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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Livestocking 2

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Perhaps a Hogfish?

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

Deep Water Tank... FOWLR stkg. wishes   8/16/07 Hello, I freely admit i don't know jack about saltwater tanks but I was wondering if this setup would work. I have settled on getting a 70 gallon FOWLR type setup and was thinking what type of fish to go with it. I would like a pair of fathead Anthias (Serranocirrhitus latus), golden angelfish (Centropyge aurantius), <This Dwarf Angel species is a bit anomalous amongst the genus in needing much larger quarters... a few hundred gallons> and Colin's angelfish (Centropyge colini) or venusta angelfish (Paracentropyge venusta), <Not easily kept> 2 of the 3 angelfish whichever two would be the better match. I also would like to get a Laboute's fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus laboutei) and a Jordan's fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus jordani) or a rhomboid fairy wrasse. <Best to keep Cirrhilabrus in small haremic groups...> My final two fish would be a candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi) <Needs quiet arrangements...> if i can even find one (any suggestions would be appreciated) if not maybe some assessor species the blue or yellow ones, and finally a small group of Catalina gobies. <... no... cold water animals> I read in different places that a deepwater setup should be kept in the low 70's which leads me to believe i would have better luck in keeping them (probably wrongly). I would spare no expense on a protein skimmer and other equipment since i have been saving up for this and would employ a refugium. If you think the flasher wrasses would not fit i would replace them with flasher wrasses instead, and the Catalina gobies with neon gobies and clown gobies. Any other suggestions on fish for a deep water setup would be welcomed. thx <Best for you to keep reading, making lists at this point. Bob Fenner>

Maxed Out? (Stocking Question)... FOWLR -- 08/08/07 Hi- <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a question about adding a Flame Angel to my 75 gallon tank. I currently have about 100lbs live rock, two False Percula Clownfish, a small Blue Tang, a small Yellow Tang, a cleaner shrimp and various snails and hermits. I understand the blue tank will need a bigger tank, will hurdle that when it gets bigger (how long will that take?) <Well- sooner than you might think...Less than a year, IMO. And this fish gets really large, requiring correspondingly larger quarters. I'd make this a rather urgent priority. And I'd move up to no less than a 6 foot long aquarium of at least 180 gallons. Sorry to be the "buzz kill".> OK, here is the question I intended to ask. I read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/loricula.htm and my concern is that it recommends the Flame Angel be added last. <In many situations, the Flame Angel is the "alpha fish", and this will create some potential aggression scenarios-probably not an issue with your stocking list. Also, the aquarium needs to develop the necessary fauna to provide some natural foraging, so adding the fish later give the aquarium a chance to "recruit" these life forms.> This fish is being sold by another hobbyist for a minimal price, but I want to add (slowly) a few more fish (I would love any suggestion on appropriate additions). Should I snap up this beautiful Flame at a great price ($20), or wait until other fish have been added? <Gosh- I'm just raining on your parade, huh? Bargain price not withstanding, I really would not add this fish to this aquarium that is near its maximum stocking limit for the near future, IMO. If you are absolutely certain that you are going to be getting a much larger aquarium in the very near future (like within 4-6months or less), then you could chance the addition of the Flame Angel. But I would not add ANY more fishes to this aquarium after that. Period. Aggression and other issues will become huge in this modest sized aquarium.> Also I read nitrates can be a problem for these fish, I run about 10ppm (working on this as well). <I would not be overly concerned about 10ppm nitrate, but I would do all that I could to get it as low as possible.> Your advise and willingness to share is extremely appreciated. Craig <My pleasure, Craig. Hope that you make the right call here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Adding A Final Fish (Stocking Plan)  8/6/07 Cheers Crew! I have a stocking question for the experts (that means you). Scott F. has been much help in the past answering my stocking questions (and everyone else has been much help answering all of my other questions). <Call me crazy- but Scott F. back with you again!> I hope you guys realize what a huge resource WWM is for us. Everyone says that CMA is "the Bible", but I don't do a thing without reviewing this site first. Enough of the kudos. <Yeah...Let's get on with it already! LOL> I have a 110g display with 70 lbs live rock. Filtration is by a wet-dry trickle filter and a Coral Life Super Skimmer. Circulation is with 2 MaxiJet 1200 (295 gph) and my return pump is 1245 gph Little Giant (although I'm sure it's actually much less). I also have a 30g fuge with 3-5" DSB, 5lbs live rock and Chaeto that's on a reverse daylight cycle. Top-off is with RO/DI water. Readings are: 0 ppm for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate; alk hovers between 3.5-4 meq/L; calcium hovers between 350-400ppm. <Sounds fine.> Current stock: 1 Brown Combtooth Blenny, 1 Gold Stripe Maroon, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Sailfin Tang, 5 Hairy Green Mushrooms, 5 Red Mushrooms, 1 Green/Orange Ricordea Mushroom (about to split), 2 small Tree Corals, 1 Sally Lightfoot Crab, 2 Cleaner Shrimps, numerous hermits and snails, and various creatures that came in on the live rock. Everyone gets along well. <Sounds great!> I bought a Citron Goby yesterday that will be in QT for 3 weeks. <Loving this already...ya' hear that, everyone? QUARANTINE!> My objective, generally, is to keep only small fishes and to keep the bioload light. <Awesome> OKAY finally . . . I am reaching the max stocking for my comfort level, but I really want a wrasse to round out my stock. Do you think I have room to add a Filament Fairy Wrasse? My research suggests that this wrasse will not bother my cleaner shrimp (true?). I really like the Canary Wrasse but the ones that come into my LFS are always pretty beat up and I know how delicate these are (they seem to disappear quickly from the LFS . . .). <Excellent choice. The fish you mention really is not interested in small crustaceans and sessile inverts. As far as the Canary Wrasse is concerned, for the most part they tend to ignore larger shrimp (in my experience), but they will pick at other small crustaceans and snails. I am a big fan of the Canary Wrasse, and just about any species of Halichoeres Wrasse in general. Yes, there is a risk that they will eat your ornamental crustaceans. They are not delicate, in my experience, but they do seem to ship rather poorly, and are often in pretty bad shape by the time they get to your store. With good selection, careful acclimation, and of course, quarantine- they make excellent, long-lived aquarium residents.> Also, I read that Citron Gobies do well in pairs. Do I also have room for/should I add another Citron Goby? <You probably could, but you'd be maxed out at that point, IMO. The big problem (no pun intended) is the Sailfin Tang. I love this fish dearly, but they can and do get huge. Also, do keep an eye on that Maroon Clown...He/She may get a bit aggressive with the newcomers.> Thanks for your help. Andy Bulgin <Glad to be of service, Andy! let me know what fish you go with! Regards, Scott F.>

DSB and LR question for a 100gal sump... Upcoming read-a-thons   8/6/07 Hey, guys! It's been a while since my last email. I stopped being a saltwater enthusiast for the last three years (financial reasons). But now I'm back... and will be needing your help as always. Anyways, I'm planning to buy a 100gal main tank w/ a 100gal sump. Currently I have a subadult semicircle angel and a juvenile clown trigger. <Keep your eye on that trigger... always> They will be the first residents of my new tank. <You're overstocked with just one of these already> If the LFS ever have juveniles of red coral hind grouper, harlequin Sweetlips, emperor angel and Picasso trigger, I'd want to add them to my tank too. <... Please read re the "Compatibility", Systems of all these on WWM... not mix-able> Yep, I'd call this tank the "feeding frenzy of messy eaters". Hehe. And WHEN some of em get too big for my tank, like the grouper and Sweetlips, my wife can either cook em or I'll release them back into the sea. <?> The triggers and angels stay. Get a 200gal tank when they've outgrown the 100gal? We'll see. I'll be feeding them chopped shrimp, shellfish, squid and crabs. And for their "greens", I'd feed them roasted seaweed (Nori). My semicircle angel and clown trigger love that stuff. The main tank will be FOWLR. But not so much LR. I don't want them to hide all the time behind the LR. That's why I'd like the main tank to be a little bare, maybe just 20kgs of LR. The bulk of the LR will be in my sump. 50kgs, is that sufficient for my planned bioload? <This mix won't work period> It won't house any fish, and I plan to use DSB. My sand will be powder fine white sand. How deep should the DSB be for good NNR for this type of sand? <Posted on WWM> I hope I got that right. That's short for Natural Nitrate Reduction, right? <Yes!> For the main tank I plan to put no more than 2" of the sand. Will that be ok? <See WWM...> Or should I reduce it a bit? And lastly, I have a spare canister filter, and I'm debating whether to use it on this setup or not. Part of me says I should coz of the way the main tank is plumbed to the sump. The main tank is drained to the sump via PVC pipe in such a way that only the top portion of the main tank gets drained. Leaving the bottom part untouched. I'm thinking the canister filter will do the cleaning of the untouched part. On the other hand, I've read that canister filters are nitrate producing factories. What's your advice on this? Thanks so much. You guys are great! Paul <Keep reading. BobF>

Re: DSB and LR question for a 100gal sump... continuing mis-stocking  8/7/07 Hi, Bob! Thanks so much for the quick and to the point response. At first, my main concern was about the DSB and LR, but now you made me realize that's the least of my concerns. It should be livestock compatibility. Wow! Thank heavens for your advise! You have single-handedly prevented a disaster from happening. So now, I've done some rethinking. Need your advise yet again. I'm planning to put the clown trigger in the sump, and later when a juvenile red coral hind grouper becomes available, I'll put it in there with the trigger. <I would not likely do this either...> I've read at WWM that groupers do well with triggers, <Highly inconsistently... with this species in particular> and so do medium sized wrasses. Maybe toss in a lunar wrasse later to add some green colors to the sump. As for the main tank, the semicircle angel will be housed there, and for it's tank mates a harlequin Sweetlips and volitans lionfish. <Again... you need to READ... this is an untenable mis-mix and too much for this volume> I'd be scratching the emperor angel from my list coz, as per your advise, I did some reading at WWM that two Pomacanthus in the same tank is just asking for trouble. Hope this setup is better than originally conceived. Paul <Enjoy the journey... reading... ahead of possibly making mistakes. BobF>

Fish advice... Much to Research... SW FOWLR stkg.  -- 08/01/07 Hi <Hi LeAnne, Mich here.> I currently have a 75-gallon tank which has been running six weeks and I currently have a maroon clownfish, a yellow watchman goby and a small white starfish that came on one of my rocks. <Likely an Asterina star.> I now currently have 25 lb. of rock but over time am adding more. I am very interested in having a starfish. I've read one of the Fromia might be a good choice. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on which starfish to purchase for a soon to be reef tank and maybe even where a good place to purchase this would be. <I would recommend staying away from most sea stars. Most sea stars just don't do well in captivity. Their diet is not well understood and these stars often slowly starve to death. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/echinoderms/echinoderms.htm > I would also like to know if it would be ok to purchase the starfish now. <I would highly discourage you from this. Might I convince you to try a red Brittlestar (Ophioderma squamosissimum)? These fare far better in captivity and are quite beautiful to boot! More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm > I also have one other question. I am wanting at some time to put in a tang, <Your tank is on the small side, make sure you research you options before purchasing a tang or any potential addition to your system.> angelfish, maybe Hawkfish? <Will eat ornamental shrimp. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hawkfish.htm > Jawfish, <Are jumpers, and will find the smallest opening to escape from to go carpet surfing. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm > later mandarin goby, <Difficult to feed and often starve in captivity. A refugium is a must for these fish. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm > and pistol shrimp <With it's symbiotic goby, would be a delightful addition to a peaceful community tank... would not be compatible with a Hawkfish. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm > also maybe a cleaner shrimp. <A beneficial addition. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hippolytidae.htm > I was wondering if you could also give me some advice if these fish and shrimp are ok and with the starfish and also what tang or tangs would you recommend. <Yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) would be a good choice, but there are others. You will need to research. I would recommend you invest in a book titled Marine Fishes by Scott Michael.> I loved the blue tang but I have read not to get this fish. <Your tank is too small for a Hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus). More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm > I have done research, <And there is much more to learn!> but I would like your advice also. I wasn't sure how the starfish would be with the two shrimp. <I would again try to persuade you against the sea star.> Thanks LeAnne <Welcome, Mich>

