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FAQs about Marine Livestock Stocking 1

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

Related FAQs: Best Marine Livestocking FAQs 1, Best FAQs 2, Marine Livestocking 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5FAQs 6FAQs 7FAQs 8FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19, FAQs 20, FAQs 21, FAQ 22, FAQs 23, FAQs 24, FAQs 25, FAQs 26, FAQs 27, FAQs 28, FAQs 29, FAQs 30, Angelfish Selection, Triggerfish Selection

Compatibility and order to stock 10/14/05  125g FOWLR First off thanks in advance you guys rock.  <You're welcome. Please, no more bolds and large fonts.> I've a 125g FOWLR with a wet/dry and a CPR Bakpak2 for filtration.  <Not enough skimmer for that size tank. Consider adding another or replacing.> I'm just resetting it up and am still in the cycling stage.  And I won't be doing anything until I'm sure the cycling is done. I've learned from past mistakes.  <Reading the WWM will help prevent that.> Right now I'm trying to get info so I don't stock anything that won't live together. I need input on these fish and if it will work, and what order I should put them in.  And if they won't work any suggestions would be greatly welcome. 1. Juvenile imperator angel (I'm moving him from another tank I have that he's been in for about 5mo) 2.Powder brown tang  <Difficult to keep for any length of time>. 3. Mandarin dragonet ( I figure he has to be last and after I've gotten a fuge setup for about a year)  <Yes> 4. Bannerfish  <Do better in threes or more> 5. 2 tomato clowns 6. 2 maroon with gold stripes  <Both these clowns can be aggressive with conspecifics unless they are a mated pair.> Lets read these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GoldRimSs.htm   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/heniochu.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm  <My order of stocking would be: Bannerfish, Powder Brown if you insist, Imperator, and all clowns at once, and the dragonet wouldn't be my last choice but since you will have a delay in establishing your ref, he will have to be last. Please consider doing grammar/spell checks before sending as we just don't have the time to edit queries. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks  <You're welcome>  Big Fish- Big Tank? 10/12/05  220 gallon  FO Hi Crew! <Heya! Scott F. at your service!> I did look at your FAQ's to make sure the question I have was not previously asked/answered and did not find specific answers to my question. <No problem...> Basics: 220 gallon Oceanic 72" long tank with Tonga Supreme live rock, live sand substrate, 40 watt UV sterilizer, Aqua Medics protein skimmer, Seio power heads, large wet/dry with filter, refugium, etc... Currently have a beautiful 30" Zebra Moray, 2.5" Volitans Lionfish, 5.5" Bicolor Fiji Rabbitfish, with several Turbo Snails and Hermit Crabs. Question: I am adding this week a Chevron Tang and wanted to know if I added a Desjardini Red Sea Sailfin and Prionurus laticlavius (Yellowtail Sawtail Tang) if you thought they would get along??? This mix is a divergence from the more popular Purple, Yellow, and PB (Blue Hippo) Tangs that most people buy. I know some folks indicate that tangs should be introduced together; however I will be adding them individually. <Well, my best advice is to consider the "end game' here. The Desjardini can hit 15" plus, and the Prionurus gets even larger. I think the issue here is more the size of the fish than their possible compatibility. I'm sure that they could get along socially, but not in this sized aquarium. Even a 220 is too small to house both of these guys together for anything close to a natural life span, IMO. I'm looking at my 225 right now, and I cannot imagine these two guys living together comfortably in my tank for an extended period. Perhaps in a 400 or 500 gallon plus tank, yes.> My last fish after the tangs will either be a Majestic or Emperor Angel, which will make 7 fish. Do you think this is a good mix and fine with the tank size I have? <To be honest, no. My personal philosophy has always been, "Why keep large fish just because you have a large tank?". Granted, that's my kooky world view, but it warrants consideration. You're talking about fishes that can and do reach well over a foot in length. Placing them in even a 6-foot plus tank is questionable. Kind of like you and I living the rest of our lives in our living rooms. Sort of comfortable, but after a while, you'd go nuts! Why not consider stocking fishes that hit a maximum length of say, 6"-8"? There are plenty of neat fishes that are in that range, and they'll be a lot happier in your tank. One more fact to consider: A study I read indicated that the adult Emperor Angel typically ranges over an area about half the size of a football field! Obviously, you can take this argument to absurd lengths, but the point is - think small!> One last question: my Lionfish will absolutely not eat frozen, only live feeders. I can only get ghost shrimp, prawn shrimp, and feeder guppies in which I place Zoe drops into the bag they are in and let them set in there until they are fed to the Lion. Would this be okay long term if he just won't eat the frozen? <It can work, but you really want to wean him to prepared foods, ideally foods of marine origin, as they have the proper nutritional profile for this fish. Keep trying> I have gone a long time in between feedings to hope to entice him with frozen food on a clear feeding stick (wiggling it) but he hides in the rocks every time. Your thoughts? <My advice is to keep doing what you're doing...Don't give up. He will eventually come around-could take a long time, but it will happen eventually.> Thanks for your help and outstanding dedication to this hobby and I look forward to your comments. Steven <Best of luck, Steven. Regards, Scott F.>  

Rethinking A Stocking Plan? Don't Buy the Naso Tang!!! 10/10/05  55 gal FOWLR Dear Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I appreciate that there is much relevant information on your website, but I would be most grateful if you could please spell it out for me - apologies in advance for taking up your time. I have a 55 gal FOWLR system, with 66lbs of live rock. I use a Fluval 304 for mechanical filtration, a Red Sea Prizm skimmer and two MaxiJet 600 powerheads for circulation. In the aquarium, I currently have 2 mated Percula Clownfish, 1 Mandarin Dragonet (who thankfully is happy to eat frozen food) and a Flameback Pygmy Angel. Unfortunately, the Pygmy Angel has become unsurprisingly territorial. I recently tried to add 2 Cardinal fish but these were chased by the Pygmy Angel until I had to return the surviving one to the LFS where I had bought him.  I subsequently tried introducing a Lemonpeel Pygmy Angel, taking in part the advice from your site to rearrange the rocks into two distinct piles and removed the Flameback for a couple of days into the QT tank to allow the lemon peel to establish himself but again he did not survive. <Unfortunately, the Lemonpeel was a really bad idea. First off, it's one of the largest of the Centropyge group, and needs a much larger aquarium. Placing it in the tank with an established, known "bully" Centropyge in residence sealed his fate. This was an unfortunate lesson that you had to learn the hard way (Don't feel bad, we've all learned that way). Unfortunately, the fish was the one who paid the price.  The breaking up of the territories is a recommended move when adding another Centropyge to an established system, but that assumes that the system is large enough to support more than one to begin with. My thinking is to allow at least 50 gallons per Angel, or at least two feet square for each. Even then, you could have problems, depending on the individuals involved. It's generally best to add all the Centropyge at once when attempting this, to allow them to establish their own territories and hierarchy. Adding them as juveniles is a better move still.> My question therefore, is whether there are any fish that you could recommend to me, in particular, fish that will be strong enough to not be affected by the behaviour of the Flameback, but at the same time gentle enough not to frighten my Dragonet (of whom I am incredibly fond!). I read on the saltwater.about.com website that a Yellow and a Naso tang might be possible contenders? <The Yellow Tang would be a possible candidate, but I think that the tank should be a bit larger for this fish. As far as the Naso - Please, NO! These Tangs require very large systems, and even then can be problematic due to their sheer size and requirements for swimming room. Possible candidates for your sized tank would be fishes like Gobies, Blennies, or small Wrasses, like the Sixline Wrasse, Pseudocheilinus hexataenia, or the mid-sized Canary Wrasse, Halichoeres chrysus. Fishes like these inhabit different environmental niches, and may not arouse the "ire" of the feisty little Angel. Even then, there are no guarantees here. Do your homework on potential candidates, and make your decisions accordingly.> I appreciate that I will in a few years need to buy a larger aquarium to accommodate the Naso. <Less than a few years- more like less than a year, really. I will repeat the oft-stated recommendation that we use on WWM; Don't buy a potentially large fish on the basis of your plans to get a larger system "someday". Too often, something happens to derail our best laid plans, and the fish can suffer as a result.  When planning a fish population, make your plans on the system that you are running NOW, and assume that you will NOT be upgrading in the near future. This is the best way to plan a system, IMO.> Or do you recommend that I remove the Flameback and return him to the LFS (although he is all but impossible to catch without removing all the LR from the tank)? <If you are not happy with the fish, then I would certainly make efforts to remove him, and possibly trade him with another hobbyist. Otherwise, you may simply need to compromise and stock appropriate additional fishes, as discussed above. This little fish is one of the more aggressive of the Centropyge group, and is unlikely to change his behaviour.> Thank you so much for all your help and assistance! Kindest Regards, Tim Kroemer <My pleasure, Tim. I hope I don't come across as overly negative, but I wanted to use this opportunity to revisit our philosophy on stocking once again for the benefit of our other readers. Your heart is in the right place...it's just that the execution was a bit off.  Study a bit more, rethink your goals for the system, and think about which fish will be the "principal" in your "cast of characters". Derive your stocking list based on this fish, and you should be fine. Make use of the ample resources on WWM to research potential candidate fishes from the groups mentioned above. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Timing of additions 10/10/05  300gal. FO Thanks for your help!  <You're welcome>  I have had my 300gal. set up cycling for 3 months. The cycling is long since done, but I haven't had the time to begin stocking.  <What animals did you have in the tank to produce waste for cycling? Any of the ones mentioned below?>  I have kept several systems over the years and am pretty up-to-speed. This set up will be FOWLR. I have my stocking list ready and would appreciate your advise on order of introduction over the next year. I am aware that some issues of compatibility exist, but am hoping that proper introduction can mitigate some of this.  If I've made an out & out boo-boo on compatibility, please advise.  1-Queen Angel 1-Blue Girdle Angel 1-Flame Angel 3-Regal Tang 1-Clown Tang 2-Maroon Clowns 1-Salon Fairy Wrasse 1-Banana Wrasse 1-Scott's Velvet Wrasse 1-Straberry Gramma 1-Black finned Trigger 12-15 Green Chromis.  <I would introduce the large angels together and at a later date both tangs together. The remainder wouldn't matter except I would replace the trigger with something else. Just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the guys. James (Salty Dog)>

