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FAQs about Fish-Only Marine System Stocking 4

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Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Stocking help      6/28/16
I have a wish list for some fish I'd like to run by you before I make any executive decisions. Tank is 65 gal with 40 gal sump.
2x ocellaris clownfish
5x orchid Dottyback
<These will be tank-bred/reared I assume>
3x yellow Coris wrasse
Maybe a mandarin dragonette if I can culture a healthy colony of pods.
<Might be hard to make sure it gets fed; competition w/ the other fishes...>

Do you think this mix/stocking level is too ambitious? Thanks in advance
<Looks fine to me. Bob Fenner>
re: Stocking help

Yes tank bred orchids
<Ahh, faves>
Thank you so much,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Stocking? BGA.... Using WWM         4/29/16
I have a 55gallon saltwater tank. Protein skimmer Canister filter (no sump)
38.5 lbs live rock2" sand bed
2 ocellaris clowns1 Anemone (bubble rose tip)still waiting on clowns to move in. Been 3 months1 Banggai cardinal 1 fire fish (orange goby)3 peppermint shrimp100 or so snails(Cerith,Nerite,Nass) 1 TurboI added 1
scarlet not sure if it is still alive tiny when I added have not seen it since.
I was wanting to add a lawnmower blenny, a royal gramma and a Flame angel.
<Too small for this Centropyge. See WWM re other Pomacanthid choices
I am fighting red slime.
<READ on WWM re Cyanobacteria or the book I have in print on Amazon
I do water changes, cut lights down, cut food in half (I feed half a cube once a day)kinda aggressive at feeding. And moved flow. Still red slime. I was told with a new tank this is a phase and will get better. My tank is 7 months old.
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
<Read. Bob Fenner>

Various Saltwater Aquarium Questions; stkg. a 58 gal.        2/14/16
<Hi there>
I wanted to start by saying I absolutely love your site. I am doing my best to read through as much of it as I can before I attempt my first saltwater aquarium! I apologize beforehand if any of my questions are stupid, and I'm sure there will be quite a few.
<Mmm; well; WWM IS arranged in a first to last sort of logical order, but I DO encourage you to read one or more standard works (books) on marine aquarium keeping as part of your pre- set-up learning>
Some of the first questions I have concerns the tank and stocking restrictions. The tank is a pre-drilled 58 gallon tank. The dimensions are 36 inches long, 18 inches wide and 21 inches tall. I plan to have a sump as well as a 29 gallon aquarium converted into a refugium for filtration. In a tank this size, what sort of fish am I limited to?
<Heeeeee! A huge selection>
I have a huge interest
in butterfly fish as well as Centropyge angels.
<Too small for Chaetodontids really... you could have a small harem (one male, two females) of the "dwarf" dwarf Centropyges... There's an article on WWM re>
Specifically, I am interested in Genicanthus watanabei, Chaetodon collare, and Centropyge flavissima.
<Mmm; no; none of these really. They all need much more room>
Obviously I'm open to any and all suggestions for stocking and care. Thank you for your time,
<Look into the books... and KEEP READING! Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Various Saltwater Aquarium Questions; stkg. FO        2/15/16

Hello again,
<Hey KM!>
Thank you for such a quick response Mr. Fenner. I appreciate you informing me about the care of the before mentioned species. I took to Amazon and ordered a few books that I saw mentioned on WWM.
<Ah good>
I was hoping to ask a few more questions if it's not an inconvenience.
Upon researching the different species of butterfly fish, I noticed that many are fairly large and do require specialized care. One that I wished to ask you about however, is Prognathodes aculeatus. Would one fair well in a tank my size?
<Mmm; no; not really. This genus, like all Chaetodontids needs a good-sized (like at least four foot run) system to graze about, feel secure. I encourage you to not consider any BF>
As for Centropyge, I also noticed that many grow much larger than my local fish stores led me to believe. I am glad I could find better information on WWM. A few species I wanted to ask about are Centropyge bispinosa, Centropyge vroliki, Centropyge nox, and Centropyge ferrugata. I read about them on WWM, and it appears that they are fairly hardy fish and easy to care for.
Would any of these 4 be suitable for my tank?
<Not really; no. Sorry to be such a "doggie downer" here. But only the prev. mentioned really small Centropyges will fare well in your size, shaped tank>
My final question regards stocking. I have found tons of information regarding how to stock a saltwater aquarium. It's difficult to tell which formula is better than another, and which are just plain silly.
<Most all (I've seen) have some validity, applicability... But there is no one sure-fire, all-inclusive formula for who goes first, the numbers, sex ratios... in a give volume; shaped system>
I know they are rules of thumb but, I figured your experience would be a much better guideline.
Thank you for your time,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Various Saltwater Aquarium Questions       2/15/16

<Hello Krista!>
Sorry for bothering again so quickly. I don't think you are being a "doggie downer" at all. I came to you for advice and I'm extremely thankful to be given advice that will help me be the best caretaker to the animals I buy.
I know all too well that the employees at most pet stores tell you whatever it takes to make a sale.
<All too often>
Regarding the Centropyge and butterflies; I had not taken into account the actual length of the tank. I suppose I forgot all about that and was thinking only of volume of water.
<Ahh! Both are important. I want to encourage you to consider taking up snorkeling, scuba diving... to get out and observe first reefs first hand>
These "dwarf dwarf angels" that you mention, would they happen to be Centropyge argi?
<That is one; others: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwfdwfangels.htm
I noticed you mentioned having a harem. From what I was reading on WWM, multiple angels are not recommended. Am I mistaken in this?
<Multiple species can be mixed, given large, uncrowded spaces. Harems refer to a mix of individuals of the same species; usually just one male>
How would I be able to tell the gender of these fish?
<Best to start with small specimens, allow them to grow up... and assert their own gender, order>
Thanks again Mr. Fenner,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Various Saltwater Aquarium Questions... FO stkg      2/16/16

Good evening,
Today my fiancé and I tested the aquarium out and we found that the back seam leaks heavily.
I'm rather upset but, the store owner has offered me a replacement tank. The two I can chose from are a 120 gallon high
(48'x24'x24') or a 120 gallon long (60'x18'x26').
My question is, which of these would be the better choice?
<Depends on... what you'd like to keep; the setting for the tank... but for me, the longer, less wide one>
And can either of the two sustain the previously declined species?
<Yes; all of them>
In the event that they cannot, I wanted to ask if it would be possible to mix C. fisheri with C. argi?
<It is>
How would I go about adding these fish to the same tank?
<Place the Argi first; wait a week or more>
On a different subject; my fiancé is very interested in Anthias. I read about them on WWM and a few other websites and it seems like they are highly active and delicate fish.
<Some are much better than others... Need to pick out good, healthy specimens... place them in a suitable, established
I'm not sure if either of my tank choices are big enough for the more common species of Anthias but, what about
Serranocirrhitus latus (Sunburst/Fathead Anthias)?
<This one is a bit odd, in that it hides most all the time... If you don't mind that, it is a hardy species. Myself, I like Pseudanthias squamipinnis, P. bartlettorum... others in small, odd-numbered groups much more... for action, adding color. Bob Fenner>

Stocking list       10/21/15
Hey Bob! Well, I took a break from the hobby for a while after ich wiped out my 72g tank. I'm always confronted with the same problem when I treat with Cupramine in my cycled QT. The fish do great at the 2.0 to 3.0 concentration, but once I reach the 5.0 mark where I would normally leave it, the fish all eventually stop eating and slowly wither away.
<Yes; the effect of copper exposure>

So painful to watch... I'm obviously doing something wrong. Well, the good news is that I'm going back in! This time it's a 180g and I'm looking to stock exclusively from the Divers Den at Live Aquaria if possible because I feel that the owner of my LFS lied to me about the salinity of his tank water. It has always been 1.020. When buying a chocolate tang that I had
him hold for me for 2 weeks (to get acclimated and feeding) I noticed the fish in that system were a little uncomfortable. They were darting a bit, and just a general uneasiness was observed. I asked him what the salinity was and he replied "Always 1.020, you know that". Any copper? "No".
<.... surprising. Many, if not most retailers, wholesalers; even collecting stations... use Cu++>
Ok, when I got the fish home and suspiciously checked the salinity, it was at 1.014. When I called for an explanation, he fluttered a bit and said "I must have got a little carried away with the top off water". Yeah, right. I didn't even bother to further the conversation. And through some kind of cross contamination, my tank caught whatever it was the tang had.
Anyway, getting back to the point... I'm looking to stock the 180 with these animals and wanted your opinion. Australian harlequin tusk, porcupine puffer, lemon peel angel, falcula butterfly, a good sized starry blenny, and possibly a school of blue Chromis? Do you foresee any issues?
<The Tusk and Puffer may well try to eat the blenny and Damsels... but otherwise; no>
Thanks a bunch!
<Welcome as much. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking list; FO       10/22/15

Thanks Bob! Ok, Chromis and blenny are out. I'm thinking I have a semi-aggressive to aggressive tank now so why not add a trigger?
<See WWM re easier going spp.>
That would be the end of the list. I love clown triggers but have heard about the "Jeckyl and Hyde" personalities. Plus they get huge, correct?
<Not all... some about a foot, others two, a couple three>
If it's ok by you, what kind of trigger would you add given the stocking list?
<.... Reading....>

And would the butterfly be ok as long as I added him first?

Lighting for a predator tank /Earl       10/19/15
Not sure where to seek advice on this so just trying my luck.
Tank has 6 moray eels, 3 lion fish and a couple of Scorpionfish.
What sort of lighting (white/blue intensity and number of hours) would be preferred given that some of them are nocturnal, but I do not want the tank to be that dark.
<Heya. Well first I have to ask: how big is this tank? You have a recipe for disaster with this combination of animals. You will, at the very least, need a massive amount of cover, overhangs, tunnels, caves so every one of them can hide from all the others at a given time. This will help a small amount with the lighting issue. This tank would ideally use mostly blue
spectrum/moonlight style light with say 4 hours with some whiter light added in (on a mandatory timer). I would use a 20k bulb with some combination of moonlights. Believe it or not, auto stores and hardware stores carry light strips meant for under cars, cabinets, or home theaters.
They are small LEDs in strips you can chain together, with adjustable color and intensity controllable by remote. I have a set I use on a 240g as a night light and they penetrate to the bottom, set to the deeper blue and low intensity, just enough to see somewhat. You would obviously want them a lot brighter, maybe 50%, and kick them up to a medium intensity. I'd use
those 24/7, some of them dimmed down for the darkest part of the night (no fish enjoys total darkness, it's unnatural). Then normal aquarium lights as per above for a short "mid day" period. Be used to the idea that some of these, depending on species and habitat, may be cryptic and especially with so much competition and threat from each other, may be "hiders" regardless of lighting. Best to pick a few favorites and build the setup around them.
Just bear in mind that the almost complete certainty this combo of animals will *not* be tenable, and any Scorpionfish will end up being killed, stinging an eel, or both, and the eels are quite possibly going to prey on or be territorial towards each other even in very large (100's of gallon) systems. WWM covers this extensively, please read through that info.>
Re: Lighting for a predator tank; actually, untenable fish-only stocking list RMF unknowingly butts in
The tank is 180 US Gallons, is moray escape proof (tried and tested), huge amount of caves and hiding areas (drilled holes through live rock for them).
<That's.... a lot of ornaments.>
Attaching a pic before I added most of the fish - I went with the shipwreck effect (a lot of “pure” marine hobbyists will crucify me).
For equipment I have a massive sump - almost 90 gallons, return pump with 6000l/hour, 2x wave makers, big nitrate reactor and a skimmer meant for a much larger tank.
<Good planning>
My new job demands a lot of traveling so decided to give up my hard coral and convert the tank into something where tank conditions are more tolerated by the inhabitants.
To be exact - tank includes:
Eels : Juvenile Zebra, Blue Ribbon, White Margined, Snowflake,
<Stop! The Ribbon won't live long here....>
Indian Mud (aka FW), tiny Labyrinth (which Mark from WWM helped identify)
<Mark? What is this fish? Do you have a scientific name? IF it is FW/Freshwater, it won't live here>
Others : 2 x Radiata Lionfish, 1 x dwarf fuzzy, 1 x leaf scorpion,
<Nor these venomous fishes with Morays>