Re: Jawfish help... Much to Research... SW FOWLR stkg -- 08/02/07 <Greetings, Mich here.> I currently have a 75 gallon aquarium set up for reef tank using Carib sea reef grade sand running for six or seven weeks <A very new system.> with a yellow watchman goby and a maroon clownfish. <The latter can be quite pugnacious.> I eventually plan to have a tang probably yellow (or maybe purple). <Your tank is on the small side. A yellow (Zebrasoma flavescens) would probably do better in a tank this size than the purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum). More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm > Fish I have thought of getting was a six-line wrasse or Royal Gramma (by the way are these two fish compatible), <Mmm... depends on many factors.> Banggai cardinal, flame angel, <Beauties!> mandarin fish, <These fish are notoriously difficult to feed and often starve in captivity. A refugium for pod supplementation is a requirement for these fish. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm > and a red reef safe starfish, <I do hope you mean a red brittle star (Ophioderma squamosissimum) here. These typically do quite well in captivity and are quite beautiful and interesting to watch. Most sea stars i.e. Linckia, Fromia species often slowly starve to death in captivity. I would discourage you from keeping these. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/echinoderms/echinoderms.htm > cleaner shrimp, and pistol shrimp. I wanted to know if a Jawfish would be ok in the tank especially with the two shrimp. <Mmm, the pistol shrimp with the Jawfish may present a problem. I have never had a problem with a cleaner shrimp and a Jawfish. Your tank needs to be well covered... and I do mean very well covered as these delightful little fish, one of my personal favorites I might add, seem to be able to find the tiniest hole to escape from to go carpet surfing! Very sad when it happens... trust me on this one. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm > Thanks <Welcome! Mich>

Miniatus Grouper and Eclipse Hogfish compatibility 8/1/07 Greetings to whichever of the fine crew happens to be on question duty when this arrives. <Howdy> I am in the process of taking the plunge into a 210 gallon FOWLR after dealing with several smaller tanks for the past year (30 to 90 gallons).??My plumbing diagram is under constant revision due to all the information I am able to glean from your wonderful site, but? I should be getting underway very soon. <What's with the ? marks?> I did some hard thinking about livestock for the big tank, and decided on a Miniatus Grouper as the centerpiece.? My LFS got me a beautiful little 4 incher who is currently living in a 65 gallon tank until I get the 210 running and cycled. He's everything you could ask for: bold, beautiful, eating well, and? gets along swimmingly (excuse the pun) with his tankmates. And there we come to my question. The grouper currently lives with a Green Bird Wrasse, two rather large (5 inch) Sgt Majors, a Rabbitfish which I believe to be S. doliatus (it came in as an 'Assorted Rabbitfish', but thanks to your site I think I have it correctly identified.) and a 4 inch? Eclipse Hogfish (B. mesothorax). (And yes, all of them spent?4 to 6 weeks? in quarantine before living together.) My hope is to eventually transfer them all to the 210, with the Sgt Majors leading the way to help finish cycling it. They're big enough, and deep bodied enough? that it should be quite some time (if ever) that the grouper will look on them as food. The Rabbitfish, whether it's S. doliatus or the similar S. virgatus, should top out somewhere around 10 inches. The Bird wrasse is also? supposed to? ax out around 10-12?inches , and so should be safe from predation.? My concern is the hogfish might remain small enough (and slim enough) to eventually take a trip down the grouper. Thus far, they've been a decent community, and I'd like to keep them together in the big tank. However, as a fall back position on the hogfish, I have room in my 90 gallon FOWLR when the 65 gets a bit tight for him. <Ok> Assuming they all go together into the 210, what order would you suggest introducing them after the Sergeants have finished their job? Thank you for your time, and for all the help your site has provided to me. Sincerely Jerry Stoddard <I'd place a few at a time, to discount the territoriality of the damsels... the Grouper likely in the last batch... Otherwise, not likely a given order... Do be careful in handling the Siganid... Bob Fenner>

Anthias/bioload and urchins - 7/20/07 I am currently stocking my 72 gallon FOWLR tank my current tankmates are 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 neon goby, 1 blue/green Chromis, 1 flame angel (still in QT) 2 cleaner shrimp and various snails and emerald crabs. I will also be buying a 6 line wrasse and royal Gramma. I had intend on getting a school of Chromis for my tank but after purchasing 5 they started knocking each other off until only 1 was left. I was thinking about purchasing some Anthias but because of the cost and how sensitive they are to water conditions ( I am a newbie to saltwater- tank has been running for 5 months) I was a little leery about purchasing them. I think that I will though as with all the incredible help I receive from the internet has turned a relative newbie into someone secure in running their tank. Anyway I was wondering how many Anthias I can purchase without overloading my tank. I know I have to buy 1 male and the rest females. What do you suggest? I was also interested in purchasing an urchin. I have done some homework on them and I think they should be OK in my tank but what type of urchin would you recommend for my tank. Thanks for the help. Adam >>>Hello Adam, Jim here. Given all the fish you have, and the fact that you will be adding a Royal Gramma and a Sixline wrasse (add the Sixline last) I think you're fully stocked. My advice, for several reasons, (even though you haven't told me what species of Anthias you're looking at) let go of the Anthias idea. Cheers Jim<<<>And the urchin? RMF<

Upgrading tank, Stocking 7/18/07 Hello crew! <Hello> You and your website have been invaluable in my marine education, I hope you don't mind another question from me! <Fire away.> I recently was able to get a beautiful 72 gallon bowfront to upgrade from my 30 gallon. <Nice> With all this new space I'm not sure what to do with it! I am planning on a FOWLR + Live sand system with a refugium. <OK> The critters in the 30 gallon will be moved into the 72 gallon and they include 1 Ocellaris Clown, one Coral Beauty Angel, one Royal Dottyback and 2 Peppermint Shrimp. The only fish I want to add for sure is a Yellow Tang (my husband's request!). The tang won't be added until the tank is mature as your site recommends. <be aware that you are at the bare minimum sized tank for a yellow tang in my opinion, and may see increased aggression or other behavioral problems depending on the individual fish's personality.> My question (finally!) is can you please suggest a few species I can look at to add? I'm thinking I will have space for another fish or 2, is that correct? <I would say so, as long as they are not too big.> I don't want to crowd them, I want them to be happy and healthy! <Good> Thank you for your time! Barbara <You could look into a small to medium sized wrasse, perhaps a Hawkfish, although they may have problems with the shrimp, another clown, or something else completely here. Lots of other choices, just be aware you will have a fairly aggressive tank, so stay away from anything too passive.> <Chris>

Choosing Fish For a FOWLR  7/10/07 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I was wondering about stocking my 55 gal FOWLR. I've read through the articles on your site and I found a couple of fish that are able to be in the tank. <C'mon- there are more than a couple of fishes suitable for your aquarium, unless you're trying to replicate a deep sea hydrothermal vent biotope or something!> There has got to be more. LOL anyways, I checked out this link that had the list of fish and it was for a certain season- it was four fish. <Sounds like you were looking on a "Cooking With Seafood" website or something...LOL> Anyways, my question is can you answer this with a list of fish I can put in my tank, or link me to one, and maybe mark the ones that you would recommend? <Wow- that would kind of take the fun out of the whole process! There are literally hundreds of possible choices...Obviously, you want to keep small fishes that don't get all that large. Rather than list all of the thousands of species of fishes that fit this bill, I'll give you a few hints: Gobies, Blennies, Cardinalfish, Assessors, Basslets, Dartfishes, Flasher Wrasses...OK- that should get you started. Use the WWM search features- we have like a gazillion megabytes of information here- search among the families that I mentioned. You're bound to find some fishes that you like.> Thanks for your help and sorry if I overlooked this information somewhere. <I'll forgive you! Seriously, I'm not aware of any list of acceptable fishes for various sized aquariums on this site-you just need to roll up your sleeves, break out the popcorn and Thai Iced tea (or whatever you like to drink), park yourself in front of you computer, and get to work doing some research! It's fun!> By the way love the site and the forums too. -Jeffery <We're happy to bring it to you, Jeff! Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking, SW, fish, invert.s    6/24/07 Hi, love the site, very useful information, great job. <Thanks> I currently have a 90 gallon tank with about 100 lbs. of live rock. The stocking list, for now, is short: 4 inch purple tang, and a 15 inch snowflake eel. I've had the tank for about 5 months and just got over an Ich attack, <Might I ask how you "got over it"? Just to make sure "it" isn't still about> and am looking to add more in the next few months. My plans are this: 1 bicolor angelfish, 1 red Coris wrasse, and 1 niger triggerfish. <These last two might well become too mean, rambunctious here> I've been doing research and I'm just about certain these fish will do well together, but I wanted an expert opinion. Is this a good environment for these fish? Will the tank be overstocked? <Ultimately, yes, with growth> I also wanted to add a small clean up crew before I add the other fish. I wanted possibly some snails, hermit crabs, and maybe a chocolate chip starfish. <Mmm, not likely this last... most die... mysteriously, in a short while... See WWM re> Would these animals be safe with my eel trigger and the Coris wrasse? If not, do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much for your help. <That you keep reading, making potential wish lists... Bob Fenner>

