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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 7

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Compatibility - 02/21/06 Dear Eric, <<Hey there Akila!>> Hope everything is fine there. <<Yes, thank you>> After the cycling and quarantine process just over a 36 day period I introduced 2 Blue Damsels, 1 Domino Damsel and 1 Rectangle triggerfish to the aquarium.  They are doing just fine up to now. <<I'll keep my fingers crossed.>> It's been a great 1 & 1/2 weeks up to now.  They eat very well and are very active.  But I do have a couple of questions. <<Ok>> I am feeding my Triggerfish with Dried Seaweed (this was for human use but I guess its fine & I heard its rich in Vitamin C, is it true?), dried fish and dried shrimp & I feed the Damsels with dried fish and dried shrimp once daily. <<The damsels will enjoy some seaweed as well.>> Do you think this is fine & sufficient? <<I would like to see you feed some "fresh" meaty sea foods too.  And if you can get it, a quality flake and/or pelleted food would also add some nice/needed variety.>> Quick Question about Copper Sulfate: Does Copper affect the Established Nitrogen Cycle in anyway if treated in the main tank for Ick or Algae Prevention? <<Never a good idea Akila, too much risk of collateral damage...keep your treatments to the quarantine/hospital tank.>> Could you also direct me to an Algae Prevention article? << http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm>> In about a 2 - 3 weeks time I am planning to remove the Damsels and introduce a Volitans Lionfish to the aquarium with my Rectangle Triggerfish.  What do you think of the Compatibility? <<I think the lion should be fine with this species of trigger.>> And in the long run I am hoping to introduce an Auriga Butterfly, a Big Sebae Clownfish & and a Medium Sized Yellow Wrasse with the Lion & Trigger.  Do you think this would be fine? <<The butterfly is a fine and hardy choice, but I think your beginning to push the limits of the tank.  The lion and trigger will both get quite large (10-12 inches), and the butterfly won't be all that far behind.  I would consider limiting your selection to these three.  A couple small fish could be added, but the lion and trigger will preclude this.>> I changed my email address so please reply me on Akila@xxxxxxxx.com Appreciate you response Thanks Best regards Akila <<Be chatting my friend.  Regards, EricR>> Stocking, over, SW - 2/21/2006   55 F Hi <Hello> I have a 55 gallon aquarium that's being going for 3 months. I have in it a sailfin tang, <... this system is too small...> 3 Chromis, a royal Dottyback, Rainford goby, pair of clowns, bi colour angel, coral beauty, <... too small for two Centropyge species...> blue tailed wrasse and a fairy wrasse. I also have about 25 kilos of live rock and a few pieces of coral. I realize this is a lot of fish for a tank of this size but it appears to be going well. <Appears... now> However, I have seen the bi colour angel and the sailfin tang act aggressively towards my coral beauty which I added in there just 2 days earlier. I have re arranged the rocks but it hasn't worked. Should I remove the coral beauty or would the aggression ease in time? <Remove it... make plans to remove the Sailfin> Thank you. Also do you foresee any of my fish causing problems if I add a pair of mated coral banded shrimp to my tank? A <Make plans to buy larger tanks... you've "got the bug". Bob Fenner> More stocking nonsense   2/22/06 What would be incompatible? I've been keeping the three triggers and the two puffers for over a year in a 110 and my two lions in a 55. <Perhaps you were lucky... your livestock on the other hand...> In the 80's I was always successful keeping triggers together, a roomy rock structure with two openings for each and two empty structures. After a few days of chasing all has been fine with out a single nipped fin. I've read the dragon morays are aggressive yet every person I've talked to in the forums say they keep them with small to medium fish with no problems. I just want to replace all of my canisters and medium quality skimmers with current technology. I spent a lot of time in your forums and did not find any conclusive answers to my questions. I'll look again, if you have time maybe you could point me in the right direction as to where to find it on your site. Thank you for your time, Jason <... please... read. Don't write, read. Bob Fenner>

Stocking level/Canned Tuna  - 02/20/06 I am going to setup a 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. I will be putting in live sand about 3" deep and 30 pounds of live rock. I have a 50 gallon AquaClear power filter. I also have a bubble curtain I will be using. <Will have salt creep galore with this.> After letting it cycle for 2 weeks <More time.> with 3 Chromis I will add 6 more Chromis and let it filter for 2 more weeks. My question is that with these nine Chromis I want to add 1 ocellaris clown, 1 firefish, 1 algae blenny, 1 coral beauty angelfish, and 1 neon goby. I will also be putting in 6 super Tongan Nassarius snails and 12 Cerith snails to help the substrate. Is this too many fish? Can I add more fish? Maybe a couple more firefish? <The nine Chromis alone will be too many fish.  Three to four smaller fish is all you should be looking at.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Jim Sutherlin Stocking/Maintenance - 02/19/06 75 Reef Hello Wet Web Media Crew. <<Howdy>> Everyday when I'm at work (Hotel Night Auditor- 11pm-7pm shift) I'm on your web site gaining valuable information, and I just want to thank you for having this wonderful site before I get started. <<Glad you enjoy it/find it useful.>> Well let me 1st tell you about my system, then I'll get to my questions.  I have a 75 gallon tank, with 75lbs of live rock, and about 60lbs of live sand that's been up and running for about 7 to 8 months.  The current inhabitants are 3 PJ Cardinals, Marine Betta, Christmas Wrasse, Flame Angel, Indigo Hamlet, and a pink leather coral my LFS gave me just see if I'm ready for corals. <<?>> I have a Coralife Super Skimmer 125, a 10 gallon tank sump made into a wet and dry system that is in turn hook up to a Maxi-Jet 1000 connected to an Aqua-Medic 9 watt UV sterilizer that runs right into my other 10 gallon tank sump made into a refugium with a 3in. live sand bed, few live rock rubble, and Caulerpa with 24 hr. lighting with a 50/50 24-watt bulb, which is pump back into my main 75 gallon tank with a Rio aqua pump (I believe 2100, I'm not sure what model).  I also have a Maxi-Jet 1200 Natural Wave System, with two Maxi-Jet 1200 in each corner of the tank and one in the middle with a Hydro-FLO rotating deflector connected to it. My water parameters reads as Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10, <<If you expect to keep corals you should strive to get this to 5 or below.>> pH 8.2, Calcium levels are around 450.  All tested by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Test kits.  I had a bad hair algae and Cyanobacteria attack, and my nitrates seem to be off the charts, no matter how many times I did my water changes (which were like 2 times a week 25 gallons each time), until I added the refugium, and started buying my saltwater already made at the LFS.  Since buying my water already being made so now I only do water changes twice or three times a month, due to the cost. <<Mmm, perhaps time to change/experiment with different salt brands.>> I feed my fish at least once or twice a day with squid, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, Nori seaweed, table shrimp, and some flounder fillets I found at the grocery store. <<Excellent!  I'm a huge fan of feeding fishes well with a varied selection.>> All my food is soaked in garlic guard and Zoe.  LOL, my girlfriend says they eat better than I do. <<Indeed>> Well my 1st questions is I want to add a Foxface, Lo, with this addition am I over loading my tank, or is my tank already overloaded?  That will be my last fish. <<You might be able to get by with the addition of the Foxface...though I think you're pushing the envelope.>> I also want to add mushrooms and soft corals to my tank, as of right now I only have a 54 watt Coralife Aqualight strip light for lighting my main tank, I was wondering should I upgrade to an VHO retrofit 48in 440 watt light system, or would that be too much?  How much wattage would you recommend for my size tank and for what I want to do? <<I think the VHO outfit will give you good flexibility.  Organisms can then be placed in the tank (up and down the water column) according to their lighting requirements...that I'm sure you will research.>> The pink leather coral is doing great.  I placed it near the top of some of my live rock.  If I must say, the pink leather coral somewhat doubled in size.  My Flame Angel is not too happy with my Indigo Hamlet.  Should I take the Flame Angel out and set him in my refugium for a week or so and then put him back? <<If the hamlet was added to the display after the angel, this may help.>> Also for some reason the Marine Betta and the Indigo Hamlet see my Christmas wrasse (which is not small, about 3 1/2 inches compare to there 5 inches) as food, and chase him like they want him for lunch. I thought they only went after really small fish, like maybe a 1/2 an in. to 1 in. <<These guys can/will swallow surprisingly large fish.  It might just be aggression, though the Marine Betta is considered quite peaceful toward other fishes, unless it wants to eat them of course.  Your wrasse may truly be in peril.>> Also is it better to keep PJ Cardinals in a bigger shoal then just 3?  I've always seen them in trios in other people's tanks. <<They'll do fine either way.>> One more thing, I've gotten rid of most of the hair algae and Cyanobacteria in my main tank, but now my refugium has Cyanobacteria floating on top of the water and in other places in my refugium. Should I be worried, and what do I do to get rid this Cyanobacteria in my refugium. <<You say it is on the decline...I would simply siphon it out of the refugium.>>   Do I increase my flow in my refugium. <<Shoot for a flow rate of 10x the 'fuge volume.>> Sorry for the long e-mail, and all the questions.  I know you guys are really busy, but any input you guys may have on my system would great. Thanks. <<Regards, EricR>> Stocking Suggestions II - 02/20/06 Eric, Thanks for the reply. <<Welcome>> What I meant to type was 1.025, sorry. <<Ah yes...much better <grin>.>> I'm thinking that the wrasse, fridmani, flame, and possibly a clown my "fill" my tank (with fish), but hopefully not overfilled. <<Nope...the Foxface mentioned in your earlier correspondence would still be a worthwhile addition in my opinion.>> I just replaced my anemic pc light fixture with 2x250 MH 14k - WOW!!!  What a difference in the colors of the fish and inverts, it's like a new tank. <<Indeed!...metal halide lighting gives you most bang for the buck.>> My system is gradually evolving into a full blown reef - very addictive. <<Much wonderment ahead!  Regards, EricR>> Stocking Level/Compatibility/Stocking a 65 gallon reef tank  2/18/06   65 Reef I am setting up a 65 gallon reef tank and would like to put the following fishes in it : a niger triggerfish (Odonus niger) or Bluechin triggerfish (Xanthichthys auromarginatus), a blue hippo tang Paracanthurus hepatus) or yellow eye tang/Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus), a comet/marine Betta (Calloplesiops altivelis), a blackcap Basslet/blackcap Gramma (Gramma melacara), a midas blenny (Ecsenius Midas) and 3 of the following damselfishes; yellowtail blue damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema), jewel damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus), blue damselfish/blue devil (Chrysiptera cyanea) and the electric blue (Caerulean) damselfish (Pomacentrus caeruleus). My question is am I overstocking my 65 gallon system? The system will have approximately 65 lbs of live rock, a ASM G1X protein skimmer with a Sedra 3500 pump, a mega flow 3 sump with a mag 9.5 pump rated at 950 gph and a SEIO 820 powerhead. Also, will the marine livestock that I am interested in be compatible with each other, the invertebrates (clams, snails, shrimp, etc.)  and corals that I plan to put in the system? Some of the readings I have read say that the are reef safe and some say they are not, I need another opinion. I look forward to hearing you guys soon. <Oh boy oh boy...Jesse do search the Wet Web and read on the species of fish you want and their requirements.  Some of these are going to be meals for other fish and some aren't compatible at all.  Your choices would certainly overstock a 65 by a long shot.  You also mention clams/corals, but nothing of the lighting you are using, important issue here.  Do read/learn here before taking the plunge.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome.> Jesse        

