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FAQs about Marine Livestocking 8

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

Related FAQs: Best Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQs 21, FAQ 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, FOWLR Livestocking, Small System Stocking, Reef LivestockingAngelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis male pic by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Question about stocking, way over Hello, I have a 29 gallon saltwater tank. We are finally getting to restock after losing everyone to disease. This was my first time with a saltwater and had I come across your site right away, it may not have happened. I knew all about cycling and procedure for saltwater tanks, my mistake was overstocking and housing fish that were way too large for my small tank. <Happens... all the time> I won't go into details because it is too embarrassing. You were the one who gave me advice on how to start over. I now have a pretty good balance going on. We let the entire tank fowl for two months with a lowered ph. I then took the opportunity to add live rock (which I had not done previously) I let it cycle another two weeks even though it was already cured and seeded rock and now have:  1 cleaner shrimp 2 emerald crabs (troopers who survived that last episode in our quarantine tank!) 2 green Chromis 1 bi-colored blenny 1 clarkii clown 1 spotted Hawkfish 1 purple firefish 1 chocolate chip starfish They have all been doing great for over a month and I think we are good. What I was wondering is if it would be "overkill" to add a coral beauty to the mix. <Yes. A 29 gallon system is too small for this species> (and then that would end it)  I would just like a little more activity on the top swimming around since I have 2 who perch and one who never comes out though she is the most beautiful. If not the coral beauty is there another I could safely add to the mix who would be a swimmer and add some color? <There are many choices possible... Please take the time to read over the marine livestocking articles, FAQs posted on WWM... patience here, take your time... Bob Fenner> 

Two tanks, soo many choices! I currently own two marine tanks, one a 75 gallon which I've had for nearly a year. The other a 220 gallon which is still cycling as we speak. I currently have a porcupine puffer, imperator angel, dragon goby, snowflake eel, cat shark (recently hatched), two blue damsels, two cleaner shrimp, two peppermint shrimp, and a lot of snails. I'm hoping to add a trigger, a ray, and possibly a few regal blue tangs. <!... you're joking? The Trigger and Ray will eat the slower fishes, invertebrates...> Do you think that the 220 would support all of these fish. <Not at full size> Also could you suggest a trigger and a ray that would be compatible with the above mentioned fish. Also I plan on placing a flame angel to the soon to be empty 75 gallon and would like possibly a list of a few fish that would live peacefully with it and add tons of color. It's a shame that angels are so aggressive toward one another because I'd like to keep several in one tank. Thank you for your time. <Mmm, back to something in the way of a "drawing board"... Please take your time here... in mixing, sorting through livestock... There are numerous suggestions posted on WWM re compatibility, selection en toto, as well as with just the Flame Angel... Please read there and save yourself and fishes trouble. Bob Fenner> 

Establishing a pair of Addis butterflies Dear Bob, <<Greetings, JasonC here... Bob is touring Texas on his way back from MACNA.>> I would dearly like to establish a pair of Addis butterflies in my tank.  <<OK.>>  The stock in my well matured system are all soon been removed, letting me with a 72"x18"x18" tank. The supplier that my LFS uses only gets stock from TMC. I have been informed they do not import "pairs" of Addis butterflies. They say that these fish do not associate as pair in the wild, but rather in large groups, and that any specimens they import will be from one specific group. Would it be possible to buy just two specimens from my dealer and put them in my tank, or is the probability of disaster high?  <<There is certainly that probability...>>  The whole point will be to build the tank around these two fish (which are very expensive in these parts). That is to say the only other inhabitants will be specific interest fish, or functional..... i.e.. red sea cleaner wrasse, red sea goby, and if necessary, some kind of dither fish.  <<Hmm... could I convince you to skip the cleaner wrasse? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm >> My question is, (A) is it feasible to establish a pair in this way?  <<It is possible, but the odds probably aren't in your favor.>>  (B) Would dither fish be recommended, or any other type of distraction stimulus, if so, what would be the better choices?  <<Chromis make excellent dither fish.>> As I say, everything will be designed around them....... tankmates, diet, s.g., aquascaping...........  <<I would just reiterate that trying to pair two fish that can't be externally sexed has at best 50% odds, which isn't great. If you're pairing attempt doesn't go well, you will be out an expensive fish. There just aren't any guarantees with this type of thing.>>  Thanks, Regards, Matthew  <<Cheers, J -->>

New Predator Set-up Hiya,  <<Hiya - Jacob! Lorenzo G. here, standing in for the regular crew, off at MACNA>> I'm setting up a new marine predator tank, 300 gallons, and would like a few more experienced opinions on my choices of fish. Among those I'd like to keep include: 1 Clown Trigger, 1 Panther Grouper, and 1 Honeycomb Moray Eel. Any suggestions on substitutes for any of these?  <<Ever seen an adult Panther Grouper? Rather ugly in my opinion. Miniatus is nicer.>>  Also, are there any Tangs/Angels that could compete in such a tank?  <<Queen, French, Imperator - most of the big Pomacanthus and Holacanthus angels will hold their own. Tangs should be easy too - a well-sized Pacific or Red Sea Sailfin (Zebrasoma veliferum/desjardinii), Acanthurus lineatus (Clown Tang), A. olivaceus (Olive/orange-shoulder tang)... are tough, aggressive candidates. Cheers, Zo.>> Thanks, Jacob

Hogs, Tangs, Clams and more... Hello again, <<Hello Chris - you got Lorenzo this time, Bob and the gang are off to Texas for MACNA>> Just a few more questions. Could I keep a Cuban hog and a Spanish hog together in the same tank? (125G)  <<Immediate, brutal Death for one or both. Besides, these beautiful fish get BIG. Also be aware that they will chow down all crustaceans and mollusks...>> What is the best and most economical method for setting up a FOWLR system. a) Base rock topped of with primo live.  <<Middle, my choice>>  b) Dry rock topped with primo live <<Cheapest, obviously>> or c) all primo live. <<Best for tank, not wallet - would be Anthony's choice>> I'd like to keep several tang species together- yellow, purple, powder blue, achilles... etc. what is the best method for introducing them to avoid conflicts. <<Weakest/smallest first - well after the tank is cycled and stable (few months). First would be the powder blue, which is a pretty wimpy, difficult fish... then the achilles, also extremely fragile, then the Zebrasomas later, which are usually robust and cranky. Personally, a Yellow and a Purple, of similar smallish size, introduced at the same time - would be my bet. You should probably skip the Acanthuroids until you have a bit more experience.>> Last but not least, a local retailer has told me that a 100W smart lite is enough to keep a derasa clam in a 50 G Uniquarium (`37.5G tank- balance sump). Is that true?  <<Not really. They get big, fast - and would need supplemental feeding (tiresome, expensive) to stay healthy under such weak lighting.>>  and would I be able to keep any anemones?  <<No.>>  Or should I look at mushrooms, star polyps, and leathers.  <<No problem, good idea.>>  If I need to up my wattage, how much?  << For which? >>  Thanks, Chris <<Cheers, Lorenzo>>

Marine Stocking I was thinking of buying a tassel filefish or Imperator angle for my 90 gallon tank currently I have: 3 1/2" Powder blue tang 5" Sweetlips 2 damsels Do you think I can put both in the tank or just 1 and which one would you recommend.  <<I'm not sure I would recommend either one. The filefish [Chaetodermis pencilligera] can grow upwards of a foot, and Imperator even a little larger. Either one would crowd this tank... better to get the larger system first.>> I was not able to find to much info on the tassel fish can you help me out.  <<I would use the Latin name to get more detailed information from fishbase.org - you can also find some written about the filefish as a group here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/filefish.htm >> Thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

Compatibility Question  Bob and Guys, <cheers> I have a compatibility question regarding adding some new fish to my 37 gallon reef tank. I Currently have 2 Yellow Clown Gobies and a Sunburst Anthias. All three are pretty small. I would like to add one or maybe 2 more fish. I am leaning towards the following: 1 Centropyge Venustus 2 Centropyge Ferrugata 3 Cirrhilabrus Scottorum or similar Would these be good tank mates with my existing fish?  <Centropyge ferrugata is a great fish and hands down the hardiest of the three.> I know I am taking a chance on the Centropyge in a reef with LPS, SPS and a clam, but do you have general feel for either in such a set-up? <No dwarf angel is truly reef safe though... truly pot luck at your own risk. With the sunburst and the addition of a fairy wrasse... do consider adding an upstream fishless refugium to produce plankton or you will need to be a slave to their diet if you want to get them to live beyond 2 years> Doug <best regards. Anthony>

Fish Stocking/Compatibility Greetings Fellow Fish Lovers: I was hoping for some advice on stocking my two FOWLR tanks. I have a 55 gallon and a 120 gallon. Listed below are the current inhabitants: 55 gallon - green brittle star, pin cushion urchin, 1" maroon clown, 3" purple pseudo, 4" Christmas wrasse, 2" three-striped damsel, 1 cleaner shrimp, sea cucumber (Pentaca anceps, I think), turbo and Astrea snails. 120 gallon - 10" Orbic bat, chocolate chip star, turbo and Astrea snails. These are the fish I would like to acquire: red scooter blenny or lawnmower blenny, <The lawnmower blenny, Salarias fasciatus, is a much better choice.> porcupine puffer, snowflake eel, niger trigger, bi-color blenny, <The Bicolor may not get along with the Lawnmower Blenny.> undecided species of goby, purple Linckia star. My question is, how would you divide these fish between the two tanks <Blenny (either), Goby, and Starfish in 55 with the Puffer, Eel, and Trigger going into the 120.> and are there any that you would not recommend acquiring or keeping? <I would pick just one of the Blennies.> (Don't even think of trying to talk me out of my batfish, he's my favorite pet! and yes, I will eventually get an even bigger tank for him.) Would you recommend any other fish to compliment my new or existing list? <This really depends on your personal tastes.> I am not opposed to moving existing fish to different tanks, except the batfish. Do you recommend a particular order of introduction? <With these particular fish, just about any order should be fine.> Any insight and advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. <There is much more specific information regarding these fish on www.WetWebMedia.com> Many, many thanks for the excellent website and continued support. <Best of luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Re: Fish Stocking/Compatibility Thanks so much for the speedy response. Just to clarify, the fish/critters in each of these lists should be compatible? 55 gallon: maroon clown, goby, purple Linckia star, brittle star, purple pseudo, x-mas wrasse, three-striped damsel, cleaner shrimp, sea cucumber, pincushion urchin, bi-color blenny OR lawnmower blenny <No problems I see.> 120 gallon: Orbic bat, chocolate chip star, lawnmower blenny, snowflake eel, niger trigger, porcupine puffer <I would probably leave out the Blenny.> Assuming these set-ups, would you say this is a decent, healthy bio-load for each of these tanks? <The 120 is going to become overcrowded in time.> Thanks again for all of your help. Rest assured that I spend many hours on WetWebMedia doing research and learning about all aspects of saltwater Fishkeeping (and I tell all of my fish friends about it too!). It's THE place to go! <Thank you very much! -Steven Pro>

