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

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

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

Saltwater questions; reef circulation     3/23/17
Hello!
<Hi there>
I had a 110 gal saltwater a few years ago but moved so sold it. I have a couple of 125 gal freshwater tanks now but the saltwater pulled on me until I got a small one. It is a 25 gal Innovative Marine. It is 7 weeks old. I
recently bought a wave maker wanting to make the tank realistic to the ocean. I just don't know for sure if it was the best for the tank or not and wanted someone else's opinion that I respect. Here is a video of it (Link: Video wave maker). I have it on the lowest setting there is. Thanks so much!
Barbara
<Your animals look healthy; not too tossed about by current. I WOULD move the Goniopora and mushroom further apart though... to avoid them fighting/allelopathy. 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.
<Ahh!>
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.
<Good>
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.
<Yes>
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,
David
<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>

Rimless Coral Tank    3/15/13
Hi,
<Howard>
    I'm looking for a rimless coral tank system in the 30 gallon range and I'm curious for your recommendations.  I'd like this to be a complete system with filtration and broad spectrum led lighting.  Any suggestions without breaking the bank?  Thanks
Howard
<Oh yes. My fave hands-down currently are the TMC Aqua Habitats... they have a 30 rim-less:
http://www.tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk/en/TMC-Brands/aquahabitats/index.aspx
Use the search tool there to hopefully find a retailer in your area. Bob Fenner>

Nano; set up      1/5/13
Dear Crew,
<Bryce>
Yesterday I decided to set up the nano system (20 gal) I have been debating for quite some time now. My plans for the tank were relatively simple: 30 lbs find sand, 25 lbs live rock, small filter, 250 gph powerhead (not sure if it's strong enough, but I have blasted corals with excessive amounts before with catastrophic results), heater set to 79 degrees that I am checking with a Corallife thermometer. I was planning to cycle the tank with strictly live rock, most would have gotten a damsel, but I do NOT want any fish in this system (considered a clown goby, but I want a stable coral system first). I am using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals, dosed with Iodine, sp. gravity of 1.025. Now to the questions, I know that nutrient export is going to be the challenge with this system, so I was thinking about  topping off with distilled water, and using distilled for water changes.
<RO is fine... distilled too expensive>
I figured that waste produced from the corals after eating should keep a few nutrients in the system. I plan to do about 25% water changes every two weeks. I am experimenting with the Kessil A150W LED, though my tank gets morning sun I thought that I thought that this would be a good time to try LED lighting (sun also adds beautiful shimmer, which being used to CF's I am not used to but loving). Last night I added some detritus, and crushed coral from my 55 reef. I also picked out about 15 copepods, I was also going to add some coraline later. I am going to wait for the tank to cycle before adding anything else, but would you have advise on how to continue?
<Really just time going by>
I was thinking of keeping a tank maintenance log,
<Always a good idea. "How you going to know where you're going if you don't know where you've been?">
I keep a rough one with my 55 and I think it would help. Now, to the stocking (or stalking, can you tell it early in the morning which Im not used to?),  I was going to avoid soft corals all together, both because I want to avoid excessive toxic excretions, and I think they are hideous. I was going to instead use some candycane frags from my other tank, have a Trachyphyllia on the sand, feather duster in the rock. I would like to try a Derasa Clam, and use this time to practice fragging SPS. I know that in a small system constant maintaining will be needed to keep them alive, but I feel well versed in combating problems (I also have your email!), and know that I will be checking it daily (having it in my room helps with that). If you foresee any problems on the horizon I would appreciate being informed.
Bryce
<Sounds like a plan Stan, er Bryce... 20 gal.s is a good practice size/volume for what you have in mind. Bob Fenner> 

Re Deltec MCE600, Deltec skimmer, pump noise... & small marine sys...  7/11/12
Dear James,
<Rico>
Thank you for your prompt response.
<You're welcome.>
I have rattling and loud humming sound with my MCE600 pump. I have tried to acid bath it for 48 hours, cleaned it, had it checked by the store where I bought from. From what they said, grommet, impeller and shaft all looks fine.
<I would contact Deltec for their input.>
Hence, I was thinking, instead of paying a lot of money to totally replace the pump, I might as well get a pump with higher airflow volume. I could just place it inside the skimmer without connect it to inlet and using a feeder pump to pump water into the inlet, effectively converting it into an external recirculating skimmer, or I could just use an external skimmer pump to pump into the inlet direct.
<Again, I would contact Deltec for their advice.  I'm not familiar with the innards of that skimmer to give you any meaningful advice.  It's possible they may take care of your problem free of charge.>
Do you have any recommendations?
<No.>
I am also looking into getting a low iron, rimless 60X30X36cm tank. I am undecided as to get the 60p from ADA or a tank with same dimensions from ANS.
May I ask would 60X30X36cm or 36X22X26cm be a better choice?
<Either tank is a little small for a marine tank.>
May I also ask if Teco TR20 or Arctica DBA-250 be too large for a 2ft tank?
I am living in the equator.
<I would say so by a huge margin.  These chillers are for tanks up to 350 gallons and by your centimeter dimensions above, those tanks figure out to a 5 and 10 gallon.  Did you mean inches rather than cm?>
Would Teco or Arctica be a better choice in terms of reliability, efficiency and noise level?
<Couldn't tell you, I'm not familiar with the Teco brand.  I haven't heard any negative feedback about Arctica chillers.>
Sorry for the numerous questions.
<No problem.>
Once again, thank you.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Best Wishes,
Rico
Re Deltec MCE600 7/11/12