90 Gallon Centerpiece Fish - 02/18/06  90 F Hello, <<Howdy>> I'm wavering on my choice of a "centerpiece" fish for my 90g setup (w/35g sump/refuge) and would like your opinion. <<Be glad to oblige.>> I want to keep it simple and plan to have a Four-line wrasse, Royal Gramma, Neon Goby, probably an Ocellaris Clown, maybe a Flame Angel, plus for a centerpiece: a) a pair of H. diphreutes, or b) a Yellow Tang, or c) a Foxface.  Of these, which is the best long-term fit for a 90g?  I hope the answer isn't d) none of the above! <<Well John, I think any of them would likely be "suitable."  But if I were to list them in order of suitability for this tank (only my opinion of course), I would place the Foxface as the best choice, The Yellow Tang as second best, and the pair of Heniochus as the least desirable choice for your tank.>> Thanks, John H. <<Welcome, EricR>> Fish Selection And Stocking Order 2/18/06   220 F Hi again Bob! <<EricR here Heather...Not sure what happened but it looks like your query has been floating around for a while...sorry for the delay.>> Your book arrived and I have been reading it faithfully.  I am really enjoying it.  It's a great book.  The only thing I can't find of course is my wish list for fish and a stocking order. <<Ha!  Forgot to add that magic formula...>> I was hoping you could help me. <<I shall try.>> I have a 220 gallon, 72X24X30" inch new set up. <<Yippee!>> It has 220 pounds of cured Tonga live rock as well as 120 pounds of live aragonite sand.  It has a powerful protein skimmer, pump, 36W UV sterilizer and wet/dry.  Also, 4, 36 inch 96W dual sun power compact lamps retrofitted into the canopy.  I even bought the water from the store premixed as I live on a well and was afraid to use that water. <<Do look in to an RO/DI system.>> Now, I am finally ready to think of fish.  This will be a FOWLR system. <<Alrighty>> My wish list is below but I have no problem changing it.  I am also wondering about order of introduction. <<Ok>> Blue faced angel French angel Flame angel Purple tang Powder blue tang Chevron tang( I know I probably can't have all these tangs) Clown trigger Pair of Percula clowns 1 Maroon clown Comet wrasse Christmas wrasse Twin spot wrasse Mandarin goby 3 Heniochus or another schooling butterfly fish (Do you know of any others that would work in a school?) The two large angels listed first will be my center piece fish that I will work the others around. I would buy one around 3 inches and one around 5. <<Okay Heather, I have a few recommendations.  You've listed A LOT of fish...even for a 220.  Some will get quite large...some will get quite mean...some will just not survive.  My recommendations are as follows...  Drop the Powder Blue Tang, the Clown trigger, the Mandarin Goby, and the Twin-Spot Wrasse.  The tang is an "ich magnet" and will likely be a source of frustration/aggravation...the trigger is a known bully (read "monster"), this specie is well known to "sooner or later" kill all its tankmates...the goby is too delicate a feeder and requires a "mature" system of more than a year, preferably supported by a refugium...and the wrasse will grow to be a leviathan of more than 4 feet in length.  Exclude these I've listed, and I think the rest of your selections can do fine.  As for order of introduction...you can pretty much go from bottom to top in the order you have them listed.>> I was also wondering about a cleanup crew and if any would survive in this setup? <<If you follow my stocking recommendations, yes.>> Thanks so much for this great site and helping people have successful tanks.  You are doing a wonderful service. Heather <<Thank you for the kind words.  Regards, EricR >> Fish List (Possible Overcrowding) - 02/14/06   65 F Hello again, <<Howdy>>    Before I get to my question I would just like to say thank you again for your quick response and all the useful information you gave me with my previous question. <<Not sure who that was...but I am sure you're quite welcome.>> Now, I am going back and forth trying to select the fish I want to be in my tank.  I have been researching for months and must have changed the list about fifty times. <<Oh but for the want of a larger tank <grin>.>> I'm pretty sure I have the final cut, but before I do anything I want your ideas/opinions on the list. <<Would be happy to oblige.>> Keep in mind I have a 65 gallon tank. <<Ok>> The fish include: (1)- Banggai Cardinal fish - Up to 3" (?)- Blue-Green Chromis - Up to 3" (1)- Flame Hawkfish - Up to 4" (1)- Fridmani Pseudochromis - Up to 3" (1)- Ocellaris Clownfish - Up to 4" (1)- Yellow Tang - Up to 8" <<Was looking pretty good up until the tang.>> The tang, Pseudochromis, and Hawkfish will be the last fish added to the tank for territorial reasons. <<Honestly, I feel your tank is too small for the tang.  These fish (tangs) really need quite a bit of space to roam/graze/prevent development issues.>> Can the Chromis be kept single or is it almost mandatory to keep in a group of at least three? <<Can be kept singly, though groups are preferred.>> If they have to be in a group I'm pretty sure that would crowd my tank right? <<Not if you forget about the tang.>> Or is my tank already going to be overloaded with just one Chromis and the rest of the list? <<Yes...with the tang.>> I tried to focus on compatible hardy fish that would stay relatively small. <<I think you did a pretty good job for the most part.>> Also I'm sure you have already noticed a variety of colors as well. <<Indeed>> Do you see any problems with my selections? <<As already stated.>> If so, what do you suggest would fix the problem?  Also if the problem is about one of the selections what are some similar fish to replace them? <<Were this a larger tank I would say "press forward" with your selections.  As it is, I would recommend replacing the tang with a trio of Chromis...and if you still want a "yellow" fish, a Lemonpeel Angel (Centropyge sp.) would about put you at your limit.>> Thanks, Chris <<Regards, EricR >> Bigger Tank...Bigger Fishes? (Stocking Questions) 7/29/05   125 Reef Greetings Bob & crew! <Scott F. your Crew member today!> Sorry to be pestering you lately, but you are the best and most reliable source for info I know of.  Sorry for the long background, just want you to know what I have before offering advice. <No apologies required...We're here to serve!> I just upgraded my 55 gal reef to a 125 reef and everything has pretty much faired out just fine. <Glad to hear that!> I transferred the 60# of LR and added it to about 90# of base rock.  50# of my old LS added to 70# of new Aragamax sand.  I have a sump/fuge now (40-gal) that has a DSB with old/new sand in it and will soon have macroalgae and LR (when I get lighting installed and money for the rocks/algae).  Still have dual 175W MH pendants and will be adding a third (probably a 250 to go in the middle) in a few months.  There really is no coral under the space where a third would go, so no real worries there. Left it as a open space with a single, large vertical rock for swimming room (my yellow tang loves it!). <I do, too! It's nice to leave lots of open space, instead of the usual "wall"!> Other equipment includes a AquaC Remora Pro skimmer (will be getting an EV-180 for x-mas but this will do for now), Whisper HOT 60 filter, CPR HOT fuge with mangroves, various powerheads for ~18x current flow, dual heaters (one in tank, one in sump....in case one goes out). <Sounds good...Just change the media in the power filter very regularly, to avoid having excess organics accumulate and degrade the water quality.> Water parameters (watch like a hawk.....borderline obsessive-compulsive about it)  SG 1.025, pH 8.28 (+/- .03), dKH 10, ammonia & nitrite zero, nitrate 0.3 (think I lost a bit in the move, should be zero within a week....yes it is 0.3 and not 3 as I have a low range test kit), Ca low 400's, phosphates & silicates zero.  Use only RO/DI water for top offs and mixes. <Sounds very nice! Nothing wrong with lots of testing...Just don't drive yourself crazy trying to hit every parameter perfectly...Sounds like the trend overall is terrific in this tank.> Fishies:  3" Yellow Tang, 2 Percula Clowns, Yellowtail Damsel, Firefish Goby, Neon Blue Cleaner Goby, Coral Beauty. <Nice, active, colorful mix!> Inverts:  2 Fire Shrimp, 2 Serpent Stars, 5 different species of snail (including 6 Nassarius (sp?)....will be adding more), 2 Scarlet Hermits (keep them fed and they don't hurt anything), 3 or 4 micro blue hermits, and I still have tons of pods and mysis in my tank/fuge/filters that made the trip. <Cool...> Corals:  My prized RBTA....still in one place after the move.  Open Brain Coral, Yellow Polyps, Zoanthid Polyps (3 color variations), Mushrooms, Xenia, Anthelia, Green Star Polyps, a new, still unidentified coral (check your mailbox), and a feather duster. Phew!  Now, what I definitely plan to add: More Nassarius snails for the DSB and main tank.  Thinking around 6 more. Skunk cleaner shrimp (my only move fatality) Macroalgae (Gracilaria) A second Firefish Goby <Do think this addition through carefully. These fish can be remarkably territorial, and adding a new one into a tank with an established resident Firefish could spell problems for the newcomer, even if you have lots of places for it to retreat to.> Sharks with laser beams attached to their heads!  (j/k...been a long week) <Ahh..an obscure "Austin Powers" reference! All you want is a pair of sharks with freakin' laser beams....LOL> Now, what I am debating: 1.  I would like another Tang.  Debating between a Blue Hippo, Naso or Lineatus (clown) tang.  I think I have enough room and if I get one about the same size as my yellow, and one different enough of a color/shape, I am thinking they will be alright. <Hmm...I'd rule out the Naso (simply a HUGE fish with big-time space requirements) and the Lineatus (a beautiful fish that can become an absolute terror in all but the largest (we're talkin' HUNDREDS of gallons) tanks. If you are seriously thinking of any of these guys, I'd be inclined to get the Blue Hippo. Even then, this fish has big space requirements, and can reach 10". I'd actually pass on all of these selections, sorry. A possible addition would be the smaller, yet interesting (and useful!) Kole Tang, Ctenochaetus strigosus.> 2.  I would like a large angel.  Having corals, this is causing me concern.  Did plenty of research and asking around who has what in reef tanks and have rounded down to three choices.  The Regal, Majestic and Imperator angels are what I am thinking about.  I would get them small of course, and keep them well fed with an angel-appropriate diet. <All can be difficult to acclimate to captive life. It really depends upon the source of the fish. Regals used to be almost un-keepable due to bad collection practices (read that- cyanide), but there are other, better sources for these fish now (like the Red Sea or Australia) which improve your odds of success/ However, they are fishes that require the utmost in care. I'm debating about whether or not the 125 is a good sized tank for this fish, given the other livestock. The Imperator is really a "pass", in my opinion, as this fish gets very large (like 12"-15"), requires huge amounts of physical space, and can certainly munch on LPS and Xeniids, given time and opportunity. The Majestic is also a huge fish, hitting 10" plus easily. It's a wonderful, long-lived animal once it's settled in, but it really needs a large tank, and is not guaranteed to co-exist with your corals! Again, given your other inhabitants and proposed inhabitants, I'd be inclined to pass on this one, too! I know that you're ready to "liquidate" me at this point, as Dr. evil might say, but you really need to consider the "end game" when keeping large angels and tangs. Even though we might think of a 125 as a pretty large tank, to a 10" fish, it's like you or I being confined to a modest sized house for the rest of our lives, with no chance to go outside. Sure, you can survive that way, but you'd be miserable over time. My viewpoint on large angelfishes does not endear me to some hobbyists, but I believe it is right. Unless you have an 8'-10' plus  long tank, and hundreds of gallons of capacity, I'd pass n almost all large Angels. Sure, lots of hobbyists keep them in smaller systems, but it doesn't make it right, IMO. This thinking is exactly why I favor Centropyge Angels for most aquariums. I think that many of them are better suited for long-term husbandry.> 3.  Crocea clam.  This would wait until the third MH is in.  Have the space for it on my sand bed.  My coral beauty seems to leave all my corals alone but I would be concerned about the large angel. <I'd be concerned about ANY angel with a calm, with the exception of the Genicanthus species. Your Coral Beauty may not have interest in the corals, but who know what he/she will do with a tempting clam in the house!> Of course, everything would be subject to the mandatory QT for a month. <That's what I'm talkin' about! Yeahhh!> Well, that is it for now.  Sorry for the long email, just wanted you to have all the information.  Any suggestions/ideas are very much appreciated.  Thank you again for all your help....I definitely owe you a beer or two someday! -Ray <Well, Ray- sounds like you are on the right track. I like the fact that you are researching before purchasing the fish you mention. It's always nice to learn all you can BEFORE you make the purchase, and for that, I commend you! I hope that I didn't sound too negative in my views on some the fish, but I just want you (and other readers) to really think through the needs of such fishes before committing yourself (and the fish) to a life in your tank. Take my opinions (and anyone else's, for that matter) with a grain of salt, but do think of the caveats regarding the sizes and needs of the fishes you are considering. Do also consider many of the other smaller, equally fascinating choices of fish that are more appropriate for your system. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> Compatibility   75 F Hello, would I be able to have a Long-nosed Butterflyfish, 4 Firefish, a Blue Tang, Longnose Hawkfish, 3 Ocellaris Clownfish, and a Flame Angel live happily together in a 75 Gallon tank? And if they would, would they be ok with a Longspine Urchin, and a Chocolate Chip Starfish?  <Jason, the 75 is not going to be large enough for all those fish. I like to use a ratio of five gallons per one cubic inch of fish. Read this article on firefish before you buy them. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/wormfishesArt/wormfishes.htm. James (Salty Dog)>

