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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 31

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

Related FAQs: Best Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 8FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQ 21, FAQs 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish SelectionTriggerfish Selection

A typically shy Cephalopholis in captivity. Pic courtesy of  Lucius Davis

New England Aquarium Stocking density      8/9/18
Good Morning,
Just Visited the New England Aquarium. They had a marine tank that was incredibly heavily stocked with adult fish. Tank looked to be 20 feet long x 4 feet high x 4 feet deep. The fish all looked healthy but the stocking density was extremely high. How are public aquariums able to accomplish this?
<Ahh; the magic; well, science of a BUNCH of gear out of sight; often much more volume than is on display as well. Ask for or take an "e" virtual tour of a public aquarium, including a behind the scenes tour. See humongous protein skimmers, oversized mechanical and physical filtration. Some folks
adhere to the overstocking philosophy to reduce aggression and wow/zow the viewing public. I myself am more a fan of understocking... not as appealing perhaps to attendees, but much safer lest there be a power outage, overfeeding... other challenging incident>
This one side display tank was the most heavily stocked tank in the building . Among those that I can remember there was Large Emp Angel, Several Powder blue Tangs, Clown Fish, Sailfin Tangs, Majestic Angel, Purple Tang, Passer Angel, Lipstick Tangs, Picasso Tangs, Many Butterfly fish etc etc etc. The fish were un-naturally overactive IMO. Any Thoughts?
<Again, not my cuppa, but such over-stocking can be done... with lots of equipment and good maintenance.
Bob Fenner>
Re: New England Aquarium Stocking density       8/10/18

I understand completely.
<Ah, good>
I have a 220 gal display right now with 2 large adult fish . Emp Angel and Heniochus Butterfly . 2 damsels one percula . They are so much more laid back and natural in their demeanor .
Again thanks
Has taken me a lifetime to understand but understocking is my cuppa tea
<Am glad to find our values are confluent here. Bob Fenner>

Thalassoma sel., captive fish mortality      7/26/17
Thanks bob, i will shy away from that wrasse.
I did pick up a wrasse people don't encounter often in aquaria, but I've seen you talk about while diving in Hawaii, a Coris venusta. Subtly beautiful, and ate everything the lfs had to throw at it.
<Hardy, like most Coris spp.>
I wanted your opinion in fish mortality. I've been told a trip to a wholesaler during receiving can be an absolute living nightmare. Garbage cans full of dead fish.
Without any real, honest empirical data out there, what percentage do you put on the number of fish living a week after they leave the ocean (capture, transport, acclimation at first facility), versus one year post capture (the hobbyist home aquarium)
<Losses likely exceed 10% for some shipments; perhaps more. Highly variable at times>
And lastly, how would you rank in order of most common first, reasons fish perish:
<Largest source of mortality: trauma/stress in collecting, handling, shipping>

1. Not suitable for captivity (ribbon eels, Moorish idols, mandarins)
<On a scale of 1-10, this is a 5>
2. Improper set up (seahorse in fish only set up, Achilles tang on too small of quarters, coral eating species kept in tanks absent of coral, Garibaldi damsels kept on tropical set ups)
<Again, about a five>
3. Disease (flukes, ich, velvet etc)
<Maybe a two>
4. Environmental ( bacterial, harsh water conditions)
<A six>
5. Incompatible tank mates (too many tangs, triggers with lion fish)
<A four or so>
And lastly 6, the mysterious fish just die whether it be stress, some type of genetic defect (heart issue, liver etc)
<A one>
Any others I didn't think of. (I'm sure chemical interaction, stray
and others play a part too)
Thanks bob
Re: SW fish mortality... more GIGO, generalizations in, g out. Now water chg. %   7/27/17

Thanks bob. Always wished there were more hard science when it came to this, more in the direction of cat and dog understanding.
<Google the names Andrew Rhyne and Kathleen Wood. These two have been gathering such data>
I will throw one more in there, misinformation, taking ideas from others and thinking they will work for you.
Was just told by someone at a reputable online fish e-ticket that more than a 25 percent water change at a time is harmful and removed beneficial bacteria. I always thought and still believe organic build up in a fish only set up is bad, and the good bacteria existed on rock, sand tank, and very little in the water.
<Mmm; am leery of generalizations... Would require information on how the replacement water was made, how the old water was removed...>
Never heard of too big of a water change in a fish only set up, as long as temp, salinity and other spec param.s are close.
Thanks again Bob.

Fish Industry Question; also lvstk. sel. f', SW      4/6/17
Hi Bob-
Gabe from the crew here. Had a question for you about an online retailer and thought you may be able to help. Have you heard of LiveRockNReef.com?  
<I have not; no>
Talked to one of their divers yesterday, turns out they go out and catch things and ship them the same day.
<Mmm; a few outfits do this... A poor idea... they all go out of business w/in a year or so... due to issues related... massive mortality, DOAs. Too much stress, deaths from lack of rest>
Please let me know what/if you know about them and if you would consider them if you were in the market for some hard-to-find fish. Feel free to email me with your Hotmail if you need to.
Gabe Walsh
WWM Crew
<Mmm; what sort of guarantee/s to they offer? I would quarantine everything brought in thus.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Industry Question. Stkg. marines       4/7/17

Thanks for the response. The owner told me that they've been open for 30+ years, but I'm not sure if that is true or not based on what you've said.
Nothing much on guarantees... The site says "no guarantees once the package is in your hands", which could mean no DOA or DAA, likely the former?
My problem is I am looking for two species that I can't find anywhere else so I might have to take a gamble on this. Know anyone that can get Gymnothorax Funebris or Epinephelus Lanceolatus?
<... you realize this last gets HUGE. Oh, your LFS should be able to special order you both of these... I'd have them contact Quality Marine in LA. BobF>

That's what I'm looking for...
Gabe Walsh
WWM Crew
Re: Fish Industry Question      4/7/17

I am aware of the size potential of the latter species. It will likely have to be a newborn that I could keep for a few days before it reaches 750 kilos :)
<Let's hope... it can/does grow quickly if fed...>
I might try out that website. Sounds like they can get what I'm looking for easily. Hopefully I won't end up in debt. I'll let you know how it goes.
Mixed reviews for them online. My LFS aren't able to get these species because they don't want anyone else to see them and want them in their tanks, so for the sake of other customers they don't want to order them.
Any retailers you know of that regularly stock Gymnothorax Funebris? Not worried about the Lanceolatus at this point since it isn't the right season.
<Heeeee! I don't get out to "the retailers" much. Have seen the Moray in recent years but not the honking bass>
On another note, Belize was an interesting experience. We did five dives in just under 24 hours. I will attach links at the bottom for dive footage.
There was a videographer that followed us on the first three dives. Blue Hole was a bust (as you said). We saw no fish in the hole, and stalactites are no fun.

30 minute dive to 140 feet. Tons of novice divers on the trip which worried me, especially since we were a few hours from a deco chamber... The other four dives were really nice. Footage of the Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye, and The Aquarium is attached. Feel free to post the links if you want.
Gabe Walsh, WWM Crew
<Ah yes; nice footage. BobF>
Re: Fish Industry Question      4/7/17

<Big G>
Thanks for all the help. Nice touch on the nickname by the way. Gabester has a nice ring to it :)
I'll keep you posted on the Gymnothorax
Gabe Walsh
WWM Crew
<And you; B>

Question about Marine Aquarium Species Set-up      12/29/15
Hi there,
<Hiya – Darrel here for throwing in my two cents>
I am an environmental analyst (terrestrial) but have always had a keen love and interest in the marine world and have thus decided to start looking into building up a marine aquarium system.
<This is why I decided to jump in. I’m a scientist, too and what I want to make clear is that Marine / Coral Aquariums are heavily dependent on science but there is very clearly and art to it as well. Scientists don’t make good marine aquarists until they can embrace the fact that not all CAN be controlled and calculated and some must be felt>
All information I have read so far does point out that the best method is to start with a fish only system and then build up to a full reef system.
<That’s pretty close, yes>
However (this might sound odd) but my main interest is actually in the corals, therefore my system will be made for them, but with a few favoured fish species also.
<OK – so far so good>
I have read a lot about setting up a biologically stable system using live rock etc. to ensure an active biome within the system. Much literature says to start with fish only, and then add rock and coral later.
My question is this; If I start with corals, will the lack of fish (therefore no waste etc.) negatively impact the coral, or will they be sustainable with some external input?
Also, would the addition of fishes later on pose any problems on an already stable system?
Many thanks in advance for your advice!
<Mac – if you start with corals the waste byproduct will likely be piles of dead coral, an empty checkbook and a frustrated scientist>
<As a scientist to can read a book on how to build a helicopter and another on how to fly one, but not a bit of that would prepare you to ACTUALLY fly one … for no other reason than no document can teach you how to ‘feel’ the controls, etc… so you’d end up putting in too much control, then too much correction then not enough over-correction, etc. until you were so wildly out of control that you had no frame of reference any longer.>
<This is what a marine aquarium is. The system starts out static and then follows a strict formula (which you can read here and follow strictly) and things will go well. Then the static system will begin to grow (on its own) and take on a life (on its own) and while the science still holds and the formula still holds true … the variables overwhelm the constants … and the science must make room for the art and talent of knowing when to react and when not.>
<Which is all well and good .. but what you have to remember is that coral, as a rule, have NO tolerance AT ALL for “oops” or “I forgot that” or “OK - NOW I know what they meant by over-driving the nitrogen cycle …”>
<So, if you ask my opinion (and this is America where everyone is entitled to my own opinion) the reason to start with Fish and Live rock (FOWLR) is that it gives you a chance to learn your art-craft before you start introducing strict, demanding, intolerant and inscrutable life forms>
<Put another way, no formula you learned in school about airborne Ppm particulates taught you how to predict the beauty of the sunset as seen through those clouds>
Kindest regards,
<More specific and experienced opinions to follow under separate cover>
Question about Marine Aquarium Species Set-up   /Bob's go      12/29/15

Hi there,
I am an environmental analyst (terrestrial) but have always had a keen love and interest in the marine world and have thus decided to start looking into building up a marine aquarium system. All information I have read so far does point out that the best method is to start with a fish only system and then build up to a full reef system.
<Mmm; a conservative approach; useful to give new folks some basic skills, understanding>
However (this might sound odd) but my main interest is actually in the corals, therefore my system will be made for them, but with a few favoured fish species also. I have read a lot about setting up a biologically stable system using live rock etc. to ensure an active biome within the system. Much literature says to start with fish only, and then add rock and coral later. My question is this; If I start with corals, will the lack of fish (therefore no waste etc.) negatively impact the coral, or will they be sustainable with some external input?
<Can start w/ "corals"; would definitely begin by cycling the system w/ live rock and/or sand>
Also, would the addition of fishes later on pose any problems on an already stable system?
<Will not>
Many thanks in advance for your advice!
Kindest regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Cardinal Fish... Buying rare, un-stocked fishes      11/13/15
I would like know of any contacts from whom I may purchase any of these cardinal fish: Vincentia conspersa, Vincentia badia, Vincentia macrocauda or the *Siphamia cephalotes. *I saw in an old question that one researcher asked you about Vincentia conspersa, just wondering if the purchase was ever made. I know that fish is from Australia and I'm currently going to be in Adelaide, Australia, so I would like to know if there are any providers I could contact around here for any of these species.
<Really far better for you to contact local importers/wholesalers, likely through fish stores that deal widely in such locale/s... ASK them in turn if they'd contact their suppliers; very possibly re asking their divers to look for, secure these Apogonids. A longer shot is contacting the in-country suppliers, visiting them, getting out and actually doing the gathering yourself w/ their crew. >
Thank you for your attention
Kind regards
Almendra Rodriguez
<Welcome. Bob Fenner who has "been here, done this several times">

Dragon Eel, Dogface puffer, Volitans Lionfish (mix) question... Earl Clay Tres chimes in!      9/28/15
Hey guys. Long time reader, first time questioner here.
About a week ago I introduced a 18" Dragon Eel and a 6" Dogface puffer to a 150 gallon tank without any other fish.
<Be sure to use a powerful skimmer and possibly mechanical filtration for these messy carnivores. Fascinating but messy!> The next day I added a Volitans Lionfish to the tank that was slightly smaller than the puffer.
<This is likely to be a dangerous mix. As you mention, a puffer can be a fin nipper and worse...eels and lions are relatively slow, low-key animals who are easy pickings for a puffer. Puffers (and Tetradontiforms generally) are smart, relative to fish, and have personality. This can backfire when they realize they are in there with two captive compatriots. Those teeth are well equipped for tearing up soft skin, fins, and even biting through the spines of a lionfish...neither of which are likely to outmaneuver a puffer long-term. If the puffer decides to get mean, neither of those fish has any protection from it. A
puffer can be like a battering ram with a beak and 6" is big enough to be ornery and set in its ways...time will tell how this particular one will act. I have met several people with nasty scars from puffers and triggers.
Keep an eye on your fingers. ;) >
The eel and puffer acclimated very well and began eating and swimming in the open within a day. They even for lack
of a better term, "cuddle" together throughout the day and the puffer even sleeps in the same cave as the eel. <Based on your decor/rockwork in my experience, fish, especially largish ones that may have a harder time finding good cover than typically smaller ones might, will gravitate toward the same "best" cover.>
The lionfish on the other hand was very timid and wouldn't eat for 5 days.
<Not unusual, I recommend having the source of purchase feed a lion and see what or if it's eating. You may have to wean
it off of live food. I have had luck with mysis shrimp for this.>
Last night we found the lionfish with bites taken out of his belly, and unfortunately he has passed away.
<Sorry to hear it. The "forensic case" is clear here.>
We believe it was the puffer that did this, not the eel.
<Simple enough to tell: what do the bites look like exactly? Pointed teeth or a "beak"? Pictures would help here...I recommend taking some post-mortem photos or even putting the fish in a freezer (!) if you want to resolve these mystery murders or diseases more concretely.>
I have read on your site, unfortunately after the fact, that puffers can nip at lionfish fins.
Is this amount of aggression towards the lionfish normal, though?
Are the puffer and eel really "buddies" at this point, or are they displaying some sort of "dominance game" with each other? <Fish act like "dive buddies" all the time for a variety of reasons. I suspect at least part of it is as I referred to before, they are both doing the same things for similar reasons and their "hanging out" is a natural result. How much does the eel move around the tank? They are normally pretty sedentary and should hole up in a semi-permanent home. This seems like they are simply new fish to the tank that are investigating, taking advantage of the other's discoveries (escape routes, discovering food).>
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Evan.
<Sad to hear of your loss but with experience comes knowledge. My advice is to study up as much as you can, especially with large possibly volatile predators, before adding a new fish. WWM has some pretty in-depth info on triggers and puffers. Another key thing with these guys is order of introduction: least to most "mean".
The lionfish should have gone in first, then the eel, then the puffer imo.
The idea is to let the more timid or vulnerable guys to establish themselves first and also when the new ones come along they have not already entrenched themselves in a tank they consider their turf to defend.
I hope this helps! -E.C.3>

Stocking List... using WWM     1/5/12
Here's the low down:
Im in the process of getting all my tank equipment and such set up for my new 55 gallon tank. Im going to be adding it to my 40 gallon system that i already have established, consisting of a 20 gallon display and 20 gallon sump. Im going to keep the 20 gallon display, and scrap the sump and probably upgrade to a larger 40 gallon tank for use as my sump, as to house my new algae scrubber <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_scrubber
<Am familiar>
I'm constructing. Im going to run my Aqua C remora skimmer, custom filter sock for mechanical, and the algae scrubber i mentioned. I was planning on using about 50 lbs or so of live rock and shallow sand bed. Im having some problems constructing my stocking list, because Im making it around my Snowflake eel that i already have. He's only about 9-10 inches long and doing good <well> in his 20 gallon tank ( sump ) but i know he needs an upgrade, so that's why I'm upping to a 55. What are some good tank-mate's i could put in with him.
<... Please run your writing through a grammar and spelling check ahead of sending it to us... And learn to/use the indices and search tool on WWM as requested as well... ahead of writing us. READ here:
I was thinking either a smaller yellow or hippo tang,
<Mmm, not the latter; this system is too small>
( away with you Tang-Police ) with the intent to upgrade to a larger tank as needed, as I'm assuming the eel will need too depending on how big he grows. I was also dabbling around a dragon wrasse - does anyone have an experience with them?
<... yes. See WWM re>
I was also pretty set on a Flame Angel as well. Also maybe a bit larger long-nose Hawkfish <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkfish>. A few Chromis?
Also, any opinions on snowflake eels and cleaner shrimp? i have one in my 20 but if its safe, ide like to move him to the 55 also. I also plan to move my attitudinal blue
damsel<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysiptera_cyanea> out of my 20 to the 55 too because he harasses my poor clown to no end . Im not to <too> worried about the bio load / water parameters, because i do keep d*mn good water quality, and FWC's. Im mostly concerned about tank space, and compatibility.
If you could just put your .02 in that would be fantastic!
<See WWM re your questions; they're all answered there. Bob Fenner>

SAIA FishSelector 2.0 -- 12/23/11
Dear Friends SAIA FishSelector 2.0 is online!
Please visit www.saia-online.eu to access the new version. Still for free and this time for all users (PC & MAC).As before we appreciate your comments and recommendations.
<A good start... of course there is a huge number of fish species, invertebrates... that could/need to be added>
I thank everybody involved in improving this tool and development of the second version.<Ah yes>
Enjoy the festive season and a Happy New Year
<And to you and yours Christiane. Cheers, Bob Fenner>!
Christiane Schmidt on behalf of all SAIA stakeholders

Marine aquarium stocking -- 02/05/11
*I am sure this has been asked many times before, but maybe new technology has changed the rules. I have visited marine aquarium forums where people are giving what I believe to be poor and misleading information on the stocking levels of marine aquariums. There seems to be a belief that the 'inch per gallon rule' or the amount of fish that can be safely held in a marine aquarium is no longer valid due to the latest technology in skimmers, sumps and filters.
<Though just a "rule of thumb" cubic inches per five-ten gallons are more valid...>
There seems to be a belief that 'as long as the fish get
along it's OK' mentality. If this is true it will be news to me, and if it is false, which I believe it to be, I would like to rebut their opinions with factual knowledge from the 'experts', and help save some newbie aquarium owner from making the mistake of throwing all the fish they want into an aquarium, thinking they will be fine because they have the latest and greatest equipment.*
*Thank you*
<Mmm, while the advent, use of "better gear" may allow higher stocking densities, there are more important factors per the individual species, their mixing... It is of little use to make/assert generalized statements such as "if A, then B" statements in our interest. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm
the fourth tray down; particularly these articles:
Stocking Marine Systems by Bob Fenner
Marine Livestock Selection, Part 2, Part 3 by Bob Fenner
Notes On Livestocking by Sara Mavinkurve
Beginner Marine Livestock, Some of The Best Available Right Now by Bob Fenner
Avoiding Bad Choices: Saltwater Animals That Are Commonly Offered in the Trade That Shouldn't Be, and Suggested Alternatives by Bob Fenner
and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner> 

Restocking   1/31/11
Hi crew,
<Hello Danielle>
My tank has been sitting idle for about 6 months. All my fish have died and I was waiting until I could afford to restock. I removed about 50% of the water after the last fish died, and have since been just replacing the evaporated water. I am ready to add new fish to the tank. How should I begin? Would keeping the existing water hurt the fish?
<I would do another water change and have a good read on WWM before restocking. I don't know if this is a fresh or salt water query, but here are the two main pages: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm
Thanks in advance for your help,
<No problem>

Livestock selection question   4/29/10
Hi crew,
Currently I have a 55 gallon reef tank with a Yellow Tang, an Ocellaris clownfish and a Red Flame Hawkfish. I've had each fish for 2 yrs + and they have proven to be (for me) tough, hardy fish.
I'm looking to add only 2 more fish to the tank (one at a time, of course).
Despite my source water for my QT and main tank coming from a Spectra Pure 5 state RO/DI etc. filtration system, I have found through expensive trial and error with choosing fish, that I need hearty fish that do not require top notch water quality.
I have tried a flame angel, coral beauty,
<This system is too small for a full-sized/species of Centropyge>
Banggai cardinal fish and lawnmower blenny. All of these fish never made it out of my QT. Each died after 1-2 weeks.
Can you recommend a couple of colorful, tough fish that do not need excellent water quality that will coexist well with my current fish to add to my tank?
<I recommend you take the time to peruse WWM... Maybe start w/ others input over the years: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm
Scroll down, read the "Stocking" FAQs files for the various types of systems listed. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your time.

Stocking tanks, 3/9/09 I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank (undergravel filter, installing sump system, crushed coral) and a 75 gallon saltwater tank (canister and sump system, sand). They are in toddler classrooms, and have been established since October (we bought the 75 gallon from someone and they had it for several years). <Bet the kids will love it.> I want to put fairly large - BUT NOT TOO LARGE - and colorful fish in them, without overstocking them. They also must be 5's in Scott W. Michaels book. Here is what I have so far. Please tell me where they should be put, and what can go with them, or if I need to return some or all of them and start with something else. I would love to have a lion fish or porcupine puffer, but I don't want to overstock my tanks, and I don't know what they'd be compatible with. <The puffer will get too large, although there are some smaller variations that may work. Be aware that the lion does have venomous spines, so make sure the tank is tightly sealed, no little hands to get stung.> Again, these are in children's classrooms so the bigger (but not too big) and more colorful the better. Thanks so much - I've been misinformed by our marine store here, even though it is a really quality place as far as livestock goes, and some of my fish have eaten each other or proven too difficult for a beginner. Thanks. Longnose Hawkfish <Ok> One spot Foxface <Also venomous, but a nice fish.> Choc chip starfish <Difficult, would switch out with a serpent star, although both could be victims of a puffer.> Pink flasher wrasse <Ok> Lawnmower blenny <Ok> Golden headed sleeper goby <Ok> Seahare <Often problematic in captivity, do release toxins when threatened which has wiped out many tanks.> Thanks so much!!! ~ Cari ~ <A nice mix of fish, but all the smaller ones are potential meals for a lionfish. Also with the filtration methods you are currently employing larger, messier fish may overtax the filtration. Watch your nitrate levels closely and lots of water changes and filter cleanings here. Perhaps a nice dwarf angel here instead of the larger, more difficult puffers and lionfish.> <Chris>

Re: Final Stocking Order...   2/10/09 Thanks for all the help. I was able to get a lonely Bartlett's that teamed up nicely with the two I already had. I was also able to get some more Chromis and all are doing fine, along with my Clown pair and Mystery Wrasse. One problem I've been having is in getting the B/Fs that I want. I've had them on order at the LFS for several weeks and the only ones that have come in haven't been healthy. <Best to be patient, discerning> As these are more timid than the Centropyges and Tangs, I had wanted to get the B/Fs first. Would it be risky to get the 2 Ctenochaetus first, then the 3 Centropyges and then the B/Fs? <Mmm, not so much, no> Also, do you think my system (220g) is big enough to try a pair of Flame Angels (in addition to the Bicolor and Coral Beauty Angels)? <Mmm, not if it were me. One or the other> Or if I want to go with the pair, would I need to leave out the other two? <I would, yes> After getting all of the other fish first (including and especially the B/Fs), could I later add a purple tang, or do I have to add that with the other tangs? <Possibly> Also, I mentioned previously that one of my 2 fire shrimp died. Well, since then, my skunk cleaner shrimps have disappeared over the course of the last month. However, the one fire shrimp is still going strong, and my water parameters still test OK (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, 1.025 spg) with 10% weekly water changes, so I'm assuming it isn't a water quality issue. Is it possible that the last man standing (aka, the fire shrimp) has been taking out the other shrimp, <Not likely> or could it be the wrasse or the two small emerald crabs? <Yes> The fire shrimp seems to share its burrow with a serpent star, so it doesn't seem likely that one of them did it. I removed the hermit crabs and was hoping to use the shrimps as scavengers (and to keep the fish healthy), so I want to add more, but not until I figure out why they are disappearing. I don't think I have a snowball's chance of catching the fire shrimp if he's the likely culprit... Thanks again. Sean <... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HighInvertInd.htm the sections on Shrimps. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question; lionfish, grouper, leopard wrasse -- 01/30/09 Hi :-) <Hello Ranjith.> Am trying to stock my system from the last 1 year and have not been very lucky. The import of livestock is kind of in a crisis here and thus it is very very difficult (not to mention expensive) to get the right size, sex and health specimen. Thus, I have to evaluate other options and thus, ask you guys these questions again :-( please don't mind the repetition. I currently have a Volitans <The name is Pterois volitans. Internationally.> lion in my 120gal reef with a pink skunk clown whom I plan to give away before he is a meal for the lion. I also have a blue Linckia <Linckia> and 2 small sea stars which have been doing well since the last 13 months. <Ah, good to hear they find enough food.> And one loser crab which seems to even crawl out of tall glass bottles (not forgetting the bait here). Approx 160 pounds Live rock, 5" DSB and an EV 180 skimmer. Tank is crawling with pods of all sizes as there is almost no predator here. Will it be disaster if I do either the following? 1. Add 3 Leopard Wrasses (one male and 2 females) <Can be inhaled by the lion if too small. They often do not eat. Adults generally don't do well in groups. Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macropharyngodon.htm and the linked FAQs. Your tank is rather at the lower limit for a pair psychologically.> OR 1. Add one Leopard Wrasses and one Honeycomb Grouper. <Again, the wrasse depending on the species (Several Macropharyngodon are called leopard wrasse) will have a maximum length of 4-6 inches 'can be inhaled by an adult P. volitans lionfish when juvenile, perhaps even by the Epinephelus merra.> There will be no more fish apart from these. I read on the site that both these are coral safe but will eat small fish and crustaceans. Since the only other fish that will be there will be an 8" volitans, it should be no problems right? <You may have luck if the wrasses are already grown. If they are juveniles, I'd hesitate, especially since they are placed into the territory of the lion. The grouper should be no problem.> Also, will it be correct to add a cleaner wrasse since the other fish are big boys? Will the grouper or lion inhale the cleaner wrasse? <Possible. Unpredictable. Many cleaner wrasses don't do very well in captivity and if acting sick can become prey, vanish.> Ps: please hit the reply all button :-) <Will try.> Cheers Ranjith <Welcome. Marco.>

Re: Stocking question; lionfish, grouper, leopard wrasse, Hawkfish -- 01/31/09 Hi Marco, <Hello Ranjith.> Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I do feed the Linckia and watch it eat. Somehow, mine has started eating frozen food :) <Very good indeed.> Yes I had read that the adult phase of Wrasse will need much more room especially since I will also have the lion. Ok no wrasse group. I might as well not put any wrasse in since the lion is already 8" <Wise decision, unless it was a 6 inch adult wrasse, it might have become risky.> Will it be overstocking or do you see ANY problem with having the following assuming I have corals. 8" lion <OK> 3-4" Honeycomb grouper <OK, prefer the 4' ones if possible.> 4-5" Regal tang <The same, better 5' than 4'. Enjoys a lot of swimming space. A yellow tang would be more adequate.> Cleaner wrasse <See discussion in the last email and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm.> Long nose Hawkfish <Mmh, a fish with a long body and an adult size of 4-5''¦ not the best choice for a lion and a grouper.> Long nose butterfly OR Moorish Idol ( I have feather dusters) <Both may pick on corals, feather dusters, they are difficult to transport, feed.> Am I being greedy? <Not as long you are researching first instead of buying.> Cheers Ranjith <The lion (can reach about 12') and the grouper (about 10') make it difficult to find smaller tank mates. The corals, inverts (feather dusters, Linckia) also rule out a number of groups like triggers, puffers. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd1.htm and the other indexes and compare what you find to what is available. Take care. Marco.>

R3: What Do You Think? (Cucumber ID/Husbandry) (and now fish stocking) - 11/13/08 Cheers for the tip on the Majano control (Aiptasia-X), I'll definitely give it a bash and let you know how I get on with it. <<Ah yes, please do Si'¦>> I'll shift the wrasse and Basslet over then to the main, probably best to get them in before the triggers too. <<Again, I don't expect any issues re as this species of trigger are primarily planktivores>> Three weeks and counting; got them on order today :) <<I see>> The wrasse and Basslet are only about 3'' long at most will this still be ok with the triggers? <<Yes>> How many fish would you recommend I keep in the nano and the 400litre, I know the size to volume ratio but was wondering on actual numbers. <<The Goby and two Blennies should about do it for the Nano tank you have. The 400L (105g) tank's inhabitants will depend on their ultimate size and environmental requirements. You're already planning a pair of Bluethroat Triggers; which I'm guessing will be the centerpiece of this display, so plan your stocking around this pair of fishes. I would suggest a few small fishes like the Wrasse and Basslet you have already, along with either a smaller Tang species or Rabbitfish species (8� or less at maturity) for some alga control and leave it at that>> I currently have five in the nano, small fish though (think this is max) also have small fire urchin in a few snails and a new cucumber :) In the main will obviously now have the wrasse, Basslet and triggers, but will hopefully be adding tangs, angels, etc oh and also 3 stocky Anthias. <<Mmm, do be cautious about overstocking this tank. A single tang and one of the smaller angel species (My vote goes to Centropyge loricula (Flame Angel)'¦ A beautiful aquarium hardy species) should be OK>> Wishing for a Goldflake angel, c'mon Santa lol :) <<Mmm, me thinks ye needs to be wishing for a bigger tank! [grin]>> Cheers again mate, Si <<Be chatting, EricR>>

Red algae/System stocking in general 11/11/08 Hello again! <Hello Angela.> It has been awhile since my last outbreak of the red "death" algae! It is creeping back lately, but that is not my problem (we are dealing with that with water changes etc). <Are related issues, water quality.> I still have the same set up as far as mechanical, filtration, etc. My problem deals with my livestock currently. I have the following in the tank: 2 clowns, 1 sea cucumber <Can be trouble, especially in an instable system. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm> 2 mushroom rocks, 1 toadstool leather coral, 1 sexy shrimp, several hermit crabs (The above are still "originals"). I have added the following: 1 scarlet cleaner shrimp, 1 mandarin goby <Please find this a more appropriate home, read WWM re.> 1 blue Fromia starfish, 1 sand-sifting starfish <Ditto on this.> 1 pencil sea urchin I have lost every anemone that I have put into the tank (have tried 4 different kinds). I target fed them and they still died. I also have lost every feather duster I put in the tank. All snails die (I would imagine this was from the coral banded shrimp, but not sure). All of the star polyps died off the rock. Not sure why.  I recently lost my coral banded shrimp. He was fine one day & dead the next. My yellow tang died on Monday.  The toadstool leather coral looks horrid. The 'stalk' on it is very skinny (for lack of better terms). I have moved it several times in the tank to try different water flows, etc with no luck. Any ideas?  I have a few questions. #1 What am I doing something wrong? I monitor the tank daily and nothing appears wrong until it is too late. <What are your water tests telling you? Nitrate, KH, SPG, and (hopefully 0) ammonia/nitrite. More information is needed here to make an assessment.> #2 With my current livestock, is there anything you would suggest putting with them? I would love to get a trigger, but have read that they are too aggressive. Also some sort of angel? Maybe a seahorse? <A smaller Centropyge will work here. I strongly urge you to research all livestock you intend to add. These questions are easily answered and you will learn a wealth of knowledge in the process.> #3 I just ordered 2 Coral Sun lights. Would this help with anemones if I get any more? I currently have 1 regular fluorescent light (new) and a coral sun light (needs replaced). <What wattage? It sounds like this is a likely factor to your trouble.> Oh and the mushroom rocks are doing fabulously! The mushrooms are growing and spreading. Fascinating to watch how they 'split' off from one another.  Thank you very much for answering my questions again! I do appreciate it! Angela <Welcome, but you really need to take a step back, start with the basics.  Research the specific needs of any and all livestock, water quality and maintenance. Much of what you list is inappropriate for this size and age system. Scott V.>

Stocking Levels'¦120g Marine Tank  11/11/08 I have: 10 blue green Chromis (about 10" total), 1yellow tang (3"), 1 hippo tang (3"), 1 foxface Rabbitfish (3"), 2 ocellaris (2"total), 1 Firefish (2"), 1 coral beauty (3"), 1 watchman goby (2"), 1 royal gramma (1"), 4 gold clown gobies (2" total), 1 six line wrasse (1"), 1 bicolour blenny (1) --this gives me about 33" of fish in total...but a lot of them are really small guys. <<But some of these can grow to be large and robust (e.g. - Hippo Tang [12"]), while others, although small, require more room than belied by their size (e.g. - Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty). Others can just be downright nasty in confined spaces (e.g. - Clownfish, Sixline Wrasse). Using total inches of fish to determine stocking capacity is an exceedingly poor and outdated way to evaluate this>> Do you think I can add 1 (3") Naso tang to this assortment...both in terms of them all getting along and in terms of the capacity of the tank? <<That little 3-inch Naso Tang has the capacity to grow to 16". Given your current stocking list I do not think this would be a wise addition>> My tank is 120 gal....plus 20 gal sump....plus in the future 10 gal refugium... Or do you think I would overload it? <<Both biologically and socially, yes>> ...I realize that some of these fish are going to get bigger but the Chromis, etc can easily go later on. <<Even without the Chromis, I still don't think the Naso is a good addition here>> I am using a powerful skimmer...a Bubble King, and Solaris lighting <<Nice gear, but it doesn't change my opinion here>> .....and everything(one) is very healthy and fine right now.... <<Best not to upset that balance with the addition of a Naso Tang>> Any information about adding a Naso tang to this would be really appreciated... <<You have my thoughts re>> Thanks <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Stocking Levels'¦120g Marine Tank 11/12/08 Thanks Eric I really appreciate the advice --even though it isn't what I wanted to hear :) <<Ahh, and thank you for stating such'¦ We truly have no hidden agendas here. Advice and opinions given, though maybe differing among contributors, really are provided in the best interest of hobbyists and the animals they keep (or want to keep [wink]). Cheers my friend. Eric Russell>>

