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FAQs about Small Marine System Tanks, Set-up 2

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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.>

Small marine system cycling Hello, I am a newbie trying not to kill any more fish. To make a long story very short, the Aquarium was a reward for my daughter being potty trained. Needless to say it has almost become an obsession for me. We/I started out with a freshwater tank... four fish and all was well. Added four more and one was very ill. The girl at PetSmart said the female was pregnant... not so and killed the tank. Daughter was very confused about the explanation. Four hundred dollars more and researching facts, we decide to go with a Marine Tank. I set the 30 Gallon tank up with filtration, protein skimmer, and heater for a 100 gallon tank. Moving and heating water is not a concern. I stock the tank with 10lbs of "live sand" and use another 10lbs of gravel. I then add Real Ocean water from PetCo and use some bacteria accelerator products. Three weeks later after daily testing of the water...I add four fish (two Yellow Tail Damsels and two Tomato Clowns). Everything seems to be going well. The daily water tests are great and I think I have the whole thing down. I now have a problem... four weeks after the addition of the fish, all holy hell is going on with the chemistry of the water. It appears the tank is cycling (ammonia climbed then declined and nitrite has risen substantially). This seems normal, but I have a few questions (and fears): 1. Does this sound normal? <Happens> 2. How long before the nitrite lowers and the nitrate rises? <Likely a few weeks> 3. I have changed the water weekly (20%) Do I need to change it more? <Only if ammonia or nitrite exceeds 1.0 ppm or your fishes appear in dire trouble... changing the water may well forestall the establishment of cycling> 4. The tank now has what I can best guess as Diatoms (brown/golden) and should they go away soon? <Will, with the cycle, time going by... replaced by other types... greens> 5. Am I being overly paranoid...should I let the cycle take due course? <A bit of both> Your help is greatly appreciated, and the fish stand a better chance of surviving. I have spent more money on chemicals and not used them with a fear of waking up to the horror of trying to explain to my daughter what happened. I did use an ammonia detox after I felt the readings were too high. Sincerely... Tom <Take your time here... read, on WWM, the Net re cycling... Bob Fenner>

Nano tank size I'm trying to pick a smaller tank for with coral, live rock and really about two clown fish. I'm currently looking at the nano cubes but I can't decide for what I want if these two will meet my needs or if I will never a larger tank or different tank. I like the amount of the light that the 12 gallon gets and I was told that it would be better to grow coral and have it live but I like the size of the larger one and I hear it's easier to control the water and keeping it at a safer level. Any advice? <My dealer carries twelve gallon nanos made of acrylic with black acrylic top and built in wet/dry/protein skimmer.  It really looks awesome decorated with softies and a couple clowns.  Also comes with a couple of power compacts.  The larger the better in controlling water parameters.  Nanos just need more attention in this regard.  James (Salty Dog)>

25 Gallon Odyssey Tank Hello, love your site. I am looking for advice and guidance. I am setting up a 25 gallon aquarium that has now been running for about 6 weeks. I have about a 3 inch bed of live sand at the bottom and approximately 40 lbs. of live rock. I have experience with saltwater fish tanks but I am planning on making this one a coral reef tank with some fish as well. I've been adding rock as I've gone along the most recent about a week ago, do I need to wait before adding anything live since I just added more rock? <Yes...> The tank ran with live sand only for about a month and I've been adding live rock for the last couple of weeks now and I think I now have enough. I only want a few hardy corals and some fish specially because this is my first reef tank and I don't want to get ahead of my self.  <And it is dangerously small... unstable> My LFS told me that I can add mushrooms and others (what would you recommend for starters?) <Posted on WWM> with my aquarium the way it is now but I am apprehensive about adding anything live before knowing that my set up is adequate. <You're wise here> I have an overhead filter that is built in to the hood with a pump that pumps 900l/hour over the top of the tank and drips in to two containers that I filled with live rock rubble and a wet/dry like filter/sponge over the rock and back out and in to the tank. I have one Maxi Jet 900 power head, a 200W heater and two 65Watt power compacts in the hood. What would you recommend from here as far as filtration, lighting, circulation and anything else? <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm scroll down to the areas on Reef and Nano/Small system set-ups...> Am I doing okay with what I have so far? Where should my salinity and temperature be? Most importantly, what steps should I take before I attempt to add anything live to my system? I included a picture so you can see what I have so far. Thanks, Jimmy <Proceed... slowly... with knowledge... Bob Fenner>  Fairly new 24 gal nano. Hello , first off I just wanted to say that your site is amazing , there is so much information that there is no need to go anywhere else. Thank you all for helping with questions and issues, I am very happy to know help is available. I don't consider myself a veteran aquarist , and I was wondering if you could inform me of any possible problems , or issues that the future may hold for my system <Welcome> -I currently have a 24 gal nano cube which has been running for a few months now. when I first began the system I put in a large bag of live sand (enough to spread about 3 inches on the bottom) as well as 13lbs of live rock which had been sitting in my 55 gal reef. I soon added a small powerhead to help with water flow as well as 4 snails to help with algae. The system has been up and running now for about 2.5 months and water chemistry has stayed perfect. I stocked the tank gradually and now have. - 4 aquarium bred percula clowns. <Two to many for this size, shape system> - 1 signal goby - 2 colt corals . - 1 large sebae anemone - And a medium cluster of mushrooms. the nano cube system has two 36 watts 50/50 bulbs . and I was told that it would suffice for my corals. <Mmm, no... the mushrooms should be fine, but not a Heteractis anemone> I just wanted to check with you fellows and see if my system will have any problems in the future ? <Lots that could be speculated... small volumes are not easy to maintain> is it overstocked?  The tank also rests on my desk near the window , so it does get a minor amount of sun light, <Ah, good... for the anemone> will that cause any major problems with algae overgrowth? <Maybe... even possibly with thermal fluctuation> I'm sorry to bombard you with questions , but it's hard finding people who actually know what they are talking about, I have found that a lot of Aquarium stores will give you different information, <Ask them, us for the rationale behind our input... sort out fact yourself> and it can be troublesome when you don't know who is right. Finally , do you have any advice as to what to do in the future? thank you very much for your time, I look forward to reading your response. -Zen David <Keep studying, remaining cynical, skeptical... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Asterina and Nano Challenges (5/11/05) Yes, these are the little ones and I have yet to see one get very large...not much larger than a fingertip and they are irregular in shape.  <Definitely Asterina>  They came with the rock and I was hoping to see them grow larger =(  <There are larger stars that can be kept in large systems set up with them in mind.> 12K miles/month!?!? My God, I can not even imagine!  <I couldn't either until I started doing it this year. At my age, my father was putting in about 250K miles per year between our home in Silicon Valley, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Germany, elsewhere. That was back in the days before video conferencing, Internet, etc. I've met some folks on planes who do more. You can tell the seasoned frequent flyers--they all have iPods and Bose headphones.>  The trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon had me in bad shape for days after the flight!  <Not a good thing on one's honeymoon. I hope your injuries improve so that you can travel with less discomfort someday.>  There were some amazing fish to see out there in Hawaii... kind of spoils it when you go elsewhere like the Caribbean.  <I've snorkeled only on the Kona coast. You're right--it's incredible what's down there. I'd love to go to the Caribbean someday.> Joining the forum will be great. Yes, I will be happy to post some pictures of the tank but my purpose will be to discourage smaller tanks despite my success with this one. There are a host of reasons past the ones given in articles on the site. They just are not flexible and the small space is confining to the point (I think anyway) of being somewhat cruel.  <Your input on the Nano forum will be very helpful I'm sure.>  If we are going to enjoy our kept friends wouldn't we want to maximize their captive pleasure?  <No disagreement here.>  Sincerely, James Zimmer Garfield, NJ  <I look forward to exchanging thoughts on the forum, Steve Allen.> 