Stocking Suggestions  10/4/05  180 gallon reef Greetings Crew. <Hi Dean! Adam with you.> Thanks again for sharing all of your knowledge and opinions with all of us marine tank enthusiasts. <The pleasure is ours.> I have done some research but would like your opinion on a few things. I am ready to move the contents of my 55-gallon reef system to a 180 gallon system.  <Oh congrats' on the upgrade.> Because I am hoping to add additional corals and polyps along with the ones from the 55 g tank I want to place only reef friendly fish in the new system. I am wondering if you might suggest a shoaling fish i.e.: chromis or Banggai cardinals for this purpose. I have been told that the chromis will become very mean and territorial and I want to keep this a" friendly as possible" community tank.  <Chromis in general are a lot more "friendlier" and reliable than their damsel cousins.  Most aquarists keep them and hardly report harm to other livestock.  Having said that occasionally the Alpha of a Chromis group will become aggressive towards it fellow chromis and possibly toward tankmates.  The Banggai cardinals are a good bet, especially if you can find a tank-raised bunch. As far as schooling goes, most captive animals cease their "normal" schooling behaviors in captivity; they tend to just "hang out."> Would 3 or 4 yellow tangs shoal together or is this not a good idea?  <To big of a risk in my opinion.  Both to each other and other livestock, it would also be a heavy bio-load.> I will be adding two percula, a bi-colour blenny, a scarlet cleaning shrimp from the 55 g tank. Are there any butterfly fish that might not eat my polyps or soft corals ?  <Most, if not all, butterflies are a large risk but your best bets are those in the Heniochus genus, Forcipiger flavissimus and, Chelmon rostrata (not an easy one).> There are some beautiful species but I believe most are not reef friendly. <Calculated Risk, that decision is up to you.> As always thanks. I really would appreciate anything you might have to offer in ideas to my questions. <No trouble.> Thanks, Dean Fowler <Adam J.>

Saltwater Stocking list  10/3/05  75 gal reef Hi there, <Hiya Clare, Adam at your service tonight.> I have a 75-gallon tank with 79 lbs. of live rock, and a wet dry filter (125-gallon capacity) and a Protein Skimmer (Seaworld systems). I also have about 1' of Live Sand. I have a stocking plan for my tank and here goes (please cancel out fishes you don't agree with, as I am open to an experts opinion ;) 2 Ocellaris Clowns     3 Green Chromis 1 Royal Gramma 1 6 Line Wrasse     1 Neon Goby     1 Yellow eyed Kole Tang     1 Flame Angel 1 Ritteri Anemone <Sorry Clare I'm going to have to "X" this one. Most of these don't survive much longer than a month or two in captivity.  The few healthy ones I have seen are directly under either 250 watt or 400 watt MH.  Lets also consider the adult size, the diameter is larger than your tank is wide.> 1 Majestic Angel <This one gets the "X" too, not so much for its poor adaptive abilities to tank life but for its potential size.> I know your probably going to be all over me for my last choice, but on all of the sites I have read it claims a minimum of 65 gallons is necessary, please tell me your opinion. <Multiply that 65 by three and you will get the minimum tank size for a majestic, seriously though a 180-gallon tank is necessary for this fish.> Oh yeah, my tank gets about 1100 gph, and about 6 watts per gallon. (and I have a QT!!!!) <Glad to hear it!> Thanks, Clare <Adam J.>

Compatibility  10/2/05 Hi, <Hi Kev.>    I've recently purchased a 60"x 30"x 24" tank and I am planning  to stock it with a Porcupine puffer (Diodon holacanthus), a yellow tail blue Tang  and 2 adult Ocellaris Clown fish. <There's a good chance those clowns could end up as snacks for your porcupine puffer. If you must have clowns consider a large female Maroon. (Premnas biaculeatus)> I was thinking of adding a Niger trigger as well, but I suspect this may not be a good idea. <It is a gamble, if you must add this I would do it last. Though I will say Nigers are a bit more predictable than some of the other triggers, behavior wise.> Can you suggest a  suitable fifth and final tankmate? <Something large enough to avoid aggression/nipping from your puffer but not so aggressive as to over run the clowns and tang.  There are many options out there just keep researching.> The tank has plenty of internal and external inflation, Liverock, and  a sander ozonizer with protein skimmer, would you recommend anything  else? <Refugiums aren't necessary by any means, especially in a fish only tank. Having said that they will make nutrient control a lot easier. Also please be sure to read up in our FAQ's about responsible ozone use.>                                                                                                                    Thanks  Kev <No Problem, Adam.> Queen Angel, Niger Trigger & Tesselata Moray Eel 8/18/05  150 gal FO Hello- First off, I absolutely love your site.  You offer such a wonderful service to all of us marine enthusiasts. I have looked at the forums and could not find an answer to my specific question; so, if it's there, I apologize in advance. I have a 150-gallon aquarium that I realize I will have to upgrade to a larger size in the near future.  It's a fish only tank with a rather large Niger Trigger (7-8" head to fin tips), a Tesselata (or Honeycomb) Morey Eel (close to 3 feet) and a Queen Angel (about 6").  I don't plan to get any more fish for this aquarium. They all seem to get along fine and there have been no serious disputes amongst them; however, the angel is a relatively new addition to the tank. Do you see any concerns with the compatibility of these fish and, further, any immediate needs to upgrade tank size. <Eric, the eel alone is pushing the limits of your tank.  They are high waste producers.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks so much! Eric Fossum Stocking Hi WWM crew! <Hello> I have a stocking question. I have a 125 gallon tank with: 1 perc. clown 1 flame angel 1 red head fairy wrasse 1 raccoon butterfly 1 arc eye Hawkfish 1 Maculosus angel All are under 3 inches except the wrasse who is maybe 4 inches, oh and I have 2 cleaner shrimp too [ I am going to have to remove them before Mr. Hawkfish makes shrimp gumbo out of them!]. <Mmmm.. gumbo.. Sacre bleu!> Anyway really want 1 or 2 more fish. I can't help it, I got the fever! Could I put either 2 small fish or one more bigger fish in without over loading? My first choices are either the  purple or Atlantic blue tang. I really like the purple tang but they sound  ferocious. I obviously need a fish with some backbone to put up with the angels, but I don't want a fish that's going to terrorize the others especially the raccoon, so I am thinking the purple is not a good idea.  Is the Atlantic blue as mean? And how are they on that ich magnet scale? I also don't want to over crowd with big fish already I have the raccoon, Mac. angel and wrasse so I am really leaning towards 2 small fish [ I saw someone's 55 or 60 gallon bow front that had 3 tangs , a Naso, a hippo and a Sailfin plus 2 maroon clown fish. They had a lot of live rock and no swimming room. Felt bad for the fish].   I have about 120 lbs of live rock set up in three caves with swimming room in between. some small fish I had considered - yellow candy hog fish, sixline wrasse, a pair of carpenter flasher wrasse, Scott's velvet or fairy wrasse multicolor velvet wrasse [ gotta love those wrasses], actually any small colorful wrasses! How would wrasses of the same genus do together [ my redheaded wrasse seems pretty peaceful]? Could I get a pair and would they be okay with my current wrasse?  Also I forgot to mention I had also considered the Kole tang, they don't get as big I believe. I need your opinion! 1 big or 2 small or none at all? Thanks for your time, Paige  <Paige, my advice would be to search the fish in question on the Wet Web Media. There is plenty of information there for you to research. Then you can make a knowledgeable decision. James (Salty Dog)>

Looking for a pretty red fish Hi, I am looking for a pretty red fish, I have two questions. 1. What is the name of the red fish in the attached picture and 2. What other than a flame angel is a nice bright red fish? Thanks,             Juke <No, thank you Juke... the name of this fish is where you lifted the image from our site, and many more pretty red fish are pictured there for you to consider. Bob Fenner>