300 gallon aggressive fish only with live rock.   -- 06/19/07 Hello crew! I plan on setting up a 300 gallon aggressive fish only with live rock aquarium for myself after my fiancĂ©© and I move. The aquarium dimensions I am looking at are 72"x 27"x 36". <I'd prefer (and so will your fishes) that this is L X H X W... that this system is 27 inches tall, not three feet> The filtration system I am looking at is an LF2-300 wet-dry sump from LifeReef (41"x 13"x 22"), with an in sump VS3-30 protein skimmer (30" tall) rated by Jeff for a 350 gallon set up. I have had great luck with his products and am confident that this set up should work fine for what I am planning. The main system pump I am looking at is a Sequence 5,000-SW (5,000 gph at 0' head, 23' max head), <A great product, line, co.> this pump will be floor level with about 6' of head to the top of the aquarium. The skimmer pump will be a Blue Line 30 HD-X (1,110 gph at 0' head, max head 13'), I am currently using this pump on the same skimmer and it is working great. The lighting I am looking at is from Hamilton Technology. The lighting system I was looking at is all power compacts, twelve 65 watt German bulbs half white, half blue. <I would have far less blue> This system should produce 780 watts over all. I am debating on the use of a UV sterilizer, but find myself leaning away from it. <Better by far to buy/use an ozonizer...> With proper quarantine procedures and setup all the UV sterilizer would actually help with is algae, <Mmm, no... I must interject> and with the fairly dim lighting on the tank that should more than likely not be much of an issue anyway right? <Heee Heeeee! You'll learn, are learning...> The animals I intend to house in this system are; 1 Snowflake Moray Eel 1 Annularis Angelfish 1 Harlequin Tuskfish 1 Lunar "lyretail" Wrasse 1 Humu Humu Triggerfish 1 Auriga Butterflyfish 1Yellow Tang 1 Pacific Blue Tang 1 Orange Shoulder Tang <Do watch this last... and do consider having a couple to four more Yellow Tangs here... much prettier and more secure in a grouping> All of these fish would be purchased as Juveniles, quarantined and added over time more than likely the tangs would be first, <Mmm... not what I would do... the Moray would/will be best placed first, then the Tusk... then maybe the Surgeons> then the Butterflyfish, the angelfish, the wrasses, the trigger, and the last would be the eel. I figured at their maximum adult size the sum of the length of all of these fish would reach 113.6". Would this tank afford these large fish enough space in your opinion? <Yes> I do not intend to put a lot of live rock in the aquarium, just enough to have a nice look and offer niches for the fish to sleep in, and hide in. <Mmm, do consider "making bommies"... piles separated by sand...> I know most of these animals need a lot of room to roam, with exception of the eel who I am sure will still appreciate it anyway for it's evening prowl. Do you foresee any problems with this set up that I should pay more attention to or change all together? Thank you in advance for your time and expertise, Brian <Nothing jumps out... Bob Fenner>

Stocking Tradeoffs For A 180 Gallon System -- 06/11/07 Hi Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here tonight!> Thank you for taking my question. I've had a 30-gal for a year now and I am thinking of getting a larger tank. I've done quite a bit of research and your website has helped immensely. I would like to stock the following FOWLR: Blue Hippo Tang Yellow Tang Emperor Angel 1-2 Heniochus butterflies I would like to get a 180 gal but I'm afraid it may be too small??? <Well, since you asked...The Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) can get pretty large- in fact, 12" plus is not uncommon. <<I just looked up because I've never seen one this large... but FishBase: http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=6017&genusname=Paracanthurus&speciesname=hepatus does give a maximum standard length for the species as 31 cm. RMF>>  I would consider a 180 gallon aquarium about the minimum that I would use to house one of these fish. For Tangs in general, I would avoid keeping them in anything less than a 5 foot long aquarium- 6 feet for an individual of this species. They really need the physical space and water volume offered by large systems. Gosh- I feel like I'm raining on your parade, but I'll give my two cents worth on the Emperor as well. This is another potentially huge fish (It can and will hit 15"), and needs correspondingly large quarters to house it for anything resembling a normal life span. Honestly, I would not keep this species unless I could offer it a very large 300-500 gallon, 8 foot long-plus system from the start. These fishes range over huge territories in the wild, and to keep them in what would really amount to small quarters given their potential size is not a humane move, IMO. This conservative approach to stocking is not shared with everyone, but I feel obliged to hive you my honest opinion on the topic!> If I needed to drop some fish from this list to make this work would you have any recommendations? <Hmm.. I'd definitely eliminate the Emperor Angel, and I'd probably nix the Heniochus as well. Why not go for a really nice "showpiece" Centropyge Angelfish, such as the Bicolor (C. bicolor) or the Lemonpeel Angel (C. flavissimus). Neither is a "beginner's" species, but they are gorgeous, at least as hardy as the Emperor, IMO, and are equally spectacular in appearance when healthy and happy. They have the added benefit that they max out at around 5 inches or so in length. In place of the Heniochus, I'd consider a Long Nose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus). Again, not a beginners fish, but a nicer choice in my opinion than the Heniochus. If you get a healthy specimen to begin with and quarantine and acclimate it carefully, you'll have another nice showpiece specimen. If you're inclined to add a Butterflyfish, be sure to add it PRIOR to the Angelfish, to give it a good opportunity to acclimate to captivity. Other choices might be a few small wrasses of the genus Halichoeres. There are dozens of species, and almost all are colorful, interesting, and well-suited for captive care. Another cool "solo" fish would be a Marine Betta (Calloplesiops altivelis), a wonderful, hardy, and fascinating fish. It can be shy at first, but settles down nicely to become a spectacular showpiece in your system. If you're not a "Pacific Snob", (ok- I admit I am...sort of), you'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting display than a group of Royal Gramma (G. loreto), which would be colorful, active and fascinating to watch. You'd want to have a little overhang or cave in your rockwork to display them at their best. Okay- I think I've given you enough avenues to explore. Hope they pique your interest!> Thanks for your help and expertise! John <Happy to help! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking Trade-Offs (Cont'd.), FOWLR    6/13/07 Hi Scott, <Hey there!> Wow - thank you! I have made enough mistakes so far to highly appreciate the conservative approach - plus I would like to be a good example and teacher of responsibility and science/conservation for my kids. <Believe me- I've made more than my fair share- that's why I'm happy to share my experiences to others' benefit.> After thinking/reading, if you don't mind, I would like to follow up with more questions. <Ask away.> So I will get a Bicolor Angel and leave the Emperors in the sea. <Nice fish. As I said, the Bicolor is not an "easy" fish, but it is not necessarily a difficult one if you start with a quality fish that's been handled well from reef to retailer.> I would like to hang on to the Blue Hippo (first choice) and Yellow (second choice of Tang if can't have both) Tangs. <Okay, then we need to work the rest of your stocking plan around these two fishes.> I currently have Xenia (favorite coral so far), Frogspawn, Red Meat Coral, and Star Polyp - with a cleaner shrimp, a percula clown pair and orange Fromia sea star; if I move these in to the 180 gal system, how would that change your recommendations? <Well, I would have to warn you that the Angelfish is very likely to pick at or eat your Xenia, and probably will sample your other corals, as well.> The idea about the Marine Betta is very cool and appreciated -how would this fit in a reef setting - do you think it would eat the shrimp/clowns? <The shrimp is definitely a potential meal for the Betta...Another trade off! I would not worry too much about the Clowns, unless they're tiny.> I prefer the Long Nose butterfly - my wife prefers the B&W Henis. - would one of these be a good candidate for a reef setting? <With a reef, you can keep the Long Nose, but it does entail some possible risk. The Heniochus are generally acceptable, depending on the species you choose, but they are pretty large fishes, meaning that you'll have to leave someone else out...Another trade off.> The Royal Gramma group is also very cool! How many would you recommend? <If you can swing it, and have just a few other fishes in the aquarium, I'd go for a group of anywhere from 5-8 individuals. You'll witness interesting social behaviors, and possibly even breeding activity.> Thank you again for your kindness and assistance in responding! John <My pleasure, John. As you can see you can keep some of the fishes that you are contemplating, but there are necessary trade offs to consider. Keep researching, formulate your plan, and work your plan! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking list + introduction order  6/10/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Marc> I once again seek your counsel. A couple months ago I sent you an e-mail  about my stocking list. Here are the two mails, along with the response  (that will keep me from rewriting my tank setup :-P E-mail 1 : ***** Hello WWM crew! <Marc> First off, let me congratulate you on your web site, there so much info found on it (though it sometimes takes a long time finding it, since it is so huge, but, hey, no big deal). I currently have a 125 gallons reef tank (Perfecto, 72x18x22) with a 60 gallons sump (with something like 50 gallons of water in it). My return pump is a Velocity T4 (1500 GPH) which also feeds the refugium section of my sump (in which I just added light with a small ball of Chaetomorpha). I have 2 Seio 1500 et 1 820 (for approximately 30X) for water motion. The filtration of this tank is accomplished by approximately 140 pounds of LR (mix of Fiji, Sulawesi and Brazilian) and a Beckett Protein skimmer (46" tall, diameter of 8") with an Iwaki MD100RLT pump in recirculation and fed by a Mag7. It is lit by 2 250W MH bulbs and 2 6' VHO (165W each). Now for the livestock. I only have a couple of corals for now (the tank has only been up and running since November 2006), but I plan to add more as it matures. I have : - Iridis wrasse (Halichoeres iridis) - Yellow tail damsel - Green clown goby (Gobiodon strangulates - Lawnmower blenny (Salarias fasciatus) - Banggai cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni - 3 peppermint shrimps (Lysmata wurdemanni, which made a terrific job on Aiptasia :) - 2 cleaner shrimps (Lysmata amboinensis) - Several hermit crabs and snails The 2 cleaner shrimps and the iridis wrasse were added 4 days ago. The cleaners are doing great and have taken cleaning station on a rock (haven't seen them clean a fish yet though). The wrasse is also doing good, besides the fact that it had me worried the second and third day. It buried itself in the sand for the night (which I've heard/read is normal for these fishes), but didn't come out until 9 pm (my lights are on from noon to midnight)! Today, I don't know at what time it came out, but when I came home at 5 pm, it was already swimming nicely. It easily accepted frozen food, but was reticent with flakes for the first 2 days. <Don't really eat much dried/prepared food> So, my question was (sorry for the long intro!) : I wish to add tangs to my setup (not right now, maybe in a couple of months) and would like your advice on the species I've selected. I'd like to add : - Achilles tang (Acanthurus achilles) <Yikes... not easily kept in captivity, and very prone to protozoan  complaints> - Blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) - Desjardini sailfin tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii <A gorgeous species... but does get very large...> My concern is mainly about the achilles (and a little about the hippo). I've read/heard it wasn't a very hardy fish. What advice could you give me on that fish? <Mmm, just that... I would hold off for now on an Achilles... really do much better in very mature, large systems... the other two would be okay here> To reduce aggression between the tangs I plan to add all three of them simultaneously. Do you think this is a bad idea? <Mmm... well, I would likely place the Paracanthurus first... wait a few weeks, then the Zebrasoma... not so much that they will fight to the point of real damage, but the increase in bio-load, the change in dynamic with the other livestock... less stressful to stagger here... and leave out the Achilles> Also, some people told me the hippo tang needs a larger tank once at full size. What is your opinion on that? <Likely will be fine here for a very long time> Here are the other fishes I would like to add (in the order I would add them) - Pair of percula clownfish (Amphiprion percula) - One or two purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) <Two would be far better than one> - Green mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) - Bellus angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) - A butterfly, probably a Longnose (Forcipiger flavissimus or the longirostris) - Tangs! I would also like to introduce schooling fishes. I had some Chromis before (Chromis viridis). They are nice fish, but I'd like something more colorful. I thought about Anthias, but some can be hard and require frequent feeding to ensure success. <Mmm, do look around... seek out a grouping that are not "too" thin... there  are some quite hardy species for a setting like yours> Which would you recommend and how many would you put in my setup? <Please see WWM re the Anthiines... likely two species... Perhaps  squamipinnis and Bartlett's... but there are several other choices> I also recently discovered the chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum) which gets along well in groups. Do you have any advice on this fish? <Mmm... well... I'd rather see this kept with other tropical West Atlantic species, settings> Finally, I'd like to know your opinion on my fish list and introduction order. Anything that wouldn't get along? Thank you very much, Marc. <Looks fine to me. Bob Fenner> E-mail 2 : Thank you very much for your reply. Regarding the Achilles, if I do introduce one in my system, it shouldn't be before quite some time. <Correct> I'll wait until my system has matured and it shall be my last addition. <Very good... I do wish you were out here with me, diving in Hawai'i, seeing this fish, going out with collector friends... feeling how soft-bodied this Acanthurus is... how easily damaged... Perhaps only time, personal  experience will bring to your awareness the fragility of this species> And on the Anthias, these were the two species I retained. I might go with the Bartlett's. <Ahh, a good choice... do look for some "freshly arrived" grouping... 3,5,7 individuals...> Again, thank you very much and keep up the good work, Regards, Marc. <Welcome my friend. Am trying. BobF> ***** First off, my iridis wrasse died after 5 days... I'm not sure why, but his "lips" where injured (maybe from digging the sand?). <Possibly... but more likely consequent from damage in collection, holding, shipping before you receiving it> He was eating well at the LFS and the first 2 days but then he stayed hidden (probably buried in the sand) et finally found him dead the fifth (or sixth) day. I didn't quarantine the fish, but I'm currently setting up a QT for further additions, and will surely give that fish another try later. <Ah, good> So right now, my tank only has 4 inhabitants : - Lawnmower blenny - Banggai cardinal - Yellow tail blue damsel - Green clown goby I've been rethinking my stocking list a little bit and would like your advice and I also have a few things to ask about the answers I got previously. So here is the list I've made (in order of introduction) : - 2 True percula clownfish - 2 Purple Firefish - 1 Iridis wrasse (Halichoeres iridis) - 1 Green mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) - Bartlett's Anthias (5? 7?) <Either number... best all placed at once... with only one definite mature male> - 1 Ornate angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) - 1 Hippo tang - 1 Desjardini sailfin tang - 1 Achilles tang What do you think about this stocking list? I am not sure about the number of Anthias. And also, about this, why are people always recommending to add schooling fish in odd numbers? <Seem to associate more readily as a group, far less likelihood of "ganging up" on the smallest, most "Beta" individual...> I know Mr. Fenner is a little reticent about the achilles tang. I would love to add this tang to my display, but if you say that the chances of keeping this fish healthy in my tank for a decent amount of time are slim to none, I might drop it... <Do quarantine... place last...> Do you think I could add two green mandarins instead of only one (I would try to get a male and a female) or they wouldn't get enough food? <Should be fine> I would also like some advice regarding the bellus angel. I know this species comes from deeper waters and that they sometimes have decompression problems. <Only from collection... if/once "bled" no problem> What would be your advice on selecting healthy individuals? Do you think I could add a couple (if I can get my hands on one...) or that wouldn't be a good idea (and why not)? <See WWM re Pomacanthid Selection, Genicanthus...> I'm not sure if I would like to add a butterfly fish. I want a reef-safe one. Are the Forcipiger flavissimus 100% reef-safe or it is a hit or miss? <More safe than not> Are there any fish that you would rule out from my list? Anything that you would add? Any comments are appreciated. <My comments, such as they are, are posted on WWM for these species> Once again, thank you very much for your devotion on this site and good night, Marc Amyot. <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Question, FOWLR    6/9/07 Hello, I am enjoying your site. Very informative and great for a novice like myself. I tried to join but it said registration is unavailable? <This is someone else's domain... keep trying> Basic Info and Set-up I am three months into a 72gal. with 80lbs of nice porous Indo LR, 1-2" of Aragonite Reef Sand, Eheim Pro ll Filter, Tank Mounted Skimmer rated to 125gal, heater, 1 Blue Actinic and three whites on timers. Cycled it by the book starting with uncured rock and sand only. Readings cycled just like the books said. PH 8.2, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates reading 0 across the board. Spec Gravity 1.021 in both Q-Tank and 72gal. <I'd elevate...> Doing 10gal water changes every 2 weeks. Currently stocking 2 young Percula Clowns, young Coral Beauty, Blood Shrimp, 10 small Hermits, 3 Nassarius, 3 "other" cone shelled snails, a small conch, and a smallish red brittle star (smooth body). I just added a Feather Duster and a Colt Coral to try them. They also seem to be doing well after the first week. I am less concerned about Reef than I am about fish for now. Cleaning crew went straight in after cycling, then quarantined Clowns, then the quarantined Coral Beauty. Then the Feather Duster and Coral. Now a Pixie Hawkfish is in quarantine for another week. I was afraid the Longnose would eat my shrimp? <A likely possibility> Everyone seems fine and seem to be eating Frozen Mysis Shrimp and Sinking Pellets well. Who can tell if some of these cleaners are eating well or not? <Observation> I do watch the shrimp though. I do not feed excessively. Sometimes I hope I feed enough. Small amounts of Pellets AM and Frozen Mysis PM. I hope that is enough info for you to be able to help me. <With?> I did do research first but do not yet have confidence, or understanding, in the info I am getting. I have gone to Fish Store, bought books (actually read them) and researched these items on internet. Q1. Should I increase the Spec Gravity in one or both tanks? <Yes, I would> Q2. Should I add a power head to this set-up? Some say because skimmer is oversized I do not need one. <Yes, I would> Q3. Should I add Algae Sheets for the Coral Beauty as well, or are the "Full Spectrum Pellets" sufficient? <You can try... but I'd just grow some macroalgae in place...> Q4. Will 1 Mandarinfish and 1 Dwarf Lionfish (Zebra?) fit well with this mix? <Mmm, maybe... The Lion may consume any/all small/er than mouth-sized tankmates, the Mandarin starve here...> Q5. Total 6 smallish fish. Will I have any more room after that? (Hippo and/or Yellow Tang?) <Yes> Just trying to achieve a variety of colour and character while keeping the peace and not overstocking. If these are too many questions (sorry), I have listed them in what I think are the order of importance and any help would be a great help. The deeper I get into this, the harder it seems to be to get straight answers, or even two answers the same. You seem to have these answers so I thought I might as well throw them out there. Thank you very much for your site, your time and anything you might be able to help with. Mike <Keep learning, enjoying, dreaming and scheming Mike... You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

