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FAQs about Small Marine System Livestocking 2

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Related FAQs: Small Marine System Livestocking 1, Small Marine System Stocking 3, Small Marine Stocking 4, Small Marine Stocking 5, Small Marine Stocking 6, Small Marine Stocking 7, Small Marine Stocking 8, Small Marine Stocking 9, Small Marine Stocking 10, Small Marine Stocking 11, Small Marine Stocking 12, Small Marine Stocking 13Small Marine Stocking 14, Small Marine Stocking 15, & Cnidarians for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Small Scorpionfishes: Lionfishes and More for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Blennies, -oids for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Damsels, Clownfishes for Small Systems by Bob Fenner, Dwarf Dwarf Angels of the Genus Centropyge by Bob Fenner, Jawfishes Suitable for Small Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Little Basses for Small Systems by Bob Fenner,

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Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1:
Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2:

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

20g Tank, Fish and a Shoehorn - II - 05/16/2006 Morning fishy people... <Good morning.> I wrote in a day or so ago about my Regal Blue Tang with this mysterious illness.  If you recall, I had mentioned I was keeping critters from my 90gallon in a 20gallon while my 90gallon was being setup with a sump. During that time I had introduced a antibiotic powder of some sort to treat Cyanobacteria.  I had used this before in my 90 gallon without any issues and it worked... temporarily.  Note:  I realize it's not a long-term solution... <Nor a "good" solution, in many/most cases.> hence I have setup a sump for my 90 gallon and am going to setup a refugium etc to help with nutrient control.  In summary, my 2.5" Regal Tang was hiding in a hole in the rock breathing heavy... and did not come out for the day.  The next morning he was stuck up against a powerhead... unable to move away on his own free will.  Two days prior, he was actively feeding, etc.   ANYHOW... I had also mentioned my water quality was fine.  Water quality was not fine.   <I suspected something might be amiss, here....  This is why we end up asking the actual numbers - "fine" to you may not be fine at all.> Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrates were in check... HOWEVER, my pH which always remains at 8.2 had fallen to about 7.8.   <Argh!> My other fish seemed to be doing fine.  The 20 gallon was a 3 week temporary situation for my fish... not a long-term establishment by any means.   <Still....  So much life in such a small space is just asking for trouble.  Even splitting this life up among a few Rubbermaid tubs would have been better.  So much livestock crammed, even temporarily, into a tiny space is really testing the limits of your animals.  Not a safe plan.> Anyhow, my 90 gallon is up and running with 100lbs of live rock and a 35gallon sump with aggressive protein skimming.   <Sounds great!> Salinity and water temperature I keep at 1.024 (or is it 1.0024?) and 24oc.  In order to attempt to save my Regal Tang, I used some egg crating to section off a corner of my 90 gallon tank.  My Tang is in the corner by himself.  The water quality is good... meaning pH 8.2, no traces of ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites.  I had introduced  a Royal Gramma into the 90 gallon along with a Flame Angel. <Uhh, I DO hope you've quarantined them....> They look at the Tang, but really don't go to near the egg crate.  Yesterday afternoon, my Tang's breathing had slow down and he seemed to be doing a little better.  If I brought my hand up to the tank... he'd swim backwards away from it.  He seemed alert and was looking around... but still not swimming much.  I was curious if it was the eggcrate that was now freaking him out... and he did seem better.  I removed the eggcrate and he started swimming around... although somewhat lopsided - as if he'd had a stroke and didn't have full control over his movement?    <Better to keep this animal separate from other livestock until he's fully recovered.> Anyhow, he swam right into a rocky crevice where my Royal Gramma calls home.  Next thing you know, little Royal Gramma started nipping his face because the Tang was in his hole.   <Not surprising....  These little guys can be tough.  A sick/injured/weak fish is easy to pick on.  Again, better to keep the damaged fish separate from all other livestock.> I managed to rescue him and he appears to have no physical damage.  He's back in a egg-crated off corner of my tank and is once again breathing heavily.  When you guys responded yesterday, you suggested that perhaps the Dottyback in the 20gallon had attacked him? <Is possible.  But that pH change is enough to really cause some problems.  It may be the Dottyback had no hand in this.> There was never any physical evidence of nipping, etc.  NOTE:  The Dottyback is being taken back to the fish retailer and is not being introduced into the 90gallon with the Royal Gramma. I have 2 clowns and a CBS in the 20 gallon tank.  I have managed to get the pH back up to about 8.0 by doing 30% daily water changes out of my 90 gallon sump.  So... I learned that obviously some fish react to water quality differently.   <Ohhhh yes.> That introducing a medication in a small tank is very dangerous because it can quickly alter the water quality in such a small tank.   <This is dangerous in ANY tank; just more so in a smaller system.> In the meantime, do you think it's possible for my Tang to recover from this?   <Only time will tell.> Again... no visible physical damage... still breathing very rapidly over past 3 days... but in a safe environment.   <This is probably the best you can do for now.> Regards,  -Dave Brynlund <Wishing you and your tang well,  -Sabrina>

Nano Stocking/Filtration...Problems - 01/01/06 Hey crew, <<Hey Eric>> I picked up a used 12g cube setup from someone who was moving.  It was up and running for a year, though the guy didn't do any water changes! <<Awful...and inexcusable, specially in a system this size!>> I've kept the setup he had as far as the filtration goes: sponge and Caulerpa in the first section, bioballs, carbon bag in the second, and another bag (I'm not sure what it is) in the third.  It has one true Percula, one peppermint and one blood cleaner shrimp, margarita snails, Nassarius? <<Nassarius>> snails and hermits, xenia, a purple tip anemone, some other unidentified inverts, bubble coral and 2 brain corals.  Though I tried to retain as much of the original water as possible, the open brain didn't make it. <<Not surprised>> The water was ok for a couple of weeks, including some 10% changes spread out over a week, but recently the other open brain died and I've noticed film buildup on the surface.  I did some a 10% change today and will do another one tomorrow.  The water parameters as of yesterday were: ammonia - 0, pH - 8.1, nitrite - 0, nitrate 10 (though since there is no 0 reading in the test kit it could be less than 10 and I wouldn't know it) <<Get a different/better test kit.>> and calcium 350 (I added some today).  The film looks almost like a green oil slick. <<I would make sure to put small amount of fresh carbon (changed weekly) in that second filter chamber and remove the "unknown" bag of material from the third and replace with Poly-Filter.>> I realized that the powerhead in the tank (not the filter one) was clogged with a snail.  When I removed that and the circulation picked up, the film broke up for a day but returned.  What is causing the film? <<Hard to say for sure at this point.>> Is this normal?  Is my tank possibly recycling due to the move? <<A real possibility.>> The other inhabitants all look healthy.  I only feed once or twice over a day at most, and only a few flakes or a cube of frozen food at a time and I sometimes skip a day. <<Best to feed daily.>> I also add some phytoplankton or reef solution once a week as per instructions. <<I would stop this...a possible source of pollution.>> I was wondering if maybe I should change the filtration around. Have you seen anyone getting a skimmer or using other filtration on these cubes with any success? <<Finding/fitting a skimmer to this size tank can be a challenge.  A weekly 20% water change is more practical in my opinion.>> Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? <<Maintaining these small system can be problematic, things goes sour very fast in such a small volume of water.  But for this tank I recommend you add a few pounds of live rock (6-8) and remove the sponge and bio-balls from the filter (give it about three weeks after adding the rock before removing).  Adding another small powerhead for circulation will likely benefit too.>> I also have an ID question to which I haven't been able to find an answer. <<ok>> I noticed today a green creature, which looks like an annelid of some sort.  It is about 2-3 inches, with a pointed end and what looks like a the tip of an elephant trunk at the other.  It has remained curled up though it twitches when it gets touched by a crab or shrimp.  It is neon green, like an inchworm, so at first I thought it was on of the green tube worms out of its tube but it doesn't have any tentacles or bristles.  My camera is in repair so I can't send a photo.  Do you have an idea of what this creature might be? <<Impossible to say, though aside from the color, if I were to take a stab I would say do a search on 'peanut worm' and see what you find.>> Lastly, do you think I can safely fit another fish or shrimp in this tank?  If so, do you have any recommendations of something that would be forgiving and interesting? <<I would not add anything else to this tank until you get it stabilized.>> Thanks, Eric <<Regards, EricR>>

Nano stocking... limited Hello, This is Mark again about the Nano reef.  I have my 6 gallon JBJ Nano  cube all set up with 3lbs. live rock and 10lbs. live sand.  It has 1  Ocellaris clown and I was wondering if I could add another?   <Not a good idea/gamble> Also I  have a 10 gallon Nano with 10 lbs. live sand and about 10lbs. live rock (no  livestock yet).  Is it okay for me to add 2 Skunk Clowns? <One will likely kill the other in time, even if started small> Thanks for  all the help.  And if you could recommend any type of anemone for the 6  gallon with 18 watt pc lighting I would  appreciate it thanks. Mark <Perhaps a Condylactis. Bob Fenner>

Small Marine Aquaria Stocking  12/16/05 Hi, <Hello!> I currently have a small (1 inch) yellow tail damsel alone with a small live rock in my 5-gallon Eclipse corner tank. <That's quite small even for this species.> He's been in there for about a month and the ammonia, nitrate, etc.. levels are all very low. I plan on getting some hermit crabs to clean stuff up, <Only one, and be sure it's a small (dwarf) species.> and I am wondering if there are any other small fish that I could put in the tank that would be cool with my damsel- <No.> I was thinking maybe a neon goby? <Damsel is likely to destroy/attack anything added after it, not to mention the size of the tank'¦much to small a water volume for one fish long-term let alone two.> I would really like to have 2 fish in this tank. Any suggestions? <Nothing but the above.> Thanks in advance! <Welcome, Adam J.>

A New Nano Product  12/12/05 Hi WetWebMedia crew, <Hello.>         I am interested in starting a Nano Cube reef aquarium, and am particularly interested in an aquarium called the "Aqua Pod 24 gallon." The  cube is equipped with a  290-gph pump, dual-stage mechanical and biological filtration, and a  surface-skimming overflow intake system. For lighting it has compact  fluorescent 32W  square pin Dual Daylight 10000°K/6700°K Daylight bulb, 1-32W square pin  Dual Actinic 460nm/420nm Actinic bulb, and 2 blue LED. I don't  know if you have ever heard of this cube, <Actually this is the first time I have seen this particular product, looks very similar to the JBJ Nano-cube with a few upgrades..> but I'm wondering if it is  suitable for supporting the soft corals that I want to put in my cube.  I plan on keeping <The lighting you mentioned seems quite adequate for supporting softies.>   1 Toadstool Mushroom Leather (Sarcophyton sp.) <Grows quite large, may need to be fragmented.>   1 Kenya Tree (Capnella sp.) <Same as above comment.>   1 Green Striped Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.)   1 Lavender Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.)   1 Starburst Polyp (Pachyclavularia sp.)   1 Button Polyp (Protopalythoa sp.)   1 Spaghetti Finger Leather (Sinularia flexilis) <Ditto.>   1 Other Colony Polyp (Zoanthus sp.)   2 Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion Percula)   1 Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica)   12 Blue Dwarf Hermits (Clibanarius tricolor)   3 Scarlet Hermits (Paguristes cadenati)   6 Turbo Snails (Turbo fluctuosa) <Far too many, go with only one or two, better yet skip the large and clumsy Turbos and get a trio of Trochus snails. For the most part you have picked acceptable animals though.>   I will also will have around 35 pounds of live rock, a plenum, a DSB,  and some sort of small skimmer (aqua-c, Prizm, or SeaClone). <The Aqua-C is easily the best choice in this group, the other products leave something to be desired. It's going to be hard to modify this unit for a skimmer though.> So, can I  keep these corals and fish successfully with my setup plan? Should I  reconsider some different corals or take out some from my stocking  list? <I'll just say that's it a lot of coral for such a small water volume I would consider taking out possibly one or two of the ones that I labeled as big growers. Either that or be prepared to do fragmenting/pruning.> Sorry for the long entry, but this is my attempt at a reef, and I  don't want it to be a failure. Thanks, Henry   <Welcome, Adam J.>
Re: Nano (Cube) Reef  12/15/05
Thanks for your fast response, Adam <No trouble.>       In my previous inquiry, I had asked you concerning  the 24 gallon Nano reef that I am going to start. I will take your  advice and remove the spaghetti finger coral from the stocking list, and replace the Turbos with turbans. <Sounds good.> Because it would be hard to modify  the hood of the cube to accommodate a skimmer such as the aqua-c, do you  think I would be ok going skimmerless, and making up for it by doing  bi-weekly partial(~10%) water changes? <If you have to go skimmerless then yes bi-weekly water changes will be necessary but if you can implement a skimmer I would do so.> If not, I will try and find a  way to put the skimmer on if possible. As for fish, do you think I  could add maybe a six-line wrasse or royal Gramma to my mix of 2 clowns  and a Firefish, or would that be too heavy on the bioload? <No I wouldn't add anything to your current list, and a royal Gramma or six-line could easily bully the Firefish/? You  mentioned the JBJ 24 gallon cube, in your experience have you liked  this product? Because if you think this is better or have liked it, I  might just buy it instead. Thanks, Henry <I can't say that I prefer it (the Nano-cube) over this new product because I have no experience with the latter, Adam J.>