Friends for Aggressives   120 FI Hi Bob! <Steven Pro this evening.> I'm working on a plan for a nice 120 gallon environment for a bunch of aggressive species. I'm currently thinking about a Volitans (or maybe radiata) lion, a zebra (or maybe tesselata) eel, an imperator (or maybe annularis) angel, and a Picasso trigger. I was wondering: <The Annularis would be a far better choice of the two Angelfish.> 1) Any chance a flounder could survive in this scary environment? There's a certain poetry to the image of the flounder hiding on the bottom while the monsters circle above. <I do not know much about them. I did a quick search of WWM and not much there, either. My gut tells me they are not popular for a reason.> 2) Are there any crustaceans, invertebrates, or other critters that wouldn't get gobbled up? <No, the guys mentioned above would surely eat just about anything.> Best, Ari <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Re: unsure about compatibility Hi Anthony. Thanks for your help thus far. You've made my day with your shared enthusiasm for the passer angel. I would be looking at getting a juvenile.... around about 3 to 4 " as recommended. My plans a restarting to take a little shape now. Just to re-cap, my original list was: Regal Tang, Red Sea 4 line wrasse, Addis OR Long nose butterfly Porcupine puffer fish 2 x Banner fish (H. Acuminatus) Moon wrasse (T. Lunare) I have since discounted the wrasse for definite. Also, I think I will discard the Bannerfish too. And I want to add the passer angel. I know you just said to let out the butterfly-fish, but I don't suppose the long nose butterfly might be an exception ?  <the long nose is indeed too passive. The Bannerfish if larger and entered first might have a chance. Still... my ultimate advice would be to avoid all such butterflyfish and relatives> So my list will look something like: Regal tang, 4 line cleaner wrasse, long nose butterfly (3" body), Passer angel (3 to 4" juv), long spine porcupine puffer (3"), <we didn't chat about the cleaner wrasse either... as a rule, they have very poor reputations for shipping and survivability categorically. Adding first would be most challenging. Indeed, it must be added last> ......introduced in that order, and approx that size. I have a feeling that you are going to recommend the long nose be left out.... if so, would it be on account of the puffer ? <yes... but rather because it just won't be assertive enough to compete in any active community tank> If introduced while the other fish are relatively small etc, would a flame angel be at risk, or would I want to be considering bigger species altogether? <the flame would not work either my friend because of its size. To be honest, the wide range of incompatible species that you have suggested my friend imparts to me that you perhaps need to spend some more time reading/owning a good reference. Do you already own Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist? If so please delve further, if not do consider reading it. It will answer all of your questions and open your eyes to so many more exciting possibilities> Finally, as likely substitutes to species on my list, I am considering a couple of other tangs.... namely Naso tang, and powder blue.  <wow... you definitely need a good book my friend. The powder blue needs a longer tank with very strong water flow (they commonly "pace" nervously in small and insufficiently circulated aquaria). Nasos can be long-lived in aquaria, but also need very large aquaria and do not import well over 4" long> Either would be got at about 4". Comments on these choices would be appreciated. <the summary of my concerns are that the angel, tang and puffer alone will literally add up to 4 feet of fish at their adult size which they should be able to achieve in just a few years if they are not to be constricted. I wouldn't feel comfortable putting such large fish in this tank. My advice is to abort all and instead focus on your smaller preferences... the flame angel, clownfish, long-nose butterfly...perhaps even the Bannerfish as well> Finally, I realize that the angel will get quite big... and in a couple of years I would be looking at something more like an 96x18x24 system.... gives me plenty of time to save up :-) <awesome! I should have read further before making my sales pitch for a larger tank <smile>> Thanks again for your time. Regards. Matt. <best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Last Fish...I promise!   180 F Hi Robert, <<Hello - JasonC here...>> I was thinking about picking up a Flame Angel today and adding him to my 180 as the 'final fish'. I currently have the following... 2" Bi-Color Angel, 1" Velvet Damsel, a 1" Green Chromis, a 3" X-mas wrasse, a 7" Hippo Tang, a 6 1/2" Imperator, 3/4" Percula clown, a 6" Auriga Butterfly, 3/4" Neon Goby and a 1" bi-color Pseudo. That's 10 fish all living nicely with each other... (except once in a while the Imperator Angel chases & nips the Auriga Butterfly to keep him out of his area especially during feeding time), but for the most part the tank is pretty much stress free and with no parasites present for a month now... the neon goby and UV sterilizer seem to have done their job in cleaning the tank! I have always wanted a Flame Angel but I am concerned about adding this fish with the Bi-color Angel.  <<That would be my concern too.>>  I have read about the Pygmy Angel compatibility issues and know that I should not put 2 small angels in the same tank together.  <<But this is a pretty large tank. How much live rock [read as hiding places] do you have?>>  I asked a few LFS guy about this and he keeps telling me there will be no problems in having them together in my size tank.  <<Famous last words from a local fish store.>>  Will the bi-color angel accept the flame angel if introduced properly?  <<You mean with formal introductions? "Mr. Bicolor, meet Mr. Flame." No, there's no easy way or 'proper' way to introduce this fish. It will work or not.>>  If I get a much smaller Flame Angel is that better?  <<Hard to say, but certainly a smaller fish will be more likely to suffer from the stress of being hassled by the bi-color.>>  After quarantine, I intend on using a sheet of glass to separate a section of the tank where they can look at each other for a while to get used to each other. <<Uhh... this comment makes me think you don't have enough decor in your aquarium. I couldn't put a sheet of glass in my 180 without hours of breakdown. You'd be much better off with more live rock, which equals more cover.>>  Will any other fish pick on the Flame Angel?  <<Not on a normal day, but if it becomes weak or distressed everyone may pick on it...>>  Any ideas or should I not add the Flame Angel? Thanks! <<I would hold off. If I've misread, and you actually have #180-plus of live rock, then things will likely turn out fine. If you don't have a lot of places for a pygmy angel to hide, things aren't going to end well for the newcomer. Cheers, J -- >>

Unsure about compatibility Dear Bob. <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am currently restocking my system after nearly all my fish were wiped out due to circumstance beyond my control.  <divorce?> The tank is 84"x18"x20", and is a general FO community. LR is not present,  <blasphemy! Heehee...> and will not be added in the future.  <please do reconsider... it is one of the best investments you can make in this hobby> The aquascaping is arranged such as to provide a figure of 8 swimming pattern, and lots of cavities for refuge. Presently stock consists of a regal tang (4 to 5"), a red sea 4 line cleaner wrasse (3"). At the moment I am pretty undecided as to what species I want to stock, and am considering a number of choices. A possible stocking plan might look like (introduced in this order): Regal Tang, Red Sea 4 line wrasse, Addis OR Long nose butterfly Porcupine puffer fish 2 x Banner fish (H. acuminatus) Moon wrasse (T. lunare) Something Red (maybe a large tomato / fire clown, or maybe a flame angel) My main question would be : RE: the moon wrasse and porcupine fish.  <bingo... big red flags for me as I was reading it> Are these fish too rough and ready to be suitable as tankmates for ornate fish like banner fish and long nose butterfly ? <exactly... and by a landslide. Especially the lunare wrasse... quite brutal although beautiful and hardy> Would the wrasse be likely to nip at the Wimplefish trailing fins? <the lunare is a problem with everything, especially as it gets older. They can actually fare well in tanks with aggressive triggers. I have even seen larger specimens eat feeder fish as a staple part of their diet!> Would the wrasse be problematic with respect to the existing 4 line wrasse (hoping that the 4 line, which is very different in size appearance and behaviour will be established enough etc., thus ok) Would the puffer be harassed by the wrasse ? <as above> RE: Addis butterfly. I have read quite a bit about them, but still can't decide would one be suitable (in the absence of the longnose) for my system as described above? <if only by popular experience (sheer numbers kept) the longnose might be hardier... although a nice red sea lunula *raccoon) would be even better by far> In your opinion, am I over stocking the system (assuming it is adequately filtered). <not overstocking if you leave out the wrasse and puffer> Would you be inclined you be inclined to let out any particular species?  <as above> Do you think it unwise to mix "wise guy" type fish, with more "graceful" type fish….. if so do you feel maybe a tang and a couple of smaller fish (Hawkfish / goby) might be better in the place of the puffer and wrasse…….  <the tangs are equally aggressive at times. The tank really needs to vomit one way or the other: active community or peaceful passive.> Or conversely a couple of other tangs in the place of the butterflies. <the tangs would be hardiest most likely> Thanks for reading….. I know it is sort of an awkward, broad mail, but I am really undecided at the moment. I am trying to achieve a nice smooth blend of fish, with complementing colors and behaviour (i.e. conscientious marine aquarist, p25, FO tank with Addis, half moon, emperor tang)….. rather than a stark contrast, unnatural, mix and match appearance. Regards, Matt <admirable and attractive project... best regards, Anthony>