Tank Size... And Maybe a Puffer.... 11/11/08 Hello my name is Monique and I have a few little questions for you today... <Hello Monique.> I have looked everywhere on the internet and it seems that almost everyone is contradicting each other... See I currently have a Aggressive salt water FOWLR 135 gallon tank (Fish Only With Live Rock). In which I currently have.. 15" Echidna nebulosa 4.5 or 5" Cephalopholis miniata 4.5 or 5" Pterois volitans 2.5" Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus 3" Rhinecanthus aculeatus 3" Balistoides conspicillum And what my LFS sold to me and was thought to be a 3" Pseudobalistes fuscus (pic Attached) 1) is this actually a "BlueLine trigger"? <It is.> 2) assuming that what information I have is actually correct, how large should my big tank be (we were thinking 300 gallon, but now I'm not sure if that will be suffice for them at their adult stages) We will be purchasing the tank to build in the concrete basement as a tank WALL! :) <Even 300 is really pushing it these. Go larger, 400-500 if you can.> 3)I really like Puffers (once had a porcupine, now thinking a BURRFISH or some sort) could I get one for the Large tank? And If so what would you recommend with my current load? <I would skip the puffer, too risky with the large, aggressive triggers.> Oh and just to inform you, EVERY PURCHASE I MADE WAS AT THE LFS, and they keep telling me I have "Plenty of room" to add more fish, but what research I have been doing, I'm beginning to think they just want my $$$.  I'm Lost! <You were out of room three fish ago!> Any help with any of these questions would be AMAZING, as no LFS are of any help (except for furthering me into DEBT!!) <Been there, done that one!> Someone said that the color is typical if he's the non dominant one, or is stressed, but for the last 3 months he's been like this pic. (oh and there was a TYPO he's 4" long from tip to tail, so the largest trigger in the tank) <It could be stress (likely with the cramped quarters) or just a color aberration.> Thanks again ~M <Welcome, Scott V. Time is ticking on this tank.>

Long Winded Newbie With a Small Tank- Small Tank Q's - 11-11-08 Opening: Firstly, Thank you so much to the WWM Crew for providing this invaluable, definitive resource and Hello to whomever is being so gracious as to take the time to read my long winded series of questions. <Yay, flattery! ;) Mike here today> I have been making use of all available means of researching this hobby as I work my way into it and when searching and asking on Reef Central and referencing reputable books and journals (Like Mr. Fenner's own 'Conscientious Aquarist' works) leaves me unsure or without an answer, this is always the place I come to find a definitive, experienced opinion. It has yet to fail me. <*Shudder* RC is a terrible, terrible resource, full of people writing, reading, and reposting misinformation> My questions sort of rely on my particular situation this time, so I felt it necessary to write in to ask for a personal response. I recently (08/29/08) set up my first saltwater aquarium. <Grats, or maybe, run before it consumes you...> I have thoroughly done my homework and feel that I have a decent understanding of the concepts and limitations inherent to the hobby. If something happens that I do not understand (all the time) I generally know where to look to find the answer. <Always good to be as informed as possible> Equipment Summary I currently am running a 10 gallon standard aquarium with 10 pounds live rock, 15 pounds sand (said it was live on the bag, seems to actually just be livening up now) I have a 24" Coralife PC fixture with 2x65W bulbs (One 460nm actinic, the other 6500K daylight) <Lot of light for such a shallow aquarium> I run a DIY water bottle skimmer which is exceptional. I purchased several 'nano' skimmers which all pulled far less of a far lighter liquid from the water in similar time frames. My water bottle skimmer (on its 4th or 5th redesign) now pulls about 3/4 of a cup (the kitchen measure, not the collection cup) every 2.5-3.5days. <Neat! You should post about it on our forums: bb.wetwebmedia.com> I also run a modified Aquaclear 300 acting as a Chaetomorpha refugium. <Done the same with 110's> There are literally hundreds of pods covering every square inch of everything in the tank. I have a Koralia Nano powerhead as well as a Rio Mini (ineffective, only 80gph I believe) I also have a home made ATO to help maintain the salinity in such a small volume. <I'm a big fan of auto-top off units> The light in the HOB refugium is on a reverse cycle from the main lights, but its not enough, as my PH fluctuates diurnally more than I'd like. (7.9-8.2) <Buffer it up to 8.3-4 and you should have less of a swing> Maintenance Summary I perform a 10 percent (one gallon) water change every 3 days. <Would be better to perform a ~5 gallon change weekly> Test water 1-2 times per week for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. <Shouldn't need to test weekly for ammonia/nitrite after the initial few weeks> Test Salinity (via calibrated refractometer) and PH every daily. Reading 10 minutes ago were Am - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 10 (ish, I don't particularly trust my test kit) <Nitrate as nitrogen, or nitrate ion? 10ppm NO3 ion sounds about right> PH - 8.2 (I'm on night shift and the tanks in my bedroom, thus so are the fish, their day is just ending), SG - 1.025, all top offs and water changes are performed with RO water. Livestock Summary/Situation I have been running with enormous success up until this point with a very light bioload. (1 Dascyllus aruanus [3 stripe damsel] and one young toadstool leather | 2 neon hermit crabs, 4 Cerith snails, 2 Nassarius) This was simply a 'practice run' of sorts. I wanted to get my feet wet in saltwater to make sure that I was prepared to take care of/invest in a reef set up. I still live at home with my parents, so this was also a factor in how far I could go initially with the set up. The plan was (and still is) to move out in March and move the aquarium into a 40 gallon new home (may need to go bigger now, see below) in my new home. <Fun - 40 gallon breeders are great sizes for reef tanks> Anyhow, onto 5 days ago. I was in the LFS spending money on equipment for the upcoming reef when, to make a long story short, I was offered my favorite fish for free on a one time only basis. A small (1.25") Centropyge bispinosus, which I had seriously been considering keeping (and subsequently observing this particular specimen, which by WWMs selection guidelines, is exceptionally healthy). <A Coral Beauty is a pretty fish, but will need a larger home> Foolishly (possibly) I took the fish home, with the reasoning that my tank parameters are stable, conditions are good, the fish is small, and it is a certainty that it will be moved before 6 months are up. I acclimated for 3 hours before adding it to my tank. I am well aware of the dangers of not QTing, but I feel that this small tank is as good for observation as any QT would be, and being that the angel eats algae and pods as well as prepared food, which the damsel does not, that competition for food would be a non issue. <QT isn't just for observation, it's for treatment. If you introduce crypt or another disease into a reef tank, you have to remove all fish and let the tank run fallow for 4-6 weeks, which is no fun, trust me> The damsel actually, strangely enough, has throughout the life of the tank stuck to the same area (maybe 4 body lengths) for 80% of his time in the tank. His territory seems very small.  As a precaution, since I knew I was already pushing the envelope to the breaking point with a Centropyge in a 10 gallon (albeit a juvenile one) AND not quarantining, I set up a 20 gallon hospital tank with NSW and an established sponge filter from the main tank. The tank is small enough that I could easily catch both fish in under 5 minutes, should a problem present itself. The angel immediately freaked out a bit upon entry to the tank and the damsel messed with him a bit and nipped a couple fins. The next morning I saw a single, solitary white speck under one of the side fins of the angel. (GASP!) <I know the feeling...> I've never seen Ich before, and as I mentioned, there are literally tens of thousands of copepods, amphipods and isopods in my tank, many of them floating through the water. I have seen them on my damsel before, albeit briefly. This speck stayed for an hour, at which point I rushed to the LFS for copper, PraziPro, and although I was reluctant to expect success from it I wanted one anyway, A skunk cleaner shrimp). <Copper is usually not a good idea, other medications are safer> The moment the shrimp hit the water, the angel approached him to be cleaned and did so repeatedly for the next 8 hours or so. I held off on removing him to the hospital as the one speck I saw had been cleaned and I had yet to see any new ones form. In the morning there were still no specks, but the fish had stopped going to the cleaner and was behaving much more 'happily' than before. He has been eating like a pig since the moment he hit the water (algae on rocks, pods and a home made mixture of Frozen Mysis, Dried Spirulina flake, and Freeze dried Brine Shrimp [I'm aware its not beneficial, so I do not add the last ingredient at every feeding. The fish, however, seem to take it as a treat, and go extra wild when its fed]) and his fins (tail and top) where the damsel nipped are already almost completely grown back. The two fish appear to be 'friends' somehow and after some initial presenting and nipping they have tolerated each other in very close quarters (one fish length away from each other) for extended periods of time, with the damsel even allowing the angel to come in and clean up some Lobophora (sp?) algae that was growing where he sleeps/defends. Questions 1. I feel that my optimism, increasing day by day, that these fish could make it in this tank until I move is unreasonable, but the life in the tank appears to be proving me wrong. I have not seen another 'speck' since that one (I'm not even sure it was ich) and everything looks happy and healthy.  Is there something that hasn't occurred to me which will cause these creatures to perish within four months? The angel does not pace the glass at all and seems very happy cruising through the various caves between the rocks (my ten pounds is likely 13 or 14 pieces that are, I must say, arranged fairly interestingly) Will he be okay till March? Will the 40 gallon do for him or am I better off setting up a 55 gallon with 45 lbs of rock (I can't afford any more than that initially) He, the damsel, and a single(possibly a mated pair, but not likely) of Clarkii clowns will be the only fish in a tank to be dominated by inverts, a couple soft corals, and LPS. <That is a very small tank, but you also have a juvenile, so he should be okay. Just make sure you follow through with the upgrade. As far as upgrade size, larger is always better, but with a reef there are several things to consider, such as lighting, water motion, etc. Either size should be fine for your current inhabitants> 2. Am I better off moving everything to the 20 gallon tank for the next few months, just to move it again? I would only be able to use the rock I have now, as I don't think it would be very timely to cycle new rock in a tank for a month and cut down the time between moves even further. Is 10 lbs of rock in a 20 gallon tank worse than 2 fish in a 10 gallon? Please help me out here with a good course of action, I'm worried that although the fish are ostensibly acting normally, that I am mistreating them in this environment. <If you have a 20, why not use it? If it's a 20 high the 24" lighting will work perfectly> 3. If the speck I saw was Ich, is it reasonable to assume that it would not have entered its 'breeding' phase in a couple hours from the first visible sign? <If it was crypt, your system is now infected> I have yet to see anything that is newly suspicious in the last 4 days and I can be certain that the fish did not have Ich in the store for 2-3 weeks prior to my bringing it home. I feel like thinking that the shrimp may have got the beginning of whatever was attacking the angel is setting myself up for a disappointment, so I still have my measuring cup ready to get the fish out for copper, yet each day is increasing my cautious optimism. <No copper! Read the faqs regarding crypt> Maybe I just want to be told I'm wrong. <I don't sugar coat> Thank you so much in advance for wading through this mess of information, and in general for providing this site. I think the fish appreciate it more than we do. <Thanks, I'm glad to help out where and when I can, in many aspects. This is just one of my many volunteer activities!> Yours Truly Mike <M. Maddox>

75 gallon stocking 11/7/08 I have been setting up a new 75 gallon reef tank and I want some advice for stocking the tank with fish. This tank will primary be SPS with one claim, few soft corals, few shrimp (cleaner, fire, etc..) and gorgonian. Here is a list of fish that I am questioning about: Black Cap Basslet, <Sometimes a danger to smaller shrimp.> pair neon goby, blue Pseudochromis, yellow Priolepis goby, carpenter's wrasse, red head solon wrasse, six line wrasse, <I would skip this here, tends to be more aggressive than the rest.> green clown goby, hector's goby, helfrich's Firefish, bi-color blenny, <This will likely pick on the gobies.> citron goby, and a Rainford goby. These fish are not set in stone, if you can advice me on other fish that will be great. Also, can I your advice on which fish to purchase first. Thanks, John <I would start with the smaller gobies. Scott V.>

Stocking, Questions in general 11/4/08 Hi everyone, <Marc.> Thanks for all the help I've received from you folks thus far into my first nine months of this hobby. My tank is close to the point of sitting back and watch everything grow. Hopefully this is my last round of questions. <No problem.> I have tried reading the website in regards to stocking suggestions, but it seems like there are too many variables, so I'm just going to let you know what I have, and I would much appreciate your opinion. I have a 75 gallon tank, 80 lbs of live rock, a Remora Pro Protein Skimmer, an Emperor 400 running with no pads, just two media bags filled with carbon, two Hydor 4's, a Hydor 3, a Maxi jet 1200, and I do a twenty percent water change weekly. This is what I have for fish: 3 green Chromis, yellow tang, Singapore angel, chalk bass, royal gramma, six line wrasse, lawnmower blenny, Firefish, red starfish, serpent starfish a mix of Mexican turbo snails and Nassarius snails and red and blue leg hermit crabs. First off, do you feel that I am at my max for fish, if not, which of the following do you think I could still add... an Anthias, a pair of clownfish, and/or a goby, haven't decided about any one given species yet. <Near the limit IMO, a small fish such as a goby should be no issue.> Also, I have a question about coralline algae, I am not getting much growth and I'm nine months into this tank. When I test my water, I come up with this, 0 nitrates, 0nitrites, ph is 8.2, calcium 420, 11dkh, ammonia 0 and salinity is at 1.025. I brought my water to be tested at my LFS, the fish store is pretty legitimate also, very conservative, won't sell you anything you shouldn't have, holds all their livestock for a week before letting them go, etc... They checked my Magnesium and Phosphate and said I don't have a problem with either. I also have 165 watts of t5 lighting. Any suggestions on what else to try? <Just keep your levels up, steady with the water changes. No magic tricks, just time. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlinepropfaqs.htm for more info.> And lastly, I have my tanked stocked with mushrooms, is there anything I should be adding to the tank to feed the mushrooms? Sorry for all the questions, I have been logging hours of reading the FAQ's, but these are questions I have found conflicting information, or just couldn't find the question in the archives. <Do see http://www.asira.org/corallimorphia(ricordiaandmushrooms) and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shroomfdgfaqs.htm for this.> Thanks again for the help, Marc <Welcome, Scott V.>

Question on Stocking 11/03/2008 Hi Crew, <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> I have a question on stocking. I almost hate to ask, because I know the information is out there on the site, but I really hate making a mistake when it comes to choosing fish.  My setup is a 55 gallon tank, 36x18x20. Cycle completed about 10 months ago.  60 pounds of live rock, 4" oolitic sand bed (was more a year ago :).  Lighting is a PFO LED system (Galileo) and 150 watt MH (14k bulb). (yes, the lights are expensive, but it gets hot in South Carolina) Temperature is maintained at 77 degrees by 2x200 watt heaters and a 1/4 hp chiller controlled by a Aquacontroller Jr. Water movement is with a Hydor wavemaker and 2 Koralia 3 powerheads and an Eheim 1260 return pump (wish I knew abut the manifold design, and WetWebMedia in general, before I setup the tank). Filtration is a 45 gallon sump with the skimmer (Euroreef RS 80) and a 10 gallon refugium built in, I have added a second 15 gallon refugium. The 10 gallon fuge has live sand and rubble and is not lit, the 15 gallon fuge has some sand and rubble and is waiting for me to find a source of Chaeto. The fuges are new. It's hard to say, but I guess there are between 85-95 gallons of water in the system. Evaporation is by an Osmolator (best money ever spent) connected to a Nilsen reactor. sg 1.025, ca 400, mg 1290, dKH 6.75, ammonia & nitrite & nitrate 0, water changes 10 gallons sometimes weekly, usually 3 weekends out of four. Only miss when I am away. Livestock - Few Astrea, few hermits, 2 emerald crabs, 4 peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), 1 brittle star, 1 Xenia colony (pom poms), 3 Sinularias, 1 green star polyp colony. Fish - 2 common clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris), 1 lawnmower blenny (Salarias fasciatus). The fish have been in the tank a good 6 months, and so have staked out their territory. I did not intend to add the clowns yet, but saw a beautiful shipment of tank raised black clowns, the blenny, well, I had some algae and he sort of grew on me. And he is a good eater, of flake and other clown food along with algae. <<Sounds like a very well planned out system, very nice indeed>> So the question is, what other fish can I add? I would like one more species, but not sure which one. I am fond of green banded gobies or a yellow watchman, but am afraid they might elicit a reaction from the lawnmower man. I was thinking maybe some Talbots damsel or a small Chromis shoal (I don't think I have ever owned any Pomacentridae outside Clownfish). The LFS recommended a Rainford goby but I passed as I thought the blenny would object to someone eating his algae. I would like something more in the water column. Are any of these good, or do you have any suggestions? I'm really at a loss. <<Gobys would be fine in my opinion, don't really see any conflicts between one of them and the blenny, just to more sure, choose one which is of different coloration to the blenny. Mid water fish, Firefish are very nice as they mainly inhabit midwater levels. Chromis, I would stay away from as they fair far better in larger schools of 7 or more, and that its too many for your tank in my opinion. Some cardinal species is maybe another option too look at.>> Thanks...dean <<Hope this helps Dean, thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Help With Nano Tank Stocking  11/03/08 Hi WWM crew, <<Hello Dean>> I'm going to be starting a 45 litre saltwater nano aquarium. <<Okay 'and this comes to about 20g U.S., for us Yanks>> I am wondering whether the following inhabitants would suit this tank and all be compatible. The tank has inbuilt filter, light and heater. It will also have live rock. A pair of tank bred ocellaris or percula clowns. 1 Royal Gramma 1 Coral Banded Shrimp Mushroom coral Toadstool coral Could you please indicate whether all these inhabitants are suitable? <<Though the tank size is marginal in my opinion for the pair of Clownfish 'yes, you can likely make a go of it with this stocking list. But do not attempt to add an Anemone to this small system, and I wouldn't add more fish than what you have listed. Oh and the Toadstool will eventually outgrow the tank but can be fragged to keep it in check. I would also suggest the addition of chemical filtration (carbon and/or Poly-Filter) via a small canister filter to help with allelopathy along with frequent partial water changes>> Also can Royal Grammas be purchased as pairs? <<Finding a "pair" to purchase will probably prove difficult. Multiples of this species can be kept in large (more than 100g) systems and will pair-up on their own, but for your small tank an already established pair would definitely need to be obtained>> Thanks, Dean <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Flat Shaped Fish in a 55 Reef 11/2/08 Hi, <Hello Mike.> I have a 55 gallon mixed reef aquarium. There's about 85 lbs. of rock a 15 gal sump and 10 gal fuge. Right now I have a Midas blenny, blackcap Basslet, two fire fish, three shrimp and a bunch of snails. I'd like to add a fish that's flat shaped like an angel, butterfly or tang but after a lot of research I can't find any that are reef and invertebrate safe and will do well in a 55 gal tank. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. <I would take a look at the angels, genus Centropyge in particular. They will do fine in a reef, some individuals may pick, but are for the most part fine. The smaller, more timid offerings will work well for you here. Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/Centropyge/index.htm and the linked files above.> Thanks. Mike Krane <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Flat Shaped Fish in a 55 Reef 11/02/08 Scott V., The research that I've done seems to conclude that all dwarf angels will eventually start picking at corals. You don't think that is true? <Not all, it really comes down to the individual fish. Some will tell you all dwarfs angels will pick on corals, because all they have owned do. Others will tell you none do, because none they have in there tanks have. I read a Calfo post on WWM, years ago, that advised placing the fish in quarantine along with some Xenia as a test. I have personally followed this with great success. The "safer" choices IMO are Centropyge argi and Centropyge bispinosa, although the latter is not the easiest, nor the hardest to keep. Have you also considered cardinal fish? Not as large or spectacular, but safe, flat fish!> Mike

75 Reef Stocking/Reading 11/1/08 Bob, <Scott V. with you today.> I have written to you a couple of times about my stocking plans for my 75.  I have almost completed them. As of now my specs are: 100 lbs LR, 75 lbs LS, 3 refugiums - 2 with gracilaria, one with Chaeto. Phosban w/Phosban media, and Coralife 125 super skimmer. My inverts are 15 turbo snails, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 Mithrax and one 10" tiger tail cucumber. <Do see WWM re the latter two, there is some risk with these.> Fish are: 2 Heniochus diphreutes, one royal gramma, 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 mandarin dragonet. Corals are Zoanthids, Acans, Candycanes, and a few Kenya trees. My future corals will be similar (Zoas, lps, Shrooms). I was looking to add one more fish to the 75, and was thinking about a Kole tang, which is why I have so much gracilaria. I was wondering though if I could add a copperband Bfly. <You could.> I know they are picky eaters and individuals will have their own agendas in terms of coral picking or submission, but will the cband get along with 2 Heniochus diphreutes? <Hmmm, too crowded for all in a 75 gal.> Do Copperbands usually pick at the corals I have? <Can, but not typical.  All posted on WWM.> Zach <Scott V.>

Re: 75 Reef Stocking/Reading 11/2/08 Scott thank you for your response. <Very welcome.> I was wondering if I could get Bob's opinion on this. <Hmm, he is out of net service until 11/13 or so.> In terms of the 3 butterflies in a 75 I figured that the diphreutes and rostratus are more peaceful butterflies and extremely different in terms of similarities leading to aggression. <For the most part.> Scott you said a few times that "I could" add the butterfly <You indeed "could".> but then said it's "too many for a 75". I was looking for a clearer answer. <Fairly clear, one butterfly is pushing it in a 75, multiple is over the top. Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing these things in the wild? They are reasonably large fish, with an aptitude to swim about quite a bit. From a pure bioload standpoint may be able to have three, physiologically, no. As previously stated, all posted on WWM.> Thanks for the time, Zach <Welcome, I will share this with Bob upon his return, but do not expect a more lenient answer. Scott V.>

New Tank, Livestock Additions, 9/18/08 Thanks for all the tid bits over the last few weeks. <Welcome from all who helped.> I set up a 55gl corner flow, sump, skimmer, etc using water from my established 30gl tank. I did this in 5gl increments. Each time I removed 5gls from existing tank, I replaced it with 5gls of new water. I set it up Sept 1. I've had it running ever since, with the a live rock and the light off. At what time can I move my livestock and coral to the new tank. Reason I am asking, I have been told a number of varying answers. Thanks Mike <Once the tank has cycled you can start moving the inhabitants in, but you will need to test your water parameters to determine when the cycle has completed.> <Chris>

Re: Stocking List Review - New 55g Saltwater -06/13/08 Hi Everyone! <<Hello Tamara!>> I hope it's OK to bother you. <<Certainly>> I want to make sure we get this stocking thing right and don't hurt and/or kill any fish. <<Me too!>> My son's tank is all set up after my setback of dropping his Ecosystem 60 refugium, which you so kindly told me how to repair. <<I'm glad someone here was able to help>> You saved me tons of money replacing it for which I am extremely grateful. <<Quite welcome, I'm sure>> Finding this site has been more helpful than I think you will ever know! <<We do have an idea'¦ [grin]>> You guys and gals are the best! <<Thank you>> The tank is now fully cycled with nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia all at 0 so we are ready to start slowly adding fish. <<I see>> I've been researching on your site constantly (and doing very little work, just don't tell my boss) <<Hee-hee! Though I don't smoke, I do take the occasional 'smoke break' at work to answer queries when possible'¦shhhhh>> and am trying to come up with a good list of inhabitants for the tank. The tank belongs to my soon to be 12 year old son so I'm trying to come up with the best mix of the fish he loves without having any compatibility issues. <<Wise>> First off let me give you the info on his set-up. He bought it used but I think it's a relatively good setup from what I'm reading. It's a 55 gallon tank, Ecosystem 60 refugium with Miracle Mud and Caulerpa, Coralife UV filter run off of a Mag Drive pump (I know this probably isn't necessary but it came with the setup), Prizm protein skimmer (plan to upgrade this in the future), <<Good>> Current Nova T-5 lighting with 2 - 54 watt 10K bulbs and 2 - 54 watt actinic bulbs, 2 power sweeps (so far they are sweeping just fine but I know this is a known issue), and we just added another powerhead (Hydor Koralia) after reading on your site and realizing he didn't have enough water movement, so he now has a total of 1520 gph through the powerheads alone. <<Adequate water movement is key 'and so often overlooked>> The tank has a 1" live sand bed and about 90 lbs of live rock which came straight out of someone's tank that was moving. <<Mmm'¦replacing a small portion with some 'new' rock would be a big benefit re introduction of more/new biodiversity and bio-minerals/buffering capacity>> We arranged it with lots of hiding places, shelves and holes so hopefully the fish will enjoy it. <<They need to feel safe, true'¦but also be sure to leave plenty of swimming room (you 'can' add too much rock if not careful)>> The rock has tons of life on it. So far we've seen about a dozen hermits (blue and red leg) and 5 snails (Astrea I believe), tons of pods scurrying everywhere on the rock and sand, an emerald green crab (about an inch wide), <<Can spell trouble'¦research our site re>> and some Bristle Worms. <<Excellent detritivores>> The tank went through a short diatom bloom, then some green hairy algae and now it's nicely starting to add to the already existing coralline algae. <<Ah'¦the 'natural' alga succession>> Ty and I will just sit there both day and night searching the tank for little critters that might be showing up. It's really exciting. <<Tis a fascinating hobby, eh?>> Just imagine how much fun we'll have when there are actually FISH in there. <<Indeed>> Which brings me to my question? I know, you are probably thinking "FINALLY!!!' <<LOL>> Here is a list of what my son wants in his tank that I think might actually work (with the help of your site, I've already nixed his tang ideas, triggers, lion fish, and puffer fish, and we returned a sand sifting star that our LFS told him he needed after reading it would starve). <<Ahh'¦so you 'are' learning [grin]>> So here is what is left: 2 Blue Green Chromis (does this need to change to 3? I read something here about only having odd numbers of them) <<Considering the size of the tank'¦two is fine in my opinion>> 2 Percula Clowns (tank raised, love the different patterns) 1 or 2 Firefish (he'd like both a purple and a red, is that OK? He has a high lid so jumping shouldn't be a problem) <<These are not a good mix with the Damsels (Chromis and Clownfish) as they are too easily intimidated to the point of death'¦either from starvation or stress. They best kept is a more peaceful environment'¦or if not, at least in a lager tank than here>> 1 Yellow Head Jawfish (This one is his absolute favorite but I know there is an issue with the 1" sand bed. <<Indeed'¦and a species better relegated to a species-specific tank'¦or again, one much larger>> Would it work to do a deep bed in one corner for him or should I just talk him out of this one) <<Better to just 'pass' I think>> 1 Cleaner Wrasse <<Mmm, no'¦dismal survival rate. But'¦one of the Neon Cleaner 'Gobies' (Elacatinus sp.) would be a fine addition>> 1 Flame Angel <<A hardy aquarium species'¦but should really be given larger quarters>> That would be his shortlist of "must haves" (provided they work of course). <<The size of the tank is a limiting factor'¦even with some seemingly 'small' fishes>> On top of that he likes several Gobies (Neon Blue, Neon Gold, Watchman, and Engineer), and the Six Line Wrasse...so those could be used either to replace his shortlist items if they don't work or to add to it if he's not already maxed out. <<The Neon Gobies as mentioned would be fine'¦the others might be too disruptive in this tank'¦at least they are for my tastes (sand EVERYWHERE)'¦but the decision is yours. As for the Sixline'¦this fish 'will' become a terror in this size tank. A better choice would be on of the smaller Halichoeres species'¦a fave of mine for hardiness/aquarium suitability is H. chrysus>> He would like to have an anemone for the clowns. <<Mmm'¦>> Is the bubble tip a good idea? <<One of the better, yes'¦and as long as you're not mixing in sessile inverts>> And what corals would you recommend for his lighting level, water movement and to be OK with the anemone. <<Honestly? None'¦ This tank is too small for such. Best to decide on one option or the other'¦>> Lastly (I promise) stocking order. Does the order above work? I'm pretty sure the angel has to be last but wasn't sure about everyone else. <<If you stick with your original plan then yes, the angel and the Sixline would go in at the end of the order>> And where do the corals and anemone fall into play, when do they get added? <<Ideally'¦let the tank mature a few more months before adding either (the clowns will be fine)>> Thanks so much! Tamara <<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>> Oh and for my son's birthday (next Saturday) I ordered him "Clownfishes" and "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" (he loves to read and has been dying to get them). <<That's great Tamara! Do also get him reading/researching the site. EricR>>

Problems with buying Local Stock 6/9/08 Dear WWMCrew, How is everyone? <Hello, doing well in my neck of the woods.> First of all, Thank you for all your help previously, your site has been a great resource that I've recommended to many others. <Great! Thank you.> This is just a short email asking your opinion on a problem I have. Recently I have moved to a new town and I am living in a small apartment. I've been very busy as of late but I miss having my saltwater aquariums, so I wanted to invest in a small self-contained saltwater aquarium, such as a BioCube or NanoCube. Of course I've always preferred stocking my aquariums rather low, and since I didn't think I've have a lot of time to maintain delicate fish (I'd still have time for proper feeding and maintenance) I wanted to get a 24 gallon aquarium and place maybe a pair of false Perculas (Nothing else fish wise). <Sounds good.> Anyway, I can order everything online but the fish really. The problem is I don't usually get home during the week until 7pm, and my door is facing west, so the afternoon sun really heats it up. I guess what I'm trying to say if I wasn't there to receive online ordered fish, I am quite certain they would boil. I once had a package of textbooks sit there less than an hour and the box burned my hand to the touch. <If you do order online you can specify the package be held at the carrier hub in your area for pickup or sometimes delivered to your apartment's office (if they will allow this).> So, I visited the only LFS, and unfortunately I wasn't very impressed. Most of his live rock was covered in Aiptasia, and had very little present coralline (I mean less than 10%). All of his saltwater fish stock was given inadequate holding positions as well, I'd say less than 1 gallon of water for single fish and a couple of 20 gallon setups holding say Lions mixed with Triggers and other very aggressive species. The selection wasn't very good and many of the fish were very juvenile (Damsels under an inch exc...). Not only that, he informed me that all the water in the system was kept with a constant level of Cupramine, which alarmed me because the system included juvenile angels and tangs. Not to mention keeping CBS's with Peppermints and...just a lot of incompatible things together overall. <All of the above is unfortunately a common story.> My first instinct was not to purchase fish from this location. But now I'm thinking, what other option do I have? <Mail order as you mentioned, although an expensive proposition with shipping for two clowns.> Is my level of caution unwarranted? <No.> Please tell me if you think it would be safe to buy stock from this location, because I can get live rock and aquarium supplies over the internet with no trouble. Thank you yet again. CD <It is a call you will have to make based on individual fish. A great store can have unhealthy individuals while a not so great store may have some fish in great shape. The thing going for you is the fish you are after, the False Perculas are some of the toughest, resilient fish out there! Some observations of the actual fish you wish to purchase and some guidelines on selection here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfishart2.htm Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Problems with buying Local Stock    6/10/08 Thanks Scott, I really appreciate your opinion on the matter. <My pleasure.> It's true, I had considered that the Percs would fare the Cupramine rather well and I might actually be rescuing some of them from being a snack for a more predatory creature. <Possibly.> If I do decide to buy from this location, I'll make sure and quarantine for a while to allow them to rest before throwing them into the new tank. Anyway, Have a great day. CD <Thanks, you too! Scott V.>

Re: Stocking order and capacity 06/05/2008 Dear Crew, <<Rich>> Thanks for the useful information and quick response. <<No problem>> I'll give a quick update then a few more questions. I should have mentioned that I did have a brief, minute elevation of ammonia that quickly resolved during cycling. I probably didn't check often enough to catch the trend. The point seems mute now as I've had 2 healthy Perculas for about 10 weeks with no problems. No ammonia spikes, health problems (that I'm aware of), feeding problems, or behavioral problems. <<Sounds good>> I have noticed some small bristle worms (pink/purple alternating bands) and 4 Aiptasia, but I'm not certain their having much of a detrimental effect. I may inject the Aiptasia with some hot Kalkwasser at some point. <<Would certainly remove aiptasia via your chosen method, bristle worms are a good addition to the tank and help to keep it clean>> Anyway, I went with the stocking plan that included two clowns and left out the tang. For the clowns, I quarantined for 2 weeks after a dip in freshwater/Methylene blue. I gave serious consideration to having two Firefish but after reading the considerable debate over this, have opted for one. Now the questions: 1. Is it ok to dip Firefish in Methylene blue? I understand quarantine is limited to 5-7 days with them. <<Dips are fine with these, however, i have always quarantined for 3 weeks minimum in a dark and covered tank>> 2. Does it matter when (in terms of stocking order) I introduce the shrimp? <<No, can be introduced at anytime>> 3. Does it matter if I introduce shrimp one at a time or two or three at once? I understand it is not prudent to dip these crustaceans. <<Not prudent, no. Feel free to introduce all together if you so wish as they do not really represent a bioload>> Thanks in advance, Rich <<Do please read more info on the Firefish here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/wormfishesArt/wormfishes.htm >> <<Thanks for the follow up Rich, i hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Compatibility -SW/stocking 5/25/08 Big Aquarium With Big Plans! (Stocking Critique) Ok, I think you guys are the most experienced people I can find, so please read my stocking list, and tell me what I should add or delete. OK! 1 Blueface Angel 5-6 in (sorry but I'm disobeying, but I just love this species to much) <I understand your love for the fish, and I know that you are building a very large aquarium. I still can't say I'm a fan of keeping it in captivity, though!> 3 Golden Pygmy Angels <Nice fish...tend to hide a lot, but may become emboldened over time. Keeping them in a trio, added at the same time, is a good idea if you want to keep more than one specimen.> 2 Threadfin Butterflies 2-3 in <Definitely add them at the same time to avoid potential aggression issues. They do get pretty large (like almost 1)"),and aggressive (for a Butterfly, at least) so keep this in mind.> 3 Black and White Heniochus 2-3 in <Can be nice fish for a large system.> 2 Falcula Butterflies 2-3 in <Personally, I have found them to do better than the Threadfin Butterfly. I'd choose this species over the Threadfin; perhaps a trio of these instead.> 2 Pakistani Butterflies 2-2 in <In my experience, these fishes can be really poor adaptors to captive life. I'd pass on them, myself-particularly in a system with a number of other Butterfly species. They tend to be timid.> 1 Magnificent Foxface 3-4 in <Will add a lot of personality to your aquarium. Add when small for optimum adaption capacity.> 4 Regal Tang 2-3 in <Everyone hates me for this, but I really don't think that you should keep more than one of them. They become quite large, need lots of space, and keeping a group of these active, gluttonous feeders will tax your filtration system. In the wild, they get huge, and I tend to think of them like large Angelfishes- better of in the wild.> 1 Desjardin Sailfin tang 3-4 in <Wow- you MUST hate me by now. I love this fish, but it simply gets enormous, and, once again, like the large Angels, requires a lot of room to roam. I am not a fan of keeping this one in captivity.> 1 Powder Blue Tang 3-4 in <In my opinion, if you are going to try to keep this fish, it should be the only Tang in your system. They tend to have a rough time adapting to captive life, get quite large, and are rather "touchy" (ie; susceptible to illness).> 2 Purple Tangs 3-4 in 2 Yellow Tangs 3-4 in <I'd advise you to only keep one species of Zebrasoma in this system, particularly in a group. Besides, it would be really interesting to see a larger group of the Yellow Tangs, IMO.> 1 Lipstick Tang 4-5 in <Ok..just beat me senseless! This is a popular fish, but it can and does reach almost 20 inches in length! It's just another fish that I cannot personally recommend for captivity.> 2 Niger Triggers 2-3 in <Whew...! Another fish that simply gets huge. If you've ever seen these guys in the wild (I have), you'll see them in groups of several individuals. Nonetheless, they can be a bit aggressive, and once again, I'd be inclined to pass on these fish, particularly in a community situation. I'd rather you consider a somewhat more peaceful Xanthicthys species, such as the Blue Chin, X. auromarginatus, or the Crosshatch, X. mento, both of which are smaller and better behaved than the Niger. That being said, they are REALLY pricy fishes, and that may be a factor. But you asked, and I'm giving you my best advice!> That's all. And I don't like tanks cramped full of live rock <You wouldn't want a lot of live rock with the size/number/types of fishes you are considering for this system!> I will keep live rock at the back of my tank, mostly and leave large gaps so big fish can get around. <I'm not a big fan of "rock walls", but I do like your idea of leaving spaces for the fishes to swim. In fact, why don't you create an aquascape that consists of several smaller aggregations of rock? This will help avoid the "wall" look, and will break up territories and help curb aggression among some of the fishes.> BTW, my tank is 12x3x3. do you think I can add Cleaner Wrasse and Sandsifting Starfish. <I would not ever condone the purchase of a Cleaner Wrasse, as they are of prime importance on the wild reefs. Removing them from the reef creates a gap in "coverage" from these valuable fishes, leaving wild reef inhabitants without their cleaning services. A sand-sifting Starfish is okay, assuming you have an acceptable population of microcrustaceans for it to fee upon. I'd be inclined to wait until the aquarium is well established before purchasing one.> In what order should I stock my tank and how many specimens at a time. <Start slowly, adding only a few fishes at a time, after proper quarantine has been completed on each fish (read up on this process right here on WWM). I would start with the Butterflies, then the Pygmy Angelfishes, followed by the Tang(s) and/or Rabbitfish. If you're going to add the Blueface Angelfish, I'd add him/her last. Once again, I hope that you understand the spirit in which my critique was intended. Although I recommend against keeping a number of the fishes you have selected, there is literally an ocean full of adaptable, appropriate fishes out there from which to choose. Please keep at the research here on WWM and other places. I am taking a very conservative stocking approach, based on my personal experience and opinions. Others may have different thoughts on the approach. Take anyone's advise with a "grain of salt", and reach your own conclusions from your research. In the end, please consider the long-term needs of your fishes and the implications of your selections. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F. >

