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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 4

Related Articles: Stocking, Collecting Marines, Marine Livestock Selection, Reef Livestock Selection, Quarantine, 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 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 8FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQs 21, FAQ 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

Not many marine invertebrates lack chemical and physical defenses.

Even A 200 Gallon Tank Has Limits - 12/15/05 200 FO I have a 200gal with 250lbs+ of LR along the back and it's all open in the front. It houses a 7" Sailfin Tang, 4" Regal Tang, 4" Blue Throat Trigger, 4" Flame Angel, 3" Foxface and a 6" Sergeant Major Damsel (plus I have a 6  2" Yellow Tail Damsels).  Last month I tried to add a 4" Coral Beauty and it turned in to a real nightmare.  I had the lights turned off when I added him and he went right in the back and hide in the LR.  The next morning I turned the lights on and all my fish came out to be fed and so did the Coral Beauty, but when I opened the top, he took off into the Blue Throat's cave and after I fed him the Blue Throat went down to his cave and just went nuts on the poor Coral Beauty (he took a big bite of it's side) for being in his cave. <<Not surprising>> Then the Sergeant Major started chasing him around like he wanted to kill him and the others started also (the Regal and Flame) so I pretty much had to take over half the LR out to catch him and it took 3 weeks in my little 10gal quarantine tank just to get him better before I gave back to the LFS. <<Kudos to you for that...>> Today I saw a real pretty Pinktail Trigger that was about the same size as my Blue Throat but I'm worried about adding another fish since that happened. <<Mmm...I'm more concerned with over stocking your tank.  The Regal Tang is very robust and can reach a foot in length, and the Sailfin can get even bigger... the Blue Throat and the Foxface will grow to 8-9 inches each...add in the 6" Sergeant Major, the Flame, and four smaller fish and you have a tank full my friend.>> The last fish I added was awhile ago, it was the Flame Angel, and adding him was like no problem.  Right away he was one of the group. <<I think the Pinktail will be a different matter.>> The Sailfin rules the tank but the Regal and the Sergeant Major are the biggest jerks in the tank, those two will start sizing up everyone in the tank but the Sailfin. Thanks Matt O. <<Regards, EricR>>

Adding a bluehead wrasse and/or a Heniochus  12/15/05   75 FI Hello,  I currently have a 75 gallon  which has been running for 7 months, approx. 80lbs of live rock with attached clams/oysters.  Also have live sand, several brittle and serpent stars, many blue-leg hermits and various snails.  The only fish in the system are a velvet damsel, royal Gramma, maroon clown and a small psychedelic mandarin.  I had originally considered putting soft coral (Ricordea) in next, but have now decided that I would like to move toward a FOWLR.  I am considering adding a bluehead wrasse and or a Heniochus.  2  questions, will the wrasse eat the hermits, snails, or stars; <Possibly the first two yes> will the Heniochus strip the live rock of anything growing on it.   <Not appreciably> Any other suggestions for alternative choices would also be greatly appreciated. <... many choices... please peruse WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Trigger Compatibility - 12/13/2005   110 FO Hi, great site! <Thanks Chris!>     I've looked through your site back and forth and really did not find the answer to my question.  I recently purchased a 110 gallon tank, 48 inches long. I have a large wet dry filter, and Aqua-C 180 protein skimmer, plus an old SeaClone Skimmer, 60 pounds of liverock and 50 pounds of live sand.  My question concerns the Picasso Triggerfish and its compatibility with the Zebra Moray and Volitans Lionfish . Is the Picasso Triggerfish compatible with the moray, Volitans Lionfish and possibly a puffer as well? <Well, this Triggerfish is of the more peaceful but there is still a risk that it will harass the Zebra Moray as well as the Volitans. There would also be significant risk of throwing a Pufferfish into this tank for the same reasons.> Not that big of a deal if it is not. If not, what other tank mates are compatible? <Is this a proposed stocking list or are you looking to add "just one more" to existing tankmates? Visit/revisit the Compatibility FAQs on these animals. I would prefer a bit more room for just these two. If you must make an addition (again, advised against) nothing smaller than the mouths of these for sure. Larger, docile, more indifferent than inquisitive tankmates are all that need apply. Keep in mind the effects of additions on filtration.> I know the Picasso Triggerfish are really intelligent, one of the reasons I like them. Thanks, Chris <Quite welcome. - Josh>

Re: Trigger Compatibility - 12/14/2005 Hi thanks for the info! <Gladly Chris!> What I sent you was a proposed stocking list. I really like Zebra Morays/Lionfish. <Me too! It's getting harder and harder to find any I don't.> For my 110 gallon tank, what would you propose as stock for my tank built around the zebra moray. I looked at site and dwarf lions and more passive fish seem to be the common denominator. I am trying to build a predator tank so I am unsure. <Well, I still would personally prefer a bit more room for the Zebra but the 110 would work for a while. I think a Dwarf Lionfish would be the best option (and a striking display with just the two), as the environment they both prefer is so similar. Lower level lighting, ample rock work for shelter and a "beefy" filtration system. Perhaps later, buy a larger system for other predators, that way they won't be in each others face (can find their own preferred areas) and behave naturally.> Thanks again <Sure. - Josh>

Re: Trigger Compatibility  12/15/05 Thanks you very much again! <Absolutely!> Last question for now, I want what's best for fish so I don't want to overstock or crowd.  The Zebra Moray and Dwarf Lion is what you recommended so I think all go with them as my tank inhabitants. <Should be a beautiful display. Do try to obtain a smaller/ish Moray and a larger/ish Lion. The Lion will frequent the bottom and you wouldn't want him mistaken for anything.> Would it be possible to have a Zebra moray, Dwarf lion, and maybe a FuManchu as well. <Is also a Dwarf Lion. I would resist putting in two just to leave a good amount of movement space and more stable water quality.> If so, how long could I keep them together in that tank, if not, well could I keep a maroon clown and a few damsels.   <Not really a long term (full life) arrangement. I would plan an upgrade in the future. A female Maroon Clown should be fine, but they prefer environments lacking high metabolites (exactly what the other two are known for producing). This will put the ball in your court (diligence in maintenance). A Damsel in the 3" inch range should also be fine, just remember, risk of ingestion will be coming from the Lion so size this mix accordingly.> I've had several reef tanks but am pretty new to predator tanks.  I am accustomed to few fish because of reef tanks which is one of the reasons I wanted to switch to predator. Your advice is appreciated very much, thank you! <Anytime Chris. - Josh>

Fish Selection  12/14/05  75 FI Hi, I have been reading your website and I think it is great. <Many thanks, Rhett.> I have just purchased a new 75 gallon glass tank with a dual head protein skimmer, two power heads, and a VHO lighting set up with two 48" inch whites and two 48" actinic lights.  It also has 140lbs of live sand and 101 lbs of live Haitian rock.  I am going to let the tank cycle for a couple months with just snails and crabs in it <Good on you!>, but after that I am going to put the fish in it. <That'll give you time to get quarantine set up and running.>  I wanted to see if the fish I wanted would live well together or will a problem occur. I would like to put a Flame Angel <The tank's a little small for this fish, IMO, but not horrifically so.>, a Hippo Tang <Be sure you quarantine this fish for a good 4-6 weeks to be sure it's not harboring a massive ich infection>, two percula clowns <Excellent. Buy captive-reared from a store that will let you choose the exact specimens you like out of a bunch.>, a eight line wrasse <this guy can get aggressive, but is not a bad choice.>, and a mandarin goby in it. <Now THIS fish I strongly encourage you to RECONSIDER. Not only will it compete with the wrasse for food (and lose miserably) but they almost always starve in captivity, regardless of competition, especially in smaller aquariums. At the very least, this fish should be the last one in, after the system has been stable at least a year, preferably more. Plus that'll also give you time to re/consider this choice.> I would put each of these fish in periodically, not all at once. <Of course, and after quarantine.> If you could tell me if there would be any conflicts between these species, I would really appreciate it.  Thank you <Welcome, and best regards, Lorenzo>

Compatibility of saltwater fish  12/12/05  140 FO Hi guys <Hello Norm & Robin> We would like to set up a 140 gallon tank for a Snowflake Eel (Echidna nebulosa) and was wondering if a Humu Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) along with one or two of the larger angel fish say the Imperator Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) and /or Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) would do ok together. What do you think? <Triggers have been known to take bites out of eels, I wouldn't recommend it.  The angels should be OK.  Keep in mind these angels do like very good water conditions, something the eel isn't going to contribute to as they are messy eaters and do create plenty of waste.  A very efficient filtering system is recommended here along with weekly 10% water changes.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Norm & Robin <You're welcome>

Overstocking/Not Doing Proper Research/Disregarding Advice  Eric Tells it Like it is - 12/10/05   5, 26 FO Hey again, <<Hey>> and sorry for bothering you awesome people there, but I have another question. <<Alrighty>> Some websites where you shop online for live fish and corals give you some info on what the tank conditions should be like for corals and fish, and the size of the tank for every fish. <<Mmm, take with a "grain of salt" and do your own research. Maybe I'm jaded <G>, but I'm always skeptical about advice given by someone trying to sell me something. Best to do your own research before a purchase.>> The site says that for a damsel your tank should be at least 30-gallons or higher. <<Much to take in to consideration...tank mates (if any), filtration, adult size of the fish...typical activity (sedentary vs. hyper)...etc.>> So I was told that I could only keep one fish in my 5-gallon tank, <<Told by whom? Would "you" enjoy living in a closet?>> instead, I got two damsels and a clownfish <<(sigh)... so you overloaded the tank three times over the recommendation (not that I agree the tank was large enough for a "single" damsel in the first place).>> (but the clown died in a week or two maybe because it was not healthy, saw the shop with sick clowns the next day). <<Or maybe because it was shoehorned in to a 5 gallon tank!>> So my two damsels kept living for a few more months till one died because he stopped eating. <<You make it sound like it was the fish's fault.>> And then later on when I started my 26-gallon tank I decided to transfer what I had in the 5-gallon tank to the bigger one (I just had a damsel and three blue-leg hermit crabs). <<Please!...no tangs in this tank...>> So I was thinking, it did not matter the size of the damsels, which are an aggressive type, the size of the tank. <<???...what doesn't matter?...based on what?>> And my real question is, can I transfer my Lemonpeel Angel to the 5 gallon tank to keep it from harming my star polyps? <<No...if you can't properly care for this fish then you need to take it back to the store.>> I think it may matter for the Angel the size of the tank.  If I cannot house the angel there, I'm going to have to sell it. <<It matters to everything. You really should better educate yourself on the aspects of this hobby. Please do your own research (from more than one source) before buying anything, and then use the information wisely and with common sense. You owe this to the animals you wish to keep. EricR>> New Tank...Stock List - 12/07/05    72 FO Hi! <<Hello>> I am in the process of setting up a saltwater tank. <<An exciting time!>> I purchased 45 pounds of pre-cured live rock. It's been 2.5 weeks and my ammonia and nitrites are at 0ppm. <<What about nitrates?>> Should I wait for coralline algae to grow on rocks before adding fish? <<Not necessary...but do check the nitrate level first and make sure it is at "zero" as well.>> It is a 72 gallon and I want to add a yellow tang and a Heniochus black and white butterfly fish. <<Mmm...wish you hadn't said that.>> Also, since both fish will be large, would that be considered a full load for the 72 gallon tank? <<And then some... I would like to see you choose one or the other for this size tank, and then add a few smaller fishes to go with your choice. Regards, EricR>>