10 or so Chromis feeders at any time.
As for lighting - I have a Maxspect Razor which allows 6 custom timings so i went with:
midnight to noon - 1% blue for moonlight effect
noon to 3pm - slowly builds up to 40% white, 60% blue
3pm to 6 pm - 60% blue, 70% white
6pm to 9pm - 40% white, 50% blue
9pm to midnight - slowly declines to the 1% blue over the next 3 hours.
I intend to keep all the predators well fed - based in Singapore where green Chromis cost around USD$0.50 each.
I feed frozen twice a week and so far only the snowflake and labyrinth accepts them.
As for space - it really appears to me that there is enough space for all the eels (except the Zebra they are all small sized morays) as well as the other predators (again small ones, no volitans or Rhinopias) who swim around.
Which leads me to another question - FW ghost shrimp are extremely cheap here - $2 gets you like 50 of them.
How to I pack them with marine nutrients before releasing into the tank?
<Feed them on what you want to get inside the fishes; soak them in vitamin, HUFA, probiotic mix ahead of offering>
they die really fast in containers without a pump and I don’t have a QT so I try to release them in as fast as possible.
<I'd definitely get another tank, sponge filter for the shrimp.... You NEED to review the stocking list here; what you detail WILL NOT WORK. Bob Fenner>

SW Stkg. Jordan returns!       7/29/15
<Hello Kenny>
I have a 75 gallon fish tank and want to set it up as a saltwater tank and was wondering if this list of fish would be fine in this size tank? 1 blue hippo tang
<No, needs a much much larger tank.>
2 Kole Yelloweye Tang
<No, needs a larger tank and much larger for multiple of the same species.>
3 Mombasa Lionfish
<Yes, but this will be a large bio-load. Tank will be a essentially become a species system.>
4 Raccoon
Butterfly Fish
<No, need a larger tank.>
and 5 Clarkii Clownfish
<5 no, 2 yes. Only 2 clowns except in cases of very large tanks. The Lions will eat the Clowns if you mix them.>
Thank You in advance
<Anytime, Jordan>
Re: 7/29/15       7/29/15

I'm only wanting 1 of each of those fish in a 75. I numbered them so I knew where I was.
<Ah, that makes sense.>
Sorry for the confusion on that but I keep reading where the Kole tangs start at 70 gallon for minimum and same for the Raccoon and 75 gallon minimum for blue tang that's why I'm asking.
<Vendor recommendations need to be taken with a grain of salt. All Ctenochaetus sp. would benefit from a larger tank but if you're dead set on a Surgeon this would be the only genus I would consider, The Butterfly needs a larger tank, 125 minimum, with mature live rock. The Paracanthurus needs a much larger tank. A six foot 180 gallon would be a good starting point.>
Again ty
<Quite welcome, Jordan>
SW; stkg. RMF, same thing        7/29/15

Hi I have a 75 gallon fish tank and want to set it up as a saltwater tank and was wondering if this list of fish would be fine in this size tank? 1 blue hippo tang 2 Kole Yelloweye Tang 3 Mombasa Lionfish
<Not three... will get too big... Maybe one>
4 Raccoon Butterfly Fish
<Also grow too large... maybe one here>
and 5 Clarkii Clownfish
<More than a pair will likely fight. All will be eaten by the Lion in time>
Thank You in advance
<Do learn to use WWM. Bob Fenner>

Stocking... 125 SW, FO...      6/22/15
Hi, I'm not having any issues with my tank except for the fact that it feels pretty empty. In my 125 gallon tank there's a diamond goby, a lawnmower blenny, a snowflake eel, a flame angel fish, and pajama cardinal.
I haven't had any problems with any of them, and it's been about a year. I was wondering what else I could add in here to give the tank some life, but wouldn't be too difficult to care for. Anything you'd recommend or like personally? Thanks, Christopher.
<Mmm; for ideas I encourage you to simply read on WWM on the Compatibility FAQs for each of the fishes you currently have. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility      5/13/15
Hey Bob, I wrote you last week about changing from a 72 to a 150. I'm using the existing sump so I'll have to get the fish in the 150 the same day as the changeover. I'm going to buy a harlequin tusk next week and QT him for 2 weeks. I would love to get a scribbled angel a little later on if you think it's a good idea...
Can you tell me the order (by number) that I should introduce these fish? I have 1, 4, 5 and 6 in my 72 right now. I may QT the blenny with the tusk in my cycled 55g tank.
What do you think?
<With the mix below; should work... I'd start the angel at 3-4 overall inches in length. BobF>
1-Dog face puffer
2-Scribbled angel
3-Harlequin tusk
4-Teardrop butterfly
5-Flagtail Blanquillo
7-Midas blenny

Tangs & Triggers      11/1/14
Let start off by saying that this site is very informative especially for a beginning saltwater hobbyist as myself- so thank you!
I have a 175 gallon bow front tank that's 6' in length. My fish consist of
1 whitetail bristle tooth tang
1 magnificent Fox
2 cardinal
2 true perculas
1 coral beauty
6 yellowtail dams (which I plan on fishing out and leaving maybe 2)
2 shrimp
1 lawnmower
My whitetail is about 4" to 4.5" and has been in the tank for about 5 weeks- I'd like to add two more tangs if possible- should the Purple tang be smaller than the whitetail since the purple is probably more aggressive?
<Yes; much smaller... three inches overall would be about ideal>
The third would either be a Blonde Naso or sailfin (suggestion?)
<A Naso lituratus will get too big here. Another, smaller Zebrasoma would likely get picked on by the Purple. How about a genus Acanthurus choice? See WWM re>
and should I put both the new tangs in at the same time?
<This would be best, yes>
Also what are your thoughts about adding either a blue throat or red tail trigger to the mix as well?
<Either could go in; as would Xanthichthys spp.>
I just received my EcoTech mp40's and plan on making this a mixed reef tank- I appreciate the feedback
Rick Henson
<And you; Bob Fenner>

Thoughts on stocking list     10/21/14
Bob and or Crew,
I wanted to run a stocking list for a 120 gallon (60x18x26) by you before I move forward with stocking:
-Pair of Ocellaris Clowns
-Purple Firefish
-Royal Gramma
-Mystery Wrasse
-Latticed Butterfly Fish
-Kole Tang
-Blue Throat Trigger
Your thoughts are always appreciated!
<Temperament and size wise these might well work out together. Start the Xanthichthys last and small. The Ctenochaetus second last. Bob Fenner>

Final additions to tank
Hi there
Over the past 8-10 months I have gradually added my selected stock to my 500 litre tank. All seems well but just wanted to check my final additions.
I have currently: 3 x Chromis viridis, 1 x Gramma loreto, 2 x Amphiprion percula, 1 x Zebrasoma flavescens, plus one Cleaner Shrimp, one Peppermint shrimp and a tuxedo urchin. From my research I am adding next 1 x Centropyge bispinosus then 2 x Gobiosoma oceanops. However, having researched many places I have found very mixed views on Azure Damsels (C. hemicyanea.) I was thinking of adding 5 of these as my last additions.
<Mixing the two Damsel species might prove too much for the less-sturdy Blues>
They would be smaller than any of my existing stock and I was planning to add last. Whilst never any guarantees, I would value your view given the love them/hate them divisions I have come across
Many thanks Rob
<All the rest are very likely fine... You must be the final arbiter in deciding whether the Azures are worth the risk.
Alternatively I'd consider a small group of Cardinals. Bob Fenner>
Re: Final additions to tank      10/19/14

Many thanks. Would other Chromis be compatible e.g. Orange lined or Blue Reef?
<Easier going species; yes; though I would just stick with one schooling species of Pomacentrid in this size, shape system. BobF>

120 Gallon Stocking Questions         5/8/14
Hi There,
<Ho there>
I am doing some planning for a new 120 gallon (60x18x26) fish only tank and wanted to get some outside thoughts on my stocking selection:
-Pair of Ocellaris Clownfish
-Purple Firefish
-Mystery Wrasse or Harlequin Tusk (Is the tank too small for the Tusk?)
<Mmm; borderline... I'd leave out a Choerodon with small Microdesmid/s>
-Yellow Tang
-Kole tang
-Flame Angel
-Bicolor Angel
<The Tangs and Centropyges will run after each other; but should be okay w/ sufficient rock work/caves/swim-throughs>
Your thoughts and suggestions are always appreciated!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

fish selection for a marine aquarium      2/11/14
I have a 75 gallon tank, fish only.  I currently have a medium sized (4") niger trigger and medium sized (4") yellow tang.
<As you likely know, these will grow much larger>

 The tomato clownfish (4") which was in the tank for about 14 years just died.  I was thinking of adding a medium or large yellow striped maroon clownfish and one more fish.  I find that adding one fish is always a disaster. 
<Yes; hard for the new to break into the established social dynamic. BEST to quarantine/isolate for a few weeks; mix water back and forth to familiarize the parties... move décor about, place during the late eve or during a day when you can/will be present to referee if necessary>
I'd like your recommendation for another addition.  I was thinking maybe a humu triggerfish, which I've had before with some success.  Another fish I'd like is a wrasse like a Paddlefin, but I've had wrasses jump out many times so was hoping for another idea.  Maybe a medium sized dogfaced puffer? 
<Any of these might/would go; all need more room than what you have ultimately>
I feed the fish a good variety of dried food plus algae on a clip.  I definitely want something hardy that is unlikely to suffer from disease or get into a combat situation.  The niger trigger has been in the tank for almost 10 years and doesn't seem too aggressive, but it probably will kill anything that isn't tough.  The yellow tank is a pretty new addition that is super healthy and eats great and doesn't have any fighting problems with the trigger.  My 5 year old daughter misses the clownfish and really wants another.
<Ah; a female Premnas is a good choice then>
 I figured the maroon clownfish is tough enough to thrive in this company. 
Please share any recommendations.  Also, I always buy fish from liveaquaria.com.
Thank you,
Stephen Berman
<Perhaps a read on WWM of the Compatibility FAQs for the fishes you currently have will grant you some other ideas. Bob Fenner>

Stocking question       1/26/14
I have a new 220 gallon glass aquarium and would like your input on how I  plan to stock this tank. Here are the fish I am considering:
Yellow Tang
Hepatus Tang
Royal Gramma
Yellowhead Jawfish
Flame Hawkfish
Threadfin Butterflyfish
Raccoon Butterflyfish
Semilarvatus Butterflyfish
Long-nosed Butterflyfish
<Which species? Some do better in groups>
Coral Beauty
Asfur Angelfish
Maculosus Angelfish
<Not the above two. They get too large for this system>

Ocellaris or Percula Anemonefish
Yellowtail Blue Damsel
Blonde Naso Tang
<This too eventually>
Are there any fish on this list that should be eliminated?
<.... search, read on WWM re each>
Do you have  any suggestions on quantity (both total number of fish for the tank and the  number per species)? Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge.
Best regards,
Stephen DeFilippis
<Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking question    1/28/14