Re: Multiple Halichoeres wrasses (marine livestocking) Hi, Bob, Thanks for the comments below; really appreciated. I know there is always a risk when introducing new fish to the tank but I hate to introduce something that is likely to cause to problems. <I feel the same way> Just wanted a little clarification. You thought my H. marginatus would likely be fine with a H. ornatissimus or a H. iridis. Since you actually said something to the effect that odds were they'd all do fine, do you think it wouldn't be too much risk to try all three? They are nice fish and seem reasonably hardy plus with they swim out a lot. <Should be fine. Do look for a "larger" (about same size to start with) iridis> My H. marginatus seems to be a feisty fish and held his own on introduction against a fairy wrasse (trapped and returned to the LFS) and a Pseudochromis sankeyi but my yellow "Coris" did not (the sankeyi pestered him) and the "Coris" had to be removed. Thanks to a cracked tank, I have a chance to reintroduce everything and given the fish interactions, I'm wondering how important it is to control fish reintroduction order. The P. sankeyi is going back to the store but I'd like to replace with several P. fridmani (I've read they will tolerate each other; rare for a Pseudo). <Not really... there's a huge spectrum of "compatibility" in the genus... especially tank-raised specimens tend to be easy-going> I have a P. asfur and a purple tang as well as a flame angel , rainfordi goby and C. fisheri angel. My thoughts are to introduce the fridmani and Halichoeres wrasses simultaneously, followed by the tang and angels. My asfur is very shy though. Maybe it should go in first? <Not necessary> Do you think I could later add some fairy wrasses or would that be risky with the Pseudo's or the Halichoeres? The tank is 210G. The only other fish would be my 9 Chromis viridis and a clown pair. That's probably it for the fish stock in this tank. <Should be okay as well... though will hide more with the wrasses present> BTW we've talked about my maroon clown pair before- looks to me like they have mated and may be ready to spawn. They are a tad ornery but really aren't too bad to the other fish so I'm thinking of keeping them rather than getting a perc pair. However, now is the time to remove them since I've never seen them swim into a trap. What do you think? Not too risky or asking for trouble later when they get even bigger? Thanks! Marc <Can be feisty indeed... will likely "rule the roost" for a good hundred gallons. Bob Fenner>

Ambitious Fish Stocking... 150 gal. reef For a 150 g (will upgrade when the two angels outgrow the tank, they will be 5" when I get them: 30 fish: Imperator Angel, Flame Angel, Regal Angel, Coral Beauty Angel, Watanabei Angel x2, <Pick one or two of the above> Bicinctus Clown x2, Australian Orange Tailed Damsel, <will become aggressive and territorial> Blue Reef Chromis x7, Fiji Devil, Jeweled Damsel, <The same thing could be said about these two also> Neon Goby x6, Neon Goby: Gold Stripe x2, Purple Firefish, Firefish, Lawnmower Blenny, Cleaner Wrasse <I would also cut the Cleaner Wrasse> <The damsels get to be a real nuisance for a lot of people. You may consider leaving them out.> 40 Invertebrates: Fire Shrimp x4 , Cleaner Shrimp x4, Peppermint Shrimp x4, Camel Shrimp x4, Red Lobster, Purple Lobster,  <All of these shrimp will probably not get along and the lobsters will surely not like one another and try to eat some shrimp> Blue Stripe Tuxedo Urchin x3, Blue Linckia x2, Bubble Anemone x2, <Lighting?> Pink & White Feather Duster x4, <Will need target feedings> Pink and Blue Linckia x2, <You might want to just get one Linckia total> Anemone Shrimp x2, Anemone Crab x2, <These guys are difficult filter feeders> Dancing Anemone Shrimp x2, Cat's Paw x2, <I do not know which genera of coral you are referring to?> Orange Sun Coral x2, <Another difficult creature that must be selectively fed> Toadstool Mushroom x2, Maxima "Ultra" Turquoise Clam <You did not mention your lighting> Clean up Invertebrates: Scarlet Reef Hermit x27, Red Leg Hermit x29, Left Handed Hermit x5, Emerald Crab x5, Red Fromia Starfish x2, Hawaiian Black Brittle Star x4, Orange Knobby Star x2, <Most thorny or knobby starfish are omnivores capable of eating a wide variety of things including corals.> Black Banded Serpent Star, Red Banded Serpent Star x2, Impatiens Cucumber x3, Tiger Tail Cucumber x2, Pink & Black Cucumber, Burrowing Cerith Snail x20, White Burrowing Starfish x2, <You probably will not need all of these sand sifters. They will be competing against one another for a limited amount of food. If one or several starve to death, you could have a real mess.> Turbo Snail x12, Bumble Bee Scavenger Snail x12, Abalone x3, Tonga Burrowing Cowry, Hawaiian Marbled Cowry Too Crowded? <Yes> Seem ok? <See above notes> Thanks a lot <I might have seemed a little too critical and that was not my intention. In fact, I applaud you for asking before purchasing. You will probably have a problem controlling nutrients to keep the corals happy with this fish load, even after cutting out some guys. Good luck, Steven Pro (Bob is out for a while and he asked Anthony Calfo and myself to fill in for him.)>

A 55 gallon tank Hiya! :) <Hello there> I have a 55 gallon tank with a spiny-box puffer, maroon clown fish, and I just added a dragon wrasse yesterday. I wanted to make sure that this is a good combination.  <Good, but feisty!> The wrasse tends to hide under the sand. I did see him eat, however, and I have seen him play at different intervals throughout the day. How long is too long for him to be under the sand? <Days. This species tends to hide less as time goes by> I have a friend who is keeping a purple lobster for me and I wondered if it would be okay to add the lobster to the fish I already have?  <Mmm, no... the Puffer and Dragon Wrasse will be racing to see who gets to eat it first... if not immediately, at some vulnerable, exposed point... like a molt> I know that the wrasse hides in the sand and I have enough rock to protect the lobster from the puffer, but will the wrasse and lobster live in harmony? <Not indefinitely> What is the appropriate length of time that I should wait to add the lobster to the system since I just added the wrasse yesterday? <...> Sorry so many questions! I love your site! <Me too! Thanks> Thanks for your time and patience in this matter. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Kelli <Perhaps Santa Claus will be bringing you another system... sounds like you're already ready for one! Bob Fenner>

Underfiltered/Overstocked 65g I had just a couple questions for ya. As of now I have a 65 gal show tank with two 550 penguin powerheads, a Skilter, and a 304 Fluval power filter on the way.  <You're aware this system is extremely under-filtered...> My tank has been up and running for about 3 months now with a tomato clown, two perculas, a baby chainlink eel, and a mandarin goby.  <Really? Hmm...> I also have a 10" snowflake, med. Huma trigger, bubble anemone, and a med. volitans on the way. Will my anemone save my clowns if they host to it?  <Likely not> And will all three host to one anemone.  <Read the anemones, Clownfishes sections on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> And also, I kind of like to feed my lionfish live gold fish, and mollies, what problems will I face with this? <See the Feeding Feeders, and Lionfishes sections on the WWM site> And do you think my tank is a little too packed?  <Are you kidding? Yes...> If so, should I just get rid of the clowns. I work in a pet store so selling fish should not be a problem for me. <Too casual... tell me you're joshing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Underfiltered/Overstocked 65g O.K. I felt you laid on the sarcasm a little thick in that note, Yes, I am very inexperienced for working in a pet store but I am only seventeen years old and I have worked at the pet store for only five months and 3 of the months I had nothing to do with the saltwater, so bare with me here please.  <Will try (sarcasm mode off)> O.k., the filtration I have is what the owner of the store told me I should go with. She has 38 years in owning, selling and dealing with saltwater.  <About the same as me... and I barely know anything... but would not rely on solely my opinion, or anyone else's here...> So what do you think I need more for filtration? Are you familiar with the filters that I said? And also, what do you think I need to get rid of in my tank (minimal). <Read/answer several dozen of these queries per day... sorry to state, I can't recall this thread, or what you proposed. Please make complete sense per message, or cut/paste previous corr. Bob Fenner>

Temperature fluctuation and stock selection I need to find fishes for my tank that are not very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. In the summer the water is around 81 but when we cook in the house it goes up to 85 for a while. Any tips to find these less temperature sensitive specimens? <Seek specimens that come from such wide thermal change circumstances in the wild. Shallow water ones that are collected near the equator. Keep the tank vigorously aerated/circulated and under-crowded> I ordered your book today 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist,' sounds like what I need. Thanks, Marc <You will enjoy and gain by this experience. Bob Fenner>

Fish Stocking Again (large tanks) Hi, You have giving me such great info already about my 500 gallon reef (with the Golden Butterflies) I have just one small list of questions I need answered, then I'm all set.  <Really? I have a very long list> The Butterflies have really taken to their new home well and feed on just about everything I offer, I have only seen them picking on my corals on two occasions I think and nothing major.  Each year I do a run through in my log with pictures etc on how the fish have progressed and I am going to add a good amount of fish soon. Quarantining right now I have an odd Pixy Hawk, 6" Majestic Angel for the 800 fish only, 3 more Sunburst Anthias, a pair of Orange Spot gobies, a Desjardini Tang 4", and finally a harem of Keyhole Pygmy angels for the 500 but I'm waiting to get them because my two quarantine tanks are getting to their limit. From the reef tank I am removing the now 10" Sohal to go into the fish only, (he's in there already doing well and getting along), the 7" Black Longnose Tang for the fish only not yet added but there is a lot of room so it should do fine. The Majestic is also going in the 800. I plan to quarantine most of these fish for about 6 more days, it has been 6 already. So in the reef that will leave me with the Pixy Hawk, now 12 Sunbursts, 9 Chromis, 5 Keyhole Pygmy Angels (1 male 4 females), 1 Red Sea Purple Tang (4"), the other two were sold back, the new Desjardin, the 6 inch Achilles, and the trio of Golden Butterflies. I also sold back the Nigricans it was getting way two volatile as of late he has gone ballistic on more than one occasion so I figured it was for the best. I don't think that's to much fish for the reef to handle, my system is really efficient, I know I am not over stocking there is a ton of room because the rock is set up in the pillar formations ( two of them) and there is like 70% swimming room. It's more like a F/O with some reef attributes, like various corals, cleaners, etc. Mostly Acropora. Ok now in the middle of the tank where there was swimming room I put about 30 lbs of live rock for the 7" ultra green Carpet Anemone. It has adapted well and will house my Barrier Reef Clown Pair. Now Monday I added the Pixy hawk because it was getting picked on a little in the q" tank, it then dove straight into the anemone once in the 500! I figured it for dead but he was fine and loving it. I went back to the fish store and asked them for info and they said it was wild caught which I knew but they also said that it has been found that some do adapt to anemones. I never heard of this but I'm guessing it's true. <Yes, many Hawkfishes do "rest" on anemones, other stinging-celled life in the wild> It is not actually a pixy hawk but that's the closest species I can figure it to. It is definitely a hawk, any other info on this behavior would be great if you know about it. <Take a look at the members of the Family Cirrhitidae on Fishbase.org including the images there for identification, more information> Also my Sunburst Anthias have done well now for a year and a half. I lost one due to natural causes three months ago but that's it. How long do these guys live? <A few years> I got them when they were little guys (2") and are all about 4" now. I am making a 200 gallon reef at my office, it will be an Anthias tank, can I add these with other species? <Yes... Serranocirrhitus latus are very different from other Anthiines... do hid much of the time, but are tougher than they appear> Also why would my Nigricans suddenly go nuts? <This just happens> Any other background info on this fish? <Covered in an article, contrasting it with the much more suitable Acanthurus japonicus, archived on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> Lastly, I'm going to add a changing Christmas Tree Island Emperor angel, how big should I expect it to grow? <To a foot in about three years> Thanks for the info, I can't tell you how much I appreciate what you do. I hope to add my tanks to the web so, I'll make sure to mention you and this great site! <Ah good to be of service. Bob Fenner>

