate size for all but the Angel, as this will cut down on oils and particles that often lead to cloudiness and bacterial blooms.  While may "formulas" and cubes appear logical, they often create more problems than they solve.> Thanks, Adam Siders

Have u been Tang'O ? Hello guys, <Steven> I have been browsing several forums (Singapore Reef Club, ReefCentral, Arofanatics, and WetWebMedia), yet I have not found an answer to my questions. I posted in 3 later websites but to not avail. I have also bought and read The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, The Natural Aquarium, The Ultimate Marine Aquariums, etc. Perhaps you could help. <Perhaps> Introduction: I have 150cm (L) x 75cm (W) x 75cm (H) aquarium yet to deliver. Main Equipment: Eheim 1262, Laguna Utility 5 pump, Arcadia MH 150watts x 2 and 30 watts x 2. Chiller yet to order. Plan: Phase 1: - FOWLR Phase 2: - Indo Pacific Patch Reef (with chiller) Landscape plan: 1. Lots of open spaces. 2. Low vertical relief 3. White sandy sand 4. Vertical relief would be tower like pinnacle. Q1: Compatibility of fish, which would u recommend? C1) Pivotal species: To keep a school of yellow tang (5), tomato clownfish, flame angel, regal angel fish, mandarin fish <Mmm, you could have the five flavescens... but I would cut this back to three individuals... far more interesting, less-antagonistic behavior in this size, shape system... I'd skip the Regal Angel... too big, hard to keep... and would add a refugium if the mandarins you intend you want to keep well-fed> C2) 1 of each Pivotal species: Yellow tang, Hippo tang, Powder blue and brown and Achilles,  tomato clownfish, flame angel, regal angel fish, mandarin fish <Yellows are best kept in a grouping, the Powder Blue I'd skip (too hard to keep, too easy a vector for parasitic disease), and the Achilles also not easily kept period... see above re the mandarins and Regal> I note yellow tang and clown fish are the easiest of the lot compared to the rest of wish list. Therefore will be added last. <I concur> Q2: Is my aquarium large enough to TangO 5 tangs? <Not really, comfortably. They will not be happy crowded together. Your message shows signs of much good study, planning... do either keep honing your stocking plan, or seek a larger volume tank. Bob Fenner>

Wrasse options Hello, Love your website.  I have a question on fish compatibility, I did a search and found many things but nothing quite on point. I have a 60 gallon saltwater tank, FOWLR.  It has a 4 inch or so yellow tang, 2 small ocellaris clowns, a small bicolor blenny, 2 cleaner shrimp, Nassarius and turbo snails and what I think is a south American red knob sea star.  I'd like to add one or two more fish, and I've noticed a few Bristleworms, not many by any means. I'm considering a fridmani, or a six line wrasse, or perhaps both.  I'd like to keep the tank peaceful, as I've had to return a blue dot puffer and damsel because of aggression.  Do you have any suggestions for me? << I'd go with a sixline for sure.  Much easier to keep and very peaceful.  I'd wait on the fridmani, although they are quite beautiful (but maybe a little more aggressive). >> Thanks! Jim Lee <<  Blundell  >>