Thank you!
Stephen DeFilippis
<Welcome. B>

300 gal. FO, stkg. list     6/11/13
Hello again. I am getting my ducks or fish in a row now. I am getting a 300 gallon tank. 96x24x30. It will have a 55 gallon sump/ refugium. It will be a fish only system. Right now I have about 100 pounds of live rock that I will transfer into that tank as well as 100 pounds of sand and large store bought ornaments for the fish to hide in. The tank will have two HOB protein skimmers and three hang on the back Emperor 400 filters with four power heads and four 300 watt heaters. I plan on a 6 inch DSB in the sump as well as algae grown in it.  These are items I already have on my other tanks that is why I am wanting to use them. If you think these items are not good enough for what I am trying to put together please advise because I have never had a system this large. I am upgrading from a 125g and a 90g.
<Should be fine>
My fish list is a Majestic Angel, Blue Tang, Foxface Lo, Purple Tang, Coris (Gaimard) Wrasse. Would also like to add a Harlequin Tusk and Picasso Trigger.  Would it be possible to add any smaller fish to this mix like 5 Anthias, 2 Clowns or 5 Chromis. Or would this tank be better with just the large fish. The one fish that I am worried most about is the Trigger attacking the smaller fish if I have them.
I was planning on 20% water changes per month.  Any thoughts on what I am putting together? Will this work.
<All should be fine together if started small and kept fed>
Anything I am missing or things I should replace? Thanks for your help as you guys have helped me in the past. Signed Gary
<I'd be moving forward... starting with the Damsels, Clowns... Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Tusk with Lionfish and Powder Blue Tang (and maybe an eel too!) – 04/13/13
Hello WWM team.
<<Greetings mystery writer>>
Great site!
<<A collaborative effort…thanks much!>>
I have done the best I can to figure out if these fish are compatible with each other at specific sizes in a 125 gallon tank.  I have a fish only setup with many large hiding places.  I have an 8-9 inch Aussie tusk and would like to add a 4-5 inch Volitans Lionfish and a 5 inch Powder Blue tang.  Will these fish get along?
<<Likely so, though the size/volume of your tank is at the low end of the scale here for this mix…in my humble opinion>>
Is the tank large enough for all three?
I really want the Lionfish.  Is there a better choice of tang?
<<Mmm, something a bit less rambunctious/mean and doesn’t require as much “space”…perhaps a Ctenochaetus species>>
Would the tank be maxed out?
<<Pretty close>>
If not, is a small species of moray eel just too much?
<<I’ve not a lot of experience with eels, to be honest…but a “Snowflake” does not seem out of order here…Perhaps if Bob sees this he can render an opinion as well>><Getting crowded... B>
Thanks for your help.
<<Quite welcome…and good luck!  EricR>>
Re: Harlequin Tusk with Lionfish and Powder Blue Tang (and maybe an eel too!) – 04/14/13

Thank you for the quick response.
<<Quite welcome, Mark>>
Would the Tusk, Lion, and Ctenochaetus like Yellow Eyed tang be the max due to bioload, territory, or both?
<<With this mix; mostly a bioload issue I think.  You do have a small bit of wiggle room yet, but you must also consider the Tusk may grow a bit more and the Lion will very likely continue to grow>>
I did forget to mention that I also have a 3.5" Dragon Wrasse
<<Mmm, Novaculichthys taeniourus has the potential to get as big as the Tusk…and are you aware one of their common names is ‘Rock Mover?’>>
that was in the tank before adding the Harlequin Tusk and I could tell he was very shy of his new tankmate.
<<9” Tusk versus a 3.5” Dragon…shy indeed>>
I can move him to a 70 gal tank if needed.
<<Likely best for a number of reasons>>
He has been hiding in the sand for the past few days.  In my research, it appears these 2 fish are likely compatible and some sites suggest the Dragon Wrasse might harass the Tusk.
<<I would be inclined to “choose one or the other” for the 125>>
I assume that may be the case if they were of equal size.
<<More so, yes>>
My question, is the Dragon Wrasse wise to hide?
<<Caution is not a bad thing>>
Is he in danger of being attacked by the larger Tusk?
<<If viewed as a tasty morsel by the Tusk…indeed so>>
The Tusk did not seem overly interested in the Dragon Wrasse but he didn't really see him out in open water.
<<Risk of being eaten aside, real or imagined…I think the long-term health of the system will benefit by these two being relegated to separate tanks>>
Thanks again,
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

Consolidating Tanks--Stocking Question, FO    3/9/13
Good Afternoon,
I'm getting ready to consolidate two tanks (125 gallon into a 180 gallon), and I have a couple of questions regarding fish compatibility/stocking levels. I will be rearranging the aquascape during the consolidation. Here are the fish in the 180: Regal Tang, Yellow Tang, One Spot Foxface, and a Pygmy (Cherub) Angelfish. Here are the fish I'd like to move into the 180:
Picasso Trigger, Blue Spotted Puffer, Vrolik's Wrasse, Mystery Wrasse, Flame Hawk, a pair of Maroon Clowns, and a Two Barred Foxface. My biggest
concern is with the two rabbitfish, as in reading through the FAQs, some crew members recommend only one rabbitfish per system, and others have said it would likely be okay.
<Some species occur mainly as duos in the wild; some in large groups. Mixing different species of Siganids in captivity can be trouble... unless the system is very large... larger than your 6 footer here>
My other concern is with the Pygmy Angelfish picking on the Wrasses. I will sell or trade her if you think this will be an issue. What are your thoughts with the mix of my fish in a 180?
<Should work; perhaps w/ the exception of the two Rabbits>
 Also, would you consider it a properly stocked or overstocked tank? No plans to add any more fish. If it's overstocked, I would sell the maroons.
<I'd be adding some variety/ies of schooling fishes... perhaps Anthiines, Velvet Wrasses, Cardinals...>
Also, I have an Exquisite Fairy Wrasse who is living in the 125. Would she be better off in the 180 above or in a 90 gallon tank with the following:
Kole Tang, Foxface, tank-bred Orchid Dottyback, Yellow Watchman/Pistol Shrimp combo, Barbershop Goby, Bicolor Blenny, Tailspot Blenny, a pair of Orange Skunk Clown with a RBTA, and a Spotted Mandarin?
<Happier in the larger system w/ some female conspecifics. Bob Fenner>
Thanks as always for your input!
Re: Consolidating Tanks--Stocking Question   3/10/13

Thanks for your speedy reply! So it sounds like it's best to add 3-4 female/juvenile Exquisite Fairy Wrasses as my schooling fish because I already have the single one.
<One choice; yes>
 You mentioned "variety/varieties" of schooling fish. Do you think I have room for another school of schooling fishes?
<Yes. BobF>
Re: Consolidating Tanks--Stocking Question     3/21/13

Hey Bob,
   Here is a quick follow up regarding tank consolidation and, of course, one more set of questions. I had quite the fiasco with the change over. I had removed some of the live rock from the 125 and placed it (re-aquascaped) the 180. I left at least 40 pounds in the 125, and I had a Vortech going plus another Powerhead pointed at the surface. My plan was to move the inhabitants over the following morning, and the Exquisite Fairy Wrasses were scheduled to arrive from liveaquaria.com in the afternoon. I planned to place them in the 125 for quarantine. Well, when I awoke in the morning, I knew something was off. My Exquisite was lying on his side with an injured eye (opaque white). I scooped him out and placed him in my 29 quarantine. I was really irritated because the whole idea of ordering my Exquisite Fairy Wrasses was so that he wouldn't be alone. I first suspected the Mystery Wrasse had beat him up.
<Could be>
 I also measured Ammonia, thinking maybe I moved too much rock. It tested 0 ppm. Less than an hour later, my Mystery Wrasse was lying on her side, and I noticed the other fish out of sorts. I surmised one of two things: they must be suffocating or I poisoned them with about a quarter glass of Cabernet I had accidentally spilled in the tank the night before as I was working on the tank.
 I began rescuing them frantically and placing them in the 180. Throughout the next couple of hours, I was monitoring them, and they all recovered nicely, except my Flame Hawk.
   By the time this fiasco was over, it was nearly 2 p.m. I started to wonder why the Exquisite Wrasses hadn't arrived yet. I looked up my tracking info, and it stated the fish had been LEFT AT THE FRONT DOOR at 11:08 a.m. It was 29 degrees that day, and I had been looking every hour since 8 a.m. The fish were nowhere to be found. In a panic I called Fed Ex as I drove to the surrounding neighbors' houses asking if they'd receive my fish. (Now they think I'm crazier than ever...different story). The local Fed Ex rep called me back and said, "I'm sorry. The driver delivered your package to 7360 Gratiot instead of 7360 Mayer."
<Oh no!>
 I swear I tried not to swear, but I was so livid. She said she was sending the driver back, but I told her not to bother because I was going to retrieve my own fish. I sped to the location and found the fish.
Of course, they were way too cold. I didn't get the exact temp because I wanted to follow the acclimation guide exactly and float them before I opened the bags. They didn't look exceptionally good, but I suppose most fish don't look model beautiful after being shipped from California to Michigan. I drip acclimated them, and they seemed a little better. Of course, I couldn't put them in the 125 for quarantine and the 29 was too small, so I placed them directly in the 180.
<Is what I would do>
 I probably would've scrambled to put together a 55 quarantine if they weren't already fish you suggest not to quarantine. They disappeared into the rock work. I didn't see tail nor fin of them for over a day. Then I saw two noses poking out. Another day and three were out feeding. Yesterday, I believe I saw all four out eating, but I'm not exactly certain because they move so deftly in and out of the rockwork and I can't tell them apart. They appear to be settling in nicely, thank goodness.
   Now for my questions:
   1. When/if the original Exquisite Fairy Wrasse recovers, will I be able to add it to the 180 with the other 4 (I think) Exquisites?
I'm assuming it is a he because he has lived the last year or so not in the presence of conspecifics. If not, I'm back to it living solo in my 90 as I don't believe there is room for more females for him in that tank.
   2. Upon your suggestion of adding schooling fishes, I researched Anthias, and if there is room, would like to add a harem. My questions are which type and how many would be most appropriate with my current stocking.
These will be my last additions to the tank. Here are the ones I'm considering:
<My fave, hands-down, is Pseudanthias squamipinnis... from wherever geographically. There are other species... to prize, and avoid; and these are ably gone over on WWM>
   A. Maldives Lyretail or Lyretail--They look different from one another, but are their habits/personalities different?
<... see above; the same species (likely)>
   B. Dispar--They are classified as "peaceful," so I'm not certain whether they would be good with my current mix of fish.
   C. Bartlett's--I like that they stay smaller and they are very beautiful, but expensive.
<Mmm... again, see WWM re the above two; other places on the Net, books (by Scott Michael best)>
I'm open to other suggestions if you think some other variety would be better.
(Current stocking:  Regal Tang, Yellow Tang, One Spot Foxface, Picasso Trigger, Blue Spotted Puffer, Vrolik's Wrasse, Mystery Wrasse, a pair of Maroon Clowns, 4 Exquisite Fairy Wrasses, and a Flame Hawk (in quarantine to replace the one I lost in the consolidation).
I really appreciate your input.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Stocking Questions, FO...  – 12/03/12
Hello WetWebMedia :)
I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with concerning the stocking of a few new aquarium friends. Before I do, I want to say, thank you to Bob for his book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists. Great book! It has been so helpful in learning about caring for these wonderful creatures. Thanks for such a great resource.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words>
On Tuesday, we have the following marine inhabitants coming out way this week.
Rippled Rockskipper Blenny
Firefish (Indonesia), Qty:2, 
Kaudern's Cardinal, Tank-Bred (South Asia) - Medium, Qty:1, Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse (Indonesia) - Male, Qty:1,
They will be joining a Yellow Watchman Goby, Golden Head Goby, Kaudern's Cardinal, Tank-Bred, a pair of Ocellaris Orange/White Clownfish, a Pair of Black/White Clownfish, and a Lime Green Wrasse in a 55 Gallon tank.  I couldn't ask for a better group of fish. They play, sleep, and all socialize together. I want to make sure I am able to set the up for the best chance of success once they arrive. I have a 45 Gallon QT set up and ready to go for them.
I had planned on giving the fish Methylene blue dip
<Freshwater, aerated; pH adjusted I take it>
 for about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the individual tolerability.  Then, I would transfer them each to the QT. If I understand correct, the Wrasse should bypass the QT due to the stress vs. QT experience benefits.
<Yes; this is what I'd do w/ all Cirrhilabrus>
The wrasse should be dipped in the Methylene blue and go directly into the DT. I know this was the plan of action for the plan of action for the Yellow Watchman Goby when we introduced it to our tank. Is this what you recommend for the Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse?
<Yes; and for all Paracheilinus; basically all "touchy" Labrids>
What do you recommend for the Fire Fish and Rockskipper Blenny?
<I'd quarantine the last, likely skip on Microdesmids en toto; too easily starved, damaged in quarantine>
Do they also fall into this category? Do you have any other recommendations for this type of fish?
<Mmm, no>
 Is there anything you would be concerned about with this group of fish?
<Not really>
 Thank you, as always for your wonderful support.
<Welcome. BobF>