To Lorenzo, Who Left me Hanging..?  12/9/05 Or to any of the wonderful FAQ crew that might answer my question. I have a 29 gallon reef that I tend to like I do my 2 year old (and he needs a lot of tending) with 55 pounds live rock, a five inch live sand substrate, aqua c remora skimmer and a BioWheel filter designed for a 150 gallon. After cycling, I QT'ed fish, and added (another topic that I consulted with you about and was most satisfied with answers)- 2 rescues and one purchase to my main display.  My tank consists of 1 peppermint shrimp, one clownfish (false Percula), one green clown goby, 3 Micro Hermits, one queen conch. My coral collection is limited to 2 colonies of zoos and 2 colonies of mushrooms. The former doing great, the latter not- because of my all-round moderate to high water flow, so are making the move to a friend's less turbulent tank. I test bi-weekly, at least until I get to know my tank better. I do 15-20% water changes every week.  My water parameters are stable with undetectable ammonia, nitrites, and occasionally .25 nitrates just before my water changes. My calcium clocks at 450 at the least, 480 at the most and my Ph is stable a 8.2. Erm...what else? It is lit with 2 VHOs (75 watts).  I know I have space for very few fish and do not plan to be one of `those' people with fish crawling out of their canopies. My fish choices have been made very carefully and after approval from your crew (Thanks to Bob, Adam, Lorenzo, and...erm...many others, God, I write to you guys *all* the time, should make consulting payments or something). I don't mind having very few fish, it is just that my fish are hardly visible.  I expected that with my clown goby whom I see occasional flashes of, when the lights are out. I expected that of my shrimp, whom I have never seen since I got him (some feelers, sometimes legs, twice a molted shell but never the entire shrimp), but I expected my false Percula to be a little more outgoing. Unfortunately, she has established her territory somewhere to the back of the tank and comes to the front only during her thrice a day meals.  In short, 90% of the day, it looks as though my tank has one dozy queen conch and 2 Micro Hermits in shells too big for them. I just want fish that will be out and about, visible in short. Lorenzo recommended `a small wrasse', and I did some hectic research. Flasher Wrasses, they recommend keeping in a harem, which I think my tank is too small. Every fairy wrasse requires a tank nearly double the size of mine.  I love wrasses, but fear my tank is too small for them (it is covered by the way. 2/3rds with glass, 1/3 with eggcrate to allow for the hang ons behind). Am I doomed to view expanses of nothing, or is there a fish for me? Please don't say Royal Gramma. I know it is a fine fish, but I don't want something that will hide in the rockwork constantly. I have a goby that does that !  Any help you give me, will as always be richly appreciated. Sweta <A Pygmy Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge argi) might be a good choice since you have so much live rock. No other angel will fit. But these guys are cute, colorful, and very active. Cheers, Zo> 
To Lorenzo who left me hanging!!
 12/13/05 Thanks a lot for your suggestions Lorenzo. After careful thought, I have decided that I love my brain coral and peppermint shrimp too much to risk another fish. So I'll just keep my clown and some corals. After all, it is a 29 gallon tank. <Good call, Sweta. It's all about priorities, and over-crowded tanks are ever so much more difficult to manage!>   Thanks once again. <Always a pleasure. -Zo>

Nano Reef Inhabitants  12/7/05 Hello WWM, <Hello Jamie.> Well, I have recently got a 10 gal. tank, which has been running for nearly 2 weeks now and I was wondering whether this size tank could hold any coral or an anemone? If this size tank can, then do you know of any good fish that will fit in it? Your answer will be greatly appreciated! <With this water volume anemones and most fish (a single specimen such as a neon goby is a viable option) are out of the question. However there are some options, see here for a list of suitable Nano species and how to care for the Nano itself: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm .> Sincerely, Jamie Dullea <Adam J.> 

Coral Selection and Placement in the Nano Tank  12/7/05 Dear Mr. Fenner,  <Actually you get Adam J tonight, Bob is still out having lots of fun diving and hopefully getting some cool new pictures.> I have a 20gal.long Nano reef. I have just started adding corals, so far I have a very small clump of green star polyps (about .5") I'm hoping that they will spread fast. <Oh yes they do, to the point o being a weed at times.> One fist sized clump of clove polyps (Clavularia sp.) That I added two weeks ago and are looking great (polyps fully extended and appears to be spreading already). <Cool.> One unidentified type of hairy mushroom that is about 3" in diameter and appears to be splitting. <I would attempt to identify it, some mushrooms get quite large and are 'fish traps' '¦.yes they eat fish.> And three small Ocellaris clowns. <You're at your limit for fish already.> I also have about 30lbs. of live rock and some Blueleg hermit crabs.  The filtration consists of one Aquaclear 200, (200 gph.) and one CPR BakPak 2 Protein Skimmer with a Rio 600 and preskimmer. <Watch the Rio pump they aren't of the best quality in my opinion, I would consider witching this one out for another brand, such as a MaxiJet. I believe the MaxiJet 900 or 1200 is compatible wit this skimmer.> The BakPak is working great and consistently getting about 1/3 cup of skimmate. I have a rotating powerhead that circulates 160gph. The lighting is a Coralife compact fluorescent lighting fixture (130 watts 2, 65 watt bulbs one actinic and one daylight). Okay now to the question. My LFS has a beautiful and healthy Lobophyllia and a beautiful and healthy bubble coral (Plerogyra sp.) I was wondering if it would be possible for me to have either one of these (not both). <With your lighting either one is an okay choice, however I would lean toward the Lobophyllia as the bubble has sweeper tentacles that can measure up to 6', and these will sting anything they touch. So the Lobophyllia would drastically limit your future sessile inverts in such a small tank. As for placement the bubble can be placed anywhere in your tank with moderate current, the Lobophyllia is best placed in the substrate.> If it would be possible were should I place them in the tank. My water is near perfect. And the live rock is teeming with invertebrate life. This would be my first stony coral. Thanks for your help <Welcome.> MDM <Adam J.> 

Problem Curing Live Rock In a Small Tank - 11/16/2005 Thank you for taking the time to read this email. <Gladly Ron.> I have been trying to cure live rock that I bought from a wholesaler online. I received approx. 20 lbs of live rock within 1 day. Once I received it, I then placed all the rock into a separate curing tank. <Good practice to follow.>  The tank is a 10 gallon tank. I have one power head running constantly and the protein skimmer is always on. I have the tank kept in a semi dark area. The rock has been in the tank for approx 1 1/2 months. Since I can remember my levels of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite have stayed relatively the same. 0.50 ppm ammonia, the nitrate levels are reading at 10 ppm and nitrite levels area a 0 ppm. These readings have stayed the same for the entire time. I keep the tank temp at 78 degrees, the salinity level <Specific gravity.>  is 1.022 - 1.023, ph <pH>  levels read at 8.2 and all the water is deionized (I do add necessary electrolytes and trace elements back in afterwards). <You mean by mixing with salt, right?>  I have been doing a water change approx. 1 gallon every week for about 2 weeks hoping something will change (nothing has changed). <Not a large enough water change.>  I don't understand why things are staying the same. I have seen very little change and I'm worried I have done something wrong. <Well Ron, it seems you're on the right track; perhaps some minor tweaking to your procedure will help. This is a fairly small tank for this amount of rock, and with such small water changes things are probably having trouble keeping up. Have premixed water ready to go and drain at least half of the tank into a bucket. Remove each piece of rock and give it a scrub in the bucket (this will remove decayed matter and detritus that the powerhead was unable to free due to crowding). Replace them in the tank and fill with your new water, then just keep up daily water changes. This should clear you up in no time.> Thanks, Ron <Quite welcome. - Josh> 

Stocking A Reef Tank, small  11/16/05 Hello. I have some ideas for stocking my 25g reef tank, but I thought I'd run them by the experts first.  I currently have a pair of A. Percula and one Yellow Fin Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis). <This tank is too small...> I also have a large Coral Banded Shrimp <Potential predator...> and hermits/snails. I've also got a few mushrooms and polyps in the way of corals. My potential additions are mostly invertebrates, but the one fish I'd like to try is the neon goby. Could he get along with my tankmates? <Too likely eaten by the CBS> Also, the marble sea star interests me. <Not for here... too small a system to provide nutrition> Grows to about 3" I <I> believe. Feather duster tube worms should be fine in my tank based on the research i've <I've> done. Last is the electric blue legged hermit. These don't get to be monsters do they? Thanks very much, I always value the crew's advice highly. <Keep reading... these organisms compatibility, selection... and stocking small systems are covered on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

New Saltwater Set-up'¦and A Query too Many Days Old'¦My Fault  11/11/05 Hello <Hi, I'll say first and foremost that I apologize for how long it has taken me to respond to this query. It's not the norm by any means just some unfortunate circumstances.> What kind of fish would you recommend for a 35 gallon saltwater hex  tank? <Small and relatively inactive.>   I am thinking of about 30-40lbs of live Fiji rock and 20-30lbs  live sand.  I had ideas of reef style and of FOWLR.  In the reef maybe feather dusters, shrimp, crabs, <I would omit all crabs except possibly smaller hermits, most 'true' crabs can get quite predatory with age.> snails, a starfish, <What type?> and maybe 2 Percula clowns and  an anemone. <Anemones aren't a casual endeavor, really best left to veteran aquarists who can provide them with large reef type settings. If you still plan to go ahead with the challenge of keeping one of these animals please be sure to research thoroughly.>   and a bicolor blenny.  Also what combo of fish would do nicely in this hex? <The three you mentioned above would be okay but I would not add more than that.> If I did the FOWLR tank then I would do a saddle puffer or two <One is too large for this size tank.>   and if there are any fish which can go with this Toby (puffer) <I would not go with this animal for this tank.> but I would  rather have a reef because I have a beautiful 2 inch green spotted puffer  in a 20 gallon brackish tank with a salinity of 1.007 all by herself.  Do you know of any fish that would thrive with her keeping in mind that she must be happy? <In a 20 gallon not much could survive with a GSP.>   I am feeding her frozen clam, brine shrimp and sun dried baby shrimp  and live snails.  I already have a quarantine tank for the hex it is a ten gallon with gravel and 10lbs live rock with some crabs.  Also what filters, skimmers or equipment would I need for the tank? <An efficient protein skimmer would be necessary at the least.> Sorry for all the  questions but I'm new to saltwater tanks. <Start searching/reading through WWM for more beginner info, Adam J.>