Re: Compatibility 05/21/2008 Big Aquarium With Bigger Hopes (Stocking Possibilities, Pt.2) I mailed you before and my hopes got completely shattered <Yikes...definitely not the spirit in which my response was intended. I don't like to shatter dreams. However, I believe that we have a responsibility to the animals that we keep to provide them with the best opportunity for a long and healthy life. The stocking plan that was proposed was simply not viable, IMO> ...But I guess that you can't always have what you want. <True in the hobby as well as in life!> Anyways about my 800 gallon tank. Can Butterflyfish, Tangs, and the smaller Triggers survive in this? <All depends on which species we're talking about here. Some of the larger Butterflies and Oceanic Tangs (Acanthurus and Naso species) have space requirements similar to the large Angelfishes that we've previously discussed. Triggers are similar, too. However, some of the smaller Zebrasoma Tangs, Chaetodon Butterflies, and more peaceful, smaller Xanthicthys Triggers may work. However, they still need plenty of room, even in a large aquarium, so keep the population of large fishes to a minimum.> Also can 2 Yellow Tang's, 2 Scopas Tangs, and 2 Purple Tangs live in this aquarium together? <I'm sure that they could, but I'm thinking it would be more successful (and more attractive, IMO) to have a group of six of the same species. Even in large quarters, the potential for inter-species aggression is a real possibility. Keep analyzing different stocking formats, study your potential fishes' ultimate sizes and needs carefully, and you'll be successful with this spectacular aquarium. Also- do consider a community of smaller fishes: Halichoeres Wrasses, Blennies, Gobies, and the previously discussed pygmy Angelfishes. Little fishes in a large aquarium is a pretty neat way to go, IMO. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

compatibility 5/16/08 Hello crew. I hope you are all doing great. I am so excited about getting a new marine tank (750 gallons). ok I wanted to know if these fish were compatible with each other. please answer my question because I can't control my excitement. <Hehe, ok, but we don't typically approve or disapprove specific stocking lists. If we did, we'd be way too swamped with emails.> ok here goes Angelfish: koran(adult), emperor(adult), French(changing), queen(changing), majestic (adult), annularis (adult), blue face (adult), asfur (adult), coral beauty, flame Tangs: 3 regal, powder blue, 2 yellow, 3 purple, Naso, sailfin, 2 scopas, dogface puffer Triggers: rectangle, humuhumu, 2 Niger, black, blue throat Butterfly: 4heniochus, 2 threadfin 1 magnificent foxface 1 ribbon eel 3-4 cleaner wrasse can u tell me the order I should put them in? <Um, not really... this is a LOT of fish (even for such a big tank). Some of these fish get quite big and aggressive. Generally, you want to add less aggressive fish before you add the more aggressive. But again, with so many fish, potential interactions can get pretty complicated. The best advice I can give you is to take the time to THOROUGHLY research each and every one of these fish and add livestock SLOWLY.> I really appreciate your website and your answer thank you Tommy <Good luck, Sara M.>

Reef Tank/Compatibility/Lighting -stocking 5/12/08 Hi everyone, <Hello> Thanks for all the help the past month. <You're welcome.> Have not lost any fish in the past couple weeks. I think things are finally settled. I have two questions for you today, the first one is your opinion about what else I could put in my tank. Right now I have a 75 gallon with three Green Chromis', a Maroon Clown, a Firefish, a Chalk bass, a Dottyback, Featherduster Worm, about 45 Nassurius Snails, 20 Red Leg Hermits, 10 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, 10 Turbo Snails, <I think you have too many snails for that size tank.> a Serpent Starfish, a Neon Hermit Crab, an Emerald Crab and 80 lbs of live rock. For filtration I have a Remora Pro. For power heads I have two Hydor stage 4's, a Hydor stage 3, and a Maxijet 1200. For light I have a Coralife compact with 2 65 watt 50\50 bulbs. And last, I have a couple of Lavender Mushrooms. I was hoping to add a couple more pieces of coral, such as some sort of leather, and some other kind of soft coral. I want to add a Flame Angel, a Six Line Wrasse and some sort of Blenny or sand sifting goby, does this sound practical, or like too much? <I'd do the Flame Angel and the Six Line Wrasse. That would top off your tank capacity.> If not, any other suggestions of what I could add other than that? I don't want anything that I would eventually have to get rid of. <Understand here. As the Maroon Clown grows, he may cause havoc in your tank. They can become very aggressive with age.> And while I have you, any suggestions of other easy low light corals? <Your lighting isn't going to support Leather Corals unless they are kept in the upper third of the tank. Mushrooms and Yellow Polyps should be fine. Go for a variety of colors in the shrooms.> Most of all, I wanted to know what else I should be feeding them, I have been giving them one cube of "Emerald Cuisine" a day, it's a frozen food that I use for omnivores,and I squirt 4 drops of extreme garlic on it while it's thawing. But I've read that I should be feeding the chromis' vitimin enriched foods to enhance colors. <All fish for that matter.> What would be some examples of this? <New Spectrum Pellet Food is a good choice, probably the best dry food out there. Cyclopeeze is also a good frozen food.> Thanks for all of your help again, it is greatly appreciated. Thanks. <You're welcome. In future queries, please cap all words needing to be capped (pronouns, names of companies, etc.> along with all "i's". James (Salty Dog)> Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 5/12/08 Hello, Scott! (For maybe the last time? Keep them fingers crossed!) <Hello Michelle.> Right, to sum up my tank so that you don't have to scroll through a backlog of emails, my 45-gallon tank has two inches of sand, some bleached coral and shells, and three fish: a clownfish, black molly, and one firefish. I was planning on adding some live sand, but since I no longer have any fish requiring room to burrow I'm leaving this out. <I would still either add a few inches more or remove an inch or so.> The orange stripe prawn goby I had read was prone to not eating so I thought he would start eating once I had had him a few days. I never did see him eat at the fish store but I thought he might pick up, and...he didn't. <Too bad.> The other firefish...well, he just kind of "disappeared" into a shell, which I'm not sure is normal since the other one sprees around the whole tank at top speed. But I have not seen the disappearer since I introduced him and it's been a week so...dead? He can't be eating, anyway. <Shy fish such as these may go a while without being seen. Although this is not a good sign, do not count him out.> So now I'm just adding the Bangaii Cardinalfish and was planning on the chalk bass when it struck me that since the Butterflyfish is gone, I could get a Royal Gramma. I wondered if I was capable of getting both, or if they'll refuse to get along. <I believe you could, although I would wait a period of several weeks between additions.> Also, (this is bad of me) the whole of my school sophomore class is begging me to get a dwarf lionfish, so much that my own yearning for one is becoming overbearing. Before you think we're rushing blindly into this, I wanted to say that before I started adding new fish, we kept a scorpionfish or rockfish (that we caught full-grown 6-7 inches in the Gulf of Mexico) in my tank for about two years on live goldfish. He never touched his tankmates of the time (the clownfish, molly, and damsel.) He died in April 2007, I'm pretty sure of just plain old age. <Hmm, likely diet contributed/is at fault. Feeder goldfish are a demising staple for these fish. They require a more marine based diet and can be taught to eat frozen offerings thereof.> The sophomores promise that once I graduate they'll stuff the dwarf lionfish with live goldfish or guppies on a daily basis (my school subscribes to Region 20, which sends us all the free science supplies we need including feeder fish, so no worries there on cost.) <The fish needs a marine based diet.> I'm positive that the sophomores will keep this promise because they think that it's endlessly fascinating to see one live thing swallow another whole, and if one sophomore becomes bored with daily feeding, another will doubtless snap up the fun task. <Overfeeding is also a common problem.> But I'm kind of worried about the firefish if I do this, since they're rather on the small side. Do you think it is possible to keep a well-fed lionfish in a tank with smaller tankmates? <No> The clownfish is big enough and quick enough so I'm not worried, since he's survived the scorpionfish, and there's no love lost over the black molly, but I love my little firefish and the other fish I'm planning to add. <All will end up in the Lion's mouth in time'¦ too tempting for such an opportunistic feeder.> I thought I'd ask before I promised the kids anything (and got my own hopes up as well.) FYI, over the summer the lionfish would live in the QT tank and be stuffed three times a week. <Do read re their feeding: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lionfdgfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm > Thanks so much for all of your time and advice, Michelle <Welcome, Scott V.> Ambitious Stocking Question- Tweaking a Stocking Plan 05/09/08 Hello Guys! <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I have been reading a lot of your answers in the forums and learned a lot of different things. Right now I have a 135 gallons of fish only saltwater tank using 2 Fluval Fx5. One of the canister has 1 liter of Eheim Substrate Pro and 2.5 liter of Fluval Pre-filter media. The other canister has 2 liters of Eheim Substrate Pro, 1 Liter of Fluval Bio-Max, Half liter of Fluval Pre-filter Media and Half liter of Carbon. Arrangement on the media in the baskets are based on Fluval suggestions. But instead of using a lot of Bio-Max I used Eheim media because they said it's the best. I also have 2 Koralia #4 Powerheads so I have a nice flow of water on top. Anyway, I have 100 lbs of Live Sand and 45 lbs of live rock. So far I have the following livestock: 7 Blue/Green Chromis 1 Coral Beauty 1 Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse 1 Banded Shrimp 3 Electric Hermit Crabs 1 Sand Sifter Star <I'm not a huge fan of keeping Cleaner Wrasses, but other than that fish, the stock list sounds ok thus far.> The water reading is excellent and it's not changing. The water is so clear. I feed them twice a day in 12 hrs difference between feeding and I timed it that they will consume all the food in 2 minutes so I will not have waste. Put small amount of dry seaweeds 3 times a week. I change 5 gallons of ocean water every month. <Good habit! I'd highly recommend kicking this up to 10% per month or even more frequently For the sake of history, I added Fritz Turbo Start when I cycled my tank. Now I think I'm ready to stock some fishes and I would like to have a second opinion from you guys. New livestocks below. 2 True Percula Clownfish (Pair) 1 Blue Tang <I'd pass on this fish in anything less than a 200-300 gallon aquarium, to be quite honest. They can and do get quite large (like 12" plus), and require large amounts of physical space. In my opinion, I think that you would be better with a smaller species.> 1 Yellow Tang <A better Tang choice-just go with one Tang.> 2 Flame Angel (Pair) <A MATED pair is really cool! However, you already have a Centropyge Angelfish in residence. Adding another species is a potential recipe for disaster, unless you have a very large aquarium. Territorial behavior is a huge potential problem here.> 1 Green Mandarin <I'd pass on this one. They are slow, specialized feeders that require a very well-established system with plenty of live copepods and other small crustaceans to feed on.> 1 Magenta Dottyback or the Fridman's Dottyback <I like the Fridmani, myself.> If you can please let me know on how to put the fishes in order to the tank and also please let me know about livestocks incompatibility. All suggestions are very welcome. :-) Thanks! Ray <Well, Ray- I think that your stocking plan will work with the minor tweaks outlined here. My stocking order would be Fridmani, Perculas, Tang. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F. >

Additional fish...help 5/1/08 Hello WWM crews! This is my third time writing you guys/gals a letter seeking some light in this addicting hobby of ours. I have a 90gal tank with 100lbs of live rock, 120lbs of live sand, a 30gal sump/fuge. At the moment there are no corals and the only current livestock are a pair of maroon clowns, 5 inches yellow tang, diamond goby and cleaner shrimp. I would like to add a fish or two to my current livestock but can't decide which one. I would like to ask your opinion on what to get and/or let me know if I'm at the maximum allowed stocking already. My favorites are: mystery wrasse or six line wrasse, blue tang (too much to ask for?) <Mmm, no... I do think these are good choices, will fit here altogether. The Premnas may well prove to be pugnacious over time... but if all grow up in this 90... I give you good odds> , or the least maybe two blue damsels. I don't want to over populate my tank. Again, thank you very much for your valuable help. More power and continue the good work. -Rogie <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Re: 45 Gallon Fish Only Stocking 4/21/08 Hey...Scott... <Michelle.> Worst Monday of my life. <It can always get worse, I see it everyday!> My nitrates, pH, temperature, salinity (1.023),nitrites, and ammonia are all fine... <I would raise the salinity to 1.025 or so knowing your desired livestock.> But I came in today and the shrimp was dead (intact, so the Jawfish didn't get him.) I had to shake him out of a shell. <Likely too soon to add him, the system being unstable. These are also much better suited to a reef setting.> And the sea hare was looking sorry (kind of droopy, which I know sounds stupid since he's a slug), so I picked him up (which I've done before and he was perky and fine) but this time he immediately inked my hand. <Yikes!> (A drop got in the water, but no more than that. The other fish are not appearing affected at all by it.) I think it was my fault he died because I know how toxic his poison is and it was all over him and my hand so I panicked and rinsed him off. With tap water. <Not a good practice, this, along with environment, definitely contributed to his demise.> Only for a few seconds, but he kind of bloated up and I immediately put him in a beaker full of his own tank water, but... <Pure osmotic shock.> I have no idea what went wrong with my tank. And then to top it all off my Jawfish got stuck inside a sea biscuit shell and I had to break it off of him. It was my favorite shell. <Too bad, what made you think he was stuck? I assure you these fish can get themselves out of what we perceive as binds.> I have decided to give up on invertebrates and the polyps since I learned the incredibly hard way. I'm a murderer. <You don't have to be, research and learn!> So I'll keep testing to see if I can find out what went wrong, and I'll get a calcium test if I still need one. <It is an important number to know, even in a fish only. The balance with Alk can give you clues as to what is going on with your water overall.> I did a 10% water change just in case of the sea hare, and I'm resuming my old list in two weeks, minus the royal Gramma because of the butterflyfish. <It is best to have a stocking list, planned out and researched. Avoid these impulse buys. 'Look before you leap'> If you know any side-effect-less, peaceful, small, hard-to-kill, reliable fish off the top of your head that you'd recommend to this hopeless case, I'd appreciate knowing. Unless there are none and I should just stop where I'm at until I get a little more experience. <Tank raised Ocellaris Clowns are about as easy going and carefree as marine fish get.> I've never had any problems with fresh water like this before, EVER. <Marine can be a whole different world, depending on livestock chosen. Especially with inverts.> And I've given up on a dwarf lionfish in a 10-gallon aquarium when I go to college, just so you know. <Good move. College is tough with the fishkeeping bug. Constant moves, no money, no stability for your livestock.> I know when I'm at the limit. <Live and learn.> Thanks and sorry, Michelle <No apologies, consider this a lesson towards future success! Welcome, the best, Scott V.>

Am I the negative one? SW Way-over/mis-stocked! And, not listening...   4/16/08 Hi crew <Michael> Just a little frustrated. I regularly visit a Danish saltwater forum. And I have just had a discussion with this guy who keeps a 15 cm(5 Inch?) Blue Hippo in his 46 G tank, and the fish won't eat, in addition he has the following fish: One Sexstriatus, 3 Acanthurus leucosternon, 2 dwarf angels, 2 Clownfish (Ocellaris), 7 other tangs (he CAN'T remember their names) and a Picasso trigger. When i tried to tell him that he in my opinion is way overstocked, his defense was that he has a 6 foot long tank. I wonder what the other dimensions are, I asked him about it but he hasn't replied yet. Another blogger attacked me for being to negative. Sometimes I wonder if people will ever learn? How can you convince people like that? Any secret advice you can give me. <Got me my friend... I say, be like the sun and shine your knowledge (in the first person) on everyone... Till experience (and even then plus for some) changes folks minds, there's little you, I, anyone can do> Thanks for all your hard work. Many people are grateful for that, including me. Michael Fick Denmark <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Am I the negative one? And CMA 2d ed.   4/16/08 Hi Bob <Michael> Thank you for your quick reply <Welcome my friend> And thanks for your advice, I will try to shine a bit (Haha). Sometimes it is just so frustrating that people don't understand why you don't stock your tank with a lot of fish. In Denmark we have a saying that goes: you feel like you are talking to a door: Meaning people won't listen. <Is the same with humans most everywhere... just got to keep trying, smiling...> Thank you for sharing your knowledge, and your wisdom. Michael Fick P.s Bob when will the new edition of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist be out. <Is out soon... Microcosm/TFH sent me a copy two days back... Is gorgeous... but only in hardbound... I found it on Amazon's Canadian site... for 70 CA$! Paperback out in maybe another 18-24 mo.s...> I have tried to look at different internet book sites, but I can't seem to find it. <Thanks for asking. BobF> Subject: compatibility -- 3/18/08 hello crew. i hope you are all doing great. i am so excited about getting a new marine tank (750 gallons). ok i wanted to know if these fish were compatible with each other. please answer my question because i can't control my excitement. ok here goes Angelfish: koran(adult) emperor(adult) french(changing) queen(changing majestic (adult) annularis (adult) blue face (adult) asfur (adult) coral beauty flame Tangs: 3 regal powder blue 2yellow 3 purple naso sailfin 2 scopas dogface puffer triggers rectangle humuhumu 2 niger black blue throat butterfly 4heniochus 2 threadfin 1 magnificent foxface 1 ribbon eel 3-4 cleaner wrasse can u tell me the order i should put them in? i really appreciate your website and your answer thank you tommy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/index.html>

saltwater fish, Poor English, clownfish comp., no reading    2/24/08 Hello again guys, <Vinny> you are by far the best website around, I bought a Powder Blue Tang and after reading about him I decided not to put him in main tank, he was in quarantine with yellow tang and they both started fighting the second I put them in ,so I don't want to give myself the headache of them fighting and breaking out with ich ,so I guess my question is ,im looking for blue fish <?> to make my 75 gallon tank complete ,its a reef tank with a Yellow Tang ,Flame Angel ,2 false Percula Clowns and a Bicolor Blenny. everyone gets along just fine ,I also would like to add 2 more clowns because the false percula clown doesn't go near my bubble tip ,will different clowns get along ,once again thanks for any information you guys can pass along thanks Vinny <... please... run your writing through grammar/spelling checkers before sending... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clncompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

new 650 gallon tank -02/23/08 hello. bob and team im getting 8ftx3ftx3.5ft marine tank. and I am an intermediate im going to buy the best equipment available here are the fish that I want to keep queen angelfish emperor angelfish majestic angelfish Koran angelfish annularis angelfish cream angelfish Volitans lion 2 yellow tangs 2naso tang 2 regal blue tangs 2powder blue im making sure that the pairs are male female are these fine in this sized tank.. also can I add 2 Moorish idol juveniles.... thank you for your information and I love your website. bye <To start, please see the following: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeflvst.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm ...and many other articles on these topics. You have a lot of reading to do. I'll let you get started. :-) Best, Sara M.>

a question -02/24/08 hello my homies I was just wandering can I add soft corals and anemones with angelfish, tangs, lionfish, and some buytterflies... <Please do your own homework and do get your hands on a copy of "Reef Aquarium Fishes" by Scott W. Michael.> thank you for your info <Please show your thanks by only writing to us using proper grammar and spelling.> sincerely tommy <Best, Sara M.>

SW fish sel.... actually, using, not abusing WWM   2/2/08Hello, I have a 30 gallon saltwater tank and have a couple questions maybe you could help me with. I currently only have a six line wrasse and a pink bar goby. I would like to add a long nose Hawkfish <... not enough room for an Oxycirrhites... you didn't follow directions, read ahead of writing us> and a yellow watchman goby . Could these four get along? If they wont would a neon goby or firefish be alright? Thank you in advance, Sherra <Please... learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM... your "answers" and more that you need to know, but aren't aware of it yet, are all posted. B>

Captive Bred Marine Fish 11/7/07 Hi again guys, <Hello Mike> Thanks for all the help setting up my reef tank so far. All is going great (knock wood). <Great.> I am interested in adding tank bred live stock (e.g. False Percula, Banner Cardinal). No LFS in my area consistently offer captive bred fish. Can you recommend some on-line providers that are reputable? <Yes I can. Don't know your whereabouts, but my choices would be: www.drsfostersmith.com (Wisconsin) www.premiumaquatics.com (Indiana) If you live near the West Coast you may try: www.marine depot.com (California, believe San Diego)><<Mmm, no... OC. RMF>> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Showpiece def.   10/20/07 Hello, <Hi Joe, Mich here.> Good evening to all of my fellow enthusiast. <And to you as well.> I have a simple question that I have always wondered about. <There are many simple questions that I wonder about!> What makes a tang a "show tang" or any fish a showpiece for that matter? Are there certain qualifiers? Is it all about size, shape, and/or color? <Mmm, in the marine world'¦ good looks, good genes... same as asking what makes a "cover girl". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though there are differences in freshwater species as there are actual specifications for competitions.> Thanks a bunch! <Welcome!> You guys and gals keep up the good work. <Will try!> Best Regards, <And to you Joe, Mich> Joe

75G FO choices. Thinking Small For Long-Term Stocking Success!   9/25/07 Hello all, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> Pardon the length, but some history for you. After considering several options/budget issues and much research here), I am setting up a 75G with an in-sump refugium as a future home for a small group of more aggressive marine fish. The display will be lit by two standard wattage bulbs, and decorated with about 70lbs of base rock. Water will circulate through a 30G sump at about 450 gph (actual sump volume of about 15-20 gallons, including the 'fuge) and the refugium will have its own pump running around 150 gph through about a ten gallon volume which will hold a 5" DSB, some live rock, and macroalgae. <Sounds like a well-thought-out plan> The 'fuge will be lit by 36w of CF lights. All that said, my kids are "helping" with the setup and selection, and they are wanting a Yellow Tang, a Lunare Wrasse, and a Picasso Trigger as tankmates. My oldest loves the Harlequin Tusk, but not ready to spend that much just yet. <Yikes! Quite a mix for a 75 gallon tank! I hate to be a "buzz kill", but I wouldn't even mix those fishes in a 175 gallon aquarium. These fishes all require a lot of physical space, get quite large, and give off copious amounts of metabolic waste. Not really ideal in this situation, IMO.> My question is this...I see this stocking working for a max of up to two years' time, then having to trade, etc, which I don't like to do. <Neither do I. Often, the trades never happen, or the larger aquarium we intend to get doesn't come to pass so quickly. The fishes then languish in an aquarium that is too small for their long-term happiness.> I love either a Picasso Trigger or Harlequin Tusk as a single wet pet, but concerned about getting single fish syndrome. <Well, either of these fishes could do okay in a 75 for maybe a year, tops. Then a much larger system would be required.> Once I have this set up, I will seed the tank with cured live rock and some live sand, then wait for a good month before adding anything, testing the whole way. I really want this to be a one shot effort. <Your methodology sounds fine, but the stocking plan is really not a good one, IMO. It's best to stick with fishes that can live their entire lives in an aquarium of this size. Maybe you could fall in love with "smaller versions" of the fishes that you are considering. There are no truly smaller Triggers, but how about trying a smaller Hawkfish in place of the Trigger, a Halichoeres species wrasse in place of the Lunare, and a Pseudochromis for color? I really wouldn't keep a Tang of any sort in an aquarium less than 6 feet in length. They really need the room to roam! Think about smaller fishes...Trust me- it's a better long-term solution!> Thanks for a great site! <My pleasure.> PS-Can you give me the title of the newest book regarding refugiums? I can't find the reference I saw earlier.... Stan <Well, Stan, I'd consider Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo's "Reef Invertebrates", which has a great section on refugia. Or, you could check out the latest volume of the Sprung and Delbeek's "The Reef Aquarium" series, which discusses them as well. HTH. Regards, Scott F.>

Re: 75G FO choices. Thinking Small for Long-Term Stocking Success! 9/26/07 Thanks Scott! <You're welcome!> Not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. <Well, sometimes it's necessary to be a dream crusher for the greater good, ya know!> Other choices we have considered are (unrelated list) Flame Angel, various Dwarf Lionfish, and/or a Passer's angel (though not with the Flame, if that comes to be). <Well- pass on the Passer's...gets too large!> We were originally looking at a tank of dwarf angels, but thought that would be awfully slow to look at. <Not really...but problematic in a system of this size. All sorts of possible territorial problems.> I am still leaning toward having just three medium sized fish, as opposed to a tank with many small ones, but it is looking like that is how we will go. <Smaller is never bad> Forgot to mention there will be two skimmers (until I get the big one) in the way of an Aqua C Remora and a Bak Pak. Thanks again...I'll keep at the research. Stan

Planning Ahead On 75 Gallon Marine  9//15/07 Good Evening, My name is John, and firstly I must applaud you all for doing a fantastic job on helping all these other aquarists and myself. I learn a lot from these articles and from your responses from other reader's questions. I have recently acquired a 75 gallon tank that I want to start up as my first saltwater system. I am someone who likes to plan ahead before starting something up, and therefore I want to discuss stocking options with you. Here are a list of fish that I like: 1. Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)2. Black Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula)3. Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)4. Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica)5. Kaudern's Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kaudneri)6. Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)7. Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)8. Blue Neon Goby (Elacatinus oceanops) Would I be able to stock at least some of these? <Mmm, yes... actually all... I would have two of the clowns and firefish...> May I please ask your advice on these fish, or maybe other fish you can suggest that I stock. Thank You All For All Your Help. <Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Re: Planning Ahead On 75 Gallon Marine   9/16/07 Great thank you.....can you suggest the order I should stock them in and a time span between each? Thank You <The Clowns, Gramma... a few weeks going by... cardinals, tang, gobies, angel... after, as you find them. Bob Fenner>

Looking For Advice On My Stock List, And Progress. SW filtr., gen. stkg.  -- 09/02/07 The web site is very helpful, and I appreciate the input on my tank. <<We're happy to assist>> I have done a lot of reading, and it seems most everyone has a strong opinion on certain topics. <<Indeed'¦most any topic here, really>> I have discovered that to care for an aquarium, it takes patience, research and experience; and I take all advice into consideration. <<Good 'advice' in of itself>> Started 2-4-2007: rectangle 55 gallon with (2) Penguin powerheads, under-gravel filter, <<Yikes, this takes me back to the 70's!...do consider a better filtration method>> Aqua Tech 30/60 power filter hanging on the back, <<Mmm, more 'retro' marine filtration'¦I had a 55g marine system that was set up very similar to this'¦in 1977! If you have researched as you say you have then you are aware there are 'better ways'>> Full fluorescent light hood. 33 pounds of live rock with lace rock, <<The 'Lace Rock' is a gamble'¦it will likely contain harmful elements that will leach in to your system'¦best to remove this>> on a crushed coral bed. <<Another possible source of problems'¦coupled with the UG filter pulling 'everything' deep within this substrate>> 78 degrees, hydrometer reads 1.020 salinity. <<Your salinity is MUCH too low'¦should read 1.025/1.026>> Instant Ocean Ocean Master test kit: alkalinity 10, ph 8.2, no ammonia, nitrate 10, <<Do keep the Nitrate from edging any higher>> low range nitrite .2 <<Toxic'¦should be zero'¦and is likely a result of the UG filter and/or the hang-on filter>> Stock: 3" sailfin black blenny Atrosalarias fuscus green clown goby blue chromis green Chromis (2) -2" aquacultured percula clowns 3" Coral beauty angel <<Can be delicate'¦is better housed in a larger, more mature system>> 2" Blue hippo tang <<Needs a much larger tank'¦at least 'three-times' the size you have>> 3" Green spotted puffer <<A totally unsuitable fish here'¦and I'll guess, is the reason your salinity is so low'¦to the detriment of your other livestock. Do remove this fish and place in its own suitable environment, or return it to the store>> 3 snails, 1 astrea, 2 orange turbos 4 peppermint shrimp One miniature hermit crab black brittle starfish Kenya tree corals <<Elaine'¦more reading for you my friend. The path you're headed down now is only going to lead to heartache and frustration. Please start here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm) and follow/read among the associated links in blue at the top of the page. Also, please use keyword searches of our site re your livestock for info on care/proper environment. If you have more questions, you know where to find me. Regards, EricR>> Fish stkg. help... using WWM   8/27/08 Hi I have a 75 gallon reef tank with a cardinal Banggai, yellow watchman goby, maroon clownfish and last week I purchased a Yellowheaded jawfish and a royal Gramma. My first question is: I saw my jawfish the first day I put him in but I have not seen him lately. <To be expected... are secretive... take a while to acclimate...> I noticed the goby switched to a new rock that day although I first believed the jawfish was under the rock but since then the goby has been under the new rock. I was wondering if my goby could have killed the jawfish. <Is possible, but not probable...> I thought the two were compatible. I think the jawfish is dead I saw a clear looking something floating under one of the other rocks I'm not sure if this is the fish but it sort of looks like a tail. The fish were added on Thursday and today is Sunday and the jawfish has not been seen yet. Just a side note about two weeks before I purchased a jawfish and about two days later he was laying dead in the tank. <You should quarantine, isolate new stock... to allow it to rest up, for you to observe, make sure it is healthy... ahead of placing in a main/display tank> I thought this was due to shipping and stress, but now I'm not sure. My next question is if I add a pistol shrimp for the goby would it also be ok to have a cleaner shrimp? <Should be in a volume of this size> And sorry I'm sorry this is a long letter , but I have one more question...When my tank is ready for a mandarin fish I wanted to add one would he be ok with the two shrimp and the yellow watchman goby. I've been told this was fine but I wanted to double check. Also will the shrimp be fine with the above fish and later I plan to add a yellow tang, flame angel, and reef safe wrasse. Thank you for your time and help. I want to make sure the fish I get are compatible as much as I can. Also the water in my tank tested to be fine. <Please read re all these species you intend to place... on WWM... Maybe starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm BobF>

Re: fish help, lvstkg.  -- 08/27/07 I wanted to let you know that after I sent you the email and five days after I bought my jawfish I saw him this morning underneath the rock! My goby is not a double murderer thank goodness and my jawfish is alive. Thanks <Ah, good. BobF>

How many fish can I keep in my 55 gallon? Over stocking! Poor selection of fish. Lots of research recommended. -- 8/01/07 Hey guys and girls of the crew. <Good Morning EZ! Brenda here! I have received both of your e-mails and will answer both here.> I have a 55 gallon tank with these fishes in it: Sailfin tang 3 inches <Yikes! Tank is much too small> Unicorn tang 4 inches <Ouch!> Moray eel 7 inches <There are several different species of Moray Eels. Many need a 125 or larger aquarium. More information here: http://www.liveaquaria.com/search/default.cfm > Key hole angel 3 inches <Borderline tank size for this fish.> Spotted puffer 3 inches <Tank size is border line. A larger tank is preferred. This fish can also be aggressive towards others.> 3 clownfish 2 inches <Two is the limit here!> 7 damsels 2inches <Disaster waiting to happen!> 1 hermit crab 1 banded shrimp I have a fluval 405 and a sea clone protein skimmer on it and I do water changes every 3 weeks. This protein skimmer is not known to perform well. Is this enough for my fish? <No, unfortunately it is not. Please research every animal and your equipment before you purchase.> $$$$$$$$ITZ NOT EZ BEING ME$$$$$$$$$ <Brenda> How many fish can I keep in my 26 gallon? Over stocking! Poor selection of fish. Lots of research recommended. -- 8/01/07 Hey guys and girls of the crew <Hello EZ, Brenda again!> I also have a 26 gallon with these fishes in it: Clown trigger 1 inch <This fish requires a tank of 125 gallons or more.> Dogface puffer 5 inches <This fish requires a tank of 100 gallons or more.> 7 clown fishes <Again, two is the maximum here, unless you have a system of a few hundred gallons or more.> 3 damsels <This is too many damsels for such a small tank. Damsels are aggressive fish.> I have a fluval 405 running with a sea clone protein skimmer and I change the water every two weeks. Is that good? <Again, this is not going to work. You have far too many fish in each of your tanks, many of which need much larger systems. Please research your animals and equipment before you purchase.> $$$$$$$$ITZ NOT EZ BEING ME$$$$$$$$$ <Brenda> <<A jokester... RMF>>

Re: Ick! The first thing an aquarist says when he sees white spots on his fish. Some Gifts Are 'Not' -- 07/07/07 EricR, <<Scott>> Thanks for all of the advice. <<Is my pleasure to share>> The Eel, the Grouper, and the Puffer will all go to new homes once they either get too large or I move to a larger apartment as I am slowly going to convert this tank to a reef system. <<Mmm, better sooner than later'¦>> I have attached some small cell phone photos of my inhabitants. <<Beautiful specimens, I understand your attraction re'¦but some (you know which ones) are already looking 'too big' for your system>> Can you identify the rock fish for me - I've had no success matching up images? <<I can only guess (perhaps if Bob sees this he will have a better idea), but it appears to possibly be a species of Stonefish or Scorpionfish, but'¦it does also look like there is a 'lure' positioned between the eyes that would be indicative of a species of Anglerfish. Either way, do note the size of the head/mouth in relation to the body size'¦this fish is likely capable of consuming other fishes nearly a large as itself'¦consider yourself 'warned''¦>> <Is a Batrachoidid... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batrachoididae.htm, RMF> The Eel, Rockfish, and Puffer I rescued from my office's remodel. <<Good intentions'¦now send them to proper homes>> They were going to throw out the tank and all fish. <<Unfortunately this is not uncommon re these settings>>>> I couldn't let that happen and now I am learning everything that I can to give them a happy home. <<Lest you know another hobbyist who can/has the systems to accommodate, best to take to your LFS for some store credit>> Thanks again for your site - I'm reading through it everyday. <<Excellent, my friend>> Regards,
<<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