Stocking Hello again! Well, $500 later we now have two tanks up and running, the 60 gallon reef (with three fish) and a 37 gallon FO with the b/w clowns. I again have a stocking question or two. I thought I'd add a midas blenny to each tank. <Not a great choice. There are far better Blennies; Bicolor, Algae, etc.> BTW, the 60 gallon tank now has pygmy angel, royal Gramma and 1 clown juvenile. The 29 gallon tank has the b/w clowns. Your suggestion of adding blennies led me to this choice. I can't locate the variety of Chromis I would like and wondered if adding a Finespotted fairy tail wrasse to the large tank would be appropriate. <It should be ok.> I would also like to get another juvenile clown, smaller than the current one, who is definitely not full-grown as yet. If I get 2 blennies, 1 juvenile clown and 1 wrasse at once can they all be quarantined and added to the tanks at the same time? <I would prefer to see you add one per month.> Any comments, suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. I used water and substrate and Bak-Pak from main tank for the 29 gallon tank, so consider it fairly broken in. Connie Cavan <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Re: Starting Again Jason,  <<Greetings...>> Just a quick thanks. <<My pleasure.>> Could you think of a possible substitute for the miniata grouper??? Obviously something red. Would love a flame angel, but figure the volitans rules him out-I'm guessing the poor little flame couldn't anywhere near match his growth rate, and even if he could I suppose ultimate size is inadequate..... likewise Anthias or wrasse. Prefer fish with character.  <<Your choice.  The grouper and volitans aren't really appropriate for a peaceful community - more what one would call a predator tank. As such, none of those fish you mention would make it for very long. Personally, I'd ditch the both the grouper and volitans in favor of a more peaceful system. Then you could likely do an Anthias, fairy wrasse, and the flame angel - really much more color that the fish that would fall off the list, and still plenty of character to go around.>> Thanks again, cheers, Matt <<Yes, and cheers to you. J -- >>

120g Stocking Hello mostly all knowing one, <Thank you, but I think you are referring to Bob. He is out of the country. Steven Pro here filling in.> I need your humble opinion on my 120 gallon tank that I want to set up. I was thinking of adding some of the following fish into this salty mix: Miniatus Grouper, Pterois Volitans (lionfish), Coral Hogfish or a Spanish Hogfish, an Angle fish (Maculosus tank bred) or Flag fin Angle fish, a squirrelfish (if possible), Bicolor Goatfish, Powder Blue or just a Blue Tang. <Way too many fish> Which of the above fish would be suitable and what other fish would you suggest. <You will be able to fit in about half of these when they reach adulthood and even then you might be pushing it. Do reference the adult sizes of some of these monsters on www.WetWebMedia.com.> I have a more than efficient filter system and would like to put the maximum amount of fish into the tank without too much stress. Also I am going to make most of the rockwork and cave structures out of volcanic rock. Is this safe enough or would you suggest something else? <I prefer liverock.> Thanks for the forthcoming knowledge. Chad <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tank Price & Stocking Hey WWM crew! I saw this price in a pet supply catalog and am just wondering if it is a good deal or not so good: 29 gallon tank w/ "whisper power filter" (IMO not a good filter), heater, net, thermometer, water treatment. It's $109.99. Compared to my LFS it looks like a good deal. <I am going to assume (maybe incorrectly) that the hood is included too. If so, my LFS would price this out at $130, so it is cheaper, but what will be your shipping. Also know that most freshwater (cheap) heaters are not suitable for marine use.> In the past my father always bought the tanks, so my pricing knowledge is not all that good. I was wondering if Hippo Tang would be able to inhabit the tank. <No> Although they get big, I have seen people keep them in smaller tanks (35 gallon) and for some reason they never reach their "full" size. <Because they become stunted and die prematurely. Sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine. Anthony and I were just discussing this today over sushi. Always think of an animal's adult size and stock accordingly. While I may be able to jam you into your closet, you certainly would not like to live there forever.> Any other good creatures you could think of would be great. <Many great small fish for a 29 gallon tank; clownfish, gobies, Cardinalfish, etc. I would suggest you pick up a copy of Mike Paletta's book, "The New Marine Aquarium." It is great for beginning to intermediate aquarists and covers setup and stocking of modest tanks.> Thanks! Phil <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Starting Again Hi Bob, <<JasonC today, Bob is away diving...>> First, thank you for all you help and patients over the last couple of years with my barrage of questions. <<No worries.>> Straight to the point. It has been said to me by numerous people to just start my tank again from scratch. I always want one thing, but can't have it because of another bla bla bla, and as a result have never been happy with my tank, trying to build around stock I don't really even want. So I am gonna start the lot from scratch, with some familiar stock, and some less familiar stock. Would just like to run my plan by you for approval :-) <<Shoot...>> 78"x18"x18" tank, aquascaped with loving care to maximize volume AND territories/hiding places. Stock: Emperor angel* 3" juv. Regal tang* 4-5" specimen I've had for years Volitans lion* 3" Miniata grouper 4"  <<Egads, I wouldn't add this fish... for certain it will make a snack out of other fish if not when added, then later when it gets larger, including the volitans.>> And, POSSIBLY something yellow..... could be a red sea raccoon, long nose butterfly, or yellow tang.... dunno yet.  <<I'd say any of those but the tang... just for its own sake - likely to get it's head kicked in by the Regal tang.>> The plan is to get just a few nice fish, well suited to each other, introduce them slowly and in the correct order, and then let them alone to grow up and mature together. To finally just get nice fish that I know I like and are fairly predictable. Does this sound like a plausible combination.  <<Except for the grouper, sure.>> Cheers, Matt <<And cheers to you. J -- >>

Various Stocking Questions Once again need you're expert advice! I have a 29 gallon tank currently with 1 spotted hawk and 1 lemon damsel. I would like to get a small clown trigger (2-3") and would like to know how long would he "last" before I was forced to transfer him to my larger 180 gallon tank (i.e. how long before he got to 5-6")? <He would need to be moved once he grew to 2-3", within months.> How would he get along with the existing fish? <He could kill either.> They have been in the tank for over 6 months. On my 180 tank, I would like a couple of recommendations as to what to add next. Tank is stable for over 2 years with no major issues. All fish seem to get along, with very little aggressiveness, except during feeding time. Current livestock: 3' chain link eel White-tail trigger Niger trigger Harlequin tusk Saddleback clown Arc-eye hawk Panther grouper 2 scissor-tail gobies 1 pearl goby <I would take out the gobies before someone else does. They would be a better fit in your 29. Otherwise, this is a pretty full tank.> As always thanks, Craig <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Stocking Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Thank you for the words of wisdom and we will heed your advice.  <very good to hear :) It is easy to forget how big some of these fishes can get in a few years!> A few more questions if I may.  <my pleasure> The Passer was about a month old (~1 inch) when he was added. Since this fish obviously will only know the tank community where he is being raised are the odds better he will peacefully co-exist w/ the established Coral Beauty and Flag fin?  <unrelated... you can't change evolution (or a Zebra's Stripes, as they say). A baby Piranha is Still a Piranha...heehee. In this case, your only hope of a peaceful fish is the pot luck that your individual is a unique passive Passer <G>> The live rock is laid out to provide many hiding places. In any event we will watch the him very closely. <please do> Do marine fish typically mature or fully develop at a slower rate in an aquarium setting if proper feeding etiquette is followed?  <nope... but studies have shown that they can stunt and die prematurely in crowded conditions. It is interesting to note... some (not all) freshwater fishes can stunt temporarily but continue to grow normally after optimal conditions resume. Damage from crowding to marine fishes is irreversible. It makes sense... the ocean is huge and there is no evolutionary precedent for "crowding" whereas some freshwater fishes are exposed to extremes and duress with shallow streams and drying ponds that fluctuate with seasonal rains. This is THE reason why big fish in small tanks seem to be "fine" for a year or two and then die "mysteriously". No mystery here> Provided the conditions are right, is it probable our Naso and/or Passer will reach 12-16" inches in 3 years?  <if they are kept properly, yes... big tanks or early death. Now... will they die within 3 years with good care on your part: probably not. But will they see 5-10 years when they can otherwise exceed 20: probably not. Its unfortunate that we don't consider the adult sizes and living conditions of fishes the same as we do for cats and dogs>  I've found very little literature that describes actual growth rate for captive marine fish. <tons of data in aquaculture literature. Try Scripps Institute archives. I learned a lot on this topic under Gratzek and Blasiola at the U of Georgia Fish Pathology course> We chose the white-spotted puffer because they're "supposedly" much less aggressive than say a beautiful Mappa. Maybe he doesn't know about his chompers yet or he's kept well fed?  <again... just personality at this point. Hiding places and extra food don't temper bloody desire <VBG>> The personality these puffers have is unbelievable! How do we get the porcupine to stop spitting at us when cleaning the tank? Ha ha! <they are wonderful indeed! Such great personalities :) Like a pet dog...heehee> We enjoy this hobby immensely as it is forever a learning and most of the time very rewarding experience. Having a Golden Retriever we never imagined our fish's life expectancy to be comparable. We do now....Thank you! <and thanks you for being an empathetic aquarist. Best regards to you in your endeavors. Anthony Calfo>

Stocking Dear Bob, <cheers... Anthony Calfo in your service> My wife and I currently maintain a 150 gallon Oceanic w/100lbs live rock that has been running for almost 6 months. Inhabitants include 5" Flag fin Angel, 6" Blonde Naso, Coral Beauty, Flame Angel, pseudo, 5" White Spotted Puffer, 1.5" Passer Angel, 3" Porcupine puffer and two damsels.  <a bizarre mix I must say... toothy predators (puffers), ultimate bullies (passer), passive reef denizens (coral beauty)...sheesh. This is going to be tough to pull off in the 3-5 year picture> There are 3 pumps in the 30 gal sump for main filtration (900gph), Euroreef CS8-2 (included) and a 25 watt UV sterilizer (400gph). <very nice> Thirty percent water changes are done monthly using RO/DI water & Tropic Marin sea salt mixed a few days prior. Fish are feed 2X daily a mixture of frozen foods including Mysis shrimp, marine algae, bloodworms and krill. Selcon & Kent Garlic are added about half the time. Dried seaweed (Ocean Nutrition) is supplied on a lettuce clip 3X daily.  <nice regime> All the fish are peaceful,  <for now... but we need to plan for adult sizes and behaviors. Consider, my friend. I just saw a Passer angel in California that was measured at over 16"!!!  Eating well, growing and seem to have adapted nicely to the aquarium settings over the last 3 months. Tank is kept @78 deg, 1.023 salt, ph 8.0, and no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia levels present. <OK> Sorry for the long background but here's my question.  <no worries... it is appreciated and helps> We wanted 1 more fish (yes I know!!!)  <you cannot be serious... it honestly makes me sad to hear it. You need better counsel my friend if you don't know any better. This is like keeping a litter of Great Danes in a closet and saying they look happy because they fit and they always want to play> > and added a 4" Red Sea Sohal Tang.  <wow... it would be hard for you to have picked a bigger (adult size) or worse fish... rock on!> There were no visual markings on the fish and he wasn't harassed by the other fish (even the Naso didn't really bother him much). The Sohal seemed fine for the first two days swimming side to side across the tank and eating frozen food. Woke up the third morning to see him breathing rapidly on a rock and died several hours later.  <I say he committed suicide knowing the life that was ahead of him... heehee> I understand there's lots of variables but the LFS suggested buffering the water because my ph was too low and they said the fish went into shock. That doesn't make sense to me.  <ridiculous> We take this hobby quite seriously and would appreciate your feedback. <thank you for saying so... please consider my friend that as responsible aquarists we must keep our fishes with the assumption that they will lead full lives just like cats and dogs. All pets need appropriate husbandry and the Sohal alone in your 150 would not be appropriate in the 3-5 year picture...the fish gets 2+ feet long and would be in a tank on as wide as he is and not much longer. Add to that the cumulative adult sizes of the flagfin, Naso, passer and puffer alone and you have nearly 5 feet of fish length in a 6 foot tank. With all due respect, my friend, it would be cruel to run this tank without thinning the load in the near future let alone adding another fish> On a side note, it's very entertaining watching the passer and the three stripe damsel act like cleaner shrimp. <agreed... a marvel of nature> Thank you, Tom <Tom... the angels, tang and puffer all have been recorded as living over 20 years in captivity. If you have any hope of them living even 10 or 5... please upgrade the tank size or thin the fishes. In shared admiration of the sea, Anthony Calfo>