Marine Stocking: Smaller/Nano Tanks 11/6/05 Hello Crew, <Hi Tom.> I have a 30 gallon tank with quite a bit of live rock (40 lbs?), crushed coral substrate, Aqua-C skimmer, a couple power heads, bio-wheel filter (wheel itself recently removed, but filter still provides mechanical and carbon filtration). It's been set up progressively over about 7 months, with most of the live rock coming from another established tank in the house. <Sounds good.> This tank now has one Firefish, one Fire Shrimp (2-3 inches long), about 30 dwarf hermit crabs  <That's a bit much for this tank, less than 10 would have been much better. Make sure they are getting enough food and have extra shells.> one Toadstool Leather Coral. Quarantine tank has a Yellow Clown Goby destined for the display tank in a couple more weeks.  <Good Nano-reef inhabitant.> The Firefish mostly hovers in one spot in the current. I expect that the Yellow Clown Goby will perch on a rock or the Leather Coral. The Fire Shrimp stays in his cave, except that he peeks out when food goes into the tank. To complete this tank, I would like a fish that's not shy, and will be active around the tank. But the Gobies I have are very passive, and I don't want something that will out-compete them for food (including the pods in the tank), or drive them to hide in the rocks. Fish I have considered (both because I like the way they look and think they might fill the empty niche in my tank) are: Orchid Dottyback (pretty, tank-raised, but too aggressive?)  <This one could definitely bully your other fish around.> Six Line Wrasse (would this be too shy? is my substrate too coarse for a Wrasse?),  <The wrasse would not be to shy but they severely impact the pod population you want to keep.> Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse (if I need more than one of these, how many and can my tank hold them all?),  <The fish appreciate a larger tank than your current quarters, so I would skip this one.>  and Chalk Bass (don't know much about these -- do I need more than one?  <No.>  too shy?  <Not really.>  too aggressive?  <Can be predatory toward smaller shrimp, your Fire shrimp is on the larger side so should be okay.> What do you think of these possibilities?  <The only one that's suitable from this list really is probably the last one, but I can think of a few I would rather get.>  Are there other fish I should consider? < Here's a few more choices; Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto), Bi-color Blenny (Ecsenius Bicolor), Blue Neon Goby (Elacatinus oceanops), Pygmy Possum Wrasse (Wetmorella triocellata), and other good choices as well, keep reading.> Thanks, Tom <Welcome, Adam J.> 

Marine Nano Stocking 10/30/05 Hello WWM crew, I have two questions for you. <Hi Taylor, I have two answers for you.> 1) I have a 25 gallon saltwater aquarium with a Prizm protein skimmer, Fluval 204 canister filter, a 5 inch DSB, and unfortunately no live rock (short funding).  <Good thing you have that DSB then. You can use base rock and in time the bacteria, micro-organisms from the DSB will spread.>  I finished the nitrogen cycle three weeks ago, and the tank is currently stocked with only a Percula Clown and chocolate chip starfish.  <The stars are quite opportunistic keep an eye on him.>  I am interested in purchasing a Firefish goby. I have been reading through the various FAQs and some say that Firefish do best in groups of 3 or more, while others say they tend to fight with more then one specimen per tank. Do you think the Firefish would be better off as a group of three, or singly? <In this size tank go with a single specimen.> 2) I have also composed a fish stocking list. In addition to my clown and starfish I would like to add the following fish: 1 Firefish goby, 1 royal Gramma Basslet, and 1 yellow headed Jawfish. Do you think these fish would be compatible?  <No not all of them, choose one, two at the most....I would omit the Jawfish.>  Am I overstocked?  <You would be.>  If so, which fish would you recommend removing?  <See above.>  If I'm not overstocked, do you think I could safely add another Percula Clown?  <No, not if you also want a fish from the list above.>  Sorry for all the questions,  <No worries.>  but I don't want to make any mistakes. Thank you, Taylor. <Welcome, Adam J.>

Nano Reef Stocking/Filtration 10/30/05 Hi there WWM Crew <Hey Paul!> I would firstly like to thank you for what is, in my humble opinion, quite possibly the most helpful and exhaustive resource on the web. Thank you for taking the time to provide it. I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the various posts, and have taken heart, that I am not the only one prone to making mistakes. <Thank you for such encouraging words.> It has been a few years since I was last in the hobby and I am amazed at the changes that have taken place.  <Yes the hobby is forever advancing.>  After a recent visit to the London Aquarium, I decided, much to my wife's annoyance to start up with the hobby again (playing 'fast and loose' with the word hobby here).  <Hmm sounds like my mothers reaction to my fathers sailing expeditions.>  I decided to set a 'Nano' type system. The tank is fairy small, around 2ft long and 1.5 ft high and wide (the size being dictated by matrimonial compromise). While not large, I have seen smaller systems in various stores I have visited. I have had the tank up for about 2 months and it is going well.  It is piled with as much live rock as can be fit into the tank (I am unsure of the exact weight) and has layer of live sand about 2 inches thick.  <2 inches is no mans land for a sand bed, you either need to go 1' or less for aesthetic purposes or 4'+ for the effects of a DSB, anything in between is a nutrient sink.>  After some research I decided to use 'Live' water for the tank, which I buy from my LFS. I do around 3-4 water changes a month, and regularly top up with RO water, which I get from a filter I installed at home.  <If you can best to do at least bi-weekly H2O changes on a Nano with bi-weekly being better.>  I use an AquaMedic hang on protein skimmer with a Bio wheel. And three smallish power heads. I also have a single bulb Metal Halide light and ballast.  <Lots oh heat huh? Hope you have some fans and watch evaporation closely.>  The tank is currently stocked with one small yellow clown goby (2 inches), <Good choice.> a very young yellow tang (about 2 inches long, rescued from a child who was sold a small system by an unscrupulous dealer), <That's unfortunate, I'm glad you rescued him but I hope you are aware of the necessary quarters for such a fish.> 4 sexy shrimp, 2 Percula clowns (about 2 inches, also rescued), a small bubble anemone (also rescued),  <All this rescuing, aren't you a nice guy?>  2 small trumpet or candy cane corals (1, and 4 inches respectively), and small rock covered with button polyps. The stock is doing well, all eating and no signs of aggression or disease etc. All levels in the tank are well within the recommended limits. <Good.> My question is this: I was told (much to my surprise) by the sales man at my LFS, that filtration for the tank was not an issue at the moment, as the tank was not that fully stocked.  <That's a surprising statement to say the least, a Nano being quite unstable needs lots of filtration, water flow, protein skimmer and you DO have a heavy load.>  I did not expect to have the amount of stock I do now, but I couldn't let the rescued stock remain in the gold fish bowl -- yes you did read right -- that they were sold in.  <Horrendous.>  I would like to setup a more effective filtration system for the tank. I would like to know what your recommendations are. I have been researching various systems, from a small sump system using a hang on overflow (the tank was not drilled), buying a new tank (of the same size) and having it drilled, using a hang on filter, or using a canister filter. Space is a premium and whatever solution I eventually decide to use, it will have to fit in the cabinet below the tank. I have read the various FAQ section on you site, but as far as I can see, each has its positives and negatives.  <If you can add a sump underneath that would be the best way to go, as it would add to your total water volume which would increase your margin of error in an o-so-delicate Nano. Possibly include a refugium. As for more efficient filtration, perhaps a larger skimmer like an Aqua-C, in sump urchin. Not sure if they have those across the pond. Not much argument there in comparison to a canister filter, a sump/refugium is far superior in my opinion. If possible a drilled overflow is the best, more reliable than a hang on.>>  I am tending toward the sump system, mainly because that is what I am used to using (it would also free up space in the tank, taken up by the skimmers pump, heater and power heads etc).  <Yes much more aesthetically pleasing.>  I understand that this is not an easy question to answer, but your help in this regard would be much appreciated. <See here for some more Nano ideas Paul: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm .> Thank you. Paul <Welcome, Adam J.> 

Stocking a Marine Nano 10/11/05 Hey guys I was just wondering if you could suggest a few good fish that might work well in my 12.5 gallon tank with about 14 pounds of live rock and 2 inches of live sand on the bottom, I have a few zoo colonies, and a couple mushrooms, a couple red legged hermit crabs, and 2 Astrea snails.  The water quality is good according to my tests but since I don't have any fish the amount of copepods have slowly been increasing, (there is a quite a bit now). <They are quite innocuous and unlikely to cause any harm or annoyance.>  If possible I would like to add a fish that would eat some of these as a supplement to their diet. At first I thought of a Mandarin fish but then realized that I probably don't have a large enough tank.  <No a mandarin is not advisable at all, I am pleased you realize this.>  Anyway when going through all the different types of fishes I get a little overwhelmed with what might be the best choice. <Well this being a Nano you don't want to much in there, I would choose one from this list: Clown Goby (any in the Gobiodon sp.) Neon Goby (Elacatinus oceanops) Bi-Color Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) Possum-Wrasse (Wetmorella nigropinnata) -There are a few other possibilities but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment, I favor the Neons personally.> Thanks for your help. <No Trouble.> nick <Adam J.> 

I Feel Like a Shrimp Murderer. . . earnest folks with tiny tanks  9/28/05 Hello everyone! <Amy> I must start by saying that I love the WetWebMedia website, and have consulted it several times over with great results.  Thanks for all the help! <Welcome> Now, onto the problem.  I have a 12 gallon Nano Cube which joined our home last October.  Being paranoid that I would kill off any aquatic friends that came to live with us, I let it cycle for about 30 days with just live rock. <The longer the better...> It is now home to a small true Perc, a personable green carpet anemone, and a green feather duster, in addition to about 4 pounds of live rock and assorted flora growing in and on the live rock.  I started with the anemone, waited about a month, and added a small skunk cleaner.  I then waited another month and added the Perc.  Everyone was healthy, happy, and seemed to get along just fine. <Operative word here is "seemed"> In the middle of June, I found the skunk cleaner dead next to the piece of live rock where the anemone lives.  It did not appear to be eaten in any way; just dead.  I also don't think the anemone did him in, as he would quite often "clean" the anemone without the anemone's complaint.  I quickly gave him a toilet burial, checked the salinity, and nitrate, nitrite, alkalinity, pH, and ammonia levels, along with temperature. Salinity: 1.023 Nitrate: 0 Nitrite: 0 Alkalinity: 280 pH: 8.4 Ammonia: 0 Temp: 78 F The Perc and the anemone, not to mention the flora, all seemed fine.    I watched the tank for several weeks and all the levels remained the same. <"Seemed"> Missing my skunky friend, I got a new skunk from the same shop in July and also added the feather duster at the same time.  Same story - everyone seemed happy and well adjusted.  I did notice that this shrimp seemed to be "paler" than I remember the prior shrimp being - his red and white stripes were not nearly as vibrant.  However, after having him a few weeks, his color perked up. Then, this morning, I found him in a small crevice created by the live rock, dead.  I feel like a shrimp killer!  I once again checked all the "stats", and everything was as it has been.  The other residents seem perfectly fine.  Is there something I am missing as to why I am fatally harming the poor skunk cleaners? Thanks for your time and assistance! <Please understand the inherent faults in your system... it's too small, unstable to "on average" keep going... w/o crashing... and the shrimp are on the more right hand end of survival curves for small volumes... The instability of water quality is at the utmost in probable causes of loss here. If I could, I would have you double, quadruple the size of your system. Your mail shows intelligence, compassion... desire to succeed, but 12 gallons isn't going to allow this for long. Bob Fenner>