In The Beginning.. (Starting A Marine System) Hi WWM crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today.> I would like to take my ten gallon and turn it into, well, a micro. reef . I've seen pictures of Clarki Clownfish, living reef rock, and anemones living in harmony. <All possible in a well managed marine system.> I was wondering what I need to do and if I add or do anything else to this aquarium micro reef. Thanks. (I know you spend a lot a time reading emails thank you), Sean <Well, Sean, you have great goals! However, there is so much involved in  setting up a marine system that I could never give you all of the information in this response. The fortunate thing is that you are on the WWM site, which is packed with great information on almost every aspect of setting up and maintaining a marine system is right here on the site! Read up and enjoy! Regards, Scott F.>

New Tank - New Questions (same old dilemma) - 04/30/05 What's up "Crew"? < Howdy! > I have been into reef tanks for several years and have always had the larger size tanks (75+ gallons). With my job moving me quite a bit, I sold everything I had and went for a smaller system. I have just a couple of questions to get me on track and then you guys can get back to more serious questions. < It's all serious to us. <G> > First I will give you the "rundown" on my new setup... The tank is a "39 tall". It's basically the dimensions of a standard 29 gallon tank but it is 24" deep (30"L x 12"W x 24"H). For filtration I installed a Penn-Plax Cascade 700 canister, and a Red Sea Prizm Deluxe protein skimmer (w/ surface skimmer attachment). Yes, I know your thoughts, < Uh huh > but I have read posts where people hate this skimmer and some where people love it... figured I try it out for myself. As for lighting (don't laugh), I only have a Current USA Orbit PC 20" - which is 2 x 40 watts for a total of 80 watts. Now I know that only gets me to 2 watts per gallon, but I'm going to stay away from corals for the most part anyway. And, I figure this is plenty of lighting for some nice fish and a few mushrooms (and maybe a little Caulerpa). < Yes, should be fine. > Now, for my questions... 1. Is my overall setup ok? What changes would you make if any? < For the most part...would change the skimmer for sure. Were it me, I would opt for an Aqua-C Remora here...and do be diligent about cleaning/changing media in the canister filter on a weekly basis. 2. With that awful level of lighting, will some mushrooms be ok? I know I can't do anything more than that. < Mushrooms should do fine. > 3. The main question, what is my fish limit in this tank? < Less than you think. > I know I want a lionfish, and probably a purple tang. Would this be ok? < Restrict the lion to one of the dwarf species with a maximum size of 7-8 inches (no Volitans here), and forget the tang, it requires much more room for activity to be happy in the long term.> And how much more could I add on top of that? < With the dwarf lion I would probably add a pygmy angel (Centropyge sp.) for some flash and color. > By the way, I don't have a ton of rock, so most of the tank is open swimming room... I just have enough rock to provide a couple of hiding spots. Thanks in advance for your input, you guys have always been great. Dustin < Happy to assist. Regards, Eric R. >

Waste Heat in NanoCube Hello,  <Hello Hillary> I am a beginner and made, what I now know, was a bit of a mistake on the size of the tank I bought. I have a 24 gallon nano cube. My system is about 4 months old and I haven't had too many problems. However I live in Southern California and summer is almost here, as I can tell from my temperature. I can't seem to get it below 80 degrees. It is currently at 82 and that is with no lights and no heater.  I discovered that when I completely unplugged all of the built-in equipment (filter and internal pump) and left only my small power head running my temp dropped down to about 77-78. But, as you know, I can't just leave the equipment off. My problem is that it is the built in equipment that is generating the waste heat. On the whole my levels have held stable (PH: 8.2, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 40 nitrates) however I've noticed that the higher the temp goes the more out of whack my levels get. Plus I'm not sure my fish like it (I currently have a Royal Gramma and a Lawnmower Blenny). Any suggestions?  <I would suggest modifying the hood to accept a computer type cooling fan. You will need two openings, one for air in and one for exhaust. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Hillary Couron  <You're welcome>

