Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Small Marine System Livestocking 12

Related Articles: Small Marine System Livestocking by Bob Fenner, Small Marine Systems, Tom Walsh's Small Reefs, Large Marine Systems, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Plumbing Marine Systems, Refugiums, Marine Biotope, Marine Landscaping, Fishwatcher's Guides,

Related FAQs: Small Marine System Livestocking 1, Small Marine System Stocking 2, Small Marine 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 13, Small 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,

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

Is My Purple LTA OK?/Macrodactyla doreensis/Health/Systems 1/29/10
<Hello Dani>
So I need to ask for some help... I bought this purple LTA on Saturday before doing any research (oops!). I have a 28gallon Nano cube cfi that has only been set up for about a month.
<Oops again. Too small a system for keeping this animal and much too new of a system.>
It looks like my lighting is 105w/8w cf quad;
<Borderline lighting at best for this anemone.>
115v-1ph-60hz and my pump is 16w/266gph.(this is off of the tank specs) I have 20lbs of live sand and about 30lbs of live rock. My friends living in the tank are 2 False Percula Clowns, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Fire Shrimp, 1 Serpent star, 1 sand sifting cucumber,
<Tank too new, too small to sustain the cucumber, problems may lie ahead.>
5 red leg and 5 blue leg hermits, 10 snails (2 kinds I can't recall the names), 2 small Zoas and a hammer coral.
<Oops again, too small a system for keeping an anemone with corals.>
My specs are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 7.4 (working to raise by adding reef builder to bring up alkalinity) dKH 8 (on Sunday before lights out and after adding a dose of reef builder that day), sg 1.022, temp 81. I have been doing a 2 gallon water change once a week and I test parameters about every other day. (I am very paranoid about my water levels). Anyway, this anemone just sits in this spot and won't attach to anything and seems to have a gaping mouth.
<It will not attach to rocks, burrows into the sand in nature. This anemone will be short lived, I'd return if possible or risk poisoning your entire system.>
I tried to get the best pics I could and after I took them and was typing my email it shriveled up on one side. I am very worried that this fella is going to die and kill everyone in my tank.
<It will.>
I just wanted to know if you thought it would be OK or if I should pull it before he does too much damage?
<Will not be OK, I'd try and return.....good luck here. Should have researched this animal before buying, as to it's needs/system requirements.
A little late now, but do read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Is My Purple LTA OK?/Macrodactyla doreensis/Health/Systems, now Cuke comp. 1/30/10
Well now I'm a bit worried about my cucumber... I will have to do some research on them as this is what the guy at my LFS said would be ok for cleaning my tank. He is a very little fella. Maybe 3 inches long... Anyway thank you so much for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking Levels In A Nano Tank 1/17/10
Hi, it's Jordan again,
<Hello Jordan>
back for more advice. In my 10 gallon reef tank I have a small White Striped Maroon Clownfish and a High Fin Goby with a Candy Pistol Shrimp, and I was wondering if I could add maybe a big-ish Blue Devil Damsel or
Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel to the tank, would the maroon clown and the damsel live peacefully, I know the goby probably won't be a problem because he'll be in the burrow most of the time.
<The Maroon Clownfish will soon be too large for this tank. Your research would have indicated that full grown specimens can reach lengths of up to a stocky 6". Unless you plan an upgrade, I'd find a home for the Maroon Clownfish and add a Yellow Tail Damsel with the goby. The Blue Devil is appropriately named and I would not add this fish to your tank.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stocking Levels In A Nano Tank 1/18/10

No worries, and thanks again, I love coming to your website for help, you all give me great advice.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10
Hello Crew,
<<Hi Gary.>>
First of all I must compliment you all on this first rate site, you are all very speedy with your answers and obviously very committed.
<<Thank you.>>
The knowledge here is absolutely astounding.
<Bob has certainly built an impressive database.>><Mmm, not alone by a long shot. RMF>
I have a question about my short list of possible tank companions, after I have added my clean up crew.
2 x common clowns
<<I'll assume you are referring to A. Ocellaris or A. Percula?>>
1 x royal gramma
1 x dwarf angel
<<Which one? Some may be appropriate choices for your system (40 gallons is right on the cusp of being acceptable for a dwarf angel, depending on the dimensions)'¦however, others certainly wouldn't be.>>
1 x watchman goby
1 x pistol shrimp
Is this short list viable in the system I have, if so all is well. If not can you tell me why and what you would change.
<<Just what I have noted above.>>
If all is well, what order would you put them in and would you put the 2 clowns in at the same time.
<<I would attain an established/mated pair if at all possible or two viable juveniles.>>
My Tank stats are below.
40 Gallon JuweL Vision 180 with internal filter removed.
24 Pounds of Live Rock.
20 Pounds Coral Reef Live Sand.
Lifeguard FB 300 Fluidized bed filter.
<<I personally find these to be quite antiquated as far as filtration for marine systems go. In my experience they end up being more trouble than they are biologically worth, becoming detritus traps and thus causing dissolved organic/nutrient issues. I would much rather see a macro algae refugium or just the protein skimmer and liverock with weekly water changes. With the liverock, I really think this extra biological filtration would be redundant.>>
Protein Skimmer with a needle wheel venturi pump flow rate: 1850 L/H.
Wave Maker 6000L/H Powerhead.
Wave Maker 3000L/H Powerhead.
MaxiJet 600L/H Powerhead.
Thanks in advance
<<Gary note what I have written above, if you have any questions feel free to continue the correspondence. Good luck.>>
<<Adam Jackson>>
Re: 40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10
Thanks for the answer, OK what dwarf angel do you suggest, I am open to suggestions and if not a dwarf angel what other fish would you replace it with. I know you dont want to make my choices but I want to get balance right from the start.
So if that's OK with you if you could point me in the right direction.
<<Hey Gary good to here from you again, I will direct you to our page on dwarf angels and I will also make some suggestions myself if you don't mind;
I would look at these;
Centropyge acanthops
Centropyge argi (Probably your best bet)
Centropyge aurantonotus
Centropyge fisheri
.....and of your list I would add this fish last after the tank has sufficiently matured a few months at the least.>>
<<Anytime, good luck! - Adam Jackson>>
Re: 40 Gallon Marine Set-Up (Livestock & Equipment) 1/11/10