Stocking a 187 gallon tank... FO/WLR  - 10/22/2012
Hey guys, thanks for the great site. My question is about stocking a 187 gallon tank (60"x30"x24"). I upgraded from a 68 gallon to my new 187 gallon just over a month ago and still have my old fish which are, 2 fuzzy dwarf lions, 2 clowns, 2 green Chromis,
<The Dendrochirus may well consume the Pomacentrids>

3 lyretail Anthias, an emperor angel and a stars and stripes puffer. I'm going to trade the emperor angel and stars and stripes puffer as Bob recommended at least 300 gallons for both so I'll take Bobs advice and rehouse these fish. The large angels are some of my favourite fish but I don't think my tank is large to have enough to have 1 so I've decided to go with the some what smaller marine fish species. I have made a list of fish I've done a bit of research on which are:
Yellow tang
Fox face rabbit fish
A pair of Heniochus butterfly fish
Radiant wrasse
Male Vrolik's wrasse
Grey head wrasse
Male Hoeven's wrasse
Eibli or bicolor angelfish
I have done my research and on each fish and the wrasse in particular, seeing as these are all of the genus Halichoeres could they be safely housed in my tank together?
<Should be, yes>
(according to doctor foster and smith on live Aquaria they can be housed together). I have read through the FAQ on your site regarding stocking, but would like your expert opinion on whether all these fish would do ok in my tank and if so in what order would I put them in
<The Centropyge, Butterflies and Tang a few weeks after the Wrasses>
or whether I would need to rethink some of the fish I have listed, sorry for the long email and if I'm taking up your time but your input would be much appreciated. Thanks Steve
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Green bird wrasse compatibility   9/12/12
Hi , I have a 150 gallon salt water tank.  I currently have a porcupine puffer, Naso tang, blue face angel, long nose hawk fish (small) , and a Huma Huma trigger (small/medium).     Was thinking of getting a green bird wrasse but not sure if he will be compatible.  Please let me know your thoughts.  Thank you.
<Will/would be compatible behaviorally w/ all listed, but in time, this system is going to be too crowded psychologically. Put another way, I do hope you have plans for a larger system; you're going to need it for these fishes. Bob Fenner>

Toby puffer/skeletor eel/bicolor angel      8/27/12
Hello Wet Web Crew!
My name is Amber, I have found a great deal of helpful information on this site. So thank you for that but I still have a few questions. My Bi-color Angel (Centropyge bicolor) has recently decided she would like to start eating coral, and my prized clam. So I decided to start a fish only tank. I have a 70 gallon cube and plan on having a Skeletor Eel (Echidna xanthrospilos)
<Rare... and will get too large to live here forever>
and a Papuan Toby Puffer (Canthigaster papua) along with my angel. My angel has been housed with a snowflake eel once before and took care of herself just fine. My main concern is the Toby Puffer. All three of my chosen fish are territorial, so here is what I have come up with...
The angel will go in first since she is the least aggressive and can not defend herself as well as the puffer and the eel.
Then I am thinking the puffer should go in next and the eel last. But from my research I have found that these two a very similar in behavior and I am not sure if maybe the puffer should go in last? What do you think?
<Don't think the order is of great importance here; but that the Toby might nip both tankmates given the opportunity>
Thank you in advance,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tankmate compatibility, SW, FI, FOWLR     8/13/12
Hello wwm, you guys are a great help which is why I'm here. I currently have a 100 gallon system that is 5 ft long with a yellow tang, indigo dotty back, 2 clowns, and a young Koran angel.
<Will need more room>
A few fish I'm really interested in adding are A Kole tang, blue eye tang,
<One or the other>
or a five stripe wrasse.
<And this if you'd like>
Do you think that any of these would be acceptable or do you have any other ideas to put in my system and granted the system will only be up for another year and a half. Thanks! -Rayan
<All sorts... best to have you read through the Fish Only or FOWLR Livestocking FAQs accumulations on WWM. Are you familiar w/ searching the site? Bob Fenner>

Added Blue throat Triggerfish   4/23/12
After 6 weeks in a 55 gallon QT, I added my 6" Blue Throat Trigger fish to my display.  In the display now, including the Blue Throat are:
24" snowflake eel
7" porc puffer
7" red breasted wrasse
4" Niger Trigger
6" banana wrasse
4" Blue Hippo Tang.
6" Blue Throat Triggerfish.
<Aye yi yi Michael, you're going to need a bigger tank>

The display is a 150 and I have around 80 pounds of Live Rock along with a large coral skeleton.  I also have an Octopus XP2000sss Protein Skimmer.
I added the Blue Throat on Friday (3 days ago).  There was a little chasing by the Niger, but that seemed to calm down.  At first the Blue throat swam up and down on end of the tank (top to  bottom on glass).
Now he is swimming the length of the tank by the top (like pacing back and forth).
He is eating fine in the display.
Is this typical behavior or is the pacing stress induced.
<More normal than not>
Note that this Blue throat was very active in the QT from day one so this behavior seems similar to by himself in QT.  This is my third try at the Blue Throat.  The first two never made it out of QT.  One did not eat and the other not sure what happened.  But the first two were very shy and not like this third.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Added Blue throat Triggerfish   4/23/12

thanks.  I was afraid you would say that.
Not sure if the wife will let me (she already is shooting me down) Of course I do not want to replace this tank, just get a bigger one and put it somewhere else :).
<Heeee, oh, I understand>
So my options may be to remove fish as they get bigger.
<Not easily or often done>
With these fish at the sizes they are now do you think I am good for the next couple of years or do I have a time bomb waiting to happen.
<A year, maybe two... w/ careful (scrimping) feeding, good maintenance>
If I do want to remove something, is there any one that will alleviate the load?
<... the Cheilinus wrasse likely first>
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Added Blue throat Triggerfish   4/23/12
Thanks.  The red breasted wrasse seems to be a slow grower.  I have had him for just over a year and cannot see too much growth.  But maybe it is just not obvious to me.
Not sure if it makes a difference, but here is the time frame I had each in the display:
24" snowflake eel - 25 Months
7" porc puffer - 23 Months
7" red breasted wrasse - 12 months
<Can grow to two plus times this length>
4" Niger Trigger - 5 months
6" banana wrasse - 5 months
4" Blue Hippo Tang. 1.5 months (had this for 2 years before in a smaller tank)
6" Blue Throat Triggerfish - 3 days
<Have a friend (Mary) here in San Diego w/ your family name. B>

New 100 UK gallon tank... Stkg., FO, GREAT expectations!
Hello guys greetings from Ireland hope all's well, first of I'd like to say great site its very informative,
I currently have a 260 litre tank which houses ''4'' yellow tang 3 ''
<May "tussle" with time, growth. Do keep your eyes open for over aggression, make a plan for moving the alpha individual/s>

3'' fuzzy dwarf lion fish 2 ''3'' Chromis 3 ''3'' lyre tail Anthias 2 ''3'' clownfish and a ''5'' s&s puffer,
<Stars and Stripes I take it... will get MUCH larger than this system can accommodate>
I know my tank is over crowded and I'm in the process of upgrading to a 100 UK gallon
<Still too small>

which will happen pretty soon maybe a few months time, my s&s puffer is my favourite fish and is one of the many reasons I'm upgrading to a bigger tank and I know he'll probably outgrow that in time, my question is how would a harlequin tusk get on in my new tank,
<Fine if it were larger>

I'm just looking to add a new fish or two if I have to give my puffer away (which I hope I don't have to do) the two I have my eye on are the harlequin tusk and a Picasso trigger, the new tank is 5 feet long 2 feet high and 2 feet wide, would this be a possibility to add the two or would I have to go with either of the two fish?
<Eventually, months time; you'll need more room... psychologically, physiologically>
I've done my research on the two and I keep reading conflicting information so il go with any info that you have for me and thanks in advance for any info I get,
Regards Stephen
<Time to measure the couch... you need to either go much bigger... or get a position as a pet fish stockist at a shop! Bob Fenner>

Re New 100 UK gallon tank, FO, SW stkg.     4/16/12

Thanks for the fast reply bob, That's the best info I've got since I started the hobby, I keep getting advice from people who where telling me that my tank could accommodate all these fish  but I've pretty much excepted that the puffer would need a bigger tank somewhere between 150-200 gallons,
<Even larger>
so its good to be pointed in the right direction for a change. The new 100 gallon (120 to you yanks) 5 foot tank would be the maximum that I could fit in my house, maybe I could get the tank built a bit higher maybe 3 feet high 2 and a half wide, would a 150 gallon be a bit better to house all the my fish plus a harlequin tusk or Picasso trigger or maybe both
<Would be... and would likely work out for a year, maybe two, with efforts on your part maintenance-wise. BobF>
Thanks bob
New 100 UK gallon tank    4/16/12

Once again bob thanks for the fast reply and the info, i'll try and sort out a bigger tank so that i can house all my fish and possibly the other two i want to keep. I've ordered your book so hopefully I will get a lot of info out of that and I don't have to bother you with to many other questions lol, thanks again bob
<Not a bother Stephen. B>

How many fish? SW, FO 2/10/12
Hi WWM Crew,
I’d like to first say thank you so much for all of the information this website has. All the answers I’ve read here have been enlightening and just makes life easier. I’ve been lurking here for over a year now, waiting, wanting to put fish in my fish tank. I set up my 50g tank last May (2011) and put in live rock and sand and let it all just cycle until Christmas last year, I know that’s over 6 months but I just didn’t want to screw things up. Then I made my first sea life purchase, a Chocolate Chip Starfish!
I read that starfish are more temper mental <Hee> about water quality than most fish so I thought it’d be a good test for the water quality. Well the little guy has stayed alive since December and I did all my water tests and they were about perfect, so last week I purchased an actual fish! I bought an Auriga Butterfly, and she is so beautiful! She’s been eating well and very active all this past week, doing good, but I think she’s lonely,
she goes up and just swims next to my Starfish all the time. So I’ve got myself worrying about getting another fish. I know I should wait at least two weeks and do a quarantine process before adding but I’d love help with how many other fish could go into this tank and what order they should go in.
<Not an easy question... "Rules of thumb" are really hard to apply to marine settings>
I realize that Butterflies get pretty big and by no means want to crowd her. So here’s my list of fish I’d like to get: Ocellaris Clownfish, Green Clown Goby, Yellowtail Blue Damsel and a Flame Angel. The only two on there I really, really want are the Green Clown Goby and the Flame Angel. I know the Angel needs to go in last too. Do you think that’s enough fish for my little 50g?
<Mmm, all of these will be about it psychologically, physiologically... I do hope/trust you have sufficient decor/rock to hide themselves>
Or could some of the other fish mentioned go in too? Thank you for any suggestions and help!!
Krista Kay
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