The 30 Gallon Saga begins.... Hey WWM, I discovered your site only recently. It seems that you are very dedicated in your provision of invaluable information. Fish have always fascinated me and I now feel I have the time, dedication and patience to host my own marine ecosystem. I have already spent hours trawling through your website to learn as much as I possibly can before I purchase anything. I would love to run by my initial thoughts with you; I am thoroughly apologetic that my email is so long and am very grateful to whichever member of your team has the patience to read through it. Tank: 30 gallons (US gallons- which I presume you use) with only two small black and white ocellaris clown in terms of fish. I know that 30 gallons is small so this is why I only want to keep two small fish (each about 2.5 inches.) Without getting deep into the concept of fish "happiness" particularly within a simulated environment, do you feel that allowing two fish of this size, this amount of room is ethical, fair and conducive to them being happy and feeling that they can roam. I have been reading about species compatibility and suffice to say it seems that clownfish can be a little inadaptable to other fish. For this reason and for the size of the tank I wish to only keep this pair. My one major concern is; if there are no other fish (will come to discuss inverts shortly) will my clown fish be lonely; though they can be aggressive to their own species, are they known to appreciate other fish. If I did for example have one other fish I was considering a very beautiful red flame angel. Would compatibility be an issue in a tank this size and between these species. Otherwise what suggestions do you have? Ok, onto anemone. After fascinating reading it seems that despite my fascination with this symbiotic relationship (with clownfish,) it would seem in my perception to be ambitious and a little immoral to keep an anemone. I would certainly not like to cut short the life of something which could live for so long and despite various advice on how E. quad is most preferable etc, I think I will not have an anemone. I was comforted by the information that coral can seemingly provide a host as a kind of surrogate to the clown fish. ( I will come on to discuss coral.) I know that it is abundantly suggested (not to have an anemone) but is it certain that these fish will be happy enough without an one (presuming other conditions are good). What I am asking is whether it is within their preconceived nature to desire (intrinsically) to co-exist with an anemone or whether they can be nurtured to survive without one which tank breeding has seemingly enabled. If it helps at this point, my fish are most likely to be sourced from Papa New Guinea, captured and not tank bred. I also do not wish to lose the benefits of parasite cleaning which the amendment would perform. In what other ways would this be performed in the wild? I am also interested in this relationship, what affect there is by having no other predators or competition for either the anemone of the fish? Do this make the anemone less stressed because it doesn't have to protect the fish and vice-versa or is it this function that makes this life form thrive and proper? As a final consideration, would the future introduction of an anemone be possible or would this be too "shocking" ( I read the heartbreaking anecdote of one of your readers clownfish having a heart attack when it saw a new anemone being introduced.) With good knowledge and dedication, putting in the most compatible anemone; Tell me honestly- (through reading research on survival rates...)- am I destined to fail? OK, well I will presume you have advised against keeping this symbiotic partner and I will take your advise!!!! Instead I would love to put some beautiful coral into my tank to make my fish have a gorgeous and diverse environment. Would my fish be happiest with coral that it had around it in its natural ecosystem, or would it adapt quite well to suitable coral? I would like some yellow star polyps, green star polyps and perhaps something enchanting such as Elegance (and some mushrooms- but I believe these can cause problems). Sources to read up on or your advise on further suggestions would be appreciated. If anywhere had information on coral compatibility specific to these fish that would be great. Ok, and now I come onto the most fascinating part for me. The wonderful life of the invertebrates. According to my Encyclopedia of Marine Aquariums, a ratio of 80 percent inverts to 20 percent fish would work well, so I presume (perhaps naively) that I could have a thriving and fairly diverse range of inverts. Am I miss guided in thinking that inverts need less room to roam around compared to fish ( I realize this is relative and subject to species compatibility etc) Also- will the inverts make my fish happy and stimulate them? Aways- preliminarily this is my idea; -3-4 Hippolysmata grabhami -8 astrea snails -15 Nassarius snails -crabs- undecided- possibly hermit- any suggestions? -Sea Slugs- in all honesty don't know a lot about these guys (will read up!) -Any other fascinating and compatible inverts that I haven't learnt about! Awaiting your response and my further reading, I am still considering lighting and filtration (not whether to have it or not; I mean exactly what to have!!!) but will definitely have a protein skimmer. I have asked many questions already so I will let you have some rest. I'm just so excited about this project. I really feel an utmost duty to do whatever I can so that I am not cruel to nature and so that fish are really happy. this project is more about them that me! I am asking so many questions because I am deeply philosophizing over ever minute detail of my aquarium set up I want to get it right the first time. If I am to play god to these creatures, I wont to be a good god and not one that there creatures will resent! In future emails I will for example ask you- how do I prevent my fish being bored? Thank you in advance for your help. And I wish you all the success with your website which is fantastic! At the moment I just want to read, read, read before I do anything. I'm scared that I am already becoming obsessed!!! Kind Regards! Simon D (Norwich, UK) ps. will this email appear on the FAQ page or will you respond to me at this email address I have sent to you (XXXX)? cant wait to hear from you!!!!! >>>Hello Simon! Wow, you're very enthusiastic! I envy you in a way being in this discovery stage still. OK, on to the matter at hand. I'll do my best with your "tome" of an email, please feel free to drop me a line back if I miss anything or if you have further questions OK? Here we go. First of all, fish do not get "lonely". While they certainly have moods to an extent, they do not "miss" the presence of other fish, be they conspecifics or otherwise. Now, certain fish are less stressed in a school than when kept alone, but this is a matter of security and instinct rather than an emotional response that the word "lonely" would indicate. Make sense? Clowns are no exception, and being rather territorial, certainly do not require or need the presence of other fish. Something to keep in mind here though, fish use the presence of absence of other fish in the wild as an indicator of whether or not it's safe to be in the open. If they peer out of there hole, and see nothing, well there must be a grouper or other large predator nearby. This is why with some species we use "dither" fish which allows an otherwise shy fish to swim about where we can see him. Certain Basslets for example may require that we put a small group of Chromis damsels or other small, nonaggressive fish in the tank to allow normal behavior. Again, the Basslet is NOT lonely, nor does it miss the company of other fish, it just does not feel secure. Your clowns however will not fall into the Basslets category, but keep the above in mind in case you contemplate other species.   As far as anemones go, you are indeed correct in your assumption that I would not recommend one for such a tank. Furthermore, anemones don't think and contemplate whether or not a predator is likely to come and snuff them out in the next moment or two, and neither do the fish. They, as all animals do, live very much in the moment both psychologically and physically. Keep water parameters in line, keep your fish from being bullied and actually eaten, and your animals will be healthy. I have a few E. quads in my tank, as well as a pair of Maroon clowns. It's a sight to behold, but you need the space. It also makes a big difference what species of clown you select when speaking of compatibility. Keep that in mind. Also do not count on your clowns using a coral as an artificial host, and keep in mind that many times the coral in question does not appreciate this attention and may remain closed for much of the time.   As far as possible tankmates, the options are MANY, but a flame angel is not one of them. Flames are VERY active and need space. They are also rather aggressive and a poor choice here. I would suggest a Royal Gramma or an Orchid Dottyback (P. fridmani) for this setup, however you have a ton of choices here. Keeping to just the pair of clowns isn't a  bad option either, although you DO have room for another small fish as long as he's not aggressive.   Inverts. No they do not make the fish happy, and they do not stimulate the fish. Mushrooms are GREAT! Stay away from Elegance. Star polyps and zooanthids are great choices as well. Don't listen to arbitrary percentage values given to you in some book as to mixing fish and inverts, it's meaningless. Stay away from nudibranchs (sea slugs) of ANY type. Nassarius snails are GREAT reef inhabitants, highly recommended. Hermit crabs are a mixed bag really, but I wouldn't put any more than two small ones in there. Don't forget, you're going to have many hitch hikers show up on your live rock, and some you will not discover until many months down the road. This for me is one of the most enjoyable parts of reef keeping. I just recently discovered a crab that I've had for a few years and didn't know it! That's all for now - drop me a line back with any further questions. Good luck! Jim<<<

