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FAQs about the Red Sea 3

Related Articles: A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Fishes of the Red Sea, The Red Sea & Reef Aquarists Part 1,

Related FAQs:  Red Sea 1, Red Sea 2Red Sea 4, &

Need Help ID'ing These Stars: Gomophia and Possible Fromia spp.   8/7/10
Hello Crew,

<Hello Jeanne, Lynn here today.>
I took the photos of these specimen off Sharm El Sheikh/Na'ama Bay either in Ras Mohammed National Park (Shark and Yolanda) or the Sinai side of Tiran Island (Jackson or Thomas or Woodhouse). Neither are in my two guides from the area and I would like to know what they are.

<The brownish star looks like Gomophia egyptiaca, commonly known as the Egyptian Seastar. See the photo at this link for comparison: http://www.diverosa.com/categories/Starfish&Brittlestars.htm . The closest I can get to the individual with blue dots is Fromia ghardaqana, aka the Ghardaqa Seastar: http://www.diverosa.com/Egypt%20WL/Ghardaqa%20seastar,%20Fromia%20ghardaqana%20.html
Thanks, Jeanne

<You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn Z>
PS. If Bob is leading any dive trips I am very interested in learning about them so that I can sign up!


540 gallon stock list, Red Sea Fishes comp.   7/22/10
Hi y'all!! Great site you have!!!! Hope everyone is good.
<And you>
I'll cut straight to the point.
I recently bought a 540 (96x36x36) acrylic aquarium. It's going to be a FOWLR. I already have 500lbs of rock (give or take).
My dilemma is this.....
Their are so many wonderful fish in the ocean, I would like them all!
Now, I have read over your FAQ's and I really would love to house a Red Sea emperor angel, Red Sea Odonus niger, Red Sea Naso lituratus, Red Sea Naso unicornis, Red Sea Zebrasoma xanthurum, two Red Sea chaetodon semilarvatus and two Red Sea chaetodon auriga. I've read that all these fish should get along.
My main concern is the well being of the fish. Do I have enough room for the fish to thrive from tiny to full grown?
I do not
want to overstock and I know that water quality is going to have to be well maintained with weekly water changes, brisk circulation and an oversized skimmer with lots of open water to swim and lots of hiding spots.
I do not want to get greedy and make the fish suffer for my visual enjoyment.
Thanks for reading.
<And you for sharing. Bob Fenner, who has traveled to the Red Sea many times>

Large Reef Aquarium / Red Sea Biotope   6/17/10
Dear Sir or Madam,
<Oh yes?>
I have recently returned from a trip to the Red Sea and have been'¦
<Ahh, have been going there regularly since the early 70's... a treasure>
inspired. By coincidence a planned house move has provided me with an opportunity to set up a large reef aquarium. I have started to draw up the concept for how I might replicate some of the scenes I witnessed or at least a small part of them; perhaps realistically an image or theme inspired by rather than a replication.
<Go ahead>
I have enjoyed good success with past reef aquariums. My previous displays were/are: 230litre / 60US gal cube housing Entacmaea quadricolor (number of asexual clones) and a pair of Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus); 450 litre / 120US gal stony coral reef (mostly Acroporidae, but also Faviidae) housing a Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula), Longnose Butterfly (Forcipiger flavissimus ) and half a dozen Chromis viridis; and a 30 litre / 8US gal cube with various Zoanthids and a small Eye-Spot Blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura). Most of these displays have now been broken down due to changes in circumstances but the tiny [very portable] Zoanthid tank and its resident blenny is still going strong after 6 years.
However, this will be the first time I have attempted a reef project on a large scale and if someone is kind enough to spare the time I would appreciate a second opinion.
<Ok... you have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/rsfaqs.htm
and the linked files above?>
Setup is very much at the draft stage, I would prefer to finalize a livestock list first and then choose equipment to match their needs, but I will include a quick overview of my initial thoughts on the system to provide some context to the livestock choices. As I refine the stocking list I will draw up more detailed/amended plans of hardware and its application.
The main display, almost certainly of acrylic construction, will be 300cm/ 118" long, 120cm/ 48" wide and 100cm/ 39" deep. After taking into account a 15cm/6" deep sand bed (and the inevitable live rock) it will probably hold a little over 3000litres/ 800US gal.
<All right>
To improve water circulation and lessen the amount of live rock in the display a pipe work lattice (PVC Schedule80) will be constructed to support the reef. The rock will be fastened in place with cable ties and/or Milliput. I'm not a fan of the 'rock wall' and will probably favour an open boulder (mushroom shaped as the corals grow?)
surrounded by a sandy expanse. I'm fairly sure that no live rock is exported from the Red Sea so I will have to use Indo-Pacific sources (probably Fijian).
<Fair enough>
A comb toothed weir along part, probably a third (100cm/39"), of the back of the display will feed into an external box overflow plumbed with half a dozen or so 5cm/ 2" gravity fed overflows that will drain to a 1000litre /265US gal sump.
<The bigger the better>
The sump will have two compartments; the first containing a protein skimmer (or its feed pump if it's an external model) the separating weir maintaining a stable water level to optimise skimming. The second chamber will house titanium heaters and possibly chemical filtration (activated carbon). This chamber will have an overflow tapped in to allow around 300litres/ 80 US gal to be drained from the active system for water changes. An 'auto top off' float valve along with its pump and reservoir of freshwater for evaporation replacement will also be plumbed in here.
I'm also considering the potential benefits of a calcium reactor and ozone injector apparatus on such a system and if used these will also be plumbed into the sump.
<Good placement>
An external pump, perhaps around 20,000l/hr (5280 US gal/hr), will move water from the sump to a 1000litre /265US gal refugium.
<Mmmm, I wouldn't do this... better to move much less volume/flow here, employ in-tank recirculating pumps... See WWM re>
The refugium will house live rock and be lit by a couple of fluorescent tubes, water overflowing back into the display.
Primary circulation in the display will be provided by two (one in each back corner) Tunze Masterstreams 80,000l/hr (21120 US gal/hr). This will be supported by a couple of closed loop systems, probably using another two 20,000 l/ph (5280US gal/hr) pumps, plumbed into several (perhaps eight, four per loop) 5cm/2" throughputs drilled in the rear panel of the display for a total display turnover of around 200,000l/hr (52800 US gal/hr) not including the sump pump.
<Sounds good>
Lighting will be provided by 4 or 5 250W,
<I might go with higher wattage... at least a couple, either in the middle or off to the sides... some 400 watters>
10-14 Kelvin metal halide lamps, supported by actinic fluorescents for softening sun rise/set. Also giving thought to installing skylights above the display and refugium to cut down on the amount of artificial lighting required -- a little nervous that running costs of this system could be very high'¦
<Oh yes>
Finally and where I would most appreciate another's perspective at this time, the prospective livestock.
It is my preference to stock only a small number of coral species, perhaps half a dozen or so, with the intention to allow them to colonise large areas -- my reasoning being that a few large specimens will make a better display and look more natural. Genera I'd like to use are Acropora, Stylophora, Pocillopora, Caulastrea and Favia (I still have several of these corals in culture following the breakdown of my 450 litre / 120US gal stony coral reef).
<All right>
Other than the corals, and any 'freebies' on the live rock, I do not plan on intentionally stocking any invertebrates. Fishes selection below, potential numbers in brackets.
Sohal Tang (Acanthurus sohal) (1) - the designated 'alpha fish' of the project. Two concerns here: the well being of the Sohal, I have noticed that even juvenile specimens make large aquariums look small with their relentless pacing. Secondly, given this species anti-social tendencies with age and size, the safety of the other occupants. It is a large aquarium, which I'm hoping will stack the odds in my favour, but still'¦ a worry.
<Should be fine... started smallish, after most all other to-be-larger fishes are introduced>
Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)(1-3) -- the supporting cast. I noticed these either individually or in small numbers shadowing the larger Sohals in the Red Sea, though they were quick to give way if their paths actually crossed. My unease here is their interaction with the Sohal and each other.
<Not to worry>
Golden Butterfly (Chaetodon semilarvatus)(2) - Another showcase specimen/s. Somewhat worried that they might decide to treat the various corals as an all you can eat buffet. I would be relying on the size of the system to minimise their sampling of any one coral. Hopefully sufficiently different in appearance/niche to avoid too much unwanted attention from the tangs.
<Again, should be fine>
Checkerboard Wrasse (Halichoeres hortulanus)(1) -- Shouldn't find any of my invertebrate stock too tasty and is hopefully fast and tough enough to stay out of the way of the Sohal, different feeding niche too. Might prove a bit boisterous for the Chromis or snack on them if the size differential is too much'¦
Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) (7-9) -- small group, one male. My current thinking is a group of 7 or 9 but I would be interested to hear any ideas as to what might be the 'magic' number for this size display to disperse/spread aggression.
<A larger number will make a much more dramatic display... One definitely larger alpha male or all females and one will develop>
Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas) (2) -- I'm intrigued by their Anthias mimicry and would like to include a couple. Not sure how well they would cope with the other inhabitants though, some apprehension that their small size and awkward swimming motion would see them outcompeted for food. I would also considerer alternatives such as the Red Sea Mimic (Ecsenius gravieri) or the actual Meiacanthus nigrolineatus.
<All are good choices here>
Chromis -- most of damsels I saw on the reef flat appeared to be some sort of sergeant major,
<Mmmm... not all that exciting really>
but at the edges Chromis viridis were often abundant, further down and in fewer numbers were other species; Chromis dimidiata or a similar species were particularly eye catching. These would be the smallest and most timid fishes in the display, some danger perhaps that the large wrasse may gulp them down and the tangs intimidate them by their pace and size. Having said [written] this my personal experience with these fish is that should they survive their initial 2.5cm/ 1" nervous and rather frail stage they tend to grow quickly (10cm / 4") and become a lot more confident and assertive. I'm having difficulty visualising what this many fishes may look like within this setup but again I would be interested to hear others views on what sort of number [if any'¦] might provide an attractive and 'workable' display.
Kind regards,
<A good start Mike... do read the above archived files... and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Red Sea FOWLR livestocking in large system 5/15/10
To whom it may concern,
A big hello and thank you to everyone at wetwebmedia.com!
I have 470 gallon FOWLR aquarium (84x36x36) that has been up and running for about 4 months with 500lbs of live rock. I've only added 21 chromis viridis and three cleaner shrimp to the aquarium since it cycled.
My dream has always been house an Emperor Angel along with a school Chaetodon semilarvatus,
<Just two>
a single Zebrasoma Xanthurum and a single Naso Lituratus all hailing from the Red Sea.
<Sounds good!>
Now for my questions.
After reading over the FAQs about systems for Emperor Angels and Naso Tangs I came across, more than once, that an Emperor Angel and a Naso Tang should be housed in an 8ft aquarium (or larger) when adult. My aquarium is 7ft but I was hoping with the added width and height that this tank should give the Emperor Angel and Naso Tang more than enough room to live a full and healthy life in captivity?
<S/b fine here>
The Emperor and the Naso will be added after the six to nine month mark. My system has 4 marine vortech mp40w ES power heads and an over sized skimmer rated for a 1000 gallons. So I'm doing my best to keep the water parameters up and brisk water movement along with weekly water changes.
Thanks for the service you provide for everyone!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner, out w/ friends at the Interzoo show in Germany, having just come back from diving at the Red Sea ahead of time as usual>