Avoiding Nano No-No's!  9/23/05 Hello! <How ya' doin'? Scott F. here tonight.> First, I would like to thank everyone at your site for the   tremendous help you have unknowingly given me over the years. This site is  a wealth of great information and I am glad you are around. <We're glad to be here! Thanks for the kind words!> My tank: 25 gallon reef tank Real Ocean (by Catalina) used 5% water change cleaning mechanical filter/10% water change from   tank-alternating weekly reconstituted distilled water used for top-off Carbon filtration Skimmerless now, after weaning off Turboflotor Shorty. <Interesting...I've never been a fan of going skimmerless- but if it works for you...> Amazing how  things in this tank have been balanced out. What I have learned is that the more  diversity (especially in the sand bed) the better off I have been. And water   movement, especially at the surface that can churn the heck out of particles. I use an Eheim canister filter, but without the little glass  balls and tubes (actually think these might cause silicate (?) to be released  into the water, giving way to diatom algae blooms. Took them out and  haven't had a bloom since.)   I use this for mechanical filtration  only, 300 gph, clean it every week. <Excellent. As you are no doubt aware, relying on mechanical filtration media requires constant attention to the media itself.> Ah, but I do keep the carbon in  there and change once a month. Once a week there is a "storm" in my tank that where debris on the  rocks and surface of the sand is stirred and this floating junk  gets filtered out. <Good idea...>   Temp - 80.0 - 81.3 pH - 8.1 - 8.2 SG - 1.0257 (actual) Dissolved O - 7 (night) - 7.5 (day) mg/L dissolved organics - very low (Salifert) KH - 9.6 dKH Calcium - 430 Magnesium - 1350 ppm (I love Magnesium!  Seems like whenever this is  normal, so many other things are SO much easier to keep stable. <Good observation.>   Iodine -  Pisch!  Every iodine-iodide-iodate test I have ever  used...what is the best way for me to put it...SUCKS!  : )  The  chemical reactions of this one is too complex for me. Too unstable. I don't want  to O.D. the tank, so I have stopped adding I.  I am hoping water changes  give it enough.  Opinion- Recommendation? <I concur. Unless accurate testing verifies the need for iodine supplementation, why deal with it? Regular water changes with a quality salt mix should supply all of the iodine a typical tank requires.> Phosphates - 0 Nitrates - 0 Nitrite - 0 Ammonia - 0   ...whew! Livestock: 2 Ocellaris Clowns (their home is a branching Frogspawn Coral, who they  feed and who has adjusted well to them)  The clowns are a mated pair but  have only "done it" once; lay eggs behind the coral.  The Frogspawn has about 8 little buds under the mantle. Once in a while, I see this little bud floating freely in the water.  Would these grown into full corals if attached? <Possibly...> And how to attach them or let them do it by  themselves? <Either/or...You could capture them and mount 'm on rubble to see what happens.> Regal tang - a baby 1" but has grown to 2" in only two months!  Came  to me in pretty bad shape. It was disgusting and sad actually. But now he is a fat little bugger and my favorite. (I got this guy so I will have a really good excuse to get a 75 - 100 gallon aquarium in the spring.) <Yes...You MUST get a MUCH larger tank soon! In fact, 100 gallons is probably too small to accommodate this happily fish for it's full natural lifespan, IMO. These fishes can get very large! The bigger the better!> I have discovered over 30 different "creatures" in the sand bed from Spaghetti Worms to tiny white Sea Stars, snails, flat-shaped,  elongated snails, amphipods and copepods...They are crawling all over the  place. I credit them for doing a lot and keeping algae blooms gone for 3 months  now. (I almost forget what they are) <Great to hear!> A few VERY small patches of macro algae that I leave to just help  balance out everything. And a small patch of bubble algae too. Brittle Seastar who "made" a copy of himself...how I do not know yet...thought they had to loose an arm for that. And skunk cleaner shrimp who impregnate each other every time  they molt. Between the two of them, there is fresh "coral food" literally every  week!  Either on Thursdays or Fridays, at night, one of them  will have hundreds of little babies floating all over the place. It's like  clockwork and...I just find it really, really cool. <It sure is!> a few LPS; Green Favia Lobophyllia sp. small Clove Polyps few Mushroom Corals Plate Coral, etc. <An interesting mix that's working for you!> And NOW...finally...you should have a total idea of the tank I am dealing with. The corals that gave me the reason to change lighting: SPS. Oh, and two 1"  Maxima clams (one blue, one greenish-gray) on a loose rock at the bottom of the  tank for now: I have 3 species of Acropora a brown one that turned really green with my old PC 260 watt (50 10,000K/ 50 Actinic 420 nm) and two others that I got with more colour; a really bright purple one and a blue one. All are about 3 to 4" under the water surface, as the other corals are well below the surface  and towards the 1/3 bottom, save the Frogspawn which is mid way. The  water surface constantly in motion (no overflow and skimmerless so I  want to keep the oxygen level at it's best) <To be honest, in such a small body of water, with an unnatural mix of LPS, soft corals, and SPS corals, a skimmer may be the best means of disrupting the accumulation of potentially damaging allelopathic compounds produced by the corals. There is virtually no margin for error here. Sure, it can be done, but the potential for problems down the line is great. Not to discourage you and diminish the obvious success that you seem to be having, but you need to consider the long term here.> I bought the Aqualite Pro 150W HQI metal halide - (2) 65 watt PC  actinic 420nm - moonlight set up. With it's legs on, the lights are  4" from the surface of the water. The halide is in the centre with the PC running along the front and back.  The SPS corals are positioned left and right of centre as this is where the  top of two towers of rocks with cliffs stand. In the centre, on the bottom of  the tank, slightly elevated on rocks is the Favia. My questions: Is the Favia in this position ok in your opinion? <Favia can be as demanding as any SPS coral, but you may want to acclimate this and the other corals to the more intense light carefully, using layers of window screen to avoid shocking them.> Are the Acropora ok this close/ far and left and right of centre  from the halide? <As above. The larger concern to me is the potential aggression between the corals and the lack of skimming. A potential long-term detriment, IMO.> Is the distance of the lighting, again about 4", ok for this tank?  I  feel that I would want to move the PCs CLOSER but worry about the halide, which actually I might move father away. (I will stop using the legs and  mount it hanging after I hear from you and so give me a distance you would use, please.)...but as this is one fixture I am unable to do so and would like  to find a happy medium. With the water surface movement would this allow  the halide to be  4" above or closer with no harm?   <I wouldn't go closer than 6", particularly in a small tank, where heat can be problematic.> What about, keeping the 4" distance (or closer, if you think) with the surface water movement AND then using a different colour temperature (not 20,000K but something between 10,000K and 20,000K)? <I'd still keep the distance at 6"> And, if they all cost the same, which brands of lighting would you buy  for HQI halide and PC? <Depends on the spectrum that you're looking for. I like the Phoenix 14,000k, the Aqualine Buschke 10,000k, and the Geisemann 20,000k. Lots of bulbs to choose from out there...> Thank you so much, in advance, for your help. I have come a long  way with this tank and could, but think it unwise to do so,  start experimenting with lighting, moving coral positions, etc. Cheers! Yishi <I agree. Again, I don't want to sound negative, but I just wanted to point out to you that it may be more wise to "specialize" in one type of coral (i.e.; SPS, LPS, etc.), particularly in this sized system. With that caveat and your continued attention to husbandry (re-install that skimmer, please!), I think that you can be successful with this small tank! Continued success! Regards, Scott F.>

Nano Reefs  9/21/05 <Hello, Adam J here with you> Hi I  have a 20gal. tank that's been up and running for 14 months which I would like to start turning into a reef tank. It has 130watts of  compact fluorescent light (1 65watt super daylight and 1 65  actinic). <Good, the lighting is sufficient for most photosynthetic organisms.> I have two box filters. One Whisper Second nature power  filter. It filters about 145gph. And one Aquaclear 50 power filter.  It filters 200gph. The Aquaclear has foam, carbon and  bioballs in  it. <Carbon is good to have in case of emergencies because of its absorbent properties, but it has a very quick half-life. In other words, after 24-hours it is near useless. In a mature tank it is unnecessary to run carbon 24/7.> I have about 10lbs. of live rock, two mushroom corals, one Royal  Gramma, two Ocellaris Clownfish, one Yellow-tailed blue  damsel, a cleaner shrimp and one neon goby. <That's plenty of fish for a 20 gallon tank, eventually you may have to remove some of them, personally I would remove the damsel before it becomes a problem> I have a few Blue leg hermit  crabs and some turbo snails. All of my fish are under 1in. and if any of  them  ever get to big they can be moved two another system. <Sounds Good.> My species  plan includes one Peppermint shrimp, several species of mushrooms corals,  star polyps, a baby giant clam ( perhaps you  know of a good one that is  easy to keep and around $30) <The two 'easier' of he giant clams to keep (genus Tridacnid, T. Deresa and T. Squamosa) both get well over 12' in length, so unless you could provide a set-up for a growing clam I would not recommend it.> and possibly some yellow polyps. I would also  like to put an anemone in, preferably one the clownfish will like and is  around $30 and is easy to keep. <Most anemones are very difficult to keep so make sure you read up on them in the WWM FAQ's. Also bear in mind that the clowns can live happy captive lives without a host anemone.> I do not have a protein skimmer at the moment  as the only ones I have seen are to big and/or cost  $100+. If you know  of a good one for under $50 I would be glad to hear about it. Please make  suggestions and adjustments to my species plan. <A protein skimmer is definitely an important piece of equipment for maintaining a reef tank, and there are varying levels of efficiency amongst brands. Unfortunately most of the cheaper ones offered are not very reliable.  The two I would recommend for this set-up are the Aqua-C Remora and CPR Bak-Pak, both are near or slightly over the 100$ mark. I would save up for one of the two and perform extra water changes until you re able to get one. I would rather you pay a little extra for something efficient than buy a cheap one which will perform to sub-par standards.  You may be able to find the two brands I mentioned on e-bay slightly used or refurbished for a better price.> Thanks, MDM <Any time, Adam J>

Stocking a 10 Gallon  9/19.5/05 Hello all, I need some of your expert advice on what I can do with a 10 gallon tank that I have.  It is currently only occupied by a royal Gramma and about 15 lbs of LR. <... this tank is too small for a Gramma>   I was thinking about adding a flame Hawkfish <Too small> and maybe some other fish or invert (any suggestions on what else to add?).   is this too much for such a small tank? <Yes...> Also, If I add more LR will the Hawkfish and Gramma get along?  I saw many posts that said they should be ok, but also read some posts where this pairing was not successful. I've got one more question.  What kind of lighting would you recommend for this setup? <Please read on WWM re small tanks, their stocking... use the indices, under Marines, Setup 1. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much for your valuable time. Jeff

Fish For Small Tank 8/21/05 Hi, WWM crew. <Hello> I am new to the hobby and have a 25 gal tank. My dad and I have been looking at what types of fish and how many we could put in the tank. I know we can't have very many fish but were wondering what suggestions you may have. We are looking at green Chromis, a clownfish, maybe a goby/blenny and a  cleaner shrimp or two. It will be a fish only tank and has an Emperor 280 filter  and an Aqua C Remora protein skimmer with Maxi-jet 1200. We were looking at 1  clownfish, 2 or 3 Chromis and maybe a goby/blenny if there is enough room. <This combo will do nicely in this size tank.> What  do you think? Any other suggestions?  <You could also keep a puffer of the Canthigaster genus  in there like a Valentini along with a clown (Percula only...the tomatoes, maroons, and such get too large and can be aggressive) and a couple of Chromis or damsels.  If you do go with the puffer, please be advised that it will eat any shell fish or invert you add to the tank.  Great luck! ~Heather a.k.a LinearChaos> Keith

