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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:

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Marine and Brackish ideas for a 5 gallon aquarium; RMF/SW       8/3/17
Hey Bob. Just out of curiosity what sort of Marine life would you recommend for a 6 gallon aquarium?
<Mmm; for fishes there are some really small gobies that are neato! Some very fresh live rock... for exploring what comes next. A mix of small, easy-going coral frags... small shrimp, gastropods>
I have some Ideas for small creatures such as freshwater shrimp, but no real clue for marine. Nor brackish. Any suggestions on marine or brackish creatures I could keep in a 5 gallon aquarium?
<Oh! Will ask NealeM to chime in re brackish. He literally wrote a/the book! Bob Fenner>

Difficult Keepers in New System        5/23/17
Good afternoon, team!
Have been researching ad nauseum and will try to cover all the bases--sorry for length. Have a new 24g Nano Cube set up (2-36w CF bulbs, 290gph pump, 160gph powerhead, bio balls and ceramic rings, some activated carbon in overflow, no skimmer). I cycled it with 40 lb. of bagged live sand, 10 lb. of (not so) live rock from LFS, and a cocktail shrimp. Added a neon Dottyback (captive bred, and I know he may end up being only fish in this volume).
I ordered an additional 20 lb. of aquacultured live rock and 10 lb. of live sand from a vendor in FL. Picked it up Sat on vacation and had everything in my tank Sun afternoon (less than 30 hours in transit, rock and all submerged--quality and quantity of life is amazing). I received a clean up crew package with the rock as well as (you know what's coming) some freebies, including some sponges and a flame scallop.

Am attaching pictures-- apologies for size. Sponges were shipped with no air in bags and came with instruction not to expose to air (did my best, but probably ended up with the very tops of the larger ones out of water
briefly just due to size of sponges/bags/ aquarium). Feet of larger two appear to be intact and smaller ones have substrate. Scallop appears to be in great condition and has been moving around.
I've had a small cycle since introducing rock (as expected). The pH has been low since I started the tank (around 7.8) but I haven't messed with it since I thought it would stabilize with the addition of the new rock and I didn't plan on delicate inverts for a good while (haven't started testing Alk/cal/phos yet for same reason).
<Do keep your eye on the/this pH... the new LR is likely lowering still... Needs to be buffered, either through water changes with higher Alkalinity, or small water changes with buffering upward added in excess>
Salt mix is Reef Crystals and I run my water for at least 24 hours with a powerhead circulating. Adding the new rock has triggered a small cycle as expected--ammonia went up to .25ppm yesterday (completed 15% water change) then fell back to 0 and now nitrite is up to .25ppm. Nitrate is maybe 20ppm. Will do another water change in the AM.
So have read extensively about long-term survivability of these filter feeding critters (quite poor) and your general view on their removal from the wild (tend to agree and would not have intentionally purchased) but they are in my tank now for better or worse and I'd like to really make an effort unless you think the sponges are just in too poor condition.
<Hope springs eternal... I'd try to keep all>
I think I have enough water movement (have been also trying to keep them clear of debris), but I know my tank is too young to support these critters just from my sand bed. I ordered some Coral Frenzy and will follow WWM
instruction on blending product and spot feeding,
<Yes; a "soup" of same, blended small crustaceans... a bit of high quality dry food added... pipetted in/around these filter feeders a few times daily... likely with pumps temporarily off... AND lots of water changes...
maybe even daily. Use Nitrate conc. as a measure of how much... NO more than 20 ppm>
but will my critters even accept prepared foods?
<To some extent, yes... may have to feed during lights out...>
I'm eyeing some cultures of live phytoplankton by Algagen but want to be cautious about polluting my small, new system.
<This IS going to happen assuredly. You will have algae, very small plankton/cloudy issues>
Is that my best bet and just increase water changes to compensate?
So basically can the sponges and scallop be saved with the resources I have available, or some that I can acquire quickly?
I kind of like the idea of running a nutrient-rich system with lots of life but don't want to beat my head against a brick wall either.
<Oh yes; I DO understand. And really wish we lived nearer each other... I'd like to visit, kibbutz re>
Thank you all so much for all you do. Have utilized WWM extensively in planning this system (including all the nano eBook downloads) and will continue to support the effort.
Full stock list if helpful:
Neon Dottyback (captive-bred), Stippled clingfish (came with rock package--am hoping Dottyback doesn't harass/dismember), Peppermint shrimp (see above re: Dottyback), Flame scallop. Decorator crab, Larger brittle
star, Tiger tail sea cucumber (am keeping an eye on this guy). Maybe a dozen assorted snails, Nassarius, Turbo~12 blue leg hermits~12 white hermits
<I'd cut the hermits back, way back... to maybe four total. Are not totally scavengers>
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Difficult Keepers in New System        5/24/17
So you're saying there's a chance! Good enough for me. :-)
Game plan:
1) Continue frequent small water changes while system stabilizes (was plan of course anyway given other life in tank). Am hoping as DSB (4"+) matures over next weeks/months frequency can decrease but until then as needed.
It's painless in this size system. 2) Buffer pH up. Haven't needed to do this in previous tanks--off to research methods/products (my favorite pastime right now--the boyfriend is unamused).
<See WWM re Alkalinity and look into my fave line... SeaChem Products, here>
3) Make a slurry of food stuff--Coral Frenzy, pellets, maybe some Mysis,
Reef One, cocktail shrimp... Blend (then soak blender in vinegar, blecchhh). Pipette upstream of relevant critters AM/PM. Wonder how mixture will keep in the fridge?
<Yes it will for a few days (3-5)>
May experiment/use a sniff test before adding.
I'm not overly sensitive about a little algae and grunge here and there if it means the critters are happy. Am not someone who will ever have a bare bottom tank with frags on plastic racks--I like more "stuff." I also like
kibbitzing--let me know if you ever do a conference or anything out this way.
<Oh... where? Aurora... in Riverside, CA? My only for sure scheduled pitches/presentations are MACNA (New Orleans) and Aquatic Experience (Chicago) thus far this year>

Oh, hermits are teeny tiny now, maybe 5mm. Will watch and reduce numbers as needed. All of the white ones came in my sand.
I'll let you know how we're doing in a few weeks/a month. I know this is a fun project because it'll probably be 2018 before I could call it a "success" with potential for failure sooner. But I like projects. :-)
Have a fantastic evening!
<Thank you Laura... Had a dream or two re your set up, livestock last eve... Do want to state more: Would be GREAT if this little cube tank was tied in w/ another bigger system; and/or a large sump/refugium... w/
another DSB, RDP lighting arrangement, macro algae culture... and more.
Would make all that much more stable, easier to keep clean. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Difficult Keepers in New System       3/25/17

Wish I could go to MACNA but that's one of our biggest weekends of the year at work.
Would be fun road trip from Savannah. Maybe someone will be kind enough to record some of the presentations.
<This is done at least some years... are they available through MASNA? Oh yeah... here's a link to the 2016 ones... including mine: http://masna.org/aboutmacna/macna-2016-presentations/ >
After water change this morning water values have improved. Nitrates are closer to 10ppm (may have overestimated color a little yesterday at 20ppm).
Ammo/nitrite holding at 0ppm and pH remains low at around 7.8. Tested my mix water and it's at 8.2 so the drop is definitely organics in the tank.
After your email and more reading last night I ordered Chemi-Pure Blue, Phosgard, and Seachem's pH buffer and that should be here tomorrow. Red tree sponge had some film on it this AM--I removed the film gently (air
hose suction) and turned the sponge a little since I haven't seen it opening up (orange one is covered in pores/openings). I see a few pores now and no new debris. Little orange ones are completely inert so far.
We are aligned re: wishing this tank could be plumbed to a larger system.
It does rather feel like a refugium looking for a display tank at this point. Unfortunately we're in a third floor apartment so we're limited both by space and weight restrictions.
<Another ahh!>
On that note, I ordered a couple of live colonies of copepods and phytoplankton along with some Chaeto. Figure little critters will help with incidental feedings at earlier life stages and Chaeto will help house the pods as well as export excess nutrients. I don't think this system will have much to eat them directly at this point so hopefully they'll
Happy reefing!
<And you. BobF>

re: Difficult Keepers in New System. Sm reef stkg. f'      5/30/17
An update, and a potentially concerning development!
Have been continuing heavy blended feedings twice a day and things seem about the same so no news is good news I suppose. Still have tons of barnacles and sea squirts that are very active, and I have a yellow tunicate that is spreading so hopefully that's a good sign (pic attached).
Nitrates are staying below 10ppm.
However, during those heavy feedings, I've seen not one, but TWO huge snails that I'm pretty sure are olive snails,
<I agree>
but also look a lot like cone snails. Can you possibly ID? They are huge, around 2" each, and stay in sand bed except during feeding. I'm sure they're doing some damage to my sand sifting critters. If they are olive snails, do you think I can keep one or both?
<I'd leave them for now>
Or will they eat too much microfauna? If cone snails, do I just remove them? I don't imagine it would be responsible to take them to the LFS, but perhaps I could release them on the coast?
<NEVER release anything non-native, NOR kept in aquariums, with non-indigenous species to the wild. Put undesirables in a freezer bag, in the freezer, and put out w/ solid wastes on "trash day". TOO much chance of
introduction of pests, pathogens.>
They're from Tampa and I can drive them to Tybee near Savannah. I don't think I can deliberately kill anything even if it doesn't belong in my aquarium (I mean it's my fault they're there in the first place even if unintentionally).
Hope you are well on this lovely Tuesday!
<Ah yes; thank you Laura. Bob Fenner>

re: Difficult Keepers in New System       5/31/17
Just to clarify, I would never release a non-native or captive-bred species. Only considered with these since I can confirm they are both wild-caught originally and native to the area. Found them on an ID site for Tybee fauna:
http://www.tybeemarinescience.org/naturalist/lettered-olive-snail/ (fun fact--this variety appears to be the official state shell of South Carolina).
<Neat! We have a similar species here in Cal.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivella_biplicata>
Good point re: pathogens though--did not consider cross-contamination. Not worth the risk to our beautiful beaches.
Hopefully with as much food as I'm dumping in the tank no freezer bags will be necessary. They're really neat. It's like snail Jaws when they come up out of the sand.
<And you dear Laura. BobF>

Mandrian; induced stocking troubles in sm SW sys.     3/27/17
Hello Crew,
<Hi Barbara>
I have a 25 gal. reef tank. Yesterday I bought a large mandrian that the store showed that he was eating frozen brine shrimp.
<Mmm; needs more than this. Please read here:

and the linked Mandarin FAQs files above>
He is eating them in my tank. I have a couple of questions. How often should I feed him?
<The reading; and soon. These fishes (Callionymids) need almost constant feeding to thrive... large, uncrowded, non-competitive settings>
I work from home and sit right next to the tank. The tank is a rimless tank that has no lid.
<Fishes jump out of these...>
I had a smaller size diamond goby and this morning it is gone.

I have looked around the tank and the back where the overflow goes and nothing. I can only assume it jumped but cant find it. The LFS said the mandrian and goby would be ok together.what are your thoughts on that?
<Not a good mix in such a small volume. The reading>
At the same time I bought the mandian I bought a yellow watchman and he is still there. My livestock currently is additionally a lubbock's fairy wrasse
<... see WWM re Cirrhilabrus systems... need more room and are superb jumpers>
and a gold nugget clown/small anenome

and 2 peppermint and cleaner shrimp. I don't plan to add anything else but I did enjoy the diamond goby cleaning the sand.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Biocube Stocking; Coral        12/1/16
Hello WWM,
I'm looking for coral advice on a Biocube 14.
<Alrighty then>
I have a heavily modified Biocube that's been up and running for about a month. I removed the lid and hung a Radion XR15 gen 3 approx 10" above the tank.
Stock flow upgraded with Cobalt MJ900 power head. Additionally, I added a Vortech mp10w.
<Also good, but be careful about having too much flow... You don't want a coral tornado. Now that I think about it though, a "Coral-Nado" would be pretty cool>
This is not my first tank, but, it is my first small tank. Approx 10 lbs of rock, 90% of which was completely dried from an established tank that was broken down almost a decade ago, and a half pound elite live rock to seed and start the cycle. Live reef sand from a bag about 3" deep. All 3 chambers have been completely gutted, only a heater resides in chamber 1 and return pump in chamber 3.
<All sound good. I hope you let the dry rock cure really well with the new, live rock. It may be worth adding more live rock to the tank>
Water quality has been spot on since the cycle completed. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate too low to test according to LFS and their cheap test strips. Water temp 80° SG: 1.024 and slowly trying to bring it up to 1.026 with water changes. 10% biweekly water changes using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals.
Livestock: CUC has, in my opinion, been introduced very slowly. I currently have 3 Nassarius snails (breeding like crazy), 1 Banded Trochus Snail, 1 Turbo snail (unknown specific type), 2 1/8th inch Blue Leg Hermit crabs (I already regret these).
<Ugh. You beat me to the punch on the crab comment... Watch out for those little buggers, they will trample and sometimes eat your corals>

Hopefully you haven't seen any issues yet because this is where I believe I screwed up.
<Seems fine other than the crabs. The turbo snails can get really big and knock corals off of rocks. They're usually fine when they're small, but it's something to watch out for>
Coral selection so far: 2 Green Star Polyps frags isolated on small islands in sand bed. Those are what I bought, everything else was a last minute toss in at 5$ per frag. Hammer Coral frag, about 1/2 inch diameter head. Devils Hand Leather, could fit inside a 1 inch ball. Random Birds Nest frag about 1 inch tall. The leather and GSP look happy and healthy (unless the hermits crawl on them). The birds nest still hasn't opened (its been 2 weeks) it's not changing color from when I got it (still pink) so I'm assuming it's alive. The hammer Coral has very, very slowly been fading in color and size. There's no skeleton exposed, but, it's definitely shrunken.
<Seems like a lot of coral to be adding all at once. Be careful with placement of all of them. Some corals have stinging cells that can reach pretty far. The GSP grow really fast too, so be ready to frag/trim as needed>
Now, I'm normally an add one thing at a time and wait and see how the tank stabilizes kind of guy.
<So what happened this time?>
Is it possible to wait this combination out in a Biocube 14?
<Might work but only time will tell. Just keep an eye on the parameters and make sure everyone is happy, healthy, and feeding>
On a side note the Hermits love walking on the Green Star Polyps causing them to close. They don't appear to be eating anything. Should I worry?
<Aha! This can cause a problem, and that's what crabs do. Keep an eye out for the GSP and make sure that they aren't constantly closed. This will stress them out and limit their ability to eat and could kill them over time>
I'm also hoping to add 1 fish soon, either a Green Clown Goby, or a False Percula Clown. Still on the fence there, what do you recommend?
<Depends on what you want to do with the tank. Little fish will be fine, but pick them wisely. As I'm sure you know, compatibility issues can arise with any specimen at any time>
Thank you for your time.
<My pleasure, James. Let us know if you have any other questions, but everything seems fair at the moment. Keep us posted. Cheers, Gabe>