New Fish Suggestions...Perhaps A Nice Wrasse -- 07/03/07 Hey guys, <Hi there, Mich here.> I've read over your FAQ's and read up a lot about Dartfish and Jawfish husbandry. <Wonderful!> I currently have a Purple Dartfish and a Pearly Jawfish in my tank and I am considering putting another fish in there to liven up the scene. <OK.> I am considering a Six-Line Wrasse but in my reading I found out that they may be aggressive towards shy and passive fish species. <Yes.> Can you recommend a fish that stays under 3.5" that would be an active swimmer and a good tankmate for these species? <Wish I knew what size tank your working with. Perhaps a flasher wrasse? Most are quite beautiful, stay relatively small, are usually not aggressive and tend to be active swimmers. But a word to the wise, they are jumpers so only keep in a covered system. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracheilinus.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracheilinusfaqs.htm and related links in blue.> Thanks so much for the wonderful website and all the help. <On behalf of Bob and Crew, you're welcome! Mich>

Re: please advise... Re? Amongst hundreds of thousands of disparate FAQs... can't find you    7/2/07 Bob, Thanks for the review and response. Knowing my current livestock <Ahh, please always send along prev. corr... I DON'T know your situation...> how big of a system should I get to house all the things I currently have? <Bigger... please see WWM re the species you have/list re their "Systems"... this is posted> I will not treat the tank again with No-ich per your advice and I will get a QT tank this week if the white things do not disappear on their own. Love your site, thanks again. Rachael <Keep reading! Bob Fenner>

Best fish Selection for a 215-Liter tank    -- 06/19/07 Hello there! <Hello Clint, Marie here> I have a 215-liter tank, <57 gallons> With a V2 Vectron Protein skimmer, Fluvial 405 external filter and recently installed a UV Sterilizer along with two power heads! Live Sand and Live Rock. What fish selection would be suitable for the tank? I have made mistakes in the past with stocking levels, and from a Trip to Egypt and the red sea can see and respect how much space these fish need. <Great, then you know how important careful research is before you begin> Please help, as I would like the best display possible and a happy tank. < In order for me to begin to answer your question I would need to know more about your system and the type of fish you are interested in keeping? Do you plan on keeping coral, clams or other photosynthetic specimens in your tank as well as fish? If so you will need to make sure you have compatible inhabitants and proper lighting? How much live sand and live rock do you have? What are the flow rates of your power heads? Also you may want to consider a more effective filtration system such as a sump and refugium, which would enhance your biological waste removal. I would suggest you start by reading the Aquarium Stocking and selection article located at http://wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm and the filtration articles and the marine filtration articles at http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm. Once you have more information please get back to me and we can discuss your original question> Clint <Thank you Clint for your inquiry>

Saltwater fish stocking  3/16/2007 Hi - I hope you can help. <<Will try.>> I have an 80g marine set up for around 3 years now, with the following inhabitants: 1 x Flame Angelfish 2 x Black-tailed Damsels 1 x Royal Gramma 1 x Long-nosed Hawk fish 6 x Scarlet hermit crabs 3 x Soft corals <<Sounds nice. Keep an eye on the damsels' aggression...not sure quite what species you mean.>> How many more fish would you say I could add before it becomes fully stocked? <<Numbers of fish are not practical.  Too many variables with size/territoriality.>> I would like to add a slightly bigger reef-safe fish in the near future. I am torn between the long-nosed butterflyfish and the regal tang. Do you think that my tank could accommodate either of these fish? If so, which would you recommend? <<Absolutely not the Regal tang.  Your tank is far too small to house this fish.  You may get by with the butterfly, but bear in mind this means no clams in the future.  I personally think you should keep your flame angel as your main show fish.  Depending on the species, the damsels you have likely grow larger than you think.  I would personally go for a school of smaller, active fish, like the green or blue Chromis.>> Also, on another matter, if I were to add some Lysmata cleaner shrimp, do you think they would be safe from the hawk fish? <<No guarantees.>> I understand that this can be a risk, but I haven't actually heard or read of anybody having their shrimp eaten by this fish. Is this something you have witnessed? <<I have, yes, most often during moulting.  More often with other hawk fish species with larger mouths.  Adding shrimp much larger than your hawk will help.>> Many thanks - your website is my bible :-) <<eeek!!>> Luke <<Hope that helps Luke. Lisa Brown.>>

The Conscientious Marine Aquarist... Copper/test kit use... SW livestk sel.  -- 03/09/07 Mr. Fenner, <Patrick... sorry this has taken a while to respond to... We have something artifactually wrong with our webmail server... and a bunch of incoming (mostly from Apple products) comes in "trayless"... which a few of us here can re-route (through their Apple products)... so's others can respond...>    First off, my name is Patrick Myer and I have been keeping marine aquaria off and on since 1986.   I recently purchased and completed reading your book 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist' and I just wanted to be the latest to tell you what a fantastic work it is.    While geared for the new aquarist to beginning reefer, I have taken a  great deal of tips from the book and wish that there was that kind of literature available when I started.   I have had to learn so much of my info thru trial and (lots of) error and could have definitely avoided many of them if I'd read your book first.  I also read your article a few months back in FAMA about Emperor Angels (Pomacanthus imperator) and enjoyed it as well.   I currently have a 4-5 inch specimen that I have a definite kinship with.  I've had her (I just decided to label it a she) for nearly a year now and she is doing  superb.  She sure does like to 'investigate' things as though she were a toddler.  Again, many thanks for your book and your website.    You are an absolute, top-notch asset to the hobby and this rock we live on.  It would be a pleasure to meet you one day. <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words>    I live in Virginia Beach , VA where I serve as a Lieutenant in the  Navy, and while there are some great folks here that do try in  earnest to do the right things, every system in this town is so infected with Cryptocaryon irritans that I have to copper treat everything. <Yikes!> I had a couple losses trying to dose copper effectively until I found a brand and test kit that matched and worked effectively.  I realized and read that there could be some problems with that, but boy did I find out how bad it can be.  I was using SeaCure with a Salifert test kit and the test kit said I had no detectable copper, but when my tang started having seizures, I bought a Red Sea test kit and it read 0.3 ppm!!  I would like to be able to find specimens that can QT and NOT have to always copper treat since it is not a benign drug (as you certainly know). <Ah, yes> Can you point me in the direction of some online places that sell good stuff where I might be able to have a chance at not medicating my specimens? <My faves are the Marine Center and Dr.s Foster & Smith... they seem to have the better suppliers, staff, consistent treatment of livestock... No one can be perfect in the regard to preventing the passing of impaired livestock, but these outfits, as etailers come closest... And I would like to add there are some excellent retailers as well (e.g. AquaTouch in Phoenix), that also "do their duty" in providing adequate quarantine, careful purchasing...> Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I really want to be a conscientious aquarist. Sincerely, Patrick Myer <Thank you for writing, sharing Patrick. Would you please send along the names... copper brand and test kit, that you found useful? Was it the AS SeaCure (copper sulfate) and Red Sea kit? Bob Fenner>

Marine Fishes, Compatibility  - 01/24/2007 Hi there <Hello.> ,I have a 100g (inc. sump) tank. Water quality I would say is 8/10. <What do you think is missing...or maybe there in too much quantity....that makes it only a 8?> Currently I have a few soft corals and these fish: purple tang <Watch the adult size on this one.> (3in) percula clown (3in) blue-yellowtail damsel <Watch the aggression level on this little dude.> (2in) pyjama cardinal (2in) coral beauty angel (3in) rabbitfish (3in). <Also watch the size on this guy.> Ultimately I want to add 2 firefish, a 6-line wrasse, a yellow tang and a hardy butterfly. <Long-term, you have a lot in this tank already, two surgeons will not co-exist in this tank together. simply not enough room, and the adult sizes of the already stocked rabbitfish and surgeon...well I would prefer more room.  Personally I would remove the rabbitfish or the tang, omit the planned tang and butterfly for the future, the wrasse and firefish are far better choices.> I've been offered a Starcki damsel which looks nice. my questions: <..But can be aggressive, I wouldn't mix it with the already established damsel.> 1. Is 80g of tank space with a fair amount of rock going to be ok for 2 damsels. <Maybe, maybe not...depends on individuals, it's a risk, one I personally would rather not take.> enough room for them to keep their distance? <Physically yes, psychologically, well see the above comment again.> 2. Similarly, is it enough room for the 2 tangs (Zebrasomas) to mind their own business? <Not at all my friend....> Thanks for your thoughts! <Anytime.> Barney <**AJ.>

Re: Lots of questions... stkg.   1/16/07 Hello again, and thanks for entertaining that mixed bag of questions. I forgot to include that we already have a Royal Gramma.  He/she is a favorite but doesn't come out much unless the bright lights are off.  What I'm wanting to add is another active, colorful fish that is bigger than a Gramma or Pseudochromid and that would be out-and-about most of the time, sort of like the tangs. Believe me, I've been looking and researching for weeks/months but haven't come across the right one yet. <Mmm... I'd keep looking, investigating...> For example, I'd really like a Majestic Angel (Navarchus) but don't see it working out in this particular tank... <No... not enough room> I'm just checking to see if the Crew has an idea that I might not have thought of. Thanks, Tom <Don't want to overly-influence you here. BobF>

Creating Coralline and Preventing Overcrowding! Hi there, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> A few questions about my 168G FOWLR tank, with a 70G sump and refugium. With 250 lbs of live rock, 3 inch aragonite sand bed with varying thickness. Lighting consists on two 48 inch actinic tubes and 4-30w power compacts. The tank has a venturi skimmer with DIY filtration in sump with sponge, bio balls, carbon , ammo rock, Zeolite. Refugium has some macro algae coming up. The main tank has the following inhabitants: Queen Coris -1 (4 inch) Cleaner wrasse -1(2 inch) Fire clown -1( 1 inch) Coral Beauty -1( 2.5 inch) Double saddle butterfly -1 (1.5 inch) Lunar wrasse -1( 5 inch) Azure damsel -1 (1.5 inch) Three spot damsel -2 (3 inch) **** Planning to remove Hermit crab blue legged -1 The main issue is with live rock, the growth of coralline algae is almost nil also the whole rock looks dead by now. The parameters are all normal. The tank has been up and running for the past six months, with regular blooms of diatoms. How much should the lighting be spruced up to for better coralline and invertebrate growth in live rocks? <Well, you didn't specify all of your parameters, so I'll just make some general suggestions here. Corallines tend to grow in environments with sufficiently high calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium levels. You might want to get test kits to measure these parameters (if you don't already), and you'll get a better picture of what's going on with your system, relative to the lack of coralline growth. The fact that you are experiencing diatom blooms is indicative of some sort of nutrient excess in your water, usually silicates and some organics. Do consider utilizing high quality source water (if you aren't already), such as RO/DI (ideally your RO/DI unit would have a high-silicate removal stage), and aggressive use of protein skimming and chemical filtration (i.e.; activated carbon and/or Poly Filter). Consider ways to increase calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium if these are not at sufficient levels. You could use two part supplements, such as "B-Ionic", Kalkwasser dosing, or investing in a calcium reactor to increase alkalinity. Regular frequent water changes with a high grade of reef salt will replenish most of the other required elements used by corallines.> Would it be ok to add an Odonus niger with a Picasso trigger and a bird wrasse to the system? <Hmmm.. If it were me, I would not add either one to this mix at this point. You have a pretty nice mix of fishes that still have some growing to do, so the space will be at a premium in the near future. If you really want to add another fish, I'd keep it at just one more, and I'd limit my choices to smaller specimens, such as a Halichoeres species of wrasse, a Pseudochromis, Blenny, or maybe a smaller Hawkfish. Lots of cool fishes to choose from. Your fishes will thank you later for exercising restraint!> Thanks in advance! Adios Amigos <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Fish per gallon? 1/3/07   1/7/07 <Greetings, Jennifer.> I went to that link... < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm  > had some info I hadn't considered.   <Good to hear - well... read.> I am a big fan of under stocking but I hadn't considered moving rocks in the tank around to diffuse territories...thanks for the advice!   <Hmm, I thought that was old-hat. Maybe it's just my mentors...> I'll keep doing my research....husband will just have to realize we can't stick Shamu in a 55 gal! Thanks again!! <Always a pleasure to be of use. (I was actually worried about my mention of some species, since I really think people should build their own system, not mine or the local shops owner's) -Graham T. > What kind of an anemone did I purchase?  Packed in Like Sardines, Much to Learn...   1/6/07 Hello everyone at WWM! <Hello Kevin!  Mich with you today.> I first wanted to say that your site is an awesome place to do research and learn about keeping aquariums.   <Glad you like it!> I always loved fish and never got a saltwater aquarium but now I have one.  I'll give you some specs on my aquarium first and then maybe I can get some info from you guys about this anemone I have. <Alrighty.> 10 Gal tank (I know very small environment but I have a 50 gallon filter, a small power head and 30 gallon protein skimmer and I was told by one of my LFS that it would be sufficient for a mini tank) and 50/50 lighting (don't remember if that's what the numbers were, but the LFS told me that this would be sufficient to sustain an anemone in a 10 gallon tank) <!> 1 False Clown 1 Domino Damsel 1 Striped Damsel (don't know if that's the name) 1 Yellow Tailed Damsel (don't know if that's the name either but it's body is blue with a little yellow tail) 1 Green / Blue pear colored Damsel (this one I picked up at some weird looking fish store but it was like 2 bucks so I just got it) <This is not a good philosophy! These are living creatures, for which you are assuming responsibility.> 1 Anemone. <Way, way, way too many fish in a 10 gallon tank!>   All of the fish are no bigger than a quarter in size and seem very happy. <They are not happy...  They are extremely overcrowded.  This is causing environmental stress, there is just not physically enough room for each fish to be comfortable.>   The clown hosts the power head and loves to swim up behind it and sleep there at night.  The Domino Damsel hosts only at night with the anemone and snuggles up with it while it sleeps.  The fish are not aggressive towards each other in any way (except for when any fish get close to the power head when the clown is there).     <They may not be showing outward signs of aggression, but this is a very stressful environment, akin to setting up 3 sets of bunk beds in a small bedroom.> So my question is what kind of anemone do I have?  I have gone on the website to look for information but I just can't figure it out.  I don't have a camera, but the entire anemone is white from foot to base to tentacles.  The mouth area is perfectly circular and pink.  The tentacles taper to small points and are occasionally a neon green color, but as of this moment they are brown.  The other damsels have run into the anemone completely but don't look like they get stung at all.  The only one that seems to hate the anemone is the clownfish (but I think it's because I bought him from a store that sold tank raised fish). Any clues? <My best guess without a photo would be a Condy (Condylactis gigantea).>   Also, I made the mistake when I first set the tank up by using crushed coral instead of sand.  If I wanted to switch to sand, can I just use regular sand or do I have to buy that bio sand stuff with all of the bacteria in it?   <You cannot just use regular sand, however you don't need to buy bio sand either.  If you convert to sand you want an aragonite based sand. Crushed coral isn't a bad substrate and there really is no need to change from this.  A deep sand bed is typically used for nitrate reduction.  You are going to have nitrate problems with your tank because you have several times more fish than is appropriate for your system.>    I figured if I just use most of the water from the tank now and then used some seawater from my LFS that it'd be fine.   Thanks for all of your help and thanks for your awesome site! <Kevin, as you start out in this hobby, I think you would be very wise to invest in as book called "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner.  If you only buy one book this is the book to get.  It is essential as a beginner and something experience aquarists often reference.  This hobby is one that requires a commitment to a lot of learning along the way.  Please consider the book and continue to use the website to educate yourself how to best provide for those in your care.  There is much to learn -Mich>    Kevin

Re: Fish compatibility and introductions 1/4/07 Thanks for the reply but what should I do in the mean time. The 300 gal will not be set up until next year. The quarantined fish are in 20 gal tubs.   <Sorry, I must've read over that part somehow. I assumed all fish were happily housed in either the 120gal or the bowfront. I have to say, I'm not sure if getting more livestock to add in with your mean Lunare is a good idea unless you have plans to make a drastic change in there (decor-wise) to disorient him as well as the new arrivals. I would be especially concerned about the Hogfish since he looks enough like a wrasse to be taken as a threat by the Lunare.> Do you think it would be a good idea to take out the wrasse for a week or two then add the whole group to the tank and see how it goes? <Worth a shot... but why not keep the wrasse in the bowfront and you'll have a happy little setup in the 120?> Also The Cuban hogfish is in hiding and has not eaten anything since his arrival 2 days ago. <Normal.> I'm thinking about buying some live black worms (cold water variety) and/or glass shrimp. Do you have any other suggestions? <Not yet. Just give them time to adjust. The Foxface (Siganus vulpinus, or do you have a different species?) is usually a timid introductee to a new system, and may take longer than you are used to settle in.> The fox face has not eaten either that I know of although I put in a piece of feather Caulerpa and it seems to be missing. <...> Again thanks for all you do. <Happy to help, and I apologize for the mix-up. -Graham T.>

Re: More photos ... and flash!   1/3/07 Yes, the Centropyge bispinosus seems to irritate the clown trigger..... <This will change> Overall though everyone seems to get along fine.... Believe it or not the Regal dominates the Asfur...... <This as well... in time.> E-mail from Craig Smith
<Thanks. Bob Fenner>

Stocking / Compatibility   12/19/06 Hi Crew,     I am going to start a 90 gal FOWLR in the next week or two (had to give up my two parrots last weekend - noise!). <Oh yes... Psittacines can be raucous to the extreme> I was thinking of a Snowflake Moray, Saddled Puffer (Canthigaster valentini), and  a Humu Picasso Trigger, but have a few questions. <Mmm, the last two will very likely bite, pick on the Eel...>     First, do  you think the valentini is too small given the sizes of the Moray and Trigger. <Mmm... might not be able to compete during feeding... but Tobies are tough animals...> If so, what might you recommend? <Mmm, for you to read... consider other livestock choices. What you list is not really compatible, suitable for this sized tank>   Lastly, if I am not overcrowded, can you recommend a schooling or shoaling species (Anthias?) <Yes... posted on WWM> that I may be able to add.     You guys and gals do a fantastic job and perform a great service for all of us.     Happy holidays to all Regards Roy <And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Re: Stocking / Compatibility  12/20/06 Robert, Thanks for the quick reply.  What if I went with a gray Moray and either the Picasso or a Masked Puffer?  Sort of a Red Sea biotope.  Do you think this may work? Roy <Is a good mix... Make that Rhinecanthus an assasi and you have a deal... but you'll either have to do massive water changes, have plenty of circulation, filtration... and/or a much larger volume/system. Bob Fenner> Re: Surgeonfish and tank compatibility   12/16/06 Hi again Mich, <Tom, my friend, hello again!>   Thanks for your response. <You are most welcome.> I can understand that they <surgeonfish> like a nice big space to live and get big in (heck that's why I live in a house, not a box :) ). <Hehehe!  Very true!> What size aquarium do you think one would need to keep a nice happy group of tangs? <I'm not sure there is such a thing as a nice happy group of tangs in an aquarium, but I would say well over a hundred gallons, closer to two hundred, the bigger the better to have some semi-happy tangs.> I am thinking it would be much bigger than I am considering, but just in case, down the road I'm up for a large challenge it would be good to know. <Actually in many ways it is easier to maintain a larger tank than it is a smaller tank, except maybe on the pocketbook.> I just have one more question for you today. <Go for it!  Though I am look forward to tomorrows question also!> Do you think it would be possible to keep a small school <shoal> of blue-green Chromis in a 20G tank? <Chromis viridis can get pretty big, to about 3.5 inches.  I would say a 55 gallon tank would be best for a shoal.> If a 20G isn't too small, how many would I be able to house comfortably? <I think it's too small.  There are some cardinalfish that shoal that would be appropriate for a 20 gallon tank.  I would avoid the more common Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) and Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera) as they get a little big but something like a Threadfin Cardinalfish (Apogon leptacanthus) could work.> Once again thank you very much for your time, and I hope you have a great Christmas. <Again, you are most welcome.  Happy Holidays to you my friend.  -Mich> Tom

Information needed!!! Looking for SW livestock in France 11/22/06 Hi, <Hello Sasha! Tim answering your question today!> I live in France and I am looking for buying a fish, seahorses and corals on international market. So far, nobody is selling overseas. Please, help me to find some place that is ready to send overseas. I was searching trough sites in USA, writing E-mails and nothing so far!? Please help!!! <Dear Sasha, while I completely understand your frustration at not being able to obtain the livestock that you desire, I would strongly advise against obtaining any livestock from abroad. Whilst marine fish are of course imported from abroad, this is on a very different scale involving large volumes of water and special transportation practices and documentation. Additionally, even this initial journey is very traumatizing for the animal and depending on species, one finds that only very few actually survive. As such, the small plastic bag in a Styrofoam box that online retailers may offer is wholly unsuitable for long distance transport of livestock. Additionally, there may be import restrictions on certain livestock, violation of which may cause you unnecessary legal problems. If you do find a company willing to send their livestock abroad, you will undoubtedly find that there is no guarantee of your animal or coral arriving alive. France undoubtedly has some very fine fish shops - I would suggest you do more searching within France for your own benefit and that of the livestock you wish to acquire. Best of luck. Tim> Sasha

Re: Looking for SW livestock in France   11/24/06 Hi Tim, Thanks for reply. <My pleasure - sorry that I could not be more helpful!> Yeha, I know that the best would be to find it in France but, the problem is; that the French love their aquariums but they have one of the worst live stocks. Second they practically have no farms here. So, this is the basic reason that I was looking in the States. They really have a nice options. In any case, I thank You very much for the effort and wish You a good Thanks Giving! <Sasha, although not ideal, depending on where in France you live you may want to consider obtaining your livestock from Germany as a last resort. Otherwise if there really is such a lack of good shops in France, perhaps that is a great business opportunity you could consider! :o) Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Tim> Sasha

Mostly marine stkg. Qs    11/4/06 I read up on the Maroon Clowns, I didn't realize they also got so much bigger then other species of clowns. I'll probably go with a True of False Percula instead, maybe a mated pair if I can find one. Thanks for the heads up. I have a new series of questions though ;) << A pair of false Percs would be great. Look for a truly mated pair for best results. >> 1. Lighting, after reading a few lighting articles and knowing a decent amount about physics/chemistry I would like to know if there is anything wrong with using reptile/land hermit crab lights in the canopy of a reef tank. Aside from the UV lights these fixtures use for reptiles you can also purchase 100w full spectrum bulbs for them instead. If so it'd be an inexpensive way to provide more light and expand the list of potential corals I could keep. << I highly doubt these lights would do your corals any good. They are unlikely to have the correct spectrum and penetration for a reef tank. >> 2. Stocking: Okay so now that I'm downsizing the clown to a False Percula I've decided I really like Pajama Cardinals so I'd like to get one of those as well as a lawnmower Blenny. Do I have room for anything else like some sort of wrasse or a neon or shrimp goby? << The cardinal would be fine, but you may want to pass on the blenny. They grow too large for your tank and can suffer from poor nutrition should it run out of live algae to eat (i.e.: need a big tank to support proper algae growth). The other fish you mentioned would be fine as well. Make sure you choose a reef safe wrasse. 3. Last one: My LFS swears they have a Red Scooter Blenny that eats frozen Mysid Shrimp that they've had for months and doesn't sell for some reason. If I can get them to reasonably demonstrate that this blenny actually takes frozen food is there anything wrong with picking it up for this tank? << If you can observe it eating Mysis and it is fat and healthy you can take a chance. If you choose this fish don't add any other fish that will compete with it for the living foods in your tank like many wrasses etc. >> Thanks again guys! << Very welcome and best of luck! - Emerson >>

Question on how many more fish in a 75 gallon   10/27/06 I wanted to put a medium size fish in the 75 gallon tank like a yellow Tang.  Have I reached maximum threshold in my tank.  I'm also prepping the tank for coral.  I have a protein skimmer and slowly removing the bio balls from my large sump and about 95 pounds of live rock with live sand. I currently have: 4 Green Chromis 2 tomato clowns 1 decorator crab 3 small serpent starfish 1 dragon goby 1 bicolor Dottyback 1 peppermint shrimp 1 skunk shrimp 1 sea hare <Watch this last... some, mostly larger species can cause havoc from "inking" if disturbed> Thanks a lot.  Also am I at risk with my decorator crab in the tank with the others???? or future coral. <Crabs/decapods are always wild cards... a Yellow Tang will go here and look mighty fine. BobF> Thanks one more time. Too Many Fish?  10/26/06 Hi Guys! <And gals> I just wanted to know if my luck will eventually run out pertaining to my tank set-up.  I have a 40 gallon salt-water fish tank (36"W x 18"H x 16"D)  with about 40-50 pounds of live rock, one Prism protein skimmer, one  Aqua-Clear 70 filter, one Fluval 104 canister filter, one Maxi-Jet 600 power  head and one two-foot bubble wand.  The tank is about one year old and  houses many reef janitors including snails, hermit crabs, one cleaner  shrimp, one fire shrimp, one Linckia star fish, and one emerald  crab.  I also have two large anemones, one which is a bubble tip the maroon  clown just can't get enough of him!) <... a Linckia seastar and two anemones in a forty gallon volume? You have been fortunate> My question pertains to the amount of fish that inhabit my tank which I am   sure that you will consider excessive.  They are as follows nose to tail):  one 5" Hippo Tang, one 3.5" Purple Tang, one 4" Maroon Clown, one 3.5" Koran,   one 3" Blue Devil, one 3" Orange-Tailed Blue Devil, one 1.5"  Four-Striped Damsel, one 3" Mandarin Dragonet, one 2.5" Flame Angel, one  1.5" Yellow Damsel, one 2" Blue-Striped Wrasse and one 2" Pygmy  Angel. <... Come on, you're pulling old Bob the Fishman's fins...> Believe it or not, my fish all seem to tolerate each other  peacefully.  They all eat well, their colors are rich, and the water  clarity is crystal clear. I make sure that their diet is varied including  Nori, frozen foods, live worms, marine pellets, etc.  The tank parameters  are always excellent (pH: 8.3; NH3: 0; NH2: 0; PHOS: 0; Ca: 450 PPM; KH:  8)  except my nitrates which range from 20 to 80 PPM.  I change  10% of the water biweekly including partial vacuuming of the gravel and  I insert one bag of fresh carbon weekly.  In addition, I am regularly  inserting Pura nitrate-lock resin bags once or twice weekly to help abate the  nitrate level.  These bags are always regenerated before reinsertion. Due to nitrate levels which will never approach zero, I know that I can never keep corals in my tank.  Other than the inconvenience of  reducing the nitrate level, do you have any comments regarding my  situation.  All my fish are eating and appear robust; however, I know that  I have to remove the Hippo tang because he definitely needs more swimming  space. I would greatly appreciate any comments. Thank you, Tom        <Your system is incredibly over and mis-stocked... if it is as you state... However... nothing succeeds like success... If you're comfortable as this is... But you really need a couple hundred gallons plus for what you list. Bob Fenner>

Stocked To The Max!  - 10/22/06 Hi guys,  I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank with over 70lbs of LR and 35 lbs of LS.  My filtration system is 1 Fluval 305, 2 Aquaclear powerheads with filters and Bak Pak 2 protein skimmer/bio filter.  I currently have a Fire, Peppermint and a Cleaner shrimps, 1 Arrow crab,  10 Scarlet hermits,  2 Blue legged hermits, 10 Nassarius snails as my scavengers.  2 Feather Dusters which I added  2 months ago.  I have 8 fish: 1 Flame angel, 1 Clarkii clown, 1 Three Stripe damsel,  2 Scooter blennies, 1 Chalk Basslet and 2 Maroon clowns. I also have 2 Condy anemones in which the Chalk, Peppermint and Cleaner seem to like sleeping or hanging out next to. I've observed the past 2 months that the Flame Angel occasionally chases the 3 Stripe Damsel and the Clarkii Clown (similar body type/shape, I guess) and the Chalk Basslet in the beginning but now very rarely. The Maroons are the only ones that nip at the Scooter Blennies when they swim in their territory.  Feeding time they go about their business and don't bother each other.  My Arrow crab do not bother my Shrimps and my Feather Dusters.  Thank God!  I do keep everybody well fed by feeding them live Brine Shrimp, fresh pieces of fish from my fishing trips (bluefish, sea robin, flounder and striped bass), shrimp, frozen worms, brine and plankton and formula 2 marine  pellets. I'm gonna start adding squid in their diet to add more diversity. <All good! I would enjoy being a pet fish in your tank!> I can hand feed all but the 2 Maroon clowns.  It's weird that they won't come to my fingers feeding time but yet they nip at my arms when I remove the internal filters for cleaning or when I move the rocks around! <Defending their territory, I'll bet!> My question is I wanted to add some type of Wrasse.  I was looking to add a Christmas Wrasse. I like the 6 line Wrasse too but I heard they might go after my Peppermint or my Hermit crabs. <A distinct possibility.> A Yellow Tang would have been nice but i heard that they eat shrimps and crabs too.  Will a Mandarin Goby fight with my Scooter Blennies?  What fish do you recommend that is tough enough to hang with my Flame Angel, 2 Maroon Clowns, 3 Stripe Damsel and Clarkii Clown, yet won't chase my Chalk Basslet and won't eat my Shrimps, Snails and Hermit Crabs?  Or is my tank maxed out?  Thanks, Denis <Well, Dennis- sounds like your tank is filled already with an interesting mix of animals...And quite honestly, it's really maxed out, IMO. Enjoy what you've got and start shopping for that larger tank! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> Overstocked, Incompatible, and Unsuitable...Sometimes Enthusiasm Can Override Good Judgment -- 10/17/06 Dear Mr. Fenner and the WWM Crew, <<EricR with you this morning>> First of all greetings from La Jolla, CA to all the crew :-) <<Cheers from Columbia, SC>> I am an avid diver and my family has kept Marine Aquariums for as long as I can remember, so needless to say that I grew up loving anything that had to do with the sea, mainly the sea life. <<Indeed...I have been interested in most anything aquatic since childhood myself, with concentration on marines for the past three decades. But I've only become a certified diver in the past year...though I'm off to the Big Island of Hawaii for some more underwater adventure in a few weeks time>> I recently got married and finally decided that it was the right time in my life to have my own marine tank. <<Cool!>> I have a 130G acrylic tank with overflow/bio balls, a 40G sump, a Gen X Pump PCX 40 (loud bugger BTW lol). <<That they are...perhaps you can consider a switch to an Iwaki or GRI pump>> A G-2 Skimmer with Sedra 3500, a filter under the gravel of the tank done with mesh netting and griddle PVC set up and a UV Sterilizer 40 Watt. <<Mmm...am not a fan of undergravel filters in marine systems>> My lighting is also good with 3 Fluorescent and 3 Halides on a time schedule and a small fixture for a very dim night blue-light at the front and back of the tank (also on a different timer).  The sump has extra holes drilled into it in case I want to add a chiller afterwards (I love clams and might want to add a few to the decor later on).  I decided not to go straight away with reef, since I have only just begun understanding it and I have way too much to read about it still!! <<Ah, good to hear...research beforehand is key to all aspects of the hobby>> So right now inside my tank I have coral sand topped with live sand, a few large and small pieces of fake coral (I really don't like them but couldn't leave the tank too plain :P) and 2 rock (not live) placements at each side of the tank, forming 2 caves and plenty of hiding space but allowing the fish to have more ample swim space. <<To be successful here I want to strongly urge you to remove the fake coral and any rock of a 'non-marine' source and replace all with live rock (approximately 60-80 pounds).  Aside from aesthetics, the rock will provide food sources and biological activity (nutrient processing) that you don't get with other methods/media and will need for the long-term success of this tank>> So this is my tank (hopefully I didn't give you too much info) now comes my questions :-) <<No such thing as 'too much info' <grin> >> I have an unusual fish life in my tank right now.  I have a school of 4 Flashlight Fish (Anomalops katoptron), a pair of Citrinis Clown Goby (Gobiodon citrinis), a baby Panther Grouper (Chromileptes altivelis), a baby Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus), a small (2 inches) Oriental Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus spp.), a Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti), an extremely rare pair of tank bred Ocellaris Snowflake Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) (they're absolutely gorgeous with white covering most of their entire bodies with black and orange linings), 1 Fire Shrimp, 4 Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs, 4 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp and 4 Tongan Fighting Conchs and a small Debelius' Reef Lobster. <<A few things worth mentioning here...  The flashlight fish can grow to 15' in the wild...four of them alone will about fill your tank...and the panther grouper will certainly put you 'over the top' when it gets large (nearly 40'), not to mention eating all your other fishes along the way...as for the sweetlips, these fish almost NEVER survive captivity for the long-term...and the reef lobster posses a threat to your small tank inhabitants...>> I used to also have 6 Sexy Anemone Shrimp (don't ask why....lol....they were the first inhabitants of the tank, even though I don't have any anemones. I just really loved those tiny guys) but they got eaten by the Flashlight Fish right in front of me!!! <<Did you ever doubt they would?!>> I've had them all together for over 6 months now and they're all doing great. <<You have a ticking time-bomb my friend>> I can say mostly is beginner's luck since I knew I was adding some non-compatible species and some really hard to care for species, but I also worked really hard learning everything I could about each species and being very diligent about their feeding/care (to the point of having to feed the Flashlight Fish with an elongated "pipette" everyday for a weeks to make sure they were getting what they needed until they finally started eating frozen food). <<I applaud your research and your efforts, but if you were aware of the unsuitability and incompatibility of these fish, I'm baffled as to why you would throw them together.  I can see you taking a single species and devoting a tank/research to their care, but mixing incompatible and difficult to keep species together 'purposely' is not wise.  Yes, I too think you have experienced beginner's luck...unfortunately it is the fishes that will pay most heavily when it runs out...and with this mix, it will run out...>> I also have to admit that I am taking a route that might/will cause me trouble in the future once the Panther Baby grows large and Lionfish as well, but I am hoping that by feeding them always on schedule and more often, I might be able to get away with them not bothering my Clownfish and Invertebrates. <<I'm afraid you're in for disappointment.  What happens the first time you're late with a feeding?  Not that feeding on a schedule is a road to success here...the fish will respond to natural cues/instinct even when kept fed.  I don't think it is practical to expect to change the fish's natural behavior>> The Panther Grouper and the Lionfish are actually my favorite. <<Great fishes, yes...and best kept to themselves/in their own system>> At such a tiny size and so young, they both behave like some puffers, being very personable and always looking forward to see me, specially at feeding time :p <<Mature size/temperament should always be taken in to account when acquiring fish>> I have also been having some help from my local aquarium shop (Aquatic Warehouse) once a week or every other week.  We do a 10-15% water change often, mainly after messy/big feedings and they help me clean and check the water quality to make sure everything is ok. <<As these fish grow I think you will find your current filtration system to be inadequate.  Addition of live rock and maybe even adding a fluidized-bed filter will help greatly>> My main question is that is my tank already too overloaded or can I still add a few more inhabitants to it? <<Overloaded already I'm afraid (must plan for the long-term, as previously stated).  I really do highly recommend you rethink your stocking of this tank and make some adjustments based on the compatibility/incompatibility of these fishes>> Some of the other species I really love are clams, a few other types of blennies, peaceful wrasses, eels and Bettas (my favorite being the Blue Devil).  Do you think what I'm doing is too wrong by having so many different species in one tank? <<I don't think you are wrong for having 'multiple' species in the same tank...I think it is wrong to have 'incompatible and unsuitable' species in a tank>> I can certainly add another tank if needed for the more aggressive species only...their welfare comes first. <<Ah, good...then please address the issues you have already my friend>> Also, my clownfish have been doing great without an anemone and I believe they have been raised without one, since they are tank bred, but is it ok for them to never be introduced to an anemone? <<It is fine...and in this instance, the best way to go>> Sorry for the long email and all the questions, but I'm really trying get as much advice as I can :-).  Looking forward to hearing from you soon. <<Do take heed of my comments.   Your enthusiasm is obvious, and I believe you do really care for the welfare of the fishes so please ensure their safety and continued good health by separating incompatible species.  As for the sweetlips...perhaps a species specific tank of their own?>> Regards, Marcela <<It is in my interest to help you be successful...do let me know if I can be of further assistance.  Eric Russell>>