Nano Reef Clean-up Crew and Detritivore Recommendation 8/17/05 I like to say first off great web site I found a lot of good info here...
 I was actually wondering if I could get a good suggestion on a clean up crew for my Nano reef, both algae and detritus... my tank is a 15 gallon eclipse system w/ a retro fitted lighting system consisting of one 15w Coralife fluorescent and two 13w pc's all 50/50.  I have no protein skimmer just the built in pump with carbon filtration and a BioWheel... sorry didn't mean to get side tracked.  I was just wondering if I could get an idea of a good set of inverts to help clean both algae and detritus from the tank... I would like a variety of creatures in the aquarium including snails, Nudibranch or cucumbers, and hermits, and I eventually want to have a yellow-banded coral shrimp so compatibility w/ this creature would be appreciated.
<<I'm not trying to discourage you, I just want to make sure you are well informed. Please understand that Nano reefs are harder to maintain than larger systems. I would encourage you to search WWM and read up on every aspect. Here are few links to start you out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysdisfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysfaq6.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysfltfaqs.htm>> Current Specifications of Water Quality Temp            76 degrees F Ph              8.1 Specific Gr     1.021-1.022 Ammonia         >0.25 ppm (but not quite 0) Nitrate         >2.5 ppm (but not quite 0) Nitrite         >0.05 ppm (but not 0) Calcium Level   450-500 ppm <<Raise the SG to 1.025. How long has the system been setup? Strive for Ammonia and nitrite of 0. With the high calcium level, I would guess your alkalinity is low. Unless you are planning on keeping stony corals, strive for a calcium level between 350-425 and alkalinity of 8-12dKH. You will find values in these ranges easier to maintain.>> Additives Daily: Iodine, Liquid Calcium Weekly: Strontium/Molybdenum, Kent PhytoPlex or ChromaPlex (each on every other week) Biweekly: Tropical Science NitroMax w/ Oxyboost (also added w/ water change approx 2.5 gallons every other week) <<Wow, you are a dosing machine. IMO, you can save a lot of money and still have a thriving system by using a good quality salt and changing 1-2 gallons of water every week. The water changes will supply all of the elements needed for you reef.>> Thank you for your time Donald Summers P.S. this was my Idea let me know if it sounds good or not, thanks 1 x Banded Coral Shrimp, Yellow (Stenopus scutellatus) 1 x Sea Cucumber, Tiger Tail (Holothuria sp.) 10 x Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab (Clibanarius tricolor) 2 x Nassarius Snail (Nassarius sp.) 10 x Cerith Snail (Cerithium sp.) 1 x Lettuce Sea Slug "Nudibranch" (Tridachia crispata) <<Your list seems reasonable although I might reduce the number of hermit crabs. Clean up crews are a little bit personal opinion. Also, be aware that when the hermits are hungry, scavenging gets a new interpretation. I would wait a few months before adding a detritivore kit. Also, please read up sea cucumbers and clean up crews. ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes1.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marscavfaqs.htm).>> If this is a good selection what are some compatible fish to go along with these specimens?<<As for fish, again personal preference will prevail and there are many small, colorful and interesting fish to choose from including clowns, gobies, blennies, damsels, etc.>> Thanks again <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>>

Small Tank, Small Fish - 08/15/2005 I am new to the hobby and am starting a small 25 gallon high fish only marine tank. <Welcome to a great (addictive) hobby!> I wanted to run some types of fish by you to see if any would work in this setup. <Just keep in mind that, in such a small space, you are limited to very small animals.> Also, could you suggest some combinations from this group or others that you would recommend. Black Pyramid Butterfly <No, my friend....  if there were a zero at the end of the 25, then yeah....  These fish require very large systems.  Your small tank would not even be an adequate temporary home....  Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Hemitaurichthys.htm .> Flame Angel <A big no on this one, as well - this is a *highly* active animal; I don't even like seeing them in 55 or 75 gallon systems....  they constantly "pace" back and forth along the tank, sort of a caged panther syndrome.> Midas Blenny <Ahh, getting closer....  the blennies and gobies are mostly excellent, smallish fish.  The Midas grows a little larger than I'd prefer for a 25g, but you could probably manage it.> Court Jester Goby <Size isn't the issue here, but feeding....  Please see here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm - I would pass on this fish in such a small system; you would more than likely end up watching this fish perish after it devours all the small and micro life in your tank.> Spotted Cardinalfish <Aah!  An *excellent* choice.  Not highly active, small....  perfect.> Cleaner Wrasse <Again, the issue here is feeding.  These animals will *only* consume parasites on fish.... it would starve in short order in your (or any) system....  leave these guys in the ocean.> I was also going to include Nassarius snails and maybe a blood red fire shrimp or cleaner shrimp especially if I did not get the cleaner wrasse. <Either of these shrimps would prosper in your tank - I heartily recommend one, possibly even a pair if you go with the skunk cleaners (they stay a touch smaller).> Thanks very much for your time. <There are many other blennies and gobies you might consider.  Do please make use of the extensive information available in WWM.  You'll find blennies and gobies in the first fish index....   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm .  Were it me, I'd go with the cardinal, a pair of skunk cleaners, and perhaps a neon goby.> Don <Wishing you well on this adventure,  -Sabrina>

Crowded Reef 7/27/05 I have a 6-gallon Marineland Eclipse aquarium that I converted to a Nano-reef tank.   <Good choice.> I retrofit the hood with a 32W 50/50 PC light, and added a 160gph oscillating powerhead for circulation. <A little skimpy on the lighting, but overall sounds very good so far.> I have a 2" deep sugar sand bed, 12 pounds of live rock, and the occupants include: <This is where it gets hairy> 1.  (3) Blue-leg hermit crabs (2/04) <No problem there.> 2. Green star polyp colony (4/04) <Fine. I doubt you can call anything that fits in an overcrowded 6g a colony. Frag, perhaps?> 3. Red Sea xenia colony (4/04) <Fine.> 4. Yellow Zoanthid colony (4/04) <Fine.> 5. Brown-green Zoanthid colony (4/04) <Fine.> 6. Neon-green Zoanthid (Protopalythoa) colony (6/04) <Getting a tad overstocked now, are we?> 7. Metallic-green star polyp colony (7/04) <...> 8. Green Ricordea mushroom colony (7/04) <Starting to sound like a NY subway car at midday. I'd concern myself with your lighting for the Rics.> 9. Blue mushroom colony (7/04) <And this all fits?> 10. Red mushroom colonies (11/04) <...> 11. Green branching hammer coral (11/04) <Would be very worried here. Large Polyped Stonies possess sweeper tentacles that may sting and injure corals. In fact, they probably will extend all through the entire tank. I'd remove this guy. As an aside, lighting is certainly a major concern for the hammer.> 12. Ocellaris clownfish, 1.5" (12/04) <Can it turn around in there?> 13. Orange Zoanthid colony (12/04) <Our hobby is indeed addicting, but don't you think this is a tad much?> 14. Sally-lightfoot crab (12/04) <Watch out with this one. I wouldn't trust one with my fish, no matter the circumstances, ESPECIALLY in such a small tank.> 15. Tree coral (1/05) <Will get decently large, allelopathy is also a concern. I'd remove.> 16. African Flameback angelfish, 2.5" (02/05) <I'd certainly get rid of the angel. These fish need tanks of AT LEAST 30 gallons to thrive. Please, please, please relocate him/her.> The tank has been set up for about 18 months now, and I have tons of coralline algae, and absolutely no nuisance algae.   <Good.> All of the occupants get along quite well.   <For now. Give it a few more months...> I know the tank is a little small for the angelfish, <A little?> but he doesn't exhibit any repetitive behavior, and happily browses on the live rock & tank walls all day long... <Happily?> Anyway, the coral frags are all growing quite rapidly and consequently, there is very little open rock left.   <There was open rock left over when you added those corals to begin with?> The hammer coral has zapped a couple of the xenia (thankfully) <It may very well zap more than just Xenia.> and the Ricordea have overtaken a few of the Protopalythoa.   <What choice did they have?> Should I just allow this to progress naturally <In nature, corals have vast amounts of space to grow into. Here, they have to grow into each other. Not natural at all.> or do you recommend removing any of these occupants? <How about this? Keep the following: 3 Blueleg Hermits Green Star Polyps OR Metallic Green Star Polyps Xenia Two Zoanthid "colonies" of your choice Mushrooms Clownfish Tree Coral This way you can have a varied mix of corals without worrying (for now) about overcrowding and other related issues. Best of luck, Mike G> Steve

Coral care for a 7 gal nanoreef 7/7/05 7g mini-bow, 40W power compact I want to order about 5 various corals. All some form of Zoa or Shroom. < Okay.  That is a small tank but you can do it.  Try getting as much light in there as you can. > Can I put a Blastomussa in there too? I plan on feeding the Zoas and Shrooms DT's Phytoplankton - good idea? Would I need to do anything different for the Blastomussa? < This sounds fine.  Those are compatible and feeding phyto is a good idea.  Still, I'd spend more time looking at more light, or even a larger tank. > In addition, I plan on dosing Combo Sol #1 (calcium + iodine + strontium) and doing weekly RO water changes. < With weekly water changes in a tank that small you won't need (and probably shouldn't) dose any additives.  I especially wouldn't dose in this case because the corals you are choosing are not going to be using many additives. > <  Blundell  >

First Nano Inquisitions  07/02/05 Hi there! <Hello> 7g mini-bow, 2" sand bed, 4.5 lbs. LR, 40W power compact, Penguin Bio-Wheel 100 78 degrees, 1.023 salinity, 8.0 pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate I do weekly 25% water changes <10% is plenty> (reverse osmosis with instant ocean) to avoid diatom algae which I absolutely abhor! Recently added clean-up crew: 3 Nassarius Snails 1 Bumble Bee Snail 1 Cerith Snail 3 Dwarf Blue Leg Hermits 1 Electric Blue Leg Hermit      (about 1.5" big - I LOVE THIS GUY!) 1 Porcelain Crab (Petrolisthes sp.) Is this too much, too little, or just right? <I wouldn't get any more> Please comment and scrutinize. I've decided to go with a small pair of Black Ocellaris Clowns.  Is this an alright plan? <Sounds good><<What? No... in a seven gallon system? RMF>> Presumably, I could move them out once they're near full grown.  If this isn't suitable, I will settle with just one clown and forego the pair. I've also got my eye on a Greenbanded Goby (Elacatinus multifasciatus).  Is there any way to house one of these in addition to the pair of clowns in such a small tank (7g)? <I'd just go with the clowns and skip the goby altogether, it will make a nicer display.>If not, will this fish make a suitable tank-mate for my single clown? Thanks a million! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking A Small World Currently working with 35g, 20 lbs live rock, 5 Turbo Snails, Yellowtailed Damsel, Clownfish, and planning on stopping at this for a while. <A good move... let the system adjust to the bio-load and the animals settle in.> But I'm wondering if this is all I can hold.  Filtration is decent, and regular water changes weekly.  If I were to look into getting more inhabitants in the future what would be a good idea?  Looking for small fish, and really would like some sort of schooling fish to finish off the tank. What are some suggestions for small schooling fish and would I even be able to handle any more in this tank? Thanks for your time Travis <Well, Travis, it might be a bit too small to have a school of fish in this system, but you could consider a couple of small blennies or gobies. These fishes come in a variety of colors and shapes, and offer great personalities and do well in smaller systems. Another thought for a showier fish might be a Royal Gramma, beautiful smaller fish which does very well in captivity. Even "Pacific Snobs" like myself can appreciate the beauty of the Royal Gramma and add one to my tank! Check it out! Regards, Scott F.>

Starting Over, But Smaller (6/3/05) Hey crew! <Steve Allen tonight> What's up? <I'm headed to NYC for a few days on business tomorrow. Never been there before.> I was hoping you could help me with my stocking plan. Recently I sold my 60 gallon and was thinking of purchasing a 29 gallon tank. First off I am starting a 29 gallon because of issues with diseases in my 60. <What disease?> I was hoping that I could use my live rock from the 60 for the 29 but I am wondering if the disease would still be present on it. <Depends on the disease. Most fish parasites will die after a couple of months without access to piscine hosts.> This is my stocking plan: Fish: 1. 2 true Percula clowns with host Bubbletip anemone 2. 1 royal Gramma 3. 1 yellow watchman goby 4. 1 neon goby Invertebrates: 1. 2 skunk cleaner shrimp 2. 1 peppermint shrimp 3. snails and hermits crabs 4. blue Linckia starfish <skip this> 5. BTA If there is anything wrong with my list please tell me. Thank you for your time. <I think this is a reasonable assortment of fish and would not add anything. Think carefully about the anemone. Study a lot. It will need intense, expensive light. BTAs are less difficult than some others. Do not add any corals or other anemones. BTW, the clowns do not need one. Skip the Linckia--almost all die within days or weeks. Consider a small Fromia instead. How about adding a partner burrowing shrimp for your Goby? I have a pair--way cool. If so, be sure to rest rocks on the glass bottom and fill sand after or they will undermine your LR structure. Those are the random thoughts that come to mind when reviewing this list.>

Livestock for a 29 gal Steve, thank you for helping me. < Blundell here today. > I have the dreaded Ich disease in there. It has been running fallow since April 12. I think I will let it go another week or so before adding it to the 29. So you think that it will be free of parasites? < I don't, but many people do think so.  What you have done is a good idea and only time will tell. > Okay I think I will go with a Fromia star instead. About the BTA I am willing to give it enough light to survive. < That is a lot of light, which in turn is a lot of heat to worry about. > Also about the goby, I think I will get it a shrimp partner. That would be cool! < I agree, that is a way cool combination. > Thanks again! <  Blundell  >