The Missing Pieces? FOWLR lvstg.   6/4/07 Hey thanks for your suggestions these past weeks... I'm trying to decide on the final two tankmates to my 200g system that is 3"+ sandbed, 210# liverock with plenty of caves, caverns, hiding spots... Also of note, I have a skimmer rated for 355g so I am hoping I am getting some really good skimming and it appears that I am. 18" Snowflake Moray 4" & 6" Bannerfish (referring to fact I have two of them) 5" Hawaiian Yellow Tang 5" Foxface 4" Tuskfish 3" Royal Dottyback 1 Brown Banded Serpent Star 3 Sand Stars ~ yes, I know I shouldn't really have any... it kinda sorta just happened? Well at least two of them sorta just happened. The Yellow Tang seems to go through a 2 week initiation phase... at least, it did with both Bannerfish and the Tuskfish but I have never observed any cuts or marks on any fish. The Tang left alone the Dottyback and seems to have paired up nicely with the Foxface. <This species and others do this... a bit of settling in, dominance... resource partitioning...> I don't want to overstock by any means... in fact I'd rather stay a little understocked. At the same time, I'd like to ad some color. <Mmm, the various "territories" life utilizes "in the wild" are determined, contested in many ways... Much larger sizes than aquarists provide> Would the addition of a Cherub Dwarf Angel and then maybe a month later either a Longnose Hawk/Flame Hawk, and then maybe three or four months later a Picasso Trigger work in your opinion? <Could, should work here> Would this be overstocking given my current situation? <Mmm, no> I've read through your FAQ's and it always seems that people are noting conflict between Hawks and Dottybacks and either one seems to be the aggressor? <In smaller volumes. You should be fine here> My Dottyback has killed a few new additions in my smaller 90gallon tank ~ hence he was moved into the more aggressive/larger specimen tank. Triggers interest me and I've read the Picasso is one of the more peaceful ones... although also realize that each individual is different. <Ah, yes> If I am overstocking with the above scenario, I may scrap the Hawk and the Cherub Angel and just get a Flame Angel and the Trigger? <Yes> I want some red and some personality in my tank. Thoughts? <These mixes should work. Bob Fenner> David

Taking Stock (Stocking Inquiry)   5/29/07 Quick question for you guys. I have a 80 gal FOWLR tank with a 20 gal sump, great filtration. Anyway, my group consists of 1 GSM Clown 4", 1 Scotts Wrasse 4", 2 Scott's Wrasses 3" each, 1 Royal Gramma 2", 1 Flame Angel 2", 1 Green Chromis 2". We also have 3 Skunk shrimp, a bunch of snails and 1 small crab, don't know what kind, never see him. We are thinking of adding 2-3 Yellow Assessors. Question: Is this feasible in your opinion or do you know of something else we could add that would be ok. Or are we at our limit already? Thanks, Beth <Well, Beth, I'd say that you're at your limit already with this system...In fact, you're actually kinda pushing it with the Wrasses and the Clown. I have maintained Yellow Assessors for years, and they are truly among the most timid of all reef fishes, IMO. I do love them dearly, however. Although in time they will come out and actively feed, they tend to spend a lot of time simply hiding under ledges in your rockwork, and slowly swimming about the water column. I'm afraid that in an aquarium of this size, and with this stocking density that you'd be in for some problems with these little fish. If it were me, I'd consider your stocking completed with this system for now, and enjoy the interesting mix that you currently have! Best of luck in the future! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: System Stocking-Trade Offs and Risks! 6/10/07 Hello Scott, <Hi there again!> Just a follow up to your remarks. With my skimmer (Aqua C) I empty it daily. I get coffee-colored skimmate usually, not a light color. And I am anal with my husbandry... That being said I really like the Rusty Angelfish a lot. <Rusty's are great fish, they just tend to reach a size that may be problematic in a fully-stocked system of your size. If you are willing to make stocking concessions, such as moving out other fishes, etc., it is possible- but I still think a larger aquarium is a better call for that species..> I do like the species that you have suggested in the Cherub Angel. <The "African Flameback" angel is even nicer-looking and also similar in size...> As for the Tang, I was going to get a smaller one and then give it up after it outgrows my tank. <Commendable, I know-and the idea sounds good on paper. I just don't like that approach. The reason I am skeptical is that I have heard this literally hundreds of times over the years here on WWM, and I have heard lots of excuses why the exchange never took place. Sometimes, a larger tank that is in the planning phase never comes to fruition, other times the hobbyist feels that the fish has "grown relative to the aquarium size" (and absurdity- I know you don't think that way!). I guess my conservative stocking theory is that you should never purchase a fish that you will not be able to accommodate in your aquarium for its full natural life span. This is why I go nuts when I hear about folks buying juvenile Emperor Angels and placing them in small aquariums until they get that "360 gallon system" that they have been planning. It's like buying a puppy and then giving him or her away when they are an adult...Yuck..! I'm off my soapbox now!> Speaking of Tangs, do you think I could house a Kole Tang? <One of the smallest Tangs generally kept in aquaria, but I have this thing about keeping any Tang in a system less than 5 feet in length...That's just my opinion, of course, but you asked...:) > I might be leaning towards a reef setup soon. I have heard bad things about the Rusty Angels nipping at corals. Is the Cherub the same way? <Any Centropyge is hit or miss. The Rusty is potentially a coral nipper. The smaller Centropyge species are less inclined to nip at corals, in my experience. On the other hand, the smaller the system, the fewer corals you house, so the likelihood of one particular coral being damaged by the Angel is greater. I am a huge Centropyge fan, and keeping one in a reef system is a risk I am willing to take. I like fishes more than the corals, myself, and so I'm willing to take risks or trade-offs. You may be different. You could try a species with a reputation for being less inclined to nip at corals, such as the Coral Beauty. Of course, an individual of a species "reputed" not to munch on corals may develop this habit regardless! On the other hand, I've seen reef systems with Lemonpeel Angels, and even full-size" angels that never develop this habit. It's always a risk. You can hedge your bets by stocking your system with some of the more ichthyotoxic coral species, such as Lobophytum, Sinularia, Cladiella, etc. Regardless, it's your call!> Thanks again! You guys are great!! Brad <Thanks for the kind words, Brad! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