New Tank Stocking  12/2/05  170 FO I've been reading a lot on your website, it is very good.  <Thank you and keep reading>  Almost too much to take in and remember, excellent job. I'm just getting started in the hobby and I purchased a 150 gallon saltwater tank. I am planning on 100lbs of live rock (more if you advise it), <Depends on the porosity/weight of the rock, 100lbs being the minimum if that will be your means of biological filtration.>  and 100lbs of live sand. It has a 36x12x16 sump with about a 20 gallon reservoir tub. I have a protein skimmer, VHO lighting (1 white and two blue bulbs 60s), and three moon lights. I don't have a Refugium, but didn't think I needed one since I'm only doing a fish tank.  <Refugiums are excellent for both FOWL and reef as they help control nuisance algae. Do read on refugiums on our Wet Web site.> I originally planned on putting dwarf angels in the tank but have done a lot of reading on your site and realize this is a not a good idea.  What I'm trying to figure out is how many are too many in this size tank.  <A large tank such as yours certainly helps quell aggression in dwarf angels. Best not to add two of the same kind. With plenty of rockwork/hiding spots, aggression should be minimal.> I've seen you answer this for tanks about 100 gallons and say two is plenty if they will get along (big if). I'm really wanting to do something like this: 2 yellow strip maroon perculas, a Coral Beauty, and maybe two more dwarf angels (all are Centropyges). I also wanted to mix with this a couple Watchman Gobies and an equal number of pistol shrimp.  <Good choices.>  Then 2-3 Cardinal Fish (I'm not familiar on the variety yet, I think Banggai). <Best choice but keep at least three and try for only one male in the group.>  At this point I'm not sure of several things. First have I mixed too many Angel fish and will I likely have problems with compatibility in this size tank with the fish I've selected?  <Don't think so.>  I am not wanting to put coral in at this time, I may do this on my next tank but really want more of a fish tank to start and learn. Can I put more then this in without over crowding and if so what other fish would be best with the mix I have (or have left if you advise me that I have a likely dangerous mix)?  <As a rule of thumb, I use one cubic inch <not length> of fish per five gallons.>  I've seen other fish I like but I have so many mixed ideas about what to add. Royal Grammas, Green Wolf Eel, <I'd forget the wolf eel.>  Mandarin Fish  <A healthy stock of copepods need to be present for the mandarin to survive as they rarely eat prepared foods.>  and any others you'd suggest. All have their own appeal to me, but I think the Eel may be too large and I am unsure about aggression and size. The Mandarins are not for a new tank and are probably not for a beginner like me. What would you suggest and how many if any more would you suggest adding?  <With my rule of thumb in mind, flasher wrasses offer a nice splash of color. Females should be introduced first, then some time later the males. The females cause the males to "flash" exhibiting beautiful color patterns. Females are easily identified as they do not have the large dorsal and anal fins. If considering these, insure that they are eating in the dealers tank as they can, at times, be apprehensive about eating prepared food. Once eating, they are not a difficult fish to keep.> Am I on the right track with this or am I way off base.  <Sounds like you are on the right track to me.>  I've been trying to lean toward easy fish to keep right now but would also like colorful fish to make the tank stand out and fish with "personality". I know I'm leaving out a lot of other necessary specimens I probably need to keep my tank clean like hermits and such, but I've tried including as much as I can so you can give me the best advice. And I will keep reading your site before I get too far ahead of myself on stocking.  <Sounds great, keep reading.>  I've spent that last two months researching all this, <excellent idea>  and I am anxious and nervous about getting started. My tank is supposed to be setup in the next two weeks so I have a lot of decisions to make and still have time to fix anything glaring I've overlooked.  <Do research fish you are considering before buying. Will save you headaches down the line.> Thanks for your expertise and response, I am heading back out to your site to keep reading. You have a lot of great information.  It also sounds like I need a QT which I don't have right now, I need to go ahead and just put a small tank system in for this given what I've been reading. Sounds like very good advice, I'm sure it will pay for itself in time.  <You have the patience and are gaining knowledge to make this venture very successful. James (Salty Dog)>  Marine Stocking: Aggressive Tank-Busters! 11/30/2005  180 FO I'm about to re-stock a 180g marine. <Okay.> I would like to keep 7-8 *SMALL* semi-aggressive/ aggressives in it to start, and pare those down to 3 or 4 a couple of few years from now as they max out in size. <Well I see below you have given fish away in the past to a good home so I will have to hope you can do so again.> I am only interested in fish that have a max. wild size of 12 inches or less (or eels 2 ft. or less), so that even an adult could be relatively comfortable in this size tank someday. <Okay but 12" to 24" is not my idea of small, 7 to 8 fish of this size would be a bit much in this tank but as you say….only a few will be kept long term.> I just gave up a Balistoides conspicillum (clown trigger) and an Arothron meleagris (golden puffer) because they were outgrowing the tank, and it broke my heart. I don't want to go through that again. :( They went to a 450g though, so they'll be happy.  <With your stocking plan chances are you will have to go through it again….parting with some of your specimens I mean due to there adult lengths and temperaments.> The only "must have" for the new setup:  Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Picasso) or Assasi. trigger. <Well triggers aren't great tank mates to say the least but if you have to go with one I would add a small specimen last and keep in mind that this choice will limit your others….in fact it may eventually turn out that this choice is not compatible with any other choices. An adult trigger may not be tolerant of any other fish in this tank.> I am also contemplating: grammistes sexlineatus (six stripe/ golden stripe) Soapfish - I had one for 5 years, great fish but a HUGE!!! Appetite <…Also a HUGE waist <<Um.. "waste", as in garbage, feces, trash.  Not "waist", as in "How many sit-ups do I need to do to make my waist smaller?  Marina>>   maker…as all the fish on your list are, be sure to have an efficient protein skimmer and ample water flow.> 1-2 eel-types: Congrogadus subduscens (wolf "eel" Dottyback)/ echidna nebulosa (snowflake moray)/ Muraena lentiginosa (jewel/ Mexican dragon moray) - I owned all of the above before in different tanks and liked them - Arothron diadematus (masked puffer) <The first two eels would be okay choices, the latter eel gets quite large and aggressive. The puffer could be a good tank mate but as I'm sure you know they to can have nasty temperaments and all puffers have been known to be fin-nippers.> Again, I'm not planning on keeping all of these long-term, only a few. I just don't want the tank to look completely empty with 3 or 4 three-inch fish in it to start. I'll definitely get rid of some as they grow. Any suggestions on other fish? I'm avoiding lions because of the trigger,  <That's a good move.> and I 'm hesitant about the mid-size wrasses, tangs, angels because of their possible passivity with these type of bruisers. (A. Ctenochaetus strigosus/ Kole tang for algae control???) <I would look into a larger Rabbitfish instead of a tang for a grazer.> And damsels/ clowns would be great temperament-wise to start, but I can see the Soapfish or moray already licking their lips 6 months from now <The puffer and trigger would make snacks of them as well.> <<Have either of you seen the size the simple domino damsel reaches in the wild?  Don't tell me you don't think this "pugnacious" character can't hold its own with these others, either.  Marina>> after they have gained some size. Perhaps you have some experience with fish that would fit the proper profile and stand a decent chance of not eventually getting eaten/ bullied??? If you were in my shoes, what 7-8 small fish would you choose?  <See above. Honestly the fish you have chosen may get along and they may not, it's especially hard to comment on choosing tank mates for puffers and triggers, both of which can be down right nasty and not accept any tank mates at all. Depends on the individual.> <<Try Emperor snappers, even worse.. er.. I mean better!  This fish WILL bite YOU if it gets a chance.  Marina>> Thanks! <Adam J.>

Novice Choices, Marine Fish  12/2/05  50 FO Hi! <Hello.> I'm getting a new 50 gallon tank soon, I will cycle it with live rock. <O.K. there's a lot more to it than just that though. Be sure to research the tanks other needs, such as a protein skimmer and so on. Also have a test kit on call during this cycle process.> What kinds of fishes would you recommend me? I would like to make my marine tank very bright and interesting. Unique would be nice too. <Well your in the marine hobby so bright and interesting includes most of the fish that hang out on the reef and all fish have unique personalities…so you're already covered there. Of course what looks/personality is better than the other is up to you. When I think of easy fish of course damsels is the first one that pops into mind as they are nearly bulletproof care wise.  <<Except for the peaceful green and blue Chromis - they aren't handled well during collection/shipping, end up being problematic for many beginners.  Marina>> Of course there aggression level and general disdain for other fish makes them a poor choice in a tank most of the time, those labeled as Chromis are generally an exception to the rule but not always. The one fish that is great (in my opinion) for beginners is the neon goby (E. oceanops) very hardy and it's quite easy to find tank-raised specimens. Just to name a few more that I like for novices: Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor), Clown goby (Gobiodon sp.), Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) and the Banggai cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni). These are potentially good choices though I would only purchase tank raised specimens of the latter. Keep reading and researching and you will find many more good suggestions.> Thanks a Lot!!! (Your site is really helpful!) <Welcome and thank you, Adam J.> 

Stalking the Overstockers - 12/1/05  55 FO Hey John, <Hello again> Sorry, I have another question for you: I have Niger and Huma Huma Triggers, a Royal <?>, a Bannerfish, a Pygmy Angel, a Six-line Wrasse, and a Yellow Tang. I would love to buy a dwarf Zebra Lionfish for my 55g. Can I add this fish? <Nope. No way. Sorry. Your tank is already heavily overstocked with fish that get much too large for the tank. Time for a stocking re-think.> <<Not to mention that the wrasse and pygmy may very well become a tasty snack for that lionfish.  Marina>> Thank you for your time <You're welcome, John> 

Stocking a Marine Tank Tetris Style (Disguising the Question Won't Work!)   12/1/05  55 FO Hello, <Hi.> I'm running a 55 gallon corner tank with a Mag 350 and CPR skimmer for about 4 years now!  I have a Niger 3 in <<That is spelled with only ONE "g", mate.  Marina>> Huma 3 in banner fish 3 in Pygmy angel 2 in Royal 3 in Yellow Tang 4 in And six line wrasse 2 1n I would LOVE to put in my last fish a Clown trigger! <...> <<The tank's four years old, and those fish are still that small...??  MH>> Do you think the clown would be to much? <Uhhh....Yeah. My friend not only would I not add that last specimen to the mix but I would strongly consider finding new homes or planning on finding new homes for these fish in the future. Not only will there be territorial/aggression problems in the future but there will be serious over crowding. Your first two triggers on the list reach at least a tank busting 12" the tang and the Bannerfish as well will get quite large. If you were to keep all of your current fish you would need a tank in excess of 200 gallons and that's if your triggers don't "snap".> Thanks <Keep reading, Adam J.> 