Re: Red Sea FOWLR livestocking in large system 5/15/10
Thanks for your quick response! Since you recommend only two Chaetodon semilarvatus would I be able to add two Chaetodon aurigas from the red sea as well?
Sorry for the poor grammar I'm replying on my cell phone. Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Velvet wrasse swim pattern   12/19/09
Hi once again Bob. I am looking ahead, researching my next addition after these 2 Golden B'Flies. In my earlier e-mail I'd mentioned I wanted a harem of fairy wrasses. After reading here about their nervous behavior/swim
patterns, I no longer want that species.
<Oh? A shame really. In a system of your size, shape, with the other livestock you list, I do think Cirrhilabrus would be lovely>
I prefer a graceful back and forth pattern to my particular tank. I'm sure they are perfect for other set ups. I am
interested instead in getting a Halichoeres instead.
<Mmm, these are far more likely to "zoom" about>
Either a melanurus or a hortulanus.
<The last gets quite large>
They grow a bit bigger and need to only keep one singly.
<Mmm, well... not really. I am a long-standing "content provider" in both the ornamental aquatics (this) genre as well as the dive/travel-adventure (business) field... and have spent decades underwater trying to take pix, make video, observing nature... I will tell you that the genus Halichoeres is also haremic... with smaller numbers of females relatively>
I wanted a Coris, but am leery of their bold behavior possibly towards the butterflies.
<There are some (not often available) species of use here, but I would avoid Coris aygula...>
My last question to you then, do/does the Halichoeres swim in the same nervous up down around
in circle patterns as the bird wrasse?
<Mmm, no... not like Gomphosus spp.>
I have seen in the LFS, and looks like the fairy wrasse pattern you describe, as well. If they swim similar to the
bird wrasse, I will then have a clear picture of the Halichoeres.
<This genus members spend a good deal of the time "cruising" near the bottom, moving in/out of spaces in the hard-scape>
I am searching for the coloring and size of the Halichoeres, but with the slower more deliberate swim pattern of,
say, a Moorish Idol. Is there such a Halichoeres?
<Most all>
Sorry for 2 questions in one day,
Thanks dearly in advance.
<Do you scuba dive April? You are indeed a candidate for dive-adventuring. Bob Fenner>