SW Live stock selection  - 05/26/07 I would just like to tell you guys how amazing your site is. I could (and sometimes do) spend HOURS searching through all of the stuff you have on here. I have learned to look up my questions, before asking, and have found almost everything I've searched for, so kudos to you, and keep it up. <We're trying!> To the question at hand. I have a 40 gallon breeder sized tank that has been running for more than a year. Has at least 40lbs of live rock (I can't remember its been so long), carbonate substrate with 10lbs of GARF grunge live sand (never searched your site for GARF, if you haven't been to GARF.org, you should take a look). <Know this organization, have met Leroy and Sally Jo... nice, enthusiastic folks> I had originally purchased a green clown goby and a small orange/red faced white bodied goby type fish about 7 month ago. Both died within 4 weeks, and the tank has been running empty since. I don't feed the tank anything. Two Marineland Maxi-jet PHs, 1-1200 and 1-600, circulate the water with a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer with attached Maxi jet 1200 PH. This circulates the water over 17 times an hour (the two detached PHs face towards each other, at the back of the tank to avoid dead zones behind the rocks). I'm looking to maintain a FOWLR tank, and would like to get a small group of the same fish, 3 to 5, and one single fish that would stand out. I'm not experienced enough for inverts or corals at this time. So far for the grouped fish I am thinking Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum), or Threadfin Cardinalfish (Apogon leptacanthus). <Both good choices... but only one Serranus for this volume...> And for the 'star' fish I have thought of the Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosa) or Yellow Headed Jaw fish (Opistognathus aurifrons). <Mmm, not the Coral Beauty... not enough space> I would like the fish to contrast in shape, size, and where they swim to make it look full and lively, but don't want to over crowd the tank. <Good ideas> Your suggestions, criticisms, and unbelievable knowledge are GREATLY APPRECIATED! Bruce <The Apogonids would go... and maybe two Jawfish... for the activity, interaction... Bob Fenner>

Marine Betta and Volitans Lion Compatibility   5/23/07 Hi Crew! <Piew> I'm setting up a 210gallon FOWLR tank intended to keep Volitans lions, now I'm thinking of what other fish I can house in the same community. I've come up with the following list of fishes that I plan to put: 1.                   3 Volitans 2.                   1 Tassel Filefish 3.                   1 Marine Betta 4.                   1 Rhinopias scorpion <Nice organisms!> Can they get along with each other? Thanks! <In this size volume... all starting off such that the Lion can't ingest its tankmates due to size... they should be fine. Bob Fenner> Piew

New 180, FOWLR stkg. mostly     5/16/07 Hey Bob how's it going? <Fine, thanks> Just got done plumbing my new 180 gal. I'm planning this to be a FOWLR. I just received 100 pounds or Fiji (dead) rock, and I plan on planting it with 100 pounds of live rock from my current 60gal setup. Any how I have a 36x16x16 sump/refuge, and a EuroReef 180 in it. <Nice> This will be used with two drilled overflows and a Eheim pro III canister filter. <Mmm, good product, but don't know re the use here> Water movement will be done from two Seio 6200, and I also have a 40watt current usa UV I still need to plumb into the sump. I'm going with a 1 inch sand bed for looks. Anyhow now I want to start planning the stocking list. After the tank cycles for about a month I want to add 7 blue/green Chromis, followed by the inhabits of my current tank, 1 silver Foxface, and 1 snowflake moray. I'm not sure if I want to keep the eel for this system, but he really is a chill moray. I'd like to stock some of the following; mated pair of Percula Clownfish, hippo tang, Harlequin Tusk Wrasse (Australia), <May eat the Damsels, including the Clowns...> pair of Schooling Bannerfish, and a large angel of some kind. <Would not do this last> What are your feelings on this, and what advice/changes would you make? I would like a lot of color and movement, but I don't want to overstock. <To keep reading, stay flexible with your stocking plan as it progresses... Perhaps a Genicanthus sp. angel... Bob Fenner>

Bioload and stocking Q's 4/26/07 <Hello.> I am starting up a 72 gallon FOWLR tank.  I have finished purchasing my equipment and now I am looking for my stocking list.  After much research (of which your site is very helpful, thank you) I think I have my fish list: 2 ocellaris clowns 4blue/green Chromis 1 neon goby 1 royal Gramma 1 flame angel 1 sixline wrasse <I like this list. Might be *some* aggression from the sixline towards the neon goby, might not.> Is this to much for a 72 gallon tank?  I have the fish listed in the order I will be stocking them, would you rearrange?   <Yes. I would do the goby, angel and Chromis all together or at least before the others. Then the Gramma, followed by the sixline and finishing with the clowns.> Will the fish all get along with each other?   <See above.> Any other tips or questions that I do not know enough to come up with would be appreciated.  Just looking for a more qualified opinion then mine.  Thanks. <I think you have a nice list, and I won't interfere. -GrahamT>

Re: pt. 2 Bioload and stocking Q's 4/26/07  - 05/01/07 Thank you for your quick reply.   <No problem, friend.> I am just curious for my own sake why the clowns would be put in last?  I thought that you would put the more aggressive fish last and all I have read about the clowns are how peaceful they are and what a perfect beginner fish they would be.   <I don't think you would have to worry about the Gramma going after the clowns as new arrivals, though it is possible. I just think it is important to set the trend early that the pair is last to be added. In the future, it is very likely that a mated pair of clowns would rule the tank. Granted, Ocellaris aren't as feisty as, say, a Maroon or Clarkii, but they are still in the pugnacious damsel family.> I've also decided to add another Chromis as thru my research I have heard you should keep an odd number of fish.   <Is fine...> A question I have for the Chromis is I have a 10 gallon QT tank that I will be using.  Is it ok to QT all Chromis at the same time?   <Yup, since they will probably be in the same quarters when you purchase them anyway.> I could break them up into a group of 2 and 3 but I heard that the dominant one will pick on the other fish when put into groups of 2-3. Also since this is a newly established tank would this be too many fish to put in at one time for my display tank?   <At one time? I though you were spacing it out, right? The last message was all about which to add first, then second, etc. I presumed that meant you weren't putting them in one day after the first and so on. Whatever order you add them in, space them out by a week or more to let the system stabilize and the fish acclimate. Remember, you want the least aggressive specimens to be comfortable when the new-comers show up.> Thanks for your help. <Welcome and good luck! -GrahamT>

Big Fish...Big Project!  4/26/07 I currently have a freshwater system, but am looking at starting a FOWLR saltwater tank. <Neat, be sure to do as much reading and research ahead a time as possible.> I want a Humu triggerfish for sure. <Lots of personality...and teeth!>   The next most important fish to me is a snowflake eel, then a yellow tang, and finally an annularis angelfish. <A large FOWLR then, huh? Something along the line of a 240 gallon tank for these proposed animals to co-exist as mature adults.> Is this too much for a 75 gallon tank? <Afraid the tang and Angel alone would be too much for a tank that size.> If so, what size would you recommend? <See above.> What I am most concerned with is the compatibility of these fish.  What would be your predictions. <It could work in a very large tank, the Angel and the Trigger will be the bruisers of the tank for sure.> I have done a lot of reading and am having trouble getting information regarding my specific questions. <That's why we exist my friend.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Good luck and keep reading!> Glenn <Adam J.>

Re: Still Big Fish...Smaller Project!  4/26/07 I didn't realize that a 240 gallon tank would be necessary for those fish. <Some of those are what experienced aquarists would put into the category of tank busters!> What if I were to only keep live rock Humu triggerfish and the snowflake eel alone in the tank? <It could work, but I would still prefer more surface area than a standard 75....for each animal. If you do go ahead with this, I would make the rockwork minimal.> Is that still too much for a 75 gallon. <It could work, but like I said I would prefer ore surface area.> I appreciate all of your help. <Anytime.> Glenn <Adam Jackson.>

New Setup, FOWLR, and stkg.    4/19/07 How's it going Bob? <Fine. Thanks> I'm upgrading from my 60gal FOWLR to a 150gal FOWLR. <How nice!> The only thing I will carry over from my 60 to the 150 is my new Eheim pro III. (which is supposed to work for a tank up to 300gal) <A good product for sure> Anyways, the 150 I want to purchase is a AGA with two built in MegaFlow over flows. These I want to drop down to a AGA MegaFlow Sump filter Model 4. That is where I plan on keeping a protein skimmer, heater, and UV sterilizer. I currently use a Corallife super needle-wheel 125, I like it but for obvious reasons I must upgrade to a larger size. What do you recommend? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm scroll down to the black bar... Skimmers... Selection...> Do you see any flaws with my plan? <Mmm, not per se... but do take care when sizing the "not-so" Mega plumbing and pumping here...> After I get it setup and cycle it for a few weeks (I have a three inch sand bed in the 60 I will also add, with about 70ibs of live rock) I also have large artificial LR I purchased for cosmetic reasons only and I want to add sand to have at  least a 4 inch bed. I'd like to stock the 150 with some of the following; Silver Foxface - *Lo magnifica, *Volitans Lion *- Pterois volitans, *(these two I have from the 60), then either a Imperator Angel  - *Pomacanthus imperator, *Maculosus Angel - *Pomacanthus maculosus or a *Annularis Angel  - *Pomacanthus annularis. *I know I can only have one of these large angels. <Actually... all three will get or be too large for this 150...> I'd also looking at a tang. Either a Naso Tang  - *Naso lituratus, *Powder Blue Tang - *Acanthurus leucosternon or a  *Powder Brown Tang - *Acanthurus japonicus. *Is this tank too small for any of these fish. <The last tang species would be my choice... You can read re all three's Selection, Systems... on WWM> I know the Naso can grow large. Then I want a Harlequin Tusk Wrasse (Australia) - *Lienardella fasciata *and a Golden Head Sleeper Goby - *Valenciennea strigata* too stir up the sand bed. The Powder tangs look beautiful, but I'm concerned about their reputation for sickness. <You are wise here> What do you recommend from this list? I obviously want lots of fish movement, but I don't want to over crowd. I also want to put two nice powerheads hooked to a wave maker. Thanks for your time, Mike <I would leave off with the large Angel... perhaps another genus... What site could you scan through re? Bob Fenner>