Compatibility Question From an "Old-timer"  12/1/05   150 FO Dear WWM crew, Greetings! I've got a compatibility question for you. In my 16 years of marine fishkeeping, I've never tried keeping triggerfish (except a Niger), simply because of how mean they can get. At this point, however, my 150G FO seems to have become a pretty aggressive tank! Due to two recent losses (a wonderful honeycomb moray to the carpet, and a sailfin tang possibly to old age?),  <<Could possibly live to a decade, maybe more.  Marina>> I am down to five fish: an 8" Maculosus Angel, a 6" Queen Angel, a 8" Foxface, a 8" volitans lion, and a 4" dogface puffer. Most of those fish have been in the tank for 5+ years (the maculosus started out at less than an inch!). In fact, the lion was the most recent addition at almost three years!  In trying to decide what to add, I've come up with several ideas and wanted to run them past you guys. First, I my LFS has a 4" clown trigger at a reasonable price. I've read the article on clown triggers, which says that they can get LARGE and MEAN, but I also read the FAQ and saw that other people are keeping their clown triggers with angels, tangs, and other semi-aggressive fish. What do you think the likelihood of adding a 4" clown trigger without serious incident (in either direction) would be?  Second, I am ordering some fish from a diver in Hawaii, and was thinking of adding a large Green Bird Wrasse, a large Raccoon Butterfly, and a large Achilles Tang. Do you think they would be able to fend for themselves against the five I already have? How about with the trigger? I know predictions can be hard to make, as each fish is different, but what is your opinion? Thanks.  Jim Jensen  <Jim, with the size of your present fish, your tank is overloaded right now. I wouldn't add any more fish. But to answer your question, yes clown triggers do get large and can be mean. If the tank is large enough it helps quell aggression. James (Salty Dog)> <<Also, the lionfish specifically could become a target of this clown, some species of triggerfishes are known to nip off the venomous spines.  Marina>>

Help me with some "pretty" fish 11-29-05   40 FI Hi crew, <Hello> Great site, great info. It's appreciated. <Thanks> When I inherited my 40 gallon tall tank a few months back, I was "gifted" a maroon clown and two damsels. The damsels had to (as my 2 year-old son says) "hit the road" since they were very aggressive. I've since made some additions to the tank, but my wife has mentioned that she'd like to see some "pretty, colorful" fish, instead of the "creepy" things I have in the tank now. I've received very inconsistent advice from a couple local shops and would love your input as to some good additions (if you think the tank can handle more) that will keep me in good graces with my wife.  Currently I have: one maroon clown, two cardinal pajama, one firefish, two skunk cleaner shrimp, one engineer goby, a chocolate chip starfish, one decorator crab and about a half dozen hermit crabs. <It would be easier to get your wife to pick out a list and decide which ones were compatible. I like a small school of green Chromis. They are not the prettiest fish individually, but their schooling behavior, small bio-load, and low cost make them a great addition.  You may also get by with a flame angel. Your tank is a bit small for it, but with the right specimen it could be done. The other thing you could do is pair your clown and fire fish up. Not any new pretty fish, but it will definitely change the dynamics of the tank. Like I said before, get the wife to pick out a couple and then research them to see if they are compatible with your ideas and your tank.> Thanks in advance, Kevin <Travis> 

BIG FISH: Marine Stocking Levels 11/28/2005   125 FO Hi Bob, <Actually Adam J with you tonight.> I'd like your opinion on my 125 fish only tank, it has 2 Volitans, harlequin tusk, queen angel and a guinea fowl puffer. <This stocking dense is very, very heavy, the potential size of the pair of lions warrants a much larger tank as adults not to mention the angel.> It has an Amiracle SL 250 wet dry,G1X protein skimmer and a 25 watt UV.  I would like to add a miniatus grouper and a male crosshatch trigger, what do you think? <While this system is well planned out as far as equipment I would not advise the addition of any more livestock. Your current animals are all in the 'tank-busting' category. Furthermore the current puffer and the potential trigger are both prone to nipping the toxic but delicate fins of your lions and so for that reason alone are not good tankmates.> I am also thinking of adding a Red Sea 100 ozonator to the protein skimmer, what are you thoughts? <Have seen the benefits of VERY careful ozone addition however I do not personally use one.> thanks Dave <Welcome, Adam J.>

Chainlink moray and pistol shrimp, Or, Fish Soup That's Not as Good as "Siete Mares" - 11/28/05  45 FI Hi. I have a 45G reef with a regal and purple tang, a maroon clown, a marine Betta, a longfin fairy wrasse, a pistol shrimp/goby combo  <Yikes! Would you like some water with your fish?>  and I just recently came across the cutest little chainlink eel. I couldn't help myself. He ate right out of my hand and he's really tiny, so I took him home. My question is, do you think my little ol' eel will take out my awesome pistol shrimp? If so, how much and what should I feed him to keep this from occurring? I'm hoping not to regret my decision in the near future. Please help. Thank you! -Ash <It is possible that it will consume the shrimp, but unfortunately you have much larger issues at hand here. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your tank is very heavily overstocked with inappropriate fish. Neither of those tangs, singly, should be in a tank of under 100 gallons, and some would argue that even this is too small. Fairy wrasses are highly active and would also benefit from a larger tank. The marine Betta will also outgrow your tank, and is also quite likely to mistake your shrimp for food. Even short-term, this crowded tank is an almost impossible proposition to maintain healthily. If I were you, I would focus on thinning down the fish population to something that you can support long-term. Many ideas for more appropriate stocking may be found on WetWebMedia. Best regards, John> 

What fish combination would work best?   55 FO Hi, I'm currently cycling a 55 gallon saltwater tank.  It will be fish only.  The tank has an undergravel filter, two powerheads, and a penguin BioWheel filter. <No skimmer? You want one.>   We obtain our saltwater at our city's aquarium and we use crushed coral for substrate.  We are now researching which types of fish would be best for our tank. Our three kids, of course, want a clownfish, Nemo and all.  We also like pajama cardinals, bowtie damsels, yellow-tailed blue damsels, Bannerfish, humbug damsels, blue doctors, and triggerfish.  We know that some are more aggressive than others, and unfortunately don't  feel that we can trust most of the people working at our local fish stores for some good advice. <Best to do ones own investigations> I would appreciate any suggestions on a good combo of fish in the tank. We know that we shouldn't put them all in at the same time and all that other new tank info.  We're just trying to get our plan in place so to speak. Thanks for your help, Katrina <Leave off with the trigger, tangs... even the butterfly... just try damsels for now... Keep studying... and add another fish or two per month as you know more. Bob Fenner>

Livestock origins As for livestock origins, I know Indonesia and Philippines are on the low side. Any others you do not recommend? I think if I know what places are bad, I can eliminate these. Thanks. <Most other places are "better" overall... but this is too general a statement to be of much worth. What particular animals, groups are you referring to, interested in? Bob Fenner>

Re: livestock origins Dwarf angels, as well as S. venustus. Also butterflies of the genus Chaetodon and the copperband and longnose butterflies. Lastly Anthias. <Again, in general, better from "elsewhere"... There are closer "best" sources by species. For instance, Forcipigers from Mexico's Baja and Hawai'i are best... Pseudanthias ventralis ventralis from Chip Boyle in Roratonga... The Centropyge that are found there from Tony Nahacky in Fiji... Bob Fenner>

Miscellaneous (mainly marine stocking)  10 FI Bob, I wrote to you a while back for some advice, and your suggestions worked admirably; the downside of such quality is that I'm back to pester you again! <I do understand> I "inherited" a 10 gallon mini-reef with 12 pounds of LR, 10 lbs aragonite sand, a good sized piece of Tufa with some Caulerpa growing on it, and the following critters: 1 Percula clown 2 yellow tail blue damsels 1 Small blue damsel with odd grayish markings- thought maybe a juvenile? <Or simply "stress-marked" from being crowded... this is way too many Damsels in such a small system> 2 Green Chromis with yellow bars on the side About 12 snails (Astrea, I think) and about 8 blue e.g. hermits. Filtration, while a standard "hang on" type, seems to be doing an adequate job, as my last series of readings was all well within tolerable limits. I don't plan on keeping them in the current setup, as I have a 55g I plan to transfer them to when I have the funds available. <Ah, good> Sorry for the long intro, now to my questions. 1. Last night, after the white light went out but before the blue shut off, I noticed the clown swimming sideways to the top of the tank and laying motionless, before swimming down to the center in an erratic jerky manner (I thought he was a goner to be honest!). when I went to scoop him out into the quarantine tank, he thought it was feeding time and came right to the surface. I left him, and this morning he's fine. Is this normal? Most of my references don't describe normal/aberrant behavior. <Yes... normal enough. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshfa.htm  and beyond> 2. I recently noticed some small snails on the glass. I read your snail faq page, and you mention predation- I don't have any, nor do I have the capacity to add some of the fish you mentioned. My LFS doesn't take fish back, so I'd have to find someone willing to take the fish in the meantime. I don't want the snails to completely strip the rock, so I'm open to ideas. Could I put in lettuce or zucchini? <Worth trying... and often such anomalous population "outbreaks" are self-limiting... they may "go" as suddenly, mysteriously as the came> 3. There's a critter that looks like a cross between an anemone and a polyp. It's about an inch high, maybe1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter, a yellowish color, and has a fringe of 1/4 inch tentacles around the "head". It seems to use these to filter food. it used to live on one of the large rock chunks, and would move if the snails grazed too close; recently, it's "gone walkabout" and has worked its way to the front panel of the tank. I can't find ANYTHING that resembles this little thing, and I'd like to keep it happy. None of the anemones on the anemone page really resemble it. <Likely a member of the Glass Anemone family... go back and read about Aiptasia> 4. (Last question!) There's a 3 branched "thing" growing off of an old snail shell- maybe 1.5 inches in height, pale blue, topped with fringe or some kind of growth similar to small berries- these have a reddish tint to them. I tried moving it, and it ended up back where it started, so it seems capable of movement. It too appears to be a filter feeder. Sorry I can't be more descriptive, but it is a seriously strange looking organism. It looks similar to some of the soft corals I've seen, but smaller. Gerry <Probably one of the many species of "Feather Duster" worms (but could be a Hydrozoan...). You can see some photos, descriptions of such using the search feature on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: A 55 gallon tank  55 FI Dear Mr. Fenner, Thanks so much for your quick response! I love, Love, LOVE your book! It has been so helpful. I am kind of into the odd ones like the puffer and wrasse, but I would never want to endanger a beautiful purple lobster. <Ah, good> If Santa does bring me another 55 gallon tank (to begin a new system which would include a purple lobster) what fish should be acquired to live in harmony with him? <Many choices here... the broad spectrum between animals that wouldn't try to eat it (larger basses, triggers, puffers) to ones that are too slow, not sharp enough to avoid being eaten by it...> Perhaps a yellow tang or mandarin goby? How about a panther grouper? <The Tang yes, the Mandarin and Panther Grouper no> I wish you and your family (and fish) a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sincerely, Kelli <And yours. Bob Fenner>

Restocking tank  50 FO Mr. Fenner We lost 5 fish about 3 weeks ago. We have had one hippo tang all alone since then. We were wondering when we can get a new fish and which would be best to befriend the lonely hippo? We were hoping to get a mated pair of true perculas, will that be ok or is there something better? The tang has shown no signs of anything wrong with him in over two weeks. Thanks in advance <Mmm, a few concerns... you say you "lost" five fish... to a known parasitic problem? If so, what provisions have you made to eradicate the disease from the system? If there is no such concern, how large a system is this? A choice in tankmates rests upon this and other considerations... The true perculas should be fine with your Hippo (Paracanthurus hepatus for folks from elsewhere who know this fish by other common names)... but I encourage you to seek out tank bred, reared ones (versus wild-collected) as they are much hardier, less prone to disease. Please read over your many choices presented in articles, FAQs on stocking, the various groups of life, posted on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Restocking tank They all died from parasites. The blue tang had some, but we FW dipped him and got them off, and our cleaner shrimps worked non-stop to keep them off. He has had no signs in over two weeks. <The SYSTEM still has the parasites... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm > It is a 50 gallon. We want two true perculas and another tang. Which is a good, hardy tang?  <Please read over the coverage of the family, species... on the WetWebMedia.com site> We have had BAD luck with both the gold rimmed the one with a little on his face) and the achilles. We are looking for a colorful, hardy tang to not take dominance away from the hippo. Do you have any suggestions? <My opinions are posted re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