<<Welcome back Gary.>>
Cheers and just one more question I forgot to include, about my fluidized bed filter you say these are a bit antiquated.
<<In my experience/opinion'¦yes.>>
I'm fine with that comment the only reason I included it was because I haven't got a large amount of live rock in 24 pounds. Is 24 pounds of live rock sufficient in a 40 gallon tank with no other biological filtration.
<<Depends on how porous the rock is, for example; a 1 pound piece of rock could take up 4 square <<Cubic?>> inches or 10 square inches depending on how dense the rock is'¦so the answer is yes if you have very porous rock this could be enough.>>
Now I will look on the link at those dwarf angels you suggested.
<<That's the fun part.>>
Thanks again.
<<Adam Jackson.>>

Wrasse suggestion for bristol <not the chicken> worm control and Compatibility with neon gobies? 1/11/10
<Hello Gerald>
What's your experience with a wrasse in a 24g Aquapod tank with neon gobies?
<Mmmm my opinion is that 1) You should not be putting any more fish in your 24g and 2) There are many different types of wrasse. Some are suitable for small tanks, some get to 2 meters+ long. What type of wrasse are we talking about here?>
I've only 2 neon gobies and 2 Firefish.
Unfortunately I've several unwanted hitch-hikers. I've found a large bristol worm (and others)
<Not unwanted in my opinion. A beneficial scavenger>.
Will the wrasse definitely take care of a worm even though the worm is several inches long?
<Not likely at all, there are far more tasty things on offer in most tanks than bristleworms. And unless you have seen the worm do damage to anything (not likely) then I would just leave it be. These will scavenge unwanted food/ detritus in your tank and will also reproduce, creating real, living plankton in your system! This is the good stuff believe me>
What are the characteristics of the 4,6,8 line wrasse?
<Ahh, OK we're not talking Napoleon here! Potentially aggressive with your Firefish, and not worth the risk> thanks in advance for your advice?
<No problem Gerald. If your system is running peacefully and smoothly as it is I would not add anything else to it. By all means monitor your livestock and the worm, and if there is a problem remove it manually. If you have too many bristleworms this is usually down to overfeeding. Cut the feeding back and the Bristleworm populations will go back as well.>
Gerald <Simon>