30gal saga- now 40gal - Part Deux.... Dear WWM, Thank you so much for your prompt reply to my first email. Further to reading your website articles and links I just cant get enough information. To this extent I have ordered two more books; one which is comprehensive and specific to clownfish which I will be keeping and one which is very comprehensive and detailed concerning coral. After that I will purchase a book dedicated to inverts. Either way due to knowledge thirst and other factors I will not be setting up until August. I am almost definitely now going to be purchasing a 40 gallon tank and possibly even larger. The advantages is ecosystem stability in response to minor changes is one major factor plus I want my fish to have a lot of freedom. To Recap and Update, the tank will be 40gall minimum, Fish  - Two Black and White ocellaris.  - One dither fish that is highly compatible. Have in mind a royal Gramma or possibly fridmani (can you please tell me what colour variations exist?) but I have to read up on this. Coral and Inverts etc is subject to much more research. It seems soft corals and mushroom are likely. For inverts primarily snails and shrimps seem likely and two little hermits (if that is advisable). Well, suffice to say that everyday I'm learning more but I do have some specific questions for you... 1)When I introduce inverts- if I don't put too many in to begin with e.g. 3 cleaner shrimp, some snails and two hermit crabs, is the future addition of anything else going to hampered? Does that depend upon putting in the most territorial inverts last?  Should I wait to see what my live rock introduces? could the "products" of it produce any potential incompatibility. 2)Until my book arrives (ah!!!!! biting my nails off!!!) where can I find out about the exact natural ecosystems of clownfish. The percula at my LFS are captive caught of cost of Papa New Guinea. Is there Comprehensive and free information on the internet? 3) My LFS. His fish are kept in spacious conditions, they seem happy and none are spaced out, doing there own thing in the corner or slow etc! He seems dedicated and I am getting good vibes so far! how can I determine if he is a good dealer and is it is bad manners to for example ask to look at the live rock he would sell me? Apologies if this like any other info is mentioned elsewhere on FAQ's 4) My live rock- am I going to get advantages if my live rock is sourced from as close as possible to my fish. I know that simulating nature is difficult especially in such a small tank but I want a really healthy well suited environment for my fish! 5) Is there ever any disadvantages of under-stocking (I mean just in terms of fish- not in terms of live rock or cleaning inverts etc) 5)Ahhh- such a toughie for me:- to have a dither fish with my percula or not? Want my percula to feel secure and not hide scared of predators- but also want them to be able to express their territorial instinct. Also would my percula in any circumstances attack or annoy my poor fridmani even though they seem compatible, all else being good (e.g. water condition, lighting, temperature etc etc) 6) My final question for now- I don't want to take too much of your time! I apologize if the following seems naive and irresponsible towards fish keeping and at the moment is only a consideration but... can I keep crystals in my tank? Presuming that they are cleaned and prepared for the tank, I was considering clear quartz, rhondocrosite and other fascinating crystals. if this is possible I will undertake a behaviour analysis of the fish and the crystals (if there is any influence) Sorry if I seem far too new age but I have personal experience of crystals and would love to introduce them into my tank if at all possible, but if the chemical reactions are inappropriate I will drop this idea in the bin!!!!!  >>>Hello again, You do not need dither fish for your clowns. They'll be fine, and there is no such thing as "understocking" a tank. In fact, the fewer fish you can live with, the better. There is much information out there about clowns, including Wilkerson's book and stuff on the net. Clowns are microhabitat specialists remember, so the larger picture as far as ecosystem is concerned is of little import to you as a keeper. Their world is their anemone. They are also quite undemanding in captivity for the most part. So, no real practical reason to search beyond that, that is unless, you just want to know - nothing wrong with that. I love reading everything I can get my hands on personally. :) Live rock - look at it first. It should have tons of living things on it. It should NOT be barren. It should also have been kept submerged in water, NOT dry in a box on the sales floor. Shop around. You sound like my significant other with this crystal stuff. :) Really, I cracked up with the "behavior analysis comment" Sorry - but whatever properties or Feng Shui, or "energy" or goddess you think is going to manifest itself with these crystals, it's not going to happen. The fish don't care - honestly. Moreover, anything you put in the tank will be covered in purple and green coralline algae soon enough.   Having said that - quartz is safe, not sure about the others. Good Luck! Jim<<<

Send in the Clowns - and No Mistaking an Opinion.. I have currently just bought a nano-cube 24 gallon tank with built-in three stage filtration. I would like to add some clowns (False Percula) and possibly a tang (Yellow or Regal). <Perhaps two small clowns, no tangs... too small a volume> Here are my questions (I probably already know the answer to this one?) - Do I need to buy a protein skimmer? <I would add one for sure> Can I make saltwater from tap water (with special solutions) or do I have to use reverse osmosis to create water safe enough for the fish? We live in Denver.  <Depends on your source water quality... Much to be considered... easily done by reading... start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm.  Scroll down to Treating Tap, Salt Mix...> Are the fake decorations okay (anemone's, coral) or should I hook myself up with some live rock? <... you should study re anemone use period... Your questions belie your need to understand much more before actual purchase> Can I mix the saltwater in the tank or should I use the bucket method? <See above> Is it true that clowns are a hardy fish? Good for the beginner at least the species I'm interested in.  <...> Is the book Clownfishes in the Aquarium by Gregory Skomal a good book? <No... a crap author of no depth, works that are incomplete, misleading, immature> Thank You for your time I appreciate it. <Keep studying for now my friend... Bob Fenner>

Nano Tank Hi WWM crew. Great site, very helpful. Congrats. <Thanks> I'm starting a 20 gal tank that initially was supposed to be a FOWLR, but since I already have a FO, I finally decided to make the new one a nano-reef (think it's time for a new challenge). I've read thousands of times the rule of thumb, "one pound of LR per each gallon". But I had to ask anyway. For this 20 gal, wouldn't 10 pounds of LR (plus the protein skimmer and an AquaClear 300 running with activated carbon) provide sufficient biological filtration provided that it will only house some mushrooms, zoanthids and just one small ocellaris clownfish?  <One pound/gallon it is. James (Salty Dog)>

- Nanocube Pump, Follow-up - Thank you for your answer.  <My pleasure.>  However, do you think that a MiniJet 606 (around 150 gph) would be too small of a replacement for our 24 gallon cube that comes with a 290 gph? <You are correct... you might want a slightly larger pump for a replacement.>  I forgot to mention that my cube was a 24 gallon. Thanks again! Lila <Cheers, J -- > 