On-line shopping?   Reef Hi Mr. Fenner, I know from reading your FAQs that you think of the idea of on-line shopping as the way of the future. <Only one way> But what is your honest opinion about the survivability rate of animals (specifically corals), being shipped directly to your house. <Mmm, about the same as when/how they're shipped from the wild to wholesalers, jobbers, retailers... depending on how well they've been collected, held, packaged... shipped... received... and this all over again once or twice more... they might be better/worse off for wear> I have a FOWLR tank that I've converted to a reef setup, and is ready to start slowly stocking with corals, but up here in Canada the cost of everything is much more then in the States. <What about sharing fragments, cultured material with other hobbyists?> I was considering the idea of ordering my corals on-line but frankly I'm a bit worried. All that one hears, and reads about fish already often not arriving 100% in good health, and corals are supposed to be even more sensitive to environment changes, and shipping. IS it a gamble to order directly?  <Life is a gamble my friend> I know that all the LFSs also gets their stock shipped pretty much the same way, but they know that they will absorb the losses at times <No... these costs are all passed on> (didn't mean to sound cruel; really wish all living things would have 100% survivability rate) <Could be done, but all would cost much, much more...> The price difference is really intriguing (on-line versus local LFS), but not if most of the time your purchases will arrive doomed from the get go.  <If this were the case, then these companies would go out of business.> One other thing, I've been told by a few people that to order corals directly up here in Canada will not be that easy. Something about permits to import, or export from other countries being very restricted, <Define "very"> and that my only option pretty much is to buy from the stores.  <Stores have the same restrictions> Have you ever heard anything about that? Greg N. <Do check with listservs, bulletin boards regarding other local hobbyists actual experiences, suggestions here... Not as didactic a proposition as you make it out to be. Bob Fenner>

Consistentsea, Inc. Bob, Have you heard of a business called Consistentsea, Inc. that goes around to ten of the major wholesalers in the Los Angeles area and hand picks fish and corals, then resells them to retail stores? <... no one "resells" to retail stores in the area... anyone of size drives to, picks out their own livestock... most all the distal folks buy from the wholesalers directly... bypassing add-on costs> They contacted me this week and sent an availability list. The prices seemed OK. Are companies like this legit and worth messing with? <Don't know... would ask for their "satisfied customer list" for your area> Their website is www.consistentsea.com. <Took a look... don't like macromedia delayed ads> Also, I am having a high mortality rate with damsels lately.  <What? Why?> Especially striped and dominos. The last batch of striped ones looked like they had a major outbreak of Lymphocystis. Any suggestions or is this the result of handling problems along the line somewhere? <... lymph on damsels? Dascyllus dying? Something is definitely wrong here> Do you have any friends in the business that would be willing to talk to me over the phone that could give me some pointers on acclimating new SW fish and working out the bugs on my new quarantine and central systems? I'm trying to follow your recommendations, but I have some specific questions. <Please read over the WetWebMedia.com site... and contact me... Buy your damsels from Quality Marine for now... and we'll be talking if you're still suffering losses. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help. <Am glad to help> Larry McGee Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Opinions on a fish stocking list   210 Reef Hi, Bob, <Hello> Hope you had a good trip and thanks for all the help on previous questions. Due to a cracked acrylic tank that the manufacturer is kindly replacing, I will be tearing down my current 210G and setting it up again. I'm going to take the opportunity to adjust my fish list and wanted to run it by you for your thoughts on compatibility and load. The tank is a reef tank with mixed corals (LPS, SPS and soft). BTW I like the double triangle rockscape in your book and will do something similar (3 interlocking triangles I think). <A worthy guide/model> Current fish who are moving to the new tank: P. asfur C. loriculus P. fridmani A. rainfordi Purple tang 9 Chromis viridis Chrysiptera parasema (yellow tail blue damsel; seems meek enough) Red Firefish Fish I am currently planning on taking back to the LFS: Two maroon clowns P. sankeyi (nice and calm but not the prettiest) V. puellaris orange spot sandsifter (Rainfordi is enough on the sand sifting front) Scooter "blenny" (dragonet) An orange fairy wrasse (unsure id but a little on the drab side) 4 Lemon damsels I haven't decided for sure on my C. fisheri angel but I'm thinking I'll keep him. He's a cute little guy. <Yes> Fish I'm thinking of adding to the new tank after it settles down from the change: A new clown pair. I have a H. crispa that is thriving and a green bubble tip. I'd like to get a rose bubble-tip anemone and plan on putting all the anemones on one of the triangles) sort of an anemone bommie. The H. crispa and E. quadricolor don't love each but they seem to co-exist).  <In this size, shape system, yes> I like my maroons but they aren't a mated pair and I'd like to get a mated clownfish pair. <They would become a "pair" in time... as you likely know> I've heard maroons can be very territorial though so I'm considering a true or false Percula pair instead. (My maroons aren't very territorial but they are also smallish.) <Time...> A yellow long-nosed butterfly. I think butterflies are gorgeous and this seems to be the only reasonable one to try in a reef tank other than Bannerfish which I don't care for. Besides, it will give me some bright yellow. I've had reasonable luck with a long nosed butterfly before in a reef tank. I'd love to try some of the others but they doesn't seem very wise. (Guess Bannerfish do okay but they don't appeal.) <A good fish, or two: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/forcipig.htm > A fairy wrasse mated pair, maybe a Hawaiian flame pair. <Neat fish, Cirrhilabrus jordani> Some more C. parasema. That's probably it. I'd love to try a flame Hawkfish but everything I've read suggests they'll eat my damsels so unless you think that really isn't a problem, I'll guess I'll pass. <Mmm, won't eat the damsels... but will eat shrimps... perhaps small true or false (Hermit) crabs...> Thanks! Marc PS on the cracked tank, I'm going with three instead of two cuts for more front to back bracing and some changes on my lighting so I don't think I'll have this problem again (fingers crossed ;-) <Agreed... a huge job moving, replacing. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Triggers, Tusk, Sohal and Pizzas  165 FO Mr. Fenner: Thank you for your quick reply ...amazing. - If the damsels are like pepperoni <Yum, my fave topping> what other fish could I maintain in the 165g? Or will these four fish (clown trigger, Picasso trigger, harlequin Tuskfish, and Sohal tang) be enough? <Enough... in time, perhaps a year or two, too much...> - Is a week in-between each introduction enough or is that dependant on tested water parameters? <Mmm, this size/volume system... you could place the Picasso and Wrasse simultaneously... a week otherwise is fine... shouldn't show any anomalies with/out testing> - Also, if the Sohal is to be placed next to last what should I tell my LFS about removing the Sohal from the copper treated water until I am ready? <Yes, I would> Thank you again, Steve <Bob Fenner>

Fish introduction   125 FO Mr. Fenner, Your answers to questions help me a great deal. <I as well> I enjoy reading other peoples questions and your answers, it saves me from writing you on a regular basis. <Thank goodness... we have over 3,000 unique ISP sessions per day... Yikes!> My question is the on the introduction of the fish I wish to keep. I have a 125 gallon fish only with live rock. I would like to know the order I should introduce the following- harlequin tusk, majestic angle, checkerboard wrasse, and 2 threadfin butterfly.. What do you think? <Mmm the Checkerboard first (to test the waters so to speak), a week or more later the Harlequin (looks mean, is not), a few months into the system the Butterflies, and the Angel last. Bob Fenner> Thanks ahead of time, I value your opinion. Spencer

Marine Livestocking Plan Concerns  165 FO Mr. Fenner: Sounds like you had a pleasant time diving. Thank Jason C for us when you see him for answering all the questions while you were away.  <Yes, a good job, and well done. Perhaps you will come forward in time?> I have a stocking question for you. I have a 165gal with approx. 90lbs of live rock and about 30lbs of base rock that hopefully will be seeding by the other rock.  <It will be> Inhabiting this tank are three yellow tailed blue damsels and one south sea devil. I would like to maintain one clown trigger, one Picasso trigger, and one harlequin Tuskfish along with a tang or surgeonfish as algae control. * Will this mix thrive along with the damsels? <Mmm, only temporarily... Akin to me and a roomful of pizzas... eventually I and the triggers will get to the comestibles...> * The order of introduction is important correct? I figured tang, Picasso, tusk, clown will that work? <Yes... this is the sequence I'd have chosen> * In regards to the tang or surgeon which would be better, a Rabbitfish or a Sohal? (The Sohal is a beautiful fish) <The Sohal is my "druther"> * Could a Sohal work as the surgeon in this mix? I've read that the Sohal is the last fish to introduce but my LFS has had a Sohal for some time (at least a month) and he has told me that he treats his holding tanks with low doses of copper. I've also read that the tangs and surgeons have organisms in their digestive systems that are negatively affected by copper. <This is so. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Asohal.htm and the many FAQs on Tangs archived on WWM> * Am I way off base in this plan or could I place the Sohal first and get it out of the copper and then proceed with my stocking plan? <The Sohal is best placed right before the Clown Trigger... potential aggression/territoriality the reason... and a keen eye kept on the Clown Trigger ("El Rey" henceforth) for overt behavior problems> Thank you again for all your knowledge and wisdom (applied knowledge) and your willingness to share. Steve <And you for yours. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Questions about Stocking a 60 Hex  60 FO <<JasonC here filling in for Bob while he is away diving.>> Hi Bob, I have a question I have a 60 gallon hex I have one 5" Huma Huma trigger that I got the other day and then the next day I bought a 3" white tail trigger I put him in the tank and the Huma Huma just would not stop trying to eat him. so I gave the fish back to the store. my question is can I go and get a 6" golden puffer and stick him in there and trust that everything would be safe?  <<I'm not sure this is a good plan for a hex tank, even if it is 60 gallons - not enough horizontal space to get away.>>  all I wanted was 2 triggers and a puffer now I am down to one trigger and should I get the puffer. Thanks <<One trigger and one puffer in 60 gallons is about all you could do, but again, I'm not sure the shape of the Hex Tank is working in your favor in this instance. In any case, it's probably worth trying a small puffer as the trigger will probably care less because the puffer doesn't look like a trigger [no competition]. Only time will tell and you are welcome. Cheers, J -- >> 

Fish Selection for a 29  FI... I have a 29 gallon saltwater tank that is just about done cycling. I am pretty much a beginner, I have had one saltwater tank in the past. I have an AquaClear 300 filter, a heater, an air pump, and I will be buying a protein skimmer. I am thinking of buying 2 fish a rock beauty and a flame angel, and I currently have a 20 gallon tank in which I have a juv blue angel and a pork fish, from which I was going to move those 2 fish to my 29 gallon tank.  <Mmm, the Rock Beauty is not an easy fish to keep: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockbeautya.htm and the Flame Angel, a Blue Angel, even a Porkfish I wouldn't keep in a twenty or twenty nine gallon system> I am also interested in putting a fire shrimp and/or coral banded shrimp in there. (I have both of these in the 20 gallon tank with the blue angel and pork fish and their are no problems, I wanted to buy one of each for the 29 gallon tank). I have 4 pounds of Fiji live rock in the tank. Any advice you can give me on any equipment I could also buy that I have not mentioned? <Please read through the marine set-up sections.> Do you think any of the fish will fight with each other? Do you think the fish will fight with the inverts? Should I get more live rock? Thank you. <Yes to more live rock... the Porkfish will eat the shrimps... Please reconsider your stocking plan... or start saving, planning for a much larger system! Bob Fenner>