Niger Trigger and puffer Hey, great website. <The crew thanks you> About how long could a Niger triggerfish and a Dog Faced puffer live in 4 ft long aquarium until I upgrade. <That depends on a lot of things, like growth rate, and other fish in the tank. If they don't have a lot of other competition they can grow to be very large.  I wouldn't suggest letting them get larger than six inches in that tank although if you have a lot of swimming room in height that might also make a difference.> They would be 2-3 inches and what size tank would you recommend for their adult sizes.  <Something over two hundred gallons would be nice I think. MacL> Fish or no fish in a saltwater tank? Mr. Blundell, << Please no Mr. just Blundell or Adam is fine. >> checked out the 72 gallon tank, WOW!  Have a couple of thoughts, I do not want to start out with such a sophisticated tank. << That was the most simplistic tank I have ever seen.  That is why I suggested seeing it.  I'm not sure why such a simple tank has such good results. >> Originally just wanted to convert to salt water fish tank with crushed coral or sand base. Then after reading and getting educated it seemed as though the fish w/live rock would provide a better overall system. << Yes live rock is needed..... even if you don't have fish. >> Things seem to be snowballing now and may be overwhelming to jump into a system like Steve Lopez's. << Trust me, it only gets bigger and more complicated from there. >> It seems that when you add live rock the whole system gets a lot more technical and expensive. Isn't there an easier way to start off, with purchasing equipment that can serve as the base of the system and can be utilized in the event that you add invertebrates and coral later on? << I say no.  Here is why.  It is much better, and easier, to start with an invert tank with live rock and corals.  Maybe some day down the road add some fish.  But too many people want salt water fish tanks, and that is not a good idea.  A natural tank is so much cheaper and easier to keep.  Start with rock and inverts and go from there. >>  By the way was that a picture of you looking at the tank? << I don't remember.  I'll bet it was a pic of the owner. >> Thanks, Frank G. <<  Blundell  >> Packin' 'Em In (10/8/04) Hi <Hello, Steve Allen here.> I wanted to write and ask a question. <shoot> I have a 150 gal  fish only marine aquarium it has 60 to 70 lbs of live rock, 2 AquaClear 500 filters a bio-wheel 330 protein skimmer <?? I am not aware of a protein skimmer that incorporates a Bio-Wheel. Canister filter yes, skimmer no. What brand?> and a 24 watt UV sterilizer. In the tank I have a 3 inch hippo tang, 3 inch bi-color angel, 3-1/2 inch Picasso trigger, 3-1/2 inch yellow tang, 5 1/2 inch blonde Naso tang, 3 inch spotted sailfin tang, 3 inch lionfish, 2 inch green mandarin <sure to starve to death with all those aggressive feeders in there> and a inch false percula clownfish... <Your tank is waaay overstocked. Even without adding the Emperor Angel you mention below, you need a tank at least twice as big as this to keep the current inhabitants healthy and happy for a natural lifespan. Are you aware of the adult size of each of these fish? Not too mention that almost all of these are prodigious producers of bodily wastes.> My water quality stays really good don't have any problems that way <You will.> All the fish eat really well and they all get along really well <This may not stay this way as they grow. Imagine living in your living room with 6 other people for 20 years.> And have there own spot in the tank...weird as it sounds they school up together and move about the tank  weirdest thing.... <Not likely to last in these tight quarters...too many Tangs.> My last fish <another?!> is a 6 inch emperor angel <Whoa! Now were talking even more seriously overcrowded.> just came in and is at my local pet store where he will stay for two weeks in quarantine... my questions are ...will my Naso and the emperor get along ok where they are so close in size? <Impossible to say. Each new fish with adult size over 10" that you pack in there risks ultimately tipping the extremely delicate balances you now have, both behaviorally and biologically.> And the other question is when I first got the hippo tang he got ich shortly after I put him into my tank so I treated the tank with CopperSafe <You should not put this poison in your tank. If (when) it kills your biofilter, the flood of ammonia from these fish will kill them all in short order.> and he has been ich free for a good 4 weeks <I'll bet it comes back.> I haven't removed the copper. Is it ok to leave this in there and just slowly let it dissipate with water changes or should I use a PolyFilter and remove it?  <You need to do some serious reading about copper on WWM. You need to understand its serious downsides. I'd try to get it out if I were you.> I was kinda thinking I should leave it in there for about three weeks after I put in the Emperor in that way I know my tank is clean <Did you monitor your copper level daily and maintain a therapeutic level for the full recommended treatment period? If not, I doubt your tank is free of ich.> and will be since I'm not adding anything else to the tank? <No guarantees here at all.>  Thanx and I would appreciate your input. dean Olsen <My honest input is that you will need to get rid of a few of these fish within a year or else buy a 300+ gallon tank.>

Packin' 'Em In--Follow-up (10/9/04) Hey thanks for writing me so fast.... <You're welcome. BTW, for future reference, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences. Also, please use apostrophes and other proper punctuation. 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 think I wrote wrong about the protein skimmer I have a 330 bio wheel and a protein skimmer ...separate equipment.<understood> I understand what you are saying about the copper ...I had that concern about it in the tank also ...I called the manufacturer of the CopperSafe and talked to there marine biologist and he said this:   copper safe is chelated copper and its a bigger molecule than free copper and its built so the fish cant absorb it and said that it will not harm my biological filter <I beg to differ on that second part. Plenty of folks have experienced biofilter crashes from chelated copper, not to mention invertebrate slaughter.> However I do agree that anything you add to a tank that's not supposed to be there shouldn't be there. So yea I'm gonna get rid of the copper. I've had the tank with all of the inhabitants for over a year and a half and I do a 15 to 20% water change once a month sometimes twice <good> depending but I've never had any ammonia spikes or nitrite spikes of any sort...my nitrate creeps up slowly but never reaches 20....as for your advice on a bigger tank god I would love to have a 300 gallon tank. Right now just the weight scares me as I live in a upstairs apartment, <No 300G tank there.> but we are closing on a house and its on a slab so maybe ill just do that :) <Cool> Let me know what you think of the copper and things <Do read the copper FAQs and articles. No one on this site advocates the use of any copper product (or other med) in the display.> I really don't want to get rid of any of my fish. I've grown attached to all of them <I hear ya> but if it means there health then I should do something....dean <Your tank is clearly too small over time. You really have three choices for the long-term health and well-being of your fishes: 1. Bigger tank. 2. Second tank of same size to divide the load. 3. Getting rid of some of them. Number one seems like the best choice. Perhaps you could put the tank in your new house and move your contents to it as part of moving? Enjoy.>

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