29 Gallon Nano Reef I have just ordered a 29 w/ stand and canopy and now have about two weeks to decide how it will be outfitted. (I know it would be better to go bigger, but I am running out of space in my house, I have tanks in almost every room) I wanted to have it drilled at a local glass shop and build my own sump out of a 10 or 20 tall tank (skimmer, heater, and bio balls in sump) but I was talked out of it by the local fish shop. They suggested hanging a BakPak on the tank instead. (The tank will contain live rock and live sand.) Would a Bak-Pak alone produce sufficient filtration?  <Steve, the live sand/rock will produce sufficient filtration. You will want around 350gph flow in the tank. The skimmer will help remove dissolved organics>  Should I get the Bak-Pak II Bio or the Bak-Pak II R Reef Ready? <I don't think the reef ready will benefit your set-up.> I plan on putting one or two powerheads also. Do you recommend the rotating power heads? <I've had some of those and they were nothing but trouble. The little gears in those heads jam up too quick.>  The lights will be 2-24" VHO bulbs (a friend gave me an Ice Pak system he had laying around). What type of bulbs should I buy? I was thinking about 2 50/50. <I think I would go with two 10K's if they are available in that size.>  I will add a fan to the canopy, was thinking about using the computer type from Radio Shack. I plan on using an Ebo Jager 100 watt Submersible heater. Do you have any further suggestions for me? Thanks for your help. I'm trying to get as much advise now so I can set this thing up right the first time.  <Might want to browse through this link, Steve. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/.  James (Salty Dog)>

Beginner 29 gallon reef. Hello Mr. Fenner, A few LR/Reef tank Questions.  I am starting a 29 gal LR/ reef coral tank, and I am going to buy all my tank accessories, and then get some live rock from Walt Smith International, and cure it while cycling my tank. I am thinking about buying about 34lbs (Is this a good amount?) and I was wondering what chemicals I am going to need to keep the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels down. Also what chemicals will help boost growth on my LR? Can I get the 1-6 day shipping, or should I get 2-3?  Thanks a lot, your website has been awesome.  Sincerely, Devin O'Dea >>>Greetings Devin, Ok, first thing is the live rock. There is not set "poundage" per a given tank volume. Besides, the weight varies greatly with the type of rock we're talking about. Get enough to build the structure that you want to achieve in your tank - that simple. I suggest you get it shipped overnight, 2 day, or buy it locally. The longer it stays dry, the more life on it that dies off. Other than keeping calcium levels in check with a product such as B-ionic, there are not chemicals which boost live on live rock. This is a function of how much life was there to begin with, what is introduced afterward, and how well you feed and keep water parameters in in line. The bacterial activity in your rock and sand are what keeps the ammonia and nitrite/nitrates in check. There are some great reference books available, as well as much information on the net. Do some reading on the nitrogen cycle, as this is the most basic knowledge even a freshwater aquarist needs. Good luck! Jim<<<

- New [Small] Reef Tank - Hi all, I am in the slow process of setting up a 30 gal reef aquarium. This will be my 2nd reef tank, we had one and then a couple of kids came into our life and well we could not give the hobby and our animals the attention they deserved so the tank and the animals were sold. I know 30 gal is small for a reef but I am hoping with diligence and proper planning it will be a success.  <Diligence being the operative word - your choice of the smaller tank will most certainly require diligence in bulk quantities.>  We have not even got to the point of what animals we will keep, will do research to keep a tank that all of the habitants are compatible. Your Web site is incredible, well done to all involved! So far this is what we have bought, done. A 30 gallon All Glass tank, All Glass stand, All Glass canopy, the tank dimensions are 36x12x16. We have installed 4 T5 39 watt lights in the canopy. We plan on having a 30 gallon sump/refugium.  <This increased water volume will certainly help.>  We have a Danner Mag 9.5 return pump, an AquaC Urchin skimmer, a SQWD for the return (plan on plumbing a rectangle return bar with multiple outlets for water movement). We will purchase 30-35 lbs of premium live rock and 4" to 5 "of live sand. Do you think having 2 1" bulk heads drilled will be enough?  <Think you can get away with 3/4" for returns in this case. Do believe this is the size of the output side of your pump as well as the SCWD - increasing the plumbing diameter at the very end of the line will do you next to no good. It won't hurt anything, but it won't help either.> I do not want to use over flow boxes, is a 90 deg elbow ok for the over flow?  <Most certainly not... you'd be creating a siphon. If you lost power you'd drain the tank to the level of the 45... when the power was restored, you'd pump the sump onto the floor because the siphon wouldn't start on its own... many problems if you follow this route. The overflow box would be a better/safer alternative - two would be even better for redundancy. But... if you're getting the tank drilled for the returns, why not have an internal corner overflow installed?>  I am in no hurry to get this up and running by a certain date, would like to cycle the tank for 45 days would this be too long for a cycle? <Not at all... the longer you wait, the better the results.> Should I leave the lights on while cycling?  <I'd leave them off, actually... just use natural daylight. The rock may lose some of its coralline but it will all come back in time. By not lighting, you can often skip some of the nuisance algae phase that is so common in new tanks.>  I have an 18 watt PC for the refugium that I plan on leaving on 24/7, is this ok?  <Sure.>  I will purchase a "started kit" from Island Aquatics for refugium. All and all I am hoping to have 45-50 gallons of water not the best volume I know.  <If I could convince you of anything, it would certainly be to consider a larger main tank.>  Well this is already too long, your site is very well written and a joy for me to do research, thanks to the team! Peace, Daniel and Donna Taylor (and our cute lil kids :-) ) <Cheers, J -- >