More on Fish Selection for a 29 So for the present time, the fish I included would be ok? I will be upgrading to a 50 or 55 in the future, but I just want to know if they would be ok for now. I have the pork fish in a 20 gallon tank right now with a male coral banded shrimp and a fire shrimp, and he hasn't eaten them, is that just because it is too small (It is like 2-3 inches long), and it will eat the shrimp when it gets bigger? <Yes to being okay now (as your fishes and other livestock are doing well according to your account), and yes to eating the shrimps... their food in the wild. Bob Fenner>

Re: Questions (on stocking, crowding) <<< JasonC here, filling in while Bob gets packed.>> So for the present time, the fish I included would be ok? I will be upgrading to a 50 or 55 in the future, but I just want to know if they would be ok for now. I have the pork fish in a 20 gallon tank right now with a male coral banded shrimp and a fire shrimp, and he hasn't eaten them, is that just because it is too small (It is like 2-3 inches long), and it will eat the shrimp when it gets bigger? <Yes to being okay now (as your fishes and other livestock are doing well according to your account), and yes to eating the shrimps... their food in the wild. Bob Fenner> >> I took the pork fish back to the fish store and returned him for store credit towards a flame angel which I have in my 20 gallon tank with my Juv Blue Angel, Fire Shrimp, and Coral Banded Shrimp. When the flame angel was in the tank, the blue angel and the flame angel where like rubbing their bodies against each other. Is this normal, or does this mean there will be conflict?  <<<this is normal behavior for two fishes that are sizing each other up, in preparation for a fight - yikes! I'm sure you already know the Juvenile Blue will exceeded the capacity of not only your current tank, but your plans for the 55g upgrade. These are full size angels and as such will need 100g+ once full grown. The flame angel is a great choice for your 20-cum-55 plans. You may want to think carefully about what to do with the Blue angel, or at least think about fish that won't force you to constantly upgrade you tanks. Good luck, J -- >>>

Re: Questions << <<this is normal behavior for two fishes that are sizing each other up, in preparation for a fight - yikes! I'm sure you already know the Juvenile Blue will exceed the capacity of not only your current tank, but your plans for the 55g upgrade. These are full size angels and as such will need 100g+ once full grown. The flame angel is a great choice for your 20-cum-55 plans. You may want to think carefully about what to do with the Blue angel, or at least think about fish that won't force you to constantly upgrade you tanks. Good luck, J -- >>> >> Would a rock beauty constantly need upgrades as well? <Yes... and this is a harder species to keep. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockbeautya.htm Bob Fenner>

Fish overcrowding   280 FOWLR Hello Bob, I have a 280 FOWLR tank (72x30x30) that consist of a 9" Golden Tail eel (about as thick as a pencil), 8" Vlamingi Tang, 6" Red Coris Wrasse, 5" Twin spot Coris Wrasse, and a 5" Pink Tail Trigger. I would like to add a Goatfish to help keep the tank clean but I don't know what genus that I should try to stay with-any suggestions? <Yes, posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm, and beyond in the FAQs section.> Australian Harlequin Tuskfish: I'm really not sure if adding even one or both of these guys would be overcrowding my system. Any of your input would be greatly appreciated. <Eventually, there may be trouble with the Trigger growing... and possibly the Eel proving difficult to feed with the other fishes> One other thing that I have been trying to find out was how big in diameter could I expect my Golden tail Eel to get? <An inch to an inch in a half likely> I have looked on www.wetwebmedia.com and fishbase.org and have not had any luck. <Really? Is it pictured here on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm? Twenty eight inches long maximum, a tropical West Atlantic species, correct? Bob Fenner>

Re: clown fish Hi, Bob. Thanks for Your quick reply. I have already 2 c. parasema in the tank and they are doing great. The pet store has only 2 maroon clowns, 1 ocellaris, and a blue tang at the moment. So, I was wondering what I should add next. <Any of these> I also added a feather duster which I feed liquid vertebrate food. With the live rock and sand came some tiny hermit crabs and snails. I removed most of them since they ate the green algae that just started to grow. I don't think I can remove all of them. They are to tiny. My water parameters haven't changed in the last 8 days. Ammonia 0, nitrite-N 0, nitrate-N 3, ph 8.2, spec. grav. 1.022. My fist Caulerpa died and I removed it, but the new one is doing great. Thanks again. Bernd <As I see. Bob F>

Fish Wish List!  72 FI Good morning Robert or Jason C, First I would like to thank you both for your input on my skimmer. It's in and working fine. Thanks to you both! Next I would like your input on my fish wish list. I know I can't have all these fish in my tank, this is what I have it narrowed down to and if you could give me your input on the best worse etc. I tried to do my homework on these fish and I believe they are all compatible with the current fish in my tank and with corals, currently I only have one leather coral but someday hoping to have more. Current occupants in Blacktail Dascyllus, (Dascyllus melanurus) (2) Green Chromis (Chromis atripectoralis) (1) Maroon Anemonefish, (Premnas biaculeatus) (1) Foxface Rabbitfish, (Siganus vulpinus) (1) Turbo Snails (5) Long Spined Urchin (1) Dancing Shrimp (1) Wish List Royal Gramma, (Gramma loreto) (1) Marine Betta, (Calloplesiops altivelis) (1) Banggai Cardinal, (Pterapogon kauderni) (3) Filamented Flasher Wrasse, (Paracheilinus filamentosus) (3) Sharknose goby (Gobiosoma evelynae) (1) Whitecheek Surgeon Fish, (Acanthurus nigricans) (1) <Actually A. japonicus... nigricans is the "Powder Brown".> Gold ring Bristletooth-Pacific form (Ctenochaetus strigosus) (1) Yellow Tang, (Zebrasoma flavescens) (1) Equipment 72 gallon bow with overflow Visi Thermo 250W heater Lifeguard Quiet One pump 1140 GPH-full flow, set on about 3/4 2-automatic self rotating power heads, (power sweep 228) Compact aquarium fluorescent reflector, (not sure on the bulbs, looked this am and said 700 on bulbs looks like they are bent in half) Nice lighting but would like more of a purple color in my aquarium. Aqua Clear Aquatics prefilter w/bio balls, & surface skim box. AquaC Urchin Pro Sump Skimmer. Thank you for your help both in the past and future. Sincerely, Lori <Mmm, lots of possibilities here... I'd limit the current wish list fulfillment to just one of the Zebrasoma tangs, and EITHER the White Cheek (or vastly preferred) Bristlemouth choice... Otherwise you could place all the rest... a couple of organisms in a month or so... your Rabbitfish may have, or come to have "other ideas"... and all would be better if you could magically make this system twice as large... Bob Fenner>

Mail Order For Live Stock??? Dear Robert,  What is your opinion regarding mail order for livestock?!? Preferably that of corals and fishes. <Sometimes a good deal, for some folks the only deal...> Is it safe to do so? Will they arrive alive and in good health? <Many companies have a good track record. A good idea to check with actual users... through the bulletin boards, chatforums. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/> I hesitate since I cannot see them. What do you think? Have you ever bought livestock through the mail?!? What is your personal experience? <My personal experience is zip, zero, nilch for etailers... but have shipped, received many thousands of boxes of marine (and other) livestock over the years...> Thank you once again. Hope to hear your expert opinion. Sincerely yours, Aleida Ann Graichen <Do check out the fine folks at the Chatforum. Bob Fenner>

Great Book (stocking questions)  72 Reef I have been reading your book (Conscientious Marine Aquarist). I have just finished my cycling period on my 72 gallon reef tank. You mentioned when selecting fish- start with the must have species first and then figure out what is compatible. My must have is a Lionfish. I was wondering if you could please suggest what would be compatible with this type of fish.  <Most anything that won't fit into their very large mouths... and reciprocally not fishes that will pester the Lion too much, steal its/their foods (like Triggerfishes, large Puffers). Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and the FAQs beyond> I noticed a lot of other species are not able be mixed with the Lionfishes. Would it make any difference if I went with the dwarf Lionfish.  <Yes... smaller species, smaller mouths> I also would like to keep Flame Hawkfish, Yellow Tang and some medium size Angel fish. Are these safe with the smaller size Dwarf Lionfish? <Maybe not the Hawkfish> I also realize the lion fish is a good fish to start with after the cycle period has ended. Please let me know what your suggestions are. Thanks Ron <Please peruse our site at your leisure. Bob Fenner>

How about a list?   65 Reef Bob, Is there a reference guide somewhere that lists simple groupings of things that will coexist? <I have seen numerous attempts at such compilations... even tried to make same...> I have read over the extensive lists on your site but still have been unable to take the plunge for fear of screwing up the selection. <Mmm, no need to fear... worrying will not change the future... but to go ahead with "best available" knowledge.> I would like to get things for the aquarium that will be easy enough for us to maintain. I am looking for a simple list of favorites. <Oh! I do have those under a few "Selection" articles, such as: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm > Favorites based on their ability to be kept by even inexperienced people. Originally the tank was purchased to be all about fish since then we have admired the corals and all of the other beautiful and interesting things within the confines of the systems. Do you have an area that has this type of a "list"? <Not yet... a "best", most likely to live assemblage is a good idea... would need to be very large to encompass the animal groups... point out the regional (where collected on the planet), size, sexual (if any) differences in survivability... types of foods taken...> I would just like to know what other more experienced individuals enjoy the most and recommend for people like us that don't have the experience to know what will and will not work. We have a 65 gallon tank w/ ecosystem. We would like to have a diverse group of inhabitants so that we can enjoy a little bit of everything. Thank you Bob, Trisha <Perhaps you will be a writer/photographer for such an article? I will gladly help you in this endeavor... the literature could be perused, compiled, along with hobbyists' input... Bob Fenner>

Re: how about a list? Bob, I will begin collecting information and will send it to you in a format that hopefully will be successful. I cannot promise this information to be forthcoming quickly (own a restaurant + 2 kids) but I do promise to send you everything I collect. I tend to be rather thorough so it should be informative. However, I do think that it will not be anything an experienced person wouldn't already know. A list of favorites would be fun. <Yes> Do you happen to have any excellent web sites as far as networking with other hobbyists?  <Yes, a collection of friends that are fellow hobbyists: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ on a chatforum.> I lurk in several but you may have a hidden treasure. <Indeed. You will not simply be a browser much longer> By the way, my husband bought me one of your books for our anniversary yesterday, can't wait for Monday (restaurant is closed) so that I can pour thru it. Trisha <Balance and center my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Fish Stocking   300 Reef Hi Bob, I've read through the FAQs on fish stocking, and I've read up on fish stocking levels in about a dozen books. I never seem to get a straight answer.  <There may not be one... there may be several...> Your recent answer to Jason that he add "no more" than the 11 fish he discussed for his 135 reef tank prompted me to pose this question: There seems to be some disagreement on the suitable number of fish for a tank. I've seen numbers ranging anywhere from 1" of fish for every 2 gallons of water in a FO tank, to 1" of fish for every 10 gallons of water for a reef tank. I also read that you are not supposed to count the tail when doing the computation -- if I could get him to stand still while I measure his tail! <LOL> Of course, there is also the adage that size counts considerably in the equation, i.e. one 10" fish consumes more of the available bio-load than 10 1" fish. <Yes> All of these considerations make sense, but, in the long run, it seems incredibly difficult to calculate the available bio-load for a given tank.  <That's why these are called "rules of thumb", guesstimation...> I've thought about the route of coming up with a "hopeful" stocking list, and gradually introducing the fish on the list over a course of time. That doesn't take into consideration still more factors, however! The "try another fish" approach to see if the chemical parameters don't come to equilibrium fails to address the fact that the chemical bio-load may not be the same as the "stress load" of all of the inhabitants. Also, the rule is to add the most aggressive fish last, right? So, if he/she is the largest (and most desirable) fish, this method could very well knock him/her out of the tank. What is one to do? <Possibly try to take all into consideration in ones mind...or try to record, work a multi-variate, multi-variable equation taking most all into account.> Let me ask your sage opinion on a simple number to shoot for. I have a 300 gallon reef tank with live rock / sand and a plenum. I also have other filtration devices -- which supposedly allows you to bump the stocking level, right?  <Yes> I also have a large sump and I am adding a refugium -- which puts about 350 actual gallons of water into flow. I also don't have a problem with doing monthly water changes. I'm guessing/planning 30 fish total. Now for size: 8 medium (yellow tang-size) assorted tang-types, 11 sundry damsel/Chromis-size aqua poodles, 3 dwarf angels, 7 different blennies and gobies, and a fairy wrasse in the proverbial coral tree. Too many fish? Not enough ;-) By how many? <Sounds like a nice mix. Should be fine. Bob Fenner> Regards, Dale.