Stocking Advice   9/16/06 I've been doing marine fishkeeping for a total of 3 years and 3 months.  I have had my present tank for 1 year and 3 months.  I have a 75 gallon reef tank with the following:   Live rock (of course - the appropriate amount,  but I can't say exactly how much because it's been so long that I can't remember), Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty, Banggai Cardinal, True Percula, Fire Goby, Royal Gramma, Emerald Crab, Sea Cucumber, Brittle Starfish, snails and hermits, Fungia, Green Open Brain, Torch Coral, Doughnut Coral, Frogspawn, blue, red and green mushrooms, large colony of star polyps.   Everyone is happy and healthy.  My nitrates run around 5 - 10 and I do a water change each week religiously.  I've had the whole tank minus the Coral Beauty for a year and I only added the coral Beauty last week.  I have been afraid to add the 6th fish because I didn't want anything to go wrong, but in fact everyone has been getting along fine over the past week. There is one other fish that I really want to have and that is a Copperband Butterfly.  My question is this - Will that be too many fish?  I've seen all the rules but I'd still like your opinion.  I have calculated that the total maximum size of the 6 fish I have is 24 inches.  Since a Copperband can get as large as 8 inches, if I got one, the total maximum size of all my fish would be 32 inches. Please let me know your thoughts on this.  Thank you very much for taking the time to read this e-mail and for considering my questions. <Toni, the size the tang will attain (8") will take you to your limit, would not add any more fish.  Copperbands can be difficult to acclimate and I'd stay away from them till you gain more experience.  They are not a reef safe fish to begin with, and your corals/worms would be in danger. James (Salty Dog)> Toni

Inappropriate Fish Mix...and Now a Red Lobster Too! - 09/12/06 Thanks for the Great Website!! <<Welcome>> I have a 100G saltwater tank with 2 Yellow Tang, 1 Coral Beauty, 2 Clown Fish, 1 Tiera Batfish, and 1 Clown Trigger. <<You're overstocked with a mix of inappropriate tankmates my friend.  The two Yellow Tangs will likely not get along for the long term in this size system...the Tiera Batfish is a difficult to keep fish that will outgrow this system...and the Clown Trigger will also eventually outgrow this tank...but not before killing all else in it.  We're here to help, but please do help yourself (and your wet pets) by researching your purchases "before" you buy>> To help combat dirty sand, I purchased a Red Lobster that has been at my LFS for a very long time. <<Another inappropriate choice.  This creature is not a substrate cleaner...but it will stalk/devour your fishes, that is if the isn't big enough to get to it first>> I was under the impression that if a Red Lobster was well fed; he would not bother with his tank mates. <<May help "some"...but doesn't change their nature/instinct to hunt for their meal>> After adding the Red Lobster, I fed him 2 times.  This morning I found my Batfish dead, wedged in the rocks. <<Likely unrelated...and the inevitable outcome for this delicate species in this tank>> Should I return the lobster (if I can catch him)? <<Indeed...as well as the Clown Trigger and one of the Yellow Tangs>> I fear for the rest of the tank. <<Is well founded.  Please spend some time reading/researching and choose more suitable inhabitants for your system.  Let me get you started here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm >>

No Quarantine...No Research Beforehand - 09/10/06 ... crypt, poor stocking... EricR getting the bunk questions! Hi, <<Hello>> I bought a clown tang last week <<An aggressive troublemaker requiring large quarters with lots of water flow>> and this morning he had one spot of ich on his side, so I fed some garlic on his algae sheet and bought a cleaner shrimp.... <<No quarantine?>> The problem is my bicolor Basslet ate the shrimp in 2 hours of putting the $30 shrimp in the tank... <<Have you researched your wet pets re their diet, behavior, et al?>> Are there any other shrimp that will clean the ich without being eaten??? <<Nope...any/all will likely suffer the same fate>> We rearranged rock and everything knowing he is extremely territorial.  (Before tonight I had though he was a bicolor blenny, but more research showed that he was a Basslet and they in turn eat shrimp!) :( <Mmm, not a Basslet... RMF> <<Ah, yes...and reason enough why you should determine/research what you're buying beforehand>> Other tank inhabitants include: 2 baby/small percula clowns, a blue/yellow damsel, a common anemone and 6 mushroom polyps, all are ich free still except the clown tang (still only with one spot of ich).... PLEASE HELP! <<Please read here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm    Regards, EricR>>  

Stocking Levels For A 175 Gallon Tank   9/4/06 As of now I have the following 175 gallon 1 panther grouper (medium) 1 Niger trigger   (medium 1 snowflake eel   (medium) 1 percula clown   (medium) 1 Picasso trigger (medium) 1 scooter blenny  (small) 5 damsels         (small) I would like to add a porcupine puffer and a Foxface rabbit. Is there enough room to accommodate all of them as adults? <Need more info than you are providing.  What kind/type filtration are you using, frequency of water changes...  James (Salty Dog)>
Re:  Stocking Level For A 175 Gallon Tank   9/5/06 I am doing a partial water change every 2 weeks and a full one every 4-5 weeks. This going to sound lame, but this tank and everything was given to me by a dive shop owner. It has two powerheads, a hang on the back type filtration system.. that's really all I know. There is a lot of Tonga Live Branch.. approx 100lbs. <Doesn't appear very live to me.> When the guy at the LFS came and set it up, he said the stuff was approx 10 years old but in excellent condition. <Excellent condition would be to see much coralline and critters growing on it and very colorful in appearance.> I've attached pictures in hopes you can make sense of it. I have been wondering for a while. I've named each pic with the best description I could give.. thank you in advance...Also any recommendations you could provide as an upgrade would be great <I would suggest you invest in a good filter system and protein skimmer rather than getting more fish. Just looking at the pic, I'm guessing the dissolved organics are quite high along with phosphate and nitrate levels.  The filtration system you are using would handle a 40 gallon tank at best.  Do strive to maintain a total flow rate of at least 1800 gph. If your main interest is fish, go with a wet/dry filter sized for your tank.  This system will provide the best air/water exchange than any other as far as performance/dollar value goes. Do use a filter pad on top of the drip plate and change weekly along with the use of Chemi-Pure or Poly Filter media.  The Poly Filter would work better in this regard as the pad can be placed under the filter pad. The AquaC and Euroreef would be good choices in protein skimmers but there are other equally good skimmers. With your present system, your tank is overstocked now.  With the size the grouper, trigger and eel will attain, I would not add anymore fish, in fact, the grouper alone can attain a length of 1' 8" and would require a 300 gallon tank.  I would also find a home for the Percula Clown.  This guy must be scared to death in there and will soon become a meal for the grouper. James (Salty Dog)>

Tank Stocking...(Needs a Plan) - 08/23/06 Hi everyone, <<Hello>> Thanks for all the help so far. <<Quite welcome>> I have just finished cycling my marine tank; I have 450L tank and a 40L sump.  My question for you is how much live stock can I put in my tank?  I have created bit of a list of what I would really like and then a list of what I think I will end up with, 20 fish to many for a tank of my size? <<Depends...on many factors (mature size, temperament, environmental needs, compatibility, etc.)>> They will mainly consist of clowns, tangs, damsels, banners, Foxface, pygmy angels and a couple triggers (if possible). <<This information is too vague for me to be able to help you>> I have an oversized skimmer (off 700L tank) and about 45KG of live rock and about 30kg of LS.  Any advice is greatly appreciated. <<Come up with a better researched and more detailed stocking plan and I'll be happy to provide my input.  Do some reading here and among the links in blue ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm).  Also, consider choosing a niche or biotope to mimic and base your livestock selection re, rather than throwing a hodgepodge of animals together and hoping for the best>> Also have you ever seen a clown trigger in a coral tank successfully? <<No, this fish is definitely "not" recommended for reef systems...or even most "fish only" systems for that matter>> Regards, Adam <<Cheers, EricR>>

Shark is gone now. Killing fish livestock through mis-stocking, ignorance   8/20/06 Hey Crew,   Hope you had a lovely week cause I know I didn't. Friday morning around 10am my shark died. I don't think it was do to water qualities but due to my lion. <Should not be housed together...> The shark was perfectly fine the other day and the night before he died. I woke up found him laying on his side breathing hard with a some red spots, all in a clump, by his gills on the under side. Having a lion with a shark is very risky, please tell others <Is already posted... see Shark Compatibility> if they email you about lions and sharks. At least he is in peace now. <Exceedingly small consolation>        I have one more question for you. I think I'm going to get another fish sometime in the next month. I would really like a puffer, particularly a porcupine. <? What? No... please... read...> I do know that there's a chance of fin nipping. I have a Niger trigger also and it never picked at the sharks or lions fins. <...> I would really like a fish that has great personality and I know puffers do. Any suggestion would help. Thanks for your time.      Ben <Less money/spending, more reading Ben... See WWM re. Bob Fenner>   

Starting Up after 20 yrs! Shades of the Beatles... now 40 for the release date of "Revolver"... Poor English, not reading   8/20/06 hi, Back int the day (20 years ago) I had a great 45 gallon marine tank. To be honest---I could have been more scientific about it----but it ran pretty smoothly through several moves in several years. I just received a 65 gallon tank from my wife. I was first gonna go for the Africans----but I can tell she'd love a marine tank again. <Okay> After scouring the internet for a few hours I see this may be feasible. My vision isn't a heavy-duty reef tank---just one that has some inverts. Here is my wish/list vision----is it realistic? It is very similar to my old 45 tank. Thanks for any input. I have a bunch of dried coral left from my old tank. 2 tube anenomes purple/orange <Mmm... not Cerianthus as in tube anemones... see WWM re...> Feather duster cluster 1 carpet Anenome for 2 percula clowns <... please read re Anemones period...> 1 yellow tang 1 hippo tank <Not enough space for...> 1 or 2 jawfish 1 or 2 scooter blennies 1 dragon wrasse 1 Huma trigger <These last two... no for various reasons...> assorted inverts: flame scallops, a brittle star, a couple small shrimps, crabs (and a snowflake moray if possible) Thanks for your input, advice.----ps: I LOVE those tube anenomes. I lost a hippo tang to one---but it took over a year for that to go down. Alan NY <Have just skipped down. Please have the courtesy to read what is already written... read through the indices, use the search tool... to find out re each of these species Compatibility, Systems... Bob Fenner>

The Stock Exchange (Mixing and Matching Fishes in A Stocking Plan>   8/12/06 Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob tonight!> First, thanks for all the knowledge I have gained by perusing the FAQs  on your website. <We're happy to hear that! We have some great people who do a great job bringing WWM to you each day!> I am restocking my 55 gallon reef tank (running 14 months) with small, peaceful fish. My goal is to have a mixture that will allow my 2 cleaner shrimp and 1 fire shrimp to remain diurnal. Currently, the tank is going fallow. At the same time, I have stocked it with three bottles of copepods from Ocean Pods, in preparation for a green Mandarin. <An excellent tactic.> The shrimp are still in the tank, along with about 6 red-legged hermit crabs, and one 1" unidentified crab who hitch hiked into my tank, that I will try to capture with a trap I have ordered. All fish will first  be quarantined in a 30 gallon tank, with fresh water dips prior to quarantine, and again prior to introduction into the display tank. <Nice procedure.> I am running a Coralife Turbo-Twist UV sterilizer on the display tank, as well as a protein skimmer. The display tank (55 gallon) is filtered by a hang on sump, an Aquaclear 70 (formerly 300), and there is a protein skimmer in the sump. <Sounds good!> Here's the list, in planned order of introduction: 1) a group of blue Neon Gobies, approx. 1" each (how many?) 2) or 3) one green Mandarin ( waiting for one that is accepting frozen foods, if possible) approx. 1.5" - 2" <I'd actually be inclined to add him first to allow him to acclimate to the tank and a captive feeding regimen.> 3) or 2) one Purple Firefish, as large as I can find, 3" if I'm lucky 4) three small female Lyretail Anthias, approx. 1.5" body length <I would not place Anthias in this tank. These fish require much more room than this aquarium can provide.> 5) a Yellow Assessor, approx. 2 " - 2.5"  The Assessor is last because it will probably take longest to find him. If I find him in time, I would add him prior to the Anthias <You might have some trouble finding this fish, but when you do- get one...They are hardy, beautiful fish that you will enjoy having in your tank. And, since we're omitting the Anthias, why not get two or three? They are small, don't require all that much swimming area, and eat well once settled in. You might want to consider adding the Firefish after the Assessors, because they might be a bit feisty with this mellow crew...> Here are my questions: 1) Will this mixture likely work, without intimidating the Firefish into hiding, or being too intimidated to eat? <As above- I'm thinking that the Firefish might en up the aggressor in this tank!> 2) I want the Purple Firefish with the yellow color on the front of his  body, instead of pink. Is this variation due to collection site, and if so, where do the yellow ones come from? <Unfortunately, the common name "Purple Firefish" can apply to more than one species. Nemateleotris helfrichi is purple with a slightly yellow cap over the eyes. It's brutally expensive and quite beautiful. on the other hand, N. decora (also sometimes called the "Purple Firefish") is more yellow with a purple strip over the rostrum. Much less expensive and almost as nice, IMO. Both range over broad areas of the Western Pacific, and, certainly, geographic variations are possible.> 3) One more time, could I successfully keep a group of Purple Firefish in a tank of this size? (an alternate plan if the Anthias are too aggressive) <You could try, but in a tank of this size, it almost always ends in one dominating and killing the others. You'd really need a much larger tank to attempt this, IMO.> 4) Will female Lyretail Anthias be too aggressive for this mixture? <They simply need more space than this tank can provide..> 5) How many Neon Gobies  (1") could I keep with the other 6 fish listed? <Well, since you're not keeping all of those fishes, I'd say maybe two.> 6) Will my inverts likely devour the copepods I added to the tank before I add the Mandarin? ( I am feeding them once daily with brine shrimp or Spirulina flakes) <Quite possible.> 7) Will all these fish most likely not frighten my shrimp into going nocturnal? <Probably not. They are pretty peaceful, but they may be somewhat intrusive.> 8) Will Neon Gobies (captive-bred) harass scaleless fish, like the Mandarin and Firefish with constant, unwanted cleaning attempts? <I have not had this problem, myself.> 9) The 'hitch hiker' mystery crab has four legs on either side, light gray with black bands, a pair of black pincers (feeds himself by picking at the live rock with these) and a mottled gray body with black speckles on it. He is very secretive, and darts inside a rock if he even sees my pupils move! I only saw him after I removed the larger fish, and he has never left the safety of the live rock. Any clues as to his identity? Is he harmful to fish or corals? <Gosh...almost impossible to say without a pic. You may need to do some internet searches and find a likely match. Do check the resources here on WWM.> Thanks for your time and help, as always. Art <A pleasure, Art! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stock Exchange (Cont'd) Re: Stocking list for peaceful 55 gallon   8/14/06 Thanks for getting back to me so fast, Scott, <Glad to be of assistance!> Can you help me with a couple of follow-up questions? <I'll try!> 1) Since I'm not getting Anthias, would a Carpenter's Flasher wrasse work with the Purple Firefish, Yellow Assessors, Mandarin-- and most critical, the shrimp? I am suspicious of ANY wrasse with shrimp, no matter how mellow they are supposed to be. I am also thinking the wrasse might eventually be too aggressive about feeding for the Firefish, Mandarin, possibly the Assessors. Your thoughts? <In my experience, Fairy Wrasses tend to pick food from the water column; I have not had issues with shrimp, myself, like you might with Coris or Halichoeres species.> 2) Regarding the crab, after reading the Hitch hiker crab FAQs, he has got to go. I just took out much of the live rock, searching for him inside  with a flashlight, but of course, to no avail.  Outsmarted by a #$%*** crab!  How long can they live out of water? <Depends...I'd say the time is somewhat limited (mere hours in some instances...> 3) Are you sure I can have multiple Yellow assessors? <Yep- I keep a few myself with no problems. Wonderful fish!> Just concerned because of their close relation to the Grammas. I  have read that Assessors are quite a bit more mellow, but I've never kept one. Am I better off with two or three? Of course I will add them all at once, or add the smallest one first, if there is a size difference. <I personally would keep them in small groups. They seem more active, and their behavior is far more interesting than if you keep a single specimen.> 4) Regarding the Purple Firefish, the color variation I am talking about is within the Purple Firefish species (or subspecies), not Helfrich's or the standard Firefish. It is a variation on the pale front half of the body, either pinkish or yellowish-- not vivid color,  but a definite difference. Any more info on how to get the 'yellow' one? <Ahh- good...You saved yourself a ton of money! I'd simply keep haunting your LFS or searching an etailer like Live Aquaria to check their stock list.> Thanks again, Art <No problem, Art. Best of luck with your system! Regards, Scott F.>

Texas Sea Life...Regulations - 8/10/2006 Hey Bob, <James today.> Awesome website. <Thank you.> I've been a fan for quite a while. I've been trying to search for rules and regulations regarding marine fish keeping and collection in Texas. I've been told that collection in the Gulf of Mexico is illegal, but I can't find any proof. I've also been told that keeping of such fish as Black-tip sharks and even Arapaima's (fw) is prohibited. While at the same time I'm told by others that it is completely legal. Please understand, I'm just using these as example's. Maybe it just pertains to very large fish, if so I'm not affected. I'd much rather watch little fish such as gobies, defending there little territories and living their little lives out in a large tank, than watching a tang pace back and forth waiting to wake up from the nightmare of captivity. However, before I pursue the collection of any interesting acquisitions, I'd like to try and find out what the rules are. If you know any for sure or can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. <Evan, I'd go to this link and click "contact us", and ask these questions.    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/seacenter/> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Evan

Stocking/Compatibility For A 75 Gallon Marine  - 8/9/2006 I am now cycling a 75 gallon tank with almost 100lbs of live rock. I have a 30 gallon sump and an ETSS Reef Devil protein skimmer. After cycling, I hope to have the following species in the tank; Yellow Tang, 2 Percula Clowns, Green Mandarin, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, 6 Line Wrasse, and a Banggai Cardinal. Would these species get along nicely together? <Forget the Mandarin, your tank is too new to have success with this fish.  Strictly a live food feeder which requires plenty of pods. Read here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm The Banggai Cardinals do much better in groups of three or more.  All these fish should get along fine.  Keep in mind that the Yellow Tang can grow to 8" and will require larger quarters down the road.> Also, if I were to add an anemone for the clowns, are there any problems? <Not recommended with fish other than clowns.> By the way which anemone requires the least light? <The Bubble Tip Anemone would fall into that category.> I have a 3 row 40 Watt Fluorescents with 2 50/50 and one actinic. <Not enough light for this anemone.> Thanks for your help. I love this site. I have been lurking for about 6 months now. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Brian

Clarification To Previous Query...Response Without Original Query  - 8/9/2006 Dear James, Thank you so much for responding to my earlier overstocking question. <You're welcome.> I would like a little clarification on one point though. I was listing the livestock in my 150 gallon tank and you wrote the following: 3 chalk bass 1 orange-back bass ( Serranus annularis ) <These guys do not fit into your biotope.  They are found at depths in excess of 100 feet.  Correction if I'm wrong here, Bob.> Do you mean just the orange-back, or are you including the chalk bass as well? <Both, but also not implying that they have to be removed.  The choice is yours to make, but the betta and trigger would be high on my removal list> Thank you, much appreciated, <You're welcome.  Jeanne, when responding to a previous query, please reply with original query/content.  It makes sorting/placing much easier.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeanne

Trigger Update and Some New Questions...Stocking/Compatibility - 08/06/06 Hi Crew! <<Howdy!>> First, I have some good news to report:  Our blue throat triggers that we wrote about a while back are now in the main tank (for the past two weeks) and seem to be doing really well. <<Yippee!>> The fish seem happy and are very active, eat like crazy and don't bother their tank mates.  Yeah!  (Thanks again Eric R. for all of your help!) <<Hee!  Tis me again! ...and you're very welcome!>> Now, for the new issue: <<Okay>> Long story but it ends like this:  Someone had a reef tank that completely crashed and they were unable to care for the fish (tank was without circulation for almost 24 hours, temp at 92 F, two dead fish in tank which probably raised the ammonia). <<Only two?>> So, we rescued the remaining (barely) live fish and put them in our Q-tank to see if they would recover before we could get them new homes. <<Smart>> Sad story turns good for most of the fish including two very young Percula clowns, a Juv. Emperor Angel, and a small adult Majestic Angel.  They seem happy and healthy now.  Unfortunately the fish in the worst shape was the Purple Tang which is still not eating after two weeks!  All of the fish are in the same Q-tank, but the poor Tang just seems to tread water and isn't doing much else.  We have tried all kinds of different food - various flake, frozen, live, Nori (soaked in garlic, or Selcon) but nothing seems to work. <<Mmm, if this fish doesn't recover/feed it won't be due to your lack of trying>> At first he was nearly completely faded and just leaned against the side of the tank barely breathing.  Now, his color has improved a great deal and he looks pretty good.  But he's not active at all.  We really don't want him to die, but know if he doesn't eat soon, he will.  (We're dropping the temp in the Q-tank from the usual 80F to 78F to slow down his metabolism).  Is there anything you can recommend to get him to eat? <<I think you've done/are doing all you can...is up to the tang at this point.  Keep offering food daily, optimize water conditions...time will tell>>>> This story leads me to my next and final issue for today: We did not plan on adding any more fish after the Blue Throat Triggers, but we have grown attached to these fish and have reconsidered finding them new homes. <<I see>> Our friend will put the Majestic and the Purple Tang in their reef, if he makes it, but we're considering keeping and putting the Percs and the Emperor Angel in our main display tank.  We have no idea what is considered too many fish in a reef aquarium. <<Highly variable...many factors to consider (system size/filtration, adult fish size, species, environmental considerations/constraints, etc.) It seems there are so many factors that can make a difference, so we are hoping you can tell us if we are about to go over our capacity in the 7 foot long 260 gal tank: <<Mmm...I'll give it a go...>> The current inhabitants are: Pair of Blue-throat Triggers (Male is approx. 7' and female is 6') 1 Naso Tang (about 4.5') 1 Yellow Tang (4') 1 Blue Hippo Tang (4') 1 Kole Tang (3.5') 1 Coral Beauty (3') 2 Firefish (2' each) 2 Purple Firefish (2.5') 1 Mandarin (2.5)'¦but really fat! 2 Tomato Clowns (2.5 and 2') [moving them to a breeder tank soon] And: 3 Cleaner shrimp 2 Fire shrimp Lots of hermits Emerald crab Various Corals 3 clams All fish seem to get along except the Tomato clowns which are really territorial. <<Indeed...only fish I've ever had "draw blood" was a clown fish>> We are planning to move them to a 29 gallon breeder tank with live rock and sand and the anemone they host in. <<Excellent>> They have been laying eggs regularly and with any luck we can try raising the fry. <<I'd like to recommend you get a copy of the book by Joyce Wilkerson re (http://www.fishlore.com/clownfishesbook-wilkerson.htm)>> The main display reef has about 250 pounds of live rock, 40 gallon sump with LR - ASM G3 skimmer - Aqua 25W UV - 3x250W DE Metal Halide/2x80W T5 - CPR Aquafuge -- Kalk Reactor - and we are about to add another 20L refugium to the system. <<...? 20 liters or 20 gallons?>> Do we have enough room to add the Emperor (knowing the zoos could be at risk).  Would this put us over the capacity? <<The Naso and Hippo tangs will grow to be big, beefy fish...and the Naso may even outgrow this system in time.  But what you propose could work for a while>> Would the Emperor bother my other fish? <<Hmm, coming in last like it is...likely all will be fine>> Thanks as always for your advice. <<As always...happy to assist>> -Pam and Rob <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: Trigger Update - 08/09/06 Hi again Eric R! <<Hello Pam!>> I am starting to feel like you folks are my own personal resource: Thanks! <<As always, happy to help>> I can't tell you how much we appreciate your quick and helpful responses! <<Just trying to do what I can <grin> >> We will continue to do regular water changes and still hope that the Purple Tang eats soon. <<I'm hoping too!>> I guess we will put the Emperor in the tank since you think it will be ok with the other fish and hope that some of these fish don't grow too big.  I would hate to think that it, or the other fish, will be crowded- <<Sometimes easily overlooked in our haste and enthusiasm to obtain/own the beautiful fishes we find>> We will refer to the book you recommended by J. Wilkerson and hopefully update you on our breeding success stories! <<Ah, yes!  Please do>> Thanks again! -Pam and Rob BTW) the 20L refugium is a 20 gallon LONG (instead of tall) tank. Sorry for the confusion. <<Ah, I see/understand now.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Maintenance/Stocking  - 07/30/06 I was wondering if you could give me some feed back regarding my current saltwater set up/maintenance routine.  I think I've got it set up pretty well thanks to all of your advise and, I have done  some changes in the stocking to align with your recommendations.  Here is what I have.  55 Gallon tank with canister filter that has a gph of 200. Every Sunday I do a 10% water change with Catalina Water <What is Catalina water?> <<Is a natural seawater supply company located in California RMF>> and clean the filter. During the weekly cleaning, I change 1 of the 3 different medias in the canister (Sponge, Floss, Carbon). I have three power heads that turn 175 Gallons each one on both sides facing each other cutting the surface of the water and one in the middle cutting the service of the water as well.  I have a Prizm Skimmer that I clean weekly and spend about an hour adjusting after each time I empty the collection cup ( I will be getting an Aqua C Remora when Funds allow). <Will be a worthy improvement> During the weekly change I add Iodine and buffer. There is about 50lbs of rock and several fake corals etc.  The water is testing zero for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The temp is 78.5 and the sg is 1.023. The current critters are as follows: 3 Chromis,2 Tank raised Perc. Clown, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Six Lined Wrasse, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp and various snails and hermits.  The lights are timed to go on from 9-9 I feed Spirulina flakes in the morning at 7:00 with just the room lighting on, I also add 3 Clips of Seaweed Salad <Going overboard here with three clips, one is plenty.> throughout the tank that are removed at 4:30 Pm. At 4:30 its frozen time and I rotate between Brine Shrimp, Formula 2, and Emerald Entree.   <Watch the amounts you feed, feed only what they will eat.  Start with small amounts and only add more if the eating frenzy is there.> At 8:00 I feed Spirulina flakes again and some Marine Gro or Ora Glo ( Royal Gramma's Favorite).  Because of the CBS I have decided not to get Cleaner Shrimp and was wondering if I could add a Cleaner Goby or 2?  I also want 1 Banggai Cardinal but am not sure if this would be pushing my luck. <You are close to your limit now.  Let well enough alone, give the tank time to season would not add any more fish.>  I have done a lot of work and still due to have this awesome tank and would not do anything to hurt my current fish.  Thank you so much for the feed back and please let me know about the Goby/Cardinal and if you would change anything with the set up/feeding/maintenance. <Read here and related links on maintenance.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm Thank you so much for all of the help you give and the money you save. <I don't save any money, broke, but thank you the same.  James (Salty Dog)>

Zero-Waste R/O Units...Marine Stocking/Refugium Questions - 07/30/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I am new to this hobby, and have a few questions. <<I'm here to assist>> First, I have a 150 gallon aquarium, with a forty gallon sump and a 20 gallon refugium. <<Cool!>> I am going to buy a RO unit because I am already tired of hauling RO water from the LFS and I know it will save money in the long run. <<Ah yes, not to mention giving "you" control over the quality/purity of your water>> Do you know anything about the "no waste" RO units that are on the market? <<Just what I've read on the internet>> Would you recommend them? <<From the little I know...no.  Depending on the model, it appears these units either feed the "waste" water back in to a hot water line, or back in to the cold water line feeding the RO unit.  The first method means the concentrated waste water can get in your cooking, your dishwasher, your shower.  The second method has these same issues to include drinking water...along with much quicker exhaustion of the filter components.  The decision is yours to make, but I prefer to let my RO unit flush the waste water to my garden.  If you do decide to go with a zero-waste unit, I recommend you check with your water company to see if they will require you to have a "back-flow preventer" installed (at your expense) on your home's water supply line coming from the street to prevent back-washing/possible contamination of the municipal water supply>> My next question is regarding stocking.  I have about 200 lbs. of live rock, a Majestic Angel, one Sohal Tang, one Copperband Butterflyfish, one Scooter Blenny, a pair of Percula Clownfish, one Royal Gramma, one Spotted Mandarinfish, a Mystery Wrasse and a Sixline Wrasse.  I would like to add a small school (5-7) of Pajama Cardinals, would this overload the tank? <<Is probably fine>> (I have an AquaC Remora 180 skimmer.)  My last question may seem silly, but will the small and micro organisms from the refugium go through the plumbing, with the water, into the main tank? <<Not silly at all, and often up for debate re the "survivability" of these organisms when passing through the pump.  I'm of the opinion that concern over "impeller-shear" is over-rated...most organisms will pass through the plumbing just fine.  So to answer your question...yes, the biota generated by the refugium will make its way to the tank>> I am so glad I found you guys. <<We're glad too!...and ladies here as well>> I live in Montana and there is no reef society, that I know of, here. <<Mmm, there is the Idaho Marine Aquarium Society ( http://www.idahoreefs.org/) which I believe services portions of Montana...worth making contact>> I'm doing this by myself and am getting my information from books and the internet. <<Indeed...making use of the resources at hand>> The LFS isn't very knowledgeable. <<A shame...>> Thank you for all your help.  Linda <<Is my pleasure.  EricR>>

AMDA EcoList/Site Revamping  7/29/06 Hey crew, Just got done reading the 7/28/07 dailies, and came across the question by one Greg referring to the AMDA's list of fish desirability. With a bit of Google scouring, I managed to come across what appears to be an updated version of the list, located at http://www.amdareef.com/ecolist_main.htm <Ah, thank you for this. Will update the link with this URL> Also, a couple months back, there was a lot of discussion in the dailies about a revamping of the site, involving restructuring of existing FAQ's, and compiling common information into summaries. I'm finding myself with less and less questions (and thus less scouring to do) and more time on my hands during the day.  I'm a recently disabled spinal cord injury patient, who's time consuming focus is therapy at the moment, and am curious as to what the status of this revamping is, <Mmm, "not in progress"... we're fresh out of "volunteer hours"...> and how, if at all, I can help in the advancement of such with my overabundance of spare time. I consider WWM to be an indispensable tome of knowledge, for all aspects of this wonderful hobby (and there are oh so many!), and while I have no problems navigating the site as an experienced netizen, many people whom I've recommended the site to have become daunted when it comes to reading anything outside of the articles. Thanks for the wonderful service, hope I can be of some assistance! -Justin <Mmm... a few possibilities loom. I would like to first suggest that you join us... if you consider your expertise sufficient... the other two principal criteria; an earnest desire to help others and the capacity to do so in written English you obviously possess... Secondly, I encourage you to "write for us, for pay"... Articles... for which there is a huge need... Please make it known what your interest, fields are, would like to be... Bob Fenner> Planning For The "End Game" (Aquarium Stocking Plans)   7/25/06 Hey all, First, thanks for being available for us and the work you do! <A pleasure. we have some great people here at WWM, and we're thrilled to be here for you! Scott F., back from somewhere, with you tonight!> Next, I have a 135 gallon bare bottom reef(?) with a few soft corals. The tank has been set up for about 2 years. I have about 70-80 lbs of LR, 2 400W MH, 2 Tunze 6080 Streams a 55 gallon sump which holds a skimmer. I collect a cup of skimmate every 3-4 days. I have it set up as a Maldives biotope. <Cool! Love to hear that you're doing a biotope system!> Current inhabitants are (7) Chromis virdis (1" or so), (1) Pseudanthias squamipinnis (2 1/2"),(1) Centropyge bispinosa (3"), (1) Red Sea Zebrasoma desjardini (3"), (1)Paracanthurus hepatus (4"), (1) Red Sea Pygoplites diacanthus (4"). <Quite a crowd...nice fishes, but some of them can get quite large!> The Sailfin is the latest addition and is 4-5 months in the tank. I also have miscellaneous inverts including shrimp, snails, a Globe Urchin, and a green BTA. The Regal is about 1 year in the tank and eating like a pig including Angel Formula with sponge, Primereef, mysis and picks well at the rocks, too. He has grown about 1/2" in the last 5-6 months. <Very nice to hear! It's always great to hear about a Regal doing well. Success wit this fish is something to be proud of, but it is (thankfully) becoming more common all the time.> I am considering adding a few more fish. I do not know, however, if my tank is "full or not. I do not want to cramp the fish at full growth, and don't think I have yet. If so, please let me know. <Oh...buzz kill time...Yep- I'd have to say that you've hit your stocking limit-well, exceeded it, really- for the foreseeable future in this tank. You'd really want larger quarters for both of your Tangs for the long run. The Desjardini can easily hit 12"-15", and the Regal won't be far behind.> I do have plans for a very large tank (over 600 gal), but I have had these plans for 4-5 years ;-). I would like to add a Acanthurus leucosternon and a couple of Amphiprion clarkii for the anemone, hopefully. I am aware of the challenge of keeping the PBT, but consider myself an adept fish keeper. I have a q-tank, and use it with hypo for at least 4 weeks before introducing any fish to the display tank. Well, that is it. Do you think there is room for the above additions or not? <I love your quarantine procedure! You sound like a truly conscientious aquarist! Quite frankly, I'd hold off on any new additions. When (notice that I said "when") you get the 600 gallon, there will be no problem with accommodating these extra fishes. The important thing that we all have to remember is to stock based on our currently available aquarium, not on future possibilities. Think about the "end game" (i.e.; how large the fishes you choose will grow) when stocking your tank, and you won't fail.> Thanks Again, Steve Nichols <Best of luck and continued success to you, Steve! Enjoy that beautiful group that you have now, and start working on that 600! Your Tangs (and I) will love you for it! Regards, Scott F.>