Re: My tank-update 1/7/10
Hi Crew,
Yesterday I removed most of the rock so I could catch the Gramma. I sold him to someone with a much larger tank. At the same time I removed the lifeless body of the chalk bass. He must have just died because the body was still whole. Actually I do not have much in the way of tank cleaners except for snail algae cleaners. I do have some tiny worms about the thickness of a hair. But no bristle worms and no Nassarius snails and I don't like any crabs or shrimp. I have tried adding Nassarius snails but they just do not stay alive. Maybe because my substrate is crushed coral and not sand. Any suggestions for a food cleaner upper would be appreciated. Should I add bristle worms? My substrate is clean so it is not a major issue and I try not to over feed.
<Mmm, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
the second tray down>
So now my 24 gallon has a spotted cardinal (6 years old), Firefish (1 year), a neon goby (2.5 years) and a green clown goby (2 weeks). Would you add any more small gobies?
<Mmm, no>
I recently added a few mushrooms and was wondering if that was a bad move because of allelopathy in a small tank. I have Candycanes and hammers in the rock crevices and I put these mushrooms on the bottom.
<Only time can/will tell... there are means of reducing the likelihood...
Read here:
and the linked files above. BobF>
Re: My tank-update 1/7/10
Thank you BobF.
I actually have read those articles a number of times over the years but a review/refresher never hurts.
<Agreed... I am often non-plussed to find I've written on a topic... already!>
I also have another observation about my tank. I moved from a 5 year old 10 gallon to my current 24 gallon exactly 1 year ago. At that time I used some of my old rock and sand because the old tank was full of little critters and worms and I wanted to seed the new one with that. However after a couple months my new tank seemed to be devoid of any of that life.
Maybe it was just too new overall to support that life. Over time I bought new coral, added spoonfuls of sand from various tanks, bought pods and also bought some Strombus maculatus hoping they would propagate. It has been only during the past couple of months that I can see that finally paying off. I see lots of pods on the glass, tiny thin worms, worm fishing lines from both the rock and substrate, small slugs, Asterina stars and lately saw a few dozen baby Strombus on the glass (at least I assume that is what they are since the egg pods are all over the place). This is a hobby that requires patience and it does take time for a tank to mature.
Thanks for your help.
<Well-stated Sam. Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Please help - coral is starting to bleach! Sm. SW sys. 1/02/10
Greetings WWM and happy new year!
I had a bunch of frags (8) shipped three days ago. I acclimated them very carefully this time (checked pH, salinity; kept them at the same temperature as the source tank, and then dripped them in over 5 hours).
They looked great after I put them in the tank (see pix). Put them at the very bottom to allow them to acclimate to my lights. I was off work yesterday so I did not see them. This morning one of them (the Montipora in the pic) is starting to bleach at one of the of the borders.
<I see this>
By this evening, the bleached area had advanced, and another edge was starting to bleach (I don't have pictures of any of the bleached areas yet).
Is there anything I can do?
<Yes... water quality tests... perhaps an addition of iodine/ide/ate... Do you utilize a particular line/manufacture for supplements? If so, I'd "keep them the same" here... i.e., if using SeaChem, stick w/ SeaChem...>
It's already at the bottom of the tank. Should I try to find it some shade? Or put it higher in the tank? Could this be RTN?
<No, neit, negative>
All of the other frags are doing great except for the other Montipora under the candy cane in the first picture, which has white spots on it. Could the candy cane be injuring the Montiporas at night? Please help!!
<Mmm, yes, though not likely much. I would have spaced all out a bit more>
My tank is a 6 gallon Nanocube (about 12 inches deep)
<Very hard to keep Cnidarians in such small (unstable chemically, physically... of times biologically) systems>
with 36 watts of 50/50 PCs running 11 hours/day.
<This is actually very little useful illumination>
It has a small fuge and I maintain the water parameters meticulously. It's been running for a couple of months and other than the new frags has some snails, a small Dottyback, the candy cane head, a small Acan head, a Moseleya head, and a Birdsnest.
Any suggestions you may be able to give me will be appreciated.
<A larger system... perhaps buying such small specimens from locals, a reef or marine club... at get togethers. A bit of reading for sure re small SW systems: Start here:
scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Scooter blenny/ mandarin pale swimming in circles breathing heavy 12/7/09
Hi thank you for your help ahead of time. I reference your site all the time it is a wonderful source. I have scoured the pages and can not find anything like my issue.
<Let's see>
I have a 2 year old 30 gallon mixed reef mainly soft coral and two LPSs a frogspawn an a Galaxea.
<Yikes-ville! The last two alone are "super stinging"... really need about a foot about them of "DMZ/No person's land">
Only mentioning them because of there stinging ability.
<Ahh, I see you are aware>
I have a hang on back fuge on my tank with 3 inches of sand crumbled live rock and some Chaetomorpha macro. It is only 1 gallon it is mainly for breeding amphipods. My tank has about 35lbs of live rock and about 20
lbs of live sand. A Coralife super skimmer 65, a penguin 150 BioWheel running carbon for mechanical filtration. A maxi jet 1200 and 400 power heads.
Readings are Spg 1.022,
<Too low... I'd keep the density of water NSW, 1.025-26>
ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5 temp 79 ph 8.3
I keep a tomato clown, a algae blenny, scooter blenny/mandarin, and a short finned fuzzy dwarf lionfish. I know its a high bio-load and a odd choice of fish to house together but I do a 5 gallon a week water change and my
nitrates never go over 5 ppm. Everything besides the scooter have been together for over a year and a half now.
<Can be done>
I received this scooter blenny about 4 months ago from a friend who had a tank crash and had to get rid of him fast. I don't believe in keeping mandarins at all because they all seem to die untimely deaths in captivity.
IMO best left to the wild. That and I don't believe my tank was sufficient size for it.
So my problem is my scooter who is nice and fat was always active and eating copepods Has defiantly
<And likely definitely>
grown while in my tank. Was found this morning a very pale color just sitting rather still and seemed to be breathing heavy. I found this odd right away because he never stops moving. I checked all my water params and showed the readings mentioned above.
<Mmm, no other fishes showing dire signs of stress I take it>
So I assumed he would be dead soon just by his actions. All the reading I have done about them this seems to be a common sign of impending death. I get home later in the day to find he has his color back, is still breathing heavy but now he is swimming in clockwise circles at the bottom of the tank and occasionally moving to a different spot. Not doing his normal eating routine at all. Again I checked everything still the same?
<Got me>
So I am curious if there is a chance he could have been stung by the dwarf lion or is this a mal-nutrient effect or maybe just the end of his life cycle?
<Likely is "summat he et" as they say in scenes of the "olde S.E. U.S.... or a brush with some of the stinging life here>
I have scoured your site and the internet and can not seem to find any reference to scooters doing the circle thing. Only things I find are loss of color and no movement.
Thank you for your time I hope you can offer some insight to what is going on here.
<Thank you for sharing Nate. I do hope Santa or one his surrogates is bringing you another, larger system. Your life here needs it. Bob Fenner>