Starting a FOWLR & Invertebrates 4/16/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello> Let me start out by saying your site is a great help. <Thanks.> I am currently cycling a 29gal tank (30x12x18) for my first saltwater tank that I hope to one-day make a FOWLR & inverts. I am not sure what would be a good mix with in my tanks limits and don't trust a LFS to give me the best advice. Here is my plan can you please advise me of any pit falls you may see. I do not wish to cause any undo harm to the marine life I want to keep. <Good attitude to start with.> -Fish- 2 Percula Clownfish 1 Royal Gamma <Nice, although Amphiprion ocellaris may be easier to start with than the Perculas and look almost identical.> -Invertebrates- 2 Emerald Crabs 2 Nassarius Snails 2 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs 1 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Sand Sifting Starfish <Drop this one, will starve in this sized tank.> -Lighting- 24" VHO bulb 75Watt  (plan on purchasing before any rock) -Filtration- Penguin 200 bio-wheel  (currently own) <Unnecessary with the skimmer and LR, but can be useful for running carbon.  Clean often.> 30lb live rock 20lb live sand (also currently in the tank) -Skimmer- AquaC Remora (plan on purchasing before any rock) <Love mine.> -Power head -- Aquarium Systems Maxi-Jet PH Power Head 1200, 295 GPH (plan on purchasing before any rock) <I would prefer 2 smaller ones to 1 large, but will work fine.> I am going to add the clownfish first then the royal gamma. After I get my feet wet I will start adding the live rock then finally the inverts (one species every two weeks). <LR before the fish, will most likely cause a cycle and the basis for your filtration.> Thank you for your time, Rob. <Good luck with the new tank.> <Chris>

Was Naso Tang Death -- Now The Ultimate Tank -- 4/9/07 Alex: <Hi Michael and Dianne> Thanks (again) for your opinions. <You are very welcome.> We always research on your site before we ask our questions! <Thank you!> We have ordered the Michael's Marine Fish book; it should be here soon. <Excellent.  I don't have that one, but it sounds great, I may have to order it also.  There is no such thing as too many books.> And we have decided to do nothing more to the tank until at  least the end of May. <Great.  That sounds like a good idea to give it some time to get back in balance.  You may find it does much better with fewer fish.> In the meanwhile, we ask this: We have previously written about our tank and its coral inhabitants, rock, size, equipment, etc. (120- gallon [4x2x2], much coral, 150-plus lbs of rock, protein skimmer, extra power head). Knowing that we have no problems returning poor purchases to the LFS and, further, knowing that we would rather have no fish than inadvertently cause the death of an innocent animal by our stupidity ... What mix of fish would you put in our tank? <Ooh! I get to pick out fish?  Yea.> What is the ultimate fish mix? <So many choices'¦ not enough tanks!! Hee!> We like lots of movement and color and really enjoy watching the interaction in the tank. We have no plans to go to a larger tank. As far as we are concerned, the hardware part of the tank is complete. <Ok.  Good to know.  That gives you some clear boundaries, but your tank is large enough to still have an endless list of options.> Once you count all the animals that keep the tank happy (algae blenny, <I'm not sure which blenny this is, but only one blenny per tank generally.> sea hare, two urchins, sand goby, many snails, many hermit crabs, one emerald crab, one starfish, four cleaner shrimp, one fire shrimp) that doesn't leave us much room for "decorative" fish. <Well, remember that the cleaning crew do not add up as quickly as fish.> Right this moment we have (in addition to the above): sailfin, Foxface, two yellow tangs, five Chromis, one bicolor (can't remember its proper name); <I'll guess Centropyge bicolor.> three Clarkiis and (maybe, haven't seen him for a while) an engineer goby. <This is really a very nice mix of fish already.  Read Bob's article on 'Stocking Marine Systems' on this page, and as many other of these links as you can'¦ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarInd3of6.htm > So what would you do? <It is such a personal choice, but we all have our favorites.  I like the Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) for maximum color and personality in a small package.  But you can't add one if the bicolor is indeed a Centropyge also (well some might try this, as they would be very different in appearance -- would depend on their individual personalities).  You have enough tangs, I wouldn't try to add another.  You really have a good representation from several families that should all get along.  You might add a couple more small fish to fill in and make it seem less sparse to you.  A nice little undemanding fish with lots of personality is a Six-line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia).  They are colorful and would fit in well with your group, you will like their personality -- very curious.  Keep in mind you have 72' (mature size) already.  That is over 1' per 2 gallons.  I know some don't like this rule of thumb, but it does give us a rough idea.  You are already pushing this limit.  I really wouldn't add anything of any size unless you do want to trade something.  But all the ones you have sound really nice.  Keep reading here, and enjoy your book when it comes. Take your time and try to enjoy the fish enjoying a little more space than looks right to you.> Eagerly awaiting your reply .... Michael and Dianne <Cheers, Alex>
Re: Was Naso Tang Death -- Now The Ultimate Tank -- 4/10/07
Alex: FYI: The bicolor turns out to be a Pseudochromis. <Ah, good.  Smaller and easier to get along with.  Pretty too!> Can we safely presume that it's OK to add the flame angel at some point? <Yes I think that would be a nice addition for your mix.> We did  once have a coral beauty, but (s)he died after about a week. We guessed it was because our water wasn't quite up to snuff yet for an angel. <They have a much lower survival rate than the Flame Angel.> Again, thanks for all your help. In May, when our self-imposed waiting period is up, we will certainly add a six-line (we had one in our nano but she somehow got into the back of the tank and we could never get her out). <They are little explorers.> And we love the look of the flame angel. We just want to have at least one fish that's not yellow or grey. <Can relate.  I think this is a reasonable plan.  And I bet you will find that your reduced fish load will be easier to care for and ultimately be more rewarding than a crowded tank.  While you are buying books, if you don't have it, you might want to get Bob's book: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, it is excellent. Enjoy! Alex> Michael and Dianne
Re: Was Naso Tang Death -- Now The Ultimate Tank -- 4/10/07
Alex: Can we sneak in one more quick question? (Please???) <Certainly!> Can we have a mandarin? <Ah! I almost mentioned this, but my previous answer was getting too long. Maybe I won't get fired for saying this: Your tank is potentially large enough, in my opinion.  You need to do lots of reading about their requirements.  They are very challenging, and so many starve to death in a few months.  Once your tank has re-stabilized and aged more, and you have a good population of copepods and various tiny critters, you might want to try this one.  Seriously, wait a long time, maybe another year, make sure your tank is healthy and there is plentiful live food for one.  You can order copepods to help start your culture.  Some kind of refugium, even a small internal one, will help your odds of success, somewhere that the pods can reproduce without being eaten first.  I think you would really like to have one on your long term stocking plan, they are so beautiful, and so unique in their swimming patterns and feeding.  This is where your patience will be truly tested, as you do need to wait.  I know you don't want to kill a fish, so do keep reading and studying your tank before you decide. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm and linked pages.> Thanks. Michael and Dianne <Cheers, Alex>

I asked the question last night regarding the Six Spot Goby acclimation . .  Now FOWLR stkg.  03/25/07 . . do you think that the following would be ok for my final tank line up? <I remember.> I have a 72 G FOWLR and a deep live sand bed.  In the tank already are two Ocellaris Clownfish, a Firefish, a scissor-tail goby and a Carpenter's Fairy Wrasse.  I was looking to add the Goby I mentioned before (it is still small), a royal Gramma and a Pygmy Cherub Angelfish.   <Other than competition for food with the V. sexguttata, I don't see a problem.  A refugium might be in order.  This way you can grow copepods.> Is this ok?  Will their size outgrow the tank?   <Their could be some crowding when these fish reach their adult sizes, but nothing major.> At this point all are very small.  I have some concern about the Pygmy Angelfish, but figure I'd add him/her last. <The C. argi could nip corals, and get a little aggressive, but other than that, a nice addition.> Thanks for the help! <You are welcome.  Brandon.> Mike

Mid-high level marine tank swimmers in young setup. 2/27/07 Hi Crew.   <Hi, Craig. GrahamT here.> I've been reading your site off and on for a few years now. And I apologize since I'm sure this type of question has been asked before, I just am having no luck on finding it. <OK.> After breaking down a tank years ago to lack of equipment, I'm finally retrying now.    <Welcome back!> Currently I have a 55g FOWLR tank,  25lbs LR (adding more slowly) <Would double this...>, Rena XP2 filter, 2 powerheads and a Red Sea Prizm skimmer. <Ok.> I've run for about 3 months now, and have one six-line wrasse, a pair of false Perculas and an arrow crab.  However my tank is depressingly empty from midline to the surface.   <Is normal in this sensitive time. You need to exercise more patience here than many are willing. I know we usually say/read to feel safe with your setup after it has been "run in" for 6-8wks, but I still feel that there is more stability to be had the longer your system runs with a low bio-load (6mos+).> I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what would fit my tank as a lively mid-high tank swimmer, preferably a semi-large fish (for the tank size).   I was interested in a tang or a puffer <Would discourage this at this stage.>, however I am concerned my tank will not be the right size for their max size.   <I hesitate to make a species recommendation for someone else. There is a lot of info to be had on the web on this topic, and you will benefit (as will your livestock) from properly planning/researching your selection(s).> The only other fish I have planned would be a dwarf flame angel. <This may fit the bill, though they can be shy for a while...> Thanks very much for any answers. <Welcome. In the future, we would be happy to make observations about a specific selection, rather than make them for you. Good luck! -GrahamT> Craig R

Are the choose of fish compatible Marine Tank Additions....Confusion on Common Names....From Across the pond? FOWLR   2/27/07 HI <Hello.>      First of all your website is great. My tank  is 4foot and holds 60gallon with plenty of live rock. <Cool.> I have some hard coral 4 cleaner shrimps about 20 red legged crabs and snails and a couple of star fish orange and serpent. fish I have is 2 x common clowns  Lemonpeel angel, six line wrasse wreck fish and a Foxface <Sounds like a good mix though the Foxface will eventually outgrow these settings.> could I keep a coral beauty with the Lemonpeel. <No I prefer not to mix Centropyges until you hit at least the 150 (U.S. Gallons) mark.> Next question  I fancy a royal Gramma <Could be a good addition.> and mine  3 x cardinals (Benji) <Benji cardinals I'm not familiar with that common name...do you know the scientific?> and a bio colour goby <Hmm it seems our proximity to each other (or lack there of...assuming from he common names and word choice you aren't a Yankee lol)...were getting a little confused here, we don't use the same common names. By Bi-color goby do you by any chance mean the bi-color blenny Ecsenius Bicolor? If you do...it is a very hardy/good addition to a peaceful reef setting.> would that be possible <Well perhaps, I would still need to know what type of cardinals...furthermore I am less inclined to say go for it with the Foxface in the tank, the adult size of this animal is relatively large. Adam J.>

Stocking Options in a 72 gallon Peaceful Community Tank  - 02/21/07 <Hi Mike, Mich here.> Quick question, Bob helped me last week answering, I have a 72G FOWLR with a 3" sand bed.  I plan on having two ocellaris clownfish, one scissortail goby, one Firefish and a royal Gramma.   <OK.> Two quick questions Will the Gramma be OK with the Firefish and goby? <Yes these should be fine together.> and stocking wise, am I near full load - if not can you recommend another fish that would work well in the set up?   <You have room.> I was thinking possibly a blenny. <Mmm, most blennies do better in established systems.  I think I would consider something else.  How about a dwarf angel (Centropyge spp.)?  Could be nice, especially since you are planning on a fish only system.  Many beauties here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/centropyge/ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/centropyge2.htm Some Butterflies could even work like Klein's Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleini) or Blackback Butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus); possibly Tinker's Butterflyfish (Chaetodon tinkeri) or Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus) more info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Goodchaetodon.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm Or possibly a Jawfish (Opistognathus spp.) if you tank is very well covered. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/jawfishe.htm  > Thanks for the help. <Most welcome! Mich> Mike