R2: Down Sizing…Stocking Questions – 02/23/12
<<Hey there Adam>>
I have been having fun again....
So the 120 stand, canopy and tank have been sold and I am now looking at a custom 60x24x24 rimless.
<<Ah! Very nice…and so about 150g now>>

With this decision to rid myself of a canopy all the carpet surfers have to go and I have kind of revamped things.
I really want to try and do a few of the "not so reef safe" fish that I wanted to try in the 380 gallon. The tank would be set up Faux Bare-Bottom (Acrylic or starboard bottom with sand layers glued to it), SPS/Chalice/Zoos, MAYBE a few LPS.
<<Do be aware when placing these that the Chalice species can be /is as aggressive as many LPS species>>
Plan is for the tank to have somewhere around 60 times an hour turnover, with a very wet skim.
<<I see>>
Possibly add a bio pellet or ZEOvit type reactor to be able to feed heavily.
<<If you have the space, might I suggest a reverse-lighted macro-alga refugium as an arguably better, and less expensive in the long term, alternative to these.>>
Question is would I be able to house the following in this set up without constant battles and issues: (I know EVERYTHING in this hobby is subjective...)
1 - Yellow Tang
1 - Purple Tang
1 - Tomini Tang
1 - Harlequin Tusk
1 - Niger Trigger
1 - Mystery Wrasse

<<I see no real issue with these (have kept similar groupings) considering the size and dimension of the proposed tank. I do think the tank is marginal for the trigger (can exceed 12” in captivity…to 18” in the wild) and issues “may” arise as it grows…but this tank would still far exceed the many in which I generally see such fish housed>>
and maybe a few medium sized fish that could fend for themselves, Dottyback, Clowns, Hawkfish, etc.
Obviously with the niger and Tuskfish I would have to leave out a clean-up crew, aside from maybe a couple brittle stars. Again from our previous emails the tangs and the mystery wrasse are already existing. I've always wanted a Tuskfish and a niger, decided that MAYBE with a little bit of extra elbow grease and some work this may work....what do you think?
<<I think the mix of fishes you propose is fine…but do give careful thought to filtration. I think you could do well here to consider/add an ozone reactor to the system>>
Thanks for your help,
<<Always a pleasure, mate… Eric Russell>>

G. melanospilos Compatibility... FO stkg....? 2/13/12
Dear Crew,
Juvenile female Genicanthus melanospilos (approx. 3.5"). 72 Gal Bowfront (48"), w' royal gramma (2.5"), false Perc (3"). There's a skunk cleaner, fire cleaner, and a small hermit. Base rock is about 1yr old. Far from being established, but it has some patches of growth that are very interesting to the fish. Substrate is fine aragonite. "Reef capable" (lol)
LED, and a skimmer.
The swallowtail's a recent addition, and getting along with the existing residents at this point. I like peaceful reef species, but preferably fish with some color, and big enough to be seen from across the room. Am I going off the path with this angel, temperament-wise?
<Likely so, but it really needs more room than this>
Could you recommend any of the following for this tank (not interested in adding a bunch of fish or any incompatible species, just wondering which ones might be compatible with the swallowtail, and suitable to a 48" tank.) Flame angel, coral beauty, fox face, A. bahianus, yellow tang, Firefish goby, purple Firefish.
<The last three are viable possibilities>
Not trying to add them all, just wondering who's compatible. It's a royal pain to quarantine a fish only to find that he won't come out from under the rocks or behind the overflow box.
Please feel free to suggest something I might find interesting if you think it would be a particularly good neighbor.
<Better for you to keep reading, searching... over time, you'll find there are many possibilities. Bob Fenner>

180 gallon stocking list, FO 2/7/12
I ended up buying your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and can't put it down. I have since read your problem with a couple of my selections below. I have decided to only add one tang and possibly one angel to my current stock.
Two questions: Is the White-faced tang a better selection then the Powder Blue or should I stay away from both of these (adding only after adequate quarantine time)?
<The White-Face, Acanthurus japonicus is a much better choice>
What, if any, of the larger angels would be OK in a 180 (6x2x2)?
<Really only the Koran... The other two you mention below get too big in time>
I know you mention the Queen, Passer, Koran and French as very hardy angels but are any of these appropriate? Thank you for your information, I'm just trying to set this up right the first time!
<I agree with your leaning and approach. Cheers, BobF>

Advice, stkg., FO -- 12/23/11
Hey guys, I have a quick question if you don't mind. What size tank would you recommend for a pair of P. Volitans lionfish, a snowflake eel and a zebra eel ( for their entire lives? )
<150-200 gallons>
Of course bigger is better, but 300 gallons is my limit I can go. Would that size work? Could they be comfortable in a 240 as I find them much easier to come by?
A 240 would be easier to get and a lot cheaper but I don't want them to be cramped. I understand none of them are the most active swimmers but all fish deserve a comfortable living. Thank you for the time and Happy Holidays.
<And to/for you and yours. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

180 gal FO space enough or overstocked 12/15/11
Thank you in advance,
My current setup is 180 gal glass tank w 120lb live rock, 120lb sand, wet dry w bio balls, skimmer,
<Do keep your eyes open for accumulating Nitrates issues... see WWM re NO3>
3 pwr heads, currently up and running 11 months. My current bio load hovers around 25 ppm on nitrates,
<Mmm, tolerable... I wouldn't let this get any higher>
ph seems to be stable. We do 40-80 gal water change monthly, depending on nitrate bloom or lack of. Forgive me as I am still green, my good friend helps on the maintenance (cleans and sells aquarium for a living). Stocking list in order of added:
9" lunar wrasse
3" Toby puffer
4" Nigerian trigger
3" Huma trigger
3" blue streak damsel
4" harlequin tusk
4" Indonesian angel
4" dragon wrasse
1" Fiji damsel
I know that I may be pushing my limits, if I can keep a good water quality is it possible for a grouper, maybe a miniatus or v- tail? Or am simply asking for a time bomb?
<I wouldn't add any more fish life here>
Thanks for listening to my ramble, this is a very humbling hobby and any assistance you can provide would be more than greatly appreciated!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Fish Order/Aquarium Size, 93 gal FO 11/30/11
I am setting up my first saltwater tank, I originally bought one set up but this is my first one that I've set up. It is a 93 gallon cube tank (30x30x24), it has a built in overflow with a RL100 Redline Protein Skimmer. I am planning to stock it with the following fish: 1 Royal Gramma Basslet, 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 flame hawk, 1 coral beauty angel, 1 dogface puffer,
<Mmm, this fish may cause trouble... eating others... and will get too large for this volume in time>
and a blue throat trigger. Is that the proper order to introduce these fish?
<The Clowns first, the Trigger and Puffer last>
Will this tank be big enough to house all these fish?
<See above. All but the Puffer>
I am not planning to upgrade, I finally did upgrade my 80 gallon to this 93 gallon and it was a pain. My wife wants the puffer and a trigger for sure, she doesn't want a small puffer and a dogface is the one I've found that requires smallest aquarium that she likes. The trigger she is flexible on because she likes them all. Thank you so very much!
-Ro He
<Well the space would be better if it were more squat and long... Bob Fenner

Stocking Selection 8/5/11
Here is my final list and was hoping you could give some feedback. Quality of life for the fish is of utmost importance! Tank is a 55 gallon 48" L-12" W-18"H with a hang on back refugium, large size. My dream list as follows:
1) Yellow Watchman Goby
2) Rainfordi Goby
3) Tribal Blenny
4) Tailspot Blenny
<I'd settle on just two of the above>
5) 2x Hellfrichi's Firefish
6) 2x Purple Firefish
7) 2x Flame Firefish
<And one species of Microdesmid...>
8) Pearly Jawfish
<Not likely happy to live w/ other bottom dwellers as the above>
9) Scott's Fairy Wrasse
10) Mystery Wrasse
<Just one or t'other>
Wow! Definitely seems like to much when I write it down! Anyway you can help trim this list or tell me what I must choose from? Thanks as always, Justin_Credible
<Be seeing you, Bob Fenner>

compatibility of marine fish 8/1/11
I have yet to stock my 155g bowfront FO aquarium and I'm not sure how to get the best compatibility from a selection of fish that I would like to keep. My 'wish list' is as follows, a small school (7 or 8) blue green chromis, either 1 yellow tang or a school of 4 or 5,
<Just the one Zebrasoma>
a puffer fish (maybe a porcupine) a larger angel ( imperator is my 1st choice) ,
<Not enough room for>
an eel (what ever would be best suited)
<See WWM re...>
a clown trigger,
<No; not compatible>
and a harlequin tusk. If you can make additions, deletions and suggestions to the list I would appreciated it. Also if you can supply a list in what order should I introduce them to the tank. Thanks so much.
<Look up, read re each of these species... their systems, compatibility, foods/feeding... Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>
Re: re: compatibility of marine fish 8/2/11
After digesting your opinions from my last question regarding the stocking of my 155g FO tank I've adjusted what I feel may be a more realistic list of inhabitants.
<Ah good>
Please give me your advise on 7 blue/green chromis, 1 yellow tang, 1 harlequin tusk, 1 zebra striped eel and possibly a dwarf flame angle or coral beauty.
<Much better. Do start the Choerodon smallish... maybe four inches or so, and it will likely leave the others alone>
If you think that may be a suitable community of tank mates in what order should I add them to the tank?
<Damsels first... actually all others in about the order you present them>
Do you think that would be a full compliment or is there room for additions? Thanks
<Mmm, I'd add something else... perhaps for the bottom area... A Cirrhitid, blennioid, larger Gobioid... No rush! Bob Fenner>

Re: Help with setting up a 125 aggressive /predator tank 6/12/2011
Thanks for the very quick response Bob, sorry I wasn't implying that you guys contradict each other on wwm ,I just see so many different views on other web sites that I just get confused.
<No worries Vince... and, of course there are quite a few "ways to go" and many variations therein>
I love your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist and it has helped a lot through the years of my reef keeping. So with that stocking list as long as I leave out the Lion I should be OK ?
<For a few years likely... Eventually the fishes listed will get too large, you'll have aberrant behavior issues from their crowding>
The reason I asked about this list is I saw a list in Scott Michaels 101 best Saltwater fishes for a 100 gal tank 1 Snowflake Moray, 2 Zebra Lionfish ,1 Volitans Lion, 1 carpet eel blenny , and 1 Bluechin Trigger.
<Mmm, this is too much IMO>
I just wanted to swap the 2 zebra lions and carpet eel blenny with a Dog face puffer and something to help with algae control that would be safe with the rest of the list. Thank you very much for your time and
information and keep up the great work with what you guys at WWM are doing.
Thanks again, Vince
<Thank you for this follow-up. Do send along specific questions, concerns as you hone your choices down. Cheers, BobF>

Fully stocked? FO, 134 gal. 3/31/11
Hi Crew
I have the following size tank with a profusion of live rock and leathers and SPS corals. 72x24x18 inches (134 US gallons).
It currently has this stock of fish with no problems with bullying etc :-
Maroon clown
Regal tang
Flame angel
Bicolour dwarf angel (no infighting at all with the flame)
Flashback gramma
<The pseudochromid, not a grammatid>
Bi colour blenny & 2 neon gobies.
I think I am near fully stocked....can you advise and maybe suggest further fish if I can have another, I am not going fully reef to allow room for swimming etc.
<Mmm, well... you are about topped off behaviorally; amongst the groups/families of fishes you list, but I'd likely add a small shoal of something in the way of Anthiines, a small species of Labrid (Cirrhilabrus likely) and/or other "zooming" genus (Macropharyngodon maybe) to add a bit of color and motion there. Bob Fenner>
Stocking suggestion, FO, SW 3/11/11