White blood shrimp... Dwarf Lion tog. in a 10 gal., no punctuation or reading... 11/21/09
hi crew
<Hello... where's your punctuation?>
I have a 10g tank setup ( small I know, this was just to make sure I could cope with the hobby before splashing out on a bigger system)
<Too small to have much chance of success>
in the tank I have about 4kilo of live Fijian rock a blood shrimp and a fuzzy dwarf lionfish,
I feed Mysis shrimp once a week,
<... Let me stop here. Please read:
and the linked files above. And see WWM re the family Hippolytidae. Your questions, and much more you need to, but apparently are not aware of, are archived there. Bob Fenner>
temp 25 salinity about 1025 with a trickle filter, the system has been running for about 3 months. the "problem" is my blood shrimp which has molted regularly ( once a month) after his last molt has since turned
white/red nearly pink, was just wondering if this is normal and why? this has happened please help, everything else in my tank seems to be good.

35 gallon Hexagon Lighting, stkg., reading 11/18/09
Hi again,
< Hello >
I have just finished reading about the lighting for my aquarium and I am still not sure of what to buy. I have a 35 gallon hexagon which I purchased years ago. I probably should have bought a new rectangular one after coming across the problems with the lighting I'm encountering.
Anyway, I have live rock, a tang,
< Your tank is much too small for a tang. >
goby yellow clown, Basslet, and Ocellaris clown fish, serpent starfish, peppermint shrimp, snails, one emerald and one porcelain crab, also one anemone.
< Overcrowded. Also, a 35 gallon is borderline for any type of anemone. >
I would like to have two L.P.S.'s eventually. The top of my tank is only about 20 inches across. I have a compact fluorescent on there now that is extremely old and the company went out of business so it has been very hard for me to find a lighting fixture that will work( one that is only 20 inches across). The back of the tank has a protein skimmer hanging on it so there is no room for a clip on light, unless the clip is only 2.5 inches long.. After that being said..my tank is 18 inches deep and the top of the live rock is 6 inches deep. So the corals would be anywhere from 6 - 18 inches deep. I don't want to burn them up with too strong of a light but do want to give them what they need. What can you suggest,,, please help. I have thought about changing the protein skimmer also to try to add room for the clip on light, but no luck as of yet..
What do you think I should do???? Thank you so much for your help and time..
< Normally I suggest T5 lighting for a tank of this size but because of the shape of the tank , I would look into one of the many 150 watt metal halide pendants on the market. Simply hang the light from the ceiling and raise or lower the light as needed. As an option you could look into a 24" 4 bulb T5 light. I know that the legs on Current lights and a few others have the ability to slide in , fitting smaller tanks. Not the most attractive way to go but very functional. Either option would serve you well. GA Jenkins >

Stocking a 37/Stocking Level/Marine Set-Up 10/27/09
<Hello Alissa>
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
<You're welcome.>
I'm finally setting up my first fish tank and I've never been so excited. Even though I've never had a tank before I decided to dive right in with a FOWLR. I've been reading a lot and also have my expert sister for guidance. I have a 37 gallon (tank is 24'H x 30'W x 12'D) to which I'm planning on adding about 30-35 pounds of live rock and about 2-3 inches of live sand from fine to rubble, 1 protein skimmer & 2 filters (along with other necessities) to support 1 pistol shrimp, 1 smaller shrimp goby, 1 smaller serpent or brittle star, 1 emerald crab (maybe), 3-5 Green Chromis, 2 Firefish, and 1 Royal Gramma (maybe). Do you think this will be a good mix?
<The Chromis' are aggressive feeders and likely will not be enough food available for the more timid Firefish. Firefish are best kept by themselves or with fish of similar personalities/disposition. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/drtfshcompfaqs.htm>
I will of course be adding them gradually after quarantine in a separate 2.5 gallon tank.
<This tank is too small for a QT.>
Also, should I add the 2 Firefish first and then the Chromis or vice versa? I've read that the Firefish will be less territorial but the Chromis will be hardier in a beginning tank. Then I will add the gramma (maybe) followed finally by the goby. Thanks again for your expert advice!
<A better choice would be two or three Yellow Tailed Damsels (Chrysiptera parasema) to go along with your shrimp/goby combo and Royal Gramma.
The Royal Gramma should be the last fish you add and the shrimp/goby combo being the first. James (Salty Dog)>