Small set up Hi guys (and gals, sorry) <Mike...> You have just made my life and million times better because for the first time since I started researching this project I understand what I need to do. <Yay! Clarity is pleasurable> You answered everything perfectly. Just curious, how would I know if the live rock has photosynthetic specimens on it and if it does would they cause a problem as they die off from not enough proper light? <Mmm, good question... well, you could test for this... by looking through microscopic samples... using identification guides... or do the ole bioassay, and set-up some samples and see what develops... using various methods to measure Chlorophyll et al. photosynthetic pigment presence, activity... Cutting to the proverbial chase, all LR will have some such life... or shortly develop same... even in the middle of so-called nowhere... from spore recruitment...> I do definitely want to keep more than fish only I just thought if I started with too many specimens that if something went wrong it would be harder to narrow down where I screwed up.  <Interesting point... Good science> As far as my filters, you indicated I may be ok for a while with these power filters. I also have a Aqua Clear 4000 powerhead I could put in. Would I be ok with this because I would rather wait until I change tanks to my 55gal and then buy a canister filter (or even get it 6 months down the road). As far as substrate something like aragonite, crushed coral, or coral sand should be fine then? <Yes and yes> I thank you for your reply to my last email as I thought it wouldn't be possible to start this tank unless I spent a lot on lighting and it just seemed so overwhelming. <Agreed... really, to start, even keep (maintain/operate) aquarium systems, all one REALLY needs is a chemically inert container that will hold water relatively well> Maybe this is why more don't get past freshwater tanks because to me, until now I had know idea what I really needed because there is so much conflicting info from the books that I read to the FAQ's on your site. Anyway, this is more of a thank you note than a question so... thank you! Thanks again! <Thank you for your thoughtful input. Bob Fenner> Starting a Large Nano >Hello there, >>Hello. >I have been reading as many FAQ's as my eyes can handle over the last few weeks on setting up a small marine tank. I have also read four books cover to cover on marine aquarium keeping and hand books. Unfortunately my library doesn't have Mr. Fenner's book as it has been permanently borrowed (stolen). What I would like to do is set up a 30gal fish only tank to begin with as this is all the room I have to work with as my wife thinks my 55gal FW is quite enough.  >>I know the feeling, but honestly, you can do amazing things with a nano, provided you're willing to try more inverts rather than fishes. The reason I say this is that it's quite easy to hit your limit with fish, but invertebrates add so much interest for little bio-load that they're worth trying out a few hardy animals. >I have had FW fish for a few years and I am ready to give the more demanding art of SW a try. My problem is with all the information and FAQ's I have read all seem to be more directed to keeping the inverts, live rock and fish together. I only want to keep two or three beginner fish and gain knowledge right from the beginning until I know that I am doing the right things and then slowly move up from there.  >>Alright, but I'm going to strongly suggest at least good quality live rock. This WILL make things far, far easier on you in the long run. >Basically what I need to know is specifics of what I need to start this up. I have a 30gal with 2 AquaClear 150's and a regular 18w strip light.  >>Power filters of this sort tend not to move water or remove waste as well as, say, a canister filter. Again, live rock at the very least (being of good to best quality, NOT base rock - a waste of money and space in my opinion) will REALLY be of amazing help. It ought to be considered a filter in and of itself. If you're going to stick to fish only, lighting need only be to your aesthetic satisfaction. >I have really been worrying about lighting as everything says for marine systems I need 3-5 watts but that will cost a lot, I just read one FAQ that said with just a fish only tank and no live rock this lighting would be ok.  >>My friend, ANY system sans photosynthetic specimens won't need to meet any minimum lighting requirements. Also, that watts/gallon "rule" of thumb should go the way of myths, as it cannot address the pertinent issues of color temperature or PAR, for instance. Live rock, unless it has photosynthetic specimens in situ, doesn't need lighting, either. >Also I am very diligent about weekly water changes and good overall maintenance and am not sure if I need a protein skimmer in a small, low stocked system.  I would, especially if you're insistent on not using the live rock. I hope I'm stressing the true utility of quality live rock enough. If not, give me your number. (j/k) >Lastly, am I way off in left field for wanting to set up this tank with regular sand substrate and decorations for a couple of fish, or is this ok starting point as in time I will get rid of FW all together and just have one SW 55gal (maybe larger by that point)?  >>My favorite system to keep was a 5 gallon nano. However, by "regular" sand, just what do you mean? If you mean that you'd like to use play (silica) sand, I'll suggest going with some other, ANY other calcareous substrate, or none at all. >Sorry for the amount of questions but I really am ready to do this and just need specific answers and my LFS is not reliable as the last time I was there I inquired about keeping Oscars and was told that I could house two tigers and my 7in. pleco for their entire lives all in this 30 gal!  >>Criminy!!  I've heard worse, though.  >A simple test that they failed so I can't ask them to show what I need as I will come home with things I surely don't need. >>Indeed. >Thank you guys for your efforts! >>And gals (Marina chides gently). I'm going to do a little pre-emptive striking here, because I have a feeling you may have more questions. I'd like you to consider a system WITH live rock (you can go with just a little, 10 or 15lbs.), the filtration you have - though you'll likely want or need to change it within a year or so, and a decent foam fractionation filter. Hardy, SMALL fish - I'm talking about neon gobies, Yellow Assessors, and the like - non-aggressives, which means stay away from most pseudochromids, almost all damsels, and most Centropyge angels, and eventually a few non-photosynthetic invertebrates, such as feather dusters. I suggest cycling fishless, too, QUITE easy. Then, as your confidence and skill level builds, as well as your wallet allowing, over time you can add a bit of lighting (power compacts are perfect here) and add invertebrates that don't require huge amounts of light. DO quarantine everything before it goes into the display, that can't be stressed enough, either! I think that's it (for now). Marina

30 gallon stocking intentions Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 20:01:24 -0500 Crew, I wanted to both thank you for the information you so readily give and in advance for helping me with my question.<You're welcome>  Actually, I was hoping you could give me a final pronouncement on my intended set up for a 30 gal. Tank. Lighting is PC 2x 65 watt, Remora skimmer... <excellent skimmer for your tank>  ... power filter, 3 powerheads... <Two powerheads would be enough since you're using a power filter.>  45 lbs live rock, 30 lbs live sand. <Nice>  My plan and time schedule would look something like this. Three months out adding some corals and possibly small cleaning package/inverts with a few hermits/snails/maybe a star. (Ideas on corals?  <Start out with some mushrooms, hardy, prolific, and colorful.>  Just Beginning and want something colorful but not something I am going to end up killing.   <Sean, first we have to determine whether you are going to use cured or uncured live rock. If you go with the uncured you will need to cure this rock by itself (no sand, no lighting) for three to four weeks (average time). Your Remora skimmer will be great for this stage. After the curing you can add the sand.>  Six months out thinking about a percula clown... <get two>  ... followed by a lawnmower blenny... <excellent choice to minimize nuisance algae from the start.>  .... and possibly another small colorful specimen of something or another with a month time between each addition. I guess my question is around stocking limits, suggestions and species compatibility.  <As far as stocking limits, five smaller fish such as the perculas, along with some invertebrates would make a colorful display. Keep your sand bed to a maximum of two inches deep. Happy fishing. James (Salty Dog)>