How much is too much? (marine stocking)  75 Reef Mr. Fenner, I have a 75 gallon reef tank. 80lbs LR, 70lbs LS, 380 watt lighting, Berlin Skimmer, 30gallon refugium, Amm & Nitrite 0, nitrate 5ppm, pH 8.3, SG 1.024, 78 degrees, 1 yellow tang, three green Chromis, 1 cleaner shrimp, and my lonely Pearl coral. I am at the stage when I want to stock (slowly) the coral for my tank. It is very bare as of right now. I have learned so much from reading your web site! I would like to know if the presumption I have made is a correct one. That as long as one coral does not harm another, adequate feedings, trace elements, lights & water quality, compatible fish & invertebrates, there is no limit to the amount one can stock your reef? <To a large degree, this is an accurate presumption> I ask because at my LFS they have a densely stocked show tank, and I am in awe of it. <Mmm, with folks "keeping an eye on it", the organisms coming/going at a clip...> I would like to over a good amount of time and experience get to that point. <A worthy goal> Is there a point (inches of coral to tank space) when one should call it quits? <Perhaps more beneficially, a "point" at every moment, addition when the potential for troubles increases to a level where the aquarist feels comfortable, competent...> My other concern is my tap water. I do a 10 gallon change every other week with water that is circulated and heated for 1-2 weeks minimum. <A good practice as you, I and I do wish all knew, employed> I wonder what tests I should run on my tap water to see if I am in need of a RO or RO/DI unit. Phos. Sill. Cop. (sorry for the abbreviations, not a good speller and don't want to embarrass myself) or any other? <Your self-effacing behavior is to be lauded. No real tests necessary... by definition... You're successful... would knowing more about the constituents make you more so? Gain you insights, advantages? If so, especially in the face of adding more and likely more touchy livestock, I would possibly measure phosphate (not silicates or copper or anything else unless "obvious problems" come up that you consider might be due to other materials. I take it you do measure alkalinity, calcium... in your main system...> Sorry for the long post! I apologize. I hope all is well for you, and big thanks for any advice you can give. :) <A pleasure my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Yet Another Reef Tank Stocking Question  95 FI Bob, My wife and I recently got into the marine aquarium hobby as an anniversary present to ourselves.  <Ah, how fitting... a celebration of life with a celebration of life> We purchased a 75 gallon tank that came complete with some established water, a wet/dry filter, some fish, a little live rock, and few corals. After reading your book we have upgraded our infrastructure to what I think will support a real reef environment including a 20 gallon sump, power compact lighting (110 watts 7100 Kelvin Actinic and 110 watts 10,000 Kelvin all frequency), a Red Sea Berlin Turbo protein skimmer, and three powerheads on a wavemaker/timer. We've also added a significant amount of live rock (I have no idea as to weight - we've added it in several purchases). <Quite an adventure.> We currently have the following livestock in the tank: 2 - Yellow Tail Damsel (1.5 inches) 1 - Royal Gramma (2 inches) 1 - Bicolor Angel (2.75 inches) 1 - Sailfin Tang (4 inches) 2 - Red Line Cleaner Shrimp (rather large and growing) The Sailfin came with the tank and we're flexible on whether we keep it (the person who sold us the tank is dying to buy it back). Now that we've completed our infrastructure upgrades we're looking at adding a few more animals to the tank. Our plan is to have several smaller, colorful fish rather than a few large fish. Our current "wish list" includes: 1 - "Cleaning Crew" of snails, hermit crabs, abalone,  <I'd skip the abalone... hard to keep alive> starfish, etc. 2 - Banggai Cardinal (we like the way they "hang out") 2 - Clarkii or Percula Clownfish with a compatible anemone (fascinating to watch) <Though tough to keep at times... not necessary. Please read this part of our principal site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clwnfshanefaqs.htm  and the links beyond as they interest you> 1 - Flame Hawk (my wife wants a red fish somewhere and likes the hawk's movements, but I'm concerned about it eating the invertebrates) <Yes... it will likely eat your Red Line Cleaner shrimp... during a molt> 1 - Six Line Wrasse (I'm also concerned about this one due to aggression, but we like the looks of the wrasses and the six line appears to be reef safe) <And not that aggressive by and large> I'm somewhat concerned that this is too many fish to keep our water quality high enough to support the corals. We don't want to constantly be fighting water quality issues, but want to keep the tank interesting with lots of color and movement. If we add the proposed fish would we have to lose the Sailfin? <Mmm, not in the "short" term (months)... but this fish will likely get too large, be traded in within a year or two> Are any of the proposed fish "bad ideas"? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. <No overt potential, real problems here. Looks like well-thought out, planned course of action, anticipation.> Thanks, Phil Rawles <Be chatting my friends. Bob Fenner>

Question on Lunare Wrasse and Maculosus Angel   60 Reef Bob, I currently have a 60 gallon reef tank that I will be converting to a FOWLR tank so that I can keep an angel. Here's the setup: 60 gallon FBH acrylic tank, 380 watts VHO, BakPak II skimmer, 15 gallon sump w/The Eliminator Protein Skimmer (not sure of the brand). I also have a wet/dry filter that currently has no bio media in it (I will be adding the bio-balls tonight).  <I wouldn't. No need for this media.> This system has around 150 lbs live rock and has been up for about 1.5 years. Current fish: flame Hawkfish, 2 tomato clowns, Banggai cardinal, coral beauty angel, 3 damsels. I have on hold at my LFS a 4 to 5 inch lunare wrasse that I will pick up this weekend (after removing the coral in the tank).  <A rambunctious species... will you be removing the current inhabitants?> I also would like to add a maculosus angel (map angel in case I spelled that wrong). I realize the tank is too small for full grown specimens but I figure these 2 should be fine for a while. My question is, of the fish I currently have in the tank, what ones should I keep/get rid of when I add the wrasse and the angel?  <Oh! Depending on the size of the Angel, I'd remove the extant dwarf, and be ready to remove others possibly as the Angel grows.> Any help is appreciated! P.S. - I live in the Ann Arbor MI area and frequent the Fish Doctors. I hear you're friends with the owner, Tom.  <Yes, please say hello to him for me. I heard through the grapevine that he and his long-standing girlfriend were married.> Also, I love your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". It's the first book I bought (before I bought the tank) and I still look to it for advice! <Ah, good to be of service. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Holly L. LaClair-Bogedain

First tank-species and capacity  75 FO Hi Bob - your "house" is incredible - thanks for this site. <You are welcomed to come into it> Plus the effort you make to educate both the beginner like myself and assistance for the experienced user. <An honor and pleasure my friend> I'm trying and do it right the first time and pick fish of interest first, then tank size, etc. Am looking at the following fish for FO tank. Porcupine Puffer (or Dogface) Dwarf Lionfish Picasso Trigger (or Sohal Tang) Bird Wrasse Zebra eel <Quite an assortment of potentially "medium aggressive fishes".> Am contemplating Oceanic 75 rect. (reef ready), wet/dry with either T1000 or AquaC EV90. Which skimmer will be the QUIETEST? <The Aquamedic product, Turboflotor T1000> And do you have a skimmer preference for a FO tank? (This tank will be in my bedroom). <This is a very good choice... for quiet, efficiency, workability> I wondered if an oversized wet/dry would be beneficial but suspect the sump wouldn't be that much bigger than one sized for the tank. Was thinking maybe it would give some extra breathing space in case of a mishap - even if no more fish capacity. Or is my reasoning way off here? <No, right on. But a bit more noise if can't be sequestered in a cabinet> I am concerned about the number of fish I have picked and have listed them in order of interest. Too much? <Ultimately yes... the Trigger may harass the Puffer and/or Lion, the Puffer might at least prevent the Lion from eating if not nibble on it itself... the Eel may be harassed too much as well... You'll have to keep an eye on all to make sure they're getting food, not being chewed> I know this is long winded. If you have time your opinion will be greatly appreciated. Again, thanks much for the wealth of information. It has helped me decide to take the step from freshwater to marine. Thank-you. <No worries. Take your time, enjoy the planning, anticipation. Bob Fenner>

Fish compatibility  90 FOWLR I just got back from the fish store I go to, and they have a Semilarvatus butterfly that I really like and a saddle-back butterfly that is nice. They also have the blonde Naso tang, and the flame angel that I like. My tank is a 90 gallon FOWLR, the fish that are in it are: 4"Harlequin tusk, 4"Emperor Angel, 3"hippo tang, 5"Green Bird wrasse, and a 3-4"Black Volitans Lion. With the fish that are in the tank now, could I keep one of the two butterflies? I really like the Golden, but which would be the best? <This tank will be too full with what's in it in a year or two... Hazardous potentially to crowd more into it... But of the choices, the Semilarvatus is better> Both butterflies were about 3".Could my tank handle the 3"butterfly, the 4"blonde Naso, and the 2-3"flame angel? <Once again, too crowded to suit me. If it were mine I would not add any more fish life. As an alternative, you might consider trading in the Emperor in place of these fishes> My water parameters are always good, my nitrates rarely goes over 15ppm. If I can't keep all three, which ones would be the best with what is already in the tank?  <The B/F> My Emperor Angel was the last fish put in the tank and he is the most aggressive, would it bother the butterfly, he really only bothers the hippo. Would a Sohal tang do better with the hippo? <No, this tank is too small for both of these Surgeonfishes> Thanks for helping <Is there a larger system in your future? Perhaps a job at a retailers, your own service company, a public aquarium? You need SPACE my friend. Bob Fenner>