Compatibility (Help) 10/8/09
Hey all,
I am turning to you all for some advice. I have set up my 29 gallon Nano tank for about 6 months now, and finally added my final livestock (Tail Spot Blenny) to my tank. I currently have a pair of false clowns (1
black/white and 1 orange) and one Royal Gramma. The 3 have been living in peace together for about 3 months now.
Since its been so long, I forgot that the most peaceful fishes should always be added to the tank first, and the Gramma seems to be bothering the blenny. I actually saw the Gramma take a pretty good bite of the blenny as he sticks his head out of his "hole". Unfortunately, he picked his spot right in front of the gramma's "nest" and the blenny is cornered in it seems. Its only been about more than a day but every time the blenny tries to leave his "hole" the Gramma scares him back in. Will this continue?
Should I be worried about the blenny? Also, the clowns are very curious, but I don't think they would do harm the blenny? Any suggestions?
<Yes, in lieu of the tank being on the small side and easier to work with, carefully rearrange the rockwork which will initially eliminate territorial behavior. We are hoping that after this remodeling, their new territories
will be much farther apart and hostilities will end.>
Your comments and advise are always greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jonathan Tan

29 gallon stocking question
BioCube Stocking Options, First Time Reefkeeper - 09/22/2009

Hello guys,
First thank you for all the great website. I plan on getting my first marine aquarium soon and I have decided on a 29 gallon tank.
<It is my opinion that this is much too small a tank for a first foray into saltwater. It can be done.... but larger is better. If you do opt to move forward with this system, please consider keeping your stocking density
quite low.>
The Oceanic BioCube if that is important.
<One of the nicer all-in-one tanks, but do keep in mind that, with a tank like this (as opposed to a generic tank with regular components), you are limited to what it comes with, and what modifications you can do within the confines of the space provided in the system.>
I plan on the tank starting out as a fowler and slowly progressing towards a reef tank.
<Tough to do in an unforgiving amount of space/water, but entirely possible. http://www.nano-reefs.org has a section about modding all-in-one tanks to make suitable reef systems; the BioCube has quite a bit of
discussion there. You might want to check it out.>
I was planning on stocking the tank like this:
16-20lbs of live Rock (Fiji)
<The more the better - as long as there is space.>
20lbs of live sand
<Go with an inch or less of substrate, unless you're doing a DSB, which I think is not possible in the BioCube. You needn't spend the extra cash on live sand; it will become "populated" with organisms and bacteria from the live rock.>
Ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) ( I was also planning on using him to cycle the tank. Is the species hardy enough?)
<No, absolutely not a good plan. This is a great fish for this size tank, but no, do NOT cycle with this or any other fish. You're planning on live rock, yes? That alone will cycle your tank. Please read more, on WWM and elsewhere, on cycling, with live rock and otherwise. Cycling with fish is unnecessary, harmful and damaging to the fish used, and really not a good or easy way to cycle anyway.>
Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
<I, personally, wouldn't keep this in so small a tank. They're surprisingly active, and will use all the space they're given.>
Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
<Same as the wrasse.... though many would keep a gramma in this size/shape tank. It could work. Bear in mind, though, that this guy will be a touch aggressive, and may very well outcompete other fish for food in such a small tank. I would NOT keep it in the same small system as the Firefish you list below. The Firefish won't stand a chance for food.>
And one Purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora)
<An EXCELLENT option for a small system - and one of my all-time favorites!>
or a Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus) I hear that the Hawkfish may fight with the wrasse.
<Nix the Hawkfish - they have appetites like you wouldn't imagine, and will likely eat the crabs you mention below. They're also a touch nippy. I would not keep this guy with the Firefish.>
6-8 blue legged hermit crabs(Clibanarius tricolor)
<These are fine.>
and some assorted snails.
Would this stocking plan work?
<As above.... Might you consider a pair of clowns, and a pair of Firefish, and omit the other fish? The Firefish will fare better in a pair, and these four should get along well in the space of this tank. It would also
make for a rather attractive display. You might also consider a couple of Lysmata cleaner shrimp.>
I am fairly certain these are all reef safe.
<Depends on what you call reef safe. The flame Hawkfish is quite adept at eating shrimp, crabs....>
I also heard the Clownfish may do better with a mate, but I think that may be too many fish.
<The list you provided is "too many" in my opinion, considering the aggression of and space used by the fishes you list. There are many, many other options out there of smaller, less aggressive, and less
space-consuming fishes. Four fish might not be too many, but the activity level and aggression of the fish must be taken into consideration.>
Is it better for me to introduce all the fish at once after the tank has cycled or should I add them over time and if so what is a safe introduction plan?
<As you list.... The hawk and gramma would be the final introductions, with the Firefish and clown preceding them by two weeks or more. But again, I really don't think your list would be successful long-term, and
I'd hate to see that Firefish starve.... I trust you will be quarantining the fish prior to introduction....>
Cory Prewit
<Good luck with your first foray into reefkeeping! I hope you'll find it to be very rewarding. Don't stop reading, and keep planning. You'll find success. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Green star polyps 09/14/09
I have a small 7 gallon saltwater tank that was given to me about 4 months ago. The tank has 1 spotted dotty back, 1 tube anemone, 5 assorted hermit crabs, 7 snails, 5 star polyps and 2 mysterious snails I was told are conchs by fish store.
<My friend, you have far too many animals in this "tank." Please remove all but the one fish, star polyps and maybe 2 *small* snails.>
When I first bought my star polyps I had around 30 on a piece of live rock.
After 3 weeks I noticed they were diminishing. I checked my water and the levels seemed ok. To note due to small tank I change the water on a regular basis as instructed by fish store. They said more if levels get to high but 10 percent a week. I moved them to a lower flow area and noticed these conchs followed and seemed to be pulling them off the rock.
I have isolated these conchs and now my stars are not disappearing. When I asked the fish store they said a conch will not hurt the polyps. My question is what would hurt the polyps?
<Likely the hermit crabs, among other things... again, your system is overstocked.
Sara M.>
Re: Green star polyps, Sm. SW stkg. -- 09/14/09