Hi! Need advice on coral ID, pico reef stocking     2/25/16
Hi Bob, guys and gals,
<Hey Ken>
Thanks for maintaining this wonderful website! Over the course of my hobby,
it has proven time and again to be a most valuable resource.
Here in Singapore, my colleagues and I are in the process of setting up a small 8.3 gallon pico reef tank. Purely for boosting morale among our coworkers you understand :)
Sometime last week, we added a chunk of live rock with four of what we suspect are colonial anemones of some kind. At the LFS, the rock had been in a tank with another piece with many more of these anemones.
<Oh yes>
In the two days it has since spent in our tank, the heads of each polyp have expanded to be about 5cm across. This really varies though over the course of the day, depending on the light intensity, but 5cm appears about the average.
From what I can tell, the stems of each polyp are completely separate from one another and are spaced approximately 10cm apart. They seem attached deep within the crevices of the rock. Seen under blue LEDs, the stems, each about 1/2 cm thick, bear fluorescent green ovoid spots.
The polyps appear extremely responsive to external stimuli, expanding within 30 seconds of the lights coming on, and reacting immediately to touch or changes in flow.
<Good clues>
*We'd love to hear your input on identifying these critters, as well as any considerations we might need to take to keep them healthy.*
The polyps do not seem 'sticky' to the touch, which we hope to mean they might not pose too much threat to livestock we hope to add in the future.
On the subject of future plans, we are debating perhaps a trio of Sexy Shrimp (*Thor amboinensis*), and perhaps an anemone crab (*Neopetrolisthes maculosus*).
*Would the crab turn aggressive due to competition for host anemones? *
<Not likely, no>

We are also researching the viability of a small Royal Gramma (*Gramma loreto*) as the sole fish. *Would this be wise, bearing in mind this need not be a permanent arrangement* (I have a separate 210 gallon system it  can
be moved into when it outgrows the pico. *Can it also be relied upon not to inhale the Sexies? *
<This volume is a bit small for Grammas>
Would love to hear your thoughts on the mystery anemones (pics attached) as well as our future plans for this tank.
Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work!
<These appear to be Anemonia majano or similar. You can search/read Re them on WWM, the Net. I really like them... but some folks find they over-reproduce.... Bob Fenner>

Re: Hi! Need advice on coral ID, pico reef stocking     2/25/16
Thanks for the quick reply!
I find the anemones rather pretty, and very fascinating to watch.
We will read regarding the anemones, and reconsider the gramma.
<Real good>
Much obliged to you for your time.
<And you; BobF>

Planning new SW setup, been away for a while.      7/27/15
Good Evening WWM Crew,
Glad to see you guys are still going strong and helping so many people. I had to give up the hobby in 2009 due to the recession and after talking to a few co-workers and stopping by a new LFS (might be the only one is this small town), I think it might be time to dive back in. As much as I would like to get some huge 125+G setup like I used to have, I am now renting and thinking smaller might be feasible. I am looking at the Coralife BioCubes (29G) because if I had to pick it up and move it, etc., it wouldn't be impossible (not saying it would be easy). Mainly I like that it is all together in 1 box vs. plumbing, etc. I don't really have any specific questions, but more or less looking for some help in pointing in the right directions as I am just a bit overwhelmed at the moment. The biggest I could possibly go would be something like a 36/46G bow front, but I am not sure it would really have any real benefits over the 29 in terms of
livestock selection. I can see sand/rock in the cube along with a pair of Percula/Ocellaris Clownfish. Maybe a piece of coral or two, with a few snails and crabs for clean-up. Would that be considered a strong bio-load on a system that size?
<Should be fine. Be careful w/ the crabs though... opportunistic omnivores (like me)>
I see that Aqua C has a nano skimmer, AquaC Nano Remora PS, rated at 25G.
I trust that brand and would like to use it if the bio-load is small enough and not overload it.
I would even consider a small (1.25"), lone dwarf Angel with A LOT of live rock (little to no coral) but really not sure on the compatibility of the system size. If it were a simple fish only setup with a normal 29G tank (with 40 lbs of rock and sand each), with just the 2 clowns,
<Any size Lion would eat the Angel, Clowns>
crabs, snails, etc., how much filtration would really be necessary? Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to be cheap, just only want to spend what I have to and still get it right. I have over killed systems before and wasted hundreds of dollars... Can't afford to do that anymore. These thoughts are spinning in my head and could use a little
guidance and direction. I see that Bob has some books out on smaller systems that I haven't seen before. I see a purchase in the near future.
Thanks for all that you do! Regards, Jeremy
<Glad to see you back in the hobby! Bob Fenner>
Re: Planning new SW setup, been away for a while.     7/28/15
Thank You, Bob, for your time. My replies will be in double carrots.
Subject: Planning new SW setup, been away for a while.
Good Evening WWM Crew,
Glad to see you guys are still going strong and helping so many people. I had to give up the hobby in 2009 due to the recession and after talking to a few co-workers and stopping by a new LFS (might be the only one is this small town), I think it might be time to dive back in.
As much as I would like to get some huge 125+G setup like I used to have, I am
now renting and thinking smaller might be feasible. I am looking at the Coralife BioCubes (29G) because if I had to pick it up and move it, etc., it
wouldn't be impossible (not saying it would be easy). Mainly I like that it is all together in 1 box vs. plumbing, etc. I don't really have any specific questions, but more or less looking for some help in pointing in the right directions as I am just a bit overwhelmed at the moment. The biggest I could possibly go would be something like a 36/46G bow front, but I am not sure it would really have any real benefits over the 29 in terms of livestock selection. I can see sand/rock in the cube along with
a pair of Percula/Ocellaris Clownfish. Maybe a piece of coral or two, with a few snails and crabs for clean-up. Would that be considered a strong bio-load on a system that size?
<Should be fine. Be careful w/ the crabs though...opportunistic omnivores (like me)>
I see that Aqua C has a nano skimmer, AquaC Nano Remora PS, rated at 25G. I trust that brand and would like to use it if the bio-load is small enough and not overload it.
<<Yes as in overload, or should be ok if I go that route?>>
>As stated; s/b fine<
I would even consider a small (1.25"), lone dwarf Angel with A LOT of live rock (little to no coral) but really not sure on the
compatibility of the system size. If it were a simple fish only setup with a normal 29G tank (with 40 lbs of rock and sand each), with just the 2 clowns,
<Any size Lion would eat the Angel, Clowns>
<<Lion? I think you might have some saltwater in your eyes! :D I am not loving the idea of a dwarf angel in a small system, but it would be in there by itself.
Maybe I will see if I can find a tank raised specimen. I really do like dwarf angels, but if it isn't the best fit, then no need to force it. Has never ended well for me or the animal.
While reading up on the FAQs, I have seen one of my emails you responded to many years ago. Was I really that stupid? LOL>>
>D'oh!; thought I'd seen mention of a Pteroine< crabs, snails, etc., how much filtration would really be necessary? Don't
get me wrong, I am not trying to be cheap, just only want to spend what I have to and still get it right.
I have overkilled systems before and wasted hundreds of dollars...
<<Was looking at some very simple set-ups like the one I described and was wondering
if a 29-40G fish only with appropriate rock/sand and water changes would be enough of a  filter for only 2 clowns. I believe in protein skimmers, but would there be anything to skim with just the 2 clowns and clean-up crew? Or, would it over-skim and take too much out?
If there was an angel in the tank, it would be an obvious yes. The setup had just that and a bio-wheel and his parameters were fine.>>
>I'd have a skimmer<
Can't afford to do that anymore. These thoughts are spinning in my head and could use a little guidance and direction. I see that Bob has some books out on smaller systems that I haven't seen before. I see a purchase in the near future. Thanks for all that you do! Regards, Jeremy
<Glad to see you back in the hobby! Bob Fenner>
<<Glad to be back, even in this amount. Just kidding about the saltwater in the eyes. I am glad thatyou do things that you enjoy! I will continue to read up on smaller reef setups to see if it is worth it to me to try. I found an LFS online about 2 hours away that had a custom 40G cube. Would definitely feel better about adding another 33% volume for stability.>>
>Another; larger system in time. BobF<
Planning new SW setup, been away for a while.       8/23/15

I sent this in a week ago, not sure if you guys received it or if no one was available, that's no problem either.
<Had not seen. Thank you for re-sending>
Hey Bob and Crew, I have attached the previous message.
<Ah, good>
I went ahead and bought the Corallife 29 BioCube as it was the best choice for my limited options. Since our last exchange, I have tried to read up on the FAQs and articles about an hour per day and have also received copies of your works on small aquariums, "Reef Invertebrates" by you and Anthony Calfo as well as another copy of "CMA" (since I do recall letting a
friend borrow it a few years ago and probably won't get it back). Next on my list are "Aquarium Corals : Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History" by Eric Borneman and "Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1, Version 1.0: Reef Gardening for Aquarists" by Anthony Calfo.
<All worthwhile in my estimation>
I am mainly writing to ask if what I have determined thus far is correct.
It is better to keep just one type of coral in a closed system. All LPS, All SPS, etc.
<Yes; much easier to avoid allelopathy ills>
I really like the LPS varieties the most and coincidentally, they do seem to be the better choice over SPS in my case. I understand that the tank is extremely limiting as far as volume, spatial needs and potential allelopathy concerns. Not to mention stability. My makeshift stocking list as of this moment is Pearl/Bubble coral (Physogyra sp) (more of the
show piece, I like the bubble tip anemone look, without having an actual anemone in the tank), Duncanopsammia Coral (Duncanopsammia axifuga), Trumpet Coral (Caulastrea Currata), Candy Cane (Caulastrea Furcata), Torch Coral (Euphyllia Glabrescens) and/or Hammer Coral (Euphyllia ancora). It seems that the Euphyllia are aggressors and the Caulastrea are more on the peaceful side.
<This is so>
If the aggressors are on opposite sides of the tank, with (hopefully) plenty of rock separating them, do you think it would curb the aggression or would they just release their toxins from sensing each other thus poisoningmy system?
<Place the Euphyllias last, cultured (vs. wild-collected) specimens if you can, smallish in size; and DO quarantine/isolate for a few weeks... moving some water back and forth twixt systems to introduce all>
Would it be best to keep all of one genus or do corals act like fishes of the same genus and take on the personality of the Terminator?
<To some extent; the latter>
Also, I would get as small specimens as I could find, but I haven't seen or read much about their growth rates and where the limits on a small bioload as mine would be.
<Quite variable; given local conditions, nutrition>
It looks like I could use some advice regarding selection of livestock. I am still reading as much as my time allows also.
<This is best; the reading. Further; specific questions>
What I am going for is a nice looking reef tank with the darker colors of purple, blue and green from the corals (as well as purple coralline) and something bright orange/red to swim through them.
Will most likely be a pair of Ocellaris Clownfish; although I can't completely dismiss the idea of a very small (1-1.25"), solitary Flame Angel as the only fish. Although I know the tank is a bit small for it and that they're not exactly reef safe, I really do love this fish and all angels really. I still remember how my Emperor would follow me around the room, even fighting to suspend itself in the direct current of the powerhead to stay near me.
I know it's all best guesses until they're in your tank, but strong planning and forethought goes a long way.
I got a good laugh when I saw a few of my emails posted in the Achilles Tang FAQs, especially the one with the picture of cyanobacteria covering a storm outfall when I lived in Houston doing environmental work.
"<More persistent through space and time than civil servants!>" Still cracks me up.
<Heeeeeee! Can only imagine who wrote this>
Thanks for all you guys do!
Regards, Jeremy
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Stocking      7/26/15
Hi! I want to say first that I love your site... So much information!!
I do have a couple of questions that I could not find answers for, if you don't mind. I have a 20H tank, running for about 6 months. (I had a larger tank many years ago but had to take it down for a while.) Anyway, while I
am not brand new to this, I am rusty and my heart tends to battle with my head over stocking. Right now I have a scooter blenny that is fat and happy, a Tail Spot that is why but healthy and an Ocellaris clown that is a bit lazy. A few mushrooms, 5 hermits, a turbo snail, a brittle starfish, 1 pom pom crab, a yellow gorgonian, and a purple sea whip. I am wanting to add 3 green Chromis, and possibly either a Firefish or yellow- headed Jawfish.
Would this work, stocking wise?
<I'd steer away from the Chromis here... need more room; will fight, and if you're lucky, you'd end up w/ one. And I'd stock only the Firefish OR the Jaw>
I do a 2-3 gallon water change at least once a week, So I am not concerned about maintaining water quality. My concern is the fish having enough elbow room to be comfortable. Thanks so much for all you do!!Stephanie
<There are some other small fishes, non-fishes you might consider. Please do read through here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SmSWStkF15.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Saltwater Stocking      7/26/15

Wow! What an amazingly fast response! I was hoping, maybe, in a week or so might hear back. Color me impressed and grateful! :)
<And from Curacao no less!>
Thank you for the help - I now have another question... I originally though chrom is bc I read that they swim in the water column. Are there any other particular small fish that do the same that would fit my set up well?
<Again; the reading... I even have a book on stocking small systems (see Amazon under my name); though much of this is spread out/on WWM>
Thanks so much, again! Your group is awesome.
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Saltwater Stocking      7/26/15

Off to read more.... By the way, just to clarify, is the Firefish or Jawfish in addition to another fish or in place of?
<Just one of these or t'other. Other fishes are poss.>
Thanks so much! Enjoy your trip - hear it is beautiful there!
<So far... first time here; though have been to Bonaire a bunch. B>

May I ask you about a compatibility of species in a tank?      7/16/15
<Sure.... depends on what the other species are, the size (and to an extent shape) of the system mainly>
Adam Smith
re:       7/16/15

Hi Bob,
Thanks I'm setting up a 60 litre tank.
It's a 40 cm cube but 35 cm from wall out is use able the rest is filter bay.
Currently I have corals
<Let's see.... what types?>
a pistol shrimp, green banded coral goby, peppermint shrimp and will have the clown and mate for her.
<Need more room than this>

And maybe a mandarin trained to eat food.
I was wondering about having cleaner shrimp or coral banded shrimp
<The Stenopid can be real trouble... eater of fishes et al.>
Also thinking of a small star
And urchin.
<Again; the species.... some are suitable, most not>

I like interesting animals.
Any advice on compatibility would be appreciated as I know coral banded can be aggressive.
There are plenty of caves and overhangs in rock work and behind.
I have around 15 kg or live rock in the display and around another 3 broken up in the filter
Pic is attached but 4 bottom rocks at front were removed and replaced with sand.
This tank will also have a baby giant clam around 1 1/2 inch
Adam Smith
<The best thing for you to do is read on WWM re the groups of life you list. Really just too much to state, too many possibilities to key re here. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility question and introduction?        5/6/15
Hi, I've been reading quite a lot of questions and your answers on your site and you definitely seem like you can answer my questions!
<Oh! We answer, make that respond to all....>
Ok, so I'm currently cycling a 37 gallon soon to be reef tank, (by the way this is my first saltwater tank, I've had freshwater my entire life and I've been doing research for months getting ready but I really want to be sure I do it right) and my first question is if you can tell me if this would be over stocked or will these fish work for a 37 gallon: two ocellaris clownfish, a watchman goby and possibly a pajama cardinal? The pajama cardinal is just one possibility I'm throwing out there, I'm very open to other suggestions!
<Place this cardinal last... and keep your eye on it. With growth the species of the genus Sphaeramia tend to get aggressive>
I know that I need to add fish slowly, so I was wondering if I should add the goby first or the two clownfish first,
<Ah yes>
I understand that some clownfish can be aggressive so I'm concerned with adding them in the right order just to be safe.
<Tank bred specimens of this sp. are very easy going>
Also if a pajama cardinal isn't the best choice, is there another smaller fish you would recommend (obviously only if it will not be over stocked of course)
<Too many choices... let's have you scan (read) the many FAQs files on stocking such systems.... see the archived FAQs files on WWM... TAKE your time>
Thank you in
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Compatibility question and introduction?        5/6/15

Thanks so much!!! You got back to me crazy fast lol
<Have been called worse! BobF>

Tropical West Atlantic biotope; stkg.       3/12/15
<Oooh, a fave topic>
Greetings Wet Web Crew! I'll commence with the praise, your site is an amazing wealth of information and I'd like to thank you all for your work in maintaining it and answering the ceaseless deluge of questions we the unwashed masses bombard you with. And Bob, thanks to your books (primarily the Conscientious Marine Aquarist) I have become drastically more
thoughtful about how I approach the hobby.
<Ahh; thank you; though I must and do account myself as part of the unwashed>
I'm planning for either a 29 gallon biocube or a 20-25 gallon drilled with as large a sump as I can manage. I'm hoping to target a tropical West Atlantic biotope but I'm suffering a bit of confusion as to the conservation status and the legal protections for the corals from the region.
<Mmm; well; depends on where you're at... some countries allow use of their own resources, quite a few don't... >
There seems no shortage of maricultured rock available, and in a decent load of said rock one could expect to obtain a few assorted coral specimens.
But how do things go after that? Is there a gray area in trading frags grown from these?
<Have seen quite a few; yes. Dick Perrin's "Tropicorium" among others>
If not, are there any dealers specializing in aquaculturing these organisms?
<Not specifically as far as I'm aware... there's just not enough (perceived) demand, and many of the species, groups aren't deemed as beautiful as tropical Indo-Pacific types... Though I always and still consider that Manicina et al. would def. sell if cultured, small...>
And finally, what coral species are legal to wild collect in these regions?
<In the US? Scleractinians? None>
I'm certainly very interested in moving forward in my biotope plan, I intend to focus on the pearly Jawfish and develop a system to complement this burrowing fish as best I can. But I'd also like to grow some photosynthetic organisms as my lighting budget allows without being an irresponsible consumer of Gulf /Caribbean life, or ending up on the wrong side of conservation law (I don't fancy orange jumpsuits)!
<Oh! Well; you could try some of the hardier Gorgonians (Pseudopterygorgia...), sponges, Corallimorphs...>
I find the availability of maricultured live rock from just a few hundred miles away compelling, and it doesn't hurt that I could realistically hand collect specimens on my own. And diving on a live reef features high on my bucket list , the Caribbean and Keys seem most accessible for this goal.
<Yes; but again... the legality. Do check w/ Fish and Game, licensed collectors in the area>
If you could help shed some light on these topics for me I'd greatly appreciate it!
Charlotte, NC
<We'll be chatting further. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tropical West Atlantic biotope   3/29/15

Hi Bob, thanks for answering so quickly before! I hope I'm not trying your patience on email length or number of questions this time.
I'm ready to start moving forward on hardware and finalizing the stocking in my head (did I say finalize? I mean continuous beta).
<Ah yes; "Nothing is decided till it's done"... a fave spiel>
Building management is form on the 20 gallon limit. One issue with tank selection is that I'm always finding conflicting information regarding a Jawfish ideal sandbed depth, you guys state 4" as good while Schultz at reefkeeping.com believes 6" is a bare minimum.
<The deeper the better... here comes another broad stmt: "Life is a series of compromises"... similarly our systems. One doesn't want to "give up/trade" more and more depth at the "expense" of water volume at some point>
At the shallower depth, I believe it would be quite presentable in a 20 long, and reap the benefits of more gas exchange and horizontal swimming area.
<Ahh! Much better stated>
At Schultz's suggested depths I feel I'd have to compromise and choose a tall. I certainly want my future jaw to display his digging to his wee fish heart's content, so I'm a bit torn.
<Don't be>
My rough draft of stocking is O. aurifrons, Gobiosoma oceanops (mated pair if available, else single) and either a Gramma loreto or candy Basslet (need more research on him still). Am I pushing my limit on bioload?
<Not so much this as needed space for fish-comfort>
And is the recommendation for the Jawfish to still skip full quarantine?
<IF you're pretty sure it's hardy initially; yes... Otherwise, if it IS the first organism... it IS being quarantined wherever it's going>
Would likely acquire him first and let him settle in for a while before moving on to the gobies, and then the last.
Could you recommend any sites or sources for good underwater photography of the Caribbean that might serve my goal of developing better knowledge of the aesthetic and habitat?
<All sorts... just Google searches... dive service/company sites.... tourist bureaus...>
Would you recommend Albert Thiel's new book on nano reefs?
<Haven't seen it first hand, but his works are worthwhile>
It's difficult to find reviews on, likely because he is publishing and selling independently.
<Ah yes>
My last question is on the issue of stony coral were it to turn up on live rock. Let's say something like boulder star or Staghorn turned up, is there any legal issues regarding growing it out and fragging / trading it thereafter?
<There are not as far as I'm aware>
Thanks for all your help as always,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Fish Addition?      3/21/15
To Whom It May Concern:
First, love your site--you've helped me several times over the years, and I appreciate it very much. Particularly appreciate Dr. Fenner's book and comments--most helpful.
<Just Bob; have no doctorate; and/but thank you for your kind words>
So the question--I have a 29 gallon tank Ocean biocube where all residents are happy--the only fish are one pajama cardinal (had three and this one drove the others to death)
<Ah yes; as is their nature>

and one yellow watchman goby with a pistol shrimp as well as corals, hermit crabs, snails, and macroalgae. The tank is
two years and seemingly stable. I'd like to add one more fish--something active but preferably something that won't unsettle the current residents, though I'm willing to take the answer that such an addition is unwise, and enjoy what's there. Wondered if you had any recommendation--someone said a couple of clowns, but my cardinal is so present now--out in the front of the aquarium, even in the light, that I'd prefer something that he wouldn't find unsettling and fear the clown would drive him to hide during the daylight (hope I'm wrong).
<I do like the idea of the couple Clowns... tank bred... Colorful, interesting, even comical behaviorally, and hardy. First I'd remove and trade in the too-mean Cardinal>
I appreciate your help--as always.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Addition?      3/22/15

Thanks so much for your rapid answer...much appreciated.
From your answer, should I gather that you think the pajama fish would attack anything else that hung out in its part of the water column?
<Yes; way too likely>
I'd hoped its aggression was solely related to its species, as I've never seen any aggression towards the watchman goby.
<... a bunch going on here... diff. habitat; a bit toxic...>
I have grown fond of the pajama cardinal fish, as I've had him almost two years and he's a ferocious pod hunter, day and night, and fun to watch, so I'd be reluctant to trade him in.
<Then... either a new, larger system; or...>
What would you think of adding a yellow striped cardinal fish?
<Not likely>
Aggression from the pajama still likely? If so, I'll give up on fish additions and satisfy myself with the wonderful world of invertebrates.
Thanks again for your thoughtful and swift reply.
<Welcome. BobF>

Stocking a Nano tank      3/21/15
I have a 16g Innovative Marine Nuvo tank that is now fully cycled. At the moment the inhabitants are: 1 small Emerald crab
<Ooh, do keep your eye on this Mithraculus... do get bigger, meaner... eating snails, fishes in time>
and 5 snails. The tank has live aragonite sand and a combination of live rock and real reef rock. I would like to begin to add a small number of fish, a cleaner shrimp and eventually some soft corals. What type of fish would you recommend for this size tank, and how many?
<Mmm; I suggest you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/StkgSmSWsysArt.htm
and the linked FAQs files above>
Thank you for any advice and I hope to hear from you soon.
PS. Will you be emailing me directly or will you answer me in the forum?
<Directly. Enjoy the reading. Bob Fenner>

AquarioScenario (ASc). SW nano-small sys. stkg. DB       11/17/14
Dear Stakeholder, some news from SAIA:
AquarioScenario – Holistic Small-Tank Planning: Nano tanks help us aquarists to focus: with limited space, we need to make thoughtful choices about what we want to display. This is where AquarioScenario can assist you by suggesting possible combinations of marine life for each tank size. We have incorporated our work on the Lists of Unsuitable and Unsustainable Species, and also ensured the combinations of marine life suggested are suitable and compatible, considering not only size, but also behavior and needs of the species. Find more here: http://www.saia-online.eu/index.php/en/what-we-do/asc-engl
Review of the SAIA Fish Lists for 2015: We are glad to see that our recommendations on unsuitable as well as on ecologically unsustainable species have been well received. Each month they are downloaded several hundred times. However, it is time for review and update. Pls contact us with your suggestions, who should be moved from the lists, who should be added. Also report on any new species, which are available in sufficient quantity nowadays from breeding and thus shouldn’t be sourced from wild capture.
Entertainment: We have updated this menu item with new interesting and informative video material, mainly around the marine environment… Enjoy!
<Good idea! Bob Fenner>
Christiane Schmidt
Project Coordinator

Re: Wavering Towards Fish     10/28/14
Dear Bob,
I didn't quite understand one of your comments:
3) 1-2 Nemateleotris sp., perhaps N. decora.
Does that "could" mean "yes", or "with reservations"?
<The latter mostly>
I have read that said Firefishes they can be quite the escape artists,
<Indeed they are>
and are semi-aggressive (will not be happy sharing with various Gramma species ,hence, I won't be attempting this), but is there anything else implied in there that I am missing?
<Nope; this is/was it>
<Welcome and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for the rapid reply: 1 hour! I really appreciate it.
[You don't need to publish this bit. I've been browsing WWM for quite some time now, and with the help you've provided, I think it most definitely deserves the small donation I've sent over to you. You'll probably also save me many times that amount in terms of not killing livestock. :) Keep up the dedicated work!]
<Much appreciated Wesley. Cheers, BobF>

New to saltwater, lots of questions. Sm. TWA reef stkg.
Hello All,
I hope this isn't a dumb question. I am just now starting a new nano “reef” in a 20 gallon long tank.
A skimmer may be added down the line when I have livestock (weeks/months from now after my rock cures). I am aware of the limitations of such a small system, but I want to get my feet wet (pun intended) with a manageable tank. It is going to be a loose Florida biotope stocked with a few small and reportedly hardy Caribbean/Atlantic fish. Corals wise I want to stick with gorgonians,
<I'd skip seafans in such a small volume; you being so new. Not easily kept>
Ricordeas, macroalgae with perhaps a few frags of open brains. I am torn about sponges.
<I'd leave off with these as well>
I am tempted to try to keep one alive but I realize this may not be possible.
<Not practical>
I have done a fair bit of research on general saltwater tank husbandry and keeping corals, but one thing I cannot seem to find a good answer to is how one attaches corals to live rock!
<There are a few ways... from (best) just placing securely and allowing themselves to attach, to the use of "superglue" and epoxies...>
It seems like corals magically go from frag plugs to live rock. I have seen some just stick the plugs into the rockwork which I suppose would work too. What is the proper way to get coral on a plug off the plug and in your tank?
<As you and I state above>
Additionally, I have questions about quarantine. I am getting a lot of conflicting information. My LFS is reasonably okay but I imagine I will be getting most of my fish online and having them shipped (which I understand affects acclimation?).
<Better to do your own quarantine if you have time, can make simple facility for>
Here is my (tentative) planned stock list. Feel free to critique:
Mated pair of either Rusty Gobies or Neon Gobies (not both)
1 Swissguard Basslet
<Mmm; not with the below>
1 Black-capped Basslet (slightly worried about conspecific aggression with two Basslets)
<You should be... just the G. melacara or a G. Loreto here>
1 Horseface Blenny
<Just the gobies; not this blenny>
It is to my understanding that Gobies don't do well in quarantine (is this still the case?).
<They're fine; given a tube/pipe or such to hide in; low light...>
If I don't quarantine, what is the best way to rid them of any unwelcome additions?
<Dips/baths. See WWM re>
I am familiar with the concept of freshwater dips but there is a lot of conflicting information on how to do it and what to put in with the fresh water (if anything). I planned on getting the goby pair first in case of catastrophe so that way they don't kill off the rest of the fish. Worst case scenario I can move them into quarantine and let the tank lie fallow. For the rest of the list, are they okay to quarantine?
Should I do any dips before quarantine?
<After, enroute to the main/display if they're looking "rough" on arrival>
I have seen a lot of mixed thoughts about prophylactic treatment while in quarantine, but it seems most are okay with preemptive PraziPro. Should I wait until I see obvious illness or go ahead and treat?
<I'd wait w/ the fishes you list here>
I mainly don't want to kill off my fish or stress them excessively by improper dipping and quarantining procedures, especially if they are already stressed from shipping.
<You are wise here>
Thank you in advance for the help!
<Glad/happy to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: New to saltwater, lots of questions. Stkg. 20 gal. reef      10/27/14

I appreciate the fast reply! I figured my stocking list could use major editing. I know enough about marine fish that they can be nasty towards the same species but not enough to know who is going to play nice with
relatives and who isn't yet.
<Best to be/stay tentative>
Between the two Basslets, which is preferable?
<More the Loreto... stays a bit smaller, more used to bright light... Oh, I see below... the Swiss Guard, but not by much>
It's kind of a toss-up to which one I prefer aesthetically. I am disappointed the blenny won't work, but I'm sure there is a good reason?
<Too mean... esp. toward similar niche-occupiers... and particularly in smallish vol.s>
I just love that horsey face.
The (Heavily) Revised Stocking List:
* Mated pair of gobies (rusty or neon)
* Either the Swissguard or the Black-capped Basslet
* ?????
I would like to add another fish or two max to liven things up a bit. Not sure what would go well with that trio. The salty equivalent of dither fish. With fairly heavy biofiltration and a skimmer I should (of course will have to be proven by water quality and not guaranteed) be able to support 4 to 6 small fish, depending on species. I plan on stocking slowly with appropriate quarantine between fish, so I have some time to figure out what else I may want. And time to figure out I am at my max before I crash my tank....
Just for clarification, are you suggesting no corals at all or just not the ones I have picked as potentials?
<Better to do a bit more reading for now... perhaps introduce small Cnidarians a few months later>
I definitely want a reef tank (eventually) but need to go slow due to not wanting to crash my tank killing off $$$$ livestock and also because I am not made of money! Nothing good happens in a nano tank quickly anyways.
<Ah yes>
I may be adding like a frag or two a month when my tank is stable.
<Very good. BobF>

Nano stocking question     8/25/14
Dear Crew,
I have just started setting up a 16 Gallon, Innovative-Marine, all-in one tank in my office - finally fish where I spend most of my time! I added an ATO
<Mmm; do keep your eye on this, the spg... very easy to get into trouble w/ such automated gear on small volumes>
to help keep the salinity stable and have added a generous amount of Matrix to try to maximize the biological filter. I also intend to use frequent water changes, Purigen and Chemi-Pure to keep the water quality high and stable. With the 6 lbs. of live-rock, 10 lbs. of sand, pumps, etc., its effective water volume is about 12-13 gallons. I intend to stock it with Zoanthids, Ricordea and maybe a Doughnut (Acanthophyllia).
<The Zoanthids last... a few months after the others>
My question is, would it be appropriate to have a pair of Hi Fin Red Banded Gobies (Stonogobiops nematodes) and one Orange Stripe Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) in this tank?
<I'd skip the former (don't really go in small volumes though they themselves are tiny), and not mix the genus w/ Prawn gobies anyway. The simple/r statement would be just to stock the PG; w/ or sans the symbiont Alpheid>
I really like the Goby but am having trouble understanding Goby computability, and I do not want to over-stock. If this is not wise, and assuming that a pair of Hi Fin is appropriate, can you suggest another fish
that might work with the Hi Fins?
<All sorts... do the long read on WWM or borrow a copy of my later work on stocking small marine systems (on Amazon)>
Thanks in advance, and thanks for WWM - the best resource on the Internet bar none!
<Ahh, thank you for your kind words. Bob Fenner>

New Nano Livestock Advice    5/4/14
In the past I have owned a 125 and 55 gallon reef setup. Job change and a move forced me out of the hobby but am now jumping back in this time with a RSM 130D 34 gallon. In the process of cycling with 30 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of live aragonite sand. Trying to make a plan for future fish and looking for input from the experts. So my plan is in order of preference 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 Helfrichi Firefish, 2 Banggai Cardinals,
<I'd stick w/ one in this volume. Too likely to fight otherwise>
2 Neon Gobies. Eventually will have various easy soft corals as well.
Any conflicts? Too many? Order of addition to tank?
Andy Martin
<The Microdesmid first, the Gobiosoma last. Bob Fenner>

Fish dynamics. Easily over and mis-stocking a small marine sys. Apogonid f' stkg./sel., Chromis as well      2/10/14
Hi Crew, Just sharing. I have a 24 gallon and usually have six small fish. A year ago I had a Pajama Cardinal about 4 years old, a Clown Goby about 5 years old, a Firefish about 3 years old and a Bicolor Blenny about a year old. So I decided to get a pair of Hi Fin Cardinals and one really dominated the other.
<Yes; not enough room here... but for one Apogonid>
So I sold the dominant one. Then the remaining Hi Fin became bossy and My Pajama Cardinal would not come out and the Firefish rarely came out so I sold  that Hi Fin. The Firefish came out and stayed in the middle most of the day. It took The Pajama Cardinal about 4 weeks to come out and even then it was very skittish. I decided to add an Orange Striped cardinal
 so rather than 2 I decided on 3 and I also went for a Black Axil Chromis.
<Not a good choice here>
 I know it is too crowded but I can always fix that. The Chromis is around the size of the Pajama and is active. The Pajama Cardinal now is out all day protecting his little corner from the Chromis. Didn't expect that. The Firefish is hiding. I think the Blenny unnerves him. The Blenny is moving around much more and doesn't seem to like the fact that there is more competition for him. The Orange Stripes are very small, maybe 3/4 of an inch. But their mouths are very big. They compete for the food and can really eat some big pieces. As of now they look yellow rather than orange. Probably will not be able to keep all three when they are full grown. They stay together near the bottom and don't seem to mind that they are smallest in the tank. When food is there they go to the top besides getting it from the water column. Sam
<Sam; you're a candidate for a much larger system... or systems! I'd be looking about the place; maybe work as well... for location/s. Bob Fenner>

Reef Inverts &Vertebrates. Sm. mar. sys. stkg, circ.      1/7/14
Dear Crew,
I have a 10 gal reef tank. Filtration is a MarineLand hang on the back filter for a 30 gallon system I believe, not sure but its probably overkill(except I don't believe you can have overkill with a reef tank).
One Powerhead its 500gph.
<Better to have two smaller>

10 lbs of live sand, 6 lbs of live rock(trying to keep space for corals to grow in the future) I would like to stock it, but I don't want it over stocked. I currently have two varieties of Candy Cane Coral, Two Duncan Frags (I fragged them from a colony in my show tank a while back), and some Galaxea Polyps I am trying to save, they look pretty good, but time will tell. Anyway, it is lit with a 30 watt ReefBrite LED.
I plan to add Montipora digitata, and Acan lords. And, the for other life I was thinking about adding a feather duster, a few Thor amboinensis, one Nemateleotris decora, and a pair of Gobiodon strangulatus. Would this be over stocked?
<Mmm; no... as long as the gobies get along; the Oculinids don't grow to sting other corals>
I am doing frequent water changes, and don't think there would be any aggression problems to worry about. Are there other species of fish and shrimp you would suggest instead?
<Not w/o being you; knowing what you like... are trying to do. You've read through the numerous sm. mar. sys. stocking FAQs files I take it>
I chose the Shrimp because they are likely to hide in my Duncans which I think would be pretty, and I know the Gobies like branching SPS. Anyway, take care!
<I will, am. Bob Fenner>

Question about my tank set up, little reef... including stkg.   10/11/13
Good day!
<And you David>
I thank you for your efforts to help us as well as our marine friends live a stress free healthy life. Your site continues to be an invaluable source of help to the hobby.
<We are all pleased>
I am in efforts to double check my tank preparations, as well as solicit advice or suggestions concerning my planned stocking list. I'm no expert but hopefully not too much of a novice. I've done and continue to do research to make sure nothing dies on account of my negligence. I believe my plans are sound, though again, I am running them by the WetWebMedia crew as you know far more than I do, and can correct my plans. I apologize if this is a long tedious e-mail, I figure to give too much info rather than too little.
<Sounds/reads good>
I have a new 29 gallon biocube. I plan on it being a goby/shrimp tank, which I have not had previously.
As for the set up, I have a skimmer in the back. I am using the same skimmer as I have in my established biocube reef so I am confident in its ability for the new cube (Aquaticlife 115 mini skimmer). I also plan to set up a fuge in the back. I have the basket and lights ready to go. I added a Koralia nano pump and removed the elbow from the stock pump and put in some Eheim tubing to help water flow, replacing the outflow with a Y and additional loc line to get good water movement. I used some dry rock from Marco rocks (30 lbs). I bought two bags of "live sand" (20 pounds) and took a lot of established sand from another tank.  I built the rock structure I liked, with an eye for viewability of a future shrimp/goby burrow, placed it and then added the sand.
<Mmm; an interjection: you may want to add a bit of rubble at the burrow site, even a small length of 1/2 or 3/4" ID PVC pipe... sand along won't hold up/sustain a burrow; and your shrimp/goby may well instead look/dig elsewhere... under rock (which I hope/trust is positioned on the bottom, not sand)>
 I now have a sand bed of about 5 inches. It is mostly fine though it has some larger grains. (the sand is from a tank that has Jawfish, so the sand type is designed for Jawfish, don't worry the Jawfish still has 6 plus inches of sand in over a square foot of area around its home, I took from a section of the tank where the Jawfish has not gone in over a year) I have also added some extra rubble on top for the planned shrimp to make use of. I am going with the stock lighting for now, thinking one day in the future I might upgrade the lights and frag some of my corals.
My plan is for a high fin goby (Stonogobiops nematodes) and a Randall's pistol shrimp (Alpheus randalli). For tank mates I want more peaceful than I have in any other tank so a Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica) and a cardinal fish, though I'm not sure which one.
<There are a few suitable types... I am going to insert/attach an article on Apogonids for small systems I've recently penned for sale into the pulp 'zines and inclusion in a new eBook (v. 2 of stkg. sm. mar. sys.) that will be out in a few days on Amazon>
With the pistol shrimp I'm not planning to add crabs or snails for it to munch on. So I'm hoping to keep the algae in check with good water flow and filtration and water changes.
I set this up last weekend, so it has been about a week. Once the sand had settled, I added some fish food to get the cycling started. Since I used established sand I expected a quicker cycle. The "live" sand should also allow for quicker cycling, though of course neither makes for an instant cycle as the tank itself as well as the dry rocks are not ready. I started testing a couple days ago and have not seen any ammonia or nitrate spike.
Yesterday I saw that nitrates have jumped to around 10, which means I likely missed any spike.
I know its possible for the sand to be cycled and "ready," since I added so much established sand, but the tank should take more time I would think. I know no two tanks take the same amount of time to cycle but this seems really quick to me, I have not had my algae or diatom bloom yet so I am leery.
<Not to worry>
Now that that long explanation is over, is it same <sane?>  to add anything next week?
<You could... I'd wait on the shrimp for another few weeks>
 I am thinking it is safe to do a water change and add some Chaeto and amphipods and copepods. but I am very <leery?> of adding fish so early. I wonder if
it would be better to throw in a bunch more food and keep monitoring to make sure before adding anything. I didn't want to add the Chaeto early as I didn't want the diatoms to take it over.
<Again; I would not be concerned>
Am I thinking rightly and safely for the fish and inverts? since it is a small tank is my stocking plan ok?
<Yes and yes>
if so, any particular cardinal fish that you would recommend it if was your tank?
<As you'll see/read>
Again, I apologize for the length of this e-mail, and again thank you for your continued efforts for our hobby.
With gratitude,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about my tank set up  10/12/13

Wow! Thanks for the really quick and as usual helpful response. I sent the e-mail and went out to grab lunch. By the time I came back to my desk to much down the food before getting back to work I had the goldmine of info you sent me.
<Well, all right!>
The article was very helpful and I was glad to see my understandings/thought reflected in your discussion of the fish. In setting up my rock (yes it is on the bottom glass) I knew I was intending a cardinal fish so I created overhangs and set up shelter spaces as best I could in the small space.
As usual you helped me out a bunch.
<Ah, good>
Have a great day and a great weekend!
<And you>
(sorry for the spelling errors mistakes, and thanks for rightly understanding my omissions)
<Au contraire! Cheers, BobF>

Beginner corals    9/4/13
Hello wet web crew,    I have had my 30 gallon FOWLR tank set up for over a year now and I just emptied it of all of its inhabitants to make room for a mantis shrimp.  But as time passes I am having many second thoughts about the mantis.  I was thinking of adding of few corals and possibly an anemone to my set up?
<Not both>

  I know corals and the like are a whole new ball game but I believe I am up for the challenge.  I know my current light will not cut it so I am purchasing a 36" Coralife light with 192 watts between a 10,000 k daylight and an actinic bulb, I have around 30 lbs live rock, 30 lbs of live sand a Marineland BioWheel filter rated at 50 gallons and a Eshopps PSK-75 H skimmer rated from 10-75 gallons.  I might also add a sump to my setup soon.  I have been looking around online and in some LFS and I was wondering if I could add a Condy  anemone and some pulsing hand zenia? 
<Xenia... some downsides. Do see WWM re>
If these are bad choices what other corals are "beginner friendly" and would thrive in my setup?
<Let's have you read here:
Scroll down to Cnidarians for Small Systems>
 I am open to any type of coral I just have no idea which types would be a good match with a beginner like myself.    Thanks a million,        Erik
<Welcome; and when/where in doubt, keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Mandarin Dragonet Tank Mates      8/27/13
Hello, and thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.
Currently, I have a Coralife Biocube 29, which is home to one Maroon Clown,
<Mmm, this species of Clownfish gets too big for this setting... better to use a smaller one like Ocellaris, Percula>
and one Mandarin Dragonet (female, I believe).  I have approx. 35lbs of live rock, and 20lbs of live sand.  I purchased the Mandarin against my better judgment, because she tilted her head at me -
 the whole reason I say “against my better judgment” is because I swore I’d never get one, due to the fatality rate.
<Actually; not too high; likely middling for marines nowayears>
 However, knowing the fatality rate, and knowing I had a surplus of pods in my existing tank that she would decimate IF she lived, I toted my Mandarin, and two bottles of Tigger Pods, a bottle of Artic-pods, and a huge dose of determination home, and began the process of making “fish soup” with every single type of fish food I had in my house, and started massively overfeeding my tank, and sitting there, magnifying glass in hand, with the pumps turned off.  Determination has finally paid off!  I have a Mandarin that eats frozen food! 
<Ah good>
Her belly is no longer sunken, and is starting to round out nicely.  Her fins have all grown back, her color is beautiful, and I’m hoping I’ve beaten the odds - I still supplement the tank with pods every 4-6 weeks, and overfeed the tank (twice a day), which leaves me doing 10% weekly water changes out of sheer paranoia.  :D
That said - I’m in the process of also setting up a 55 gallon FOWLR tank, and would prefer to leave the Mandarin in the Biocube, and turn it in to a reef tank.  What I can’t seem to find, are any fish that won’t compete with her for food, that aren’t too territorial, and that are willing to just hang out in the water column.
<Look to the Gasterosteiforms... Seahorses, Pipefishes; Apogonids (some species)... Cardinals... there are others>
Do you have any suitable tank mate recommendations that won’t stress my little Mandy, that are also reef safe?
<Oh yes>
 Or, does the possibility exist that she may “teach” a male to eat frozen, if I were to attempt a second one, and just have a pair in this tank?
<Oh; this as well; yes>
Anything you can offer will be greatly appreciated!  I bow to your infinite wisdom.  :D
<I wouldn't bow too far. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

What is the cause; sm. vol. allelopathy      8/27/13
Hi Crew,24 gallon AquaPod over 5 years old, pretty stable with LPS, 3 cardinals, Firefish and clown goby. Last new coral was open brain about 4 weeks ago. This morning it looked like a tank being cycled. Very cloudy and it has been getting worse as the day goes on. Temp has been about 82  daytimes for the past few weeks. But the last few days it was down to 80.
Don't see any big change in corals or fish. Corals not getting good light so slightly less full. A couple fish hiding more than usual. A bloom just like that? Sam
<... Allelopathy... look up on WWM... my number one guess. I'd be changing a good deal of the water, moving the most recent coral out... This system is too small to just drop in Cnidarians w/o longer acclimation/introduction. Bob Fenner>

Domino damsel in distress... Whamba jammeda along w/ an Aplysiid in a 29 cube    7/7/13
Hi. I purchased a domino damsel about three days ago from the pet store.
My tank is already cycled and its about four months new and its a 29g biocube.
<Yikes... this Dascyllus is mis-placed here... Gets too large, too mean to house w/ other fishes in small volumes>
I have a fire fish that's been living in it for about three weeks already and he's doing fine and also a scooter dragonette. I also have a small red leg hermit crab and emerald crab and two snails. I also purchased a sea hare
<Umm, what species? You should find out ASAPractical. See WWM re... Read here:
and the linked files above re coldwater, too large specimens mis-sold in the trade for tropical use>
 the same day as the damsel because I have a ton of algae.
<... see WWM re this as well>
This morning I noticed he had some white spots on him..ick I am sure..and I just wanted to know if he would be hardy enough to shake it without having to remove him to a quarantine tank because I am not medicating my tank with my live rock in there. What do you think I should do?
<Read for now... Add Cryptocaryon to your WWM list>
 I know they are pretty hardy and he's still eating like a pig but I am not sure if it will get worse or this is just a stress related thing from moving the rocks around..I also added two new pieces of live rock the same day I got the damsel.
<You've added too much, too soon here... and organisms that don't fit in such a tiny space>
All the crabs and fire goby and scooter look fine ..its just the damsel. Thanks for any advice.
<Keep reading... Write back w/ specific questions after. Bob Fenner>
Re: Domino damsel in distress     7/7/13

I didn't realize I had overstocked it because they seem so small and the damsel is only but an inch big at the moment.
<... please... search, read re purchases ahead of time. This fish is almost always a "terror">
 I will keep the damsel because I  love it even though it will get big and ugly later
<... sigh. Not ugly ever>

 but I will also upgrade when the time comes for him also. After reading a bit about the sea hare it would seem he was not such a wise choice after all.  I think I will return all and just keep the damsel and the two crabs and algae snails.
Thank you for the help.

Purple Firefish Compatibility? (is a timid little fish…conspecifics aside) – 04/25/13
Hi there folks!
I love the forums and read till my eyes cross and words blur!
So much great info.
I was wondering, I have a Biocube 29 gallon with about 20 lbs of live rock. Right now I have two Percula clowns,
<<Mmm…this tank is a bit small for such, in my opinion.  Would prefer to see these in 40g+>>
a small Cardinal and one Blood Fire shrimp.  Would adding a purple Firefish work in this setup?
<<These are quite timid fishes…easily harassed/stressed…with dire consequences.  I think the Clowns would pose a problem re>>

I've had my eye on one for quite some time now and haven't seen much in the way of compatibility of these little guys. The people at my LFS say I shouldn't have any problems, but wanted a second opinion from another source (that doesn't have some sort of stake in this).
<<You have it [grin]>>
If Firefish won't be a good option, do you have a recommendation for another fish?
<<Hmm…  If you must, perhaps a small Dottyback like Pseudochromis porphyreus.  Small and colorful…and just pugnacious enough to survive/coexist with the established Clowns.  Though such behaviors (on both the Clown’s and Dottyback’s part) are very often exacerbated in small confines>>
Thanks so much!!!
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>
Re: Purple Firefish Compatibility? (is a timid little fish…conspecifics aside) – 04/26/13

Thanks so much for the info!!
<<Quite welcome>>
I'll be doing my research on the Dottyback.
Now, my last question: I'm finding conflicting information on feeding a Fire shrimp.
Right now I feed a Spirulina 20 flake to my tank members, and every couple of days adding some thawed vitamin enriched brine shrimp.
<<I very much suggest expanding this diet to include thawed frozen Bloodworms and/or Glassworms, Mysis Shrimp…and the very nutritional and palatable New Life Spectrum pelleted food (I suggest the 1mm pellets here).  You don’t have to feed all every time (though I do suggest a pinch of the pellets at least once daily)…and several small daily feedings are better than one big feeding…but your fish, indeed your whole system, will benefit from a better diet than what you currently describe>>
When I feed flake alone my poor shrimp comes out of his cave excited for food, but seems disappointed when he finds it's only flake and slinks backward into his home. I feel guilty!!!!! Should his diet be different?
<<It should, as mentioned>>
What should I be feeding him differently?
<<All of your tank inhabitants will enjoy and benefit from the foods I mentioned…the shrimp will especially enjoy picking the pellets from the rock/substrate>>
<<Always welcome…  Eric Russell>>
R2: Purple Firefish Compatibility? (is a timid little fish…conspecifics aside) – 04/27/13

Well, I went back to my LFS tonight excited to purchase the New Life pellets you folks recommended.
<<Yes…a very nutritious and palatable staple food>>
I was also going to buy some bloodworms as a supplement as you suggested as well. When I asked about them, the rep told me that bloodworms were only fed to freshwater fish!!!!!! What?!?!? Ugh.
<<I would not feed such to marine fishes solely…but they do have nutritional value, provide a different presentation/appeal…and these and Glassworms are excellent for getting problematic feeders to eat in captivity, in my experience>>
I do believe I will be relying on you good people and your knowledge for most all my questions from now on!!!
<<Perhaps you also need to find another LFS?>>
Thanks so much again!
<<Welcome again>>
(And my fish LOVE their new pellets!)
<<Knew they would! (and so good for them too!)  Cheers…  EricR>>

Re: Key worm eel - better pictures! Now comp./stkg.      3/18/13
Okay guys and gals, as always, thank you so much for your help and your website! Here's the next set of questions. ;) Mr. Squigglesworth and his girlfriend (the Key Worm Eels) have a Magnificent Firefish, a Blue-Green Chromis, and a Pygmy (Cherub) Angelfish all living peacefully together in a 35 gallon hex tank. We have decided that in the next few months, the eels will be moved to a 55 gallon tank to have more floor space.
<Sounds good.>
However, I would like to get a sand sifting goby for the 35 hex now that I can detect growth in the sand. The goby would be living with the eels temporarily until they move. I am partial to the Yellow Watchman Goby because of size, behavior, and looks but would like some suggestions.
<A lot to choose from. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobies.htm >
Also, eventually, I would love a Pygmy Hawkfish and a Cinnamon Clownfish. So, in the end; 35 gallon hex with: Magnificent Firefish, Blue-Green Chromis, Pygmy Angel, Pygmy Hawkfish, Cinnamon Clown, and a goby.
<The clown would do best with a partner and maybe an anemone if you have proper light and filtration. See
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfishart2.htm >
After the 35 is set, I'll also have the 55 set up that I'll need to stock so some of these guys can go in there instead, if it would be better. Just in case you were wondering, I admit my 'fishy' addiction. ;) but only if they can be completely spoiled rotten. ;)
<The 35 is already full in my opinion and I'd only add the fishes you want once the eels are removed. Also, I'd plan to take at least the Cherub angel to the larger tank.>
As always, you all are my go-to resource for knowledge, even if I can't really have all the fishies :) Sandra in Florida, USA
<Thanks for your kind words! Cheers, Marco.>

29 Biocube... stkg., foods for "corals",     3/22/13
Hi there, First time writer.
<Ahh; you are a stranger here but once. Welcome>
I am new to the hobby and love it! I have a 29gallon biocube. I have been doing this for about three months now. The tank was set up for two years before I bought it. I have Ocellaris Clownfish, Yellow Watchman Goby, Purple Firefish,  and Kaudern's Cardinal fish. I have a few pieces of lps, sps, and one small toadstool leather.
<This last; Sarcophyton, may prove problematical in time... get very large (much bigger than this tank), and produce/release copious amounts of five carbon compounds that can be toxic to other life... esp. if "challenged">
 Everything is healthy, but has seemed stressed lately due to Nitrates.
They have been running around 20ppm. I feed new life spectrum pellets and Mysis. Pellets in the morning and Mysis at night. I feed very light small pinch of pellets which they consume in about 15seconds. The Mysis I feed maybe a quarter of a cube a day. Coral feedings. I feed a small piece of a algae sheet twice a week for my snails at night and remove what is left in the morning. Normally its all gone in the Morning. I feed my corals twice a week. Kent marine ZooPlex and marine snow.
<These foods aren't worthwhile... the one is a source of pollution, the second a placebo. I'd leave both out, count on foods fed to your fishes alone here>

 I target all my corals twice a week. I do five gallon water change the next day after second feedings of corals. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Calcium 420, Carbonate hardness 10dkh, Ph 8.2, and Magnesium at 1250ppm.There are three chambers in the back of the biocube. In the first chamber I have a AquaticLife Internal Mini Skimmer. It seems to do well. Fills the collection cup with nasty brown stuff every other day. the second chamber I have rock and charcoal with filter pad over the top of the rock that comes with the system. Third is my pump, uv and heater.  So I have been reading all over the internet and saw a few post of people having the same problem.
People told them to remove the rock from the chamber that it was not needed and that was where all the Nitrates were coming from. I thought of doing that slowly and vacuuming the chamber, but isn't that where all my bacteria to keep my sweets alive is at? Hope you can help? Becky
<Leaving out the bunk "coral foods" will highly likely solve the NO3 issue.

Bob Fenner>
Re: 29 Biocube    3/22/13

Hi Bob, Thank you for such a fast response. So far the Cardinal fish seems stressed free and not bullied. I will keep a eye on him for sure especially as he gets older. So do I target feed the lps corals?
<You can offer them some "extra" Mysis a couple/three times a week if you'd like>
Do I keep feeding the same amount I have been? I have tried target feeding some of the lps I have, and the Mysis seems to blow right past them.
<Mmm, try temporarily turning off the pump/s, using a dedicated turkey baster (or eq. commercial petfish tool) to blow the meaty items onto them... after offering some, juice to the tank ahead for a few minutes>
 lol The only thing I seen take it well is my Duncan coral.  I also do feed them at night when lights or off and tentacles are out.
<All can/will be trained to accept foods with lights on in time>
 Are there any corals food that is good?
<Depends on what one calls/labels as "corals"... There are very few purposeful foods sold in the ornamental aquatics interest that are specifically of use for Cnidarians... However, "loose", and used "fish foods" are often of great use, as are in situ produced single celled algae for some species, some small animals..., bacteria and more>
 Thanks, Becky
<Ah, welcome. BobF>
Re: 29 Biocube    3/22/13

Bob, I will start trying to feed them tonight. Tomorrow is water change day so tonight will be a good training day. So should I  disregard worrying about removing my rock from the chamber? I will leave you alone now. I know your busy. Becky
<I would leave it in place. B>

Compatibility in a 29g FOWLR - 12/19/2012
Hello, and happy holidays to all!
I have a 29 gallon FOWLR tank with 3 blue/green Chromis, and a bicolor Dottyback in my quarantine tank.
<Thank you for practicing proper quarantine.>
I had an Ocellaris Clownfish, but it died.
<I hope you have investigated why, and rectified any troubles....>
I would like to add one more fish to the mix. I'm thinking about setting up a second quarantine tank which could hold another clown or perhaps a Dwarf Angel.
<If you do this, don't do a dwarf Angel.  Centropyge, for the most part, are active, inquisitive fish that "take up" a lot more space than their small size would suggest.  They also prefer to not be crowded, and to be the fifth fish in an already too-small space for the fish would really be unfortunate.>
I would keep the Dotty in quarantine longer so that could put it in the display tank last. Does this sound like a good plan?
<To keep the Dottyback in quarantine longer?  Yes, I'd say so.  Won't hurt, and could help.>
And which would be better with the Dotty, a Clownfish or an Angel?
<In the small space afforded by your tank, as above, I would absolutely not do an Angel.  The clown would fare much, much better.>
And will the Chromis be safe in a 29 gallon tank with a Bicolor Dottyback?
<Possibly, but tough to say.  They can be a bit rough on smaller tankmates, and that is a pretty small space.  Hopefully all will go well, but you might want to have a "plan B" in case things don't go as one might hope.>
Thank you!
<You're welcome!  Best wishes,  -Sabrina> 

Stkg. a 29 SW... FO... using WWM  - 12/01/2012
Hi, Jackson here.  I'm planning on setting up a 29g high saltwater fish only tank.  I know for sure that I'm getting a pearly Jawfish, but I need help with others.  I was thinking 1-2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Chalk Bass
<Mmm, no; not enough room... for this genus here>
 and a Firefish/Chromis.
<? See WWM re these... >
 Too much, or do I still have room?
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Your answers and much more that is pertinent are organized there for your edification/use. Bob Fenner>

question about SPS and softies compatibility, sm. sys., Cnid. mix incomp.  - 10/15/2012
Greetings and Salutations,
<And to you>
Again thank you for your patience and hard work in helping our hobby/industry. I am writing to ask about the compatibility of corals specifically some SPS with some softies. I have maintained a mixed reef without issues in a 150 gallon system but now am planning on a small system and so have a question.
My 29 gallon Biocube currently has a small Green Star Polyp colony (*Pachyclavularia violacea), *a Devil's Finger Leather (Lobophytum sp.) about 3-4 inches when extended during the day, some various Zoanthids about 30 polyps, some mushrooms (Actinodiscus sp) about fifteen or so, a 4 inch hammer coral (*Euphyllia ancora*), three 2-3 inch frogspawn corals (*Euphyllia divisa*), a 4 inch Bubble (*Plerogyra sinuosa*) and three growing into five stalks of some candy cane coral (Caulastrea furcata).
<Impressive that all this is getting along in such a small volume>

As for fish I have two Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris) in the process of pairing and a Yellowline Goby (Elacatinus figaro), all are ORA tank bred. All are thriving in current conditions: a 3 inch sand bed, lots of live rock (the tank has been up and running so long I forget how many pounds), a cleaning crew of small hermits and snails, and of course the countless little creatures. I run the stock lights, an AquaticLife Internal Mini Skimmer 115 (24/7), I upgrade the stock pump to a Rio 6 (500 gph) and added a Hydor Koralia nano powerhead (425 gph), I utilize activated carbon, and Phosguard along with standard filter floss.
I do biweekly water changes.
As stated above,  I am thinking of making some changes and additions. I am removing the elbow fitting for the bulkhead from the pump today (learned that this piece restricts the pumps flow rate) and simply running some Eheim tubing from the pump to the bulkhead. Depending on how the flow into the system increases I may then add a "Y" fitting and split the flow into the tank.
<All right>
I am further thinking of upgrading the stock lighting to some LEDs capable of SPS growth. I'm in Dallas Texas so in the summers the setup can warm up the water an awful lot, so I am drawn to lowering the heat from the lights (after I added the skimmer, in the summer the tank temp gets to 82ish).
<Sounds good>
 The ability to add SPS coral
<Mmm, no; not in this size/shape system w/ the other Cnidarians you list... not likely to work>

 to the mix is something I am interested in as well. However, in doing research before actually doing anything to the system, I have read various and sometimes conflicting info on SPS with the softies that I have.
<Mmm, not really the Alcyonaceans, but the other groups>
If I do add some SPS I am interested in Acroporas, particularly perhaps a Staghorn, as well as the plating type Montipora capricornis. My concern is with the chemical war that the softies wage, particularly since it is a small system.
<You are right to be concerned>
I've read some aquarists speak of the green stars as the worst aggressors while others claim theirs have always played nice in the aquarium. Some say never mix and others say mixing is fine. As with most things in this hobby as there are so many variables no simple hard and fast rules exist.
<Again... not likely to coexist>
The thought is to move the LPS down in the tank keeping them well away from any other coral so their sweepers don't hit, the SPS would be placed above and away from the leather which I would keep near the tank's intake, and the mushrooms, and polyps remain at the bottom. My question is given the current inhabitants and my theoretical changes to the system is a mixed reef a real possibility or should I simply not add the SPS?
<The latter; I wouldn't do this here. Wait till you have another system, or a much larger one to mix all>
Additionally, if it is possible are there any other thoughts on placement of corals to keep them from hurting each other?
<Not really, no>
Thank you greatly for your time and consideration!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: question about SPS and softies compatibility - 10/15/2012

Thanks again, your help is greatly appreciated by hobbyists like myself and our aquarium dwelling friends.
<A tremendous pleasure and honour to help. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Plan, small reef     9/25/12
I have a 40 UK gallon main tank with a 20 UK gallon sump
I have 35 kgs of live rock and the tank has been established for just under one year now.
I have 1 common Clownfish, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Flame Angel,
<Mmm, really needs more room than this>
2 Halloween crabs, 1 Red Hermit crab, 2 Conches, 7 Turbo Snails and 1 Cleaner Shrimp plus a few soft corals
I would like to add a Yellow Tang but from research appreciate that the tank is too small.
<It is>
I am thinking therefore of adding some or all of Foxface,
<Too small for a Siganid as well>
Valentini Puffer, Convict Tang,
<Mmm, not Tangs here period>
Wreckfish, Damsels. I would greatly appreciate any comments on this stocking plan, especially which species of Damsel would suit best. Regards Rob
<Mmm, do please peruse the Pomacentrid Selection/Stocking and FAQs files per genus (some faves in the genera Chrysiptera, Pomacentrus...) Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking Plan    9/25/12

Many thanks for the prompt response. I have spent many hours trawling the pages of WWM, learning some great things along the way but, as a beginner it is quite daunting and I wondered if there was scope to post a few sample suggested stocking plans for say 3 sizes of set up as a guide for those who have no fish at all
- may save the same questions coming up so often and save a few expensive but well intentioned mistakes - just a thought. Regards Rob
<Thanks, BobF>
Re: Stocking Plan   9/28/12

Many thanks - lots of research later my revised suggested stocking list to add to 1 x Common Clownfish, 1 x Royal Gramma, 1 x Flame Angel,
<Again, I wouldn't add this fish... maybe one of the really dwarf dwarf Centropyges instead. See WWM Re>
1 Cleaner Shrimp in my 40 UK Gallon tank + 20 UK gallon sump is: 2 x peppermint shrimps, 1 x Blenny (Midas or Bicolour) 1 x Banggai Cardinal, 1 x longnose hawkfish,
<Neither this... your tank's too small>
1 x yellow Watchman Goby. Would like 3 yellowtail Damsels (from what I read should add these last of all?) if these will be too aggressive then some Blue/Green Chromis (research suggests 5 but too many for my tank - would 3 be enough?)
<Three maximum. B>
Regards Rob
Re: Stocking Plan   9/29/12

Thanks but getting a little demoralised now - is my tank just too small for anything of any interest in which case should I just give up until I have saved enough for say a 125 UK gallon tank or is there something I can do with what I have?
<There is indeed a bunch that can go well in such a volume...>
 Just seems to be a string of "that's too big" "wouldn't add that".
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SmSWStkF15.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Stocking Plan, small reef     9/25/12
I have a 40 UK gallon main tank with a 20 UK gallon sump
I have 35 kgs of live rock and the tank has been established for just under one year now.
I have 1 common Clownfish, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Flame Angel,
<Mmm, really needs more room than this>
2 Halloween crabs, 1 Red Hermit crab, 2 Conches, 7 Turbo Snails and 1 Cleaner Shrimp plus a few soft corals
I would like to add a Yellow Tang but from research appreciate that the tank is too small.
<It is>
I am thinking therefore of adding some or all of Foxface,
<Too small for a Siganid as well>
Valentini Puffer, Convict Tang,
<Mmm, not Tangs here period>
Wreckfish, Damsels. I would greatly appreciate any comments on this stocking plan, especially which species of Damsel would suit best. Regards Rob
<Mmm, do please peruse the Pomacentrid Selection/Stocking and FAQs files per genus (some faves in the genera Chrysiptera, Pomacentrus...) Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking Plan    9/25/12

Many thanks for the prompt response. I have spent many hours trawling the pages of WWM, learning some great things along the way but, as a beginner it is quite daunting and I wondered if there was scope to post a few sample suggested stocking plans for say 3 sizes of set up as a guide for those who have no fish at all
- may save the same questions coming up so often and save a few expensive but well intentioned mistakes - just a thought. Regards Rob
<Thanks, BobF>

Blenny & Hermit Crab Compatibility, in sm. SW   8/28/12
Hello WetWeb ,
I have a six gallon tank that is about 4 1/2 years old, stocked with about 4 pounds of live rock, Xenia, Halimeda, a little hair alga and some other soft algae growing from the live rock. Not the most exciting tank so I'd like to spruce it up and add a couple twin spot blennies (Ecsenius bimaculatus)
<May fight here>
along with one or two hermit crabs (C. diguetti). Would the crabs likely leave the blennies alone - assuming the fish are healthy?
<Mmm, yes>

 (Or maybe I should ask, are these blennies fast enough to get away from diguetti hermit crabs?)
Also the details written on the blennies from the vendor I plan to get them from says that its okay to keep the blennies in "numbers" as long as they are introduced at the same time. What do you think about this?
<A gamble... in the wild members of this species, this genus are found either solitarily (more so when young, small) or in groups... but one can see that not just any individuals drift to/fro into others territory>
Do these fish generally do better in groups or by themselves in a nano tank?
<I'd keep singly; or at least have a contingency plan to separate>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Tail Spot Blenny in a 20 long/Fish Selection/Small Aquariums 4/29/12
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Collin>
I have a 20long tank with about 15 lbs of LR and 20lbs of LS, an AC70 running carbon and normal floss as well as a DIY protein skimmer.   This will be a small LPS reef for me and I'm at the point where I'm making my fish selection list.  I'm going to stock my tank with (hopefully) three small species of fish.  My main choice being a Tail Spot Blenny Ecsenius stigmatura.  I would like to add some kind of shrimp goby/ or a clown goby.
 Would either of these be a better choice than the other?  I know my options for stocking fish are minimal if that.  Can you recommend a small species that would spend its time in the water column? 
<Perhaps one of the colorful Dottybacks.  See here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm
And here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm
Thanks for having such a great resource on the web,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

planning the softy tank, for two week vacation intervals      3/13/12
Hey all! This is my first time messaging you folks on the salty side as i look forward to setting up my 20 gallon tall tank as a soft coral reef tank.
I've been researching for 3 years now but now feel confident to take the plunge. There is however one problem I'm having difficulty with sorting out...and that is vacations! As much as i love vacations i don't love leaving my tanks alone especially when we can be gone for up to 2 weeks.....
<Not too problematical...>

Any ideas of how to make a 20 gallon tank ready for a 2 week period of no regular care?
<Timers for lighting... if there's issue w/ steadiness of electrical power, perhaps an UPS... IF concerned, an automatic feeder to provide some sustenance; though in almost all cases, offering no food for this period is better>

For top offs id obviously do and auto top off machine
<You could... again, IF there's not much evaporation, I'd just leave the system till your return. Bob Fenner>
Re: planning the softy tank, other stkg.      3/14/12

Thanks Mr. Fenner! Just out of curiosity if YOU were to stock a 20 gallon tall tank, what fish would you choose?
I was thinking a pair of Percula clownfish and a shrimp/goby pair...
Any ideas would be fantastic!
<Mmm, please take your time reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm
and the many linked files above. BobF>

Livestock   2/21/12
Hey crew,
I must thank you all in advance for the massive amounts of useful info WWM supplies. I am a high school student (lousy speller)
<Use the spell-grammar checker... a good learning tool>
 and run my own small aquarium maintenance business.
<Ahh! I did this as well, starting in H.S., for 19 years>
 One of the tanks that i maintain is a 29 gallon biocube that was previously a nano reef and did not do well. Currently the tank has plenty of live rock, is well cycled with good water chemistry and no fish. I hope to turn this into a truly unique fish tank and would love for your input on how this may be accomplished.  I thought it would be interesting if i were to create a nice display without using any fish, but rather some nice hardy inverts.  I am open to suggestion and have been thinking of maybe using a few reef lobsters (not sure if several different species can be kept together and which species would be best).
<Not compatible>

 As this tank will be seen by many children it should be fun to watch and colorful. Please let me know of any inverts or perhaps a combo of several inverts that would make a nice display.
Joe B
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm
scroll down to the tray: "Small Marine Systems". Bob Fenner>

Montipora Lighting
Good Afternoon!
I have been hearing mixed reviews on the lighting requirement for Montipora and the FAQs on SPS lighting aren't really to the point. Can Montipora be kept successfully in a 29 Biocube with two T5 HO bulbs one blue and one white?
<Mmm, "can". Not easily done, but possible>

 I am particularly interested in Purple Undata aquacultured by ORA. I have heard that plating Montiporas can be kept in Biocubes close to the top and ORA's site says moderate to high lighting. Can you please confirm or refute any of this information?
<I do confirm it. In fact, most all (90 plus percent of what they state) of ORA's information I find to be accurate, useful>
 I am also fully prepared to feed it anything it likes since I have some NPS Gorgonians that enjoy just about everything in the Reef Nutrition line along with live and frozen copepods and frozen prawn eggs.
On another less pleasant note I have some worms eating my coralline algae.
They are strictly nocturnal and look much like peanut worms but longer and very skinny. There are at least two of them and around the holes they come out of every night the coralline is vanishing very quickly. I can happily put one more small fish in my Biocube without crowding or even maxing my bioload if it will enjoy eating the worms.
<Look into the genus Pseudocheilinus... See WWM re... beware the sixline tends to be "mean">
Thank you again for ALL the wonderful help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

New setup for Seahorses   2/7/12
Hello!  I have been searching your site and the web for several weeks and have answered many questions while raising others. (there is a lot of conflicting information out there!) I have a 46 gal bow front saltwater tank which I LOVE and recently purchased a second tank with the specific intention of having seahorses.
My new tank is a 24 gallon Cardiff, I have just set it up this past weekend with water, live sand, and high quality live rock. I have a great LFS locally who gets tank raised Seahorses from ORA in FL. I would have gone larger but cannot fit more in my apartment right now!  I have seen info stating I can have two pairs in my tank, which I would LOVE, but it seems like that would be too much to me. I would like an opinion on whether my tentative plan seems a good one.
<Depending on species; unless you're talking/considering a definite small/dwarf species, I'd stop at two individuals here>
I want to have a pair of H. Erectus Seahorses,
<Just two>
 based on size suitability and overall hardiness. because I am limited in space and types of compatible tank mates I want to have a few very unique and special specimens in addition to the horses. I want a pair of Harlequin Shrimp,
<You're aware of their feeding restrictions, issues of likely pollution from? Are also quite reclusive...>
 and a Mandarin Dragonet, and possibly a purple fire goby. There would be snails and Peppermint Shrimp, one Beautiful Blue Maxima Clam and a few colorful easy corals good for someone just starting out with keeping corals. (recommendations welcome).
<Posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
I saw a gorgeous Birdsnest coral, and a few I can't recall the names of that had lovely soft grassy-like movement in the water.
<Do study... and be placing these last, in a systematic fashion... Small specimens; captive-produced frags best... less aggressive chemically and physically first...>
I have a Mandarin, tank raised and healthy on hold right now at the LFS. He is eating well and I will be bringing him home to the 46 gal until the 24 is ready for him to transfer into. I know I will be required to do weekly water changes to keep my horses and corals happy, as a good caretaker I am prepared to do what is needed. I tend to research A LOT to the point of obsession but would rather do that with living creatures than not learn enough!
<Good. Read; keep good notes, and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>
Your thoughts on the Harlequins and feeding would be appreciated. My LFS did not agree that Choc Chip Stars are safe with Horses (as I read online) so I am wondering if I will need to have a separate hospital tank just for my feeder sitar fish, OR if you recommend a specific type for this purpose? I thought about sticking them in the sump but afraid they might crawl out. I am prepared to either feed one leg at a time or the entire star as needed.
Thank you in advance for any insight - I have learned a lot from your site!
P.S. - Because I can't help but share, my 46 gal has a mated pair of True Clownfish (Hera & Zeus) who swim like drunk epileptics and I LOVE it, a bonded Watchman Goby and Pistol Shrimp (Felix & Oscar respectively) one Blenny (Scooter of course!) one Cleaner Shrimp (Chester) as in the molester - he is all over everyone including my hand when I need to get in there....
Frick & Frack the Peppermint Shrimp,  Jacques, the Electric Blue hermit crab with a definitive taste for escargot...  And heretofore un-named  Anemone Crab, Sally Lightfoot Crab (Sally! What else) and Gene Jr, my Horseshoe Crab (my one impulse purchase, who will be getting a larger tank when I move and get my 150 or larger)

Algae ID question, and a few others. Stkg.   2/4/12
Hello, and thank you so much for providing a true wealth of knowledge for this fascinating hobby!
I have a 29g reef aquarium that is now several months old, and doing great!
Lights: 48watts T-5 HO, 1 10k bulb 1 420 actinic bulb.
Filtration:  Emperor 350, AquaC remora w/ Maxi-jet1200 (change carbon monthly so far in emperor)
Weekly water changes of 5 gallons.
Two blue-green Chromis
Two Black Ocellaris clownfish (mated)
One Flametail Blenny

One Maxi-Mini carpet anemone (also in picture.. has doubled in size in just under a month.. now 4" in diameter, I've heard these can reach 8"!?)
Two colonies of Xenia coral, my first and only coral in the tank.. doing great so far.
Four blue legged hermits.
Four turbo snails.
One peppermint shrimp.  (Bought him to help control an Aiptasia outbreak I noticed after some rock was added... he did a fantastic job and keeps the bottom looking grand.  I've heard these do well in groups, is it smart to add more or too much of a stress on the bio load?)
<I'd leave one as a singleton here>
Untold numbers of Nassarius snails (started with four, but they seem to be reproducing rapidly, should I be worried?  Small ones keep cropping up, but my sand looks great.)
Water parameters:
8.0 pH
12 degrees dKH
440 calcium
0 ammonia
0 nitrite
0 nitrate (finally at 0 after a few weeks of it still being on the charts, assuming my water changes are whats helping)
.25ppm Phosphate (from the tap water I use, undoubtedly... but everything seems fine?)
<Don't panic>
I test water weekly and things seem to be getting really stable.  My question today is regarding the algae in the photograph.  It came on the rock that I purchased along with my maxi-mini carpet anemone, and while it was originally covered in several types of algae, this is the only one that my snails/crabs do not eat.  It seems to be growing well with my lighting, and is growing at about a half inch a week.  I love the way it looks and have read on your website that macro algaes can serve a great purpose in helping export nitrates etc.  If this looks desirable to you all then I'd love to keep it, and then have a question as to when I should groom it.
<I'd cut this (Bryopsis) back weekly, while doing water changes; vacuum out...>
  I have heard algaes can go "sexual" (this seems to be a common reference with Caulerpa, which it looks like this is not) and is that something I should worry about?
  How frequently should this be trimmed back, and how much should I trim back? 
<Keep it confined...>
According to the visual algae ID chart, and the Algae ID FAQ's on wwm, I believe it might be Derbesia sp.
<This or more likely Bryopsis>
One last question while I have your ear.  Is my current stock list looking OK?  I am thinking of adding a Derasa Clam (the LFS has one that looks great and has looked great for several weeks) since I have heard that they are one of the easier clams to keep. Also, my final fish will perhaps be a Dottyback (strawberry Pseudochromis? or suggestions on any that would work well with my current stock)  Should I worry about the Pseudochromis not getting along with my blenny? 
<Yes; I would have just one or the other here. A 29 gal. volume is borderline in terms of stability, stocking options>
They have similar body shapes.  I'm also concerned that I might be overstocking at this point.
Thank you for any advice you can provide.
<thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>


30 gallon fowlr stocking   1/25/12
I have a 30 gallon cube FOWLR that has about 15 pounds of live rock and has been running almost two months now.
I also have a powerhead for circulation, a reef octopus bh 100 hang on back skimmer and a HOT magnum power filter (also hang on back) for mechanical filtration.
Do I need to run carbon in the magnum filter?
<I would... but only change out monthly or so. Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cratuse.htm
and the linked files above>
 So far I just rinse the filter media weekly.  I will start making 5 gallon water changes monthly now that the cycle is completed.
I have already added a turbo snail, two small hermit crabs, an emerald crab, and a peppermint shrimp (but I never see the shrimp).
<Might have been eaten by the Mithrax/Mithraculus/Emerald Crab... see WWM re this genus>
I added a blue damsel last week and want to pass my stocking list by you.
I would like to add:
1 Clown
1 Chromis
1 Cardinal
1 Goby (either clown or neon blue)
For a total of 5 fish including the damsel.
Will this work?  Would a blenny be compatible?
<Should work, and will depend on the species of blenny>
Could I add an additional shrimp?
<I wouldn't... would remove the crab>
  Is there any type that is more active in the day and won't hide all the time?
<Mmm, depends on the rest of the livestock... there are some Hippolytids worth considering.... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hipshrpsel.htm
and the...>
Do you have any suggestions on the order of introduction and how long I would wait between additions?
<Yes... the Goby and Cardinal first... Clown last>
Also, is it OK to add 1-2 small pieces of additional live rock at a time?
<Better to cure ahead of time, isolate for a few weeks. Please see WWM re>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

acceptable temporary bio-load? Adding mated Clowns temporarily to a small, fish-populated system   1/20/12
I am mostly new to SW aquariums, and I have the following:
30G high tank, established, with a 2.5" coral beauty,
<Will need more room than this>
 2.0" hippo tang,
<And a much larger volume for this Paracanthurus>
 and a 1.5" jester Goby.  Parameters are 0 nitrites and ammonia, and estimated 5 ppm nitrates.  I also am in process of cycling a 90G tank,
<Ah, good>
and ammonia is down from .75 to .25, but no sign of nitrites yet, and nitrates are not that high.
<Still cycling... can take some times months...>
I plan on putting my tang in the 90G when it is ready.  Here is my question:  I can purchase a mated pair of 4" black saddleback clowns for $70.  Can I temporarily put them along with the others in my 30G until my 90G is ready and cycled??
<Mmmm, I would not... Too likely to be territorial issues, perhaps prompt biological disease from stress here. Mated clowns can be very aggressive toward other fishes, esp. in small confines. The possibility of dividing the tank, floating the other fishes in a plastic colander or such is also contraindicated... too stressful>
 I know it is a heavy load, impossible for full grown fish, but I am only thinking I need 6-8 weeks or so...my 30 G has about 15# of LR, and a Penguin 170 HOB filter.   Regular water changes, about 10% /week, or as needed to keep nitrates below 20 ppm.
<Mmm, best to see if they'll hold onto these clowns for you, or ask someone else (perhaps  a local fish store) if they will>
Would appreciate any feedback, and pre-emptive apologies if this is one of those "dumb" questions.
<Not dumb at all. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Firefish goby dies over night -- 12/29/11
Hey crew,
First off awesome site and very useful. I looked trough the index and found a couple possible answers to my question of why my new Firefish goby
<Singular? Are social species; given to easy stressing>

died overnight. I recently bought him and dripped the fish for almost 3 hours also putting the heater in to make sure water temp matched after such a long period of still water. The goby appeared fine and was put in with a red coral banded shrimp

( who I've since removed for picking on the goby- I know mistake). He seemed a lot happier after that and started moving about more but was still timid.
<As Microdesmids are>

To give you the whole picture I have had this 30gal tank for a little more then 6 months. I started with a cleaner shrimp then added two Clarkii clowns. I also have 4 blue hermits, 1 emerald crab and 4 turbo snails. And lastly a LTA anemone.
<Too likely to have problems... anomalous deaths, consumption by this Anemone in such a small volume>

Everyone lived great together. The cleaner shrimp died last week and I found him under the filter so I'm assuming he got caught while trying to molt and that was the end. I have about 20 pounds if not a little more of live rock. I plan on adding more.
<I wouldn't. Better to have more water volume, space>
The goby was introduced about 6 days ago and again seemed to do fine the clown fish loved him and they slept next to each other side to side at times. Since I removed the red banded coral shrimp 3 days later like I said, he seemed to be great. Yesterday I added a new cleaner and a small dwarf angel my last additions.
<... this system is too small for a Centropyge Angel and the Clowns>

The angel took territory over on the right side of the tank and goby left side. They didn't bother each other and the goby actually became more active by the time I fell asleep. I thought " wow the angel cheered him up!" I had the lights off for a good 5 then my timer turned on the light. I woke up to a dead goby who is now on the opposite side if the tank?
<In a word, the cause here: "stress">
After I tried moving some things to see if he was alive I saw him restless on the bottom moving with the current. He wasn't breathing and I notices his color went from awesome last night to being very dark in the middle and one side had a huge protruding bubble on one side.
What could have happened over night?
<Damage... from the other fish/es or trauma from dashing into the rock, side>
I checked my levels at the LFS ( ran out of tabs) and water was perfect.
Salinity was a tad high but the gobies water when introduced was of similar quality. Any ideas?
<See above>
I noticed since my anemone likes to hang up on the glass between a heater and a corner ( is this okay by the way?)
<No; too likely to get burned>
I turned down the heaters out put so it didn't fry my anemone. Could the slightly colder side of the tank have been the reason?
<Perhaps another source of stress, but not by itself>
I have another heater on the other side that was set only 5 degrees higher then the others.
Just want clarification on why this beautiful goby died on me so quick.
Thanks guys,
Adam Hirschberg
<Best to review, look into what is posted on WWM re all the species you currently house here, AND anything you intend to add. Bob Fenner>

New stocking list, sm. reef 11/30/11
<Hi there>
Recently I moved my 3 year old reef tank. I had to give away all of my fish so now I'm ready to restock. As of now, I am planning to get a starry blenny, a mccosker's flasher wrasse,
<Just a single individual? This is a social species... won't be as colorful or... oh, I see your system is actually too small>
 an Ocellaris clownfish, and a fathead Anthias.
<A fave>
The tank is a 40 gallon breeder with a few types of mushrooms and Zoanthids. I also have a sump with various algaes and media for filtration. My water quality has always been fine.
My concern and question is if the fish I plan to get will do well in this tank?
<Mmm, not this wrasse by itself likely, and again there's not enough room for a small harem>
 I'm especially concerned about the Anthias and the wrasse. Would all of these fish be compatible? Also, do you perhaps have a suggestion for a 5th fish or would that be too many?
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/StkgSmSWsysArt.htm
and the linked FAQs files above>
Thanks for your time, and sorry for any grammar issues, I'm a chemistry major not an English teacher lol.
<I taught H.S. sciences, including Chemistry... Correct English is requisite for getting along in the professional world... Learn it outright or (do as I do/did) and utilize spelling and grammar checkers. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: New stocking list   11/30/11
Hello again,
I had a feeling the wrasse might be a bad idea. In that case, I'm just contemplating a fish or two that is peaceful enough for the Anthias. If I'm not mistaken, the Anthias is very shy or am I wrong?
<No; not wrong. Do read here:
and the linked FAQs file re the species (above)>
Before I had moved my tank, I had a cherub angelfish. It was very aggressive and I'm worried about getting any sort of angel for that reason and their coral eating habits. Unless you think otherwise, I'll avoid them and maybe try for a cardinal and/or a Basslet.
<Good choices, though the Basslet may not go w/ the Gramma>
Perhaps a goby would be better than the Basslet for the Anthias?
<Sigh... please read where you were referred to... B>
 Would the goby be ok with the blenny? Also, I've noticed my friend never could keep a cardinal alive longer than a week. Should I skip the cardinal for something else? 

Clownfish/Host Separation    11/25/11
Hello. I have a question regarding my Ocellaris clownfish and long tentacled anemone. My anemone has been hosting my clown for 2-3 months now, but I have come to the sad realization that it will soon outgrow my tank. I need to remove it soon. Maybe this is a dumb question because I can't find much about it on WWM or the Internet in general, but, how is my clownfish likely to react when I remove his home?
<Mmm, there's a large range of variability here. Most tank-bred/raised clowns don't have a reaction at all, whereas wild/collected specimens often show behavior of "separation anxiety">
I have heard stories about clownfish becoming very aggressive/depressed after losing their host.
<This is so at times>
I plan on providing a wide array of possible non-anemone hosts such as Frogspawn for my clownfish to try out. Would it be best to put these corals in the tank before removing the anemone?
<No; trouble likely... allelopathy>
What can I do to make this transition the easiest and least stressful for my fish?
<Cold turkey really>
By the way, in case it matters, he is the only fish in my Biocube 29 currently. I plan on adding 3-4 more fish, but I can hold off on this if it would help my clownfish to get settled again.
<I would... this volume is too small... too likely compatibility/territorial issues w/ adding more fish/es here>
Any tips, advice, or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
<Do put your concerns in the search tool on WWM and read at your leisure.
Many people have/had the same sorts of circumstances. Bob Fenner> 
Re: re: Clownfish/Host Separation    11/27/11

Thank you for your response, but I am kind of confused about one of your last comments. Were you suggesting to wait a certain period of time before adding more fish or were you saying to just not add any more fish?
<The latter... "I would hold off">
I really want a couple more fish, but I would be fine holding off for some time until my clownfish settles down. Please clarify. Thank you.
<This species (Ocellaris) of Amphiprionine is easier going than most all... but this volume is small... better to have a plan... add it toward last (the less-territorial fish/species first). BobF>

30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/2/11
Hi, I am setting up an oceanic 30 gallon cube saltwater tank and need some advice.
Here is what I have:
30 gallon oceanic cube tank with oceanic stand and oceanic glass lid Jebo 829 canister filter
9 watt Coralife uv sterilizer
Hydor Koralia Evolution Circulation Pump/Powerhead 550 gph 100 watt heater
Marineland ML Double Bright LED Light, 18-24 inches
Sand for the bottom (used to be live sand, but has been in my garage in a dry bucket for a year)
The tanks stand is too narrow inside for a refugium or sump.
I have a sea clone protein skimmer but I am not planning on using it since there is no sump and I don't want it hanging on the tank.
<Better than nothing...>
I want my tank to look sort of like this:
<The first pic?>
And not so much like this:
<The second I take it>
So I am only planning on getting about 10-15 lbs of live rock and not 30 lbs of live rock.
This is also going in a small bedroom, so noise is a major factor - it must be quiet.
I was planning on drilling holes for an overflow and installing something like this:
<The overflow box...>
But it seems the water draining would be noisy and there is limited space under the stand for a sump. Also this is a FOWLR not a reef tank.
I have an opportunity to get a phosphate reactor, but I thought it would do the same thing as the uv sterilizer,
<Uh, no>
so I am not getting it. What do you think?
<You'd do well to do a bit more reading; investigating; at least on WWM if not a recent "marine aquarium handbook">
I will use RO water from LFS to fill the tank and for all water changes.
I am planning on changing 5 gallons of water every two weeks and cleaning the canister filter at the same time.
Here are my questions:
Should I add a phosphate reactor to this setup?
<I wouldn't. Not likely useful and have potential downsides>
The uv sterilizer will be on the output side of the canister filter, will the canister filter be able to return water to tank with this added resistance?
<Very likely so; yes>
Should I use all the media that came with the canister filter? (It has about five boxes, two filled with ceramic rings, one with bio balls, and two empty
- I will use carbon on one and just a filter pad on the other.)
<As much as there is space for; yes>
I plan on keeping about 8 fish. A clown fish with an anemone, blemey, shrimp, and a few other fish.
<Not likely room for this many here>
Do I need a "cleaning crew"? does this mean snails only?
<You don't. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marscavart.htm
and the linked files above>
I also have a HOT Magnum HOB filter, but will only use it to polish the water after water changes.
My goal is to have a clean looking tank that is quite. <quiet>
Any comments/recommendations on any of the above?
<Nothing more really. Need to see more of your stocking list...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: 30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/2/11
Stocking list:
1 - ocellaris clown
1 - fridmani
1 - six-line wrasse
<Mmm, no; too mean... and this volume is too small>
1 - royal gamma
<Not w/ the Pseudochromid; no>
1 - cleaner shrimp
1 - anemone
<Not likely to live here... see WWM re Actinarians, systems>
Any recommendations/comments?
<Keep reading. BobF> 
Re: 30 gallon cube FOWLR setup. Stkg./sel.
OK, thanks for all the feedback.
Which of the following would do well with the Ocellaris clown and the fridmani?
And how many of these fish can I put in the 30 gallon tank?
golden head goby
<Not really... not enough floor/space>
<Depends on species>
Bicolor Dottyback
Royal Gamma Basslet
<One or the other of the above...>
Bicolor chromis
Blue/Green Reef Chromis
<No damsels here>
Clown Goby, Green
<See WWM re Gobiodon requirements>
Yellow Stripe Clingfish
Catalina Goby
<Cold water...>
Yellow Prawn Goby
Firefish, Helfrichi
Firefish, Purple
Swales Swissguard Basslet
<See above... the Dottybacks won't really go w/ Basslets, Grammas or Dartfishes here... Just one piece/individual of one species>
Tanaka's Pygmy Wrasse
Coral Beauty Angelfish
Orchid Dottyback
Yellowtail Damselfish
<See above and WWM... B>
Re: 30 gallon cube FOWLR setup
Can I put a micro brittle star fish in my 30 gallon FOWLR tank?
<Likely so>
I am planning on a Ocellaris clown and fridmani. Haven't decided on anything else yet.
Also thinking about a cleaner shrimp.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SmSWStkF14.htm
and the linked files above. B>

Re: 30 gallon cube fowlr setup... more mis-stkg.    11/4/11
Hi, I am setting up a 30 gallon cube fowlr aquarium and want to pass by my stocking list.
1 - Ocellaris clown
1 - Fridmani
2 - Firefish, Purple
<... no... See our prev. emails, WWM re the two above. B>
1 - Serpent Star Fish
1 - cleaner shrimp
What do you think?
Re: 30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/4/11

What fish would you suggest that get along with the clown and the fridmani?
<... keep reading.>
Re: 30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/4/11
OK, I think from my reading I can stock this in my 30 gallon cube fowlr:
1- Ocellaris clown
4-5 chromis (if too many, what is the max number I can have?)
1- cleaner shrimp
1 - Serpent Star Fish
If this is good, what is the order I should introduce them to the tank?
I am assuming all the chromis will go in at the same time?
I am learning lots, Thanks

Re: 30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/7/11
Stocking list:
1- ocellaris clown
5-6 chromis
<No. Don't write us w/o searching first. B>
1- cleaner shrimp
1 - Serpent Star Fish
What is the order I should introduce them?
Do I add the chromis all at once?

Tank Canopy Weight? (and more!) -- 10/27/11
Good day Crew!
<<Greetings Ivan!>>
Thank you very much for ALL of your advice since I started a few years ago! You guys played a huge role in my transition from 'hobby' to 'passion' in the saltwater aquariums field.
<<Ah! We're happy to be a part'¦>>
Over the years, I kept upgrading my tanks. My girlfriend and I are now the proud owners of a 120 gallon with a 50g sump, and of a small 29G.
I have a question regarding our new 120G setup (actually running since our move in June'¦ we moved the 65G we used to have 'into' the 120G) and another one about the 29G. Both questions are COMPLETELY unrelated. (sorry for caps).
<<No worries>>
Currently, we are using the lights we had on our 65G for the 120G. We want to slowly upgrade to a reef system, and obviously, the lights we have (4 x 39W T5 HO) are way too insufficient for our future needs.
<<Likely so>>
So I bought a 2 x 250W Metal Halides retrofit kit (used). I would also like to install a retrofit kit of 2 x 60 inches T5 HO (80W).
Now the fun part is that the tank doesn't have a canopy/cover. I am planning to build one over the winter (fun project for an unheated garage).
<<But satisfying, nonetheless [grin]>>
My first question regarding this would be'¦ how much weight could the tank take?
<<If the glass is 3/8' or thicker, more than you might think'¦a wooden canopy should not be a problem. I have seen some pretty large, ornate, and heavy units>>
It's an all glass aquarium, measuring'¦ oh God'¦ I have it in centimeters'¦ 153 cm x 47 cm (5' by'¦ 18' I think). I would like the canopy to be more or less 14' high, so the MH doesn't overheat the water (fans shall be installed as well) and in order to prevent splashes.
Now, this said, my father (used to be a civil engineer) and my sister (just completed studies in architecture) strongly suggests I build an aluminum frame and then cover it with thin plywood.
<<Not necessary, in 'my' opinion>>
In your opinion, would this reduce the weight and make it last longer? (don't mention the cost part, I am aware'¦)
<<The weight would likely be less, yes'¦but it wouldn't necessarily last any longer than an 'all wood' canopy'¦plus you have to take measure to coat or otherwise protect the aluminum from exposure to the water and possible contamination/poisoning re. A wooden canopy built from ¾' stock should be fine>>
Also, it is my first time with MH. I read a lot about it, and from what I understand, if the lights are on, then turned off, I need to wait prior to turning them on again, right?
<<Yes, there's a function of metal halide lamps known as restrike time'¦this is the time it takes for the lamp to cool down and restart after a momentary outage. Supposedly this is not affected by ballast type, but it seems my electronic ballasts of most recent manufacture will restart the lamps faster than those of older manufacture'¦though this is of little consequence>>
What if there is a power failure?
<<Not to worry'¦ If the lamps don't fire back up after a power failure (momentary of otherwise), your livestock will be fine until you get home to recycle the ballasts. Even should you be away for a few days all should still be fine re the lights being off'¦but if you have the lights on timers (recommended), these will cycle the ballasts for you with the next off/on period>>
I use a computer backup battery in order to prevent such unwanted events, but the battery is now quite loaded with the pumps and heaters. If I plug 660W of lights over all that, it will last maybe 1, 2 minutes?
<<Dunno'¦but it's my suggestion you do not put the lights on the batter-backup'¦is not necessary>>
(lol'¦) Here in Quebec, we have a VERY reliable electricity service, but it's not infallible. Is there a way or a system or anything I could use/do/make/invent so if there is a power outage, the lights don't try to turn back on once the power comes back?
<<Not needed'¦you don't need to be overly concerned here>>
Now, regarding the 29G. We used to keep seahorses in it. We had them for a year, but last summer's move killed them. Sad story. The male got stressed, died a week after we moved. The female kept looking at the spot where the male's body was and let herself die within the next few days. After that loss, we decided to keep the 29G running empty, but now we're ready to move on. We have two possible plans for it and I would like your opinion on this.
First, make an echinoderm aquarium, all urchins and stars! It would be nice, but I don't know how feasible this is.
<<You could make this work with small species that can also be supplemented with prepared foods (do research re)'¦but grazers/difficult feeders like Linckia spp are definitely not recommended>>
Second, a Mystery Wrasse. At first, we wanted to get one for the 120G, but it's a no go with our 6-Line Wrasse.
Is a 29G too small? (I personally think it could be a little too small'¦ but I want a professional opinion on this one).
<<In my opinion, yes, it is too small for a mystery wrasse. Have you considered utilizing it as an inline refugium for the 120?>>
I am deeply sorry about writing such a long email, and I hope you won't hate me for that!!
<<No problem at all>>
Thank you for all your help.
<<Happy to share>>
Best regards from getting-a-little-too-cold-Canada,
<<Ah, sunny and a forecast 80-degrees here in South Carolina! Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Small tank, wall-type... SW...    10/19/11
I just recently received an Aquavista 500 as a gift.
< http://www.aquavistainc.com/products_wallmounted.html>
These are wall mounted tanks and have a fairly efficient set up with a t4 bulb, air pump, adjustable automatic feeder, light timing system, programmable thermostat, and undergravel wet/dry and mechanical 114g/hr filtration pump system. However, they are only 6.6 gallons and the dimensions are 26x26x4.3 in. They are primarily fresh water tanks, but can be used as salt water tanks.
<No, not really... too little surface area, volume... The margin for error/s is way too small here>
I plan on using it as a salt water tank. I had a fish tank for 10yrs (freshwater) and ended up giving it and the fish away when I went to college. This was to ensure the fish were properly cared for since I would not be there. I have researched a lot about the tank size and realize it may be problematic. The following is my question:
Would it be possible to house 3 small fish with maximum lengths of 2.5 to 3 inches full grown?
<Again... if the power goes out for even an hour, or somehow too much food gets introduced... it'll all be over>
The 3 in question would be 1 ocellaris clown fish, 1 green clown goby or purple firefish goby, and 1 green Chromis?
<These are good/compatible choices for a larger volume (15 plus gallons) w/ commensurate SA>
I know chromis usually like schools so they are probably not a viable option, but wanted to check. If 3 fish are an option and the chromis is not a good choice would you have another recommendation? I was planning on placing some live rock in the tank as well and I already have a mixed substrate of small pebbles and sand for the goby to dig. The tank has not been established yet and it will probably take another month or so before fish can be added. Should I place the live rock in asap or wait a bit longer to allow the tank to finish cycling?
Thanks for your help, any advice is appreciated.
<I'd be reading re freshwater stocking choices:

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

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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