Re: fish size/tank size? Dear Bob, Thanks very much for your answers to all my questions. I have a couple of quick follow up questions. The only source I have found with recommended tank sizes for specific fish is Scott Michael's book.  <A very good single source, and a very good writer/photographer... but still, only one...> There seem to be more considerations than just full grown size.  <Yes indeed... social dynamics, resource specialization considerations... so much more, would require an algorithm (analysis of variance, ANOVA) of huge proportions... You can understand... there cannot be a truly useful formula/model that simply states: "oh so many, inches of a will always get along with some other unknown mix..."> When I am looking at other sources like the internet, how can I determine if a fish will thrive in my tank size? <When in doubt, ask about... Many folks here (the Net) who have actual real-life (and death) experience with the livestock you have in mind... Ask on the various bulletin boards (WWM's can be found at www.wetwebfotos.com/talk )... AND also if/when in doubt, UNDER-CROWD... the more space, the better...> One other question, regarding a Tang: instead of an Acanthurus, you recommended I look into Ctenochaetus or Zebrasomas. I love the Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis in Michael's book but it requires a larger tank (100 gallon). The Zebrasoma Scopas is very interesting -- is this a better choice (75 gallons is recommended in Michael's book) <Yes... these animals like more room... but one can/will do fine in your size/shape system... and help tremendously to keep it "tidy"> Thanks! <Please, last time, read through the selection articles and reviews of these fishes posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Inches of fish per tank? Dear Mr. Fenner: I just bought your book over the weekend after an exhaustive search to find someone who still carried a copy. Anyway, after perusing through several pages, I couldn't find any recommendation as to how many fish I might be able to keep in my future marine aquarium.  <Yes, a complex question... different formulae/rules of thumb offered by others at times... half an inch per gallon... not really workable, simple to state.> I have heard many different theories, such as 4" of fish per gallon for saltwater. <Yikes, way too much... even a ten inch specimen in a twenty gallon system at "half an inch" would likely be way too much e.g..........> I bought your book because I personally consider myself a conscientious person and would not do something that would risk the well-being of the rest of the population in my tank. <Good for you, us, the planet> My plan is to develop a Fish-only marine tank, 90 or 110 gallons, 100 lbs. of live rock and a deep sand bed. Maybe even a plenum. Is there any magic number? <Hmm, decidedly not... without developing a huge algorithm that would somehow take into consideration metabolism, instantaneous rates of agonistic effects, coefficients of variability per species/size/sex, dynamics likelihood between and amongst all possible mixes... Whew.> Thanks and your book is terrific! Fred Siegele <Thank you my new friend in fish. Suffice it to state/write that "less is better" and a mix of species, ultimate "average" maximum sizes at half an inch per real gallon is a good "maximum" stocking density... Please augment the CMA coverage with the surveys and referenced works on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com and feel free to contact me or chat over your particular proposed livestocking list on our chatforum. Bob Fenner>

Capacity of the tank to hold fishes Hello BOB, Sorry that I keep e-mailing you. Can my tank 180cm (L) 60cm (W) and 71cm (H) hold so many fishes like presently what I have:  9 Bali damsels ( 1 inch) 2 Flame hawks ( 1.5 inch) 2 Gramma loreto ( 1.5 inch) 5 Percula clown ( 1.5inch) 1 Argi angel ( 1.2inch) 1 Blue angel ( 1.5inch) 1 Asfur angel ( 2 inch ) 1 Maculosus angel ( 3.5 inch ) 1 Queen angel ( 3.5 inch ) 1 French angel ( 3 inch) And to complete my collection I still had a King angel (3 inch), Flame angel (2 inch) and a Black tang Zebrasoma rostratum. That will be all and no more adding of fish. sump equipped with a Tunze skimmer up to 2000l/h, ozonizer and a u/v sterilizer, as well as bioballs. Water pump up to the main tank by Iwaki MD55R . Please give me your advise. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. <Are you pulling Bob the Fishman's fins here? This is way too much in the way of fish life for such a small system... These fishes might physiologically exist in such a system, but would certainly be unhappy with growth, time going by... Time to revisit your stocking list... and settle on just one large marine Angel... perhaps with just one dwarf species to go with something like most of the rest of this list... Bob Fenner>