Crabs are bad news in small tanks. The store didn't lie to you. They will eat some algae, but (in such a small space) they will also pick at everything else too. As for the tube anemone... is there any reason you can't just get a bigger tank? The tube anemone might be ok for awhile, if you're really careful to keep the water quality up. Very experienced aquarists could probably do this. But 7g is just ridiculously small for a reef tank... very unforgiving. Do you think you could upgrade to at least a 20g tank?

Stocking A 29 Gallon BioCube 9/9/09
Hi crew.
<Hello Jessica>
Thanks for your site and all of the invaluable info.
I purchased a 29 gallon BioCube and am currently in the process of cycling it with about 40-50 lbs of LR and 35 lbs of live sand. Everything on the tank is stock except I added the Oceanic skimmer which seems to be working fine. I am a ways away from adding any tank inhabitants but I have done some research
on specific fish and am looking for your expert opinion. I have a 2-3 inch sand bed because I am fascinated by the shrimp/goby pairs and am thinking about getting a pair. Would they be ok in a tank this size with a sand bed that deep?
<Sure, and an interesting addition.>
I am also interested in a clown fish but some seem to get rather large for this tank. What would you suggest? Clown or no clown?
<Twas me, I'd go with no clowns, but two Ocellaris Clownfish would work out.>
And which one? The other fish I like are Firefish and the Bicolor Blenny (purple front with a yellow tail). Would these fish be ok in my tank?
<The Firefish does much better in groups of three or more and in lieu of this, would not be a good choice for your bio cube. The blenny would be fine, but keep in mind they can easily exceed 3 inches in length.>
Which ones are ok, if any, and what combo can I have?
<The above are fine, but keep in mind, four small fish is about the maximum load for this system.>
Any other suggestions on fish selection would be helpful.
<Look at some of the colorful Dottybacks such as the Neon and Sunrise Dottybacks.>
Thanks for the help :)
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stocking A 29 Gallon BioCube 9/9/09

Thanks for the help. Which shrimp goby would you recommend?
<No specific recommendation, but I like the Yellow Watchman Goby.>
And as far as Firefish go I have read on your site that they don't do well in groups..Maybe I am confused..
<You are not, Scott Fellman mentions this in Dartfish FAQ's, but on the other hand Scott Michael (Reef
Aquarium Fishes) mentions otherwise. My opinion is that they do better in groups and should not be kept with aggressive tankmates as they will usually hide and refuse to eat. If I were to choose Firefish/Dartfish, I would not include clownfish due to their more aggressive feeding habits, likely
leaving the Firefish with unequal portions of food. A good place for Bob's opinion/thoughts.>
<<...? The more popular species of Microdesmids kept by hobbyists are almost always found in twos/pairs in the wild... Some, e.g. P. evides, in social groups... This is stated on WWM. BTW, none are suggested for such small volumes as this. RMF>>
Would I be able to have the two clowns you recommended and other fish as well? The clown pairs can be pretty territorial right?
<As I mentioned, no more than 4 small fish including the clownfish. The Ocellaris Clownfish can be
aggressive, but is generally limited to conspecifics and/or other damselfish with similar personalities.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Stocking A 29 Gallon BioCube 9/10/09

Ok thanks.
<You're welcome.>
And for part of the cleaner crew would a scarlet cleaner shrimp be ok?
<Would be fine.>
Do the clownfish have to be in pairs?
<No. James (Salty Dog)>