Marine System Expansion/Concerns For Existing Livestock -- 02/13/07 Hey Bob & the crew!! <<Hello Adlai! ...Eric here>> (Bob/Eric R it was good meeting you in South Carolina last week) <<Was a pleasure meeting you and your friends as well>> - need some advice again please. <<Ok>> Sorry for the long post in advance <<No worries mate>> I am wondering whether my expansion/migration to a larger system will cause a spike detrimental to the EXISTING livestock - I am not sure it will but I admit there is a possibility of some New Tank syndrome symptoms. <<Indeed...but can be mitigated by using as much material from the old system as possible; including the water, when setting up the new system.  Though it can't hurt to have an alternate plan for moving/keeping the livestock should something go amiss>> Here are some facts before I briefly describe what I am trying to do. 1)     To simplify this I currently have a 60-gal FOWLR with no sand and 92-gal softie tank with its own sump.  The target is to have a 120-gal SPS tank (new), a 92-gal softie/LPS tank, a 100-gal sump which both displays will use (key point), a 35-gal remote DSB, a 60-gal Chaeto refugium, a 13-gal POD refugium and 20-g frag tank, approx 440-gallons. <<Mmm...is up to you, but the DSB/Chaetomorpha/Pod refugiums could all be easily combined in one vessel.  This would greatly simplify your plumbing I think, as well as create space for ancillary equipment...but maybe space is not an issue...>> 2)      The FOWLER has fish and inverts - in the target system the FOWLR tank will become a Chaeto refugium and all contents will be moved to the "new" SPS tank which will have a 2-inch sand bed. 3)     No NEW corals and fish will be added until a couple of months down the road. <<Ah yes, is important to reestablish the 'balance' of the system first>> 4)     The only Live Rock in the target system will be what is in the existing system i.e.   What is currently in the FOWLR and in the Softie/LPS tank. <<Sounds good...fish need space in which to swim and corals room in which to grow...and you don't have to worry about curing/cycling new rock>> 5)     The softie tank will not be touched - however as mentioned above it will share a sump with the LPS tank. <<Do make plans for employing chemical filtration>> 6)     Both tanks will have individual closed-loops. 7)     The only addition is sugar-fine sand to the remote DSB and the display My current migration plan with adequate testing for Nitrates, ammonia etc is the following: 1)     Week 1 -Place the sand bed and some rock from the FOWLR in the SPS tank and fill with fresh saltwater and some old tank water from the softie tank and the FOWLER. The sand bed will be seeded with sand from the softie tank.  After the sand settles allow only the SPS closed-loop to circulate the water in the tank.  The softie tank will operate as normally with no changes. 2)     Week 2 -Bring the remote DSB, empty Frag tank and POD refugium online but only circulating to the sump not the display tanks. 3)     Week 3 -The FOWLR will also be connected to the new sump until it becomes the new Chaeto refugium. 4)     Week 4 -Add the remaining rock in the FOWLR to the LPS tank and connect both display tanks to the consolidated sump which will have dual skimmers.  I would also add all the Fish and Inverts in the FOWLR to the LPS tank and bring the Chaeto refugium online i.e. converting the FOWLR into a Chaeto refugium. 5)     Any new additions of coral/fish will be added in week 8-12 Please let me know if I am missing something. <<Hmm, not something 'missing' so much as I just think this process is more complicated/drawn out than it need be.  I'm not saying your procedure won't work, but here are my thoughts on it...  Since you've determined this will be a 'shared' system, and since you are not cycling any 'new' rock in the new tank, I would set up the new tank and refugiums and plumb 'all' together with the existing systems first thing.  Essentially all you're doing at this point is adding 'volume' to the existing systems which will cause no harm.  Doing this allows a much larger/more powerful exposure for the micro- and macro-biota to begin establishing themselves in the new environments (also speeds up your time-table by a couple weeks).  Give things a few days to 'cook' and check your nitrogenous compound readings...if all looks good then begin moving/transferring your rock/livestock as you outlined...testing water parameters/allowing the system to catch-up between each 'phase' as you go>> Thanks in advance. <<A pleasure to share.  Eric Russell>>
Re: Marine System Expansion/Concerns For Existing Livestock - 02/14/07 FOWLR lvstg.
Thanks Eric for the fast response and you have confirmed that I am being too cautious. <<Quite welcome Adlai>> Just a couple of points: a) Since the sump and refugiums will be in the garage space is not an issue - yet!!! <<Cool!>> b) The Fowler tank will become a refugium and will have a DSB, live rock and Chaeto as you recommended last week. c) The real reason for adding a POD refugium  and another remote DSB (Calfo style) is because I can and have the space and containers - unless you think this is overkill. <<Overkill?  Nope...>> d) The sump will have two skimmers for now -a Tunze 9010 and a Euro-Reef CS6-1 - I can't afford a larger one right now but I believe this should handle the load. <<Hmm...likely, yes>> Anything I should be aware of here i.e. running 2 skimmers? <<Some authors actually prefer/recommend running multiple skimmers...will be fine>> e) In regards to chemical filtration, I will use a Phosphate reactor and 2 canister filters with Chemi-pure. f) I want to create a cryptic zone in the sump - would adding base rock to the sump upset the balance? <<Not at all...is also a good way to add rock to the system without taking up precious space in the display>> Thanks again. <<Be chatting.  EricR>>

Moving Fish...Order Of Introduction 2/13/07 Hello crew and thanks for taking the time to help me out. <You're welcome Vince, and hello to you.> I appreciate all the great advice.  I will be relocating  a Harlequin Tusk, Niger Trigger and an Arabian Trigger from a 75 gallon FOWLR to a 125 gallon FOWLR.  All fish are in the 3-4 inch range and have been together for about 1 year.  The Tusk dominates the Arabian, but I know there is a good chance the Arabian will turn the table as he gets bigger.  My initial plan is to add the Tusk, followed by the Arabian and last but not least the Niger.   Spacing each addition by 1- 2 weeks.  Should I switch the order of the Arabian and Tusk or am I over thinking this one. <I would add them all at once, that way no individual fish can stake claims before the other.  Will be a much more peaceful intro.> Thanks again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Questions on Tank Conditions, Relying on Retailers, New Aquarist Lacking Knowledge - 02/11/2007 Hello, <Hi Denise! Mich here.>   I have recently started a saltwater aquarium of 55-gallon size.  I have been following the advise of a local fish store in establishing this aquarium.   <Oh boy!  Best to do your own homework/research in addition to advice received.  I would highly recommend a book titled "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner.  A book I feel belongs on the shelf of most every marine aquarist.  In my opinion, it is the best overall book out there for a new marine hobbyist.  I think you will find it money well spent.  It is a tremendous resource that is both educational and entertaining; and will assuredly save you time, money and headaches.> After 1 month from beginning till now we have some live rock more in a week.  The fish they store has recommended so far is as follows: 2 - 3 stripe damsels, <These fish grow up to be quite nasty.> 2 - Engineer Gobies <Problem is often the "engineer" aspect of this fish, as in it can re-engineer/move your rockwork by displacing the substrate.  Sometimes this is a problem, sometime not.> (the damsels and gobies have been in aquarium since day 2), <Not the best way to cycle a tank.  Please read here   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm  > a Yellow Tang, <Should be in a tank that is at least 75 gallons or more.> a Niger Trigger, <Should be in a tank that is at least 75 gallons or more.> a 6 line wrasse, a Clarkii clownfish, and 10 snails and 10 hermit crabs.   <Uh-Oh!  Several problems here!> Ok with that being said, the clarkii seems to be very unhappy.  It seems to have a heavier breathing than the rest and hides non-stop.  It barely even comes out for feeding.  Though the rest appear to be happy.   <The rest may appear healthy ...for now, but there is a high degree of probability that the clownfish will share its ailment.> I do worry about the Niger though.  I thought it would be too large for my aquarium but the lady at the fish store shushed me and said she knows what she is doing.  She is the one who recommended it for our tank. <Mmm, I would obviously disagree re her knowledge and guidance.  You have no quarantine tank set up.  I'm assuming you didn't do any prophylactic dips.  You have already introduced a pathogen of some sort, which may very well kill some if not all your fish.  Your tank has barely finished cycling and you already have it overloaded with livestock.  This is completely inappropriate.  I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm being overly critical.  I'm not criticizing you personally.  I am just trying to point out that there is much to learn in order to be successful in this hobby.  This is not a hobby where you can trust the local retailer to tell you what to do.  If you want to succeed in this hobby you must be willing to commit plenty of time to understand the how's, and why's.  I'm not trying to discourage you.  You found this website and wrote in so you have demonstrated that care and are willing to do some research.  You are also wise enough to suspect that all is not well.  Many people like you, trust other and are given poor advise, with the ultimate result being frustration and failure, typically resulting in the individual leaving the hobby in less than a year.  This can be a most rewarding hobby, but it does require a good deal of effort and understanding, the earlier one understands this, the more likely one will succeed> Thank you for any advice you may be able to give me on this matter. <My advice is stop buying (except for the book) and start learning.  You can do it!> Sincerely, Denise <Regards, -Mich> Finally seeking advice - 02/09/2007 Hello WWM crew! <Bernie> I have used WWM religiously <Heeee! Are you genuflecting righteous now?> since setting up my FOWLR 6 months ago (and in the months of research prior to setup) and truly appreciate the collective wealth of knowledge provided on the site. <Ahh, thank you for mentioning>   I think I finally have come to a point where some advice specific to my tank is needed.  I have a 55gal setup with; 2 Coralife T5 fixtures (one daylight and one actinic in each), a Coralife Super Skimmer (which has performed remarkably well thus far), two powerheads, 50lbs. live rock, 2in aragonite sand bed, and unfortunately it would seem a Penguin Bio-Wheel 350. <Mmm, you can remove the wheel if you want...> My tank inhabitants are as follows; various assortment of snails, about 15 small hermit crabs, a Canthigaster valentini puffer (3in), an Odonus niger Trigger (4in), and a Condylactis anemone.   <Yikes... likely the Toby and Trigger will be more than nipping all the mentioned invertebrates> My questions pertain to filtration.  My parameters are Temp: 79-80, Specific gravity 1.024, PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate around 20 sometimes more sometimes less.  Also, I have had several tests where there was detectable ammonia (very bad I know).   <Yes... the fishes mentioned can be quite "messy"> Should I discontinue the use of Marineland's filter pads, I just cannot afford to replace them weekly or even bi-weekly, or is there some other custom pad that would be the best? <There are Dacron pads (or material you can buy at yardage stores... and cut to size... Or I'd suggest simply rinsing, air-drying and re-using the commercial pads... May not look spiffy, but are fine for many re-uses> I just could not find a definitive answer on this, even after hours of searching.  Secondly, should the bio-wheels be removed, again found conflicting info on the FAQ's.?   <Mmm, with what you list, I would leave them as is unless nitrates become a real issue... and in that case I'd look to other ways to ameliorate it... Likely macroalgae, a DSB...> Also, with regard to my skimmer (hang on tank) should I change and/or rinse the two foam pads in the bubble diffuser (I rinse them every couple of weeks)? <Likely a good idea... I'd alternate this practice with other media cleaning> Next, I have some questions about future plans.  I would like to add a refugium, would this be able to replace the mechanical filtration <Mmm, to a degree... I might place a "sock" on a discharge (ala Emperor Aquatics)...> and would it best serve the large fish I will be housing?   <The sock...> And finally, would a Maroon Clown add too much to the bio-load of the tank? <Well... eventually there will likely be a problem with the Odonus, the Clown... and the invert.s mentioned...> I continually strive to be a contentious <Hey now!> marine aquarist, and am very concerned with animal welfare.  I just don't feel right about my filtration situation and would appreciate any and all advice you have for me.   <Mmm, a refugium is a good direction...> I assure you that I have combed the FAQ's diligently and would not waste your time and mine otherwise!   Again Thank you, Bernie Worley (a poor law student!) <Not for long! Thank you for writing, sharing Bernie... Bob Fenner>