Butterfly or Angel for 35 I've had my tank now for about two months and would like to put some type of butterfly in there. Is there a rather small butterfly or angel even that would do well in a 35gallon tank. <Your tank is a little too immature for either a Butterflyfish or Angelfish. At about the six month mark you should be fine, but all the Butterflyfish get too large. One Angelfish of the genus Centropyge would be ok.> It is a hex tank with rock about up to the middle. Any suggestions. Thanks, John Toon <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

LFS recommendation Thank you again Anthony. You have set me on the right course for the ultimate health of my little aquatic buddies ;-). BTW, the puffer is still in peak health 3 days after the FW dip and emergency insertion back into the main tank.  <so very good to hear!> As per your suggestion and message board research, I will look for another semi-LFS instead of the fish-in-the-air service I was considering. I just could not emotionally deal with a package of dead fish arriving at my door.  <yes, indeed... buying livestock sight unseen is too unpredictable even with a good dealer... too many issues with transit> If you have any suggestions for aquarium societies or stores, I am in Southern California, work in Pasadena, live in Valencia/Santa Clarita, and have easy access to more ocean related areas such as Santa Monica, Long Beach, Ventura etc.  <with virtually all interesting marine livestock entering the US through LA, you are very near to great clubs, wholesalers and fish stores that drive to LA and cherry pick. For clubs, try http://scmas.com/ and http://www.maslac.org/ I'll pass this along to Bob for some store referrals... he is from San Diego and has traveled for many years and may have a good referral for you to a Shoppe. Also, perhaps some daily FAQ readers can write in with a referral or two> I hear that there are some wholesalers in the Long Beach area - would this be a recommended thing to try out (I can probably talk my way in with a resale cert.)?  <most will not sell to you I suspect... but no harm in trying if you can meet their minimums <wink>> My former LFS which gave me all the "wonderful" advice is http://www.advancedaquatics.com - nevermore. They're the only game in town. The other stores I have found in the area look like trash pits with sick fish and inexperienced owners just in it to make a quick buck. At least my old place had a good presentation and good conditions for the fish. <indeed, you can get good and bad advice anywhere> You're the best! John <best regards, Anthony>

Re: labrids, Balistids... Seeking marine livestock for research Dear Bob, <Hello> I am an assistant professor of Biology at the University of Southern Maine in Portland and I work on the biomechanics of paired fin propulsion in fishes. You can read a little about my by visiting my homepage: http://www.usm.maine.edu/bio/faculty/walker.html. <Very nice. Reminds me of a few lectures with Lloyd Chen back in the San Diego State University years> In about 1 months time I will be submitting a large grant to NSF (National Science Foundation) to do some work on the energetics and fluid dynamics of swimming in labrids and Balistids. I am interested in diversity and would like to measure fishes that show extremes in fin shape and swimming style (e.g. Pseudocheilinus vs. Thalassoma). <I see> Previous to moving to Maine I was in Chicago and could acquire many different wrasses/triggers from the pet wholesalers that distribute to Midwestern pet stores. We do not seem to have these wholesalers in the northeast (or I haven't had much locating them). I do not particularly like using the wholesaler's stock anyway because of questions of origin, health, how caught, etc. I have two options for future work. 1. Go collect fish myself 2. Find key collectors that can collect for me <Neither... buy them from marine livestock wholesalers... the route I would take... much faster, MUCH cheaper> I was hoping to collect in the Great Barrier Reef out of the Lizard Island Research Station but I have since found out that they only permit exportation of fishes to a few collectors and not to scientists. This is too bad because there is good behavioral and ecological data on these fishes. <Bizarre... but having been to Lizard (very expensive) and knowing the arbitrariness of "law" and Australia... not too surprising> I only have minimal experience diving and no experience collecting reef fishes so finding a collector or a good source of quality fishes is appealing. Ultimately I would need about 6-8 individuals of about 10-14 species, but sampling for diversity. <Easy enough to do> I found your web site and was impressed with your experience. I thought you might have some contacts of where I can obtain fish. One person that I was interested in was Chip Boyle in the Cooks. Do you know of others and their contact info? I would greatly appreciate any help that I can get. <All sorts. I will cc a few folks here and ask that they in turn help you.> Thank you for your help. Regards, Jeff <A pleasure. Hope to dive and chat with you someday (soon!), Bob Fenner> ------------- Jeffrey A. Walker Department of Biological Sciences University of Southern Maine 96 Falmouth Street Portland, ME 04103 USA Office: 207-228-8166 Lab: 207-228-8350 Fax: 207-228-8116 E-mail: walker@usm.maine.edu Web: http://www.usm.maine.edu/bio/faculty/walker.html

Adding a Kole Tang   65 Reef I am wondering if I can add a Kole tang to my current mix of fish. I have a longnose Hawkfish, an African Flameback angel, a yellow watchman goby, an engineer goby, a maroon clownfish, and (gulp) a purple tang. Unfortunately I have had the purple tang in the tank for about a year now, and I think I should not add the Kole tang because of this fish. However, I do know that they are not co-geners, but they do have a lot of body structure in common, so will there be fighting? <Always some fighting when mixing Tangs.> I know you do not know everything, and all individual fish differ slightly, but I value your opinion. The tank itself is a 65 gallon reef with a lot of live rock and corals. Thanks again! <The Kole was a good choice to mix with the Purple Tang. Your problems are the Purple was there first and the tank is too small. Sorry. -Steven Pro>

Pearlscale Butterfly & Purple Tang Compatibility What are the changes of a Pearlscale butterfly and a purple tang getting along. The purple tang has been in the tank for about 6 months. They are both approximately the same size.. <Assuming the tank is large enough to house these fish, They should do fine. They are significantly different colors and eat different foods.> Thanks! ~Bill <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking a 30 F Hey Bob. Good job on the website. I have a question about my 30 gal. marine tank. I know there can't be too many fish in there, and I have the three damsels I started out with and added a Heniochus butterfly a couple of days ago. He's doing very well. My question is, would it be ok to add a longnose butterfly with him after a while or should I take out some of the damsels. I really would like to have more than one nice looking fish in there. <Actually, in my opinion, a 30 gallon tank is too small for the Heniochus or the Longnose. I would stick to fish with an adult size of 3" or less. -Steven Pro>

Stocking a 180gal. F Hi Bob, I have a 180 gal FOWLR tank which has been set up for about 6 months. I currently have a small lunare wrasse (Thalassoma lunare), 1 bicolor Dottyback, 4 black Axil Chromis, 1 brown Sailfin Tang, 1 Double Barr Spine foot (Siganus virgatus), and 1 Fine lined Surgeonfish (Acanthurus grammoptilus. My question is whether it would be ok to add a Regal/ Hippo tang, <Not a good idea to mix Surgeonfish.> pair False Perculas, coral beauty <The Clowns and Dwarf Angel are fine.> and maybe in a year a mandarin <Far too many voracious eaters for a Mandarin to survive.> or Blue Girdled Angel. <Ok> I am stocked with 180 pounds live rock and 100 pounds LS mixed with 150 pounds of fine sand and also with a skimmer, Skilter 400 with a sump which contains a number of mangroves. Would this be overstocking? Thank you. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking I have a 45 gallon tank with about 45 pounds of live rock in it. I have a damsel, 2 clowns, 2 cardinals, an algae blenny, a jaw fish and a butterfly. I was just wondering if I could get any more fish or if I have too many. <Depending on exact species, you may already have too many. At the very least, you are filled up. -Steven Pro>

marine aquariums (love your book) Hi, my name is Ari Weiss I am a twenty year old temple university student,and I recently in the past 5 months became interested in fish. I wanted to get into marine aquariums, and read many other books that I bought at local pet stores before I came across your book (conscientious guide to marine aquariums), and it was by far the most insightful and helpful book that I have read. I found out about it when I found an aquarium specialty store in northeast Philadelphia called the hidden reef, and they recommended the book to me. Since reading and setting up my aquarium two months ago, I found things to be so much easier to understand and have yet to have any problems, or fish deaths (except for the snowflake eel that committed suicide by going out the top of the tank to the floor, when I wasn't home). <Too common> I had never known that there was so much involved with saltwater aquariums until I became in terested in them I your book was the biggest help, and I know there is tons and tons more I could still learn. <Yes, aquariums are small worlds... with all the incident, inherent inputs/outputs of their larger mirrors> So I just wanted to thank you for writing this book because I really think it helps the beginner and experienced aquarist in different ways. <A pleasure my friend> I am constantly using it as a reference guide whenever I have questions about things. I also have a few questions that I would like to ask you and would greatly appreciate your advice and help. I recently acquired a lionfish that at the fish store was called a "fuzzy dwarf lion." Do you know the exact species that this would normally be referred to as?  <Likely a Dendrochirus sp., probably D. brachypterus. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lions&rels.htm and elsewhere on our sites... much to go over there> Also he/she seems to have a slit about a centimeter long in the membrane on one of the big side fins (I think they are called the pectoral). Will this slit regenerate itself and is it something I should worry about????  <Good observation. Will repair itself. Nothing to worry about> I don't know how it attained the cut, but I have a feeling it was from my coral banded shrimp, because on two occasions I have seen the shrimp try to grab or attack the lionfish with its claws as the lionfish would swim by. Is this something I should worry about? <No... actually vice versa... in time the Lionfish will be big enough, the Shrimp not wary and be inhaled... likely by night> I also attained a fish from my fish store that was labeled in the tank as a Valentini puffer but after reading you book, I am undecided on if it is a Valentini puffer, or a Valentini filefish. from the pictures in your book I think the patterns are closer to the filefish than to the puffer, and because it has a bright yellow tail and in the book the puffers tail is not as bright yellow. Any suggestions on making a diagnosis of which it is???  <Yes, please peruse the family coverage of both fishes on WWM> My last question also deals with this same fish in that I am having trouble feeding him. I have had it for about 2-3, and whenever I feed the fish he seems to only eat when I feed frozen brine shrimp (which I know is not that nutritious). Whenever I try to feed frozen krill or prawn (cut into small pieces for him) he just ignores it and doesn't eat. What do you think of this?? and is there anything I should try?  <Other meaty foods, live if you can> well I really appreciate your time, and greatly enjoyed your book, at first I was scared of having saltwater fish when I read some other books, but it was because it was so confusing, but your book broke it down into much easier terms. <Ahh, I/we are fortunate that many good, capable people helped fashion this work into such a good, general, understandable guide> Thank you very much for taking the time to read this I know it has been long, but I have used this book like a bible since I started. anxiously awaiting your response. Thanks again, Ari <Thank you for writing. You will enjoy reading, participating here and in our chatforum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Helpful hints needed... (marine livestock selection)  120 Reef Dear Bob, Let me start by saying that your site is one of the best sites (not just fish sites) on the web. It is very easy to find what you are looking for. <Thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated by all.> I hope you can help with a few gentle nudges in the right direction. The following is what we currently have in our tank: Tank - 4ft x 2ft x 2ft Capacity - 450l 120gal Filter - Fluval 403 Powerhead - Atman At-f102 4 Undergravel plates Lighting - 4 x 2ft Arcadia Fluor. Tubes 2 x Marine Blue 2 x Power Glo 20W Heating - 1 x 250 watt heater <I might add another heater... to ease the burden on the one in cold weather... and make the temperature more uniform throughout... place in an opposite corner.> Protein Skimmer - 1 x Orca 35 skimmer Live Stock - Live Rock - 50kg 110pounds 1 x Coral Banded Shrimp - Stenopus hispidus 1 x Snail 1 x Blue Tang - Paracanthurus hepatus 1 x Tomato Clown - Amphiprion melanopus 1 x Scribbled Angel - Chaetodontoplus duboulayi 1 x Bubble Tipped Anemone - Entacmaea quadricolor 1 x Star Fish - Fromia milleporella ???? 1 x Soft Coral - Nephthea sp ???? I have a few questions that I hope you can help with. The angel is very shy and will not come out of his few favorite hiding places except when no one is around (or al least thinks there is no one around). we have actually hidden in places where we can still see the tank and he comes out then. From time to time when I am feeding the other two fish, he will just stick his head out, see me and retreat. Will this change in time? <Yes, though this Genus is notably retiring> Secondly we are looking at adding some more fish very soon and just wanted to get your thoughts. The ones we are considering are the following: Copperbanded Butterfly (I am aware of there track record but am willing to put in the hard yards) Blenny Royal Dottyback Dwarf Lion Niger Trigger <Mmm, the Lion and Trigger might eat your shrimp...> Lastly, our Tang occasionally like hitting himself up against some of the rock in the tank. Is this a normal behavior, or should we be looking into this more? <Normal to an extent. No gashes, obvious external parasitic involvement, no problem> Thanks you very much for your time and keep up the exceptional work. <Will endeavour to do so my friend. Bob Fenner> Regards, Scott Fawke, Brisbane, Australia