My system plan: Reef expert please! A 29 gallon tank that will house LPS and softies. <Stop! This is too small a system period... and mixing these two groups of stinging-celled animals in it too much of a challenge> Lights are the 2x65 watt orbit and an Aqua C Remora skimmer. I have considered a 150 watt halide but can't quite get around the heat issue. The wife isn't going to let me hang it from the ceiling so it will have to be close to the aquarium. Halide or PCs? <The latter> Tank is 18 inches deep. Does everything sound workable so far? I want a sump. I'm going to drill a 3/4 hole for the overflow and a 3/4 hole for the return or should I match the inlet and outlet rating of the pump? <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm re plumbing... and the linked files (above, in blue)... this plan will not work> Eheim pump (the 500+ GPH model will be used). Do you think that's too much going through a 10 gallon sump? Should I go smaller on the pump? <... see WWM re> Larger sump won't fit. I'm going to plumb this thing with the return pvc going across the back of the tank kind of like a closed loop with a cap on the end. I'll drill holes in the pvc so that it will act as a spray bar in an effort to get circulation in those hard to reach places of the tank. The holes will be pointed in different directions and I might add flare nozzles. The spray bar is the reason why I think I need the 500+ gph pump. Fish are going to be small...and stay small (gobies, etc. and a few shrimp).   <Good> I think that's it. Any suggestions for improvement? You da bomb! Thanks for all you do! I know it's a lot of work... Dave <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reef1.htm and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/small.htm and the linked files... and take good notes... and... we'll chat. Bob Fenner> Cube Questions - 1/16/05 Hello, <How goes it?  Michael here today> First off I would like to say I think this is the most useful and informational site I have found since I began this hobby a few years ago. <Thanks, so do I ;)> I have a 35 gallon cube reef tank which I am obsessed with. All of the fish (I will list them later) are doing well. My corals however seem to be not opening up as large as they once did. I have a Aquaclear 110 (which is suitable for a 100 gallon tank), a Bak Pak protein skimmer with bubble trap, about 20lbs of live rock, and a 200 gph Hagen powerhead. <You most definitely could use some more water movement> I have a double strip Coralife lunar light which is 135 watts total, which I feel should be sufficient. <Depends on what you're keeping> I have tested the water and the ph is 8.2, ammonia is 0, nitrates are <0.3 and nitrates are less than 10 ppm . <Nitrate ion or nitrate-nitrogen?> I add Essential Elements to the water about twice a week and I supplement the corals with phytoplankton and Cyclop-eeze, I also add Nitromax marine religiously. <Cyclops and phyto are good, haven't heard of the other two> I have looked frequently at my corals at night and I have never seen feeder tentacles come out so I don't offer them anything other than the filter foods. <LPS corals often need enticing by target feeding> Is that enough water movement between the filter, powerheads and skimmer? <Not nearly> should I add other elements? Please Help I don't know why my beautiful coral isn't opening fully, I wish it were growing! My Tank Includes- Yellow Stripe Maroon Clown w/ rose bubble anemone Yellow Hawaiian Tang Yellow Neon Goby 2 Firefish Sixline Wrasse Branching Frogspawn Open Brain Coral (used to open aprox. 3 times the size) Torch Coral Pearl Bubble Coral Large Mushroom Coral colony Anchor/Hammer Coral (amazing, only coral that still looks the same) <First off, you might want to up your lighting a bit.  Second of all, are you using carbon or something similar?  Is there at least six inches between each LPS?  If not, your problem could be allelopathy\chemical aggression between corals.  I would also greatly increase your water movement> Thanks, Ryan <Anytime - M. Maddox>

29 gallon reef I am setting up a 29 gallon reef (18'' tall, 12'' wide) and I have a few questions: 1) I am thinking of getting an Orbit Satellite (2x65). Will this be enough for softies and most/all LPS? <Yes> 2) No sump. I'm thinking about three of the smaller Maxijets (3x169 GPH). Is this at least adequate? I really would like to be at the high end of what I need rather than the low end. <Do CAREFULLY screen and hide (as in with PVC sleeving, rock, the intakes to these powerheads> 2) I have considered a 1x 150 watt halide but I really think that is pretty close to overkill for the kind of tank I am building. Do you agree? <Mmm, not really... a 150 watt MH could be spectacular here> I have been enjoying your site for years. Thanks so much for your tireless efforts! Dave Dowless <Thank you for your acknowledgment. Bob Fenner>

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 >

Sorry...One More Misunderstanding Re: Multiple Questions Re My New 10g Marine Aquarium (11/28/04) Hi, < Hi Leslie here again > Sorry I forgot also to say that my tank is not only 2 weeks old. The information I provided said 8 weeks, and it has now been 9. I waited 2 weeks for my tank to cycle with only substrate and live rock before adding my one damsel. :) < Yes I understood that. 2 weeks is a very short cycle time and that was my concern. >