Re: velvet wrasse swim pattern, Cirrhilabrus sel., RS biotope f's   12/20/09
Bob, I cannot thank you enough here. I had a horrendous problem in the past with a very aggressive Sailfin tang. He bullied my Pearl scale Butterfly to near death, chased around the Naso, and kept my Coral Beauty cowering in the rock work. It was like I had an Undulated Trigger in there. The Sailfin bit tank mates, chased and cornered others so they couldn't eat. It never bothered the Blue Hippo, the Bi-Color dwarf, or the Raccoon Butterfly though. My 300 gallon tank sits on a 42" high stand.
<Ahh! Pretty "high up"... I take it the placement is in an area where people stand, transit rather than sit>
The tank itself is 3ft. high on top of the stand. I need to get on a step stool just to feed them, and a ladder to move and adjust things around. Not bragging, just describing the display. I had to get that Sailfin outta there. I drained out 200 gallons to get the water level down as you'd suggested to another reader once, get on a ladder, reach in with plastic dividers, tear down one of the rock formations to get that bully out. And at 8 ft. long, that took a good 2 hours to finally net him. The other fish were stressed to the max, it was an absolute nightmare than I am terrified of re-living ever again. All that to say I am now frozen with indecision for suitable tank mates for the Naso---"Mama's Big Fat Sweet Girl"---and the 2 Golden B/F's soon to arrive, "Sunshine" and "SweetPea". That behavior is the deal breaker for so many beautiful, hardy species I'd love to have in that tank. I just cannot deal with bullying. So hard to watch. I want a colorful, peaceful, hardy wrasse that does not zoom about the tank. Thank you for the feedback on the Halichoeres' swimming pattern. That's off the list now.
Perhaps back to the Fairy wrasse harem I'd first planned?
<Am sure you will/would enjoy them>
I am just beginning to learn about this great family, thank you so much for your insight. I wanted a Pomacanthus, but am afraid of adding one due to their territorial trait, again, not wanting anyone chased away from an area in the tank they claim as their own.
<Oh! Had an inquiry today re a Mac or Asfur Angel... at first glance had thought this had come from you. I think your system would really be enhanced by one of these Arusettas... as THE show piece. Am VERY sure you and your family will enjoy this choice>
So I figured the beautiful Fairy would be safer in that regard. The Red Coris, wow, I wish! What a stunner. Your article on them states they have a penchant for aggressiveness. So what do you suggest? A Scott's fairy? A lined Fairy? A Cirrhilabrus solorensis?
Or a Cirrhilabrus exquisitus perhaps?
<Mmm... I hope to not confuse you, but after just finishing Greg Bear's "Moving Mars" book this AM am waxing more directional than usual. I want you to look, consider a nice grouping of Pseudanthias squamipinnis instead... if you can, collected from the Red Sea itself, but otherwise the Indian Ocean into the W. Pacific will be fine. As time goes by you'll understand, appreciate by kibitzing here>
I saw that photo here at WWM of another person's fairy who had that bump on its face from hitting its own reflection. It was in your response to them where I learned about their nervous darting around swimming pattern. I am (overly, I know) worried about my other fish feeling irritated by that. Which Fairy, if any, at 5-6" do you suggest for peacefulness, hardiness and a slower swim pattern?
<Take a look, Google re: Cirrhilabrus of the red sea... Perhaps rubriventralis will be the easiest to come by>
I used to also want the Coris aygula, thank you for the fair warning.
I've never scuba dived, but have snorkeled many times in Hawaii and Aruba.
Thank you for your valuable time with this. After dealing with a gorilla on steroids in my living room, I am so afraid to choose any fish now. Please help.
Again, just to refresh, it will only be the 12" Naso and 2 Golden B/F's in there.
<Best to do as you are April. "Take your time", savour the anticipation.
Your success will be commensurate with the care you put in here in advance of action. Be well, BobF>

Re: velvet wrasse swim pattern/to: RF 12/23/09
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!
Bob, you're a genius... I love these Pseudanthias squamipinnis!
I've seen them in reef photos, but assumed they were a type of damsel.
Now, a large group of those (1 male, 6-7 females) with a Mac as the centerpiece will be fabulous. I read your Mac/Asfur article, and the Mac sounds like my kind of fish!
<You will both be very happy together, I assure you>
I will order one of those tank-bred juvies from the Taiwanese breeders you spoke so highly of. Thank you so
much for taking time and thought to help with my display. The Naso, the Mac, a pair of Red Sea semilarvatus butterflies, and these beautiful "dithers" to round it all out are fantastic choices. Nice assortment here.
I'm feeling pretty confident I might actually have a relaxing tank again.
My Naso thanks you as well. She deserves compatible tank mates.
Gee Bob, you oughta write a bo....oh, yes, I have your book already.
Well, you oughta get into the wholesale/ distrib....oh, you've been there done that. Okay, well, you should help the industry with some sort of diving...ah, got me again, you already do that. Okay daggone it, run for office then!!! "Tanks-a-lot", and happy holidays to you and yours!
<Thank you April! BobF>

Red Sea Biotope Questions  10/8/09
Howdy Ladies and Gents.
<Hello Erik!>
My 135gal Red Sea biotope is coming along nicely. I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, less than 10 nitrate, calcium around 400, and ph 8.3. I have several questions. Seems like they never stop.
- I have 5 Chromis viridis - doing well
- 10 hermits
- 4 turbo
- 10 other small snails
- Coral - Paly's, Duncanopsammia axifuga, poly coral, Xenia, long tentacle plate, Zoa's, Tubastrea aurea
Looking to add additional fish over the next 6 months (in order)
1. Lawnmower Blenny (pretty quick to take care of hair algae)
2. Flavissimus
<Forcipiger I'll take it>
3. Semilarvatus
<One... better by far in pairs... if one has the room>
4. 2 Bictinus Clownfish
5. Long Nosed Hawkfish
6. Six-Lined Wrasse (is this fish too aggressive for this tank?)
7. Zebrasoma xanthurus
8. Genicanthus caudovittatus
Do you think these fish are all compatible? Would this be overstocked?
Should I let the corals grow for a few months before stocking the fish?
<Yes, no, and I would>
I am also having a large amount of red carpet algae, not slimy, but hairy on the coral sand. Should this be removed as part of nutrient export? Not sure where it is getting its nutrients as I use RO water. It has stopped growing, so maybe it used what nutrients were in the system and ran out.
<Likely so times two>
Thanks for all the help.
Erik C. Hayes
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea Biotope Questions 3/8/2010
Howdy from Texas.
<Right back at you from not-so-sunny S. Cal.>
Back once again with an update on my Red Sea biotope and getting cold feet.
<Oh? Socks? Turn up the thermostat?>
I have added the Xanthurum to the main tank and it is doing fine and helping clean the place up. I also just put into quarantine 2- 2" Semilarvatus. I have all the walls of the quarantine covered as they are very skittish.
<I would just dip/bath the BFs and summarily place... Not often do these come in with/have problems, but very often DO have induced troubles with quarantine>
I have fed clams on the half shell and Mysis, but have only seen them browsing on the live rock. They appeared interested in the green star polyps in the tank initially, but gave that up fairly quickly.
<Move them>
Back to my cold feet. I have been reading more lately from other forums which state that the Semilarvatus will treat my reef as an all you can eat buffet and all my year long growth will be consumed in short order.
<Can, do graze a bit, but...>
I intend to put some Xenia <This species lives amongst a great quantity of these in the wild...>
and Zoe colonies into the quarantine to test the fish. Do you think I would be ok with these fish in the main tank?
<Likely so>
I am concerned with my Blastomussa, Duncanosoma, Torch, Alien Maze Brain, Montipora, Porites, and Sun Coral. My Xenia and Colt are fast growing and I would think would be ok.
<I do too>
Can you give me guidance on how safe I will be adding the two Semi's to the mix?
<Ummm, okay... 2 to 1 odds that they'll be fine at 82.34% confidence limit>
If the fish only nip every once in a while, would the coral survive?
<Very likely so, yes. All are nibbled semi-constantly in the wild, I assure you>
Thanks again for the assistance.
<Welcome again. Thank you for sharing your concern/s. BobF>