I was hoping you may be able to give me some stocking advise. I have spent hours reading over your website and have tremendous respect for the work you do and would greatly value your opinions to make sure that I do not overstock my system.
I have a 210 US gallon tank that is 7x2x2 and it is currently housing a niger triggerfish, a Humu triggerfish, a male green wolf eel, a female green wolf eel, and a diana hogfish. Currently the fish are all 3 to 4 inches long and the eels are 9 inches for the male and 7 inches for the female. I am aware that all of these fish will grow considerably
<Actually, these "eels" (really Pseudochromids) are about maximum size for here>
and I definitely want to plan for their adult sizes.
I would like to add some of the following to the tank, but not necessarily all (unless they will fit) and only one specimen of each.
Blue Angelfish
French Angelfish
<One or the other of these TWA Pomacanthids>
Red Coris wrasse
Chocolate tang
<These two would likely fit>
With exception of the Huma, do you see any compatibility issues?
<No, not likely>
I am aware the Huma can be belligerent as an adult and I am prepared to move him into another system if necessary. Is the chocolate tang too passive for this mix?
<Not really, no>
Would an orange shoulder tang be more appropriate?
<Mmm, no... too likely to become too aggressive, and is less hardy>
Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Need advice... 75 stkg. FO, SW 1/11/11
Hello all,
I'm just looking for a professional opinion about my situation. I have a 75g tank and my question is do I have an overcrowded tank with a 3 in Picasso trigger, 2 in mystery wrasse, and 4 1/2 in zebra dwarf lionfish?
Thanks in advance.
<Not IMO. You'll need to keep your eye on the Rhinecanthus to see if it goes after the others. Bob Fenner>

Lg. FO SW Stkg. 1/9/11
Hello all wise ones!
<Mmm, more like wise-n-heimers actually>
I'm sure your bored to death with these endless stocking questions, but hope you could answer yet one more.
Given the box-like configuration of my tank, 4 wide x 3 x 3 feet high or some 260 gallons , my stocking consists of;
<Three foot high!? Wow!>
1 7" clown trigger (very mellow, surprised?)
<Non-plussed... likely to change, abruptly>
1 5" coral grouper
1 11" Volitans lion
and lastly, 1 fist sized Arothron stellate puffer
<MUCH larger in time>
Knowing full well that the starry puffer will no doubt get too big for this tank and plan on removing him when he/she reaches foot or so, what are your thoughts for the living quarters of the remaining list with
this odd shape tank?
<Not really a good shape system for the Clown>
My sump is as large as my tank (260g) and my skimmer is rated to 800 gallons (I think) MRC-MR4R skimmer.
I have only a few lace rocks for decor. Just enough for each fish to hide in his own spot given their current size.
When the time comes to let the puffer go, I would like to replace it with a Sohal or maybe a Queen angel or is this too much?
<Not per the volume... just have to keep your eye on the Trigger>
Probably so I'm guessing
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Looking for suggestions, FO stkg. 11/21/10
Hi. I am new to this hobby and am liking it a lot. I just came across your site and thought I would get your opinions. I have a 65 gallon saltwater tank, Fluval 305 canister filter, CPR Bak Pak protein skimmer,
and about 30 lbs. of live rock. I have one damsel (Left over from cycling the tank),
<Not a/the proscribed method>
a 3-4 inch Miniatus grouper, and a 2.5 inch porcupine puffer.
<Both need more room than this... now psychologically, soon physiologically>
We are now trying to decide what fish to get next.
( I should mention that within the next 6 months or sooner we will be setting up a 210 gallon tank to transfer these guys to, and keep the 65 for a quarantine tank.) My nephew has ideas of a Picasso trigger, or a niger trigger, or maybe a queen angelfish.
<None of the above>
He also wants some type of eel in the future as well. Do you see any problems with any of those fish "getting along" with the fish we currently have in there ?
Or if you have any other suggestions what might be a good fit, I would really appreciate your input. Thank you for your time.
<Not worth the stress, trouble. Wait till you have the larger system. Bob Fenner>

Selecting New Fish for an Established Tank (hmm, something in yellow, please'�) - 10/13/10
Hello, and thanks for what you do.
<<Hey Lance'�quite welcome>>
I am trying to decide on a new fish for an old FO tank, and trying to avoid stress/fighting.
<<Always a good idea>>
A few months back I lost a tank-bred Banggai to suicide (a jumper).
<<Hmm--was likely being harassed>>
The last fish I introduced was a coral beauty because I read it should be added last to lessen territorial issues. My 55g currently has a 7-year-old tank-bred ocellaris, a 5-year-old tank-bred orchid Dottyback, and a 3-year-old coral beauty.
<<All/any one of these could be an aggressor re the Cardinal>>
The clown is very calm and carefree. The coral beauty sometimes lets the Dottyback know whose boss, but mostly they get along.
<<Okay--but be aware this system is a bit 'tight' for the Centropyge. Though a 'smallish' fish, it really needs a bit more room to prowl>>
The tank-bred fish selection these days appears to be only clowns and Pseudochromis,
<<Is slowly changing/expanding I think>>
neither of which I can add.
I am trying to select something that can get along with such established fish.
<<I would look to something 'quick'--maybe a wrasse from the genus 'Halichoeres'>>
Was hoping to mix up the look with a yellow fish of any kind.
<<Then Halichoeres chrysus should fit the bill nicely>>
But they all seem too large or too docile (?).
<<Halichoeres chrysus is neither>>
Was thinking about a Midas blenny, a clown goby, or a dot-dash butterfly (Chaetodon punctatofasciatus).
<<One of the problems with common names is they often get used interchangeably among species with different levels of care/difficulty (e.g. -- Powder Brown Tang). Thankfully you state the Latin name here as the 'other' dot-dash Butterfly, 'Chaetodon pelewensis,' is a much poorer choice for captive keeping. But even with C. punctatofasciatus, I think your system is just too small>>
The butterfly is mostly wishful thinking because I really prefer fish that are likely to live well in a tank, but I do kind of want to get it.
<<Do yourself and the Butterfly a favor here'�don't>>
The clown goby seems like it might be too timid.
<<Surprisingly tenacious--but really needs to be kept in a system with large Acropora colonies in which to perch and ponder its surroundings>>
And I wonder if the Midas might be too similar in shape to the Pseudochromis that they might fight.
Any opinions you have would be great. I have searched this issue for a week now and can't get this pinned down.
<<Do check out H. chrysus'�others of the genus>>
Thanks again,
<<Happy to share'� Eric Russell>>

Which Fish to have? FO, 200 gal., choice twixt tangs, Bob's go 11/26/10
HI there
This is Srinivas from India.
Need help in a decision. Am new to this hobby and always on the lookout for advices/suggestions and tips for marine Aquariums.
Currently host a Regal Tang along with Koran Angel, Tomato Clown and a false Percula Clown in a 200 Gallon Aquarium.
Have to decide between a Naso Tang and a Yellow Tang.
Which one is compatible with the existing Livestock?
<Mmm, both will/would likely do fine here, the Naso if the thank is longer than more square in shape>
Which one is easier ( compared to the other) to care for ?
<The Zebrasoma flavescens>
Srinivas Manian
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Which Fish To Have/Compatibility 11/26/10 James' go
HI there
<Hello Srinivas>
This is Srinivas from India.
Need help in a decision. Am new to this hobby and always on the lookout for advices/suggestions and tips for marine Aquariums.
Currently host a Regal Tang along with Koran Angel, Tomato Clown and a false Percula Clown in a 200 Gallon Aquarium. ITs a FOWLR with 70 Kgs Live Rock and equal amount of Live aragonite sand.
Have to decide between a Naso Tang and a Yellow Tang.
Which one is compatible with the existing Livestock?
<Either one should be fine with your Regal Tang in your 200 gallon system.>
Which one is easier ( compared to the other) to care for ?
<By far the Yellow Tang.>
<Cheers. James (Salty Dog)>
Srinivas Manian

Upgrading tank, questions about compatibility 5/4/10
Hello WWM Crew,
I first wrote a couple years ago to ask if my planned choice of fish (P. volitans, P. radiata and Siganus magnifica) were appropriate for a 125g tank. Getting a P. radiata didn't pan out at the time, so I eventually
(about a year ago) got a young Zebrasoma desjardini.
<A good animal, but gets very large... bigger than a plate where I am visiting currently in the Red Sea>
Now with the volitans at or near adult size (roughly 10"-11" including the tail), I feel that the width of the tank is a hindrance to the fish.
He likes to lazily swim around the tank when he isn't perching on rocks, and doesn't seem to be interested in hanging out in the cave where he spent much of his first year in the tank. To that end, I have ordered a Marineland 300DD.
<VERY nice units>
Same length as the 125g, twice the width and five inches deeper. Should be plenty of room for the lion to
stretch his fins. It occurs to me that I could potentially but a 2-3 more fish in the tank, seeing as I will have a bit more room a water volume.
My thoughts are along the lines of three fish. Once again to try to get a P. radiata, one that is healthy enough to live more than two days in the LFS quarantine, a Variola louti
<Also found here in abundance>
and lastly a Parupeneus
cyclostomus. My questions regarding these fish are:
1) Is there a significant risk of the V. louti eating the goatfish, assuming that both reach their typical aquarium adult size?
<Mmm, not really very likely, though the skunk grouper could/would get big enough if it were in the wild to do so>
I'm assuming the grouper will leave the radiata alone.
2) Is this too much fish for the tank, at reasonable adult sizes?
<I think you should be okay for at least a few years here>
I realize there are issues keeping goatfish alive, but I have plans to keep the tank covered (eggcrate or something else that allows ventilation) and already have a feeding stick that I use for the volitans. The goatfish might be too aggressive at feeding time for the lions to compete, which is another concern. An alternative for the goatfish would be a Gymnomuraena zebra. Far less likely to compete with the lions, and not likely to be eaten by the grouper.
<Mmm, yes; also a good choice>
Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
Thank you.
<Thank you for sharing David. Bob Fenner>

I wanted to Test myself... I feel the need... the need to have you read! 11/17/09
First I would like to start by saying I have about 15 years exp. In keeping a salt water tank I used to be in the hobby of a reef and decided to give it up for a Fish only aggressive tank, figured it would be cheaper and less maintenance.
I currently have a 220g acrylic aquarium Fish only with probably 100 lbs of rock give or take, but it is not live, and some fake corals. They are Natures Image. I have about a 2 in sub-straight,
<You're cracking me up!>
sump with bio balls, protein skimmer, and a de-nitrator. I have a Violin
Lionfish approx. 10in, Snowflake eel approx. 1ft 6 in skinny, M-grouper (the orange spotted one) I can never remember the name approx. 8in,
<Likely a Cephalopholis miniata... a Lapu Lapu... named in honour of the man who whacked Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 in Cebu... but that's another story>
Stars and stripes puffer approx. 10in, and the last and newest addition Clown Trigger approx. 4-5 in.
<Yikes... trouble eventually>
This is all that I will be putting into the tank.
<Mmm, there really isn't any more room for more>
I feel pretty good about compatibility
<Ah, no... hard to get food to the instrument Lion and Eel... and likely the puffer and trigger will work them woe in time>
and bio load, mainly just wanted to double check myself with some 2nd opinions.
Levels are all good That means 0, and Nitrates are at 40PPM
<Too high... see WWM re>
but I am working to lowering that with the de-nitrator. I will say this tank has been a journey. I started out with a 210g all --glass and 2 of the tanks failed one that flooded my house
<Dang! Commercial tanks?!>
and the 2nd I caught before and damage occurred. Decided to go acrylic for obvious reasons, once this tank cycled added the fish from the LFS for the 3rd time, and lost 3 fish. Once had a Picasso, Niger, and Lunar wrasse. I decided since they did not make the 3rd transfer back and forth from the LFS, I would get a Clown always wanted one and figured due to size difference it would be a fair trade 3 for 1.
<Too unpredictable...>
During the transition to the 3rd tank the grouper got POP-EYE and soon the rest of the fish started getting sick this is when I lost the Picasso. Due to all of the recent movement I felt it best to just medicate the whole tank. Treated with antibiotics, and copper, soon after the treatments lost the Niger, and the Lunar Wrasse, everyone seems to be fine now, except I would like to see the nitrates lower.
I figured with the medication and so many times I have had to shut down the de-nitrator, it needs a boost with some more anaerobic bacteria in it. I just bought some and should have it in a few days.
<These are best cultured, in place>
Hopefully this will correct the nitrate issue. Back to the Groper his eye has not completely healed and sticks out a little, when he had it originally it was about ready to pop out it was so swollen. I was able to save it thank god, you can tell that he still uses it. He seems to eat great and is very active in the tank. I also wanted to know if this will ever go back to the way it was or if this is the best I am going to see due to how bad it was at one point.
<See WWM re... can cure>
Anyway any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you think I should change anything, or do anything better/differently. I have been reading your sight and I figured would not hurt to put my skills to the test'�
Thanks in advance for any feedback you have for me'�.=
<Really? To learn to/use the search tool and indices of our site... What you have mixed here won't work for long. Bob Fenner>