Stocking a 75g Hey Crew,  <<And hello to you.>> It's been a long time since I've bothered you guys. I guess that's a good thing because I haven't had any problems in a long time (knock on wood). My tank is very well established (2.5 yrs). It's a 75gallon FOWLR. All my fish seem "happy" and healthy as they have for some time, but I was just looking at the tank the other day and felt it was getting too crowded. My pride and joy is my Emperor Angel (7in)...he's amazing.  <<Zoinks - that is a big on the large side.>>  I also have a Picasso trigger (3in), a Paddlefin wrasse (3.5in), a small Sgt Major, and a Maroon Clown (2in). You think the tank is too small for the Emperor?  <<Yes, I do.>>  If it is I have a larger home down the block from me that I'm pretty comfortable with.  <<Gosh, no chance for a larger tank where you are now? I'd have a hard time parting with anything I'd kept for over a year - large angels especially.>>  I'm thinking of moving him out, if I do I will probably move everyone else out except for the clown and start over with smaller fish. My other option is to get rid of everyone else EXCEPT the angel (and the clown, the clown is just not going). In this scenario I would just keep the angel, the clown and add some nice inverts and whatnot. What do you think?  <<It's really your call - at seven inches, the Imperator is not done growing... personally, I'd be working on a scheme to get a larger tank.>> Rick <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Stocking a 75g Thanks, A bigger tank is not in the picture.  <<Hmmm... that is unfortunate.>>  Financially or practically.  <<Really? Save, my man.>>  I will probably keep only the Angel. Maybe in a year I can go bigger.  <<In a year... it probably won't be able to turn around in a year. Oh well - do what you must. Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking Hello,  I have a question,  <<Ok, I hope I have an answer...>>  I have a 55g with 45lb of live rocks about 80lb of live sand and a protein skimmer.  I had the tank for 11 months, the tank been empty for about 2 months now had a overheat on the beginning of the summer and wiped out all my fishes.  I wanted to start over and wanted to know if this would be a good set-up for my tank, a 3"blueface angel, 2"multicolor angel, 2"flame angel, 3"pakistan butterfly and a 2.5"naso tang.  Is this a good and peaceful crew for my tank? Thank you for your help. Any suggestions would be gladly taken. <<Well, I don't know if you will like what I think, but here goes. For starters, your system it too small to support that entire list. Despite your intended purchase size, a number of those fish can get quite large. Secondly, the list of angels alone is likewise not advisable for a 55g tank - better to have something in the 300g or more if you want to house all three of these fish. Without space, one will dominate the other two, and soon you will have only one. The flame angel would work out well by itself in the 55g. Lastly, the Naso tang is also a space hog and gets quite large - you would need a 200+ tank for this fish alone if you planned to keep it for the long haul. Do either reconsider this list or plan on a larger tank. Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking Level Hi everyone,  <<Although I can only speak for myself - Good Day, JasonC here...>>  Just wanted to run my set up by you and see if I'm overstocked or doing ok.....here's what I have in my 48 gallon tank.... 60# live rock 5 inch deep sand bed Remora Skimmer Fluval 304 for chem/mech filtration 2 Max-Jet 1200s to move water and for the livestock: 1 coral beauty 2 P.J. cardinals 2 a. ocellaris 1 purple Linckia star 1 Choco star snails out the wazoo 4 peppermint shrimp Oh yeah, and two tiny black banded serpent stars that suddenly appeared from the live rock. My snails are multiplying, little baby Turbos running (well, kinda ;-) around the glass no bigger than a bb.  <<Sell them back to the local fish store.>> Well, now is where you yell at me...how does this sound? I really want a Scott's Fairy wrasse but I think I'm pushing it.  <<And you'd be right - this tank isn't really the right size for a fairy wrasse - need more space.>>  Am I overboard? <<I'd say at this point you are well-stocked. Add the fairy wrasse and you will be over-stocked.>>  Thanks for letting me bounce this off of you. Wes <<Cheers, J -- >>

20g Stocking Hello WWM crew,  <<Hello, JasonC here...>> I have a 20 gallon reef that has been running for 6 months as a reef but 2 years as a fish only I was wanting to know if I could put a 2-3 Venustus angel in it. <<Ahh... 'can' you and 'should' you are two different questions.>>  I can have a 75 gallon in 6 months to a year.  <<Doubt it would live that long in a 20g.>>  For filtration I have a Prizm protein skimmer Skilter 400 and 2 power heads. I only have 3 small fish an orange prawn goby and 2 captive bred perculas. <<That's really about the maximum I would keep a system of this size.>>  Do you know if this angel will peck at corals I have 2 colts, 1 medium leather and 2 smaller leathers.  <<I'd say in a system like this, it's a definite.>>  I have 30 pounds of rock and a 2-3 inch sandbed. My nitrates are at about 5. Is this angel somewhat hard to keep because the one I seen at the store isn't eating yet so I'm not sure about this one. If this angel is not good do you think I could have a golden pygmy?  <<No to either of those - a 20g tank is too precarious a system for an angel fish of any size. You could certainly try, but I don't imagine either fish would be with you for more than a month, two at the most; even if you managed to make six months, it's just not really a good plan. Really should just wait until you have that 75 for the angels, even if they are pygmies. Cheers, J -- >>

SW Stocking Hello,  <<And hello to you, JasonC here.>> I have a 55 gallon tank with live sand mixed with crushed coral as a substrate, as well as about 40 lb. of rock. For filtration/water movement, I have two powerheads and a skimmer. As of now, there is a small Lunare Wrasse and a Blue Devil Damsel in there. I'm not sure of what other fish to put in there, though, and I'm not even sure that the Wrasse would be a good, permanent resident.  <<It wouldn't, these wrasses grow to roughly ten inches and are well know for their rambunctious swimming all over the tank - can disturb other occupants.>> I have had a 25 gallon Nano Reef with a pair of clowns in it, and some various corals, for quite a while, but this is my first real venture into a larger FOWLR tank.  <<55g is on the small side of larger and really what I would term as "small" - no offense.>>  Below is a list of some of the fish I would like to have, what are your recommendations, as well as good combinations, of them?  <<Check out the Marine Fish sections of WetWebMedia - many, many choices.>> Antennata Lion Radiata Lion Dwarf Angels Auriga Butterfly Heniochus Butterflies (like acuminatus) Percula Clowns Juvenile/Smaller species of larger Angels (Singapore, Majestic, etc.) Small Zebrasoma Tangs Kole Tang Do the fish I like get too big for a 55?  <<With a couple of exceptions, pretty much any of those would be fine in that tank all by themselves - add more than one and you're looking for trouble.>>  If not these fish, what do you possibly suggest?  <<Read, my friend.>>  I'm sorry if my question seems a little redundant, but with all the contradictions I seem to find, I wanted the opinion, specific to me, of a seasoned marine fish keeper.  <<A single Centropyge, the clowns, and perhaps one of the butterflies would work as a group, but again - 55g is small and somewhat precarious when it comes to stability. Whatever you choose to do, try your best not to overstock - you will get as much or more enjoyment out of two or three fish in a 55g than you will if you pack it full and then deal with the consequences. Some of the other choices on your list would require a larger tank within a year.>>  Thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

Marine Fish Hi Bob, First I want to thank-you for an answer to a question you gave me a few weeks ago regarding Nitrate levels in my 75 gallon salt tank. I bought more live rock and my Nitrates are down to 20, from a high of 80! Thank-you for the info as it has been two years and many fish losses before I got an answer to my high Nitrates that worked! <Glad to hear of your success> My question now is I have 4 fish and a snail in my 75 gallon tank. I have a Yellow Tang, a Sail Fin Tang a blue damsel and a sand sifter goby. I want to introduce a few more fish but am not sure what I should add. I am a novice so the level of difficulty of a fish needs to be low. I would appreciate any help you could give me. Susan <Mmm, time to send you into the ever-amazing WetWebMedia.com organism selection files... articles, FAQs, pix galore! Start here please: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm  Bob Fenner>

Marine Tank Stocking Do you think that a 55 gallon marine tank can hold any more fish if it has 5 Monodactylus argenteus in it? <These guys get pretty big, a good bit over 6" each.> Could you suggest and more species? I am interested in triggers and butterflies, as well as some gobies and inverts. Thanks. <Do see here for further information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/monos.htm -Steven Pro>

Wholesalers that deal with small outfits? Hi whoever may answer this, I tried this on WWF and no one answered so... I have been trying to work this tank in this city, Albuquerque, and yesterday I talked to a newer store and couldn't believe it. I had bad luck with an online Jawfish (probably shipping stress-- lived for about a week and never ate), anyway I found a local store. They were serious when they said they would order one (unlike the rest of the places around here). The guy, though I don't think the owner, is a REAL enthusiast and insists on keeping the Jawfish a full two weeks in a tank by himself. He wants him eating and settled before I take him. I am way too happy about this!! <sounds like a fine retailer to support> But gosh the folk around here are living in the dark ages. The way they get saltwater fish is: they make out an order send it to a second company. This company has no tanks. The day they get the delivery from CA, they go out in their pickup and deliver. So the fish have to go thru a longer stressful shipping day then usual.  <not at all uncommon> It also ups the cost of the fish. I was wondering if you all would know of someone who deals with smaller orders (maybe $120-200)? I told him about Quality Marine and ORA (I think ORA at least deals with small orders?) <many companies will... tell your dealer to subscribe to a good trade magazine like Pet Age, Pet Supplies Marketing or Pet Business. They have hundreds of pages of contacts and distributors. But his best bet is actually to go to LA at least one time and tour the hottest spot for wholesalers on 104th street. All of the big boys are there... QM, SDC, WSI, etc. It will be the best investment in his marine sections... actually meeting and seeing the suppliers. Order from there. Better yet, look up a fish picker in LA to pay $30-50 hr/order to cherry pick your order for you... trained eyes and ears picking the best and healthiest fish rather than minimum wage workers filling remote orders> I think the business would go up-- as everybody I have met here orders online just because they can't find what they want. If they could they would not deal with shipping costs. This is also a small town in some ways, word will get around. Also do you know of any resources for modernizing? They bought the shop from someone else and they have UGF, separate tanks (though the separate tanks are nice for my Jawfish-- not so nice for keeping up), and Skilters!! <yes... attending the national trade shows and conferences are the best place to see technologies and get samples/ideas... MACNA is in Dallas this September... HH Backer has several shows yearly... other organizations have many on the West Coast. Your LFS needs to get more involved with the business side of his trade (starting with the above listed mag.s for contacts and show dates)> (That is more or less typical here, btw). I don't think they have RO as the guy says he fights diatoms all the time. I hope you can help, we are getting a nice little aquarium group started here, so I know there is interest in having at least one good source for fishies and inverts. <excellent to see you helping them get on the right foot!> Thanks,--des <Anthony>

Compatibility Hi, how are you? I just want to know if the fishes that I'm planning to add in my tank are compatible together and if the load is to big for what I have. I have a 60 gal tank, with a 20 gal sump. I have a only fish tank with not much algae because I keep it pretty much clean. I was wandering if I can have a Spotbanded Butterflyfish, with a Flame angel (or coral beauty, I just don't know yet), a Yellowhead Jawfish, a marine Betta and a Ocellaris Anemonefish. In which order would you add the fish?! Thx for the help again :P Charles <the clownish must be left out (will be eaten by the Betta) and the Jawfish needs a dedicated species tank of its own. Please find a good reference book my friend to help with fish compatibility issues like the aforementioned "Conscientious Marine Aquarist: by Fenner or peruse our huge archives at www.wetwebmedia.com. Anthony>