A bunch of questions, like everyone else ;c)  Hi Bob,  Well it figures that I've found your web site.. AFTER I've already jumped into the pool, so to speak. I wanted an aquarium for a while, so this Christmas I got myself one. After reading the information on your web site, I think I'm getting bad information. If you could possibly take some time and check out my situation, and possibly point me in the proper direction, I'd really appreciate it. I don't trust the store anymore.  <"Many roads" as the saying goes, and unfortunately many well-meaning, yet not-quite as learned as they might consider folks in our interest. Even I have my hourly comeuppances... Indeed, take everyone's opinions with a fifty gallon bag of synthetic salt mix.> I bought a 55 gallon "kit". It came with the tank, hood, lights, a heater (didn't realize I'd have to know the wattage, the store clerk said it would do. It does keep the tank warm, 79 degrees) an Emperor 400 filter, a bag of salt, a bag of crushed coral, a bottle of stress coat, some flake food, (Formula One) and some PH powder and a book, The Saltwater Aquarium Handbook. The guy at the store, let's call him "Rocky", because that's his name (direct quote from your site, see.. I did read it) said to run the tank for 72 hours before adding fish. I was then turned loose to reek mayhem upon the marine community.  <Yikes... you ought to consider a career in horror-mystery writing... I'm on the edge of my seat...> After reading the book, I discovered I needed some "hiding" places, so I ran to the huge un-named superstore to purchase some cool hiding places. I also bought some "sea grass" from the original store, as I thought it would help with water filtration. 1 cup spread out in clumps.  <Ohhhhh...> After 72 hours, and running a PH test, 8.2, ammonia, 0, nitrite, 0, nitrate, 0 and 1.and salinity of 1.025, I added 5 damsels; A domino, a 4stripe, a blue, some fish that they "said" was a green Chromis, but it doesn't look like any of the pictures I've searched on the web, (it's grey, or light green if you believe my wife, which I should because I'm color blind, and it has a "yellow tail") and a really cool fish that they told me was a Fiji damsel.  <This is getting good... and yes to there being a few species of "Green/Blue Chromis" sold in the trade.> (It is, I checked your site, and boy is it a bully) I followed the directions on adding fish, letting them adjust to temp, adding some of my water to the bag, etc... When I let out the blue, it immediately sank like the Kursk to the bottom, where it just laid there breathing rapidly.  <Call in the Norwegians now!> NOT a good sign I thought. The other fish went in fine, with the exception of the "green Chromis" ! which dove to one of the decorations and really hasn't moved since except for the occasional times where it comes out to knock against the back of the tank where the plastic coral picture scene is. I suspect it's searching for algae.  <Or Davy Jones proverbial locker> After an hour of watching blue having epileptic fits on the floor, I took him out and put him in a bucket of the aquarium water. If you tried to reach in and get him, he would try to swim, but it was like he was disorientated, and swam upside down, sideways, anyways, then go lay on the bottom. All the time breathing rapidly He kicked off about 2 hours later. I was bummed! Wasn't really prepared for the death part of aquariums I guess. The store offered to replace him, so the next day I got another blue.  <No.... don't know if I can go on!> (FYI: timeline is Dec 26 started 72 hours, Dec. 29 got fish) The Fiji didn't seem to like him the most, but at least he was eating. The "green" still hasn't eaten anything that I can tell, and it's now Jan 2. The next day, the blue had a discolored stripe right through it's midsection. I watched him carefully and you guessed it, he kicked off too about a day later. About this time I noticed the domino was lethargic, just swimming slowly back & forth the length of the tank. It had eaten pretty well for the first 2 days. Well, it died too, but had no obvious discoloration. All this time, I've checked the water for the above mentioned tests, and ALL of them come back the same. No ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PH perfect, salinity perfect. I was at least expecting to see the ammonia start building up. I took the grass out thinking maybe it had something to do with this. It was growing in some area's, and dying in others, not according to tank location, but just over all. I'm sure you're either bored to sleep or laughing your fins off, so I'll stop the narrative. <Hands still on the keyboard, yep> That's the background of my situation. I don't want to kill anymore fish so I need some help. What direction should I go now? I have 3 damsels left, one won't eat and probably will be dead by the time you read this. But I can't just start over, or I'll lose the rest of the fish. I've read live rock is good, but the guy at the store said I didn't need it. Rocky shouldn't have gave up boxing! Will 3 damsels cycle a 55 gallon tank? Am I a moron? (DON'T answer that!)  Desperately trying not to be part of the problem,  Mark  <Many things to make known here. First, you don't seem/appear to be a person easily dissuaded by some poor experiences... Good. Do persevere, because, as you find (have found), "help is available"... and this interest is well worth "it"... Take numerous big breaths and be ready to... do nothing. That's right. A bunch of time needs to go by to allow your system to "settle in" in a few profound ways. Don't add more livestock, and if any does live while you/we're waiting, feed it very sparingly. And yes, do consider placing some live rock (you can add that in a week or so or beyond), read over at least one more reference work, as much of the site www.wetwebmedia.com as you can... And hang about "Rocky's" or other fish stores to meet some other marine aquarists who can (they will) offer their (yes not consistent) opinions on what "is going on"... and what your options are/will be... Much more for us to go over, and we will. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Hi!  I hope all is going well in your neck of the woods. Well guess what, I just bought tickets for my wife and I to go to Thailand in Jan for two weeks. We are going to go snorkeling the whole time. If we can figure out a way we will try the scuba thing as well. <Sounds great... good season, and a beautiful area/kingdom!> Anyway... the question I have for you is. I have a 270 gal tank 6x3x2. 18sq feet. S-area. In it I have the following fish: 1. Sohal tang 2. Emperor angel 3. Snowflake Moray 4. Panther grouper 5. Harlequin Tusker. 6. Huma Trigger 7. Green bird wrasse 8. Hippo tang. My question is ... do you think these fish will live in this tank for all their life? <They just may... about a two hundred seventy gallon volume... maybe they'd get larger in a bigger system... but... likely.> How big will the panther grouper get?  <About a foot to fourteen inches... much of it within a year.> I have a EuroReef 4 skimmer on it that is rated for a 700 gal tank.  <A nice product> I can get my hands on a 650 gal tank but I live in Alaska and during the winter more water in the house is a pain as all windows stay foggy. I already employ two dehumidifiers for the thousand gals of water I have at home. I think I am the only person in Alaska who uses a dehumidifier in the winter. Everyone else buys humidifiers. <LOL, you could also probably have a great greenhouse in there with you!> Anyway.... I want all my fish to life their full life and be happy. To me keeping the fish is just more than keeping it alive. <I hear you, understand, agree.> The last question I have for you is... I have been told by a dealer that they could make me a tank 10ft by eight feet and three feet tall. (Acrylic) for five grand as long as I was willing to wait till the summer when business was slower for them. This amounts to a 1800 gal tank. Do you think it would be crazy to get something like this since I may never be able to move it again. Also I would need to pay a fortune in electric bills wouldn't I? Have you seen such big aquariums in peoples homes and if so are they extremely difficult to take care of?  <Hmm, well the larger the system, actually the easier they are to maintain, and less cost per gallon... and acrylic is far more fun, easy to work on/with... better thermally insulated among other things... You can calculate your probable energy costs if you have your utility bill handy (so you can find your charge per kilowatt hour), and add up the watts per all the gear you'd be using... Or have the power company help you with the prediction> I am a mechanical engineer by profession and spend a lot of time working so don't have all the time in the world to devote to fish. If it were up to me I would retire right away and just keep fish.  Anyway... let me know what you think and if you do think that there is such a thing as a upper limit on tanks. That big tank just seems like such a great deal but if I got it I would have to get a different house. All in all a big head ace.  <And fun! The only drawback I'd mention is the weight... your floor will take it? About ten pounds per gallon.... all the way around...> Thanks again for everything. I have been trying to get your second book but no luck yet. I will call the number on your web page tomorrow. It would be nice if I could just give someone my credit card number and have it sent to me.  Thanks again... Bob... have a great week. Bhaskar. <Hear you on the credit card option... coming up, and thanks for your support... the book is being offered on Amazon.com btw. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

155 gal bow Hello Bob, I recently bought a 155 gal bow front aquarium, and I plan to do this one a fish only setup. I want to get some different things, and I am hoping you might be able to help me out with them and tell me if they will work in my tank. 1) A stingray. Do they need sand as a substrate? What is the best species for the marine aquarium? <The species that are offered in the trade do much better... though very few live for ANY period of time in captivity... with a layer of very fine, roundish (i.e. more spherical) substrate than bare tanks or ones with "rough" gravel. I strongly encourage you to NOT try a Ray... they take a beating in transit and rarely live more than a few weeks... especially the most common offering, the Blue Spot, Taeniura lymna... Read my input on our site for more: Home Page > 2) Lionfish. I've had them before so I know quite a bit about them, but I've never mixed species before. Can I do that? <Easily... as long as none are so small that they can be inhaled by the larger ones>  3) Clown trigger. Do you think the clown trigger, if acquired small, would nip the fins of the lionfish? <Eventually... very good odds... besides eating any/all food put in the system...> 4) Shark. Would you suggest a shark, such as a banded catshark or a horn shark? <In a "specialty" tank maybe... Cephaloscyllium and the more tropical Heterodontids (not the cooler water species too often sold...) can be kept in a large system almost to themselves... but, very borrrrrring....> 5) Angelfish. I'm assuming I would be able to house an adult emperor.  Would I also be able to put another adult angel in there or do you think that would be setting up a disaster? <Eventually, two large Angels would be psychologically happy in such a size, shape system... but you might have another large system by then...Start them both a small, ideal size to begin with...> 6) Moray Eel. Which species would you suggest, if any? <The genera Gymnomuraena and Echidna ... Zebras, Snowflakes and a few other oddballs... are not so mean, piscivorous (they eat crustaceans), but all can/do "jump out..."> Thank you very much for any info you can give me. You've been a big help to  me in the past, and I hope you can help me out with this one too!! Thanks again, Greg :)  <Be chatting, dreaming. Bob Fenner>

Restocking Mr. Fenner, We are in the process of restocking our marine aquarium. Two and a half months ago, ich hit hard after we moved and killed all of our fish save one, a porcupine puffer (Diodon holacanthus). The tank is 75 gallons and has live rock (appx 45 pounds, another 35 will be added after it is done curing, appx 3 weeks). The tank has been left at 82 degrees with a specific gravity of 1.017 for a month followed by a month at 80 and 1.020 to kill the ich. The only resident during those two months was the puffer. Now we are ready to restock and in the interim time my interests have leaned toward reef aquaria, but getting rid of the puffer is out of the question (spouse's favorite) and I know that the puffer would love a reef aquarium, but only because it would be one big buffet table. I want to know if the following fish would work in the aquarium: 1 porcupine puffer, 2 orange spotted gobies (Valenciennea puellaris), 2 neon gobies (Gobiosoma oceanops, to control any future ich outbreaks), a big long nosed butterfly (Forcipiger longirostris), a red Coris wrasse (Coris gaimard, adult), and 2 dwarf angels. The dwarf angels are a particular dilemma. I would like a coral beauty (Centropyge bispinosus) and a flame angel (Centropyge loriculus). I know the conventional wisdom is not to place two dwarf angels in one tank, but I also know that a number of experts are recommending it on FFExpress, with appropriate cautions. Please let me know what you think of this arrangement. If there are fish you would discourage, I would appreciate any recommendations you may have for similar fish that would be more compatible. If you think this is an appropriate list, please let me know what order you would stock it in. Thank you very much.-Chris Paul <Hmm, well, the Coris is a concern (get big, rambunctious... avid digger...) but I wouldn't be overly concerned about the Dwarf Angel addition (just one).... But, the Puffer? I'd have another tank handy (or maybe a sump, temporarily...) as these are intelligent animals that either out of boredom, and/or opportunistic hunger... or? get a hankering at times to eat fish and non-fish tankmates... I'd place the live rock, then the gobies, butterfly, then it really doesn't matter much... and the Puffer? Bob Fenner, who invites you to look over: Home Page> 

Triggers, Tangs & Clowns Bob- While I appreciate your help, I did not fully understand you answer to my stocking question. Ok, I see you mention the Triggers not being compatible, and the Powder Blue Tang not being hardy. If I were to use one Tang (Niger or Assasi), 2-3 Yellow Tangs, and the 6 Clowns; would I still have too many fish for my 46 gallon fish only tank?  <Yes... either the Trigger (not tang) or the Clowns have to go... not big enough... and the Triggers will eat the Clowns> If so, what is the recommendation for that size tank. Also do you cover anywhere the proper care for the Powder Blue Tang?  <Read over the Surgeonfish pieces posted on our site: Home Page ... A leucosternon needs to be in a very large (small ones in a hundred...plus gallons, IMO), well-established system...> This is a beautiful fish that I would love to have, despite it not being too hardy. Thanks again, I hope to hear from you soon! Cory  <I wish I could relate quickly to you just how many people have left the hobby due to failures, disease-transmission with this touchy species... Really, look for something hardier... try one of these when you have much more experience. Bob Fenner>

No more fish for 90g Bob- I've emailed you before regarding some "fish" concerns and you've been very helpful.  I have another concern: I currently have a 90 gallon community tank. In it resides a yellow tang, a harlequin tusk, a clown trigger, an Annularis angel, a hippo tang, a flame hawk, an ocellaris clown. I would like to add additional colorful and compatible fish. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jack  <<Yikes... maybe to save up for at least another ninety... or a much larger tank. The Trigger and Angel are going to need more room... and may, along with the Tuskfish, cause your Hawk and Clown woe in the not-so-distant future... Otherwise, please do take the time to read over the Selection, and many fish group review pieces and FAQ files posted on our website... Home Page . You'll enjoy and learn...Bob Fenner>>