Stocking a 120 Saltwater  FO Hi, My name is Andrew. I am 13 years old.  <greetings, young friend> About 5 months ago I got my 120 gallon fish only marine tank set up. It has been going very good so far. I just had a compatibility question. Right now I have in my tank: Foxface Pantherfish Small Huma Trigger Volitans Lionfish Black and White Heniochus I was wondering if the following fish would later be ok or if they will all fit in my tank. Harlequin Tusk Wrasse Powder Blue Tang Queen Angel And if it fits a Porcupine Puffer too. Thanks for all the help <alas, Andrew... none of the fish you seek will even fit in your tank. Although your fish are small now, you have picked species that grow very large. In fact... without new fish, you already have a problem with the species in your tank outgrowing their quarters in just a few years. You/we must be compassionate and considerate of the adult size of fishes. Else it is like buying a tiny puppy that grows into a great Dane but trying to keep it in a shoebox its whole life. Your lionfish approaches 2 feet long as an adult that is half the length of your tank!)... the Foxface, trigger and Heniochus approach 1 foot long and the panther grouper is well over a foot. Indeed, you are already overstocked. Please do not consider the new fishes until you get a much larger tank. At which time the Tuskfish and angel are good hardy choices and likely compatible. The powder blue is too delicate and disease prone for this tough crowd. And the puffer is too messy and fin nippy. Best regards in your endeavors, Anthony Calfo>

Fish help Hi Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> I was wondering what you would recommend for fish with 55 lbs of live rock in a 54 gallon corner tank. Right now I have 1 blue Damsel and 2 Chromis that have been cycling the Tank for 3 weeks. <aim for species that have an adult size of 4" or less. Decide if you want the option to keep reef invertebrates or keep the display fish only. Most of the predators will be ruled out by size at least (few if any puffers, triggers, puffers/boxfish groupers or lions... even some dwarf lions approach 12" as adults while Volitans nears 24"). Avoid most tangs... you don't have fair swimming space. Instead, shop for species that live in rubble and dense formations like Centropyge angels, Halichoeres wrasses, Basslets, hamlets, gobies, blennies and the like. Just browse through the enormous amount of information on this site and help yourself... teach yourself, my friend>  Thanks Aram <best regards, Anthony>

Stocking levels Marine  55 Reef Hello, I have a 9 year old 55 gallon tank, running a wet/dry trickle filter (in a sump), an in-tank protein skimmer, 2 powerheads (one sweeping) in tank. Currently (since November), I've got three pieces of live rock, 3 Florida Condy anemones, 3 serpent stars, 7 snails, about 10 blue legged hermits, a cucumber, a cinnamon clown, 4 damsels, a brown bird wrasse, and a yellow tang (fish are 2 1/2 - 4 1/2" long, damsels are about 1 inch).  <amazing that the bird wrasse hasn't eaten the crabs yet<G>> My lighting consists of 2 24" 50/50's that span the length of the tank end to end, and a 24" 10K placed in the middle.  Are these 20 watt fluorescents? If so... nowhere near enough to keep the anemones in the long run. They will look good for a while then simply fail> I use a product called "ocean's blend" for calcium and the other nutrients (I used to use the whole line of Kent products) once a day. 1. Can I put a Kole tang safely with the yellow tang? <a good bet when one chooses to mix tangs> 2. I'm thinking about switching to 2 Hagen power Glo's (18K each) and a Hagen marine Glo for the actinic. What do you think? <upgrade wattage... less concern for color. And for the record... aim for 6500 to 10K for most cnidarians> 3. How many more fish can I safely put in before overloading? <if you subscribe to the old stand-by 1/2 inch of fish per gallon (actual water volume 48-48 gallons in your rock and sandscaped tank)... you are really already full. Consider adult sizes in the 2-3 year picture at least (!): 4 damsels 2+" each (8+"), one melanopus clown male 2-3 ", female 3-5" (say 3"), yellow tang 6-8" (say 6"), bird wrasses female 6-8" unchanged male to be 8-12" (say 7") and Kole tang 6-10" (say 6")... that puts you at a total of 30" with conservative adult sizes and WITHOUT counting the bioload from the crabs, starfish, snails and anemones. As empathetic aquarists we really need to be considerate and plan for adult sizes which even by this rule are arguable a bit crowded and "uncomfortable". My advice is that if you must add another fish... the Kole is your last> 4. I want live rock, but not with hard coral or very delicate/high maintenance inverts. Just coralline algae growth is fine. <very fine... do maintain calcium and alkalinity... also consider Seachem's Reef calcium (calcium gluconate) for strong coralline growth> I just recently started to be more serious than ever about the tank. I've spent thousands of dollars on fish over the years only to have them die.  <You could have saved many or even most of them with a small investment in a quarantine tank, my friend. It should be standard issue for any aquarist> The tank has always had life in it, even when I didn't take care of it very well. Thank you. Randy M.  <with kind regards, Anthony>

Ethical Concerns re Providing Appropriate Livestock, Information Bob... <My friend> Antoine here, bud. Please look into the sent folder and read the message titled Diatom Filter. I went off a on a soapbox (nothing crazy) about the trade with Atlantic collectors. Not at all directed to the mailer... but a sequel to my soapbox with his question. <Okay> I have seen for a decade now and you have seen for far longer I'm sure, collectors/wholesalers trying to move inappropriate animals through the most disgusting means ( I once saw Sea Critters FL offer orange spot filefish in box lots for $2.99 each when they were trying to expand their inventory with Pacific/Philippine transshipped fishes. they had this special for months!). I do believe that many such collections have been discouraged (like obligate polyps feeding butterflies and Spanish Dancers not seen by the ton anymore but by the kilo <G>)as evidenced in dealers tanks through informed consumer trends. However... it seems to me that so many of the Atlantic collectors have shifted from offering the Atlantic aposymbiotic tree sponges, gorgonians and Flame Scallops on sale in droves on stock lists to now sending them as standard freebies with every shipment/purchase! Ughhh. It really irritates me when they have to pass hardy encrusting sponges and symbiotic gorgonians to collect them! Ha! Well not literally, but you know what I mean... why bother to collect such challenging animals when so many other hardy ones are available. For the record.. I certainly don't believe that they should NEVER be collected, but rather not made available for impulse purchases by novice aquarists or worse... thrust upon novice aquarists/anybody to be put in reef and fish tanks not set up at all for filter feeders. I'm willing to break a few eggs to make an omelets by downplaying their availability and seeing them provided on request to increases the odds that better husbandry will be learned by a focused group that will pursue said animals (carrying a few killers along with them...heehee). <Mmm>   It sticks in my craw something terrible because it feels like I get at least one request weekly through the mail asking for help with this exact situation. <I have lived this for decades>   My real concern addressing you with it is that for some stupid reason I asked this chap if it was Tampa Bay Saltwater... because they seem to be one of the biggest purveyors of starving aposymbionts. Still... I'm thinking that perhaps you may want to clip that from my post or even clip the post all together. On one hand.. the truth is the truth and informed aquarists wanna know and need to know when there is an industry concern that needs to be addressed ("hey, buddy... shape up or we'll take our dollars elsewhere!")... but on the other hand, I always want to do what serves the greater/greatest good.   Do let me know your thoughts please...   I'm bummed out a little... shaking it off. Antoine <To stave off my misgivings re the apparent apathy and/or ignorance of others in the trade (and life in general) I have "adopted" (perhaps cultured is a better term) the active stance of challenging, that is to state, less than gently querying such providers, purveyors with questions re their intent, causality in such dealings. To wit, have you sent your position statements to Tampa Bay? Others in the "Atlantic" supplier set you refer to? I will, would do so.    As to your sentiments and rationale, I am in total agreement/confluence. Bob Fenner, who just changed a few spellings>