Setting Up A Small World (New Reef System) Hi, I'm somewhat new to the hobby. <Welcome to the wet world! Scott F. here with you tonight!> I have a 28gal bow-front. I was wondering if it was good/necessary to have a sump. I've seen some nano-reefs 10gal w/ 10gal sump. (the sump being filled with 1/2 sand and more live rock) is it necessary. <Well, it's not a necessity, but a sump gives you versatility and increases your system's stability (via increased water capacity).>   My tank has about 50lb of LR, 2 inch coarse crushed coral mixed with aragonite sand. My filter is a small bio wheel penguin. I figure the rock and sand will filter the tank enough. Am I right? <Well, live rock and sand do perform some biological "filtration", but it never hurts to assist with some additional filtration, be it mechanical, chemical, or biological> Should I add more sand? <If you're happy with the results that you're getting, there is no absolute need to do this> I don't have a skimmer 'yet' but I do a 25% water change every 2 wks, is that ok? <I do highly recommend a skimmer for just about any tank. As far as your water changes are concerned- sure that's a great help! If it were me, I'd execute smaller (like 5-10%) more frequent (once a week) water changes, as they are less traumatic (stability is crucial in a small tank) and help dilute potential dissolved organics before they build up to dangerous levels.> I plan to put a mix of fish, w/ some anenomes, soft and hard corals. <I'd avoid anemones in such a small system, especially if you plan on mixing corals. This is a very unnatural combination, and can be a recipe for disaster in this sized aquarium. Anemones do require a high degree of stability, and intense lighting that is tough to supply in small systems. Better hold off until you can set up a dedicated system for them, IMO> For the moment I have (1) Toadstool Leather -4"tall 4"diamter, (1) sm. xenia, sm. mushroom rock, (2) Damsels, and (1) Lawnmower Blenny, a few Blue Leg Hermit Crabs...Thanks so much <You're off to a good start! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Small marine system questions Hello, <Hi Bryan, MacL here with you tonight> First off, great website with excellent information. <That is very kind of you to say.> I currently have an 18 gallon reef tank with 30 lbs of rock and 3.5 inches of live sand.  My bio load comes from two small fish and several mushroom rocks.( I will be adding some coral and maybe one more fish soon)  The flow from the main tank goes down to a 10 gallon tank I converted into a refuge. In the refuge I have 15 pounds of live sand and four pounds of live rock rubble.  My protein skimmer, heater and 5 watt UV sterilizer work here before the water is returned to the tank.  I use pre-filter pads in the over flow and between chambers in my refuge to catch large particles and reduce air bubbles from my skimmer.  I rotate the pre-filters once a week during my water changes in order to keep filters from building up bad bacteria. I thought about adding a sump to the system to increase water level and add some additional rock.  Here are my questions: 1. Would a sump really be beneficial for my tank? <The more water the better is a standard answer> 2. Would this help keep my nitrates low as I already do 2 gallon water changes once a week? <More water, therefore more diffused so yes> 3. Should I add a light to my refuge to work opposite the lights in the main tank to help maintain PH level? <If you plan to add Caulerpas or other grasses yes> 4. Would you put plants in the refuge to absorb nitrates and if so what kind? <Sea grasses and not necessarily Caulerpas for the long haul> 5. My water has small particles in it all the time.  Could I add a filter bag to the refuge to help remove these? <You could or a PolyFilter but the grasses will help filter those.> If so, any recommendations on which one and how often would you rinse the filter to keep bad bacteria from building up. <Carbon also will help immensely> I know I have lots of questions, but I am eager to learn. <Questions are good! Don't worry about that at all> Thanks, Bryan Slone School marine tank    I have a quick question:  can a pair of tank raised clown fish  (Perculas) be kept in a 15gal aquarium with live rock if they are the only  fish?  I was asked to find out for our local elementary school.  (I  don't think so but before I dash their hopes I wanted to make sure.) Thanks, Caryn Heffner >>>Hey Caryn, I'm happy to report that a pair of Perculas will do just fine in a tank that size! In fact they do great in tanks as small as 7 gallons. I've set up a few nano-reefs myself, and they are GREAT projects for the classroom. For a tank that size, the following will give you a nice, easily cared for tank. Or, you may simply opt for the live rock, a bit of sand, and the fish. A 32w Power Compact retrofit kit A small Aquaclear power filter to circulate the water A few nice chunks of live rock A 1" layer of fine sand 5 Astrea snails 10 Nassarius snails 1 or 2 cleaner shrimp Some mushroom corals (there are various colors, red, green, blue) Green star polyps Yellow polyps You may also want to consider tanks like the JBJ nano cube. 12 gallons with PC lights built right in. Very nice. Let the tank cycle of course before adding any live stock. If you need further assistance, I will be happy to walk you through this project. The most reliable place to contact me is here... XXXX@target.com Cheers Jim<<<

Avoiding Nano "No-No's"! (Nano Tank Setup) Hello Mr. Scott, I'm happy to report that my tang is doing fine and dandy!!. <Glad to hear the good news!> Scott, I would like to start a 10 gallon Nano tank. <Nano tanks are interesting, but pose great challenges in their care and stocking. You really have to be "on top of things!" I've read that you don't need any filtration nor a skimmer, just live sand ,live rock , good power heads and good lighting. Is that true?? <I really don't agree with that theory. Sure, with extremely diligent attention to nutrient export (i.e.; water changes, etc.), you can get by with limited mechanical filtration, but I would always be more comfortable with some sort of mechanical/chemical filtration in addition to the biological "filtration" fostered by live rock and sand. Also, I believe that a skimmer is virtually mandatory for any marine display that you intend to maintain for the long term.> Because I got a Skilter 250 that I would like to use in my new nano tank. What do you think???  Thank you for your time.   <Well, Alex, I think that the Skilter is a great package of filtration/skimming for a nano tank! By all means, I would incorporate it into your plans! Plan carefully, pay very careful attention to your water quality, and don't overstock! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

The "Ultimate" Small Reef Tank? Great site, great info, however maybe too much info to digest by the common person. <Hey- we're all common people, so we can relate! Scott F. with you today> For over a year I've read your threads and by now I have forgot what I learned a year ago.  Here's the challenge: Design the ideal (in your opinions) 55 gal. reef aquarium.  The system will not be a home for the most demanding high light loving corals. Let's say medium to medium high light requirements.  In other words a system that the majority of your readers could afford to put together and that would provide the highest quality environment for the inhabitants.  Go for it.  Give the ideal and let us decide where we have to cut the corners. Thanks for a very informative site. Bert Koelsch <Okay, Bert- break out the checkbook! Remember, what I will propose is just my opinion. If you ask 10 different reefers, you'll get 10 different answers, so take mine with a grain of salt, okay? I'd start by having the tank constructed with a full length overflow (like Anthony outlines in his "Book of Coral Propagation"), leading to about a 25-30 gallon sump, where you'd locate a quality protein skimmer (either a Euroreef or an Aqua C model), some Poly Filter pads, activated carbon, or other chemical filtration media. If budget permits, you could employ a good calcium reactor, like a Knop or Korallin. However, in a tank this small, you could get by with careful additions of Kalkwasser and two-part additives, if you test the water regularly. If you have room, I'd recommend a small refugium, or you could partition part of the sump to serve in this capacity. You could return the water via a manifold around the perimeter of the tank, or you could plumb the return to oscillating units, such as Sea Swirls, or you could use a SCWD for random water movement. Alternatively, you could employ external Powerheads, like Tunze Turbelles or Geminis, for supplemental water movement. Lighting would be a couple of good 150 watt HQI metal halide pendants, such as the Sunlight Supply Reef Optix III's. You could use 150w Iwasaki "50,000k" bulbs (actually closer to a 14,000k-15,000k), and no fluorescent supplementation would be required, IMO. Man, I could go on and on into limitless other details, but that takes all of the fun out of process. I think you get the general concept that I'd use: Good water volume, exceptional nutrient export mechanisms and natural food production capability, potentially strong (but adjustable) chaotic water movement, and high intensity lighting (that still is aesthetically pleasing). All this stuff is still very simple, by modern reef standards. That's my vision...Obviously, you can be successful without all of my specific recommendations, but the concepts are all useful, IMO. Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

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