Corals... sm. SW stkg. issues 08/02/09
Hey guys,
Love the informative website! My tank is doing well thanks to your advice regarding stocking my tank. =) I finally took the plunge into corals, and wanted to get some advice on how many hrs a day should the lights be on for maximum health?
<10hrs to 14hrs, ideally. However, there's some flexibility if you have different kinds of lights. For example, I know some people who have both metal halide and VHO, who keep the metal halides on for 6 to 8 hours a day, the VHOs on before and after the MHs come on and off.>
Currently I have some polyps and one xenia and though they do open up, not quite as much as in the local LFS. I have placed them in the sand to acclimate them to the Nano cubes lights, which should be sufficient for these corals. Also, my snails and hermit crabs seem to always be on their rock/frag which I know will cause the corals to close. Is this something I should be worried about? I have 3 dwarf blue hermit crabs and some nausarias/Cerith/Trochus snails. Any suggestions on how to give the best care to the corals?
<In a Nano cube? Your biggest challenge is going to be keeping the water quality high enough. Do plenty of water changes, be prudent about matching temp/pH/etc. of change water. Run plenty of carbon, keep your filter clean. Don't overstock with fish... you know, just keep the water quality as best you can. If you do so, these corals will likely "forgive" less-than-ideal lighting (once they adapt to it).>
Thanks again.
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Tank livestock, sm. SW 08/02/09
Could I put a clown fish a blue tang and a yellow tang in a 38 gallon tank?
<No. Please research these fish here on WWM, elsewhere. Once full size, these will be too much bioload for a 38g tank. Also, tangs need *at least* 55g. -Sara M.>
Re: Tank livestock 08/02/09
Not even just one of them?
<One of what? One Tang? No... not in a 38g. You can keep a clown fish in a 38g. -Sara M.>
Re:... Stocking 38 08/02/09

Hey crew! I just added my first fish yesterday to my 38 gallon tank a clownfish and a Chromis I want to add a small tang I have read they will grow to fit their tanks but on another note could u name some other good
fish for my size tank? Pls answer I haven't received answers to many of my past questions
<My friend, you have received responses (you even responded to one of them). And again, no, you can't/shouldn't keep a Tang in a 38g tank. No, they do *not* grow to fit their tanks! With only 38g, you should stick to fish that are smaller and don't need a lot of swimming room. Some good choices might be gobies, blennies, clownfish, etc. Please see here:
Scroll down, look under "Small Marine Systems (< 40 gal.)."
Sara M.>
Re: Stocking 38

Alright thanks and the one I replied to about stocking it was after I sent the message saying I didn't get a reply but thanks!
<Ok, cool>

Shrimp Question, comp. 7/31/09
Hey all,
I have a 24 gallon Nano cube with about 20 lbs of live rock. I currently have 2 cleaner skunk shrimp and was thinking of adding either one or 2 blood fire shrimp.
<Mmm, I wouldn't... not enough room here>
Will they coexist together?
<Maybe not; particularly during moults>
At first, I got 2 cleaner shrimp because they are more active and less shy than the fire shrimp. However, my 3 yr old son loves the fire shrimp and I would love to get one for his birthday this weekend. Will they
coexist together?
Will it be more beneficial if I get a single red blood or a pair? Current tank mates are one orange and one black/white clown and a royal gramma.
Thanks again for all your help.
<I'd stick with what you have or trade them for the L. debelius. Bob Fenner>

My tank. Sm. SW stocking issues... reading 7/30/09
Hi Crew,
After 5 years with a 10 gallon I upgraded to an Aquapod 24 gallon and moved my fish and corals to the new tank back in January. The new tank has an hob skimmer and 65 watt pc's 12k daylight. Added all new sand (sugar texture) and rock. The fish I had were a spotted cardinal, a neon goby and a clown goby. The coral was Candycanes. I added two heads of frogspawn and 10 heads of a hammer plus a four inch square Favites. I added a Firefish
<Is a social species and needs more room than this>
and a chalk bass. Then I added a false Percula and 2 more Firefish. One Firefish lasted a day and the other about 4 weeks. Then my 6 year old clown died. So Now I had the spotted cardinal, neon goby, chalk bass and clown. The clown is not as docile as my other fish even though he is just about and inch so I was thinking I should remove him. But he was so active he made the others come out and swim in the open so he stayed.
Then a couple weeks ago I saw some fish on sale and I got a blue Chromis, a royal gramma, a red spotted Sandperch and a citron goby.
<... troubles>
I had actually ordered a yellow clown but the citron is what came and it is much bigger than what I expected. So what is my rational for all this. The Sandperch stays on the bottom (except during feeding). The cardinal hovers but does not move around much and he is larger than the others. The Firefish and the neon goby are similar in how and what they do but seem to get along.
The blue Chromis is an open area swimmer near the top and the chalk bass is an open area swimmer but more towards the middle. The Gramma goes around but tends to stay close to the rock. The citron goby just parks himself on a Candycane and watches everyone else. However he is not eating like he should. I have seen him take something but not regularly. His eyes look a little cloudy and I am wondering if he has a problem seeing. The Percula clown is all over the place and during feeding fights with the chalk bass. That is the only aggression that I see. So there are a lot of fish they have different tendencies so my feeling is it should work. I will remove the clown. One of my concerns was where they would all go when lights are out so I made sure there were plenty of hiding places in the rock. I do have Cyano but it is not out of hand and is mostly on a few patches of sand which I stir up once a week. I assume you think I should remove some other fish as well. What would you suggest.
<... reading re each of the species you list... at least on WWM... re systems, compatibility, stocking/selection. Bob Fenner>