Re: New/Aquarists misguided by purveyors of aposymbiotic sponge, Gorgonia and bivalves Bob... thanks as always for the clarity and direction. Yes... with a clear head (notice I did not say clear mind <G>?) I think I will subscribe a position statement on the subject. Indeed, I have no delusions about saving the world, our reefs or even friends from buying used Michael Bolton albums (... well, maybe one of those things I strive passionately for)... but I certainly want to contribute when I can. <You do my friend> And in this case I feel that I have seen enough fellow aquarists misguided and then disappointed to watch part of the reef they admire so much die so quickly (often with disastrous results to the rest of the system for especially new aquarists) from insensitive purveyors of challenging to keep livestock. Too many places promoting inappropriate animals (http://www.gulf-view.com/gorgonian.html, http://www.tbsaltwater.com/price.html and more... Ughhh! Scallops, wild seahorses, pipefish, filter feeders/sponges, et cetera to mostly new aquarists... a seemingly endless stream of uninformed consumers). What is your opinion on the collection of such animals presently known to be most difficult to sustain (say... assuming species with over 90% mortality in 6 months from collection... something far and away scary-dismal survivability)? Not to be collected at all? if so how to we leave the door open for study and advancements in husbandry?). <My position is "fairly" obvious... more of the Roger Bacon'ish not so "invisible hand"... to count on consumers to "do their part" in being informed, conscientious... in addition to prompting, urging, cajoling the purveyors to due diligence (pretty much the same) in providing such/all livestock/life. Have thought this issue over many times, and at depth.... as my involvement is not just com- but implicit. I do not perceive myself (or my friends, associates as you) as simply "pushing G/god for a dollar"... but instead "turning the human world on" to what the living world is, their place (chosen, revealed) is as part of it... G/government strictures re what can be kept, how to keep it will not serve to promote these ends, or ultimately to protect any real part of the environment... So I don't look for improvement t/here in modifying feelings, actions (witness the hundreds of billions being stolen, thrown away vis a vis "the tobacco co." swindle. I do trust human nature... to stumble in increments generally forward toward a greater overall understanding, and consumer demand for value... And you and I (and others) can and are doing exactly what I hope for, offering inspiration, information, assisting others in their own growth, success with captive husbandry, understanding... with books, articles, and yes, thank goodness for the internet, our free websites> Placing some of the burden on the vendors to fairly advise their clientele on husbandry? (ehhh... doesn't seem realistic). Of course, I know you have spent a lifetime trying to inform consumers to be better educated... to yield their most powerful weapon: where to spend their dollar. <This does actually happen... People/end-users voting with their dollars and feet do direct the markets> But my beef specifically is with the exploitation of the uninformed that haven't been fairly guided yet or educated on necessary husbandry for challenging aquarium creatures. I guess I'm asking because I don't know exactly what it is I would say in a position statement just yet. <Then keep thinking your position through. You will know> What I really would like to see is the reduced collection of (presently) the most challenging species. And for the decreased collection of said animals, their trade price would/should go up accordingly (a perk to the insensitive collectors). As such, there would be a reduced consumption of these creatures so freely by resellers and subsequently by consumers on impulse. It's the discount wholesale slaughter of these animals that gets me so impassioned! <I have a proposition for you that will go some way to satisfying, fulfilling both our passions on this topic: To write, have published works on species to avoid, reasons for same, direction to more appropriate forms. I will help co-write if you'd like, and/or provide you editing, images. You will have saved uncountable life, helped others, and redeemed yourself> Arghhh! I could rant and ramble for too long about this. Thanks again for the insight.. I shall try to take our weekly queries about these poor creatures with greater composure and resolve to make that position statement. Any recommendations on "how many is too many" for use of the "F" word and its derivatives in just such a position statement? Hmmm... <Swearing is only advisable as/if it adds considerably to your force of argument. "Speak the simple truth" if you know it and your words will echo like thunder my friend> I'll have to give it some more thought <G> Thanks, bud Antoine <Make it known which group, organisms you'd like to start on. Bob Fenner>

Writings (TMC) (Looking for info. on Chaetodontoplus Angels) It now turns out he has ordered a Scribbled Angel, whatever that is. Is this going to be ok in the tank with the current residents?  <Should be. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/chaetodonoplus/index.htm and the FAQs beyond... Do familiarize yourself with the search engine on the site (for instance at the bottom here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ where you can practice by inserting the term "scribbled angel". Voila! Bob Fenner> Thanks for this, I do appreciate your help. Lindy

Compatibility & Algae Questions   150 FO Dear guys, <Steven Pro in this afternoon.> Thank you in advance. I have a 150 gallon F/O with 65lbs of liverock. ammonia-0 nitrite-0 nitrate-0 pH-8.2 phosphates-1.0 equipped w/Eheim professional 2228 and a lee's skimmer (saving for a better one). It has been up for 2 years with a Picasso trigger, niger trigger and a regal tang. Two questions: #1) I would like to add a flame angel, coral beauty angel, Kole tang, 2 percula clowns, 5-6 either green Chromis, yellowtail damsels or chalk bass. I would also like to add a clean-up crew from FFExpress. My LFS guy said I would be ok as long as I removed the Picasso trigger. I value your opinion more. <Your LFS guy is right. Also, pick one of the dwarf angelfish and I would recommend the Chromis over the other choices.> #2) Hair/brown algae has taken over the tank. I have tried phosphate sponges several times to no avail. I have a double ballast light with 2-50/50 bulbs and 2-10000k bulbs which I recently changed w/advice from LFS. <Your answer awaits you here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and in the subsequent FAQ files.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Tank   675 F WOW... where to begin? Hello, I am purchasing a new tank and I was wanting to know about how many fish can I have to be able to be full grown in this tank.  <I am very glad to hear you make the distinction "full grown"... an admirable necessary!! consideration> the dimensions are going to be 7-8 feet long 4 feet deep and about 4ft tall it will be about 675 gallons <the tank almost certainly will be acrylic?> with the sump and refugium. the sump is going to be 125 gallons and the refugium is 55. I'm going to run miracle mud in the sump with a euro reef protein skimmer the one rated for 200-600 gallons does this filtration setup sound okay? <very nice skimmer... but undersized BY FAR. Any tank this size (let alone with the fish you propose) would need two appropriately sized skimmer to protect your investment. One undersized model will be asking for trouble. If you are counting on the miracle mud "miracle" of a skimmer less method for a fish load that will deliver shovels full of crap daily...GOOD LUCK...heehee. Did I mention that I do not concur with skimmer less husbandry on high fish load systems particularly? <G>> and also about 600 pounds of live rock.  <a very wise investment> The fish I am thinking of are 2 puffers probably stars and stripes and another type.  <with so many other beautiful fish to pick from, please choose only one puffer. They can be so aggressive sometimes... and since I haven't heard you mention a quarantine tank (You really need it for every tank and new fish to be added to a display (4 week QT)... I'm saying only one puffer. Besides they get so LARGE!!!> I also want 3 golden butter flies ,  <few if any butterflies will be compatible with large angels, triggers, puffers, and big tangs as you propose. If they are not harassed/attacked then they will be out competed daily for optimum food. They will suffer a slow death to attrition over many months most likely> 1 nice show angel,  <the only fish from this list I can agree with because it is unlikely to exceed one foot long? a Sohal tang <I don't feel this fish is appropriate for most any tank... even your proposed one. They get 2 feet long and it is being asked to live in a tank triple its adult size. That's like you or me living in a 15 foot by 7 foot room for our whole lives. Not cool at all and at the very least it will take up a lot of the potential bio-load for many other smaller fishes on display> and maybe 1-2 other 6-12 inch long fish  Small to medium wrasses and Soldierfish are good hardy choices for example> what sounds alright to you maybe a trigger  <not many "community ones... Niger Odonus is usually nice though> not sure which would get along with the butte flies have you seen any tanks with triggers and butterflies.  <it is a rather unnatural and irresponsible mix IMO. Please do not mix them at all.> Thanks for answering my questions in advance. Harry Reinsmith <my friend... you REALLY need to buy or read (or reread!) Bob Fenner's, Conscientious Marine Aquarist (follow link on WWM page for Di's Aquatics or some of the others... this book will give you much needed guidance on responsible husbandry that you seem to need, my friend. Best of luck with this beautiful display. I hope the captives that you take into your charge will live comfortable lives and give you and your guests great pleasure, intrigue and education. Kindly, Anthony>

Learning the Ropes (steep learning curves, with some folks offering not-so-good info.) Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I just stumbled onto your website and noticed you help a lot of people out with there questions so I thought I'd give it a try. I can't seem to keep any expensive fish alive.  <hmmm... sounds like we have the same taste in fish <smile>> I had a rock beauty angel <not a hardy fish by any definition... not to be recommended under any circumstance for beginners. They require very mature tanks (rich algae, plankton, live rock in residence. You were steered wrong from go on this fish> and a flame angel die a month ago to nitrite poisoning.  <hmmmm... if the tank is cycled how is it that you had nitrites? No angels should be kept in new aquaria (less than four months) for certain IMO> They were suffering from what my fish store told me was a bacterial infection. The flame angel was becoming very pale and the rock beauty was developing red and spots and later big white patches.  <not categorically bacterial symptoms... need more info> They recommended an antibiotic (Kanacyn I think)  <ughhh! Wow... if bacterial you needed a better BROAD spectrum antibiotic... Kanamycin is very narrow in its scope of efficacy. Very limited usefulness in aquarium husbandry as I understand it> and it killed my BioWheel even though I was assured that it wouldn't. <I certainly do believe it could have/did... I am very dubious of the advice you have been given so far... you may want to seek out other counsel locally... making friends in an aquarium society would be ideal. Do read through articles and archives on this site extensively if you like> The fish never got any better and eventually died due to nitrite poisoning despite daily water changes.  <I assume now you mean nitrite poisoning due to the meds killing the bio-filter?> I have a 45 gallon tank with a H.O.T. magnum pro system and an Aqua C remora skimmer with a MaxiJet pump. When the BioWheel recovered (two striped damsels, a blue devil damsel, a lawnmower blenny, and a Blue hippo tang survived the nitrite levels) I added a Coral Beauty Angel. He adjusted fine and became the dominant fish in the tank. I had him for three weeks and on Monday, I noticed tiny white spots all over him and the tang.  <am I correct that you do not have a hospital tank and are not quarantining fishes? A QT tank is critical to protect the investment and lives you have in your main tank. All new fish and sick fish if the occasion should arise, should be held in QT for 4 weeks... please read up in archives (especially FAQ's) on this subject. Critical if you are going to stay in the hobby> I pulled out the live rock(10 lbs) and I'm keeping it in a five gallon bucket with the powerhead circulating the water and I added Sea cure immediately. My levels are all at 0 with nitrate at 20 ppm. The Coral Beauty died on Wednesday <all dwarf angels are extremely sensitive to copper... fire whoever suggested you use it> and the Tang is getting worse.  <please review an conduct proper freshwater dips (protocol in WWM archives, again> The copper is at .2 mg/l and it doesn't seem to be working.  <arguably needs to be .25 to be therapeutic for most fishes that will tolerate it. Also needs to be applied only in a bare-bottomed tank like a quarantine tank (QT). If dosed in systems with sand, shell, gravel or rock... the calcareous substrate absorbs it... very problematic> Is there anything else I can do and how can I keep this from happening again?  <QT all new fish and freshwater dip when necessary> I am afraid to buy anything but damsels because that's all I seem to be able to keep. <much to learn my friend... enjoy the journey! Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm> Matt <best regards, Anthony>