Marine fish compatibility Hi, how r u? <vair-E gud, how r u <G>> I just want to know if the fishes that I'm planning to add in my tank are compatible together and if the load is to big for what I have. I have a 60 gal tank, with a 20 gal sump. I have a only fish tank with not much algae because I keep it pretty much clean. I was wandering if I can have a Spotbanded Butterflyfish, with a Flame angel (or coral beauty, I just don't know yet), a Brown tang and a Undulate Triggerfish. I was thinking maybe about a marine Betta too?! In which order would you add the fish?! Thanks for the help, Charles <The butterfly fish may present special feeding challenges but is likely fine with the dwarf angel and marine Betta. The trigger is insanely aggressive and grows too large... and the brown tang is a difficult species that needs a much larger tank and very strong water movement. My suggestion to help you with wise and safe aquarium choices would be to read Bob Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" A very good book. Best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Stocking Hi, how are you today? Can I have all these fish in a 60 gal, only fish tank : brown tang, flame angel, regal tang, coral beauty and a domino damselfish?! <No, one angel, one tang, and skip the damsel.> If I can, in what order would you put them in the tank? Which of these species cannot go with feather dusters?! <The angels are not to be trusted. -Steven Pro>

Tank Stocking Hello <Hello to you, Anthony here helping out.> My tank has cycled for over a month with 4 damsels. My ammonia is 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate 12. I've put a finger leather, yellow polyps, button polyps, xenias, Halimeda, and Caulerpa in and they are all doing good. Please give me your input on what livestock to start with and how often to add additional spices: Purple Tang Red Sea Sailfin Bicolor Anthias Maroon Clown Cardinal Citron Gobi Scooter Blenny Firefish <Yikes... you have a staggering dichotomy in fish personalities here ranging from satanic to fish food! Serious compatibility problems here. The Sailfin, Purple and Maroon are all VERY active community fishes if not seriously aggressive at times. If they don't eventually kill the Firefish, citron, cardinal and Anthias then they will at least intimidate them from their activity (discouraging their feeding and leading to their slow starvation). Further more... the Anthias MUST be in schools and the cardinals likely should be. It would take a huge tank and massive feedings to keep the Anthias with the Sailfin alone. Bud... you really need to decide if you want small ultra passive fishes or a tank of big boys. The chances of a successful compromise with this list are slim.> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony>

Non-aggressive Fish I recently got rid of my domino damsel and my tank seems to have a totally new disposition. I have a Yellow Tang, Naso Tang, and a Gold Striped Maroon Clown. My question is: what type of Trigger and large Angel can I get that will not chase them around? <Please begin your education with these files: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/index.htm and follow on through the linked files in blue at the top of each page.> Also, will an Australian Harlequin Wrasse chase them when he gets bigger? <It is hard to accurately predict exact temperaments as each fish varies individually, but that said, these are all big tough fish and should be able to establish a hierarchy without real harm to each other given enough room.> I have a 90 gallon right now but I will be building a bigger tank later. <You will definitely need a larger tank in the next year or two.> Thanks for your help. -Kristerfer Reddish <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking Dear Mr. Fenner, I have purchased your book, and I have read it many times. I would have no hesitation in saying that it is the single most helpful book I own, and I wouldn't have as nice of an aquarium as I do without it! Anyway, my question for you has to deal with stocking my 2 month old 150 gallon fish tank. Right now I have a Hippo Tang, Naso Tang, Foxface (all about 4-5"), Clarkii Clownfish, and two Neon Gobies. I plan on eventually (over the course of a few months) adding a Purple Tang, Emperor Angelfish, and Flame Angelfish. My question is, do you think that this bioload will be too great for my tank? <Not too much, but about all you will be able to accommodate.> For filtration, I have a Nuclear canister filter,  <I am unfamiliar with this product.> Kent Nautilus and Prism protein skimmer, and about 100lbs of live rock. <You should have brisk circulation, something about 1500 gph or more.> I do a 30 gallon water change every couple of weeks and clean out all the equipment, and I plan on growing macroalgae somewhere in my sump for extra nutrient removal. <Good idea.> Thank you for taking time to answer my question, I really appreciate your help! Craig S. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking 55g FOWLR Dear Mr. Fenner et alia, <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> How do you do? First and foremost, I would like to commend you on a great job on WetWebMedia !  <<Well thank you, but I can't bask in all the credit. It is the result of work by many people.>> I am in the process of building a 55G FOWLR. I am going to specifically rare the following Butterflies: 1)Forcipiger longirostris 2)Chaetodon declivis 3)Chaetodon ephippium 4)Chelmon rostratus <<Oh my... a 55 is really rather small for these fish, even though there are only four. You really need 100+ gallons.>> Succinctly, I believe that it will require a skimmer and a UV filter besides the usual suspects. However, I do not have the exact specs on the equipment I am going to purchase. <<Everything except the UV... you can avoid this purchase and instead put the money in a quarantine system for the incoming fish. You can avoid most all parasitic disease issues with careful quarantine practices.>> 1) Best skimmer for a 55G?  <<I'm a fan of the various AquaC models>> 2) Heater wattage?  <<Depends on the manufacturer - check the back of the box.>> 3) Power-head GPH? (I will go with two)  <<As much as possible. More is better. A good range to shoot for is 10x the system volume circulated every hour. This would include your re-circulation pump.>> 4) Lights wattage/Kelvin/Lumens?  <<Matters not at all - fish could care less about Kelvin and wattage. These are really only important for keeping corals and other photosynthetic organisms.>> 5) Best UV filter for a 55G?  <<None.>> Other questions include: 1) The tank will come out of the box with a hang-over-the-back filter. Do I need this since there is already a skimmer and U.V. filtration? <<Well... I didn't see you mention the live rock... [the LR part of FOWLR]. First and foremost you need a biological filter, which the live rock will provide. You will also need some form of mechanical filtration, which the hang on unit will provide.>> 2) Would I need a clean-up crew to augment the mechanical and biological filtration?  <<Time will tell, it probably won't hurt.>> 3) Will a 2-inch sand bed suffice?  <<No, this is a problematic depth. One inch or less, or five inches or more will keep you out of trouble.>> 4) Would you recommend a larger tank for the fantastic four?  <<Already did.>> Please advice and thank you in advance. Best, Mimie <<Cheers, J -- >>

What would you guys put in here? <<Hello, JasonC here...>> Just wanted to see what you guys think the best combo to add to my tank. I just got a 240 and will have a golden moray been about 11" for a year even though he eats a LOT), a Radiata lion, juv. emperor, false percula, Sailfin, and a blue damsel. The tank is full of live rock and live sand, and has decent skimming (AquaC). Can I add more fish, or will these guys fill it up eventually. I would like one or two colorful fish if possible.  <<You could certainly add a few, I would think some Anthias would be nice, although with that lion swimming around in there, I'd be a little cautious. As long as the clown seems to be doing well around the eel and lionfish, you'll likely be fine. There are many choices, descriptions on the WetWebMedia site.>> Thanks for the time and info...Ken <<Cheers, J -- >>

Help needed! (Tale of incredible crowding, livestock mixing, attempted in a much larger system) Dear Bob, <Actually, Steven Pro this night.> It has been over a year since we last talked. I needed some help with my shark and you were wonderful. I now have a huge, totally different problem I need you to help me with. I just moved from NY to Annapolis, MD. I rented a house here, and I asked the owner if I could move my 300 gallon aquarium in the house. He told me there was no problem at all and that actually I could keep his little 12 gallon desktop aquarium and that he was leaving the little aquarium and his inhabitants for me in the house when I move in. <Wow, how nice!> I was quite happy to keep it and actually didn't even ask him what kind of fish he had in there, since it was such a small aquarium. To my surprise, I moved into the house yesterday and found the little aquarium to have not only a few inhabitants, but it's totally overcrowded! There are species in there I've never dealt with and some species I have of my own. I'm giving you the list of what's in the aquarium, but beware, you will not like the news! <I will brace myself.> The aquarium is one of those Tenecor desktop, reef ready aquariums. It has: -12 gallon acrylic Uniquarium with built in Wet/Dry filter -Clear-for-Life Protein Skimmer - specially designed for the Uniquarium, it is placed in the provided chamber at the back of the tank where it is completely out of sight. -Air Pump and tubing (to operate skimmer) -Power Compact Reef Lighting -one 9 watt 7100K -one 27 watt 6700K -polished reflector -splash lens -remote ballast with 6' cord -separate power cords for dawn and dusk control <Ok, not bad so far.> Now, the fishes are: 1 tiny (1") Panther Grouper (a real cutie) <Wow, only needs a tank about 20 times this size.> 1 Porcupine Puffer (small) a real clown <And 10 times for this one.> 1 Purple Nudibranch (never seen those before) <Please see the coverage of these written here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudibran.htm> 2 Cinnamon (?) Clown Fish <Finally, something appropriate!> 1 Bubble Anemone (I don't know the species) about 3" <See here for care info and pictures for proper ID http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> 1 Purple Linckia Starfish <Ok> 2 Anemone Shrimps <Can be tricky, but manageable.> 1 Red Ball Sponge (?) about 4" <Very difficult, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm> 1 Pseudochromis Strawberry fish, very small <A soon to be mean little bugger.> 1 tiny Purple Lobster <Not to be trusted, predatory in nature.> 1 Purple/Orange Sea Squirt <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm> I wouldn't know all these species myself, but he left a list with their names on the table. And that's it. He left no notes on how to care for them or anything. Just plain gave me the aquarium totally overcrowded with all the fish and corals. Pretty sad, I know, but I need your help with this. I can't move any of them to my other tank because, even though it's large, I made it mainly with aggressive species. I have my Epaulette Shark in there, a blue ribbon eel, a few lion fish, a Miniata grouper (adult), a queen parrotfish, one warty frog fish, one fishing frog fish, one harlequin tusk fish and a bunch of cardinal fish as food for some of my large predator fish. I also have lots of crustaceans and snails, but they are either for food or as a clean up-crew purpose. I can't move anyone from the small aquarium to my large one because they will become food! Health wise, all the species in the little tank, including corals, are looking great! <For the time being> Water temperature, salinity, NO2 and NO3 levels, ammonia levels and all other tests I've done are within normal ranges. The tank actually is quite healthy, considering the overcrowding situation. The owner didn't want anything to do with it when I called (I actually wanted to yell at him, but I kept my manners to myself) and he said he had the aquarium for about 4 months now and that the only new addition has been the little Panther Grouper, which he bought 2 weeks ago. What do you think I should do? <Remove just about everyone except the anemone, clownfish, starfish, shrimps, and perhaps the Pseudochromis. Perhaps you have a local marine aquarium society that could help you find good homes for the extras.> I certainly don't want to spend huge amounts of money buying another very large aquarium. Is a 60 gallon large enough for some of the fish species in there? <No> Can I keep only the corals and the clownish in the little tank? <My thoughts exactly> How do I feed the corals? <Please read the links I gave you above.> What about the wiggly Nudibranch? <More than likely will die.> What do I feed that? <No clue. Most are very select feeders and fail to live in captivity.> Can I actually leave them all in there, since they all have been doing so well at this point, and wait until the grouper gets larger and move him to my large tank? <No, someone will die, perhaps several, and you risk having them take the whole tank with them because of the small volume of water.> Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Marcela <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Green Chromis (numbers of the beasts) Dear Bob, A friend read that you should keep these fish in groups but only in odd numbers. Why???? <Sometimes called the "locker room effect" (by me at least), even numbers seem to lead to more fighting, bullying... between individuals. Having the "odd fish" results in having a bit more rest, ability to hide from the alpha individual/s> I have 5 in a shoal with no problems. He had 6 but one was attacked by the remainder and died. <Not atypical... but could be that the others had just already established territories that their resource would allow... no more room for another> Is the theory of odd/even numbers proven. It has certainly caused debate at my LFS (UK Marines -Roy Meeke) <No progress without conflict... not me this time, Nietzsche. Bob Fenner> Any answers would be appreciated. Kindest Regards, Stephen Tope