Re: I wanted to Test myself 11/17/09
Just found the artical about the pop-eye and that it may never shrink back to normal. Sorry a-lot to read and go through.
<No worries Jared. Do please do the long looking about re each of the species you have here; particularly their Compatibility. BobF>

Re: I wanted to Test myself 11/17/09
Well I can't say that this news is not somewhat disheartening. I was felling pretty good about my new avenue in this hobby. And know so many with similar fish with no issue for years now. I wonder about how long do you think I have before it is an issue?
<Mmm, likely weeks to months; though, as you state, there are folks who have large Tetraodont puffers and Balistoides triggers mixed in with more easygoing animals sans troubles ever>
BTW I can not find any information on the grouper and it's condition, nor have I found anything I was not already aware of on the nitrate issue.
<Ahh! This resp. is out of order...>
a little more detailed assistance if that is ok. It would be greatly appreciated. In answer to your question this is not nor was it ever a commercial tank. As I learned when doing a reef for so long, it's better to do it right the first time then Start small, and work toward what you want to accomplish later.
Less headache or at least that is what I thought. Not to come across rude but what was so funny I feel that I missed a joke.
<Oh! The calling of substrate -straight and a Volitans lion a Violin...>
Let me in, as I am apparently running on Russian satalight delay. LOL. Thanks again for the help.
<Welcome! BobF>

Stocking a 90gal SW Fish Only Tank and a Question about Lighting -- 10/28/09
Dear Sirs:
<<Hiya Julia'�and no need to be so formal. We guys and gals all operate on a first-name basis here>>
I am new at this, so please be patient.
<<Ah! '�much reading/learning ahead then>>
I have a 90 gal SW fish only tank. It has a built in return. I use a 175 wet/dry filter and a Vertex 80 Protein Skimmer, also a T-5 light (2 bulbs). It has about 100 lbs of live rock and 80 lbs of live sand.
<<Sounds fine>>
I have so far:
2 Pajama Cardinals
1 Sixline Wrasse
2 Ocellaris Clownfish
3 Blue/Green Chromis
The tank is 3 ½ months old. I would like to add the following:
1 Royal Gramma
1 Green Goby
<<Mmm, could be anything'�Gobiodon rivulatus perhaps>>
1 Flame Angle
1 Foxface
Each addition would be 1 at a time about 3-4 weeks apart. What do you think?
<<The already established Sixline Wrasse will likely give the Royal Gramma grief (may even damage/kill the Basslet); otherwise I think you'll be fine>>
About the length of time the lights are on. All the books say 1 hours,
<<'�!? I think you meant 10/12 hours here?>>
But the fish store says 6 hours is plenty for the fish only tank.
<<Mmm, no'�not in my opinion'� Better to go with something close to a 'natural' tropical light schedule (10-14 hours, based on your viewing schedule)>>
And the reduction in time will help control the Algae growth.
<<This is rarely the case>>
I understand that in nature light starts low, peaks, and becomes low again.
<<Yep'�a result of the Earth's rotation/the Sun arcing across the sky>>
My light system doesn't do that.
<<Most don't, though some semblance of this phenomenon can be obtained with special (read: expensive) dimming systems or by sequencing bulbs on/off>>
It is either on or off. The tank is in my great room, which is a little on the dark side. Can you help me with this?
<<If you have room to add more bulbs over the tank you can set these up with timers to come-on and go-off in sequence to 'simulate' a morning and evening event. And while I like a lighting setup that varies intensity re to at least provide the fishes some measure of warning before all goes dark '�be aware this is not an absolute necessity>>
Thanking you in advance for your time and knowledge.
<<A pleasure to share'�and let me know if this is unclear/you would like further clarification>>
Julia from Orangeburg, SC
<<Ahh! Julia, do also check out the marine aquarium club just up the road in Columbia (http://www.columbiamac.org/), lots of good folks with helpful advice. Cheers, EricR'� Also just up the road in Columbia, SC>>

Compatible Fish, FO stkg. 10/16/09
I have a 90 gallon tank with a Clarkii Clownfish, a Green Bird Wrasse, a Porcupine Puffer, and a Chainlink Moray.
<Mmm, the Gomphosus may prove to be too aggressive a competitive feeder here in time>
They're all juvenile fish and aren't aggressive at all. I was wondering if I could get another fish and if so what kind?
<Well... not really... may seem a bummer as the present livestock likely is not full-sized, but they will eventually take up all the physiological/metabolic and psychological space here>
I was thinking of a Niger Triggerfish, a Pinktail Triggerfish, a Blue-ring Angelfish, a Lamarck's Angelfish, a Auriga Butterflyfish, or a Kole-eyed Tang.
<Maybe the Tang... none of these angels, and I wouldn't risk even an easygoing Balistid with the Eel or Puffer>
I have a very large protein skimmer, a wet-dry filter, and around 100 pounds of live rock to filter the tank. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks, Alex
<Keep an eye on your water quality, particularly nitrates here... Consider modifying the wet-dry (make it into a sump, refugium)... Perhaps another tank, or part time work in a Public Aquarium, LFS... Bob Fenner>

Aquarium Stocking, Jumping Eels, Marine 10/13/09
Hi, I just have a few questions on stocking my aquarium. I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank and my husband and I decided to set up a "predator tank".
<Tough to do in this sized tank.>
We have put a snowflake eel, porcupine puffer, and niger trigger in it. We decided to stop there. Is this too many or is it ok?
<All of these fish will outgrow this tank, most porcupine puffers get football sized, the trigger up to 18" when properly housed, and since most 55 gallon aquariums are only 12" wide you will have problems. You are at
the very minimum recommended for the eel, not leaving much margin for error. Please see the linked articles and related FAQs for more for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm ,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/odonus/index.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffcareinfo.htm .>
The trigger is about three inches long, the puffer about 6 and the eel about 12". We feed them squid, octopus, shrimp, surimi, formula one frozen and formula two pellets (also sea weed in a clip for the trigger). I put a bunch of ghost shrimp in there, as well as hermit crabs and turbo snails thinking they would get eaten.
<Most likely to happen sooner or later.>
Is there anything else I should feed them?
<Sounds ok.>
Everyone eats twice a day except for the eel who eats every other day. The trigger and the eel hang out in the same hole all the time, is this normal?
<Is ok, but may become problematic as they grow and start competing for space.>
Oh and one more question, my eel escaped the other day and was behind the aquarium on my wood floor. Is he going to be ok?
He hasn't eaten since (it has been three days) and that seems and awful long way for something that small to fall. I haven't noticed any contusions or such.
<They are surprisingly tough.>
He was only a little bit stiff but still wiggling when I put him back into the aquarium. Thanks for your time and you guys are great!!!
Krysta in Charm City

Re: Aquarium Stocking, Jumping Eels, Marine 10/14/09
We are looking at a 225 gallon for these fish and we are turning the 55 into a reef tank, I was hoping that the 55 would be good until February.
<Most likely be ok till then.>

Cycling and Stocking: SW New 55 gallon tank. 10/12/2009
Good morning Crew!!!
<Hi Matt.>
I was reading the Bio-Spira FAQ's and came across a suggestion from Anthony to buy Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium". I own this book and was reading the other night because I am starting a new 55gal FOWLR tank. (I will get to the question on the book in a moment).
<Welcome to the hobby.>
I am letting the new tank cycle before I add anything to it. I used some base rock and also placed about 20 lbs of live rock in with it and live aragonite sand. I also have an AquaC Remora with Maxi-Jet 1200 pump running on the tank. I used Bio-Spira to help with the cycling of the new tank because I figured there would be die-off from the base rock. It took a couple of days for the reading I currently have using my own RO/DI water system.....
Ammonia = 0
Nitrites = 0
Nitrates = 5-10 ppm
SG = 1.025
Temp = 78
<Everything looks good so far.>
I have spend all the money I will have for a couple of month due to bills that have come up unexpectedly and will not be able to place any livestock in the tank until November or December sometime.
<Perfectly fine, beneficial actually.>
I read that if I do not add fish directly after the Bio-Spira that all of my beneficial bacteria will die if there is no ammonia for it to feed off of. Am I in jeopardy of losing this tank before it even starts because of my time delay?
<Some of the bacteria will die off, You can add a few pieces of pellet fish food once a week to keep the cycle going.>
Now to my question about the book that I was reading. It has some stocking recommendations for a 55 to 75 gal tank as follows....
1-2 Blue Hippo Tangs
5 -7 Chromis
1 Coral beauty angel
2-3 Banggai Cardinals
1 Foxface OR Butterfly
<Hmm... a bit excessive in my opinion, but I tend to be conservative. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm >
It also goes on to state that it must be a 55gal long (4ft) tank to accommodate the growing Tangs and Foxface of Butterfly.
<I agree completely. 4 feet as a minimum for a tang, butterfly, or a Foxface.>
This seems EXTREMELY excessive to me and was wondering what you thought about the stocking guidelines that were outlined in the book. It seems like a very beautiful tank if it would work but I am very skeptical. I realize that the lower ends of these stocking suggestions would be for the 55gal as opposed to the 75gal.
<My opinion, for a 55 gallon, I would stock it this way:
1 Blue Hippo Tang, OR Foxface OR Butterfly
3 - 5 Chromis
1 Coral beauty angel
2-3 Banggai Cardinals
1 small goby or other bottom dwelling fish. >
Thanks for putting up with the long email and I appreciate your thoughts on both of my "issues".
<My pleasure.>

Predatory tank, stkg., more research 9/21/09
Hey Crew,
I'm putting together a predatory tank and would like your input on the livestock. First I have a 120g acrylic tank, 40g sump, nautilus skimmer, mag 9.5 return. I am looking at adding 1 Lionfish, 1 Niger Trigger, 1
Leopard Grouper
<Mmm, let's see, you've got a chicken, a fox and a bag of rice... you can only row across a lake with two... This is likely a poor choice/mix... the Trigger may bite the Lion... It and the Bass are too likely to starve the Lion...>
and an eel of some sort (haven't decided yet which one). In your opinions do you feel the tank will support this number of predators? I have caves, ledges and hiding places built out of builder rock. I currently do not have any live rock but was considering adding some as media for filtration in the sump. Thanks Cooper.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Predatory tank
Thanks for your input. Coop
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Compatible Fish/Stocking Level... FO? 9/12/09
<Hello Alex>
I'm trying to find a fish that will work with my 90 gallon tank. Inside of it is a 7" Bird Wrasse, a 6" Porcupine Puffer, a 4" Clark's Clownfish, and a 1' Chainlink Moray. I've recently had problems with my tank because my 8" Blue-chin Triggerfish is refusing to eat and I've tried just about everything for him but I'm afraid he might be beyond help.
<Yikes, you are way over the limit for stocking levels in your 90. The Bird Wrasse, puffer, and triggerfish
all require more room than this tank can provide. Your triggerfish is likely suffering from environmental conditions/stress due to overstocking. Much waste being produced here.>
For fish I was thinking about a Niger trigger, a Black trigger, a Pink-tailed Trigger, a Bicolor Angelfish, or a Kole Yellow-Eyed Tang. Would any of these work or should I not put anymore fish in my tank?
<You are done my friend, and, should either get a larger tank or find homes for the wrasse, puffer and triggerfish.>
Any other fish suggestions would be helpful too. Thanks for the help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