Dear James,
<Rico>
Would ADA or ANS be a better brand for low iron, rimless tank?
<I'm not familiar with either of those brands.>
The unit of measure is correct. May I ask what would happen if I get chiller that is way overrated for my tank?
<You would likely have temperature fluctuations.  Would be cooling that small amount of water faster than the system could react.  A minimum flow through the chiller is required and even with Artica's smallest unit (1/10th HP), a minimum flow of 240gph is required and that is a lot of water flow for a 5 or 10 gallon tank.  For your application consider the product in the link below but it requires the tank or a filter box to be drilled to accept it and one may not be enough depending on the ambient room temperature of your home.  One unit will drop the temperature 6 to 8 degrees F below ambient room temperature.  See here.
http://premiumaquatics.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_code=Minichill>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Best Wishes,
Rico

Nano action plan    5/25/12
Greetings WWM media crew.
<Howdy Nick>
First off, a big thanks for devoting your time to create the wealth of knowledge that WWM is today, your true humanitarians.
<Good qualities eh?>
So, I (think) I have created is a DT viewable from 3 sides, as attached, with random water movement and completely clear of equipment.
Tank dimensions are 53 x 54 x 36cm, and the DT is 53 x 40 x 33 ,after you allow for the rear baffle for herbie overflow and DSB section.
<Okay>
800 gallon return pump (approx 550 gallons/hr after head loss) for the return and in tank water movement.
I have already ordered the glass and rear panel with the 20cm x 3cm cutout, and am now drafting where to cut my holes and how large, but I'm quite confused as to what plumbing is appropriate, how high to put the return holes and also if my design is flawed.
<Much to consider>
I was considering 3/4 inch bulkheads and piping, threaded in tank for the PVC and barbed outside tank, hoping this to be an appropriate size for the 500 gallon water movement?
<Mmm, for moving water... the same size as MIP, FIPs on the pump volute should be fine for conducting pumped water... the overflow/s need to be much larger... Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm
and as much of the linked files above as you deem useful>
 Can you see any errors in my design?
<Not in general plan, no>
Curious if you think I should cut a hole in the back baffle to allow more water movement?
<Shouldn't be necessary>
Please let me know if you need any clarification, and thanks again for your time,
Nick
<Please send along pix of the empty tank and when you have it set-up, running if you can. Bob Fenner>

Starting a micro reef and need advice, set up, fdg. anemones... maint. f'    4/27/12
Hello,
<Jeff>
Well I have been running a saltwater system in my store for about three years, but I haven't been able to afford to practice the hobby my self until recently. And I still have to piece it together. I have bought a 29 gallon standard tank. Now, I know that running a system this small is going to be difficult and I will run into some major obstacles but really I just don’t have the money or room to run the size I want. so just a few questions. What's your opinion on  having a deep sand bed in such a small tank?
<Very useful; though not attractive in appearance to some, the size/shape of a 29 should be fine>
Should I really buy supplements for my later inhabitants like Microvert  for my anemones or just rely on spot feeding them brine shrimp?
<I wouldn't keep anemones in such a small volume; and wouldn't feed them either of these>
Should I even attempt corals in such a small tank?
<Can be done>
And finally, I really want a mandarin! So I plan on buying a refugium to hang off the back of the tank and set it up properly. What should I watch out for in terms of livestock that will eat the copepods?
<Read re what these "livestock" eat...>
I don’t want my mandarin to starve which I have heard is a big problem sometimes. Of course the mandarin is a long term goal. Also, and you can probably tell, my knowledge is lacking as I am a beginner when it comes to running a saltwater system in my own home. So, any extra advice u may be able to throw in would be greatly appreciated.
<Enjoy the process... read widely and deeply... take your time. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
J. Flye