Re: Green Chromis Dear Bob <Hi Steve> Many thanks for the prompt reply. I am busy upgrading to a 200 gallon system with 80 Gallon plenum sump. What number would be a good shoal for a tank of this size? <Five, seven, nine> They will be housed with 2 x Maroon Clowns, 1 Sixline Wrasse, 2 Lipstick Tangs, 3/4 Yellow Tangs, 1 Flame Angel and a couple of gobies. I am looking to make an impact with them. <Put them in first> Regards, Steve Tope <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Plan Hi WWM crew, I am currently cycling my 30 gallon FOWLR tank and am trying to work out a suitable stocking plan. I have been doing a lot of research to try and find fish that are quite hardy and stay reasonably small. I was thinking about adding the following (in the order stated) and would greatly appreciate any comments/changes. When cycled: 1 Dottyback, 1 percula clown (would this be ok without anemone?). <Of course, the clownfish will be just fine without an anemone.> Leave for 1 month then add: 8 snails (2 each of Astrea, turbo, Cerith, Nerites), 2 hermit crabs, 1 Y.T.B Damsel. Leave for 1 month then add: 1 neon goby, 1 coral beauty angel. <I would suggest a few changes. Add only one fish per month and change the order slightly: Neon Goby then Clownfish then Snails then Coral Beauty Angel then Dottyback.> Thanks very much for your time and your amazing site. Matt. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking question Thanks again for all your help. I am usually a very impatient/impulsive person, but I am determined to learn some patience with this hobby (it's supposed to be relaxing, after all). <This hobby will teach you patience or you will lose a lot of livestock and money.> Your site and email responses have really encouraged me to "do it the right way", i.e. be patient, stay the course, etc. I am determined to NOT be one of those people out of the hobby within 2 years. <Sometimes even less. It is a real problem with this hobby/industry.> In fact, I have 2-3 other spots in my house already picked out where I can add new tanks as money/time/experience affords. <I think I am talking to our next fish addict.> Took your advice and got a QT with a simple hang-on filter. Current plan is to mix up some saltwater for my first water change, do the change this weekend, use the old water from the main tank in the QT, and move over some bio media from the Fluval. So, we are steadily approaching the point where we are ready to add more livestock. <Sounds good.> Been giving this a lot of thought, reading a lot on your site. I have come up with this first-pass at a livestock list for our tank. Please comment as appropriate (and please be gentle - at least I'm trying to plan this out in advance :). <No problem, I understand and appreciate the effort.> Blue Damsel (already have) Three Stripe Damsel (already have) Royal Gramma "Yellow Coris" Wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus) Raccoon Butterfly OR Threadfin Butterfly (haven't decided yet) Flame Dwarf Angel Half-Black Dwarf Angel OR Eibli Dwarf Angel <I would stick with only one Centropyge/dwarf Angelfish.> On top of that, we would like one "King" of the tank. Would love a Naso Tang, but probably much too big for our 72. <Agreed> Next choice would probably be a Juvenile Emperor Angel - I thought that would be too big, but I did read one of the FAQs where someone had and Emperor in a 72, and you didn't seem to protest. <Maybe we missed it. Your tank is a bowfront 72, no? Too small for any large Angelfish.> Other considerations are a Sohal Tang (worried it might be too aggressive) and the last, "safer" choice would be a Sailfin Tang. Thoughts? <Of all these, the Sailfin sounds like the best.> I have 2 concerns (well, for now): Do I have too many algae "grazers" in my list that will suck my 70 lbs. of live rock dry within a month? <They will rasp down the algae growth to next to nothing, but you can still encourage and grow coralline by maintaining appropriate levels of pH, alkalinity, and calcium.> Also, will the wrasse do a sufficient job keeping the live sand mixed up, or should I look at adding something else (A scooter Blenny or one of the sand-sifting Gobies would be nice, but I don't want to starve the little guy). <You should not need anything else and I would not recommend either of the fish you mentioned.> Also, order of introduction - I'll hazard my guess, and you tell me where I'm off: Damsels are already there, so that's decided. Next I would think would be the Royal Gramma and/or the wrasse. Next would be the butterfly. Next would be the 2 dwarf angels (introduce together). Last would be the "Big Guy", whoever we decide that will be. Sound about right? <About right except for the two Angelfish. Not enough room for them to get along/tolerate each other. -Steven Pro>

Subject: tankmates Hi! I have a 30 gallon fish only saltwater aquarium. I was wondering if the following fish will go with my tank. Please make any suggestions you see necessary. Longnose B/F <No> Flame angel Percula clownfish Royal Gramma <Yes, yes, and yes.> Assuming these will work, what order would be the best to introduce them. <Clown, Gramma, then Angel.> Thanks for all your help. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Filtration and Stocking Questions Greetings and thank you for up keeping such a helpful website!  <<And greetings to you.>>  I currently own a 55 gallon and am working on setting up a new 125 gallon saltwater tank. In the new tank, I have 40 pounds of live sand, 20 pounds of aragonite sand and 45 pounds of live rock. My substrate is about 1-1 1/2 inch deep. I intend to add more live rock as $$ permits. This tank will be fish only with critters and a few inverts (starfish, snails, etc.), same basic set-up as my 55 gallon. My new tank has cycled for almost 2 months now and all readings are good. The only current inhabitants are turbo and Astrea snails. For mechanical/chemical filtration, I have a Magnum 350 with activated carbon. I am planning to add a protein skimmer and additional biological filtration (aside from the live rock and sand). My question is, where do I go from here with my filtration?  <<Hmm... I would explore some under-tank, sump-type possibilities - can the magnum. Not that these don't work but really aren't well suited to large marine tanks.>>  I am considering an Emperor 400, an Aquaclear 500 or a Penguin Bio-Wheel 330 for additional bio-filtration.  <<I would consider more live rock.>>  Do you recommend any over the others? I would also like advice on the appropriate Protein Skimmer for my set-up. My LFS guru suggested that a Sea-Clone 200 would serve my skimming needs. Do you agree?  <<No.>>  Might a Skilter 400 serve my purposes for both supplemental bio-filtration and protein skimming?  <<No, I would consider an AquaC Remora Pro... a very fine, efficient skimmer. The others you mention are not worth the money.>>  My next question is in my stocking plan. Like I stated before, I currently have a 55 gallon that houses these inhabitants: 1 Orbic bat, 1 purple pseudo, 1 white-tail damsel, 1 x-mas wrasse. 1 maroon clown, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 chocolate chip star, 1 green brittle star, 1 cucumber, 1 pincushion urchin and several bumble bee, turbo and Astrea snails. The fish that I intend to acquire over the next few months are: 1 porcupine puffer, 1 long-horn cow fish, 1 red scooter blenny, 1 purple Linckia star, possibly a tang and I really want an eel, but haven't decided which one is suitable for either of my set-ups (suggestions?).  <<Well, the porcupine puffer will likely nip the Linckia into oblivion. Likewise, the cowfish is a dodgy choice due to their proclivity for releasing toxic slime and killing everyone in the tank including themselves. As for an eel, perhaps a Snowflake Eel as these stay the smallest, but... you will need to put a lock-tight top on the tank to prevent the escape of the eel.>>  I also realize that an eel will probably need a deeper substrate than what I currently have.  <<That as well, although more rock will also help.>>  Ok, so my stocking question is...between the two tanks, how would you propose I divide the inhabitants that I've listed, old and new and in what order do you suggest that I introduce them?  <<Oh... that is a loaded question, and really more than I can answer in a morning's worth of typing. These are your tanks... what do you want to see in them?>>  Bear in mind that the whole purpose of the new tank is to, as quickly as possible, house my over-grown Orbic bat, who is quite possibly the most personable fish ever!  <<Hmm... your new tank is likewise too small for the bat fish. These just grow and grow and grow... honestly, they get huge.>> Thanks in advance for any guidance and advice you can give. I visit your website almost every day and want to thank you for sharing all of the wonderful information! Heather Barkley <<Cheers, J -- >>

question? (marine stocking...) Hi Bob, I have a 120 gallon fish tank and I was wondering is I can put a Arabian Pseudochromis in with a Yellow Tang and a Damsel? <Should be fine.> I also have been having a problem with a gold, brownish algae that is growing on the bottom of the tank at a very rapid pace. I will do a water change and the stuff is back in like 2 days, do you know what I should do about this problem? <This sounds like diatoms. You can read more about them here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm> Thanks, Nicole <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

FO saltwater tank question Hi Bob, <Hello> I'm just starting my FO saltwater tank, sand bed, "fake" coral, 55g, emperor 400 filter, protein skimmer, 200 w heater, etc. My question revolves around starter fish. I've told my two children that they can each pick out a fish, I'd like to pick one out as well. <Seems only fair> This is my first saltwater tank (have had freshwater for about 3yrs, just moved, figured this would be the perfect time to start. I want to "encourage" the kids to get fish that have the best chance of surviving/getting along in a new environment, any suggestions?  <Actually quite a few... though the stipulation of adding three individuals of some sort to a new tank of this size is a further limitation... I would look for some of the more hardy, easier-going species of Damselfishes. Please read with your children through our website re this group of fishes. They're listed by the family: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm and genera as you will see... Seek out the ones available in your neighborhood stores (perhaps your offspring can help make a list?), and check for their temperaments, toughness rating on WWM> Any recommendations would be helpful! Mark <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Reef Fishes Hi, You said that the Huma Huma is fairly easy going,  <very> but do you think it would be to big for my tank?  <in time yes> How long does it take for them to grow from their juvenile size to their full adult size?  <a few years that slip by too quickly. Really not fair to put them in too small of a tank from go. Most aquarists never upgrade the tanks for such fishes for a variety of reasons.> Also, if I got the Huma Huma or Bird Wrasse, would they be a threat to the Percula Clownfish, Flame Hawkfish, Valentini, or Hippo Tang?  <the Huma is relatively well behaved, but the Bird wrasse will likely harass or even kill many of the aforementioned. The adult size differences alone preclude the mix> Finally, what do you think about the Radical Filefish?  <filefish are generally very challenging and need a species tank. Not community fishes by any stretch of the imagination> Oh, sorry, one last thing. When I first started my tank, I went to a large fish store that specifically only had saltwater fish. Therefore, I trusted their expertise. That, was a huge mistake. Being inexperienced, I trusted them in giving me a Clown Trigger, Flame hawk fish, and Percula Clown to cycle my new tank.  <shame on that store indeed> I read everywhere else that damsels are the only fish you should use to cycle,  <not true but better choices> but since they were the longest established saltwater fish retailer in Chicago, I ill-advisedly trusted them.  <yes... good and bad advice to be had anywhere> The Percula died within a few days, but the trigger and Hawkfish are still alive( Its been about 1 month). The Hawkfish eats like crazy and often shoots towards the food before the little trigger can get any. Unlike the Hawkfish, the Trigger is very timid and always tries to hide when we near the tank. Its been a month now so I assume that acclimating would not be the reason,  <many possibilities... traffic pattern in front of the tank, excess light, more/better hiding places, etc> and I thought that triggers were suppose to be aggressive  <as adults yes> and not so timid.  <actually many are especially as juveniles> Can you please explain to me why this is.  <as above> Also, if I want to add new fish, I will probably have to remove the clown trigger correct?  <correct> It will probably grow to large for my 65 gallon tank and be extra aggressive once the new fish are put in as it has already set up its territory.  <exactly> I now know that triggers of any kind are suppose to be added LAST into a system, but it is too bad that those scumbags conned me into buying them, just so they could make a few extra bucks. That is why I like you guys so much. You guys know so much, are friendly, are extremely helpful , and unbiased. Thanks so much! <our pleasure> -Nate P.S Sorry! Thought of one more question. The Bird Wrasse come in three different colors Brown (Female), Green (male), and blue(?).  <Blue is the male Red Sea species> I saw the blue one on your site, but at retailers (online and off), I have only seen the brown and green ones. Where can I find a blue one, are they rare or very expensive? <not rare at all.. but a distinct species and most commonly seen in Red Sea fishes shipments. Expensive for the extra travel. Best regards, Anthony>