SW: New 90 gallon FO Setup and stocking. 8/30/2009
Hello my finned friends.
<Hi Phil>
I've always received great answers in the past, and figured I would try again. Planning to switch my 90 gallon over to saltwater.
<Welcome to the madness.>
Filtration is Eheim 2026 and Fluval FX5. I intend to keep just 1 Picasso trigger.
<Going to be a tight fit in the future.>
I love carnivores and don't believe anything could go with it. Maybe I am wrong...Suggestions?
<A Picasso is one of the more, and I use this term very loosely, peaceful triggers, but in a 90 it is going to be a tight fit by itself.>
Is it possible to keep the Tahitian Moon Sand?
<Not recommended. It adds nothing to the chemistry of the water. If you like the dark look, there are several black sands out there that will work.>
I could always add shells to canister if buffering is necessary.
<Will not the be most effective.>
Only decoration will be large pieces of Texas Holey Rock.
<Fine, do add a piece or two of live rock and the Texas rock will liven up as well.>
Is a protein filter absolutely necessary.
I know this was long, but any help is greatly appreciated,
<Have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm under the
general tab - several good articles written, particularly for those making the jump from fresh to salt.>
Thanks, Phil

Birdnose Wrasse and schooling fish compatibility... need data -- 06/12/09
Dear Sir or Madam
<Paper back writer....>
Hope you are well and love reading your website!
<Ok and thanks>
I hope that you will be able to assist me with my query?
<Will try>
We currently have in our tank 1 x Flame Angel, 1 x Foxface, 1 x Birdnose Wrasse, 1 x Scopas Tang and are looking for some fish that will school within the tank - just a nice addition to round off what we currently have.
<Mmm... need to know a bit more... the size, shape of the tank, decor, live rock...>
Our LFS chap (who is very good IMO) has advised that Firefish would be harassed by the wrasse so probably not a good idea.
<I do agree... Gomphosus spp. are rambunctious>
We were trying to think of other species apart from chromis/damsels that would be a good schooling addition but have not thought of any that would suit. Would you be able to advise of any suggestions?
<Mmm, the info... listed above>
We look forward to receiving your advice.
Kind regards and many thanks
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Trigger Compatibility, now FO stocking 06/02/09
Thanks for your prompt reply. I have decided not to go with any triggers for obvious reasons. I am now considering a dwarf zebra lion (not the fuzzy),
<Nice fish, but quiet, and can be tricky to feed in tanks with overly aggressive feeders; I find with Scorpionfish generally it pays to get them trained to take food from you (or rather, from forceps) in the quarantine tank, and then add possible competitors afterwards.>
<Also nice, if kept well (properly) fed.>
yellow tang,
Longnose Hawkfish,
<Superb fish, but might be tricky to feed in a large tank with boisterous tankmates, so be careful; should be fine with Dendrochirus though.>
coral beauty angel
<Not a fish I recommend; do see Bob's excellent summary of these fish, here:
Would work well with Dwarf Lions, Hawkfish since their food requirements are all rather different; competition with the Rabbitfish, Tang would cause much more serious problems. I've known too many people buy Dwarf Angels and then lose them within 6 months for "no apparent reason". Likely starvation,
improper diet or some combination of the two. Anyway, there are some nice Butterflyfish I'd think about if you want something this sort of shape and size. Heniochus for example, or one of the Raccoon Butterflyfish species.>
and perhaps a school of humbugs.
<Do review Dascyllus carefully; they're apt to become bullies, and tankmates need to be on the phlegmatic side. In a big tank you might be fine, and a half-dozen would amuse themselves and ignore their tankmates,
but still, see here for a discussion:
I will be buying a smaller sized lion and bigger sized fish. Your thoughts?
<I'm not a major league tropical marine keeper, so my comments here are brief, and I'd encourage you to review the various WWM pages devoted to these various types of fish. Bob, Scott, Sara or whoever will be able to answer more detailed questions, I'm sure. I did use to keep Triggers during my college days, hence answering your original query.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

SW Stocking Question: Incompatible Species\Reading 5/8/2009
<Hi Pete,>
I've got a 3'x3'x2' tank
<132 US gallons, 499 liters>
I'd like to do a fish-only saltwater tank. I was wondering why the Green Hawaiian Lionfish is listed as "very
venomous to the touch". Is it significantly more dangerous than other dwarf lionfish?
<Not that I'm aware of. That said, I would classify all Lionfish as very dangerous to touch.>
A LFS has a few for $25 and I'm very interested...
<Hmm... are they sure it is a Pterois sphex?>
I'm thinking of readying the tank with a free 7" panther grouper, <A very poor choice for this tank, and there are many better ways to start a cycle The article is written for freshwater, but everything is still
relevant to SW: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwestcycling.htm
and after a couple of months doing 3-4 dwarf lionfish, a dogface puffer, and a snowflake moray.
<Puffers and Lionfish are incompatible in a tank. The puffer will usually beat up on the lions..
Should I do lionfish only?
<One or two lions, and perhaps the snowflake moray.>
I know brushing the lionfish won't hurt the puffer if he swims by unless they jab him with the spines,
<Which is VERY likely.>
but is it too much of a risk with that many lionfish?
<and the puffer WILL beat up on the lions. Do read about Lionfish compatibility here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lioncompfaqs.htm >
Another idea is doing two blue-dotted stingrays (the tiny ones) or two Atlantic stingrays (d. sabina), a gaggle of smaller moray species that top out at 3" (maybe 3-4),
<I think you mean 3'>
and the dogface or maybe a burrfish. Is this a good stocklist for this tank?
<Stingrays are very poor choices for an aquarium less than several hundreds of gallons. Blue spotted Stingrays have a terrible survival record in captivity Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rays.htm
I would only put one moray in a tank of this size.>
<You're welcome>

Compatibility question, Marine, FO stkg. 4/6/09
Hello Crew,
Let me start by first saying your website is helpful beyond measure and thank you for providing such a great service.
I have a question regarding my 55 gallon saltwater setup. It has been set up for about 10 months now and I have about 35lbs of live rock (see pic) and a Fluval 405 filtering it.
<No pic.>
Currently, I have a Blueline Grouper, Black Volitans Lionfish, and Bluejaw Triggerfish, all 4-5 inches in length. I know that all of these fish will eventually outgrow this tank and I am planning on upgrading to a much larger tank in the future.
<You are going to start running into problems very soon, this is not going to work for much longer.>
My question is this: I was thinking about adding a 3-4 inch Vlamingi Tang to the mix but I am concerned about how the triggerfish will react to it.
<I would not be adding any more fish to this mix.>
I know they are very different species and the bluejaw is a relatively peaceful trigger, but the bluejaw and the vlamingi are very similar in body shape and I was curious if you guys thought the trigger would see it as
<I am guessing before long you are going to have one fish in that tank, probably the trigger, the rest having been killed off or stressed to death.>
If it probably wouldn't be a good mix, what other species of tangs would you recommend instead?
<Nothing until you have the larger tank set up, stock for what you have now, who knows what the future will bring.>

Re: Compatibility question
Thanks for the advice. I'll be sure to upgrade my tank size asap. Based on the fish that I currently have, what do you guys think would be an adequate size tank? And if I wanted to add another fish or two to the mix in the future, how large of an aquarium should I have?
Thanks again,
<Mmm, at least 125 gallon, better a 150 or 180... Like money in the bank, HD space, time on your hands... the more the better. Bob Fenner>

Re: 125 Gallon Stocking List Questions 4/6/2009
I want to thank Bob Fenner very very much for his helpful reply to my stocking questions, but I still have 1 remaining query. I'm not sure how much is too much in overstocking with this list. Bob mentioned that I
would have to cut the list by 2/3, but I had listed many species of which I was only going to pick 1 of the type (ie 1 species of butterflyfish, 2 wrasses...). So after looking over the suggestions, I've come up with sort of a refined list and was wondering if it would be overstocking the tank and if everyone should probably get along fine in a reef setting with corals strapped down and no crustaceans.
Blue/Green Chromis (6-7)
Pair of Tank-Raised Black and White Clownfish
Lyretail Anthias (4-6)
Purple Tang
Two Spot Bristletooth Tang
Auriga Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga)
Blue Throat Trigger (male)
Green Birds Wrasse (male)
and of course Zebra Moray Eel
<Mmm, this may prove to be too much psychologically... with growth, but this shape, size/volume could accommodate these fishes starting at "retail sizes" metabolically>
I understand if this is too much. With about 150 lbs of rock and corals here and here, I can see the possibility of having to cut the chromis and maybe harlequin tusk out of the equation. But maybe with a 6' long tank this list could work?
<I do think so>
Thanks so much again.
<Welcome. BobF>

55 Gal Stocking Plan 3/16/2009
Hi all,
<Hi Tammy.>
I have read extensively on your website and have really learned a lot but I still have a very basic question.
<Fire Away!>
If you could set up a 55 gal system anyway you want, and stock it with very hardy fish, what would it be, exactly (I would like a list of
equipment, amounts of live rock, substrate, etc and a list of fish).
<Hmm.... so many possibilities...>
About 20 years ago, before the Internet and all of the info, I had a marine tank and only lost 1 fish during the first 3 months (a mandarin goby, that was the first fish the store sold me can you believe it?).
<Sadly, I'm not surprised.>
After about 2 or 3 years my yellow Tang and blue Damsel became ill and died. My lunar Wrasse did fine, didn't get ill, and was sold with the tank.
So in 3 years, I lost 3 fish and all I had was the underwater filter with power heads, flake food, cheap test kit, and no live rock.
<OK so far.>
Now I have the same size tank (55 gal) with a sump, live rock, frozen foods, TLC, an expensive test kit, and tons of info on the Internet.
In the past three months, since set-up, I've lost a lunar Wrasse, clown Tang, and, just today, an amazing Lionfish. I started out with Damsels that did fine. After several weeks, I traded them in for a clown tang and lunar wrasse. Two weeks later, I added a Humu. They did fine for several weeks. Then the clown Tang died (found out my cheap test kit was defective) and Wrasse became ill. Took Wrasse and Humu back to LFS. After purchasing an expensive test kit and having my water stay good for about 10 days, I purchased a Lionfish. I've had him for almost a month and my water has tested perfect. This past week, the nitrates were at 10 so I added TLC, then did a partial water change. My Lionfish died this morning. I'm so sad! This is ridiculous. I don't want to lose fish.
<Were you quarantining these fish before putting them in the tank? See Below>
Since reading on your site, I have found out that a Lionfish, Humu, Tang and Wrasse are all poor choices for a 55 gallon tank.
<Very poor choices for a 55 gallon.>
Please give me a detailed list of what you think would work. (According to my LFS, the nitrates at 10 wouldn't kill a lionfish.)
<It wouldn't>
<Well Tammy, with a 55 gallon tank, your choices are limited. I would focus on small, colorful, peaceful fish:
3 Blue-green Chromis,
2 - 3 Fire fish
Gramma, or a Cherub Angel (C. argi)
"Scooter Blenny"
Added last, one of the smaller Clownfish (A. percula) (without anemone).>
Thanks for your help.
<My Pleasure>

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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