Condy Anemone 7/14/09
We have just started our first saltwater aquarium and purchased a Condylactis anemone.
< Anemones should never be placed in a newly established aquarium. 6 months to a year minimum. >
It is pink/white and has purple tips. I have read a lot about these anemones but still have a question or two about it. First here is some information on our tank. We decided to start small. So we have a 20G tank.
< Too small for this animal. >
It's inhabitants include:
1 1/2 inch substrate
6lbs dead rock
10 1/2 lbs live rock
5 hermit crabs (red legged)
3 snails
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
1 Black Brittle Star
1 Royal Gramma
1 Lawnmower Blenny
< Can become aggressive in small environments. Especially as they age. >
2 Percula Clowns
1 Pencil Sea Urchin
< Could cause injuries to the anemone. >
1 Condylactis Gigantea
(We also have some Ricordea, a few tiny feather dusters and 5 teeny tiny sea stars that came on live rock) (Not sure if I spelled everything right! sorry)
< Tank is overcrowded. I would remove at least 2 of the fish. I would suggest keeping the Perculas.>
The only thing that I know about our lighting is that it is 15watt fluorescent. I do know that anemones need strong lighting.
< This is not nearly enough lighting. >
I target feed the anemone a small piece (1/4 inch or smaller) once a week and feed the tank a 1/2 cube of Mysis shrimp morning and night. My water quality is excellent...1.024,
< I would slowly raise this to 1.026 >
8.2. 76 degrees, 0 for all levels it should be and so on.
After having the anemone a week now it is still "free floating" in one spot in the tank. It has not attached it's foot anywhere!
< This is not a good sign at all. >
Is it normal that it hasn't attached yet?
< Absolutely not. This is a sure sign something is not right. >
Should it attach to something or will it always float?
< A healthy anemone should attach fairly quickly. >
Is my lighting good for this anemone, or do I need more?
< Your lighting is no where near enough. You should look into a 4 bulb T5 setup. Look for one with individual reflectors. You should also increase the feedings to help supplement the poor lighting. >
Also my anemone keeps "deflating" and "inflating", I know this is normal because it has not been in the tank long but do you know how long before they start to stay "inflated"?
< The inflating in deflating could just be the animal expelling waste. >
I really love this animal, it is SO gorgeous and want to do anything I can to make it happier. We are in the process of getting a bigger tank.
Thanks for any help you can offer!!
< A bigger tank is a good step but lighting is an immediate need. If a new light fixture can not be purchased quickly , you may want to consider returning this animal until you are more prepared to care for its needs. GA Jenkins >

Fish compatibility. Sm. SW, reading 7/11/09
I have a Finnex 20g M tank, and am wondering if the fish I have selected will survive in that tank. here is the list:
1 Tail Spot Blenny
1 Twelveline Wrasse
1 Griessinger Goby (Discordipinna griessingeri)
1 Bluespot Jawfish
One of my concerns is that all the fish but the wrasse seem to be bottom dwellers.
<Mmm, maybe the Goby listed but... this system is too small for a Jawfish, a lined wrasse or Ecsenius species. "Back to the drawing board" with you. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smswstk11.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Condy Anemone 7/2/09
Hello and thank you for such an interesting and informative site. My local shops are all too arrogant to chat it up, or only interested in selling, to be of any real honest help.
<Sad and all too common.>
I found this site by Googling, and it is the only one with specific and informative help.
<Thank you.>
To my problem.
I am including a pictures of my Condy Anemone. I bought a Nano system from the shop that already had been cycled and had a Condy and another fish I have since removed. The Anem started out fine, but the tentacles are all withered and falling off. His body looks healthy, and he has only moved once. I keep the water clean and within the parameters you have advised here.
<Can you provide specific numbers?>
He eats a small piece of squid eagerly three times a week, stays swollen up, but these tentacles are all dying. Please advise.....
<A few things come to mind, particularly the system size. Most "Nano" sized systems are really not appropriate for most if not any anemones. The size alone is an issue, but the stability (lack of) that comes along with a Nano size is another. Also, how about lighting, filtration and water flow in this system? All play into the health of your Condy. Scott V.>

Re: Condy Anemone 7/3/09
Just as I said about my local store just wanting to sell me something. They highly recommended this setup.
<Not good.>
My parameters are
ALK. 180
PH 8.2
NO2 0
NO3 10
It is pretty consistently there.
<Is the temperature consistent?>
Filtration is two sponge cubes, then
charcoal bag in section two. I have about 10 lbs of live rock in there.
The lighting is the Nano DX hood. Two double fluorescent bulbs, one white one blue. I started the Anem directly below good light, about 4-5 inches deep, and he moved to a shadier area. The flow is a power head pointing away from him, but he gets decent tentacle movement, the ones that are left anyway.
<This system really is not suitable for this anemone. It sounds on the small side for both growth and stability. The lighting too does not sound like it is likely enough based on what you have stated.
See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condysysfaq.htm and the linked files above.
Scott V.>
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
Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: