FAQs about Reef Livestock Selection
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Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
250 gallon reef tank
I have 5 clownfish, 2 cleaner shrimp and 2 conch in QT tank for 4 weeks
and was wondering if I can move them all to the DT/250-gal tank. No
signs of ich and eating well.
<Well, it seems that they are ready to go;... I advise you to mix slowly
the QT and DT water to minimize stress and ease the acclimation /
adaptation process to the new environment.>
All tanks water parameters are perfect
<It would have been better if you had sent the exact numbers… >
Flasher Wrasse Question 11/10/18
Good morning crew!
A quick question on stocking Carpenter's Flasher Wrasses. My current system is a
75 gallon reef (plumbed in line with a 30 gallon mangrove tank
and 20-tall sump) - so total system volume around 100 gallons. My
current fish stocking list is as follows:
<Yikes; will get MUCH larger in time>
pair of Ocellaris clowns
I've been planning to add a small harem of Carpenter's Flasher Wrasses - 1 male,
<Mmm; I wouldn't w/o re/moving the Zebrasoma first... not enough
I finally found someone who has females in stock. I wanted to clarify a couple
1 - I've read in 1 or 2 places that it is best NOT to quarantine these fish. I
wanted to get your opinion on this. My usual quarantine is 6 weeks for all new
<IF the fish/es are in good (apparent) shape, full-bodied, feeding, they may
benefit from quarantine... THEY ARE JUMPERS! A small opening may find them out
on the floor; more so in small/er volumes. IF they were mine, I'd likely utilize
a dip/bath (see WWM re) and simply place them in the main/display>
2 - I've read that I should add the females first. Is that advisable, or would
it be ok to add the females and male all at once. My concern is one of the
females turning male while the male is in quarantine if I wait.
<For a trio... this setting, I'd place all at once>
As always, your input is greatly appreciated.
<Again; I'd trade out your Tang in advance of introducing the Wrasses. Bob
Re: Flasher Wrasse Question 11/11/18
Thanks for the prompt reply. I do plan to upgrade to a significantly larger
system in the next couple of years (though I’m well aware of the danger of using
that as a plan for fish size). Are there any particular signs in the tang’s
behavior I should look for to indicate it has reached a size that is “too big”
for its current home?
<"Jousting" so to speak... chasing other fishes, swiping at them w/ its caudal
If I were to remove the tang and replace it with, for example, a purple tang,
would there be enough space for the wrasses, or is this a case of either the
wrasse harem or a tang?
<More time; yes. Z. xanthurum is "more calm" and doesn't get as large as the
other Sailfin sp.>
Am I just all full at this point with species space in the tank?
<Per the livestock you list fish-wise, yes. Again... you can review what I
stated earlier. >
I’d like to have one more species in there to provide additional movement and
<For me; I'd go w/ the Flashers, maybe switch the tang out for a Ctenochaetus
Question: C. Argi with P. Fridmani - order to add?
Hello My Wet Web Media Friends,
I down-sized to this little 50 gallon (36"x18"x20") tank (too
overwhelmed to set up my 120 after moving). I put my corals in it over a
month ago, but still have no fish in it. It is a mixed reef of SPS, LPS,
mushrooms, and Palys/Zoanthids.
I am mostly okay with the little tank size (for now), except that I can
only fit half of my liverock in it, and even more importantly, I can't
keep my favorite sunshine fish (yellow tang) in it. This means I need
some kind of little fish that eats algae. I decided I should get a
cherub angel to do the job. I have had these angels (one at a time) a
couple of times many years ago, and I found them entertaining, pretty,
and "reef safe".
Both times, even though I loved the angels, I ended up getting rid of
them because I wanted to have some fish which were not able to deal with
the typical flamboyant and intrusive antics of the very narcissistic
angelfish (they didn't chase or try to nip other fish, but liked to put
on a big show; they taunted and provoked anger from a nesting clownfish
pair, and they intimidated Dartfish into hiding and starving).
Getting the cherub angel means tossing out my original plan to get a
pair of purple Firefish. The first cherub angel I had, had an orchid
Dottyback tankmate in a 65g (36"x18" footprint like this 50g, just
Dottyback and the angel didn't seem to interact at all, and the
Dottyback was out in the open quite a bit (for a fish that people say is
sometimes a hider). I had (and have) a lot of liverock with a lot of
dart holes, so perhaps that made the Dottyback feel more confident,
being able to have a hole to dart in regardless of where in the tank it
The problem is, I have looked a lot on various forums for a couple of
days, and discovered what seems to be an even split between people who
saw no problems, people who saw angel aggression toward Dottyback, and
people who saw Dottyback aggression toward angel (the last situation
makes me wonder if people mis-identified the Dottyback species, because
I have seen mis-labeling of more aggressive species as orchid Dottyback,
different LFS and at a chain pet store). Along with that confusion, is
the fact that some say to put the angel in first, and others say to put
the Dottyback in first.
<I'm on the positive side here>
I am pretty much decided on just getting the cherub angel, the orchid
Dottyback, and some currently unknown species of little yellow fish (I
will take suggestions, but no yellow gobies).
<Tropical West Atlantic Gobiosoma/Elacatinus and/or Coryphopterus are my
I would greatly appreciate your insight and advice on the order I should
follow in adding these fish.
Thanks so much for your help!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question: C. Argi with P. Fridmani - order to add?
Thanks, Bob. Can you clarify the "I'm positive here" statement? Does it
mean Dottyback first?
<Yes to these two getting along together. I don't think the order or
introduction is very important.
90 Gallon Stocking 1/2/18
Hello Bob and Crew,
Do you see any issues with the following fish in a 90 gallon Zoa garden with a
20 gallon refugium? The only existing fish is a Yellow Watchman Goby. I have an
Aiptasia infestation, so I'd like to add a Copperband
Butterflyfish. I realize a 90 gallon is on the small size, and I plan to move
the Copperband Butterflyfish to my 180 gallon if/when she outgrows the 90.
The other fish I'm considering are: Pink-Streaked Wrasse, Yellow Coris Wrasse
(Halichoeres chrysus), Royal Gramma, and either a Bicolor Blenny or a Tailspot
I've read through the FAQ's, but I'm confused because my fish list contains
similarly-shaped fish which I've gathered could be a problem.
<Mmm; considering the tank size, shape, and likelihood of many nooks and
crannies, I think these will/can all fit here>
If all these fish work together, would you consider this a fully stocked tank,
or could I place a Coral Beauty in the tank as well? I appreciate your site and
your input! Casey
<The Centropyge would fit as well. Bob Fenner>
Stocking question; SW, mixed reef
First I want to thank everyone there for all the advice you have given
me over the last five years. Just made a small donation to the site and
encourage everyone else to do so also!
<Ahh, I thank you>
I have a 180 that has been running for about five years
now. I have fish, inverts and some LPS corals in the display. I recently
lost my red headed solar fairy wrasse when he literally forced the glass
top open by jumping
into it, got stuck between the lid and the rim, jumped again freeing
himself and landing on top of the glass cover. I immediately got him
back in but he died about 5 days later, probably from injuries during
<Ugh! So/too common w/ Cirrhilabrus>
The fish left in the tank are an 8 inch female Naso Tang, a 3 inch Flame
Angel, a 4 inch Melanurus Wrasse, a 4 inch Magnificent Foxface, a 3 inch
Cleaner Wrasse and a tank raised Clown Fish.
I would like to add a replacement fish but I think I am limited with the
Tang and Angel in the tank. I was thinking of a Blue Hippo Tang, that
would probably not be welcome, two Heniochus Butterfly fish, that might
be bullied, or maybe a few blue Dartfish or Anthias. Would any of these
work or should I just leave the community alone?
<I think any of the choices would work here. My fave pick is the
Blue/Hippo, but I'm also partial to the idea of a nice grouping of a
sturdy/sturdier Anthias in addition! If you're going the Heniochus
route, I'd get two of the less-schooling species, or three of the more
(H. acuminatus, H. diphreutes); please read here:
Species tank; fish stkg. ideas for a 50 gal. reef 9/24/17
Hello all, I'm writing for a suggestion if you don't mind. I have a 36Lx18Wx10H
shallow reef, with sump included comes to about 50 gallons, I'm looking to add a
single fish to the tank for activity. I want something active and of course
pretty but active is more important. If a single fish is too tough to narrow
down a pair or trio of the same species could also work. Thanks. - John
<Gosh; so many choices, possibilities. For me, maybe a single Ctenochaetus
species Tang; both active, attractive and functional as an algae picker. A
singleton wrasse would do well here... one of the mid-size, less-digging
species. Perhaps a Cirrhilabrus or Halichoeres species. You could have a small
school of Cardinalfishes... not super active, but out and about most of the
time. See WWM Re here. Bob Fenner>
Information about stocking our reef aquarium
Hello - Not sure how fast you typically respond. Just thought I'd forward again.
Thanks for your time.
<Glad you've re-sent; I never saw come through here>
Hello - This is my first time writing, however I have been reading information
on your site for many months and appreciate all of the information that is
available. My husband Damon and I are relatively new to this hobby (not quite a
year yet). We would like your opinions about the stocking of our tank and that
is the reason for reaching out to you. I apologize for the length of this but it
seems that more information is better for you and considering you are not
familiar with our setup. This is the information about our system:
Started: April 2016
Size: 280 gallons - acrylic - 6' wide; 30" deep' 30" tall (custom made)
100 gallon sump with refugium
240 lbs CaribSea Arag-Alive Reef Sand (about 2-3")
320 lbs live rock in two formations with large space between and space all
around each formation
We use Red Sea Coral Pro salt.
The tank is visible from both long sides (built in the wall between rooms).
(3) EcoTech Marine Radion XR30w Pro LED
(2) EcoTech Marine Vortech MP60WES Quiet Drive Pump EcoTech Marine Vectra Water
Simplicity 800 DC Skimmer
Ideal H2O Classic Series 200 GPD RO/DI Water Filtration System (top-off tank to
(2) JBJ True Temp Titanium Heating System 500W with controllers
(2) EcoTech Battery Backup
Aqua UV 57 Watt 2 inch UV Sterilizer
Skimz Calcium Reactor with Milwaukee MC122 pH Controller
APEX Next Generation controller
SpectraPure MaxCap RO/DI - 180 GPD (in garage for 100 gallons each of RO and SW)
2 Generators (for DT and QT/Frag tank) just in case!
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
Phosphate - 0 to trace
<Know that corals and kin you list are chemo-autotrophs. REQUIRE SOME NO3 and
HPO4; else no growth, color, health>
Calcium - 410 to 440
Alkalinity - 8 to 8.6dkh
Magnesium - 1280 to 1320
Ph - 8
Specific Gravity - 1.025
Add reef color and fuel supplements on a regular schedule.
For Our Fish QT Tank we have:
28 Gallon Nano Cube with LEDs; 2 wave makers; and filter (carbon/media/sponge)
The tank is bare bottom with PVC only inside
JBJ True Temp Titanium Heating System 150W with controller For frags and coral
QT we have:
JBJ 20-Gallon Rimless Frag 20 gallon Tank
JBJ Orion LT-120 LED Light Fixture 24", 120W
Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater 75W
Includes live rock and sand
Our current livestock includes:
Inverts and Corals:
Approx. 12 hermit crabs
Red stripe/Red banded Trochus snails (they spawn so have many of different
2 Sand sifting starfish
4 Tiger sand sifting conch
1 Florida fighting conch
<Conchs can become bulldozers; keep your eye on them>
2 feather dusters
1 Pincushion urchin
1 Red tuxedo urchin
2 Skunk shrimp
2 Blood red fire shrimp
3 Bubble tip anemones
8 small Zoanthid colonies
1 Short tentacle torch
5 Candy cane
2 Bubble - green and silver
2 Elegance - green and a purple tip
5 various Chalice
13 various Acroporas
8 various Montiporas
Long Polyp Turbinaria
4 various Stylophora
9 various Acan brain
1 Green polyp leather
2 variety Mushroom
Most of the SPS and LPS corals are small. Several LPS have been in the tank the
longest and are larger. We are not planning on adding anymore corals or inverts
(except if replacing from a death). Now it's just time to watch
We do supplement the corals with food (frozen varieties such as coral gumbo and
plankton). We give our inverts krill on occasion and obviously they eat what the
fish eat as well.
4 Pajama Cardinalfish
1 Banggai Cardinalfish
1 Chromis Viridis (5 died in QT from Uronema - the survivor was in QT for 8
weeks plus tank transfer)
Currently in QT - to be added in March:
1 Scissortail Dartfish (2 died upon arrival) I got these specifically because
they are a different species than the Firefish and therefore should get along OK
1 McCosker Flasher Wrasse (wanted 2 females as well but couldn't get them)
<Can and should be added; later/when you can secure them.>
We feed the fish a variety of frozen foods such as mysis, mega marine, brine,
etc. None of the fish like flake or pellets it seems.
The following fish are what I'm interesting in adding and the order in which
they would be introduced. I would get smaller fish of the large varieties and
only QT 2 or 3 at a time. I have done a lot of research on how peaceful they
are, size requirements, being reef safe, dietary needs, etc. Our goals are:
1. Peaceful tank where everyone gets along for the most part
2. Is not overstocked
3. Reef safe
4. Everyone has room to grow and do their thing!
5. Don't cause unnecessary deaths because of territory issues or conspecific
1 - Linespot or Filamented Flasher Wrasse OR Exquisite Fairy Wrasse OR Lineatus
Fairy Wrasse (my understanding is having a 2nd wrasse would be good, however I
cannot seem to get any females so I'm thinking 1 other male)
1 - Orange Stripe Prawn Goby
1 - Tail Spot Blenny
1 - Gold Assessor Basslet
1 - Royal Gramma Basslet
Third (if I can get them or later if not available but before any Tangs):
2 Schooling Bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes)
1 pair Yellow Pyramid Butterflyfish (male/female) OR pair Bellus Angelfish
3 Ignitus Anthias OR 3 Fathead Sunburst Anthias
1 (or 2?) Ocellaris Clownfish
1 Kole Tang (small)
1 Yellow Tang or Convict Tang (small)
This would be 25 fish when all done.
1. What is your opinion about a 2nd male wrasse being added assuming the
McCosker will have been in the DT for 8 weeks or so before it is added?
<Should be fine in this size/shape system>
2. Could I add a couple more scissortail Dartfish since the original 3
only 1 made it? Would that be a problem adding since I already have the one?
<Could be added; s/b no problem>
3. Do you feel 25 (or a few more if I got more scissortail) fish with
all of the other livestock is appropriate for our size DT?
<What you list should do well together. The Henis may quarrel with each other>
4. What are your opinions about a single clownfish vs. 2 to avoid some of their
territorial issues or do you feel two would be OK with them being added almost
at the end?
<Better to have two all the way around>
5. Do you feel like anything on my list would not be appropriate to meet the
goals or have any issues that I might not be aware of?
<Other than the BFs as mentioned, all should learn to get along. Some of
the smaller species would fight territorially if the system were smaller>
6. If I cannot get these fish in this order how problematic would it be to add
them in a different order as long as we keep the clownfish and tangs near the
7. Do you have any other fish you think would be particularly nice and fit with
this group or replace any?
<Way too many. Some schooling Cardinals would be nice... >
I thank you very much for your help and all of the advice I have read on a large
variety of topics.
<This is obvious. Nice gear and a good assortment: Knowledge gained by much
study and deliberation>