Re: Red Sea Biotope Questions, C. semilarvatus eating corals    4/6/10
Back again, with updates.
<Ah, good>
I kept the Semilavartus pair in the main tank for 1 month. I got them eating my frozen seafood mixture from a Hammer Coral skeleton and then was able to move them on to flake food as well.
<Very good>They are both very fat and happy. Unfortunately, even eating plenty of meaty foods, they still pick and eat corals to the point that many corals will not come out.
<Mmm, how big is this system? Need hundreds of gallons...>
They are such heavy feeders that I was able to easily capture them in a bottle trap and remove them to the quarantine once again. I am currently looking to sell these fish, which I hate, because they are beautiful fish.
I just can't have them tormenting the corals to death.
Obvious next set of questions. I have to make some adjustments to my fish stocking and need to verify that this is a good mix.
- 9 Chromis (5 viridis, 4 chocolate dip)
- 1 Zebrasoma Xanthurum
- 1 lawnmower blenny
- 1 six line wrasse
I would like to add;
5 - Percula clown juveniles
<... not found in the Red Sea...>
1 - zebra angel
1 - Naso Tang (only fish of size in the tank 150 gal)
1 - Copperband (will this butterfly still pick on soft corals?)
Is there any specific order I should add these?
<The purple tang last, the Angel before it>
The Xanthurum was a bit difficult with the Semi's at first, but then calmed down. He is also easily captured with the bottle trap, so I could remove him for a bit to ease entry of the other fish.
You recommended forgoing quarantine on the Semi's, do you recommend that for any in this new stocking list?
<The Naso>
Are there any other fish you would recommend as peaceful additions?
<Many... but this tank is only 150 gallons... See here:
and the linked files above>
Thanks so much, once again.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: compatibility (RMF, second opinion on Zebrasoma xanthurum/Pygoplites diacanthus compat.)  7/6/09
Thank you for your quick response!!
<Happy to help.>
Instead of the trigger do you think that I could add a Regal Angelfish from the Red Sea?
<Assuming you can get a Red Sea specimen -- a major challenge in itself -- then this would be quite a good choice, though your tank is, in my opinion, at the low end of what's viable for non-dwarf Angels.
I do wonder if Zebrasoma xanthurum might be just similar enough in colouration the two species might not get along? It's the blue body and yellow tail that worries me. Introduce the Tang first, and then the Angel, and keep an eye on them.
Cheers, Neale.>
<<S/b okay if there is sufficient psychological space/room. RMF>>

Re: compatibility (RMF, second opinion on Zebrasoma xanthurum/Pygoplites diacanthus compat.)
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your comment on the query; in this case, the tank was 90 gallons I think, which to me (as a very limited marine aquarist!) seems at the low end of what a non-dwarf pomacanthid is likely to "share nicely" with something else. Am I being overly cautious here?
Cheers, Neale
<This is way too small for just a Pygoplites itself... Even though specimens from the Red Sea are exemplary (relative to the species elsewhere), this would be too limiting a world. Cheers, BobF>

Re: compatibility (RMF, second opinion on Zebrasoma xanthurum/Pygoplites diacanthus compat.) 7/7/09
Looks like I will wait a while and save for an upgrade. What would be the recommended aquarium size for a Regal Angel from the Red Sea? I read over the FAQ's on the Regal Angel and it said was a minimum 4 feet when young.
Since I am going to save for the upgrade
<And at least six foot long as an adult... eight plus is better... A few hundred gallons>
What size would you suggest for an Emperor with a Regal? Or am I just getting greedy here?
<See WWM re the Pomacanthus>
Thanks for your patience with all my questions!
<And you for your interest, reading. BobF>

Red Sea Books 2/209 Hi Crew hope you are all spiffingly well today, we have snow here in England! <Brrrr! And it's so cold here in S. Cal., I've had to put on a long-sleeve tee!> After perusing your biotope pages, I have decided to design a Red Sea biotope aquarium for my next project and would like some advice on which book/s I should purchase to help me. There are three that I have found, Debelius, Myers and Harrison. I am happy with the fishes (which ones are and are not available to me) but what I really need is a book that has lots of detailed descriptions and pictures of the corals and landscapes so that I can plan my aquascape/ biota. Which of these would be the best for that and are there any other books available that might be of help as well? Thanks very much, Simon Trippick <Mmm, yes... I have a few ed.s of Helmut Debelius Dive/Reef Guide for the Red Sea... I further suggest Peter Vine's work on Red Sea Invertebrates and John Randall's "Red Sea Fishes"... And a go at the Net... reading, saving sites that show substantial depth in writing, images... to gain ideas, insight. Oh, and also writing us back re your plans, discoveries.. for inter-rator discussion and agreement. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea Books/ habitat  2/3/09 Thanks a lot Bob I'll look those up. England has ground to a halt today because of a minute amount of snow falling on the ground. The miracles of modern living! <Ah yes... have heard re the snow there... Friend/roommate Peter (of the last 15 years) mum's couldn't get out her door in York> Thanks for your offer of 'crew' help with this, I already have some preliminary plans that I've put on a spreadsheet, and have listed the basics below (I've just looked back through this message and even the 'basics' require a lot of typing, sorry!). I'd appreciate your thoughts, The tank is 10ft x 5ft x 2.5ft (about 800g). <Neat! In fact... a further offer/encouragement for you to "get out there", visit the Red Sea... Is a literal hop-skip from the U.K., with fab deals for travel/stay/diving on offer... You are welcome to haul out with us even... I have gone every other year to more frequently to the Sinai and further down for the last 28 years... Usually in May...> The biotope I am looking at is a (sandy?) reef slope habitat dominated by a couple of islands of tabletop Acropora, plating and encrusting Montipora, Pocillipora, Seriatopora, etc. perhaps with some Xeniids lower down. <Ah yes! I can visualize this as well. You may be familiar with my effort at writing/posting a "version" of dividing most-commonly encountered life per general habitat on WWM... and sending same to friend Helmut Debelius for his consideration...> I have attached a word doc with photo that I have found on the net of the sort of thing I am looking at for my structures, (this probably has copyright on by the way). <Will read, not post. Perhaps you could provide the URL where you found this for others perusal in future> I will be also looking at these more 'brownish' colours on the corals as well, as this represents what I have seen myself on dives and seems a more natural looking scene. This will also highlight the fishes as the focal points. I am hoping to incorporate some of my existing corals as well - Turbinaria, Goniopora, Plerogyra, Rugosa, Pavona. This is where my questions are. Which of these would fit into this biotope and how? <Ahh! Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm the second to last lines... Particularly here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rsbiotopes.htm and the linked files in the series?> I have already resigned myself to giving away a lot of my present 'reef garden'. This is why I need the book/s. <I see... and agree with your direction, sensibilities here> Fish-wise my list is: Angels: 1 x Emperor Angelfish - I already have this fish (he's from the Red Sea), he will be the central character 1 x Pygoplites Diacanthus Butterfly(flie?)s: 3? (2?) x Addis Butterfly fish - I'm not sure how many, I'd like at least a pair, but would love three. <Mmm... I'd stick with the two> 1 x Chaetodon Fasciatus - I already have this fish and he eats Aiptasia, but will he get on with the Semilarvatus? <Yes, enough room here for all> Rabbitfish/ Tangs: 1 X Z. Xanthurum 1 x Paracanthurus Hepatus - The odd one out - My wife flatly refuses to let our 'Dory' go anywhere! <I see> 1 X Acanthurus Nigrofuscus 1 x Rabbitfish (I have yet to decide on this - I need something that eats Bryopsis and have not found it yet. <Look to Siganus stellatus... not a great beauty, more subtle... but greatly desirous as a pest algae consumer> I may have to compromise and go for something not from the Red Sea to get the Bryopsis eater I need. I'm considering Diadema's as a possible alternative, but I'm worried about compatibility with the fishes) <Not much of a worry> 1 x Melichthys Indicus Triggerfish - I already have this fish 2? (3?) x Radiata Lions - I have one of these already. 2 x Zebra Morays - I already have one of these. <Mmm, also non-indigenous> I'm wondering if I am overstocked here. <Mmm, no. Assuredly not> I intend to double at least the water volume of the main system with multiple refugiums in a back room/ garage set up, so I'm happy I can support these animals water quality wise. What I am most worried about is the maximum sizes of these fish. Obviously I need to be careful with fish sizes, as fish that are too small will end up as meals for the Lions, but I want to stay away from 18-inchers, and after watching first-hand in the Red Sea, I believe that even a tank this size is really too small for active fish like Sohal/ Lituratus. <Mmm... am so sorely tempted... If it were me, mine, I'd likely add some Naso lituratus here (along with Jake Adams' circulation designs with Vortech gear for such shape, length systems as yours)... but leave out the Acanthurus... too likely to have territorial issues> I want the fish to be comfortable into old age so don't mind losing a couple from the list, and would probably sacrifice the other two tangs over the rest if I had to. What would you do? <Add the nominatives of Publius Ovidius (Naso)... Will be spectacular in their movement, color, expressed joy in your setting... particularly as I state, with the circulation proposed. Am going to BCC JakeA here... in the hopes he has his circulation input posted/linked on the Net for further referral> On a similar note to the previous one (books), I have been trying to procure a copy of Fossa/ Nilsens 'The most beautiful aquariums in the world' as this tank will be an on-site build, and the aesthetics in the lounge is what my wife is most interested in! The book is out of stock everywhere I try, and there don't seem to be any plans for people to re-stock. Have you any idea where I might get a copy? <Mmm. Amazon.com.uk has three: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=svein+fossa> I have Paletta's (Ultimate aquariums) but this does not show the aquariums in their surroundings, if you get my meaning. <I do> Thanks again, Simon Trippick <Do send along notes of your progress Simon. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea Books/ habitat... Jake Adams... circ. input  2/3/09 Thanks Bob, <Welcome Simon> So I'll stick to two Semilarvatus, and go with three Radiata Lions (spectacular!). <Ah yes> I had to Google 'Publius Ovidius' - it seems he was a roman poet of love! <Yes... Ovid penned "The Amores"...> Are you trying to tell me that you are in love with the Naso Lituratus? <Heee! Not quite... just an archaic note re the genus of Tangs name and this Roman man of letters prominent nose-naming> If I swapped a Naso Lituratus for the A. Nigrofuscus would he grow to the full 18 inches in this sized system? <Not quite... and this would take a few years... again... my personal choosing> I was under the impression from your FAQ that Zebra morays could be found in the red sea - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm 'The Zebra Moray, Gymnomuraena zebra (1) and Snowflake Moray, Echidna nebulosa (1), are more crustacean than fish eaters, having crushing knob-like teeth. Another Pebblemouth Moray of many common names, Banded, Ringed or Barred, E. polyzona (1), is occasionally caught in the R.S. as well. The last two stay small, about 2', but the Zebra can get large (up to 5')'. Fishbase also shows it occurring although not frequently. http://www.aquamaps.org/receive.php <Echidna polyzona yes, but not Gymnomuraena... I have never seen it there> We were actually planning to holiday in Egypt this year round, probably Sharm, and would love to take up your invitation, <Certainly!> should you be going at a similar time! Please let me know if you plan anything concrete and I'll see if I can get it past Bomber Command! Be warned we are both novice divers however, having only a couple of dives after passing our Open Water, so you might want to renege on the invite! Cheers, Simon Trippick <Will be a fabulous time for you both... Do plan on ignoring the boorishness of the too-common "Russkies" there nowadays. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Red Sea Books/ habitat... Jake Adams... circ. input  2/5/09 Hi Bob, <Simon> Snowflake Morays are also listed in your FAQ as coming from the Red Sea - would you suggest that I swap the pair of Zebras out for a pair of Snowflakes instead for this Biotope? <Mmm, no...> The trip to Egypt has been sanctioned by the way! It was the possibility of seeing either/ or Whale Sharks/ Mantas that did the trick! Cheers, Simon Trippick <Heeee! Have been quite a few times, never seen these there... Shhhh! BobF>