Compatibility/Feasibility Inquiry Hello. First, please let me say that The Conscientious Marine Aquarist is a phenomenal book. Your team at your site is astounding, and I spend at least an hour nightly systematically reading all of the FAQ's in each section's post (about 1 month down- with 6 to go!). I am in debt, it would seem, already to your team's knowledge. <no debt at all... simply pass your wisdom along in kind my friend> That said- I know ya'll are busy- I was hoping to run my set up and goals by you in the hope that I can debug my system issues before they occur. <K> I have a 33Long (55 footprint- they're nearly extinct now) It has a Red Sea Prizm hang on skimmer, and an Emperor hang on Bio-Wheel,  <and you can stop there... upgrade that skimmer above all. And know that the bio-wheel technology in practical application is VERY modest in its abilities. You will need live rock or another biological filter for most/all of your biological filter needs> with 2 powerheads at opposing ends. I have PC (4) 55 watts, 2 actinic blue, 2 full spectrum day in the 6000K range each.  It has 45 lbs live rock (and some maidens hair)  <all fine here> and about 3/4 inch (2 bags bio active pre-packaged aragonite sugar sized) live sand  <"bio-active" is really a shameless marketing ploy. But the depth and grain are appropriate> and a submersible thermometer. The lighting, (due to the tank actually being about an inch longer than a 55) must sit on the perfecto glass, the legs weren't stable so the temp moves between 78 and 81 degrees. Is that concerning?  <yes... more than 2 degrees is not ideal and more than 4 degrees is a recipe for Ich infections> Also, my skimmer seems unpredictable and ineffective but the whole system is about 7 weeks old- so it seems that is to be expected?  <nope... you could read for days all across the internet about the many faults and flaws perceived by aquarists with this unit. I wouldn't personally take it for free> How often should I clean it (the skimmer)?  <any good skimmer should produce daily skimmate and be cleaned several times weekly if not daily. Do consider an Aqua C, CPR or Euroreef model> I feel that I might need to upgrade my filtration, but then I read so much about the benefits of the live rock and sand and I wonder if I am overreacting...? I guess if I did upgrade I was thinking of an Eheim canister? <more live rock would be the best investment. More sand (over 3") if you want or need denitrification> I currently have a purple Dottyback and a Mithrax crab, cucumber, brittle star and 6 c-something snails as well as an abalone. I learned after I bought the reef crew that the crab and cucumber are not advised and I am considering bringing them to a pet store to donate to a tank, although I certainly enjoy them. <the tank is too small for either for starters... do return> Finally, aside for fine tuning the above picture I was hoping for feedback on my long term plan: ordered by sequence of desirability. A pair of Percula clowns and compatible anemone <no anemone for MANY reasons, do peruse the FAQs for such info. Few are hardy enough and none should be mixed ever with other stinging animals (corals, etc)> Sponges, like a breadcrumb sponge, finger sponges, Feather worm <the above two categorically being some of the most difficult reef invertebrates. Try only after the tank is VERY mature if at all (more than 1 year... perhaps longer if you do not add a fishless refugium> Macro algae <seagrasses and calcareous being better than Caulerpas> Mushroom like striped green or blues <hardy> Clams <begin with T. derasa or H. Hippopus. No blue clams until more experienced and perhaps better lights (crocea and maxima)> Can I have corals? (soft ones?) <many hardy varieties> Flame scallops <under no circumstance...they perhaps should not even be collected for most aquarists. They are that difficult for average reef tanks. Need a lot of phyto> Peppermint Shrimp Cleaner Shrimp Purple Linckia Star <above three fine> Antenna Goby and Pistol Shrimp <must be purchased together as collected pair> Citron Blenny and maybe another Blenny? <may fight but generally hardy> Can you recommend any other safe fishes?  <Chromis damsels, many small wrasse species, scissortail gobies, etc> I would love a yellow tang but thought the tank was too small,  <tank is way too small> I'd love a Christmas Island Dwarf Angel, but heard it might pick at the reef,  <indeed a slight risk but a fine fish> wouldn't mind 3 damsels, but heard they are not worth the trouble they will cause.  <true of most all but Chromis species> I'd like a royal Gramma but hear he would square off with the Dottyback.... <agreed> As you can see, I am trying hard to do the right thing. Consider me play dough and shape me as you will, oh wise fish men... <heehee... so many good jokes to insert here :)> Much thanks and smiles from right on the harbor of good old East Boston... -Brooke <how about a trip over to the Brooklyn aquarium society? for some fellowship and education? A great club! I'll be speaking there in September (13th) and Bob is too (May 2003?). Meeting at the New York aquarium education hall I believe. Do look us up! A bunch of fish nerds hanging out afterwards munching food, drinking beers and chatting about reef/fish tanks! http://www.brooklynaquariumsociety.org/main.htm best regards, Anthony>

Re: Compatibility/Feasibility Inquiry  Oh my gosh! You wrote back so fast! <Of a necessity... folks want/need a fast reply... and we get literally buried if not quick> Thank you so much... I will do everything you suggested, I didn't mean to imply I was stocking all at once, I intended to take a year or so to get such a bio load in, but I didn't want to buy something unimportant only to learn it was incompatible with what I REALLY wanted. <I see... this is a sort of multivariate ongoing "puzzle", let's say akin to interpersonal relationships twixt humans... As your system ages, animals and non-animals adjust/develop dynamics between them, the laws of causality, likelihood of who might get along with whom actually changes... hence my urging you to go slowly... make a "want list" with rankings (who's ahead of who per your desires)...> I guess I could move the Prizm to the quarantine tank.... Can you recommend a better skimmer for me? Something I can depend on that isn't TOP dollar?  <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files beyond> Also, I only just bought the light set up- if it's not enough for the clams I could return it... or essentially will I not get enough light without over heating? The tank seems shallow... <It may be shallow... I assure you that you will want more light intensity with tridacnids... please investigate further before purchasing them. There is a Giant Clam section on WWM> Respond at your leisure, please. I am grateful for your time. -Brooke <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Re: Compatibility/Feasibility Inquiry  ---Anthony, Thank you so much for your time!  <it is truly our pleasure> I was flattered to receive your email even while waiting for your reef book from That Fish Place.  <no need to be flattered... we have a mutual exchange> (Talk about 2 accessible authors!) <true! We aim to please <G>.> I'll invest in a skimmer model that you mentioned and hopefully I'll shake your hand in September.  <I'm looking forward to it!> I appreciate your seasoned advice! Gratefully, Brooke <with kind regards, Anthony>

Tank Size/Stocking Hey Bob I have a couple of questions concerning my tank mates and my tank size. I am currently running a 90 gallon tank with a wet/dry filter system, protein skimmer and UV sterilizer. In the tank I have 3" powder blue tang 5" sweet lips 4" yellow tang 3" puffer 3" hog fish 2 - 2" damsels I want to by a harlequin tusk 3" 4" inches, either a tassel file fish always wanted one or an emperor angel and also some or 4 hermit crabs would I be over stocking the tank or should I just by 1 fish if so can you recommend which fish would better. I have had my tank running for about 1 year now with no major problems. all my levels are where they should be. I would love to hear your input on this matter thanks.  <<Your tank is full, in my opinion.>> David Marino <<Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking a 240g Hello- <<And hello to you...>> I have some questions about stocking a fish only tank. <<OK.>> I'm stepping up from a 125 gal. to a 240 gal. I' m planning for a low(er) maintenance setup for a fish only tank with some live rock (about 100 pounds), lace rock, and coral reproductions. This tank will be in our restaurant.<<Consider getting more live rock.>> The old 125 gallon tank served us well for 12 years but I am really looking forward to having built in overflows ( we currently have a CPR continuous siphon overflow -kind of a pain) and to more room under the tank for a larger sump and big Protein skimmer. The new tank will be an Oceanic.  Dimensions: 96"long X 24"wide X 24 1/2" deep. - 2 corner overflows -Sealife "Premier 400" wet-dry with 30 gal sump capacity -Iwaki RLT MD 100, 2100gph - one of those bendable aerator tubes for bubbles in the tank. I thought I'd use a Penn Plax Silent air pump. Do you know of any thing better for the money (48.99)?  <<With the built in overflows and the skimmer, there will be little need for this item, unless you want a bubble wall on the back of the tank or something... otherwise, you will do fine to leave this out.>> -Sealife Impact Skimmer -"IS 400"- 28" high, 5'' diameter powered by Mag Drive 9.5  <<This brand of simmers is a moderate to weak performer. You might want to consider a Euro-Reef or AquaC. I find skimmers to be one of the most important pieces of filtration equipment available to the modern marine aquarist. Don't skim on the skimmer.>> -SeaVisions DialySeas automated biological waste removal system which also adds R.O./D.I saltwater to the aquarium for automatic water changes. <<This device scares me. I can appreciate, due to the location of this tank, that you might not want to be moving buckets of water around and such... but, I'm just not a fan of these types of solutions. You won't find any artificial human kidneys out working on the ocean... much better to approximate natural processes with live rock, protein skimmers, and frequent, partial water changes.>> -Rainbow Lifeguard 25 watt UV sterilizer <<Also not money well spent - you'd be better off running some 20g quarantine tanks at your home, and then moving quarantined fish to the display. A 25 UV on a 240g tank isn't going to sterilize much. If you must get a UV, you need something much larger than this. Additionally, the brand is just about the worst UV sterilizer out there... very poor design.>> - lighting will be VHO and actinic. Current Livestock: ( I've had these fish for 4 yrs) Foxface flame hawk longnose hawk Current Livestock: ( I've had these fish for 2 months) algae blenny yellow banded maroon clown Current Livestock: ( I've had these fish for 2 to 5 months in a 29 gallon tank ) yellow Coris wrasse royal Gramma skunk clown *scooter blenny - *I feed Formula One but this fish is getting thin - I always seem to have this problem with scooter bennies. What to do to fatten this guy up?  <<Get him in a well-established system with lots of live rock, a good population of zooplankton, and competition for the same food stuffs.>> Stocking Questions: 1) I would like to move the royal Gramma, skunk clown, and Coris wrasse to the new tank. I'm concerned that the longnose hawk will bother them. What do you think?  <<It's a large enough tank... if you have enough places to hide this shouldn't be a problem.>>  And will the very small skunk clown be alright with the maroon clown? <<Again... is a very large system. There is plenty of room to get away.>>  Also do you think a bubble anemone would survive with VHO lighting?  <<It could, they do... the question really is, how much VHO lighting?>> 2) What do you think about these choices for additional livestock? -Harlequin Tusk. If so should this be the only wrasse? Would a Diana Hogfish work with the Tusk? Will the smaller yellow Coris wrasse work with a Tusk? <<Well... this is a big system, but your Coris wrasse will one day be much larger. Even though some people would, I wouldn't put two large wrasses in the same system, even at 240 gallons. But... you could, provided enough hiding places.>> - Is a Koran Angel a better choice than a Majestic Angel? <<Hmmm... you ask a person who's favorite fish is the Navarchus angel. I would pick the Majestic just because they don't grow as large as the Koran. Both are very pretty fish and present about the same amount of challenge to the aquarist.>> - Flame Angel.  <<fine.>> - a school of blue-green Chromis. If so, how large a group?  <<also fine... I would think some odd number 5, 7, 9... not too large. Even though this is a big tank, you don't pack it full...>> - pair of Heniochus butterfly fish.  <<also a good pick.>> -Naso Tang <<This fish needs running room and grows quite large. I'm not sure I would recommend this one.>> -blue Niger trigger (too aggressive for this group?) <<These are all good choices, but the tank is starting to fill up. You will be better served to not over-stock this tank... develop a nice community. Consider dropping two or three of these fish.>> I've got your book in front of me. Shouldn't I try to stay with fish that are all from the same area?  <<It would work to your advantage in the long run, but is certainly not required.>> Thanks for your advice, Sally <<Sally... my advice is to guard against overstocking this system. I'm sure you want to make something that creates a stunning and memorable centerpiece in your restaurant, but I'm also guessing you want to enjoy this system too. A well sized community will produce more natural behavior, and will help keep everyone in the tank on the bright side of things... reduce stress, etc. Good luck in your endeavors with this system. Cheers, J -- >>