Ordering Fishes On line   7/25/06 Hi WWM Crew <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!>   I was wondering- I live in a smaller town with fish stores, but they do not keep saltwater/marine fish very well, so I don't like buying their fish, because they always seem to have ich. <Not a good thing!> So, I was wondering if you think it is okay to mail order/buy fish off the internet? <Absolutely. There are a number of reliable, well-known, and professional e-tailers who ship all over the country. I would not hesitate to use some of these sources if you can't find what you're looking for locally.> If so, what websites or companies do you think are good and give you healthy fish? <I really like LiveAquaria.com, Marine Depot Live, and Marine Center, just to name a few. There are quite a few others, but these are some of the best, IMO.> Thanks for your reply and helping all of us aquarists with are questions! <Thanks for being there, too! Regards, Scott F.>

Which Fish  7/23/06 Hi, <Hello there> I've been long debating on which fish to add to my reef tank, it's 125 Gallon and I currently have:- 1 x hippo, 1 x yellow tang, 2 x clowns, 1 x bi-clour angel and 2 damsels, I'd love to have 3 yellow tangs but not sure tank is big enough or obviously adding 2 more would be no no, <Agreed> what about adding a hippo?, <Mmm, no...> I've also considered powder blue or 3-4 anthias? any thoughts / suggestions or different ideas? thanks great website! <Please use it. Read re ideas here. Maybe starting: http://wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Carl

Coming Back to the Marine Hobby/Learning from Past Mistakes - 07/20/06 Hello Crew- <<Howdy Jake!>> I have learned some very difficult and emotionally expensive lessons from my second foray into marine aquarium keeping. <<A sad and common tale my friend, and one that can often be avoided with patience/reading/proper research...most "problems" can be traced to a lack of these>> In my zeal for the ultimate slice of the ocean at home my haste, impulse buying, lack of research and testing, and forgetful memory of moderately successful marine aquarist days some 20 years ago nearly led to another proverbial notch in the hobby attrition tally board. <<Ah, ok...I see I'm now "preaching to the choir" <grin> >> Thankfully I am now armed with painful experience and a copy of 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist' which I reference daily. <A very good book written by a man I call "friend"...but even Bob will tell you, don't limit yourself to a single reference source>> Spending a myriad of hours weekly reading and researching the WetWebMedia site in search of every possible nugget of information has proved invaluable and only reinforces the saying 'a day without learning something is a day wasted'. <<Indeed>> As I begin my venture into the foray again, slowly and methodically, your input would be greatly appreciated. <<I shall strive to meet your expectation>> The following is my "new" system parameters- Equipment: - 29G tank cycled for 6 weeks <<I'll assume you are aware you have already put yourself at a disadvantage with this small amount of water volume/space>> - 1" aragonite .2-1.22mm substrate (CaribSea Aragamax) <<Good stuff...just don't see why it has to be so blasted expensive>> - Marineland Emperor 280 with media from back to front: RiteSize E filter, 100ml or Purigen in a SeaChem "The Bag", and a Poly Filter <<Ahh, smart...chemical filtration will definitely be a prerequisite in this small tank>> - 150W Visi-Therm Stealth heater - Coralife digital thermometer with probe approx 1" below water behind Emperor intake tube - Quick Dip 5 in 1 and Ammonia test strips <<Ugh, all but useless in my opinion...of dubious quality/accuracy and too susceptible to other environmental influences (outside the tank).  Best to invest in "quality" test kits such as Hach or LaMotte...or if cost is an issue, Salifert and Seachem make a good product as well>> - Coralife Deep Six hydrometer - 30" strip light with 17W Reef Sun 50/50 6500K trichromatic & actinic 420 - photoperiod 0900 to 2300 <<Not keeping any photosynthetic organisms then?>> - Berlin Air Lift 60 in tank protein skimmer, lime wood changed monthly. <<Mmm...>> This was modified to drain into a large coffee can behind the stand - thank you Mr. Calfo for enlightening me to do that. - Tetra Whisper 60 air pump - Mag-Float cleaning doodad <<Ha!>> - 3 pieces of fake coral - they won't fade, as much and require less TLC than the real thing. <<Ah yes, and will "survive" just fine under your 17w of illumination>> Look good too! <<Mmm, well... <grin> >> - X10 controller on lights, and most of the rest of the house - Hagen Aqua Clear model 20 mounted immediately to the left of the Emperor and pointing to the opposite corner - Elmer's black foam board from OfficeMax carefully attached to back panel of tank with clear packing tape on all four sides.  Been burned, have read CMA since and this is a hell of a lot cheaper at $4 for 20"x30" sheet than the $3 a foot ugliness backers most places sell. <<Much in agreement here.  In those instances where I have used a backing (my current display is viewable from both sides), I usually "paint" the outside of the back glass with a solid color...no "salt streaks" or tacky reef impersonations for me>> Livestock: - 10 Lbs live rock with incredibly vivid green, purple, and maroon coralline algae (colorblind here - that's what they look like to me anyway) <<Hmm, well...all valid colors for coralline...your brain has guessed correctly>> - 2 Yellow tail blue Damsels, one about 2.5" the other just slightly smaller - 2 Hermit crabs with variously sized empty shells for growth and trying on - Typical micro-algae for crabs to feast on - Many 'pods' which the damsels enjoy eating much to my chagrin <<Indeed...an excellent food source...though likely not in sufficient quantity to avoid supplemental feeding of the fish>> Parameters: - SPG 1.024 <<Close...would like to see this at 1.025/1.026...more like NSW values>> - Nitrate 15 <<Towards the high-end of what this tank can handle>> - Nitrite 0 - KH 300 <<Yikes!  I hope you mean "calcium" here>> - pH 8.4 - Ammonia 0 - 74 degrees F <<Towards the low end of the range...is subjective, but I would bump this up 2-4 degrees>> Protocol: - 10% weekly water change with aged, aerated, tested saltwater - Dechlorinated, dechloraminated, aged, aerated freshwater top-off as needed, treated with SeaChem Prime - Weekly testing logged in spreadsheet on computer which also shows me a graph of the conditions <<Hee-hee...I too kept a log in the beginning..."kudos" to you if you keep it up>> - Daily check of livestock during morning feeding - Monthly or sooner as needed filter replacement - Prime Reef flake food and a mix of rinsed Emerald Entree and Mysis Shrimp kept on a saucer in a Ziploc freezer bag in freezer then thawed with tank water feed alternately 3 times daily in scrupulously miniscule amounts which are completely consumed <<Multiple small feedings of a varied diet...Excellent!  But do make sure the amounts are not too "miniscule">> - Monthly equipment check and maintenance To do as budget and time allows: - Replace lighting rig with dual bulb fixture - daylight/actinic, cheaper in the long run and better IMO - Build 450nm moonlight 2 LED system similar to Figure 8 puffer setup thanks to Rob 'linear' Arnold's calculator website (Remember this kids - Mr. Wizard likes LOW voltage for safety) - Luft pump to replace Whisper <Ah yes, much more powerful...and a bit "louder">> - 20 pounds of additional live rock to be cured as per WWM recommendations <<Don't get too caught up in "loading" the tank with rock.  It will likely function fine with half this much...and will leave more room for the tank inhabitants to "live">> - BIGGER LCD thermometer to alleviate bifocal issue with teensy screen <<Hee!...am battling the aging eyes myself>> - GFC - I re-certify yearly at IBM and know what electricity can/will do <<Seems I heard a statistic once about the number of electrocution deaths annually in the hobby.  I don't recall the figure for sure, but I do recall being startled that it was as high as it was>> - Automagic top-off system - hear Kent (?) float valves are marine safe and love the peristaltic dosing pumps idea <<A worthwhile endeavor...but be cautious of float-valves...be sure to rig redundant/opposing valves to prevent "flooding" accidents due to a stuck valve/a snail taking a ride on a valve>> - Another tall piece of fake coral - stuff looks smaller in the stores. <<(sigh) If you must (grin> >> Maybe that's where I should get my next picture taken..... wearing black, naturally - Join local aquarist clubs <<A very good/worthwhile venture.  Can be the difference in night and day to have somebody actually "there" who can help with a problem rather than trying to iterate a cause/cure "across the WEB">> - Win lottery <<But not before me!>> - Take year long vacation <<Now you're talking>> - Meet Bob Fenner, Anthony, PufferPunk, Salty Dog, and the rest of the WWM Crew <<Time to attend some hobby events! (MACNA, IMAC, etc.) LFS: - Fintastic:  Due to exquisite water conditions my eyes allow me to see and much healthier livestock than the 'chain' stores - don't ask, I have a horror story and a half about another place <<Mmm, don't we all...>> And now (drum roll please) my actual stocking question: <<Uh-oh...and here I've been gabbing all the way...>> After what seems like millennia of research and shouting "oooooh ooooh that's a ___________" after seeing something on television, my spouse reading me a clip from WWM and the ubiquitous 'too big/too heavily stocked/improper mix of livestock/wrong food/ummm try a water change this year' response, this is what I "think" may be OK to "add" to my system: <<shoot>> - 1 Neon Goby <<Yes>> - 1 Royal Gramma <<Yes>> - 1 Pygmy or Coral Beauty dwarf angel <<Sorry mate, full up...and the tank is really too small anyways for this species>> In that order with time before the angel <<Sounds like it's time for a bigger tank already>> How does this stocking level "melt your butter" as I've been asked on a trip to Texas? <<All but the angel sounds fine to me>> I know Damsels are pugnacious and didn't believe such a 'cute' Domino could wreak such havoc until seeing with both eyes wide open. <<Ah yes, Dascyllus trimaculatus.  Cute as a bug when they're about the size of a postage stamp...but watch out!>> The Domino has been given away, my bad for even acquiring another one. <<Mmm...research>> Yes the yellow tails are feisty, yes 99.9% despise the whole lot.  I would love to keep mine. <<I've have found this species of damsel to be highly variable in temperament.  All may be just fine>> They are peaceful, for now, and are no longer being terrorized by "Spot". <<Indeed>> Too much? <<Not if you skip the angel>> Room for anything else? <<A few Nassarius snails maybe>> No ginormous bioload for me again thanks. <<Best for all>> Other suggestions? <<Already stated>> My apologies for the lengthy email but as I am in the customer support arena my years tell me it's always best to have the whole story. <<No worries, am in agreement>> Thanks and MANY kind regards- Jake <<And to you in kind my friend.  Eric Russell>> PS: My better half has been known to toss a pillow and say "OK BOB FENNER!" when I suggest things may be deleterious to the tank conditions, worry about conspecific aggression, use words such as Centropyge, or claim not enough research has been done. Good things rub off from you all on this crusty old thing. Keep up the good work. <<Ha! Too funny!  But I too admit to being largely influenced by/at times trying to emulate "the Bobster".  EricR>> <Heeee! RMF>

Re: Domino Damsel...One Last Thought - 07/21/06 One last thought, Eric- Perhaps the Domino Damsel should be changed from Dascyllus trimaculatus to Dascyllus traumatizus, Dascyllus traumatizinator, or Dascyllus terrorificus.  Cute as a bug, true, a fire breathing turbocharged bug on speed which grows up to look like a swimming hamburger patty! <<LOL!  Indeed so Jake...a real bully, and not very attractive at all at maturity.  You have a terrific sense of humor my friend, thank you for the chuckle.  EricR>> Predatory fish compatibility and sales... SW spectacular!    7/20/06 Hi there I was just wondering if you could keep a brown smooth hound, an Atlantic cod, a black saddled leopard grouper, a western Australian jewfish, a black jack, an Indian threadfin, a small spot pompano, or a dolphin fish together? <Heeeee! For a short while... a bit longer in much larger quarters> If you can, which ones and how big of an aquarium? <... all could be kept... are kept in the worlds seas... you'd need thousands to tens, hundreds of thousands of gallons ultimately> Also do know where I can buy any of these fish while they are small(8in and under). Thanks Paul <Can be sought, purchased with a bit of looking... from etailers, aquaculture firms, fisherfolk... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Fixing an Overstocked tank 7/18/06 I took the advice of my LFS prior to finding your awesome site. My tank has been up and running for about 6 months and I have not lost any Live Stock. <Good> I have dreaded this email for a couple weeks. <We'll try to go easy on you.> Please advise what size thank I should upgrade to when I can and how urgent it is for me to do so. OK here we go:   3 Blue/Green Chromis   2 Tank Raised Perc. Clowns   1 Royal Gramma   2 Banggai Cardinal Fish   1 Sixline Wrasse   1 Threadfin Butterfly <Too big>   1 Yellow Tang <Too big>   1 Coral Beauty   1 Orange Star Fish <If you have a linckia can be quite difficult especially in a small/medium sized tank like a 55.>   1 Coral Banded Shrimp <Might give the cleaners trouble.>   2 Cleaner Shrimp   9 Blue Legged Hermits   9 Various snails.   If it will be a couple years before I can upgrade what would you recommend getting rid of? <Definitely the tang and butterfly.>  I would rather keep all of them. <Will probably not be successful as currently stocked.> I've grown quite attached to them. <Easy to do.>  I'm pretty sure you have seen MUCH worse as far as overstocking goes but I know I am at the limit and then some. <yes and yes.> Thanks for the advice. <I would definitely get rid of the tang and butterfly which still leaves you with 10 fish, still too many in my opinion.  If possible I would remove one species.  This would leave a nice stocking level for the tank.> <Chris>    

Fixing an Overstocked tank Part II 7/20/06 Thank you for the response. <Sure> I have a friend with a 125 that was empty and the Threadfin Butterfly and Cardinal's have moved to a new home. <Good> I couldn't part with the Tang.  I know I'm going to have to but I just can't yet. <Probably quite soon.>  How long will it be before I have to remove him.  He currently is about 3 inches.  I will be getting a 90 within the next six months. <Sure, but I have found plans like these rarely work out.>  Do you think that will be ok? <Might, only time will tell.  Keep an eye out for aggression or health problems.> Thank you so much for your help. <Anytime> <Chris>

Stocking/Compatibility Question  7/18/06 Hello all! <Hello Keith> I am currently in the process of setting up my new 225 Gallon tank. It is 72" Log  x 30" Wide and 24" High. I reversed the standard 30 high to 30 wide to give the fish more swimming room. <An excellent decision here.> The tank has a 100 Gallon Sump/Refugium with Euro-Reef RC500 Skimmer in one compartment and a large refugium with Miracle mud 3" deep, Chaetomorpha , and a good 20-30 lbs of live rock rubble. The tank is going to be bare bottom and I will monitor my Nitrates and add in up to 3 Deep Sand bed buckets if needed. I have about 170 lbs of Live rock to go in the tank but I will not be creating the WALL OF ROCK so common in tanks today. I plan on a lot of open space and good swimming lanes for the fish. I do bi-weekly waterchanges of 40 Gallons and have an auto top off system in place. I wanted to run my stocking list by you to see what your opinion is of my mix and see if there are any crowding issues. I currently have: 1 Queen Angel (4") 1 Hippo Tang (3") 1 Bicolor Angel 2 Tank Raised Clowns 1 Purple Tang (2.5") 8 Chromis 2 Skunk Cleaners Misc Corals (2 Frogspawn and a bunch of Zoos.) I would like to add a Flame Angel and REALLY would like to add an Emperor as well. If I did do this, it would be smaller than the Queen and the Queen would go into the Main tank after, or at the same time as the Emperor. What do you think? <With the size the angel and tangs can attain, I'd leave the Emperor out.  The Flame Angel can be added, and I would limit that to my last fish.  James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking Choices...Very Little To Go On - 07/17/06 I am going out of my mind when it comes to stocking my 55 Gallon saltwater Tank.  If you would give me some advise I would really appreciate it.  If you had this tank what would you put in it? <<Mmm, highly subjective...would be easier for me to help you if you come up with a theme/stocking plan of the species you like and we take it from there>> I know that you wouldn't put a Tang in this system and that was the first thing that upset me as I was told that a yellow and a hippo tang could live in it when I purchased the tank. <<Sadly this is all too common.  If you can limit yourself to a few smallish fishes as tankmates, you could probably get by with a yellow tang in this tank...but the hippo tang is certainly out of the question, in my opinion>> I really would appreciate the list that you would use to stock.  Thank you so much for the advice. <<Give me a bit more to work with here...  Is this a FOWLR, FO, or REEF tank?  What fishes do you like?  Are you interested in a certain biotope/reef niche?  The size of the tank will certainly limit your choices as well.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: Stocking Choices - 07/17/06 Eric: <<Craig>> I really am happy to here that a  Yellow Tang would be possible. <<Mmm, yes...just>> I currently have 3 Chromis, 2 Tank Raised Clowns, and a Royal Gramma.  If I add nothing else do you think the Tang would work? <<Indeed, as long as you "stick to the plan" my friend>> I was thinking about a Six Line Wrasse and a Coral Beauty if the Tang is out of the question. Thank you, <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Stocking an 80 7/16/06 Hi all, first of all want to say thanks for the answers/advice you have given me these past few months. Since starting this new hobby in Jan I have learned a lot from reading the FAQ's and every other book and website I can get a hold of. <Good for you, will serve you well.> My main tank is coming along nicely and without any diseases/parasites so far thanks to careful quarantining! (hmm, spelling)<Good start.> Anyway, I am trying to get it stocked and am still confused on how many fish I can have so I would like your advice regarding what I have so far, what I still want to add and if there is anything I can add before I put in my last 2 fish. I have an 80 gal + 15 gal sump FOWLR (60 lbs) Inhabitants so far include: 3 Turbo snails 20 Cerith snails 2 Green Chromis 1-1 1/2" each 1 GSM Clown 3" <May become a problem with its tankmates, these guys are MEAN!> 2 Scotts fairy wrasses 4" and 5" 2 Carpenter fairy wrasses 3" each 2 Skunk cleaner shrimp Filtration includes Ocean Clear 325, Red Sea Turbo skimmer, 1 c.f. bio balls, 25 watt UV Aquanetics filter, Iwaki 70 RLT. We eventually want to get 2 Dwarf Angel fish, 1 Coral Beauty Angel and 1 Flame Angel which will be our last additions. <Only one Centropyge Angel in this sized tank.>   Questions 1) Is this number of fish ok? <Would definitely stop after the Angel.> 2) Can we add anything else before we add the angels? <I wouldn't.> 3) Any suggestions on what we could put in that would work nicely with what we have already since everyone gets along well. <Your tank will be pretty well stocked after adding the Angel, I would not add any more fish.>    Thanks and have a great day, <Thanks, you too.> Beth <Chris>

Stocking a 55 marine sys.  7/15/06 I had a quick question regarding a new tank addition.  I currently have 2 Tank Raised Clown fish, 3 Green Chromis, and a Royal Gramma in my 55 Gallon tank.  I plan on adding a Flame Angel as well.  My wife finally showed some interest and went to the LFS with me the other day and she likes the Banggai Cardinal and the Six Line Wrasse.  Would it be OK to add them and if so how many Cardinals. < The cardinals may be too delicate and wimpy to put with the existing fish. >   My main concern is the Wrasse and the Gramma not getting along. < While this is a probability, with enough hiding spaces and live rock, they have been known to somewhat peacefully co-exist. >   Thank you very much for your advice it is much appreciated. < Thank you for being thoughtful about additions. Many could learn from you. RichardB >

SW stocking   7/7/06    Hi, Bob; Have your book, and wetwebmedia is a lifesaver. It has stopped me from buying incompatible animals and from going more nuts than I am. <Heeeeee! Me too!>      Anyway Bob I am hoping you will help me personally with my insatiable desire to have new animals. <Another candidate for my 13 step program...> I have a 50 gal reef tank with 50lbs of live rock a one inch sand bed. Two 150watt metal halide and 80 watt fluorescent lights. An AquaC remora skimmer and two Eheim canister filters but will be adding a 15gal. sump soon. <Good> I have a LifeReef filter box and mag.9 pump and just need to figure out how to start it without overflowing it. Anyway there are various SPS and Montipora frags doing well, an open brain, smallish to medium bubble anemone staying secluded in his rocky out crop.     Bob the fish I have are two ocellaris clowns at 3in., one Lubbock wrasse at 3in., one   canary wrasse at 3 1/2in and a neon goby at 2in., and then asstd snails and hermit crabs. Also a skunk cleaner shrimp.      Is there anything you could suggest to stock? Can i hold anymore fish? Inverts.? <Mmm... uhhhh, a fifty with all this in it already? I'd likely hold off till you add the sump...>   I would like a small impatiens sea cucumber but do not know where to find one. <They're about. Maybe check with the etailers if your LFS won't order this for you>     This tank has been up for two years and I believe that I have finally gotten the hang of things after much interesting misadventure. Watching these animals and caring for them is a thrill, my family cant get me outside anymore-LOL.      Again Bob thanks for everything you and the folks at wetwebmedia are doing to help us novices.            Bob Carter <Mmm... wish I could/would say something more definitive/ly... But, I'd hold off... see how long the "impatiens" holothuroid fix lasts... Bob Fenner> Stocking, 55 gal. SW   7/6/06 Thank you very much for all the help you give me.  This hobby gets very confusing.  According to the New Marine Aquarium a good starter stocking for a 55 Gallon is as follows: 1-2 Hippo tanks, <Tangs, Paracanthurus, and no> 5 Blue Green Chromis, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Long Nose Hawk Fish, <Two poor choices for a beginner> and 2-3 Banggai Cardinal Fish.  From the reading I have done on your sight I gather you do not feel this will work. <Correct, the chances that it might are very small indeed>   I adjusted a little for my tank and am in the process of adding the following: 3 Blue/Green Chromis, 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Coral Beauty, <Hold off here> and 2 Banggai Cardinal Fish. If I do add the Hippo (about 2 inches) how long will it be before an upgrade is required and how big will I need to get? <Chances are it will be dead before any such change> I use Quarantine so the Chromis' and Royal Gramma are in the display and the 2 Perc's are in QT.  Do you have any recommendations for a replacement for the Hippo that would be a better choice? Thank you again for all your help, <Many... posted on WWM. "When/where in doubt, wait"... Better choices, larger systems... Bob Fenner> Stocking...Tank Busters and War Mongers   7/4/06 Dear Bob , <Actually Adam J. with you this...umm...I guess its morning now...happy 4th!> I just recently purchased a 210 gallon tank and was wondering if I could house a white edged lyretail grouper for its lifespan in it? <No...too big.> the fellow tankmates would include 3 triggers (assasi, blue throat,& Sargassum) <Umm...that is not a good idea to mix these species of trigger...even in the short term.> a freckled hawk, a burrowing puffer, and an (angel or a tang /any recommendations?) and possibly a goatfish. Would this work? <Depends on exact species, but I can tell you right now your current plans will now work...do keep reading, Adam J.>

I want the pretty fish of course! Marine Livestock Compatibility   7/4/06 I am in the very long process of setting up my first Saltwater Tank. <Congrats'!> It is a 55 Gallon and I would like to have some colorful fish. <Yes unfortunately that seems to be the largest concern of novice fish-keepers, hehe.> I have decided on 3 blue/green Chromis, a Percula Clown, a Royal Gramma, and a Cardinal Fish. <What type of cardinal? Some are great choices, others are not'¦and they all prefer the company of each other. The other good news here is that (depending on the type of Cardinal) most of the fish listed above can be found as tank-reared specimens'¦that's a good'¦no great'¦thing.>   The LFS said I could add a Yellow Tang, <Absolutely not my friend'¦far too large.> Coral Beauty <Possibly'¦> and one other fish. <Far too vague for me to even comment.>    For the other fish I would like something small that is a bright blue <Why not go with blue Chromis, C. Cyaneus, or even limbaughi Chromis, C. limbaughi for the blue look you are looking for.>   I like the Yellowtail Blue Damsel however I am not sure if they are compatible with the other fish listed. <A 'tad on the aggressive side to but it VERY nicely.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   <Only the above and I advise you to keep researching and reading. Also if you haven't already do invest in a Quarantine Tank.> Thank you very much for the great resource. <You are welcome.> Craig C <Adam J.> Clown Trigger in a FOWLR? III - 07/03/06 Words of Wisdom... Eric, <<Matt>> Having "digested" your previous response, and having given consideration to the practicalities of "mixing" large predators with b'flies (in terms of water quality required, food types offered and regularity of feeding, and so on) I think it might be better (for me, not generally speaking) to stick with one or the other. <<Intuitive of you...and would serve all fish keepers in "general" to make these considerations (and more) as well.  I strongly feel that keeping fishes (especially "difficult" species) becomes easier when they are kept in "natural" groupings, e.g. - not mixing fishes from different oceans, keeping fishes together from the same type environment or niche (high light levels vs. low light levels, shallow water vs. deep water, and with similar habits (active fast movers vs. slow deliberate feeders).  I'm not saying hobbyists can't be successful to the contrary, just that it's easier (on both the aquarist and the fishes) when the setting is more "natural" to the fishes>> I have enough info to ponder the pros & cons of a lionfish only tank, hence my query will concentrate of a b'fly type system. <<Okay>> I have also discounted the idea of a trigger in the interest of being able to have a decent clean up crew (stars & snails mainly). <<Mmm, do consider this...I have a 5" male Bluethroat trigger (Xanthichthys auromarginatus) in a large reef system.  He shares this tank with two species of Lysmata shrimp, serpent stars, Asterina starfish, Turbo, Cerith, and Nassarius snails...to my knowledge he has never touched any, or even shown an interest...though you'll notice I don't keep hermits so I don't know how he would react to these>> I think the clean up crew is probably even more important to keep down levels of dissolved organics, as will the inclusion of a macro algae refugium (obviously skimmers, and LR etc will all be included). <<Excellent>> If I go for a b'fly set up, I would opt for a pair of Chaetodon semilarvatus, and hence I would probably opt for a Red Sea biotope, so I can keep the s.g. nice and high as recommended by Bob in the "Best B'flies from the red sea" article. <<Indeed...I love biotope displays>> In such a set up, realistically how many b'flies could I get in there? <<Hmm...fewer than you would like <grin> >> I was surprised by Bob's recommendation of allocating 20 gals per fish - at which rate I could put up to 9 b'flies in a 180. <<A "generalized" statement no doubt...other factors to consider as well...adult size, temperament, etc.>> I know this guideline should not be taken literally, so I tried to improvise and extrapolate a realistic stocking rate taking into account the species I am considering. <<Ah, very good!>> Hence, with the Semilarvatus being quite big I was counting them as the equivalent of 2 fish each (i.e. Semilarvatus = 4 equivalent fish = allocation of 80 gals). <<Mmm, a very subjective issue...but I would go with 120 gallons as a minimum for two of these fish>> But that still allows for 5 more b'flies! <<Mmm...>> From the "The Best Butterflyfishes From the Red Sea" article, I chose 4 other species I like (in order of preference): 1 no. Chaetodon paucifasciatus 2 no. Heniochus intermedius 1 no. Chaetodon auriga auriga My feeling is that this would be too many, and would not be very interesting color scheme (i.e. all yellow / black / white). <<Agreed on the "too many", but the "color scheme" would likely not be much issue once you saw them in the display>> Hence, my idea has evolved to part two of my question - could I keep a Maculosus angel, together with the pair of Semilarvatus, and a single Chaetodon paucifasciatus.  In Bob's book he recommends "at least 100 gallons of uncrowded habitat to themselves to fare well" for a Maculosus - so my logic is: 2 no. C. semilarvatus       =    40 to 80 gallon allocation 1 no. P. maculosus          =    100 gallon allocation 1 no. C. paucifasciatus     =     20 gallon allocation Total = 160 to 200 gallon allocation. The system is a 180, and will be aquascaped so as to best suit the inhabitants (pending your advice). Does this seem like a reasonable proposition? <<Bob should correct me if I misinterpret, but "100 gallons of uncrowded habitat" reads to me as 100 gallons of open free swimming space, unhampered with by live rock, etc..  To me that would seem to say a 180 is just about right after "careful" aquascaping...but sans any other large fish like the Semilarvatus butterflies>> The order of introduction (and size) would probably be: C. paucifasciatus probably a good 3", then the pair of semilarvatus at 3"-4" medium size, then finally the maculosus as a baby 2" specimen. <<Proper species selection aside, you'll do well to obtain all these species in the 3"-5" range...selecting your larger/smaller specimens within that range>> Do you think this is a reasonable proposition? <<I'm very hesitant about including the Maculosus angel with two Chaetodon semilarvatus in a 180...I would choose "one species or the other" as the prominent display fish, and build the display around/to suit that species>> Would the inclusion of dither fish be a good idea? i.e. half a dozen green Chromis. <<I think so, yes (the Blue-Green Chromis- Chromis viridis, to keep with the Red Sea theme)...will add some visual interest as well>> I wouldn't be pushed either way about the Chromis, but if would benefit the general well being of the system, I would include them. <<Won't hurt>> Sorry for writing such a long email - but I wanted to give all the relevant info. <<No worries mate...helps me to help you>> Thanks again for your help. Matt <<Is my pleasure, EricR>>

Compatibility   6/28/06 Hi <Hello Sam> You have helped me greatly in the past, I hope you can again! I have given away most of my corals and have finally got my tank ready for stocking some larger fish! I hope to keep: a snowflake eel a harlequin Tuskfish a Foxface lo 2 large lazetonatus clowns <Never heard of lazetonatus.  Have you, Bob?> <<Latezonatus...>> and perhaps a sailfin tang but I will see how I go first!! (my tank is 5ft by 2 1/2ft by 2ft but has a lot of liverock) Could you please comment on compatibility and give me some tips for each species I hope to keep! (for example last time you told me Tuskfish can be hard to get eating at first) <Sam, all this information is easily found on the Wet Web.  Do use/learn the Google tool, search and read.> Thanks so much!!! I cant wait! <You're welcome.  Please do a spelling/grammar check before sending.  Saves us much time if we do not have to correct errors.  James (Salty Dog)> Sam

Re:  Compatibility  6/29/06 Hi again! <Hello Sam> I have looked at compatibility for each pair (for example eel and Foxface) but wanted to make sure the whole tank would be happy! Is this too large a bioload? <No, my calculation says your tank is about 185 gallons.> oh and sorry i always spell that wrong - i meant Amphiprion latezonatus <That was not the only error.  "o", "i", and "i" in the above sentence alone, along with numerous errors in the original query.  We just do not have the time to fix these.> Thanks again - by the way what is you <your> opinion on ozone processors? <I believe they are effective and I would prefer it over UV.  Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm James (Salty Dog)> - 220 Gallon Reef Tank questions 6/27/06 - Hello Crew, I recently discussed with my LFS about starting a shark tank. While looking for shark tanks I came across a 220 gallon DAS tank. My LFS store said this would be the perfect tank for a couple sting rays and one shark. Well, I did my research and found that this was far too small to house even one shark, let alone a couple sting rays. <Quite true.> But I decided to get the DAS tank anyway and turn it into a reef system. I have researched some about different fish but am questioning how many fish and what types of fish can be put into a 220 gallon reef tank. I love tangs including Powder Blues and Yellow Tangs but also like a few angels including the Emperor Angel. Can you mix in different tangs together? <Yes, but best to make sure they are different genera - basic rule of thumb is do not mix same-shape tangs.> Could I later put an Emperor Angel in? <Sure.> Thanks for your help, Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Overstocked FOWLR System   6/24/06 Hello, Sorry to bother you, I know you get several stocking questions. <No bother at all> I have been terribly mislead by LFS regarding tank stocking. <Utto> I purchased a 75 gallon with intentions of FOWLR. After researching (too late) your website I realize and feel horrible that my tank is grossly overstocked. When I asked the LFS about future size of these fish they told me they wouldn't get that big in a 75 gallon and I would be fine. <Wow, that's too bad. Time to find another LFS to do business with.> Alright , here goes. I have a 3" porcupine puffer, 2" Picasso trigger, 2" hippo tang, 3" Koran angel and 3" lunar wrasse. I guess my question , if you haven't already sent the fish police after me, is what should I do?   <Since you turned yourself in we won't send the fish police out after you, so no worries there. I would suggest you either begin planning a much bigger tank or call ask your LFS if they will take the fish back for some sort of credit, if they won't perhaps another LFS will take them.> Who can I comfortably keep? <All but the Lunar Wrasse will eventually out grow your tank.> I have approx. 40lbs live sand, 30-40 lbs live rock, SeaClone 150 skimmer, tetra 500 hang on power filter, cascade 1200 canister filter with Chemi pure in it, 2 -270 gph powerheads and a turbo twist UV sterilizer. Please guide me in the right direction. Do stores take fish back??? <Some will> Thank you so much in advance. <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Overstocked FOWLR System, continued Part 2   6/27/06 Hello again , thanks for quick response. So how long would you say these guys can get along with the 75 gallon? <Hey there, Leslie here with you again. Hard to say. It really depends on how often, how much you feed and water quality> I have a 46 gallon reef with fish for a little over a year and the fish haven't really grown all that much. I am so discouraged because I got the 75 because they said it would comfortably hold these fish but the puffer may outgrow it.  In the marine fishes book they have at the store it said minimum tank size was 75 gallon. Do you think it's a overloaded at this point with the size they are? They would probably be OK for a short time.> Do you think my filtration is sufficient? <Probably for the time being.> What would you suggest for stocking this tank FOWLR? <Not sure what you mean by this.> How large would I have to upgrade to??? <Well you have a couple of active fish there that require a good amount of swimming space as well as a few with some potential size in their future. That Hippo Tang can get to be up to 10+ inches  given optimum conditions. They need a lot of swimming space. Recommended tank length is about 6 feet and not less than 125g. Check this link for more info on these fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracsysfaqs The Korean Angelfish grows to 13 inches and also needs quite a bit of swimming space with a minimum tank size of 135g. The Picasso can reach 7 to 10 inches easily also requiring room for swimming. Most recommend 150 to 180g for these Triggers. The Porcupine Puffer can attain football size with optimal tank size ranging from 100 to 300g depending on whom you read. They are also big and messy eaters, which means more waste. I would error on the side of bigger being better where these fish are concerned.> Would I have to buy all new equipment or could I use the same for a larger tank. I love all these guys and would like to keep them. <You would need a considerably bigger tank which would require new equipment.> The only one I have trouble with is the puffer he eagerly awaits food but grabs it off stick and spits most of it, if not all of it out and he is getting skinny.  It's like he vomits or something. I spent all last night looking at your site with all the other people with the same problem. I have tried shrimp, scallops, clams , mussel, fresh fish, silversides and many store bought marine frozen foods. Garlic, Zoe and Selcon also. I think he is starving to death. ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It seems he can't eat although he wants to. I wait until lights are on moon and feed him because everyone else will eat food before he does. <Well there are a few possibilities if he is actually taking the food in and spitting it out maybe he does not like what you are feeding but typically they are pretty good eaters. If he is having trouble getting the food in his mouth he could have sustained an injury to his jaw, have a locked jaw or over grown teeth. Thyroid disease and dietary deficiencies have been associated with "lockjaw" in fish.  A couple of the remedies I have seen recommended are iodine, 1 drop/2gal, mixed in water before adding to the tank, treat for 2-4 weeks and B Vitamins directly added to the tank or tube fed. Depending on the puffers age, his teeth may have grown together... puffer teeth grow constantly and without a diet of appropriate foods, their teeth grow unchecked. There is a way to file the teeth down... if this is the problem. If he can't eat you could try "force feeding" your puffer with meaty seafood ground up to a hamburger like consistency. The addition of some vitamins maybe helpful, some B vitamins and VitaChem. Hold the fish underwater with a damp towel, using a plastic turkey baster or a syringe with some airline tubing attached to the end slowly, carefully and gently insert the tube into the Puffers mouth squeezing the bulb of the turkey baster or pushing the plunger of the syringe releasing some of the food inside the puffers mouth.> They all sleep, except angel .Oh , and I thought hippos were passive Mine is rather on the aggressive side. <They are the least territorial member of their family. Here is a quote from Bob's article on this species,  which can be viewed here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm 'Though they will "posture" and "shake their caudal spine" in a threatening way to challengers to their favored hiding or swimming route, Paracanthurus are wont to actually inflict any real damage to conspecifics or other tankmates.' ¥ Sorry this is so long , got carried away. Thanks <No worries, your very welcome, Leslie>

Tridacnids And Reef Inhabitants  6/26/06 Good morning! <Good morning> I'm almost afraid to ask this question.  Which of the following would I definitely have to get rid of in order to keep tridacnids?  I expect the angels would be at the top of the list? juvenile queen angel <Goodbye> Singapore Angel (definitely going bye bye-it killed a sand sifting star) <Goodbye> Coral Beauty <Usually safe, caution advised here.> Regal Tang <Can stay> Royal Gramma <OK> Dottyback <OK> mated pair of maroon clowns <Can stay> Yellow Clown Goby <Another keeper> Lawnmower Blenny <Welcome> small hermits <Bluelegs and the like...yes, can stay.> Ceriths <Fine> Nerites <OK> 1 turbo <Can stay> 1 cleaner shrimp <OK> <Do read the FAQ's here on clam compatibility for more info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridaccompfaqs.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Tridacnids And Reef Inhabitants  6/26/06 Thanks for the fast response.  You confirmed my worst fears.  I did read the FAQs first, which is where I found the original references to the angels. Can you please remove my name from the original text before posting please? <Only your first name would show on the post.  Email addys and all other personal information is deleted.  If you do not want your first name to be shown, we can comply with that also.  Best thing to do when you write is not sign off.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you. <You're welcome.> Re: Tridacnids and Reef Inhabitants  6/26/06 Thanks!  Now all I have to do is find a home for 2 or 3 angels. As much as I love angels, I couldn't pass up ten neon blue maxima (3" each) for $70 including shipping. <Love angels myself.  What a deal, 10 for $70, seven bucks apiece including postage.  Out of curiosity, what is the name of the on-line dealer? James (Salty Dog)> Stocking Levels  6/25/06 - Hello Bob! <James today.> I currently have a Lawnmower Blenny, Yellow Tang, Niger Triggerfish, and Snowflake Eel, all overcrowded in a 55 gallon tank. I just came into a 90 gallon tank and wonder if this group can exist healthfully and happily together in a tank this size? I really want to know before I start setting this bad boy up. <These fish will outgrow the 90.  Save your money toward a tank in the 135+ range.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks!!! <You're welcome.>

Re:  Stocking Levels    6/26/06 Good advice James, you saved me from setting up this 90 for naught (To EBay it goes!). Anyway, I've seen a good deal on a 120 at my LFS, I know you stated 135, but should I jump on the 120? Otherwise my options would be a) keeping the poor suckers in a 55 till I get more dough b) putting them in a 90, setting the tank up, getting more dough, then moving to a 135...... <The 120 would be much better than the 55 for sure.  It is the length and width that is more important than the height.  If the 120 is 60" or more in length, you can probably get away with it.  James (Salty Dog)> You guys rock!!!!!