Fish   110 FO Hi, Bob. I think next week the rest of my equipment will be here and I can set up my tank. The inside measurements of my tank are: 59"x17x21=91 gal. It was sold to me as a 110 gal. <Hmm, yes... often called "styles", as in "110 gallon style"... Very rare that actual gallonage is what is stated... important to keep this and displacement by decor, substrates in mind when figuring stocking, treatments...> I want to cycle the tank with pieces of chopped clam <Just use the juice, and not much of this, for the purpose of establishing cycling... it takes very little. I have a good clam pasta dish for the real clams> and when ammonia and nitrite are 0 and nitrate is 40 or less then I will put in the first fish. My pet shop recommends putting 4 yellow tail damsels in first (they are the cheapest and he has those available) and later 3 maroon or ocellaris clowns. But I keep reading that once the damsels have established themselves they chase any other fish away. So, should I skip the damsels completely and start with 3 ocellaris?? <Yes, this would be fine.> Later I want to add a royal Gramma, a flame hawk, a six line wrasse or velvet wrasse, a orchid Dottyback, 2 fire fish gobies, a canary blenny, a citron goby, a flame angel, a yellow tang, a hippo tank and a butterfly fish from Your selection of "good butterflies" in one article I read. I know that all of this fish will not fit in my tank, but I also know that I will never be able to acquire all of them here. I don't want my fish to outgrow my tank. Is the selection I chose o.k.? <Yes, a very good set of choices> If one of them gets too big, I'd rather not buy it. What is a max size for my aquarium? 8"? <Temperament is also very important. A six inch fish would be better as an average maximum to allow> I read that fire fish gobies like to be in a group. Will 2-3 of them live in a tank of my size? <Yes> Together with a canary blenny or a citron goby? <Yes> I will see if I can get 10 Astrea snails to put in from the beginning. Is that good, even so there are no algae yet?  <Wait until there is algal growth evident on any livestock> So, enough for tonight. I will call on You again once I have all the equipment and start setting up the tank. Thanks for everything. Good night, Bernd <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

What do next? (livestocking)  75 FO Robert, We have a 75 gallon tank with 71 pounds of live rock, one 16 inch snowflake eel that is not shy at all, a Huma Huma triggerfish 3 inches long, a moon wrasse about 4 inches, and a dog faced puffer about 3 and 1/2 inches long (all of course are my favorites). I was thinking of adding (by order) one lionfish and one clown triggerfish to complete the tank. Is this going to be too many fish and do you think that they can all get along? <The lionfish might go along... make sure it gets enough to eat... am sure you're already doing this for the eel... and not being bullied by your present Trigger or Puffer... but would skip on the Clown Trigger... too much likelihood of real trouble here> Any other suggestions? Oh have you heard of the stuff called "Stop Parasite?" Any comments? <Many "new" as in novel medications promoted here and there (mainly by those who stand to profit from such)... my opinions, experiences re them are posted on our website... start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/med.htm  Bob Fenner> Thanks a bunch!! Angie

Stocking, marine... 55 Reef Hi Bob (I guess I can call you Bob?) <Certainly. This is my name> I've been reading all the great advice you've been giving and just had to get some for myself. My wife and I are looking to buy a 55g tank set from Top Fin, and then add a protein skimmer. I've also seen a similar 55g complete setup from Wal Mart, but am not certain of the quality of the tank- any thoughts? <Over the years they have been made by a few good companies... I am a big fan of Mr. Walton.> I've done exhaustive research, and one of the sites I found was Tampa Bay Saltwater, who manufacture their own live rock. They seem comparable to some of the other sites I've looked at, and offer a "package", which I've listed below (I apologize for the length of this e-mail, but you seem the ideal "guru" to answer these types of questions): <No worries my friend> "Size of tank 55gal Pounds of Live Rock 110 Pounds of Live Sand 55 Number of Blue Leg hermit crabs 110 Number of Turbo Snails 28 Number of Tiger Tails Cucumbers 4 Number Serpent stars or Brittle Stars 2 Number of Pistol Shrimp 2 Total Cost* of "The Package" $ 580.00 * Additional Information Prices above include the average number of Insulated Styrofoam shipping containers and shipping materials used for shipment of the specimens. During the winter time, depending on your location, additional "heat pack's" may be required to ensure stable shipping temperature. Each shipment is unique by nature and may require a few more or less than the average. Your total cost will reflect the actual number of insulated Styrofoam containers and shipping materials used in your particular order. ? Copyright 1996-2000. All Rights Reserved Tampa Bay Saltwater " <A very thorough message and a good bargain in my estimation> Knowing next to nothing about the amounts I would need, I contacted the company and was assured this was the ideal.  <Yes... their "made" rock is more dense than the varieties commonly offered from the South Pacific> I was also told I could keep as many fish as I want- <Mmm> which I know from personal experience, and your insights, to be certainly NOT the case. Any thoughts here, opinion? <Of a certainty this statement was made/taken out of context...> Recommendations of other places to consider ordering from?  <Many... the sources in the South Pacific are not able to be beat... due to very reasonable air freight, inexpensive labor... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm  and the FAQs beyond on our site> My local LFS had live rock that was partially exposed- the salesgirl's response when I pointed this out was that live rock was found in tide pools and was used to being out of the water (??!). Not much local help. <Mmm, a trip to Fiji may be in order... some LR that is collected is indeed intertidal...> Also, as I want to do LR, some corals and anemones, I've been trying to limit fish choices. It would seem most butterfly fishes are out?  <For a fifty five gallon system there are better family group choices> As are most/all the Tangs?  <No... Please read over our site (www.WetWebMedia.com) re the genera Ctenochaetus and Zebrasoma... some of these species would be excellent choices> I would like a clownfish (maybe breeding pair) with an anemone, an angelfish or two, <Whoa... do study re the anemone choice... and only a small specimen of one of the smallest Angelfish species would be appropriate> was considering a raccoon butterfly and/or Wimplefish, maybe a tang variety. Trying not to go with damsels, although I've had them before and they all seemed to get along. Everyone has an opinion, I'd like yours... Gerry Sames <You will learn... to like your own as you progress. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question   38 FO Hello Mr. Fenner. I am a 14 year old hobbyist who has really enjoyed your book. I have been interested in marine fish for along time and know a lot about there needs. But I always have trouble knowing the minimum fish size I could add to my tank.  <Hmm, no minimum... you likely mean maximum, the most fish livestock you should keep, considering likely average ultimate size> Right now I have a 38 gallon live rock tank with a red lip blenny and a blue devil damsel. I am interested in adding a juvenile yellow tang or hardy butterfly species. If I did that, I'd probably have to trade in the fish when it gets too big. If I decide to do that, at what size do you think I would have to trade the fish in at? <Both (I would not try a Butterflyfish in this size system) at four or so inches> The other possibility would be to get 2 smaller fish, like a Sixline wrasse and a dwarf angel of some sort. Which way sounds better? <The latter... but please do read through the "Livestock Selection" pieces stored on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and the survey articles there on fish groups... to help you develop other stocking ideas> I really like this hobby so any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time! <A pleasure to meet you. Great to have intelligent, curious young minds joining this great interest. Bob Fenner>

Overstocking a small marine system   30 FO I have 2 questions for you that hopefully you can answer. The first one is concerning a tang I have in my tank. I have a 30 gallon tank with 40 lbs of live Fiji rock, protein skimming and power compacts. This is my second tang, the first one I had was a Yellow tang which did not make it due to ICH problems.   <Likely added to by the stress of being in such a small system... a thirty is a "little world" for this species.> I have read that all tangs are very susceptible to ICK, <Mmm, some much more than others> the one I just purchased is a Sailfin tang.  <This is even a worse choice (in the same genus) of tangs... gets to be about half the length of your tank in the wild... I would trade it back in for more suitable livestock> I spoke to the shop where I bought the tang, and he told me to keep the salinity between 1.020 and 1.021, on the low side to stop the life cycle of the ich parasite.  <This won't "stop" it... only slow it> Is this a good method? Will any of my other fish suffer at this salinity level, I have 3 Chromis, a clown, Firefish, and a mandarin.  <If the spg is/was moved slowly enough (no more than a thousandth per day) and the fishes in initially good health, then probably not... many invertebrates suffer much more with these changes... And again, your system is more than "topped out" with the fishes you list BEFORE having placed the Sailfin... Please take a look through the "Stocking" and "Livestock Selection" (marine, reef) materials posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I don't want to go through the same experience I had with the yellow tang, I was constantly moving him to a hospital tank and doing freshwater dips on him to get rid of his ICK. I would do a treatment on him, he would be fine for like a week and then BOOM once again he would get the ICK. I guess the stress of freshwater dips and changing tanks got to him because he did not make it. Well, thanks in advance for all the help you can give on this matter. I almost forgot my second question, will a long nose butterfly be able to live in that tank with out any problems with the tang. Thanks for all your help once again. <Thank you for asking. You strike me as an intelligent, compassionate aquarist... who desires their livestock, system to do well... I would start planning for a (much) larger system, and/or decide on smaller fishes, perhaps some invertebrate and algae additions other than the larger fishes listed... Neither a Longnose or Zebrasoma Tang are appropriate for a thirty gallon> PS. How do you reply to all your email so quickly, you must get thousands of email a day? Alfredo Carrion <Generally just dozens, am fast keyed, passionate about helping, inspiring, setting an example if you will. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overstocking a small marine system  Thanks for your quick reply. The thought of the bigger tank has already crossed my mind quite a lot. <Ah, good> Its just the financial situation that is holding me back at this point (as well as not having any time).  <I do understand this... would like to trade my many dreams, aspirations for their actuality...> For the fish I have and the set up I am running what's an appropriate size tank. Once again thanks for your help, Bob. Alfredo <At least a sixty gallon for all including the Forcipiger. Bob Fenner>

Set up   47 FI I have a forty-seven gallon, pentagon tank, about 35 pounds live rock, one power head, 15 watt U.V and a Fluval 304, will be adding a skimmer soon. We did not expect to go salt water on this and changed our minds after we got the fresh water set up, no fish.  <You're evolving in the hobby quick!> I have yellow and coral angel, two hippos and a unicorn that some one gave us (not expected).  <Yikes... all in a forty seven pent.? This is way too much...> I added a dozen snails, dozen blue leg, two scooters and two cleaner shrimp. I had a real problem with temp in the north east during the heat wave even with our ac on, all survived. My question I added the invert and scooters yesterday and 30 hours later amm. and nitrites are about .50 ppm should I wait and see if it goes down or not before any action is taken. <Unfortunately the real action you need to take is to either procure a much larger system (at least twice the size you presently have) or reduce the "bioload"... especially some of the particular fishes... one of the angels and the unicorn should go...> It seems I am one of the lucky ones that added the U.V.,  put the charcoal back in and supposedly do all correct things and all hell breaks loose on me. As far as the filter goes, I have not had anybody tell me to change it or not to anything else. Could you recommend a few types of skimmers, another opinion can't hurt. Thank You <Yes. Please read through the files on "Skimmer Selection" on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm  Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> 

Is this overstocking a 92G?  FO Dr. Fenner, <Please, just Bob, no phid> First things first...where around the world does this email find you? <Today, at home in sunny southern cal.> Interesting to see in the FAQ's where your travels take you. Thanks for indulging me on this one! <Thanks for sending it> I am on the brink of purchasing a 92G system w/ built-in overflows & sump to house a fish-only with live rock setup. I plan on heavy filtration, heavy skimming, heavy circulation for my messy eaters. I do not plan to ever upgrade in the future (my wife was gracious enough to allow this purchase...with the caveat that NO further systems would be approved, so at least for the next 5-10 years this is my constraint!). <Sign nothing!> My question is... Am I overstocking this life-long tank? I know this is not necessarily the 5" fish per gallon rule...but I believe my plan will address the bio-load that this tank will bear, so my only concern is whether or not I am giving these ladies & gentlemen enough space to grow & thrive in (particular, of course, to the requirements for space that each species needs for comfort). This is my stocking plan (as well as order of introduction...) 1) Volitans Lion 2) Snowflake Eel 3) Harlequin Tuskfish 4) Porcupine Puffer (D. Holocanthus) <Should be okay for a few years> 3 Further questions: a) If your response is 'most definitely overstocking for life & forget about it', then the next question is...Can I replace the Tusk with a smaller Goatfish? Species you recommend if yes?  <You could... and these are covered: http://wetwebmedia.com/Goatfshart.htm > And, would THIS plan be overstocking a 92G for life? <Whose? As stated, the size of this system, gear should work out for a few years... likely you'll be trading these organisms out, going on to other systems by then...> b) If even this option is still way too overstocked...can I go with ONLY the Lion, Eel and Puffer in a 92G for life? <Yes> c) Could I do JUST the lion, eel, and puffer in a 72G for life? Or would 92G be the minimum to support these 3 for life?? <The larger> THANKS to you for your assistance in helping me to provide a hospitable, stress-free environment to my aquatic friends!!  <Can we settle on "stress-minimized"?> Thanks too for past responses to my emails, which have helped me formulate the setup that I need to support a fish only w/ live rock aquarium. <You have helped yourself with my input my friend. Bob Fenner> Warm Regards, Dave