Re: Red Sea Books/ habitat... Jake Adams... circ. input   3/21/08
Hi Bob,
Still at work and still a little bored.
<Just "having" a job would be exciting it seems to me>
It's Saturday morning you see, and not much going on! I took your advice on the Red Sea books and purchased the Peter Vine one and the Debelius one.
I am particularly pleased with the Peter Vine one, this is a great book and has a few fantastic pictures of the landscapes and coral placements with regards to each other. In fact two of the pictures I am going to use to design my aquascape. One shows green Turbinaria reniformis growing together with Seriatopora hystrix on a boulder-like structure - Both of these are corals that I already own, so this one I'm going to start on right away in my existing tank!
The second shows a canyon-type environment with Hystrix, Porites, Goniopora, (also corals I already own) with an essential tabletop Acropora at the top - just what I was looking for, so thanks for the
<Welcome... I have this work as well. The taxonomy is a bit wanky, but as you say, the work has many "hidden" uses>
I am definitely sticking to the Red Sea Biotope theme for the corals and aquascape. For the fishes, I have to use a little 'artistic' license with 'Dory' anyway, and I have come to the conclusion that it is not right for me to take back fishes that I have had for a while and that are very happy to replace them with others just because they do not 'fit' into an idealized 'dream'. Any new purchases that I make I will try to get Red Sea species if I can, and not get too hung up on the fishes I already have.
<Okay... look to special ordering...>
I never heard from Jake Adams,
<Mmm, I will see him in a couple of weeks at MAX... ask re his articles... did you check through CORALIdea (.com)? I don't see his articles posted there...>
but I will be using Vortechs on this system - I already own one, and despite the expense, they are definitely worth it. I will use them to create the 'wave', and I will probably utilise some kind of DIY flush device as well (possibly the Borneman one). I have heard of these being used in conjunction with ATS's, so I might incorporate that. Any thoughts on this/ these?
<Are workable>
The Naso lituratus is a definite now by the way, If you're not in love with this fish I think I am (Shhhh.. Don't tell the wife!)
<Are great attractions, given adequate circumstances. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Red Sea Books/ habitat... Jake Adams... circ. Input/ now   3/23/09
Hi Bob,
I have checked on CORALIdea and there are FAQs on corals, but nothing else.
<Do check out SaraM's ASIRA.com as well>
Water flow wise, though, I have been using Blundell's articles on Advanced Aquarist: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2008/1/lines which I thought were excellent, and It was the reviews of the Vortech on there that persuaded me to purchase one.
Simon Trippick
<Ahh! BobF>

G. zebra, Red Sea Books/ habitat... Jake Adams... circ. input Gymnomuraena zebra does indeed occur in the Red Sea.  2/5/09 The first reports are by Klunzinger (1871) from Quseir, then Fowler (1945) from the Sudan coast and Clark et al. (1966) from Dahlak. Another specimen I know of is from Ras Muhammad, Sinai and was confirmed by Randall and Golani in 1995. The USNM also has two from the Red Sea. Cheers. Marco. <Well I'll be. Thank you for this Marco. Bob Fenner, who has never seen this species in the Gulf of Aqaba... but...>