Cleaner Gobies Hello I don't know if there is a solution to my problem. I have several angel fish (4 1/2") 1 tang (5") a 6" lion fish and a 4" miniatus grouper. Here is the problem the angel fish are constantly looking for cleaners for parasites.  So far I have lost the cleaner shrimp and the wrasses I put in the tank. Is there a natural way of placing live cleaners in the tank for the angels or am I stuck using chemical compounds? The tank is very large as you can guess, three hundred gal. and there is varied decorative coral with gravel bottom. Thank you. Kris <<Good question. Though they're mighty small, the cleaner gobies of the genus Gobiosoma are your best chance here... for cleaning, and recognition by your fishes that the little guys are helpers, not meals. Do keep them separated a day or so in a floating bag that is perforated, or a no-metal jar and lid with perforations for circulation. After the "look-see" day, you should have success letting the new cleaners out with the general tank population... even though they definitely do not come in contact with many angels or the miniatus grouper in the wild. Bob Fenner>>

Prospective Additions Bob: Current inhabitants in our 95-gallon tank are: 2 Banggai cardinals 1 Porcupine puffer 1 Lemon peel angel 1 Coral beauty angel 1 Clown 1 Yellow-eyed tang 1 Blue hippo tang 1 Foxface Rabbitfish 1 Flame hawk 1 Squirrelfish 1 female lyretail Anthias 1 Christmas wrasse I would like to add one Sailfin tang (Z. veliferum) and 2 Heniochus acuminatus. Do you foresee any potential conflicts with the current fish? Thanks, Mitch <<Actually, yes... just in the total content of fish life you have currently... I would not add more fishes without taking some of the ones you have now out. Though the types of fishes you have now are probably not visible (hiding) a good deal of the time, they are "psychologically" there... Crowding them (more) is a poor idea. Bob Fenner>>

Number of Tank Inhabitants Bob,  What is a good rule of thumb for the number of fish to put in a tank? I have read roughly 5 gallons per fish (depending on fish size), or some authors state so many gallons per inch of fish. I appreciate your insight. Thanks, Mitch <<A "rule of thumb" (with many provisos as you know) has been an inch per gallon for fresh, half that for marine... Obviously a twenty inch bass (fresh or marine) won't do well in a twenty fresh or forty marine... and these are "maximum" suggested stocking rates. Bob Fenner>>

Segregating aggressive fish Bob, In previous Q&A's, you've recommended segregating unduly  aggressive fish for a time, then bringing them back into  the tank later. I've removed the yellow tang from my  display tank because he kept slicing up a new maroon  clown (the maroon is somewhat larger than the tang, but  this didn't seem to deter much of the tang's undesirable  behavior). The tang is now in a quarantine tank. When  is it safe to parole him back into the general  population? Does a couple of weeks sound about right? <<Yes, and thanks for asking... what you can get by these "trial separations" in two weeks is about all there is to get... Good luck, Bob Fenner>>

55g Stocking Questions  Bob - Thanks for the insightful Q&A's. I have learned much! I am a beginning hobbyist and have a lot of questions. I have started a tank (my friends) over again. So far, this is what I have: it's a 55gal tank with skimmer, HOT Magnum, and sump filter system lighting is 2-55w 48in bulbs - 1 actinic, 1 full spectrum I want to add about 45lbs of live rock first, then let that cycle and then add livestock. I have a Yellow Tang and a Firefish in a separate quarantine tank (these are left over from my friends previous set-up). Here are my many questions: 1) I would like to add a Lawnmower Blenny, some Banggai Cardinals, a cleaner shrimp, some snails and hermit crabs for clean-up, and maybe a dwarf Angel of some kind as a center piece. What order should I incorporate them? Will the Cardinals and Angel get along? Should I introduce them in a specific order? <After the tank has cycled, place the snails and hermits, wait another month for the Cardinals and Angel... they will get along... and another month for the one Lawnmower Blenny... that will get along with everyone, but may starve if placed too soon>  2) I'm not overly interested in creating a reef environment, but is there something you recommend that I could grow in the tank to give the Tang something to nibble at all day? <All sorts... look at the macro-algae pieces stored at my site: www.wetwebmedia.com... Ulva, Halimeda, Caulerpas.... many more... in addition to the incidental algae on/of live rock...> 3) I have seen Goatfish listed as sand stirrers. Are they safe with the live rock? Do you recommend them for clean-up? <Yes to Goats... small species only for a 55...article at WWM site> 4) Do you need to quarantine shrimp, snails, and hermit crabs? <Not really... most often fine, best to place these directly... more to be lost in delaying, manipulating them> 5) Do you recommend a freshwater dip for all species of fish? And what method do you prefer? <Do dip most fishes... protocols, tools, materials listed at WWM site... under dips/baths, et al. headings.> Thanks for taking the time to help me out. I hope I haven't overloaded you with questions. I just want to do things right from the beginning (my friend didn't and had lots of problems, spent lots of money, then sold everything to me). Thanks again! Chris <Glad to help... wish I could have "been there/here" for your friend... maybe s/he will come back after seeing your huge success! Bob Fenner> 

Beginner's question on overstocking. I have a 29 gallon tank that has been running four months; it has started to grow a good amount of green algae, but my ammonia and nitrate levels are still very high. I have been doing weekly, and bi-weekly water changes of 25%, and my ammonia is still very high. My filtration includes a UGF with 1 1/2 - 3" of medium sized gravel, one Whisper 4, and one Whisper 2 over the back filter. I have activated carbon in both filters. Each water change I clean the gravel. The tank is stocked with 2 our stripe Damsels, 1 Blue Damsel, 5 Camel Shrimp, 1 (fire, blood) Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Arrow Crab, and 1 Tiger Cowry. Is this too much? The tank cycled completely in mid-December, no ammonia at all, I added the arrow crab and I've been in a continual ammonia spike since then. I am thinking the beneficial bacteria just need more time to build up, but I want to make sure I have no overloaded this tank. I also have not been feeding often, about twice a week; sometimes three times a week.  I would like to add 2 Astrea Snails, a Blue Linckia starfish, and a Tigertail Cucumber to this tank in the future if it can hold it. Thanks for your time, and helping another beginner. Wes <<No to the Star and the Cucumber... too much life and too much possibility of trouble in the way of one or the other falling apart (or eviscerating on the part of the Cuke)... Do start shopping around for the next larger system... you're due. Bob Fenner>>

New Tank Setup Question Bob, You've been very helpful in the past and I think it's time to ask you another question. I have a 55gallon with 100#'s of Fiji Live rock that is curing in my tank right now. My first addition of fish is going to be a pair of tank raised true Perculas. The place I am going to get them from (Premium Aquatics) also has tank raised Orchid Dottybacks (Pseudochromis fridmani) which I really want to have in my tank as well. How do you feel about adding this fish so early in the tank's life? I plan on letting the tank cycle fully before adding any fish but it will still be a young tank. Obviously I want to get the fish at the same time because of shipping and boxing charges but only if the fish can survive. Ultimately the tank will have those three fishes, a Royal Gramma and a few assorted shrimp. On a personal note I just received my copy of A Fishwatcher's Guide to The Saltwater Aquarium Fishes of the World Book One and so far so good. I just got it today and it's been hard to put down. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Trent <<Wowzah, a good question and my first "stroke" on my new book! Thanks a bunch. The Clowns and fridmani should do okay as long as the tank is pretty much cured... I'd wait a good two months to be safe on the curing end... Part of the "reason" I'm so assuring about this stocking plan is that the livestock is almost certainly going to be of highest initial quality and predisposed to doing well in captive conditions as a consequence of being tank bred/raised... and the amount of live rock... Just two of the fridmani, right? Be chatting, Bob Fenner>>

75g Aggressive Tank Mr. Fenner: I have a 75-gallon setup with pretty decent filtration  (wet/dry, but no LR, with a circulation of about 10  times per hour). How many inches of waste-producing,  predatory-type fish (triggers, groupers and the like)  could I hope to accommodate? I'd rather know now rather  than later; if the number is too small, I'll be more  than happy with tank full of gobies, blennies, damsels  and so forth. Just wondering...jwl P.S. Your book has proven to be tremendously helpful. <<Thank you for writing... somewhere in the range of 15-25 inches overall is a safe guess-timate... about twice that for the "less-predatory" types you list. You could place more with intense filtration, circulation and the likelihood of WWIII, but...Bob Fenner, who says re his writing efforts... "you get it!">>