Nano Reef 30 Gallon - 5/25/05 Hello there Bob,  <Paul Mansur back from the dead to answer in Bob's name> After reading over the vast amounts of articles and FAQ's on your site, I have several questions regarding the set up of my 30 gallon reef tank. I'm planning to set up the tank over the period of a year, I'll be putting around 15 to 20 pounds of live rock in during the 3 month cycling period, just to make sure that everything is stabilized.  <sounds fine> Does it matter when you put a BTA in the tank?  <Anemone in a small tank? Hmmm...be careful here for very obvious reasons: aggressive, will move about the tank, and grow larger than you think taking up precious space (and this is a small tank)>  Would putting it in before the fish matter?  <I would if you insist on placing one but please consider my comments on BTAs in small tanks> I've been eyeing a BTA at the local store for a while now, but I can't identify it. It has a rose colored foot, with greenish brown tentacles, with a white ring at the end of each tentacle. I'm planning to convert my lousy 2x20 watt hood to a 7x20 fluorescent watt hood, would the 4.5 watts per gallon be sufficient to sustain a BTA?  <Some feel this might be OK if it is well fed. I tend to agree with that. I think I would rather see (in my opinion of course) a power compact or T5 for this tank. Higher output with little in the way of heat.>  The tank is only 18" high. I'm wondering are bio balls really worth it?  <Not in my opinion. A good amount (read 20-40 pounds of cured quality live rock would more than suffice>  I have heard that they can become nitrite factories after a while and are just removed, should I even bother adding them?  <Not in my opinion> The live stock list are as follows- 1 Tomato Clown 1 Bicolor Pseudochromis 3 Cleaner Shrimp 2 Feather Duster Worms 1 BTA  <I would recommend against this based on your stocking here for sure> 4 Turbo Snails 1 Daisy Coral 1 Open Brain Coral 1 Meat Polyp Coral 2 Sea Mat Corals I hope these livestock are compatible with each other, and won't put too much stress on the system.  <Do your research. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Thanks, Sean By the way great site! I've recommended it to some of my friends.  <Thanks for the compliments>

Proper lighting and filtration for a small mis-stocked marine system Hello there. I am a little confused as to which type of lighting and filtration would be best for my tank. It is a 30 gallon,  30" wide, 12.5" deep and 20" high. I have 30 pounds live sand and 23 pounds live rock. I have two domino damsels, two clowns, <Trouble a' brewing with these fishes mixed here> a  Christmas tree coral and a bubble tipped anemone that is shown much attention by one of the clowns and one of the dominos. The tank came with an Eclipse hood which is lacking in all regards. I am considering a Orbit power compact 2x65 for lighting and a Fluval 204 canister filter along with a SeaClone 100 skimmer. <A good switch for the lighting... the skimmer? Puny, but serviceable here... though not worthy of putting on a larger system> I would like to eventually include a rose bubble tipped and blue carpet anemones. Your opinion and recommendations greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. <A very poor idea... anemones are not easily kept period... I would NOT mix them, especially in such a small volume. Please do yourself and your livestock the great aid of reading on WWM re their care, selection, systems. Bob Fenner>

Relatively easy anemone for a tiny world Hi, just a few questions. I know anemones are not easy to keep, but I was thinking of putting an anemone in my 12 gallon for my clowns. Is there a relatively easy anemone to keep in this tank considering I pay much attention to the water quality? <Relative... is a relative term... a tank "bred" BTA (Entacmaea quadricolor) would work out best... but even this will likely die on you, kill all your other livestock> And how big would it need to be for the a 3 inch Ocellaris clown to want to inhabit it? The lighting is a 32 watt power compact, is this enough? Thank you. Adam <All might work out, but I don't give you good odds. I'd wait till you have a larger (more stable, disaster-proof) system. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 29 gallon Reef... Hola Crew, When I fist started out in the salt water hobby I was impatient and ready to get my fish right away. However, I was directed to your website by a friend, and it has helped my so much in my decision making. I am getting ready to stock my aquarium and I wanted to see what you think about my marine environment. Okay, I have: 29 gal tank Aqua C Remora Skimmer Power filter 35 lbs of LR 2 " of aragonite sand Coralife Aqualight Single Linear Strip 1x65 watt ( planning on getting another one) 1 additional power head ( Do you recommend Powersweeps rotating power head? ) 100 watt submersible heater Phew! All right, now to the good stuff. I am planning on keeping mostly LPS corals with a few soft corals, and maybe an BTA anemone in the future. For my specimens, I am planning on two Percs, a lawnmower blenny, yellow watchman goby, and either a Banggai cardinal, or a Fridmani Pseudochromis. For invertebrates, I am planning on 4 red leg hermits (more? less?), 10-15 snails ( Turbo, Astrea, ?), sand sifting starfish, feather duster, cleaner shrimp, and fire shrimp. Does this look like an acceptable aquarium to you? If you have any comments on my fish or especially invertebrates it would be most appreciated. Thanks for all your help in answering my novice questions. Sincerely, Devin O'Dea PS: After reading the FAQ's, I have decided to set up a quarantine tank. Any suggestions for the filter? Gracias >>>Greetings Devin! Congrats on getting your 29 up and running. Stay away from sand sifting stars. For one thing, they deplete your sandbed of much needed critters, for another a bed that size is MUCH too small to sustain this animal. It will starve to death in short order. Same warning for the lawnmower blenny - they have a spotty survival record. I had one starve in a 92 gallon a few years ago. If yours accepts prepared foods, he should do fine. Normally however, I'd recommend a much larger tank. P. fridmani is a GREAT reef fish! I highly recommend them. I'd stick with only 2 or 3 hermits in a tank that size, or consider leaving them out altogether. They tend to clean the rock of EVERYTHING, including feather dusters, sponges, pretty much anything. I would consider adding 20 or so Nassarius snails to your sandbed however, they make great little janitors, but don't always mix with hermits too well. Regards Jim<<<

New 29 Gallon Stocking Level Hi all, <Hello Aaron>  Your website has been super helpful in getting my new tank up and going.  I am running a 29 Tenecor with the built in wet/dry running a Mag-drive MD5 pumping about 350gph. Lighting is provided by two 24" fluoros. One is a 20,000k the other a 50/50. I have 20 lbs of LS and 10 lbs of LR one yellowtail damsel, a clarkii clownfish and a BTA. Oh and two hermit crabs. My question is, I'd like to get one more fish, maybe two small, and I'm worried about bio-load in the tank and the FAQ's seem to be a little unclear to me about how many fish/inverts I can go with in this set up. I'd like to add some macro-algae, and a couple more fish, but my clarkii is very aggressive, and I'm just not sure what else to put in there, and/or how much more I can go with safely in fish or inverts.  Any help would be great!!!  <Aaron, a good rule of thumb is one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water. Invertebrates don't really produce the waste that fish do, so don't be real concerned about how many inverts you want to add to the tank. That doesn't mean to go out and buy 50 corals. Within reason. I think a Dottyback would be safe to add. They are pretty tough customers themselves, normally only aggressive toward their own, but don't take too much crap from anyone. Kind of like "leave me alone and I'll leave you alone." James (Salty Dog)> 

Q's for Bob or Calfo hello, <Hi there> First off I'd like to thank you for such great and useful information! <Welcome> I have some questions on a tank I'd like to set up. For the longest time I've loved the look of sun polyps and have wanted to setup a specific tank for them and give them the care they need. My idea was to use a 24g Nanocube made by JBJ. I was going to upgrade the pump in the back with a much higher flow pump along with a spray bar made with loc line. Due to the very large amount of feeding these animals need I was also thinking of using a large poly tank (50 or so gallons) plumbed to the tank through the back (filter area) of the tank. <Sounds good> This tank would have a lot of useful purposes: A. more water equals more stability. B. if I located the poly tank in a cool remote area it could serve as a chilling unit in a sense. C. I can plumb it to where I can shut of circulation to the tank and use it to mix up a full 50 gallons of water for a water change!! <Couldn't have stated it better> These Nano cubes don't have much in the means of filtration so I figure water changes are going to be almost my sole means of filtration besides extra live rock in the back of the filter area and a 3" sand bed.  Phew!! Now for the questions. I was wondering what might be some other good corals for this tank?? I've kinda figured out what fish and inverts I want to do. A pair of Firefish and white tiger gobies. I can't decide between a black cap Basslet or a ventralis Anthias. I'm thinking the black cap is much more plausible. <Me too> I also was going to put in some Nassarius snails along with some brittle stars. So what are some corals that would work in a low light (well shouldn't say low but blue spectrum) tank such as this? <The selection is quite wide... I would populate this small tank with a mix of bits and pieces, frags from here and there of non-SPS stony and hardy soft corals... started small... traded out in time... would be my preference> This is kinda off the subject but I'm rather excited about it. I work at a local fish store called Jeff's Exotic Fish and just the other week I got to meet Steve Tyree. I was quite star struck hehehe. I also used to work at Quality Marine in LA and wondered if any authors or people like him came in. <Yes... all of us three have been there on occasions... I knew Phil Shane for a couple of decades, and the current owner/manager Chris Buerner is a friend> Then Bob told me Mr. Fenner drops in now and again and have seen pictures of the place in Calfo's book. I think it's really neat that you guys are celebs in your own ways. <Ha! I do think Antoine considers this as a possibility> I hope one day I can say I have impacted the hobby and industry as much as many of you guys have. One thing I was wondering is when the next book in the natural series is coming out? Reef inverts is such a good book and I can't wait for the next. Thanks a lot, Chris AKA Fishtank <Mmm, likely another six months or so to print for the first of two books on fishes. Bob Fenner>

12 Nano stock Hi, Please make a suggestion on what I can add to: 2 porcelain crabs, a few hermit crabs, 2 peppermint shrimp, snails, yellow watchman goby.  I have some corals like Goniopora, gorgonian branch, button , % mushroom. I had a beautiful clown pistol shrimp but after seeing it killed 4 dwarf blue legged hermit crabs and was going for the electric blue hermit I too him back to my reef store.  Any suggestions on another type of shrimp or fish? Thanks. Terri <Perhaps a tank-bred species of Pseudochromis as a highlight for this system. Bob Fenner> 
Re: 12 Nano stock, Pseudochromis
Doesn't the Dottybacks need a tank of at least 20 gal. Mine is a 12 gal Nano.  Take away the back and it is more like 10. Terri <Bigger would be better, but no, there are some species, in fact, many of the cultured ones, that would do fine in this size, type system... with the livestock you have. Bob Fenner>

Marina's Suggestions for 12 Gallon Nano Hi Bob, You answered this query on stocking suggestions for a 12 gallon Nano.  I have some other suggestions that wouldn't present any aggression issues, namely the yellow assessor (Assessor flavissimus), as well as Gobiosoma multifasciatum - just to name two. I even have a couple of links for captive-bred specimens. Anyway, an addendum, perhaps?  Marina <Oooh, please do... always. B> I'm a big fan of the gobies.  Neon gobies, clown gobies, and especially just about anything that's captive-bred.  I'm posting two links to places that offer captive-bred Gobiosoma multifasciatum.  The first is the well-established (and back post-hurricane, thank goodness) ORA in Florida - http://www.orafarm.com/firsts.html.  The second is not as well-known, but certainly worth checking out, located in Hawai'i, RCT Reef Culture Technologies - http://www.rcthawaii.com/rd/fish/gobies.htm.  Another suggestion is to go for a more timid, but still quite colorful character, the Yellow Assessor (Assessor flavissimus).  I have many, many other suggestions for good vertebrates for small systems, looking to animals that will remain within or under 3".  For more ideas, either use our site's Google-tool, or just write in.  Marina