Stocking level  135 FO Hi Bob, I have a 6 months old 135 Gal tank with 100lbs live rock, live sand, wet/dry filter, Little Giant pump 4-MD-SC, and additional circulation Rio 1100 pump. I have a green bird wrasse 4", a Foxface Rabbitfish 3.5", a maroon clownfish 3", 5 damsels 1 to 1 1/4 " each, a dogface puffer 4", an eel about 1" diameter, a yellow tang 2.5" and a red Coris wrasse 8". I am having trouble staying ammonia free. My wet dry filter used to be filled only 1/3 by bioballs, so I added more bioballs so that it is now about 3/4 full. Do you think I am overstocked? Do I have room to add a Naso tang and a Lyretail Hogfish? Thank you, Thierry <Possible on the overstocking... you shouldn't have any, as in zip ammonia. Do read through our site, including: http://wetwebmedia.com/biofiltr.htm , http://wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs.htm  And the sections on Marine Livestock/Reef Selection, Stocking... Bob Fenner>

Schooling Fish  125 Reef Am looking for some ideas for a school of small fish in a 125 gal "reef" (really a FOWLR and a few soft corals). I have a 180gal tank with a school of 9 green Chromis. They both add interest to the tank and serve as "dither fish" for some of the shy fish in that tank. I'm interested in a similar theme (but visually different school) in the 125. Current residents of the 125 include a purple tang, a Kole tang, a marine beta, (2) tomato clowns, a dragon goby, and a neon goby. I've considered a handful of blue Chromis (not really "different" enough from the green Chromis in the other tank), a couple of Banggai cardinal fish (2 fish don't really seem to give the school effect), and Anthias options seem both expensive and delicate. Am I overlooking some other good choices? Your thoughts? <Mmm, well, there are some hardier than other Anthiines... given plenty of zooplankton food... and many other schooling damsels... both are mentioned, rated on our site (www.WetWebMedia.com)... For a 125 if you didn't mind giving them the center stage, a trio of Heniochus spp. or Gold Masked Butterflyfishes (Chaetodon semilarvatus) would be spectacular... Bob Fenner>

Stocking   124.9 FO I have recently acquired a 104 imp gallon tank with a trickle filter protein skimmer and U.V sterilizer.  The trickle filter is run by 2 Eheim pumps.  I also set up a Fluval 304 packed with carbon. I plan to add a 404 with another U.V sterilizer to it (both UVs are 25 watts). currently I have two tanks I am hoping to keep all my fish in the big tank but am unsure that they will all fit. The list is as follows: harlequin Tuskfish lipstick tang regal tang Porkfish saddleback clowns x2 tomato clowns x2 dogface puffer short spined puffer yellow tang pyjama tang cleaner wrasse If it is at all possible, could you tell me if they are compatible and if there is enough room for all the fish?  <Hmm, these fishes are all about the same compatible... but will be very crowded psychologically and in time physiologically in a 104 imperial gallon system> If not could you tell me what I should ask the fish shop to give a home to. If they are all compatible then I will be thrilled.  Thanks yet again for your time, Alex <Hmm, I would trade in either the Regal or Naso... and one of the Puffers... things will be tight, but all should learn to live together with these omissions. A comment/question, in the U.S. we call the Surgeonfish, Acanthurus lineatus both the Pyjama Tang and the Regal Tang (as well as Clown Tang...). Are you listing this fish twice? Bob Fenner>

Compatibility and stocking order  180 FO Mr. Fenner, Thanks for your reply on the pc lighting question for the 180. You've made up my mind to go with the pc's. I bought your book about a month and a half ago and have read it cover to cover many times. It's very inspirational and it has become my main reference book.  <A tremendous compliment, thank you> Now to the question. This is the livestock I plan to put in a 180. Could you please tell me what you think, and what stocking order do you recommend. Yellow longnose butterfly, Hippo Tang, 2 Percula clowns, flame angel, royal Gramma, yellow headed Jawfish, 1 Firefish, 2 neon gobies. Thanks for all the advice. <Sounds like a very nice assortment. Should go together fine. Bob Fenner>

Not so smooth (too much marine livestock, too soon...) Hi Bob Sorry to bother you twice in 1 day but, now I have more immediate priorities than the Flame Hawk I was looking forward to. I bought a Dwarf lion and it died last Wed. (it was from the P.I ). Well, the pair of Ocellaris Clowns I have came in on the same shipment as the Lion. I just lost one of Clowns today. Coincidence?) <Perhaps... but this is NOT a hardy species coming from the P.I.... most die w/in a week... almost all within two> It ate good ,even today before it died when I pulled it out I noticed his body looked sunken right beside the pectoral fins. <Not good> I did a water test and my Nitrites are up 1.0 <This is too high> My tank is 6 weeks old now, just last week it was ok. I pulled both fish out as they took their last breath so they could not pollute the water. Could it be that I had too many fish and the wastes finally caught up ? <Yes... stop feeding...> The dealer gave me 5 Damsels to start my tank at the 1 month mark when my tank was supposedly cycled I bought the 2 clowns and Dwarf Lion that totaled 8 Fish. <Damsels are not a good way to "cycle" a sterile/new system...> I have now down stocked since the Lion and Clown are gone, now I have 3 fish total. The Yellow tail Damsel seems to be getting whitish specks on his fins and tail could this be from the high Nitrite? <Yes> If it was a disease he came with, would it have showed it self earlier than 6 weeks now? <Possibly> This is my first Marine tank and I don't want to give it up I think the dealer started me off wrong, besides that I definitely have to look for a new store which imports from the alternative. What about tank raised Clowns? <Very highly recommended... are you familiar with our site? www.WetWebMedia.com... please go and peruse...> Do you know of anywhere in FL. that distributes? <Many folks... friends of mine (Jeff Turner of Harbor/ORA is the largest producer in the world... located in Ft. Pierce....> I really don't watch the price that close anymore like you said how much is a dead fish worth. <Not much to me> I am only concerned with quality, now that I've felt some frustration with losing fish. How much % water change do you suggest? <Please see our site> and should I take out these fish and find a healthy pair to start again? Thanks again, Kam <Chat with you soon my friend... take your time from here on out... patience is indeed a virtue... that can be learned. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Advice   90 FO Hi Bob. I wanted to thank you for the great website and ask you a question. I have an almost fully cycled 90 gallon fish only tank. Filtration is by wet/dry, protein skimmer and UV. I want to stock the following fish in the following order adding each approximately 2 weeks apart assuming water parameters permit it. Each would be small at introduction, approximately 2". Here it goes: Black/White Heniochus (sp.?), <Heniochus>  Hippo Tang, Yellow Tang, Australian Harlequin Tusk and Huma Trigger. Thanks for your time and dedication to this great hobby. <All should go... but the trigger may prove (about a fifty percent chance within the year) to be too pugnacious. Only time, experience will show. Bob Fenner>

Tank Suggestions (set-up, stocking, life)  55 Reef Dear Bob, I enjoy both your book and your website a great deal.  <Ah, great to read> I refer to both before making a FO system change or before buying a new specimen. Recently I broke down a 55g FW tank to start a reef. I think I've got it all figured out, but greatly appreciate it you would look over my setup and let me know if it seems to be missing something or has something I don't need! I want the tank to be a Soft and Hard Coral tank with anemones and small clams as well as shrimps and crabs with some fishes as well.  <This is a lofty goal for such a small system... Would suggest starting slow, small specimens, no anemones...> Here is a list of the equipment I have bought for the tank, please let me know if I'm missing something! 4- Maxi Jet 900 powerheads 2- Ebo Jager 200w TS heaters 1- Tapwater Purifier w/an extra refill cartridge 1- Metal Halide/VHO fixture with independent controls *Haven't purchased but either a Prizm or a SeaClone Skimmer <Look for something "larger", more efficient than either of these> 4- Timers 3- Power strips 2- Ground Fault Interrupters 2- 5g buckets (for water changes) 4- 1g jugs (to hold purified top off water) 2- CaribSea Flamingo Pink reef sand Seaflor (20 lbs ea.) 1- CaribSea Seaflor special grade reef sand (15lbs) 1- bag Caribbean crushed, aragonite based (20lbs) 1-25lb bag of live sand (not yet purchased) 2-45lb boxes of pre-cured live rock from FFExpress (not yet ordered, should I get Fiji or Walt smith) <Either... Walt's is Fiji> 1-200g bucket Instant Ocean salt mix 1-Aquafuge hang on refugium (24"L * 4"w * 12"H) 1- Rio 2100 aqua pump/powerhead (right now have no use for it maybe a suggestion?) <For circulating pre-mixed synthetic water. Moving it into the tank on water change days> That is the hardware and everything else that I far, how does it sound? <Fine... could use a better skimmer is all> Nothing is assembled yet, I get paid Friday and want to wait until I buy the skimmer, before I order the rock and sand. Do you think that this small refugium will support a reproducing population of both Mysis shrimp and copepods or like crustaceans, as well as a few species of Caulerpa?  <Yes, a good idea> How long should I allow the copepods and Mysis to have the main tank to themselves so they can establish a good population?  <A couple of months> Is a detritivore kit from Inland Aquatics good for this purpose? <Again, a good choice> Will the Mysis ever establish a replenishing population that reaches all they way to adult shrimp?  <Possibly> I also want you to take a look at the fish that I plan to keep in this tank. Please let me know if this is too much on the bioload, or if some of the fish aren't reef compatible. 2- Yellow-Headed Jaw Fish {Opistognathus aurifrons} (How deep does the sand bed need to be to keep these fish) <Three, four inches: http://wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm  Mixed size so it "holds up" to tunnel-making> 2- Purple Firefish {Nemateleotris decora} 2- Pajama Cardinals {Sphaeramia nematoptera} 1- Flame Hawkfish {Neocirrhites armatus} 5- Green Chromis {Chromis viridis} 1- Fine spotted Fairy Wrasse {Cirrhilabrus punctatus) 1- Eiblii Angel {Centropyge eibli) 1- Potters Angel { Centropyge potteri} or Fisher's Dwarf Angel {Centropyge fisheri} <Just one Centropyge, please... the Potter's is hard to keep.> * Substitutes include possibly a tang (either Purple, Brown, or Convict) or a Gramma (either Blackcap or Royal) - Snails and Hermits - 1/2 cleaner shrimp <The Hawkfish will sooner or later eat the Shrimp...> -other sand stirrers to keep the sand bed stirred up. So please let me know if you see anything that needs to be changed.  Oh , and I know that those angels are often hard to keep for the average aquarists. I chose them because I am confident in my ability to keep them. I have kept all but the Eibli before in my other FO tanks! <Yes, a good aquarium species. Please see the coverage of the genus on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>  Thank you very much, Mr. Fenner! -James Bolton

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