Compatibility Hello, I currently have a 90 gallon aquarium with lots of live rock and excellent filtration. I want to make it a predator tank. What are some types of fish I can have. I only have a 8" snowflake right now. What kind of fish can go with the eel. I am looking for species that would be easy to find, hardy. Thanks for all the info <<Hardy, easy to find? Sounds like a Huma-Huma trigger, also known as the Picasso trigger. There are in fact a bunch of triggers, and a bunch of other choices. You should peruse the WWM site... here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/rhinecanthus/index.htm Cheers, J -- >>

Stocking Question Hi Bob, remember me? I'm the anemone guy.  <<And hello to you...>> I've decided to keep the anemone and not replace the lights until these go bad. I paid like 40 bucks for 2 fluorescents and I don't want to waste them. :-0  <<Fair enough.>>  I just wont get any light lovers and stick to mushrooms until I can get the 100+ watt bulbs I need. Anyway, would it be okay to keep a maroon clownfish, a yellow tang, 3 Banggai or Pajama cardinals, a fire fish, and some smallish fish to sift the sand, and what sand sifter should I use? I have a 40 gallon aquarium that these will all live in, is this overstocking?  <<This tank is too small for the tang, but the remaining mix will likely work out well.>>  I have a whisper filter that filters 300 GPH and a sea clone protein skimmer that pulls a lot of thick muck from the water (I'm surprised because I only have live sand, live rock l and a blue damsel in it) Thanks for any help and your input is GREATLY appreciated :-) Clint <<As you increase the bioload in this system, you may want to consider dumping that skimmer in favor of something more efficient. Cheers, J -->> Predator tank questions Hi, I'm planning a 300g (84l x 36w x 24h) FO tank it will have about 400 lbs LR, a Euroreef skimmer, a DSB, and possibly a UV or wet dry.  <with big fish or a heavy load, the W/D may be necessary or helpful, but the UV is likely a waste of money or electricity on the display (much in archives on Wet Web Media FAQs about why they are often poorly effective for disease control as such. Please spend you money instead on a good quarantine system for all new/sick fishes. It will save money and lives in the big picture. Better at disease control than UV too> I plan on having about 1000 gph through the sump as well as a closed loop with GPH undecided yet. planned Tank inhabitants are: Queen Angel, Emperor angel,  <Two big angels are a great risk and likely to fight. With so many other beautiful fishes to pick from... do consider only one of these two> squirrelfish, indigo hamlet, a lionfish of sorts, a Sailfin tang, a Miniata grouper, an Achilles tang, and maybe a flounder.  <the hamlet will get eaten by the lion or squirrel in time... and the flounder will literally get picked slowly to death by several of the above fishes starting with the angels. Flounder are very inappropriate for most any but a species specific tank> I'm looking for inverts that would be ok in this system (if any). Do you have any suggestions? <not much because of the angels. The lions and groupers are safe with what they cannot swallow whole, but the Angels are aggressive nibblers> I'm wondering if a Caribbean spiny lobster would be a healthy part of this ecosystem. What kind of hints could you offer in the care of them? <the are hardy scavengers... might catch and kill some fish in time, but likely could work> What do you think of the compatibility of the fish above as well. <a somewhat strange mix, but possible> I'd appreciate any comments or criticism on my setup as well. thank you very much! Jeff <as per above, best regards>

Ordering stuff together (online livestock) Hi whoever I am writing to :-), <one of Anthony's personalities in your service> I am really tired of trying to buy fish in Albuquerque and was thinking of placing an order with the only people who seem to want to mail me anything in this weather (mid 90s), Marine Center. <hmmm... they have a great reputation, but know that buying fish site unseen can always be a disappointment. However great Marine Center may be... there are still life threatening parameters to your livestock that are out of their hands. I personally STRONGLY recommend that folks do everything possible to buy livestock locally or on sight> I am wondering if I can order two fish together-- a Pearly headed Jawfish and a bicolor blenny?  <adding fish the display at the same times sometimes has its benefits> Also to consider is that I have a 10 gal quarantine tank, but I do have lots of pvc in there and plan on putting a container with sand in the qt for the Jawfish. <still... aggression is a very real concern in such a small tank... a risk too with two new/stressed fishes in one small tank> I don't think they would have to see each other if they didn't want to.  <heehee... the tank is 20"X10", are you joking :)?> Another possibility, if they have one, is a neon goby ( I would order the goby and Jawfish together and forgo the blenny). I couldn't get them out of larval stage here :-) so gave up on the whole idea. <sorry to hear it> BTW, my young friend was just crazy about the Midas Blenny (and so am I). Obviously there is still confusion and questions about why he didn't make it past 8 months.  <here too> Is there any way to up the odds on keeping this fish?  <yes... behavioral enrichment... play the discovery channel to the tank all day long for fishy entertainment> For example, something dietary and no aggressive fish (unlike last time). I'll give up now if you tell me to. :-) Thanks for your help. --des/Jane <best regards, Anthony>

Question (marine livestocking) Bob, <<Not Bob, but I play one on TV - JasonC here...>> First, I would like to tell you that your website is incredibly informative and unlike any other website I have found on saltwater fish so far.  <<Glad to hear it has been helpful.>>  I have a 65 gallon saltwater tank with only a flame hawk fish in it right now. I was considering what fish I would like to add, but am not sure which ones would be best (compatibility, size, etc.) and if I should put them in all together or in a specific order.  <<I would pick only one or two from this list.>>  These are the fish I am considering: Percula Clownfish,  <<no problem.>>  Hippo Tang,  <<no problem but can outgrown this tank.>>  Foxface,  <<am not a fan of these although they are very pretty, they are venomous.>> Saddle Valentini Puffer,  <<a nice-sized puffer, but might nip on other fish.>>  Camel Boxfish,  <<nah, another questionable fish due to toxins in their slime coat - given off when stressed.>>  Bird Wrasse,  <<nice fish but gets bigger than your tank can handle.>>  Colored Angler,  <<Will likely eat the flame angel and Percula clown.>>  Picasso Trigger,  <<I like triggers, but they are messy eaters. If you are talking about the Huma-Huma in particular, there are fairly easy going. These fish also grow pretty quick.>>  Bursa Trigger,  <<Same as the Picasso.>>  Harlequin Tusk.  <<My favorite fish, but your system is a little on the small side for one of these. Need a lot of room.>>  What are your opinions on each of these?  <<You got 'em.>>  I also read somewhere that there is almost no record of Camel Boxfish releasing toxins, unlike many other boxfish? Is this true?  <<I am not familiar with this particular species, but I would think that it wouldn't be in their competitive advantage to be non-toxic; get eaten that way.>>  And if I get the Valentini Puffer and Camel Boxfish would I still be able to hand feed them?  <<While it may be fun to hand feed your fish, it really shouldn't be done - is a good way for you to get injured and potentially contaminate the tank with unseen stuff on your hands.>> Thank you for your time, Nathan <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Fish selection Bob or Steve, <<Actually, not Bob or Steve but JasonC this time...>>  You told me in my email that my tank has a light bio-load and I should not have any ammonia spikes. The problem was that I stopped vacuuming the substrate for about a month and the waste was just sitting on the bottom. Now since I started vacuuming the ammonia problem has not reappeared. Thanks for straightening me out.  <<Glad we could be of help.>> I want to add more fish to my tank, however I want something that is not ugly but hardy.  <<Don't we all...>>  My live stock in this is 45 lbs LR,(1) med yellow tang, (1) sm clownfish, (2) turbo snails (1) peppermint shrimp, (1) xenia sm patch, and (1) large bubble coral. All in a 45 gal bow front tank. Some of the fish that I do like are to big for my tank Angels). Can you give some ideas, I don't want to randomly select something that I not sure it would be compatible. <<Many, many possibilities - you should go through the Marine Fish sections in WetWebMedia.>> Thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Hawaiian Dragon, Tesselata, Whitemouth, Snowflake eels, Clown Trigger Thanks for the reply --I guess my e-mail is working A-ok.  <<Seems that way...>>  No need for an apology from you, geez!!! You guys are great and I can only guess at how many requests you get each week.  <<Well thanks for the slack, but I felt pretty badly that your original message sat a little longer than I would like.>>  I'm learning more in the past few months on your site than I've learned in 14 years from various LFS, sad to say...Rest assured that I will be asking some more questions. I am determined to make my pretty good tank into a GREAT one visually, and (more importantly) a healthier one for my animals.  <<Ahh yes, a good plan.>>  On a side note, isn't it rewarding to know that you (and all good caring aquarists, when guests see their tanks) are making the world a little bit better of a place when educating non-aquarists about these wonderful creatures, making them appreciate their place in nature? I think so. Best wishes and thanks again! Steve. <<And cheers to you. J -- >>

Fish selections Anthony/Antoine Hmm.. you are either very jet lagged, have read/answered too much email today, or are starting "attitude adjustment hour" (as Grandpa would say) early, or your other personality has taken over again. <a mix of all I suspect <G>> A grouper (although the poop would be lovely for the Tubastrea) would have my Jawfish for breakfast, NEVER MIND the expensive hors d'ouver (sp?) my Anthias would make! CRAZY man! <Forget about the little fishies! I was changing gears in my head and simply forgot to mention it to you (or you are not following my Robin Williamsesque line of thought...Ha! I was suggesting a completely different and unique set of fishes... hungry predators and hungry corals> Seriously though -- tell me more about this red light above the tank thing -- what kind/where do I get (garden center??) <many reef creatures will ignore/cannot see red light. Plastic sleeves are available mail order for a spare fluorescent tube. Red transparency plastic (used by teachers) can also be fitted to a lens... or the easiest solution is to have a clamp on incandescent bulb fixed to the tank (top or side) and fitted with a red screw in party bulb> And long spine blue dot urchins (never done urchins.. ) -- never seen them at any of my 3 LFS. Can I get 'em at the e-tailers like Marine Center or FFE? <yep... a common creature and not as dangerous/at all like the Atlantic long-spine urchin. Banggais look awesome swimming between the spines! Anthony>

Stocking/id questions (attaching pics with questions) Hi WWM <cheers> Question on stocking: I have a 50gal FOWLR, and a few polyps. presently I have 2 Percula clowns, a bicolor blenny, 2 peppermint shrimp, an emerald crab, various snails and hermits. I want to add 2 Firefish, a cleaner shrimp and a few more snails. do you see any problems with this?  <seems reasonable... some chance with Firefish aggression to each other> the Firefish will be mail ordered, should they be put into a quarantine tank, or just give them a fresh water dip to avoid the stress of moving from 1 tank to another?  <all fish should be quarantined without exception and Firefish really should be purchased locally if possible. They are notorious bad shippers> On another subject (thanks for your patience) I have finally caught my hitchhiker crab, attached is a picture. Any idea what it is? Is it safe or should I remove it? Also attached is a picture of hitchhiker snail, looks like a whelk to me, should it be removed?? The actual snail is a light green color. Thanks, Barry <Barry and all WetWebMedia friends... please send any such pictures scaled down to a smaller 'Net sized image and never zipped (problems here). It absolutely crushes our mailbox with the amount of mail sent. Please resend my friend. Anthony>