Bicolor Angelfish Got A Bicolor Angel fish have now (after buying it) read that they are difficult to keep and especially to get them to eat. <Are you pulling Bob the Fishman's fins here? Why would you do such a thing?> Have you ever owned a bicolor angel and if so what did you feed it.... <Used to collect this species in the Philippines in the sixties... "Oriole Angels" used to be a sturdy species...> I have been offering flake and frozen brine... he seems to ignore the flakes entirely and nibbles on the brine (doesn't eat to much maybe one or two)... he mostly just munches on the live rock all day and I'm not sure how much algae I have on them that's left.  I only have like 9-10 pounds of live rock. <Do yourself and your livestock a favor, study what it takes for simple husbandry IN ADVANCE of purchasing life. Do at least read over the materials archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com ahead of writing. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question et al.  30 F Hi WWM Crew, I've got a few questions actually after re-reading a lot of the FAQs on the site (love how the content is always new!) 1. In my 30 gallon, I've got an ocellaris pair, 1 six-line wrasse, and 1 royal Gramma. All under 2 inches each. I'm quite happy with this mix so far, no aggression whatsoever from any of them to each other (except occasionally from the big ocellaris to the smaller male) and all healthy and active. If I wanted to get a butterfly or angel, which do you recommend? I'm leaning towards the Centropyge acanthops or eibli for the angels, or the threadfin butterfly...After reading the FAQs, it seems as though I'm either at the limit or could *maybe* fit one more small fish, not sure on that. <One more small fish, C. acanthops or argi would be ok.> 2. Tons of brown algae (very fine dots all over) after reading the FAQs, it seems my best option is to get a protein skimmer (I only have a big "bio-wheel" filter hanging now)...which do you recommend? I was going to get a Remora that hangs on the back, it's about 180 bucks, so I want to make sure that's a good one. I also want to upgrade to a 55 or 65 gallon tank in the near future, so the skimmer should support up to that amount (along with me getting a new wet/dry filter). <The Remora should serve you well, now in for the larger tank.> 3. One more question, should I get some snails to help with the algae? I had put two turbo snails before and they died fairly quickly (after eating some of the algae) and am scared that something is wrong with the water for invertebrates...is that possible? <More likely a problem with their acclimation. Snails in particular can be problematic. A slow drip is best. You can probably find more info with a search of WWM.> Thanks for any hints or suggestions, keep up the good work folks! -Jack <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New Tank Stock Recommendations  200 F Here is info you requested on my selections. I want to add the following to my tank: 2- Blue Hippo Tang 1- Naso Blonde Tang 2- Kole/yellow eye Tang <the tang pairs are likely to fight and three species of tang together are already a tall order. Need a big tank especially for the Naso (over 200 gallons in the 5 year picture for the foot+ long monster). Be sure to quarantine any new tangs especially in a very strict 4 week QT tank. They are notoriously sensitive to temperature fluctuations (two heaters in tank is strongly recommended for stability). The blue hippo tangs are outright Ich magnets. The yellow eye is the best choice of the three for algae grazing and hardiness. If you are a new aquarist... avoid the Naso for a year or more...sensitive in many ways>> 1- Black Ribbon Eel <although this would be the ribbon eel to get if any were to be kept... I would advise against keeping any ribbon eels for most aquarists and certainly not in a mixed community tank. They are very difficult to keep alive, passive feeders, notorious escape artists and carpet food. Best for advanced aquarists in species specific displays. Do read through the WWM archives here for articles and FAQ's on this species. For other fish selections, consider many of the beautiful and hardy wrasses, Basslets or even predatory groupers and triggers.. very durable and beautiful. Kindly, Anthony>

Dealing with less-than-diligent LFSs Hi Bob, Just imagine...for every person that writes to you, there are dozens more that you've probably inspired. Until now, I've only been of the latter. <Glad to "hear" from you> I recently stopped in at Apex, a LFS on Sepulveda in Culver City. I was shocked to see that they must have had more than 50% sick or stressed livestock. <Don't all people feel ill at ease on viewing a child about to fall down a well?> I also noticed that they have a massive single filtration system, and therefore, they didn't feel the need for any kind of substrate. Of course, being conscientious, I pointed out to the owner of the store that her fish were swimming over a reflective blue surface all day, and that this might not be so healthy for them. Needless to say, my advice was not welcomed. <A shame, for them and their livestock> All she could say is that they've been in business for over 22 years, blah blah blah. Therefore, I sent a copy of your article (without permission, but not for commercial purpose) with yellow highlighter covering the psychological benefits of providing a "ground" point for the critters in her domain. <Good for you> Hope she got the point. But if she didn't, who would be the governing body that enforces cruelty to animals laws, and would there be anything they could do in this sort of case? <There is no one as far as I'm aware... for fishes, invertebrates... the various governmental and societal functionaries relegate their influence to "companion animals" (dogs, cats) and what they deem worthy "exotics" (psittacine birds, some reptiles...)> Too bad you don't need a license to open up a pet store. I wish we had inspectors grading them like we do for restaurants. She'd get a big red "D" in the window. <If they will listen, sing them a song... Volunteer to help them, their competitors, advise others through your efforts here, local clubs. Above all, be yourself. Vote with your feet and wallet... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Jonathan

Help me spend my gift certificate!!! -- stocking post-refugium set up   75 FI Dear crew, First of all, MANY, thanks to Steven Pro for his assistance in my recent refugium set up. I ended up bagging the idea of trying to convert the wet/dry (couldn't find the right drill bit...) and went with a 20g long into which I siliconed a 9.5 inch tall glass divider (this hobby is making me way more "handy" than I ever expected to be...). And may I say that if I can do it, ANYONE can, and I would highly recommend it -- my tank has never looked so good, my nitrates are much lower and my water quality has never been so stable. And it was fun! <Glad to hear it worked out so well for you. Perhaps your testimonial will inspire others.> Second (and more fun!), I am about to receive a gift certificate to the LFS from work for exceeding some sales goals. I already know that one of the fish (if he's still there!) is going to be a sunburst Anthias (based on research here and input from you guys). I will still have about half the gift certificate left if I buy him. Here are some of my thoughts.. good ideas or no?? First let me give you my "new and improved" specs: 55g w 20g refugium 4.5 inch DSB (90 lbs sugar and 15 lbs reef sand) and 50 lbs LR in the main system 2 (about) inches (15 lbs) reef sand and about 10 lbs LR in the refugium along w some Thalassia and various other macro algae ammonia =0 nitrate= <10 pH = 8.3 (should be a bit higher, I know) <No, sounds pretty good to me.> calcium (working on this, too) around 380 -400 mg/l alk=3 meq/l (just started testing for the last two and bumping up-SLOWLY-with 2 part additive, following directions) <All of these are in the right ballpark. You could be a little higher, but not much.> PC lighting -- 2x 65 watt 10K 50/50 full day/actinic bulbs current inhabitants: 2 pearly jaws O. aurifrons (both about 3.5 inches) 1 long nosed hawk O. typus (also about 3.5 inches) assorted turbo and Strombus snails (maybe 15 or so) How about a clownfish (or 2?) I like the a. melanopus (my store sells it as "cinnamon") and the p. biaculeatus ("maroon" -- but only the ones with the white stripes, not the yellow). I have been through the articles and FAQs on the site and CMA on the group. Would they be to "boisterous" as they mature for the Anthias? <These two species probably would be a little too aggressive for your Anthias. Percula or Ocellaris (tank-raised) would be better choices.> I also like the Kole tangs (c. strigosus), (and the store has 2 stunning ones at the moment - one 3.5 inch and one more like 4.25, but wonder if this is pushing my luck tank-size wise and given the tang's habit of cruising all over the place (read ALL the tang sections...) <I would get the smaller of the two. An excellent algae eater that is usually not too mean.> Any other suggestions on peaceful tankmates for the jaws (they are a riot to watch and have become my favorites) to create a peaceful community that I eventually want to add soft corals and leathers to? <The various Chromis damsels are a popular, peaceful addition. Also, look and see if any of the Cardinalfish interest you.> EVERYONE new will spend 2 to 4 weeks in quarantine (learned that lesson the hard way...) following purchase. <A lesson everyone should learn.> Thanks as always. Rebecca <You are quite welcome and congratulations on your sales goal accomplishment. -Steven Pro>

New Tank Stock I have a 65gal tall saltwater tank that finally cycled. Currently I have 6 damsels and two hermit crabs in the tank. I want to go out and start putting some other fish in the tank but do not want to get rid of what I do have. What are my choices and how many of the same or different species can I put in. <There is an incredible variety available and I could make some recommendations, but this is your tank. You have to identify what you like. Try to come up with an educated wish list and we can help you sort through it. Look for some of the tougher fish, that can but up with the territoriality of the damsels. -Steven Pro>

Thank You, Invert ?s  20 Reef Hey, <what?> Thank you for your help.  <you're welcome...now what do you want?! Heehee <smile>> I have decided to stick with the Sixline wrasse for my setup. I do have a question about inverts. in my tank. I will have 2X55 10000K PC lighting over my setup (20 gallon). I have never kept or tried any kind or corals. Do you think this will be enough light and could you suggest some corals that would be good for a beginner?  <plenty of light for many corals and invertebrates. Trust me on this one... I have a lot of experience with the subject <wink>...avoid all LPS hard corals (many reasons...aggression, wild populations, sensitivity to handling by newbie, etc). Also resist most SPS and hard coral in general until you have a clear understanding of the difference between pH, Alkalinity and Calcium... and how to test and control/maintain these levels consistently. Instead... enjoy most soft corals, corallimorphs (mushrooms) and zoanthids (button polyps). Because of the size of your tank... you can easily find some attractive creatures from these groups and be assured of success> Also, would an Anemone be possible for the clowns and would any of the clams work? <not even close to being possible. Anemones an corals absolutely don't mix...especially in a small tank. They are also relatively to very difficult to keep successfully for most people. Never for beginners. And the hardy clams that will tolerate a new tank and lower light grow too big (T. squamosa and T. derasa grow to 18-24"). The blue clams need quite a lot of light for long term success. Trust me... stick with soft corals only and you will do wonderfully as you make your way up to bigger reefs <wink>. Not a matter of if, but rather when...heehee! With kind regards... Anthony> Thanks, Jonathan Pac

Compatibility I have a bicolor angel, a Poor Man's Moorish Idol, and a Foxface in my tank right now... I was wondering if I could add a pair of cleaner shrimp (would fire shrimp work better?) <Either of the shrimp would be compatible.> to the tank and maybe a blue sponge. Would there be any problems with me doing this? <The angel would probably eat the sponge. -Steven Pro>

Stocking Question  20 F Hey, <what?> I have been assembling my 20 gallon tank over the past 6 months and I feel that it is time to add some live stock. Right now I have a 20 gallon tank with a 6 in DSB, 25 Lbs of live rock, a Prizm protein skimmer, I also have a fluidized sand filter which includes a carbon and is returned via a hang on UV sterilizer. I have about 25 snails (baby Turbos and Strombus) and whatever else came with my live sand activator from IPSF. The tank has been running like this for about 4 months with 5% weekly water changes and weekly dosings of a 2 part calcium, Alk buffer. Since everything seems stable I would like to add my first fish. I plan to eventually have a cleaner shrimp, a pair of Percula clowns, a possibly a 4 line wrasse. Do you thing this would work considering I am going to add each piece of live stock monthly?  <yes...sounds very prudent although the wrasse could be feisty for a smaller tank> Also, I have seen some other wrasses like the lunar, Mexican Rainbow, and Paddle fin. Are these wrasses similar in size and behavior to a 4 line? <nope...they are more aggressive and get way larger. None of the latter could possibly go in a 20 gallon tank for long. Consider a small fairy wrasse instead to keep the perc company> Thank You, Jonathan Pac <always welcome, Anthony>

New Tank Wish List This is the wish list: Spotted Yellow Box Fish Starck's Damsel Electric Blue Damsel Yellow Tailed Damsel Zebra Turkey Fish (Dwarf Lion) Powder Blue Tang False Clown Fish-with anemone True Clown Fish Bicolour Angel Yellow Long nose Butterfly Fish <The Lionfish is capable of eating the Damsels and the Clownfish. I cannot recommend the Boxfish, Powder Blue Tang, Anemone, Bicolor, or Butterfly to a beginner. Please, use the vast resources of WWM to begin to educate yourself on the various fish available and their captive care requirements.> Your help will be greatly appreciated. Scott <Sorry to put such a damper on your list. -Steven Pro>