Going Nano article - TFH March 2012    3/16/12
Bob,
<PJ>
I enjoyed your article on the Wilson's 34-gallon nano reef tank.  I  have
been in the hobby for about 50 years or so, both freshwater and marine, and was a breeder of African cichlids for 15 years from 1970-1985.  None of this makes me a big deal.......just  an "Old Dog" Grandpa who has recently become re-interested in reef aquaria. 
<Great>
Your article was both interesting and informative, but left me with a few questions;
1.  What RO/DI system did they choose?
2.  What 29-gal. integrated tank did they start out with? 
3.  What 34-gal. integrated system did they buy?
4.  What were their favorite websites that offered "quick, accurate  stats on corals & fish?"
5.  Why were you not able to include more photos of the Wilson's setup  in the article?
    (IMHO, I think that they would have added a great  deal to your story.)
<Good questions; and I wish I had answers. This was a "distal" piece...
I've never physically visited w/ the Wilsons, seen their systems in person.
Hence I don't know re 1-4; five is the domain of the editor/magazine. They edit for space, interest>
I like that you are "an aquatic Renaissance Man" and the "go to expert" for the experts to go to! 
<That is/was verbiage that friend Dick Stratton here in San Diego affixed>
I like your style and look forward to your future  articles and reports in TFH.
Regards,
Papa Jeff
<Thank you. I encourage you in turn to consider putting your thoughts, experiences down in writing. The hobby, trade, even the science of petfishing will benefit from a bit of retrospective. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Going Nano article - TFH March 2012   3/16/12
Bob,
<PapaJ>
Thank you for your quick reply and I appreciate your  courtesy.  For the past 5 years, I have been a contributor & photographer for online  sites and mags in the remote control airplane hobby
<Ahh! I wrote for FAMA for many years... the parent co. RCM... RIP Don Dewey>
 and I work part-time at a local PetSmart as their  resident "Dr. Ick." 
<Outstanding>
Old Grandpa is having a ball in his 'twilight years!"  LOL!   On the outside, I look older than dirt.....but on the inside, I still think that I am 26! 
<What's that saying? "You're only as old as the women you feel"... I suspect we're almost contemporaneous>
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...............Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!  It  might be fun to write some articles for TFH about the good old days of slate  bottom tanks and getting my African breeding stock directly out of the lakes.
<Yes>
  I feel  that I have become a contemporary of Ad Konings and Dr. Axelrod, although never on their level  of expertise. 
Well, thanks again for your reply and it was my pleasure hearing from  you.  Since my little Nano reef tanks are doing so well, I am contemplating getting my 90 up  and running and going for the GUSTO!!!!  LOL! 
Best Regards,
Papa Jeff
<And you, BobF>


General Saltwater Tank Set-Up/Yikes! 2/3/12
Greetings,
<Hello Paul>
I have a 28 gallon euro tank I'm borrowing long term from an uncle.  I've got a heater, a thermometer, an over-the-top filter, tap water from a community well (and salt), conditioner for removing heavy metals and the like...
<Mmm, may be other things present in your water besides heavy metals that could be dangerous to your future livestock.  You mention community well, is this your source water in your home?>
I've got that all set up (not tested the water yet) and running.  I plan on getting one power head as recommended by the fish store owner, and I'm leaning towards LED lights.  Hoping for your thoughts... as of now I'm not planning on getting anything else in ways of equipment. 
For stock, I was looking at a Coral Beauty, a Clown Fish, an Anemone, a Yellow Tang, some of those worm things that are filter feeders that make tubes out of their wastes and retract when scared, a Sea Urchin, a Sea Cucumber, a Star Fish, some Shrimp and Snails, a few Coral, and maybe even a Snowflake Moray Eel.
<Mmm, sounds like you are new to this hobby and before buying any fish or invertebrates, I suggest you read starting here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm
And an index to our marine articles provided here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm
Search on our site re animals you are considering to buy to ensure they are compatible with each other, that your tank is large enough to support this life, and you can provide for their individual care.  A 28 gallon tank is much too small for a Yellow Tang and borderline at best for a Coral Beauty.
 Most of the invertebrates you list will not survive in a newly set up system>
The fish store also says that the bottom stuff (Sea Urchin/Cucumber, those worm things etc.) don't count towards max capacity.
As much as I hope you say something like, "sounds great," the most important thing is the health of the live stock, so I thank you for your response, whatever kind of news it contains.
<As above, read/learn before jumping.  If your "fish store" said adding all these fish in a 28 gallon tank is OK, I would be very cautious buying from him.
James (Salty Dog)>

30 gallon cube fowlr setup   11/2/11
Hi, I am setting up an oceanic 30 gallon cube saltwater tank and need some advice.
<Ok>
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.
<Okay>
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.
<So?>
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...>
Thanks,
Rudy
<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> 
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1:
Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
B
ook 2:
Fishes

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

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