Nano Tank First may I say that you are awesome at replying and have helped me immensely thus far. I really appreciate it. Here is what should be my last set of questions... 1. How long does it take a damsel fish to grow from about 1" to 3"?  I am considering buying a 2" damselfish which is very nice looking, but if the little 1 inchers grow pretty quick then I might just get one of those.  (About half the price) 2. How long does a clown fish take to grow from lets say 1.5" to about 3"? 3. Would a 2" damselfish and a 1.5" clownfish be able to live peacefully together? If not, would purchasing a anemone help?  <In a small tank such as yours, I would not combine a damsel with a clown. Most damsels are aggressive. Hard to say on growth rate. All depends on nutrition, water quality and the health of the fish.> 4. I went to Petco today and saw a "long tentacle anemone" with clownfish playing and going in it. Is a long tentacle anemone hard to take care of? It was ~$23...would you recommend getting it for the small tank set-up that I have, or would it be too much of a bio-load?  <I would not recommend it. They require proper lighting and are sensitive to changes in water parameters that would be hard to control in a six gallon tank.>  I would really like a damsel and a clown (my two favorites) but understand their aggressive natures. Is there a chance that they might be able to live in harmony or would I need to purchase an anemone to help the situation?  <No anemone and chances are very high the clown and damsel will not get along in your Nano.>  Any other answers to questions I may not have asked would be greatly appreciated as well. <I'm sorry but I cannot answer questions that were not asked.>  I am very excited to get my fish in my tank as my water has been tested and is ready for fish.  <Get fish that will be compatible with each other and you and the fish will enjoy the tank much more. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks so much James aka Salty Dog. <You're welcome>

Nano tank stocking question Hi, I am a newbie to marine aquariums.   I just purchased an Eclipse 6 (6 gal) system, which I know is very small for a marine aquarium but I am only looking to get a few small fish.  Probably 2 clowns, one small and one medium, and a medium sized striped (black/white) damsel.  I am hoping to do a 1/3 water change ever week and just wanted to know if that along with minimum feeding would suffice for keeping these fish in a 6 gallon tank.
<I would get two Percula clowns and then stock with a few colorful invertebrates. I think three fish especially one being a "medium" is a bit too much. I think a Dottyback and two clowns would be OK since there is a decent filtration system in your Nano.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you.

Nano Tank Thank you for your quick reply, just a couple follow-up questions: Is a Eclipse 6 the same as a Nano?  i.e. Is a Nano just a term given for very small tanks.<term for very small tanks> Also you said "I think three fish especially one being a "medium" is a bit too much. I think a Dottyback and two clowns would be OK since there is a decent filtration system in your Nano."  Does that mean I should only get two fish? or can I get three with no medium sized fish?  I was thinking about getting a medium clown and a small clown and leaving it at that. <In a tank that small you will have some aggression going on between the different species.  Yes, three fish with no medium size fish would be OK.> Also, what types of invertebrates would you recommend specifically. <Cleaner Shrimp for one, Orange Knobbed Starfish, Pistol Shrimp (many are colorful), Button Polyps are just some that are relatively easy to keep.>  Thank you again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting rule and Coral stocking 2/11/05 I have a 10 gallon setup with a standard fluorescent cover. I would like to increase the lighting so that I could handle more than just mushrooms. There are 20" PC's available (from 32 to 96 watts) but I am not sure how much wattage I should try for. <at least 5 watts per gallon of tank size> I do have cardinals and gobies. Is there a point the fish would find uncomfortable? <varies by fish... but do keep under 10 watts per gallon> Also, how significant is the bio load of coral in a small tank? <minor... they are light burdens> There are guesstimate of inches of fish per gallon but I have not seen anything relating to corals. Is it just a matter of space? <exactly... needing 6-10" between each coral for 1-2 year buffer. Anthony> 

20 gal marine LR tank Thanks again.  How about this stocking plan: 1 Firefish Goby <These do better in groups of three or more> 2 Citron Gobies  <These fish are difficult to acclimate to frozen/dry foods. They like live meaty food. Look up the Citron Goby on the Wet Web for more info. Two different types of Dottybacks would work also, I like the Orchid Dottyback.> 1 Yellow Watchman Goby 1 Pistol Shrimp (maybe) <I like the match of the watchman and pistol shrimp, it's just that they don't always pair off> Would these work in the 20 gallon?  <Yes, but I wouldn't add any more fish in this size tank. Color it up with some invertebrates.>  If not, what could be omitted to make it work? Should I be getting a protein skimmer with this plan? If so, would you suggest a CPR BakPak or AquaC Remora (or something else)?  <I think the BakPak would work well in this tank and I always recommend a skimmer. It just adds to water quality. James (Salty Dog)>

Algae and compatibility  Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 Hi crew. I first must thank you for an awesome web site. First off my sand bed always gets thick growths of a greenish/reddish algae and the glass gets covered with green algae. Some red coralline algae grows on the glass very slowly but I'm pretty sure that it is a good indicator that this "good" algae is starting to thrive. How could I control/exterminate the bad algae. Also, it is a 29 gallon with a yellow tang, a domino damsel and some hermits crabs. <You don't mention the use of a wet/dry filter or skimmer. Are you employing any of these?>  It also has a bunch of rock. Some live some not. On the newly added not live rock a lot a green hair-like algae is growing. Is this just because it is newly added and it is kind of cycling in a sense?  <No, the algae is growing because of excess nutrients. A yellow tang (how large) and a domino will all outgrow that tank very shortly and add more organic waste to the system.> Also, are there any saltwater eels that would be suitable for my size tank.<You are at your limit right now. If anything, I would trade both the tang and the domino in for a couple different gobies and two Percula clowns and a lawnmower blenny to help out with the algae problem. This will also create more diversity and still have the color in the tank. James (Salty Dog)>  If I got an eel I would trade-in my damsel and tang because I know they could become possible snacks. That's about it for now. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely,  Aaron 

Stocking a 29 gallon. I currently have a 29g TruVu...25lbs of live rock...Prizm skimmer...Rena xp1 filter...1 coral beauty, 2 clown fish, 1 yellow watchman goby, 5 hermit crabs, 1 cleaner shrimp, 3 snails...thinking about adding a royal Gramma, and a school of 5 green Chromis and maybe even 1 PJ cardinal...is that to many fish for my tank? and if so what should be the limit for my tank?...also do green Chromis fishes produce a lot of waste? >>>Greetings Julio, You have plenty of fish for a 29 gallon. If anything, you might consider adding ONE other small fish, maybe the cardinal or the Gramma - but NOTHING else. 4 or 5 small fish is quite enough for your system to deal with. Push things too far, and you run into problems very quickly. Cheers, Jim<<< 

Stocking levels? First off, you guys have been a fountain of knowledge for me and I guess any newbie to the trade. <Thanks! I could have used this site for my first marine aquarium...> I have a 29 gallon tank with 45lbs LR and 20lbs of LS. I also have about 7 pieces of soft coral, polyps, mushrooms, and a leather. I also have a bunch of miscellaneous inverts. In the tank I have one 1.5 inch Clarkii clown, one 1.5 inch Coral Beauty, and one Firefish. Can I add any more fish to the tank? It has been running for half a year. If so, which fish would be best? <I would not add anything else, as the Clarkii is going to get fairly large and aggressive - you may end up needing to find a larger home for it, as they can reach ~6" - M. Maddox>

Stocking a small marine system Hi, <How goes it?> I have a question for you. <I'm honored> I have a 12 gal. saltwater aquarium. <Aha, a Nano> I have an Ocellaris clownfish and a Haitian pink tip anemone (my peppermint shrimp died today). <Sorry to hear that.  Do you have proper lighting\water quality for your anemone?  The HPT's require ~50 watts of NO\VHO\PC or so in a tank that size> I was just wondering if my anemone would eat a yellow tang if I was to get one (I saw a small one in a pet store the day that I got my clownfish and anemone). <Sorry to tell you that no matter how small a tang you get,  your aquarium is just way too small for these fish.  They need a lot of swimming room, and will not survive in anything short of 75 gallons> I didn't get one because I didn't have enough money at the time, but now am glad that I didn't because I have heard that my anemone might eat the tang. is that true? <I want a billion dollars and my own planet!  Seriously though, besides having too small a tank, it is possible the anemone could kill other fish.  I would not add any other fish to your aquarium, except maybe another Percula in the future if you'd like to pair them> Also, what kind of algae eating animals to you advise for me to put in my tank? <Various Cerith\Nerites snails (can be acquired from www.garf.org> Thanks, Kristin.  <Do read over our archives regarding anemone care!  M. Maddox>

Emergency move!  30-gal Tank got a leak Dear WWM crew: <Paul> I never start an email to you guys without thanking you for everything you do... So thanks! <Welcome> It seems I am running into bad luck after bad luck starting up my aquarium.  I converted my 30-gal FW to SW and got a 10-gal as a QT tank.  My fish (two clowns, one Gramma, 5 hermits) seemed happy, ate relatively well, and were moderately active.  The Gramma mostly came out of the live rock for feeding, after which he would promptly go hide again. <Typical. Give it time> I woke up one morning to find a huge puddle on the floor and a good portion of the aquarium's water level gone!  The aquarium was leaking, so I decided to put everything in my 10-gal.  I filled the bottom with sand, put as much live rock as I could without stacking it while still making caves, filled it with water, and got my fish to safety.  Now, here's where my confusion comes in. My fish are much more active!  At feeding time, they are extremely anxious to get food, and will even take it out of my hand if I do not let it go in time!  The Gramma no longer spends his time hiding within the live rock.  The crabs are much faster than before.  Is this a bad thing?  Should I take this to mean the fish are happier, or just frantically claustrophobic? <Something/s are different... maybe you've raised the temperature... perhaps just a good water change...> I know small aquariums are dangerous because it's harder to keep the water quality consistent.  However, if I have the water tested by a LFS weekly, would it be impossible, and would the fish be unhappy?   <No store, no agency is able to actually test for all...> Since I live in a small apartment, the small aquarium looks much better than the large one, the fish are more active, eat better... everything seems to be better, except the actual size of the aquarium. I have been maintaining this small 10-gal mini-reef like this for the past two months.  I've been changing 25% of the water weekly, and the water I've been taking out of the aquarium, I've been getting tested the same day.  If I am diligent about these parameters, is it possible I may keep the aquarium as is?  Or is it still ridiculously small? <Mmm, you may have good success for a good long while... much of the probable negative interaction twixt and between the clowns and Gramma has been eliminated through their introduction in the larger tank> I only ask because my 30-gal is useless, I can't afford a new tank at the moment, and I'd have to give the LFS back all my fish and live rock... and something close to a $500 investment will have been wasted. Thanks for your time! Paul Ghica <Paul... did you actually ever find the leak in the thirty? Very often such "leaks" turn out to be gear failures, splash and spray from a powerhead, diffuser... I would definitely set this tank up (outside) with newspaper under it, and CAREFULLY fill it, check for the actual source (if any)... and even IF it did leak, I would simply reseal (silicone) the inside corners... easy to do. At the very least, sell all to someone who will test, repair it. Bob Fenner>