New Fish Tank Hi Bob, First I want to tell you how much I enjoy the information on wetwebmedia.com. After a much failed attempt at a 26 gallon salt with no quarantine tank I will be trying again with a 50 gallon and an 18 gallon quarantine. My first question is regarding filtration. I will be using a CPR backpack protein skimmer with bio-bale, Fluval 403 canister filter, and possibly an undergravel filter if you think it will help, (I want to use sand as substrate, does an undergravel still work with sand or will it just pull it through the slits in the plate?), and about 40 lbs of live rock. Is this filtration adequate for a fish only tank? My second question is about fish. Here is my 'wish list' of fish I would like. Flame Angel Centropyge Loriculus, (3-5) Porcupine Puffer Diodon Holacanthus,(5-8) Dog Face Puffer Arothron nigropunctatus (4-7) Yellow Tang Zebrasoma Flavescens, (3-6) Purple Tang Zebrasoma Xanthurum,(3-6) Naso Tang Naso Lituratus, (4-8) Kole Tang Ctenochaetus Strigosus, (2-5) Blue Tang Paracanthurus Hepatus, (2-6) Clown Trigger Balistoides conspicillum, (7-10) Humahumanukunukuapua'a Rhinecanthus Aculeatus, (5-8) Undulate Trigger Balistapus Undulatus. 8-10) Obviously all these fish would overcrowd my tank but could you recommend how  many of these, if any are unsuited to the others, and an order of  introduction. (I'm thinking tangs, puffers/dwarf angels, then triggers?)  Also can you recommend anything as a bottom feeder to help clean the tank  that won't get eaten!! (Maybe a parrotfish?) I know I have asked a lot of  questions but I would appreciate any insight you can give me.  Thanks, Brian Amoroso <<Thank you for writing. The filtration situation you list will work out with or w/o the undergravel filter in use... or being present w/o having water pulled through it (that is as a biological denitrator)... but you need to make sure the sand/substrate grade is not too fine either way... don't place beach sand grade sand in your tank... The fish list actually has a mix of two to three gradients of mixability... So I'll place my ratings in brackets as ( ) (see above) and give you the following proposition: If it were me, I'd only mix together fishes with a rating no more than three of the subjective points I've listed... other people would rate them otherwise I am sure,,,, or not come up with such a crazy (but hopefully utilitarian) scheme. The general order of introduction you list is fine...  The Parrotfishes are not good choices for clean up... or even marine aquariums... look to some invertebrates for help in this arena... stipulating that you leave out the triggers... in which case, rely on "elbow grease" and filtration/circulation. Bob Fenner>>

Stocking a new 65 gallon We are about to start adding fish to a 65 gal tank (36" wide), which already has live sand, live rock, blue-legged hermits, and turbo snails. After reading several books (including yours - it's great!), we have spoken with different mail order places (no good local fish store) and have received differing advice about which of the following fish to add first and in what quantity. Please help! Yellow-headed Jawfish Banggai Cardinalfish Firefish Clownfish (either true or false Percula, tank-raised, and with or without anemone?) Yellow tang (is the tank too small?) Royal Gramma Thanks! Brooke Cannon <<Hmm, interesting. Well, let's see... should be a nice mix... in order of suggested order, with notes: The Clownfishes... do get tank bred/raised. Are tough for first ins... and should grant you a needed bio-assay, and something fun to watch (about time!). True or false Percula really doesn't matter, but I like the "black faced" true ones available now... And no to the anemone... actually hard to keep, too much chance of disaster... The Banggai Cardinalfish... I would just keep one in a tank your size... lest they fight... get one on the med./smaller size... about an inch to start. The Royal Gramma. Nice looking, easy going, and hidden a great deal of the time. The Firefish... your touchiest choice... get a couple... we've been waiting on these as the next selection, as they do best in better-established systems. The Jawfishes, again a couple (three maximum) as they are social, yet territorial and need at least a square foot of bottom per individual... Lastly the Yellow Tang... probably the most territorial fish of your choosing.... and the one who is best served by waiting for some algae to grow. Thank you for writing. I am sure we'll be chatting further. Bob Fenner, who toasts your joining our forum.>>

30gal Long I recently  re-set up my 30gal L aquarium. I have a CPR BakPak 2 protein skimmer around 30lbs of live rock and 20lbs of assorted sand/aragonite crushed corals. I have a Sealife Systems Sump (Biomedia Removed). I have 1 oscillating power head. My lighting is 2 96watt power compacts. I plan to set up a reef top environment with a mated pair of true perculas (preferably just like the one you have pictured with the dark markings), a Stichodactyla mertensii carpet anemone, three yellow tailed damsels, some clams and an assortment of corals. I also want to include a wrasse to help clean parasites from the clams and I would really like to incorporate an elegance coral. For the wrasse I am partial to a Juv. Red Coris Wrasse ,Coris Gaimard, But I am fearful that it will either not make a good choice for my desired reef, or that as an adult it will either be to large or will be to aggressive. What Do you think? I would also like more detailed info on the Stichodactyla mertensii carpet anemone especially in reference to hardiness, range of color and availability. Also how long should I wait to start putting this stuff in? And is there a best order to do it in? I think that my tank is pretty well cycled, however, I do think that I will want to add another 10-12 lbs of rock. Thank you for any suggestions. <<Lots of good... but hard to answer (in time or amount of space here) questions. First re the Wrasse. Though I'm a big fan of THE (there are other members of the genus) Coris wrasse called C. gaimard... it is unsuitable for your system... and most reef systems... Too big, rambunctious... destructive... But let's get on with other types that will do: Look into the Lined Wrasses of the genus Pseudocheilinus for your Clam plan... and the easy going Flasher Wrasses of the genus Paracheilinus for looks, "nice" livestock for a small tank like yours. Which brings me to a useful cautionary remark... You have BIG plans for a little volume of water... that need review and honing before committing yourself livestock selection wise... This is just too much life for a 30... An anemone, OR a clam and some easy corals, OR some easy corals... Not all will go in this set-up and live. Re the Stichodactyla mertensii... this giant anemone is not found naturally in a symbiotic relationship with the (true Percula) clown you mention, which is not to definitively say it will not in captivity... but I would encourage you to do without an anemone for right now... your clowns won't suffer... especially if you go the best route and get some tank bred/reared "black face" ones (these are produced by TMC and they are fabulous)... And look into an anemone after you've had some practice with other stinging-celled life (trust me here)... More info. on anemones when this possibility of stocking becomes more real... but this species is not the hardiest of giant actinarians, and often comes in (from wild collection) torn from rough removal from the hard substrates it's always found attached to. They are mainly different shades of green, but there are yellow to gray color forms as well. They're available unseasonably about half the year... You should wait on putting any of this livestock in till after you've added the extra live rock you list, and it has all cycled... Wait a good two weeks after there is no detectable ammonia, nitrite. There is a best order... Try the Damsels first, then the damsels called Clownfishes... and then... some easier "corals" like zoanthids, polyps, soft corals, mushrooms... Bob Fenner, trying his best to prevent you from a disaster, and keep you as a successful fellow hobbyist>>

Introducing new fish Mr. Fenner: A few questions concerning introduction of new  specimens: 1) My hospital tank isn't yet cycled (i.e., ammonia and  nitrites still detectable, albeit low), but I'm stuck  with adding a new fish as early as next week; friends  are putting together an FFE order pool and need my  participation therein so as to get the total order above  a certain cash amount so that shipping/box charges will  be waived. Anyway, when I add the new fish (a maroon  clown), should I quarantine him in the hospital tank for  two weeks as usual, or would I be better off to give him  a dip/bath, acclimate him, then just add him to the  display tank? <You'd be best freshwater dip/bathing the Maroon, and then still quarantining it. Stick some of your established system's substrate in whatever filter you're using (even a box type) and put it in your quarantine system... Voile! Instant cycling. At the very least, I'd do the dip...>> 2) Which to do first (regardless of answer to above):  the freshwater dip or the acclimation process from  shipping water to tank water? I've read the relevant  section in your book, but I can't tell what the proper  chronology is. It seems like it's probably acclimate the fish by adding tank water to the shipping bag and so  forth, THEN dip him in the bath, BUT might this cause a  shock, even if the freshwater is properly buffered? <The Dip/Bath always first... especially with some of the most problematical external protozoan problems... dipping will often "knock off/explode" them... you want this to happen before introducing these same organisms into the "way-station" system where they can become established. Don't worry about the (added) shock... compared with the stress of capture, bagging... shipping... this is almost nothing. Very few animals die as a consequence of freshwater dip/bathing... I have done this procedure with many, many (tens of thousands...) of specimens, species...> 3) I've been reading some of the archived Q&A's, and it  surprises me that you've sometimes advised people to add  multiple fish at the same time. If I were able to do  this, I could really help out my friends in the order  pool. Doesn't adding 2-3 fish at a time risk a major  ammonia spike, since the nitrifying bacteria are in  equilibrium with the tank's current bio-load?  <Very rarely... in systems that are set-up/maintained properly... with live rock, or fluidized bed filtration... or wet-dries... or established canisters... People will find no spiking... Think about this... the nitrogenous portion of the bulk of foods is somewhere in the 'teens of % of their protein content (an easy guesstimate you can do from the partial % composition of amino acids... of N2)... And consider the rates of conversion you yourself observe in utilizing these foods... and no apparent "spiking"... Now, you tell me, compared with the process of (exogenous) feeding, just how much does adding more livestock actually contribute to the front end of nitrification? Not much. Don't be fooled into a "discrete" or "arithmetic" understanding of the balance between your microbial populations and the apparent "bioload" of your system... Much is going on that is more akin to "chaos theory"... Anyhow, the point really is, in the real world of aquariums, these anomalies are rare...> FYI, my system is a 75, fish-only, no LR. Filtration is  a wet-dry (gasp!) with about 1000 gph circulation, an  extra powerhead at 300 gph, and an Oceanic skimmer (fed  by a diversion from my return pump, since the thing was  worthless with the Eheim pump that it came with).  Current bioload is a yellow tang and three (expendable) damsels. <Sounds okay... Bob Fenner, who hopes he's not reincarnated as a Pomacentrid>