- A Large Tank Inquiry 6/23/06 - Hello WWM Crew.  First off I must say how much I appreciate such an incredible website from so many excellent aquarists, you have answered most of my questions, and helped me along with this wonderful hobby where information is sometimes scarce.  I've had a 120G (48in x 24in x 24in) reef tank set up and running nicely for about a year now, and I've been researching/looking into setting up a larger predator type tank (220G 72in x 30in x 24in). I've had quite a few sources of information, but it seems difficult to find the exact answer to my question.  The fish that I am interested in keeping in this tank are as follows: 1 Goldentail Moray (Gymnothorax miliaris) 1 Blue-ring Angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis) 1 Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus) 1 Palette Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) AND/OR 1 Naso Tang (Naso lituratus) 1 Clown Trigger (Balistoides conspicillum) 1 Picasso Trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) 1 Porcupine Pufferfish (Diodon holocanthus) I am fully aware of the potential size of each and every on of these specimens, and I am open to any worries/suggestions/changes that you have to offer. <Really, my main concern would be the clown trigger. These fish often become absolute terrors as they get larger and could easily kill everyone in the tank. I'd drop this one fish off the list or consider keeping it by itself in the 120 if you're going to keep that tank running.> I'm much more accustom to working with smaller reef fish which are much cleaner eaters and much less vicious. If anyone could let me know if that list is too much for that size of tank, or if there is room for anything else, I would be very thankful. <These fish will fill this tank so I'd just remove the clown trigger from the list and go for it.> So I hope someone can give me some input, and help me in my decision. Thanks for your time. Alex C. <Cheers, J -- >

New tank plans 6/22/06 Take anything you want, just not my hippo tang!  - 06/22/2006 Hello once again. <Hi> This will be my last time writing because I am annoyed that I'm possibly annoying you. <Heehee>  Even though you volunteer to do this stuff, I'm still bothered by doing it. <No problem> I have faked my name too many times. My real name is Charlie Brown (LOL). <Ha> No but really, I finally got around to read the most wonderful book, the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. <I like it too> I already knew half of the things in there already because I took marine biology in high school. I have also read through your forums so many times I think I'm going crazy. I have a 30 gallon QT and a 55 gallon aquarium. I'm planning to buy a 400 gph bio-wheel, a 150 watt heater, and a 270 gph power head (With a sponge pre-filter) for the 30 gallon QT. The QT will have some pieces of PVC piping in it also. I'm just going to leave the QT bare bottom (No sand; you probably already knew what I was talking about). The QT already has one basic fluorescent light. <Sounds like a good set up.> For my 55 gallon I'll have three 270 gph power heads (With sponge pre-filter; so that no inverts or fish will get sucked up) <Must be cleaned often>, a 400 gph bio-wheel, an Aqua C Remora with Maxi Jet 1200 (85 gph), a 260 watt power compact light, and a 200 watt heater. There will be a 5 inch sand bed with 80 lbs of Fiji live rock (I will construct the rock so that there will be plenty of hiding spots).  <Nice set up> All the water used will be from my reverse osmosis system. The fish I want to have include (Introduced in this order): 3 green Chromis, 1-2 tank-bred ocellaris clowns or 1 clarkii clown, 1 tank-raised hippo tang (Spare me, let me keep him, PLEASE!) <Is doomed in that sized tank, and with all the work you seem to be putting into your plans would be a shame to do something you know will fail>, and maybe 1 tank-bred flame angelfish (I can do without this one) <Nice fish>. The inverts I want are 10-15 Nassarius snails, 1-2 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, a small colony of button polyps, and 1 easy-to-keep (Or the easiest/close to easiest to keep) Xenia species. Don't worry I already know how to take care of all these species, just read above again and see what I said about your forums. There will be 20% water changes every week. I'm planning to add the inverts a little after the Chromis get settled in, but if that's a bad idea please say so. There will be no fish in any of the aquariums as they cycle for 3 months and I will QT each-and-every fish for 6 weeks. Well I think that's it! If I forgot to add something I guess I'll have to e-mail you guys and gals again... Muhahahahah (Evil laugh) Sincerely, No Name <Sounds like a nice tank, just don't ruin it with the tang.  Otherwise it should work out quite nicely.> <Chris>

Xenia and the new tank 6/22/06 Amazing site! <Thanks> I don't have all the info I am sure you need but maybe you can still help. <Will try.>  I have a 40 gal salt tank, running approx. 2.5 months.  My filtration is a sump with a Mini G ASM skimmer. I have 40 pounds of Live Sand and 50 pounds of Live Rock.  After cycling (4 weeks) I added two snails, one CB Shrimp, and 3 hermit crabs.  I then proceeded to add 1 scooter blenny, <Bad choice> 1 blue tang, <another bad choice> 1 6-line wrasse, <ok> and 1 percula clown <ok>.  All about a week apart. <QT?, and too fast.> I just added a mushroom rock with these really cool blue lines and a star poly rock.  So far so good.  However, I also added a Xenia Frag.  First day looked great...the last 3 days horrible.  Also, the tops keep falling off of it. <Not good> Here are my WQ parameters, zero ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, pH 8.3, SG 1.021. <Aim for closer to natural sea water, 1.026> I don't know the Ca and Alk levels, but I add a teaspoon of this stuff every other day. <What stuff?>  Is there any hope for the Frag? <Maybe> I do have a lot of algae too.  Mostly what looks to be Cyanobacteria (sheets of slimy looking stuff on some of the live rock and sand (dark green and dark brown). <PO4 problem?> Thanks in advance, Mike <There are lots of different types of Xenia, so its hard to say if it will be ok in the aquarium or not.  Best thing is to make sure the water quality is good, has proper lighting etc.  May just be shock from moving.  Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm and associated FAQs for more.> <Chris>

- Xenia and the new tank, Follow-up 6/23/06 - Wow!  What a quick response!  Thank you very much.  I checked out the sites you recommended and I have one of the ones with the brown pinnules.  The other questions I have are why the scooter blenny and blue tang are bad choices? <The scooter blenny is not a blenny but a dragonette, and relies heavily on live foods. Your tank is too small and too new to keep this fish alive for very long. For the tang, the problem is similar - this fish can and will grow to the size of a dinner plate, much too large in size and personality for a 40 gallon tank.> The tang has decimated all my good green algae, but other that that he seems to be fine. <For now.> The scooter blenny seems harmless. <Unless you are a copepod.> I also forgot to mention that I have a CoralLife 192 watt lunar compact fluorescent set up.  Thanks for the links too! <Here are some more links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm > Mike Cheers, J -- > Stocking Level...Too Many Fish?  6/21/06 Hello <Howdy> I have a 72 gallon bowfront, 2 Fluvals, Aqua C Remora skimmer, True Percula, Engineer Goby Sailfin Tang, Scopas Tang, damsel, Porcupine Puffer, zebra eel, lionfish, Powder Blue Tang, 6 Emerald Crabs, 4 snails, 30 hermit crabs, longspine urchin. <Yes, you are/will be very much overstocked depending on the size of the fish now. Much larger quarters will be needed for the tangs, puffer, and the eel.  James (Salty Dog)> Stocking a 55 6/18/06 First I want to just thank you for the great resource. <Thank you for using it.> Unfortunately I didn't find it until it was to late and I lost several fish due to not utilizing a quarantine tank. <Sometimes you have to take 1 step back to go forward 2 steps.>  Needless to say I learned my lesson and am starting all over.  I have a 55 gallon and that is in the process of cycling and I have 3 Green Chromis in the QT for the next month.  The LFS said that because they are very small the color has not fully developed, is this the case? <More likely from inadequate diet.  Feed a variety of high quality foods and see if they don't color up better.>  They are basically white with a tint of green once in a while, nothing like the photos I have seen of the species.  They look healthy and are feeding great. <Good> I was also hoping to get some advice on stocking.  According to "The New Marine Aquarium" the following would work.  I do plan to add the fish in the order listed as well: 3 Green Chromis 2 Percula Clowns 1 Royal Gramma 2 Banggai Cardinal Fish 1 Coral Beauty 1 Fox Face.   The book suggests a Hippo Tang for the set up however after reading through the information on WWM I think it would be wise to avoid it in a 55 Gallon and I really like the Fox Face instead.  Do you thing that this will be to heavy a bioload for my tank?  Would this be the correct order to add the fish? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you again for such a great site.    <As much as I like "The New Marine Aquarium", I am not crazy about his stocking plans.  I think they are too much.  If it were my tank I'd leave out the Coral Beauty and Fox Face.  But I tend to stock pretty lightly.> <Chris>

Stocking, is my bioload too high ?   6/16/06 Thank you all for the great info throughout the years you have saved my butt more than a few times. <You are more than welcome.> Here is my set up, I'm worried about bioload: 2 year old (this is my first reef, per my wife's request, but she keeps adding fish?!? I don't know.) <Same with checkbooks, "There must be money left, I still have checks left".> 30gal tall Aquaclear 50 Bacpak2 skimmer Coralife 130wt PCs with moonlight oscillating Power head (Zoo-Med I think) 40lbs Tonga LR 2" live sand coral mix substrate fish_ 2 Ocellaris clowns 2 Banggai 1 Diamond Goby 1 Yellow Watchman Goby cleaners_ 1 skunk shrimp 1 pistol shrimp 5-10 narcissus snails 1 turbo snail 2 hermit's coral/clams etc..._ long spine urchin black brittle star Tridacnid clam large bubble coral frogspawn 2 feather dusters candy cane coral various polyps zoos/star red mushrooms large group of xenia flame scallop (I know, but seems to be doing very well after a year in the tank) various beggars and hangers on and a BTA (I know please don't yell......shutter, LFS told me it was more than ok'¦..it was recommended, thank god for you guys, its moving to a friends 250 reef, next week) <A good place for it, 30 is much too small for a BTA.> feeding schedule 1^st day dry food flakes 2^nd day 2 cubes Mysis once a week DT's plankton <Good food source for scallops.  To answer your question, yes, your tank is severely overstocked, especially in a 30 high which has much less surface area than a standard 30.  I have half the amount of fish in a 29 mini reef, and I feel I am at borderline.  James (Salty Dog)>

Trigger Compatibility...Morays and Fishes - 06/05/06 Bob, <<EricR here today>> Tremendous site.  Thank you for the service you provide the fish-keeping hobby. <<Bob, all of us, are pleased you feel this way>> I am blessed to have three large saltwater aquariums. <<Indeed!>> One is a 125g in which I currently have a Niger trigger and a Humu Humu trigger, both about 3-4".  Also in the tank are 5 yellow-tail damsels. <<I see>> What say you to adding a baby clown to the mix (after evacuating the 5 damsels) and then keeping those three triggers--and nothing else--in the 125g from here on out?  (I also have plenty of live rock and a large cave in the tank.) <<I think if you do this you will eventually have only the Clown trigger.  Balistoides conspicillum is a brute of a fish, even where triggers are concerned.  Juveniles can often be mixed with other fish (I even saw one in a reef tank...though I strongly recommend against this), but as the fish matures its tolerance for tankmates becomes less and less.  Clown triggers are known for killing "everyone" in the tank without warning>> Another tank is a monster 240g.  Right now there are just three damsel fish in it to cycle the system. <<Ugh...don't care for this method...not necessary in my opinion>> I'd like to put a Zebra moray eel in there as I understand they will not try to eat other fish but instead prefer to be fed shrimp, crab et al. <<Yes>> If I do put the Zebra moray eel in there...can I add large schools of peaceful fish--like chromis and pajama cardinals--without being overly concerned about the little guys becoming lunch for the Zebra moray? <<Might be possible, though I'd want to keep the moray well fed just the same>> Also, in a 240g...are there larger peaceful fish that can be kept in schools? <<Hmmm..."large" and "schools" isn't usually synonymous with "home aquarium" <grin> >> If so, which fish (and in what number?) would you recommend? <<One of the larger Anthias species might be what you're looking for.  My vote goes to Pseudanthias squamipinnis, the Lyretail Anthias.  These are durable and handsome fish that can grow to about 5" in the home aquarium.  A harem of a male and 4 females would be possible in your tank...more if you decide to exclude some of the other fish>> All the best from the desert Southwest, Adam <<And to you in kind from the steamy Southeast.  EricR>>

Playing Tetris...Marine Aquaria Version ... stkg.  6/5/06 I am planning a 55 gallon aquarium and I was wondering if these fish would be compatible and not overstock the tank. <Okay.>   I'm getting very  conflicting from the LFS and different message boards. <That much is normal.> I'm thinking of a Zebra Dwarf Lionfish, Yellow Tang, Black and White Butterfly Fish, and a Sea Goblin. <These individuals alone, due to size, are not compatible with this size aquaria let alone together....will be VERY crowded.> If possible, I would also like a Blue Tang but I think that would be pushing it. <Already hitting "the-pushing-it" limit.> If that configuration doesn't work, what would you suggest? <Smaller less "messy" animals that will outgrow their confines, look into blennies, gobies, cardinals, smaller wrasses and so on......keep reading.> The main fish that I want is the Lionfish.   <Even "dwarf" reach 6-7" in length and will outgrow the tank.> Also, how much live rock would you suggest for a 55 gallon tank? <Depends on the density of the rock, anywhere from 30lbs to 75lbs.> Thank you in advance for your advice! Lisa <Adam J.> SW stkg.    6/4/06 I was wondering about the compatibility of a Indian ocean mimic  surgeonfish. I have a yellow tang and a blue chin trigger already established in  the tank and if it would be possible to house an Acanthurus with a zebrasoma.  thank you <On a sliding scale with larger systems... likely so... a few hundred gallons, very likely so... several hundred, almost assuredly. Bob Fenner> Stocking a 55g Saltwater Tank - 06/01/2006 I've been really reading up on the species of fish I want to have in my 55 gallon aquarium and it turns out that I want to have 4 green chromis, 1 tank-bred flame angelfish (from LiveAquaria.com), <Neither LiveAquaria, nor any other store I know of, sell tank-bred flames. <<Mmm, actually... they and others do... from Frank Baensch in HI. RMF>>   I'm not even entirely certain this particular species has been captive bred at all, let alone on a commercial basis.  But that aside, a 55 gallon tank is dramatically too small for the fast-moving, far-roaming flame.  Consider one of the smaller angels, like a cherub or Flameback.> and 1 tank-bred hippo tang (from Aquacon.com). <No tangs are tank-bred on a commercial basis.  Some are tank-RAISED, which is significantly different.  The fish are collected as juveniles and raised to saleable size.  Still wild animals, though.> I know that hippo tangs can get up to 1' but since it's going to be tank-bred I'm thinking that it could only get up to 4"-6". <Mm, no, it will grow.  I would not advise a hippo tang in a 55, either....  Again, they just utilize toooooo much space.> When adding the hippo tang, is it better to give it a fresh water dip and put it in the main aquarium or put it in QT (and maybe give it a fresh water dip). Is this a good mix of fish? <Aside from the fact that the flame and hippo just won't thrive in a 4' tank, yes, this would be a good mix.> Could I possibly add a royal Gramma basslet? <I think so, yes.  But again, I would omit the flame in favor of a Flameback or cherub, and consider omitting the tang entirely in favor of something else with qualities you enjoy.> The invertebrates I want to have included 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 20 Nassarius snails, <I would go with somewhat less snails, myself, but this many is probably sustainable with enough live rock.> 2 feather dusters, <I really would hold off on these until the tank has matured some months, and read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm > and maybe later on in time, some corals. <Omit angels entirely if you are very intent on a coral reef; many angels (even "reef-safe" ones, at times) can munch your corals.  You can try it, of course, but be aware that the corals may be fish food.> Don't worry; I'll have 50 pounds of Fiji live rock, 1.5 inch sand bed, <I tend to recommend less than an inch or more than four inches.  1.5 wouldn't be bad, though, I'm sure, but I'd go closer to an inch, just enough to cover the glass decoratively, or more than four inches of oolitic aragonite to create a DSB.> 260 watt power compact light, a 200 watt heater, 3 power heads (each 270gph), a 400gph bio-wheel, <This can be a little on the messy side, with the salt from the splashing water, but I still like them.  You can just pull the bio-wheel off if it gets messy.> and a Aqua C Remora with Maxi Jet 1200 pump (85gph). Oh and what order should I introduce them in? <Providing that you omit the flame, I'd go with introducing the Gramma last; the chromis can go in "whenever" before that, as could a cherub or Flameback angel.> Thanks once again,  Jeff R. <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

My suite is not ready ... carts afore equines    5/28/06 Hey crew, Well 1 have a 180 show that should of been up by Memorial Day but has run into some snags with the sump and overflows. I will not have it for about 6 more weeks due to backorder parts and ready for fish in 10 weeks after cycling. Question, my current tank (55 undrilled, no sump, FOWLR) has gotten a couple of more additions over the last 4-8 weeks with the anticipated 180 being ready by now, <... patience is a virtue...> I haven't made any additions since I learned of the backorder 4 weeks ago. I was sort of using the 55 as a sort of quarantine also since it will be torn down and modified into a half quarantine (35 gallons) and part frag tank (other 20) when 180 was up and running. Here is my 55 occupants currently: Banggai Cardinal (4 yrs old, Lg about 4 in nose to tip) 2 small percs (1 yr old) , royal Gramma (2 yr old), Spotted mandarin ( 2 yr old), and small blue 1 yr old regal tang (hippo) and new additions that have been in 4-8 weeks include Purple tang (4in), Yellow striped velvet wrasse, Flame angel. I also have 3 shrimp in there, (fire, cleaner & candy) about 25 hermits of various colors, 1 emerald, 1 tiger brittle, about 25 various snails. Everyone seems happy and eating well. The tank has about 60 lbs LR and a 4" DSB with plenty of flow and I'm dumping skimmer daily (remora pro) and doing water changes every 5 days of  10%. No corals are in the tank. Questions: 1) Will everyone be OK for the next 2-3 months in this crowded room? I don't want to rush the 180. <Not a good gamble...> 2) I have a 100 gallon stock tank, I was going to use took cook another 120lb LR for the 180 or I thought if needed I could get 50 gallons of water going in there and add water change water I take out of 55 into over the next 2 weeks then move all fish, inverts, all 55 gal water and rock in there for 2-3 months. Problem here is no skimmer or mechanical filtration here. What is the best plan if Memorial day becomes possibly Labor Day? <I'd divide the present LR up, get the 100 gallon going, separate these fishes, cure the new/er LR elsewhere... Bob Fenner>

Stocking Levels/Compatibility   5/28/06 Hi.  I'm new to the saltwater aquarium world and have a few questions..  We have a 175 Oceanic bowfront fish only tank that has matured.  We currently have 2 yellow tail blue damsels and a domino damsel and about 120 pounds of live rock.  We are ready to stock more fish and are interested in adding true percula clownfish.  My question is, how many juveniles (we're probably going to buy juvenile tank bred ones from LiveAquaria.com or saltwaterfish.com, (unless you have a better suggestion). How many can we safely add.  We'd like 6, but we will only add what will be good for the fish.   Also, as far as stocking levels, my understanding is about 2 inches of fish per 10 gallons, so we can end up with about 36" of adult fish and be okay? <I would calculate with one cubic inch (not length) per five gallons.  You will have to guesstimate here.> and now for something completely different ...    Compatability:  With the 3 damsels, and however many clowns we get, will the following also be compatible:  a Royal Gramma, a Flame Angel, and some kind of blenny or scooter?  <Yes they will but I would remove the Domino Damsel.  These guys get quite large as far as damsels go, and do become schoolhouse bullies with their playmates.  Do check compatibility issues with blennies as some can be semi-aggressive.  A word of caution on the Canary and Fork Tail Blenny.  They are considered venomous and caution should be used around children having tank access as they may regard fingers as an intruder and inflict a painful bite.> Thank you very much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Doug

Stocking Levels/Marine   5/28/06 First off, I would like to say THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP! <You're welcome.> This site if fantastic for newbies like me. <Glad you enjoy.> My question is this, I have a small 10 gallon tank and a larger 55 gallon tank.  Both tanks have excellent water parameters I am happy to say!  I guess patience pays off in this respect.  <Yes, patience is very important in this hobby.> That in itself is a pleasant surprise for the new hobbyist.  My question is this, from all the reading I have done on your site, it seems that most people are stocking their tanks with WAY too many things.  In my 10 gallon tank I have 2 domino fish <You now can be included in the last sentence.  Dominos will outgrow this tank faster than a baby outgrows clothes.> (I bought these because they were my first experience with marine fish, so far so good no fighting), and two blue leg hermit crabs with about four pounds of live rock.  I had no plans on adding anything but was curious if I could?  <No> Also, if water parameters are all basically "perfect" i.e.. at 0, is it necessary to do a water change?  <Yes, lost/adsorbed trace elements need to be replaced along with lowering dissolved organics/nutrients by dilution.> Lastly, I am ready to begin stocking the larger tank.  Again all water parameters are great and it has about 50 lbs of cured live rock.  My question  is that I would prefer to have species that are considered "peaceful"  any suggestions?  This keeping in mind that I am new to saltwater tanks. <Gobies are generally peaceful and offer a wide range of selection/colors.  I suggest you write down names of fish you are interested in, then Google search them on our site for compatibility issues.> Once again, thanks so much <You're welcome Sandra.  James (Salty Dog)> Sandra An educated newbie because of all of you. <Much appreciated.>

Stocking levels...Canned Fish   5/27/06 Hello crew, <Hi Kirk> I have another stocking question for you.  I have a 135G FO tank with a 30g sump, big trickle filter with a Mag7 return, a really good Euroreef knock-off skimmer, 18W UV, Mag 12 closed loop and 384W PC lights.  My current fish are 1 Humu, 1 yellow tang, 1 blonde Naso, 1 Majestic Angel, 1 Coral Beauty Angel, a trio of Percula, a blue damsel and a Miniatus.  There are also two large hermit crabs and a Red Star.  All the fish are adult size except for the Majestic (~6") who I would like to see grow a little faster, and the Grouper (~4") who when purchased was about the size of a neon goby and is  growing at a nice pace...not shockingly fast.  I would like to add a Flame Angel but of course I know I am reaching the limit.  <You've already exceeded the limit.> Right now, the tank does not seem to be too crowded <Compared to what...eight men in an elevator.> and my nitrates are kept in check with weekly water changes of 15g.  I know things will change when the grouper grows to his full size.  In your opinion, how bad will it be?  Do you think the grouper will have to go?  <I think think more than the grouper.> I really hope not because he is an unbelievably striking fish.  He is also very intelligent and seems to be as interested in me as I am of him.  The Naso is pretty big , around 10" from tip to tip and it does seem a little cruel to keep him in my 72" tank but I think it would be worse to take him to a LFS and risk having him end up in a worse situation. <Quite possible, maybe you can provide a larger home for him.> he Humu is also fairly large, maybe 6" or 7" <Yowsie, and you say it doesn't seem crowded?...>  I have had him for four years so there is no way I could part with him.  <Understandable.> Majestic has the most incredible colors of any fish I've ever seen and would absolutely be the last fish I would ever get rid of. He is just incredible. My wife loves the clowns and if they went she would probably like to see the tank go right behind them.  So what do you think?  Am I going to have a big problem in the near future?  <Near future?  Now.>  Even as I write this I think I answered my own question about the Flame Angel but it never hurts to get a second opinion from someone other than the person selling the fish. <As for stocking levels, a good rule of thumb is one cubic inch (not length) of fish per five gallons of water.> Another question I have is I see on the new bottles of Amquel Plus it says it removes Nitrates ?!? Can I eliminate water changes and just dump in some Amquel?  I don't believe it but thought I would check with you guys. <Kordon does claim this on their product literature.  Will remove 13ppm of nitrate with standard dosage.  I haven't used any so I cannot verify.  I'd go to our Chat Forum and post there.  I'm sure you will get replies from folks who have used it.  As for water changes, there are no products (In my opinion) that are going to eliminate the benefits of water changes.> Thanks for your time . <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kirk Re: 125 Gallon Aquarium - Proper Fish Selection    5/24/06 Bob (Crew), <Ryan> Would these fish have a long, happy life together in my tank? P. Volitans Lionfish Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish Foxface Lo Powder Blue Tang <These are all behaviorally mix-able... the last is a frequent host for parasitic reef parasites. Bob Fenner> Also, taken from the http://wetwebmedia.com/lioncompfaqs.htm page: "I have a 120 gallon marine fish tank. My current stock is as follows: 1 adult imperator angel 1 4 inch powder blue tang 3 yellow tangs 1 4 inch Naso tang 1 flame angel 1 arch Hawkfish 1 blue damsel 2 lemon peel damsels 1 tomato clown 1 blue streak cleaner wrasse" Is this not a seriously overstocked system?  What would be the long term effects of having all of these fish in the same 120g tank? <Is a poor stocking density (too high)... likely the Angel would die anomalously first, the Naso second... Bob Fenner> New fish help   5/23/06 Hello Crew <Wayne> I could use your expert opinion/advice on fish selection. <Okay> I'm restocking my 120 gal tank after losing a few fish during a 6 week hospital stay.  I currently have: 1 - yellowtail damsel 1 - 8" Volitans Lionfish <Will eat the damsel> 1 - 9" Snowflake Eel (in QT) 1 - Large Colt Coral 1 - Finger Leather (not sure what kind exactly) 1 - Small Zoanthid colony 1 - Condy Anemone 3 - Big turbo snails 3 - Cerith snails 1 - Astrea Snail 4 - Hermit crabs 1 - Filter feeding crab (hitchhiked on LR, not sure what kind) I want to add a Harlequin Tuskfish.  However, I'm concerned about losing the crustaceans in my tank (the turbo snails especially). <Will consume these in time> I've read varying opinions on which crustaceans the HT will eat.  I've read "it will only eat crustaceans that are small enough to fit in its mouth" to bold comments like "it will eat all crustaceans in your tank!". <Mostly the latter> Which of these comments do you think is more true? Are there any other concerns I should have with this fish? <Mmm, not really> My second choice is the Maculosus Angelfish <Gets too large for a 120... needs at least 300 gallons...> I've read this fish will eat Sessile Invertebrates.  Are the inverts in my tank safe? If I get either of these fish, I hope to buy them near the 4"-6" size.  Do you think a 15 gal QT tank is adequate? <Mmm, yes> Any other fish you can suggest would be great!  I'm looking for a colorful addition to my tank. Thanks for a great site! Wayne <Thank you for being part of it. I would wait at this time on actually making such selections... peruse WWM, your LFS's... Bob Fenner> Re: 65 Gallon Fish List Help! - 5/22/2006 Thanks for the speedy reply. <<No problem!>> It was my understanding that the Bartlett's Anthias was one of the most hardiest Anthias species. <<Yes, but remember, they are the hardiest of a difficult group. Also, I thought that Banggai Cardinalfish will fight so should be kept singly, <<Mature males can fight, yes.>> and Fridmani Pseudochromis are the most peaceful Pseudochromis. <<Yes, but again, this distinction is relative to an aggressive group.>> Maybe I shouldn't use Scott W. Michael's Marine Fishes for reference? Could you suggest a book with more accurate information? <<I don't feel the information was inaccurate in that book, just remember that definitions can be relative to the group in question.>> Thanks, Greg <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Stocking/Compatibility... 55 Gallon Tank  - 05/19/2006 I am planning a 55 gallon aquarium and I want to have 2 tank-bred ocellaris clowns, 1 royal Gramma, 1 yellow tang, and 1 flame angelfish. <These fish do not acclimate well in new systems.  Do wait four or five months before considering the Flame Angel.  The other option would be to purchase a tank raised Flame Angel which will do much better, but their high cost ($90.00) may be an issue with you.> I also want to have 2 feather dusters, 1 bubble tip anemone, <Anemones not recommended with non-immune fish> 2 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, and 30 super Tongan Nassarius snails. Do I have too many snails or do I need more? <I think 20 would be plenty.> Please give me an exact number I need. Will my fish get together well? <Tank will be too small for the tang and do not recommend purchasing tangs this small (one inch, as you mention later)...can be difficult to acclimate.> Am I planning for disaster? All fish when bought will be 1 inch in length and QTed. There will also be 100 pounds of live sand and 50 pounds of live rock. My 55 will also have a bio-wheel (400gph), 3 power heads (each 270gph), a protein skimmer filtering up to a 100 gallon, a 260 watt power compact light, and a 200 watt heater. <Other than the above, all looks well.> Thanks for answering all my questions, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   Aqua Man Re: Sick BTA And New Thread...Stocking  - 5/18/2006 Ah, well...This whole situation has led me to re-plan this tank. Now that I don't have any sessile inverts, I can start a different   stocking plan. I've always aspired to have dwarf angels, and with the anemone, I couldn't. So I guess I can try out that coral beauty I've   had my eye on (with proper quarantine procedures, of course.) I also wanted to put a cleaner shrimp, a royal Gramma, a pearly Jawfish and   a 2-sopt hog in there...however, I fear this whole plan is a bit much for my 30-gallon. I know compatibility wouldn't be too much of a   problem (on WWM you note the hog's reef-safety)-my only worry is the hog and the Jawfish. I could live without the shrimp, so do you think... 1 Clark's Clown 1 2-spot Hog 1 pearly Jawfish 1 Coral beauty (On WWM you guys say these guys are a little delicate.   All the ones at my LFS seem healthy, but you also say you'd need a 75 gallon tank to keep one of these...So maybe I should hold off on this guy?) 1 Royal Gramma Would be smart to do? <Sam, you need to do more research on fish you intend to buy.  Plenty of info on this sight to help you in that regard.  The hogfish is a definite no as they can grow to 8", much too large for your tank.  A hogfish and a Jawfish won't work either.  Although the hogfish aren't aggressive toward smaller fish, they can be very intimidating at feeding time.  As far as clownfish, your system would better support percula clowns.  Do read more on Jawfish and their requirements and other fish you have in mind as well. We do not like to get into the habit of continually spoon-feeding information to queriers.  Do search our site, if an answer isn't found, we are more than glad to reply.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Sick BTA And New Thread...Stocking  - 05/19/2006 "Bodianus bimaculatus Allen 1973, the Twinspot or Yellow Hogfish is a supremely desirable peaceful all-fish to reef tank species (1). Indo- Pacific. To only four or so inches and truly beautiful." That's a direct quote from WWM. Unless there was a misunderstanding of the name (I guess I should've used the Latin name), it seems you have your info wrong. So, I get two different answers. Who am I supposed to believe in this situation? <My apologies, Sam.  An information error was made on my part.  You are correct in the length.  And yes, they are peaceful as are all hogfish, but as I mentioned, can be intimidating at feeding time.  One thing to keep in mind with this guy is that once established, they may take a liking to ornamental shrimp when introduced into the tank.  James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking, World War III?  - 5/17/2006 Due to the size of the fish I plan on keeping, I am keeping (at the maximum) five fish in my 220 gallon tank. <Okay.> I plan on having a Clown Trigger, Valentini Puffer, Blonde Naso Tang, Powder Blue Tang, and possibly either another Clown Trigger or a Foxface. Now, is this a good combination of fish? <No, compatibility issues.> If yes, what order do you recommend me putting the fish in? <Revise the list first...I would never keep two clowns triggers together and then even keeping one with these tankmates isn't a good idea...> And my next question is if there is any possibility of keeping just Clown Triggers in my 220 gallon tank, keeping the maximum number of Clowns at only 4 with no other fish. <NO, no, no......> Thank you so much for your valuable advice! <Keep reading and researching my friend.> Jeff <Adam J.>