Red Sea Butterfly Biotope ~ 01/12/09 Good afternoon. <<Greetings>> I have been diligently reading and enjoying your site for several months. <<Ah! Excellent'¦>> I have owned aquariums for 30+ years, <<Me too!>> but have recently decided to get into saltwater. <<Ah well, got ya there'¦[grin] I set up my first SW tank in 1977'¦ My first reef tank in 1989'¦ You're gonna LOVE saltwater'¦>> I want to create a specific biotope <<Best way to go'¦>> from the Red Sea, <<If you haven't already, do check out these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rsbiotopes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm >> primarily with butterflies. <<And this one: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bstbfsrs.htm >> This tank will be a FOWLR or at least I believe it will be. <<Indeed'¦ Butterflies are not good candidates for a reef system>> I have been told, but have yet to confirm, that a good butterfly tank should have a fairly large amount of live corals to keep the fish healthy. <<That depends'¦and isn't really practical in most hobbyist-size systems. If the species in question are obligate corallivores you won't be able to provide what they need to keep them healthy/alive, regardless>> The information I received is that the types of butterflies I want to place in the tank will only nip at the corals and consume the liquid which is excreted by the damaged coral. <<Mmm, no'¦ These fishes will consume coral polyps/flesh>> I plan on having 1 Raccoon, 3 Banner, and 1 Semilarvatus. <<All excellent choices for captive care>> The tank is a 135 with a sump. <<Hmm'¦ I think 'ultimately' this will be too small for this mix. These are not 'small' fishes. The Banners have the potential to reach 8-inches, with the Raccoon and Semilarvatus going for a couple more. If nothing else, there will likely be social/aggression issues'¦sooner or later>> Live rock will be around 100lbs. There are two large Protein skimmers built into the sump and a DSB. Do you have any experience which supports the claim that the fish need to consume this liquid from the coral to be at their best health? <<Have never heard such'¦ But have certainly seen and heard of them consuming coral polyps/flesh>> If so, can you tell me the best types of corals for this purpose? <<Some species can be very specific as to which corals they will dine upon while others will eat most any they come across. But what you propose is not necessary (or practical) with the fish choices listed here. Fortunately, the species you have chosen most always take well to prepared foods. And even if you could afford to keep up a ready supply of 'food' corals, the money would be better spent on a larger tank/system here>> Will the fish ultimately kill the coral? <<In the confines of a home aquarium, yes'¦ If the fish take to the coral as food, they will generally consume all, or at least to the point of the coral's demise>> Another question has arisen during my planning of the tank. I plan on keeping the tank at a higher salinity, due to the regional requirements of the biotope. <<That's fine'¦ And unless endemics, do also ensure your fish come from that region>> However, recently I have been reading the benefits of Hypersaline for initial fish introduction and other benefits. <<Hmm, I think you mean the other way around'¦Hyposalinity. And in my opinion not to be used on a continuous basis for the unnatural state/induced stresses re. Best to simply provide a pH adjusted freshwater dip and then quarantine at NSW levels>> Could I start the tank in this mode, then slowly move to the appropriate salinity, or is it better to start these fish at the Red Sea salinity level? <<The latter, for sure>> Thank you so much for your assistance. Erik <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Asfur Size question, and comp.   10/1/08 Hello, <Mornin' Ross> I've enjoyed your site for several years now. I have a question that seems simple, but I've had a hard time finding answers in the literature. I have an Asfur Angel. He's been in my one year old fish-only, resin insert 500 gal tank (+180 gal sump with AquaC EV1000) since the start. He survived the Ich that killed a lot of his friends. He's bossy, but tolerated 2 other angels (a smaller Asfur and a Majestic), before the ich got them. The tank is stable now that I've gotten a temperature controller. He shares it with 3 chromis, 2 fairy wrasses, a Lyretail Anthias, Lawnmower Blenny, and 2 Heniochus Butterflies. It's pretty empty for a tank that size. <I can imagine> My question: How big will he get? He has grown from 6" when I got him to 9" now. The books say he can hit 15", but I have searched everywhere for an aquarium reference. No one seems to really know how big he'll get in the aquarium. <Mmm, can make a good guess... would grow to an overall length of 15" or so over a number of years, but will be slower as time goes by... Likely an inch or so a year till about a foot... then more like half an inch more in successive years> The reason I ask, is I am considering adding fish now that the tank is stable. I am curious about a queen angel. <Mmm, I would look to other families of fishes other than Pomacanthids... perhaps a leaning toward a biotopic arrangement (other Red Sea life)... Do give a look here: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm and the linked files above... I'd be asking about for some of the species of Wrasses, Tangs... found here> I am interested to hear what you think. Ross Kaplan <You have. Bob Fenner>

Re: Asfur Size question  10/5/08 Bob Thank your for your response. I looked at the link, and really appreciate your suggestion. It wasn't my plan, but now I think setting up as a "Red Sea Tank" is a great idea! My own dives in the Red Sea were fantastic. I remember seeing schools of Anthias surrounding us. I have been reading your link with great interest. <Ahh! Am sure we could share many anecdotes re visits there> If I go with all Red Sea endemics, should I raise the salinity slightly? Lower the temp? (currently 1.020, and avg. 80F)? Ross <I would raise the spg, at least to 1.025-6, the temp. I'd leave as is. It's actually cooler than this almost year round in the Red Sea. Bob Fenner>