Are These Fish All Compatible? Hi...I had a question about the compatibility of the fish I already have in my saltwater aquarium and what I want to get. At the moment we have: 2 damselfish, a dwarf angel fish, a clownfish, a hermit crab, a shrimp and a cleaner wrasse. <If you don't already now, cleaner wrasses almost always do poorly in captivity. Most slowly starve to death and are dead in 6 months or less.> We are planning on getting a longnose Hawkfish. <Should be ok. Hawkfish in general are known for harassing and eating crustaceans, but the longnose is usually ok.><<Bob F will take the Hawkfish eating the crustaceans 3 to 1>> We were also thinking about a harlequin tusk. <This one is a big bruiser and does not mix in well with the rest of these little guys.> Will that work with what we have now? Thanks, Fricia <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Invert Compatibility Hi, Thanks a million for such a great site. I've been spending weeks researching for starting my first marine tank and your site has answered countless questions! I have seen much about compatibility between fishes, or between fishes and inverts, but not a whole lot about strictly inverts. For my live rock/sand tank with no corals or anemones I am wondering if there are any issues with keeping the following together: Scarlet Reef Hermits Mexican Turbo snails Blue Tuxedo Pincushion Urchin (Mespilia globulus) Orange Sea Star (Echinaster sp.) Scarlet Skunk Cleaner shrimp. <All should be fine together.> I'm going to have a few small fish....a clown or two, and something like a bicolor Pseudochromis or royal Gramma. Something along those lines. <Either/all should fit in/mix well.> I appreciate the help more than you know! I live in a rural area with nothing but goldfish available, let alone reliable advice. Jeff Rogers <Good luck. -Steven Pro>

More on swimming around fish? Hi Steve (or somebody else)? <Steven again.> I am seriously thinking of the Atlantic tank (however the blenny has to be there-- maybe he can pretend to be a kinder gentler cuter redlip :-)) So that makes it neon goby, Jawfish, bicolor blenny, chalk Basslet, three blue Chromis, and Cherub. Order of stocking? (obviously the Cherub goes last-- maybe in 6 months). I would think the Chromis are first, but I have heard that Jawfish are quite sensitive when they first arrive and want to set up shop. <Neon goby, Chromis, Jawfish, blenny, Basslet, and then cherub.> Thanks, --des/Jane <See you later, Steven Pro>

New Tank (marine livestock selection)  110 FI Hi, I've been reading a lot on your site and wanted to see if you could help me determine which fish I should put in first. The tank is 110 gallon tall and has been running for about a month now and contains 35 lbs of Live rock and 90 lbs of aragonite. We had the pump go bad in our TidePool II so we lost the dry wet for a week but now it's back up and running with a Rio 2500 compared to the 2100 it originally had but I feel because of this we are still seeing some ammonia .25 PPM we are cycling the tank with 5 Damsels at the moment and a Coral banded shrimp. I created a list of Fish that we would like to have in the tank and wanted to see if you could help us determining which should be put in first. (we do know that the Damsels must be removed after the cycling process to introduce the friendlier fish first) Fish we would like to have in the community: Flame Hawk <Can be added early, but have been known to kill shrimp and crabs, listed below.> Clown Fish True Percula, False Percula, Wide Band, Saddle Back, Maroon Gold Strip) <I would suggest you house only one pair of clownfish to prevent too much fighting). I would add the clownfish first.> Gobies (Mandarin Pterosynchiropus splendidus & Mandarin Psychedelic (Synchiropus picturatus) Scooter Blenny <I cannot recommend the Mandarins or the Scooter Blenny. If you search through the WWM site, you can find out why.> Tangs (Blue Hippo, Powder Blue, Yellow Tang) <Add the Hippo and then the Yellow and skip the Powder Blue.>  Shrimp (Coral Banded and Cleaner) <Both can be added early, but see the note of caution about the Hawkfish above. The longnose Hawkfish is a better choice to go with the inverts.> Crab (Scarlet Reef/Scarlet Hermit and Arrow Crab) <Can be added with your second or third group.> Thanks for your help. <Please be sure to quarantine all additions. -Steven Pro>

Caulerpa, Liverock, and Fish Compatibility  100 FO Hi, its the pest again. First question I wanna ask is would putting some Caulerpa prolifera algae help reduce nitrates in my tank its a 100 gal fish only tank <Yes, somewhat.> do I need strong lighting to grow it <Probably not MH's but stronger than whatever came with your tank. Maybe 3 watts per gallon.> and next question is on filtration again I've got Eheim 2217, Fluval 403, Amiracle sl-50 wet/dry filter, beast protein skimmer, 25 watt U.V and a fluidized bed sand filter would adding some live rock be of any benefit to me <Live rock is always good.> or would I be better getting larger sump as I want ultimate conditions for my tank <Liverock provides more than just filtration; natural food source, diversity of life, hiding spots, etc.> Also would I be able to keep flame angel, emperor angel and majestic angel together? <No> If not which am I best getting <Depends on what else you have, but the Flame is probably the hardiest of this group. Try to get a Hawaiian one.> Thanks for your help again ,,,,,Craig brown <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Quick Questions of Fish Compatibility and Coral/Calcium Problem  50 Reef Hi Bob! Hope that this finds you well, long time no talk! <Bob is enjoying himself in Australia right now.> My 50 gallon reef has been doing well for a while, no losses over the last year until recently. I have two animals that I am concerned about. Firstly is a blenny that I added last weekend (that's what I get for messing with the balance, I guess.) Meiacanthus grammistes is what it looks like. It is eating fine and swimming at the front of the tank with the rest so I can see him, but the tail is looking more and more chomped, although I have sat in front of the tank for hours to watch and not seen anything picking on him, and not seeing any other fish looking bothered. This morning the tail was red. Inhabitants in the tank are: 1 Golden Coris Wrasse (know that's not the real genus, since he has gained size he has dutifully eaten all the feather dusters, finished the last one off last week and swam with it hanging out of his mouth for hours), 1 small yellow stripe maroon clown, 3 blue Chromis, 1 flame hawk, 1 flame angel. They are all lovely and friendly little critters and I haven't noticed any personality conflicts until this addition. <They have already established the territories and hierarchy and now all want to exert themselves over your new addition. Try moving him to another tank or moving and/or adding decorations.> I can move him to a 25 gallon reef, the only fish inhabitants are a sebae clown (which has turned entirely black, only tiny yellow pinstripes left on the side fins) and an Arc-eye hawk. They get along fine, but I did try to add a clown goby and they both bothered it so badly I had to give it away so I am not sure it would be a better place for him. <It does not sound like your other tank is too promising.> The other issue is an "octopus" coral (like a frogspawn I think) which has done well and grown for the past year, and now is not opening up. Nothing close at all, it had a star, center stage position in the tank. The other corals in the tank (outside of buttons and mushrooms) are frogspawn, hammer coral, toadstool leather, cabbage leather, and something that I don't know what it is -- hard coral with flower looking things that comes out of it. They are all opening and growing as they should. The water salinity has not changed, ph is 8.2, no ammonia/nitrate/nitrite problems. I was told by my LFS that it might need calcium, so I did add some liquid calcium to the tank, but nothing else. Any ideas? <Several ideas. I take it you have not been monitoring and dosing for calcium or alkalinity? Please do so immediately. When discussing growth in LPS corals, we need to look not so much at tissue but at skeletal (calcium) deposit. None of your corals may be doing well right now and this one is the first to show signs. Another possibility is chemical warfare. This can be helped by aggressive protein skimming and use of quality activated carbon.> Thanks for your time, Cari <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Maroon Clown and Sixline Wrasse   125 Reef Bob, I currently have a 125 gallon reef tank with a couple of leather corals and some mushrooms. The only fish I have are a Sail fin tang, a coral beauty, a Foxface, and a six-line wrasse. I wanted to add another fish and wasn't too sure what I could get that would not disturb the peace in my tank. I went to my LFS and they had two fish that I was interested in. Once was a lemon peel angel and the other was a small maroon clown. I was a little hesitant on purchasing the lemon peel angel because I didn't want it to fight my coral beauty. <Good instincts> Both the lemon peel and the maroon clown looked to be in excellent condition and the lemon peel was the same size as my coral beauty. The LFS said that the lemon peel should be alright with the coral beauty as long as there were plenty of places to hide and the fact that I had a 125 gallon tank. <True, but still a gamble.> Even with all of this I was hesitant on purchasing the lemon peel. After some thought I decided to not chance the lemon peel and went ahead and purchased the small maroon clown. I figured it was the safe bet considering what I already had. <Yes> After quarantining him for 2 weeks I placed the small clown in my main tank. none of the fish seemed to mind the new addition. I left the tank for a little bit and when I came back I thought I noticed some nipped fins but was unsure. I stayed there and observed the fish for a while and to my utter surprise I watch as my six-line wrasse proceeded to beat the hell out of the little clownfish. <An unusual conflict. These two are fairly dissimilar fish.> the clown is slightly smaller than the six-line wrasse but I was shocked because my wrasse usually minds his own business and does his own thing. I removed the clown and placed him in a small 30 gallon tank that I have. My plan right now is to try and get him healed in there and hopefully get him to grow a little bit so he is bigger than the six-line wrasse. Now to the point of my questions. Do six-line wrasses and clowns usually not get along or I am right in assuming that it is a size issue and that once the maroon clown is bigger than the wrasse the wrasse will leave it alone? <Probably and possibly> I really like both fish but I don't want to maintain a second tank just for the clown. If I can't put the two together I will probably have to get rid of the clown since I will probably never be able to catch the wrasse, not that I would want to, it is probably my favorite fish. Do you have any suggestions on this? <When the clown is healed and larger, try reintroducing and moving around some of the decor.> Thank you for any info or help you may give me on this. Gianluca <This is not a guarantee, but worth a try IMO. All fish have their own personalities. There are generalizations, but you will always find fish who have not read the same books as all of us. :) -Steven Pro>

Overloading a Tank II  Steven, Thank you for the advise. <You are welcome.> The biggest problem I am now having with the tank keeping the temperature stable. It continuously fluctuates between 80-83 degrees. The office is kept at 74-76 degrees. I have turned the heater all the way up, originally hoping to keep it at 82 so that it's stable. At this point, I think I might have a defective heater. <I would get another heater and aim for something in the range of 78-80. I have used Ebo-Jager, Visitherm, and Acura and all have performed well.> In any event, I was hoping you could give me the name of three fish that I would be able to keep in this 24 gallon FO tank mentioned below. They need to be reef safe (have a chocolate chip star and will soon have a red fire shrimp), tolerable to slight temperature changes, survive in upper degree water, and eat standard frozen stock. I was hoping for 3 fish of 3-4" in length (I don't mind replacing the fish I have in there now-listed in previous email). < I would take out the grouper you mentioned previously and add a large blue damsel or perhaps a pair of clownfish to go with the purple pseudo and yellow wrasse.> Thanks for the suggestions. Craig <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Overloading a Tank III Steven, I thought that 2 clownfish could not live in the same tank as I read in your FAQs. I recently had a large gold maroon and a large clarkii (clarkii was in the tank first) in my home 180 gallon tank I had to take the maroon back to the LFS because it was "forced" to stay in a corner of the tank. Are their 2 compatible clownfish that can live together in a 24 gallon tank? <No, you are right, two different species would not work, but a "pair" would. I thought of another possibility for you to consider, a Hawkfish. Remember that this is your tank and you need to get something compatible, but also something you will like.> Thanks, Craig <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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