20 gallon mini reef Bob, I just started up a 20 gallon mini reef tank about two weeks ago. I currently have one tomato clown 25 lbs of live rock and a dead  corral. The list of livestock I want to get for my tank is: ( all small ) yellow tang, coral beauty, valentini puffer, mandarin goby. For  inverts: spiny blue lobster, horseshoe crab, red Linckia star, camel shrimp, Sebae anemone and a couple small coral. Of course I  will add all of this (if possible) after my cleaning crew goes through in about a week. My question is, can I put this much livestock  in my tank since most of the things are inverts on the bottom? <<You can have about this much life in your twenty by careful timing and selection (like you state, small at first), but I'd like to try and direct/redirect some of your choices... Please seek out a better type off goby than the Mandarin... these fishes (there's more than one species) are actually quite "touchy"... and really only a good risk in larger, well-established reef tanks... with very peaceful tankmates... where they can hunt and find numerous small live organisms in the sand/substrate... (cultured from live rock sources.... without a lot of other fishes competing for the same foodstuffs). And nix the Blue Lobster... Oh so cute when they're small, this spiny critter will quickly grow to be the only thing in your twenty (not just from being bigger, but having eaten its tankmates!) Do wait a few more months before trying the "sebae" anemone as well. Hoping to not seem like a nag, Bob "well intentioned" Fenner>>

72g Fish Plan Hi Bob, Back for some advice as I develop a plan for introduction of fish into my 72  gallon tank. I realize that this process of introducing the fish (post cycling) takes time. I also understand the need to introduce the fish in some pecking order. Can you help with a) compatibility check b) order to bring them into my tank c) am I planning too many (Eheim 2228/Amiracle SL150/Berlin Skimmer and just ordered some live Fiji)? I am thinking: Maroon Clown (1) Yellow Tang (1) Purple Dottyback (1) Flame Angel (1) Juv. Emperor Angel (1) Dwarf Lionfish (1) Bird mouth Wrasse or Pajama Wrasse (1) Regal Tang (1) Raccoon Butterfly (1) Thank you in advance. <<All but the Regal Tang (Acanthurus lineatus) should get along fine... this can be a real terror as it grows...  Put in the Lion, Maroon Clown and Purple Dottyback (make sure the last is bigger than the Dwarf Lion's mouth... it probably will end up as lunch... anyway) first. Next, Dwarf Angel, Wrasse, and Yellow Tang, The rest last... all three groups about a month (or more) apart. This is about it for your 72... the Emperor will grow to be King, and take up all available resources... not unlike some software programs I've had! Bob Fenner>>

55g Reef Hi Bob, I was thinking about buying a 55 gallon tank. I was wondering what  tangs and angels would be the best to put in there. And also could I add  some flounders in there too. And what corals could I put in there? Thank You <<Wowzah, what about, "how to get to become a zillionaire?"... this is a tall order! For the Tangs, I'd concentrate on concentrating on the genera Zebrasoma, Ctenochaetus and Paracanthurus... for the Angels, the hardiest of the dwarf genus Centropyge (there's a big selection)... no to the flounders, flatfishes period... they're actually not easy to keep... What corals? I'd start with the non-stony types... some of the easier softs, like Sarcophyton, Lemnalia... maybe some zoanthids (colonial anemones), mushrooms (corallimorpharians)... We'll talk re true corals later.... survey articles on these groups of livestock, and further notes on selection, husbandry can be found posted at www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner, who is not a zillionaire>>

Holacanthus Ciliaris in Reef I have read your book and learned much. I have read in books and on the Internet that you can keep a Holacanthus Ciliaris in a reef tank. Is this true? I do know she will eat sponges but is there any other invertebrate that will also become food. I thing this is a beautiful Angel. Also is there any other angels that would be more less reef safe and not fight with the Queen? I value your opinion. Thank You, Michael Kirby <<Thank you for writing. I have seen Queen Angels kept successfully in reef tanks, and know of some "sampling of sessile livestock" nightmares as well. As large angels go, the Queen is worthy of a try, but given crowding, hunger, and/or perhaps just curiosity SOME have become tankmate chewers...  More generally (or higher percentage) reef-safe angels are to be had in the smaller genera... esp. Centropyge... though there is once again, a great deal of variability within species/individuals. My fave the Flame (C. loricula) is a high scorer, with the true Lemonpeel (C. flavissimus) being more toward the other end of the spectrum... best to start any of these on the smaller size... and keep an eye on them for mischief. Bob Fenner>>

Starting out I am thinking of starting a marine tank. My research has indicated the smallest one should start with is 55 gal. Yet I saw a reader here that indicated they had a 20 gal tank that was doing well. You didn't chastise so I guess 20 gal would be okay? How many fish could I support in that small a tank? I am very familiar with freshwater but am ignorant of marine aquariums. Thanks for the help!  <<What a delightful query! Glad to have another intelligent sensitive mind in our hobby. Yes, the larger the system, definitely the better... more stable, less prone to disasters, more flexibility in stocking, more margin for error in... And yes, I agree with your assessment: generally the smallest tank size I endorse for (especially for new marine aquarists) is forty gallons. And yes, I don't always reprimand folks for their apparent pet-fish shortcomings... But, there are indeed some "advanced", make that learned, observant and patient marine aquarists who have success with "small" systems. Stocking densities are a little tricky with saltwater. As with fresh, the type of livestock is more important than size/length in inches per gallon... Are the animals fast moving, mean, high oxygen-demand? And here again, the smaller systems call for more caution... but something in the half inch per gallon, give or take... or a calculation per surface area... or let's say about half of freshwater... When, where in doubt, understock. Bob Fenner>>

Overstocked 50g I have a 50 gal fish only tank, with about 25 lbs. of live rock I have a medium Niger trigger, medium Foxface, large Hawaiian porcupine puffer, a med/large true sebae clown and a small golden stripe Soapfish/grouper. I want to add one more colorful and hardy fish. Do you have any suggestions? <<Actually I do... get a larger tank! The Trigger and Puffer are going to get bigger, fast and take up more than the rest of the space available... When you have the larger quarters, maybe a large bass family member like a Miniata Grouper or a large Pacific or Atlantic marine Angel.... Bob Fenner>>

Stocking Bob - Thanks for the great advice about live rock and quarantine tanks. The rock looks great and I'm going to look into building a quarantine tank before I start seriously stocking my main tank. My question concerns the main tank. I have a 60 gallon tank with 22.5 lbs live rock and about 15 to 20 pounds decorative coral pieces, plenty of filtration (HOT Magnum and gravity fed bio filters and a protein skimmer), and excellent water quality (no ammonia or nitrate, >10ppm nitrite). What I would like to do is create an environment that will match a natural setting. I have a yellow Tang and a Firefish at the moment. I really like the Tang and would like to work around that as a starter. What ecosystem would you recommend? Any particular species to start with? I have seen some Banggai Cardinalfish, as well as Dispar Anthias. Will either of those fit in a natural system with the Tang? Thanks for your help! Chris <<Time to hit the books Chris. If you like the Yellow Tang as much as you seem to, I'd check into a Hawai'i Nearshore biotope. Though this species is found all the way over to Japan, most come out of the fiftieth State. There are a bunch of books, both pet-fish, underwater natural history and coffee table "picture books" that can give you a good idea of what's found there/here (am in HI right now), and the physical environment... Maybe you can save up and make a big trip over to these Pacific Islands This part of the whole experience is what makes the aquarium hobby really a blast for me. Bob Fenner>>

Reef Tank Stocking Hi Bob, I currently have set-up a 48 inch long 33 gallon reef tank. This has been up for about 3months.Skimming and Filtration: I am running two hang off the back CPR Bak Pak. One with BioBale and the other with Chemi Pure and Phos-sorb. Angstrom 8watt UV filter. I feel that this may have been over kill but I wanted to ensure that skimming and filtration was meet over the capacity of the tank. Lighting: 48 inch SHO lighting two 55 k 55 watt white light. Medium: 15 lbs. Fiji live sand & 15 lbs. Fiji Live rock Supplements: Coralife reef builder iodine, calcium buffer 1 & 2 The tank has been cycled and I am now looking to add a clean - up crew. any suggestions: The tank has not been stocked as yet I am extremely patient and want to get it right the first time out. I am looking to stock the tank with a matched pair of false Percula clowns, cleaner shrimp or fire shrimp, six line wrasse, yellow tang, a blenny or bottom type fish, a clam, hardy coral, 1 anemone, star fish and a cucumber What is your thoughts on the set-up. Budget was a big factor in this area. Is the lighting sufficient any comments on the stocking choices, should I increase the live rock. Any comments you can add would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Louis Nazzaro <The set-up sounds "so far so good". Re: the "clean up" crew. For now and going forward I'd actually hold off on the usual proscribed assortments of snails, hermits, starfishes... For one, because the tank should age/establish itself a little more (another few months), for two, because there may be some conflicts with some of your (listed) intended livestock, and three, many of the latter will do the "clean up" themselves. I would read up and institute a strict dip/quarantine program to keep infectious and parasitic diseases out of your system. A ten gallon size unit will do this. Take a look at the articles on dips/baths, quarantine, and livestock selection on wetwebmedia.com site (my shot at making available pieces on big topics). If at all possible do add some actinic type lighting (just regular output will be fine) for your clam and other photosynthates to come. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>  

Livestocking I have had 21 pounds of live rock in my thirty gallon tank for about five weeks. About two weeks ago a added 1 turbo snail and 3 other snails. I wanted to know what species of fish/inverts I should add?  <<Okay, is this a trick question? What sort of animals, biotope or theme do you have in mind? I'd go back and look at other folks systems, books, what have you and develop a livestocking plan built around a central personality organism... and then delve into what goes with it... that you like. Bob Fenner>>

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