Help with fish selection Hello Bob and crew!, Finished reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist a few months ago, great book! I have been trolling around the internet trying to plan the ultimate aquarium when I accidentally found your site. I can't explain the sense of relief I got from knowing I was getting info from the best in the business. Keep doing what you all are doing, you're all life savers! I'm looking into getting a 75g tank, with 4x110w VHO lights (half actinic), Turboflotor 750 skimmer (or 1000 skimmer if I upgrade tank size), possibly ozone if its in the budget or if you think its absolutely essential, <I would forgo the ozone and put that money elsewhere; better skimmer, better or more liverock, etc.> plenty of live rock and live sand. I just made my dream list of fish and wanted to see what you thought before I made too many major investments. -pair of Percula clowns -anemone (H. crispa or H. magnifica whichever you think will survive the best) for the clowns <I do not recommend anemones unless that person wishes to dedicate a tank to them, tailored to their requirements. If the anemone is merely for the clownfish, leave it out. The vast majority die and clownfish are perfectly happy without an anemone.> -Sailfin tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii) -Emperor Angel <Your tank would be just a little too small for the Emperor.> -Royal Gramma -Yellow headed Jawfish (O. aurifrons) -Flame angel -Yellow tang (Z. flavescens) <I would pick just one of the Tangs.> -small sea urchin (Mespilia globulus) -cleaner shrimp -some hermit crabs for algae -possibly some Astrea snails but only if algae forces me to, not sure if I can rely on the crabs <I prefer snails over hermits, use a variety; Astrea, Turban, etc.> -maybe a starfish to stir up the sand unless Jawfish will do good enough job. Could go with a ruby brittle star, but a blue Linckia would be cooler if less useful. Don't want to overcrowd tank, but seems I can't help myself. Wondering if you have any ideas on what would be best to leave out. <See notes above.> Before I narrowed my list this far, I figured I would need a 5000 gallon tank, too many beautiful life forms in the ocean. Might upgrade to a 100g tank, but worry that I'll still be way too overcrowded. From researching I think everyone would get along, but the more I learn, the more I realize there is more that I don't know. Thanks for your help! Your devoted follower and fellow aquarist, Craig C. <Not a bad start. Keep learning, researching, and see notes inserted above. -Steven Pro>

Fish Stocking I have a 40 gallon tank and currently trying to get the right fish in it, because I have had problems in the past with different stores telling me what to get or buy. I have placed an order with your company, which I've found in the past to be helpful, and will get a shipment next week, but I would like to know if the fish I'm putting together in this tank will make a good community. I currently have a Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematopterus), and ordered two Common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), and one Lipstick Tang (Naso lituratus). <The Naso is a horrible idea. This fish reaches an adult length of 18" and will not survive in a 40 gallon tank. Other than that, your choices are fine.> I would also like to order a few more fish, but not sure which ones could be a good match. If you could help me with this it would be highly appreciated. <Do please search through www.WetWebMedia.com for additional information on care, compatibility, and recommendations. Look in particular at captive raised Pseudochromis/Dottybacks, Chromis Damsels, Blennies, Gobies, etc.> Thank You, Samantha <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Fish Compatibility Hi  <<And hello to you...>> I was wanting to ask you a few fish compatibility questions before I put them all together. Here they are in the order I was planning on adding them. Foxface Volitans lionfish Black and White Heniochus Cuban Hogfish Harlequin Tusk Majestic Angelfish Powder Blue Tang Do you see any problems? <<Only if you put them in too small a system.>>  Suggestions?  <<Start saving...>>  If they will go together what size tank would be sufficient to house these fish in? <<I'd think a 180 would be a good start.>>  Thank you for your help. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Trio of tangs? (marine livestocking) Hi Anthony. <cheers, Matt> Subsequent to our previous discussions, I have decided to stay away from the butterfly fish family altogether. <excellent, my friend. Although some can be hardy. Most are moderate to very difficult to keep starting with their need to eat numerous times daily (minimum 3 times daily for long term success even with the hardiest species)> Just to recap, my tank is 84"x18"x20", and presently only contains a 5" regal tang, and a 3" red sea four line wrasse (it is a facultative cleaner...recommended to me by Bob Fenner, not the one that tends to fade away). <and know that this fish does eat coral polyps as an adult too...yikes> Anyway, until I have decided to hold off on any potentially REALLY large fish like angels, Naso tangs etc, and hold off on the really aggressive species etc. What I was thinking of was a trio of yellow tangs. There seems to only be brief mentions of keeping yellows in groups, and nothing really specific in any books or web sites that I have read through. Do you think it is a bad idea ?  <not necessarily. They are a smaller and more manageable species. Success keeping them in groups is somewhat variable. Three is a minimum number to hope to shoal.> I would be proposing 3 individuals from the same batch, and all about 3", and introducing them at the same time. <very wise and agreed my friend> My main query would be: (1) Generally speaking, do trio's of yellow's get on well together? And do you think my tank would be ok for such a group. <tank size is OK for them... success is pot luck with a trio. Just have a QT ready to separate if aggression becomes a reality> (2) If I put 3 yellow's in my tank, do they swim around together, schooling as such, or will they be spread out over the tank, each doing its own thing ? <not a strong schooling fish in trios. If they tolerate each other they will as/more often go about their separate paths> Thanks for your help. Regards Matt <a hardy Heniochus would be a better shot at schooling peaceful larger fish, if you like. Anthony> Re: Trio of tangs. (marine livestocking) Hi again :-) <cheers, bud> Had considered Heniochus..... but decided against them for the same reason as butterflies, 3 times a day feeding and so on, and not so robust should I decide to go ahead with another angel species, or a puffer or lion or something.... at this stage I am not considering these larger fish, but in 12 months time, all things going well, I might well go ahead..... in which case the yellows would be the better option (I presume). <agreed... and all very wise> If the yellows don't really school up, then I will probably just get a single specimen, and look at another similarly sized, robust species. So, off to wet web media now to scout around a bit :-) <very good my friend> I really am undecided about which direction to go..... I have a few years experience with tangs and angels, and was quite successful with them really.... apparently it is quite an achievement to get an Emperor angel through the color change....  <yes... somewhat uncommon> and I found it relatively straight forward really... same with tangs.... got my regal tang about 2"..... he reached the 5" in less than a year, and hasn't grown now for 2 years..... so I am thinking stick to what I know, and with the benefit of previously experience I can only be more successful. <very fine accomplishments> On the subject of angelfish, there is one species I have read starkly contrasting reports on: The Majestic Angel (P. Euxiphipops). From the American side of the Atlantic, I hear reports that tend to suggest that they are near impossible....  <not at all "near impossible", but there is some truth to the difficulties with USA east coast aquarists. From the somewhat limited specimens that make it over from the West coast, eastern US aquarists generally are dealing with the "bottom of the barrel" so to speak: fishes that have been picked over and are stressed from the additional travel after import. So this somewhat delicate species naturally has a worse reputation than the perception of the same by aquarists near the port of entry (LA/West Coast)> However on this side, from the UK etc, all the most notable authors suggest that it is relatively an ok species.  <agreed... you are getting solid species from the Indian Ocean/Red Sea with better/shorter shipping> Bearing in mind I get excellent quality live stock (from TMC),  <agreed... a fine supplier> and the angel will probably be the dominant fish, what would your views be on the species ? <With your success with the Emperor, I say that the new angel should be similar or only slightly more challenging and would likely be in very good hands> Thanks for reading, and for all your replies. Regards Matt <my pleasure, mate... looking forward to sharing a pint of beer with you one day <G>. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

I deserve a good beating (Marine Livestocking) Hello again Bob, I feel as though I might know the answer to the following questions, but a "no" isn't a "no" until I here it from the utmost authority (that's you, by the way). I fear that the guy at my LFS is a little more interested in the money vs. fish well being. Anyway, I have a 30 gallon tank with: 45 lbs premium Fiji live rock 1 Halichoeres chrysus 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 percula clownfish (true) 1 pistol shrimp 1 cleaner shrimp. 1 Linckia starfish Assorted tiny blue leg hermit crabs (plan to upgrade to 100 gallon reef within the year) I am dealing with the excruciating task of deciding the direction of my tank (predators? wrasses? triggers? tangs...torturous). I had a predator tank, <In this 30? Not a good idea at all.> but got sick of all the fighting. I have a docile environment, but am sick of the lack of dynamics/personality these fish bring with them. There's got to be more to life than just tangs and clownfish! I want to add a harlequin Tuskfish, <Only after you get the 100.> but I understand that it is not a good match with inverts. <True> My question is this: I will not purchase this fish unless I can get a very small specimen (2 inches max). <Many times tiny specimens are not the way to go. Please see the writings here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/wrasses/choerodon/index.htm> Both of my shrimp are quite large. Would the shrimps be safer because of their size? <No, really depends on the individual personality of the fish. Your cleaner shrimp should be safe and would be safe in the ocean, but a captive environment is a different thing, very unpredictable.> I actually used to have a clown and Huma trigger (before I put the shrimps in) that didn't harm my hermit crabs (and people warned me not to mix them..), <I am very surprised the hermits lived and the Clown did not kill the Huma-Huma.> so I am wondering about this. I am not married to the pistol shrimp - so I can move it out if need be. The cleaner shrimp I would like to keep (my friend has been keeping one in with this clown trigger - no problems!). I was going to try and pair up the pistol shrimp with a goby, but I am not sure that that is such a good/feasible idea anymore. Any help would be appreciated. If I sent over my address, could you send someone over to give me a good beating, I think I need one? Thank you. <Have a nice evening. -Steven Pro>

Stocking Plan Hi Bob, Thanks very much for your super fast response to my last e-mail. I have been doing some research over the weekend to come up with a key organism to base my stocking plan around. I have decided on a Yellow Tang and perhaps 1 or 2 Percula Clown's (with anemone if possible). From what I have read, these two fish should be compatible and stay small enough for my 55 gall. Could you suggest any other fish (especially butterfly, damsel or angelfish) that would be compatible with these tank mates? Thanks again for your time, Matt England <Should be fine. I would place these, wait a few weeks, and keep looking. Bob Fenner>

White Spots on Tangs Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning answering a few questions, before Bob, Anthony, and I head off to LA to visit saltwater fish wholesale facilities.> Recently I added to my 60 gallon tank a blue tang and a Naso tang. <Too small of a tank to house two tangs comfortably. There will be too much aggression between the Surgeonfish. Also, a 60 is way too small for a Naso, even if there were no other Tangs.> I already had a yellow tang in there. <Ugh, even worse to have three.> It took a few days for these new fish to get accustomed to my tank. After about 8 days, they started feeding properly (brine shrimp, lettuce etc...) <Neither of these two foods mentioned is appropriate for your fish. Do archive the site looking for recommendations, including Nori and Formula II.> and few days ago I noticed white spots on my blue tang. <Very typical with these fish. I strongly advise you to quarantine all new livestock for one month prior to introduction to your main tank.> I tried to look again few days later it was gone, then it came back again. I saw the same thing on my yellow tang. When I turn on the light in the morning, I would see white spots all over the yellow tang and blue tang. When I come back at home in the afternoons, the yellow tang is clean but the blue tang would have some on it, but not as much. <Typical pattern due to the lifecycle of the parasite, Cryptocaryon.> I do have a cleaner shrimp in my tank and I see it cleaning them. Yesterday, I decided to give my blue tang a fresh water bath, since the white spot had increased on the body. <I like freshwater dips. I would use them and quarantine at this point.> I also put some copper in the fresh water. I dipped it for about 8-10 minutes and since I have returned it in the tank, it's been breathing heavy and I think I'm going to lose it. Anything I can do to help it survive? <Many things can and could have been done. Please educate yourself using the vast resources of WWM regarding Marine Ich, Cryptocaryon, quarantine procedures, and even compatibility issues.> I have successfully done this procedure (fresh water bath) in the past many times. <And it should be continued with other protocols.> I cannot treat my tank with copper because I have live rock and some inverts in my tank. This morning I saw, again white spot on the yellow tang and the Naso tang. Few hours later I stopped by at home and again, I could not see the spots on both fish. Do the parasites get on them in the dark? <They live, breed, and die in 24 hours. The fish are constantly reinfected with new parasites.> I'm just confused again and I need your help to clean up this mess. Thanks, Sam <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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