Yippee! QT, stocking... new tank  5/16/06 May 14 was my 16th birthday and I got a 55 gallon aquarium! I was so excited. Now all I have to buy is the electronics and the fish. I was going to light this aquarium with a 260 watt power compact with 3 led lights, heat it with a 200 watt heater, filter it with two 400 gph bio-wheels, have a protein skimmer that could either cycle a 100 gallon or 300 gallon, and also have two 270 gph power heads. I am also planning to have 50 pounds of live rock and 110 pound of live sand. The fish I want to have include 2 ocellaris clowns (tank-bred), 1 royal Gramma basslet, 1 flame angelfish, and 1yellow tang. All fish, when purchased, will be 1 inch in length. The invertebrates I want include 2 Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp, 1 bubble tip anemone, 2 feather dusters, 20 dwarf blue legged hermit crabs, and 3 super Tongan Nassarius snails. In my 30 gallon QT, that I already had but it wasn't set up, I plan to have a 192 watt power compact with three led lights, 150 watt heater, one 270 gph power head, a 400 gph bio-wheel, a protein skimmer cycling up to a 100 gallon, and 60 pounds of live sand (or should I get crushed coral, it's just that it's a QT and I don't know if any treatments will kill the living things). Will my fish live happily ever after? Will they get along well? If not which one should I remove? In replace of the removed fish what other fish should I add, if I should at all? Should I QT my invertebrates before I put them into the main aquarium? Do I need a 192 watt light and a protein skimmer for my QT? Would my angel and tang fight too much or just a little? Do I have too many invertebrates? If I do tell me how much I should remove? Please answer all my questions specifically.   Sincerely,   Aqua Man <<Aqua Man:  Happy Birthday.  It sounds like you are spending a lot of time planning out your tank before you buy.  That is great, and it will save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run.  As you have said, you have a lot of questions; hopefully, you are reading a good beginner book like "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Fenner and/or "Natural Reef Aquariums" by Tullock. Here are answers to several of your questions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Link for QT related questions.  You won't need a lot of lighting for a QT, you want it to be a bare bottom tank.  Some people QT their new inverts to protect their existing inverts (mostly from hitchhiking parasites).  Since inverts are sensitive to meds, you would probably have to have an invert only QT.  You don't need the Protein Skimmer to maintain a QT. Bio-Wheels - A lot of people recommend not spending the money on them.  Rather, spend the money on having more flow in the tank. Live stock - Most people will tell you to buy fish based on how big they will get.  Most people don't recommend any Tangs in a 55 as they get too large and are used to swimming all the time and need more space.  When you actually set up the tank, buy the inverts first and add them in while your first fish is in QT for 6 weeks (to prevent introducing ich into your tank).  After the first fish, buy 1 or 2 and repeat the 6 week QT.  Repeat the process until your tank is fully stocked.  During the process, you will learn a lot more about taking care of your fish and your desired livestock selection will probably change (it does for most people). Inverts - Hermit crabs eat a lot (including snails just for their shells). Most people have more snails than crabs.  For example, in my 180, I have 3 hermit crabs and hundreds of snails.  Also, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, bristle worms and Nassarius snails tend to serve the same scavenger function as hermit crabs.  Most live rock comes with reef-safe bristle worms.  You'll want snails that eat algae. Rocks/Sand - Don't buy special live sand.  Your live rock will make the sand "live". Hope I answered most of your questions, welcome to the hobby and best of luck.  Roy>> Mixing and Moving (New Tank, New Fish)  - 5/11/06 G'day again <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> Thanks for the quick response, I like the no nonsense approach you guys have. I currently have 1 inch of Coral Sand in my setup now which has been in there for 6 months, Would this have critters? <Well, it depends upon what you classify as "critters"! There certainly would be some microorganisms and other small infauna. Larger creatures, such as worms or amphipods, may or may not be present in significant quantities. A lot depends upon whether or not your fishes have been foraging in the substrate.> I intended to transfer this sand to the new tank with a little new sand to cover the base. The Skimmer which I've had for a while didn't come with the Turbo pump but I believe there is a Turbo Upgrade available which I will incorporate. If you could help on a fish question, would the Mimic Tang be OK with a Purple Tang? <Hard to say. Although they are in different genera, they can inhabit similar environmental niches, and territorial disputes can occur. Purple Tangs are some of the more aggressive Zebrasoma species, so you may need to take this into consideration> Would the Hogfish be OK with an Aussie Harlequin Tusk? Thanks <In my opinion, this could be a problematic mix. Both species have similar habits, and can be a bit aggressive at times. It's better to be safe than sorry, in my opinion, unless your tank is aquascaped in such a way as to break up possible territories. Also, it may be a good idea to introduce the smaller of the two fishes first, to give it a chance to establish itself before the larger neighbor arrives! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

New Tank(s) Stocking and Clown Aggression  - 05/10/2006 Good afternoon, <Hello Dave.> A general comment, after only 3yrs in the saltwater aquarium hobby... I have learned that sometimes there is a fine line between community fish, peaceful fish, semi-aggressive fish, and little Nemo that won't hesitate to shred my wrist when I reach into the tank.  With that said...I currently have a 90gal deep sand bed saltwater tank with about 90lbs of liverock.  My inhabitants are as follows: 2 False Perculas (tend to be a tad aggressive) <People forget they are damsels'¦.and still express damsel like behavior at times.> 1 Royal Dottyback <Can be nasty too'¦> 1 larger Yellow Watchman Goby <Good fish.> 1 3" Regal Tang <Not mean'¦but a Cryptocaryon magnet to say the least.> Larger Coral Banded Shrimp I have just converted my tank to a sump system and am bringing in some more interesting liverock pieces as well as doing a better job of aquascaping. I'm ensuring I have lots of tunnels and hiding spots.  My inhabitants are temporarily sharing a 20gallon tank.   <Ooh cramped'¦please empty 50% water changes at least every other day.> I'm thinking that this is a great opportunity to introduce some new critters and that perhaps my Clowns won't be as aggressive if they are in unfamiliar territory. <Maybe'¦depends on your clowns.> I have a short list of desired acquisitions... meaning, I may introduce one or two of, but not all... <Okay.> Yellowheaded Jawfish <Good addition but DSB must be at least 6'.> Yellow or Blue Devilfish ~ I've read that more than one at the same time is better?  Like 3 or 4 total? <No'¦skip those.> Firefish <Quite docile.> Dwarf Flame Angel <Good fish but, it seems harder and harder to secure an alert, eating'¦healthy'¦.animal.> Scott's Fairy Wrasse <Can be a good addition if you secure a healthy specimen.> I am concerned about perhaps the relationship with the Firefish and my Dottyback...   <Me too.> In a month, I will have my 165gallon tank setup for a Zebra Eel and a Lionfish.  Would the Dottyback fair better in that tank? <It would be lion food, but that tank will be a good place for the tang when it outgrows the 90.> I know he's small and bite size, but I have read some articles that would suggest that he'd be fine given that he'd be able to fit into small spaces and is quicker than the others.  Your thoughts? <Only a matter of time before the lion snags him.> Am also a bit concerned about the Devilfish and/or the Jawfish. <See my comments above.> Do you foresee any problems with the Dottyback? Or even my Clowns? <Maybe, maybe not, you won't now until you try, but I would not ass the firefish or the damsels at all.> My clowns have already torn apart one Jawfish after one day a few months back <Oh'¦maybe you should hold the clownfish in QT for a few more weeks than the other specimens while they adjust.> .  I'm wondering if the Jawfish is introduced first and settles in over a week or so... if the clowns are introduced last perhaps with the Flame Angel?  Would this be better? <Possibly.> Last question, would the flame angel get along with my tang? <Should.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Even better, if you had a couple of ideas for better new additions to my tank, I'd greatly appreciate it.  I was thinking a Foxface, but I think I'll get one for my 165gallon predator tank instead. <A good addition.> Oh another two questions (I lied)... <No worries.>   having my first sump system... what is the norm for quieting the noise created from water splashing into my overflow compartment on my tank.  The water drops about 26 inches and is quite loud.   <Look into a Durso-Stand Pipe.> Do I simply put in a few steps within the overflow to lessen each distance of water dropping?   As well, what would be best to grow in my refugium within the tank to starve nasty algae's of nutrients?  Caulerpa ??? <I prefer Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria.> Regards, Dave B. <Adam J.>

Re: Marine Fish Compatibility  5/12/06 Thanks for the response... <Anytime.> Just to clarify, the Royal Dottyback was the only present fish that I was considering moving into the eventual predator tank that I would have.  But, sounds like that won't be a good idea. <No, not for the Dottyback.>   Definitely, I will be moving my tang in 3 or 4 years to the 165 gallon tank when he's bigger. <Good.> Hmmm, would a 3" Regal Tang become food for a lionfish if I was to move him over in a few months? <How big is the lion?> If I can manage it, would I be better off seeing if I can exchange my healthy Royal Dottyback for a Royal Gramma??? <Yup.> Would the Royal Gramma be a much more peaceful companion for my 90gallon community tank?   <Generally speaking, yes.> With respect to the False Percula's...  Are all clownfish 'typically' aggressive? <Some species of clown are very aggressive and belonging to the damsel family, all have the potential to be.> Someone had mentioned exchanging my Clowns for some tank raised clowns? Would that help in your opinion? <I always prefer captive reared specimens to wild caught.> As well, am curious as to why you seem against the devilfish?  Aren't they shy and peaceful? <Ummm...no.> If I sub the Dottyback with a Gramma, shouldn't be an issue?  Do you happen to have a few favorites that are peaceful but could stand up against potentially bullying clowns? <A group of blue chromis is always neat.> One last question, in that larger 165gallon tank I am setting up with a Zebra Moray and the Lionfish.  I was considering a Tang, a Foxface, and potentially a Trigger. <A bit much, I would drop the trigger.> I've gone through your FAQ's on the Trigger's and it seems that the majority of them are really mean. <Yes.> In your opinion, what would be the best Trigger to get along with the more docile Lionfish and Eel?   <Well nice trigger is like saying cuddly Nazi but if I had to choose one maybe a niger or blue throat.> Would damsels work in this tank too?   <I wouldn't do that...> I can't remember what species I was reading about... But it seemed as though there are smaller fish that are really quick, alert, and quite pesky that aquarists often have in predator tanks.  Am I thinking of Damsels? <Yes, Adam J.> Marine Stocking - 5/9/2006 Hello from Roanoke, VA <<Hello from Toronto, ON.>> I have a Clarkii clown, Bi-Color Blenny and an aggressive purple pseudo in my 75 gal.  Could you give me some ideas about other fish that would get along? <<I would look into chromis and cardinals.>> I was thinking of getting a Dwarf angel and a Yellow Tang, but the LFS told me the Tang might get ick if the pseudo picks on it to much, which I found strange since the Tang should be the last added to my tank. <<Regardless of other inhabitants, a Yellow Tang grows FAR too large for your tank.  As for the dwarf angel, I suggest a Centropyge argi, or Centropyge loricula, if you go the angel route.  Please do not acquire an angel if you do not have a large amount of live rock.>> Should I remove the Pseudo from my tank? <<Perhaps remove all inhabitants to quarantine (after new addition is sufficiently QT'd), re-arrange the rockwork, add them all to the tank at the same time, and keep the lights of for a day or so.>> Will the Dwarf angel, Tang, and pseudo get along? <<NO Tangs, but yes the others will likely fare well.  Do keep your eyes on them though, as you never really know until they are together. Best of luck. Lisa.>>

45 or 60? Having system dimensions dictate, direct livestock choices   5/9/06 Hello, <Hi there> I am going to start a saltwater tank this week.  I am a bio major so I know about the nitrogen cycle etc.  I know this will take a while but I am deciding between 2 different tank sizes for a fish only tank.  I scuba dove in the Bahamas and fell in love with the trigger fish especially the niger and Picasso. <Melichthys is found there... but no Rhinecanthus species...> I want to have a Picasso trigger and a Whitecheek surgeonfish.  I fi get a baby Picasso and a medium Whitecheek surgeonfish will they be ok in a 60 gallon tank? <Not forever, no> I really only wanted a 45, but from what I see they would quickly outgrow that.  How long could I keep them in a 45?   <Almost immediately psychologically... even if started very small> I know triggers are mean, so I guess I a little leery but they are my favorite and the reason I want to start a tank. <The tetraodontiform fishes are what I intended to do my doctorate on... a series monograph/review> Please let me know if I'm crazy.  I also keep seeing that the undulate trigger only needs a 55 gallon> Is that true? <Uh, no... perhaps by itself, unhappily, for a while...> I have seen that on a few sites now.  I know they are the meanest of the mean, but would they leave a surgeon alone? <Not likely if/where crowded> Thanks! Lauren <Do keep studying here... pet-fish ichthyology is quite a separate/different endeavor than the science/s. Bob Fenner>

SW Stocking ... Re: Another stocking question! =P  - 5/5/2006 I've got another question for you! <OK!> I have a 30 gallon aquarium with 192 watt power compact lighting, 150 watt heater, 400 gph bio-wheel, protein skimmer (worthy of cycling a 100 gallon aquarium)<Skimmers don't cycle the tank, they filter it>, 35-40 lbs of Fiji live rock, 40 lbs live sand, and a 190 gph power head. <Sounds good> Tell me this, can I put 2 ocellaris clownfish,<OK> 1 hippo tang <Nope>, and 1 flame angelfish <Nope> in this aquarium? They will all be tank-bred <Hippos are not currently tank bred, and the angels are rare> and 1 inch when added <tangs that size have an awful survival rate>. I also have plenty of caves for the fish to hide in created by the live rock. What order do you insist I add them in? <Should not be done in any order> They will also all be put into QT before put into the main aquarium. <Good procedure> Do you think the fish will be "ok" if I wait for 2-3 years until I upgrade to a bigger aquarium? <No> If not tell me how long I should wait (e.g. When the fish get a certain size). <I can't recommend trying at all> Please answer these questions even though you may disagree with what I'm doing. <My answer is its a recipe for disaster and I can't recommend doing it unfortunately >I will also have 1 small bubble tip anemone, 2 feather dusters, 5 dwarf blue hermit crabs, 1 super Tongan Nassarius snail, and 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp.   Sincerely,   Aqua Man <Unfortunately I can't recommend your stocking plan, I suggest starting with the clowns and finding more appropriate fish that tickle your fancy.  I think you will be much happier in the long run> <Chris> Beginning Saltwater, Stocking, Ambition - 05/07/2006 Hi, I was thinking about getting a 55 gallon aquarium. I've had several freshwater tanks before, but this would be my first marine tank. I also have a list of fish & inverts that I'm planning on putting into it, but I don't know if they're compatible, so here's the list: a Tomato Clownfish, a Clarkii Clownfish, a Foxface, a Coral Beauty Angelfish, a Snowflake Eel, & a Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish. I originally wanted a Volitans Lionfish, but I did some research and found out that my tank would eventually be too small. Also, what invertebrates, if any, would be a good choice for my tank? Thanks! <Jesse - Since this will be your first tank, you should know that your stocking ideas will probably change a lot once you start the tank.  As you may know, Lionfish are predators an may eat other tankmates.  Coral Beauties while beautiful are rarely seen if you have a lot of rock work.  Normally, in a 55 people would not keep separate clown species.  Believe it or not, it is actually more interesting to watch a male and female of the same species interact.  You don't say how much research you have done.  I would suggest you read a lot before you start your first marine tank.  I would also suggest that you add you marine critters slowly once the tank is set up.  Best of luck, Roy>

Hepatus Tangs, Flame Angels, Space Issues - 05/05/2006 Hey! It's me again, with another question. Horrible isn't it? Oh wait it's your job! <Actually, it's not.  We're a volunteer staff here at WWM.> Lol! Ok let's get down to business. I have a 30 gallon aquarium with 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 hippo tang, and 1 flame angelfish. <Oh no.> All of them are tank-bred (bought them at http://www.liveaquaria.com and http://www.aquacon.com). They are all 1 inch. Before adding them I put them in QT (added them all separately). No ich problems either! They are all doing well right now. <"Now" being the key word here.> I was wondering if they could stay in there for about two and a half years with no problems. <No.> If not please give me a time limit (please don't say to get them out right now or some other smart response, just give me an answer in time). <A few months, at most.> I am planning to upgrade then to a larger aquarium. My invertebrates include 1 bubble tip anemone (Which the clowns accepted for their host! Cool isn't it?), <Yes, very much so.> 2 feather dusters, 5 dwarf blue hermit crabs, 1 super Tongan Nassarius snail, and 1 Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp. Don't worry I have a 192 watt power compact, 150 watt heater, 400 bio-wheel, protein skimmer (up to a 100 gall), 35-40lbs of live rock (a lot of caves), 40 lbs of live sand, and 190 gph power head. This aquarium has been set up for 7 months. <It sounds like a nice set up, for just the ocellaris and inverts.  I wouldn't recommend putting a hippo tang in a 30-gallon, regardless of it's small size.  Just because it will fit in a 30 doesn't mean it's a good idea.  Same goes for the flame angel.  These fish need lots of swimming room, much more so than your clowns.  If they spend any significant amount of time in a tank this small, their growth will likely be stunted, not to mention the adverse affects it would have on their health/lifespan.>   Thanks for your opinion,   Aqua Man <Do try to upgrade your aquarium quickly.  If you are unable to do so in a timely manner, do the humane thing and find them a more suitable home.  Cheerio,  Jodie>

Hepatus Tangs, Flame Angels, Space Issues - II - 05/05/2006 Guess what. <Wait, let me guess...you woke up this morning and you had this big lump on your forehead.  You went to the doctor, and he advised you that it was the partially absorbed body of your fetal twin.  Am I right?> I got a 75 gallon aquarium. <Oh, I was wrong.  Man, I was sure I had that one nailed.> It's cool, isn't it? I was thinking of what kind of fish I could put in such a big aquarium (It's big to me. I used to have a 30 gallon aquarium). It came to me in a dream (not really). It'll be a FOWLR with 75-100 lbs of Fiji live rock. I want to have 1 snow flake eel, 1 Foxface lo, 1 purple tang, 1 maroon clownfish, and 1 Niger triggerfish. Is my idea of stocking my aquarium too good to be true? <Mmm hmm.> Am I just looking for a disaster? <Yep.> Will all my fish get along well? <No.  Those are some mighty big fish to be cramming together in a 75.  The purple tang alone requires at least 100-125 gallons, as does the Niger trigger.> Sure, I'll have the proper filters, lighting, heating, etc. <Good to know, but this setup still won't work.  Sorry to burst your bubble.>   Thanks for answering ALL my questions,   Aqua Man <And thank YOU for doing your research.  Cheerio,  Jodie>

Over/Mis-Stocking and Nitrates - 05/05/2006 Good morning. <<Morning.>> Many thanks for providing such a helpful website! <<Gladly ;).>> I have had my 46 gallon marine tank for about a year now.  It has a Fluval 305 filter, Seaclone 150 skimmer, <<A poor product, in my opinion.>> 1 175gph power head and 1 300gph power head.  My substrate is 2" deep and I'm estimating I have about 50-60lbs of live rock.  I have 1 Yellow Tang, <<Your tank is MUCH too small for this fish.>> 2 Percula Clowns, 1 Cleaner Wrasse, <<These guys should never be collected.  Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm.>> 1 Valentini Puffer, about 10 sand sifting snails, Daisy coral, and 1 Toadstool Leather.  I have about 200 watts of light from my power compacts which are on for 12hrs/day.  The tank has run perfectly for the last year.  I have been very dedicated to maintaining it.  Each week I do a 10% water change, clean the skimmer cup, vacuum a portion of the substrate, and blow off the detritus from the live rock.  I also clean the filter media once a month.  The tank has run perfectly up until about a week ago.  The nitrates have risen (to 40-50) and there is a thin layer of green algae on everything, including the substrate.  All of the other water levels are within normal ranges.  The alga on the substrate has formed a thin crust layer which I have to keep vacuuming/braking up.  Nothing has been added to the take recently (fish/corals).  Why would the nitrates and algae spike like this if I have made no changes? <<There have been changes- your fish are growing.  I recommend you re-house the tang and buy a good skimmer.>> I've been doing 10%-20% water changes every 2 days over the last week or so to resolve the problem.  I also added the 300gph power head to increase circulation.  These things have helped slightly.  Any advice would greatly be appreciated. <<Better stocking, better circulation, better skimming, light feeding, water changes/nutrient export.  All are posted on WWM.>> Thanks! Mark <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Re: nitrate/algae control/improper stocking - 5/5/2006 Thanks for the help.  I'll work on it.  One clarification.....Its a Sixline Wrasse, not a Cleaner Wrasse.  Sorry for the mistake.  Brainfart on my part. <<No problem, that's good news! Lisa.>> I was wondering if my skimmer was the problem.  Can you recommend a "best bang for the buck" skimmer?  Thanks again! <<I like the AquaC line of skimmers.  Lisa.>> Mark

Please help us evaluate RPI's Reef Fish Guide  - 5/2/2006 Dear Bob Fenner, <Jeremy> I introduced myself to you briefly after your presentation at the IMAC this weekend; my name is Jeremy Linneman, and I am a consultant with The Ocean Foundation. <Yes, I recall>   To remind you, I am doing an evaluation of RPI's Reef Fish Guide.  While the foundation I work for is a funder of RPI, I personally am not associated with RPI.  I have not met Drew, and it is my job to do an objective evaluation of his project.  I am not looking for a specific set of answers, but instead would appreciate candid opinions about what you think of this project and its future.   Your responses to this survey will be used by me to draft an evaluation document, but I want to assure you that no one will read your comments but me.  It is my hope that this confidentiality will allow you to answer honestly and freely.  I want very much to know if you feel that there is potential for the Reef Fish Guide to be made relevant and effective, and what needs to be done to actualize this potential.  I have attached the current draft of the guide as well as the survey instrument to this email. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns. Jeremy Linneman Consultant, The Ocean Foundation <Will send along presently. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

RPI Guide Evaluation, RMF input  - 5/2/2006 This survey is part of an objective evaluation of Reef Protection International's project to create a Reef Fish Guide.  The Ocean Foundation, a funder of RPI, is conducting this evaluation.  Please share your opinions with us, and feel free to add as much or as little commentary as you see fit.  If you do not feel that you have sufficient information to answer a particular questions, please indicate 'no comment' as your response.  Upon completion, please return this survey to Jeremy Linneman at jlinneman@ucsd.edu.  Thank you very much for your time and patience as we evaluate this project. 1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rate Reef Protection International's efforts to address the sustainability of the marine ornamental trade? Response:  2 Comments, if any:  This 'guide' is too short/attenuated to be of much use'¦ and is 'formulated' to be of little acceptance in/through the trade. I had warned Drew Weiner of this from the outset, my introduction to the project. Why would retailers help in/with its distribution? How otherwise is it (the Guide) to get to consumers? 2. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rate the Reef Fish Guide that RPI has created? Response:  3 Comments, if any:  It's good looking, small enough, has nice graphics, lay-out'¦ but is not likely to be noticed, included, distributed by folks in the actual trade'¦ nor is it large enough to be sent, handed-out'¦ 3. Yes or no, are there any technical or scientific errors on the Reef Fish Guide? Response:  Yes If yes, what are they?  Not all Dottybacks/Pseudochromids should be labeled as 'take home''¦ a significant portion are true terrors in captivity. Fangblennies are poor choices, and none are commercially produced'¦ as indicated. Lawnmower Blennies, Salarias and Atrosalarias species are only suitable for fifty plus gallon systems. Sailfin tangs, genus Zebrasoma, also require large/r quarters than most hobbyists have. Banggai cardinals are not endangered, and their family is listed as being appropriate'¦ 4. While there are far more species involved in the ornamental trade than can be listed on a single page, are there any species that you feel are obviously missing from this list? Response:  Yes If yes, what are they and why?  Will, would take an inordinate amount of time to list all'¦ see WetWebMedia.com re. 5. Yes or no, are there any fish listed as 'Take it Home' that should not necessarily be recommended? Response:  Yes If yes, what are they and why?  See 3 above. 6. Yes or no, are there any fish listed as 'Keep it Wild' that should not necessarily be avoided?  Why? Response:  Yes If yes, what are they and why?  See 3 above. 7. Yes or no, are there any key pieces of information missing from the guide that should be incorporated into its language? Response:  No, the information is well phrased, sufficiently brief. If yes, what are they and why?   8. Yes or no, are there any key changes or adjustments that should be made to the guide? Response:  Mmm'¦ Yes. If yes, what are they and why?  See 3 above, and make the whole presentation larger'¦ a six fold that would be more visible, able to fit snugly in a standard envelope'¦ for counter-top display, mailing. 9. In your opinion, is the guide going to change behavior?  If so, how?  If not, why not? Response: Not much, or should I state, 'not enough' IMO'¦ Not a good presentation physically, nor accurate, nor complete enough to be of use'¦ Nor 'vendor friendly''¦ 10. Who is going to use this card? 11. Response: I hope more new hobbyists than I suspect. 12. How should the card be distributed? Response: At this size, make-up, perhaps in related products'¦ the best would be marine systems themselves'¦ but gear of any sort would be of some exposure'¦ Heaters, lighting, filtration'¦ 13. Will the existence and use of the card change the behavior of retailers?  How? Response: Will not'¦ most are 'pretty sure' of what they offer, can get, what sells'¦ And don't take such 'miscellanea' seriously'¦ particularly when it is of such perceived limited value/application, particularly when (and it will) contradicts their points of view, livestock selection. Most will ignore, a bunch (majority) will just toss. 14. Will the existence and use of the card change the behavior of wholesalers?  How? Response: None at all. Once again, the changes that any new data bring about are of a 'market driven' nature'¦ such 'bottom up' information has very little appreciable effect. Even new species, groups of organisms that are featured in hobby press, the Net, bound volumes take years to 'catch on'. 15. Will the existence and use of the card change the behavior of consumers?  How? Response: '¦ Am hopeful it will influence some to stop, think re the fact that there is 'differential mortality' amongst species available'¦ that they can/do have discernible choices, impact on their likelihood of success in choosing'¦ 16. Do you have any other comments, questions, criticisms or concerns related to RPI and their Reef Fish Guide? Response: The intent of the work, and its originator (having met with/helped Drew (Weiner) with this project) is of the highest good'¦ however, this is only a beginning attempt at making known what might be, in a useful, usable format. I strongly suggest enlarging this list, doing what can be done to make a suitable, even 'Wiki' type website, getting other related BB's, Sites to link to it'¦ to detail what livestock is most appropriate'¦ at what sizes, from given source/localities, sex ratios, numbers'¦ How to go about actual selection of the best/better specimens, suggested protocols for acclimation, quarantine'¦ All critically important issues along with 'what species' one might look for/avoid. Thanks again for your assistance in this evaluation.  We sincerely appreciate your input as we continue to advance and improve the projects that we support. A pleasure, honor to serve this purpose. Bob Fenner. New to SW, cycling, mis-stocking... great response  4/26/06 Mr. Fenner:   <Actually, Mrs. Bivens here tonight...Jodie Bivens.> I have a FO 55g tank that has cycled and my LFS suggested I put 4 new fish in it at one time!   <Please do NOT do this.  Even if the tank is cycled, adding four fish all at once in such a small tank is too much of an additional bioload (unless they are very small fish).  Odds are definitely stacked against these poor fishes.> He says he is a professional and has 30 years of experience and LR, protein skimmers and ozone are an absolute rip off and that you can't keep fish and inverts in the same tank.   <That is one big run-on sentence (on your part), and one big load of nonsense (on his part).  Live rock is invaluable in my opinion, as is protein skimming.  I've never used ozone personally, but then again I've heard many good things about it.  Keeping fish and inverts together?  That depends on both what fish, and what inverts, but TOTALLY do-able and very often beneficial.> I put in a flagfin angel, a Koran angel, a raccoon butterfly and a regal tang at once and within 48 hours the raccoon and the Koran were dead. <No kidding.> I have done 25% water changes every week since the cycle.  The flagfin, the tang and my original niger trigger are all doing (apparently) great!   <Did this guy tell you that housing two angels, a tang, a butterfly, and a trigger in a 55 was acceptable?  Let me tell you this:  It is most certainly not.  Seems your LFS is out to make a buck; that's it.> I am within 1mm of firing the &*&^%$#&(^ and never going near him again!   <I recommend that to you 100%> Am I CRAZY? <For putting all those fish together in a 55?  Yes.  Okay, okay, maybe not crazy but misinformed.  Pardon my snarkiness, but people like this "man" infuriate me.> Peacemaker <Peacemaker, let me parody a well-known commercial:   *Flagfin Angel = $60.00   *Koran Angel = $40.00   *Raccoon Butterfly = $35.00   *Regal Tang = $50.00   *Researching and saving innocent fishy lives = priceless> PS I have read your book and Tullock's book and they seem to be logical and reasonable.   <I agree; I see Mr. Fenner's book as my Aqua Bible.> This guy seems to think that He, his teacher and whoever are the only people who know anything about marine AQ's.  It seems to me that the more natural you can make an environment, the better.   <Absolutely.  If you were kidnapped and forced to live in a tiny box, would you want just a couple other people and nothing else, or your natural environment?  I sure hope my captors would provide me a couch, TV, and coffee!> They seems to think that the only thing natural in your tank should be the fish!  $500 worth of dead coral skeletons and a siphon tube overflow with no biomedia, just sponges just does not seem to be natural. BTW I am 58 yrs old, by no means a techgeek! <Peacemaker, please do your research.  You seem to have good intentions, and we'd like to see you succeed with your aquarium!  Bookmark us and read, read, read.  In the meantime, stay away from that LFS.  Cheerio,  Jodie>

Re: Gymnomuraena et al. stocking    4/25/06 Thank you Bob, helpful. OK, a few more questions (please)... The 325 gal tank currently houses my "pet" Naso about 10 inches and a few tank bred clowns and damsels from the initial cycling about 5 years ago. (they could get eaten) I personally like sizable schooling fish or a species specific style tank, If I don't do the 2 zebra eels or a few more big Nasos: What about 3-5 porkfish or will they quarrel? <These Anisotremus should get along fine here... enough space, shape> Wife doesn't like lookdowns (I like them!)... Afraid of lions don't want to get stabbed doing maintenance OR is that fear overrated? <For the most part yes> Can 2 French angels coexist? <In a very large system... I would not risk two of the same species of large angels here... but could mix different ones> If not, what big angels can coexist that are low maintenance? <None really are good gambles> Don't mean to sound random, exploring options. Thoughts/ideas? Thanks  Steve <Too many to state in the amount/span of time I allocate to this activity. Bob Fenner> Compatibility/Marine   2/26/06 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam.> There seem to be many questions about compatibility and most of us, myself included, ignore your advice. You can see it in the question where they say 'and they all get along fine'. I have a 10 gallon with a firefish, neon goby and clown goby and wanted to add a royal Gramma. I was told it would be overcrowding and the Gramma may be to aggressive in such a small tank. But I wanted the color so I bought a baby Gramma and all was fine for 9 months with the Gramma and firefish staying near each other and chasing after the same food in the water column. Sometimes the Gramma lost his cool when the firefish beat him to some food and he opened his mouth wide at the firefish. The firefish would either turn his tail towards the Gramma or would scoot away. I was sure I had a compatible group. Then all of a sudden the firefish did not show up for feeding. After a few days I found him hiding and he was pretty shredded up. So to all who ask your advice I say- listen to the experts-unless you are willing to sacrifice a pretty animal just so you can have it your way for a while. <Well said.  James (Salty Dog)>

42 gallon hex tank  11/11/05 Hello, <Hello Mark> I was wondering if this was a good set-up for a 42 gallon hex tank: 40lbs Fiji live rock 40lbs live sand 2 Banggai cardinalfish 2 percula clowns 1 bi-color blenny 2 cleaner shrimp Also (maybe 1 Valentini puffer) <I would leave out the puffer and add another cardinal.  They do much better in groups of three or more.> I have a ten gallon q tank for this one and I was wondering if an  AquaFuge Hang-On Refugium  would be all I need for filtration. <With the live rock/live sand you should be OK.  I'd suggest a protein skimmer.>   Also I have a larger tank but am looking for a species of tang or surgeonfish that doesn't grow too large... <You don't mention how large the larger tank is but I wouldn't recommend a tang in anything smaller than a 70 gallon.  If so, I think the Blue Tang would probably be the one I would choose.  Look here for more info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangscks.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Mark <You're welcome>

Marine Stocking'¦research and patience is the key 10/27/05 So here is a basic question you would think is easily answered. But it's not or rather I can't find it.  <Did you look in the sock drawer? I always find my missing stuff there.> When stocking the tank what is the best recipe for success?  <Research, then after that research some more and when your all done researching go ahead and do some research. (No that's really not a joke) Be patient, quarantine all new livestock and for heavens sake do not make any impulse buys. Formulate a proposed stocking list and try to work/build the tank around that'¦.some fish should not be added before others, and some should only be added to very mature tanks.>  All fish first, then corals?  <Really depends on the specimens in question but I find that the inverts/corals do a lot better given the chance to mature in a tank without nosey fish.>  Or is my plan okay to do a little here, a little there?  <Yes'¦just be patient with it don't do a let here a lot there.>  Also is it okay to introduce more than one coral at a time?  <Depends on the coral in question but generally speaking yes.>  Thanks Hector <Welcome,

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