Orange Tree Gorgonian vs. Algae 1/5/05 Hi, purchased a Orange Tree Gorgonian for a 12g. NanoCube set-up almost two weeks ago. <Sorry to hear that.  These animals have terrible survival records in captivity.> I went out of town for a week for the holidays and upon return found my glass, rocks, substrate, and the gorgonian (not as much) covered in what I think is Cyanobacteria (slime to 'hairy' appearance and a dark red to brown color).  I did a 40% water change and removed some of the slime covered substrate and replaced with some live aragonite sand and cleaned the sides of the tank.  I might mention I believe the bacteria/algae outbreak was due to overfeeding the system before I left.  <Overfeeding certainly can contribute to algae or Cyano blooms.  Maintaining pH and Alkalinity on the high end will help prevent/combat these issues.> Anywho, the gorgonian I was wary to interfere with too much.  After reading some of your articles/forums I decided to take a chance to brush away some of the algae/bacteria with one of my watercolor brushes and it worked to a degree.  Also, the tips of three of the six branches are wearing thin, as in skeleton is all that remains.  I feed it once every-other day with Marine Live Phytoplankton and roughly 60% of the polyps come out regularly, even those near the decaying tips. <Unfortunately, phytoplankton is probably not a suitable food for this animal (too small).  Tiny zooplankton is probably more appropriate.  Some of these animals can be very specific in what they will capture.  Sometime Artemia nauplii will be captured, but you must observe that they are captured AND ingested.> I moved the gorgonian to be more in path with the one powerhead outlet in the tank so as all the branches are getting water flow. <These animals do appreciate a lot of flow, but those that grow in a flat "fan" are generally used to gentle sweeping and waving currents, not the blast of a powerhead.  Reproducing this kind of water movement is difficult even in very large aquaria with surge devices.> I read that it is sometimes wise to amputate the gorgonian to prevent any further decay.  Any thoughts or ideas as to the prevent further decay.  <I would snip off any branch tips that are fouled with algae.  This may slow the loss of tissue.> One last thing, I know that these corals are not the easiest, but I've had one tank going for more than a year now with no deaths so I thought this NanoCube would be easy, are the Tree Gorgonians relatively  successful in home aquariums or do most fail?  Thank you very much for your help in advance. -David H. <Photosynthetic gorgonians (usually gray and/or brown) are very hardy and generally do well in aquaria.  Most of the colorful ones are not photosynthetic and do very poorly.  Their strict requirements for food and water movement are very difficult to reproduce in captivity.  Sorry to be so negative, but non-photosynthetic gorgonians almost never survive.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Bandaiding, livestocking a too-small system Hi Wet Web gurus, I want to make my 16 gallon cube tank happy and thriving again, but I'm not sure what I need to do first. I purchased a cycled saltwater set-up with about 15 lbs of live rock and about an inch of live sand at the bottom last Feb. Started added mushrooms and a few other hardy corals, hermits, and a Dottyback. Added an Aqua-C remora skimmer, and my Dottyback got crushed between it and the wall just before the summer. <? Not likely> I was away off and on for most of the summer, and with no fish, neglected the tank somewhat. All of coral survived, but by Sept, I had a very bad outbreak of Aiptasia, which I couldn't seem to get rid of. In frustration, I just pitched almost all of the rock, not really clear about the role of live rock vs. skimmer (plus weekly to biweekly water changes). <All three do different, though complimentary "things"... can be discerned by study, reading on WWM.> A month or so ago, I added a Goby and a cleaner shrimp. The Goby has now disappeared (victim of a hermit crab?). <Maybe... perhaps a "jumping out" incident> The shrimp seems fine--but the Aiptasia is back. My questions .... I want to add two or three small fish. I like the purple Firefish, but am worried it will jump into my skimmer or out of the tank. <Me too> I usually keep the top off the tank to give it maximum light. (I have power compact 40 watt, 10000K). Can I add this fish or is it an accident waiting to happen? <Mmm, is there room, interest in having a larger system? The root of much of your difficulties is the small volume of this tank> Do I need to add more rock first? I went to the LFS and was told adding rock would give off ammonia and could harm the shrimp. I probably only have about 3-5 lbs of rock now. Do I need to add more live sand? Every time I change the water, some sand gets sucked up. <You could add more (cured) LR, LS... I'd wait on adding more livestock for a few weeks after this> I'd eventually like to have some pulsing xenia. Is my lighting ok? <For this soft coral group, yes> and if I were to upgrade a bit, what do you suggest? <Ahh, now we're getting to "it"... a bigger tank... your skimmer will accommodate this...> In an ideal world, I'd love to have a little maxima clam in my tank, but I don't want metal halide because of the cost and I think it might heat up my tank too much. Also what about glass top on or off? <Off if possible in terms of escaping livestock, someone to make sure the tank is topped-off> Does it make a difference for the coral? <Yes> Also any tips on the Aiptasia? I'm trying Joe's juice now, but are they a sign of system problems? thank you thank you <Take your time Maura... study the materials archived on www.WetWebMedia.com and our and others BB's for more input... the questions you ask are "open ended", lead me to believe you need to know items that you don't yet know you need to ask re... use the Google search tool on WWM, and/or the Indices to Marine Aquarium articles, FAQs files... and you will save yourself a good deal of time, frustration, livestock losses, as well as doubt and confusion. Bob Fenner> Stocking a 25 gal Hello. I've had my 25gallon FOWLR tank up now for about 13 months. I've had my ups and downs, and I had 2 recent losses. Now I am trying to revamp the tank. I have a pair of a. Perculas and a coral banded shrimp (added yesterday). I wanted to ok my ideas with the venerable crew before making any more moves. My plan was to add a citron goby and a pygmy angel. << I think this is okay, but wouldn't get anything else. >> I would probably end up with about 10 inches of fish (my clowns are 3 and 2 inches), the goby grows to ~2 inches I believe, and the angel tops at about 3. More importantly, could all these get along in my tank? << Yes, all peaceful fish. >> Any probable fighting? Is there a chance that my coral banded could hunt down any of these small fish once he gets bigger? << I don't think so. >> Also, what other invertebrates can get along with a coral banded shrimp? Obviously, no other shrimp. I'd love input. << This sounds great.  Good luck. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Stocking a 10 gal Love the site, great info..... I've spent the last few weeks searching for the answer to this question, and humbly apologize if I just missed it somewhere (I'm sure you'll put a link here, lol).  I need suggestions for stocking a 10 gallon fish-only marine setup.  Gobies are probably my best bet, but are different of gobies species compatible? << Yes, just about all of them will do well together.  Feeding them is the biggest challenge. >> I've read that most don't do well with their own kind.  I'd love to find a way to fit maybe 3 fish in there. << I think 3 different kinds, and hardy types are best.  Maybe a Chromis or damsel would be a better choice for such a small tank. >> Thanks in advance.     BC <<  Blundell  >>

Nano Acroporas & clams Good morning crew <Alex> Do you guys know If I can have Acroporas & clams in my 10 gall Nano reef system ?  I'm running It with 8 watts per gall with a Rio 600 pump. I know I should not have a problem with light & flow, but my LFS told me it could not be done. Clams yes Acroporas no. I know Acros are very aggressive so I should provide a lot of distance from each other.  What do you guys think? Thank you for your time! <Mmm, can be done... but not easily... by "clams" I take it you mean Tridacnids... get too big... and Acroporas generally require high and consistent water quality... difficult to achieve in such a small volume... though possible, have seen done. Bob Fenner>

Nano marine tank 11/28/04 Hi, <howdy> I have a question for a friend who has a small 5 1/2 gallon tank and he wants to put a couple PJ cardinals a small piece of live rock, and small snails and crabs.  Do you think this is possible?   <yes. Nano tanks, as they are called, are rather popular, although not as stable as a larger aquarium of course. Be strict about husbandry here> Is that too much fish for a 5 1/2 gallon? <tis OK> My saltwater tank is running happily, <excellent to hear> Thank you for all the info.  I visit your site daily. Troy

Misunderstanding Re:  Multiple Questions Re My New 10g Marine Aquarium (11/28/04) Hi, Sorry to bother you again, <Hi there, Leslie here again. No worries it is no bother. > but there was a misunderstanding with my tank inhabitants. <Woops, so sorry > I only have one damsel (he is a 4-striped) <Ah Ok that sounds much better. I just re read your other email and I do see that now, my apologies. > and I don't plan on adding any more fish for a long while (in which case it would just be one more). < The same info stands for Damsels in a 10g. The minimum tank requirement would be 20g and 2 would not be a good idea at all.> So my damsel is not being picked on thank goodness. I understand the information on the infection still stands? I will be purchasing a quarantine tank if that is the case. :) Will my damsel be okay by himself in the 10 gallon? I am quite attached to him and don't really have the resources to start another tank. < If it is small it might be OK for awhile. It would be best when stocking your tank,  to use the  guidelines established & published  by the highly respected marine aquarists we all rely on for guidance with our wet pets.  These numbers are based on maximum adult size, activity level, behavior, observation in the wild as well as success in captivity. Please have a look at the following article for some insight on fish health and disease..... The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease &  FAQs here..... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > Thanks so much for the response it has really helped!! No Longer Quite so Paranoid Beginner :) < You are most welcome! Leslie >

Starter coral Hello. <Hi there> I have a 10 gall Nano reef tank that I have just started!!! When the water checks out fine, what kind of coral  should I  start out with??  I really like the yellow leather coral, but I don't know if that's a good pick for a starter Nano. Oh, I'm running it with 8 watts per gall  a Rio 600 and a Skilter 250. Thanks     <A ten gallon is too small for a Leather/Sarcophyton soft coral... I encourage you to try mushroom "corals" (Corallimorpharians) to start with... maybe someone you know has some that have grown, split up, and will trade you some? Bob Fenner>

Multiple Questions Re My New 10g Marine Aquarium (11/23/04) Hi, <Hi, Leslie here this morning.> I am very new to marine aquariums, and have a few questions. With the wealth of information out there (a large majority of which is conflicting and/or confusing. I have found myself more worried about the status of my tank inhabitants and at the same time less able to assess the situation. <That's why we are here. >  I have a 10 gallon tank which I started out with live rock and sand for 2 weeks before adding a four-striped damsel. After another 3 weeks, I took my water to be tested by the local store where I purchased the damsel, and was informed that it was "perfect". Over the next two weeks, I added 3 small hermit crabs, a snail, and colony polyps. Throughout this time, the specific gravity and temperature have been very steady with regular top-offs of fresh water and weekly 10% water changes (using distilled water).  I thought I was doing everything right, until learning from your website articles that I should have put new arrivals in quarantine before adding them to my tank (something that will be done in the future). I also found information that I should be checking the water chemistry (such as pH, nitrates etc) weekly. Is this correct, and if so, what should I purchase to do this? <Yes, this is a good habit to get into. There are a number of test kits available. I like the Salifert or Fastest test kits. > I am also still confused about filtration (please excuse my ignorance). I have a millennium wet/dry filter that hangs on the side of the tank and boasts "venturi air injection". Is this adequate? <Yes, should be just fine> Now to my paranoia. My Damsel has been displaying symptoms of an infection (although, I admit, only something I noticed after reading about it). He always seemed to brush against the live rock and filter etc, but appeared to do it in order to brush up things to eat. However, now he does more 'scratching' without the apparent reasons he had before. He does have a slight gray color on his nose and around the front of his gills, but I cannot say that it wasn't there before because I wasn't attentive enough. Is this something to be worried about? I don't want to be subjecting my damsel to treatment unless I am sure. He still eats voraciously and appears to be his curious, active self. He does appear to spend every other hour or so sitting at the surface by the filter and breathing more rapidly though. I don't know if that is normal? < 10g is small for 4 damsels. These are mean little territorial fish and require some space. The minimum tank size recommended for this fish is 20g and as they mature will bully each other especially in small aquariums. It is possible that the fish displaying the symptoms is being picked on or stressed in some way by the other fish. It is also possible that you have some water quality issues in a newly cycled tank up only 2 weeks. Either or both could be the cause of your sick fish. Rapid gilling, sitting near the surface and hanging out by filter returns are all indications of that there is some sort of a respiratory problem going on. Those symptoms coupled with the rubbing on tank decor aka flashing would be suggestive of a parasite infestation with a possible secondary bacterial or fungal infection as evidenced by the gray coloration on his face and gills. I would place the fish in a quarantine tank and consider medicating it with a good broad spectrum antibiotic in combination with hyposalinity. Information on both can be found here...... http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html and these articles by Steven Pro http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-10/sp/feature/index.htm http://reefkeeping.com/issues/subject/disease.php That 10g size is very limiting in terms of what you can keep. You might want to consider a slightly larger tank if possible .... say 20 or 30 gallons. A larger tank will be more stable and you will have many more options in terms of inhabitants. Most of the small marine fish require at least a 20g tank or larger.  Please consider trading in your damsels for  a more passive fish in such a small aquarium.... perhaps a small goby > Also, one of my hermits seems to try to escape the tank by climbing the glass, and the snail often climbs the glass clear out of the water. Is this an indication of anything? <Nope, should not be a problem> I have also noticed very very small (both length and width), transparent, worm-like creatures in the live rock and sand. Friend or Foe? <Friend>  Sorry this is such a long e-mail, but I truly am frustrated/confused as well as concerned. < No worries my friend.> I want to provide a good environment for my new pets, and would hate to be inadvertently causing them harm or neglecting them. Please help!! Paranoid Beginner < Hope this helps and best of luck with your new tank, Leslie >

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