Red Sea aquarium fish selection -- 06/28/08 I'm thinking I'd like to go with a Red Sea aquarium, basically having only fish from the Red Sea. Could you please let me know if these are compatible? I've read and read and read WWM but I'd like one final opinion on this stocking plan. <Ok> Every fish will be fresh water dipped and then placed in quarantine for a month before placement into the main tank. Quick side question, should I fresh water dip going from the quarantine to the main tank after the month? <On the way into quarantine> I thought the idea was all the time in the quarantine is where you make sure there are no signs of disease or any other problems, so what would be the point of a second fresh water dip. However, I've seen posted on WWM a couple times now that dipping after quarantine isn't a bad idea... and others have said no need for it. So what is your opinion on the subject :) <Can be done... usually superfluous as you state to do the second> 180g tank, 6x2x2. One 250w metal halide pendant over the left side of the tank. Right side will be left "dark" so to speak, as a calmer, more hidden side of the tank. Obviously it will have plenty of light shining over there too, but no direct light shining straight down on it. I figure the fish can have a little calm spot over there if needed and I'll put more caves on that side of the tank in the rock. A 75g tank underneath being used as a sump, about 35-40g worth of water inside and probably 50 lbs of live rock and a 8" deep DSB about 18" wide by 18" long. Gracilaria and Chaeto in the sump. 10% water changes once a week. 1200gph flow through the sump, 4 Koralia pumps in the main tank, two number 3 Koralia and two number 4, so should be some decent turbulent water. With 1200 gph return from the sump and about 4200 gph flow from the Koralia, I should be turning over the tank volume about 25 times an hour. <So far, so good> First, two Semilarvatus B/F will be going into the tank. Second, a Raccoon butterfly. Third, a Harlequin tusk. (I know, not Red Sea, right? <Correct> Is there a similar looking/attitude species of fish from the Red Sea that would replace the Harlequin?) <Oh yes... quite a few... Do look on fishbase.org, search re country... maybe Jordan, Egypt, Sudan... the Cheilinus genus... or on WWM> Fourth, a Purple tang. Fifth, an Imperator angel. <Mmm, this last will need more room in time> This would make a total of 6 fish. I realize that this is stretching it for amount of water per fish when they all reach their adult size, but I figure most of them I'll have 3-4 years before they hit their adult max size and by then I'll be using my 180 as a sump to my 400 gallon tank ;) <Oh!> I wouldn't mind some type of Red Sea smaller fish if you have something you think would look good in this display. <Got to be... Pseudanthias squamipinnis... the definitive reef fish of the slope here> All of the fish I've picked out get 10" or over, so a couple skinnier little fish might not be a bad thing, some kind of wrasse or something. I could always do the chromis which I believe come from the Red Sea but eh, I'd rather have something else as I've always had chromis in all my tanks. Any ideas are welcome :) Grant <You've seen this: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection  6/30/08 Yes, I've read through your FAQs on Anthias. I actually had 3 Pseudanthias squamipinnis in a 75g before, and as happens to everyone else before me and the thousands to come after me, one died, then another, and I was left with just one. The male did really well though, I kept him alive in my reef tank for 2 years, beautiful specimen but I eventually traded him to a local hobbyist. <I see> Anyway, I'm reluctant to go the Anthiine route... I've read too many horror stories and experienced a small part of it myself. They are beauties and I know what ecotype they are in the wild but I just think they aren't really "my thing" so to speak. <Ok> I did read your webpage you linked to about the Red Sea and the fishes within, I have looked over it a couple times over the past month. I researched goatfishes after reading it, I was thinking of maybe adding one of those to my fish selection. I wanted some small type of sand sifter but a goatfish is a little more interesting to me. Parupeneus cyclostomus looked interesting, but it gets to a foot and a half... that is a little bigger than I want in a fish. <Not near this large in captivity by half...> I also like the six line wrasse, but I'm a little worried it might pick on my butterflies... what do you think about that? <Not likely in this sized volume> So maybe I'm going to go with two Bluethroat triggerfish from the Red Sea... I've liked them for years and just never really found a way to work them into a tank. But I think they would do pretty good with my present stocking plans. <Me too> My last question then is if you approve of my modified stocking plan :) First, two Semilarvatus butterfly. Second, a Raccoon butterfly (would I be able to get away with 2 of these in a 180g or should I just stick with 1?) <Could have two... but C. fasciatus is fine solo> Third, two blue throat triggers, definitely a pair. Quick side question, are these born male/female or are they able to change sex? If they can change sex, then do I just buy two 3" triggers and hope only one of them decides to be male? <Balistids don't reverse/change sex as far as I'm aware> Fourth, a Purple tang. Fifth, an Imperator angel. Somewhere in there, if you replied that a 6 line wrasse was appropriate, I'd throw one of them in there. Maybe 2? <Okay> Thanks for all you do, Bob. I've got your CMA book, I just bought it about 2 months ago when I started deciding to move from reef to FOWLR, it's been a great read. Between the book and WWM, I feel like I'm a expert ;) I certainly know more than most of the people at the LFS. <Ahh, then I hope/trust you are helping them. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... Trigger names, Id... Goatfish sys.,  - 7/2/08 I'm glad you agreed on the Blue Throat trigger idea, I think they are cool fish. Quick question for you though, I read on WWM that they are endemic to the Red Sea, yet sites like LiveAquaria sell them from Hawaii. What's up with that? No need to get too technical, I'm just curious, I want to make sure I purchase the correct version. <Mmm, there are two species... of different distribution... with the same name. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm The Sufflamen is the one you're looking for... from the Red Sea, western Indian Ocean... the Xanthichthys is the Pacific... including the Hawaiian Isles. An ex. of the difficulty, lack of clarity of common appellations> The goatfish I mentioned, I'm glad you replied back positively about it, I'm looking forward to having one. Curious though, will they be ok in about a 1 inch crushed coral substrate? <Mmm, I encourage you to not use this type, size, depth of material period... For the system and the mullid, look to very fine/soft coral sand... and read re on WWM> I don't want the real small particle stuff because I'm afraid my water will just be too cloudy, <Mmm, not so...> I was thinking the next size up, the stuff that cant really float around in the water, but not much bigger than regular sand. If this is totally inappropriate for a goatfish I'll probably just stick to the small sand, I'd like to do whatever I can that will get me away from having to manually stir the sand myself from time to time. Quick question for you that I just want your opinion on... regarding metal halides lighting. I'm planning on going with a 250w 13K MegaChrome Marine, double ended metal halide. But the more and more I read about Kelvin ratings, the more unsure I get of what I want... Basically, what lighting temperature do you feel looks best for a FOWLR? <Mmm... for the Red Sea? A dear friend, Pablo Tepoot, of New Life Enterprises, asked me for images to make his spectacular photo montage that he has for his trade display booth as well as a large wall in his Homestead, FLA home... For the color of the water... Something in the 10-14k K range is about right> If you recall, I'm going to have 3 or so bright yellow B/F but also a Purple tang and a Emperor angel, both of which are not yellow and much darker, I'd like their colors to stand out as well. I've been reading that you want low Kelvin ratings for making yellow stand out and high Kelvin rating to make the blues stand out, however, I'm just planning on one MH with no other light supplementation, so what would in your opinion be the best lighting to go with? I realize this is a topic for much debate, I'm just looking for your personal opinion on it. <Understood> This is the light I'm speaking of, by the way. http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~action~view~ idProduct~MB6612~idCategory~FILTBUMHDETW~category~Saltwater_Aquarium_Supplies- Lighting-Bulbs-Metal_Halide-Double_Ended-250_Watts~vendor~.html <I see> So I just finished The CMA tonight, one of the other books I ordered was Reef Invertebrates by you and Calfo, I'll be starting that tonight. I'm especially interested in the part dedicated to refugiums. <Heeee! The original idea for the work was to promote others success in our hobby interest by encouraging the use of these live sumps... I told Anthony (Calfo) that we'd never sell the work with this as the focus or... title (!)... so we settled on Reef Invertebrates (sans Cnidarians which we intend/ed to make another volume)... but did manage to sneak in about a quarter of the work as Refugiums... You will enjoy, gain by its reading. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection  7/3/08 Ah good, thanks for the clarity on the triggers. So I want the Sufflamen albicaudatus, which stinks because I'm having a real hard time finding one online for sale. <Place a standing order with larger etailers and have your LFS do the same with the larger marine livestock wholesale/importers. These do come in...> I only found one site that offers it and they are out of stock + they say it is a rare hard to find fish. <All a matter of parties asking... being patient... cooperating> Local dealers are touch and go up here in Alaska, I'm sure if I cant find it online they wont be able to get it in. Are they typically a seasonal offering or are they really just a rare fish? <Just rare to the "west" due to distance, air freight connections.... and a lack of ongoing, concerted dealings> I read through your FAQs on the species and no one else seemed to mention much of a hard time finding them. They also aren't very expensive, making me think they aren't really that rare of a fish. <Ship very well, in not-too-large a volume of water, air (very important)... The "handling and shipping" are the bulk of cost... not the fish> Alright, I'll go with the fine soft coral sand, I really hope it isn't going to make my tank perma cloudy. <Won't; I assure you> I have a signal goby in my 75g reef tank and he continuously stirs my fine sand, always making a small hazy cloud around him of coral dust, which then settles down elsewhere and gets kicked up again later. I was trying not to replicate this in my main tank. <Look to "other brand"... perhaps CaribSea...> Yes, I will have good filtration which slowly helps remove those fine particles, but it takes a long time it seems to get the dust out of the system. Between the sand itself dissolving and getting smaller in particle size and the already small state of even the biggest pieces, it seems like my signal goby never ran out of dust like particles to cloud the water with. I'm going to go ahead and try that 13K MH light and see what it does. If I don't like it, in a year when I replace it I'll get a lower Kelvin rating one I suppose. Quick side question on the lighting, one of the main reasons I'm placing that much light on a FOWLR is I want some natural algae growth for the Purple tang, nothing huge and gaudy but I'm hoping for just the small greenish tint that the tang can continually scrape over. Is a 13K light good for algae growth or would I be better suited going towards the 10K? <Either is fine> Another quick question for you... Suppose I was going to skip the butterfly fish entirely and the seemingly hard to find Sufflamen, and instead go with a Purple tang, a Queen or Emperor angel and a Clown trigger... <... I'd skip the Queen and the Clown...> Do you think those 3 fish would be compatible long term in a 180g? <No> Considering I get a "nice" clown trigger, not one of the hellions? I do like the B/F I listed, but at the same time I've read so much great stuff about personality and just a huge "coolness" factor of the Clown trigger that I'd almost rather go with just 3 larger size fish than original stocking plan I had. <... not from the Red Sea> I realize this would no longer be a Red Sea fish tank, but I'm OK with that as long as the fish I do get are lively with lots of personality. I've read a lot of your FAQs and your article on the Clown, which by the way seem somewhat contradictory. The article says keep the Clown in a tank only to itself, the FAQs all say it does OK with aggressive angels and tangs. <A matter of timing mostly... eventually... almost all Clown Triggers "go bad"> Is this simply a case of "best care scenario" would be to keep it by itself, but since people are already writing in saying they have a Clown trigger mixed in with other fish, you say fine but just make sure they are also aggressive fish? And would you suggest a Queen angel or a Emperor angel in a Clown trigger tank? <... no> Thanks for all you do. I read only 4 pages of Reef Invertebrates last night before dropping off to sleep but I plan on getting in some good reading tonight :) Grant <You are going about this in a very good manner... Do keep reading, cogitating furiously for now... Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection...   7/4/08 Well hopefully I can find two of the triggers. As I'm sure you've seen, Marine Center is out of service for the moment, so that really only leaves me LiveAquaria, a lot of the other places don't like to ship to Alaska, heh. From what I've read on WWM and other sites, these triggers can actually be paired up as long as you get male/female, correct? <... yes> Sadly, most of my research was on the Hawaiian version of the blue throat and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on the Red Sea endemic version, so I'm hoping the two are pretty similar as far as attitude and needs go. I really would prefer a pair of triggers to just one. And man, the male Sufflamen albicaudatus is a beautiful fish, from the pictures I've seen they are a really nice looking fish. Dark body scales make that blue throat stand out nicely. After reading lots on the clown trigger, I really would like one. They seem like such a great personality, I just wish they mixed better with other fish. I'd love to have a "smart" fish, and yeah from what I hear all the triggers are rather intelligent as far as fish go, but the clown seems to be THE smart fish. I wouldn't mind only having one fish in a 180g tank as long as it got large like the clown does, however the "boring" part for me would be when it's 3 inches long and the only fish in the tank. As far as cogitating furiously goes, that pretty much describes the last month or two of my life. All my spare time is taken up by trying to decide exactly what I'm going to do beforehand. See, I've had reef tanks in the past but they were always a hodge podge (I have no clue how to spell that) that I just slowly got together, I didn't really put them up "correctly". I'd buy a part, then buy another part later that kind of worked, then another part later that also kind of worked, and it just all kind of worked together but nothing too well. This one I'm going to make as perfect as I can at the beginning and not have to keep trying to get a system limping along. I'm actually pretty much set on my hardware, the only thing now I've got to hash out is my fish stocking. So hopefully this is the last thing I have to write in about... Those triggers from the Red Sea I'm looking at, at what point of my stocking should they be put in? <Any time> I was planning doing the 3 butterfly fish first, then the triggers and a goatfish, then the purple tang and emperor angel. Three separate instances of introducing a total of 8 fish, and I have 2 separate quarantine tanks so I wont have to mix any fish in quarantine except the two Semilarvatus will be in a 30g quarantine together, otherwise they will all be in their own tanks. Sound good? Grant <Indeed it does. B>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... dips/baths   7/7/08 This might be something you want to reference on your web page somewhere or just store away in your mind for future use, but I was in contact with All-Glass or Aqueon or whatever they are now calling themselves, a dry 180g aquarium weights 282 lbs and a dry 210g aquarium weighs 343 pounds. This is without glass covers or a stand or overflows, just a plain Jane empty fish tank. Anyway, you've helped me so much I figured I needed to give something back, I realize that was a small thing but interesting to know and it might help some hobbyist some day. <Thank you> Anyway the fish come in tomorrow, I've already got my freshwater dip buckets (two 5g buckets) set up, one for the two Semilarvatus and one for the Harlequin tusk. I set the pH last night at 8.2 and I've got pumps in there keeping the water aerated, so everything should be good to go when the fish arrive. I haven't put the formalin in yet, I'll wait to do that until I'm ready to dip the fish. I'm still nervous but actually much less so after your last reply email. I think I finally feel like I'm going to get this right! And that is a good feeling :) <You are prepared!> Two questions for you, both have answers that are probably very obvious to an experienced aquarist/genius/superhero <Dang cape is caught on my chair...> like yourself, but I'm not sure on them and I did read the website, I don't see where this is specifically addressed. One, should I acclimate both Semilarvatus B/F together in the same bucket? <Can be done if there's room... otherwise, one at a time> I'm 99% sure they wont be shipped together, <I'm 100> so I assume I shouldn't need to acclimate together. My concern comes from reusing the same bucket. For instance, I'll put one fish into the bucket, let it sit for 5 minutes OR until it freaks out, whichever comes first. At this point, should that water be considered "contaminated" and not reusable for the next butterfly? <Nope... though there are such concerns for some (mainly freshwater) fish families> If so, I'll need to mix up a third bucket of water because my 2nd bucket is going to be used by my Harlequin. Or should I just put both B/F into the same bucket at once? <See above> It is 4 gallons of water and it will be well aerated and heated. Now since they are going into the same quarantine tank together, I'm going to assume any disease one has the other will get, my main concern is if something toxic or for lack of a better word "bad" happens to the water after the B/F has been in it for 5 minutes, bad enough that I wont want to dip a 2nd fish in the same water. <Not to worry> And second question is my quarantine tank, it is a standard 29g aquarium... Can two Semilarvatus B/F, around 3.5 to 4 inches in length get along for a month or two in the same tank? <Yes> These aren't purchased as a pair, so they will be two strangers most likely to each other, and definitely in a smaller water volume than is recommended but that is only going to be about a two month period. After two months, my newly set up 180g should be finished cycling and have gone through a good 2 month period of letting the live rock really come to life, I want to give the rock as much time as possible to become very alive, so if the B/F can handle 2 months in the same tank with each other I'd prefer to do that. <Just monitor metabolites...> The other option is I could put one B/F and the Harlequin tusk in my one 29g and then a single B/F in the other 29. Basically, I've got two 29g tanks and 3 fish, I'm wondering which combo will work best over the course of about a 2 month period. <The two BFs tog.> After that they are going into a 180g and they should be happy as clams. Thanks Bob! Grant Gray <Welcome Grant. B>