Mixing, Matching and Modifying a Stocking Plan - 02/09/2007 Dear WetWebMedia Crew Member,   I'm back again with more questions! Yay! If you can recall I sent you a message before. I modified my plan that I once had and NOW I have the perfect plan, hopefully. I have a 55 gallon aquarium that I'm going to light with 390 watts of light (VHO) (6x65watts) that comes with led lights and three switches to control the lights. Three model 228 Power Sweeps (with pre-filter sponges), 270gph each will circulate the water (one at each end and one in the middle). Both the powerheads and the light have timers. The filter is up to a 75 gallon aquarium (capacity) wet/dry filter sump/refugium, dimensions are 20''(length) X 8''(width) X 12''(height), refugiums capacity is 15 gallons and 635 gallons per hour, lighting for the refugium is 2 X 13 watt power compact light included with grow lights 1- 10k sun bright, and 1- actinic 420nm (blue bulbs are included), please visit this site for more information: Link   I don't know very much about this kind of filter/skimmer brand. Here are the brands:   turbo queen ts 2000 skimmer Catalina Aquarium - 1800 pump + CA 2300 pump CA - 2 X 13 watt power compact hood Catalina aquarium - overflow single drain. Please tell me if this is a good investment. <I'd be asking about on some of the BB's re this brand... I prefer others... the skimmer and pump in particular...> There will be a 200 watt Theo heater also, but in main aquarium (not in sump). Also I will have a 5" DSB with 50lbs of fully cured Fiji live rock in main aquarium and 10lbs in refuge. All the same water qualities will remain the same and some (except the temp which I said was going to be 85 degrees Fahrenheit but that was just a typo, it's going to be around 75-77 degrees Fahrenheit). For the 30 gallon QT there will be a Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter 2 and Whisper Air Pump 40 (with airline tubing) to filter it. There will also be one model 228 Power Sweep (with pre-filter sponge), 270gph powerhead to circulate everything. I have decided to QT everything (including corals) for the appreciate amount of time with just the regular lights I already have. The water quality will closely match that of the 55 gallon.   The fish that I plan to get include   one small maroon clown (tank-bred or not),   a small six line wrasse,   a medium sized flame angelfish,   and finally a prized purple tang (medium).   I will add these fish in order of which I named them. I'm not going to change this list no matter what you say. I have already asked my marine biology teacher (who has a degree and has had plenty of experience in marine biology) and he told me it would be a good idea. <... "It"... means? The Maroon may become insufferably territorial, and the Zebrasoma may have psychological issues in this small volume in time> The inverts include   super Tongan Nassarius snails (x10) (Nassarius distortus) and   a scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp,   I've also been thinking about getting some kind of brittle/serpent star but I'll have to look at those later (do a little research).   The corals I wish to have are   Fox Coral (could do without) placement near bottom,   Evergreen Starburst polyp (aquacultured) Briareum sp. placement top,   Super Colored Colony Polyp Zoanthus sp. placement mid-region,   Silver Branch Pumping Xenia (aquacultured) placement mid-region,   Van Gogh Acropora Coral and Cranberry Tip Acropora Coral (both aquacultured) both placement top,   a Spotted Mushroom Actinodiscus sp. placement bottom,   and a Red Wellsophyllia Open Brain Coral Trachyphyllia radiata placement bottom which will be the last to enter the aquarium because I still need to learn more about this specimen. I will also have a Halimeda plant (macroalgae). I'm just worried about my coral selection. They'll probably have "chemical warfare" like you say. And does it really matter what order I introduce them in? Just please tell me what order should I introduce things in and what I should "delete".   THANKS!   P.S.- sorry for any spelling errors if any <I would place these cnidarians in "bio-systematic" order and as small colonies... Bob Fenner>

Stocking/Compatibility Questions 12/27/06 Hello! <Hi Matt.> Thanks in advance for your help, your site is full of tons of helpful information.  I've found a few posts that almost answer my question but I wanted to ask for certain before adding any new fish. I currently have: 75 gallon FOWLR Wet/Dry Skimmer Power Heads 1 Foxface, approx 6 inches 1 Domino Damsel, small 1 Yellow Tail Damsel, small 1 3-stripe Damsel, small Water parameters good except nitrates run in the 20's, I'm trying to get that down with more frequent water changes. <Nitrates aren't bad for a fish only tank.> And now, what I'd like to add (probably just 2 of the 3): 1 Flame Angel 1 Long Nose Butterfly 1 Blue or Powder Blue Tang Can you tell me if I will run into any compatibility issues here?  Do the damsels need to go?  If I add 2 of the 3 above will I max out the tank?  Any chance of all 3? First of all, the Domino and Three Striped Damsels would have to go.  Are too aggressive for peaceful fish.  Both the Flame Angel and the Long Nose fair much better in a tank with live rock, and the Long Nose can be difficult to acclimate to prepared foods.  The tang is a definite no as your tank is too small for such. Do search our site on compatibility/feeding and difficulty in acclimating.> Thanks so much! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Matt 55G Tank, Snowflake Eel & Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish?   12/17/06 Hi! I recently got a 55 gallon fish tank, along with some other stuff for the tank. While I have never kept a saltwater tank before, I have had several years experience with freshwater. However, I have done a decent amount of research about SW fish online, and I think that a mixture of semi-aggressive fish would be most interesting to me. So far, I'm thinking about adding a Snowflake Eel and a Fuzzy Dwarf Lionfish. I don't want to add too many more fish, maybe just a couple more. But I'm looking for suggestions on what else I can add with these two. Anything too small, I've read, will likely be eaten, and I don't want anything too aggressive that may pick on the lion and maybe even the eel. <Mmm... well... for a fifty five gallon volume, with the eel's growth... this is about all you can have physiologically here> Triggerfish are probably off the list, both because of their large sizes and unsuitability for a 55G tank, and also because I've heard they nip the fins of lionfish, even dwarf lionfish. <Yes> I thought maybe some type of Wrasse, Dwarf Angelfish or Filefish, or maybe a large Clownfish, like a Maroon or Tomato. <Possibilities, yes... as long as they're too large to be inhaled by the Lion...> I also plan on this being a fish-only tank, with no coral. Although I would like maybe a few inverts that the lion & eel won't eat. From what I've read, echinoderms (starfish, urchins, etc) should be fine, so I was thinking maybe a Black Longspine Urchin, they are really cool. <Mmm, do place the Eel well in advance of the urchin... easy for them to get stuck but good... through zooming about, unfamiliarity with their environment> Also maybe some type of starfish, except the Chocolate Chip Starfish - I've only heard bad stuff about the CCStars. <Most die w/in a week> Any suggestions on inverts will also be appreciated. <Posted on WWM...> Also, I don't have everything I need for the tank yet, and I don't have it set up or anything. I just want to know what I'll be keeping in the tank first, so I'll know how to set it up. So, I was wondering what you'd suggest for my tank. Thanks in advance! :-) <Best to go ahead, get the tank started, stocked with the Lion, Eel if you have your heart set on them... and use the time past then to consider other possibilities. Bob Fenner>

(My) Dream Tank   11/26/07 Hi crew, <Hey Ian, JustinN with you this evening> I currently have a 90gal FOWLR tank and have started saving for my next tank. I started with the 'wish' list but I'm not too sure about the proper tank size for these inhabitants to flourish. I want to ensure I have tank size right before anything else. Right now, my plan is at least a 265gal. Can you provide me your best estimate for a tank size assuming again FOWLR, proper skimming and filtration, and regular water changes? <Sounds fun! Always nice to dream of that next setup... even better when you get to put it into action! I'll do my best to help you here...> Stocking plan is: Scribbled Angel - male Imperator Angel (would a large tank allow this to work with the scribbled?) <I would likely choose one or the other, if also planning to keep a Centropyge sp.> Flame Angel Powder Blue Tang 2 Golden Butterfly Pair of False Percula Clownfish Yellow Tang (would a large tank allow this to work with the powder blue?) <In my opinion, yes> I know the Imperator and Yellow Tang would not normally work, but would a large enough tank size overcome territory issues? I believe the others are compatible. I also know I need aggressive skimming given these are higher waste-producing fish. I'm looking at the EuroReef or AquaC line. Your input is appreciated! <I have no personal experience with either, but hear nothing but high praise for both. Either will do the job quite sufficiently.> Thanks, Ian <Well, Ian, sounds like a pretty good plan. Your proposed tank size should be sufficient for your intentions. Do keep us posted on your progress. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Invertebrate life for a FOWLR  11/21/06 Hello, <Hey Lance, JustinN here with you today>    I've had a 55 gallon fish-only tank for about 4 years. I currently only have three small fish and some snails. I like an understocked tank and take forever to decide on new tankmates. Plus, I prefer tank-raised animals. <A wonderful, environmentally conscience decision.> I searched but don't know how to narrow this question down: is there anything (non-fish--coral, anemones...) else that I can add that does not require serious lighting? I still have those cheapy, starter fluorescents that would impress no one--I mean bottom of the barrel lights. I could certainly upgrade the lighting, but I'd rather not have energy hogging, heat producing lights if it can be avoided.     I like fish-only, so it's not a big deal. But I was wondering if you had any thoughts or suggestions for life outside of fish. Thanks for your help (in general)! <Mmm, many interesting forms of invertebrate life to be had. Perhaps a starfish from the species Fromia, or a shrimp or 2? Have a browse here for some ideas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm I hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Stocking for 2 FOWLR's   11/15/06 Dear WWM Crew,    <Jenny>   Thank you all so much for your hard work!    <Welcome>   A few months ago we received two tanks a 55 and 65 gallon. I was wondering if you could look at my proposed stocking lists and give any suggestions you have. I haven't had a medium size tank before and I don't like the idea of buying fish with expectations of upgrading next year or whenever; you never know what is gonna happen with life between now and then.    <Indeed>   The 55 gallon has approximately 60lbs of home made rock with 3 inches of crushed coral substrate. It has an ASM mini G skimmer and a 6 inch DSB in the sump/fuge. I would like to put:   Antennarius maculatus - clown angler - max size 4 inches Dendrochirus biocellatus - fu Manchu lion - max size 4 inches   Echidna nebulosa - snowflake moray - max size 30 inches   Gymnothorax miliaris - Goldentail moray - max size 28 inches    <Mmm, these Morays will outgrow this system in a short while... But these fish species are great for aquarium use>   The 65 gallon has approximately 100lbs of rock with a 6 inch sand bed. It is currently running with a hang on Aqua C Remora skimmer. (I am thinking I would like to switch the mini-G to this tank and put a larger skimmer on the 55 b/c of the eels but that is another story). I would like to put:   Chaetodon xanthurus  - Pearlscale b-fly - max size 5.5 inches Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus - blue spotted angel - max size 4 inches   Canthigaster compressa - compressed Toby - max size 3 inches   Pervagor melanocephalus - red-tailed filefish - max size 6 inches    <Again, very nice species... The Toby may bite the other species... but is worth the risk here IMO/E>   Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate the help.      Sincerely,      Jenny <Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
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Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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