Aquarium... Red Sea biotope!    2/5/08 Hello, I have a 180 gallon aquarium 72x24x24. I wanted to make it a red sea species aquarium only. I wanted to put in 1 Imperator angel, <Mmm, will need more room than this> 2 Golden butterflies, 1 purple tang, 1 Blonde Naso tang. <Ditto> My question is if this is possible? <For a while, yes...> Would this be overcrowded? What about long term? <I'd upgrade to a 300 plus gallon... look into, get some invertebrates going as well... Maybe come on out in May this year with us (to Jordan and Sharm/Egypt) get a good taste of what you might want, do... You have seen my go at describing this? In "Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Fishes of the World", v. 1... and my re-do of the Red Sea section as an ex. to friend Helmut Debelius (I do hope you have a recent ed. of his Red Sea Reef Guide...) here: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm and the linked files above> Also, would this reduce the risk of infection in the aquarium because they are all from the Red Sea? <Good question... I don't know... but will state that Red Sea livestock tends to be very tough, resistant, the pinnacle in general (per geography) of all marine livestock sources> Lastly, what should the salinity be in the aquarium? <About 1.028> Thank you. <Welcome! Bob Fenner, who is not joking re joining our itinerary, entourage in early May... about the 6th>

Re: Aquarium... Red Sea biotope!    2/6/08 Thank you very much for your quick response! I greatly appreciate that and I am a big fan of the website!! When you say that the fish will live together for a while does that mean 1 year, 2 years or more? <Depending on what size started... about this long> I am going to buy these fish all around 3''-4''.Once again thank you very much!! <Welcome. BobF>

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